| The March to Jerusalem
Mar 13th 2018, 15:10, by Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon — gilad.co.uk March 13, 2018
When I was a young Israeli I learned from our leading military leaders that Israel was not afraid of wars. They said “we know how to deal with tanks, infantry, airplanes. Even ballistic missiles won’t knock us down.” But they added, “if the Palestinians decide one day to march to Jerusalem we won’t be able to offer a military answer.”
Ynet reported today on two ‘Palestinians Return’ marches due to take place later this March and in May. The Israelis are in a state of panic and for good reason.
The following is a translation of the Ynet article:
“The Great March of Return”: is an initiative in Gaza for a mass march toward the Israeli border.
By Elior Levy
Civil activists in the Gaza Strip have plans for marches toward the Israeli border on Land Day at the end of this month and on Nakba Day. One of the organizers told Ynet that the “Great March of Return” has the support of Hamas (and) “there are no guarantees [on our part] not to cross the border.”
A new initiative in Gaza is gaining momentum and is beginning to worry the Israeli defense establishment. The campaign is called the “Great March of Return,” during which they expect large crowds to march from Gaza toward the Israeli border to mark the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their land.
The marches are scheduled to take place on the anniversaries of two significant days: March 30, Land Day and May 15, Nakba Day. On the later date, the opening ceremony of the American embassy in Jerusalem is due to take place.
In the days before Land Day, the organizers plan to set up tens to hundreds of tents near the border to show the refugee existence. This move will also be highly visible and is expected to maximise participation. Once these tent camps are positioned, young Palestinians and organized groups will move in until the marches take place.
In previous years we have seen mass marches heading toward the borders on Nakba Day, but the difference this time may be due to the difficult conditions in the Gaza Strip which have intensified in the last year and caused serious unrest. During rising internal protests within the Strip, Hamas tends to let the demonstrators vent their anger hoping that the sword won’t turn over [on Hamas].
Hamas makes it clear – “we won’t stop the demonstration”
Hamas has announced that it supports the March. Twice last week, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh made clear their support for the campaign. “We will not be able to stop the tens of thousands of citizens who set out north and east to protest the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip,” he said, calling on the Palestinians to participate in the March.
Haniyeh’s statement was aimed primarily at Israel and other countries in the region. His intended to threaten them with the possible ramifications of such marches – it could get out of control and spark violent confrontations or even a mass attempt to cross the border towards Israel. In any case, Hamas made it clear that it will not stop the demonstrators from reaching the Israeli border.
One of the organizers’ plans is to organize a display using the uniform of Jewish inmates in the Nazi camps during the Holocaust to compare that to the situation in the Gaza Strip. Gaza residents who could provide such clothes were asked to contact the organizers.
Ahmed Abu Aritha, one of the organizers of the March is an activist from the Gaza Strip. He stressed that this will be a popular march and there are no plans for violence. “This is a positive initiative not only for us, but also for Israel, because Palestinians who participate in this rally will hold peaceful protests without rockets or tunnels, they just want to cry out loudly and to call for their release from their imprisonment.”
Regarding the Israeli fear that masses of demonstrators may try to cross the border, Abu Aritha clarified that at the moment there is no official call, but this does not guarantee that such a scenario won’t take place. “There is no decision by the organizers to cross the border towards Israel, but we have no guarantees that it will not happen.”
The messages conveyed by the organizers through social networks actually allude to violence, such as posting pictures of demonstrators heading to the border and trying to cross it. The march is widely covered by the Palestinian media as well as by popular Arab media such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, which naturally increases its public resonance as the date approaches.
If they want to burn it, you want to read it…
Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto
Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and here (gilad.co.uk)
| Putin Confronts Megyn Kelly
Mar 13th 2018, 13:01, by wmw_admin
| Trump ousts Tillerson as secretary of State, replaces him with CIA chief
Mar 13th 2018, 13:00, by wmw_admin
Tracy Wilkinson, Brian Bennett — Los Angeles Times March 13, 2018
Mike Pompeo, CIA Director. Click to enlarge
After 14 months of private tensions and public disputes, President Trump on Tuesday ousted his beleaguered secretary of State, replacing Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in a major shake-up of his national security and foreign policy team.
Trump announced the change in a Twitter message hours after Tillerson abruptly cut short a weeklong trip to Africa and returned to Washington at 4 a.m. Tuesday. But State Department officials said Tillerson did not speak to the president and only learned of his firing from Trump’s Twitter post.
In an unusual pushback that only highlighted the clash, the State Department made clear that Tillerson did not quit. It issued a statement that said he “had every intention of remaining,” and is “unaware of the reason” for his dismissal.
Tillerson also did not get advance warning last week when Trump abruptly decided to accept a surprise invitation for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the most ambitious diplomatic push of the Trump administration as it seeks to reduce nuclear tensions.
Speaking to reporters before he boarded Air Force One for his first visit to California as president, Trump said he and Tillerson “disagreed on things.”
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Trump said, citing the Iran nuclear deal as one of their points of disagreement. Tillerson has urged Trump to stay in the landmark nuclear disarmament deal, but the president has vowed to withdraw by mid-May if it is not renegotiated.
“So we were not thinking the same,” Trump said. “With Mike Pompeo, we have a similar thought process.”
The president said he wished Tillerson well. “I’ll be speaking to Rex over a long period of time,” he added. “I actually got on well with Rex but it was a different mindset.”
In the tweet, Trump briefly thanked Tillerson for his service as the nation’s top diplomat and praised Pompeo, saying he would do a “fantastic job” as the country’s top diplomat.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Gina Haspel, the CIA’s deputy director, will replace Pompeo as head of the nation’s chief spy service. If confirmed, she will be the first woman to lead the agency as it faces new threats from Russia, China and other rivals and adversaries.
Tillerson clashed repeatedly with Trump during his 14 months at State and reportedly referred to Trump as a “moron” during a private meeting last year. Tillerson never confirmed or denied having made the remark, but it clearly reached Trump’s ears and incensed him.
In addition to resisting Trump’s effort to scrap the 2015 deal with Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions, he opposed Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to the divided holy city of Jerusalem. The plan has seemingly destroyed chances of a negotiated resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict for the short term.
And despite a record of high-stakes energy deals with Russian authorities in his former job as chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp., Tillerson has voiced more public mistrust of Moscow than Trump has.
On Monday, Tillerson again departed from the White House position — denouncing Russia for a poison attack in Britain that targeted a former Russian spy, who has criticized President Vladimir Putin, and his daughter. More than 20 people, including first responders, were injured by the chemical agent.
The attack “clearly came from Russia” and will “trigger a response,” Tillerson told reporters aboard his plane as he returned from Africa. Earlier in the day, the White House had conspicuously declined to join British officials in blaming Russia for the attack.
But even as he differed with Trump, Tillerson had few allies on Capitol Hill or among the diplomats and civil servants in the sprawling department he headed. Many in the foreign service saw him as aloof and distant as he pursued a plan to cut budgets, trim staff and reorganize the department’s bureaucracy.
Although Tillerson was repeatedly said to be considering stepping down last year, the State Department made clear Tuesday that Tillerson didn’t resign. It also suggested that Trump had fired him without cause.
“The Secretary had every intention of remaining because of the tangible progress made on critical national security issues,” it said. “He established and enjoyed relationships with his counterparts. He will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and enjoyed working together with the Department of Defense in an uncommonly robust relationship.”
It added, “The Secretary did not speak to the President this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling and not to be regretted. We wish Secretary-Designate Pompeo well.”
Pompeo, a former congressman, has political skills that Tillerson lacks, said Michael Allen, who worked in the George W. Bush White House and advised the Trump transition.
“He can do media, he does the Hill, he does everything Tillerson didn’t do,” Allen said. “Most of all, he has Trump’s confidence.”
Pompeo often briefs Trump in person in the Oval Office on critical intelligence issues, and over the last several weeks has played a pivotal role in brokering messages from South Korean officials about a possible meeting with North Korean leader.
Tillerson was blindsided in Africa when the White House announced that Trump had agreed to meet with Kim. Indeed, hours earlier, Tillerson had cautioned reporters that the U.S. and North Korea were still a long way from any negotiations.
His prediction may prove true since North Korea has not publicly responded to Trump’s acceptance of Kim’s invitation to meet, and officials have yet to set a date, location or agenda for a summit.
Tillerson, long a moderating voice in a chaotic administration, returned at 4 a.m. Tuesday from Africa, where he was traveling and as he struggled to defend his role after having been excluded from Trump’s decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Tillerson then stressed he was in close contact and coordination with Trump regularly. But, in fact, Tillerson clashed with Trump on numerous issues. He argued for sticking to the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, which Trump is threatening to abandon, and for remaining a part of the Paris climate accord. He opposed Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and has routinely criticized Putin when Trump has refused to do so.
Time after time, Tillerson has had to explain to foreign allies what Trump has meant when he seemed to be insulting their countries, such as during a trip last month through Latin America and the just-concluded mission in Africa. “The president’s tweets don’t define the policy,” Tillerson said.
The Texas oilman and former CEO of ExxonMobil was a man of few words and stood in contrast to Trump’s more flamboyant manner.
“The president and I are pretty different individuals in terms of our management style, in terms of our communication style,” Tillerson told reporters traveling with him in Latin America.
“It doesn’t mean one is right, one is wrong; one is better, one is worse,” he added. “But we’re very different, and the way I process information and come to decisions is different from the way he does.”
Staff writer David Lauter contributed to this report.
| Russia highly likely to be behind poisoning of spy, says Theresa May
Mar 13th 2018, 07:25, by wmw_admin
Introduction — March 12, 2018
Forensic investigations at the scene of the crime in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Click to enlarge
Relations between Russia and Britain are at their lowest point in decades after the attempted poisoning of Russian defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
The “evidence” linking Russia with the poisoning rest on a class of chemical agents called Novichoks, traces of which were found at the restaurant where they last ate in Salisbury. Military grade nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80s, Novichoks are virtually undetectable and capable of penetrating NATO protective gear.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has demanded an explanation from the Russian ambassador as to why traces of the nerve agent were found in Salisbury; warning that if the ambassador is unable to provide a “credible response” further measures against Russia will be considered.
This may result in sanctions or trade embargoes. However, it needs to emphasised that absolutely no evidence showing that Putin approved the poisoning has been revealed. Or indeed that Russian intelligence was even involved.
All claims of Russian involvement hinge on the use of Novichok.
Moreover, the poisoning could just as easily have been the work of a renegade faction within Russian intelligence, who sought to take revenge on a traitor. Or, and the corporate media avoid speculating about this, the nerve agent could have been manufactured by the British themselves.
After all, how is the layman to know whether a chemical warfare agent has been concocted in a British or Russian chemical warfare lab? The formulas for the various Novichok agents are not an exclusively Russian secret. The U.S. and the UK also know how to make them. We have to rely on the word of “experts” as to their origin.
In this regard it maybe no coincidence that Britain’s main chemical warfare laboratory is conveniently situated a few miles from the site of the poisoning in Salisbury at Porton Down.
Moreover, if this was a false flag conducted by British intelligence it provides Theresa May with ample justification for intensifying what is rapidly developing into a new Cold War with Russia.
Accusations of Russia’s involvement in this episode echo earlier claims about Saddam’s WMD. Such claims paved the way for the invasion of Iraq, where it was discovered that Saddam didn’t have any WMD after all. By which time, of course, it was too late; the disinformation had had the desired effect and the invasion and a bloody occupation were already underway.
The West cannot afford to repeat the same charade with Russia. If it does the consequences will be infinitely more serious.
Russia has responded by calling the British claims a “circus show” and a “fairy tale”. Nonetheless, Britain seems intent on some sort of confrontation with Russia and unless it is careful, America could find itself dragged in alongside. Ed.
Russia highly likely to be behind poisoning of spy, says Theresa May
Anushka Asthana, Andrew Roth and Luke Harding — The Guardian March 12, 2018
Theresa May has said it is “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury and warned that her government will not tolerate such a “brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil”.
In a statement to the House of Commons after chairing a meeting of the national security council, the prime minister said the evidence had shown that Skripal had been targeted by a “military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia”. She said the substance was from a group known as Novichok.
“Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at Porton Down, our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so, Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations, and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations, the government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal,” she said.
The prime minister said that left just two plausible explanations for what happened in Salisbury.
“Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country. Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”
She said that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, had summoned the Russian ambassador to find out which was the correct conclusion and therefore account for how the nerve agent had been deployed. The UK government demanded a response by the end of Tuesday, she added.
However, May made clear that she believed there was already “a backdrop of a well-established pattern of Russian state aggression” – listing the illegal annexation of Crimea, violating the airspace of European countries, and a “sustained campaign of cyber-espionage and disruption”
“This has included meddling in elections, and hacking the Danish ministry of defence and the Bundestag, among many others.”
She also spoke of the extrajudicial killing of terrorists and dissidents outside Russia – and the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.
The government would consider Russia’s response on Wednesday, she said.
“Should there be no credible response, we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom,” she said, promising to return to the house with a full range of responsive measures.
“This attempted murder using a weapons-grade nerve agent in a British town was not just a crime against the Skripals.
“It was an indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk. And we will not tolerate such a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil. I commend this statement to the House.”
| Theresa May’s “45 Minutes” Claim
Mar 13th 2018, 07:24, by Moon of Alabama
Moon of Alabama — March 12, 2018
Today the British government made some dubious assertions about Saddam’s chemical weapons the poisoning of its double agent Sergej Skripal.
The British Prime Minister Theresa May claimed (saved tweet) in Parliament that:
- Sergej Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia.
- The nerve agent was part of a group of agents known as ‘Novichok’.
- Russia has previously produced the agent and would still be capable of doing so.
- Russia has a record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations.
- The British government assesses that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets.
- The British government concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergej and Yulia Skripal.
May went on to claim that:
- This was either a direct act by the Russian State against the United Kingdom or
- the Russian government lost control of the nerve agent and let it fall into the hands of others.
I find all of the above claims not only dubious but laughable. Here are some facts:
Novichok, ‘newcomers’ in English, are a zoo of chemical warfare agents that were developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80s. Some of the ‘newcomers’ are said to be highly toxic.
Click to enlarge
The existence of these chemical agents was disclosed in 1992. Russia joined the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction in 1997. It has since (unlike the U.S.) destroyed all leftover stocks from the Soviet Union’s chemical weapon program. It does not produce chemical weapons.
These agents and their formulas are not an exclusively Russian knowledge or product:
One of the key manufacturing sites was the Soviet State Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) in Nukus, Uzbekistan. Small, experimental batches of the weapons may have been tested on the nearby Ustyurt plateau. It may also have been tested in a research centre in Krasnoarmeysk near Moscow. Since its independence in 1991, Uzbekistan has been working with the government of the United States to dismantle and decontaminate the sites where the Novichok agents and other chemical weapons were tested and developed.
The formulas for the various Novichok agents are not a Russian secret. The U.S. and the UK surely know how to make these. The agents are said to be made from simple components used in civil industrial processes. (To qualify any agent as “military grade” is by the way nonsense. Many chemical agents used in the civil process are also incredibly deadly.) The Porton Down chemical weapon laboratory of the British military is only some 8 miles away from Salisbury where the Skripals were allegedly poisoned. The British government claims that Porton Down identified the agent allegedly used on the Skripals. The laboratory is surely also capable of producing such stuff, just like similar laboratories in other countries are able to do.
Now lets counter May’s claims:
- Novichok agents are claimed to be up to 10 times as toxic as VX. One drop of VX can kill a person. If the Skripals were poisoned with such an highly effective agent how come they are still alive?
- The Soviet Union, not Russia, developed such agents. The main work was done in Uzbekistan.
- Russia is likely able to reproduce such agents but so are many, many other countries.
- What is Russia’s “record of state-sponsored assassinations”? One British investigation which claimed that “Russia” was somehow involved in the death of MI6 agent Litvinenko is highly dubious. I am not aware of any other cases. There is a long-standing protocol to never bother spies that have been exchanged in a spy-swap.
- If Russia sees “some defectors” as legitimate targets why does it not immediately kill them? Skripal was living openly in the UK since 2010. Why would Russia kill him at all and why now?
Given the above, it is absurd to conclude that it is “highly likely” that Russia was responsible.
The real likeliness for that is just as high as the likeliness that Saddam could hit the UK with a chemical weapon missile within 45 minutes. That was a fraudulent claim another British government once made.
May’s claims today are just as believable as all the nonsense Tony Blair said about Saddam or as the show U.S. Secretary of State Powell delivered in front of the UN Security Council.
More likely is probably an involvement of Skripal in the Steele dossier and the CIA/MI6 operation against Donald Trump. Was he assailed because he threatened to talk about that?
| Russian bishop claims last tsar murdered by Jews for ritual purposes
Mar 13th 2018, 07:24, by wmw_admin
The Jerusalem Post — Nov 28, 2017
Tsar Nicholas II and Russian Royal family. click to enlarge
Russia’s largest Jewish group protested a local bishop’s claim, repeated by a justice ministry official, that the country’s last tsar was murdered by Jews for ritual purposes.
Marina Molodtsova, a senior investigator for a special ministerial committee on the 1917 slaying of Nicholas II of Russia, said on Monday during a conference in Moscow that her committee will conduct “a psycho-historical examination” to find out whether the execution of the royal family was a ritual murder, Ria Novosti reported.
At the same event, Father Tikhon Shevkunov, a Russian Orthodox Church bishop, said that, according to “the most rigorous approach to the version of ritual murder, a significant part of the church commission [on Nicholas II’s killing during the Russian revolution of 1917] has no doubt that this murder was ritual.”
The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, a Chabad-affiliated group with more than 100 affiliated communities across Russia, called the suggestions a “shocking expression of an antisemitic myth” in a statement Monday.
“We all think of this as absolutely unacceptable,” the federation’s spokesperson, Boruch Gorin, told Interfax, and “shocked first and foremost by the sheer absurdity of the allegations.”
The Euro-Asian Jewish Congress also condemned the same comments in a statement Tuesday.
Claims that Nicholas was killed by Jews for ritual purposes had been limited before the conference to a fringe of zealous antisemites and promoters of unsophisticated conspiracy theories.
Amid rising nationalism and nostalgia for Tsarist times in Russia under President Vladimir Putin, a Russian court in 2010 ordered prosecutors to reopen an investigation into the murder of the Tsar and his family although the Bolsheviks – the radical wing of the communist party that eventually led it following the 1917 revolution — believed to have shot them in 1918 have been dead for many years.
The out-sized prevalence of Jews in the ranks of the revolution has remained a mainstay of antisemitic vitriol in the area. During the Holocaust, it served as a pretext for the murder of countless Jews across Eastern Europe by self-proclaimed enemies of communism and Russia, despite the fact that communists already then severely oppressed Jews and any public expression of their faith.
The role of Jews in the revolution is still being used today to incite hatred against local Jews, including among devout Christians who were persecuted by the anti-religious Soviet authorities.
Nicholas II’s killers were “obviously committed atheists who rejected any belief in any force – except their own,” said Gorin, who is a senior aide to Berel Lazar, a chief rabbi of Russia. But the blaming of Jews for the Tsar’s death is “an absolutely antisemitic myth used in antisemitic propaganda for several decades, which is why the Jews view this with great concern.”
| Amid little scrutiny, U.S. military ramps up in Afghanistan
Mar 13th 2018, 07:20, by wmw_admin
Robert Burns — Associated Press March 10, 2018
The US has 2600 more troops in Afghanistan than previously disclosed. Click for story
The U.S. is bolstering its military presence in Afghanistan, more than 16 years after the war started. Is anyone paying attention?
Consider this: At a Senate hearing this past week on top U.S. security threats, the word “Afghanistan” was spoken exactly four times, each during introductory remarks. In the ensuing two hours of questions for intelligence agency witnesses, no senator asked about Afghanistan, suggesting little interest in a war with nearly 15,000 U.S. troops supporting combat against the Taliban.
It’s not as if the war’s end is in sight.
Just last month the bulk of an Army training brigade of about 800 soldiers arrived to improve the advising of Afghan forces. Since January, attack planes and other aircraft have been added to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
But it’s not clear that the war, which began in October 2001, is going as well as the U.S. had hoped seven months after President Donald Trump announced a new, more aggressive strategy. The picture may be clearer once the traditionally most intensive fighting season begins in April or May. Over the winter, American and Afghan warplanes have focused on attacking illicit drug facilities that are a source of Taliban revenue.
One of Washington’s closest watchers of the Afghanistan conflict, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote last month that the administration has made major improvements in military tactics and plans for developing Afghan forces but has “done nothing to deal with civil and political stability.” That challenge is expected to come into clearer focus with the approach of parliamentary elections planned for July.
The administration “not only faces a deteriorating security situation, it has no clear political, governance, or economic strategy to produce Afghan stability,” Cordesman said. In his view, the U.S. military has been assigned a “mission impossible” in Afghanistan.
The weak central government in Kabul and the resilient Taliban insurgency are not the U.S. military’s only problems there. It also faces what Gen. Joseph Votel, the top U.S. general overseeing the war, calls interference by Russia. He told a congressional panel last month that Moscow is seeking to undermine U.S. and NATO influence in Afghanistan by exaggerating the presence of Islamic State fighters there and portraying this as a U.S. failure.
When Trump announced in August that he was ordering a new approach to the war, he said he realized “the American people are weary of war without victory.” He said his instinct was to pull out, but that after consulting with aides, he decided to seek “an honorable and enduring outcome.” He said that meant committing more resources to the war, giving commanders in the field more authority and staying in Afghanistan for as long as it takes.
Stephen Biddle, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, said Americans’ relative lack of interest in the war gives Trump political maneuver room to conduct the war as he wishes, but that dynamic is not necessarily a good one.
“The idea that a democracy is spending billions of dollars a year, killing people and sacrificing American lives waging war, and the elected representatives of the people aren’t paying attention I think is inappropriate,” Biddle said. “But to say it is inappropriate isn’t to say it’s surprising because this is the way Congress has been behaving toward this war for a long, long time.”
Last November, the U.S. commander in Kabul, Gen. John Nicholson, said the Afghan army, with U.S. support, had “turned the corner” and captured momentum against the Taliban. Since then, the Taliban have conducted a series of high-profile attacks in Kabul and elsewhere that have killed scores of civilians. U.S. officials have portrayed this as desperation tactics by the Taliban, arguing that they are unable to make new territorial gains.
Dan Coats, the director of U.S. national intelligence, offered a less optimistic forecast when he testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
“We assess the overall security picture will … modestly deteriorate in the coming year and Kabul will continue to bear the brunt of the Taliban-led insurgency,” Coats said. Afghan forces, while “unsteady,” probably will maintain control of most major population centers in 2018, he added.
Testifying at the same hearing, Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, offered a mixed outlook. He forecast that Afghan forces this year will continue to develop offensive combat power. But he also predicted the Taliban will “threaten Afghan stability, undermine public confidence by conducting intermittent high-profile attacks in urban areas,” increase its influence in rural areas and threaten district centers.
The Defense Department’s special inspector general for Afghanistan said in January that Afghan government control or influence has declined and Taliban control or influence has increased since the U.S. watchdog began reporting this type of data in January 2016.
It said in a follow-up report last month that as of October 2017, about 20.9 million Afghans, or 64 percent of the total population of 32.5 million, lived in areas where the government has control or influence. The rest of the population was in areas under Taliban control or influence or deemed “contested” by both sides.
| World health chief stokes panic by warning that a catastrophic global pandemic is imminent
Mar 13th 2018, 07:20, by wmw_admin
Jhoanna Robinson — Natural News March 11, 2018
Flu germs. Click to enlarge
Dr Tedros Adhanom, director-general for the World Health Organization (WHO), has said that the next outbreak that will hit us will be a “terrible” one, causing huge amounts of death all over the world. Fears of a pandemic have been hovering lately after the worst flu outbreak in recent years devastated Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
More recently, the mosquito-borne Zika virus crisis rocked 70 countries in 2016 and worried scientists the world over. The Zika virus can cause microcephaly, or an abnormally small head, in babies. It spread all over South America in 2016.
The hemorrhagic fever Ebola killed 11,000 individuals in West Africa in 2014 and 2015. It spread to various parts of the U.S. in the same time period. Ebola was officially declared over in January 2016, when Liberia was announced Ebola-free by the WHO. A group of international researchers traced the pandemic back to a two-year-old boy in Meliandou, which is about 400 miles (650 kilometers) from Conakry, the capital of Guinea. The researchers said Emile Ouamouno, who was identified as Patient Zero, probably got infected by the deadly virus by playing with bats in a hollow tree.
Around 29,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia contracted Ebola. The virus killed around 40 percent of those it struck. Deaths were also reported in Mali, Nigeria, and the U.S., although at a much smaller scale, with 15 fatalities between the three nations.
Ebola was first identified by scientists in 1976; however, the most recent outbreak is the biggest the world has ever felt so far. It can be transmitted between humans through infected blood, bodily fluids, and other secretions. (Related: Ebola outbreak may already be uncontrollable; Monsanto invests in Ebola treatment drug company as pandemic spreads.)
“This is not some future nightmare scenario. A devastating epidemic could start in any country at any time and kill millions of people because we are still not prepared. The world remains vulnerable. We do not know where and when the next global pandemic will occur, but we know it will take a terrible toll both on human life and on the economy,” Dr Tedros said.
“Hidden underneath this fear-mongering message of a global pandemic is a far more sinister W.H.O. agenda,” warns Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, publisher of Medicine.news. “The real agenda is a global push for blind, fear-based acceptance of unsafe, unproven vaccines that will be rolled out alongside the next global pandemic,” Adams warns. “Fear circumvents rational thinking, which is why the vaccine-pharma cartels routinely turn to irrational fear propaganda to demand absolute and unquestioning acceptance of risky medical interventions that should always be scrutinized for safety and efficacy.”
According to Dr Tedros, the flu is extremely dangerous to everyone living on the planet. This fear was also promoted by experts at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last month.
The claims now arise exactly 100 years after the deadly 1918 Spanish flu that caused the death of 50 million individuals and killed three times as many people as World War I. The first result of such fear-mongering was the swine flu pandemic of 2009, which claimed 300,000 lives all over the world after affecting 60 countries.
“Humanity is more vulnerable in the face of epidemics because we are much more connected and we travel around much more quickly than before,” said WHO specialist in infectious diseases Dr Sylvie Brand.
For more stories on the spread of viruses and pandemics, visit Outbreak.news.
| Who’s Still Afraid of James Wesley Howell?
Mar 13th 2018, 07:15, by wmw_admin
henrymakow.com — March 12, 2018
James Wesley Howell and his munitions-laden car. He hasn’t committed a crime but turned himself in instead. So why is he still being held and why the media silence over his case? Click to enlarge
As of today, James Wesley Howell has been in jail 21 months without a trial.
He could expose the Deep State false flags once and for all. But cowardly Americans are afraid to get the truth. Every scam requires a willing dupe. We have 330 million of them in the US, gradually committing collective suicide.
Everyone is afraid of James Wesley Howell. His Public Defender quit her job.
Then there’s the CIA. The MSM. Alex Jones. Jeff Rense. David Icke. False flag expert Kevin Barrett, G. Edward Griffin, Robert David Steele, Gordon Duff. American Free Press. The ACLU. Judicial Watch. Tucker Carlson & the mass media. Every criminal lawyer in LA. None will reach out to Howell or champion his cause.
What a shithole country!
21 months ago, June 12, 2016, Howell, 21, was arrested in Santa Monica CA with a small arsenal of weapons and bombs. A leaked story emerged that he was a CIA-sponsored “terrorist” assigned to attack the gay pride parade. (This was the same day as the Orlando nightclub attack.) He realized he was being double-crossed and surrendered to local police before he could be murdered.
In the 20 months since his arrest, he has not been tried. No one has tried to get his side of the story or offer support. He has rotted in jail (location below article) while his trial is continually postponed. It is now scheduled for the autumn. Is there no one in LA with the courage to reach out to him? He didn’t actually commit any crime. 20-year-olds make mistakes.
(Updated from August 27, 2016)
by Henry Makow Ph.D.
James Wesley Howell is the smoking gun that proves terror events worldwide are sponsored by intelligence agencies. He asked Santa Monica police for protection June 12, the morning of the Orlando “massacre.” He told them he was supposed to bomb the gay pride parade but had backed out when he learned Omar Mateen had been killed in Orlando. He said he had trained with Mateen at a CIA camp in Virginia.
Police found items no freelance or ISIS terrorist would be able to assemble: “He had twenty-five (25) pounds of Shoc-Shot, an explosive used for blowing up targets by high-velocity bullets most likely to cause a crowd widespread panic, and a possible escape by assailants in smoke and mass confusion. The two components needed to make the Shock-Shot explosive had been mixed. Howell had an Anderson Manufacturing AM-115 .223- high velocity round caliber rifle. The rifle had a round in its chamber and additional rounds in a 30-round magazine attached to it. Another 30-round magazine was taped to the rifle. He had a .30-06 bolt-action rifle with a round in its chamber, and a high velocity .22-caliber Ruger semi-automatic pistol. He had a mass murdering commando assassin’s arsenal.”
| China’s parliament puts Xi on course to rule for life
Mar 12th 2018, 09:53, by wmw_admin
Ryan MCMORROW, Joanna CHIU — AFP March 11, 2018
President Xi Jinping with Russian President Putin at G20 summit in St Petersburg. Click to enlarge
China’s Xi Jinping on Sunday secured a path to rule indefinitely as parliament abolished presidential term limits, handing him almost total authority to pursue a vision of transforming the nation into an economic and military superpower.
The move reverses the era of “collective” leadership and orderly succession that was promoted by late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping to ensure stability following the turbulent one-man rule of Communist China’s founder Mao Zedong.
The historic constitutional amendment cleared the rubber-stamp parliament with 2,958 in favour, two against, three abstentions and one invalid vote, despite an unusual bout of online criticism that censors have scrambled to extinguish.
Xi stood up first at the imposing Great Hall of the People in Beijing to cast his paper ballot in a red box, as delegates of the National People’s Congress applauded after each vote on the constitutional amendment to lift the two five-year term limit for the presidency.
The first constitutional amendment in 14 years had been expected to breeze through the legislature, which has never rejected a Communist Party diktat in its half-century of existence.
“This is the urgent wish of the common people,” Ju Xiuqin, a delegate from northeastern Heilongjiang province, told AFP, echoing party claims that lifting term limits had the unanimous support of “the masses”.
But the vote sparked some negative comments on Twitter-like Weibo, with one user defying censors to write “we’re over” while another said “we are back in the Qing Dynasty”, referring to China’s last imperial era.
The package of amendments included major provisions to inscribe Xi’s eponymous political mantra in the constitution, give the Communist Party an even larger role in the country’s affairs and expand the president’s anti-corruption campaign.
Xi, 64, has consolidated power since 2012 when he was appointed to the country’s top office: general secretary of the Communist Party.
While the position has no term limits, his two predecessors both gave it up after two terms as part of an orderly process established by Deng.
– ‘Soft coup’ –
The country’s presidency is a largely ceremonial office, but the constitutional limits meant Xi would have had to give it up in 2023.
But with the new amendments, he could now have a lifetime to push his goal of turning China into a global economic powerhouse with a “world-class” military by mid-century.
His rise has been accompanied by tighter restrictions on civil society, with the detention of activists and lawyers, and stricter limits on the already heavily controlled internet.
At the same time, he gained a measure of popularity among Chinese people through a relentless crackdown on corruption that has punished more than a million party officials and sidelined potential rivals.
“I think that during the past five years, he has been carrying out a soft coup, including making the Politburo a mere figurehead,” Chinese political commentator Wu Qiang told AFP, referring to the 25-member Communist Party body one level under the ruling council.
“He wants to prevent power from falling into the hands of technocrats like Jiang (Zemin) and Hu (Jintao),” Wu said, referring to Xi’s two predecessors.
The Communist Party has argued that the move merely aligns the presidency with the limit-free titles of party secretary and military chief.
Shen Chunyao, chairman of the legislature’s legal affairs panel, brushed aside a foreign reporter’s question about fears that a return to one-man rule could spark a power struggle, telling a press conference: “Those assumptions, guesses and extrapolations don’t exist.”
– Secret path –
The party has claimed that “the masses” unanimously called for the removal of term limits.
But the proposal was kept secret until it was revealed in a state media report on February 25, a week before the legislature’s opening session.
The party later disclosed that Xi had presided over a meeting of the Politburo in September during which the leadership decided to revise the constitution.
The party then sought proposals and opinions, culminating in a decision in late January to introduce constitutional amendments at the NPC.
“Xi Jinping has presided over so many important projects such as economic reforms and the fight against corruption. There was a consensus that we supported him having more time to finish his work,” said Dou Yanli, a delegate from eastern Shandong province.
Activists fear that removing term limits may lead to a further tightening of already strict controls on media, civil society and religion, as Xi tries to impose his highly ideological vision of socialism on every aspect of society.
Since the move was first announced, online censors have blocked phrases and words such as “I disagree” and “emperor” and the image of Winnie the Pooh, the cartoon bear to which Xi has been compared.
Beijing-based activist Hu Jia, who says authorities forced him to leave the capital during the congress, called the amendment “illegal”.
“Xi asked all people to obey the constitution, and then used the amendment to place himself above it,” he said. “He used the constitution as the ultimate legal weapon that binds officials and all citizens.”
| Fake Far Left Exclude Everyone
Mar 12th 2018, 08:56, by wmw_admin
Mark Windows — Windows on the World
| Putin’s Missiles: Deterring an American Attack?
Mar 12th 2018, 07:37, by Israel Shamir
Israel Shamir — The Unz Review March 11, 2018
Still from one of the vidoes demonstrating Russia’s new weapons. Click to enlarge
Putin’s March 1st presentation of new Russian weapons has been greatly misunderstood as a declaration of strategic parity or triumphalism. There was a much more urgent need, namely, to prevent an imminent strike. This danger is not over yet, for a week later, on March, 7, President Putin emphasised his readiness to employ the nuclear weapons for retaliation purposes, even if it would end the world.
“Certainly, it would be a global disaster for humanity; a disaster for the entire world,” Putin said, “but, as a citizen of Russia and the head of the Russian state I must ask myself: Why would we want a world without Russia?”
This was a bold answer. A lesser man would probably reply hypocritically, dodging the brutal “yes, I shall destroy the world.” It means that the danger is still imminent, and that by these frank words President Putin wants to dissuade whoever intends to push him too far.
Why indeed, all of a sudden, did the Russian President decide now, of all times, to tell the world about these new weapons? It’s not that the Russians (or the Americans, for that matter) are accustomed to deliver hardware updates orbi et urbi. And 2002, the year the US withdrew from the ABM treaty, was consigned to history years ago. What was the reason, or at least the trigger?
Some observers bet it was a wily pre-election trick aimed at a domestic audience. This could be a consideration, but a minor one. The leading opponent of Mr Putin, the communist candidate Mr Grudinin, didn’t argue against Putin’s foreign policy or defence spending; the voters do approve of Putin’s foreign policy, anyway. Putin’s revelation made Russians proud, but they would vote Putin anyway.
The reason for Putin’s speech was a different and more urgent one: a terrible crescendo of threats had made Russia feel very vulnerable. Presumably their spy agencies convinced the Russian leader the threats were real.
The US establishment has been looking for a way to humiliate and punish Russia since Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians. The indictment alleged that “the Russian conspirators wanted to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” in the words of Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the Mueller’s inquiry. It did not matter that the indicted Russians weren’t officials of the Russian state; that their effort (if these existed at all) were puny: a few ads at the cost of about $100,000, a drop in the ocean compared to the vast amounts of money spent by both the Clinton and Trump campaigns. However, the US establishment called these minor actions of private Russian citizens an “act of war.”
On February 19, Glenn Greenwald summed up the US reactions in the piece called A Consensus Emerges: Russia Committed an “Act of War” on Par With Pearl Harbor and 9/11. He reminded us that Senators from both parties, such as Republican John McCain and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, have long described Russian meddling in 2016 as an “act of war.” Hillary Clinton described Russia’s alleged hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s email inbox as a “cyber 9/11.” Tom Friedman of the New York Times said on “Morning Joe” that Russian hacking “was a 9/11-scale event. They attacked the core of our democracy. That was a Pearl Harbor-scale event.”
After the indictment, this comparison became a common place rhetoric. “The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty, complaining about President Donald Trump’s inaction, asked readers to “imagine how history would have judged Franklin D. Roosevelt in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, if he had taken to the radio airwaves to declare that Tokyo was ‘laughing their asses off.’ Or if George W. Bush had stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center with a bullhorn and launched a name-calling tirade against the Democrats.”
Greenwald concluded: “If Russian election meddling is on par with the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks, then should the U.S. response be on par with its response to those attacks?” In other words, the US politicians and media called to give Russia the same treatment the US gave to Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and to Afghanistan (invasion followed by 16 years of occupation).
In the search for escalation from fiery talk to fire, the Anglo-American establishment turned to the familiar device of alleged Syrian gas attacks. People have been trained to respond to such accusations (and alternatively, to keep mum while the US bombs Mosul and Raqqa, or prepares to nuke North Korea). Assad and Russia were accused of gassing the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, the West’s last chance to enforce regime change in Syria by virtue of its location near the capital.
The alleged gas chlorine attack was reported on February 25th, and it was immediately denied by the Russians and the Syrians. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that this anonymous ‘bogus report’ had been originated in the US in order to denigrate Syrian government and its troops, to accuse them of war crimes and to cause permanent breakup of Syria. The US and its allies, he said, were “simply exploiting baseless allegations of toxic weapons use by Damascus as a tool of anti-Syrian political engineering”.
The rebels said they were attacked by chlorine gas, as opposed to previous times when they claimed gas sarin was used. Chlorine gas is a tricky stuff; it is not deadly though unhealthy for inhaling. It is also quite difficult to monitor and verify, for chlorine is widely used for domestic purposes from cleaning bathrooms to purifying water and is not a banned substance (though the gas chlorine is forbidden). This difficulty to verify had made it an easy one to claim.
The situation in E. Ghouta was a replay of Aleppo; reports of wounded children, films produced by the White Helmets, and stubborn attempts by the rebels to prevent civilian exodus from the area. Whenever the rebels are pushed hard, they produce a story of suffering civilians and of gas attacks, hoping the US will force the Syrian government and their Russian allies to relent.
Undoubtedly civilians have suffered in the Syrian war; however, there is a way to end their suffering. The rebels could lay down their arms and join the political process, like everybody else. There are plenty of Americans unhappy with the Trump regime, but they do not shell Washington DC; they hope for a better and different outcome at the next elections. Their example can be emulated by the Syrian rebels, and then, the civilians won’t suffer.
If that’s too much to ask for, they can let the civilians leave; and fight to the bitter end. But no, they do not let the civilians out; instead, they produce reports of civilians suffering and wait for the Mounties to ride in and save them.
There was an extra angle. The rebels of E. Ghouta are trained and led by British and American intelligence officers, and they came under Russian fire. Perhaps it was a Russian payoff for the bombardment of oil field installations near Deir ez-Zor where the Russian private military company (called Wagner after their leader nickname’s) bore the brunt of and suffered many casualties. Thierry Meyssan, the well known French journalist resident in Damascus claimed that Russian ground troops also participated in the assault on Eastern Ghouta. It is possible that the Russians and the Americans are already fighting directly, though both sides are loth to admit their losses.
The British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was the first to “seriously consider” air strikes in Syria. He missed the fun of Libya (“we came, we saw, he died”) and now the redhead is eager to bomb anybody. However, his Parliament does not allow him to do so.
The ball was taken up by the Americans. Bloomberg editorialized: “It’s time for another red line, one that the U.S. won’t back away from. Trump should tell Assad and his Russian backers that any more proved use of any chemical weapon, including chlorine, will be met with even greater retaliation than what happened in April.”
[This is a reference to Trump’s cruise missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat air base, allegedly in revenge for Syrian sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun. Doubts about this “sarin gas attack” emerged right away, and Unz.com published it quickly. In June 2017, Seymour Hersh exposed the full story behind Shayrat: there was no “sarin attack”, and President Trump was told by his own intelligence officers to drop the case. He still insisted and attacked but warned the Russians in advance, and there were no Russian or Syrian casualties, and very little damage at the cost of $100 million to the US taxpayer. The US mainstream media was exuberant, and congratulated Trump with this example of Presidential behaviour.]
The American Conservative, the Republican and Trump-friendly site objected to plans to bomb Syria: “Trump had no authority to order the attack on Syrian forces last year, and he still doesn’t have it now. There is no international mandate for U.S. forces to be in Syria, nor is there any authorization for military action against Syrian government forces or their allies. If Trump orders another illegal attack, the U.S. will be committing more acts of war against a government that poses no threat to us, has done nothing to us or our treaty allies, and is still fighting inside its own internationally recognized borders.”
But voices of those supporting the strikes and punishing Russians and Syrians sounded stronger. “White House considers new military action against Syrian regime,” wrote The Washington Post on March, 5. The newspaper added details who pushed for the attack (national security adviser H.R. McMaster) and who objected (Defense Secretary Jim Mattis). “Other officials, particularly at the White House and the State Department, appear more open to renewed action against Assad,” said the report.
This is the background of Putin’s speech of March 1st. The Russian president spoke of the new Russian missiles impervious to Aegis and unstoppable by ground fire that can turn the US aircraft carriers, the most potent symbol of the US power, into sitting ducks. Russia will sink them in case of an attack on Russia or on her allies, said Putin.
‘Allies’ is the keyword in the message. The threatened ally of Russia is Syria. Putin warned the Americans that their air strike on Syria may be answered with a strike upon their Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in the area. If you bomb Damascus, we shall send your CSGs in the Med and in the Gulf down to the sea bottom. We can incinerate your air bases in the area, too.
The sharply raised stakes were a game-changer. Who knows what will be the Russian response on this or other action of the Western allies? The warlike neocons say Russia is all talk, all bluff. Realists say that the US may suffer the humiliating and painful loss of its CSGs with thousands of lives at sea. The US President had enjoyed the previous strike of Syria with dozens of Tomahawks before returning to his beautiful chocolate cake. If the strike were revisited upon the striking SCGs – this is totally different matter. Did you say Pearl Harbour?
Even if this exchange would not lead to massive nuclear strikes of the mainland US and Russia and total world-destroying war, it would have a very high price tag. The Russians can even strike President Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla as they naughtily presented on the mock video.
Apparently, President Trump discussed it now with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May. The Brits are for some reason more keen to push for war with Russia. Now they try their best to stop the rapprochement between the US and Russia. The peculiar story of poisoning their own ex-spy with a nerve gas adds spice to their effort, and the Russian Embassy UK Twitter troll twitted: “In today’s papers: pundits call on @Theresa_May to disrupt possible Russia-US thaw. No trust in Britain’s best friend and ally?”
The nuclear poker game just became more exciting. Are the Russians bluffing, or aren’t they? Will they play, or will they drop their cards, this is the question. There is no answer yet. Only history can answer it.
Meanwhile, judging by the tense calm in the Middle East and elsewhere, Putin’s game had been successful. The US missiles rested at their launching sites, and so did the Russian ones. The Russian-Syrian offensive in E. Ghouta proceeds unabated, while the US ground operations in Syria came to standstill, as the Kurds are too busy confronting the Turks. Perhaps we shall survive this almost-confrontation, as we have survived the 2011 almost-confrontation.
This article was first published at The Unz Review.
| Washington’s Century-Long War on Russia
Mar 12th 2018, 07:36, by Mike Whitney
Mike Whitney — The Unz Review March 9, 2018
The United States has launched a three-pronged offensive on Russia. First, it’s attacking Russia’s economy via sanctions and oil-price manipulation. Second, it’s increasing the threats to Russia’s national security by arming and training militant proxies in Syria and Ukraine, and by encircling Russia with NATO forces and missile systems. And, third, it’s conducting a massive disinformation campaign aimed at convincing the public that Russia is a ‘meddling aggressor’ that wants to destroy the foundation of American democracy. (Elections)
In response to Washington’s hostility, Moscow has made every effort to extend the olive branch. Russia does not want to fight the world’s biggest superpower any more than it wants to get bogged down in a bloody and protracted conflict in Syria. What Russia wants is normal, peaceful relations based on respect for each other’s interests and for international law. What Russia will not tolerate, however, is another Iraq-type scenario where the sovereign rights of a strategically-located state are shunted off so the US can arbitrarily topple the government, decimate the society and plunge the region deeper into chaos. Russia won’t allow that, which is why it has put its Airforce at risk in Syria, to defend the foundational principle of state sovereignty upon which the entire edifice of global security rests.
The majority of Americans believe that Russia is the perpetrator of hostilities against the United States, mainly because the media and the political class have faithfully disseminated the spurious claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. But the allegations are ridiculous and without merit. Russia-gate is merely the propaganda component of Washington’s Full Spectrum Dominance theory, that is, disinformation is being used to make it appear as though the US is the victim when, in fact, it is the perpetrator of hostilities against Russia. Simply put, the media has turned reality on its head. Washington wants to inflict as much pain as possible on Russia because Russia has frustrated its plan to control critical resources and pipeline corridors in Central Asia and the Middle East. The Trump administration’s new National Defense Strategy is quite clear on this point. Russia’s opposition to Washington’s destabilizing interventions has earned it the top spot on the Pentagon’s “emerging rivals” list. Moscow is now Public Enemy#1.
Washington’s war on Russia has a long history dating back at least 100 years to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Despite the fact that the US was engaged in a war with Germany at the time (WW1), Washington and its allies sent 150,000 men from 15 nations to intervene on behalf of the “Whites” hoping to staunch the spread of communism into Europe. In the words of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the goal was “to strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib.”
According to Vasilis Vourkoutiotis from the University of Ottawa:
“… the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War.. was a failed attempt to eradicate Bolshevism while it was still weak….As early as February 1918… Britain supported intervention in the civil war on behalf of the Whites, and in March it landed troops in Murmansk. They were soon joined by forces from France, Italy, Japan, the United States, and ten other nations. Eventually, more than 150,000 Allied soldiers served in Russia…
The scale of the war between the Russian Reds and Whites, however, was such that the Allies soon realized they would have little if any, direct impact on the course of the Civil War unless they were prepared to intervene on a far grander scale. By the end of April 1919, the French had withdrawn their soldiers….British and American troops saw some action in November 1918 on the Northern Front… but this campaign was of limited significance in the outcome of the Civil War. The last British and American soldiers were withdrawn in 1920. The main Allied contributions to the White cause thereafter were supplies and money, mostly from Britain….
The chief purpose of Allied intervention in Soviet Russia was to help the Whites defeat the Reds and destroy Bolshevism.” (Allied Intervention in the Russian Revolution”, portalus.ru)
The reason we bring up this relatively unknown bit of history is that it helps to put current events into perspective. First, it helps readers to see that Washington has been sticking its nose in Russia’s business more than a century. Second, it shows that– while Washington’s war on Russia has ebbed and flowed depending on the political situation in Moscow– it has never completely ended. The US has always treated Russia with suspicion, contempt and brutality. During the Cold War, when Russia’s global activities put a damper on Washington’s depredations around the world, relations remained stretched to the breaking point. But after the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, relations gradually thawed, mainly because the buffoonish Boris Yeltsin opened the country up to a democratization program that allowed the state’s most valuable strategic assets to be transferred to voracious oligarchs for pennies on the dollar. The plundering of Russia pleased Washington which is why it sent a number of prominent US economists to Moscow to assist in the transition from communism to a free-market system. These neoliberal miscreants subjected the Russian economy to “shock therapy” which required the auctioning off of state-owned resources and industries even while hyperinflation continued to rage and the minuscule life savings of ordinary working people were wiped out almost overnight. The upshot of this Washington-approved looting-spree was a dramatic uptick in extreme poverty which intensified the immiseration of tens of millions of people. Economist Joseph Stiglitz followed events closely in Russia at the time and summed it up like this:
“In Russia, the people were told that capitalism was going to bring new, unprecedented prosperity. In fact, it brought unprecedented poverty, indicated not only by a fall in living standards, not only by falling GDP but by decreasing life spans and enormous other social indicators showing a deterioration in the quality of life…..
(Due to) the tight monetary policies that were pursued… firms didn’t have the money to even pay their employees…. they didn’t have enough money to pay their pensioners, to pay their workers….Then, with the government not having enough revenue, other aspects of life started to deteriorate. They didn’t have enough money for hospitals, schools. Russia used to have one of the good school systems in the world; the technical level of education was very high. (But they no longer had) enough money for that. So it just began to affect people in every dimension of their lives….
The number of people in poverty in Russia, for instance, increased from 2 percent to… somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, with more than one out of two children living in families below poverty. The market economy was a worse enemy for most of these people than the Communists had said it would be. It brought Gucci bags, Mercedes, the fruits of capitalism to a few….But you had a shrinking (economy). The GDP in Russia fell by 40 percent. In some (parts) of the former Soviet Union, the GDP, the national income, fell by over 70 percent. And with that smaller pie, it was more and more unequally divided, so a few people got bigger and bigger slices, and the majority of people wound up with less and less and less…. (PBS interview with Joseph Stiglitz, Commanding Heights)
So, as long as Russia remained open to the West’s political maneuvering and wholesale thievery, everything was hunky-dory. But as soon as Vladimir Putin got his bearings (during his second term as President) and started reassembling the broken state, then western elites became very concerned and denounced Putin as an “autocrat” and a “KGB thug.” At the same time, Washington continued its maniacal push eastward using its military catspaw, NATO, to achieve its geopolitical ambitions to control vital resources and industries in the most populous and prosperous region of the coming century, Eurasia. After promising Russian President Gorbachev that NATO would never “expand one inch to the east”, the US-led military alliance added 13 new countries to its membership, all of them straddling Russia’s western flank, all of them located, like Hitler, on Russia’s doorstep, all of them posing an existential threat to Russia’s survival. NATO forces now routinely conduct provocative military drills just miles from the Russian border while state-of-the-art missile systems surround Russia on all sides. (Imagine Russia conducting similar drills in the Gulf of Mexico or on the Canadian border. How would Washington respond?)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave an excellent summary of post-Cold War history at a gathering of the Korber Foundation in Berlin in 2017. Brainwashed Americans who foolishly blame Russia for meddling in the 2016 elections, should pay attention to what he said.
LAVROV– “Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall we have shown our cards, trying to do our best to assert the values of equal partnership in international affairs….Back in the early 1990s, we withdrew our troops from Eastern and Central Europe and the Baltic states and dramatically downsized our military capacity near our western borders…
When the cold war era came to an end, Russia was hoping that this would become our common victory – the victory of both the former Communist bloc countries and the West. The dreams of ushering in shared peace and cooperation seemed near to fruition. However, the United States and its allies decided to declare themselves the sole winners, refusing to work together to create the architecture of equal and indivisible security. They made their choice in favor of shifting the dividing lines to our borders – through expanding NATO and then through the implementation of the EU’s Eastern Partnership program…
As the Western countries’ elites were implementing a policy of political and economic containment of Russia, old threats were growing and new ones were emerging in the world, and the efforts to do away with them have failed. I think that the main reason for that is that the model of “West-centric” globalization, which developed following the dismantling of the bipolar architecture and was aimed at ensuring the prosperity of one-seventh of the world’s population at the expense of the rest, proved ineffective. It is becoming more and more obvious that a narrow group of “chosen ones” is unable to ensure the sustainable growth of the global economy on their own and solve such major challenges as poverty, climate change, shortage of food and other vital resources….
The latest events are clear evidence that the persistent attempts to form a unipolar world order have failed….The new centers of economic growth and concomitant political influence are assuming responsibility for the state of affairs in their regions. Let me reiterate that the emergence of multipolar world order is a fact and a reality. Seeking to hold back this process and keep the unfairly gained privileged positions is going to lead nowhere. We see increasing examples of nations raising their voice in defense of their right to decide their own destiny….” (Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister)
The American people need to look beyond the propaganda and try to grasp what’s really going on. Russia is not Washington’s enemy, it’s a friend that’s trying to nudge the US in a direction that will increase its opportunities for peace and prosperity in the future. Lavrov is simply pointing out that a multipolar world is inevitable as economic power becomes more widespread. This emerging reality means the US will have to modify its behavior, cooperate with other sovereign nations, comply with international law, and seek a peaceful settlement to disputes. It means greater parity between the states, fairer representation in global decision-making, and a narrower gap between the world’s winners and losers.
Who doesn’t want this? Who doesn’t want to see an end of the bloody US-led invasions, the countless drone assassinations, the vast destruction of ancient civilizations, and the senseless slaughter of innocent men, women and children? Who doesn’t want to see Washington’s wings clipped so the bloodletting stops and the millions of refugees and internally displaced can return to their homes?
Lavrov offers a vision of the future that all peace-loving people should welcome with open arms.
Admit it: The imperial model has failed. It’s time to move on.
| “That’s Just the Way it Is, Some Things will Never Change”
Mar 12th 2018, 07:33, by Smoking Mirrors
Smoking Mirrors — March 11, 2018
Dog Poet Transmitting…….
Greetings dear friends and my apologies for being inconsistent with my offerings of late. I attempt to explain this in today’s radio broadcast, so, no point to go over it now except that I am going through dramatic spiritual changes and they are displacing everything I was doing at this time. When you spend the majority of your life seeking the ineffable the ineffable is going to show up and at a certain point the impact of that presence is going to intensify and accelerate. You can depend on this because it has been my experience and I have proven it to be true to my complete satisfaction. I am telling you this so that you may know the veracity of it. No one has the exact same experience. It is all personally tailored. Not everyone will rise the same heights that is determined by the angels who measure the whole of the character of the person and signed off on by the ineffable who controls all things. The angels are an extension of the will of the ineffable.
The reason that the story goes that the ineffable set Adam higher than the angels is because Adam was given free will, which is not exactly free will but consists of only two choices; to serve the ineffable or to serve self interest. One should already be aware of who the ruling authority is in both options. This accounts for all the suffering you, or anyone, will see in this life. Always remember too, “that even the devil is turned into an angel of light at the given moment.” Fundies and the Zionist psychopaths have altered that phrase for their own purposes and interpreted to mean that “the devil can appear as an angels of light at the given moment.” a careful study of the first version will tell you the truth of it and so will my own personal revelation that the devil works for God. He is an employee and if you know anything about god and his absolute inviolable authority, you know by extension that this must be true. It’s academic and the fruit of true reason and proper use of logic.
The world at this time is exhibiting what it always does at the fall of a culture. The appearance of dysfunctional sexual behavior is always a hallmark of these times and if you had access to occult history it would be plain. What we have is false history, created for mind control and the callous applications of enslavement and life (such as it is) and death. Those who construct all of the fabrications, under orders from the infernal one, do it for the purpose of perpetuating human misery and serving personal gain. Imagine what it must be like to manufacture a war for the purpose of financial gain.
Everyone must convince themselves of the truth that god is real and embrace it without the possibility of argument because- it is so. Failure to do this puts you in the hands of your tormentor. Why… would you want to do that? As Buddha said, “all life is pain caused by ignorant desire.” One has only to read the words of the great world changers to know everything they need to know. The problem is, because of self interest, most people do not want to know and then suffering exists to motivate them in the right direction. It’s as simple as that and pretty much anything you wish to know is. There are some fundamental, seeming, exceptions like the laws of Karma but it amounts to the same thing over a more protracted period.
People have their fixed ideas of what enlightenment and illumination are. However, not having experienced them, they are really ignorant. One thing I can certainly tell you is that it is exceedingly rare for the whole thing to come down on you at once. It usually appears in stages and depending on how it is handles and to what ends it is put, on that depends whether it continues or does not. There are admonitions one should pay SERIOUS attention to. Even those who have risen to high spiritual stations can be cast down and disempowerd, just like that. This is one reason that abject humility is so important for it is often the cause. The less humble one is, the less likely one will get good council and rather becomes an example of a lesson for others to profit by. The same can be true of those who adhere to the true way of the heart. Never be confused of fearful that god does not hear you or will abandon you. God is not like everyone else. God is not like anyone else, except somewhat like the very best of us in miniature. Everyone else may abandon you and I have seen this personally. It was never everyone but it was most of those I thought were my friends. It is only in extremity that we learn who our friends are.
I used to bemoan my life and the Promethean suffering; perhaps that is hyperbole but it wasn’t to me. Suffering is relative and it is not often that we can know the true impact on anyone. Once again, “I don’t know” is one near perfect mantra. I can’t even recall how difficult and painful so many portions were, The memory has been obscured but now despite everything that did and did not happen, I do not regret any of it. I am grateful for it. The ineffable in his divine compassion burned away so much of my karma and transformed me from a reckless fool into something else, the like of which I do not know at the moment but what I do know is that Gratitude fills my days and nights. Often I will wake up with cries of gratitude and certainly at night it is one of the first considerations to occur.
Do not despair, my friends and do not complicate the message and overburden yourself with unnecessary minutiae. Keep it simple. We complicate things because of the vanity of the mind. The mind cannot know the higher truths. It is capable only of pure reason, or direct transmission of the greater mind. It is the heart, in its secret chamber that true wisdom and so much more is to be known to the capacity of the one experiencing it. We do not all have the same capacities and abilities but we all can aspire and arrive. To enter the kingdom of heaven, you must act and behave as a resident of the kingdom now. If you are not their in corporate being it may be unlikely that you will arise there. Heaven begins where your feet touch the ground.
The greatness and majesty of the ineffable cannot be comprehended. This is part of the basis of true and enduring humility. When you know there is one so much greater that you and ever will be, you cannot but experience true humility. This is true perspective and it gives me equal portions of sorrow and amusement to see people pretending to be god and believing that they did what happened for them by themselves; not realizing they are intended to be used as an object lesson. One must realize that existence is perfect regardless of the imperfections we think we see, or the illusions and delusions we suffer via our crippled and constrained emotions. Lennon wrote a lot of garbage after Yoko hijacked his mind but he did write that song, “Crippled inside”. Of course many may not agree with me on this but you probably have not heard the near half dozen albums he did with Yoko. They are unlistenable and more offensive that thug rap. This does not take away from his earlier genius and powerful contributions to life.
One has only to give a clear eyed look at the present state of the culture to understand the present state of the culture. Those in the majority who do not see this are motivated by some level of self interest and it is not opportune for them to see things AS THEY ARE.
I’ll end this a few paragraphs short of the usual because I have said what I came to say. I wish you all well in your journey and may the lord smile on you.
| Inside the State Department’s Troll Farm – Daniel McAdams on The Corbett Report
Mar 12th 2018, 07:29, by wmw_admin
James Corbett — The Corbett Report March 7, 2018
| Justin Trudeau: Mind-Controlled Illuminati Poster Child?
Mar 12th 2018, 07:27, by wmw_admin
henrymakow.com — March 11, 2018
Globalist traitor –Be anything but Canadian. Click to enlarge
Justin Trudeau’s visceral hatred of males ( re. “peoplekind”) and all things hetero and Canadian have made him an international laughing stock. Many now question his mental stability.
Are these the symptoms of having been a victim of MK-Ultra mind control and pedophilia?
Our political leaders all belong to the Illuminati satanic cult that sexually exploit and trauma brainwashes their children.
Are the effects of this traumatic childhood now playing out?
In his father’s eulogy, Justin Trudeau seems to allude to MK-Ultra pedophilia and mind control.
COMMON GROUND by Justin Trudeau — Reviewed by Ann Diamond (henrymakow.com)
Justin Trudeau’s autobiography “Common Ground” was not easy to review. Its unspoken subtext involves abuse due to the Illuminati/Luciferian background of both sides of his family.
In her book TRANCE-FORMATION OF AMERICA MK-ULTRA survivor Cathy O’Brien stated that many world leaders, including Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney, are pedophiles. She met them in the course of her life as a sex slave trained (with her young daughter) to service high-profile politicians. Other sources support Cathy O’Brien’s allegations.
Over the years, insiders have told me that Pierre’s 1968 marriage to Margaret was “arranged” by the military. The couple programmed with LSD at a remote farm in British Columbia.
According to Trudeau’s Jesuit mentor, Trudeau ordered the kidnap and murder of his enemy Pierre Laporte in October 1970, because Laporte was threatening him with blackmail and exposure as a pedophile.
After Margaret ran off with the Rolling Stones in 1977, the marriage was over. Soon after, as a single father, Pierre turned to a York University sociologist, John Seeley, for parental advice.
John Seeley, a self-proclaimed ‘sadist and pedophile’ would fly up to Ottawa on weekends to “advise” Pierre on how he should be raising his three sons. Justin was six. (See also this article.)
Quite a childhood. First the trauma of being separated from the mother he adored, then frequent exposure to his father’s unsavory friends.
Children often idealize their abusive parents. During his eulogy at Pierre’s funeral, a smiling 28-year-old Justin seemed dissociated, almost giddy. He began the eulogy with a weird story about a trip he took at age six, with his father and grandfather “to the North Pole,” to a “military installation” at Alert NWT.
There the awe-struck boy discovered Santa Claus and “that’s when I understood just how powerful and wonderful my father was.”
Carolyn Hamlett, a victim of Illuminati mind control and pedophilia, said these abuses took place at military installations.
Is Justin referring to MK-Ultra brainwashing? In general, the eulogy rings insincere and hollow. There is no trace of love or grief. His father had little time for his children.
A few years ago, I was shown a 1984 letter signed by Pierre Elliot Trudeau expressing enthusiastic interest in meeting a ten-year-old boy. The letter may have been used in a blackmail attempt by the boy’s father.
If Pierre Trudeau was abusing their children, Margaret’s history of bipolar illness takes on a whole different cast.
| Revealed: Police Failed to Act as 1,000 Girls Beaten, Pimped, Raped, and Even KILLED Over 40 Years in Britain’s Worst Grooming Scandal
Mar 12th 2018, 07:26, by wmw_admin
Jack Montgomery — Breibart London March 11, 2018
An investigation by the Sunday Mirror has revealed Britain’s worst ever grooming scandal, which saw authorities paralysed for 40 years by fears of “racism” accusations as grooming gangs victimised up to a thousand girls in Telford.
The left-leaning newspaper claims its 18-month investigation found “abuse on unprecedented levels”, with three women being killed when abuser Azhar Ali Mehmood burned down their home with them inside and two others died in connection with the scandal.
Social workers reportedly knew of the abuse, which saw girls as young as 11 targeted, from the 1990s, but police took ten years to launch an investigation and the authorities failed to keep tabs on suspects and perpetrators from the South Asian community fearing “racism” accusations.
Victims told the Sunday Mirror that the abuse — which is said to have begun in the 1980s — carries on to this day, and notes that police failed to investigate one recent case five times before a Member of Parliament directly intervened.
The newspaper claims to have uncovered previously unseen files showing council staff chose to view girls being abused, trafficked and even sold as “prostitutes” rather than victims.
A report by think tank Quilliam has found that more than eight out of ten men convicted of grooming gang offences have an 'Asian' background, while victims are "almost exclusively white girls". https://t.co/WMYGngGPDf
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 10, 2017
Telford is a relatively small city, with a population of 170,000, making this scandal the most extensive and long-running in the country.
The number of victims in Rotherham was slightly higher at 1,500, but Rotherham is a significantly larger city with a population of around 260,000.
“I hated what was happening and my abusers made my skin crawl but I was told that if I said a word to anyone they’d come for my little sisters and tell my mum I was a prostitute,” said one 14-year-old victim, whose phone number had been sold to paedophiles.
“Night after night, I was forced to have sex with multiple men in disgusting takeaways and filthy houses.
“I must have been getting the morning after pill from a local clinic at least twice a week but no one asked any questions.
“I fell pregnant twice and had two abortions. Hours after my second termination, I was taken by one of my abusers to be raped by more men.
“The worst moment came just after my 16th birthday when I was drugged and gang-raped by five men.
“Days later, the ringleader turned up at my house and told me he’d burn it down if I breathed a word of what had happened.”
"Do not post anything which could be considered offensive" – Police hunt down Facebook users who made "offensive" comments about Muslim grooming gangs online. #Priorities https://t.co/6rVLoX2OLX
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) January 13, 2018
The Sunday Mirror cites victims as saying police and social workers repeatedly turned them away or failed to offer “emotional support”, and the authorities actively attempted to hamper their investigation.
Local MP Lucy Allan described the newspaper’s findings as “extremely serious and shocking” and has demanded a full public inquiry.
Specialist child abuse solicitor Dino Nocivelli, of Bolt Burdon Kemp, told the newspaper: “These children were treated as sexual commodities by men who inflicted despicable acts of abuse.
“The survivors deserve an inquiry. They need to know how abuse took place for so long and why so many perpetrators have never been brought to justice.”
But police and council staff have previously written to Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP to discourage this, saying it is not necessary.
| The Architects of Evil
Mar 11th 2018, 12:47, by Lasha Darkmoon
Brief Notes on Cultural Marxism and Political Correctness
(includes a 28-minute video on the Frankfurt School)
The main aim of this subversive school of thought was to destroy traditional moral values and “make life impossible” for everyone, ushering in a new age of nihilism and sexual decadence.
The Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism was predominantly a Jewish movement established in Germany in 1923 during the heyday of the Weimar Republic. This was when Germany was at its weakest and most sexually decadent after the catastrophe of WWI and the iniquitous Treaty of Versailles. This had turned the country not only into a vassal state of the Western powers but into a stomping ground for Jews who owned vast amounts of property here and ruled the roost in almost every profession.
This was the era of hyperinflation in Germany and near total Jewish control. When Hitler came to power in 1933, the Germans rallied round him as their rescuer from Jewish rule. The philosophers of the Frankfurt School—almost all of them except Habermas were Jewish—packed their bags at once and fled en masse to America where they were greeted with open arms by America’s Jewish community. Here they found themselves given cushee jobs at Ivy League universities almost at once. They then began spreading their poisonous doctrines all over America, something they have been allowed to do ever since. As you might expect, the two prophets of the Frankfurt School were Jewish: Marx and Freud.
The chart below traces the intricate network of proliferating connections arising out of the movement’s main political inspiration, Karl Marx (1818-1883), a fanatical atheist driven by a hatred of Christianity and traditional moral values, a kind of Jewish Antichrist who sought vengeance on the world for the persecution of the Jews down the centuries:
Click to enlarge
The toxic theories of these two thinkers—one the father of Communism, the other the founder of the fraudulent cult known as psychoanalysis and described as a “vile sex crazed creep“— were developed and presented as a plausible modus vivendi by other Jewish thinkers intent on “the transvaluation of all values” and the destruction of Christianity and traditional norms. Sexual “liberation”, feminism, hedonism, homosexuality, pornography, drug culture, avante-garde art, materialist consumption, general decadence, and the systematic creation of mass misery were the hallmarks of this school of thought. Demoralization of the population was, if not the aim, the end result.
To further the advance of their “quiet” cultural revolution, the Frankfurt School made the following twelve recommendations — all of them calculated to undermine the foundations of society and create the dystopia we now see all around us:
1. The creation of racism offences and hate speech laws.
2. Continual change to create confusion (e.g. in school curricula).
3. Masturbation propaganda in schools, combined with the homosexualization of children and their corruption by exposing them to child porn in the classroom.
4. The systematic undermining of parental and teachers’ authority.
5. Huge immigration to destroy national identity and foment future race wars.
6. The systematic promotion of excessive drinking and recreational drugs.
7. The systematic promotion of sexual deviance in society.
8. An unreliable legal system with bias against the victims of crime.
9. Dependency on state benefits.
10. Control and dumbing down of media. (Six Jewish companies now control 96 percent of the world’s media. LD).
11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family.
12. All all-out attack on Christianity and the emptying of churches.
Click to enlarge
The main cheerleaders of this malodorous movement were almost Jewish to a man: Founder Felix Weil, Erich Fromm, Hebert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, George Lukacs, Claude Levi-Strauss, Leo Löwenthal, and many others. Sigmund Freud, their iconic inspiration, spoke for them all when he turned to Carl Jung on the ship bringing him to America and remarked cynically: “If only the Americans knew, we are bringing them the plague!”
Willi Munzenberg, a Jewish revolutionary of the Frankfurt School, is another one of these dangerous subversives who let the cat out of the bag and spoke for all these promoters of perverted values with his oft-quoted comment: “We must organise the intellectuals and use them TO MAKE WESTERN CIVILIZATION STINK! Only then, after they have CORRUPTED ALL ITS VALUES AND MADE LIFE IMPOSSIBLE, can we impose the dictatorship of the proletariat.”
Click to enlarge
VIDEO : 28 mins
| Russia says it has successfully launched powerful new missile
Mar 11th 2018, 11:35, by wmw_admin
AFP — March 11, 2018
A still from a Russian government video shows the Kinzhal missile detaching from a MiG-31 aircraft. Click to enlarge
Russia has said it successfully launched a hypersonic missile described by Vladimir Putin as an ideal weapon when he unveiled new armaments earlier this month.
The Kinzhal missile was launched from a MiG-31 aircraft that took off from an airfield in south-western Russia, the defence ministry said.
“The launch went according to plan: the hypersonic missile hit its target,” the ministry said.
It released footage of two pilots preparing for a flight and then running towards a jet carrying a large missile.
Set to rousing, patriotic music, the video showed a missile detaching from the airborne plane and gliding across the sky, leaving a fiery trail.
The Kinzhal missile was one of the weapons the Russian president unveiled in his state of the nation address earlier this month, ahead of a presidential election on 18 March that he is all but guaranteed to win.
Putin said the missile flies at 10 times the speed of the sound and can overcome air-defence systems.
The missile has been deployed in the southern military district since 1 December, he said.
Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister, said on Facebook that work had been carried out to modernise the “unique” MiG-31 that will carry the missile.
Since the start of the year, more than 250 sorties have been carried out by the aircraft to perfect the missile system, the defence ministry said.
| Spy’s poisoning is latest case to stir suspicion of Russia
Mar 11th 2018, 09:42, by wmw_admin
Introduction — March 11, 2018
Forensic investigations at the scene of the crime in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Click to enlarge
No hard evidence has yet been discovered linking the apparent poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal with the Russian government but that hasn’t stopped the corporate media.
There has been endless, and as yet entirely unsubstantiated, media speculation about Russian involvement. The wall-to-wall UK media coverage is uncomfortably reminiscent of the media’s treatment of an earlier story: Saddam Hussein’s notorious Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Readers will no doubt recall the endless media speculation about that: such extensive coverage that it almost became an automatic assumption on the part of many. Yet it all turned out to be entirely groundless.
However groundless, those reports did serve to shape the public’s perception and ultimately pave the way for military intervention in Iraq.
Although I’m not saying that this story is being used to make the case for war with Russia, at least not yet, it is being used in a similar manner. And given the steady build-up of NATO forces in eastern Europe, often within sight of Russia’s borders, one cannot rule out the possibility that a military confrontation will ultimately result.
Is speculation about nefarious Russian undercover activity in Britain being used in a similar manner to earlier coverage of Saddam’s WMD?
Of course this doesn’t mean that Russia was not involved in Skripal’s poisoning. However, we need to keep an open mind and consider all possible options. Two scenarios spring to mind.
First, individual members of Russia’s intelligence service may indeed have been involved in the poisoning of a man they viewed as a “traitor”. Nonetheless, they may have been acting as individuals without any authorisation from Putin or senior commanders in Russian intelligence.
Alternatively, there is the possibility that the British secret service were actually behind Skripal’s poisoning. With the objective of placing the blame on Russia and framing Putin just as it once had Saddam.
This is not as outlandish as it may sound. Given that Porton Down, Britain’s chemical warfare laboratory, is conveniently located just a few miles outside the city of Salisbury where the poisoning occurred, it cannot be ruled out.
After all Britain tested chemical warfare agents on its own servicemen at Porton Down in the 1950s, resulting in their deaths. So is it beyond the bounds of possibility that they wouldn’t sacrifice an aging Russian defector in an effort to portray Putin as a ‘ruthless dictator’? Ed.
Spy’s poisoning is latest case to stir suspicion of Russia
Associated Press — March 11, 2018
Members of the Falcon Squadron, Royal Tank Regiment, at Winterbourne Gunner, southern England, conducting final preparation and training before deploying in support of the civil authorities in Salisbury city centre, Friday March 9, 2018. British police asked the military on Friday to help investigate the nerve-agent poisoning of a former spy, as investigators’ attention increasingly focused on the victim’s house in a quiet suburban street. (Cpl Pete Brown/Ministry of Defence via AP). Click to enlarge
Britain offers wealthy Russians many attractions: London’s culture, bucolic countryside, exclusive schools, and a global financial hub. But for some former spies and foes of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a move west has been lethal.
Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who was convicted of helping British agents and then freed in a spy swap, could become next in the disturbing pattern. Skripal, 66, and daughter, Yulia, 33, are in critical condition in England. British officials say they were exposed to a rare nerve agent.
Some lawmakers and a former top law enforcement official say the poisonings have hallmarks of deaths in the U.K. and the United States with links to Russia. They want an investigation to examine if enemies of the Russian government have been assassinated on British soil.
The deaths that have aroused suspicions include a man who was impaled on the spikes of an iron fence; a former Putin aide found in a Washington hotel room with blunt force injuries; and an ex-spy poisoned with radioactive tea.
British officials have not openly blamed the Russian government for the brazen assault on the Skripals in Salisbury. The father and daughter were found comatose on March 4 in the medieval city where Sergei Skripal had a home.
Author Joe Serio, who spent nearly 10 years with the anti-organized crime unit of Moscow’s police and wrote “Investigating the Russian Mafia,” said Britain is a popular destination for Russian émigrés because it’s “the gateway to the West, the seat of the language, the seat of the empire, the seat of major finance.”
None of that makes the country a perfect place to hide, though, Serio said.
“Russian leaders seem to go out of their way to get rid of anybody that seems to be in their way, someone who’s betrayed them, someone, who’s interrupting the money flow,” he said. “They just go wherever they have to go to get their guy.”
Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the U.K. Parliament committee that reviews police and intelligence matters, said a string of unexplained deaths must be re-examined in light of what happened to Skripal and his daughter.
Cooper cited a 2017 BuzzFeed News investigation of 14 deaths that may have involved foul play. One was Scot Young’s. He worked with Putin’s critics before his body was found impaled on railings outside his London apartment in 2014. Police treated it as an apparent suicide, although the coroner said the evidence was inconclusive.
Of all the deaths that have set off alarms, the slow poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko’s life is the best documented. Litvinenko, who had defected to Britain and publicly criticized Putin, died in November 2006, three weeks after drinking tea containing the radioactive isotope polonium-210.
While he wasted away on a hospital bed, the ex-spy blamed Putin. A decade later, a laborious public inquiry concluded he had been killed by Russia’s security service, “probably” with Putin’s approval.
Less clear is the 2013 death of Boris Berezovsky, an affluent Russian businessman who moved to Britain in the early 2000s and became an outspoken critic of Putin’s policies.
Berezovsky was found dead on a bathroom floor at his home in southern England with a scarf around his neck. The coroner concluded it was impossible to establish whether the oligarch was killed or committed suicide.
Doubts also have surrounded the demise of Alexander Perepilichny, a businessman who testified against Russian officials accused of stealing $230 million from a London hedge fund. He died in 2012 while jogging near his rented home.
Two autopsies proved inconclusive. Colleagues think Perepilichny was poisoned with a difficult-to-detect plant. A coroner’s inquest is underway, but no cause of death has been established.
In Washington, the District of Columbia’s chief medical examiner concluded that accidental injuries received during days of heavy drinking killed former Putin aide Mikhail Lesin. Officials never explained how Lesin got the blunt force injuries to his head and body.
The military-backed investigation of the Skripal case has transformed Salisbury into a major crime scene. Forensics tents enclose key sites such as the grave of Skripal’s son, who died last year, while police in hazardous materials gear search for clues.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has vowed to punish Russia if forensic evidence proves Kremlin involvement. But such proof could be hard to come by, Robin Niblett, director of the Chatham House think tank, said.
“The Russians have been very good at covering their tracks,” he said. “And if you don’t have clear evidence, what’s the point of going into court?”
Meanwhile, a Russian state television anchorman has warned potential double agents they should expect a shortened lifespan in Britain.
“Alcoholism, drug addiction, stress and depression are inevitable professional illnesses of a traitor, resulting in heart attacks and even suicide,” anchorman Kirill Kleimenov said.