Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Corbyn calls on Boris Johnson to come clean about Skripal attack, Novichok & Russia

RT | April 9, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has called on Boris Johnson to “tell us what he knows,” after he insisted the Porton Down military lab had said the substance used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal was unequivocally Russian – and was proven wrong.

As the Labour leader was speaking at the launch of the party’s London elections campaign in Westminster, Corbyn said that if Johnson “has evidence that hasn’t been made public yet, I think he has a responsibility to do so.”

“[Johnson] claimed that he was 101 percent sure on German television who was responsible for the disgusting attack on the Skripals. The Foreign Office then listened to what Porton Down said and removed their own statement in support of what he had said,” Corbyn said.

“My response is Boris Johnson has got to tell us what he knows. Because it doesn’t do anybody any good to throw around assertions against people,” the Labour leader added. “It does us all good to support the Organization for the Elimination of Chemical Weapons handing in their investigations. And hold to account those who committed this terrible crime on the streets of this country.”

Corbyn’s comments come only a day after Johnson lashed out at the Labour leader in the Telegraph, stating that he was giving “false credibility” to propaganda from Moscow by refusing to agree “unequivocally” that Russia was responsible for the attack on the Skripals.

“There is only one thing that gives the Kremlin succor and lends false credibility to its propaganda onslaught,” Johnson said. “That is when politicians from the targeted countries join in. Sadly, I am driven to the conclusion that Jeremy Corbyn has joined this effort.”

Johnson told Deutsche Welle that Porton Down has categorically traced the nerve agent used on ex-double agent Sergei Skripal back to Russia – leaving the foreign secretary red-faced when the lab chief revealed to Sky News that they had been unable to determine the origin of the nerve agent.

The UK Foreign Office deleted its own tweets that made the same claim.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism | , , | Leave a comment

Bolton and Johnson: the Malevolent Villain and the Vicious Buffoon on the Nuclear Stage

By Brian Cloughley | CounterPunch | April 6, 2018

There are currently several characters of clownish tendency on the stage of international affairs, with others waiting in the wings for an opportunity to prance forward and perform their antics. The most recent addition to the Western cast is the new National Security Adviser to President Trump, John Bolton, who isn’t so much a clown as a pantomime villain — a grimy scoundrel who skulks round the stage twirling his moustache, jeering at his censorious audience and plotting the downfall of whomever has displeased him.

On the other side of the Atlantic the sinister Bolton is complemented by a venomous buffoon, Boris Johnson, the foreign minister who enunciates British policy in the dignified fashion that we have come to expect from representatives of the United Kingdom.

In evidence to Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on March 21 Johnson “compared Russia’s hosting of the 2018 Football International tournament to Hitler’s notorious Berlin Olympics in 1936.” He then expanded his line of attack and declared “It is up to the Russians to guarantee the safety of England fans going to Russia. It is their duty under their FIFA contract to look after our fans. We are watching it very, very closely. At the moment we are not inclined actively to dissuade people from going because we want to hear from the Russians what steps they are going to take to look after our fans.”

The following day the British media reported that “Ninety England football fans have been arrested in Amsterdam for public order breaches as England prepared for tonight’s friendly match against the Netherlands . . . It came shortly after 25 fans were held overnight for drunken behavior as thousands descended on the Dutch capital . . . footage showed fans throwing pints of beer over tourists and jumping into the canal. In one clip supporters could be seen hurling beer over tourists in a boat and throwing a bike into the canal, while others chanted behind an England flag.”

Apparently these delicate, sensitive Englishmen need an assurance of safety, wherever they may go, and the British Foreign Secretary demanded that Russia inform the British government “what steps they are going to take to look after our fans.”

Mr Johnson’s fretful concern that elegant, sophisticated English football supporters will require protection is but one indicator of his distrust of Russia.  On March 6 he stated that “Russia is in many respects a malign and disruptive force,” which was an echo of Mr Bolton’s opinion of Russia — and many other countries.

On March 15 Bolton told Fox News that “Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea . . . are regimes that make agreements and lie about them. A national security policy that is based on the faith that regimes like that will honor their commitments is doomed to failure.”

So now we know where Washington and London stand in regard to Russia. They are opposed to dialogue and indeed to any movement that might lead to rapprochement. They are ramping up confrontation daily, and although a war of words at the moment, it is obvious that both the US and the UK are preparing to escalate the conflict into something more dramatic. The pantomime villain and buffoon are uncompromising in their resolve to take their countries into a shooting war which would lead to planetary catastrophe.

Bolton announced that following the March 4 poisoning of the British spy, Sergei Skripal (a former Russian citizen who was a well-paid double agent and betrayed an unknown number of his countrymen to Britain’s intelligence service from 1995 to 2004), the response by Washington “needs to be such that we begin to create, in Vladimir Putin’s mind, deterrence theories that he will understand, if he undertakes this again the cost that Moscow will bear will be significantly greater. That’s how deterrence works.”

This is an intriguing change of stance for the elegant villain Bolton.  Consider, for example, the YouTube record of a 2013 interview in which he welcomed “a new era of Freedom for the Russian people” following President Putin’s election. He was proposing that Russia “grant a broader right to bear arms to its people, it would be creating a partnership with its citizens that would better allow for the protection of mothers, children, and families without in any way compromising the integrity of the Russian state. That is my wish and my advice to your great people.”

But then in July last year Bolton wrote in the UK Telegraph newspaper that “For Trump, it should be a highly salutary lesson about the character of Russia’s leadership to watch Putin lie to him. And it should be a fire-bell-in-the-night warning about the value Moscow places on honesty, whether regarding election interference, nuclear proliferation, arms control or the Middle East: negotiate with today’s Russia at your peril.”

His view of the world and especially of Russia has altered somewhat over the years, but his fellow performer Boris Johnson has the merit of being consistent, even if slightly jumbled.

One of Johnson’s tirades of anti-Russian innuendo and insult expanded into a vision of “global Britain” which is an intriguing concept. In a bizarre diatribe on March 28 he rejoiced that the country he represents on the world stage has “the most vibrant and dynamic cultural scene, with one venue – the British Museum – attracting more visitors than ten whole European countries that it would not be tactful to name tonight [presumably this was intended as humor]. And out of this great minestrone, this bouillabaisse, this ratatouille, this seething and syncretic cauldron of culture, we export not just goods – though we certainly do – but ideas and attitudes and even patterns of behavior.”

The cauldron of British culture is so effective that Mr Johnson was “delighted to say that in both the Czech Republic and in Iceland they mark Jan 7 with silly walks day in honor of Monty Python . . . and it is an astonishing fact that both of the two highest grossing movies in the world last year was either shot or produced in this country.”

This is national greatness? Silly walks, a couple of movies, and drunken football fans?

Johnson lives in a delirious world of fantasy, dalliance, and funny walks, but this does not make him any the less menacing, because his confrontational tirades are effective in swaying much of the population of a country that has lost direction and is stumbling on the world stage. He is both confrontational and callous — as illustrated by remarks last October about Libya, which was destroyed by a 9-month US-NATO bombing spree in 2011. His vision of its future was macabre to the point of obscenity, for “There’s a group of UK business people, wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte, on the coast, near where Gaddafi was actually captured and executed as some of you may have seen, and they literally have a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai. The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then they’ll be there.”

He and Bolton are soul-mates in malevolence and belligerence. They hate President Putin and are preparing for ultimate confrontation with Russia, a scheme that is backed enthusiastically by many figures in their respective governments.

Acts on the world stage have become more dramatic, and these players, the villain and the buffoon, are helping make the globe a more dangerous place.

Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

April 6, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Down & out at Porton Down: Embarrassment for the UK’s ‘Rush to Blame Russia’ brigade

By Neil Clark | RT | April 4, 2018

The news that the UK’s own chemical weapons scientists can’t confirm that the nerve agent we’re told was used on the Skripals came from Russia is another blow to the credibility of the UK political and media establishment.

They were oh so sure, weren’t they? Or at least they wanted us to think that. For the past four weeks in Britain, we’ve been subjected to a quite hysterical wave of Russophobia, worse than anything we witnessed even at the height of the old Cold War. The poisoning of former MI6 agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were found in a collapsed state on a bench in the cathedral city of Salisbury on Sunday, March 4, led not only to calls for a boycott of the football World Cup in Russia, but for RT to be taken off the air. The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats, and then pressured other European countries to do the same. While on Good Friday, in another provocative move, British authorities boarded an Aeroflot plane at Heathrow Airport.

The important principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ enshrined in Article 11 (1) of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was chucked out of the window. In its place we had ‘guilty until proven innocent.’

Instead of waiting until a full and proper investigation could even begin – let alone be concluded – we had a show trial and sentencing, by media, politicians, and members of neocon think tanks.

Anyone who dared to question the official narrative and didn’t support punishing Russia, faced attack from Imperial Truth Enforcers. Former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, who said that Foreign and Commonwealth Office sources had told him that Porton Down scientists were unable to confirm Russian culpability, was labelled a ‘conspiracy theorist’ for observing: “The same people who assured you Saddam Hussein had WMDs now assure you Russian ‘Novichok’ nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who condemned the attack but called for a thorough investigation, was savaged not just by the Tories, but also his own Parliamentary party, simply for taking a cautious line in Parliament on March 14.

Thirty-six Labour MPs signed an Early Day Motion – sponsored by arch Corbyn-critic John Woodcock – which declared “This House UNEQUIVOCALLY accepts the Russian state’s culpability for the poisoning of Yulia and Sergei Skripal.” The EDM supported the expulsion of Russian diplomats and the calling of a special meeting of the UN Security Council to “discuss Russia’s use of chemical weapons on UK soil.”

Will these MPs now be apologizing to Russia for accusing them of doing something which most definitely has not been proved? Or does supporting a neocon foreign policy mean never having to say you’re sorry?

It’s not just politicians who need to eat some humble pie.

In all my years in journalism, I have never felt so ashamed of my profession as in the last four weeks. The job of the journalist is to ask questions. To find out the truth. To be absolutely fearless in following leads, wherever they may take you. Today in Britain, political journalism means just parroting the official War Party line. It soon became apparent that the government narrative on Salisbury had more holes in it than a slab of Swiss cheese. But we were all expected, like the good little townsfolk in Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Emperor’s New Clothes,’ not to notice. Newspapers and magazines which should have been holding Theresa May and Boris Johnson to account did nothing of the sort. Suppositions were reported, day after day, as proven fact.

The last four weeks have shown how nothing really changed even after the catastrophe of Iraq. The same pro-war commentators are still in place, robotically churning out their rabidly anti-Russian, anti-Putin diatribes for an ever-dwindling readership.

After the lies told about Iraqi WMDs, you might have thought there would be a bit of ‘mainstream’ skepticism about UK government chemical weapons claims against an ‘Official Enemy’ state, which seem designed to lead us into an even more calamitous war. But no, they all carried on as if the only important thing that had happened in 2003 was Arsenal beating Southampton 1-0 in the FA Cup Final.

Just before the Iraq invasion, I remember asking a Conservative MP at a party if he really believed the guff about Saddam having WMDs. He looked at me and paused, before saying, “Well you’ve got to admit, he’s not a frightfully nice chap.” Today that MP, who clearly didn’t believe the government’s assertions, is the British Foreign Secretary.

Boris Johnson has gone further than any minister down the ‘Russia did it’ line. In an interview with Deutsche Welle on March 20, he said: “they (the scientists at Porton Down) were absolutely categorical and I asked the guy myself, I said, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said there’s no doubt.”

That is flatly contradicted by the statement today of Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, who said, “We have not identified the precise source.”

Just as interesting was Aitkenhead’s response to being asked if Novichok could have emanated from Porton Down itself. “There’s no way that anything like that would ever have come from us… we’ve got the highest standards of control and security,” he said.

Yet in his Deutsche Welle interview, Boris Johnson, in answer to the question: “Does Britain possess samples of it?” (i.e. Novichok), replied, “They (Porton Down) do.” How could Porton Down know the substance used was Novichok if they possessed no samples to test it against?

If samples were stored literally just down the road from where the Skripals were poisoned, surely it’s reasonable to ask whether or not some of them did get out? To maintain, as the UK government does, that no other explanation other than Russian guilt is plausible is clearly nonsense. After going out on a limb on this one, (one suspects in order to curry favor with kingmaker Rupert Murdoch, Boris Johnson’s position as foreign secretary is surely now untenable. Jeremy Corbyn needs to be calling for his resignation – and also that of Prime Minister Theresa May – when he next goes to the House of Commons.

But it’s clear that the UK’s problems go a lot deeper than changing the faces at the top. The Salisbury ‘Rush to Blame Russia,’ before any evidence of Kremlin involvement was produced, proves that we need a clear out of the entire political and media establishment and a move to a more democratic, publicly accountable system. We didn’t get that after Iraq, but we really must get it now.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

‘UK makes light sabers, Russia makes Novichok,’ Johnson brags – but what about Saudi weapons sales?

RT | March 29, 2018

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson bragged about the UK’s cultural influence, claiming its “arsenals” carried the “power of imagination.” The bold statement came from a principle facilitator of civilian deaths in Yemen.

Speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Easter Banquet in London, Johnson had a message to deliver: despite withdrawing from the EU, Britain remains a global team player and a stalwart defender of the ideals-based rule of law. Unlike Russia, which he described as a bad actor in all too many regards, Britain is apparently a bastion of commerce, science and culture.

“We have the most vibrant and dynamic cultural scene, with one venue – the British Museum – attracting more visitors than 10 whole European countries that it would not be tactful to name tonight,” Johnson said.

The jibe’s targets were quite apparent, since earlier in his speech Johnson had named every nation that backed the UK in its drive to expel Russian diplomats over the Skripal poisoning affair – “the full roll of honor,” he called it. He didn’t mention that the absentees in the list probably didn’t have the opportunities to plunder their foreign colonies for decades to fill their museums, unlike Britain.

The poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is seen by the UK government as a closed case, with Russia the undisputed culprit – despite the police probe being in the early stages. London pushed for an unprecedentedly large expulsion of Russian diplomats, with the US accounting for the biggest chunk of people kicked out.

Johnson’s cultural superiority bragging continued, when he cited “an astonishing fact that both of the two highest grossing movies in the world last year was either shot or produced in this country: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Star Wars.’”

“And that tells you all you need to know about the difference between modern Britain and the government of Vladimir Putin. They make Novichok, we make light sabers,” the foreign secretary said, referring to the nerve agent reportedly used in the poisoning.

“I tell you that the arsenals of this country and of our friends are not stocked with poison but with something vastly more powerful: the power of imagination and creativity and innovation that comes with living in a free society, of a kind you see all around you today,” Johnson added.

There are many countries that have experienced firsthand the power of British “imagination and creativity,” including Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen in this century alone. But not the kind Johnson spoke about. Just last month, the foreign secretary and the cabinet he is part of were welcoming Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman as he visited the country.

READ MORE: 3 years of Yemen bloodbath marked by US & UK arms deals with Saudis

Riyadh is among the biggest buyers of British arms, including bombs, which it uses to hit all sorts of targets in Yemen. The strikes include civilian factories, marketplaces and funeral ceremonies, which has been harschly condemned by rights groups. While brushing off responsibility for some of the cases entirely, the Saudis tend to write off others as errors or unavoidable collateral damage, so the British government doesn’t seem to be particularly bothered that UK weapons kill civilians in Yemen.

Johnson praised the UK-manufactured light sabers, which make a “mysterious buzz” to inspire children and help the country stand against Russia in a company of “admirers and friends.” Somehow the arsenals it sells to Saudi Arabia, fueling the kingdom’s three-year bloodbath in Yemen, didn’t make their way into the speech.

March 29, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Portonblimp Down – A Tale By Boris Johnson

By Craig Murray | March 19, 2018

“Comrade Putin, we have successfully stockpiled novichoks in secret for ten years, and kept them hidden from the OPCW inspectors. We have also trained our agents in secret novichok assassination techniques. The programme has cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but now we are ready. Naturally, the first time we use it we will expose our secret and suffer massive international blowback. So who should be our first target? The head of a foreign intelligence agency? A leading jihadist rebel in Syria? A key nuclear scientist? Even a Head of State?”

“No, Tovarich. There is this old retired guy I know living in Salisbury. We released him from jail years ago…”

WARNING If you harbour any doubts at all about the plausibility of Mr Johnson’s story, you are a crazed conspiracy theorist and a traitor. Plus you will never, ever get employed in the BBC or corporate media.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 3 Comments

Boris Johnson Issues Completely New Story on “Russian Novichoks”

By Craig Murray | March 18, 2018

Boris Johnson has attempted to renew the faltering case for blaming Russia ahead of the investigation into the Skripal attack, by issuing a fundamentally new story that completely changes – and very radically strengthens – the government line on what it knows. You can see the long Foreign and Commonwealth Office Statement here.

This is the sensational new claim which all the propaganda sheets are running with:

The Foreign Secretary revealed this morning that we have information indicating that within the last decade, Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents likely for assassination. And part of this programme has involved producing and stockpiling quantities of novichok. This is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

This is an astonishing claim and requires close investigation. If this information comes from MI5 or MI6, there is a process of inter-departmental clearance that has to be gone through before it can be put in the public domain – even by a Minister – which is known as “Action-on”. I have been through the process personally many times when working as head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, monitoring Iraqi arms acquisitions. It is not, unless actually at war, a Saturday night process – it would have had to have been done on Friday.

So why is this essential information being released not to Parliament on Friday, but on Andrew Marr’s sofa early on a Sunday morning, backed up with a Sunday morning official statement? This is very unusual. Furthermore, it is absolutely incompatible with what I was told last week by FCO sources – they did not know this information, and one of them certainly would have if it was based on MI6 or GCHQ reporting.

I can see only two possible explanations. One – and the most likely – depends on looking yet again extremely carefully at what the statement says. It says “we have information indicating that within the last decade”. It does not say how long we have held that information. And “within the last decade” can mean any period of time between a second and ten years ago. Very tellingly it says “within the last decade”, it does not say “for the last decade”.

“Within the last decade” is in fact the exact same semantic trick as “sale price – up to 50% off”. That can mean no more than 0.1% off and its only actual meaning is “never better than half price”.

The most likely explanation of this sentence is therefore that they have – since last week when they didn’t know this – just been given this alleged information. And not from a regular ally with whom we have an intelligence sharing agreement. It could have come from another state, or from a private source of dodgy intelligence – Orbis, for example.

The FCO are again deliberately twisting words to convey the impression that we have known for a decade, whereas in fact the statement does not say this at all.

There is a second possible explanation. MI6 officers in the field get intelligence from agents who, by and large, they pay for it. In my experience of seeing thousands of MI6 intelligence reports, a fair proportion of this “Humint” is unreliable. Graham Greene, a former MI6 officer, was writing a true picture in the brilliant “our Man in Havana”, which I cannot strongly recommend enough to you.

The intelligence received arrives in Vauxhall Cross and there is a filter. A country desk officer will assess the intelligence and see if it is worth issuing as a Report; they judge accuracy against how good access the source has and how trustworthy they are deemed to be, and whether the content squares with known facts. If passed, the intelligence then becomes a Report and is given a serial number. This is not a very good filter, because it still lets through a lot of rubbish, but it does eliminate the complete dregs. One possible source of new information that has suddenly changed the government’s state of knowledge this weekend is a search of these dregs for anything that can be cobbled together. As I have written in Murder in Samarkand, it was the deliberate removal of filters which twisted the Iraqi WMD intelligence.

In short, we should be extremely sceptical of this sudden new information that Boris Johnson has produced out of a hat. If the UK was in possession of intelligence about a secret Russian chemical weapons programme, it was not under a legal obligation to tell Andrew Marr, but it was under a legal obligation to tell the OPCW. Not only did the UK fail to do that, the UK Ambassador Sir Geoffrey Adams was last year fulsomely congratulating the OPCW on the completion of the destruction of Russia’s chemical weapons stocks, without a single hint or reservation entered that Russia may have undeclared or secret stocks.

On the Andrew Marr programme, Boris Johnson appeared to say for the first time that the nerve agent in Salisbury was actually made in Russia. But this is a major divergence from the published FCO statement, which very markedly does not say this. Boris Johnson was therefore almost certainly reverting to his reflex lying. In fact the FCO statement gives an extremely strong hint the FCO is not at all confident it was made in Russia and is seeking to widen its bases. Look at this paragraph:

Russia is the official successor state to the USSR. As such, Russia legally took responsibility for ensuring the CWC applies to all former Soviet Chemical Weapons stocks and facilities.

It does not need me to point out, that if Porton Down had identified the nerve agent as made in Russia, the FCO would not have added that paragraph. Plainly they cannot say it was made in Russia.

The Soviet Chemical Weapons programme was based in Nukus in Uzbekistan. It was the Americans who dismantled and studied it and destroyed and removed the equipment. I visited it as Ambassador to Uzbekistan shortly after they had finished – I recall it as desolate, tiled and very cold, nothing to look at really. The above paragraph seeks to hold the Russians responsible for anything that came out of Nukus, when it was the Americans who actually took it.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

The Beneficiaries of Conflict With Russia

By Brian Cloughley | CounterPunch |March 31, 2017

On  January 30 NBC News reported that “On a snowy Polish plain dominated by Russian forces for decades, American tanks and troops sent a message to Moscow and demonstrated the firepower of the NATO alliance. Amid concerns that President Donald Trump’s commitment to NATO is wavering, the tanks fired salvos that declared the 28-nation alliance a vital deterrent in a dangerous new world.”

One intriguing aspect of this slanted account are the phrases “dominated by Russian forces for decades” and “vital deterrent” which are used by NBC to imply that Russia yearns, for some unspecified reason, to invade Poland. As is common in the Western media there is no justification or evidence to substantiate the suggestion that Russia is hell-bent on domination, and the fact that US troops are far from home, operating along the Russian border, is regarded as normal behaviour on the part of the world’s “indispensable nation.”

Then Reuters recorded that “Beginning in February, US military units will spread out across Poland, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany for training, exercises and maintenance. The Army is also sending its 10th Combat Aviation Brigade with about 50 Black Hawk and 10 CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 1,800 personnel, as well as a separate aviation battalion with 400 troops and 24 Apache helicopters.”

As the US-NATO military alliance continues its deployments along Russia’s borders, including the US-UK supported Joint Viking 2017 exercise in Norway that began on March 1 and the deployment of  more US troops in Poland “from the start of April, as the alliance sets up a new force in response to Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea,” the campaign by the US and British governments against alleged “Russian Aggression” continues to increase in volume and intensity, aided by an ever-compliant media.

During his visit to Washington on March 6-7 Ukraine’s foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Senator Marco Rubio of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and received assurances of US support in “confronting Russian aggression” while in Britain it was announced that its foreign minister, Boris Johnson, the “mop-haired buffoon” was about to visit Russia in order to tell it to “keep its nose” out of western affairs. Mr Johnson declared that Russia “was up to all sorts of no good” and “engaged in cyber-warfare.”

The splendid irony of the Johnson allegation about cyber warfare is that it came just before the revelation that Britain’s intelligence agencies were deeply involved with those of the United States in cyber-chicanery on a massive scale. WikiLeaks once again showed the depths of deceit and humbug to which the West’s great democracies submerge themselves, and revealed that leaked files “describe CIA plans and descriptions of malware and other tools that could be used to hack into some of the world’s most popular technology platforms. The documents showed that the developers aimed to be able to inject these tools into targeted computers without the owners’ awareness . . . the documents show broad exchanges of tools and information between the CIA, the National Security Agency and other US federal intelligence agencies, as well as intelligence services of close allies Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.”

ABC News then announced, without a shred of proof, that “Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, appears to have a strong relationship with Russia” but could not disguise the report by CNN that the documents disclosed that “to hide its operations, the CIA routinely adopted techniques that enabled its hackers to appear as if they were Russian.”

There has been no comment on the WikiLeaks revelations by such as US Senator Amy Klobuchar who declared in January that “Russia used cyberattacks and propaganda to try and undermine our democracy. We are not alone. Russia has a pattern of waging cyberattacks and military invasions against democracies across the world.”  She was echoed by Senator Ben Sasse who declared that increased US sanctions would “upend Putin’s calculus and defend America from Russian cyberattacks and political meddling.”

Of course it would be impossible for the Senators to revise their rabid hatred of Russia and overcome their dismal pride to acknowledge that on March 1 the US National Reconnaissance Office launched a spy satellite carried by an Atlas V rocket that was powered by a Russian RD-180 engine. In an astonishing example of petty-minded obfuscation, the 1,500-word official report on the launching mentioned RD-180 three times — but failed to state its country of manufacture. The mainstream media followed suit.

There was to be another Atlas V launch in March, carrying supplies to the International Space Station, but it was delayed by “a hydraulic issue that was uncovered on ground support equipment required for launch.” Had it been deferred because of malfunction of the Russian engine that powers it, there would have been gloating headlines.

Reaction by the US government to the WikiLeaks disclosures has been to denounce them because they supposedly “not only jeopardise US personnel and operations, but also equip our adversaries with tools and information to do us harm.”  Predictably, Senator Sasse tweeted that “Julian Assange should spend the rest of his life wearing an orange jumpsuit. He’s an enemy of the American people and an ally to Vladimir Putin.”

There should be no surprise about the activities of US and British intelligence agencies, because they already have a proven record of spying on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, French Presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, to name but a few world leaders subjected to the indignity of greasy little eavesdroppers sniggering at their private conversations.

In June 2013 it was revealed that the United States of America had been spying on European Union computer networks in the EU offices in Washington and New York. According to Germany’s Der Spiegel a document of September 2010 “explicitly named the Union’s representation at the UN as a ‘location target’.” Der Spiegel discovered  that “the NSA had also conducted an electronic eavesdropping operation in a building in Brussels where the EU Council of Ministers and the European Council were located.”  Together with their British colleagues, the techno-dweebs of Government Communications Headquarters, the US agencies have been having a ball — but have been unable to prove that Russia “used cyberattacks and propaganda to try and undermine our democracy.”

The faithful CIA mouthpiece, the New York Times, stated in December that “American spy and law enforcement agencies were united in the belief, in the weeks before the presidential election, that the Russian government had deployed computer hackers to sow chaos during the campaign.” Not only this, but “CIA officials presented lawmakers with a stunning new judgment that upended the debate: Russia, they said, had intervened with the primary aim of helping make Donald J Trump president.”

But there is no evidence whatever that there was election-time hacking by Russia, and now there is proof that “to hide its operations, the CIA routinely adopted techniques that enabled its hackers to appear as if they were Russian.”

Although none of the assertions that Russia has been conducting a cyber war against America can be substantiated, Washington’s anti-Russia propaganda campaign will continue for the foreseeable future, while President Trump’s initial intentions to enter into dialogue with his counterpart in Moscow wither away to nothing. Even if he does resurrect the sensible policy he seemed to endorse, his acolytes in Washington will do their best to maintain confrontation by spreading more allegations of Russian “aggression” and “cyberattacks.” The anti-Russia campaign is gathering force, and it is not difficult to put a finger on why such a counter-productive crusade appeals to so many in the West.

The US arms and intelligence industries are the main beneficiaries of confrontation with Russia, closely followed by the hierarchy of the defunct US-NATO military alliance who have been desperately seeking justification for its existence for many years. For so long as the military-industrial complex holds sway in Washington, there will continue to be sabre-rattling and mindless military posturing.

But the International Space Station will continue to be resupplied by rockets powered by Russian engines.

Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

March 31, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No-Fly Zone Madness

Catastrophe and Conflict in Aleppo

By Binoy Kampmark | Dissident Voice | October 15, 2016

Tuesday’s House of Commons debate in Britain was filled with the hollow anguish of impotence, fresh with statements about Russian war criminality tossed about like freshly made blinis. Ever easy to point to, Russian support for a regime which Western powers wish to remove, at the expense of further catastrophe, has accelerated the ruthless disposition of the conflict. Peace talks have died in utero; the agents’ actions lack conviction and they pursue, instead, the moral outrage that only impotence engenders.

Hence the scenes of pent up indignation in the Commons, with members running up flags of desperation against a force they see as the Assad monster, backed to the hilt by bully boy Russia and theocratic Iran. At points, the descriptions of desperation became more insistent on a direct military confrontation with Russia, oblivious about the dangerous escalation of the entire conflict.

Aleppo has been raised to be a spectre of cruelty and devastation, a point that was driven home by members of the House after Russia’s veto of a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in the eastern part of the city.

Individuals such as former international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, have been pushing for a no-fly zone for months. Erroneously, and dangerously, Mitchell assumes that such zones of aerial engagement can be controlled and delicately managed, despite a proposed tracking of Russian jets by UK warships off the Syrian coast.

On BBC Radio 4’s programme, Mitchell claimed, “No one wants to see a firefight with Russia, no one wants to shoot down a Russian plane.” This is the same Mitchell who claimed that the UK, having learned hard lessons from Iraq, had a plan for post-Qaddafi Libya.

One would hate to have seen the alternative, though anyone with a sense of history’s nasty surprises would be wary about hyperventilating rhetoric on the moral register. For Mitchell, Russia’s behaviour regarding Aleppo matched “the behaviour of the Nazi regime in Guernica in Spain.”

The parliamentary proceedings during Tuesday’s three-hour emergency debate contained an element of farce, though foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, urged members to remember that “the mills of justice grind slowly, but they grind small”. He had held to the firm line, at least so far, that no-fly zones were simply too risky a proposition, an open invitation to expanded conflict and dangerous encounters.

That said, to help the grind towards some form of indignant justice just that little bit, Johnson urged protests outside the Russian embassy. The ledger board for political points was obviously something Johnson had in mind, arguing that other organisations needed to have their voice heard against Russian shelling and bombing.

This view has been appended to a growing list of calls by such company as US Secretary of State John Kerry and French President and François Hollande, who wish to Russia accountable for war crimes in the International Criminal Court.

This rather rich and discriminatory assertion is not so much focused on the regular civilian deaths occasioned by the airstrikes as the attack on an aid convoy that scuttled the latest Russia-US led ceasefire. Details have been traded and questioned, often with infantile fury, but the facts, as with so much in the Syrian war, remain grimly obscured.

The business of finding war criminals would, in any case, be a tough one, since these same powers assist a fair share of brutal rebels who have a good complement of atrocities under their belts as well. Sponsorship from Paris, Washington and London has never been doubted, and their efforts to destabilise the region more broadly have are a given.

What, then, of the no-fly zone proposition? Even the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, has conceded privately about how devastating it could be in the Syrian conflict. In her 2013 speech to yet another shindig at Goldman Sachs, acknowledgment was made how the carnage would be significant in the event such a zone was implemented with any degree of effectiveness.

They’re getting more sophisticated thanks to Russian imports. To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defenses, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting out pilots are risk – you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.

The result is clear, even from Clinton’s sometimes tortured logic: bodies, and more bodies: “So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians.”

As is evidenced by Clinton’s own scepticism, the no-fly zone for Syria is a cul-de-sac of sanguinary doom. Her initial comments came before the full blooded commitment of Russia’s air force had commenced. To implement such a plan now would not only amplify the massacre; it would ensure a regional conflict of ever greater savagery.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne and can be reached at: bkampmark@gmail.com.

October 16, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Stop! Decency demands we smoke out the real perpetrators of war crimes against Aleppo and Gaza

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | October 14, 2016

As Western outrage erupts over the relentless destruction of Aleppo and its people, why is there no similar clamour for a halt to the more prolonged pulverising of Gaza and the continuing slaughter of civilians there?

The UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said the other day:

“Russia’s actions in recent weeks have exposed just how hollow Russia’s commitment to the political process is. Today we have seen that commitment for what it really is; a sham….

“I echo the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury who described the destruction of Aleppo as the absolute contempt for the human spirit, for the dignity of the human being…. There can be no military justification for aerial attacks that indiscriminately hit civilians, and their homes and their hospitals.”

Aleppo or Gaza: what’s the difference?

A few days later we were treated to the spectacle of our recently-appointed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson calling for anti-war protesters to demonstrate outside the Russian embassy in London. Russia, he said, risks becoming a pariah nation and should be investigated for war crimes in Aleppo. He predicted those responsible for war crimes in Syria would eventually face charges before the international criminal court.

Johnson was speaking in a Commons debate in which he apparently rejected the idea of a no-fly zone, warning that we might have to confront and perhaps shoot down Russian and Syrian planes or helicopters that violate the zone. In other words: go to war. “We need to think very carefully about the consequences.” Too right, Boris. All the same, he’s looking at “kintetic” options such as military action as well as intensifying sanctions against the Assad regime and Russia. Perhaps he has forgotten how the last proposal for air strikes in Syria, in 2013, was thrown out by the Westminster Parliament.

One is immediately prompted to ask why Boris Johnson busies himself accusing Russia of war crimes and drumming up demos outside its embassy while remaining stoically silent about the diabolical crimes of top pariah state Israel. Shouldn’t he be at least evenhanded in his criticism of regimes that repeatedly violate all decent norms of human behaviour?

Why won’t Boris go “kinetic” over Gaza?

Israel and its terrorist founders have been slaughtering and robbing the Palestinian people for nearly 70 years. The Tel Aviv regime continues to illegally occupy Palestinian territory and keep its defenceless citizens bottled up in the shredded left-overs of their homeland, and even commits murder and piracy on the high seas to prevent visitors reaching them. Yet we’ve seen no NATO ships or warplanes off the Gaza coast, no no-fly zones imposed over the still-occupied Holy Land, no boots on the ground, and no arms or military advisers for the Palestinian resistance. In fact, nothing that could be described by Boris as “kinetic”.

Israel, whose “absolute contempt for the human spirit” is extremely profitable, simply doesn’t attract the same high-level indignation. So the evil regime’s demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes for so-called administrative and planning reasons, its wholesale destruction of businesses and infrastructure, its excessive violence against non-combatants, its abductions, imprisonments and assassinations, and especially its programme of blitzkriegs on Gaza slaughtering thousands including many hundreds of children, and reducing the place to rubble… they all go unpunished. None of these crimes can be justified on grounds of defence or security. And in the Palestinians’ case they have nowhere to run. They cannot escape. To the best of my knowledge Boris Johnson has never called for those responsible to be brought before the ICC. He hasn’t even threatened sanctions.

Nor is he likely to. For he’s a “very outspoken friend of Israel” according to former ambassador to London Daniel Taub. Yessir, “he is a very enthusiastic supporter, and his relationship with Israel goes back a long way”. Taub also says Johnson’s enthusiasm is such that “he jumped on our idea of an Israeli cultural festival in London, and thanks to his backing it will be happening next year”. We all know how eagerly Britain’s Foreign Office supports the EU-Israel Association Agreement despite Israel’s blatant violation of its key conditions from the very start.

On his visit to Israel last November some Palestinian groups refused to meet Boris after he dismissed British supporters of BDS (that’s the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) as “lefty academics who have no real standing in the matter and I think are unlikely to be influential… ” BDS is civil society’s non-violent response not just to the international community’s inaction but the major powers’ perverse habit of rewarding Israel for its crimes. Boris said he couldn’t think of “anything more foolish” than to boycott Israel, which he described as “the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view a pluralist open society.”

So amusing. But if the boycotts are foolish and ineffectual, as Boris claims, why so many frantic efforts around the world to have BDS outlawed?

Let’s face it. Boris Johnson is a very senior member of the Conservative Party in which 80% of MPs, it is said, are signed-up Friends of Israel. As PM Theresa May recently proclaimed, “the Conservative Party would not be the Conservative Party without CFI [Conservative Friends of Israel].” They wax lyrical about the odious foreign power whose flag they wave in Parliament, as do their fellow stooges in Washington. The insane focus on regime-change in Syria is primarily for the benefit of Israeli expansionism, and the army of highly-placed useful idiots have their orders.

By being part of this grotesque admiration society, and one of Israel’s keenest rewarders, Boris has become the buffoon he always pretended to be. And nudging us towards a second cold war with Russia just to tick another box for Israel’s grisly ambition confirms him as dangerous as well as daft.

October 15, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson calls for Russian Embassy protests during Syria debate

RT | October 11, 2016

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has used his debut at the House of Commons dispatch box to accuse Russia of bombing an aid convoy in Aleppo, and asked why anti-war activists have not mounted protests outside the Russian Embassy in London.

“Where is the Stop The War coalition at the moment? Where are they?” asked Johnson, during an emergency parliamentary debate on the situation in Aleppo, Syria.

“All the available evidence therefore points to Russian responsibility for the atrocity,” said Johnson, referring to the bombing of the UN aid convoy on September 20 that resulted in the deaths of 20 people, and the destruction of 18 trucks, which he had previously called a “war crime.”

“There is no commensurate horror, it seems to me, amongst some of those anti-war protest groups,” said Johnson.

“If Russia continues in its current path, then I believe that great nation is in danger of becoming a pariah nation,” said the Foreign Secretary, who was appointed by Theresa May in July.

Johnson also called for further sanctions against Russia, which is already under several Western embargoes over Crimea, and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“We’ve got to make sure we have innovative ways of getting aid into Aleppo, and as several members have said, we have to step up the pressure on Assad’s regime through sanctions and on the Russians through sanctions,” said the Conservative politician.

He also raised the possibility of an international legal effort to bring to justice those allegedly responsible for war crimes in Syria, a day after France and UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon made the same appeal.

“I’m personally very attracted to the idea of getting these people [war criminals] to come before the International Criminal Court. That’s certainly something I would like to pursue,” said Johnson.

October 11, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Remove children of suspected radical Muslims: Boris

Press TV – March 5, 2014

London Mayor Boris Johnson says Muslim children with suspected radical parents must be removed from their families, causing controversy amongst the city’s Muslim community.

The London mayor made the remarks in his weekly Daily Telegraph column published on Monday.

He alleged that some Muslim children were being “taught crazy stuff” similar to the views expressed by the two men who killed British soldier Lee Rigby on a south-east London street in May 2013.

In a later interview however, when asked if the children of the UK’s far-right British National Party (BNP) activists should also be removed from their families, Johnson said this should be done in “extreme” cases.

The Muslim Council of Britain warned that Johnson’s remarks risked provoking anti-Muslim sentiment across the UK.

“The people responsible for the murder of Lee Rigby were not sons of radical extremists, nor were those who committed previous atrocities. To tackle their extremism we need to look beyond the need to generate easy headlines,” the council said.

Britain’s largest force, the Metropolitan Police, recorded 500 anti-Muslim crime cases across the country in 2013.

Attacks against Muslims have soared in the UK since the murder of Rigby by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who reportedly killed the soldier in “retaliation for the deaths of Muslims in Afghanistan at the hands of British troops.”

March 5, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Islamophobia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment