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North Korea Could Formally End War With South Without US Troop Pull Out – Report

Sputnik – 06.09.2018

A South Korean delegation returning from Pyongyang brought important news from the socialist country: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is willing to sign an end-of-war declaration without the withdrawal of US troops from the South. Meanwhile, the North is preparing to celebrate its 70th birthday amid speculation about how militant the fete will be.

A special envoy delegation sent by South Korean President Moon Jae In visited the North Korean capital of Pyongyang Wednesday, delivering a personal letter from Moon to Kim. A Thursday statement in the Workers Party of Korea’s newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, described the photoshoot, dinner and discussions as taking place “in a compatriotic and warm atmosphere.”

The Rodong Sinmun article says Kim was “pleased over the fact that technical contacts in various fields were made between the north and the south, the reunions of separated families and relatives were realized and north-south military talks and the work of setting up a joint liaison office progressed well after the historic Panmunjom meeting,” and that “we should value all these successes which the north and the south made hand in hand and keep advancing without deviation the north-south ties that have definitely entered the new orbit of peace, the orbit of reconciliation and cooperation.”

According to the statement, the two Korean delegations mostly discussed the agenda and schedule of the upcoming inter-Korean summit, to take place in Pyongyang September 18 to 20, and Kim said, “The north and the south should further their efforts to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Those efforts have seemingly stalled in recent weeks as the US cancelled it most recent planned visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the US equivalent of a foreign minister, claiming not to have seen sufficient progress by North Korea toward denuclearization.

More details about the meeting came to light once the delegation returned to South Korea, when members of the envoy delivered further messages from Kim.

Chung Eui-yong, Moon’s national security adviser, told reporters Thursday that Kim said he would be willing to sign the end-of-war declaration that Seoul and Pyongyang have been pursuing since the spring without concomitantly demanding the withdrawal of the 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea or an end to the alliance between the US and South Korea.

While a lasting peace treaty to the 1950 to 1953 war would require much more extensive negotiations between the four powers involved — North Korea, China, South Korea and the US — a statement declaring the end of the war, issued by the two Koreas, would be an important step toward realizing that goal, which Moon and Kim have indicated to be their primary concern ever since their first meeting at the truce city of Panmunjom in April.

Rodong Sinmun articulated the belief Thursday that “[t]he US should no longer stick to a position of attaining denuclearization before signing a peace treaty.”

“Chairman Kim Jong Un has made it clear several times that he is firmly committed to denuclearization and expressed frustration over skepticism in the international community over his commitment,” Chung said. “He said he has pre-emptively taken steps necessary for denuclearization and wants to see these goodwill measures being met with goodwill measures.”

Chung also told reporters that “Chairman Kim stressed that he has never spoken negatively about President Trump to his staff or anyone,” a statement that won praise from US President Donald Trump in a tweet Thursday.

​In turn, the US State Department announced Thursday that Stephen Biegun, the US’ new special envoy to North Korea, who was supposed to go on Pompeo’s cancelled visit, would be touring South Korea, China and Japan next week.

“The special representative will meet with his counterparts and continue diplomatic efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore,” it said, without further elaborating in Biegun’s itinerary, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday.

The South Korean diplomat further affirmed the two Korean governments’ commitment to opening a liaison office in the North Korean industrial city of Kaesong before the inter-Korean summit. Another goal of the Panmunjom summit, the South Korean Ministry of Unification announced last month the approval of $3.1 million in funding to set up the inter-Korean joint liaison office, to come from the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund, NK News reported at the time.

“We will operate the liaison office with the aim that it can contribute to round-the-clock dialogue and cooperation and the stable management of the situation of inter-Korean relations,” the unification ministry said in the statement.

“The Ministry of Unification will strive to contribute to the development of the South-North relations by implementing the Panmunjom Declaration sector-by-sector without setbacks.”

Meanwhile, North Korea is preparing to celebrate its 70th anniversary on Sunday, and there’s no shortage of speculation and anticipation about how the festivities will play out.

Satellite photos on the website 38 North show that North Korean troops have been practicing for weeks at a mockup of Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square, named after the founder of the country (and Kim Jong Un’s grandfather), a revolutionary communist leader who led the Korean insurgency against Japanese colonial rule during World War II. His Workers Party of Korea declared the foundation of the people’s democratic republic on September 9, 1948, and the country has made a habit of celebrating its birthday with an extravagant parade, the centerpiece of which is typically their latest military weaponry.

However, observers wonder if this year’s event won’t be different, to reflect the change in tone by Kim in recent months. The last major military parade, in February, showcased North Korea’s Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missiles, the very weapons at the center of the denuclearization push on the peninsula, which North Korea says are necessary to guarantee its security and independence amid the presence of US troops in the South and the lack of a permanent peace treaty.

In a major contrast to past parades, dozens of international media organizations have been granted visas to attend this year’s events, Defense News noted Thursday.

It’s known that the parade, which always features mass performances by the people of the city, will include a torch parade as well as the revival of the country’s iconic mass games after a six-year hiatus. The celebrations also feature civilian contingents celebrating achievements in agriculture, industry, science and art, and may feature these more prominently than in the past, given Kim’s newly declared focus on building these parts of North Korean society.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

EU Enters “Final Stage” of Crafting Bill Forcing Big Tech Censorship

By Joseph Jankowski | PlanetFreeWill | September 5, 2018

The European Union is in the final stages of crafting legislation that will force big tech and internet companies to censor “extremist” content and cooperate with law enforcement, Reuters reports.

The bill is expected to be released by the end of the month and will absolutely require companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter to swiftly remove any content considered terroristic from their platforms.

EU Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Commissioner, Věra Jourová, speaks on monitoring of illegal online hate speech code of conduct in Brussels, Belgium. [Olivier Hoslet/EPA]

In March, the European Commission told such companies that they had three months to show they were removing “extremist” content more rapidly or face legislation forcing them to do so.

EU recommendations were sent out at the time regarding the speedy removal of all content including terrorist content, incitement to hatred and violence, child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products, and copyright infringement.

The threat eventually led to the creation of an online “code of conduct” aimed at fighting racism and xenophobia across Europe, an effort both the EU and big tech collaborated on.

According to European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, that an existing code of conduct to counter hate speech could remain voluntary.

“(But on) terrorist content, we came to the conclusion that it is too serious a threat and risk for European people that we should have absolute certainty that all the platforms and all the IT providers will delete the terrorist content and will cooperate with law enforcement bodies,” Jourova said on Wednesday.

“Yes, this is in the final stage,” she added, addressing the new bill.

While details of the new legislation remain hidden, the Financial Times in August learned that law enforcement will be in charge of flagging content for censorship.

EU security commissioner Julian King also had mentioned last month that the bill will “likely” turn the agreed upon “code of conduct” into mandatory law, placing the prediction by Jourova that it will remain voluntary on shakey grounds.

The big tech – EU code of conduct establishes “public commitments” for tech companies, including the requirement to review the “majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech” in less than 24 hours. It was also crafted to make it easier for law enforcement to notify firms directly of any unwanted content.

Within the code is a narrow explanation of “hate speech,” being defined as “all conduct publicly inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.”

The nature of enforcing censorship based on a narrow and subjective term such as “hate speech” is likely to keep suspicions high that these types of decision aren’t about creating a safer world, but rather a world in which superstates like the EU control the content people see online for political purposes.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Zuckerberg admits social media is a weapon, says Facebook in ‘arms race’ against ‘bad actors’

By Danielle Ryan | RT | September 5, 2018

If you had any lingering doubt that Facebook has become little more than a vehicle for US government censorship and Western propaganda, a recent Washington Post op-ed by Mark Zuckerberg should remove any ambiguity.

In his short and snappy op-ed, Mark Zuckerberg admits that “protecting democracy” is an “arms race” and reaffirms Facebook’s commitment to winning. Put another way, Zuckerberg is telling us that social media is a weapon —  and that he has picked a side.

Because, let’s not labor under the false illusion that Facebook cares about democracy everywhere. In Zuckerberg’s world, there are bad guys and good guys — and he’s relying on the good guys to tell him what’s what.

The problem is that, coincidentally, the good guys always seem to be tied to Western or Western-aligned governments — and the bad guys always just happen to be the ones those governments don’t seem to like very much. A conundrum which I’m sure was totally unintentional and which Facebook is no doubt working very hard on figuring out. As he says in the Post, Facebook is working very hard to “improve its defenses” against any kind of unfair or nefarious influence and it has been doing its very best to remove “fake accounts and bad content” in recent months.

The military comparisons (“arms race” and “improving our defenses”) are perhaps more apt than Zuckerberg even intended, given that for some of this work, he has chosen to partner up with the Atlantic Council, which operates essentially as a soft-power lobbying wing for NATO, campaigning vociferously on behalf of the US-led military organization and championing its wars and “interventions” across the world.

In a roundabout sort of way, Zuckerberg’s op-ed is unintentionally honest, because a huge amount more can be inferred from what he doesn’t say than what he does say.

Funnily enough, despite offering a list of actions Facebook has taken against what Zuckerberg calls “bad actors” online, the psyops and social media manipulation orchestrated by Western governments — chiefly, the US, UK and Israeli governments — don’t get so much as a passing mention in his op-ed. This is odd, given his sincere and deep commitment to combating fake news and misinformation. Clearly, the little democracy fairies that whisper orders in his ear every day must have forgotten to mention them. I mean, let’s give the guy a break. It’s a big responsibility to have the fate of democracy resting on your shoulders.

But let’s say someone did slip a note onto Zuckerberg’s desk about some really nefarious stuff that’s been going on under his nose for years. What might it say?

Well, it might mention a 2011 report in the Guardian newspaper which exposed that the US government was at that time developing a ‘sock puppet’ software program, designed by the US military, to “fake online identities” for the purpose of influencing online conversations and spreading pro-American propaganda. What’s worse, this wasn’t even really a secret.

To build its influence campaign, United States Central Command (Centcom) awarded a contract to a California-based company to develop an “online persona management service” allowing one serviceperson to control up to ten different fake identities, which the contract stated must have convincing and believable background stories. But don’t worry, CENTCOM said it was all about combating terrorism, that they were not targeting Facebook or Twitter and they were only trying to fool foreigners who speak languages like “Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto” — so, no problem then. I mean, if they say it, it must be true.

The note to Zuckerberg might also mention that in 2015, the British Army proudly announced it was developing a new brigade to specialize in psychological warfare on social media. The ‘77th Brigade’ employs social media “warriors” (the Russians have “trolls” and “bots” — but the UK has “warriors”)  who use “non-lethal engagement and legitimate non-military levers as a means to adapt behaviours” online — a fairly long-winded way to say: “We do propaganda.”

It is also known that the British GCHQ and the NSA in the US operate entire programs dedicated to discrediting adversaries online through sophisticated disinformation campaigns involving fake emails and blog posts.

At the beginning of this year, the Israeli Army set up its “Center for Consciousness Operations” which was described by Haaretz as “a new ‘soft power’ psychological warfare unit”. Of course, this was not Israel’s first attempt at manipulating opinion online. The Israeli Army has previously invested in similar programs, with the government announcing in 2013 that it was willing to pay Israeli students to circulate pro-Israeli information online. The IDF is known to be active on 30 platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and operating in six languages. But the centre of “consciousness operations” was part of a new push to “influence the enemy and Western opinion over Israel’s military moves” through social media and other online platforms.

Zuckerberg’s mind will be blown when he hears about all this. No doubt he would march straight back to Capitol Hill and demand an immediate explanation.

Facebook has steadfastly ignored any evidence that these governments are engaged in massive online influence campaigns because they’re the ‘good’ guys so what they do online doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s worse than that. Facebook not only does not care what these governments do, it actively helps them do it.

One recent example was the temporary removal of the Telesur English page on Facebook without explanation. It just so happens that Telesur is one of the only English-language sources of news on Venezuela that offers a perspective which differs from Washington’s view. A coincidence, surely.

Then there’s the fact that Facebook has been deleting the accounts of Palestinian activists at the behest of the Israeli government, as the Intercept reported last year. Over one four-month period, Facebook removed 95 percent of the accounts that Tel Aviv demanded to be taken down. It’s important to note that “demanded” is the correct word here, given that Israel threatened Facebook with new laws which would have forced them to comply with deletion orders if they did not do so voluntarily.

In his op-ed, Zuckerberg claims (correctly) that social media platforms like Facebook are targeted by “sophisticated, well-funded adversaries” who are getting smarter about covering their tracks. But he simply can’t be taken seriously while ignoring the clear evidence that the very governments and ‘fact checkers’ he is so keen to work with to ‘combat’ disinformation are knee-deep in this exact activity.

In reality, we can’t expect Zuckerberg to start caring about any of this. During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg all but confirmed that Facebook willingly acts on behalf of the US government when she assured senators that the platform would never take action to favor a “hostile foreign power” over the US or its military.

But Facebook executives are one thing and the media is another. While Western journalists have sought to wrangle as many headlines as possible out of stories about “Russian meddling” online, they have shown curiously little interest in online propaganda campaigns run by their own governments.

Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer based in Dublin. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, teleSUR, RBTH, The Calvert Journal and others. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleRyanJ

Read more:

Facebook’s anonymous censors take down Latin America’s Telesur, and nothing can stop them

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Once upon a time there were three commentators

By Francis Clark Lowes | September 6, 2018

The first wrote a piece about the United States in which he argued that the country was irredeemably stuck in a schizophrenic mind-set formed before the abolition of slavery. This had allowed slavery to continue despite a bill of rights guaranteeing freedom to everyone. The present disproportionate number of blacks in prison was a direct consequence.

This analysis was met with a chorus of disapproval, but the usual pontificators on public morality, many of whom happened to be Jewish, ruled that free speech was a right which took precedence over all others.

The second commentator wrote a piece about the United Kingdom in which he argued that the country had been a failed concept since the act of union tried to mould two quite distinct peoples into one nation. Moreover, the UK was irredeemably flawed by being built on the proceeds of the lucrative slave trade.

This analysis, though getting some support, was widely criticised, but the usual pontificators on public morality, many of whom happened to be Jewish, ruled that free speech was a right which took precedence over all others.

The third commentator wrote a piece about Israel in which he argued that Theodor Herzl’s concept of a Jewish state was inherently inequitable, and that until that concept was changed not only on paper but in the minds of a majority of Jews, there would be no peace.

This analysis provoked a hurricane of protest. But the pontificators, many of whom happened to be Jewish, now joined in; indeed they cheer-led the rumpus. It was left to a few still small voices, among them a sprinkling of Jewish ones, to stand like trees bent double by the wind, and argue that Jews and Israel should not be treated exceptionally.

Needless to say, the third commentator lost his job and has recently been seen begging in the streets of Brighton.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Skripal Case: Luke Harding’s latest work of fiction

By Kit | OffGuardian | September 6, 2018

Luke Harding likes writing books about things that he wasn’t really involved in and doesn’t really understand. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, that covers pretty much everything. His book about Snowden, for example, was beautifully taken down by Julian Assange – a person who was actually there.

He’s priming the traumatised public for another of his works, this time about Sergei Skripal. This one will probably be out by Christmas, unless he can find someone else’s work to plagiarise, in which case he might get it done sooner.

It will have a snide and not especially clever title, perhaps a sort of pun – something like the “A Poison by Any Other Name: How Russian assassins contaminated the heart of rural England”. It will relate, in jarring sub-sub-le Carre prose, a story of Russian malfeasance and evil beyond imagining, whilst depicting the whole cast as bumbling caricatures, always held up for ridicule by the author and his smug readership.

There’s an extract in The Guardian today. It’s not listed as one, but trust me, it will be in the book. It’s title, as predicted above, is sort of a pun (and will probably be a chapter heading):

Planes, trains and fake names: the trail left by Skripal suspects

You see? Like that film? I don’t really get it either but until someone else comes up with something clever he can copy, Luke is left to his own rather meagre devices.

It starts off surprisingly strong, waiting three whole sentences before lurching violently into totally unsupported conjecture:

The two men were dressed inconspicuously in jeans, fleece jackets and trainers as they boarded the flight from Moscow to Gatwick. Their names, according to their Russian passports, were Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. Both were around 40 years old. Neither looked suspicious.

This is, as far as we know so far, true.

The plane trundled down the icy runway. In Moscow the temperatures had fallen below -10C, not unusual for early March. In Britain it had been snowing.

… and so is this. In fact, in googling “Moscow weather March 2018” Harding has displayed an uncharacteristically thorough approach to research that was rarely (if ever) evidenced in his previous works.

They had also packed a bottle of what appeared to be the Nina Ricci perfume Premier Jour. The box it came in was prettily decorated with flowers, it listed ingredients including alcohol and it bore the words “Made in France”.

This is where truth ends and guesses take over: there is no evidence, at all, that these two men had anything to do with the “perfume bottle” allegedly found by Charlie Rowley on June 27th and allegedly containing a powerful nerve agent. There is (as far as we know) no fingerprint or DNA evidence on the bottle, nobody saw them with the bottle, and there’s no released CCTV footage of them holding or carrying the bottle. Saying “it’s in their backpack” is meaningless without any evidence to back it up.

According to the Metropolitan police, the bottle in fact contained novichok, a lethal nerve agent developed in the late Soviet Union. The bottle had been specially made to be leakproof and had a customised applicator.

Note he doesn’t feel the need to examine, question or even verify the words of the Metropolitan Police [Seemingly, in the UK, bottles are designed to leak]. This is a recurring theme in Harding’s works – there are people who tell the truth (US) and people who lie (RUSSIANS). Evidence is a complication you can live without.

Moscow’s notorious poisons factory run by the KGB made similar devices throughout the cold war.

Did they? Because he doesn’t show any evidence this is true. One thing you can be sure of, if there had ever been even a whisper about a “modified perfume bottle” in any Soviet archive or from any “whistleblower currently living in the United States”, it would be on the front page in big black letters.

Petrov and Boshirov were aliases, detectives believe. Both men are suspected to be career officers with the GRU, Russia’s powerful and highly secretive military intelligence service.

Note use of the word “believe”, it makes regular appearances alongside it’s buddies: “suspect” and “probably”.

And yes, they “believe” they are aliases because IF they were assassins then obviously they used aliases. There’s no evidence taken from their (currently totally theoretical) visa applications that point to forgery, nobody at the time questioned their passports. As of today, we have been given no reason to think they were aliases, except reasoning backwards from assumed guilt… which isn’t how deduction works.

In fact, there’s more than enough reason to assume they aren’t aliases – Firstly, they passed the visa check, secondly their passports were never questioned, thirdly they’ve used them before (see below), and finally… just WHY would a Russian spy-come-assassin use a fake Russian name and a fake Russian passport? That’s ridiculous.

The officers’ assignment was covert. They were coming to Britain not as tourists but as assassins.

[citation needed]

Their target was Sergei Skripal, a former GRU officer who spied for British intelligence, got caught and was freed in a spy exchange in 2010. They were heading for his home in provincial Salisbury.

Luke doesn’t feel the need to dig down into the nitty gritty here – motive is a trifle, to be added in the footnotes or made up on the spur of the moment when asked at a book signing. I’m a bit more fussy than that – I feel the need to ask “Why did they release him in 2010 and then try to kill him in 2018?” If they had wanted to kill him, why not just do it when he was in prison in Russia between 2006 and 2010? If they wanted to kill him… why do it just weeks before the World Cup? What could they possibly have to gain?

Luke doesn’t know, and neither do I.

Their Aeroflot flight SU2588 touched down at 3pm on Friday 2 March. They were recorded on CCTV going through passport control, Boshirov with dark hair and a goatee beard, Petrov unshaven and wearing a blue gingham shirt. Both were carrying satchels slung casually over the shoulder.

This is all true, and completely unnecessary. It’s what we in the industry call “filler” or “padding”. Totally meaningless and useless words that do nothing but take up space. Without it, a lot of Luke’s books would only be about 700 words long.

According to police, the pair had visited the UK before.

Way to bury the lead there, Luke.

This is actually quite important isn’t it? I mean, when did they visit the UK before? Did they visit Salisbury then too? Did they have any contact with Sergei Skripal? Were they travelling under the same names? Were these visits linked with other intelligence work? Were they just holidays? What kind of assassins would use the SAME FAKE IDS ON TWO DIFFERENT OCCASIONS?

These are all very important questions, but Luke doesn’t ask them. Because Luke is a modern journalist, and they don’t interrogate the claims of the state, just report them. To Guardian reporters a question mark is just that funny squiggle next to the shift key.

From Gatwick they caught the train to London Victoria station and then the tube to east London, where they checked in to the City Stay hotel in Bow. It was a low-profile choice of accommodation. The red-brick Victorian building is next to a branch of Barclays bank, a busy train line and a wall daubed with graffiti. Across the road is a car pound and a Texaco garage.

This just more filler. Totally meaningless packaging material. The prose equivalent of All-Bran.

On hostile territory, Boshirov and Petrov operated in the manner of classic intelligence operatives.

In this instance “the manner of classic intelligence operatives” means, flying direct to London from Moscow, using Russian names and Russian passports (which you’ve used before), checking into a hotel with a CCTV camera on the front door, going straight to the hometown of an ex-double agent, leaving a Russian poison his front door even though he’s already gone out, dumping your unused poison in a charity bin on the high street, going back to your hotel, smearing poison around that too even though you already dumped it, and then flying directly back to Moscow without even waiting to see if the plan worked and the target is dead.

This, in Luke’s head, is ace intelligence work.

On the day of the hit, according to detectives, the pair made a similar journey, taking the 8.05am train from Waterloo to Salisbury and arriving at 11.48am.

Yes, they arrived at 11.48, making it absolutely pointless to put poison on the Skripal’s door, as they had already gone out.

The perfume bottle was probably concealed in a light grey backpack carried by Petrov.

It was “probably concealed” in that backpack because, as I said above, there’s no evidence either of those men ever knew the perfume bottle existed. You never see it in their possession.

Oh, and the backpack would have to contain TWO bottles of perfume – because the police aren’t sure the bottle Rowley found 3 months later was the same bottle, and Rowley reported it was unopened and wrapped in cellophane. Perhaps Luke should have read the details of the case instead of trolling IMDB looking for movie titles with “plane” in them or googling “insouciant” to see if he was using it right.

From Salisbury station the two men set off on foot. It was a short walk of about a mile to Skripal’s semi-detached home in Christie Miller Road.

… which doesn’t matter, because the Skripals weren’t there. They left at 9.15 and there is no evidence they ever returned.

At Skripal’s house the Russians smeared or sprayed novichok on to the front door handle, police say.

… which doesn’t matter, because the Skripals weren’t there. They left at 9.15 and there is no evidence they ever returned.

It doesn’t matter if Borishov and Petrov re-tiled the bathroom with novichok grouting or hid novichok in the battery compartment of Sergei’s TV remote or replaced all his lightbulbs with novichok bombs that explode when you use the clapper…. according to everything we’ve been told so far Sergei and Julia were literally never in that house again.

Luke seems to write a lot about this case, considering he is barely acquainted with the most basic facts of it.

The moment went unobserved

True. There is not a single piece of footage, photograph or eyewitness placing these men within a hundred feet of the Skripals, or their house. The “moment went unobserved” is an incredibly dishonest way of phrasing this, “the moment is entirely theoretical” is rather fairer. Or, if you want to be honest “it’s possible none of this happened”.

At some point on their walk back they must have tossed away the bottle, which at this point was too dangerous to try to smuggle back through customs.

It’s all falling into place perfectly isn’t it?

At some point the two men, who we never see holding or carrying the bottle, must have thrown it away because three months later someone else found it.

They took it through customs once but couldn’t a second time, because reasons.

Also one of them was smiling a sort of “I just poisoned somebody” smile:

At 1.05pm the men were recorded in Fisherton Street on their way back to the station. They appeared more relaxed, Petrov grinning even.

Those evil bastards.

By the time Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found collapsed on a park bench in the centre of Salisbury later that afternoon, the poisoners were gone.

No Luke: By the time Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found collapsed on a park bench in the centre of Salisbury later that afternoon, the ALLEGED poisoners were gone.

Alleged is an important word for example, there is a marked difference between being an ALLEGED plagiarist, and being a plagiarist.

The visitors were captured on CCTV one more time, at Heathrow airport. It was 7.28pm and both men were going through security, Petrov first, wheeling a small black case. In his right hand was a shiny red object, his Russian passport. Police believe the passport was genuine, his name not. In other words, that it was a sophisticated espionage operation carried out by a state or state entities.

You see? Nobody thought the passport was fake, which means it was a really good fake. So the Russian state must have been in on it. This is known as an unfalsifiable hypothesis. If the passport did look fake, that would be evidence that the men were spies… and therefore the Russian state was in on it.

Harding has created a narrative where there is literally no development that could ever challenge his conclusions.

Seemingly, the GRU plan – executed two weeks before Russia’s presidential election – had worked perfectly.

This is an example of the cum hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy – two things happen at the same time, therefore they happen for the same reason. It’s a maneuver we at OffG refer to as “the Harding”, where you state two separate assertions or facts one after the other in such a way as to imply a relationship, without ever making a solid statement. I’ll give you an example:

Luke Harding was born in 1968, mere weeks before the brutal assassination of Robert Kennedy.

Harding is suggesting some sort of connection between the election and the poisoning. He can’t STATE it, because then he has to explain his reasoning – and there isn’t any. Putin, and Russia as a whole, had nothing to gain from poisoning an ex-spy they had released nearly a decade earlier, especially on the eve of a Presidential election and mere weeks before the World Cup. There’s no argument to be made, so he doesn’t attempt to make one, he just makes a snide and baseless insinuation.

In his defense, Luke might genuinely believe it, cum hoc ergo propter hoc is a favorite amongst paranoid personalities, of which Luke is definitely a prime example.

Vladimir Putin, the man whom a public inquiry found in 2016 had “probably” signed off on the operation to kill Litvinenko. The UK security services say a “body of evidence” points to the GRU.

“Probably” is also a big word. For example, there’s a marked difference between “probably being a plagiarist” and “being a plagiarist”.

It seems clear that Moscow continues to view Britain as a playground for undercover operations and is relatively insouciant about the consequences, diplomatic and political. The Skripal attack may have misfired. But the message, mingling contempt and arrogance, is there for all to see: we can smite our enemies whenever and wherever we want, and there is nothing you can do about it.

This is the second time Luke has used the word “insouciant” in two days, which means that word of the day calendar was probably a sound investment, but he forgot to flip it over this morning.

Other than that, this final paragraph is nothing but paranoia.

The Russians were TRYING to make it obvious, to send a message. But were also lazy and arrogant. And yet also left no solid evidence because they are experts at espionage. They had no motive except being mean, and couldn’t even be bothered to make sure they did it right. They want us all to know they did it, but will never admit it.

The actual truth of the situation can be summed up in a few bullet points. Currently:

  • There is no evidence these men were using forged documents.
  • There is no evidence these men were travelling under aliases or assumed names.
  • There is no evidence these men ever had any contact with Sergei Skripal’s house.
  • There is no evidence these men ever had any contact with Sergei Skripal or his daughter.
  • There is no evidence these men were Russian intelligence assets or had any military training.
  • There is no evidence these men ever possessed or had any contact with the perfume bottle found by Charlie Rowley on June 27th.
  • They have visited the UK before, not on intelligence business (as far as we know).
  • Their movements don’t align with the timeline of Skripal’s illness.

The entire narrative is created around half a dozen screen caps of two (allegedly) Russian men, not behaving in any way illegally or even suspiciously. All the rest is fiction, created by a hack to service an agenda. This isn’t one of those “You couldn’t make it up” stories, it’s not that incredible. It’s just insulting and stupid.

You could make it up, and he did.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Fox News Report on Iran’s ‘Arms Smuggling’ Plays Into Pentagon’s Hands – Analyst

Sputnik – September 6, 2018

Fox News has accused an Iranian civil aviation company of smuggling arms into Lebanon, destined for the Hezbollah militant group, using “clandestine routes” said to have been uncovered by Western intelligence. Iran makes no secret of its political support for the Shia group but has vehemently denied supplying them with weapons.

In a recent report, Fox claimed, citing unnamed intelligence sources, that two “rare and unusual” flights by Qeshm Fars Air, a cargo hauler, were made from Tehran to Beirut recently, one of them making a short layover in Damascus. As possible evidence of wrongdoing, Fox cited the planes’ trajectories, with the flight paths allegedly avoiding parts of western Syria.

Another is shown flying directly from Tehran to Beirut, avoiding Syria altogether.

© Photo : FlightRadar24/Google Maps

One plane's route showing that it passed over northern Lebanon after a brief layover in Damascus

One plane’s route showing that it passed over northern Lebanon after a brief layover in Damascus

Overlooking the idea that Qeshm Fars Air may have routed its planes this way out of security concerns, given that Syria is a war zone, Fox claimed, citing a “regional intelligence source,” that Iran was “testing and defying the West’s abilities” to track its alleged weapons smuggling.

Speaking to Sputnik Persian, Dr. Seyed Hadi Afghahi, a Middle Eastern affairs observer and former diplomat who has served in the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon, said that Fox’s coverage was not surprising, given their role in the American political and media landscape.

“First off, let’s recall what interests Fox News represents. This is one of the media mouthpieces sponsored by the US Department of Defense. Its senior executives consist of cadres representing the Zionist lobby in the US, or receive instructions from Tel Aviv,” Afghahi said.

“Second: why does Fox News cite ‘Western intelligence services’ without giving specifics, or the name of the service, for example, MI6? The channel offers very vague information without specifying even the name of the service which could confirm or deny such statements. This sort of reporting speaks for itself. Either documents must be presented, or reliable sources identified, which can confirm what the channel says.”

Finally, Afghahi said that given the fact that this was not the first time that Fox has been accused of spreading false stories, “the informational content presented, which isn’t supported by evidence, cannot be taken at face value.”

Who Benefits?

According to Dr. Afghahi, the more important aspect in the smuggling story is finding out what concrete goals Fox may be pursuing. Afghahi believes that the situation in the Syrian province of Idlib, the last major stronghold of extremist militants, and Syrian Army plans to liberate the territory, is the real “stick in the craw” for the US and Israel at this time. The “arms smuggling” story, in this light, is just an excuse for Western intervention in Syria against Damascus and its allies, including Iran and Hezbollah.

“Today, the region is in a very difficult and sensitive situation,” the observer stressed. “The operation to liberate Idlib, where terrorist groups and even the Turkish army are still operating, is approaching; this causes discontent among certain parties, who would like to prevent such an operation from being carried out. This, first and foremost, includes the United States, which uses its informational, strategic, military and political resources to engage in sabotage. Moreover, the US has officially warned that if the Syrian Army were to be joined by the forces of its allies, Iran and Hezbollah, this would constitute an escalation of the situation in the region, result in increased casualties, and possibly even the use of chemical weapons by Assad’s forces.”

Washington, according to Afghahi, “is distraught” over the fact that the victory over terrorism in Syria will be won by Bashar and his allies Iran, Hezbollah and Russia, and not by the US. “This fact is a great disappointment to the US and its allies. Therefore, they are preparing the groundwork, using all possible levers of influence, including spreading fake news, to ensure that this doesn’t happen.”

Ultimately, Afghahi emphasized that by pushing the smuggling narrative, Fox is working to provide both Washington and Tel Aviv with a pretext to strike Iranian advisers and Hezbollah fighters in Syria, where the latter have assisted in Damascus’s fight against terrorism.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Psychic Nikki Haley: If There Is a Future Chemical Weapons Attack, Assad Did It

By Caitlin JOHNSTONE | Medium | September 4, 2018

UN Ambassador and Clairvoyant Prognosticator of the Transmundane Nikki Haley has foreseen that, if there are any future chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian province of Idlib, it will most definitely be the Syrian government that is responsible and not the multiple terrorist factions in the area.

“If they want to continue to go the route of taking over Syria, they can do that,” said Nikki Haley at a UN press conference today, without explaining how a nation’s only recognized government can ‘take over’ the country it governs. “But they cannot do it with chemical weapons. They can’t do it assaulting their people. And we’re not gonna fall for it. If there are chemical weapons that are used, we know exactly who’s gonna use them.”

Haley was referring to the Syrian government’s impending push to complete its military campaign of recapturing its land from the terrorist factions and militias who, with extensive help from the US and its allies, have been holding communities hostage in a failed attempt to take over Syria. Her supernatural prophecy is just the latest in an increasingly bizarre string of claims being advanced by political figures and establishment media that the Assad government is planning to use chemical weapons to complete that campaign in Idlib.

Their narrative is that the Russian government’s warnings of a plot by the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist factions occupying the region to stage a chemical weapons attack and frame the Syrian government for it are actually just a preemptive “smoke screen” to allow them to get away with committing war crimes. When Haley said “we’re not gonna fall for it,” this is the ‘it’ she was referring to.

So let’s unpack that a bit. I’m going to propose two different possibilities to you, and you decide for yourself which one is the more likely event to occur in the future:

Possibility 1: The actual, literal terrorist factions occupying Idlib are on the cusp of defeat with nowhere to escape to. They know for a fact that the US and its allies have launched repeated attacks on the Syrian government following chemical weapons allegations without first waiting for an investigation into those allegations. They also know for a fact that multiple high level officials in the western alliance have stated they will carry out aggressive attacks against the Syrian government in retaliation for any perceived chemical weapons attacks, and, thanks to the public prognostications from Madame Haley’s crystal ball, they also know that the Syrian government has already been assigned blame for any such attack in advance. Knowing all of these things, with their backs against the wall with the absolute certainty that getting the western military alliance on their side is their last and only chance, they get their hands on some chemical weapons and kill some of the civilians they’ve captured.

Possibility 2: On the cusp of victory, the Assad government decides to do the one thing that risks a US-led regime change military intervention in order to accomplish the crucial strategic masterstroke of killing a few kids with chlorine or sarin in front of a bunch of White Helmets cameras.

While you are weighing those two options, consider for a moment the fact that the US and its allies have an extensive history of attempting to control who governs Syria, and indeed plotted to create a violent uprising exactly as it occurred in 2011. Not after the violence had already started, but years in advance.

This is not my opinion, and it is not a conspiracy theory. It is a known fact that you can verify for yourself:

  • Here is a 2006 WikiLeaks cable in which the US government is seen exploring possible factions which could be incentivized to rise up against Assad, and ways in which psyops could be used to ensure widespread violence.
  • Here is a declassified CIA memo from 1986 in which the Central Intelligence Agency is seen exploring ways in which sectarian tensions can be inflamed to provoke a violent uprising in Syria. Here is a useful article featuring excerpts from the memo showing some jarring parallels between what was being planned and what happened a quarter century later.
  • Here is a video clip of General Wesley Clark naming Syria among the countries scheduled by the Pentagon for regime change in the wake of 9/11.
  • Here is a video clip of the former Foreign Minister of France stating in plain language that he was informed by British government insiders in 2009 that a violent Syrian uprising was being planned, two years before the violence erupted.
  • Here is an article featuring a video of the former Qatari Prime Minister stating that the US and its allies were involved in the violence from the very beginning.

You get the picture. If a man had documented his plans to murder his wife with an axe, and those plans were found after his wife turned up dead of axe wounds exactly as he’d planned them, and multiple people in the area said they’d heard him murdering her with an axe, the primary suspect in that case would not be the neighbor’s cat.

The violence in Syria was planned and orchestrated years in advance, and now hundreds of thousands of human beings are dead as a direct result. And these monsters are now pretending to be concerned about human rights?

No. Get out of Syria, you absolute ghouls. Everyone responsible for perpetrating and sustaining these horrors should spend the rest of their lives in a Hague cell. If there is a chemical weapons attack as the Syrian government moves to recapture Idlib, the last people anyone should believe is the psychopathic governments who are responsible for this catastrophe in the first place.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

American Warmongering and Opportunism on Parade

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 06.09.2018

The United States collectively speaking lost its mind last week during a multi-day orgy of smug self-satisfaction centered on the obsequies culminating in the state funeral of Senator John McCain. McCain became the Everyman American-style, embodying virtues that all red-blooded lovers of freedom should aspire to, a hero who fought “for the life and liberty of other people’s in other lands.” He was a man, according to the media, of matchless nobility who endured torture for love of country, a war hero who put down his sword before starting a long career in government service where he selflessly defended liberty and justice worldwide.

Unfortunately, very little of the story is true. The entire hagiographic saga of the warrior prince that has been woven around McCain by those in the media and the political world that want to use him to demonstrate the deficiency of those qualities in Donald Trump is little more than a work of fiction. John McCain was a monster, betraying his country while a prisoner in Hanoi and then his former comrades-in-arms after the war ended. From Vietnam he learned nothing, saying “I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.”

McCain subsequently embraced every war that came his way while also promoting regime change and doing his best to start new wars in places where America had no interests. Think Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Ukraine, Somalia and Syria just for starters. A prosperous Libya was bombed into anarchy and is now ruled by gangs who have reopened slave markets. McCain was also an opportunist par excellence, parlaying his dubious war record into a political career and at the same time ditching a first wife whom he considered a liability to marry the daughter of a multi-millionaire Arizona beer distributor to finance his personal ambitions.

The number of politicians of all stripes and media hacks eager to climb on the McCain bandwagon is quite astonishing, particularly as the Senator’s real track record is well known inside the beltway. Songs of praise were of course expected from leading Establishment and Deep State toadies completely lacking moral compasses, to include George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, self-described socialist and darling of America’s progressives, enthused over the “maverick” warrior, whom she never had met, whose “… legacy represents an unparalleled example of human decency and American service.” Another leftist who should know better, Senator Elizabeth Warren, recalled fondly how McCain advised her “To always get in the fight and throw some punches.”

Only the honest and honorable ex-President Jimmy Carter has had the courage to buck the trend and tell it like it is regarding McCain, describing him in 2014 as a “warmonger.” Hanging the human decency label on McCain is the ultimate travesty as he is a man who actively promoted the policies that have killed millions around the world, to include thousands of his own countrymen. Indeed, he was a symbol of American interventionism, having led the Republican wing of the National Endowment for Democracy, a US government funded democracy promotion engine which has interfered in more elections and governments than even the CIA did in its heyday.

So who is the real John McCain? A credible case has been made that McCain, who was shot down while bombing a civilian target, almost certainly crossed the line and collaborated extensively while a prisoner in North Vietnam before being exonerated through a Navy Department cover-up of his behavior after his release from captivity. His own subsequent actions as a congressman to block any inquiry into the status of possible US prisoners of war remaining in Indochina have also been examined in some detail by prize winning journalist Sydney Schanberg and quite appropriately condemned.

But McCain is perhaps best known for his recent efforts to increase US involvement in Syria and also instigate war with Russia and Iran. Fighting between Georgia and Russia broke out in 2008 when Tbilisi threatened and then attacked Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. McCain responded, “We are all Georgians now,” urging that the US enter the conflict on behalf of Georgia. He later was present in Maidan Square in Kiev together with the odious Victoria Nuland, stirring up opposition to the regime in power that was friendly to Russia. When regime change subsequently took place and fighting broke out, McCain led congressional moves to actively support the new Ukrainian government against Moscow. And who can forget the good Senator’s photo-op with ISIS terrorists in Syria as well as his sparkling rendition of “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” on the Howard Stern radio program?

So it is goodbye to John McCain. And I would add, good riddance.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Skripals – The Mystery Deepens

By Craig Murray | September 6, 2018

The time that “Boshirov and Petrov” were allegedly in Salisbury carrying out the attack is all entirely within the period the Skripals were universally reported to have left their home with their mobile phones switched off.

A key hole in the British government’s account of the Salisbury poisonings has been plugged – the lack of any actual suspects. And it has been plugged in a way that appears broadly convincing – these two men do appear to have traveled to Salisbury at the right time to have been involved.

But what has not been established is the men’s identity and that they are agents of the Russian state, or just what they did in Salisbury. If they are Russian agents, they are remarkably amateur assassins. Meanwhile the new evidence throws the previously reported timelines into confusion – and demolishes the theories put out by “experts” as to why the Novichok dose was not fatal.

This BBC report gives a very useful timeline summary of events.

At 09.15 on Sunday 4 March the Skripals’ car was seen on CCTV driving through three different locations in Salisbury. Both Skripals had switched off their mobile phones and they remained off for over four hours, which has baffled geo-location.

There is no CCTV footage that indicates the Skripals returning to their home. It has therefore always been assumed that they last touched the door handle around 9am.

But the Metropolitan Police state that Boshirov and Petrov did not arrive in Salisbury until 11.48 on the day of the poisoning. That means that they could not have applied a nerve agent to the Skripals’ doorknob before noon at the earliest. But there has never been any indication that the Skripals returned to their home after noon on Sunday 4 March. If they did so, they and/or their car somehow avoided all CCTV cameras. Remember they were caught by three CCTV cameras on leaving, and Borishov and Petrov were caught frequently on CCTV on arriving.

The Skripals were next seen on CCTV at 13.30, driving down Devizes road. After that their movements were clearly witnessed or recorded until their admission to hospital.

So even if the Skripals made an “invisible” trip home before being seen on Devizes Road, that means the very latest they could have touched the doorknob is 13.15. The longest possible gap between the novichok being placed on the doorknob and the Skripals touching it would have been one hour and 15 minutes. Do you recall all those “experts” leaping in to tell us that the “ten times deadlier than VX” nerve agent was not fatal because it had degraded overnight on the doorknob? Well that cannot be true. The time between application and contact was between a minute and (at most) just over an hour on this new timeline.

In general it is worth observing that the Skripals, and poor Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, all managed to achieve almost complete CCTV invisibility in their widespread movements around Salisbury at the key times, while in contrast “Petrov and Boshirov” managed to be frequently caught in high quality all the time during their brief visit.

This is especially remarkable in the case of the Skripals’ location around noon on 4 March. The government can only maintain that they returned home at this time, as they insist they got the nerve agent from the doorknob. But why was their car so frequently caught on CCTV leaving, but not at all returning? It appears very much more probable that they came into contact with the nerve agent somewhere else, while they were out.

“Boshirov and Petrov” plainly are of interest in this case. But only Theresa May stated they were Russian agents: the police did not, and stated that they expected those were not their real identities. We do not know who Boshirov and Petrov were. It appears very likely their appearance was to do with the Skripals on that day. But they may have been meeting them, outside the home. The evidence points to that, rather than doorknobs. Such a meeting might explain why the Skripals had turned off their mobile phones to attempt to avoid surveillance.

It is also telling the police have pressed no charges against them in the case of Dawn Sturgess, which would be manslaughter at least if the government version is true.

If “Boshirov and Petrov” are secret agents, their incompetence is astounding. They used public transport rather than a vehicle and left the clearest possible CCTV footprint. They failed in their assassination attempt. They left traces of novichok everywhere and could well have poisoned themselves, and left the “murder weapon” lying around to be found. Their timings in Salisbury were extremely tight – and British Sunday rail service dependent.

There are other possibilities of who “Boshirov and Petrov” really are, of which Ukrainian is the obvious one. One thing I discovered when British Ambassador to Uzbekistan was that there had been a large Ukrainian ethnic group of scientists working at the Soviet chemical weapon testing facility there at Nukus. There are many other possibilities.

Yesterday’s revelations certainly add to the amount we know about the Skripal event. But they raise as many new questions as they give answers.

 

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Russia is not involved in Skripal case at any level – Kremlin

RT | September 6, 2018

Russia has nothing to do with the Skripal poisoning case at any level, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said, slamming “unacceptable” British allegations.

“Neither Russia’s top leadership nor those with lower ranks, and no country’s officials, have had anything to do with the events in Salisbury,” Peskov said. He rebuffed UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s claim that the attack on the ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter was approved at “senior level of the Russian state.”

“Any accusations against Russian leadership are unacceptable,” the spokesman added.

On Wednesday, UK prosecutors named two “Russians” whom they accuse of poisoning the Skripals. May later claimed that the duo were officers of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU. Firing back, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the names and photos of the two men ‘do not mean anything’ to Moscow and called on London “to abandon making public accusations and media manipulations.”

If the UK wants Russia to take action, it should send an official request in the first place in accordance with existing agreements, Peskov stressed, noting that media reports and statemens in parliament cannot replace it.

“We need a request from the British side to check their [suspects’] identities, to give us legal grounds for the identity checks. There is a common practice [for it],” he told journalists. He stressed that from the very beginning Moscow offered cooperation on the case, but London has been reluctant to agree.

One of the main arguments leading the UK to repeat its “highly likely” mantra regarding Moscow’s involvement in the poisoning has been that the Novichok nerve agent – allegedly used in this case – could have only been produced by Russia. However, foreign specialists have long been familiar with the formula, which was developed by the Soviet Union.

The new “revelations,” however, are not more plausible that the previous ones, Charles Shoebridge, a security expert and a former British military officer, told RT. The simple fact that allegedly well-trained Russian intelligence specialists could have left behind so much evidence speaks for itself, he says.

“It seems very strange that these people have absolutely left what seems to be a very reckless and clear trail of evidence, which almost seems to be designed, or at least would almost inevitably lead to the conclusions that the police and the authorities have come to today, in other words that Russia [is] to blame,” he told RT.

Annie Machon, a former MI5 intelligence officer, said she doubts Russia’s alleged motive behind the Salisbury incident and that certain pieces of evidence reported by the media “may look pretty compelling but will never be tested in a real court of law.”

September 6, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment