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Iran Foreign Ministry dismisses US implicating of Iranian embassies in terror acts

Press TV – July 11, 2018

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has dismissed as ludicrous a recent US allegation that Iranian embassies are involved in terror attacks in Europe.

Qassemi on Wednesday rejected the allegation by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as baseless, preposterous and part of a targeted propaganda campaign and psychological warfare against the activities of the Iranian embassies, which he said were in line with international conventions and aimed at promoting bilateral friendly relations with other countries.

Qassemi said that bringing up such allegations was “another attempt by the United States to destroy our country’s foreign relations.”

Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of using its embassies to plot terrorist attacks in Europe.

“Just this past week there were Iranians arrested in Europe who were preparing to conduct a terror plot in Paris, France. We have seen this malign behavior in Europe,” Pompeo said in an interview with Sky News Arabia during a short trip to the United Arab Emirates.

“Pompeo levels such groundless claims against our country while different types of evidence of spying and acts of sabotage by the American embassies with hundreds of military and security personnel [involved]… have been published in various sources, and contemporary history is full of such types of illegitimate activities which are in contravention of international regulations,” Qassemi said.

This came after Belgian authorities claimed earlier this month that an Iranian diplomat had been arrested along with a 38-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, suspected of plotting a bomb attack on a meeting of the notorious anti-Iran terrorist group the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in the French capital Paris. The meeting was attended by US President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and several former European and Arab ministers.

The authorities added that Belgian police had intercepted the two suspects in Belgium on June 30 with 500 grams of the homemade explosive TATP and a detonation device found in their car.

The diplomat, 46-year-old Assadollah A, was arrested in Germany, suspected of having been in contact with the two arrested in Belgium.

Three other people were also arrested in France in connection with the case, two of whom were released.

Iranian officials have denied any involvement in any plot to blow up the MKO meeting and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has condemned the arrests as a “sinister false flag ploy.”

The allegations about the involvement of the Iranian diplomat in the suspected bomb attack on the MKO meeting were designed as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani paid a visit to Switzerland and Vienna and held talks with senior officials of the two European countries.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said the allegations aimed to damage Iran-Europe relations during the visit.

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | 2 Comments

Mexico: Who Are the Women That Make Up Half of AMLO’s Cabinet?

(L-R): Luisa Maria Alcalde, Rocio Nahle, Irma Sandoval and Olga Maria del Carmen Sanchez are part of AMLO’s cabinet. | Photo: Facebook / Twitter / plumas libres
teleSUR | July 11, 2018

Eight of the key figures in AMLO’s future government are women and they have interesting proposals for Mexico.

Of the 16 confirmed members of president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s cabinet eight are women. teleSUR English reviews their profiles and plans for their tenure.

AMLO’s cabinet will include representatives of the business sectors and members of the traditional Institutional Revolution Party, but it also has an important share of academics and progressive women.

Olga Maria del Carmen Sanchez, the first woman to head the ministry of the Interior, was a judge in Mexico’s Supreme Court between 1995 and 2005. She is in favor of legalizing marijuana and believes the country needs to rethink its policy on drugs.

During an interview with Zosimo Camacho, Sanchez criticized the lack of judicial symmetry with the United States and stressed the importance of changing the strategy in the war on drugs. “How is it possible that here in our country we are killing ourselves and the U.S. is decriminalizing drugs?,” she questioned.

AMLO’s pick for social development, Maria Luisa Albores is an agronomist and specialist on social economy, which is based on the principle of solidarity. Since 2001 she has worked with Indigenous and Campesino communities in the development of productive and economic cooperatives and projects.

During the campaign trail, Albores vowed to work for the economic and social inclusion of rural Mexico and stressed the importance of restructuring Mexico’s social development ministry. According to Albores the ministry has “served to keep people poor, and poverty has been administered electorally.”

For Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, AMLO has appointed Luisa Maria Alcalde, a lawyer and former legislator, who has done extensive work on a dignified salary in Mexico.

Alcalde has announced she will hold meeting with Mexico’s private sector and the country’s central bank to find a viable path to an increase to the country’s minimum wage.

Economy will be headed by Graciela Marquez, Ph.D. in economic history and professor in several universities in Mexico and abroad. She has written extensively on economic development, inequality and commercial policy. She would be the first woman to head the ministry of economy and will head the current negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Alejandra Frausto has accepted to lead Mexico’s ministry of culture. She has worked to promote access to culture and the arts as a central element in social development, with an emphasis on popular and Indigenous cultures.

The Ministry of Environment and natural resources will be headed by Oxford graduate Josefa Gonzalez, who studied transformative art and has worked with vulnerable populations in art-related projects. For the past years she has worked in the southern state of Chiapas in conservation and reforestation projects.

Irma Sandoval has been given the Ministry of the Civil Service. She is a political scientist and researcher for Mexico’s Autonomous University (UNAM). Sandoval is also the coordinator of UNAM’s Lab on corruption documentation and analysis.

She has proposed to use technology to monitor the good use of public resources, a monitoring system open to citizens to control public works, and to encourage anonimous complaints to fight corruption in Mexico.

Finally, AMLO’s pick for the Energy Minister is Rocio Nahle who has worked in the petrochemical industry for years. Her main proposal is the construction of two refineries in Tabasco and Campeche, and the rehabilitation of six refineries to meet Mexico’s internal demand.

RELATED:

Mexico President Strikes Upbeat Tone on Trump Ahead of Talks

AMLO to Implement San Andres Agreements Signed With Zapatistas

 

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s the Wrong Park! How the Ducks Raise Some Serious Questions in the Salisbury Poisonings

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | July 11, 2018

According to the Metropolitan Police investigation into the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, here is a timeline of events on 4th March:

13:40: Sergei and Yulia arrived at the Sainsbury’s upper level car park in The Maltings. The pair go to The Mill pub.

Approximately 14.20: They eat at Zizzi restaurant on Castle Street

15:35: They leave the restaurant

16:15: Emergency services are called by a member of the public to the bench where Sergei and Yulia are slumped on a bench

So: car park, pub, restaurant, bench. Simples? Not so, as we shall see.

On 28th March, an article appeared in the Sun, which talked about a 12-year-old boy from Salisbury, Aiden Cooper, who was apparently in a park with his parents, when he saw the Skripals and went over to them to feed the ducks:

“A schoolboy told yesterday how he was caught up in the poison spy drama after assassination target Sergei Skripal gave him bread to feed ducks. Aiden Cooper, 12, was playing in a park with pals when they saw Skripal and daughter Yulia beside a stream. They were handed bread and are among the last people to have had contact with the retired ­Russian military intellig­ence colonel, now fighting for his life.“

Of course, I would always want to have a large bucket of salt on standby when reading anything in The Sun, but in this case I see no reason why they, or the people quoted in the article, would make this up. In any case, the story was repeated in a number of other outlets (The Mirror, The Mail and Metro for instance), and it mentions that the parents only found out about the identity of the breadman when they were contacted by police.

Now, the interesting thing about The Mirror, The Mail and Metro pieces is that they are all either very wrong or very vague about a quite crucial detail. The Mirror and The Mail both tell us that the incident took place “near the Avon Playground”. And Metro tells us that the incident took place at “Riverside Park”.

For those of you not familiar with Salisbury, let me shed some light. The Avon Playground mentioned by The Mirror and The Mail is next to the Avon River, and it is also about 50 yards or so from the bench where the Skripals were found (as an aside, this is not the same Avon as in Stratford-upon-Avon. Avon is a Celtic word meaning river). As for Riverside Park mentioned by Metro, this may be a figment of their imagination, as no such named park exists in Salisbury. But the important point is that from the details given in these articles, nobody would think anything other than that the duck-feeding incident took place in the same park as the bench on which the Skripals were found.

Yet all three of these media outlets are wrong, and in a way that may well be very significant. Turning back to the report in The Sun, we find that it is by far the most detailed of all the reports on the duck incident. In fact, it appeared three days after the others appeared, with The Sun sending a reporter to interview the boy and his parents. Here is a snippet:

“Aiden and his pals are thought to be the youngest of 130 exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, said to have been unleashed in Salisbury by President Vladimir Putin

Aiden’s family were alerted after cops traced him from CCTV pics.

Aiden’s civil engineer dad Luke, 33, said: ‘Obviously we had seen the incident on the news but didn’t think we were involved at all. Aiden was playing in the park with his friends when they spotted the Russian gentleman and his daughter. Kids being kids they went over and he gave them some bread and they fed the ducks. We didn’t think anything of it until two weeks later when then the police knocked on our door.’

It was terrifying. We took Aiden to hospital for a load of tests and then the police told us they had to burn everything Aiden was wearing that day.’”

So presumably, Aiden and his friends were seen on camera, as was Sergei Skripal and possibly Yulia, and this was on 4th March. We aren’t told when in the day this was, but given that the police traced the family, and Aiden then had to go to hospital, it clearly must have been after the police claim Mr Skripal came into contact with nerve agent on his door handle.

But here’s the significant fact (I am indebted to a lady who contacted me to point it out, and I must say I kicked myself for not having realised it before). Unlike the media outlets mentioned above, The Sun doesn’t mention the name of the park, but the piece is accompanied by four photographs of Aiden with his parents in the park where they saw the Skripals, and indeed one of them has the caption “Aiden with his parents by the pond where he spoke to Skripal”. Here is one of the pictures:

But do you know something? This isn’t the Avon Playground. It isn’t even the non-existent Riverside Park. Do you want to know where it is? It happens to be Queen Elizabeth Gardens.

Why is this important? As you are probably aware, Queen Elizabeth Gardens is now a focal point of Skripal 2.0, as it is alleged to be the place where Dawn Sturgess, who has now sadly passed away, picked up a syringe or a container with the toxic substance in. And whilst I’m not entirely sure whether the location of the duck incident being in Queen Elizabeth Gardens, rather than the Avon Playground, has any bearing in terms of the cases themselves, it does raise three huge questions:

Firstly, according to the Metropolitan Police timeline at the top of this piece, there is no mention of Mr Skripal and Yulia going to Queen Elizabeth Gardens. Why is this, since according to the parents of Aiden Cooper, the police knew that they had been there, having seen footage of them feeding the ducks with their son and his friends?

Secondly, if the police knew that Mr Skripal and Yulia had been in Queen Elizabeth Gardens, and that this was after they were poisoned (as they claim), why was Queen Elizabeth Gardens not closed off immediately and subject to a clean-up operation, as were other places in the City where the Skripals were known to have visited?

Thirdly, assuming the latest official narrative, did the failure to close off and clean up Queen Elizabeth Gardens back in March, when it was known the Skripals had been there, make it more or less likely that someone would come into contact with the alleged nerve agent container at some point?

These are serious questions. I think you’ll agree that they deserve serious answers.


POSTSCRIPT

One or two comments suggest that a map would be helpful. Again, I am indebted to the lady who pointed the Queen Elizabeth Gardens connection out to me, who has helpfully created a map with the main areas of interest (see below).

Can I just caution about one thing though. The point of my post was not to try and work out whether Queen Elizabeth Gardens is important as regards the original case. I think we could go down endless rabbit holes trying to work out where the Skripals went, when they went there, and what this might mean. Unfortunately, we simply do not know this, as there is too much information that we are not party to.

What I am trying to do at the moment is exploit holes in the official story (of which there are more than a few). The police have not included QEG in their timeline, and yet they apparently know that the Skripals were there that day. Why have they not included it? Why did they not close the Gardens down? And had they done so, could this have prevented others from coming into contact with the substance?

I am not saying that I necessarily think there was a substance there. There may or may not have been. However, the point is that the authorities are saying this and yet those same authorities apparently know that the Skripals were there on 4th March, but have hushed this up. Therefore, we need to turn up the volume on it and they need to explain themselves.

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

British Collusion and Criminality

By Margaret Kimberly | Black Agenda Report | July 11, 2018

Most people believe that Donald Trump owes his presidency to Russian activity because they have been told this repeatedly for the past two years. There was indeed high level collusion taking place in the 2016 presidential campaign but it wasn’t carried out by Trump. It was Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee who acted in concert with intelligence assets in the United States and in the United Kingdom. The British government continues to manufacture false flag incidents, force international agencies to do its bidding, and push for regime change in Syria. Having failed to defeat Trump, they kept up the campaign to cover their tracks, escape blame for Hillary Clinton’s failure, and maintain the foreign policy status quo.

A law firm retained by the Democratic National Committee paid for the opposition research undertaken by former MI6 agent, Christopher Steele. Steele produced a dossier alleging that Trump was compromised by the Russian government and shopped it to the FBI, CIA, influential journalists and politicians like Senator John McCain. The dossier was used to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant against Trump aide Carter Page but the DNC connection was not disclosed to the judge.

Steele isn’t the only British spook in the story. A man named Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, is a business partner of Stefan Halper, a CIA asset who also spied on Donald Trump. Halper had contacts with Page and George Papadopoulos, two men now under indictment by Robert Mueller’s special investigation. The lesser lights of the Trump team were no match for seasoned professionals who get protection from the New York Times. The Times calls Halper “an FBI informant” and tries to claim that is somehow different from being a spy.

While Russia is vilified at every turn the British government conducts very public and very shady business which could conceivably impact both countries. The case of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal has the British government’s finger prints all over it. There is no reason for Russia to poison a former spy whom they had swapped eight years earlier. The only logical conclusion is that the act was carried out with the goal of embarrassing Vladimir Putin and creating a possible pretext for war. The Skripal case was soon followed by questionable reporting of yet another chemical weapons attack in Syria which resulted in a short lived United States, British and French attack on that country.

It is the British who use lies and trickery to sway public opinion into supporting a wider war in Syria. Three months after the Skripals were attacked another pair of Britons are said to have been poisoned with Novichok, a chemical weapon originally produced by Russia but which now can be made anywhere. One of the victims died and the claims of Russian involvement have suddenly become much more dangerous.

This second poisoning took place less than one week after the UK pressured the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to take on the role of judge and juror. No longer will the OPCW just determine if chemical weapons have been used, but they will also be tasked with assigning blame, too. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson proudly stated, “The U.K. has led the diplomatic efforts to secure this action.”

Collusion continues not between Trump and Russians, but between intelligence agencies, the media and American politicians with hidden agendas. While the public are fed a steady diet of tales of an unfree press in Russia, it is the British press which has been censored by its government. A Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice (D Notice) has been issued which prevents them from reporting fully on the Skripal case. Most Americans are unaware that the British government may prevent the media from reporting on any subject or person they choose. The person being protected now may be a man named Pablo Miller.

Miller was Skripal’s MI6 handler and was also employed at Christopher Steele’s firm Orbis. Miller and Steele may have involved Skripal in writing the anti-Trump dossier. While Americans are given endless misinformation making Russia look like the foreign interloper in their nation’s affairs it is actually the British deep state that is well connected to American media and politicians.

The Russiagate purveyors constantly say, “Connect the dots.” If there are any dots to connect they run from the DNC to former MI6 spies to CIA assets to Russian double agents to American intelligence to alleged chemical weapons attacks used to justify war or to stop the upcoming Trump and Putin summit. It is all being used to further the now obligatory anti-Russian propaganda that is pervasive on both sides of the Atlantic.

Anti-Russia sentiment has been stoked for two years straight and with expert precision. Any counter narratives have been obscured with equal precision. Honest discourse is now nearly impossible and the likelihood of public support for anything up to and including hot war between nuclear powers has increased. The world is a more dangerous place but not because of Russia. As always the United States and its allies are the cause of turmoil. This time they may have created dangers that they are unable to contain.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. Ms. Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Helsinki: How About a Fresh START?

By Thomas L. Knapp | The Garrison Center | July 11, 2018

As US President Donald Trump heads to Helsinki for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump’s critics continue to inveigh against what they consider an illicitly close relationship between the two, a perspective stemming from the “Russiagate” scandal drummed up by supporters of Hillary Clinton to explain her defeat in the 2016 presidential election.

Russiagate or not, this summit may represent the two countries’ last, best opportunity to halt  or even reverse a decade of backsliding toward frigid Cold War relations. And Trump has a ready template at his disposal for pursuing warmer relations with a formidable, but hopefully former, foe.

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan met with his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev, in Reykjavik. As the non-profit Reagan Vision for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World describes the summit, “[a] proposal to eliminate all new strategic missiles grew into a discussion, for the first time in history, of the real possibility of eliminating nuclear weapons forever. … Reagan even described to Gorbachev how both men might return to Reykjavik in ten years, aged and retired leaders, to personally witness the dismantling of the world’s last remaining nuclear warhead.”

While the full vision didn’t pan out, a year later the US and the Soviets signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Five years later came the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. “New START” arrived in 2010, shortly before relations between the two governments began to deteriorate in a big way.

At this point, the US is working on “modernizing” its existing nuclear arsenal, while Russia touts an advancing hypersonic missile program. We’re moving back toward the days of American schoolchildren practicing “duck and cover” drills under constant threat of nuclear war.

The best possible outcome of the Trump-Putin summit would be a new treaty that I’ll call “Fresh START.” Under such a treaty, the two governments would commit to getting back on the track laid down by Reagan and Gorbachev, actively working to meet their existing obligations under Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT):

“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament …”

Nuclear weapons are weapons of terror and of Mutual Assured Destruction. They’re not militarily useful outside those two ways of thinking. It’s time for the two countries with the largest stockpiles of such weapons to move together toward decommissioning and destroying those stockpiles. We may never again live in a world without nuclear weapons, but we can aspire to a world with as few of them as possible.

If Trump and Putin can deliver a Fresh START toward that goal, their summit will have been a resounding success.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Syria by admissions. Who was behind this dreadful war?

HANDS OFF SYRIA | July 7, 2018

Who created al Qaeda and DAESH? Who drove the fake stories of chemical attacks and WMDs? A compilation by Tim Anderson for Hands Off Syria.

NOTE. YouTube’s 9/7/18 response to this video: “Dear Hands Off Syria … After further review we have determined that, while your video does not violate our community standards, it may not be appropriate for a general audience. We have therefore age-restricted your video.”

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

‘Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan intelligence chiefs discuss Daesh threat in Afghanistan’

Press TV – July 11, 2018

Moscow says the heads of intelligence services of Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan have sat down in Islamabad for talks on the rising threat of Daesh in Afghanistan after the Takfiri terrorist group lost its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

Sergei Ivanov, the chief of the press bureau of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, told the TASS news agency on Tuesday that the officials had stressed the need for “coordinated” measures against the Daesh relocation to Afghanistan.

The quadripartite discussions in Islamabad “focused on the dangers arising from a buildup of Daesh on the Afghan territory,” he said.

“The conference reached understanding of the importance of coordinated steps to prevent the trickling of IS (Daesh) terrorists from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan where from they would pose risks for neighboring countries,” he added.

Ivanov also noted that the intelligence chiefs, among them Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin, had underlined the need for more active regional cooperation to settle the conflict in Afghanistan.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the guise of the war on terror. Some 17 years on, the Taliban militant group has only boosted its campaign of violence across the country, targeting both civilians and security forces in bloody assaults.

More recently, Daesh has also taken advantage of the chaos and established a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan.

The Takfiri group has stepped up its terror attacks in the war-torn state despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops on Afghan soil.

Recently, there have been reports suggesting that the US military is allowing Daesh elements to infiltrate into Afghanistan following their defeats in Syria and Iraq.

In February, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that by transferring Daesh to Afghanistan, Washington was seeking “to justify the continuation of its presence in the region and to create security for the Zionist regime.”

Daesh started a campaign of terror in Iraq and Syria in 2014, occupying territory in the two Arab countries and establishing a self-proclaimed “caliphate” there.

Soon, the Iraqi and Syrian armies galvanized to retake Daesh-held territory and the terror outfit was gradually stripped of all the land it had occupied in the two Middle Eastern states.

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment