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British accusations against Russia for Skripal poisoning not only unproven, but absurd!

By Tom Stanford | The Duran | March 24, 2018

The British government claims to have overwhelming evidence of Russia’s responsibility in the Salisbury poison attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter. In his Washington Post article of March 14, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson went so far as to claim that there was “only [one] plausible conclusion: that the Russian state attempted murder in a British city, employing a lethal nerve agent banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention”. He even connected this with Russia “covering up” the alleged use of “the nerve agent sarin against the town of Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017” by Syrian forces. In a separate statement, the Foreign Secretary tells us it is “overwhelmingly likely” that Vladimir Putin personally ordered the attack. What evidence is there to support such serious accusations?

According to the British government (see e.g. Boris Johnson’s article) and the mainstream media, the following elements are sufficient to incriminate the Russian state with near certainty: the weapon used, the motive, Russia’s past record, the lack of another explanation.

Use of novichok is no proof of Russian involvement

The nerve agent reportedly used in the attack, named novichok, was developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. The fact that Russian stockpiles of novichok were destroyed under supervision of UN bodies after the collapse of the Soviet Union and that the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) has seen no reason for suspecting any country of continuing to store this deadly agent does not seem to bother the incriminators. Of course, it can be speculated that Russia may have kept the weapon secretly, as does Vil Mirzayanov, the Russian scientist who revealed the existence of the project in 1992 and has lived in the US since 1995.

Russian ex-counter intelligence officer Vil Mirzayanov defected to the United States. Now 83 years old, he comments on the Skripal affair from Boston. (Photo credit: Business Insider)

Boris Johnson has announced that over the last ten year Britain has gathered evidence of Russia creating and storing novichok. We are given no detail of what kind of evidence this may be. It could turn out to be nothing more than isolated, unsubstantiated claims made by Mirzayanov and other opponents of the Russian government.

Not only Russia, but other former members of the Soviet Union, or the US, could have secretly stored or recreated the poison. In 1999 US defence officials helped Uzbekistan dismantle a former Soviet facility which had tested chemical weapons such as novichok. Samples, as well as the knowledge required to produce the nerve agent, are highly likely to have become available to countries other than Russia.

Did Russia have a motive?

Russia supposedly had an obvious motive. The argument goes as follows: Sergei Skripal, while still officially working for the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU, had been secretly recruited by the British MI6, and handed over to his new paymasters the names of all Russian agents he knew to be working in the West. Even after serving a few years in a Russian prison and being allowed to emigrate to the UK as part of a spy swap, he would have remained on an official Russian hit list for his act of treason. His murder would serve as a deterrent towards any other Russian agent who may consider switching sides. And to make things even clearer to would-be defectors, the attack would leave some kind of signature pointing to the Russian state as the perpetrator.

On the face of it, the argument sounds reasonable. However, it makes no sense to consider motives as evidence for doing something if we ignore counter-motives, i.e. reasons for refraining from doing it. Suppose you are in your doctor’s waiting room and have been sitting there for quite some time when suddenly an elderly lady, who arrived there just before you, collapses and is rushed to hospital. You had never seen her before. Now imagine the police later suspect some foul play and discover that the incident allowed you to have your own waiting time shortened by ten or fifteen minutes. You had a clear motive for harming the poor lady. Luckily for you, it then occurs to the investigators that your motive for doing so (saving a few minutes of your time) pales into insignificance compared with the reasons that would have held you back, such as the idea of spending years in jail, not to mention your moral conscience or feelings of human compassion.

In other words, motivation is the result of weighing out costs and benefits.

Putin had a clear motive… for NOT doing it

In the case of the Salisbury attack, the foreseeable costs to Russia, and more specifically to President Putin, are enormous. The Russian government spends considerable effort trying to convince the world that it firmly abides by the rule of law, especially international law and agreements between states. Its own statements, as well as the foreign-policy analyses appearing in the Russian state-owned media, all go towards highlighting Russia’s perceived superiority to the US in terms of respect for international law. Such efforts have greatly intensified in the context of the renewed tensions with the West over the last few years.

Russia’s current leaders believe in ending the current US-dominated unipolar world and are striving to recover some of the influence over world affairs that was lost with the collapse of the Soviet Union. This requires having allies, not only state allies, but also Russia-friendly organizations and individuals within states. Any damage to Russia’s international reputation does considerable harm to such prospects.

President Putin himself cultivates the image of a highly principled, responsible and law-abiding person – not that anyone would guess by reading the Western mainstream media! Whatever Russia’s state representatives and media may argue, the Salisbury attack has put many weapons in the hands of Putin’s detractors. In this light, it is absolutely inconceivable that Russia’s president ordered the attack himself. Boris Johnson’s personal accusation not only shows his total misunderstanding of the Russian leadership, but is also utterly irresponsible on the part of Britain’s top diplomat.

Part 2

Russia had long been hoping that the EU may gradually put to an end its sanctions policy. It is still very dependent on trade with the block. It would be insane for Russia to do anything that could threaten the current Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, especially given that the US, with the support of a number of EU countries mainly from Eastern Europe, has been putting pressure on the EU to abandon the project. But Germany, determined to ensure its supply of cheap gas, has so far resisted such calls.

Predictably, the EU has sided with the UK and is officially demanding explanations from Russia concerning its novichok programme – which only makes any sense if Russia was in some way involved in the Salisbury attack, definitely not if it genuinely ceased the production and storage of the nerve agent in the 1990s, as documented by the OPCW!

Could other agents of the Russian state be responsible?

It is also entirely unrealistic to imagine that leading members of the Russian secret service agencies may have acted autonomously and ordered the Salisbury attack without consulting their superiors and not realizing how much damage it would have on Russia’s and Putin’s international reputation. They live in the world of the Russian state elite, continually exposed to its way of thinking, and not cocooned in some fantasy world of their own – unlike many Western politicians and journalists who apparently still live with the image of James Bond-like characters fighting against evil Russian agents!

Any significant agent of the Russian state would be fully aware of the displeasure that a Salisbury-type attack would trigger among the leadership. Supposing players within the Russian state did carry out the attack, it could only be construed as a hostile act towards President Putin and his team.

No sense for Russia to kill Skripal abroad rather than in Russia

This is not a simple case of a former spy-turned-traitor being “executed”. The attack leaves a deliberate Russian “signature” (there is no other reason for using novichok rather than a more discreet or classical weapon) and was carried out on the soil of a foreign country, the United Kingdom, which in spite of the Brexit process remains a highly significant player on the international stage. Whoever the perpetrators may be, they would have foreseen that any improvement in relations between Russia and its Western neighbours would be seriously jeopardized as a consequence.

But what makes Russian involvement even more absurd is the fact that Alexander Skripal was officially released and allowed to emigrate as part of a spy swap. Why would the Russians have waited another eight years before killing him in another country, with the terrible diplomatic consequences that would ensue, when he could have been much more easily liquidated while still in Russia, in a manner that would give would-be defectors an even clearer warning that there is “no way out for traitors”.

Would Russia give up the chance of other spy swaps?

Furthermore, a spy-swap deal implies that the parties involved agree to give up all claims pertaining to the released individuals. In other words they will not try to recapture or kill them, which would amount to a breach of the agreement. A country reneging on such a deal would no longer be trusted for any similar arrangements in the future. Is it reasonable to believe that the Russian government, or any top secret service official in Russia, would be prepared to sacrifice Russia’s chances of making any new spy-swap deals with its Western partners in the future? This is not just unlikely, it is the pinnacle of absurdity! Sadly, Western political leaders and mainstream media are quite happy to believe and propagate such nonsense.

Goal of attack: outrage against Russia

The attack itself does not seem to bear the mark of professional Russian agents. The daughter of the former double agent suffered the same fate as her father. It is only a matter of circumstances that many others were not seriously injured. It is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut! And the main target, Sergei Skripal, is – weeks later – still reported to be alive! Either it was some very sloppy attack carried out by non-professionals, or the attack was deliberately not confined to Mr Skripal in order to provoke even greater outrage against Russia.

Boris Johnson has apparently recently adapted his interpretation of Russian intentions to take account of these facts. He now claims it was probably specially timed just before the presidential election, “to conjure up in the public imagination the notion of an enemy”. So the Russian president supposedly deliberately provoked British outrage to help him win the election! The Foreign Secretary seems to be completely out of touch with reality. It has long been common knowledge that Vladimir Putin would win with a landslide anyway. Would he wish to cause himself and his country enormous trouble for absolutely no gain at all?

What is Russia’s past record?

We are told there is “a pattern” of state-sponsored assassinations or deaths in unusual circumstances of political opponents, critical journalists and secret service defectors. Deaths attributed to President Putin have included the journalist Politskaya, the political opponent Nemtsov, the accountant and lawyer Magnitsky, the former agent Litvinenko and even the oligarch Berezovsky. In all these cases, the incrimination of the Russian state is based on rather flimsy evidence. The argumentation here is circular: in each case the belief in the Russian government’s responsibility is strengthened by the existence of the other stories. But if none of the stories are true, then the whole argument collapses.

The Litvinenko case does bear a similarity to the current one. Instead of the nerve agent novichok, Litvinenko was poisoned by radioactive polonium, a substance very difficult to obtain and produced only by a few countries – such as Russia – with a nuclear weapons industry. In both cases, it is highly unlikely that the Russian state would choose to leave a “made in Russia” signature on the poison used, with only one major outcome – the poisoning of Britain’s relationship with Russia.

Part 3

If not Russia, then who did it?

Russia’s accusers claim there are no alternative explanations for the attack: nobody, apart from the Russian state, is understood to have had a motive for the attempted murder. This argument can only make sense to those who believe in the world of an evil, criminal Russia whose only opponents are pure, honest, angelic fighters for freedom and justice.

The main consequence of the Salisbury attack – undoubtedly one that would have been predicted by whoever planned it – is to further damage relations between Russia and the West, or at least prevent their improvement. A long list of countries (Ukraine, Poland, the US and many others) or organizations may believe they have an interest in this – at least they have been doing their best to spoil Western Europe’s relationship with Russia. Of course, the existence of a possible motive does not constitute sufficient ground to suspect anyone in particular. However, on the basis the motives involved, to quote British former Member of Parliament George Galloway, “Russia must be near the bottom of the list of suspects.”

How to get away with murder: blame Russia!

It can also not be excluded that the attack was the work of some rogue “ultra-patriotic” group within Russia (whether within or outside Russia’s state institutions) wishing to undermine Putin’s attempts to mend relations with the West by killing a “traitor” on British soil. In this case, the Salisbury attack would clearly be an act of aggression against the Russian government more than against the UK. And Britain’s refusal to cooperate with Russia would make the UK unwittingly guilty of helping the perpetrators avoid the course of justice.

Another aspect is that we do not know what personal enemies Aleksander Skripal may have had. There may be motives involved that nobody suspects. If, for whatever reason a person or organization with sufficient power wished to have him killed, there was a simple way to get away with the crime: a highly effective cover-up the crime would involve using a weapon that points towards Russia, with the knowledge the British authorities would be unlikely to seriously explore other avenues, especially in the current international climate. The same can be argued in the case of Litvinenko’s murder in 2006.

There is something particularly disturbing about the Western international community rushing to accuse Russia for any crime showing the slightest hint of a Russian connection: it provides criminal organizations and terrorists with assurances that they can avoid being held accountable. All they need to do is to leave some kind of “Russian signature”.

UK reckless attitude is dangerous

The words of Theresa May and Boris Johnson, accusing Russia for crimes it did not commit with astoundingly aggressive and hostile language, will naturally lead the Russian population and their decision makers to believe their country is the victim of an orchestrated attack. Hostility towards the West will increase dramatically as a result. British, European and North-American leaders may have convinced themselves of Russia’s guilt, but have they reflected on the possible consequences of their reckless attitude?

It is urgent to stop the escalation in the Russia blame game, which has taken a momentum of its own. It may be of benefit for the media, who can publish stories that make a good read, with an evil bogey man that everyone loves to hate, or for politicians who, when confronted with problems at home – such as the UK government with its current Brexit troubles – can take the opportunity to look strong in the face of an enemy. However, it is an extremely dangerous game which could have disastrous consequences for the entire world.

March 26, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Cambridge Analytica & The Facebook-Big Data Conspiracy

By Andrew Korybko | Oriental Review | March 26, 2108

The Guardian published an exposé about how Cambridge Analytica allegedly mastered the use of social media data to give the Brexit and Trump campaigns a crucial edge in 2016.

The UK news outlet released an extensive story about Christopher Wylie, the Canadian genius behind the Cambridge Analytica data firm that was reportedly the secret weapon behind these two campaigns’ electoral successes. It’s long been speculated that the company used people’s Facebook information to enhance their electioneering efforts, but now its founder has come forward and purportedly claims to have documents proving that this was the case. What’s more, he says that his company was created by SCL Elections, a subsidiarity of the SCL Group that he told a reporter is supposedly known for its expertise in conducting “cyberwarfare for elections”. The SCL umbrella has military contracts alongside civilian ones, therefore making it an extension of the “deep state” and adding credence to the claims that Cambridge Analytica functioned as an indispensable component behind Brexit and Trump’s victories.

The Guardian goes on to explain how users’ Facebook data was mined through apps, quizzes, and “seeders”, and that people’s personality traits were paired with their “likes” and other account activity to build detailed profiles of millions of people, which the outlet and its interviewee suggest might have been illegal. In their defense, Cambridge Analytica always asserted under pressure that this isn’t the case, and has sometimes said that it was conducting academic research. This “plausibly deniable” stance shows just how blurred the line is becoming between academia, marketing, politics, and intelligence, but to be fair, this has been a steadily growing problem for years already and Cambridge Analytica isn’t the first company to be implicated with accusations of legal and ethical impropriety in this field. The only thing that they’re really “guilty” of is creatively identifying and tapping into the anti-systemic zeitgeist of the British and American societies.

The argument can be made that it was “wrong” for them to procure people’s private Facebook data, but that doesn’t change the fact that the results were used for very effective purposes in pushing forth what the masses apparently wanted, which is Brexit and Trump. The Mainstream Media was, and still is, completely taken aback by what happened because they convinced themselves of the inevitability of both of those campaigns’ defeats, arrogantly refusing to recognize and accept the obvious signs that people were clamoring for change. All that Cambridge Analytica did was process preexisting data, objectively assess its results, and pass along the findings to its clients so that they can hone their messages, though there are legitimate fears that data brokers such as this one might eventually become too powerful if they independently leverage this information for their own ends one day.

This whole affair goes to show the growing influence that technology companies are having in today’s post-modern society, but the only reason why it’s coming under the Mainstream Media’s microscope is because it was one of the reasons why the “wrong side” won. That’s why The Guardian also goes on a bizarre tangent in implying that there might have been a Russian government connection to Cambridge Analytica, all in order to pander to the Russiagate mob and their “deep state” controllers. That aside, the exposé is informative because it lays bare the truth of what’s happening behind the scenes – and literally, behind computer and phone screens – and explains how people’s private preferences are being vacuumed up and analyzed in creating a dizzying array of psychological profiles for political purposes.

March 26, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Bolton Means Another War for Israel is Coming

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | March 26, 2018

With the appointment of leading neoconservative John Bolton as National Security Advisor, the Zionist war-party takeover of the White House is nearly complete. With Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, Nikki Haley at the U.N. and now Bolton whispering in the President’s ear, we have a fully endowed war cabinet that will make sure the Mullahs, Russkies and Rocket Man begin to pay attention. As Haley laid down the law in the United Nations last week, “Our patience is not unlimited.”

Bolton, the point man for Israeli-American casino billionaire and GOP kingmaker Sheldon Adelson, will be the spark plug that ignites a new round of warfare on behalf of Israel. Bolton has long been planning to attack Iran. He secretly and illegally met with Israel’s Mossad intelligence service in 2003-4 when he was in the State Department under George W. Bush to lay the groundwork for such a conflict. Today, right-wing Israelis are certainly cheering his appointment. Naftali Bennett, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, has already praised the move, calling Bolton “an extraordinary security expert, experienced diplomat and a stalwart friend of Israel”.

War is likely to start in the Middle East as Iran, Lebanon and Syria are relatively soft targets with only limited capability to strike back. As neocon pundit Michael Ledeen put it put it, “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” There have been numerous indications that Israel is preparing for war. Its planning clearly includes deliberately involving the United States in the conflict, making turning American soldiers into de facto hostages, with U.S. casualties guaranteeing Washington’s direct and immediate involvement in the fighting.

Largely unknown to the American public, the United States has just completed the largest ever joint military exercises with Israel even though it has no defense agreement or treaty with Tel Aviv. That is, in part, because military alliances are dependent on an attack on one partner mandating support from all parties to the agreement. Israel has balked at such an arrangement because it cannot define its own borders, which are constantly expanding.

The recent maneuvers featured scenarios in which U.S. troops fought Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians in a mock-up Arab village to defend Israel. Washington’s particular vulnerability vis-à-vis Israel derives from the recent opening of a U.S. permanent facility at Mashabim Air Base in the Negev Desert. It is described as a base within a base, completely contained by an Israeli air force installation and operating “under Israeli military directives,” meaning that if the facility is attacked Americans will likely die. It has no function in support of U.S. regional interests but is instead a shell facility with a few dozen airmen that can be ramped up considerably if Israel goes to war and calls for American assistance. Together with billions of dollars-worth of U.S. military equipment that is pre-positioned in Israel and can be used by the Israelis as needed, it is all about supporting Israeli war-making and has nothing to do with American security or defense interests except as a tripwire to bring about U.S. involvement.

For that reason, all of the above is something more than just the latest “we have to support Israel” gimmick. The American soldiers and airmen who are now based in Israel are the sacrificial lambs that will guarantee U.S. entry into a war that Israel intends to start, make no mistake about that. A group of U.S. Senators who have just returned from Israel have confirmed that Netanyahu’s government is preparing for a major regional war. Their recommendation? Give Israel more money so it can “defend” itself, a proposal that might be well received in the White House, which is also itching to confront both Syria and Iran. In addition to Bolton, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and the President himself have all been particularly ratcheting up the rhetoric against Iran. At the U.N., Nikki Haley betrayed her ignorance of international law and the U.N. Charter, recently warning that the U.S. is prepared to attack Syria again because “… there are times when states are compelled to take their own action.”

When Israel attacks Syria and/or Lebanon, as it clearly intends to do, Hezbollah will retaliate with its missiles, some of which will surely be directed towards the Mashabim Air Base, which will be targeted to inhibit the base’s ability to bomb Lebanon. And once Washington is well and truly engaged in what is referred to as “force protection,” Israel will undoubtedly widen the conflict by drawing Iran in through attacks on that country’s identified bases in Syria that are supporting the al-Assad regime. The bigger war will suddenly become America’s responsibility after Israel inevitably proves itself incapable of handling the escalation.

During the recent bilateral military exercises, Air Force Lieutenant General Richard Clark enthused that American soldiers are “prepared to die for the Jewish state” and also added that they would “probably” be under the command of Israeli Air Force General Zvika Haimovitch, who would decide on the involvement of U.S. personnel. Haimovitch commented “I am sure… we will find US troops on the ground…to defend the state of Israel.”

I somehow doubt if General Richard Clark would be so sanguine if his own son were told to prepare to die for the Jewish state. And I have to wonder if the good general has considered Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution about declaring war or the 1973 War Powers Act or the issue of national sovereignty itself in allowing another country to declare war for you. General Clark is a perfect example of how we have been sold out by the people we have honored and rewarded to defend our country when it comes to pandering to Israel. He and Bolton as well as the other Administration hawks clamoring for more war for Israel are a national disgrace.

March 26, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 15 Comments

‘Against common sense and intl law’: Russia to retaliate over diplomats’ expulsion by UK allies

RT | March 26, 2018

Moscow won’t leave the provocative acts against Russian diplomats unanswered, the Foreign Ministry said, adding that several countries blindly copied the UK’s “hypocritical” stance on the Skripal case in the absence of evidence.

The decision of a number of NATO and other European countries to expel Russian diplomats over the poisoning of the former double-agent Sergei Skripal amounts to a “provocative act” and only harms international relations and the investigation of the incident, the Ministry said in a statement.

The countries which expelled Russian diplomats have only played into the hands of London, which “de-facto took a prejudiced, biased and hypocritical stance, producing indiscriminate accusations against the Russian Federation in the absence of explanations of what happened and refusing to engage in substantive cooperation,” the statement reads.

The “solidarity” expressed by the Western countries harmed the investigation of the Skripal incident and contradicted international law, the Ministry said. Russia is interested in finding the truth about the poisoning of Russian citizens on British soil, it stressed.

“The Russian side, despite our repeated requests to London, has no information over the case. There’s no objective and exhaustive data on it at the disposal of the Britain’s allies, who blindly follow the principles of the Euro-Atlantic unity harming common sense, principles of civilized dialogue between states and international law. Naturally, such a hostile move on part of this group of countries won’t go unanswered,” the Ministry said.

Moscow will expel at least 60 US diplomats in response to Washington’s move which it linked to double agent Skripal’s poisoning, Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov said. He called the move to expel 12 of the Russian UN staff illegal.

“It is clear that the measures will be tit-for-tat, they will affect the same number of employees, since the numbers of our diplomatic missions are equal,” Dzhabarov said. He also condemned the additional expulsion of 12 Russian UN staff as “contradicting international law.”

“The UN is an international organization, which does not fall under American jurisdiction,” the senator pointed out.

President Vladimir Putin will be the one to make a final decision on retaliatory measures against the US and European countries that are expelling Russian diplomats. For now, the Russian Foreign Ministry is studying the situation and drafting a list of possible actions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Moscow has nothing to do with the Skripal case, he added.

Washington’s actions will only serve to ruin the remaining US-Russian ties, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said. The US understands nothing but force, the diplomat stated while commenting on the possible response measures.

Moscow expected such a move on part of the US, but still hoped that Washington would use common sense to help stop the UK’s hysteria, Antonov added.

On Monday, the US expelled 60 Russian diplomats over the double-agent Skripal’s poisoning in the UK. The move was coordinated with several European countries, which also expelled a number of Russian diplomats.

March 26, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , , , | 4 Comments

Trump orders expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, closure of Seattle consulate

RT | March 26, 2018

President Donald Trump has ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. It comes in response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, which the UK has blamed on Russia.

The move follows major diplomatic pressure by the UK on its allies to follow their lead in expelling Russian diplomats. The Russian embassy in Washington had previously urged Trump not to heed the “fake news” on Skripal’s poisoning.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Moscow of being behind the poisoning of the former spy Skripal and his daughter in the town of Salisbury in early March.

Of the 60 diplomats expelled, 12 formed part of the Russian mission to the United Nations. In a statement, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the 12 Russians in question had “abused their privilege of residence” in the US and had “engaged in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security.”

Haley said that the Russian diplomats had used the UN as “a safe haven for dangerous activities within our own borders.”

During a summit in Brussels last week, the 28 EU leaders agreed with Britain’s assertion that it is “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for the attack on Skripal.

Members of the EU numbering 14 have also decided to expel Russian diplomats following Britain’s lead.

Canada has also jumped on the bandwagon, announcing that it will expel four Russian diplomats “in solidarity” with the UK.

The timing of the expulsions by the US, EU and Canada appears to have been coordinated between Washington and Brussels. Eight EU countries confirmed within 15 minutes of each other on Monday afternoon that they would expel a number of Russian diplomats. Canada’s announcement followed shortly after.

Moscow has always denied playing any role in the attack, and offered to cooperate with the investigation into the incident. Britain has declined, however, to send samples of the chemical agent used on Skripal and his daughter to Moscow.

March 26, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | , , , | 7 Comments

The last ‘peace process’ warrior: Abbas hanging by a thread

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | March 26, 2018

The “deal of the century” is a farce. We suspected that, of course, but, upon his return from Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed in more detail why the long-anticipated plan of the administration of US President Donald Trump has no basis in reality.

Netanyahu told his Cabinet that there are “no concrete details” to report on the US peace plan. One has to suspect that the “plan” was, all along, the US disavowal of the so-called peace process and the dropping of the “honest peace broker” act.

In fact, that much has been achieved, especially with the US decision last December to accept Israel’s illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and agreement to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Since then, Israel has initiated a clear strategy to annexing the West Bank. Its top officials are contending that the “two-state solution” is not even deserving of a conversation.

“We are done with that,” said Israel’s education minister, in recent remarks to students in New York. “They have a Palestinian state in Gaza.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas was, thus, left with the inviable position. It is lashing out left and right, convulsing like a wounded animal.

It is hard to imagine that, at the moment, Abbas is orbiting within a grand strategy of any kind. Random statements, attacks on his Palestinian rivals, the Israelis and the Americans – mostly for betraying him – is all that seems to keep his name in the news.

“May God demolish his home,” was one of the statements attributed to the Palestinian leader, in response to Trump’s decision regarding Jerusalem.

That was on 14 January. A few days ago, Abbas referred to David Friedman, the ardently right-wing and pro-Israel US ambassador to Israel, as “son of a bitch”.

Friedman is an avid supporter of the illegal Jewish settlements, but name calling is not a promising sign of a constructive Palestinian strategy.

Abbas feels beleaguered, disowned by Washington and a victim of an elaborate US-Israeli plot that has cost Palestinians precious time and much land, while leaving Abbas with nothing but an embarrassing political legacy.

Abbas is not necessarily angry because the US has betrayed its role in the “peace process”. He is angry because he has, for years, perceived himself as a member in the American camp of “moderates” in the Middle East. Now, however, he matters not. The US government is notorious for betraying its allies.

The US, now run by the most pro-Israel administration in years, has no role for Abbas to play. They renounced him, just like that, and carried on to imagine a “solution” in Palestine that only serves the interests of Israel.

A recent meeting, chaired by leading pro-Israel officials in Washington, including Jared Kushner, was dubbed as a “brainstorming session” on how to solve the Gaza crisis. No Palestinian was involved in the conference.

Since Abbas has hung all his hopes on Washington, he is left with no plan B. The Europeans neither have the will, desire, nor political clout to replace the US. They have often served as lackeys to US foreign policy, and it would not be easy, if at all possible, for any European government to replace the US as the new “honest peace broker”.

Abbas’ popularity – and that of his Authority – among Palestinians is negligible. In fact, 70 per cent of Palestinians want him to step down immediately. That was according to a poll conducted last December. Yet, at 83 and suffering from ill health, Abbas is still holding on tightly to his chair.

It may appear that, during this time of political uncertainty and isolation, it would be advantageous for Abbas to reach out to other Palestinian factions. However, the opposite is true. Abbas is accusing his main rival, Hamas, of an assassination attempt targeting PA Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah.

After a promising agreement, signed in Cairo between Fatah – Abbas’ party – and Hamas, all hopes have been dashed once more. In a joint conference with visiting Bulgarian President, Rumen Radev, in Ramallah, Abbas proclaimed: “The Gaza Strip has been hijacked by Hamas.”

“They must immediately hand over everything, first and foremost security, to the Palestinian national consensus government,” he said.

What “national consensus government” is Abbas referring to anyway? There have been no general elections since Hamas won the parliamentary majority in 2006. Abbas himself rules on an expired mandate. As of 9 January 2009, Abbas lost his democratic legitimacy.

Oddly, it is the conflict between him and Hamas that is allowing both sides to impose themselves on the Palestinian public – which is left disenchanted, practically leaderless and facing the brunt of occupation and apartheid on its own.

Instead of mending fences with the Palestinian people, Abbas continues with his political one-man show, encouraged by his enablers in the PA, who are equally responsible for the havoc wreaked by the US and Israeli governments.

Still, the Palestinian leadership (whether in the PA or the PLO) continues with its desperate attempts to resuscitate the “peace process”; lonely warriors in a political illusion that has been abandoned even by its own masters.

For Abbas and the PA, participating in the US-led project was the last bridge they wished not to burn. Trump’s decision to relocate his country’s embassy signaled that the last bridge was, indeed, up in flames, but Abbas is yet to be convinced of this obvious reality.

From American and Israeli viewpoints, the “peace process” could be considered a success. It allowed the US to define the political agenda in the Middle East and for Israel to shape the physical reality of the Occupied Territories in any way it found suitable.

The Palestinian leadership has emerged as the biggest loser. It first sat at the “negotiation table” to talk of borders, refugees, water, territories and Jerusalem, only to be left with nothing at the end.

It has lost both credibility and legitimacy. The space in which it was permitted to negotiate withered year after year.

Now, the Palestinian people must reflect on this current harsh reality, but also hope for a new beginning predicated on unity, the re-articulating of national priorities, and a new strategy.

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March 26, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments