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Here’s why the whole Russiagate scenario set out in Trump Dossier is totally absurd

By Alexander Mercouris | The Duran | March 31, 2017

It has become increasingly clear over the last two weeks that the amateur sleuths who are driving Russiagate are taking the Trump Dossier prepared by the British ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele as their starting point.

This is despite the fact that the Trump Dossier is still “uncorroborated”, and has been trashed by seasoned intelligence professionals like former CIA Acting Assistant Director Michael Morell.

Right from the first moment the Trump Dossier was first published I speculated that it might be the original source of the ‘Russiagate’ story. Here is what I wrote about it on 11th January 2017, immediately after it was published:

The big question is not whether the facts in this dossier are true or not; it is the extent to which the paranoid claims made in the dossier have shaped and might even have been the origin for the whole Russian hacking scandal.

I say this because media reports confirm that the dossier or extracts from it have circulated amongst US politicians (including Hillary Clinton and John McCain), US intelligence agencies, and within the media for weeks if not months.  The earliest reports in the dossier are dated to July, which suggests that some of its claims – which include circumstantial details of who supposedly within the Russian government was behind the Clinton leaks – were already circulating early in the summer.  That is a very early point in the Russian hacking story, making it at least possible that the dossier at least influenced the thinking of some of the people in the US intelligence community and in the media who have been pushing the Russian hacking scandal most aggressively.

Many have remarked on the absence of evidence in the ONDI report which was published last Friday. Even Masha Gessen – one of President Putin’s most relentless critics – has pointed this out.

Publication of this dossier looks like an attempt to provide “evidence” which the ODNI report failed to do.  If so then that at least gives rise to the possibility that the dossier is the “evidence” – or more correctly a part of the evidence – that formed the background to the ONDI report but which the ODNI report omitted.

Whatever the truth of this, the fact that an obviously concocted dossier like this has circulated for weeks if not months with its source apparently still considered “unimpeachable” and “reliable” by the West’s intelligence agencies shows how wildly paranoid and ignorant about Russia the West’s intelligence agencies and its politicians and journalists have become.

Fantasy has replaced truth, and it seems that a clever fabricator out to make money has successfully cashed in on it, quite possibly doing serious harm along the way.

The US investigative reporter Robert Parry is now saying the same thing: that the Trump Dossier is the document which provides the frame narrative for the whole Russiagate story, and this was also confirmed by the BBC article I discussed yesterday, which says the following:

The roadmap for the investigation, publicly acknowledged now for the first time, comes from Christopher Steele, once of Britain’s secret intelligence service MI6.

As it happens I am far from sure that the actual investigation being carried out into the Russiagate claims by the FBI is using the Trump Dossier as its ‘roadmap’. Contrary to what the BBC says I have never seen this “publicly acknowledged” anywhere. However what is now indisputable is that the Democrats on the Senate and House Intelligence Committees are doing so, and that much of the media is following them.

This is extraordinary because even a cursory knowledge of how the Russian government operates ought to make it obvious that the scenario described in the Trump Dossier makes no sense, and is completely fantastic.

Briefly, the Trump Dossier’s story is that a furious Putin, who supposedly hates Hillary Clinton, was persuaded by his press secretary Dmitry Peskov and his Chief of Staff Sergey Ivanov to order an elaborate campaign to interfere in the US election in order to swing the election to Donald Trump over whom the Russians supposedly possess various forms of leverage, including blackmail film of his cavorting with prostitutes.

The Russian intelligence officials supposedly carrying out Putin’s orders are then supposed to have closely coordinated their actions with Trump’s campaign. They are also supposed to have discussed it with each other and with all sorts of other people who passed on information about these conversations to the Trump Dossier’s compiler, Christopher Steele.

If one is to believe the Trump Dossier, the campaign to meddle in the election was also the subject of furious argument and recrimination within the Kremlin itself, with people like Ivanov, Peskov, Medvedev and Rosneft CEO Sechin complaining about it to each other and to various intimates, so that word of their arguments also found its way to Christopher Steele.

The Trump Dossier provides a phantasmagoric description of cloak and dagger meetings between Russian intelligence officials and Trump campaign associates in Moscow, Prague and other places, and of discussions of senior Russian officials with each other and of the recriminations which supposedly passed between them as the extent of Russian meddling in the US election supposedly became public.

There is so much wrong with this whole scenario that it is difficult know where to start, but a good point might be to question the whole starting thesis that President Putin “hates” Hillary Clinton.

There is virtually no evidence of this. The origins of this claim appear to be a comment of Putin’s made at the time of the election protests in Russia in December 2011.  Putin as reported by Reuters said the following

She (Hillary Clinton – AM) set the tone for some opposition activists, gave them a signal, they heard this signal and started active work

What a politician says during an election is not usually taken too seriously, and this comment scarcely seems to confirm the thesis that Putin “hates” Hillary Clinton. By the standards of what Western leaders regularly say about Putin it comes across as rather temperate.  Compare it for example with Hillary Clinton’s comparison in March 2014 of Putin with Hitler.

The claim that Putin “hates” Hillary Clinton is anyway at odds with a far more recent and much more thought through comment Putin made about her at the SPIEF conference in St. Petersburg last June, which because it hardly supports the claim Putin “hates” Hillary Clinton has gone almost completely unreported

I worked with Bill Clinton, although for a very short time, and we had a very good relationship. I can even say that I am grateful to him for certain moments as I was entering the big stage in politics. On several occasions, he showed signs of attention, respect for me personally, as well as for Russia. I remember this and I am grateful to him.

About Ms Clinton. Perhaps she has her own view on the development of Russian-US relations. You know, there is something I would like to draw [your] attention to, which has nothing to do with Russian-US relations or with national politics. It is related, rather, to personnel policy.

In my experience, I have often seen what happens with people before they take on a certain job and afterward. Often, you cannot recognise them, because once they reach a new level of responsibility they begin to talk and think differently, they even look different. We act on the assumption that the sense of responsibility of the US head of state, the head of the country on which a great deal in the world depends today, that this sense of responsibility will encourage the newly elected president to cooperate with Russia and, I would like to repeat, build a more secure world.

These remarks do not suggest any hatred for Hillary Clinton. Spoken at a time when the universal assumption was that Hillary Clinton would win the US Presidential election, they suggest on the contrary a willingness to work with her, a readiness to disregard her harsh anti-Russian election rhetoric, and a hope that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, would exercise a restraining influence over her.

Putting aside the fact that there is no real evidence that Putin “hates” Hillary Clinton, Putin at the time of the US election had been continuously at the top of the Russian power structure for 17 years, ever since Boris Yeltsin appointed him Russia’s Prime Minister on 9th August 1999. Over that long period Putin has gained immense experience and knowledge of politics, including of US politics. No one moreover seriously doubts that Putin is also highly intelligent and well-informed, and is able to put this experience and knowledge to good use.

It beggars belief that such an experienced and knowledgeable person as Putin was in 2016 would seriously believe that Russia could influence a US Presidential election so as to effect its outcome. That by the way is something which no outside power has ever previously managed to do. Putin would surely know such a thing was impossible, and that it would be completely counter-productive and extremely dangerous to try it.

Let us assume however that Putin acted completely contrary to what we know of his background and character, and nonetheless ordered Russia’s intelligence agencies to meddle in the US election in order to act out some feud he has against Hillary Clinton.

It beggars belief that Russia’s intelligence agencies would agree. Their chiefs – Patrushev, Ivanov, Fradkov and Bortnikov, all experienced intelligence professionals and like Putin all members of Russia’s Security Council, together with General Shoigu, who is not only a member of Russia’s Security Council but who as Russia’s Defence Minister has overall charge of the Russian military’s main intelligence agency the GRU – would undoubtedly have told Putin it couldn’t be done, and that it would be extremely dangerous to try.

Let us nonetheless go on to assume – ever more farfetched though these assumptions become – that Putin acted even further against his known background and character, and decided to ignore their advice, and ordered them to conduct the operation regardless.

It beggars belief that they would not in that case have insisted on having his order formally debated by Russia’s Security Council, Russia’s most important policy making body, which significantly finds no mention in the Trump Dossier at all. They would have been bound to do this if only to safeguard their positions when the operation went wrong – as it was bound to do – by putting it on formal record during the Security Council meeting that they opposed the order.

The Security Council is in theory an advisory body, and Putin could in theory have refused to convene it and have his order debated there. However that would almost certainly have provoked a crisis at the heart of the Russian government, and there is no evidence that ever happened. In practice it is inconceivable that an order of such magnitude would not have been discussed by the Security Council.

At that point Putin would have encountered the collective opposition of the entire Security Council, which includes people like Prime Minister Medvedev and Foreign Minister Lavrov who speak English and who know the US well, and who would also have told him what he wanted couldn’t be done, and that it would be extremely dangerous to try.

Putin has been Russia’s leader for as long as he has precisely because he heeds the advice and warnings of his experts, and is careful to ensure the prior backing of the rest of Russia’s political leadership for his decisions. It is precisely because Putin acts in this way that he has a loyal and disciplined government behind him.

Conceivably Putin could have cast all this aside and in a fit of madness struck out on his own, ignoring what would almost certainly have been the collective opposition of the country’s entire political and national security leadership in order to carry out a quixotic quest to stop Hillary Clinton from being elected. However had he done such a thing he would have risked a government crisis and furious recriminations when it all went wrong, which would almost certainly have spilled over into public argument as does occasionally happen in Russia. That there is no evidence of anything like this happening is the surest sign it didn’t happen at all.

As it happens this focus on Putin is anyway completely misplaced. If the the Russians did carry out hacks of the computers of the DNC and of John Podesta then the whole Trump Dossier/Russiagate story becomes even more surreal, since there is actually no need to introduce Putin to explain the hacks.

Russian intelligence would not have needed an order from Putin to hack John Podesta or the DNC. At a time of extreme tension in US-Russian relations, with the militaries of the two countries cranking up towards a potentially disastrous face-off in Syria, the entirety of Russia’s mighty foreign policy and intelligence establishment would have been working overtime trying to find out what the policies of the US after the election would be. Ambassador Kislyak together with the diplomats and spies in his embassy would have been trying hard to build as many contacts with both the Hillary Clinton and the Donald Trump camps as they could, and Russian intelligence would have been pulling out all the stops to gather all the intelligence on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and their associates that it could.

Quite possibly this would have included reading the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails. Since both had obvious relevance to an information gathering effort intended to ascertain the future policies of a Hillary Clinton administration, it is easy to see why Russian intelligence might have wanted to read them, and it would not have needed an order from Putin for it to try to do so.

Conceivably the evidence of hacking by Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear discovered by CrowdStrike is evidence of this, though the crude way in which those hacks were done suggests they may actually have been the work of someone else. Russian intelligence would hardly have been the only intelligence service trying to find out as much information about Hillary Clinton (and Donald Trump) as possible, and besides there is reason to think the Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear hacks were the work of private individuals.

In saying all this I wish to make it clear that I do not know for a fact that Russian intelligence did obtain the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails. My point is that they would not have needed an order from Putin to try to do so, since trying to obtain those emails would have been a normal part of their work, and there is no reason to introduce an angry and vengeful Putin to explain them doing it.

As for the question of whether Russian intelligence might have leaked the emails, the only possible scenario where they might have done so would have been if they had found in the emails – obtained as a result of an entirely conventional intelligence gathering operation almost certainly not ordered by Putin himself – things that were so damaging to Hillary Clinton that their effect on the election if they were published could be absolutely guaranteed.

At that point Russian intelligence might conceivably have reported this finding to Putin and Russia’s Security Council, and have asked for permission to publish the emails. However given Russia’s longstanding policy of not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, and the extremely high political risks for Russia of publishing the emails, it would still even in those circumstances have been highly unlikely that Putin or the Security Council would have granted Russian intelligence permission to publish the emails.

Which in turn brings us to the contents of the emails themselves. The actual content of the DNC and Podesta emails hardly fits the criteria of something so damaging that it would be guaranteed to effect the outcome of the election if it were published. Putin himself made this very point in an interview he gave to Bloomberg on 5th September 2016

I could never even imagine that such information would be of interest to the American public or that the campaign headquarters of one of the candidates – in this case, Mrs. Clinton – apparently worked for her, rather than for all the Democratic Party candidates in an equal manner. I could never assume that anybody would find it interesting. Thus, in view of what I have said, we could not officially hack it. You know, it would require certain intuition and knowledge of the U.S. domestic policy peculiarities. I am not sure that even our experts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have such intuition.

Putin is absolutely right. Not only would it have required profound knowledge of US politics – knowledge which the Russians almost certainly don’t have – to see why the contents of the DNC and Podesta emails might be damaging to Hillary Clinton, but it is actually doubtful that the contents of the emails were in fact especially damaging to Hillary Clinton. Certainly no polling evidence I have seen has proved conclusively that they were.

Given this uncertainty, it is very difficult to believe that the Russians would have taken on themselves the immense risk of meddling in the election by publishing the emails, and of course the people who actually did publish the emails – Julian Assange and Wikileaks, together with ambassador Craig Murray – categorically deny that they did.

The BBC article I discussed yesterday reports former Obama administration officials complaining that the FBI is “fumbling” its inquiry because “The FBI doesn’t know about Russia” and cannot “see, let alone understand, the bigger picture”.

On the contrary it is the “bigger picture” the Trump Dossier gets hopelessly wrong, and which immediately exposes it as a fake.

The Trump Dossier’s baroque picture of the Russian decision making process bears some resemblance to the chaotic way the Russian government operated back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when sinister figures like the oligarch Boris Berezovsky and Boris Yeltsin’s bodyguard General Korzhakov wielded vast power outside Russia’s formal state structures. That of course was the period when Christopher Steele, the Trump Dossier’s compiler, was working in Moscow for MI6, and when he formed his ideas about Russia.

However the Trump Dossier bears no resemblance to the way Russia’s government operates today. Anyone who follows Russian affairs at all closely and whose opinions are not blinded by prejudice can see that immediately. Unfortunately it seems that such people in the West are in short supply.

June 24, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 6 Comments

Defending the EU Rather Than One’s Own Country

By Andrew Spannaus | Consortium News | June 24, 2018

Milan – By invoking his power last month to reject a proposed government minister because of the his critique of the EU, Italian President Sergio Mattarella made it clear that his priority is not to defend the Italian state—his job, theoretically—but rather the European Union.

This put into the open something rarely admitted publicly: that Italy—like other European countries—has essentially given up its existence as a sovereign nation-state. The EU treaties adopted by national parliaments now take precedence over the basic principles of each member country’s constitution.

Mattarella had announced on May 27 that Paolo Savona, the minister of the economy proposed by the populist parties that won the March elections, was unacceptable because of his critical position towards the EU. The president said the appointment would spook the markets and threaten the survival of the Euro. When the two populist parties that had joined together to govern, the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League, insisted on keeping Savona, Mattarella exercised his power to reject their choice and began plans to appoint an IMF technocrat who would guarantee the current budget orthodoxy while taking the country towards new elections.

Luigi di Maio, the 31-year old M5S leader, ultimately got Matteo Salvini, head of the League, to partially relent, shifting Savona to another position in order to avoid the collapse of their newly-formed coalition. Yet the brief firestorm touched off by the clash with Mattarella was revealing, as it risked doing precisely what the president and his EU backers fear most—promote even more opposition to the loss of national sovereignty that has occurred over the past 25 years.

Finance Dominates Government

Mattarella: Serving the EU, not Italy.

The EU’s principle aim is to continue the pro-finance policies launched in the 1980s with wide-scale de-regulation and the emergence of what became known as globalization, i.e. the loss of national sovereignty in favor of a borderless world in which financial interests would become more important than governments. The Union adopted the free market mantra, which it imposed through increasing supra-national bureaucracy. State intervention and regulations were considered the enemies of efficiency and growth, while austerity and so-called structural reforms were launched to break down the successful mixed state/market model that had been in place for decades.

Over the years, as national institutions gradually relinquished their power to make economic policy, European political elites adopted the goal of complete EU integration. They followed this dogma despite numerous contradictions, from the failure of austerity policies to increasing economic divisions, from the lack of democratic debate to sharply different foreign policy goals among member states.

Naturally, some members of national elites recognized the folly of the EU policies, one of whom was Paolo Savona. However, he is by no means “anti-European,” against further political cooperation at the supranational level. Rather, he simply recognizes that the neo-liberal policies of budget balancing and prohibiting state intervention are harmful to Italy (and others). And, given the European institutions’ refusal to re-think these rules, he came up with what some saw as a radical idea: draw up a “Plan B” in which Italy would withdraw from the single currency. The aim was to use this threat to the very survival of the Euro to exact changes such as abandoning austerity policies and allowing for large-scale public investment.

In practical terms, it is very unlikely that Italy or any other large country would today simply “leave” the Euro on its own. A more probable scenario is that the EU architecture would crumble if some of its largest members broke with the Brussels and Frankfurt orthodoxy. So, if Italy were to dig in its heels, for example, resisting calls for further deregulation and insisting on large-scale, targeted public investment, it could potentially find support from other victims of austerity such as Greece, Portugal and Spain, but also factions critical of EU policies in France and Germany.

Most of the Italian population now supports such a scenario and populist parties big and small have used it explicitly to increase their popularity. This gave them a crucial margin of added support, beyond exploiting other hot-button issues such as immigration, which despite having taken on more importance in recent years, by itself would not have been enough to bring the outsiders to power.

Thus when Mattarella stood before the TV cameras on May 27 to declare his veto, he made what was potentially a colossal blunder, both formally and politically. Besides overstepping his authority as President, since the Constitution does not allow him to intervene regarding the political orientation of the government, he sparked a backlash that could have easily strengthened his opponents.

Populists Reject Russophobia

The new government has already shown its willingness to break with establishment policies, specifically regarding relations with Russia. At the G7 meeting in Canada this month, Prime Minister Conte supported Donald Trump’s call to bring Russia back into the fold, providing the U.S. President with support on this issue that he has lacked so far among the leaders of the world’s most industrialized countries. Conte stressed Italy’s position as a loyal ally of the United States and NATO, while still insisting that better relations with Russia are needed. This point is also felt strongly among Italian businesses and institutions, particularly due to economic ties developed over many decades.

While the popularity of M5S is based on its anti-existing-system, anti-corruption platform, the League is best-known for its anti-immigration rhetoric. But over the years, the League has also adopted the most “sovereignist” positions among the large Italian political parties regarding economic policy. It now showcases economists who reject budget constraints outright, suggesting that governments can create currency freely, if need be. Further, the party has run national campaigns to re-regulate the banking sector—which would conflict directly with EU rules; both they and M5S promise to abandon austerity policies and increase both social spending and public investment. Last, they aim to implement a soft version of a “flat tax,” simplifying the tax system with only two brackets so as to inject more liquidity into the coffers of companies and the pockets of families, while raising penalties for tax evasion.

Any of these issues can cause an open clash with the EU, given its strict budget rules. The question is if the new government will attempt to finesse the issue and avoid an open fight, or welcome a political debate over the validity of the neo-liberal policies whose failure brought them to power.

Andrew Spannaus is a journalist and strategic analyst based in Milan, Italy. He was elected Chairman of the Milan Foreign Press Association in March 2018. He has published the books “Perché vince Trump” (Why Trump is Winning – June 2016) and “La rivolta degli elettori” (The Revolt of the Voters – July 2017).

June 24, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Kushner says US Administration Will Continue with “Peace Plan” Even Without Abbas

IMEMC News & Agencies – June 24, 2018

US president Donald Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushne,r in an interview with Al-Quds Palestinian newspaper, said that his country will go on with a Middle East peace plan which has not been announced yet, whether Abbas agrees to participate in it or not.

Kushner questioned Abbas’s ability to make a deal, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) is boycotting the US administration for its moves, which included declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage; if he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly,” Kushner said, according to an English-language transcript released in Washington.

“However, I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal. He has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years,” Kushner said.

Commenting on the interview, Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Abbas, said: “The road to peace is clear – commitment to the two-state solution, a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. This is the road to any negotiations or any meetings.”

Kushner and US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, visited Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt before talks on Friday and Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Arab leaders conveyed they wanted to see a Palestinian state.

Erekat: Kushner represents a policy of dictation

In response, senior PLO member, Dr. Saeb Erekat said Kushner’s interview again illustrates the US refusal to talk substance, to mention Palestinian rights or a Palestinian state.

“This is an attempt to push forward a plan that consolidates Israel’s colonial control over Palestinian land and lives while telling the Palestinian people that money will compensate for our inalienable rights. Plain and simple: Palestine and Palestinian rights are not for sale,” Erekat said in a statement, according to the PNN.

“Kushner represents a policy of dictation rather than negotiations”, he added. “It is the Trump Administration has walked away from the negotiations, from international law and UN resolutions.”

Erekat added that the PA has continuously heard the same from the Israeli government that believes that there will be a better economic situation by pulverizing the political rights of the people of Palestine. Therefore, Kushner’s interview only confirms what we have heard from every international envoy we have met with, that there’s nothing of substance coming from the Trump Administration.

He added that it is outrageous to accept such blatant disregard of international law to be replaced with business packages to resolve the struggle of a people striving for their freedom.

“The aids of the current US Administration, including Jared Kushner, have heard it clear from our fellow Arab leaders that the core of the solution should be grounded on ending Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the establishment of a sovereign and the independent State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Certainly, the end of Israel’s occupation and the fulfillment of our political rights is a matter of consensus among all Palestinians that are united on the vision and will to live in freedom,” Erekat concluded.

June 24, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Human Rights Group Accuses UK of Secret Arms Sales to Saudis

Sputnik – 24.06.2018

NGOs allege that the UK has been selling weaponry to Saudi Arabia through an obscure system of arms exports licenses. Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has been involved in the Yemen war at the request of the country’s internationally recognized government.

Despite the UK has been insisting that it keeps all arms exports under close control, a freedom of information request submitted by Campaign Against Arms Trade, a UK-based NGO, disclosed that Britain has been selling Storm Shadow and Brimstone missiles, as well as Paveway IV laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

According to The Guardian, the deadly exports have been shipped for the last five years under Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs), which don’t oblige the seller to publish the total value of the license after it expires.

The surprising finding has prompted campaigners to claim that the authorities are trying to hide the real extent of their arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a Labour MP and member of the Commons Committee on Arms Export Controls, said, as quoted by The Guardian, that hundreds of millions of pounds of bombs were shipped to Saudi Arabia under open licenses issued before it launched its Yemen campaign.

“Open licenses remove the need for the seller to obtain prior approval for each export,” said Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade.

According to him, the “opaque” system of OIELs is used to hand over “extremely sensitive weaponry to the Saudi regime.”

Yemen is the site of a long-lasting conflict that rapidly escalated in September 2014 following a Houthi takeover of the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. In 2015, Saudi Arabia, the leader of a nine-member, mostly Sunni Arab, coalition, entered the conflict in a bid to restore Hadi’s government, concerned by the rise of Houthis.

The violent clash has destroyed the local economy and caused a humanitarian disaster. The UN estimates that the conflict has displaced around 3 million people and leaving over 22 million people in need of humanitarian assistance or protection.

June 24, 2018 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Atrocity Porn and Hitler Memes Target Trump for Regime Change

By James George JATRAS | Strategic Culture Foundation | 23.06.2018

American and global audiences have been bombarded with media images of wailing children in holding facilities, having been separated from adults (maybe their parents, maybe not) detained for illegal entry into the United States. The images have been accompanied by “gut-wrenching” audio of distraught toddlers screaming the Spanish equivalents of “Mommy!” and “Daddy!” – since, as any parent knows, small children never cry or call for their parents except in the most horrifying, life-threatening circumstances.

American and world media have provided helpful color commentary, condemning the caging of children as openly racist atrocities and state terrorism comparable to Nazi concentration camps and worse than FDR’s internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans. Indeed, just having voted for Trump is now reason enough for Americans to be labeled as Nazis.

Finally, the presumptive Hitler himself, also known as President Donald Trump, citing the pleas of First Lady Melania and First Daughter Ivanka, signed an Executive Order to provide for adults and (their?) children to be detained together. However, the order is unlikely to hold up in court, with sanctuary-minded states aiming to obstruct border enforcement the way Trump’s earlier order on vetting arrivals from terrorism-prone countries has been crippled by the federal judiciary. His media and bipartisan political opposition will be happy only when all border violation detentions cease and America has gone full Merkel, starting with ending Trump’s declared zero tolerance for illegal crossings and restoration of Barack Obama’s catch-and-release policy.

Even then, Trump will be vilified for taking so long to do it. Whether or how Trump may yield further is not clear, but rather than slaking the hate campaign against him, his attempted effort at appeasement has put the smell of political blood in the water with the November 2018 Congressional midterm elections looming.

Some images of small children have become veritable icons of Trumpian brutality. One photo, reportedly of a two-year-old Honduran girl (who in fact had not been separated from her mother), graced the cover of Time magazine, confronting the black-hearted tyrant himself. Another, of a little boy in a cage, went viral before it was revealed that this kid had nothing to do with the border but rather was briefly inside a staged pen as part of a protest in Dallas.

The reality behind the pictures doesn’t matter, though. More important are the images themselves and their power, along with dishonest media spin, to produce an emotional response that short-circuits critical thinking. Never mind what the facts are! Children are suffering! Trump is guilty! We need to “do something”!

On point of comparison, let’s remember the  saturation media distribution given in 2016 to a picture of a little boyOmran Daqneesh, said to have been pulled from the rubble of Aleppo after what was dubiously reported as a Russian airstrike. Promptly dubbed “Aleppo Boy,” his pathetic dusty image immediately went viral in every prestige outlet in the United States and Europe. The underlying message: we – the “international community,” “the Free World,” the United States, you and I – must “do something” to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his main backer and fellow Hitler clone Vladimir Putin.

(Not long before, another little boy, also in the area of Aleppo, was beheaded on video by the “moderate” US-supported jihad terror group Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki. The images of his grisly demise received far less media attention than those of official Aleppo Boy. This other youngster received no catchy moniker. No one called for anyone in power to “do something.” In fact, western support for the al-Zenki murderers – which the Obama administration refused to disavow even after the beheading and allegations of chlorine gas use by al-Zenki – can itself be seen as part of “doing something” about the evil, evil Assad. (Reportedly Trump’s viewing the beheading video led to a cutoff of CIA aid to some jihad groups.) Another small detail readily available in alternative media but almost invisible in the major outlets: Mahmoud Raslan, the photographer who took the picture of Aleppo Boy and disseminated it to world acclaim, also took a smiling selfie with the beaming al-Zenki beheaders of the other kid. But, hey, says Raslan, I barely know those guys. Now let’s move on . . . )

For those who have been paying attention for the past couple of decades, the Trump border crisis kids, like Aleppo Boy before them, are human props in what is known as “atrocity porn” designed to titillate the viewers through horror and incite them to hatred of the presumed perpetrators. Atrocity propaganda has long been a part of warfare – think World War I claims of Belgian babies impaled on German bayonets – but with modern digital technology and social media the impact is immediate and universal.

It’s irrelevant whether what is identified in images corresponds to reality. What matters is their ability to evoke mindless, maudlin emotionalism, like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow choking up in tears over the border children or the similar weepy display in 2016 by CNN’s Kate Bolduan over Aleppo Boy.

Now being deployed in an American domestic context over whether or not the US should be allowed to control its borders, for decades atrocity porn has been essential for selling military action in wars of choice unconnected to the actual defense of the US: incubator babies (Kuwait/Iraq); the Racak massacre (Kosovo); the Markale marketplace bombings, Omarska “living skeletons,” and the Srebrenica massacre (Bosnia); rape as calculated instrument of war (Bosnia, Libya); and false flag poison gas attacks in Ghouta  and Douma (Syria). Never mind that the facts, to the extent they eventually become known, may later turn out to be very different from the categorical black-and-white accusations on the lips of western officials and given banner exposure within hours if not minutes of the event in question.

Atrocity porn dovetails closely with another key meme, that of Hitler-of-the-month. In painting Trump as der Führer on the border, we see coming home to America a ploy that has been an essential element to justify foreign regime change operation, each of which has been spelled out in terms of black-and-white, good-versus-evil Manichaean imperatives, with the side targeted for destruction or replacement having absolutely no redeeming qualities. This entails first of all absolute demonization of the evil leader in what is called reductio ad Hitlerum, a concept attributed to philosopher Leo Strauss in 1951. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has been characterized by name as another Hitler by Hillary Clinton and others. Among the prominent “Hitlers” since 1991 have been Saddam Hussein (Iraq), Slobodan Milosevic (Yugoslavia/Serbia), Radovan Karadzic (Republika Srpska), Moammar Qaddafi (Libya), and Bashar al-Assad (Syria), with less imposing Führer figures to be found in Mohamed Farrah Aidid (Somalia), Manuel Noriega (Panama), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), and Omar al-Bashir (Sudan).

With apologies to Voltaire, if Hitler had not existed it would be necessary for the US-UK Deep State to invent him . . .

Today the atrocity porn and Hitler memes that have been so useful in justifying regime change in other countries are being directed with increasing intensity against America’s own duly elected president. This is at a time when the original conspiracy to discredit and unseat him, the phony “Russian collusion” story, is in the process of unraveling and being turned back on its originators. Horror of horrors, Trump is now feeling free enough to move forward on a meeting with Putin.

Keep in mind that Putin is, according to Hillary Clinton, leader of the worldwide “authoritarian, white-supremacist, and xenophobic movement” who is “emboldening right-wing nationalists, separatists, racists, and even neo-Nazis.” So he and Hitler-Trump should get on famously! The prospect of any warming of ties between Washington and Moscow has elements of the US intelligence agencies, together with their British coconspirators in MI6 and GCHQin an absolute panic.

That’s why desperate measures are in order. As noted earlier, when confronted with a reincarnation of the most evil personage in history, even the most extreme actions cannot be ruled out. Demonizing the intended target neutralizes objections to his removal – by any means necessary.

After all, how can any decent person oppose getting rid of Hitler?

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | | 1 Comment

UN call to withdraw ‘foreign troops’ from Moldova threatens Transnistria peace process – Moscow

RT | June 23, 2018

A UN resolution calling for withdrawal of “foreign troops” from Moldova might reignite the Transnistrian conflict, Moscow warns. Moldovan President Igor Dodon called the resolution a PR stunt of the democrats ahead of an election.

The resolution, calling for the “complete and unconditional withdrawal of foreign military forces” from Moldova was adopted by the UN General Assembly on Friday. The Moldova-sponsored document received a simple majority, with 63 countries voting for it, 15 against, and 82 abstaining.

Russia condemned the adoption of the resolution as a shortsighted move which could lead to a potential flashpoint between the unrecognized Transnistria Republic and Moldova, undermining the “fragile” reconciliation process.

The resolution targets a small contingent of Russian peacekeepers, which have been stationed in the breakaway region of Transnistria for over two decades. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, ethnic tensions in Moldova resulted in a brief but intense armed conflict in 1992.

The involvement of Russian troops in the conflict back in 1992 put a stop to the bloodshed, the foreign ministry stated, adding that Russian peacekeepers remain “the guarantor of peace in the region.”

“We perceive this initiative as a blatant propaganda move of some of the political figures in Kishinev, who seek to score political points ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections by fueling anti-Russian sentiments,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

A similar opinion was expressed by the president of Moldova, Igor Dodon, who criticized the decision of his government to push the resolution through the UN General Assembly.

“The ruling coalition exploits international platforms to reinforce its political standing ahead of the parliamentary elections, which will be held in a couple of months. Such PR stunt of the Democratic Party won’t have any effect in reality,” Dodon said in a Facebook post.

The withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from the Transnistria region will occur only when the 1992 agreement between the breakaway region and Moldova is fully implemented, and the “two banks of Dniester” reach full reconciliation, Dodon stressed. The president also said that until lasting peace is achieved, the Russian peacekeeping operation, which is “one of the most successful,” should continue.

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Joining Some Dots on the Skripal Case: Part 6 – Tying up the Loose Ends

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

Over the last five pieces (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5) I have, slowly but surely, advanced a theory of what happened in the Skripal case. I must confess to having done so with a fair amount of unease. I don’t want to believe that my Government has been stating a case that is false. I don’t want to believe that the public have been lied to. I don’t want to have to think that there has been a lot of effort made to present an explanation that hides the truth.

And yet, given the fact that the Government story contains self-evident fallacies, and cannot be made to add up, I don’t think that there’s much alternative than to be hugely sceptical about their claims. I stated the two main fallacies in Part 1, which are the claims that three people were poisoned by the nerve agent A-234, which is 5-8 times more toxic than VX, and that because A-234 was developed in the Soviet Union, the Russian State is responsible for what happened. The first claim cannot be true, because the three people are alive and well and have suffered no irreparable damage. The second claim is palpably untrue, because A-234 has been synthesised in a number of countries.

Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg of the absurdities and anomalies. I don’t intend to go through all of them, but would simply point anyone who does believe the official story to concentrate on three words: The Door Handle. This was apparently where the poison was poured, so allow me to pose five questions about this claim to those who believe it to be true:

  1. During the “clean-up” operation, there were lots of military chaps wearing HazMat suits, which are designed to protect against exposure to toxic chemicals. How, then, did the assassin apparently manage to pour this same lethal, military grade nerve agent on a door handle, without wearing a HazMat suit?
  2. On the other hand, if he or she was wearing a HazMat suit when performing the operation, wouldn’t someone in Christie Miller Road have noticed and found it – shall we say – a bit odd?
  3. If the poison was administered to the door handle, how exactly did both Sergei and Yulia Skripal manage to touch it (people don’t normally both touch the door handle if they go in the house together), and how did they manage to get exactly the right quantities on their skin so that they collapsed at exactly the same time, some four hours later?
  4. The door handle theory only reared its head some three weeks after the poisoning, at which point the substance was said to have been still present in a “highly pure” form. During this three weeks, many people went in and out of Mr Skripal’s house using the front door. How did they manage to do so without using the door handle, or if they did, how did they manage not to succumb to poisoning?
  5. Part of the Government’s alleged evidence pointing at the high likelihood of Russian involvement in the case, is an FSB instruction manual showing – amongst other things – how to assassinate someone by pouring Novichok on a door handle. Suspending our disbelief on this claim for a moment (and admittedly that is hard), did the Government have the manual when they made their accusations against the Russian Government on 12th and 14th March, and if so, why did the door handle theory not surface for more than a week after this?

Of course, a few moments consideration about the door handle theory will show that – like the rest of the official story – it is simply wrong. And because it is so plainly wrong, that is why we can safely say that the real explanation lies elsewhere.

Nevertheless, I am aware that in advancing another explanation, there are likely to be many holes in it too. Whilst much of what I have said throughout this series has been based on facts and eyewitness statements, the theory I have advanced from those facts and witness statements remains unproven. And so I would ask that where I have got things wrong, you would forgive me, and where things don’t make sense, you would point them out.

Having said that, what I want to do in this final piece is to tie up a few loose ends and – most particularly – attempt to demonstrate how the theory I have advanced explains some of the other anomalies in the case in a far more cogent and rational way than does the official story. So here goes.

The Deafening Silence of Sergei Skripal

One of the least talked about points in the official story, yet one that really is very important, is that if it were a true account, Mr Skripal would almost certainly have no more clue about who poisoned him than the average person in the street. If it were true that an unknown assassin, appointed by the Russian Government, poured military-grade nerve agent onto his front door on 4th March, before fleeing back to the Motherland, Mr Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, would be as much in the dark as to who did it as you or I.

Now, if that were the case, two things would naturally follow. The first is that Mr Skripal would almost certainly be inclined to believe the version of events given to him by the Metropolitan Police. Think about it. He wakes up one morning in a strange hospital bed, and has absolutely no clue why he is there or what happened to him. Then a kindly policeman comes and explains that he was the target of an assassination attempt using a lethal nerve agent, and that the British Government believes that it was ordered by the Russian Government. What is he going to believe? Fairly obvious I would think. At least he would have no reason to disbelieve them.

The second thing that would naturally follow is that, as soon as he was able, he would want to release a statement, either on paper, or in an interview, where he not only pledges his support for the Metropolitan Police and their ongoing investigation, and no doubt hints at involvement of the Russian State, but also – and this is crucial – where he also gives the public some information about what actually happened to him on 4th March: where he went, when he first started to feel ill, and what he last remembers.

Again, think about it. If you were in his shoes, wouldn’t you want to catch the people who did it? And wouldn’t you assume that the more information you could give to the public, perhaps even clearing up some of the anomalies (such as the reason for the agitation in Zizzis), the more chance there would be that someone’s memory might be jogged and vital information given to the police?

Of course you would. And yet so far, Mr Skripal has released no such statement. Why?

It isn’t that he is physically or mentally incapacitated. We know from Yulia Skripal’s brief call to her cousin on April 5th (which almost certainly wasn’t “meant” to happen), that Sergei was by that time fine. In response to Viktoria’s question about her father, she said this:

“Everything is ok. He is resting now, having a nap. Everyone’s health is fine, there are no irreparable things. I will be discharged soon. Everything is ok.”

That was nearly three months ago, and yet the Sergei Skripal who was fine on 5th April, having suffered no irreparable damage from apparently being poisoned by the world’s most deadly nerve agent, and who was discharged on 18th May, still has not spoken.

I put it that the theory I have advanced (see Part 5 in particular), suggests an obvious reason for his silence. Were he in the dark about the identity of those who poisoned him, as the official story implies, his silence would be inexplicable. Don’t you want to catch the perpetrators of this crime upon you and your daughter, Sergei?

Yet, if we assume that actually he knows exactly who poisoned him and why they poisoned him – as would be the case according to the theory I have advanced – then his silence is very easily explained. He cannot be allowed to be interviewed about what happened, because he would blow the whole wretched business clean out of the water. He cannot be allowed to make an open statement, with the press there to ask free questions, because it would come out that he had been meeting someone at the bench in The Maltings, and that this someone whom he met was the person who poisoned him.

In addition, his (highly likely) authorship of the Trump Dossier would be revealed. And if this were to happen, not only would it be seen that the foundation upon which the whole Trump/Russia collusion hoax was based was made of straw, but it would become clear that the interference in the 2016 US Presidential election was never really about Russian interference to get Trump elected; but rather about British interference to stop Trump getting elected.

The deafening silence of Mr Skripal is therefore strong evidence of a number of things:

  • That the Government story, in which he was the unsuspecting victim of a Kremlin plot, is without foundation.
  • That he well knows who his poisoners were and why they poisoned him.
  • That he cannot be allowed to speak freely because if he was, a scandal of monumental proportions would be revealed.

The Deafening Silence of Yulia Skripal

Deafening silence of Yulia? What am I talking about? She has released a number of statements through the Metropolitan Police, and in the statement (not interview) she made to Reuters. So what do I mean?

Many have pointed out a number of remarkable things about her Reuters statement. For one, she looked remarkably well. For another, the language of the statement she read was highly suggestive that it was first written in English – not by her – and then translated into Russian (statements like “I do not wish to avail myself of their services” don’t normally trip off the tongue of native English speakers, let alone those who speak it as a second language).

But for me the most remarkable thing about all of her statements are not what they do say, but rather what they don’t say. As with Sergei’s silence, Yulia has nothing whatsoever to say about the day of the poisoning. Isn’t that odd? She notes that she and her father survived an “attempted assassination”. She notes that a nerve agent was used to do it. But she says nothing about her and her father’s movements that day. Nothing about what they did and where they went. Nothing about when they first succumbed to the effects of the poisoning. Nothing to suggest that her father’s agitation in Zizzis may have been caused by poisoning.

In short, she says nothing whatsoever about the poisoning itself. Zero. Diddly squat. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Why?

As with Sergei’s non-statements, this doesn’t compute. If you happened to wake up in a hospital to be told that you had been the victim of a nerve agent poisoning, you would almost certainly want to tell people as much as possible about your movements up to the point of the poisoning. Wouldn’t you? Of course. Especially if not only you had been poisoned, but also your dad. You’d at least want to sound a bit more interested in actually catching the perpetrators than Yulia, who didn’t so much as mention it, and instead sounded like she just wanted to move on and forget it ever happened.

Once again, this total silence on something so crucial just doesn’t fit at all with the official story. That narrative suggests that Sergei and Yulia were innocent victims of a Kremlin-hired assassin. That narrative suggests they don’t know who that Kremlin-hired assassin was. But it also suggests that they of all people have a huge interest in giving details of what happened to them that day. And yet there is silence.

Does it fit better with the theory I have proposed? You bet it does. If what I have suggested is anywhere close to the truth, just like Sergei, Yulia cannot be allowed the freedom to give a proper interview where any question is allowed. She cannot be given consular access by the Russian Embassy. Why not? Because she knows what her dad was up to; she knows why he was meeting people at a park bench on Sunday 4th March; and she knows that the two of them were poisoned by the people who they were meeting.

Why did she agree to an interview? No doubt she realises what a difficult and vulnerable position she is in. Despite claims to the contrary, she clearly has no contact with her family back in Russia, or indeed any contact with the outside world. She was almost certainly pressured into making a statement, and yet — as Tony Kevin convincingly argues here — it has many signs of being a compromise statement. And so she agreed to making a fairly nebulous statement — one which is almost inconceivable from the point of view of the official narrative, but which fits perfectly with the narrative I have advanced.

The Deafening Silence of Nick Bailey

One final deafening silence that doesn’t exactly do wonders for the official narrative, is the silence of Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. He has always been a big puzzle in this case, for a number of reasons. It was first said that he was poisoned at The Maltings. However, the problem with this explanation is that there was absolutely no reason for him to have been there. The case was treated by Salisbury District Hospital as a case of Fentanyl poisoning. Why would a member of the Criminal Intelligence Department (CID) be called to a bench to an apparent opioid overdose?

It was then said by none other than Lord Ian Blair that DS Bailey was actually poisoned at Mr Skripal’s house. But again, the same question arises. Why would a member of CID be sent to the home of a person in a what looked like a case of opioid poisoning?

The story then swung backwards and forwards a number of times between a poisoning at the Maltings and a poisoning at Mr Skripal’s house. These anomalies are very important, but even more important is that they could have been put straight by DS Bailey himself. If the official story was correct, not only would it have been super easy to have verified where DS Bailey was poisoned, but he himself could have testified to it. And yet like the Skripals, there has been nothing!

Given the absurd changes to this particular part of the story – and it is perhaps the easiest of all parts to verify – my assumption is that he was poisoned at neither The Maltings or Mr Skripal’s house. Instead, just as I wrote in Part 5 that I believe it likely the Skripals were poisoned by an incapacitating nerve agent in the red bag that was then seen next to the bench, I think it highly likely that DS Bailey was poisoned from the same source.

But where? The red bag was removed from the scene by a police officer and placed in an evidence bag. Why would this have been done? Because the pair on the bench were suspected of overdosing on an opioid, and the bag would naturally be removed by police so that its contents could be examined. And whereas I think it unlikely that someone from CID would be called to the scene of a drug overdose, it seems quite likely that they might receive and handle evidence taken from such a scene. Therefore my guess – and I stress that it is only a guess – is that DS Bailey was the man who received the bag, and whilst looking inside to see its contents, was poisoned by the same incapacitating agent as the Skripals (possibly something like 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate (BZ), but definitely not A-234).

Again, if the official story were true, what would prevent DS Bailey from giving a brief statement or interview, confirming exactly what happened to him? But if the red bag theory is close to the mark, then it becomes plainly obvious why this hasn’t yet happened.

Smokes and Mirrors

Which actually brings me on to the penultimate point I want to make in this piece, and indeed in this 6-part series. Everything in the official story, no matter how absurd, seems designed to point our attention away from the most probable source, place and type of poisoning: The red bag, at the bench, and an incapacitating nerve agent. And it does so because if our attention is focused on them, then a very different story begins to emerge. Which cannot be allowed to happen.

As stated above, claims about A-234 being used just don’t add up. Neither the time delay, nor the symptoms, nor the recovery of the Skripals with no irreparable damage match up to what this deadly, military grade, high purity, lethal nerve agent that is so much more toxic than VX, is meant to do. What the claim does, however, is points our attention away from what is far more likely – an incapacitating agent administered to the Skripals between 3:45 and 4:00pm on 4th March.

As stated above, claims about the door handle just don’t add up. Neither the fact that both Sergei and Yulia were poisoned, nor the fact that others went in and out of the house before the door handle theory was put forward and didn’t succumb, nor the fact that the substance on it apparently remained of “high purity” weeks later – none of these things make any sense. What the claim does, however, is directs our thoughts away from what is far more likely – that the substance used to poison the Skripals was administered at the bench, and probably via the red bag.

The apparent motive put forward in the official narrative doesn’t add up either. There is a general agreement among countries that you do not target spies who have been part of a swap. Why? Because if you do, you can kiss goodbye to ever getting any other spies swapped in the future. It’s called shooting yourself in the foot big time! But what this frankly risible explanation for the apparent motive behind the poisoning does, however, is to point our attention away from what Mr Skripal was really up to. And as I set out in Part 4, this was very likely something to do with authoring the Trump Dossier.

Nothing about the official story makes sense. None of it adds up. It is riddled with holes. But I would submit that the only thing that does make sense about it, is that the parts that go to make up the sum are all desperate attempts to divert attention. They are smokes and mirrors, designed to stop us from considering some of the more obvious aspects of the case, and some of the more startling aspects of the case – Mr Skripal’s involvement with MI6; his likely involvement in or authorship of the Trump Dossier; the likelihood that he was due to meet people at the bench in The Maltings; the probability that this is why he was agitated and in a hurry in Zizzis; the likelihood that he knows who poisoned him and why.

And of course the reason that these things are not supposed to be considered is that if – and I acknowledge it is a big if – the alternative explanation I have advanced is true, and if it became generally known, then it would cause just about the biggest political crisis in British political history.

And Finally…

Having said that, I have to say that I don’t believe it at all likely that the British Government knew about any of this before it occurred. I get the impression that the intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic are a law unto themselves, and I think it likely that some of their number wanted to send Mr Skripal a message, one which would look like an opioid overdose, one which he would recover from reasonably quickly, and one which would be forgotten very soon.

However, I don’t think that the poisoning of DS Bailey was meant to happen, but when it did, it set off a series of events that quickly got out of control. I don’t think the identity of Sergei Skripal as a Russian involved in a spy swap was ever meant to make it into the press, but it did and very soon what looked like some kind of opioid poisoning quickly became an international spy saga.

The British Government’s reckless and extraordinarily quick reaction to the case was, apart from being a travesty of the rule of law, one of the biggest clues that the official narrative was not true. If it were true, they could have took their time, acted calmly, and let the investigation run its course. Instead, what we got was a lawless, irrational and absurd response. It all smacked of a panicked reaction, and whilst it made no sense in terms of the story they sold us, it makes perfect sense if the truth was that they were desperate to prevent news getting out about who Skripal really was, what he had been up to, and how the poisoning might well be connected with that work. And indeed the D-notices they slapped on the reporting of that stuff, and of Mr Skripal’s connections to Christopher Steele and Pablo Miller, are further evidence that it is so.

And so they very quickly decided to turn attention away from the big clues of the case, by invoking the scary sounding “Novichok” and pinning the blame – without any evidence – on the Russian State. To this date, they have given us no evidence to back up their claim, much less a suspect, but have unwittingly given us a bunch of absurdities that can be blown out of the water through the use of simple reason and logic.

They should have remembered this:

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7)

But I have a feeling they don’t believe it applies to them. I have a feeling that it does.

And so there’s my case. As I say, there are bound to be a good many holes and no doubt many errors and inconsistencies in it. Please do forgive me for those. As for the rest of it — Make of it what you will.

I hope to leave this case for now and write about other stuff. But I will of course return to it if there are any new and interesting developments.

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

What we can learn from the North Korea nuclear story

By Gunnar Westberg | International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | June 23, 2018

The North Korea – USA nuclear crisis should teach us several lessons regarding nuclear weapons:

  • Nuclear weapons do not prevent nuclear proliferation.

The nuclear weapon states accepted in 1970 in the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty, NPT. In this treaty these states agree to negotiate the complete disarmament of their nuclear weapons. They have completely disregarded this pledge and insist that they must retain nuclear weapons in order to prevent other countries from acquiring them. The North Korea example shows us that this does not work.

  • Nuclear weapons are contagious.

The nuclear weapons states also insist, contrary to their pledge in the NPT, that they must keep their nukes “for their own security”. This provides an excuse for other states to acquire them. A small country such as North Korea, DPRK, has stronger reasons to build nuclear weapons than a superpower such as USA, which in a world without nuclear weapons would have an unchallenged military dominance.

  • Nuclear weapons can cause war.

Without the “fake news” of the risk of a nuclear attack on Manhattan from Iraq, the US public would probably not have accepted the war against Iraq. If DPRK had not obtained nuclear weapons the country would not have been threatened with an attack, nuclear or non-nuclear. It is often repeated that nuclear weapons kept peace in Europe during the cold war; If there had been no nuclear weapons the Soviet Union would have invaded Western Europe. This is an unproven conjecture. A deeper discussion on this subject is outside my competence and outside the mandate of IPPNW. However, most historians today agree, based on sources released after 1990, that the Soviet Union accepted the status in Europe after 1950.

  • Nuclear weapons can bring high status to the leader of a country.

This has been important for the North Korean leaders. Already the grandfather of the present leader of North Korea desired the honour of meeting personally the President of the USA. President Trump is the first to accept the invitation and, in the mind of the North Korean leader­, treat him as an equal. Nuclear weapons can also bestow superpower status to a country. This is obvious in the arguments coming from e.g. France and India.

  • Nuclear weapons, once acquired, are hard to give up.

This we will learn in the years to come.

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hamas: Our people will bury US plans under their feet

Hazem Qasem
Palestine Information Center – June 23, 2018

GAZA – The Hamas Movement has said that the massive presence of citizens in the March of Return rallies on Friday, June 22, has reflected that the popular struggle in Gaza will continue until all goals are achieved.

In a press release, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said the ongoing popular uprising on the Gaza border aims to entrench the Palestinian people’s right to return to every part of their land, including Jerusalem, and their right to live in dignity and with no blockade.

“Such ongoing rallies prove that the [Israeli] occupation’s attempts to terrorize our people into not participating in them have failed,” Qasem affirmed, pointing to the exposure of protesters to aerial attacks during the past week.

“These marches have sent a message to the US administration, which is trying to impose plans or projects aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause, that our revolutionary people on the border will bury such schemes under their feet and will not allow any party to detract from their rights,” he underlined.

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Presbyterian Church Confronts US Legislation Targeting BDS

IMEMC News & Agencies | June 23, 2018

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States approved, during its meeting last week in St. Louis, Missouri, by unanimous consent, an action opposing congressional and state anti-BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) laws, according to a press release.

According to WAFA, the newly approved policy directs the Presbyterian Church (USA) to “oppose specific US legislation to suppress measures of economic witness…such as ‘The Israel Anti-Boycott Act’.” The action further instructs the church to join in legislation opposing state anti-BDS laws through the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in coalition with other religious and human rights groups.

Some two-dozen laws have been passed, in Congress and states across the country, that are designed to suppress BDS campaigns in protest of Israel’s abuses of Palestinian human rights. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other civil liberties groups have condemned these laws as un-constitutional and an infringement on the First Amendment right to free speech.

Earlier this year, in the first decision of its kind, a Kansas judge blocked an anti-BDS law in that state, deeming it un-constitutional. In recent years, a number of US faith groups and churches, including the Presbyterian Church (USA) have adopted boycotts and divested from companies that profit from Israel’s abuses of Palestinian human rights.

In other actions last week, the Presbyterian Church (USA) defended the free exchange of ideas on Israel/Palestine, refusing to accept a prohibition on describing the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza as “a colonial project.” The church also, by unanimous consent, declined to censor a recent publication from its Israel/Palestine Mission Network entitled Why Palestine Matters: The Struggle to End Colonialism.

The General Assembly considered additional actions relating to Israel/Palestine including a resolution expressing “profound grief and sorrow” for the deaths of 131 Palestinians during the recent protests surrounding the Great March of Return, deploring Israel’s “targeting of more than 20 clearly marked Palestinian medics serving the wounded,” one advocating for equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and one calling on RE/MAX to stop facilitating the sale of properties in settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law.

The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is a mission network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) with a mandate from the denomination’s General Assembly (2004) to work “toward specific mission goals that will create currents of wider and deeper involvement with Israel/Palestine.”

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hassan Nasrallah: Al-Quds will be returned to its rightful owners

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on June 8, 2018, on the occasion of the International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Translation by Sayed Hasan

Transcript:

[…] Today, Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Palestine, as Imam Khomeini wanted when he instituted the (International) Day of Al-Quds, became a cause of (Islamic) dogma, a cause of faith, outside the (opportunistic) area of ​​politics and the political bazaar, they became a cause of dogma, faith, humanity, truth, values…

Young Palestinians (in Gaza) go out (demonstrating) with bare hands against live bullets, and in Sanaa (tens of thousands of Yemeni) demonstrated under the bombs, just like in Al-Foua and Kafraya (Syria), the besieged and starving population demonstrated (for this International Day of Al-Quds). And combatants and Resistance are ready to shed their blood on all fronts for this (inevitable) day where Al-Quds and Palestine will be returned to their people, their owners and their (Muslim) community.

Today, this is our generation, these are our people, and this is a point of strength. Today, the power of the Resistance Axis lies firstly and fundamentally in his generations, one generation, a second, a third… Those who count on the fact that these (new) generations… Some refer to them as the generations of the Internet, Facebook, etc. Do not count on the fact that these generations in our Arab and Muslim world will stay silent, collapse, abandon or withdraw from the battle. And it’s the same for countries.

I have two words to say about the countries.

First, Iran. Since the first day of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, it announced a resolute, radical and decisive stance on the Israeli-Palestinian issue (“Israel is a cancerous tumor that must be wiped out”), and pays the price of this position. And I want to tell you quite simply that the Islamic Republic of Iran would never have seen any hostility from the United States, Israel and the Gulf if Imam Khomeini had said from the first day: “We, Iran, just overthrew a tyrannical regime, we have poverty in our country, needy, hunger, underdevelopment, unemployment, etc. What do we care about Palestine?” It was not necessary that he recognize Israel, it would have been enough for him to say that he did not care about Palestine, that it was a cause that didn’t concern them at all, and Imam Khomeini and Iran would not have suffered this hostility, this collusion and these huge plots.

But the Islamic Republic, with Imam Khomeini, Imam Khamenei and its noble people, for 39 years, confirmed its resolute, radical and decisive position, of the magnitude of (religious) dogma, at the side of Palestine and the Palestinian people, and its absolute position with regard to Israel and Israel’s existence (illegitimate entity doomed to extinction). And Iran suffers the consequences of that position. It is natural, my brothers and sisters, that all those who oppose Iran find themselves allies of Israel. Excuse me (to emphasize this truth), but it is a natural equation. The hostility to Iran leads to embrace Israel, and it is a service rendered to Israel.

Also today, our Arab and Islamic peoples have the responsibility not to allow the United States, Israel and some of their instruments in the region to turn Iran into an enemy. Israel must remain the enemy, Palestine must remain the cause and Iran must be regarded as the fundamental, powerful, honest and truthful support. And this is what was expressed by His Eminence Imam Khamenei in his last speech, despite all Trump’s intimidation and threats, his withdrawal from the nuclear deal, US sanctions. And the US Secretary of State said Iran will face sanctions unprecedented in history. But these sanctions and threats, have they led to hesitation in the position of His Eminence Imam Sayed the Leader (Khamenei), officials of the regime or the Iranian people? Absolutely not. Today’s demonstrations in the streets of Iran confirm it.

Therefore, in our (Resistance) Axis, we also have a State, a regime and a people… Iran is not only a State and a regime. Behind us in Iran, stand a leader, a plan, a State, a people, religious authorities and a major regional power who support the Resistance, support Al-Quds (Jerusalem), the Palestinian cause and Resistance movements, who persevered for 39 years and are determined to persevere (in this direction), refusing subservience, submission, surrender or abandonment of any of their rights. Therein lies (another) point of strength.

And to all those who, as it happened just a few months ago, are betting on the fall of the Islamic regime in Iran that would cause a substantial disruption of the strategic situation, I tell them that their hopes are illusions, mirages. These people do not follow the Iranian media. I want to give them proof, since yesterday was the last Night of Decree in Iran. If they had taken some time, or if they had asked their media to collect photos of the Night of Decree in Iran yesterday, in Mashhad, Qom, Tehran, in other cities, (they would have seen the fervor) of this people, who fasts during the day, and stays up all night until dawn, for three nights, and reads (for a long time). And listen to me, listen to me, they read the Quran in Arabic, while we Arabs read very little of the Quran. They read (long) invocations for hours in Arabic. We see it on television. They read for hours invocations in Arabic! And the father, mother, children and grandchildren (the whole family, all generations) go (to mosques) for these occasions. Can such a people abandon its religion? Can it abandon its Islam? Can it abandon its Imam? Can it abandon its Islamic regime that it established itself with the blood of hundreds of thousands of martyrs (during the Revolution and the Iran-Iraq war)? In what illusory world do you live? On what mirages do you base your hopes? This Iran, despite all the blockade that has been imposed, has become increasingly powerful, present and active, both inside and in the region. Even if people could manifest here and there (in Iran) because of such excuse or such problem, it was fixed and it will lead to nothing (this is not an uprising against the regime).

I declare to Palestine in the first place, and to all the Resistance movements in the Resistance Axis, and the (different) generations of our (Muslim) community, our Axis: this great regional country (Iran) is powerful, influential (and stands) with resolve and decisiveness (with you).

Second, the upheaval that took place in Iraq in recent years (is another point of strength for the Resistance). In 2016-2017, Iraq was in grave danger, under threat of ISIS, this ISIS created by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabi thought. But Iraqis have overcome it, and today in Al-Quds Day 2018, armed demonstrations and military parades are held in Baghdad for the International Day of Al-Quds, organized by those who participated in the victorious struggle against ISIS.

The Iraqi people elect their deputies, and we know the choice of the people. The position of religious authorities in the holy city of Najaf on Al-Quds and Palestine is very old, going back well before 1948, intangible, from Imam Sayed Mohsin al-Hakim, God have mercy on him, up to Imam Al-Sayed Khu’i, God have mercy on him, up to the highly active current authorities, (all denunced Israel as illegitimate and supported Armed Resistance). This is a well-known historical position followed by all (the successive authorities). The political forces in Iraq, the Iraqi people (are also on the same Resistance line). I do not want to attribute an official position to the Iraqi government, but I know well, thanks to my information, my contacts and my meetings, the true position of these people, and I know where they will be when the great battle (against Israel) will be triggered in this region. I will return to this point in conclusion.

This great upheaval in Iraq favors the Resistance Axis and the armed forces of the Resistance. Iraq, which the United States wanted to see busy and submitted, has not been submitted and never will be.

(As for) Syria, pillar of the Resistance Axis… Please bear (my speech for) a few more minutes for Al-Quds’ (Jerusalem) sake. Syria, this essential country of the Resistance Axis, was subjected in recent years to great trials, a total war, world war. This country belongs to this Axis (par excellence). Unlimited amounts of money have been poured there from all sides, as well as all types of weapons and all means, and all the red lines have been crossed. Today we are in 2018, and by the Grace of God the Most Noble and the Almighty, the largest and most important parts of Syria have regained peace and security, and the State has restored its control and presence, (including) in Damascus and the Damascus suburbs. And it is clear that the enemy Axis is now trying (desperately) to achieve if only a few (tokens of) victory.

Let me (explain) as regards Israel. Since the beginning of the events in Syria, Israel… I do not have time to read it (all), but our young (Hezbollah members) have compiled for me statements by Israeli officials since 2011 to date: from the President, then Shimon Peres, to the head of the government, Netanyahu, to successive ministers of Defense, chiefs of the intelligence services and some experts. Since 2011 and until recently, what did they say? I’ll just read you the headlines.

All options are preferable to Assad‘.

Israel’s interest lies in the departure of Assad‘.

Nobody in Israel prefer Assad to jihadists‘.

The fall of Assad would be a clear victory for Israel‘.

Assad will fall within a few weeks‘, said Barak in 2011.

The decisions of the Arab League against Assad are courageous and important‘.

We do not want the defeat…‘ said who? The chief of Israeli intelligence in 2016, and we inflicted a defeat on ISIS with our entire Axis in 2017-2018: in 2016 (he said) ‘We do not want the defeat of ISIS in Syria‘.

The weakening of Assad and his government’s expulsion is in the direct interest of Israel‘, said Ya’alon (Chief of Staff of the Israeli forces) in 2013.

We must defeat the regime of Bashar al-Assad‘. Etc., etc.

And after (all these Israel hopes were dashed), see how they called the (alleged) battle. Allow me (to speak) a few (more) minutes. Now they have (changed the aim of the battle, which was toppling Assad), and called it (‘Kicking Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria‘). Rather than conceding defeat in Syria, and recognizing that their hopes in Syria, pinned on terrorist takfiri organizations, collapsed, (these very groups that) Israel supported with its media, (direct) assistance, through its airstrikes, by providing weapons, ammunition, and everything (they could provide them). Absolutely everything. Instead of declaring their failure and defeat in Syria, and (recognize) that the State will remain, as well as the President and the (Syrian) Army, and that the organizations they have supported in recent years are about to disappear, Israel wants to falsify the (real) meaning of the battle, and now, Netanyahu, Lieberman and other are discoursing day and night (pretending) that the battle in Syria aims to kick out Iran and Hezbollah from Syria.

We accept this battle. We accept it. But before turning the page and opening this new chapter, you should first acknowledge, O Zionists, that you have been defeated in Syria, you have failed to bring down the pillar of the Resistance camp in the region, your hopes on terrorist groups were scattered to the four winds. Acknowledge that, and then, we could open a new page for the (alleged) battle you have entitled ‘Kicking out Iran and Hezbollah from Syria‘. And some Gulf countries also regard this battle as their own today, looking forward to make this new achievement, imagining that Russia will cooperate with them to get Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. And they have high hopes and (are) happy (at this perspective), and they are ready to celebrate their victory.

I also say to these Gulf countries and all this Axis which fought (against us) in Syria: if you acknowledge your defeat, good. If you want to start a new battle under a new title, we can talk about it. I do not have time to talk about it in detail now, but I want to say a word regarding Hezbollah, so nobody thinks that this (PR stunt) is a (true) battle they can win.

As for Hezbollah, my brothers and sisters, when we went to Syria, we went there for two reasons, or rather for a reason that has two aspects. The first is our vision, our understanding and faith in the fact that what is happening in Syria is a major plot targeting the Syrian people, the Syrian government and the Syrian entity, and the Resistance Axis, and that if Syria fell into the hands of its enemies, into the hands of takfiris, a catastrophe would ensue for Lebanon, for Palestine and for the Resistance. And that’s what we explained for the last 7 years. That’s the first aspect. And the second aspect (is that we did it) at the request and with the agreement of the Syrian leadership and the Syrian government. That’s what got us in Syria.

When we went to Syria, we had no particular project. (Some say) that Hezbollah went to fight in Syria in order to get a seat in the Syrian government, or the Syrian Assembly, or to interfere in Syrian internal affairs, politics, government, or whatnot, or to get a share of the Syrian economy, etc., etc., etc. Sincerely and honestly, we had no particular project in Syria, and now that we are in 2018, and that Syria celebrates its victories, I declare to the world, to enemies as well as friends, that Hezbollah has no particular project in Syria, absolutely not. We are present in Syria where we need to be, and where Syrian leaders have asked us to be based on developments on the ground. There is (no project) for Hezbollah – as for Iran, they can speak for themselves, I will not appoint me as their spokesperson, unless they ask me to translate their position in Arabic. I speak for Hezbollah. This battle is an imaginary battle.

Naturally, when the goal is achieved, we will consider that we have won, from the position of those who have contributed (to victory), on their scale – you know me well, I do not increase the actual proportions of things and I do not exaggerate. Anyone has the right to comment on numbers, but as for us, we are not divulging (in detail the extent of our presence in Syria). At our level, with our contribution, (we participated) to the great Syrian victory in the World War (which was imposed on it). When Syria will be safe, when the remnants of armed terrorist groups disappear, when those responsible for the project (of destruction of Syria) will despair of (their ability to achieve) their project, we will consider it as a great achievement. And what I say publicly now, we (clearly) told it before to President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian leadership. We have no problem. There is no problem.

At any time, anywhere, in any area where the Syrian leadership will consider, because of field data and national interests of Syria and the Syrian people, that Hezbollah should not be there, we will be grateful to them. We will not assume in any way that anyone inflicted a defeat us. O people, we will be glad and happy! Let Gulf countries know that. Let Israel know that. When we repatriate our youth (fighters), our people and our brothers to Lebanon, to their cities, to their homes and to their families, we will be happy and we will feel victorious, we will have the feeling of a mission accomplished. This is why we do not consider that there is any (real) battle in Syria aiming to have us stay or leave. What keeps us there is our duty and the Syrian leadership.

At the same time, I want to tell you something. At the same time, I want to tell you something. If the whole world formed a coalition… If the whole world formed a coalition to force us out of Syria, it would fail to make us leave. Even if the whole world gathered (against us). There is only one way (for us to leave), it is that the Syrian leadership tells us “Guys, God bless you, thank you…” They are grateful people and they thank us at every opportunity. “We are grateful and appreciate you, God bless you, the fighting has ended in this region and we won, you can go home.” How many fighters do we have (in order to) send troops to Syria (with no reason, our forces being limited)? Therefore, nobody should believe that there is a battle of this kind. Never. There is no battle here (these are lies of the enemy meant to allow him to save face). This whole issue concerns only the Syrian leadership, their estimate of the situation on the ground and their national security interests, and the current position of Syria against the great conspiracy which was hatched against it.

Final War Is Coming, No One Wants New Holocaust

O my brothers and sisters! In Lebanon, we will bear all the pressure, (the designation as a) terrorist organization, etc. We have already talked a lot about the situation in Lebanon, the Israeli threats, I mentioned all these issues on May 25, and there is no need to evoke them again.

But on this International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), I want to say to the Israelis, to the Palestinians and to the peoples of the world: just like we believe firmly, decisively and irrevocably, that Al-Quds and Palestine are just causes, we firmly believe, basing ourselves on our faith, on the Koran, on our doctrine, on the lessons, experiences and principles of History, and on our prediction of the future, that Al-Quds will be returned to its rightful owners, and that Palestine will be (completely) liberated. And Netanyahu’s sophistry will be to no avail.

Yesterday, Netanyahu said that Imam Khamenei wants to enrich uranium again in order to make a nuclear weapon and kill 6 million Jews in occupied Palestine. These are lies. First, Iran does not seek the nuclear bomb, and secondly, no one wants to kill 6 million Jews in occupied Palestine.

What we say, what the Palestinian people and the Arab and Muslim peoples say, and even what Islam says — I can say that this is the view of Islam — and what the Resistance says is this: we do not want to kill, we do not want to destroy, we do not want to throw (or drown) anyone in the sea. We tell you in a very civilized manner: embark in your ships, embark on your planes, and return to the countries from which you came. Regarding the (minority of) indigenous Jews, who are from Palestine, they are people of Palestine and they can stay there. As for the (Zionist) invaders, occupiers and settlers who came from all around the world, let them pack up their things and leave. This is the message of Islam, and this is the message of the Resistance. This is the message of the peoples of the region.

Contrary to what Netanyahu says, nobody wants to perpetrate another Holocaust or anything like that. But if you insist on perpetuating the occupation, then I assure you that the Day of the Great War in this region, whatever triggers it, is coming (fast). That day is close on which we will all pray in Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

We are awaiting that day, with a positive (active) expectation, getting ready for it, truly and faithfully. Fare well, and God’s peace be upon you and His mercy and blessings.

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colombian President-elect will not recognise Venezuela’s government, says to withdraw from UNASUR

Venezuelanalysis | June 21, 2018

Colombian President-elect Ivan Duque has vowed to not send an ambassador to Caracas upon assuming the presidency, claiming not to recognise the Venezuelan government in heated statements less than two weeks after his electoral victory.

“We can’t accept having links with a government which we consider to be illegitimate,” declared the winner of the June 17 election. Duque obtained 54 percent of the vote amid a 53 percent participation.

The president-elect, who will take power on August 7, also characterized Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as a “dictator,” alleging the existence of government-sponsored “drug trafficking structures.”

Similarly, Duque criticised Venezuela’s recent May 20 elections, which he considers to have been “openly manipulated.”

Venezuela’s May 20 presidential elections were declared free and fair by numerous international accompaniment missions who observed the process in the Caribbean nation.

By contrast, Colombia’s recent balloting has drawn significant criticism, with Colombia’s Immediate Reception for the Electoral Transparency Unit (URIEL) registering 1,239 complaints on the day of voting, 51 percent of which referred to “pressure and threats” to voters.

Duque is considered a hard-line politician of the right wing Democratic Centre center who is extremely close to party head and ex-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, both in his rejection to the Colombian peace process and in the aggressive tone taken in relation to Caracas.

However, unlike Uribe, who stated days after his presidency was over that an invasion to Venezuela had been on the table, Duque has calmed concerns over a possible military encounter between NATO member Colombia and Venezuela, saying that he will not “assume a warlike attitude towards Venezuela.”

Nonetheless, the new Colombian president has threatened to denounce his Venezuelan counterpart at the UN Security Council. Duque has also promised to withdraw from regional body UNASUR for its “complicity” with Venezuela.

The tense relations between Colombia and Venezuela since 1999 have not stopped the abundant, migration between the two populations. It is estimated that more than five million Colombians entered Venezuela fleeing the civil war and government persecution. Likewise, recent data suggests that more than one million Venezuelans have crossed into Colombia in the past two years.

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment