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Benjamin Netanyahu was a member of a nuclear weapons tech smuggling ring

Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy | May 3, 2018

According to declassified FBI and DHS files, Benjamin Netanyahu was a member of a nuclear weapons technology smuggling ring targeting the United States.

Files and news reports are available at:

http://IsraelLobby.org/krytons

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment

As IDF Uses Gaza Protesters for Shoot-to-Maim Target Practice, Israel Argues Human Rights Don’t Apply to this “War”

By Eliot Gabriel | Mint Press News | May 4, 2018

GAZA CITY, PALESTINE — Israeli officials have deemed peaceful protests by Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip to be tantamount to a “state of war,” arguing that soldiers were well within their rights firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters participating in ongoing mass mobilizations at the eastern fence enclosing the besieged territory.

In response to a High Court petition by human rights advocates, authorities in Tel Aviv noted that “the state opposes the applying of human rights law during an armed conflict,” arguing that even the Red Cross deemed human rights law inapplicable during wartime.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 50 Palestinians have been killed in the protests while over 6,200 protesters have sustained injuries at the hands of Israeli forces deploying live ammunition or rubber-coated steel rounds and other less-lethal munitions.

The state attorneys’ argument attempts to give international and domestic legal status to the military suppression of peaceful protest and the suspension of international human rights law enforcement, allowing occupation forces the right to use lethal force against unarmed demonstrators.

Since March 30, residents of the captive region have held large-scale demonstrations to draw attention to the continuing dispossession of the people of Palestine and theft of their ancestral land by the Tel Aviv government, with the support of the U.S. government.

Organizers hope to continue the rallies until May 15, when Israelis will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. The date is mourned by Palestinians as Nakba Day, or “The Day of Catastrophe,” when the ongoing process of ethnic cleansing and expansionism was commenced by the extremist Zionist militia, which later united as the “Israeli Defense Forces” or Israeli military. From 1947 to 1949, around 750,000 Palestinians out of a total population of nearly 1.9 million were expelled from the land of Palestine.

Around two-thirds of Gaza’s 2 million Palestinians are war refugees, or their descendants, who are confined to what is tantamount to a large-scale, open-air prison camp. Speaking to Reuters, 24-year-old protester Ahmed said:

If it wasn’t for the occupation we would have lived as free as people like in other countries … If they don’t allow us back, at least they should give us a state.”

Grim facts reveal intentional abuse

The manner in which protesters, including children, have been injured – live ammunition fired at the groin, neck, limbs, and abdomen – suggests that Israeli troops intentionally aim to inflict maximum harm that could result in life-altering disabilities, paralysis, amputation or the sterilization of civilian participants in the marches.

Many are struck by a new explosive type of ammunition known as the “butterfly” bullet, which causes massive deformities and creates exit wounds as large as a fist. The bullet expands upon hitting targets, decimating human flesh and bone or “pulverizing” internal organs, according to local health officials.

According to Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, the head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in the Occupied Palestinian Territories:

Half of the more than 500 patients we have admitted in our clinics have injuries where the bullet has literally destroyed tissue after having pulverized the bone … These patients will need to have very complex surgical operations, and most of them will have disabilities for life.”

The Israelis, however, cite the law when justifying their use of deadly force. In a statement to Al Jazeera, an Israeli military official said:

The IDF only employs means that are lawful under international law. No new bullets or gas have been employed during the recent events in the Gaza Strip.”

Cold-blooded mass murder and repression

While Israeli authorities claim that the peaceful protests in Gaza constitute a state of war, videos captured of Israeli soldiers show them casually discussing how best to inflict harm on unarmed Palestinians while facing little to no danger from protesters.

In a video released in April, a sniper can be seen expressing elation after shooting a protester who was allegedly throwing rocks, exclaiming “Yes!”

According to a new survey by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, 83 percent of Israeli respondents “strongly support” the open-fire policy while around 71 percent of Israelis reject the easing of a crippling blockade imposed on Gaza for the past 11 years.

Israeli authorities consistently claim that the protests are organized by Islamist Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which has ruled the Strip since winning elections in 2007, and that the protest aims to provide cover for alleged “terrorist attacks” using stones and Molotov cocktails. Various factions and civil-society groups have endorsed the march, however, and deny that Hamas has a monopoly on leading the mass actions or that the protests have any ulterior motives beyond the stated demands for the right to return to their former homes in historic Palestine.

Palestinian academic Rashid Khalidi noted that the methods used by the Israeli army indicate a fear of peaceful protest as well as an inherently racist attitude toward the people of Palestine:

So, heavily armored Israeli soldiers with sniper rifles at hundreds of meters are picking off, systematically, Palestinian protesters or people who try to approach the fence or whatever. And that this is a policy that the government is proud of … I think it tells us a lot about Israel’s attitude towards Palestinians, that they are subhuman.

… [A]t the rate at which things are going, unfortunately, we’re probably likely to see even more savage, vicious, brutal, murderous repression.”

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

State Dept condemns journalist killings, except ones by Israeli soldiers

RT | May 4, 2018

Speaking on World Press Freedom Day, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert preached freedom from oppression for all journalists – unless they are Palestinian and the oppressor is Israel.

Nauert started her Thursday briefing by praising the State Department press pool and urging accountability for the “apparent assassination” of a BBC journalist in Afghanistan on Monday (one of the nine that were killed in that attack). She then profusely condemned the many violations of journalists’ rights across the world. Among the perpetrators, she listed Myanmar, Egypt, Turkey, Tanzania, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malta, Mexico and, of course, China and Russia. All of them were chastised as oppressive governments that repress, detain or outright murder unwanted journalists.

Once Nauert was done with her opening speech (which included congratulating one of the journalists present on her promotion and praising another’s dress choice), she moved on to other topics – but was pulled back on track by the first reporter to ask a question:

“Would you also condemn the recent deaths of journalists, Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip?”

Nauert answered that too many journalists die across the world, and the State Department can’t mention them all.

She said that the US, of course, is “always saddened by the loss of life,” but “Israel has a right to defend itself.”

Israel has been defending itself from Palestinian protesters across the border in Gaza for a month now. Within that time, the defensive action, which includes live gunfire, has claimed 45 lives – two of them journalists’ – and caused 6,000 injuries, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The Israel Defense Force (IDF) says the Gazans were rioting, throwing improvised explosives and trying to break through the border fence.

When pressured further, Nauert claimed no detailed knowledge of any journalists killed or injured by the IDF, and ultimately told the pool reporters to go ask the Israeli government.

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 2 Comments

Better not Protest Israel’s birthday in America

By Eve Mykytyn | May 4, 2018

One more proof, if one were needed, that protesting Israel in the United States can be a perilous activity. Last Friday, Zionists groups organized a rave in Washington Square Park in NYC to celebrate  Israel’s 70th Anniversary. (the rave post dated Israel’s independence day due to permit issues)

Protestors gathered nearby with the goal of reminding Zionists that their  rave celebrated “the racism and the apartheid that is Zionism,” as NYU student Sheelan Mirza said.

“The ideology of Zionism is antithetical to Palestinian liberation,”  remarked SJP President Khalid Abu Dawa. The protestors chanted, “Displacing lives is ’48, there’s nothing here to celebrate,”  referencing the Nakba, the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their land.

A member of Students for Justice in Palestine was arrested after burning an Israeli flag, and another student was arrested when he crossed into the rave as the rave was ending, grabbed the microphone and yelled, “Free Palestine.”

These arrests were met with an unusually harsh response for student protestors, both students were held at a local precinct until 10:30 pm and then jailed overnight in Manhattan criminal court.

The next morning at their arraignments, the students were charged with a variety of harsh and seemingly inapplicable charges. The student arrested for burning the flag was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment (creating a substantial risk of physical injury to another) and resisting arrest. Each charge carries a substantial potential fine and the possibility of a year in jail.

The student who grabbed the microphone was charged with disorderly conduct, robbery in the second degree (a felony with a penalty of up to 15 years in prison) assault in the third degree and criminal mischief in the third degree. SEE for definitions and penalties.

The following video shows the protestor grabbing the microphone and his arrest. While the protestor might have disturbed the rave, this hardly looks like the commission of a serious felony. No one was hurt. Despite their relatively mild actions, both students have court dates in June for very serious charges that can follow them for life.

The Israel celebrants were more sanguine and apparently felt free to instruct the protestors. NYU sophomore and Realize Israel board member Bryan Buch said his organization is open to discussion, but the rave is not the place for it. Buch commented, “When you have a birthday, you don’t go out and you say, ‘Oh, you remember when you did that? You just say congratulations.”  Of course, if you are mourning the Nakba, congratulations may not be the correct term for noting successful ethnic cleansing. In fact, Israel’s birthday party seems a uniquely appropriate place to remind Israel’s supporters of the human costs of their celebration.

Realize Israel president Adela Cojab compared the Israeli anniversary to the Fourth of July. “Every single country has their (sic) own nuances, …. but let’s say a Fourth of July barbecue isn’t the place to discuss it.” Just a reminder to Ms Cojab, Israel’s nuances are not yet America’s, nor is its independence day July 4th and even during America’s fourth of July celebrations one is still entitled to criticize America and even burn its flag.

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 3 Comments

‘Partners in crime’: Israel settlers and soldiers attack Palestinians in West Bank village

MEMO | May 4, 2018

Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in the West Bank village of ‘Einabus with the assistance of Israeli soldiers, according to a new report by human rights NGO B’Tselem.

On the morning of 6 March, two Palestinians – ‘Ahed Hamad and Yasser Hamad – went to the northern part of the village to pave a road intended to help residents access their farmland.

Shortly after they began work, some 30 Israeli settlers, “some of them masked”, arrived from the direction of the notorious Yitzhar settlement, located some four kilometres away.

“The settlers surrounded the bulldozer and began throwing stones at it, breaking the windshield,” stated B’Tselem. “The two men tried to escape, but some of the settlers pursued them, throwing stones and hitting them, until they managed to escape into the village.”

“The settlers who remained near the bulldozer threw stones and sticks at it and slashed its tyres.”

Some 50 village residents then went to protect their lands, after which “the settlers returned in larger numbers, accompanied by soldiers”.

Settlers and Palestinian residents “threw stones at each other”, while Israeli occupation forces “fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and teargas” at the Palestinians. Six Palestinians were injured, of whom four were taken to hospital.

According to B’Tselem: “This incident is not unusual: settlers have attacked Palestinians in the presence of soldiers hundreds of times, with the soldiers sometimes – as in the present case – joining in the assault.”

Israel effectively condones this conduct and reaps the benefits: the Palestinian residents, who know they face a possible attack with no protection at any given time, hold back from going to their farmland – to tend the land or graze flocks – and this makes it easier for the state to take over the land.

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel convicts Palestinian poet of incitement

Press TV – May 4, 2018

An Israeli court has convicted a renowned Arab poet of using her poems to provoke violence against the Tel Aviv regime’s military forces.

Dareen Tatour, who has been under extended house arrest since January 2016, was charged on Thursday in connection with three posts that she made on social media during a wave of attacks on Israeli soldiers which began in 2015.

In the indictment, Israeli prosecutors said they made the decision based on one specific poem — “Resist My People, Resist” — which was posted on Facebook, and three other posts that Tatour made, calling on Palestinian people to rise up to protect the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem al-Quds.

The poem includes such lines as, “I will not succumb to the ‘peaceful solution,’ Never lower my flags, Until I evict them from my land.”

She also wrote in the poem, “Resist the settler’s robbery, And follow the caravan of martyrs.” This is a reference to Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian lands.

The indictment further claimed that the poem’s “content, its exposure and the circumstances of its publication created a real possibility that acts of violence or terrorism will be committed.”

Following her indictment, Israeli newspapers quoted Tatour as saying, “My trial ripped off the masks.”

“The court said I am convicted of terrorism. If that’s my terrorism, I give the world a terrorism of love,” she added.

The case has drawn international attention after Israel initially arrested Tatour in 2015 and then put the 36-year-old poet under house arrest.

Describing her arrest as a violation of freedom of expression for a poet, more than 150 literary figures, including authors Alice Walker and Naomi Klein, have so far called for her immediate release.

Member of Israeli Parliament, Ahmad Tibi, who is with the Joint (Arab) List at the Knesset, also condemned the court’s verdict, saying Tatour has received the conviction only because she was Arab.

“Dareen Tatour was found guilty solely because she is an Arab,” he tweeted. “[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, rabbis, and right-wing politicians continue to incite freely solely because they are Jewish.”

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Netanyahu’s Iran Speech in Context: Irony, Hypocrisy and the Undeclared Hijacking of U.S. Foreign Policy

By Adeyinka Makinde | May 3, 2018

The recent presentation made by Binyamin Netanyahu purportedly detailing a secret Iranian programme aimed at acquiring a nuclear weapons capability is the latest in a long-term effort on his part to obtain United States assistance in destroying Iran. But the actions of the Israeli prime minister are not only ironic and hypocritical: they bring into focus the connection between the purposeful destructions of Iraq and Libya on the one hand and the attempt to destroy Syria, foment conflict in Lebanon and neutralise Iranian military power on the other. Few Americans are aware of this two decade-long grand strategy followed by successive United States administrations because the compartmentalization of events, short-term memory of the public and government propaganda have all served to murky the fundamental picture, that is, one in which the United States continues to follow a policy of taking down countries which pose a threat to the state of Israel. It is a policy which was adopted without recourse to public debate despite the serious ramifications it has had in terms of the cost to American prestige and an ever increasing national debt.

Most of the world’s major national intelligence services have long concluded that Iran has no nuclear weapons development programme. This includes the intelligence community of the United States and up until recently -if Binyamin Netanyahu is to be believed- Israel’s Mossad. A debate within Iran’s political, military and intelligence circles apparently ended with the nation’s supreme leader ruling against the development of nuclear weapons.

The irony is not lost in the scenario of the leader of Israel decrying the acquisition of nuclear technology by another nation, one that is a signatory state to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and subject to the stringent conditions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action reached between Iran and the ‘Five Plus One’ countries, when Israel is in possession of an undeclared arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Israel’s own nuclear weapons programme, which began with the express disapproval of President John F. Kennedy who felt that it would create a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, involved the practice of a grand deception by David Ben Gurion who insisted that the Dimona reactor was for research purposes only and not for the production of plutonium.

A pungent whiff of hypocrisy pervades Netanyahu’s presentation. Israel’s nuclear arms programme has not only been shrouded in secrecy but has involved acts of criminality which according to FBI documents declassified in June 2012 allegedly involved Netanyahu himself. Netanyahu later issued a gagging order directing the unindicted ringleader of a nuclear smuggling ring to refrain from discussing an operation known as ‘Project Pinto’. Israel spied on nuclear installations inside the United States and in the 1960s and it stole bomb-grade uranium from a US nuclear fuel-processing plant.

Netanyahu’s speech is the latest in a campaign by Israel to ignite a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran, a plan which is intimately linked to the effort to destroy Syria over the past seven years.

The war in Syria represents the combined efforts of the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia to destroy the so-called ‘Shia Crescent’ of Iran, Syria and Lebanon (Hezbollah). The centrality of Israel in this effort was made clear by Roland Dumas, a former foreign minister of France in 2013. But Israel, along with the United States and Saudi Arabia, has been enraged by the fact that Bashar al-Assad’s secular government with the help of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, has practically defeated the Islamic fanatics who were introduced into Syria for the purpose of overthrowing Assad in order to balkanise the country and stop Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The reason why Israel wants Iranian aid to Hezbollah cut off and the organisation destroyed is not hard to fathom. Hezbollah is the only armed force within the Arab world willing and capable of taking on the Israeli military. Israel has for long coveted southern Lebanon up to the River Litani. But Hezbollah has twice inflicted humiliating defeats on Israel: first in 2000 when Israel was forced to withdraw after an 18-year occupation of the southern part of Lebanon which had commenced with a bloody invasion, and secondly in 2006 when Israel was forced to withdraw after sustaining heavy losses during a 34-day conflict.

Apart from the aforementioned goal of breaking the conduit between Iran and Hezbollah, the balkanisation of Syria would mean that any of the successor states would find it difficult to make a claim for the Golan Heights which Israel conquered in 1967 and which it illegally annexed in 1981. Israel is also supportive of the idea of a Kurdish state being created out of Syria as a means through which the transfer of oil and gas could be facilitated.

Much evidence exists of a pre-existing Israeli plan to destroy Syria. The Yinon Plan of 1982 and a series of position papers produced by Israel-friendly neoconservative ideologues in the United States (the Project for the New American Century’s ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses – Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century’ in 2000) as well as for the Israeli government (‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’ in 1996) bear this out. Each document clearly calls for the neutralising or the “rolling back” of several states including Syria.

The Yinon Plan, the name given to a paper entitled ‘A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s’ which was published in February 1982 in Kivunim (Directions), a journal written in Hebrew, set out Israel’s enduring aim of balkanising the surrounding Arab and Muslim world into ethnic and sectarian mini-states. Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq were prime candidates.

It was not a unique or suddenly arrived at policy, but simply set out in detail an overarching policy pursued by Israel’s leaders since the founding of the state. For instance, the diaries of Moshe Sharett, an early prime minister of Israel, laid bare David Ben Gurion and Moshe Dayan’s aim of weakening Lebanon by exacerbating tensions between its Muslim and Christian population in the course of which Dayan hoped that a Christian military officer would declare a Christian state out of which the region south of the River Litani would be ceded to Israel.

A crucial point to mention is that the policy of the United States towards Syria and others is congruent with that of Israel. In fact, America has been pursuing a two-decade long strategy aimed at destabilisation and balkanisation regardless of the political stripe of the president in office. After the attack of 9/11, the United States set in motion a plan, in the words of retired U.S. General Wesley Clark, “to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran”.

The secular nations of Iraq, Syria and Libya had no links to the Sunni Islamist al-Qaeda cell which purportedly carried out the attacks on 9/11. Neither did Shia Iran. Yet, America foreign policy has been geared towards destroying nations who happen to oppose Israel and who are supportive of the Palestinian cause.

To quote General Clark again, American foreign policy was “hijacked” without a public debate.

While the adoption of this policy remains officially unacknowledged, the modus operandi by which the United States has sought to destroy these countries is clear. A succession of position papers as well as the intended effect of United States and NATO interventions point to the exploiting of ethnic and sectarian conflicts as well as the use of Islamist proxy armies as the standard tactic utilised to bring down governments.

For instance, a Pentagon-funded report by the RAND Corporation in 2008 entitled ‘Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prospects and Implications for the U.S. Army’ explicitly refers to the need to foment conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims as a means to the end of controlling the resources of the Middle East.

Another tactic alluded to by a 2012 document created by the Defense Intelligence Agency is that of declaring ‘Safe Havens’ -a term synonymous with the often used ‘No-Fly Zones’- ostensibly as a humanitarian policy, but which is a technique used to shield and preserve areas controlled by Islamist insurgents. It was utilised by NATO forces as a means of protecting the al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group during its campaign to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi, and an attempt was made to implement this prior to the fall of the al-Nusra-controlled city of Aleppo.

America’s Founding Fathers warned against getting involved in foreign entanglements, yet it devotedly follows a Middle East policy that clearly benefits the interests of another nation state. It is a policy which risks setting off a major regional war based on sectarian lines as well as embroiling it in a conflict with nuclear armed Russia.

For Israel, the goal remains the establishment of its undisputed hegemony in the Middle East. However, while an economic rationale predicated on relieving Europe of its dependency on Russian gas via a pipeline from the gulf is occasionally referenced, there has never been a comprehensive articulation of what America’s fundamental interests are in destroying Syria and Iran.

Pursuing such a policy without having had a full and thorough public debate tends to confirm key areas of dysfunction in the American system of governance. First it highlights the power and influence of those lobbies associated with Israeli interests and the Military Industry, and secondly, the unchanging nature of this policy which has been followed by the respective administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump provide evidence that what Michael J. Glennon terms the ‘Madisonian’ institutions of state are no longer accountable in the manner which people still think they are. Instead power in regard to crucial issues on American national security rests with an unelected group of people outside of the separated organs of government: what Glennon, a professor of law at Tufts University, refers to as ‘Trumanite’ institutions.

The implications for the health of American democracy are all too apparent.

The pursuit of a strategy which has served to diminish American esteem among the global community as well as adding to the increasing national debt represents a catastrophic failure not only on the part of the political class, but also on the part of the mainstream media, which has consistently presented a narrative devoid of its true context. The intellectual community comprised of university academics and scholars working for think tanks must accept a large share of the blame.

Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech, a shameless attempt at goading the United States into breaking its obligations under an international agreement as a prelude to fighting a war which would serve Israel’s interests, ought to ignite a full and transparent debate on American national security policy in the Middle East.

A failure to do this risks future costly disasters which would dwarf the debacles of Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2018)

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Latest Act in Israel’s Iran Nuclear Disinformation Campaign

By Gareth Porter | Consortium News | May 3, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim in his theatrical 20-minute presentation of an Israeli physical seizure of Iran’s “atomic archive” in Tehran would certainly have been the “great intelligence achievement” he boasted if it had actually happened. But the claim does not hold up under careful scrutiny, and his assertion that Israel now possesses a vast documentary record of a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program is certainly fraudulent.

Netanyahu’s tale of an Israeli intelligence raid right in Tehran that carted off 55,000 paper files and another 55,000 CDs from a “highly secret location” requires that we accept a proposition that is absurd on its face: that Iranian policymakers decided to store their most sensitive military secrets in a small tin-roofed hut with nothing to protect it from heat (thus almost certainly ensuring loss of data on CDs within a few years) and no sign of any security, based on the satellite image shown in the slide show. (As Steve Simon observed in The New York Times the door did not even appear to have a lock on it.)

The laughable explanation suggested by Israeli officials to The Daily Telegraph – that the Iranian government was afraid the files might be found by international inspectors if they remained at “major bases” — merely reveals the utter contempt that Netanyahu has for Western governments and news media. Even if Iran were pursuing nuclear weapons secretly, their files on the subject would be kept at the Ministry of Defense, not at military bases. And of course the alleged but wholly implausible move to an implausible new location came just as Netanyahu needed a dramatic new story to galvanize Trump to resist the European allies’ strong insistence on preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Act (JCPOA) nuclear deal with Iran.

In fact, there is no massive treasure trove of secret files about an Iran “Manhattan Project.” The shelves of black binders and CDs that Netanyahu revealed with such a dramatic flourish date back to 2003 (after which a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) said Iran had abandoned any nuclear weapons program) and became nothing more than stage props like the cartoon bomb that Netanyahu used at the United Nations in 2012.

Disinformation Campaign

Netanyahu’s cartoon bomb

Netanyahu’s claim about how Israel acquired this “atomic archive” is only the latest manifestation of a long-term disinformation campaign that the Israeli government began to work on in 2002-03. The documents to which Netanyahu referred in the presentation were introduced to the news media and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) beginning in 2005 as coming originally from a secret Iranian nuclear weapons research program. For many years U.S. news media have accepted those documents as authentic. But despite the solid media united front behind that narrative, we now know with certainty that those earlier documents were fabrications and that they were created by Israel’s Mossad.

That evidence of fraud begins with the alleged origins of the entire collection of documents. Senior intelligence officials in the George W. Bush administration had told reporters that the documents came from “a stolen Iranian laptop computer”, as The New York Times reported in November 2005. The Times quoted unnamed intelligence officials as insisting that the documents had not come from an Iranian resistance group, which would cast serious doubt on their reliability.

But it turned that the assurances from those intelligence officials were part of an official dissimulation. The first reliable account of the documents’ path to the United States came only in 2013, when former senior German foreign office official Karsten Voigt, who retired from his long-time position as coordinator of German-North American cooperation, spoke with this writer on the record.

Voigt recalled how senior officials of the German foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachtrendeinst or BND, had explained to him in November 2004 that they were familiar with the documents on the alleged Iran nuclear weapons program, because a sometime source—but not an actual intelligence agent—had provided them earlier that year. Furthermore, the BND officials explained that they had viewed the source as “doubtful,” he recalled, because the source had belonged to the Mujahideen-E Khalq, the armed Iranian opposition group that had fought Iran on behalf of Iraq during the eight year war.

BND officials were concerned that the Bush administration had begun citing those documents as evidence against Iran, because of their experience with “Curveball” – the Iraqi engineer in Germany who had told stories of Iraqi mobile bioweapons labs that had turned to be false. As a result of that meeting with BND officials, Voigt had given an interview to The Wall Street Journal in which he had contradicted the assurance of the unnamed U.S. intelligence officials to the Times and warned that the Bush administration should not base its policy on the documents it was beginning to cite as evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, because they had indeed come from “an Iranian dissident group.”

Using the MEK

The Bush administration’s desire to steer press coverage of the supposedly internal Iranian documents away from the MEK is understandable: the truth about the MEK role would immediately lead to Israel, because it was well known, that Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad had used the MEK to make public information that the Israelis did not want attributed to itself – including the precise location of Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility. As Israeli journalists Yossi Melman and Meir Javadanfar observed in their 2007 book on the Iran nuclear program, based on U.S., British and Israeli officials, “Information is ‘filtered’ to the IAEA via Iranian opposition groups, especially the National Resistance Council of Iran.”

Mossad used the MEK repeatedly in the 1990s and the early 2000’s to get the IAEA to inspect any site the Israelis suspected might possibly be nuclear-related, earning their Iranian clients a very poor reputation at the IAEA. No one familiar with the record of the MEK could have believed that it was capable of creating the detailed documents that were passed to the German government. That required an organization with the expertise in nuclear weapons and experience in fabricating documents – both of which Israel’s Mossad had in abundance.

El Baradei: Didn’t buy it

Bush administration officials had highlighted a set of 18 schematic drawings of the Shahab-3 missile’s reentry vehicle or nosecone of the missile in each of which there was a round shape representing a nuclear weapon. Those drawings were described to foreign governments and the International Atomic Energy Agency as 18 different attempts to integrate a nuclear weapon into the Shahab-3.

Netanyahu gave the public its first glimpse of one of those drawings Monday when he pointed to it triumphantly as visually striking evidence of Iranian nuclear perfidy. But that schematic drawing had a fundamental flaw that proved that it and others in the set could not have been genuine: it showed the “dunce cap” shaped reentry vehicle design of the original Shahab-3 missile that had been tested from 1998 to 2000. That was the shape that intelligence analysts outside Iran had assumed in 2002 and 2003 Iran would continue to use in its ballistic missile.

New Nose Cone

It is now well established, however, that Iran had begun redesigning the Shahab-3 missile with a conical reentry vehicle or nosecone as early as 2000 and replaced it with a completely different design that had a “triconic” or “baby bottle” shape. It made it a missile with very different flight capabilities and was ultimately called the Ghadr-1. Michael Elleman, the world’s leading expert on Iranian ballistic missiles, documented the redesign of the missile in his path-breaking 2010 study of Iran’s missile program.

Iran kept its newly-designed missile with the baby bottle reentry vehicle secret from the outside world until its first test in mid-2004. Elleman concluded that Iran was deliberately misleading the rest of the world – and especially the Israelis, who represented the most immediate threat of attack on Iran – to believe that the old model was the missile of the future while already shifting its planning to the new design, which would bring all of Israel within reach for the first time.

The authors of the drawings that Netanyahu displayed on the screen were thus in the dark about the change in the Iranian design. The earliest date of a document on the redesign of the reentry vehicle in the collection obtained by U.S. intelligence was August 28, 2002 – about two years after the actual redesign had begun. That major error indicates unmistakably that the schematic drawings showing a nuclear weapon in a Shahab-3 reentry vehicle – what Netanyahu called “integrated warhead design” were fabrications.

Netanyahu’s slide show highlighted a series of alleged revelations that he said came from the newly acquired “atomic archive” concerning the so-called “Amad Plan” and the continuation of the activities of the Iranian who was said to have led that covert nuclear weapons project. But the single pages of Farsi language documents he flashed on the screen were also clearly from the same cache of documents that we now know came from the MEK-Israeli combination. Those documents were never authenticated, and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, who was skeptical of their authenticity, had insisted that without such authentication, he could not accuse Iran of having a nuclear weapons program.

More Fraud

There are other indications of fraud in that collection of documents as well. A second element of the supposed covert arms program given the name “Amad Plan” was a “process flow chart” of a bench-scale system for converting uranium ore for enrichment. It had the code name “Project 5.13”, according to a briefing by the IAEA Deputy Director Olli Heinonen, and was part of a larger so-called “Project 5”, according to an official IAEA report. Another sub-project under that rubric was “Project 5.15”, which involved ore processing at the Gchine Mine.” Both sub-projects were said to be carried out by a consulting firm named Kimia Maadan.

But documents that Iran later provided to the IAEA proved that, in fact, “Project 5.15” did exist, but was a civilian project of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, not part of a covert nuclear weapons program, and that the decision had been made in August 1999 – two years before the beginning of the alleged “Amad Plan” was said to have begun.

The role of Kimia Maadan in both sub-projects explains why an ore processing project would be included in the supposed secret nuclear weapons program. One of the very few documents included in the cache that could actually be verified as authentic was a letter from Kimia Maadan on another subject, which suggests that the authors of the documents were building the collection around a few documents that could be authenticated.

Netanyahu also lingered over Iran’s denial that it had done any work on “MPI” or (“Multi-Point Initiation”) technology “in hemispheric geometry”. He asserted that “the files” showed Iran had done “extensive work” or “MPI” experiments. He did not elaborate on the point. But Israel did discover the alleged evidence of such experiments in a tin-roofed shack in Tehran. The issue of whether Iran had done such experiments was a central issue in the IAEA’s inquiry after 2008. The agency described it in a September 2008 report, which purported to be about Iran’s “experimentation in connection with symmetrical initiation of a hemispherical high explosive charge suitable for an implosion type nuclear device.”

No Official Seals

The IAEA refused to reveal which member country had provided the document to the IAEA. But former Director-General ElBaradei revealed in his memoirs that Israel had passed a series of documents to the Agency in order to establish the case that Iran had continued its nuclear weapons experiments until “at least 2007.” ElBaradei was referring to convenient timing of the report’s appearance within a few months of the U.S. NIE of November 2007 concluding that Iran had ended its nuclear weapons-related research in 2003.

Netanyahu pointed to a series of documents on the screen as well a number of drawings, photographs and technical figures, and even a grainy old black and white film, as evidence of Iran’s nuclear weapons work. But absolutely nothing about them provides an evidentiary link to the Iranian government. As Tariq Rauf, who was head of the IAEA’s Verification and Security Policy Coordination Office from 2002 to 2012, noted in an e-mail, none of the pages of text on the screen show official seals or marks that would identify them as actual Iranian government documents. The purported Iranian documents given to the IAEA in 2005 similarly lacked such official markings, as an IAEA official conceded to me in 2008.

Netanyahu’s slide show revealed more than just his over-the-top style of persuasion on the subject of Iran. It provided further evidence that the claims that had successfully swayed the U.S. and Israeli allies to join in punishing Iran for having had a nuclear weapons program were based on fabricated documents that originated in the state that had the strongest motive to make that case – Israel.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian on U.S. national security policy and the recipient of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. His most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, published in 2014.

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russian athletes exonerated but ignored in the West

By Rick Sterling | RT | May, 2018

A major revelation in the CAS decision is that Richard McLaren, whose reports have formed the basis for banning Russians from the last two Olympics, has qualitatively changed his claim against Russian athletes.

Last year, the Disciplinary Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC DC) issued rulings that 44 Russian athletes were guilty of Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) at the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

Many of these athletes had been preparing intensely for the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Some 39 Russian athletes quickly filed appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), claiming their innocence. The hearings proceeded rapidly.

On February 1, 2018, the CAS announced its decisions: they partially upheld 11 appeals and entirely upheld the appeals of the other 28 Russian athletes. The decision rocked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). IOC President Thomas Bach said the decision was “extremely disappointing and surprising.”

A week ago, on April 23, the CAS published the full decisions for the first two of 39 Russian athletes. The documents explain the facts, evidence and reasoning behind the CAS decisions to partially or totally uphold the cases of the Russian athletes. The appeal by Aleksandr Zubkov was partly upheld. Alexander Legkov’s appeal was entirely upheld, his Sochi Olympics medals returned and his records reinstated.

McLaren changes his big accusation

The CAS decision revealed that McLaren made qualitative changes to claims made in his reports, which had formed the basis for the Russian bans. In his second report, McLaren concluded: “Over 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter and Paralympic sport, can be identified as being involved in or benefiting from manipulations to conceal positive doping tests.”

This claim featured in news headlines around the world. In the UK, The Guardian story headlined: “McLaren report: more than 1,000 Russian athletes involved in doping conspiracy.” The BBC said“Russian doping: McLaren report says more than 1,000 implicated.” The New York Times story ran: “Report Shows Vast Reach of Russian Doping: 1,000 Athletes, 30 Sports.”

The CAS decision on Alexander Legkov reveals that McLaren has changed his “key finding.” As described on page 68, “Prof. McLaren went on to explain that, in this respect, if his investigation obtained evidence that a particular athlete may have benefited from the scheme, then ‘It didn’t mean that they did benefit. It didn’t mean that they committed [an] anti-doping rule violation.'”

Sixteen months ago, international media had headlines stated that over 1,000 Russian athletes benefited from a vast state-run doping conspiracy. Now, McLaren says he did not really mean to say that… he meant that they “may have” benefited. There is a major difference between saying that someone “might have” committed a crime versus saying they did commit a crime. The former is speculative. The latter requires evidence.

The CAS looked at the evidence rather than simply accepting McLaren’s speculations and assertions.

In contrast with IOC President Bach’s statement, David Own at Inside the Games believes the CAS arbitrators are to be congratulated. “They seem to have made every effort, most properly in my view, to follow the evidence that was presented to them, while endeavoring to shut out the overheated geopolitical atmosphere still enveloping any issue pertaining to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.” He says the CAS decisions have helped buttress CAS credibility as an independent, objective and legally fair institution.

No decision on athlete’s due process rights

Unfortunately, the CAS decided to NOT consider “the athlete’s submissions concerning the alleged violations of his due process rights during the proceedings before the IOC DC… the Panel takes the view that no useful purpose would be served by determining whether the overturned findings and sanctions were the product of a procedure that failed to respect the Athlete’s due process rights.” (page 151, Legkov decision)

This is unfortunate, because the violations of due process have been blatant from the start of the accusations and penalization of Russian athletes. For example, the banning of Russian track and field and Paralympic athletes from the Rio Summer Games was based on McLaren’s first report, which did not allow Russians to respond to the accusations. The failure of due process was explained by sports attorney Ron Katz:

“Not even attempting to interview Russian officials is fundamentally unfair… Due process is not an empty phrase. Without it, there cannot be justice.”

The CAS’ “reasoned decision” reveals that the IOC Disciplinary Commission uncritically accepted the claims and assertions of Richard McLaren. In reality, as documented here, McLaren made many unfounded assertions and misrepresented the testimony of his own toolmarks expert. McLaren claimed that the findings were “immutable facts” and “conclusive” where the expert actually said: “These marks on their own should not be considered to be conclusive…” In his report, the expert added explanations for innocent causes which could result in the same type of marks. (Forensic Report EDP0902 at Evidence Disclosure Package)

Continuing the lack of due process, Russian athletes including Alexander Legkov were unfairly excluded from the most recent Winter Olympics held in PyeongChang. They were given very little time to appeal the decision banning them, and when their appeals were supported, they were still banned by the IOC. One could argue that for many of these athletes, “justice delayed is justice denied.” The February Winter Games were the last possible Olympics for some of the athletes.

When McLaren falsely claimed that “Over 1,000 Russian athletes were complicit in doping,” it was front-page news in Western media. Now that Russian athletes are being acquitted of doping violations, and relatively few are found guilty, the Western media is silent.

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Israel seeks Russian help in Syria. Will Russia oblige?

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | May 4, 2018

After threatening Moscow that if it went ahead with plans to strengthen Syria’s missile defence systems, Israel will destroy them on the ground – be it “S-300 or S-700”, as Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman sarcastically put it – Tel Aviv is now seeking Russian help to calm things down. The dramatic turnaround is typical of Israel. Israel thinks it is a smart move, but will it work?

Lieberman now wants Moscow’s intervention to tamp down Israel’s tensions with Iran. Israel has painted itself into a corner. First it began taunting Iran to step up for a fight by firing missiles at locations in Syria where Iranian military advisers (IRGC personnel) could be present. In a strike on April 8, Israel drew blood, killing 7 Iranian personnel. The IRGC was not amused. Tehran vowed that Iranian retaliation is hundred percent certain but at a time, place and manner of its choice.

Whereupon, Israel began whipping up media frenzy that a war with Iran is imminent. The pro-Israeli think tanks in the US even speculated a missile war across 1,500 kilometers of air space. But then, no one really believes that a war between Iran and Israel is imminent – or is even likely. Iran knows that Israel is not reckless enough to start a war – and, on the other hand, resorting to war to advance its interests (geopolitical, economic or security interests) is just not the Iranian way of doing things.

However, make no mistake, the IRGC will fulfill its pledge at some point to pay back Israel in its own coin. Israel knows it. Therefore, Liberman’s newfound conciliatory tone toward Moscow can be put in perspective.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to raise dust on Iran’s nuclear program has crash-landed. In Europe or Russia — or within Israel itself – there are no takers for Netanyahu’s stunt. He could not produce a shred of evidence to show that Iran has an active nuclear program today and ended up highlighting, ironically, the raison d’etre of the 2015 Iran nuclear pact.

Israel’s worst fear is that President Trump too has limited choices and may negotiate with Iran eventually. (Opinion polls show that the big majority of US opinion favors Trump keeping the 2015 pact.) Trump’s record on North Korea shows that his rhetoric doesn’t reflect his policies. Besides, Israel’s clout in the Trump White House has also diminished lately. (Aaron David Miller has an interesting write-up on CNN, As Pompeo’s star rises in Trumpland, Haley and Kushner risk getting eclipsed.)

The plain truth is that Iran’s presence in Syria is a geopolitical reality that Israel has to come to terms with. Any Iranian presence in southern Syria bordering Golan Heights becomes a red line for Israel. Liberman’s attempt to rope in Russia to prevail upon Iran to stay off Golan Heights can be seen in this context.

Given the above factors at work, what could be the Russian response? At its most obvious level, Russia will not fall into another US-Israeli game plan to create dissonance in its alliance with Iran, which is acquiring a regional character today. But Russian calculus is complex. Russia’s core interest lies in accelerating a Syrian settlement. There is complete Russian-Iranian convergence in this regard.

Moscow is open to resuming discussions with Washington regarding the creation of a “de-escalation zone” in southern Syria (comprising the provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda where US and Israeli backed al-Qaeda groups are in control at present). After meeting the visiting Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al Safadi in Sochi on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “Today, we agreed to continue cooperation on this important issue both bilaterally and trilaterally, involving Americans and the monitoring center.”

Indeed, the key issue is the American intentions in Syria. Here, again, there is Russian-Iranian convergence on preserving Syria’s unity. But there are contradictory signals from Washington. Pentagon commanders are generally on the warpath, but there are other signals too.

The latest report that the US state department has cut off funding for the White Helmets (which Moscow alleges to be the culprit in staging the false flag operation of “chemical attacks” in Douma last month leading the US-UK-French missile strike) is a tantalizing signal.

Moscow hopes that American and French experts may join the OPCW (Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons) team to conduct and independent investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma. If Washington and Paris cooperate with the OPCW investigation, it will be a tacit admission of their mistake in staging the April 14 missile strike on Syria.

The big question is how far Trump follows his gut instinct to withdraw forces from Syria. Meanwhile, it is highly improbable that Moscow will fall into the Israeli tantrums. President Vladimir Putin is fed up with Netanyahu’s shenanigans. Putin was reluctant to give an appointment to Netanyahu in January. While Netanyahu keeps claiming that he has a secret understanding with Putin in regard of Israeli air strikes on Syria, the Kremlin keeps a deafening silence. Paradoxically, if anyone knows the actual truth behind the Israeli claim, it is only Tehran.

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Czech President’s ‘Novichok bombshell’ undermines London’s credibility in Skripal case

RT | May 4, 2018

The UK’s intelligence services seem to have lost all remaining credibility, after the Czech President’s admission that his country had previously produced a nerve agent similar to the one Britain claims was used against Skripals.

“I think there are problems in and around the English spy agencies, who seem to be quite ready to manufacture evidence, in the case of the Steele dossier, maybe manufacture evidence in the case of the Skripal poisoning. And they are damaging their credibility. It takes a long time to regain credibility if you damage it this severely,” political analyst Charles Ortel told RT.

On Thursday, the Czech Republic’s president Milos Zeman revealed that his country had previously developed and tested an A-230 chemical agent of the Novichok group, similar to the one which, according to London, was Russia’s exclusively and was “highly likely” used by Moscow to poison former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4.

The accusations were followed by sanctions against Russia and the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the UK and other countries that backed Britain’s stance. Ortel blamed the media for dangerously exacerbating the crisis without vetting the information coming out of London with due diligence.

“I think it is irresponsible the way supposed main street journalists leap on these stories without really vetting it and then get us into a place where tensions are escalated around the world, including two nuclear-armed powers Russia and the United States, and the third in the UK. This is a dangerous business,” Ortel said.

The claims of Russian involvement have not been backed up by either Britain’s own scientists at the Porton Down laboratories or by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), both of which say it’s not their job to apportion blame or to identify the toxin’s origin, but only the type of substance involved. Russia has also repeatedly denied the allegations and accused the UK of excluding it from the investigation, and of destroying evidence.

“I think it is a very dangerous business to start making accusations as serious as have been made in the case of Skripal, in the case of Steele… that are not actually backed up by hard facts,” the political analyst noted.

Baseless accusations, Ortel believes, could potentially ruin the career of British Prime Minister Theresa May, who, together with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, led the charge against Moscow. After all, Russia has repeatedly reiterated that a number of countries had the means to produce nerve agents of the Novichok group.

“Lots of countries have made these. There is probably at least a dozen countries that have the capabilities to make these persistent nerve agents. And it does not surprise me that the Czech Republic and many other countries could do this. The Czech Republic is very advanced in their chemical and synthetic chemistry ability. And many nation states could have done this,” chemical weapons expert and Rice University professor James Tour told RT.

“Britain is in a very dangerous place and they kind-of have to stick to their story and it is possible that, by sticking to this story, the May government may ultimately be sacked,” Ortel told RT. “So they are in a place where it will be very difficult for them to admit a mistake after all these weeks and after their strong positions and actions that so many governments took, our own included, the US in reliance mostly on UK analysis.”

Previously, Moscow pointed out that UK authorities themselves admitted that their lab in Porton Down was in possession of the nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. In fact, many countries have been developing and testing the A-class nerve agents just to have them in their own arsenals or find ways to defend against them, Professor Tour explained.

“Many countries have made it in the past as part of a study of making the nerve agents. And many countries have made nerve agents if you want to study what persistent nerve agent could be like – something that is harder to detect, something that lasts much longer than a typical nerve agent like Sarin, Soman, or GF – then you want to be making these and understanding how they work. Sometimes countries make it just to learn how to defend against it. They might make it to learn how to build an antidote for it.”

See also:

UK, Slovakia, Sweden, Czech Republic among most probable sources of ‘Novichok’ – Moscow

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

We get impression UK govt is deliberately destroying evidence in Skripal case – Russian Ambassador

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Ambassador to the UK – RT – May 3, 2018

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification.

On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent.

The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.

Two months have passed since the poisoning and more than a month since Prime Minister May accused Russia of this crime. However, despite our numerous requests, we have not been granted access to the investigation. The FCO and the Metropolitan Police have refrained from contacts.

We have been denied consular access to our citizens in violation of the Vienna Convention on the Consular Relations and the bilateral Consular Convention. We are still unable to verify their whereabouts, health and wishes. Considering all the facts, we now have more reasons to qualify this situation as an abduction of the two Russian nationals. We will continue to seek the truth and demand answers from the British side.

We also get the impression that the British government is deliberately destroying the evidence, classifying all remaining materials and making independent investigation impossible. Sergei Skripal’s pets were incinerated without having been tested for exposure to nerve agents. Then a decontamination of the area was announced, which reportedly included destruction of potentially contaminated objects along with Sergei Skripal’s house, the “Mill” pub and the “Zizzi” restaurant.

The media coverage of the Salisbury poisoning is not as free as it should be. On 8 April it was reported that the National Security Council “had seized control” over the media response to the incident. On 18 April the media regulator Ofcom announced investigations into the RT channel regarding Salisbury. Is it a coincidence that no one has ever seen any photos of the Skripals since the incident, and no attempts have been made by the media to interview them? Hospital privacy and security might be an excuse, but it looks like the Skripals’ privacy is better protected than that of pop stars and even the Royal family.

The UK has also refused to interact with Russia in the OPCW. Instead of using the standard procedures, whereby Britain could have engaged Russia directly or through the OPCW Executive Council, the British government has chosen to cooperate with the OPCW Technical Secretariat under a classified arrangement. On 13 April Russia itself initiated Article IX of the Chemical Weapons Convention procedure to obtain a response to a list of questions to the UK submitted via the OPCW.

Replies received are unsatisfactory and don’t answer our legitimate and reasonable questions and thus don’t help establish the truth. As to the OPCW report, it clearly lacked impartiality as the OPCW-designated laboratories were given only one task, which was to check whether the nerve agent identified by the UK was present in the biomedical samples, and the samples were taken only in the locations designated by the British side.

Meanwhile, the UK is depicted, by the Conservative government, as the “leader” of the Western efforts to “hold Russia to account”. It seems that the Cabinet has no interest in functional bilateral relations, which have reached a new low since the Salisbury poisoning. Russia is again presented as a “cyber threat” and the British public is being prepared for a massive cyber attack against Russia, which would purport to be retaliatory by nature, but in fact would constitute an unprovoked use of force. The Foreign Office has ignored the Russian offer for consultations on cyber-security.

Nevertheless, every day the Embassy receives letters from the British public with regrets over the current official policy towards Russia. People fail to understand how it is possible to blame Russia without any proof or evidence being presented to the international community. This contradicts the British tradition of open and fair work of judiciary. Many believe that this policy is rooted in the anti-Russian sentiment within the current Conservative government.

The Embassy has published a report “Salisbury: a classified case”, which summarizes the sequence of events and Britain’s and Russia’s positions. I invite the British side to give it a thorough consideration. The list of questions to the British government is constantly growing. What we demand in the first place is transparency.

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko.

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | 3 Comments