Russian to Judgement 453


The same people who assured you that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s now assure you Russian “novochok” nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil. As with the Iraqi WMD dossier, it is essential to comb the evidence very finely. A vital missing word from Theresa May’s statement yesterday was “only”. She did not state that the nerve agent used was manufactured ONLY by Russia. She rather stated this group of nerve agents had been “developed by” Russia. Antibiotics were first developed by a Scotsman, but that is not evidence that all antibiotics are today administered by Scots.

The “novochok” group of nerve agents – a very loose term simply for a collection of new nerve agents the Soviet Union were developing fifty years ago – will almost certainly have been analysed and reproduced by Porton Down. That is entirely what Porton Down is there for. It used to make chemical and biological weapons as weapons, and today it still does make them in small quantities in order to research defences and antidotes. After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian chemists made a lot of information available on these nerve agents. And one country which has always manufactured very similar persistent nerve agents is Israel. This Foreign Policy magazine (a very establishment US publication) article on Israel‘s chemical and biological weapon capability is very interesting indeed. I will return to Israel later in this article.

Incidentally, novachok is not a specific substance but a class of new nerve agents. Sources agree they were designed to be persistent, and of an order of magnitude stronger than sarin or VX. That is rather hard to square with the fact that thankfully nobody has died and those possibly in contact just have to wash their clothes.

From Putin’s point of view, to assassinate Skripal now seems to have very little motivation. If the Russians have waited eight years to do this, they could have waited until after their World Cup. The Russians have never killed a swapped spy before. Just as diplomats, British and otherwise, are the most ardent upholders of the principle of diplomatic immunity, so security service personnel everywhere are the least likely to wish to destroy a system which can be a key aspect of their own personal security; quite literally spy swaps are their “Get Out of Jail Free” card. You don’t undermine that system – probably terminally – without very good reason.

It is worth noting that the “wicked” Russians gave Skripal a far lighter jail sentence than an American equivalent would have received. If a member of US Military Intelligence had sold, for cash to the Russians, the names of hundreds of US agents and officers operating abroad, the Americans would at the very least jail the person for life, and I strongly suspect would execute them. Skripal just received a jail sentence of 18 years, which is hard to square with the narrative of implacable vindictiveness against him. If the Russians had wanted to make an example, that was the time.

It is much more probable that the reason for this assassination attempt refers to something recent or current, than to spying twenty years ago. Were I the British police, I would inquire very closely into Orbis Intelligence.

There is no doubt that Skripal was feeding secrets to MI6 at the time that Christopher Steele was an MI6 officer in Moscow, and at the the time that Pablo Miller, another member of Orbis Intelligence, was also an MI6 officer in Russia and directly recruiting agents. It is widely reported on the web and in US media that it was Miller who first recruited Skripal. My own ex-MI6 sources tell me that is not quite true as Skripal was “walk-in”, but that Miller certainly was involved in running Skripal for a while. Sadly Pablo Miller’s LinkedIn profile has recently been deleted, but it is again widely alleged on the web that it showed him as a consultant for Orbis Intelligence and a consultant to the FCO and – wait for it – with an address in Salisbury. If anyone can recover that Linkedin entry do get in touch, though British Government agencies will have been active in the internet scrubbing.

It was of course Christopher Steele and Orbis Intelligence who produced for the Clinton camp the sensationalist dossier on Trump links with Russia – including the story of Trump paying to be urinated on by Russian prostitutes – that is a key part of the “Russiagate” affair gripping the US political classes. The extraordinary thing about this is that the Orbis dossier is obvious nonsense which anybody with a professional background can completely demolish, as I did here. Steele’s motive was, like Skripal’s in selling his secrets, cash pure and simple. Steele is a charlatan who knocked up a series of allegations that are either wildly improbable, or would need a high level source access he could not possibly get in today’s Russia, or both. He told the Democrats what they wish to hear and his audience – who had and still have no motivation to look at it critically – paid him highly for it.

I do not know for certain that Pablo Miller helped knock together the Steele dossier on Trump, but it seems very probable given he also served for MI6 in Russia and was working for Orbis. And it seems to me even more probable that Sergei Skripal contributed to the Orbis Intelligence dossier on Trump. Steele and Miller cannot go into Russia and run sources any more, and never would have had access as good as their dossier claims, even in their MI6 days. The dossier was knocked up for huge wodges of cash from whatever they could cobble together. Who better to lend a little corroborative verisimilitude in these circumstances than their old source Skripal?

Skripal was at hand in the UK, and allegedly even close to Miller in Salisbury. He could add in the proper acronym for a Russian committee here or the name of a Russian official there, to make it seem like Steele was providing hard intelligence. Indeed, Skripal’s outdated knowledge might explain some of the dossier’s more glaring errors.

But the problem with double agents like Skripal, who give intelligence for money, is that they can easily become triple agents and you never know when a better offer is going to come along. When Steele produced his dodgy dossier, he had no idea it would ever become so prominent and subject to so much scrutiny. Steele is fortunate in that the US Establishment is strongly motivated not to scrutinise his work closely as their one aim is to “get” Trump. But with the stakes very high, having a very loose cannon as one of the dossier’s authors might be most inconvenient both for Orbis and for the Clinton camp.

If I was the police, I would look closely at Orbis Intelligence.

To return to Israel. Israel has the nerve agents. Israel has Mossad which is extremely skilled at foreign assassinations. Theresa May claimed Russian propensity to assassinate abroad as a specific reason to believe Russia did it. Well Mossad has an even greater propensity to assassinate abroad. And while I am struggling to see a Russian motive for damaging its own international reputation so grieviously, Israel has a clear motivation for damaging the Russian reputation so grieviously. Russian action in Syria has undermined the Israeli position in Syria and Lebanon in a fundamental way, and Israel has every motive for damaging Russia’s international position by an attack aiming to leave the blame on Russia.

Both the Orbis and Israeli theories are speculations. But they are no more a speculation, and no more a conspiracy theory, than the idea that Vladimir Putin secretly sent agents to Salisbury to attack Skripal with a secret nerve agent. I can see absolutely no reason to believe that is a more valid speculation than the others at this point.

I am alarmed by the security, spying and armaments industries’ frenetic efforts to stoke Russophobia and heat up the new cold war. I am especially alarmed at the stream of cold war warrior “experts” dominating the news cycles. I write as someone who believes that agents of the Russian state did assassinate Litvinenko, and that the Russian security services carried out at least some of the apartment bombings that provided the pretext for the brutal assault on Chechnya. I believe the Russian occupation of Crimea and parts of Georgia is illegal. On the other hand, in Syria Russia has saved the Middle East from domination by a new wave of US and Saudi sponsored extreme jihadists.

The naive view of the world as “goodies” and “baddies”, with our own ruling class as the good guys, is for the birds. I witnessed personally in Uzbekistan the willingness of the UK and US security services to accept and validate intelligence they knew to be false in order to pursue their policy objectives. We should be extremely sceptical of their current anti-Russian narrative. There are many possible suspects in this attack.


453 thoughts on “Russian to Judgement

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  • giyane

    Sometimes I test my inner being by asking myself what I would say to a policeman who has just pulled me over.
    If the answer is ” Haven’t you got anything better to do than annoy innocent motorists going about their…” something is stressing my inner being.The 7 years of the UKUSIS War against Syria has been grinding me down for a very long time and the removal of Daesh and Al Qaida is like a long-awaited Spring.
    “Good morning officer, how may I help you , sir?. Am I doing anything wrong please? How is your morning going?
    Well, IMHO the target of Anglo-Saxon malignity is not Russia, but USUKIS desperately need to convince Saudi Arabia and Qatar that the destruction of their planned domination of the Middle East ” by a new wave of US and Saudi sponsored extreme jihadists ” is not welcome to them. It’s a farce that USUKIS and Russia are supposed to be enemies. Their mutual enemy is Islam. USUKIS has manufactured a weird type of Islam never witnessed before, called Islamism, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Salafists , solely as an excuse to destroy the Muslims, their lands and their true religion.

    What I find difficult to understand is how Muslims can still fall for the trickery and bribery of its enemies after 500 years of ruthless and brutal colonialism. Russia is a Christian ally of the West , both equally determined to destroy the true religion of Islam. This weird charade of false-flag poisoning and MPs calling for sanctions would not convince a two-year old. Maybe there are people in this country who are so emotionally deprived that they think Coronation Street and EastEnders is real. But surely nobody who has lived through 30 years of continual destruction of Muslims and their countries thinks that politics is real.

    That would be like the occupants of the soaps speculating whether the real world is real or their stage set is real.. the word ‘ existential ‘ is now used to mean ‘ real ‘ i.e. it exists. But I always understood existentialism to mean that life as seen in terms of human experience, and the human experience of 30 years of war has been intense suffering. Our lives are banal, and the soaps actors lives are intense. Therefore soaps are more real than life. At the moment the Judaeo=Christian West seems to think that our MSM-manufactured propaganda and lies are more real than that Muslim suffering. We live in a sad world of Zollywood fiction.

  • dunwich

    First smear/blame the victim: Skripal is no Litvinenko (implying he was an arsehole, who got not much more than he deserved).

    Then suggest – the Elephant in the Room – it was the UK government what done it. The proximity to Porton Down the supposed (and only) evidence for this.

    Then blame the Clinton camp and an organisation that produced a dossier on Trump: they may have wanted to bump off an unreliable source (and can of course be assumed to have access to Novochok).

    Finally blame the Israelis.

    Sorry this is poor.

      • dunwich

        Poor was the conclusion. The previous four paragraphs explained why.

        Craig seems willing blame almost anyone, however preposterous it may be, as long as its not the Russians.

        It’s good to be sceptical about media messages. But why then be so utterly credulous and to accept this kind of thing.

  • N_

    A woman called Kayleigh McConnon who is believed to suffer from a contagious condition is reported to have disappeared last night from a hospital in Cheltenham, the town that houses the headquarters of GCHQ.

    Reports have not identified the illness she suffers from.

    • N_

      She has now been reported found. The BBCKingdom state TV reports:

      A spokesman for (Gloucestershire Police) said she returned to hospital and officers had spoken to ‘those she had been in contact with’ and offered advice.

      So it doesn’t seem to be bubonic plague or anthrax then.

      Have hospitals been put on a war footing?

  • Alex

    Good piece Craig, thank you.

    What I’m wondering about this is, if the Russians really wanted to kill Skripal (and his daughter?!) wouldn’t he be dead? Granted, they could have botched it considering all the fuck-ups and disasters intelligence services have produced over the years, but still.

    Also, aren’t there better ways for skilled assassins to kill someone or were they, whoever they may be, trying to be dramatic?

  • mark golding

    The actual history of Novichok shows that out of the countries discussed here, Russia is the only state to have been certified by the OPCW as having destroyed its chemical weapons programme, including its nerve agent capabilities. The OPCW found no evidence to indicate that Russia retains an active Novichok capability. The same is not the case for the US, Britain and Israel.

    There is no legitimate reason for the British authorities to rule out that any of these states could have at the very least ‘lost control’ of their nerve agent stockpiles. The fact that the government chose, instead, to shut down all avenues of inquiry other than to claim falsely that the “only possibility” is for all roads to lead to Russia, demonstrates that we are almost certainly in the midst of a concerted state propaganda operation.

    Extract from Insurge Intelligence – My thanks to investigative journalist, Nafeez Ahmed

  • Alex

    Skripal has received a jail sentence of 13 years, not even 18 (!) in 2006.
    Just 4 years later he was officially pardoned and exchanged for the Russian spies with the States.
    https://goo.gl/rJmB4e

      • joel

        Yes, pardon him for his crimes and release him from prison after he’s served a fraction of his sentence.

        Then, change your mind and get so mad at him that you have him murdered with nerve agent in plain sight on the soil of one of your prime antagonists and tormentors .. on the eve of your re-election and just before hosting the world cup.

        Sounds extremely likely.

        • Martinned

          Because the Kremlin is run by extremely rational people who never change their minds? (Either individually or as a group…?)

          Also, the elections are a good explanation if anything. Putin needs high turnout in order to make his rigged election seem at least vaguely civilised. Whipping up some international conflict benefits him because it allows him to drive up turnout.

          • J Galt

            For Russia to have rescued itself from the virtual slavery and occupation of the 1990s and be in the position of strength it now finds itself in, the Kremlin must indeed be run by extremely, indeed, almost supernaturally rational people.

            Very unlike the collection of clowns that passes for the Government of the UK.

  • Brian Davey

    Article by Nafeez Ahmed

    The UK government is manufacturing its nerve agent case for ‘action’ on Russia
    Official claim that ‘Novichok’ points solely to Russia discredited

    Excerpt

    The British government’s line has been chorused uncritically by the entire global press corps, with little scrutiny of its plausibility.
    But there is a problem: far from offering a clear-cut evidence-trail to Vladimir Putin’s chemical warfare labs, the use of Novichok in the nerve gas attack on UK soil points to a wider set of potential suspects, of which Russia is in fact the least likely.
    Russia did actually destroy its nerve agent capabilities according to the OPCW….Yet a concerted effort is being made to turn facts on their head.

    https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/the-british-governments-russia-nerve-agent-claims-are-bullshit-a69b4ee484ce

  • P

    Air Ambulance not decontaminated. why?

    Pictured Melksham primary school 5th March (Air Ambulance Twitter Account)

    Online incident log – 6th March – http://www.wiltshireairambulance.co.uk/what-we-do/incidents

    Nerve Agent Victim in aircraft on the evening of the 4th (police & paramedics called 4.15, unconcious women airlifted at about 5.15pm)
    http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/16064166.Russian_spy_is_one_of_two_in_hospital_after_medical_emergency_at_Maltings/

    Precautions taken

    Road ambulance locked down and sealed off at Amesbury Business Park
    Police Cars in Proximity to incident moved by army forklifts
    Sainsbury’s Car Park where Skripal’s car was parked sealed off
    Large areas of Salisbury sealed off incl restaurant, pub and walkways
    Grave sealed off
    Car recovery Garage sealed off
    Streets around home sealed off

  • Stasia

    I’m Russian, I really need to comment on this part that you start with words “I write as someone who believes…”. I don’t know about Litvinenko, but the part about Chechnya is utterly wrong. Kremlin didn’t blow up houses, they didn’t need any “pretext”, there were plenty of “pretexts” Russian people went through. I was a child but I remember very clearly how it is to constantly have terrorist attacks, I am from Moscow – suicide bombers exploded in metro, malls, streets, buses, there are so many people who saw those suicide bombers, there are tapes from cameras. Chechens were stealing people, women, children from streets in plain daylight and asked for money, or used them for organs, or kept as slaves. No western country ever lived in such a terror from jihadists. We had thousands of “pretexts” for war in Chechnya, nobody nedded to blow up houses, it’s just ridiculous. It’s a lie. It’s a outright lie. Also, “brutal assault” is another misrepresentation. Apparently you don’t know, that Chechens weren’t rebels fighting for independence, Chechnya was flooded by jihadists terrorists from Afganistan and other middle east/asian countries. Chechen people suffered from these barbaric radicals just as Russians. But you get all perspective from western politicians, who supported, most provably direcly “Chechen rebels” and cried a river when Putin beat them. Now I see clearly that Syria is suffering the same fake civil war. Something as protest/political struggle was used to start a war on Syria, with jihadist mercenaries flooded to Syria from all over middle east.

      • SA

        This seems to be your interpretation, a western centric vision of what has become important in the west. Political freedom (aka elections that do not change anything every 4 years, whilst poverty rates rise) versus actually having a job, eating having security and actually living, that is the choice to be made by some people in countries (Russia included between 1989-1999) being robbed by the western institutions of the WTO and the world bank..

        • Martinned

          Yes, how dare we impose our western values of democracy and human rights on the world. How western-centric of us.

          (We can talk about different people’s bona fides in applying these principles, but to describe them as inherently western is, well, ridiculous at best.)

          • SA

            They are because of some great hypocrisy. Human rights violations and war crimes are only performed by lesser nations. We are always right, whether we use torture, waterboarding, indiscriminate assassinations, invasions of other countries with loss of millions of life, lie about weapons of mass destruction and so on.

          • joel

            Western values of democracy and human rights were imposed on Russia through the 1990s.

          • SA

            We also share our Western values with the head choppers from Saudi Arabia, who seek to impose wahhabi rule over Syria.

          • N_

            All “democracy” means is consumerism and mass media, which do have a western origin.

          • Clark

            The Establishment – And how they get away with it
            Owen Jones 2014, 2015
            Chapter 8, The Illusion of Sovereignty, pg 282 Penguin paperback.

            It was just the beginning of a protracted nightmare. On the morning of 19 July 2006, as London basked in a heatwave, police, acting on an extradition request from the US, seized Hamja’s brother. When Hamja came downstairs, his mother was weeping. ‘They just came and took your brother,’ she told him. Talha had been accused of four key crimes between 1997 – when he turned eighteen years old – and 2004: conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; providing material support to terrorists; conspiracy to kill, kidnap maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country; and aiding and abetting. But he was not charged in Britain with any of these offenses, and spent six years without charge in the British prison system. The accusations mostly centred on a website that had been deactivated four years before police charged into their home. The website, Azzam Publications, had – it was alleged – promoted and facilitated terrorist activity in Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan, ‘It was a bit like an alternative media website,’ says Hamja. ‘The main actual object of focus was the Chechen war of independence from Russia.’ Talha had only a marginal association with the website, which was administered by another Tooting man, Babar Ahmed, who had been arrested by police officers in 2003. They had kicked, punched and throttled him in the process, leaving him urinating blood. (Five years later, the Metropolitan Police agreed to pay Babar £60,000 in damages, admitting that he had been the victim of a ‘serious, gratuitous and prolonged attack’.)

            [cites] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/mar/19/police-brutality-racism

          • streetparade

            Says someone whose biggest problem is what to watch on Netflix tonight. Syria, Libya and Iraq are really enjoying your attempts to remake them as Jeffersonian democracies. You failed utterly by the way.

      • Antoine Bisset

        Probably. Most people want to live a quiet life with their family. They don’t wish to live in jihadiville.

    • giyane

      Stasia
      I was fed all the jihadist propaganda about Russia flattening Grozny. Until I realised that the person feeding me the propaganda had been serving the CIA as an Islamist terrorist in Kurdistan. His job was to poke and provoke Saddam Hussain leading to the War against Iraq in 2003. 90% of the oil wealth of Kurdistan is now funnelled by Barzani to USUKIS.

      USUKIS is a criminal, illegal-war-making, colonial alliance. Probably Putin’s Russia is much the same. Between them they have fomented wars in all the Muslim countries, wrecking the infrastructure and bringing untold misery on the people. I realised a long time ago that Grozny got flattened because of the jihadists. The purpose of USUKIS creating jihadists by brainwashing them , rendition, was to create war in the Muslim lands. .

      • Rhys Jaggar

        She is Russian, English is not her first language. I bet her English is better than your Russian……

    • Rich Hillary

      So sorry to hear of your suffering. You make some very good points that I wasn’t aware of. Hope things are better now.

      • Stasia

        Yes, it was a big part of our life and memories are still very fresh, especially when we still have terririst attacks sometimes. I still have reflex of checking the bus or metro train for people in hidjabs or bearded radical-muslim-looking men. I remember well how me and my sister just in case checked exits in cinemas and where very vigilant when we went to see Harry Potter or Lord of Rings, because of terrorist took hostages in theatre and many people died. Or how mom didn’t want to let me go to school 1st days of every school years, fearing that Beslan would happen again. How in our school they put metal detectors. How I still never sit near litter bins – because terrorists liked to place bombs there. How I and many kids weren’t let to walk alone from school or play outside because of terrorists stealing people and it was a rarest miracle to get them back. How they executed people. How they made their hostages convert to Islam. How you still constantly walk past the memorials here and there where dozens or hundreds of people died in this or that attack. Transport, universities, cafes, hotels, shops, streets, houses, concerts, schools, transport stations, airports, markets – everything became terrorist target. In many cities. We had so many of that and long before Putin became a president and long before Putin became a president people were enraged by government not able to solve this. So he didn’t need really to create any more pretexts and for me it’s just so…not compatible with reality.

  • Clark

    P:

    Take your browser off-line, use the “back” button to see the air ambulance incident log.

    The on-line version has a gap between 09:34 28/02/2018 and 20:00 06/03/2018. From Google’s cache:

    Cardiac arrest, rapid response vehicle land assisted to hospital.
    Time & Date: 20:00 06/03/2018
    Where: Marlborough, Wiltshire Hospital: Great Western Hospital

    Not breathing, land assisted to hospital.
    Time & Date: 09:34 28/02/2018
    Where: Salisbury, Wiltshire Hospital: Salisbury District Hospital

    • P

      It reminds me of the official helicopter log of the flight that landed at scene where Dr David Kelly’s body was discovered.

      Freedom of Information Requests showed that the helicopter landed with 3 on board and took off with 4, this was denied by the police. Redactions on the FOI Responses attempted to obliterate the fact that 3 landed and 4 took off but they failed to hide all the vital information.

      The identity of the “3rd man” at Kelly’s death scene was never disclosed but it is widely believed to have been a CIA agent,. When the helicopter took off from Harrowdown Hill it flew to Kidlington Police HQ, the opposite direction from where it was based (Benson). It landed at Kidlington (airfield next door) and let its passenger off. (This was not the same helicopter as used the night before, that one was based at Luton)

      Anyway there were no emergencies that required G WLTS between 28/2 – 6/3 unless clause at top of online incident log applies
      “Not all incidents are posted online for a variety of reasons.”

  • SA

    So we have poisoning by Novichok, which I believe on the one hand can be easily made, is really a generic name, is very persistent and very toxic and not listed by the Chemical convention as a banned substance, and that has been made in the 60s and 70s in many countries in the former Soviet union. So how has this agent(s) now become: manufactured by Moscow and military grade.? Moreover, the other worrying fact is that we do not know how many people could have been exposed to this agent To my knowledge, there is no victim support helpline. The advice given about personal decontamination is rather amateurish and suggests that there is no real concern of wider contamination. The police do not seem interested in locating, or warning against a perpetrator on the loose in possession of such a lethal chemical weapon.
    And yet with all these inconsistencies, our PM accuses Russia of this attack. No wonder the Russians are treating this with derision. In fact thier response: please address these issues in the recognised way through the appropriate channels rather than broadcasts, is perhaps rather too polite.

    • Jo Dominich

      Hi SA, all questions that require an answer. It is forgotten or overlooked that the only sense being talked is by Russia at the moment. They are trying to pursue proper international processes and yes, they have been rather too polite but I respect Putin for that. It at least shows someone is thinking clearly here and attempting some sort of de-escalation. On the other hand though, on our side, diplomacy, international process and dialogue has been completely eradicated. The response and statements by our Government are quite frankly appalling. Boris Johnson and Williamson are severe liabilities. The Russians were quite right to question whether Williamson had received a proper education. It is still unclear why Teresa May did not pursue this matter through the appropriate channels and within the OPCW guidelines for these joint investigations. Teresa May has still yet to provide a sample of the alleged nerve agent to the OPCW. I would question her reluctance.

  • Stasia

    Another thing – is Georgia. Russia didn’t occupy any parts of Georgia. The territories in question is a land that for centuries disputed between Georgia and other Caucasian nations – Osetia and Abkhazia. After fall of Soviet Union Russia, these territories were autonomous. Many people there held Russian citizenship. As of start of conflict in 2008 these territories were not part of Georgia, and were pro-Russian. In 2008 very nationalist Saakashvili started an offence on Osetia and Abkhazia with help of NATO instructors (claiming that Russia with Osetia and Abkhazia) attacked Georgia (which is ridiculous because the one that didn’t like the status quo at the time was Georgia, let alone that Russia nor Oseta and Abkhazia didn’t have any claims for any parts Georgia, it was vice versa – Georgia considered Abkhazia and Ossetia to be Georgian territories and wanted to take them). There are many many many citizens – Osetia and Avkhazia who evidenced that Georgia attacked them, but they weren’t given a voice in the West, of course. So, please, check your beliefs.

    • SA

      I think that you are not abiding by the rules here Martinned, I hope the mods take note. You are being deliberately offensive without addressing the arguments.

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      Gamashkurdia was the freely-elected and popular president originally but murdered in a ditch by the German-acclaimed Shervadadze and his later follower Saakashvaali.The difficulty for me is defining the time when there was a radical break in the continuity. Certainly not with Gorbachov, Yeltsin or Shervanadze.My gut-feeling /hope is that Putin has broken free of the mould

  • N_

    Haha – Theresa May says no “royal” family members will go to the World Cup.
    What will happen to Prince Michael’s activities in Russia?
    BTW Boris Berezovsky was very pally with the royal family.

      • N_

        There may well be. Or Putin could do a Franco.

        The relationship between the Berezovsky organisation and the KGB is not simply one of opposition. The media euphemism is that there have been “important meetings on the Russian economy” in London. There have been several, over a period of many years. Prince Michael has been involved in the Russian-British Business Forum, and he is also patron of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce. The Russian and British ambassadors are involved in the RBCC too – it’s not an “anti-regime” group. Inside Russia, Prince Michael has a well-known profile, travels in motorcades, wears his beard that looks like Tsar Nicholas II’s, speaks the Russian language fluently, etc.

        If members of the British royal family have any accounts or assets in their name in Russia, wouldn’t it be funny if Russia blocked them?

        (They might also point out that unlike Britain, Russia elects its head of state.)

    • J Galt

      No Royals!?

      They’ll be sending another team over on the next plane to bump off another ex-spy just to make sure we don’t change our minds!

  • mike

    Disgraceful fact-free punishments dished out by the elites at PMQ’s today. The hivemind on display is frightening.

    Ian Blackford is a fool for going along with this jingoistic muscle-flexing. I suspect he is enjoying life in Westminster as the SNP Leader and has gone native.

    • Stu

      Blackford appears to be a full fat Neocon.

      When I suggested this a few weeks ago the Two Headed Tartan Haverers almost wet themselves.

    • Merkin Scot

      Mr. Blackford is doing untold harm to the Independence cause by his constant toadying to Westminster’s foreign policy. We would, rightly, expect the SNP to speak for Scotland and not for Westminster colonialists.

  • SA

    Listening to the Houses of the Parliament live broadcast is astonishing. It seems to be the only place where you can make fact free statements by MPs.

  • mike

    PS Pat on the back for Jeremy Corbyn for not regurgitating the sewage that everyone else in the Westminster bubble seems to have swallowed.

    • Loony

      Ah yes the Saintly Jeremy Corbyn

      Just check out some of hos comments regarding Yemen and the war there and British involvement in that war. Not hard to check as St. Corbyn has spoken at great length on the subject.

      Next check out all the things he has to say about Farouk Abdulhak. Why in a country suffering a humanitarian disaster would Mr. Abdulhak choose to live in Yemen rather than returning to the UK to answer questions about the murder of Martine Vik Magnussen. Slightly harder to check that out as not much has been said.

      Could it possibly be that, for different reasons, both Farouk Abdulhak and Martine Vik Magnussen are the wrong kind of people – and not the kind of people to interest St.Corbyn.

    • Jo Dominich

      Well said Mike. As George Orwell said, “the further a society drifts away from the truth the more it hates the tellers of it”

  • Maya

    “Iraq had weapons of mass destruction” – no evidence. Iraq was invaded and destroyed, Saddam Hussein killed, millions of innocent civilians murdered. It was a lie. “Syria used chemical weapons on its own people,” – no evidence. Syria overrun by terrorists, Assad attempted to be thrown over, thousands of innocent civilians murdered or displaced. Lie. Now Russia is “using chemical weapons on EU soil.” Hmmmm…. Anyone see a pattern here?

    • Maya

      p.s. What do all of these scenarios have in common? Western forces throwing accusations at other countries with no evidence as pretext to overthrowing ruling structures that are not bending to their will. The good news is, these people are clearly devoid of any imagination or creativity so they can only use the one narrative or modus operandi – eventually completely exposing themselves, thus being the agents of their own demise. Good riddance!

    • Republicofscotland

      Maya.

      Lets not forget the lies over Libya as well, which in now in a constant state of turmoil.

      http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/22/libya-and-the-myth-of-humanitarian-intervention/

      However the Great Satan and its minions failed in Syria, though Turkey is in full war mode in East Ghouta. Turkey shouldnt be allowed into the EU, as long as its a quasi-warring dictator state.

      Meanwhile radio news reports that Iran has three bases in Syria. Trump is looking for some reason to break the Obama/Iran deal, it would appear that he’s not happy about the bases, nor is the Little Satan.

    • nevermind

      Yes Maya, that is a pattern. Now for ten days plus has the BBC, a right wing media the Government and its foreign collaborators punched out this message Of Russia being responsible, again and again, in an attempt to shout over the clear discrepancies and falsehoods of their very own actions.

      The more they wriggle, the more the quicksand will give way, nobody wants to loose face over this, so the crescendo has to carry on ad nauseum, very likely souring attitudes in Russian people. Football fans should be made aware now that this Government will do nothing to stop their fractious, negative, ignorant and uncooperative ways, if fans get hurt by words or deeds they can thank the right wing belly aches in this country for it, hallo Bojo….

      Corbyn should have asked the question ‘whether the UK scientists in Porton Down have ever made Novichuk, or received it from another country’?
      As for the dissonance within his PLP group when he asked his Questions to Mrs. May, why be surprised, the knifes are still out for Corby’ns back, Miranda’s babes and boys will not support their party leader on this important issue of mass propaganda, neocons will be neocons.

      Thanks for the excellent article by Nafeez Ahmed, Brian and Mark, he is really a cutting edge journalist who knows his onions, his past work and research is dynamite, I can recommend his books to any foreign relations student.

  • SA

    Martha Kearney World at one, being bullied by a Tory not to ask searching questions about why we have not reported this to the OPCW yet and also as to why these 23 ‘spies’ have not been deported previously if they were known to be spies. It seems that in this matter no dissent is tolerated.

  • MJ

    I really have just heard a tory MP on Radio 4 news saying that compliance with the requirements of the OPCW would “tie the government up in knots”. It would indeed!

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Well it will only do that if their story is a load of unscientific twaddle. The OPCW is there for a reason. If the Tory MP does not like it, expose him to a chemical weapon. See how he likes that….

  • Stu

    The hysteria surrounding the mere suggestion that we should follow international protocols regarding the use of chemical weapons is very telling.

    It is undeniable that this nerve agent could be manufactured anywhere. Any genuine analytic process will deny the UK state and it’s media puppets their witch hunt.

    • Sergey

      Im Russian and in these videos there is no word about Putin.You’re manipulating.

  • Republicofscotland

    Watching the PM in the HoC, you could cut the anti-Russian sentiment with a knife, it’s that thick.

    May has intimated that 23 Russian diplomats will be told to leave Britain. Doesn’t she realise that Russia can do the same. The call for more sanctions, will not unnerve the Russian people one little bit, they are used to sanctions, and in my opinion, have a far greater mental strength in dealing with UN, Nato adversity aimed towards them, nurtured from past events.

    I really can’t understand May’s rush over the (Skirpal) matter. As far as I’m aware, and I could be wrong, under CWC rules, a country is allowed ten days to reply to a charge from another nation.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say May was attempting to garner public support by acting quickly and in a hard line manner. Realistically though it’s all just bluster and bluff from May.

    On the upside we won’t need to watch the royals swan around Moscow, garnishing fake smiles, during the World Cup.

    • N_

      Had the collapse of the Russian economy in the 1990s happened in Britain, there would have been famine. Rather like there is likely to be in Britain this year when the harvest doesn’t come in. There is far greater strength in adversity in Russia than in Britain.

      On the upside we won’t need to watch the royals swan around Moscow, garnishing fake smiles, during the World Cup.

      The World What? 🙂 True. They say every cloud has a silvery lining. Not sending members of the “royal family” to help advertise stuff at a football tournament will save the public purse millions!

      • Republicofscotland

        N.

        I believe that this whole fracas is to turn our attentions away from May’s inept tenure in government. Banging the war drums in times of a severe economic downturn, is a old favourite.

        Economy going to the dogs – I know lets have a war, or at least the threat of one. There’s nothing like it to garner public support, and turn heads away from the coming Brexit tsunami.

    • giyane

      I have never heard such blatant tripe as Mrs May from the House of Commons this morning. It is very important for Saudi Arabia to believe this farce, but even reciters of the Qur’an have been known to ham it up a bit.

      • Republicofscotland

        Giyane.

        Yes and Donald Trump in my opinion didn’t sound too convincing when he said (with regards to backing Theresa May’s stance) were right behind you – or words to that affect.

    • SA

      It has achieved so many positive results. It has distracted us from the unremitting gloom of the mishandled Brexit thing, it has caused sympathy amongst Europeans for our plight, it has neutralised labour for now, it may damage Putin and the elections and it may also have some effect in perception on Syria. All in all win win. Except of course it is all fantasy.

  • Anon1

    Never mind expelling diplomats, FIFA should take the World Cup from Russia and hand it to Britain to host. That would puncture little Vlad’s ego.

      • glenn_nl

        FIFA is bound to capitulate. After all, if England refused to play, surely there’d be no point in the rest of the world watching the tournament. On the other hand, if you sneak the FIFA executives a nice bung, they might well see things our way.

  • mike

    The BBC radio news just said that “Jeremy Corbyn agreed with Theresa May” at PMQs.

    That is a lie.

  • Sharp Ears

    Why 23 Theresa. Is that the magic number? You are being a silly woman. Putin and Lavrov are laughing like drains.

  • N_

    ANAGRAM COMPETITION

    Prince Michael, the member of the royal family who has most known Russian business links, operates through a company called Cantium Services.

    Can anyone think of a good anagram of “Cantium”?

  • Sharp Ears

    The Guardian, needless to say, are piling in on Jeremy Corbyn, quoting several Tory MPs (the usual suspects including Soames) and McNulty, a Blairite who resigned in 2009, following a second home expenses scandal.

    I heard Corbyn’s speech on the radio and would strongly disagree with what is being said. I will wait to see the Hansard as others should do

    Smear. Smear. Some of it sticks like treacle of course.

      • Jo Dominich

        Sharp ears. Yes he is but it shows the mentality of the Tory party really – they cannot stand any dissent can they? Jeremy Corbyn’s speech was absolutely correct as we should be following the rule of law here. Nearly a month into this and there is still no evidence forthcoming from the Government and they have still refused to send a sample to OPCW.

  • Republicofscotland

    If May follows through on her “promise” to add more sanction against Russia. People in Britain could find themselves with large rises in their energy bills, or products made from petroleum.

    BP has a 20% stake in the Russian oil and gas giant Rosneft. If May goes too far it could scare the market, and we could see a fall in the FTSE.

    “Messrs Usmanov and Abramovich have taken a chunk of the hallowed turf of the Emirates (Arsenal) and Stamford Bridge (Chelsea) and have operated perfectly legally here. But both are on good terms with Vladimir Putin.”

    Russian business runs deep in London, however May will need to pick her scapegoats carefully, and to make sure she doesn’t upset the wrong people in the process.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43384726

  • mrjohn

    My take
    Someone smuggled something nasty out of Porton Down, Skripal was an intermediary, the next person in the chain decided to test it and cover their tracks.
    Porton Down are covering their asses. Everyone else is milking it.

    • Sharp Ears

      Coincidentally, I read the Times when out this morning. Under ‘Court Circular’ you can read that P Charles visited MI5 in Millbank yesterday.

      Hope he had a useful visit and was brought up to speed on the latest UK psyop carried out on behalf of the Tories..

      • N_

        Were you checking for messages in the personal column? 🙂

        Interesting info about Prince Charles. He’ll be wanting to ensure no damage gets done to his financial interests and links in Saudi, elsewhere in the Gulf, Russia, or elsewhere. We all know the officials have got to step very carefully where Russian money in London is concerned, and mustn’t pull on the wrong strings. In the country, there are always different rules where the royal family are concerned.

        (E.g. I can’t think of any other ex-husband who managed to get his ex-wife’s body from the coroner and keep it in his own house until the funeral.)

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