Aletho News


Anti-Conspiracy Theorists in the JFK Assassination

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | August 24, 2018

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Kennedy assassination has been “anti-conspiracy theorists,” especially within the mainstream press. People are so scared of being labeled a “conspiracy theorist” that they will do everything they can to avoid making a careful examination of the circumstantial evidence pointing toward a national-security regime-change operation in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Consider, for example, Saundra Spencer, who I discuss both in my book The Kennedy Autopsy and in my current, ongoing video-podcast series on the JFK assassination.

Spencer was a U.S. Navy petty officer who was serving in the U.S. Navy’s photography lab in Washington D.C., in November 1963. She had a top-secret security clearance. Her job included the development of classified photographs. She worked closely with the White House. It would be virtually impossible to find a more credible and competent witness than Saundra Spencer. No one has ever questioned her veracity, integrity, and competence.

As most everyone knows, when someone in the military acquires what is known as “classified information,” he is required to keep it secret for the rest of his life, even if he leaves the military. Every member of the U.S. military — indeed, every employee of the U.S. national-security establishment — knows that if he ever breaches the secrecy principle, he is subject to severe punishment.

In the 1990s, Spencer was summoned to testify before the Assassination Records Review Board, the commission charged with enforcing the JFK Records Act, which forced the U.S. national-security establishment to disclose its records relating to the JFK assassination to the public.

Spencer related an astounding story, one that she had kept secret for some 30 years owing to its classified nature. After the ARRB released her from her obligation of secrecy, Spencer stated that on the weekend of the assassination, she had been asked to develop, on a top-secret basis, the photographs of the autopsy that the U.S. military had performed on President Kennedy’s body on the evening of the assassination.

The ARRB’s general counsel showed Spencer the official autopsy photographs, which she carefully examined. She stated directly, firmly, and unequivocally that those autopsy photographs were not the autopsy photographs that she developed on the weekend of the assassination. The ones she developed, she said, showed a large, exit-sized wound in the back of President Kennedy’s head. The official autopsy photographs showed the back of Kennedy’s head to be intact, that is, without a large exit-sized wound.

What are we to make of this? Well, according to anti-conspiracy theorists, nothing. We are not supposed to go down that road. We are not supposed to ask any questions, for to do so would mean that we have entered the dreaded realm of “conspiracy theory.”

Even the fact that the treating physicians at Dallas’s Parkland Hospital, who described the large, exit-sized wound in the lower back of the president’s head, from which, they said, was leaking cerebellum, which is the lower back part of the brain, is not supposed to cause us to wonder what is going on here. That could lead down the dangerous road to being called a “conspiracy theorist.”

As shown in Dallas businessman Abraham Zupruder’s famous film of the assassination, immediately after the president was shot Secret Service agent Clint Hill grabbed onto the back of the presidential limousine, pushed Jacqueline Kennedy back into her seat, and put his body on that of President Kennedy, in an attempt to shield the president from any more shots. For the 6-8 minutes that it took to get to Parkland Hospital, Hill said he was staring at the large, exit-sized wound in the back of the president’s head.

But we can’t go there either. That might make us a “conspiracy theorist.”

Parkland nurse Diana Bowrun was one of the hospital personnel helping to get the president out of the car and into the hospital. When she put her hand behind the president’s head, she felt the large, exit-sized wound in the back of Kennedy’s head.

Nurse Audrey Bell was helping the treating physicians inside the hospital. She later emphasized the large, exit-sized wound in the back of JFK’s head.

Don’t even think about what Bowrun and Bell said. It could make you a “conspiracy theorist.”

Charles Brehm was a bystander who was situated to the left rear of the presidential limousine when the president was shot. He saw (for lack of a better term) exit debris from the wound in the back of President Kennedy’s head landing in the grass near him. A woman named Marilyn Willis, who was also behind the limousine said that she saw exit debris coming out of the back of Kennedy’s head. Her daughter said she saw the back side of the president’s head blow out. A motorcycle cop named Jimmy Hargis, who was situated to the left rear of the vehicle, got splattered with exit debris.

Don’t go down that road! Remember: Conspiracy theory!

FBI agents Francis O’Neil and James Sibert were at the autopsy that the U.S. military conducted on President Kennedy’s body. When the ARRB showed them the official autopsy photographs, they said that the autopsy photographs were incorrect because they failed to show the massive damage on the back of the president’s head. One of them used the term “doctored” to describe the photographs.

Just forget their testimony. It could lead you to being considered a “conspiracy theorist.”

In 1966, the official autopsy photographer, John Stringer, was summoned to a meeting to confirm an inventory of the official autopsy photographs, which were still being kept secret from the American people. After reviewing the inventory, Stringer said that it wasn’t accurate because it did not include all of the autopsy photographs he had taken. He was ordered to sign it anyway, which he did. When the ARRB asked him in the 1990s why he had signed the inventory knowing that it was false, he said he did so because he was ordered to do so. When the ARRB general counsel pointed out that some people in the military say no to such things, Stringer responded that such people don’t last long in the military.

But you’re not supposed to wonder about all this. You’re not supposed to question it. After all, why take the risk of being called a “conspiracy theorist”? Isn’t it much safer to just remain an “anti-conspiracy theorist,” even if that necessarily means that you believe that all of those people must have gotten together to concoct, for some unknown reason, the wound in the back of President Kennedy’s head?

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

US Uses Facebook to Spread Fake News About Cuba

By Rosa Miriam Elizalde | Cuba News | August 22, 2018

While the United States is making a scandal about the supposed Russian intervention in social networks to influence the 2016 elections won by Donald Trump, today evidence has been uncovered that the U.S. government is using Facebook to spread fake news about Cuba and clandestinely foment dissidence on the island.

The Florida weekly Miami New Times revealed Wednesday that it has had access to documents from the government’s Office of Broadcasting to Cuba (OCB), run by Radio and TV Martí. It reveals that the Trump administration has been using Facebook accounts for two years that appear “native” (from real people on the island) to spread propaganda without informing Cuban Facebook users that it is government advertising.

According to the report obtained by the weekly, due to the failure of Radio and TV Martí,

the OCB’s strategy has focused on an offensive through social networks, based on metrics that place YouTube, Google and Facebook among the most visited sites in Cuba. With the use of AVRA (Audio and Video for Radio) technology, Radio Martí’s programs began to be broadcast through Facebook Live along with TV Marti’s programming. This provides OCB with additional efficient and cost-effective distribution output for both its radio (now visual radio) and TV content.

In fiscal year 2018, OCB has been establishing itself with digital island equipment (read “dissidents” paid for by the US) that creates native and “unbranded” Facebook accounts to disseminate information. Native” pages increase the chances of appearing in the news for Cuban Facebook users. The same strategy will be replicated in other preferred social networks.

Miami New Times says that the documents do not explain what federal agents mean by “unbranded” or “native” Facebook pages, but it is clear that they must resemble the pages of regular social network users to persuade Cubans to read propaganda from Radio and TV Martí.

According to the weekly, both government broadcasters have spent more than $800 million from the U.S. taxpayer over the years in their unsuccessful effort to influence Cuban public opinion.

This plan fits into a long history of attempting to use technology to fit propaganda against Cuba, says University of Pennsylvania professor John S. Nichols.

“There are certainly warning signs here,” says Nichols, co-author of Clandestine Radio Broadcasting: A Study of Revolutionary and Counterrevolutionary Electronic Communication (1987), about OCB’s efforts. “It is the latest plan in a long list of efforts by Radio and TV Martí and their predecessors to try to overcome the laws of physics…. Every time they fail to get their message to Cuba, they say there has to be some technological solution.

Instead, he adds, Congress “seems to fail to recognize that both stations are a colossal failure. It’s sad because they’re spending taxpayers’ money. But what’s really being wasted is our credibility as a great nation doing this kind of thing, dumb and stupid.

Prominent figures from both sides of the U.S. political spectrum, including Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, have described these OCB programs as counter-productive and a waste of money. Democratic representative Betty McCollum liquidated the AeroMartí platform in 2015 (to transmit to from an airplane to Cuba the broadcasts of Radio and TV Martí) and said that the OCB was an “unnecessary” office.

“Radio and television Martí are old-fashioned Cold War artifacts,” McCollum said in a statement in 2015. “Our taxpayers shouldn’t be funding propaganda broadcasts.”

But the programs continue to exist thanks to a handful of anti-Cuban lawmakers, including Miami representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a longtime promoter of Radio and TV Martí, says the Miami New Times.

Earlier this year, Senator Marco Rubio helped install Tomás Regalado, an old friend, as head of the Radio and TV Martí programs. Since then, Regalado has made great promises about how both stations have new plans to reach “5 million” Cuban citizens in the coming years. Regalado appeared last week on the Spanish-speaking MegaTV network to brag about the use of mysterious new technologies that the Cuban government supposedly cannot block. He said that 200 Cubans had received receivers that would help in this new attempt.

“It’s a technology that didn’t exist, and since the government doesn’t know about it, it will be almost impossible to block it,” Regalado told the cameras.

Nichols argued to the Florida weekly that this type of social media propaganda is damaging the U.S. position in the world.

“Third countries see what we are doing and say,’Here comes America again doing this nonsense,” and he adds,’It’s low, petty and not worthy of great power. Other countries will say,’If the U.S. is willing to violate international law, why should we obey our contractual obligations? And given what Radio Martí and TV Martí might be doing right now, we have a hard time complaining about what other countries might be doing against us.

The report that Miami New Times had access to is OCB’s budget request for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. It does not reveal the identities of fake “native” and “unbranded” accounts created on the social network, but Facebook administrators do know what they are. By these extravagant quirks in life, this information coincides with the decision of the social network founded by Marc Zuckerberg to eliminate hundreds of alleged false accounts of Russians and Iranians allegedly involved in several disinformation campaigns.

Will Facebook also eliminate the false accounts created by the U.S. government for regime change in Cuba and will the U.S. Attorney’s Office appoint Robert Mueller or another of his ilk to investigate these abuses, as it has done to determine alleged Russian interference through Facebook in the 2016 elections?

Failed saga of Radio and TV Martí

1985: Radio Martí began broadcasting, and five years later, the television aggression began when a television transmitter was put into service on board a captive aerostat at an altitude of 3,000 meters in one of the keys in the south of the state of Florida.

2005: Hurricane Dennis disappeared the captive balloon located at 10,000 feet above sea level in Cudjoe Key, from where Television Martí was broadcast. The OCB replaced it with the AeroMartí platform.

2014: OCB created the unwanted text messaging service Pyramid, which failed. Then it tried to smuggle small satellite devices into the island, but the project was aborted because in addition to being expensive, the “dissidents” used the terminals to view pornography.

2015: Deactivation of “AeroMartí”.

2018: President Trump created the Internet Task Force for Cuba, which according to the State Department “will examine the technological challenges and opportunities for expanding access to the Internet and independent media in Cuba. Clearly, this Task Force has encouraged OCB’s digital fantasy.

Several investigations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have acknowledged that there is strong evidence that Radio and Television Martí is not heard or seen in Cuba. According to the Miami New Times, this saga has cost the American taxpayer more than $800 million.

Rosa Miriam Elizalde, Cuban journalist, First Vice-President of UPEC and Vice-President of FELAP. She is a Doctor in Communication Sciences and author or co-author of the books “Antes de que se me olvide”, “Jineteros en La Habana”, “Clic Internet” and “Chávez Nuestro”, among others. She has been awarded the “Juan Gualberto Gómez” National Journalism Prize on several occasions. Founder of Cubadebate and its Editor-in-Chief until January 2017.

On twitter: @elizalderosa

Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Cyber-Gangster Israel

If Americans Knew | August 24, 2018

Israel advocate Samantha Ravich addresses the annual luncheon of the Israel Bonds Cleveland Women’s Division on June 21, 2017. At the luncheon it was announced that $1.49 million in Israel bonds sales had already been sold in Cleveland, with six months remaining in its 2017 campaign. Ravich is now Deputy Chair of the Intelligence Advisory Board, which helps shape U.S. intelligence policy.

Ravich has a long history of working for Israel in the U.S. She is a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, an influential hawkish pro-Israel think tank; a senior adviser to the Chertoff Group (founded by Michael Chertoff, a Homeland Security secretary in the George W. Bush administration); and has worked with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an AIPAC spinoff. She was former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 2 Comments

Israel Govt Revokes Citizenship of Israeli ISIS Members, Ignoring Own History of Assisting ISIS

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | August 24, 2018

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — On Wednesday, Israel’s Interior Ministry announced that it would revoke the citizenship of 19 Israelis who are alleged to have fought on behalf of Daesh (ISIS). The move comes after a new law went into effect, giving Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri the ability to strip Israelis deemed to be members of foreign terrorist organizations of their citizenship.

The alleged Daesh members were identified by Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, which provided the Interior Ministry with the names of 20 Israeli nationals who had joined Daesh. However, for reasons that are still unclear, one of the individuals on that list, who was left unnamed, did not have his or her citizenship revoked. Reports in Israeli media have claimed that the majority of individuals on the list were Israeli Arabs, though some were identified as Jewish Israelis.

Overall, Shin Bet estimated that 60 Israeli citizens have left the country since the conflict in Syria began in 2011 in order to fight on behalf of armed opposition groups, including Daesh and the Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front. Fewer than 10 are believed to have returned to Israel since fighting in Syria began. The Jerusalem Post further notes that “dozens” of Arab Israeli citizens have been arrested by Israeli authorities in recent years for allegedly seeking to join terror groups like Daesh.

With Syria lost, Daesh outlives its usefulness to Israel

While the recent decision to revoke the citizenship of alleged Daesh members has largely been framed as the Israeli government cracking down on terrorism, such narratives ignore Israel’s own past support for the terror group over the course of the Syrian conflict.

Indeed, from early on in the conflict, Israel made it clear that it “preferred” Daesh’s presence in Syria to the presence of Syria’s legitimate government, a preference soon followed by a report published by an Israeli government-funded think tank that called Daesh a “useful tool” against Israel’s regional rivals — Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.

Since then, considerable evidence, including a 2014 United Nations report, has shown that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have long been in regular contact with Daesh, even bringing wounded Daesh members into Israel for treatment. Particularly jarring was the 2016 statement made by Israel’s military intelligence chief, Major General Herzi Halevy, that Israel does not want to see Daesh in Syria defeated.

Even the very Israeli who declared ISIS an illegal terror organization, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, later went on to candidly admit last year that Israel maintains open communications with a Daesh cell active in the Golan Heights, even though communicating with any group deemed terrorist by the state is, without exception, illegal under Israeli law. Not only that, but Ya’alon also went on to describe a specific incident in which Daesh apologized to the IDF after opening fire on an IDF position, suggesting that the Israel-Daesh relationship is deeper than “open communications.”

Given Israel’s proven collaboration with Daesh over the course of the Syrian conflict in order to aid its own regional ambitions, the recent decision to revoke the citizenship of 19 Israeli Daesh members is hardly the straightforward counter-terrorism measure it is being made out to be.

Instead, it is likely an indicator of the quickly approaching end of the Syrian conflict, which has seen the Syrian government largely reconsolidate its territory despite the efforts of largely foreign-funded opposition groups. Indeed, though Daesh was once a “useful tool” to the Israeli government, it’s failure to dislodge the Syrian government means that the group has outlived its usefulness — as have the handful of Israelis who joined the group over the course of the conflict.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Russophobia digest part 6: Evidence is optional as alleged anti-vaxx Russian bots go phishing

RT | August 24, 2018

Alleged Russian bots have been at the forefront of another week of Russophobia, with a new but familiar pattern emerging. Scare stories and accusations are made, before a later admission that no actual evidence is available.

RT takes a look at the last seven days or so of Russophobia.

Democrats’ security chief missed the memo

One of the real values of Russophobia is that it means thought and proof are rarely, if ever, needed anymore. Why find out what really happened when there is a decent conclusion to jump to?

For example, this week Bob Lord, the Democratic National Committee’s chief security officer, claimed that the organization’s US voter database had been hacked. Only, he later had to admit it was actually a ‘phishing test.’

Yep, nobody told the security chief about the security test, and he didn’t bother asking either, because it’s much easier to simply insinuate that Russians did it. To be fair to Lord, he didn’t appear to overtly use the ‘R’ word, but almost every media report on the non-incident seasoned its coverage liberally with accusations against Russia.

Microsoft’s marketing dept jumps on Russophobia bandwagon

Staying in the murky world of unsubstantiated cyber-claims, Microsoft said it has also thwarted phishing attacks on political targets by a group “widely associated” with Russia (Fancy Bear, in case you’re interested). It backed up its claims in the now-time-honored fashion of admitting there is “no evidence” that the dodgy domains detected were used in any successful attacks — and there’s no evidence “to indicate the identity of the ultimate targets.”

So, why is Microsoft getting involved? Because it’s got a brand new product maybe? Bill Gates’ boys have come up with anti-hacking software ‘AccountGuard’ as part of its ‘Defending Democracy Program.’

It provides “state-of-the-art cybersecurity protection at no extra cost to all candidates and campaign offices at the federal, state and local level, as well as think tanks and political organizations we now believe are under attack.”

And they claim the Russians are dangerous!?

Pro-pox bots

Those busy little alleged Russian bots are also driving the online anti-vaccine debate in the US, apparently, according to research in the US. No surprise there really, Russian bots real or imagined are accused of driving every online debate these days.

David Broniatowski from the George Washington School of Engineering and Applied Science said: “… many anti-vaccine tweets come from accounts whose provenance is unclear. These might be bots, human users or ‘cyborgs’ – hacked accounts that are sometimes taken over by bots. Although it’s impossible to know exactly how many tweets were generated by bots and trolls …”

“Impossible to know,” “provenance unclear.” So again, no real evidence, so it must be the Russians, mustn’t it?

Someone better check whether Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are Russian bots too, because they’re not too keen on vaccinations either. Apparently neither is Donald Trump, but you can hardly accuse him of… Oh.

Manafort: Conviction without collusion

Russophobes were jumping for joy at the conviction of Trump’s former election chief Paul Manafort this week. He was sent down for tax fraud, and bank fraud, and hiding bank accounts. What he definitely wasn’t sent down for was colluding with Russia, which is really a little strange considering the man responsible for sending him to court was Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was only appointed to investigate exactly that. As we’ve seen, though, evidence is optional when Russians are the target.

In the wise words of America’s commander-in-chief: “This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as Russian collusion. This has absolutely nothing to do [with it].” Say what you want about Donald Trump…

Read more:

Proof that Manafort & Cohen are criminals adds no weight to Mueller’s Russia collusion probe

Russian hackers not found… again: DNC retracts claim voter database targeted by cyber-attack

‘No evidence’, but Russian Fancy Bears are doing it again (p.s. here’s our new product) – Microsoft

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Germany Can’t Give Up on Cooperation With Russia in Oil and Gas – Merkel

Sputnik – 24.08.2018

Germany has greenlighted the Nord Stream 2 project to bring Russian gas to Europe and is under strong pressure from the US, which warns that the project is making Germany dependent on Russia. Berlin insists that the project is entirely commercial.

A planned sub-sea pipeline that will bring gas directly from Russia under the Baltic Sea will not make Germany dependent on Russia for energy, Chancellor Angela Merkel told university students in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Friday, on the second day of her trip to the Caucasus.

Angela Merkel described continued Russian oil and natural gas supplies to Germany as an important factor in ensuring the country’s energy security.

”We have a decades-long history of economic cooperation with Russia, including on CO2 emissions. We have consistently been reducing our use of coal and we need natural gas coming to us via Belarus, Ukraine and Poland, that’s why we support Nord Stream 1 and 2,” Merkel noted.

She noted that Germany wanted to make sure that Russia continued delivering some gas via Ukraine even after the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was finished.

Mentioning the importance of expanding the so-called “Southern Corridor” for natural gas supplies also from Azerbaijan, she still pointed out that buying gas from Russia was cheaper than buying it elsewhere.

“Europe and Russia, then the Soviet Union, had very close energy cooperation during the Cold War. We can’t afford giving up on cooperation with Russia in oil and gas. Of course, we can have natural gas coming from Azerbaijan, but the truth is that it will not be available at the price we are paying for Russian gas,” Merkel said.

Some countries that are afraid of losing revenues from Russian gas transit, above all Ukraine, are opposed to Nord Stream 2.

The project is also facing opposition from the United States, which has ambitious plans of LNG exports to Europe.

Russia has repeatedly urged its European partners not to perceive the Nord Stream pipeline as an instrument of influence insisting that the project is an entirely economic one.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

AfD MP: ‘We Refuse to Support the US Gas Industry at Germany’s Expense’

Sputnik – August 24, 2018

Despite opposition to the Nord Stream II pipeline from some Eastern Europe states, the consortium of energy companies involved in the joint venture are going ahead with the project.

Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem spoke to Christian Blex, a representative of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party in the Bundestag, about the proposed pipeline and the untapped potential of bilateral EU-Russia trade.

Europe’s Dilemma

Europe’s growing demand for natural gas, coupled with falling production in many longstanding European natural gas exporters, such as Norway, has put the region on course to face an energy deficit unless it swiftly alters its energy mix or builds the necessary midstream infrastructure to import more natural gas from Russia.

A move away from natural gas is unlikely to happen, as it is unrivaled by most alternatives in terms of affordability, abundance, and is significantly more eco-friendly than other fossil fuels, such as coal.

Alternatively, Europe could look to make up its energy shortfall by importing US liquefied natural gas (LNG), though, as Dr. Blex explained, this course of action is riddled with drawbacks and is not in Germany’s interests.

“The position of the AfD is that Germany should make an interest-based policy and due to the current economic climate and the German government’s recent policies, we must focus on importing. As Russia currently supplies the cheapest option in the form of natural gas, it is only logical that we import from them,” Dr. Blex told Sputnik on Friday.

“Since the US cannot currently compete in terms of both price and infrastructure, the idea of seriously switching to US gas is a pipe dreams. In addition, the AfD refuses to support the US gas industry at the expense of Germany, or to solely serve Washington’s geostrategic interests.”

Baseless Prophecies

Dr. Blex expressed his support for Nord Stream II, insisting that it will benefit Germany and the wider European economy, dismissing concerns that Moscow could use Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas as leverage over the continent.

“Despite all the prophecies of doubts about the danger of a Russian monopoly position and the associated blackmail potential, as well as its alleged political uncertainty as a partner, Russia has always reliably adhered to its supply contracts with Germany over the past 30 years, which is why we regard Russia to be a reliable partner. As long as this remains so, I see no need to orient ourselves elsewhere,” Dr. Blex said.

In fact, this is more likely to be an issue if Europe swapped out Russian natural gas for US LNG, as the Trump administration has repeatedly showed itself to be an unreliable partner, with President Trump withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and recklessly imposing tariffs against several key US trade partners in 2018.

In virtually every case of opposition to Nord Stream II, the critic has a vested interest in preventing the pipeline’s completion; Russian natural gas is perhaps the single largest barrier to US LNG taking over Europe’s energy market, while some European states are keen to hinder the project to ensure their revenue streams from existing Russian gas transit deals aren’t slashed.

Undisputed Potential & Future Relations

Although Europe maintains a fruitful partnership with Russia in the energy sector, sanctions and the contemporary political climate have inhibited both sides from exploring new avenues and benefiting from the untapped economic potential an amicable relationship offers.

Dr. Blex noted this “tremendous potential,” and voiced concerns of German and other European businesses being adversely affected by the sanctions, saying, “It is undisputed that trade between the European Union and Russia has tremendous potential. German companies in the automotive, chemical and electronic industries suffered losses due to sanctions. Normalization of relations is therefore of Russian as well as European and German interest.”

EU farmers have often protested against the sanctions, dumping their produce on the streets, as they’ve been hit hard by the sanctions.

“The AfD advocates ending the sanctions,” the German MP added.

Moreover, the Bundestag member called for a “pan-European policy” that fosters better political and economic relations with Russia, but said the current German federal government is unlikely to adopt such an approach.

“A pan-European policy that strengthens economic relations with Russia would be desirable. Unfortunately, the political will for this geostrategic reasoning does not yet exist; the Merkel government is against it.”

However, Dr. Blex described himself as optimistic “that the steady increase in power of the AfD” will shift Germany’s stance and lead to a more productive relationship with Russia.

“I therefore hope that in the long term, throughout the EU, there will be a recognition that Russia must be seen as a partner rather than an enemy,” Dr. Blex concluded.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Russian prosecutors brand US group Pacific Environment ‘undesirable organization’

RT | August 24, 2018

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has included US NGO Pacific Environment (PERC) on a list of undesirable foreign organizations after determining the group’s work can threaten Russia’s security and constitutional order.

“After studying some materials it had received the Prosecutor General’s Office on August 24 decided to recognize as undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation, the work of foreign non-government organization Pacific Environment (PERC) from the USA,” chief spokesman for the agency, Aleksandr Kurennoy, was quoted as saying by TASS on Friday.

“It has been established that the work of this organization creates a threat to the foundations of Russia’s constitutional order and the security of the Russian state,” the official added. The order to put the group on the list of undesirable organizations will now be forwarded to the Justice Ministry where it needs to be registered to come into force.

Founded in 1987, the Pacific Environment group states its primary objective as protecting the living environment of the Pacific Rim. In Russia, its activists have instigated public opposition to several major mining and energy projects in Siberia and the Far East.

Russia introduced the law on undesirable foreign organizations in mid-2015. According to this act the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Foreign Ministry have the powers to create a list of “undesirable foreign organizations,” making the activities of such groups in Russia illegal. Violations of this law are punished by civil penalties, but repeated and aggravated offenses can cause criminal prosecution and carry prison sentences of up to six years.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Environmentalism | , | 2 Comments

The 10 Main Holes in the Official Narrative on the Salisbury Poisonings: #3 – The Capability

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | August 23, 2018

Once again I return to Theresa May’s statement of 26th May, in which she stated the following:

“In conclusion, as I have set out, no other country has a combination of the capability, the intent and the motive to carry out such an act.”

She then went on to claim:

“We have been led by evidence not by speculation.”

However, as I showed in Part 1 and Part 2, her statement to the Commons contained no actual evidence of motive or intent. Claims and assertions, but nothing more.

But what of capability? Looking through the statement, here are the key passages that might be said to fall into this category:

“As I set out for the House in my statements earlier this month, our world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down positively identified the chemical used for this act as a Novichok – a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by the Soviet Union.”

“And we have information indicating that within the last decade, Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents probably for assassination – and as part of this programme has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks.”

Her evidence, such that it is, therefore falls into two categories: firstly, capability with regard to the weapon allegedly used to poison the Skripals; secondly, capability with regard to method of delivery of the weapon.

There are three things to say with regard to the first category. To begin with, it is not quite the case that Porton Down scientists had “positively identified the chemical” as a “Novichok”. In the evidence presented to the High Court between 20th – 22nd March, here is how the Porton Down Chemical and Biological Analyst described the substance:

“Blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analysed and the findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent [my emphasis].”

As you will notice, there is a degree of ambiguity in this statement which is not present in Mrs May’s statement made a few days later. Ought she not to have recognised this?

Secondly, it has been conclusively shown that a number of other countries either have produced, or know how to produce substances within the class of nerve agents that Mrs May referred to as “Novichoks”. The Czech Government has admitted producing a small quantity of the closely related substance, A-230; Iran has produced it, in compliance with the OPCW in 2016; The German Intelligence Agency, BND, was given the formula back in the 1990s, and they shared it with a number of other NATO countries, including the US and UK. The Edgewood Chemical and Biological Defense Command in Maryland, USA, recorded the formula back in 1998.

The point of this is not to point the finger at any of those countries. Merely to say that knowledge of and production of “Novichok” is by no means confined to one country. And in any case, according to one of the world’s leading experts in organic chemistry, David Collum, Professor of Organic Chemistry at Cornell University, it doesn’t even require a State party. He asserts that “any credible organic chemist could make Novichok nerve agents.”

The fact that other countries know how to produce “Novichoks”, and in some cases have produced it, shows the claim that its apparent use in Salisbury proves Russian culpability to be complete nonsense. It’s as silly as saying that a poisoning using VX points to Britain because VX is a type of nerve agent developed by Britain.

And thirdly, if the British Government did indeed have information that the Russian Government had a secret programme investigating ways of delivering nerve agents, and had produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks, then it had an obligation to inform the OPCW under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which it apparently failed to do. Furthermore, as a State Party to the Convention, it should have raised objections in 2017, when the OPCW’s Director-General, Ahmet Üzümcü, declared the following:

“The completion of the verified destruction of Russia’s chemical weapons programme is a major milestone in the achievement of the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention. I congratulate Russia and I commend all of their experts who were involved for their professionalism and dedication. I also express my appreciation to the States Parties that assisted the Russian Federation with its destruction program and thank the OPCW staff who verified the destruction.”

So much for Mrs May’s evidence of capability regarding the weapon, what of her evidence regarding the delivery?

When she stated that her Government had information that the Russian Government had investigated ways of delivering nerve agents, she was, I believe, referring to the alleged “assassin’s manual”, which the Government says it possesses, but will not show because it is classified, and which apparently contains information showing that Russian agents were trained in putting poison on door handles.

Three brief points about this:

1. It really is utter nonsense. Smearing poison on a door handle would be a frankly ludicrous way to target someone for assassination, since you could never be sure that your target would actually touch it (you never know, maybe a postman or a milkman or the man from Amazon might get there first).

2. Salisbury was treated to dozens of guys in Hazmat gear decontaminating certain parts of the city, since the substance in question was apparently so lethal that, according to Alastair Hay, Professor of Environmental Toxicology at the University of Leeds:

“A few millilitres would be sufficient to probably kill a good number of people.”

Are we really supposed to believe that the Russians have either:

a) Developed ways of putting this stuff on door handles without the requisite chemical protection and perhaps just a pair of Marigolds, or

b) Have people stupid enough to try.

3. But the biggest problem is this: The British Government was starting to point the finger at the Russian Government within a few days of the poisoning, and it was later stated that one of the reasons for this was the manual that they apparently possessed. But if they did indeed have this manual, and it was the reason for their apportioning of blame as early as 12th March:

a) Why was the door handle not the focus of the investigation from the very start?

b) When are those police officers who stood within feet of that door, and those who no doubt went in and out of the house using the door handle, going to sue Her Majesty’s Government for negligence and their failure to act on the intelligence they apparently had?

If there is indeed such a manual, my guess is that it was put together by a chap named Steele.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

‘Incorrect’ US account of Khan-Pompeo talks upsets Pakistan

Press TV – August 24, 2018

Pakistan has called on the US to immediately correct a newly released statement about a phone conversation between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

US State Department said in a statement on Thursday that Pompeo has called on Khan to take “decisive action” against “terrorists” during a phone call he made to wish him success after he was sworn into office.

Pompeo “raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office, however, rejected the statement, saying there was no such mention of “terrorists operating in Pakistan,” during the conversation.

“Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Department on the phone call between Prime Minister Khan and Secretary Pompeo,” said foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal, calling on the states department to “immediately correct” the statement.

Nauert indicated there would be no correction in response to Pakistan’s complaint. “I can only say we stand by our readout,” Nauert told a news conference.

Washington has for years accused Islamabad of allowing militants and terrorist groups to operate relatively freely in Pakistan’s porous border regions to carry out operations in neighboring Afghanistan, an allegation Pakistan denies.

US President Donald Trump said in his first tweet of 2018 that Washington had “foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years.” He threatened to cut off foreign aid to Pakistan, once again accusing Islamabad of harboring violent extremists.

Pakistani officials have frequently said the US government is making Pakistan a scapegoat to cover Washington’s failure in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has been gripped by insecurity since the United States and its allies invaded the country to topple Taliban as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror in 2001. Many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Saudis want Imran Khan to back ‘anti-terror alliance’

By Kunwar Khuldune Shahid | Asia Times | August 24, 2018

Riyadh wants Imran Khan to openly support the Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition, after formally taking over as Prime Minister of Pakistan last week. Well-placed diplomatic sources say the Saudi rulers conveyed their desire in recent communications with the new Pakistani leadership.

The latest among these came on Tuesday, when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Mina. The Inter-Services Public Relations chief Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted that Crown Prince Salman helped General Bajwa to perform the Hajj ritual, and expressed support for the new government in Islamabad.

Senior military officials confirmed that Pakistan’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia on multiple fronts was discussed, including the security of the kingdom. Among these was the Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), headed by former Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, as Riyadh would like the new Pakistani government to be more involved.

“The Saudi leadership wants Prime Minister Imran Khan to publicly back the coalition because they see the benefit of someone with his global reputation to provide more credence to the alliance, which has been accused of having a sectarian tinge,” a senior diplomat told Asia Times. “The Saudis want to maintain that the absence of Iran and Iraq from the Islamic military coalition is because of political differences rather than religious or ideological [factors], and they believe Pakistan’s vocal support would help in this regard, especially given recent diplomatic developments.”

Anti-terror alliance or anti-Iran?

Saudi Arabia announced the anti-terror alliance in December 2015, when it described the Islamic State as a disease tarnishing the Muslim faith. However, critics have said the alliance, which has about 40 members, appears to be aimed at Iran as much as terrorists.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador after the Government of Canada called for the release of human rights activists. That was followed by an immediate message of support by the government of Pakistan, which said it stood with Saudi Arabia over its row with Canada. The caretaker government issued that statement, but Riyadh is hoping for similar vocal support from the Imran Khan-led administration sworn in last week.

Prince Muhammad Bin Salman called Khan last week to congratulate him on winning the election, and invited him to Saudi Arabia, an offer which the Pakistani premier accepted. The trip is likely to take place early next month. Bilateral ties between Riyadh and Islamabad will be discussed in detail, along with Pakistan’s role in the IMCTC.

Khan has previously opposed Pakistan getting involved in the Saudi war on Yemen, which is aided by the kingdom’s ties with the Pakistani military.  “After the meeting in September [Khan] will say that Pakistan is very supportive of Saudi Arabia and is willing to do everything to safeguard the holy places from any attacks, which is usually interpreted as an intent of maintaining neutrality, but is accepted by the Saudis as Pakistan being willing to provide all kinds of military cooperation,” a retired military officer said to Asia Times. “However, it’s Pakistan’s support for the military coalition that will determine how many billion dollars the Saudis give us,” he said.

Pakistan is eying a $4-billion loan from the Saudi-backed Islamic Development Bank to address its balance of payments crisis. Riyadh could provide further economic favors as well, depending on how much Islamabad toes the Saudi line, as was the case for Khan’s predecessors.

Sharif prioritized ties with Saudi royals

Nawaz Sharif felt indebted to the Saudi leaders due to their support for the former premier in exile when he was ousted in a coup by former Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf, and critics have long noted how Sharif prioritized Islamabad’s relations with Riyadh over others, which helped alienate Pakistan’s neighbors in Iran.

Sharif’s pro-Saudi stance and his party’s alliances with sectarian groups in Punjab meant that Khan’s PTI had wide backing from the country’s Shia population, which forms around a fifth of Pakistan’s Muslim population. “Unlike Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan is much better placed to balance relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which has been a long-held – but perpetually unfulfilled – goal of Pakistani foreign policy,” says Shameem Akhtar, a veteran foreign policy analyst, columnist and former dean of International Relations at Karachi University.

“Imran Khan doesn’t feel personally obliged towards the Saudis, who have long bought Pakistan and considered it their satellite state. If there’s anything that could push his hand it’s the economic support provided by Riyadh, given Pakistan’s fiscal needs.”

The first indication of the new government’s position on the IMCTC will come if it provides a No Objection Certificate for General Raheel Sharif to continue to command the coalition, after the Supreme Court noted earlier this month that the previous federal cabinet had not done so.

In court proceedings, Defense Secretary Lieutenant General Zamirul Hassan (Retired) said the defense ministry had granted a No Objection notice to Gen Sharif, but the Chief Justice of Pakistan underscored that the law required approval from the cabinet.

Lieutenant General Talat Masood, a former secretary of Pakistan’s Ministry of Defense Production, said he expects a No Objection Certificate to be granted to Gen Sharif. He also confirmed that a lot of Pakistan’s current support to the IMCTC is tacit, but “getting vocal” would be problematic for the new PM.

“The Saudi demand for open backing of the Islamic military coalition puts Imran Khan in a difficult position. I don’t think he would like to openly back the coalition, even though we support it in many ways, but not quite as openly,” Masood told Asia Times.

However, the Lieutenant General maintained that Khan would not have much of a say in the matter given the military leadership’s control over foreign policy. “I don’t think there will be much difference between the policy that Nawaz Sharif was pursuing vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia to what Imran Khan will pursue. Because it all depends on what the military feels and the policy that it decides,” he said.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Hidden internal directive on Syria that got no UNSC approval DOES exist – Russian Foreign Ministry

RT | August 24, 2018

The UN has devised internal guidelines for limiting cooperation with Syria until a “political transition” takes place there, and it was drafted without any consent from the Security Council, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said.

The document in question is entitled ‘Parameters and Principles of UN Assistance in Syria,’ the ministry wrote in a statement to RT. It was issued by the UN Secretariat in October 2017 and provides guidelines for the UN agencies and programs in their work with the war-torn country.

The Secretariat issued the paper without requesting consent or even consulting the UN Security Council or the UN member states, at least on an official level, the ministry noted, adding that the “guidelines” document still “penetrates deeply” into the political situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, thus “going beyond the issue of simple coordination between the UN structures.”

One particular provision of the document explicitly states that the UN “would be ready to facilitate reconstruction” in Syria only “once there is a genuine and inclusive political transition negotiated by the parties.” The Russian ministry described it as an apparent attempt to prevent the international organization from contributing to Syria’s recovery under the current circumstances, while enforcing a “politicized approach of the countries advocating a regime change.”

The directive also implicitly restricts the UN agencies’ cooperation with Damascus, the ministry said, adding that the text of the document says that “UN assistance must not assist parties who have allegedly committed war crimes or crimes against humanity.” The US and its allies in the West have repeatedly accused the Syrian government of various violations of international law and particularly blamed them for chemical weapons incidents that took place on Syrian soil. No hard evidence has ever been presented to substantiate those claims, while the West ignored relevant data provided by the Russian military operating in Syria.

“If some influential [UN] donors believe that … it is time to toughen the sanctions regime against Syria, it does not necessarily mean that the UN agencies should be guided by the same irresponsible approach,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in its statement, expressing its hope that the UN Secretariat will review its methods as Syria’s need for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction aid grows, not least due to an increasing number of refugees returning home.

The issue of an alleged “secret directive” having been distributed by the Secretariat throughout the UN system in October 2017 was first raised by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday. He did not name the document but said that it “prohibited the agencies… from participating in any kind of projects aimed at restoring the Syrian economy” until a “political transition” there.

Lavrov also linked the release of the directive with the “absolutely deconstructive” stance of the US on the issue of Syria’s reconstruction. The next day, the office of the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general denied the existence of any such document by saying that neither its department of political affairs nor any other UN entity had issued a “secret directive” on Syria.

Meanwhile, the ‘not secret’ but rather hard-to-find document mentioned by the Russian Foreign Ministry apparently indeed exists: It was briefly mentioned on an official UN website in a temporary job description. However, the text of the document has never been officially made public by any UN agency.

However, a supposed copy of the text of the directive, entitled ‘Parameters and Principles of UN Assistance in Syria’ and dated October 2017, was included as an annex in another paper published by the Global Protection Cluster – a structure directly linked to such UN agencies as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This document is still available online.

After declaring its commitment to the UN Charter and the Security Council resolutions, the document indeed states that any UN aid to the reconstruction efforts would be possible only following “political transition.” It also states the UN work should de-facto focus on basic humanitarian assistance only, while any “development and reconstruction activities that are outside this will need to be reflected in other frameworks that are by nature a longer negotiation with governments.”

The paper also openly states that the UN “will not promote the return of refugees.” Apart from prohibiting cooperation with “parties who have allegedly committed war crimes or crimes against humanity,” the guidelines also state that assistance must be “prioritized based on the needs of the population (rather than government-driven),” in what might be potentially considered an indirect attempt to limit the UN agencies’ cooperation with the Syrian government.

Read more:

‘Secret directive’ bans UN agencies from helping rebuild Syria until ‘political transition’ – Lavrov

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment