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There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen

By Rannie Amiri | CounterPunch | October 19, 2018

Those in the Western media too busy to be bothered trying to understand the complexities, intricacies and nuances of the Middle East often resort to concluding nearly all conflicts there are some kind of “proxy war” between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

This is usually out of ignorance, reducing disputes to the lowest common dominator of Sunnis versus Shiites or to that between their two most prominent patron states. Often though there is deliberate obfuscation; there must be justification for a US ally to cause regional mayhem on the pretext of containing an enemy. The easiest and most convenient scapegoat has been Iran and efforts to contain its alleged expansionism by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and of course, Israel, go unchecked.

One of the most devastating and tragic episodes occurring in the Middle East today is in Yemen. But this is not a de facto proxy war its bankrollers hope we have all grown too weary of hearing to investigate further.

Despite the constant disclaimers by a lazy media, there is no proxy war in Yemen.

The war which has ravaged the Arab world’s poorest country since March 2015 is a Saudi-led, unilateral onslaught which has so devasted the nation, its economy, infrastructure and social services that malnutrition has become widespread and cholera epidemic.

Ostensibly, the Saudi-UAE military campaign was to oust Houthi-led rebels who unseated the deeply unpopular Saudi-backed puppet-president Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in January 2015 (elected on a ballot in which he was the only candidate and who remained in power even after the expiration of a one-year mandate that had extended his term). The Houthis, a politico-religious group officially known as Ansarullah and named after their founder, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, initially formed in opposition to late Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Houthis generally belong to the Zaidi school in Islam, a branch of the larger Shiite sect. Branding the Houthis as “Iranian-backed Shiite rebels” as is now routine, makes for easy and convenient categorization of who the “bad guys” are in Western and Gulf media. But this is disingenuous. The inconvenient fact is Zaidis are generally closer to Sunni Islam than Shiite (and the longtime military, Saudi-backed dictator Saleh was Zaidi). More significantly, other than voicing solidarity with the Houthis, there has been no substantive evidence of Iranian military intervention or that of affiliated parties in Yemen. On the contrary, and starkly so, it has been the Saudi and Emirati governments’ inhumane bombing campaign which has been the most glaring example of foreign interference in the internal affairs of another country.

When a school-bus was struck during an air raid that killed 40 children, it was initially justified as a “legitimate military target” by the Saudi coalition before international outrage finally led to the conclusion it was otherwise. On the other hand, intermittent Houthi missiles launched at Saudi military installations and considered evidence of foreign military supply belie the Houthis as a legitimate, capable, battle-hardened fighting force. Apparently, the regime cannot fathom that despite daily attack, they have had the muster to retaliate and demonstrate offensive, rather than strictly defensive, capabilities.

Yemen is not a sectarian conflict or one of proxies, but a war stemming from the fallout of removing yet another Saudi-backed ruler from power.

Since 2015, at least 10,000 Yemenis have been killed, 22 million are now in need some form of relief (out of a total population of approximately 29 million) and eight million are malnourished. These numbers can only be expected to climb after evidence has shown Saudi Arabia is targeting food supplies.

The war waged in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its allies and their wanton use of US and UK-supplied arms is everything short of a formal invasion. It is a one-sided, vicious military adventure which has rendered millions destitute and to date, has proven completely unsuccessful in fulfilling its stated objectives. The only proxies in this struggle are the victims of its war crimes; innocent men, women and children starved or killed, stand-ins for an apparition of a foreign power waiting to be found.

October 20, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

Where’s Sergei?

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | October 18, 2018

According to an article in The Mail, the mother of Sergei Skripal, Yelena, has not heard from her son since the incident on 4th March, and the last time she heard from her granddaughter, Yulia, was on 24th July:

“Recalling her phone conversation with Yulia, Yelena told the Daily Mirror : ‘The last time I ­actually spoke to Yulia was on the 24th of July on my 90th birthday. She rang – it was unexpected but it was so lovely to hear from her. She called and was actually with Sergei. She told me: “I’m with daddy he is beside me but he can’t speak as he has a pain in his throat”. She said he had been in some pain.’”

This is interesting for a number of reasons.

Firstly, we know that during the conversation on 24th July, according to a number of reports (for example here), Yulia told her grandmother that the reason Sergei was unable to speak was because his voice was still weak due to a tracheostomy:

“Babushka, happy birthday, everything is fine, everything is perfect. I am in London with papa. He can’t speak because he’s got a tracheostomy, that pipe, which will be taken off in three days. Now when he speaks with that pipe, his voice is first of all very weak and secondly, he makes quite a lot of wheeze. So babushka with your poor hearing you would really struggle to understand him. He’ll call after the tracheostomy is off.”

This was almost 3 months ago. So the tracheostomy was preventing Sergei from speaking; but it was coming off in three days; yet nearly 3 months later and still no call from Sergei? Is that not very odd? Indeed, especially given that Yelena states in the interview that she and Sergei used to speak every week.

Secondly, the call on 24th July is itself very odd. Notice that Yulia uses the phrases “everything is fine, everything is perfect.” These are basically the same sorts of phrases that she repeated over and over in her call with her cousin Viktoria on 5th April:

“Everything is ok, everything is fine.”

“Everything is fine, but we’ll see how it goes, we’ll decide later. You know what the situation is here. Everything is fine, everything is solvable, everyone is recovering and is alive.”

“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.”

She seems very keen – some would say overly keen – to emphasise that everything is fine and okay and perfect etc. To me it sounds unnatural and forced. What do you think?

But more than this, imagine yourself in the same situation. Your father is next to you. He can speak, but not very well, and so can’t communicate through the phone to his mother. What would you do? Well, I know what I would do. I would relay speech from the one to the other. “He says he’s getting better and misses you very much grandma.” “She says she loves you, dad.” Isn’t that what normal people would do in such circumstances?

But instead, Yulia speaks in a way that doesn’t fill me with too much certainty that he was actually in the room with her. It’s all very medical and somewhat officious. And even if his voice was a bit wheezy and hard to understand, his ears were okay, weren’t they? Couldn’t Yulia have held the phone to her dad’s ear so he could hear his mother speak to him? Again, that would be what a normal person would do in such circumstances, wouldn’t it? But of course they don’t do normal in SkripalWorld.

Thirdly, we have to reckon with the fact that since that call, in which Yulia indicated that Sergei would call in as little as three days, there has been no communication at all. Not with grandma. Not with Viktoria. Not with anyone (apparently even Mark Urban got the cold shoulder).

Actually, that’s not quite the case. We don’t really have to reckon with this because the heroic journalism of The Mail gives us the answer. In the same piece that it mentioned a call between Yulia and her grandma, in which Sergei was apparently sat right next to Yulia, we get this:

“Since that solitary phone conversation, she [Yelena] has not heard from her the two targeted relatives as any contact could lead Russian forces to the pair.”

Remarkable, isn’t it? So according to The Mail, the reason that Sergei Skripal cannot call his mother, is because Russian forces might be able to trace his whereabouts and order a hit on him. Another one, apparently. And yet in the very same piece they report on Yulia Skripal calling her grandmother on 24th July, with Sergei Skripal at her side. See? It’s obvious, isn’t it?

Not for the first time in this case, I’m left scratching my head and wondering whether the journalists who write this sort of thing believe their readers to be so dim that they won’t notice statements in the same article that utterly refute one another, or whether the journalists themselves are so witless that they simply don’t realise that they are contradicting themselves in the space of a few sentences. Any thoughts?

The fact is that Yulia has phoned her cousin Viktoria a number of times since the beginning of April, and in most, if not all of those calls, her father was said to be close by. She even did a little film for Reuters in May, with her father apparently in the same compound. Why were these allowed, since according to The Mail, it could have led Russian forces to the pair? Or are we to believe that Russian forces have only just developed the capability to trace phone calls since 24th July? Worse still, have British Security Services forgotten how to prevent phone calls being traced by other intelligence agencies since 24th July, not to mention also losing the ability to stop Russian forces from coming and getting them?

Or is it more likely that The Mail cannot be bothered to ask the obvious questions that stem from their own report. Such as:

1. Why is the apparent victim in this case, Sergei Skripal, who is under the protection of British (and possibly US) intelligence services, unable to phone his mother, whom he used to speak to on a weekly basis?

2. Does this constitute a violation of his human rights?

3. Given that he has had no contact with his mother since 4th March, how can we be sure that he is alive, and if he is, whether he is not being held against his will?

October 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Why is Holocaust Education Failing?

By Gilad Atzmon | October 17, 2018

Despite the vast amount invested in Holocaust education and in spite of the fact that the Holocaust is the only compulsory subject in the British national history curriculum, British pupils seem not to follow the message of the rigid topic. For some reason, they struggle to buy into the primacy of Jewish suffering. They show little interest and learn mostly nothing. Yesterday’s Tablet Magazine article, “The Failure of Holocaust Education in Britain”, produced a clumsy attempt to grasp the reason for the failures of Holocaust education.

UCL’s  Centre for Holocaust Education has recently conducted  the ‘world’s largest ever study of its kind, it interviewed over 8,000 pupils aged 11-18 in England. Andy Pearce who work as a researcher at the centre told the Tablet that apparently  25-30 years of Holocaust education “is failing to make an impact.”

Pearce reports that when students were asked who was responsible for the Holocaust, “Hitler dominated the answer.” This is presumably a ‘wrong answer.’ Pearce continues, “Incredibly when we asked them to tell us who the Nazis were, students responded by saying they were ‘Hitler’s minions’ and ‘Hitler’s paratroopers.’” Pearce wasn’t happy with this answer either. “There was no reference to the Nazi Party as a political movement. Students also told the researchers that most Jews were killed in Germany. There was no understanding of collaborating regimes and many believed that mass killing began in 1933.”

Pearce inadvertently provided some crucial insights into the systematic failure of ‘holocaust education.’ While Heidegger taught us that to educate is to teach others how to learn, indoctrination is a very different exercise. It teaches how to produce the ‘right’ answers. The Holocaust, as taught and preached, falls into the domain of indoctrination. It is not a subject matter that is open to discussion or revision. The Holocaust as a subject does not accommodate dilemma or confusion. It is treated like a religious text with a rigid structure that doesn’t allow deviation.

For history to be relevant it must contain a dynamic discourse with present day, historical and contextual connotations. If the Holocaust is to be a vibrant topic that is engaging and enlightening for young enthusiastic minds, then the Holocaust must be placed into a context, such as comparing Auschwitz to Gaza. Nuremberg laws must be juxtaposed with the Israeli National Bill and the Israeli Law of Return. For the Holocaust to win our kids’ attention they must try to address the most difficult of questions: How and why was it that just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the newly born Jewish State ethnically cleansed the vast majority of the indigenous Palestinians? For the Holocaust to garner universal interest, it must carry a universal message!

Apparently ‘Holocaust education’ in Britain and in the West in general is dependent on Holocaust survivors. Elli Olmer is an outreach teacher for the Holocaust Education Trust. She told the Tablet, “I love what I do and hope to do it for many years but it all depends on what happens after we lose our survivors.” Despite Israel’s scientific gains in life extending technologies, it seems survivors aren’t going to live forever. Moreover, many survivors complain that their ability to reach young audiences is fading for the obvious reasons. However, their approach that engagement with a chapter in the past can only be reached through personal experience with people who lived through that chapter shows that the Holocaust is understood by these so called ‘educators’ as an a-historical narrative.

Historians revisit Napoleonic wars without depending on ‘meetings’ with survivors of those wars. We believe that we can learn about  the Roman empire without expecting veteran Roman generals to visit our classes. Why then does the Holocaust need its survivors? Why can’t the Holocaust be taught as a proper historical chapter through analysing texts and documents and encountering some opposing views? Because Holocaust education is driven by political interests and laws requiring such education are passed by means of emotional manipulation. It is there, of course, to serve Israeli and Jewish politics — the Holocaust is the raison d’être behind the Jewish state. But the Holocaust is also used to serve other global political trends such as (im)moral interventionism, pro immigration, anti racism, pro liberalism and so on.

The use of the Holocaust for political ends suggests that British youngsters may actually be more sophisticated than the banal minds that attempt to crudely indoctrinate them into submission. They sense that something about the holocaust education is not ‘straight forward,’ so to say. It is not taught as an open discourse, it is somehow different than other chapters in the past. It isn’t really open to discussion.

As could have been expected, Corbyn and the Labour party are dealt some of the blame. “The current debate over anti-Semitism in Britain’s opposition Labour Party and the views of its leader Jeremy Corbyn have also had a negative impact on Holocaust education in the classroom and made better teacher training even more imperative.”  Apparently, British youngsters do not live in a bubble. “Students now ask about Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism… Two to three years ago I would not have had pupils who would have heard the terms,” a teacher said.

The UCL team also examined what teachers hope to achieve by teaching the Holocaust. “There is a belief that if we study the Holocaust it will stop it happening again.” The truth of the matter is that  there is more than one  holocaust happening at the moment: Palestine, Libya, Syria just to mention a few. The Holocaust will become a meaningful lesson when it is finally emancipated from the primacy of Jewish suffering and  when we return to empathy and compassion as a basic tenet of our culture. Unfortunately I do not see the Holocaust Education Trust leading us in such a direction.

Surprisingly enough, Mike Levy, a Holocaust educator based in Cambridge, admitted to the Jewish outlet  that there is “an atmosphere of fatigue in the air when it comes to talking about the Holocaust and that students and teachers want to learn more about other genocides and contextualize the Holocaust.” I  agree with Mr. Levy. Let’s expose our kids to Aleppo, Tripoli  and Gaza and show them the crimes that are committed by our own democratically elected governments.  Let them figure out for themselves who are the Nazis of our time.  I believe that this would be the first step in preventing the next Holocaust.

October 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , | 7 Comments

CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN SYRIA? BBC PANORAMA RELIES ON QUESTIONABLE RESEARCH

Global Network for Syria | October 16, 2018

A joint investigation by BBC Panorama and BBC Arabic claimed to show how chemical weapons have been used by the Syrian Government as part of a deliberate military strategy. Yet there are serious concerns over the investigation’s reliance on ‘broadly impartial’ sources — who are not named — and consequently the reliability of the report’s findings.

The Panorama programme is called ‘Syria’s Chemical War’ and was first broadcast on Monday 15 October on BBC One at 20:30.

Yesterday’s BBC Panorama programme was notable for its omissions. It was not clear, for example, whether evidence backing the claims of 106 uses of chemical weapons came from Syrian rebel sources. Given that sources are not named, the BBC may be relying on evidence from groups that are widely regarded as favourable to the opposition, such as the White Helmets, the Syrian American Medical Society, or the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations.

The investigation ignored the interim findings of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the Douma incident, which contradict the BBC’s conclusions. The OPCW found no evidence of the use of prohibited weapons in Douma and did not rule out that chlorine cylinders found at the site may have been planted.

The programme showed former OPCW staff saying that not all of Asad’s stocks destroyed under OPCW supervision were necessarily accounted for. It neglected to point out, however, that the OPCW reported in 2014 that it had been unable to visit two sites where chemical weapons were stored and that both these sites were in rebel-held territory deemed unsafe for inspectors to visit.

The programme also claimed to detect a pattern of Asad using chemical weapons in the final stages of sieges. But the report did not address questions raised by numerous military experts who ask why Syrian Government Forces, which were already winning the war, would deploy chemical weapons of limited usefulness, risking severe reprisals by the US-led Coalition.

There are further concerns regarding the lack of reference to Islamist fighters, who have used chlorine canisters as part of their “resistance”, and who have butchered not just Christians and Alawites but also hundreds of the civilians living under their control, as documented by the UN.

The war in Syria is complex, with many different layers to the conflict. It is crucial that any future investigation includes historical and geopolitical context, objective analysis, transparency about sources, and, at the very least, an acknowledgement that there are different points of view.

Peter Ford, former British Ambassador to Syria
Dr Tim Anderson, University of Sydney
Lord Carey of Clifton
Baroness Cox
Lord Gordon of Strathblane
Dr Michael Langrish, former Bishop of Exeter
Lord Stoddart of Swindon

Contact: carolinecox1@outlook.com

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 3 Comments

Britain on the Leash with the United States – but at Which End?

By James George JATRAS | Strategic Culture Foundation | 13.10.2018

The “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom is often assumed to be one where the once-great, sophisticated Brits are subordinate to the upstart, uncouth Yanks.

Iconic of this assumption is the mocking of former prime minister Tony Blair as George W. Bush’s “poodle” for his riding shotgun on the ill-advised American stagecoach blundering into Iraq in 2003. Blair was in good practice, having served as Bill Clinton’s dogsbody in the no less criminal NATO aggression against Serbia over Kosovo in 1999.

On the surface, the UK may seem just one more vassal state on par with Germany, Japan, South Korea, and so many other useless so-called allies. We control their intelligence services, their military commands, their think tanks, and much of their media. We can sink their financial systems and economies at will. Emblematic is German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s impotent ire at discovering the Obama administration had listened in on her cell phone, about which she – did precisely nothing. Global hegemony means never having to say you’re sorry.

These countries know on which end of the leash they are: the one attached to the collar around their necks. The hand unmistakably is in Washington. These semi-sovereign countries answer to the US with the same servility as member states of the Warsaw Pact once heeded the USSR’s Politburo. (Sometimes more. Communist Romania, though then a member of the Warsaw Pact refused to participate in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia or even allow Soviet or other Pact forces to cross its territory. By contrast, during NATO’s 1999 assault on Serbia, Bucharest allowed NATO military aircraft access to its airspace, even though not yet a member of that alliance and despite most Romanians’ opposition to the campaign.)

But the widespread perception of Britain as just another satellite may be misleading.

To start with, there are some relationships where it seems the US is the vassal dancing to the tune of the foreign capital, not the other way around. Israel is the unchallenged champion in this weight class, with Saudi Arabia a runner up. The alliance between Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) – the ultimate Washington “power couple” – to get the Trump administration to destroy Iran for them has American politicos listening for instructions with all the rapt attention of the terrier Nipper on the RCA Victor logo. (Or did, until the recent disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Whether this portends a real shift in American attitudes toward Riyadh remains questionableSaudi cash still speaks loudly and will continue to do so whether or not MbS stays in charge.)

Specifics of the peculiar US-UK relationship stem from the period of flux at the end of World War II. The United States emerged from the war in a commanding position economically and financially, eclipsing Britannia’s declining empire that simply no longer had the resources to play the leading role. That didn’t mean, however, that London trusted the Americans’ ability to manage things without their astute guidance. As Tony Judt describes in Postwar, the British attitude of “superiority towards the country that had displaced them at the imperial apex” was “nicely captured” in a scribble during negotiations regarding the UK’s postwar loan:

In Washington Lord Halifax
Once whispered to Lord Keynes:
“It’s true they have the moneybags
But we have all the brains.”

Even in its diminished condition London found it could punch well above its weight by exerting its influence on its stronger but (it was confident) dumber cousins across the Pond. It helped that as the Cold War unfolded following former Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s 1946 Iron Curtain speech there were very close ties between sister agencies like MI6 (founded 1909) and the newer wartime OSS (1942), then the CIA (1947); likewise the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, 1919) and the National Security Administration (NSA, 1952). Comparable sister agencies – perhaps more properly termed daughters of their UK mothers – were set up in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This became the so-called “Five Eyes” of the tight Anglosphere spook community,infamous for spying on each others’ citizens to avoid pesky legal prohibitions on domestic surveillance.

Despite not having two farthings to rub together, impoverished Britain – where wartime rationing wasn’t fully ended until 1954 – had a prime seat at the table fashioning the world’s postwar financial structure. The 1944 Bretton Woods conference was largely an Anglo-American affair, of which the aforementioned Lord John Maynard Keynes was a prominent architect along with Harry Dexter White, Special Assistant to the US Secretary of the Treasury and Soviet agent.

American and British agendas also dovetailed in the Middle East. While the US didn’t have much of a presence in the region before the 1945 meeting between US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Saudi King ibn Saud, founder of the third and current (and hopefully last) Saudi state – and didn’t assume a dominant role until the humiliation inflicted on Britain, France, and Israel by President Dwight Eisenhower during the 1956 Suez Crisis – London has long considered much of the region within its sphere of influence. After World War I under the Sykes-Picot agreement with France, the UK had expanded her holdings on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, including taking a decisive role in consolidating Saudi Arabia under ibn Saud. While in the 1950s the US largely stepped into Britain’s role managing the “East of Suez,” the former suzerain was by no means dealt out. The UK was a founding member with the US of the now-defunct Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in 1955.

CENTO – like NATO and their one-time eastern counterpart, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) – was designed as a counter to the USSR. But in the case of Britain, the history of hostility to Russia under tsar or commissar alike has much deeper and longer roots, going back at least to the Crimean War in the 1850s. The reasons for the longstanding British vendetta against Russia are not entirely clear and seem to have disparate roots: the desire to ensure that no one power is dominant on the European mainland (directed first against France, then Russia, then Germany, then the USSR and again Russia); maintaining supremacy on the seas by denying Russia warm-waters ports, above all the Dardanelles; and making sure territories of a dissolving Ottoman empire would be taken under the wing of London, not Saint Petersburg. As described by Andrew Lambert, professor of naval history at King’s College London, the Crimean War still echoes today:

“In the 1840s, 1850s, Britain and America are not the chief rivals; it’s Britain and Russia. Britain and Russia are rivals for world power, and Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, which is much larger than modern Turkey — it includes modern Romania, Bulgaria, parts of Serbia, and also Egypt and Arabia — is a declining empire. But it’s the bulwark between Russia, which is advancing south and west, and Britain, which is advancing east and is looking to open its connections up through the Mediterranean into its empire in India and the Pacific. And it’s really about who is running Turkey. Is it going to be a Russian satellite, a bit like the Eastern Bloc was in the Cold War, or is it going to be a British satellite, really run by British capital, a market for British goods? And the Crimean War is going to be the fulcrum for this cold war to actually go hot for a couple of years, and Sevastopol is going to be the fulcrum for that fighting.”

Control of the Middle East – and opposing the Russians – became a British obsession, first to sustain the lifeline to India, the Jewel in the Crown of the empire, then for control of petroleum, the life’s blood of modern economies. In the context of the 19th and early 20th century Great Game of empire, that was understandable. Much later, similar considerations might even support Jimmy Carter’s taking up much the same position, declaring in 1980 that “outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” The USSR was then a superpower and we were dependent on energy from the Gulf region.

But what’s our reason for maintaining that posture almost four decades later when the Soviet Union is gone and the US doesn’t need Middle Eastern oil? There are no reasonable national interests, only corporate interests and those of the Arab monarchies we laughably claim as allies. Add to that the bureaucracies and habits of mind that link the US and UK establishments, including their intelligence and financial components.

In view of all the foregoing, what then would policymakers in the United Kingdom think about an aspirant to the American presidency who not only disparages the value of existing alliances – without which Britain is a bit player – but openly pledges to improve relations with Moscow? To what lengths would they go to stop him?

Say ‘hello’ to Russiagate!

One can argue whether or not the phony claim of the Trump campaign’s “collusion” with Moscow was hatched in London or whether the British just lent some “hands across the water” to an effort concocted by the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, the Clinton Foundation, and their collaborators at Fusion GPS and inside the Obama administration. Either way, it’s clear that while evidence of Russian connection is nonexistent that of British agencies is unmistakable, as is the UK’s hand in a sustained campaign of demonization and isolation to sink any possible rapprochement between the US and Russia.

As for Russiagate itself, just try to find anyone involved who’s actually Russian. The only basis for the widespread assumption that any material in the Dirty Dossier that underlies the whole operationoriginated with Russia is the claim of Christopher Steele, the British “ex” spy who wrote it, evidently in collaboration with people at the US State Department and Fusion GPS. (The notion that Steele, who hadn’t been in Russia for years, would have Kremlin personal contacts is absurd. How chummy are the heads of the American section of Chinese or Russian intelligence with White House staff?)

While there are no obvious Russians in Russiagate there’s no shortage of Brits. These include (details at the link):

  • Stefan Halper, a dual US-UK citizen.
  • Ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove.
  • Alexander Downer, Australian diplomat (well, not British but remember the Five Eyes!).
  • Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic and suspected British agent.

At present, the full role played by those listed above is not known. Release of unredacted FISA warrant requests by the Justice Department, which President Trump ordered weeks ago, would shed light on a number of details. Implementation of that order was derailed after a request by – no surprise – British Prime Minister Theresa May. Was she seeking to conceal Russian perfidy, or her own underlings’?

It would be bad enough if Russiagate were the sum of British meddling in American affairs with the aim of torpedoing relations with Moscow. (And to be fair, it wasn’t just the UK and Australia. Also implicated are Estonia, Israel, and Ukraine.) But there is also reason to suspect the same motive in false accusations against Russia with respect to the supposed Novichok poisonings in England has a connection to Russiagate via a business associate of Steele’s, one Pablo MillerSergei Skripal’s MI6 recruiter. (So if it turns out there is any Russian connection to the dossier, it could be from Skripal or another dubious expat source, not from the Russian government.) Skripal and his daughter Yulia have disappeared in British custody. Moscow flatly accuses MI6 of poisoning them as a false flag to blame it on Russia.

A similar pattern can be seen with claims of chemical weapons use in Syria: “We have irrefutable evidence that the special services of a state which is in the forefront of the Russophobic campaign had a hand in the staging” of a faked chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018. Ambassador Aleksandr Yakovenko pointed to the so-called White Helmets, which is closely associated with al-Qaeda elements and considered by some their PR arm: “I am naming them because they have done things like this before. They are famous for staging attacks in Syria and they receive UK money.” Moscow warned for weeks before the now-postponed Syrian government offensive in Idlib that the same ruse was being prepared again with direct British intelligence involvement, even having prepared in advance a video showing victims of an attack that had not yet occurred.

The campaign to demonize Russia shifted into high gear recently with the UK, together with the US and the Netherlands, accusing Russian military intelligence of a smorgasbord of cyberattacks against the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and other sports organizations, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Dutch investigation into the downing of MH-17 over Ukraine, and a Swiss lab involved with the Skripal case, plus assorted election interference. In case anyone didn’t get the point, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson declared: “This is not the actions of a great power. This is the actions of a pariah state, and we will continue working with allies to isolate them.”

To the extent that the goal of Williamson and his ilk is to ensure isolation and further threats against Russia, it’s been a smashing success. More sanctions are on the way. The UK is sending additional troops to the Arctic to counter Russian “aggression.” The US threatens to use naval power to block Russian energy exports and to strike Russian weapons disputed under a treaty governing intermediate range nuclear forces. What could possibly go wrong?

In sum, we are seeing a massive, coordinated hybrid campaign of psy-ops and political warfare conducted not by Russia but against Russia, concocted by the UK and its Deep State collaborators in the United States. But it’s not only aimed at Russia, it’s an attack on the United States by the government of a foreign country that’s supposed to be one of our closest allies, a country with which we share many venerable traditions of language, law, and culture.

But for far too long, largely for reasons of historical inertia and elite corruption, we’ve allowed that government to exercise undue influence on our global policies in a manner not conducive to our own national interests. Now that government, employing every foul deception that earned it the moniker Perfidious Albion, seeks to embroil us in a quarrel with the only country on the planet that can destroy us if things get out of control.

This must stop. A thorough reappraisal of our “special relationship” with the United Kingdom and exposure of its activities to the detriment of the US is imperative.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bellingcat outed by the Independent

By Philip Roddis | Steel City Scribe | October 11, 2018

The West’s war on Syria, and rapidly heating cold war on Russia, have involved extensive use of smear. Of unsubstantiated or even disproved allegations repeated in our not-so free media until even those who rightly or wrongly – usually wrongly – deem themselves critical thinkers assume, no-smoke-without-fire  fashion, there must be truth to them. This conclusion is seldom drawn by the conscious mind. That’s not how propaganda works: witness on the one hand that near universal belief that ‘adverts don’t sway me in the slightest’; on the other those misguided capitalists who, oblivious to our immunity to it, continue to throw vast sums at that propaganda form we call commercial advertising.

Putin – my, how we feted his predecessor, the drunken Yeltsin, as he oversaw Russia’s descent to basket case status while Wall Street drooled over the spoils! – and Assad feature hardly less frequently on our screens and front pages than do ads for new cars and sofas.

The stakes are higher, though, which explains two aspects of their demonisation not shared by commercials.

One is the cynicism with which charities have allowed themselves to be used. In most cases this has involved the naivety or worse of big names, either unaware of the threat to ‘the brand’, else willing to risk it for short term gain. See in this respect Professor Tim Hayward on an Amnesty International throwing – I’m being kind here – caution to the wind on Syria. But in at least one case ‘the brand’ was corrupt at birth. I mean the White Helmets: brainchild of Brit mercenary James Le Mesurier, recipient of well over $120 million in funding from the USA and other states overtly seeking Assad’s removal, and – to a degree of certainty very much higher than that of Damascus having used sarin gas on its own people – in cahoots with Islamist terrorism.

The other, related, is the equal cynicism – or, at a stretch, starry eyed credulity – with which our media inflate the value of ‘information’ from risible sources. One such is the grandiosely titled Syrian Observatory on Human Rights, routinely quoted by BBC, Guardian and even – to their undying shame – ‘far left’ media in reporting alleged abuses by the Syrian authorities, without informing us that, to quote from the post just linked:

SOHR is the one man band of Rami Abdul Rahman, a disgruntled Syrian who lives in Coventry and hasn’t set foot in Syria since 2003. His methods are opaque to say the least but seem to rely on what I’ll call ‘cascade inquiry’, whereby he phones a handful of pals inside Syria. They in turn phone their pals, who phone theirs. But who are these pals? Rumours abound that Rahman is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, rivals to more recent Saudi backed Wahabbi groups led by Al Qaeda and ISIS, but nevertheless willing to work with Daesh to end Syria’s secularism and impose theocratic Sunni rule on Shia, Christian, Druze and Alawi alike. (Nor is there any evidence of widespread Muslim Brotherhood support from Syrian Sunnis, most of whom see Islam and Islamism as poles apart and value their secularist, authoritarian but religiously tolerant state.)

Then there’s Bellingcat, the organisation founded by one Eliot Higgins: Media Studies drop-out and author of – I feel a professional slight here, having taught digital arts at Sheffield University – digitally altered images that serve NATO objectives in an ongoing Russia demonisation which endangers us all.

(Worse by far of course is the fact his amateurish images – these for instance, offered as proof that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was downed in July 2014 by Russian missiles – would have earned him a fail in my Photoshop class.)

Fortunately I need spend few words on Bellingcat/Higgins. That take-down has already been done, most recently in Catte’s excellent OffGuardian piece of two days ago. What I have not seen till now though is any questioning of Bellingcat’s credentials in mainstream media. So let me hand you over, without further ado and with hearty if surprised approval, to Mary Dejevsky: not known as a Kremlin stooge or Putin troll. Yet here she is, in today’s Independent, asking in all sincerity and with admirable bluntness just WTF is Bellingcat?

Who knows, such questions might in their own quiet way help avert WW3. We can but hope.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

Berlin Refuses to Name Sources Claiming GRU’s Cyberattacks in Europe

Sputnik – October 11, 2018

BERLIN – German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer claimed on Thursday that facts likely suggested that the Russian military intelligence service was involved in a series of alleged cyberattacks across Europe, however, the minister did not specify what sources provided such information.

“We believe that facts and analytical information likely point to the fact that the military [intelligence service] GRU is the source [of the attacks]. I ask for your understanding given the fact that we are not going to make public the sources that led us to these facts and conclusions,” Seehofer said.

On October 4, the United Kingdom claimed that the Russian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate was “almost certainly” responsible for a series of cyberattacks targeting political institutions, media outlets, and companies across the world.

On the same day, the Dutch Defense Ministry claimed that Russian intelligence services had diverted a cyberattack against the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), whose headquarters are situated in the Dutch city of Hague, allegedly attempted by four Russian citizens holding diplomatic passports.The Russian Foreign Ministry refuted the allegations, saying that the claims were a part of yet another act of propaganda and that “anti-Russia spy mania campaign” negatively affected bilateral relations.

Canada and the United States later joined the allegations against GRU, accusing seven Russian military intelligence officials of targeting with cyberattacks the US electoral system, a US nuclear power company, and anti-doping agencies.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Washington “poisoned” the relations between the two countries with those allegations.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Britain is More of a Fake State than Anything Else

By Grete Mautner – New Eastern Outlook – 11.10.2018

Blatant lies have been a feature of the British political system for a long while. Whitehall’s tried and tested ways of manipulating the general public are used to distract attention from crucial topics. But what’s even more curious is that inside the Whitehall bunkers where they come up with their own definitions for such manipulations, there is even a term for this kind of propaganda. They call it a ‘term of art’.

That would hardly be a surprise if one is to recall that modern British oligarchies have grown out of yesterday’s slave owners and high seas pirates, for whom deception was nothing but a tool of their trade. We must not forget that millions of people died in the wars unleashed by the United Kingdom. One can recall that only a handful of native Tasmanians escaped being slaughtered by the English in the 19th century. In less that two decades of British military presence in Bengal, the population of the region had decreased by almost 20 million people – which constitutes more than a half of the indigenous population of the region. The absolute majority of wars Anglo-Saxons unleashed over the course of the last two centuries began with a provocation and then were sold to the UK population together with an extensive amount of military hysteria in the media.

And it doesn’t seem that things have changed much in the ways that London operates on the international stage, as it carries on voicing its dubious accusations against Moscow for its alleged involvement in the Salisbury incident. Previously, it would try to prevent British sports fans from traveling to Russia to attend FIFA World Cup 2018 by claiming that it was a terrible and dangerous place to visit. For sure, those accusations were proven wrong by those fans who dared to make a trip but no apologies was offered to Russia by London.

But why bother with presenting facts before voicing any actual accusations, if the Telegraph could as well announce that the chief executive of BP was poisoned in a plot believed to have been orchestrated by the Russian security services.

To provide this publication with some air of credibility, the media would present “revelations” made by the former employee of BP Illya Zaslavsky, who announced that Russian elites wanted to remove Bob Dudley from the position of group chief executive of BP by “slow poisoning” him with foods. The only problem with Zaslavsky’s claims is that Dudley himself is perfectly healthy and he keeps working in close cooperation with Russia. As a matter of fact, after visiting Moscow last February, Dudley described his contacts with Russia’s Rosneft as exceptional, in spite of the aggravation of geopolitical tensions in the world.

In its bid to provide British citizens with even more fake information, the Guardian would in turn run an article full of allegations that Moscow was somehow discussing with representatives of Julian Assange its assistance in his escape plan. However, these claims haven’t been confirmed by anyone just as well.

However, British media sources are not the only ones who are engaged in disinformation campaigns, as British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt has recently told the Sky News that he he had a “tough” discussion with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the margins of a United Nations summit in New York. According to Hunt, he hinted to Lavrov that there’s a high chance of a direct military confrontation between Russia and the UK, while adding that Moscow would pay a high diplomatic price for its alleged wrongdoings. The only problem with those claims is that there was no direct meeting between Lavrov and Hunt during the recent UN Summit in New York, which was officially confirmed by the Russian foreign ministry.

But should we be surprised by the obsession of British elites with all things fake, if The Queen Elizabeth II has a fake hand waving machine for when her arm gets tired at royal engagements. So it must be of little surprise to anyone that to support its lies the British government employs thousands of people directly in propaganda and related activities to distort and deceive.

But, frankly, if you’re going to start wars using fake pretexts you could as well fight it with fake weapons. Thus, the British-made ADE 651 tool, that London urges others to use to scan personal belongings of jihadists must be allegedly helping explosives specialists to detect all sorts of explosives and precious metals from a fairly long distance using a telescopic antenna. However, it’s unlikely that the actual device has any electronic boards inside it – at the very best, its an imitation of a scanner. But this did not prevent Britain from pushing this product on the international market at a price tag of 60 thousand dollars a pop. The government of Iraq, in particular, has acquired more than 1,500 units of ADE 651 for the needs of its federal police and the military, since those bodies are engaged in heavy counter-terrorist activities at all times. ADE 651 is the brainchild of the British company ATSC, and its inventor James McCormick is currently serving ten years in prison. To make the matters worse, militants of various terrorist organizations are aware of the properties of this British know-how and keep mocking Iraqi law enforcement agencies for the acquisition of this device.

As it’s been recently reported by a professor of sociology at the University of Bath and ESRC, David Miller, the UK office for national statistics, for 2017, show that the number of people who work in “communication” in central government departments, executive agencies and non departmental public bodies, totals 3,450. It is clear that these figures are an underestimate for a variety of reasons. For example the 490 employed in the ministry of defence seems not to cover the media people in the armed services themselves. In 2007, for example, the total ministry of defence complement was reported as as over 1,000, but this “excludes many military personnel involved in communications work”.

Also not in the figures – as the ONS has confirmed – are the unknown numbers that work for the intelligence agencies. Both MI5 and MI6 most likely have sizable staff groups working on propaganda, whether ‘communication’ is in their formal job title or not. The contemporary period is indeed one in which many more people than in the previous two decades are more confident about existing outside the ‘filter bubble’ conjured up by the government, the spooks and the mainstream media.

Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

After 70 Years of Abuse, a Definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism

Is this where the fight-back begins?

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | October 10, 2018

What is the matter with the Palestine solidarity movement? Since 1948 (and before that, even) the Palestinians have been viciously abused and dispossessed while the perpetrators and their supporters have continually played the anti-Semitism card.

Bemused spectators have been bored witless by the long and ludicrous propaganda campaign to vilify Jeremy Corbyn, bully the Labour Party into accepting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism as a cornerstone in their code of conduct and stifle discussion of Israel’s crimes against  the Palestinian people. The expected riposte never came.

Anti-Palestinian Racism

Now Jewish Voice For Labour, of all people, have struck back with a useful looking definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism which they decribe as “hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians”. In a document faintly mocking the pronouncements on anti-Semitism they suggest that manifestations of anti-Palestinian racism might include the denial of Palestinian rights to a state of Palestine as recognised by over 130 member countries of the United Nations and blaming Palestinians for their own plight under brutal military occupation and lock-down. Here’s how they put it:

Contemporary examples of anti-Palestinian racism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  1. Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and nationhood, or actively conspiring to prevent the exercise of this right.
  2. Denial that Israel is in breach of international law in its continued occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
  3. Denial that Israel is an apartheid state according to the definition of the International Convention on Apartheid.
  4. Denial of the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba and of their right, and the right of their descendants, to return to their homeland.
  5. Denial that Palestinians have lived in what is now the land of Israel for hundreds of years and have their own distinctive national identity and culture.
  6. Denial that the laws and policies which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel (such as the recently passed Nation State Law) are inherently racist.
  7. Denial that there is widespread discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories in matters of employment, housing, justice, education, water supply, etc, etc.
  8. Tolerating the killing or harming of Palestinians by violent settlers in the name of an extremist view of religion.
  9. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Palestinians — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth of a Palestinian conspiracy to wipe Israel off the map.
  10. Justifying the collective punishment of Palestinians (prohibited under the Geneva Convention) in response to the acts of individuals or groups.
  11. Accusing the Palestinians as a people, of encouraging the Holocaust.

I am not sure how Palestinians, as genuine Semites living there for thousands of years, will react to No.5 which claims their homeland is “now the land of Israel”. Despite being illegally occupied by an apartheid entity most of whose members have no ancestral links to the ancient “land of Israel” it is still Palestine.

For decades activists have been telling the Israel lobby to look in the mirror and address their own racial hatred towards the Palestinians. You must truly hate people to deny them their freedom and even their right to return to their homes and livelihoods. Why has it taken so long for such a simple and obvious weapon to be produced? Doesn’t it make you wonder about the true agenda of those in charge of Palestine solidarity? And why has it taken a group of Jews (bless ’em) to do it?

The question now is how best to deliver this somewhat delayed riposte. It might have been best delivered while the iron was hot, at the height of the anti-Semitism witch-hunt and media onslaught. Many activists wanted Corbyn to turn on his tormentors and tell them to mend their own vile attitude towards Palestinian Arabs before daring to smear others with accusations of  anti-Semitism.

On the other hand it will benefit from careful honing, cool planning and the massing of pro-Palestinian support to make the hit really count.

For reasons we know only too well our politicians won’t adopt it as eagerly as they embraced the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. But it is at least a starting point in the fight-back especially if deployed by a coalition of genuine pro-Palestine groups and the BDS movement as the centrepiece of their new, combined campaign strategy.

Lies, damned lies….

Meanwhile I hope all those who allowed themselves to be suckered by the Israel lobby will hang their heads in shame when they read this report by the Media Reform Coalition: Labour, Antisemitism and the News – A disinformation paradigm.

The Executive summary says that an analysis of over 250 articles and news segments from the largest UK news providers (online and television) showed:

  • 29 examples of false statements or claims, several of them made by anchors or correspondents themselves, six of them surfacing on BBC television news programmes, and eight on TheGuardian.com
  • A further 66 clear instances of misleading or distorted coverage including misquotations, reliance on single source accounts, omission of essential facts or right of reply, and repeated assumptions made by broadcasters without evidence or qualification. In total, a quarter of the sample contained at least one documented inaccuracy or distortion.
  • Overwhelming source imbalance, especially on television news where voices critical of Labour’s code of conduct were regularly given an unchallenged and exclusive platform, outnumbering those defending Labour by nearly 4 to 1.

In all, there were 95 clear-cut examples of misleading or inaccurate reporting on mainstream television and online news platforms, with a quarter of the total sample containing at least one such example. On TV two thirds of the news segments contained at least one reporting error or substantive distortion.

The report points to “a persistent subversion of conventional news values”. Furthermore, coverage of Labour’s revised code of conduct during the summer of 2018 often omitted critical discussion of the ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism promoted by the IHRA and wrongly described it as universally adopted. “We established through background case research that although the IHRA is an international body with representatives from 31 countries, only six  of those countries have, to date, formally adopted the definition themselves.

  • In spite of a call for local authorities to adopt the definition by the UK’s central government in early 2017, less than a third of councils have responded and several of those have chosen not to include any of the controversial examples contained within the working definition.
  • Several high-profile bodies have rejected or distanced themselves from the working definition, including the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (a successor to the body that drafted the original wording on which the definition is based) and academic institutions including the London School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies.
  • Mainstream academic and legal opinion has been overwhelmingly critical of the IHRA definition, including formal opinions produced by three senior UK barristers and one former appeals court judge. Virtually none of this essential context found its way into news reports of the controversy. Instead, the Labour Party was routinely portrayed by both sources and correspondents as beyond the pale of conventional thinking on the IHRA definition.“

Which all goes to show that Britain’s mainstream media has a hill to climb to get back its self-respect.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lady Justice Sits Down With a Stiff Drink to Consider Her Next Career Move

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | October 10, 2018

I am currently in the U.S., and so watching from afar as the biggest criminal investigation Britain has ever seen is sub-contracted out to the Atlantic Council/Soros-sponsored website, Bellingcat. Pinch yourself once. Pinch yourself twice. Yes, it really is happening.

It is truly remarkable that having seen millions of pounds spent on an investigation which has failed to give consistent and logical answers to some of the biggest questions in the case, and which has been remarkably economical with the actualité on things like timelines, a website with dubious connections to various neo-conservative organisations has now ridden to the rescue to fill in the gaps which The Met has apparently missed (as an aside neo-conservative is of course a misnomer, since they don’t actually conserve anything. They are in reality neo-Trotskyists, since they are globalists and like destroying stuff). Any taxpayers out there feel like a refund?

The media seems to be having a field day quoting Bellingcat as if it were now the official mouthpiece of The Metropolitan Police and the Government. Of course it may well be the official mouthpiece, only we can’t quite tell as The Met and HMG sneakily hide behind the claims instead of either confirming or denying them:

A spokesman for the Home Office said it would not comment as it was a police investigation.”

The Metropolitan Police said they would not comment on the ‘speculation’.”

“And Lady Justice said she would not comment on the case anymore, because she’s had enough and needs to sit down in a corner of a darkened room with a stiff drink, before considering what her next career move might be.”

I have no intention of being sucked into the black hole of analysing the Bellingcat claims. I have no idea of the validity of their claims. They may well be correct. They may well not. However, as I have pointed out many times before, the case against the two suspects is not that they were undercover intelligence officers; rather, it is that they carried out an assassination attempt at the front door of 47 Christie Miller Road using something called “Novichok”. And I am only really interested in whether that case does, or does not stack up.

Reading through the charges made against the two men again, which were given in the statement put out by The Metropolitan Police on 5th September, it strikes me as fairly obvious that investigators do not actually have the evidence of the men’s culpability that they claimed to have when they said:

“We now have sufficient evidence to bring charges in relation to the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.”

Why do I say this? Because although Mr Basu stated that he would go through their movements “in detail”, in actual fact he did nothing of the sort. Take a look at what he said about their movements on Saturday 3rd March:

“On Saturday, 3 March, they left the hotel and took the underground to Waterloo station, arriving at approximately 11.45am, where they caught a train to Salisbury, arriving at approximately 2.25pm. They are believed to have taken a similar route when they returned to London on the afternoon of Saturday, 3 March. Leaving Salisbury at approximately 4.10pm and arriving in Bow at approximately 8.05 pm.”

Question: How much detail did he actually give about their movements in Salisbury that day? The answer is none at all. Read it again. There’s nothing. Yes, there’s a lot of fluff about their movements in London, but other than the fact that they arrived in Salisbury, and then left Salisbury, there is nothing whatsoever about their movements whilst they were there. And just to remind you, the charge against the men relates to what they did in Salisbury, not in London.

Why is this and what does it indicate?

Well, it isn’t that they don’t have evidence of the movements of the two men. One of the commenters here, Peter, has established via a Freedom of Information request to Wiltshire Council that all CCTV cameras were operational on both days, and that all footage in relation to the March incident was handed over to the Counter-Terrorism Police.

This means that The Met has detailed footage of the two men in Salisbury on 3rd March, but not only have they chosen to release none of it, apart from one still image of the men at Salisbury station heading back to London, but they have also declined to give any actual detail of the men’s movements in the town that day. Surely if the footage exists — which it does — then The Met ought to be able to tell us what the two men were doing and where they went. But the extraordinary thing is, not only did they fail to do this, but they actually appealed for help in establishing their movements:

“We’d also like to hear from anyone who saw them while they were in the UK between Friday, 2 March and Sunday, 4 March. We are particularly interested in establishing as much as possible about their movements during the period 2pm to 4.30pm on Saturday, 3 March, and 11.30am to 2pm on Sunday, 4 March.”

Why would they need help when plenty of CCTV exists for them to be able to trace their movements?

Actually, it gets worse. Despite the existence of CCTV showing the men’s movements, but still apparently not knowing where the men went, The Met felt fit to draw the following conclusion:

“We assess that this trip was for reconnaissance of the Salisbury area and do not believe that there was any risk to the public from their movements on this day.”

Reconnaissance? What on earth is this supposed to mean? Did they go and check out Mr Skripal’s house that day? If so, where is the CCTV footage of them doing so? Presumably there would be footage of them walking past the Shell garage on that day too. Where, then, is it (and again, I’m asking for footage, not a still image)?

The use of the word reconnaissance is simply absurd. It makes it sound like they were involved in some clandestine military operation, behind enemy lines, checking out the lie of the land. But actually they were in the rather genteel city of Salisbury, and could have checked their destination using Google maps. Or were they just checking that the door had a handle?

Let’s see how The Met fares on the Sunday:

On Sunday, 4 March, they made the same journey from the hotel, again using the underground from Bow to Waterloo station at approximately 8.05am, before continuing their journey by train to Salisbury. CCTV shows them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house and we believe that they contaminated the front door with Novichok. They left Salisbury and returned to Waterloo Station, arriving at approximately 4.45pm and boarded the London Underground at approximately 6.30pm to London Heathrow Airport.”

Again, most of this is fluff. What has their journey from their hotel to Waterloo got to do with what they are charged with doing in Salisbury? What has their return journey to Waterloo and on to Heathrow got to do with what they are charged with doing in Salisbury? Not much. The charge against them is that they carried out an assassination attempt in Salisbury, not that they got on a train here, a tube there, and an airplane somewhere else.

Ah but they do mention what happened in Salisbury, don’t they? Well, yes they do, but as I pointed out in my previous piece, it’s actually a deeply misleading claim. The CCTV footage released by The Met does not show the men in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house; it shows them on a different street altogether, hundreds of yards away.

The entirety of the evidence given verbally by Mr Basu of the two men’s activities in Salisbury on both the 3rd and 4th March, is therefore this:

“CCTV shows them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house and we believe that they contaminated the front door with Novichok.”

That’s it! Nothing more! Not exactly compelling, is it?

But here’s the thing: The Met knows exactly where the men went on both days, because it has an awful lot of CCTV footage showing where they went. Yet not only does it refuse to release footage, but it skips out all details of Saturday’s Salisbury wanderings, and makes a misleading statement about the Sunday wanderings. I would submit that the most plausible explanation for this is not that the CCTV doesn’t exist (it does). Nor is it that it exists, but is deemed too sensitive to be released (it isn’t). Rather, the most plausible explanation is that it does exist, but it doesn’t actually back up the claims being made.

Even if the Bellingcat claims turn out to be true, it doesn’t alter this crucial point: The Metropolitan Police has so far failed to provide any convincing evidence that the two suspects they have named walked up to 47 Christie Miller Road and placed “Novichok” on the door handle. They have CCTV footage of the men in Salisbury on 3rd and 4th March. And yet the actual details of their movements that they have given out are in reality non-existent. Perhaps Bellingcat would like to answer the question of why this is. Since they appear to have taken over the investigation, that is.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | | 2 Comments

Moscow Doesn’t Plan to Create Stronghold in Libya – Russian Embassy in UK

Sputnik – October 9, 2018

LONDON – The Russian Embassy in London on Tuesday refuted reports claiming that Moscow was allegedly plotting to get control over European immigration routes in Libya and establish a stronghold against the West.

“This publication has nothing to do with reality. We are treating it as a new attempt to shift the responsibility for the ruined country and destroyed lives of millions of Libyans on Russia which had no relation to the 2011 NATO military intervention which grossly violated the whole range of UN Security Council resolutions,” a representative of the embassy told reporters.

The embassy added that Russia supported peacemaking efforts in Libya and never planned any military intervention.

“We fully respect the UN Security Council Resolution 1970 which imposed an arms embargo on Libya,” the mission representative said.

On Monday, The Sun reported that the UK intelligence had warned UK Prime Minister Theresa May of Moscow’s alleged plans to send weapons and troops to Libya to turn it into “new Syria” and take control of migration routes to Europe thus increasing Moscow’s influence on the West.

Russia calls for the parties to the Libyan conflict to engage in a constructive dialogue on political settlement as the only way to end the crisis, the embassy concluded.

Libya has been in turmoil since the overthrow of its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country is divided between two governments, with the eastern part controlled by the Libyan National Army and the western part governed by the UN-backed Government of National Accord of Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj.

Libya is also the major gate for migrants from all of the North Africa attempting to cross the Mediterranean and settle in Europe.

October 9, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Bias – The New Impartiality

By Kit | Off-Guardian | October 8, 2018

Impartial: n. not partial or biased, treating or affecting all equally.

That’s the dictionary definition of the word “Impartiality”. Up until very recently, it was not a complicated or controversial concept in any way. But these days meanings are rather more fluid than they used to be. Free speech doesn’t necessarily involve being able to speak freely. Democracy doesn’t necessarily involve voting.

And “impartial journalism” doesn’t necessarily involve being impartial.

At least, according ITV’s political editor Robert Peston. Speaking at the Cheltenham literature festival, he’s quoted in the Guardian as saying:

Impartial journalism is not giving equal airtime to two people one of whom says the world is flat and the other one says the world is round. That is not balanced, impartial journalism.”

You see, under the OLD definition of “impartial journalism”, a representative from each side of a political issue would be given equal air-time to make their case and present their evidence to the public. The people watching at home, being informed, would then make their own decision as to who was more likely correct.

But that’s not TRUE impartiality anymore, according to Robert.

[impartial journalism is about] weighing the evidence and saying on the balance of probabilities… this is the truth. It is the role of a journalist to say, ‘we’ve got these two contradictory arguments, I’m now going to advise all of you which is likely to be closer to the truth.’”

Under Robert’s new and improved version of “impartial journalism”, one side would get more air time because they are probably right. The other side, the wrong side, would get some time to make their case, but afterwards a friendly (and “impartial”) servant of the state would tell all their viewers to ignore it. That it had been declared officially wrong by the powers that be, and all good citizens should disregard it entirely.

This is, of course, nonsense.

Journalists aren’t interpreters, nannies, teachers or parents. They’re not priests or scientists or experts. They are not there to make our decisions for us, wipe our noses or check under our bed for monsters. It’s not their job make sure we don’t get frightened or to keep us from getting confused or to save our souls.

Television news has a simple task: Provide an unbiased, open and honest platform to supply the public with information.

Robert’s words attack this very idea, instead turning the news into a means to enforce state-sanctioned consensus through emotional blackmail and manipulative corporate virtue-signalling.

This follows a disturbing trend, a direct flow from no-platforming on campuses, to calls to shut down RT or banning Alex Jones from social media. It can all be read as one thing: a direct, media-driven push toward state-backed censorship under the guise of protecting the public. Enforcing a one-sided consensus under the false-flag of a sacred duty to “truth” or a hallucinatory public virtue.

Whatever mask it wears – whatever veneer is layered on its surface – the solid body of the issue is still the same: censorship.

Media corporations, both public and private, deciding amongst themselves what viewpoints are fit to air, and which opinions should be frozen out.

Ask yourself: Who gets to decide whether or not an opinion is fit for public consumption? To whom are they accountable? On what grounds is that decision made? What other issues would fall victim to this new meaning of “impartial coverage”?

It was widely reported that Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite. Would the people defending him from those charges be rejected, declared “officially wrong”, and filed away alongside flat Earthers?

How about people who believe the West is enabling fascists in Ukraine in order to undermine Russia?

Or people who thought Hillary Clinton was a dangerous warmonger?

Or people who claimed Saddam had no WMDs?

Or people who support Palestine?

Or people who voted for Brexit?

Scottish Independence?

Donald Trump?

How many political issues would be safe from the BBC’s new mandate to be “impartial” by picking a side? How often in the past has the official state-backed position been shown to be nothing but a pack of lies?

The truth doesn’t require a shield. The truth isn’t fragile or vulnerable or soft. It doesn’t need guards to protect it, a filter to clarify it or a marketing campaign to promote it. The truth doesn’t need a bullhorn to blare it out or censorship to prop it up. The truth is a lion, not a lamb.

You know what happens when you split equal time between the flat-Earth and round-Earth arguments? The flat-Earther loses. Because an impartial viewing of the evidence proves them wrong.

Propaganda is fragile. A false consensus has fault lines. Lies can be torn down by the gentlest of winds. The truth always wins a fair fight.

That’s the real reason the mainstream media are so desperate to stack the odds.

October 8, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment