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‘Ticking time bomb’: New government report claims UK’s nuclear enterprise is not ‘fit for purpose’

RT | September 21, 2018

Budget constraints are preventing the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) from scrapping potentially dangerous nuclear subs, a new government report showed, noting that some nuclear-servicing facilities were “not fit for purpose”.

The condition of some of the UK’s 13 nuclear sites and constant delays in maintenance created “a ticking time bomb,” House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in their latest report.

The document, published Friday, earmarked two facilities in particular which are in need of urgent upgrades – the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and Devonport Dockyard, where the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines are refitted. It said further investment delays are no longer acceptable.

“Although they had deferred dismantling on affordability grounds in the past, this was no longer acceptable on safety and reputation grounds,” the report said, noting that it is likely that the first sub will not be dismantled until the mid-2020s. The UK currently possesses 20 submarines awaiting disposal, nine of which contain fuel (the type of fuel is not specified).

“I am particularly concerned that the infrastructure available to support the Enterprise is not fit for purpose,” Meg Hillier, the chair of the PAC committee noted, adding that the military better “get on top of this quickly.”

Despite MoD reassurances that it is committed to the safety of the “nuclear programmers” and will “carefully” consider the MPs’ recommendations, Labour lawmaker Luke Pollard warned that there is actually no clear plan on how to dismantle and recycle the submarines. And, crucially, the military simply lacks money for it, he said as cited by the Independent.

To maintain the nation’s nuclear deterrent for the next decade, the government must spend £51 billion on nuclear equipment and support programmers, the report claimed.

Britain’s nuclear arsenal has quite a history of safety mishaps and authorities were even accused of downplaying the real dangers stemming from the nuclear deterrent.

UK’s Trident nuclear program in particular has caused concern after reports it operated on a variant of Microsoft’s Windows XP, which has been at the center of the global ransomware outbreak. Last year, Defence Police Federation chairman Eamon Keating warned that budget cuts left military bases practically open to attack.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

UK to Create 2,000-Strong Cyberforce to Counter ‘Russia Threat’ – Reports

Sputnik – 21.09.2018

The United Kingdom will set up a cybersecurity force, comprising up to 2,000 members, to tackle the “threat from Russia” and other actors, local media reported on Friday.

The authorities planned to invest some 250 million pounds (over $330 million) in creating the cyberforce, the Sky News broadcaster reported, citing sources.

The force would be tasked with carrying out offensive cyberoperations and would be composed of the officials of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), military personnel and contractors, the outlet added.

The plan to create the unit was reportedly drafted by the Ministry of Defence and the GCHQ amid London’s claims about the alleged growing cyberthreat from Moscow and the United Kingdom’s recent successful use of cyberweapons against the Islamic State terror group.

Over the recent years, Russia has repeatedly been accused of carrying out cyberattacks against other countries, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, and attempting, in particular, to influence the results of elections. Moscow refuted all such claims, calling them unfounded.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

UK to set up new internet regulator to monitor ‘hate speech’ and enforce ‘code of conduct’ – report

RT | September 20, 2018

Free speech advocates are appalled at news that the UK government may create a new regulator, empowered to heavily fine social media giants that fail to clamp down on rogue posts, and even banish sites for ‘non-illegal’ content.

The new legislation for reducing online “social harms” will be presented this winter, according to a Buzzfeed report, whose veracity has been confirmed in a statement by the Conservative government.

According to the proposals, Facebook, Twitter and other websites offering user-generated videos, photos and posts will be forced to remove content such as –but not restricted to– child pornography, terrorist incitement and hate speech within a tight time limit, or face hefty fines.

This follows the controversial German model, approved last year, in which companies have to take down posts that violate the law within 24 hours, lest they be penalized with fines of up to €50 million. Critics there have said that the legislation is unenforceable, due to the sheer volume of published information, that it provokes a chilling effect among online voices and forces internet companies into engaging in heavy-handed censorship.

Of even more concern will be the new body’s role in producing “new regulations on non-illegal content and behaviour online” – which could force content that does not actually violate any laws, but is considered undesirable, such as publicly humiliating posts or “fake news” to be removed. Authors note that there are fiery internal debates about whether the government has the right to try and monitor or control such speech, or what the exact boundaries are.

Websites will also be forced to introduce a mechanism of secure age verification, as opposed to current methods, in which the users themselves say how old they are. A similar proposal has been touted for adult content websites accessed from the UK for several years, but plans have been repeatedly delayed over privacy and workability considerations.

Websites, many of which operate outside the UK, will be asked to sign up to a code of conduct, saying that they agree to the above regulations. It is suggested that those that fail to do so will face punishment, and could potentially be blocked altogether to British internet visitors.

Those concerned about the free speech dimension have slammed the idea of a regulator, calling the potential development a step towards total control of the UK population. Others wondered who will be entrusted with controlling and censoring the virtual space, and who would “guard the guards.”

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

The Skripal Affair – Another False Flag in NATO Litany to Criminalize Russia

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 20.09.2018

If we start from a premise which understands that Britain and its NATO allies are capable of mounting false flag events in Syria with chemical weapons, then it is entirely possible that British secret services carried out a similar propaganda stunt in England with regard to former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

We also need to bear in mind that British state intelligence agencies are plausibly running a covert assassination program targeting Russian exiles living in Britain – for the purpose of incriminating Moscow.

Over the past two decades, more than a dozen Russian dissidents have met untimely deaths while residing in England, including Alexander Litvinenko and Boris Berezovsky. Their deaths provide propaganda fodder for the British to accuse Moscow of carrying out “revenge killings”.

However, the suspicious circumstances surrounding each death could more conceivably point to the British liquidating the Russian exiles as propaganda assets.

In the case of Sergei Skripal, the disgraced former Russian military intelligence officer was convicted in Russia of being a spy working for Britain’s MI6. He was exiled to England more than a decade ago as part of an espionage swap deal.

When Skripal was apparently poisoned in his resident town of Salisbury in southwest England on March 4, along with his adult daughter, Yulia, the British authorities immediately pointed the finger of blame at Russian President Vladimir Putin for allegedly ordering an assassination. The Kremlin was accused of dispatching agents who supposedly poisoned the Skripals with a deadly nerve agent.

The publication last week by Scotland Yard police of CCTV images showing two Russian men, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, walking the streets of Salisbury on the weekend of the alleged attack was reported in the British media as “proof” of the supposed Kremlin assassination plot. The Skripal affair is conveniently portrayed as “one more” example of Putin’s “Kremlin killing machine”.

But let’s look at the whole affair from a different perspective. The following scenario draws on observations and evidence cited by sources such as former British ambassador Craig Murray, the informed analytical website Moon of Alabama, and US-based political analyst Randy Martin (in personal correspondence).

Let’s ask the following question: was Sergei Skripal’s propaganda usefulness to the British as an exiled spy at some later point seen by the British as being better served as a victim of an apparent poison-assassination. That is, as a victim of a false flag attack that was actually carried out covertly by the British state agents in order to give the Western-led anti-Russia media campaign a significant boost?

Recall the Salisbury incident occurred at the time when Putin won re-election as Russian president, and it was during the build-up to the 2018 World Cup tournament hosted by Russia.

There is evidence that Sergei Skripal may have been a drug addict. His movements on the Sunday of March 4 when he was found incapacitated on a public park bench in Salisbury along with daughter Yulia suggest he may have been fixing a drug habit. That day he and his daughter both reportedly switched off their cell phones as they visited parks in Salisbury and nearby Amesbury. The latter venue was also a haunt for the two heroin junkies Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess who later became embroiled in the affair when both apparently were also poisoned with the same nerve agent. Sturgess died days later from her ailment in early July.

Was Skripal visiting venues on March 4 known for scoring drugs? The switching off of phones would indicate some kind of illicit behavior. Recall, too, that earlier on that day, Skripal was reportedly acting in a hurry and very agitated while lunching in a restaurant with his daughter, both of them leaving abruptly. Did he have a monkey on his back, pushing him to get his drug fix?

We can be sure that Skripal was being kept under surveillance by Britain’s MI5 and MI6 all during his decade-long exile in Britain. The postulated drug habit would have been known to his “handlers”.

Moving to cash in their espionage asset for propaganda value, it is possible that British state agents surreptitiously spiked Skripal’s drug fix with some incapacitating substance, such as fentanyl. Indeed, the distressed symptoms of the father and daughter later found in a park on the afternoon of March 4 by members of the public were initially reported as signs of drug overdose.

From that point on, it is contended here, the British secret services intervened as they had anticipated to take control of the “Skripal affair”.

While Sergei and Yulia were comatose in a secured hospital wing, it could have been possible for their blood samples to be doctored with a chemical weapon, the notorious Novichok, which was subsequently and hastily attributed to Russia. That attribution in the British media is wildly overplayed. The British chemical weapons facility at Porton Down is only a few miles away from Salisbury where the Skripals were hospitalized. Without doubt, Porton Down would have its own supply of organophosphate nerve agents, if not samples of Novichok. It is not a uniquely Russian chemical, as British politicians and media falsely imply.

There are gaping anomalies in the official British narrative of a Kremlin-directed “hit job” on Skripal with a deadly nerve agent, a claim which Moscow has vehemently denied.

For a start, Sergei and his daughter have, according to the British government, recovered from their ordeal. Yet, the British authorities were claiming that the alleged nerve poison, Novichok, was a super lethal toxin, multiple times more deadly than related organophosphate chemical weapons Sarin or Tabun. A single drop of Novichok on the skin would be enough to kill almost instantly, so it is claimed.

The official British narrative claims that the killer chemical was applied to the front door handle at the Skripal home. The two Russian men caught on CCTV and accused last week by the British of being Kremlin assassins were not in Salisbury until just before midday on March 4, according to the published CCTV time data. By that time, the Skripals had left the home and were not seen returning. That means the pair were stricken while away from the home, perhaps, as speculated here, while they were in the public park scoring a drug deal.

Plausibly, they were not assaulted with a chemical weapon, but with a spiked drug sample, which British state agents had arranged for the purpose of incapacitating them. In an incapacitated state, the Skripals could then be used as guinea pigs, whose bodily fluids could be contaminated to frame up Russia with a story of “assassination by Novichok”.

Here are some challenging questions: why have the Skripals seemingly gone into hiding since the alleged poison incident over six months ago?

Why did Yulia make only one public statement to the Reuters news agency – three months after the poison incident and apparently having recovered from her “lethal ordeal” – in which she expressed a desire to return to her native Russia? Yet since that one-off public statement nearly three months ago, Yulia or her father have not been seen since. Would she really express such a wish to go back to Russia if she believed the British claim that Russian state agents had just tried to assassinate her and her father?

Why have all official Russian requests for consular contact with Yulia been repeatedly denied by the British side, in flagrant violation of international law and diplomatic norms?

The implication is that the Skripals are being detained under duress by the British authorities who realize that the official version of a Kremlin assassination plot with Novichok might be fatally contradicted by the Skripals’ version of events. Hence the pair are being denied access to public communication.

What about the junkies Charlie Rowley and the late Dawn Sturgess? It is plausible that they were also set up in a covert poison attack by British intelligence using spiked drugs in order to “refresh” the anti-Russia propaganda stunt. Then the story about a perfume bottle containing Novichok was thrown in to the mix to conjure up a murder weapon discarded by alleged Kremlin assassins.

What about the two Russian men caught on CCTV in Salisbury on the weekend that the Skripals were apparently poisoned? Petrov and Boshirov upset the official British narrative by coming forward last week to give a media interview. They said they were ordinary civilians traveling under their own names, not aliases, as the British claimed. They said they are not Russian military intelligence, that they had no perfume bottle with Novichok nor any other substance on their possession in England, and that they were in Salisbury as weekend tourists.

Salisbury and its world-famous 13th century cathedral – reputed to be the most ornate in England – as well as nearby neolithic-age Stonehenge, attract millions of tourists from around the world each year, including many Russian nationals. It is not a stretch that British authorities scanned through reams of CCTV footage on the weekend of March 4, and got a lucky break to find Petrov and Boshirov walking the streets of Salisbury. The two men say they are caught up in a “fantastical coincidence”. More to the point, it seems, they are caught up in a British false flag to incriminate, demonize and delegitimize Russia.

The Skripal false flag is only one in a whole series of propaganda campaigns conducted by Western governments, their state intelligence and their ever-obliging news media in recent years. The alleged “annexation of Crimea”, the “covert invasion of Ukraine”, shooting down a Malaysian airliner, illicit doping of Olympic athletes, meddling in US and European elections, launching cyberattacks on Western power-grids, supporting “brutal dictator Assad” in Syria, among other malicious memes.

The litany of false flags to demonize Russia as a “pariah state” is itself indicative of relentless media orchestration by NATO governments.

The Skripal affair fits into this phenomenal propaganda effort.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Is ‘deep state’ trying to block Corbyn government?

RT | September 20, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn’s top adviser has questioned whether the ‘deep state’ is maneuvering to block any possibility of a Labour government under his leadership, because the establishment deplores his approach to foreign policy.

Corbyn adviser Andrew Murray has not, to date, been granted a parliamentary security pass, and asks in an article he’s penned in the centre-left publication, the New Statesman, whether such a move is a “political stunt” committed by the “deep state,” in an attempt to prevent a Corbyn administration ever coming into power.

Murray has questioned whether the Mail on Sunday revelations he’s been refused “Commons security clearance” in addition to being “banned from entering Ukraine,” is all just a “curiously-timed episode.”

The Labour adviser writes: “We are often told that the days of secret state political chicanery are long past and we must hope so. But sometimes you have to wonder – this curiously timed episode seems less rooted in a Kiev security scare than in a political stunt closer to home.”

The former chair of Stop the War and current chief of staff to Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, references the Mail on Sunday, which claims a Ukrainian secret service officer told them Murray’s Ukraine ban is because he’s “part of Putin’s global propaganda network.”

Murray denies such a claim, suggesting the ban is in retaliation to a speech he “made more than four years ago protesting the takeover of Ukraine by ultra-nationalists.”

It’s Corbyn’s attitude to foreign affairs that Murray says the “deep state” cannot live with, claiming a prospective Labour government would put an end to acting aggressively on the world stage.

He says: “The powers-that-be can perhaps live with a renationalised water industry but not, it seems, with any challenge to their aggressive capacities, repeatedly deployed in disastrous wars, and their decaying Cold War world view.”

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, has told BBC Radio 4s ‘Today Programme’ that Murray’s “deep state” interference claims are “highly unlikely,” and called for Corbyn’s adviser to produce the evidence, “otherwise it’s just fake news.”

Watson said: “I genuinely don’t know why he has reached that conclusion and presumably he has more knowledge of that than me.”

Murray signs off his article with an apparent dig at the British intelligence services, stating: “Britain could soon have an anti-war government. Vet that, comrades.”

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | | Leave a comment

Idlib: Lull Before the Hurricane

By Peter FORD, former UK ambassador to Syria | September 17, 2018

It appears that the Russians have pressed the pause button on their plans for an offensive alongside the Syrian government to retake Idlib. By the time they return to play mode the martial music may have changed.

New US policies for Syria

Without fanfare the US has just reformulated its position to create the conditions for it to launch devastating strikes on Syria no longer just on the pretext of alleged use of chemical weapons but on any ‘humanitarian’ pretext the US sees fit. In an interview with the Washington Post on 6 September, James Jeffrey, the hawkish new Special Envoy for Syria fresh from the neocon incubator of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, did not mince words:

“We’ve started using new language,” Jeffrey said, referring to previous warnings against the use of chemical weapons. Now, he said, the United States will not tolerate “an attack. Period.”

“Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation” he said. “You add to that, if you use chemical weapons, or create refugee flows or attack innocent civilians.”

Jeffrey’s remarks were little noticed because he was that day announcing something else more immediately striking: a ‘new’ policy on Syria involving cancellation of Trump’s announced departure of US troops before the end of 2018 and in statement of a plan to stay on indefinitely until achievement of the twin goals of removing all trace of the Iranian presence in Syria and installation of a Syrian government which would meet US conditions – conditions which President Assad would by Jeffrey’s own admission not be likely to meet.

The headlines naturally focussed on this latest Washington folly – do they think Iran will up sticks as long as there is a single US soldier on Syrian soil, or that there is a Syrian Mandela waiting in the wings? – and the importance of the remarks about Idlib was missed. Yet those words may be about to bring the world to the brink of global war.

New doctrine for US intervention

What Jeffreys was saying was quite clear. That with or without alleged use of chemical weapons, a sudden exodus of frightened civilians from a part of Idlib, use of the fabled ‘barrel bombs’, or launch of a major offensive will be taken by the US as a trigger for drastic and probably sustained bombing aimed at bringing the government of Syria to its knees.

Until now successive US administrations have been careful to draw the red line for intervention in Syria at use of chemical weapons, presumably on the grounds that there is universal agreement and international law to the effect that use of prohibited weapons is taboo. WMD after all were the casus belli for Iraq, even if it turned out to be false. Now suddenly we have a new, broader and consequently more dangerous doctrine.

The State Department has not yet favoured the American public, Congress or anyone else with an explanation or justification for the change, but we can speculate. Can it be, for example, that US policy makers realise that when the next alleged use of chemical weapons occurs in Syria, as surely it will, it will be more difficult to sell intervention to the public than the first two times because the game has now been rumbled? Not only has the idea that the White Helmets might not be all they seem entered the bloodstream of media discourse, but the OPCW inspectors, able for once after Douma actually to visit a crime site, failed to find any proof of use of prohibited weapons. Add to that those pesky Russians unhelpfully telling the world exactly how and where the White Helmets were going to stage their next Oscar-winning performances. So why bother with all that rigmarole over chemical weapons when Western opinion is already sufficiently primed to accept any intervention whatever as long as it is somehow ‘humanitarian’ and doing down the evil Russians?

Responsibility to Protect

Step up ‘Responsibility to Protect’, the innocuous-sounding UN-approved doctrine beloved of interventionists of both Left and Right. Never mind that most legal scholars utterly reject the notion that this doctrine legalises armed aggression other than with Security Council approval or in self-defence. Was it not effectively invoked in the British government’s legal position statement provided at the time of the post-Douma strikes? (The US administration, knowing their audience, never bothered to provide any legal justification whatever.)

Slight snag: although the British government have preemptively sought with their legal statement to give themselves cover to commit acts of war on a whim, and without recourse to Parliament, as long as it can be dressed up as humanitarian, nevertheless there might be considerable disquiet in Parliament and possibly even among service chiefs were the government to appear to be about to launch strikes alongside the US had there not been even the appearance of a chemical weapons incident. For this reason it is likely that the British government will attempt to persuade the US not to give up just yet on chlorine.

Is it this new amplified threat – of strikes whether or not Assad obliges or appears to oblige with suicidal use of chlorine – which has given the Russians reasons to call off the dogs, pro tem at least? Probably not, because the Russians were taking it as read that fake chemical attacks were coming anyway. They will take note however that the US has just effectively lowered the bar on its own next heavy intervention in Syria and will not be deterred by any blowing of the gaff.

For those who naively but sincerely believed that if Assad laid off the chlorine he would not get bombed the world has suddenly become a lot more dangerous. For realists however the new doctrine merely removes a hypocrisy, or rather introduces an inflexion into the hypocrisy, whereby the itch felt by those salivating at the prospect of striking Syria, Russia and Iran can be masked as a humanitarian concern which goes beyond abhorrence of chemical weapons.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

British PM pledges to protect Israel, Jews in dig at Corbyn

Press TV – September 18, 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to protect British Jews and what she called “Israel’s right to defend itself” in what appeared to be a veiled attack on Jeremy Corbyn, who has been accused of tolerating anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Addressing a dinner held by the United Jewish Israel Appeal, which works to build links between British Jews and Israel, May said she was “sickened” by the idea that some Jews had doubt whether Britain was a safe place to raise their children.

“I have come here tonight as prime minister of our country to say that I stand with you,” she told the crowd Monday night. “I stand with the UJIA. I stand with Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. And I stand with the entire Jewish community in Britain.”

The Labour Party has been mired in rows over what critics describe as its failure to address anti-Semitism among party supporters and its initial reluctance to fully adopt a broader definition of anti-Semitism.

Corbyn, a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights, has come under attack for criticizing the Israeli regime’s policies, which some view as being anti-Semitic. The Labour leader argued earlier this year that party members should be allowed to criticize Israel.

In August, Britain’s former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks labeled Corbyn anti-Semite and said his 2013 comments about Zionists were the most offensive by a senior British politician in half a century.

Corbyn said five years ago, before he was Labour’s leader, that British Zionists “don’t understand English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”

“If we are to stand up for the values that we share – then one of the things we need to do is give young Jewish people the confidence to be proud of their identity – as British, Jewish and Zionist too,” May said.

“There is no contradiction between these identities – and we must never let anyone try to suggest that there should be.”

In a barely coded message to Corbyn, the prime minister said, “Let me be clear: you cannot claim to be tackling racism, if you are not tackling anti-Semitism.”

Furthermore, May said she was committed to strong economic ties between London and Tel Aviv.

“You can also count on my commitment to Israel’s security,” she said. “I am clear that we will always support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

September 18, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

Ofgem exploited national security law to silence us, whistleblowers claim

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | September 17, 2018

From the Guardian :

Britain’s energy regulator has been fighting to keep secret the claims of two whistleblowers who independently raised concerns about potentially serious irregularities in projects worth billions of pounds, the Guardian can reveal.

The two men say Ofgem threatened them with an obscure but sweeping gagging clause that can lead to criminal prosecutions and possible jail terms for those who defy it.

MPs and the whistleblowing charity Protect fear Ofgem is abusing its position and exploiting a law that was intended to protect UK national security – not a regulator from potential embarrassment.

The Labour MP Peter Kyle said: “Whistleblowers save lives and protect our economy from harm; they should be protected by law, not have it used against them.”

One of the whistleblowers told the Guardian he was “continually threatened … for trying to tell the truth. For doing my job and uncovering an issue, Ofgem made my life hell.”

He said the regulator had attempted to “scare me witless with threats of imprisonment” and he felt “utterly ashamed” of Ofgem’s behaviour.

Ofgem said it encouraged staff to report suspected wrongdoing and took their concerns seriously.

Both men worked for Ofgem in entirely different areas of the business and were regarded as qualified experts in their respected fields.

One was Greg Pytel, an economist with oversight of the rollout of the £10.9bn smart meter programme, which is due to be completed in 2020.

Smart meters are electronic devices for homes and businesses that measure the use of electricity and gas. They are designed to make billing easier and to help energy companies manage the supply of electricity more efficiently.

The second whistleblower, who has asked to remain anonymous, worked on the renewable heat incentive (RHI), which offers financial rewards to promote the use of new technologies such as green boilers.

The scheme, which started in 2011, has been controversial – and could eventually cost taxpayers £23bn. Both projects are key to the government’s stated aim of making the UK a low-carbon economy.

The two whistleblowers do not know each other and have not been involved in each other’s cases. They say they are only linked by the reaction of Ofgem to their claims.

They found themselves in similar positions after being tasked with scrutinising elements of the two major projects they were working on between 2014 and 2017. Both raised concerns with their managers.

Instead of welcoming their input and investigating their concerns, the men allege they were bullied, treated unfairly and sidelined to such an extent they felt compelled to bring their grievances to an employment tribunal.

The RHI whistleblower claimed he was “continually ignored or threatened.” In both instances, the men say they were told they would not be allowed to reveal to the tribunal, or anyone else, the concerns they had. They say Ofgem warned them that the details were protected by Section 105 of the Utilities Act 2000.

This prohibits the disclosure of certain types of evidence relevant to the energy sector – and it is so restrictive that those who ignore it can be fined or jailed for up to two years.

At an early hearing of Pytel’s case, the tribunal ruled Ofgem was required to disclose his documents about public procurement arrangements for the smart meter programme, citing the Human Rights Act. It said he had the right to freedom of expression without interference from a public authority. But Ofgem has against appealed the decision.

Peter Daly at Bindmans, the legal firm that is acting for Pytel, said: “Ofgem’s position appears to be that anyone who disclosed or reported the content of his whistleblowing would be themselves committing a criminal offence.

“They [Ofgem] are appealing an employment tribunal order to provide disclosure in the proceedings because they say to do so would be a criminal offence. Ofgem’s appeal therefore indicates that in Ofgem’s view this prohibition extends to Ofgem themselves.”

Daly says if Ofgem wins this legal battle, it would “have a corrosive and asphyxiating effect on the rights of whistleblowers in the energy sector and would create a binding precedent.”

A second hearing of the case will take place in October.

The second whistleblower has described the alleged reaction of his managers when faced with the concerns he raised. “Specifically I was told that if I told the truth, my career with Ofgem would be finished.”

Despite the threats, he said, he briefed the National Audit Office – a move that infuriated Ofgem, he claimed.

He said a senior manager “screamed and shouted” at him, and he was then warned his disclosures were a breach of section 105 of the Utilities Act 2000.

The whistleblower says he left Ofgem last year after being “threatened with imprisonment if I shared information about the wrongdoings that I had witnessed”. He has described Ofgem as being “dishonestly secretive”.

Kyle, a member of the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee, said: “Ofgem do have many commercial secrets that are vital to the wellbeing of our nations’ infrastructure, but the power they have to gag whistleblowers is an extreme one and should be used in only extreme circumstances.

“I’m now extremely concerned about the potential abuse of these powers. Parliament might need to look at who has oversight and scrutiny of them and see if the law needs updating.”

Protect, formerly Public Concern at Work, has been helping both of the Ofgem whistleblowers, and has intervened in one of the ongoing legal cases.

The body’s chief executive, Francesca West, said: “The whole of the UK energy market – that’s more than 600,000 workers – are currently being held to ransom over Section 105 of the Utilities Act, and threatened with a prison sentence if they speak up over wrongdoing. It is utterly shameful.

“Our society needs whistleblowers to speak up, to stop harm. But we also need organisations to be honest, open and operate legally.”

Ofgem said it had only had to consider the use of section 105 once in the last five years.

“In carrying out our duties as the energy regulator, Ofgem handles large amount of information from consumers and businesses which is often both personal in nature and commercially sensitive.

“With the exception of a few prescribed circumstances, section 105 of the Utilities Act 2000 prohibits the disclosure of the information we receive. Section 105 is intended to ensure that consumers and businesses can share their information without fear that it may be subsequently disclosed. Ofgem takes our obligations under law very seriously, including the restrictions in section 105.

“Ofgem adheres to its whistleblowing policy which encourages staff to report suspected wrongdoing as soon as possible, in the knowledge that their concerns will be taken seriously and investigated.”

Curiously the Guardian gives no hint of what the two whistleblowers wanted to tell us.

It does not take a genius to work out the whole smart meter programme has been highly flawed from the outset, and an obscene waste of billions of pounds.

As for the RHI, many more billions are being wasted, often on environmentally damaging projects, and again for the same reasons of reducing CO2 emissions.

The fact that the Guardian has been wholeheartedly behind both schemes might give a clue as to why they are reluctant to tell the whole story.

September 18, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

Operation Nina – A Conspirator’s View

There’s never a shortage of commentators reporting on how Russia planned the attack on the Skripals, or how Syria planned its chemical weapons massacres. So let’s just turn the tables on these prejudiced and blinkered proponents of the Western narrative…

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | September 17, 2018

The current impasse between the UK and Russia, initiated by the Skripal poisoning on March 4th and crystallized by the identification of two Russian “suspects” this week, calls for new thinking. Despite what appears to most Russians as the complete exposure of the UK’s dirty game, where its “smoking gun” evidence has been trashed by the appearance of the two “guns” on Russian TV, the UK’s leaders and their dutiful media remain unrepentant.

Worse than that, the “spycatchers” are re-invigorated with passionate Russophobia, full of indignation over the “brazen appearance” of their assassins on the BBC’s nemesis, RT.  After they spent so many months combing through 11,000 hours of CCTV footage to put together a picture of the men, whose recorded movements almost coincided with the location and movements of the Skripals, it would be vexing to see that work squandered in less than a week.

Or so it might seem.

But before we feel too sorry for those unnamed individuals who finally found the proverbial needles in the haystack of Russians visiting Salisbury, albeit, at rather a quiet time, we might consider this inconvenient detail: “Novichok” was found on swabs taken at the City Stay Hotel on MAY 4th.

This, of course, was only two months after the attack on the Skripals, when the nerve agent might have been considered “fresh” and possibly dangerous; more recent re-testing found no trace of Novichok, though it was suggested this was because all of the substance had been removed on the swabs in May. Yes.

Given that no-one at the hotel reported being affected by Novichok, one must conclude that police had already identified Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov by the end of April, as Russians who had flown into London on that snowy weekend in March, and who had visited Salisbury while staying at City Stay Hotel.

But before we waste time speculating how and why it took them another four months to release the mug-shots of the suspected “GRU agents”, we should consider how much earlier the two Russians may have been under suspicion as the possible culprits and purveyors of the Nina Ricci perfume “Nouveau Truc”.

If authorities assumed the assassins had come from Russia, with the extensive monitoring and searching capabilities now available to them, might Petrov and Boshirov (their real names) not have been identified within days?

But now here’s the rub.

Accepting that the “Novichok” poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal did NOT take place, neither as claimed by the UK from contact with a Novichok-smeared doorknob, nor in fact from any contact at all, we should now logically consider if these two Russian guys were identified before they came to London.

This is not some “conspiracy theory” – because it’s clear that there was a conspiracy. And with every new piece of “evidence”, and every repetition of the original false and fabricated claims against Russia this conspiracy becomes deeper and more malignant.

It is often useful when accusations are made against countries of – for instance – military expansionism, to reverse the protagonists; would the US be happy to see Chinese warships “maintaining freedom of navigation” between Cuba and Florida? While building military bases in neighboring countries and installing anti-missile defense systems in them?

So in considering the attack on the Skripals, and the apparent connection with false-flag chemical weapons attacks in Syria, it is useful to take what we may call a “conspirator’s eye view”.

Despite the credulity of Western media and its audience in the fabricated stories of chemical weapons use both in Syria and in Salisbury, there is now no alternative but to count these Western populations amongst the victims of a massive conspiracy by the UK and its allies; one that threatens to even exceed the criminality and deception involved in that “Mother of all Conspiracies” that launched the Imperial Wars of Terror seventeen years ago.

Considering this conspiracy, or operation – as it may appear to those who planned and executed the whole deception – from their perspective, opens up a whole new line of inquiry, and interest in past events that may have otherwise been overlooked. It may also take us into a realm of human psychology that is highly discomfiting, and for which it may be better to pretend that this is simply an academic inquiry.

A “what if the Skripal poisoning was staged by GCHQ to frame the Russians and provide a pretext for sanctions, because of their support for the Syrian government?” inquiry. But just remember this is a pretense.

First, we must assume that this operation was well-planned, and at least some months in advance. While considerations of the coming Russian Presidential election and the World Cup Football may have figured, along with Russia’s resistance in Ukraine and on its borders, the key driver behind “Operation Nina” (as we may choose to call it after the UK’s choice of “perfume”) must surely have been the situation in Syria.

This became quite clear when Theresa May delivered the “first use of a chemical weapon in Europe since WW2” accusation against Russia, timed as it was so cleverly only weeks before the staging of the Douma gas attack. Rather than simple guilt by association – supporting the “murderous Assad regime” – Russia could now be framed as a collaborator and user of chemical weapons.

One need only look at the rise in toxic Russophobia, and support for extreme measures against Russia which are entirely unjustifiable, to realize just who benefits from this framing of the West’s chief bugbear, and thus who might consider such an operation.

Russia’s enormous commitment to restoring peace and justice in Syria for the last seven years, and dedication to diplomacy and negotiation, with military action as the last resort, has been completely obscured by the NATO campaign of disinformation and subversive action, and to an extraordinary degree.

Clearly from the conspirators’ point of view, “Operation Nina” and the concomitant “White Helmets” and “Doctors Under Fire” operations in Syria have been a resounding success – even though the presumed goal of regime change still eludes them, whether in Damascus or Moscow. Certainly in terms of intent, and what the opposing parties stood to gain from assassinating Sergei Skripal there can be no argument – Russia only stood to lose, a little or a lot, while the UK and its allies stood to prevail both militarily and politically in their own interests, however morally repugnant and legally unjustified these were.

So we have the motive, and know the details of the bizarre method; what of the planning?

Is it possible that the unwitting Russian “agents”, whose visit to Salisbury has now become the clincher of the UK’s Novichok case, were actually lured to the vicinity of Sergei Skripal’s home, with the conveniently placed chemical weapons labs at nearby Porton Down? Without doubting the innocence of Petrov and Boshirov over any involvement in the BZ attack on the Skripals, might we consider if they were on a different mission, and victims of a “honey trap” not involving women?

This possibility – including their comment that “a friend suggested we visit Salisbury” could explain their slightly evasive and unconvincing answers on why they returned to the city for a second time. While we know that they weren’t caught on CCTV walking along Wilton Road “near the Skripal house” because that was their destination, it’s fair to ask why they chose to walk that way rather than the road north to Old Sarum, which they professed a desire to see.

Old Sarum is about two miles from the city center, so Petrov and Boshirov could have easily visited the site. But perhaps their friend had a different recommendation, and one they understandably would be reluctant to reveal – a venue which appears to be about the same distance from the center, along Wilton Road.

If this explanation for some anomalies in the Russians’ story is true, then it has an ironic twist; at the same time as they were striding off down Wilton Road, the final moves of the conspiracy to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter were taking place back in the city center.

The exact circumstances and timing of the attack – presumably on the park bench on which they were discovered incapacitated – may only be known to those who set it up, but we may be sure nothing was left to chance. This is in contrast to the apparently haphazard behavior and conflicting reports afterward, despite some serious preparations just beforehand.

To anyone familiar with Salisbury, its proximity to the largest Chemical and Biological Weapons research facility in Europe ranks alongside its ancient cathedral and prehistoric sites as a subject of interest, if not as a destination. For some in the past, it proved a final destination, as revealed at an inquest in 2003, fifty years after the death of a MoD guinea pig, RAF volunteer Ronald Maddison, from Sarin poisoning.

The UK government and its agencies will, of course, assure the public that “nowadays” Porton Down is merely involved in research into protection and defense against other states’ chemical, biological and nuclear agents. It gave similar assurances to the 3000 odd volunteers in the ‘50s, telling them they were helping to develop a cure for the common cold, as drops of Sarin were put on their skin.

It seems that nothing much has changed, except that in those days – like Soviet propaganda – no-one really believed Whitehall’s bland reassurances or imagined that Porton Down was full of harmless boffins working for the common good.

What has changed is that the “elite” at the helm of today’s conspiracies has become supremely confident in its ability to deceive the public into believing whatever story best suits their special interests. As is illustrated by the whole crazy “Novichok” story – which has appeared as barely believable even to those who would readily blame Russia for it – the public can now be made to believe in anything, and with conviction.

And so it seems that as in Mossad’s motto – “By way of deception though shalt wage war”; this has become the modus operandi for the UK and its allies in their war on Russia and Syria, and anyone else standing in the way of their hegemonic and demonic ambitions.

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

When Social Networks Care About National Security

By Harry Bentham | OffGuardian | September 16, 2018

Controversies surrounding online fake news, having alarmed political activists in Britain and the US, are prompting social media companies to be more active in combating the alleged threat. For many people in opposition to the policies of US President Donald Trump and Britain’s exit from the EU, the internet is to blame for the situation because it illicitly influenced voters. As a result, increased policing of social networks to root out foreign spies and domestic dissidents seems necessary to them. One of the latest examples is Twitter’s permanent suspension of American conspiracy theorist entertainer Alex Jones.

The responsibility to police the social networks seems to have largely been placed, by pushy and concerned politicians, on the management of tech companies themselves. British MPs and US senators did this by summoning them to hearings and campaigning openly against the internet’s permissiveness on political content, making demands they should shut down dissident and foreign outlets because they have gone too far.

Although the most vocal of them are not actually in the incumbent government and therefore not responsible for national security responses, they are still lawmakers representing constituents and can threaten legislation to compel social media companies to change. Preferring instead to make the policing of social media posts look voluntary, they seem to have capably persuaded the management of the tech companies to enforce their views on national security.

Therefore, now, we are at an awkward point where transnational social networks must care about so-called national security – specifically the US’s national security, based on that country’s strange and self-obsessed drivel about being exceptional and better than others. What next?

Recently, we have seen police-like enforcement action against dissident users and outlets present on a variety of social media platforms and applications used by a probable majority of people in the UK and the US. This removal of controversial figures from online platforms is presented as not being censorship, but rather the enforcement of decent community guidelines by companies that have every right to withhold services. However, this argument is not very convincing. The political pressure has been immense. The results have not been targeted at bad social media behavior like spam and harassment, but against alternate political views on both the left and the right. If we look at the actions of the tech companies, they are not only encouraged by elements of the state but have made themselves into state-like actors by describing themselves as stopping foreign threats and extremism.

Brexit was the mistake of a misled public, perhaps. We are told so by influential media personalities – almost all of them – and the same narrative is presented when it comes to the election of Trump. We are encouraged to lean towards the same common solution to both of these mishaps, and it consists of mostly a crackdown online – especially on Twitter. We will be shutting down online accounts and channels belonging to the supporters of such causes as Trump and Brexit, after quickly and conveniently finding them guilty of being bots or possibly foreign. No attention is given to bad behavior as a whole.

For example, no enforcement action is used against pro-EU accounts or anti-Trump accounts, many of which self-identify as foreign or completely automated. Some even blatantly violate Twitter’s rules on inflated hashtag campaigns, doing things like using the hashtag #FBPE to get followers and retweets from pro-EU bots. Their own determination to trick users and violate the community guidelines is openly celebrated by them, so oblivious are these kinds of activists to their own hypocrisy.

So, in fact, what seems at first a principled argument against bad behavior is really a cliché so we can pretend there was some civilized reason for thuggishly silencing other points of view.

Much of the commentary by the Democratic Party, as with opponents of Brexit in the UK, focuses on national security and the need to silence or eliminate bad people and Russians. It is presented as war, using the language of military propaganda. Being in opposition, these democracy-loving people in the Democratic Party and other groups now presume it is the job of civil society – news networks like CNN and tech companies like Apple mainly – to not only take charge of national security themselves but also engage directly in censorship.

But censorship, the shutting down of opposing views and channels on grounds that they are treasonous, is not an exertion of soft power but hard power. It is a state-like activity, and the sole responsibility of states in all previous cases. By taking part in censorship without being part of the elected leadership of the state and the command structure it possesses to deal with national security threats, unelected elements in civil society are allowed to commit what would be a crime if they had been elected to do it. They engage in a coup-like activity, since, not being part of an elected government, they are nonetheless engaged in state-like activity and are trying to invasively police matters that only a heavily expanded state or dictatorship is ever expected to police.

What is presented above makes it justifiable to consider whether traditional models of state censorship would be more consistent with the rule of law and the importance of a democratic mandate than the current capricious enforcement by private companies. A party whose candidate failed to win power over the whole state, such as the Democrats, is not able to implement a program of state censorship at the moment they most want to. The reason this is the case is because of their very loss in the 2016 US election, which makes them not responsible for matters of national security and not tasked with securing the information space against threats, and yet they try. For them to seek routes around this failure, going to non-elected entities such as the tech companies in an attempt to dictate terms of censorship and actual national security policies via them, can be compared with a coup or a form of separatism. This is the creation of a second state, the seizure of infrastructure to interdict citizens. It is completely outside the bounds of normal political processes, which focus solely on democratic and valid elections as the only means of changing power.

Each point made in relation to the US Democrats here is equally true of influencers and leaders who seek to invalidate the results of the UK’s Brexit referendum, in large part because these are the same kind of civil society actors. In their attempts to portray the activity of the national government itself as treasonous and wrest control of the management of national security from the British government, entities with no democratic mandate are hopelessly creating a second state – one without elections – to take control over national security.

It is not political opposition but a second state because, for the first time ever, it wants not just persuasive soft power but hard power in the capability to suppress targets or eliminate their influence on command. Not only would this realization make these parties and their tech industry collaborators a state-like entity, but it could make such actors as the Democratic Party traitors at war with the electorate.

While this article doesn’t make such a claim, it is one Trump and his supporters have come close to making when the President accused unrelenting elements of the press of being “enemies of the people”, and could eventually create a national security crisis. The reason it would be a crisis is because both Trump and his critics will have a point. It is the role of activists and media to be adversarial, but if they are too aggressive and specifically driven to remove an elected head of state from power, their actions may be seen as the de facto overthrow of the republic to install themselves as political arbiters and impose a moral aristocracy.

Many leaders and followers in the political opposition in the US and UK are supportive of censorship, slithering around constitutional safeguards against state censorship. Whether in public hearings or behind closed doors, they have been going directly to tech companies and other parts of civil society to physically disrupt or silence speech they dislike. If they are such supporters of national security and censorship, and are really so concerned about traitors, they should not conspire. Rather, these people should approach the elected government with their concerns, to avoid being deemed traitors themselves.

They can achieve censorship by working to convince the elected government to change the law in relation to such practices and introduce programs of lawful censorship, as well as bodies to reliably and authoritatively identify traitors. This means national security can be pursued in a way at least consistent with electoral democracy, even if it erodes human rights further. Otherwise, we will continue to see electorally defeated parties and elements of civil society acting like terrorist hijackers determined to take power. They will be gaining state-like powers, harassing citizens who did not vote for them, carrying out targeted censorship, and enforcing their values over the corpse of the democratic state.

It should be concluded that none of the above is a desirable conversation to take part in and it is regrettable that it would need to be published. Ideally, neither state censorship nor corporate censorship should be tolerated. The internet should continue to be home to an anarchic culture at all costs, not a state-like one. However, as rhetoric becomes more warlike and paranoid and positions become irreconcilable, all spaces could become politically aligned and everyone’s freedom to communicate could catastrophically reduce. With constant political censorship, critical thinking will rewind a hundred years and the internet will talk like propaganda from 1914 when you try to search for the truth.


Harry Bentham is an independent author. His writing has been featured at Beliefnet, Press TV, the Center for a Stateless Society, h+ Magazine and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Having authored several titles available on Amazon, Harry wrote and independently published the technology and politics book Catalyst: A Techno-Liberation Thesis in 2013 and is a listed member of think tanks including the futurist Lifeboat Foundation. Keep track of Harry’s ideas via Twitter @hjbentham and @catalystthesis

September 16, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Petrov, Boshirov and the Burden of Proof

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | September 14, 2018

For some time now, I have been concerned that our generation has been busy burying some of the most cherished legal concepts that many of our forebears seemed to instinctively understand, and which were enshrined into English Common Law. Concepts such as innocent until proven guilty, and that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution to prove its case against the accused, rather than on the accused to prove his or her defense against the accusations.

My biggest initial gripe in the Salisbury case was that the British Government completely discarded these concepts and simply presented unsubstantiated accusations as if they were fact. Not only did this prejudice the investigation from the outset, but it went a long way towards poisoning the wells of justice. So much for their much vaunted “British Values”.

More recently, the same has been done again. The Metropolitan Police, The Crown Prosecution Service and Her Majesty’s Government (TMP/CPS/HMG) named two suspects in the case, stating that they had enough evidence to prosecute the men. They then presented at least some of that evidence, before — at least in the case of the Government and the media — then going on to treat the suspects as if it had been proven that they had brought something called “Novichok” into the country and had carried out an assassination attempt on 4th March at the home of Sergei Skripal at 47 Christie Miller Road, Salisbury.

But it has not been proven. Very far from it. Accusations are not convictions. Suspects are not culprits. And if we are going to pretend that the extraordinarily flimsy evidence against the two men — at least that presented in public — is enough to claim “case closed; culprits caught”, then we have basically torn up 1,000 years or so of legal history, and are pretty well lost as a nation.

All of which is a prelude to saying that whatever the two men said in their interview with Margarita Simonyan, the onus is absolutely not on them to make their case, nor to sound convincing, nor to defend themselves. No, the onus is absolutely on their accusers — TMP/CPS/HMG — to present the evidence they claim they have for their assertion that these men attempted to kill Sergei Skripal, Yulia Skripal and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey.

And so if Petrov and Boshirov had stated in their interview that they went to Salisbury to see St. John’s Church in Lower Bemerton, where the great 17th century poet, George Herbert was minister, the Salisbury branches of Waitrose and Marks and Spencer’s, and Dauwalders coin and stamp shop, yes it would have been jolly strange, but it would also have been neither here nor there as far as the claims against them are concerned. Whether we find their claims plausible, totally implausible, or somewhere in between, I repeat: they are not the ones who need to convince us why they came to Salisbury and what they did there; it is TMP/CPS/HMG who need to convince us why they came to Salisbury and what they did whilst they were there, since they are the ones accusing.

I am aware that some will say this is not a courtroom, and that the claims so far have been made in the media and are therefore not subject to the same thresholds of evidence. However, the problem is that TMP/CPS/HMG:

A) Has presented its evidence (or at least part of it) in public, and
B) Has sent no further evidence to the Russian Attorney General, calling for the extradition of the men.

Which means that the accused — Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov — have presumably seen as much of the evidence against them as you and I have.

This is disturbing, and the reason given — that the Russian constitution does not allow for the extradition of suspects — is as pathetic as it is disingenuous. It is not TMP/CPS/HMG’s issue if the Russian Government refuses to extradite the suspects. The British side should simply present its evidence through the proper channels, but has instead chosen to do it through a press conference and the media, naming two men who under the law of the land are innocent until proven guilty. Having taken this course, they now have a duty to present the evidence they have against the men to the public.

As far as the interview itself goes, it was at least helpful in that it narrows things down to the following three possibilities:

1. The men are GU Intelligence Officers who came to Salisbury to assassinate Sergei Skripal by placing nerve agent on the handle of his front door. If this is the case, they were therefore lying through their teeth.

2. The men really did come to Salisbury on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th March as tourists. In which case not only are they telling the truth, but the claims against them are utterly false and contrived.

3. The men came to Salisbury, not as assassins, but to do something else which they cannot reveal, but they did so posing as tourists. In which case, there is an element of truth behind the tourist claims — they really did see the sights — but there is also an element of deception as they have not told the full story, even though it is not the one their accusers claim.

Much of the commentary in the British Press seems to assume that the onus is on Petrov and Boshirov to prove that 2 is true, and that 1 and 3 are false.

Not so. The onus is on TMP/CPS/HMG to back up their claims with evidence, which basically means proving that number 1 is true, and that numbers 2 and 3 are false.

And so when a Downing Street spokesperson dismissed the men’s story, saying it was an insult to people’s intelligence, this is a mealy mouthed smokescreen, and an insult to our intelligence, designed to obscure the basic fact that it is for TMP/CPS/HMG to back up their accusations, not for the two men they have accused to back up their defence

So although the question of what to make of Petrov’s and Boshirov’s claims is interesting, it is not the real one we should be asking. The real question is simply this: Have TMP/CPS/HMG presented credible evidence to back up their claims against the two? Let’s see.

The basic evidence they have advanced against them is as follows:

1. That they flew into London from Moscow on 2nd March, and flew back on 4th March.

2. That they visited Salisbury on 3rd and 4th March.

3. That they are GU Intelligence Officers.

4. That they visited the home of Sergei Skripal on 4th March, and there applied “Novichok” on the front door handle.

5. That traces of “Novichok” were found in the London hotel they were staying in.

Regarding points 1 and 2, both men have admitted that they are true. They did indeed fly into London from Moscow on 2nd March, and then back on 4th March. They did indeed visit Salisbury on 3rd and 4th March. So far then, the men agree with the assessment of TMP/CPS/HMG and the claims are therefore not incriminating.

Regarding point 3, although Theresa May claimed in her speech to the House of Commons that these men were GU officers (well, she said GRU), in his press conference of that same day, Neil Basu did not do the same. So far no evidence has been presented to back up Mrs May’s claim that the two men are intelligence officers; on the contrary, the fact that they turned out to have travelled under their real names, rather than using aliases, as alleged by the Metropolitan Police, if anything undermines the claim. As things stand, the assertion that they are GU officers is just that: an assertion backed up by nothing.

Regarding point 4, the Metropolitan Police showed a CCTV still of the two men walking near the Shell garage on Wilton Road at 11:48am on 4th March. Is this evidence that the two men went to Christie Miller Road to apply nerve agent to a door handle? No, it isn’t. It is evidence that they were on the Wilton Road at 11:48am and nothing more. Real evidence would be footage showing the two men at 47 Christie Miller Road just after noon on that day. If the Metropolitan Police want us to believe that the two men were there, they are going to have to do better than showing an image of them on a different street altogether. Perhaps even an image from the CCTV camera that Mr Skripal’s niece, Victoria, claims Mr Skripal had on his house.

And regarding point 5, if “Novichok” (or “Novichok or related agent” as Porton Down have referred to it) was found in the hotel room on 4th May:

Firstly, how on earth would the two men have left traces of it there and not in other places they visited?

Secondly, how did they themselves manage to avoid contamination?

Thirdly, why wasn’t the hotel immediately cordoned off when the discovery was made?

Fourthly, why were the guests who stayed in the hotel between the 4th March and 4th May not contacted and checked over?

Fifthly, why was the OPCW not informed?

And sixthly, why was the hotel owner not informed about nerve agent being found in his hotel until 6th September, when TV crews turned up outside his hotel?

In other words, unless a reasonable explanation for this clear negligence and failure to act responsibly can be given, we have every right to dismiss the claim that “Novichok” was found in the hotel room. I’m certainly not prepared to just accept the word of people who have acted in such a shoddy way as to not even inform the hotel owner of what was apparently found on his property, and nor should you.

To conclude, I don’t entirely know what to make of Petrov’s and Boshirov’s claims. The images of them in Salisbury City Centre, after the Metropolitan Police claim they had put “Novichok” on the door handle, do not remotely fit the bill of assassins having carried out their deed, but do possibly fit the bill of tourists looking around a city. On the other hand, their wandering up the Wilton Road certainly looks odd.

But as I say, they are under no obligation to prove their defence. The obligation is entirely on the shoulders of TMP/CPS/HMG to prove their case against the two men. And so far they have spectacularly failed to do so.

September 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia | | 2 Comments

The Bluffer’s Guide to Bombing Syria

The Dirty Dozen: 12 lies they tell you to anaesthetise you for the upcoming bombing of Syria

By Peter Ford | 21st Century Wire | September 14, 2018

The propaganda mills of the British and American governments – spokespersons, media, think tanks – are working overtime churning out ‘talking points’ to justify the upcoming large scale bombing of Syria on the pretext of use of prohibited weapons.

Here is a guide from a former insider to the top dozen of these lies.

1. There are more babies than jihadis in Idlib. As it happens this gem of moral blackmail is untrue. There are twice as many jihadis (about 100,000) as babies (0-1 year) (55,000). What is this factoid meant to say anyway? Don’t try to free an area of jihadis because you might harm a lot of children? The Western coalition scarcely heeded that consideration in razing Mosul and Raqqa in order to crush ISIS. They are still pulling babies out of the rubble in Raqqa.

2. The reports [of the imminent chemical weapons ‘attack’] must be true because Assad has done it before. False. Since 2013 when Asad gave up chemical weapons under supervision of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) the OPCW have not visited the sites of alleged attacks in jihadi-controlled areas but have accepted at face value ‘reports’ from pro-jihadi organisations like the White Helmets and the Syrian American Medical Society, along with ‘evidence’ from hostile intelligence agencies. In the case of the one site the OPCW did visit, Douma, their report said they found no evidence of sarin, no untoward traces in any of the blood samples taken from ‘alleged victims’ (their term), no bodies and only ambiguous evidence of use of chlorine.

3. The OPCW report on Douma was flawed because the Russians and Syrians caused delay. False. As documented in the OPCW report, delay was caused by UN bureaucracy and jihadi snipers. The inspectors do not say their findings were to any significant degree invalidated by the delay.

4. Assad uses chemical weapons because they frighten large numbers of people into fleeing. False. They don’t. This desperate argument is trotted out to counter the fact that Assad would have to be stupid to use chemical weapons knowing what the result would be and that he would derive minimal military benefit. To date, not one of the alleged chemical attacks has precipitated an exodus any greater than flight caused by the legendary ‘barrel bombs’. The inhabitants of Douma by their own testimonies given to Western journalists were even unaware there might have been an attack until they heard about it in the media.

5. The OPCW won’t be able to investigate because it won’t be safe. A feeble excuse to preempt calls for establishing facts before bombing. The Turks escort Western journalists into Idlib. They have hundreds of troops there and the jihadis kowtow to them because they control all logistics. The Turks could escort OPCW. And wouldn’t the jihadis be keener than anybody for the inspectors to visit if their claims were true?

6. The upcoming strikes are not aimed at regime change. False. The plan is to decapitate the Syrian state with attacks on the presidency. Failing that the aim is to make Idlib a quagmire for the Russians. Anything to deprive Asad and Putin of victory, regardless of whether it prolongs the war.

7. It’s all Russian disinformation. Yeah, like the arms inspectors before the Iraq war who said no WMD in Iraq. Reality: the Russians have got great intelligence on what Western powers with their jihadi clients are up to and are calling out the phoney moves.

8. There won’t be enough time for parliamentary debate. Pull the other one. Reality: the government are terrified of a rerun of 2013 when Labour and 30 brave Tory MPs voted against bombing, causing Cameron and then Obama to back off.

9. MPs can’t be told what is planned because it would jeopardise the safety of service personnel. How low can you stoop? Feigning concern for flyers when it’s really just about keeping the people in ignorance of how big the strikes are going to be.

10. There are going to be massacres, a bloodbath, or ‘genocide’. False. We heard all this hysteria before Aleppo, before Eastern Ghouta and before the campaign in the South. All vastly exaggerated. The Syrian Arab Army has not been responsible for a single massacre, while the jihadis have been responsible for many (source: quarterly reports of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria).

11. People have nowhere to go. False. The Russians have opened safe corridors but the jihadis are not allowing people to leave. They can still leave for the northern border strip which Turkey controls, where there are camps, and many (including jihadi fighters) will be able to cross temporarily into Turkey.

12. We can’t tell you which armed groups we support because it would make them targets for Assad. Really? You think he doesn’t know? Isn’t it because you are terrified it will come out that we have been supporting some real head-choppers?

***

Author Peter Ford is a retired British Diplomat who was Ambassador to Bahrain from 1999-2003 and Syria from 2003-2006.

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment