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As Dead as a Door Handle

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | December 1, 2018

One of the tell-tale signs that an action or actions are being covered up is that the explanations given for them keep shifting — basically because the ones previously given do not comport with reality. Yet with each new shift, more reality contortions are seen and more questions raised. Objective reality is a kicker, isn’t it?

This is basically what the BBC Panorama programme — Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack: the Inside Story — did. It’s account of Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey is a case in point. Let me once again state that I do not know what Mr Bailey’s role was in the events of 4th March. What I do know with absolute certainty, however, is that the account he gave on the Panorama programme was completely at odds with many previous accounts we have heard from both the media and public officials of high rank. For instance:

  • The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, stated a few days after the incident that, “In particular, my thoughts are with DS Nick Bailey, one of the first responders, who remains in a serious condition in hospital.” And the then Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, stated of Mr Bailey that he was “one of the first responders on Sunday, acting selflessly to help others.” It’s all very odd, though, since according to Mr Bailey not only was he not a first responder, he wasn’t even at the bench at the same time that the Skripals were said to be there.
  • According to media reports drawing on testimony from Mr Skripal’s neighbours, police arrived at 47 Christie Miller Road at 5pm on 4th March. I assume that they entered the property, or at least tried, as I cannot imagine they just turned up to admire the curtains. Yet according to the Panorama programme, Mr Bailey was the first official to attempt to enter the house, and this was around midnight.

Now I know that we live in days when subjective truth is trying very hard to knock objective truth off its perch, but this won’t do. A=A and A will never = non-A. If Mr Bailey was a hero first responder at the bench when the Skripals were there — as the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and other officials claimed — then he cannot not have been at the bench when the Skripals were there, can he? His being there as a first responder, and his not being there as a first responder cannot both be true, can they? Like I say, objective reality really is a kicker, and it’s clear that someone’s being economical with the actualité. And yet no one on that programme had the honour to explain why we’d been told something, and were now being told something completely incompatible.

But I want to focus on another attempt at reality bending, which the programme engaged in, and in so doing unwittingly put to rest the cornerstone of the whole Metropolitan Police and Government narrative of how the poisoning occurred. I am referring to the claim that the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal occurred at the door handle of his house. As far as I am concerned, thanks to the Panorama programme that explanation is now dead, kaput, expired, gone West, shuffled off its mortal coil, and is now pushing up the daisies to join the choir invisible. As dead as a doornail handle is an expression I might find myself using from this time forth.

How so?

Well, first let me preface my comments by stating that the explanation was already on a life support machine before the BBC came anywhere near it. Even before the programme, there were a number of absurdly improbable things that you needed to believe to accept this explanation, including:

  • That two highly trained GU assassins would walk in broad daylight down a cul-de-sac, to place the world’s most deadly chemical on the handle of a door, before going into town to do some window shopping.
  • That the house, bought for Mr Skripal by MI6, for whom he was still working, did not have CCTV installed around the front door.
  • That Sergei and Yulia Skripal were so unaffected after being contaminated by the world’s deadliest nerve agent that they went into town for a meal and a drink.
  • That they managed to contaminate a table in Zizzis to such an extent that it had to be burned, yet strangely enough they apparently didn’t contaminate other items or people they came into contact with prior to this, such as the door handle of the restaurant, the door handle of The Mill pub, and — most crucially — the three boys who fed ducks with them, despite reports that one of those boys actually took a piece of the bread from Mr Skripal’s hand and ate it.
  • That both Sergei and Yulia Skripal somehow managed to touch the outside door handle upon leaving the house — a thing so ridiculous that even the makers of the Panorama programme couldn’t bring themselves to show it in their reconstruction, instead just showing the actor playing Mr Skirpal touching it.
  • That it took investigators more than two weeks to point to the door handle as the location of the poisoning, even though Mr Bailey had visited the house, which therefore made it one of only two places where both he and the Skripals had been, and so one of only two locations where the source of the poison could have been.
  • That the Government very conveniently discovered an FSB manual, allegedly describing how nerve agent could be applied to a door handle, just prior to the door handle being claimed as the location of the poisoning.

Add to this that Panorama confirmed the Skripals were at home at the time of the alleged attack, with Mr Skripal’s car in the driveway, and I think it would take a brave or a foolish man — take your pick — to believe that the Skripals were poisoned at their door handle.

But there was much more than this. The programme decided to go overboard on certain claims about the substance used, only to then find itself with the impossible task of trying to explain why it is that we didn’t see what we should have seen if these claims are true. Here, for instance, are five claims about the toxicity of the substance in question — “Novichok” — that the programme made known to its viewers:

“It’s very unique in its ability to poison individuals at quite low concentrations.” – Porton Down Professor Tim speaking about Novichok.

“The Russians called it Novichok. Thought to be 10X more toxic than any nerve agent created before or since.” – Jane Corbin.

“To kill a person, you need only 1mg. To be sure, 2mg.” – Vil Mirzyanov, who worked on the Foliant project.

“The Russians weaponised Novichok for the battlefield. The tiniest dose can be fatal.”– Jane Corbin.

“It’s difficult to say, you know, possibly into the thousands.” – Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon when asked how many people could have been killed by the substance in the bottle.

Got that? The takeway points that the BBC wanted you to know are:

  1. “Novichok” is extraordinarily deadly.
  2. A tiny dose of just 2mg is enough to produce certain death in a person.
  3. The two suspects had enough of the substance in the bottle to kill 1,000s of people.

So let’s see how these claims stack up against what actually happened.

A crucial question to ask is how much “Novichok” was sprayed on the door handle? Since we don’t know this for certain, we are going to have to come up with a reasonable estimate, based on two things: firstly, we must give an estimate of how many miligrams of “Novichok” there is in a millilitre, and secondly how much would have been sprayed on the door handle.

On that first point, it is of course impossible to say exactly, without knowing the precise properties of the substance. However, most nerve agents have a liquid density of just over 1,000 kg/m3 (Tabun = 1,080 kg/m3; Sarin = 1,100 kg/m3; Soman = 1,020 kg/m3 ; VX = 1,008 kg/m3 (see here for details)), and so assuming that “Novichok” is somewhere in this range, and taking 1,000 kg/m3 as a conservative estimate, this would mean that in a 5.5ml bottle, there might have been as much as 5,500mg. According to Vil Mirzyanov, this is enough to potentially kill between 2,750 and 5,500 people.

As I say, these are estimates, but it does comport with Deputy Assistant Commissioner Haydon’s claim of there being enough of the substance in the bottle to kill “into the thousands”.

Next up is the question of how much “Novichok” would have been sprayed on the door handle of Mr Skripal’s house? Atomisers generally tend to spray between about 1/10th and 1/15th of a millilitre with every spray. And so even if we assume that the door handle was sprayed just once, if 1ml of the substance is approximately 1,000mg, this would mean that somewhere between 67-100mg would have been sprayed onto the door handle. Enough to kill getting on for 100 people, according to the Panorama programme.

I realise that the calculations I have given are not exact, but actually they don’t need to be. The claim that the Novichok in the bottle could have killed thousands, which was made by the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of The Met, along with the claim made by Mr Miryzanov that 2mg is enough to lead to the certain death of a person, are enough to know that the amount sprayed on the door handle would have been enough to kill dozens of people, and into the hundreds if multiple sprays were used.

But of course it didn’t. So how did the programme attempt to get around this glaring anomaly? Cue Mr Mirzyanov once again:

“Maybe the dose was not high enough. Salisbury was rainy and muggy. Novichok breaks down in damp conditions, reducing its toxicity. It’s the Achilles Heel of Novichok.”

So this is the BBC explanation — and I might add the official explanation since the programme was clearly made with the approval of the Metropolitan Police — for why this most deadly of substances did not kill the Skripals:

  1. Maybe the dose wasn’t high enough
  2. Novichok loses its toxicity in damp conditions.

Okay, let’s rip this folly to pieces once and for all.

On the first point, the idea that the dose was too low is impossible. The programme had Mr Mirzyanov assuring us that just 2mg was enough to cause certain death. But of course the amount sprayed on the handle would have been many times higher than this.

And it cannot be claimed that maybe it dripped off onto the doormat. Firstly, part of the Government’s case rests upon the Russians apparently testing “Novichok” on door handles. Well, if it was prone to drip off, do you think they wouldn’t have somehow realised this and eliminated it as a possible method? But much more crucially, Mr Skripal allegedly had enough of the substance on his hand to contaminate so many places in the city that they had to be cordoned off and closed for months. No, the “Maybe the dose wasn’t high enough” claim is utter nonsense, especially coming from Mr Mirzyanov who had already claimed that 2mg of the substance would lead to certain death.

What of that second explanation, that the “Novichok” may have lost its toxicity? Unfortunately for the weavers of the door handle yarn, there are a number of impossibly huge problems with this:

Firstly, the official claim only allows for the “Novichok” to be on the door handle between 12:10pm and 13:30pm – that is, 80 minutes maximum before the alleged contamination.

Secondly, during that time, there was no rain or snow — in fact it was fairly sunny — and so the only thing that the substance would have come into contact with was the air.

Thirdly, given that this substance, which according to the programme was developed for battlefield use, was in contact with nothing more than air for just 80 minutes, can any rational person believe that it was possible in this very short time for oxidation and hydrolysis to occur to such an extent that its toxicity went from having the potential to kill in the tens or even hundreds to killing nobody?

Fourthly, even if there had been some degradation by exposure to 80 minutes in the air(which is absurd), there would still be many milligrams of the substance remaining to kill people.

Fifthly, however according to a statement from the OPCW on 4th May no such degradation took place:

“The samples collected by the OPCW Technical Assistance Visit team concluded that the chemical substance found was of high purity, persistent and resistant to weather conditions.”

Here’s the crux of this matter: The BBC went out of its way to tell us that the substance allegedly sprayed on the door handle of Mr Skripal’s house was so deadly that it:

a) Only needed 1-2mg to kill people and that

b) There was enough in the bottle to kill thousands.

Yet, because it killed neither Sergei nor Yulia Skripal, who allegedly touched it less than an hour-and-a-half after it was applied, the programme then went out of its way to tell us that the reason for this was either:

a) The dose was too low or

b) The substance lost its toxicity due to the damp conditions

But both these explanations are not just highly improbable — they are impossible.

The dose could not have been too low, since the atomiser would clearly have sprayed far more than the 2mg apparently needed to be certain of killing a person. This is also attested by how much Mr Skripal apparently contaminated various places in Salisbury.

The substance could not have lost its toxicity in just 80 minutes in clement weather conditions, such that instead of certainly killing a person with a dose of just 1-2mg, it killed none of those who became contaminated by it. This is also attested by the OPCW claim that more than two weeks later they found a substance of “high purity” and “resistant to weather conditions”, which means that the BBC and The Met are essentially asking us to believe that the substance lost its toxicity in 80 minutes, only to regain it two weeks later.

And so having overreached themselves with the claims of the potency of the substance sprayed on the door handle, and the minuscule amount needed to kill a person, the BBC and The Met have come up with two explanations as to why these claims don’t comport with what actually happened. And yet both of these explanations are utterly impossible, and frankly utter nonsense. As I said at the start, objective reality really is a kicker, isn’t it?

I have remarked many times during these pieces that I am not indulging in some conspiracy theory here. All I have done above is taken the words and claims of certain officials, and analysed them against their own statements, or those made by other officials. And the result is that the idea that the Skripals were poisoned at the door handle of 47 Christie Miller Road by a substance called “Novichok”, which apparently only needs 1-2mg to kill one person, is shown to be an absolute impossibility. As an idea, it is done for, passed on, expired, bitten the dust and bought the farm. As dead as a door handle.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | 1 Comment

Hamas condemns recent Israeli aggression on Syria

Palestine Information Center – December 1, 2018

GAZA – Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, on Saturday condemned the latest Israeli aggression on Syria.

Member of the Hamas Political Bureau Khalil al-Hayya said in statements to the PIC that the world should realize that Israel is the real threat to the region and international peace.

Al-Hayya called on the world countries to put an end to Israel’s aggression before it destroys the whole region.

“We condemn in principle any Israeli aggression on an Arab or Muslim land, because it comes from an occupying state that sees itself above the law,” he added.

Israeli warplanes on Thursday launched several airstrikes on different targets in Damascus countryside and southern Syria.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

George H.W. Bush, the CIA and a Case of State-Sponsored Terrorism

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 23, 2000

In early fall of 1976, after a Chilean government assassin had killed a Chilean dissident and an American woman with a car bomb in Washington, D.C., George H.W. Bush’s CIA leaked a false report clearing Chile’s military dictatorship and pointing the FBI in the wrong direction.

The bogus CIA assessment, spread through Newsweek magazine and other U.S. media outlets, was planted despite CIA’s now admitted awareness at the time that Chile was participating in Operation Condor, a cross-border campaign targeting political dissidents, and the CIA’s own suspicions that the Chilean junta was behind the terrorist bombing in Washington.

In a 21-page report to Congress on Sept. 18, 2000, the CIA officially acknowledged for the first time that the mastermind of the terrorist attack, Chilean intelligence chief Manuel Contreras, was a paid asset of the CIA.

The CIA report was issued almost 24 years to the day after the murders of former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and American co-worker Ronni Moffitt, who died on Sept. 21, 1976, when a remote-controlled bomb ripped apart Letelier’s car as they drove down Massachusetts Avenue, a stately section of Washington known as Embassy Row.

In the report, the CIA also acknowledged publicly for the first time that it consulted Contreras in October 1976 about the Letelier assassination. The report added that the CIA was aware of the alleged Chilean government role in the murders and included that suspicion in an internal cable the same month.

“CIA’s first intelligence report containing this allegation was dated 6 October 1976,” a little more than two weeks after the bombing, the CIA disclosed.

Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier (Wikipedia)

Nevertheless, the CIA – then under CIA Director George H.W. Bush – leaked for public consumption an assessment clearing the Chilean government’s feared intelligence service, DINA, which was then run by Contreras.

Relying on the word of Bush’s CIA, Newsweek reported that “the Chilean secret police were not involved” in the Letelier assassination. “The [Central Intelligence] agency reached its decision because the bomb was too crude to be the work of experts and because the murder, coming while Chile’s rulers were wooing U.S. support, could only damage the Santiago regime.” [Newsweek, Oct. 11, 1976]

Bush, who later became the 41st president of the United States (and is the father of the 43rd president), has never explained his role in putting out the false cover story that diverted attention away from the real terrorists. Nor has Bush explained what he knew about the Chilean intelligence operation in the weeks before Letelier and Moffitt were killed.

Dodging Disclosure

As a Newsweek correspondent in 1988, a dozen years after the Letelier bombing, when the elder Bush was running for president, I prepared a detailed story about Bush’s handling of the Letelier case.

The draft story included the first account from U.S. intelligence sources that Contreras was a CIA asset in the mid-1970s. I also learned that the CIA had consulted Contreras about the Letelier assassination, information that the CIA then would not confirm.

The sources told me that the CIA sent its Santiago station chief, Wiley Gilstrap, to talk with Contreras after the bombing. Gilstrap then cabled back to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, Contreras’s assurances that the Chilean government was not involved. Contreras told Gilstrap that the most likely killers were communists who wanted to make a martyr out of Letelier.

My story draft also described how Bush’s CIA had been forewarned in 1976 about DINA’s secret plans to send agents, including the assassin Michael Townley, into the United States on false passports.

Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush at the White House on Feb. 12, 1981. (Reagan Library)

Upon learning of this strange mission, the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay, George Landau, cabled Bush about Chile’s claim that Townley and another agent were traveling to CIA headquarters for a meeting with Bush’s deputy, Vernon Walters. Landau also forwarded copies of the false passports to the CIA.

Walters cabled back that he was unaware of any scheduled appointment with these Chilean agents. Landau immediately canceled the visas, but Townley simply altered his plans and continued on his way to the United States. After arriving, he enlisted some right-wing Cuban-Americans in the Letelier plot and went to Washington to plant the bomb under Letelier’s car.

The CIA has never explained what action it took, if any, after receiving Landau’s warning. A natural follow-up would have been to contact DINA and ask what was afoot or whether a message about the trip had been misdirected. The CIA report in 2000 made no mention of these aspects of the case.

After the assassination, Bush promised the CIA’s full cooperation in tracking down the Letelier-Moffitt killers. But instead the CIA took contrary actions, such as planting the false exoneration and withholding evidence that would have implicated the Chilean junta.

“Nothing the agency gave us helped us to break this case,” said federal prosecutor Eugene Propper in a 1988 interview for the story I was drafting for Newsweek. The CIA never volunteered Ambassador Landau’s cable about the suspicious DINA mission nor copies of the fake passports that included a photo of Townley, the chief assassin. Nor did Bush’s CIA divulge its knowledge of the existence of Operation Condor.

FBI agents in Washington and Latin America broke the case two years later. They discovered Operation Condor on their own and tracked the assassination back to Townley and his accomplices in the United States.

In 1988, as then-Vice President Bush was citing his CIA work as an important part of his government experience, I submitted questions to him asking about his actions in the days before and after the Letelier bombing. Bush’s chief of staff, Craig Fuller, wrote back, saying Bush “will have no comment on the specific issues raised in your letter.”

As it turned out, the Bush campaign had little to fear from my discoveries. When I submitted my story draft – with its exclusive account of Contreras’s role as a CIA asset – Newsweek’s editors refused to run the story. Washington bureau chief Evan Thomas told me that Editor Maynard Parker even had accused me of being “out to get Bush.”

The CIA’s Admission

Twenty-four years after the Letelier assassination and 12 years after Newsweek killed the first account of the Contreras-CIA relationship, the CIA admitted that it had paid Contreras as an intelligence asset and consulted with him about the Letelier assassination.

Still, in the sketchy report in 2000, the spy agency sought to portray itself as more victim than accomplice. According to the report, the CIA was internally critical of Contreras’s human rights abuses and skeptical about his credibility. The CIA said its skepticism predates the spy agency’s contact with him about the Letelier-Moffitt murders.

“The relationship, while correct, was not cordial and smooth, particularly as evidence of Contreras’ role in human rights abuses emerged,” the CIA reported. “In December 1974, the CIA concluded that Contreras was not going to improve his human rights performance. …

“By April 1975, intelligence reporting showed that Contreras was the principal obstacle to a reasonable human rights policy within the Junta, but an interagency committee [within the Ford administration] directed the CIA to continue its relationship with Contreras.”

The CIA report added that “a one-time payment was given to Contreras” in 1975, a time frame when the CIA was first hearing about Operation Condor, a cross-border program run by South America’s military dictatorships to hunt down dissidents living in other countries.

“CIA sought from Contreras information regarding evidence that emerged in 1975 of a formal Southern Cone cooperative intelligence effort – ‘Operation Condor’ – building on informal cooperation in tracking and, in at least a few cases, killing political opponents. By October 1976, there was sufficient information that the CIA decided to approach Contreras on the matter. Contreras confirmed Condor’s existence as an intelligence-sharing network but denied that it had a role in extra-judicial killings.”

Also, in October 1976, the CIA said it “worked out” how it would assist the FBI in its investigation of the Letelier assassination, which had occurred the previous month. The spy agency’s report offered no details of what it did, however. The report added only that Contreras was already a murder suspect by fall 1976.

“At that time, Contreras’ possible role in the Letelier assassination became an issue,” the CIA’s report said. “By the end of 1976, contacts with Contreras were very infrequent.”

Even though the CIA came to recognize the likelihood that DINA was behind the Letelier assassination, there never was any indication that Bush’s CIA sought to correct the false impression created by its leaks to the news media asserting DINA’s innocence.

Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush with CIA Director William Casey, Feb. 11, 1981. (Reagan Library)

After Bush left the CIA with Jimmy Carter’s inauguration in 1977, the spy agency distanced itself from Contreras, the new report said. “During 1977, CIA met with Contreras about half a dozen times; three of those contacts were to request information on the Letelier assassination,” the CIA report said.

“On 3 November 1977, Contreras was transferred to a function unrelated to intelligence so the CIA severed all contact with him,” the report added. “After a short struggle to retain power, Contreras resigned from the Army in 1978. In the interim, CIA gathered specific, detailed intelligence reporting concerning Contreras’ involvement in ordering the Letelier assassination.”

Remaining Mysteries

Though the CIA report in 2000 contained the first official admission of a relationship with Contreras, it shed no light on the actions of Bush and his deputy, Walters, in the days before and after the Letelier assassination. It also offered no explanation why Bush’s CIA planted false information in the American press clearing Chile’s military dictatorship.

While providing the 21-page summary on its relationship with Chile’s military dictatorship, the CIA refused to release documents from a quarter century earlier on the grounds that the disclosures might jeopardize the CIA’s “sources and methods.” The refusal came in the face of President Bill Clinton’s specific order to release as much information as possible.

Perhaps the CIA was playing for time. With CIA headquarters officially named the George Bush Center for Intelligence and with veterans of the Reagan-Bush years still dominating the CIA’s hierarchy, the spy agency might have hoped that the election of Texas Gov. George W. Bush would free it from demands to open up records to the American people.

For his part, former President George H.W. Bush declared his intent to take a more active role in campaigning for his son’s election. In Florida on Sept. 22, 2000, Bush said he was “absolutely convinced” that if his son is elected president, “we will restore the respect, honor and decency that the White House deserves.”

The late investigative reporter Robert Parry, the founding editor of Consortium News, broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. His last book, America’s Stolen Narrative, can be obtained in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

US Gov’t Scolded for Lack of Action Under Plutonium Disposal Deal with Russia

Sputnik – December 1, 2018

Moscow and Washington agreed in 2000 to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium by incorporating it into fuel for nuclear reactors. However, the Department of Energy has failed so far to build a costly nuclear facility and instead proposed burying their plutonium underground – something that scientists say could affect human health and the environment.

American academicians have criticised the government for insufficient efforts to dispose of surplus plutonium under a 2000 US-Russia agreement.

Congress asked the National Academies to assess the viability of the Department of Energy’s plan for disposing of 34 metric tons of surplus plutonium in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeast New Mexico.

WIPP has “insufficient capacity” to get rid of plutonium that is no longer required for defence purposes, which is “one of several barriers to implementation” of the disposal plan, the Academies concluded in a Consensus Study Report.

According to the document, the dilute-and-dispose process proposed by the Energy Department runs counter to the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA), a deal that the United States and Russia signed in 2000 to dispose of 34 tons of weapons-capable plutonium each.

The 2000 agreement took effect after being ratified by Russia in 2011. It stipulated that both Russia and the United States would build special facilities to turn surplus plutonium into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for nuclear reactors.

Moscow has met its part of the commitments; however, the Savannah River Site (SRS) MOX project has been under construction in South Carolina since 2007 and has not been completed yet. The study says that “substantial schedule delays and cost overruns” caused the government to scrap the project, which would adopt the PMDA-approved method.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the Energy Department’s agency in charge of the US nuclear warhead stockpile, proposed what it called a cheaper way to dispose of plutonium. Instead of creating MOX oil, the office said, the SRS could be used to dilute the plutonium and bury it deep underground.

A federal judge ruled against the proposed shutdown of the SRS construction in June, arguing that Congress has not approved the dilute-and-dispose method to replace MOX. The judge argued that the NNSA’s proposal would turn South Caroline into the nation’s dumping ground for plutonium and produce an adverse environmental effect.

Academicians also insist that this approach has so far proven to be insufficient. “So far, the dilute and dispose process has been demonstrated at a small scale by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management as it begins to process 6 metric tons of surplus plutonium, a quantity separate from the 34 metric tons.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not satisfied with the US plans either. He ordered to suspend the implementation of the bilateral agreement in October 2016, citing “a threat to strategic stability” emanating from the US and its inability to deliver on its obligations.

Putin’s move came ahead of the US presidential vote, bringing the nuclear issue back to the agenda. “Our nuclear program has fallen way behind, and they [Russians] have gone wild with their nuclear program. Not good. Our government shouldn’t have allowed that to happen. Russia is new in terms of nuclear. We are old. We’re tired. We’re exhausted in terms of nuclear. A very bad thing,” then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said during a debate with Hillary Clinton, who brought the deal into force as Secretary of State together with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2011.


Plutonium Stolen From Texas Last Year Eludes US Authorities

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , , , | 1 Comment

EU Parliament to Consider Funding Russian NGOs, Bloggers – Draft Resolution

Sputnik – 01.12.2018

BRUSSELS – The European Parliament will consider a draft resolution on EU-Russian relations, which includes a proposal to increase EU financial assistance to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), human rights activists and bloggers in Russia, according to the draft.

“The European Parliament… stresses the importance of continued political and financial support for civil society activists, human rights defenders, bloggers, independent media, investigative journalists, outspoken academics and public figures, and NGOs; calls on the [European] Commission to programme more ambitious financial assistance to Russian civil society from the existing external financial instruments,” the draft document reads.

The draft was submitted to the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs by Sandra Kalniete, a lawmaker from Latvia. The document will be discussed by the committee on Thursday.

In October, Christos Stylianides, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said at a hearing in the European Parliament that in 2017 the European Union had allocated emergency grants to human rights activists from Russia.

Russian officials and lawmakers have repeatedly said that Western states, whether individually or via inter-state institutions such as the European Union and NATO, increased their financing of the activity of organizations spreading pro-Western propaganda in Russia, including NGOs, media, and social networks. In June last year, the Russian parliament’s upper house established a commission on state sovereignty protection to monitor and address these attempts to influence the country’s internal politics.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Canada backs repression, killing of protestors in Haiti

By Yves Engler · December 1, 2018

The Ugly Canadian has shown his elite-supporting, poor-bashing repressive face in Haiti.

Ottawa is backing the repression of anti-corruption protests and Justin Trudeau is continuing Canada’s staunch support for that country’s reactionary elite.

Over the past three months there have been numerous protests demanding accountability for public funds. Billions of dollars from Petrocaribe, a discounted oil program set up by Venezuela in 2006, was pilfered under former President Michel Martelly, an ally of current leader Jovenel Moise. After having forced out the prime minister in the summer over an effort to eliminate fuel subsidies, protesters are calling for the removal of Moise, who assumed the presidency through voter suppression and electoral fraud.

According to the Western media, a dozen protesters have been killed since a huge demonstration on October 17. But, at least seven were killed that day, two more at a funeral for those seven and pictures on social media suggest the police have killed many more.

Ottawa is supporting the unpopular government and repressive police. While a general strike paralyzed the capital on Friday, Canadian Ambassador André Frenette met Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant with other diplomats to “express their support to the government.” Through the “Core Group” Ottawa has blamed the protesters for Canadian trained and financed police firing on them. The Canada, US, France, Spain, EU, UN and OAS “Group of Friends of Haiti” published a statement on Thursday criticizing the protesters and backing the government. It read, “the group recalls that acts of violence seeking to provoke the resignation of legitimate authorities have no place in the democratic process. The Core Group welcomes the Executive’s commitment to continue the dialogue and calls for an inclusive dialogue between all the actors of the national life to get out of the crisis that the country is going through.” (translation)

In a similar release at the start of the month these “Friends of Haiti” noted: “The group praises the professionalism demonstrated by the National Police of Haiti as a whole on this occasion to guarantee freedom of expression while preserving public order. While new demonstrations are announced, the Core Group also expresses its firm rejection of any violence perpetrated on the sidelines of demonstrations. The members of the group recall the democratic legitimacy of the government of Haiti and elected institutions and that in a democracy, change must be through the ballot box and not by violence.”

But, in late 2010/early-2011 the Stephen Harper Conservatives intervened aggressively to help extreme right-wing candidate Michel Martelly become president. Six years earlier Trudeau’s Liberal predecessor, Paul Martin, played an important role in violently ousting Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government. For two years after the February 29, 2004, overthrow of Haitian democracy, a Canada-financed, trained and overseen police force terrorized Port-au-Prince’s slums with Canadian diplomatic and (for half a year) military backing.

Since that time Ottawa has taken the lead in strengthening the repressive arm of the Haitian state (in 1995 Aristide disbanded the army created during the 1915-34 US occupation). Much to the delight of the country’s über class-conscious elite, over the past decade and a half Canada has ploughed over $100 million into the Haitian police and prison system.

Since his appointment as ambassador last fall Frenette has attended a half dozen Haitian police events. In April Frenette tweeted, “it is an honour to represent Canada at the Commissaires Graduation Ceremony of the National Police Academy. Canada has long stood with the HNP to ensure the safety of Haitians and we are very proud of it.” The previous October Frenette noted, “very proud to participate today in the Canadian Armed Forces Ballistic Platelet Donation to the Haitian National Police.”

Canada also supports the Haitian police through the UN mission. RCMP officer Serge Therriault currently leads the 1,200-person police component of the Mission des Nations unies pour l’appui à la Justice en Haïti. For most of the past 14 years a Canadian has been in charge of the UN police contingent in Haiti and officers from this country have staffed its upper echelons.

Canada is once again supporting the violent suppression of the popular will in Haiti. Justin Trudeau has taken off his progressive mask to reveal what is inside: The Ugly Canadian.

Yves Engler is the co-author, with Antony Fenton, of Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority. His latest book is Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , | Leave a comment

G20 Summit – US-Russia Diplomacy Sabotaged, Again

Strategic Culture Foundation | 30.11.2018

US President Trump has belatedly announced that he won’t meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit this weekend. The abrupt cancellation is said to be due to the naval incident between Ukraine and Russia last week.

It is reprehensible that the urgent need for diplomacy between Washington and Moscow is being relegated – yet again – this time by an incident which bears the hallmarks of a deliberate provocation stunt orchestrated by the Kiev regime.

The cancelled meeting between Trump and Putin follows a pattern of on-off hesitancy between the two leaders, primarily from the American side.

This zigzagging in even limited diplomacy between the two biggest nuclear powers is lamentable, especially given the mounting tensions in their bilateral relations, which have appalling implications for world peace.

Nearly two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, the American leader has only met Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in one full meeting. That was in Helsinki in July earlier this year, when the two men appeared to form a cordial rapport and agreed to work together on several global issues, including arms control.

Notably, following the Helsinki meeting, Trump was assailed by American politicians and media for being a “traitor” for daring to extend the basic courtesy of talking with Putin. The Soviet Union may have disappeared nearly three decades ago, but red-baiting in American politics is an enduring ideology.

Three other brief meetings have previously been held on the sidelines of multilateral gatherings. Those occasions were at the last G20 summit held in Hamburg in July 2017, then at the APEC conference in Vietnam later the same year, and also during the recent World War One commemoration in Paris earlier this month. Such glancing encounters are astoundingly inappropriate given the imperative need for earnest dialogue. Meanwhile Trump has received several other world leaders at the White House over the past two years.

The pair were to hold a bilateral meeting this weekend during the G20 summit in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires. Only this week, Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton was telling media that the two leaders were due to discuss a range of issues, including arms controls.

On the eve of the G20 conference, Trump reneged. He said his decision was based on a briefing by his intelligence agencies on the Kerch incident last weekend, when three Ukrainian naval vessels were detained by Russian security forces. Russia claims that it interdicted the Ukrainian warships because they violated its maritime territory with menacing intent.

Trump has however backed the dubious Ukrainian version of events, claiming that Russian forces acted aggressively.

There is reliable evidence that the Kiev regime orchestrated the incident by dispatching its armed vessels to the Kerch Strait between Crimea and Russia’s mainland in order to provoke a Russian security response.

It is unseemly that Washington has rushed to back the Ukrainian narrative. President Putin has dismissed the incident as an electoral ploy ordered by the Kiev regime aimed at boosting President Poroshenko flagging support among Ukrainian voters. Poroshenko’s rapid imposition of martial law in Ukraine suggests a scripted attempt to escalate tensions. So too were his dramatic calls to sundry Western media outlets for NATO intervention to “defend Ukraine”.

European leaders and NATO have also sided with the Ukrainian claims accusing Russia of aggression.

The Western response is a typical knee-jerk reaction to blame Russia instead of assessing the facts.

Immediately following the naval clash in the Kerch Strait, US politicians and media have been pressuring Trump to “stand up to Putin” over alleged “Russian aggression”. Republican and Democrat lawmakers urged the president to call off his meeting with Putin in Buenos Aires. Now, it seems, Trump has caved in under the pressure.

This is deplorable. US-Russian relations are being held hostage by an anti-Russia agenda that has been virulent ever since Trump’s election in 2016 and in spite of his vows to normalize bilateral relations.

The Kerch incident falls into a long-running litany of provocative claims made against Moscow, from allegations of meddling in US elections, to alleged violations by Russian military in Syria, to allegations of a poison assassination plot in England, to alleged breaches of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty. It is evident that Russia is being abused by Trump’s domestic political opponents to undermine his presidency and thwart any normalization of bilateral relations.

This is all the more deplorable because there is a paramount need for comprehensive dialogue between Washington and Moscow on a host of vitally important issues, from arms control to establishing an understanding on preventing security conflicts.

The obligation for diplomacy between the US and Russia is more urgent than at any time since the Cold War. Moscow has repeatedly signaled that it wants to rectify misunderstandings and pursue open negotiations for the sake of international security. There is an acknowledgement from the Trump White House that it also realizes the urgency of such dialogue. Yet continually, the chance for dialogue is being scuppered by an anti-Russia political agenda.

By not meeting Putin in Buenos Aires, another essential opportunity to restore bilateral US-Russia relations is being scotched. The diversion from diplomacy is dangerously fueling tensions.

But what is all the more reprehensible is that Trump is in effect giving a green light to the Kiev regime to pursue its reckless efforts to provoke more conflict with Russia.

President Trump is evidently not in control of his own ship of state. He is being buffeted off course by Russophobia among his political opponents at home and is being towed along by a rogue regime in Kiev. The implications for world peace could not be more perilous.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

FBI raids home of whistleblower who had ‘dirt’ on Clinton Foundation, Mueller

RT | December 1, 2018

More than a dozen FBI agents searched for six hours the house of a contractor who had given Congress and the DOJ documents about the Clinton Foundation and the Uranium One scandal, implicating then-FBI director Robert Mueller.

Sixteen agents showed up at the Maryland home of Dennis Nathan Cain on November 19, the Daily Caller reported this week, citing Cain’s attorney Michael Socarras. They demanded to see the documents Cain had already turned over to the Department of Justice inspector-general and the House and Senate intelligence committee.

“I cannot believe the Bureau informed the federal magistrate who approved the search warrant that they wanted to search the home of an FBI whistleblower to seize the information that he confidentially disclosed to the IG and Congress,” said Socarras. He also objected to the fact that the FBI at no point reached out to him, even though Cain provided the agents with his contact information, calling that “serious misconduct.”

FBI spokesman Dave Fitz confirmed to the Daily Caller that the bureau had conducted “court authorized law enforcement activity,” declining to comment further.

The search warrant, signed by federal magistrate Stephanie A. Gallagher in the US District Court for Baltimore, said that Cain possessed “stolen federal property.”

Cain informed the agents that he was a federally protected whistleblower, but gave them the documents at their insistence, Socarras said. Even so, they searched his house for hours afterward.

What were the agents looking for? According to the Daily Caller, they were after the document suggesting that Robert Mueller – now special counsel in charge of the “Russiagate” probe targeting President Donald Trump, but FBI director back in 2001-2013 – failed to investigate allegations of criminal misconduct in the case of Uranium One.

The Canadian-based mining company controls over 20 percent of the US uranium supply, and was sold to the Russian conglomerate Rosatom in 2010. The sale needed to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS), which was chaired by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Since then, multiple whistleblowers have revealed claims of misconduct, bribery and fraud on part of the people involved in the sale, even suggesting a “pay for play” scheme in which the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in donations in exchange for greenlighting the deal. Republicans have also pointed to Bill Clinton’s $500,000 fee for a speech in Moscow in 2010 as evidence the Clintons were peddling influence for Russian money.

Democrats have dismissed the apparent scandal as a right-wing conspiracy theory, and Clinton herself called the accusations of wrongdoing “baloney.

In April this year, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the Utah-based US Attorney John Huber to investigate both the Uranium One probe and the FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. That second probe was the subject of a scathing report in June by the DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, the same official to whom Cain gave the documents as a whistleblower. The status of that investigation is currently unknown.

Also on

FBI documents detail Clinton and Mueller’s own ‘Russiagate’ – but they’re classified

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 2 Comments

UN once again urges Israel to withdraw from entirety of Syria’s Golan Heights

Press TV – December 1, 2018

The majority of the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution urging the Israeli regime to withdraw from the entirety of the Syrian Golan Heights it occupied some half a century ago.

The resolution, titled The Syrian Golan, was adopted by a record vote of 99 in favor, 10 against and 66 abstentions on a Friday session, declaring that the Israeli controversial move to extend its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied mountainous plateau is null and void and calling on the Tel Aviv regime to pull out from the strategically-important territory.

In 1967, the Israeli regime waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, including those of Syria, and occupied a large swathe of Syria’s Golan Heights.

In 1973, another war, known as the Arab-Israeli War or the Yom Kippur War, broke out between the Israeli regime and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. A year later, a UN-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which the Israeli regime and the Syrian government agreed to separate their troops, and create a buffer zone patrolled by the UN Disengagement and Observer Force (UNDOF).

In late 1981, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law that extended the regime’s “laws, jurisdiction and administration” to the Golan Heights, effectively annexing the territory to Israel.

A few days after the law’s passage in Israel’s Knesset, UN Security Council Resolution 497 determined the law as “null and void and without international legal effect.”

The assembly on Friday also denounced Israel’s non-compliance with the UNSC 1981 resolution.

The so-called Israeli law is not recognized by the international community.

“Israel continues to occupy a precious part of our land, and our people there continue to suffer because of this occupation,” said Syria’s permanent delegation at the world body, Munzer Munzer, adding, “We are the legitimate owners.”

He also stressed that Syria would not forfeit its right to its land and that its share of Golan Heights are non-negotiable.

The fact that most UN member states continue to support these resolutions shows that they are committed to the goals and purposes of the UN Charter, and that they reject foreign occupation and support Syria’s right to reclaim the entirety of its Israeli-occupied lands, Munzer added.

Back in July, the Israeli military said that it had deployed artillery and armored reinforcements to the occupied mountainous plateau, claiming that the move was the result of a situation assessment “in light of developments on the Syrian Golan Heights.”

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 5 Comments