Where They Tell You Not to Look 967

At the very beginning of the of the Skripal incident, the security services blocked by D(SMA) notice any media mention of Pablo Miller and told the media not to look at Orbis and the Steele dossier on Trump, acting immediately to get out their message via trusties in the BBC and Guardian. Gordon Corera, “BBC Security Correspondent”, did not name the source who told him to say this, but helpfully illustrated his tweet with a nice picture of MI6 Headquarters.

MI6’s most important media conduit (after Frank Gardner) is Luke Harding of the Guardian.

A number of people replied to Harding’s tweet to point out that this was demonstrably untrue, and Pablo Miller had listed his employment by Orbis Business Intelligence on his Linkedin profile. That profile had just been deleted, but a google search for “Pablo Miller” plus “Orbis Business Intelligence”, without Linkedin as a search term, brought up Miller’s Linkedin profile as the first result (although there are twelve other Pablo Millers on Linkedin and the search brought up none of them). Plus a 2017 forum discussed Pablo Miller’s Orbis connection and it both cited and linked to his Linkedin entry.

You might think that any journalist worth his salt would want to consider this interesting counter-evidence. But Harding merely tweeted again the blank denials of the security services, without question.

This is an important trait of Harding. Last year we both appeared, separately, at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Harding was promoting a book and putting the boot into Wikileaks and Snowden. After his talk, I approached him in an entirely friendly manner, and told him there were a couple of factual errors in his presentation on matters to which I was an eye-witness, and I should be very happy to brief him, off the record, but we could discuss which bits he might use. He said he would talk later, and dashed off. Later I saw him in the author’s lounge, and as I walked towards him he hurriedly got up and left, looking at me.

Of course, nobody is obliged to talk to me. But at that period I had journalists from every major news agency contacting me daily wishing to interview me about Wikileaks, all of whom I was turning down, and there was no doubt of my inside knowledge and direct involvement with a number of the matters of which Harding was writing and speaking. A journalist who positively avoids knowledge of his subject is an interesting phenomenon.

But then Harding is that. From a wealthy family background, privately educated at Atlantic College and then Oxford, Harding became the editor of Oxford University’s Cherwell magazine without showing any leftwing or rebel characteristics. It was not a surprise to those who knew him as a student when he was employed at the very right wing “Daily Mail”. From there he moved to the Guardian. In 2003 Harding was embedded with US forces in Iraq and filing breathless reports of US special forces operations.

Moving to Moscow in 2007 as the Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, others in the Moscow press corps and in the British expatriate community found him to be a man of strongly hawkish neo-con views, extremely pro-British establishment, and much closer to the British Embassy and to MI6 than anybody else in the press corps. It was for this reason Harding was the only resident British journalist, to my knowledge, whose visa the Russians under Putin have refused to renew. They suspected he is actually an MI6 officer, although he is not.

With this background, people who knew Harding were dumbfounded when Harding appeared to be the supporter and insider of first Assange and then Snowden. The reason for this dichotomy is that Harding was not – he wrote books on Wikileaks and on Snowden that claimed to be insider accounts, but in fact just carried on Harding’s long history of plagiarism, as Julian Assange makes clear. Harding’s books were just careful hatchet jobs pretending to be inside accounts. The Guardian’s historical reputation for radicalism was already a sham under the editorship of Rusbridger, and has completely vanished under Viner, in favour of hardcore Clinton identity politics failing to disguise unbending neo-conservatism. The Guardian smashed the hard drives containing the Snowden files under GCHQ supervision, having already undertaken “not to even look at” the information on Iraq and Afghanistan. The fact the hard drives were not the only copies in the world does not excuse their cravenness.

We know, of course, what MI6 have fed to Harding, because it is reflected every day in his output. What we do not know, but may surmise, is what Harding fed back to the security services that he gleaned from the Guardian’s association with Wikileaks and Snowden.

Harding has since made his living from peddling a stream of anti-Assange, anti-Snowden and above all, anti-Russian books, with great commercial success, puffed by the entire mainstream media. But when challenged by the non-mainstream media about the numerous fact free assertions on behalf of the security services to be found in his books, Harding is not altogether convincing. You can watch this video, in which Harding outlines how emoticons convinced him someone was a Russian agent, together with this fascinating analysis which really is a must-read study of anti-Russian paranoia. There is a similar analysis here.

Perhaps still more revealing is this 2014 interview with his old student newspaper Cherwell, where he obvously felt comfortable enough to let the full extent of his monstrous boggle-eyed Russophobia become plain:

His analogies span the bulk of the 20th century and his predictions for the future are equally far-reaching. “This is the biggest crisis in Europe since the Cold War. It’s not the break-up of Yugoslavia, but the strategic consensus since 1945 has been ripped up. We now have an authoritarian state, with armies on the march.” What next?

“It’s clear to me that Putin intends to dismember Ukraine and join it up with Transnistria, then perhaps he’ll go as far as Moldova in one way or another,” Harding says. This is part of what he deems Putin’s over-arching project: an expansionist attempt to gather Russo-phones together under one yoke, which he terms ‘scary and Eurasian-ist’, and which he notes is darkly reminiscent of “another dictator of short stature” who concocted “a similarly irredentist project in the 1930s”.

But actually I think you can garner everything you want to know about Harding from looking at his twitter feed over the last two months. He has obsessively retweeted scores of stories churning out the government’s increasingly strained propaganda line on what occurred in Salisbury. Not one time had Harding ever questioned, even in the mildest way, a single one of the multiple inconsistencies in the government account or referred to anybody who does. He has acted, purely and simply, as a conduit for government propaganda, while abandoning all notion of a journalistic duty to investigate.

We still have no idea of who attacked Sergei Skripal and why. But the fact that, right from the start, the government blocked the media from mentioning Pablo Miller, and put out denials that this has anything to do with Christopher Steele and Orbis, including lying that Miller had never been connected to Orbis, convinces me that this is the most promising direction in which to look.

It never seemed likely to me that the Russians had decided to assassinate an inactive spy who they let out of prison many years ago, over something that happened in Moscow over a decade ago. It seemed even less likely when Boris Johnson claimed intelligence showed this was the result of a decade long novichok programme involving training in secret assassination techniques. Why would they blow all that effort on old Skripal?

That the motive is the connection to the hottest issue in US politics today, and not something in Moscow a decade ago, always seemed to me much more probable. Having now reviewed matters and seen that the government actively tried to shut down this line of inquiry, makes it still more probable this is right.

This does not tell us who did it. Possibly the Russians did, annoyed that Skripal was feeding information to the Steele dossier, against the terms of his release.

Given that the Steele dossier is demonstrably in large degree nonsense, it seems to me more probable the idea was to silence Skripal to close the danger that he would reveal his part in the concoction of this fraud. Remember he had sold out Russian agents to the British for cash and was a man of elastic loyalties. It is also worth noting that Luke Harding has a bestselling book currently on sale, in large part predicated on the truth of the Steele Dossier.

Steele, MI6 and the elements of the CIA which are out to get Trump, all would have a powerful motive to have the Skripal loose end tied.

Rule number one of real investigative journalism: look where they tell you not to look.

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967 thoughts on “Where They Tell You Not to Look

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  • John Goss

    As to the Yulia Skripal petition it occurs to me that because Russia Today has not got back to me there could be some heavy negotiations going on behind the scenes between representatives of Russia and France, UK and US (FUKUS). I can’t see how the triumvirate trying to fuck us can end up anything but fucked themselves.

    However, if Yulia Skripal was assured safe passage to Russia I would happily take the petition down. They are never going to grant Sergey safe passage.

    • Doodlebug

      “They are never going to grant Sergey safe passage.”

      And if the premise has any merit that events in Salisbury are in some way connected to the Steele dossier, then he wouldn’t be welcome in the USA.

      • John Goss

        He might be welcome in the Democrat camp. It is all so convoluted and puerile I am relaxing with a drop of pop and reading “Godfather of the Kremlin” by Paul Klebnikov the subtitle of which is “Boris Berezovsky and the looting of Russia”, Harcourt, Inc, 2000.

        Klebnikov, clearly an accomplished journalist, academic and a very brave man, was only 41 when he was murdered in Moscow. Some suspicion fell originally on Chechens who were arrested, tried, acquitted then wanted for a retrial after they had vanished. Many think Berezovsky, friend (if these people have real friends) of Litvinenko, was behind his murder. If you can get a copy it is good reading.


        • BrianFujisan


          I was reading Tonight’s comment ny Rusian Spokes Woman Maria Zakharova.. not the best of Translations but good enough ( Still I should Brush up on my Russian.. Ahem ) –

          ” The fog dissipates, and the numerous lies governments of Theresa may budding all clearer

          The first lie of the government of Theresa may that British experts had established the country of manufacture of a chemical that was allegedly poisoned by the skripalej was officially disproved by British experts in the face of the head of the lab-down lab.

          The second lie of the government of Theresa may regarding Russia’s alleged motive for poisoning the skripalej in connection with the historically bad conduct of our country has been refuted by the Russian side, including by bringing about a regular violation by Britain of norms of international law, ethics and morality in order to achieve its own “National interests”, As well as a few obvious motives for this provocation, advantageous London.

          The third lie of the government of Theresa may that the ” Rookie ” was allegedly produced only in Russia, today denied the president of the Czech Republic, who confirmed the development of this sending substance by his country: ” the Czech defence research institute produced and experienced a agent substance that the military intelligence of the country classified as ” new “, reported by the president of the Republic, Milos Zeman, with reference to the report of the intelligence

          It will be with all the other lying in London.

          We’ll talk about it in detail tomorrow. “

          • John Goss

            “I’m overdue the ‘pop’ though. Enjoy!”

            I did Doodlebug. If I get time I’ll take a look at the video. I’m working harder these days than when I was in employment.

      • stjm

        “Safe passage”…..probably no need.
        Those babes mayn’t be doing any more passaging this side of doomsday; if so, may they have a nice RIP with their hamsters and cats.

    • Jo Dominich

      Hi John, I can’t see any negotiations going on between them – the UK/US/FR are too anti-Russian at this point for Russia to even come to the table I should think. After all, the UK won’t even allow the Consulate access to Sergei and Yulia. I think the delay might be due to something else

      • John Goss

        “I think the delay might be due to something else”. You could be right Jo. The trouble is we just don’t know and are purposely kept in ignorance.

        I am expecting the OPCW to come back with its report after the local elections are over. Ant the news item tucked away somewhere to be forgotten forever.

  • Doodlebug

    I attended a talk last night at which the speaker discussed a historical crime (the 1999 London nail bombings). His scepticism concerning the subsequent investigation is reflected in this quote:

    “Incessant reference to police retrieving 1094 CCTV tapes, with 26,000 hours of recording, and spending 4000 man hours viewing them, is (also) highly beside the point, for, given that there was a known location reference (where the bomb went off), and an exact time, as all cameras would have been jolted by the blast, the indisputably ‘painstaking work necessary’ was not quite looking for a needle in a haystack.”

    Is this not a horse from the same stable as Mark Sedwill commenting recently about a dearth of CCTV cameras in Salisbury, compared to London, when only one or two cameras really matter – those in the immediate vicinity of the infamous park bench.

    • copydude

      The council spent 500,000 on this new system . . . and yes the park bench and walk from Zizzi are in plain sight.

      • Doodlebug

        Hence no excuse for withholding any image(s) that might help identify the perpetrator(s). It is however a practice at which the Met./Special Branch are expert.

  • alasdairB

    The Yemen tragedy continues unabated , as described @Moon of Alabama , and no nation is making any attempt to rein in the deliberate massacres by the Saudis taking place on a daily basis with Uk supplied fighter jets and munitions.
    Surely on a humanitarian basis this muder of Yemini children and families cnnot be allowed to continue.
    Enough is enough or in this case too much.
    Surely the lure of Saudi oil together with the attraction of Saudi wealth is not the influencing factors in the UK , France & the USA not taking any measures to stop the Saudi massacre of the Yemini in their homeland.
    Surely it’s time for some serious hard talking by BlowJo & the FCO but, on reflection, I won’t hold my breath on this matter as Sterling & the London property market are considered more of a priority than the death count in Yemen.

    • Dennis Revell


      You actually think Western Establishments give a damn about, have the slightest pangs of conscience over hoy-polloy Brits. their ever destructive murderous domestic paradigms kill, let alone distant usually at least slighty duskier ‘forrin’ hoy-polloy there even MORE destructive, even MORE murderous international paradigms kill?

      They do NOT.

      The Western establishment lamenting over the ALLEGED deaths of children by chemical agents in Syria is of a type made by crocodiles.


      • Mary Paul

        sorry this is unintelligible, are you perhaps not a native english speaker?

        • Dennis Revell


          Well, the post was not intented for idiots but for an INTELLIGENT audience, specifically alasdairB to whom it was a reply – so you should have felt free to ignore it; well at least until your school teaches you more about multi-clause sentences.

          Did I mention that you are an idiot?


        • Dennis Revell


          Well, with Billy Bostickson (is anybody really named that?) that makes two of you here in serious need of re-schooling in the inGRRRlish language.

          Sad to see that that number of dipsticks on Craig’s page seems to be increasing.

          Anyone else?

          C’mon, let’s weed you out.


          • Gideon Blackmarsh

            You might what to reread what you typed, slowly, so that you see what’s actually there in black and white rather than allowing your memory of what you think you typed to alter your perception of it.

            To give you a couple of pointers: you start with what is clearly intended to be a question but it finishes at the fullstop after “Brits”; the next sentence, the remainder of that first paragraph, starts with a lower case letter, and judging by the question mark at the end was presumably meant to be part of the same question with which you embarked. One thing I’m pretty sure any school ought to teach about multi-clause sentences is that they don’t have fullstops in the middle of them.

            Even when allowances are made for those grammatical errors, your first paragraph makes less and less sense the further into it one goes. I’m sure you’re just going to call me an idiot too, but you might want to consider that the lack of comprehension you’re encountering has more to do with your poor writing ability than it does with the intelligence level of those reading what Billy Bostickson quite rightly described as “gibberish”.

            For what it’s worth, if you’re trying to say that Western governments don’t care about their own citizens any more than they do about the foreigners they kill with scarcely a second thought, and that they only feign concern (about us or said foreigners) when it’s politically expedient for them to do so, I agree with you.

          • Mary Paul

            …….and hoi-polloi is spelled incorrectly, but then you appear to be rambling in some gibberish and vocabulary of your own invention. I should go easy on the sauce if I were you. Or maybe you are just tired and emotional?

        • Dennis Revell


          And now they are THREE – the idiots that is: MARY PAUL, BILLY BOSTICKSON, and now the latest and most expansive, who reveals greater and greater idiocy with every sentence: GIDEON BLACKMARSH.

          FIrsly I never claim not to make typos, or grammatical errors; in fact I realised that in my hurry in typing (8 finger variety unless you count the thumbs), that there was at least one spelling error right after i pressed the ‘Post Comment’ button. As Craig’s blog does not unfortuneatly allow editing of posts I could not correct it.

          I’m very surprised that the deeply anal-retentive, though grammatically ignorant, GIDEON BLACMARSH did not sneeringly point this out; I will at the end***.

          He does however INCORRECTLY interpret the “.” I use after ‘Brit’ as a full stop, being blissfully unaware apparently, something his deficient English teacher did not impart to him, that the “.” is ALSO used at the end of a sequence of letters to indicate ABBREVIATION. ‘Brit.’ being an abbreviation of British RIGHTFULLY, (though I will say perhaps pedantically on my part), rightfully gets a ‘full stop’ “.” at the end.

          – – – In summary there are ONLY three sentences in the whole of my post – one for each paragraph.

          I was going to say more but it’s just occurred to me, why the hell am I wasting my time teaching thiese ignorant fuckers English?


          I’ll just say that the ONLY sense that this English-Comprehension-Challenged dick-wad GIDEON BLACKMARSH makes is in his last paragraph – which is essentially correct. I do not claim that the first sentence in my post was the simplest I’ve ever written – there was ever only one of those 😉 – I wrote it being an eight fingered typist who types almost as quickly as I THINK as that comparative idea came into my mind; Indeed the gist WAS: If the Brit. Govt. (NOT the end of this sentence, which continues -> ) does not give a flying fuck about the welfare of the Brit. (not the end of the sentence either) people, it can hardly be expected that they would give a flyiing fuck about the welfare of distant dusky forriners (sic).

          *** I used ‘their’ correctly in the first instance to indicate the possesive, but used ‘there’ incorrectly in the second instance when I also should have used the possesive ‘their’

          Now I suggest that you trio of idiots (I really, Realy, REALLY hope that’s all there are here) just go FUCK OFF and try to do something constructive with your lives for a change. I really had misjudged the dire effect of not managing to ‘sneak’ into secondary level school before Maggie Thatcher came to power – I wonder if it’s anything to do with the lack of milk?


          • Gideon Blackmarsh

            Instead of being insulting to anyone who points out your grammatical errors, you could try acknowledging and learning from your mistakes.

            When you type “Brit. Govt.” or “Brit. people” (as you did in your abusive reply to me), yes, there should be a “.” after “Brit” to indicate that it’s an abbreviation of British, but that isn’t what you said in your orginal post, is it? You said “Brits”, a plural noun referring to natives of “Britain”. Whilst the word “Brit” may have entered the language as a shortening or abbreviation of “British”, “Britisher” or “Briton”, it has been spelled without a “.” for over a century. Consequently, people are going to (and did) interpret “Brits.” as being the end of the sentence.

            https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Brit (Briton)
            https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Brit. (British)

            I do agree with you that trying to educate a foul-mouthed ignoramus who thinks he knows everything is not a constructive use of my time. This will be my last word on this matter. Let’s hope we’ve heard your last word on the matter too.

  • Sean Lamb

    Everyone is busy preparing the ground for the announcement that A-234 was used at Douma. Narrative arcs are being constructed, song sheets for people to sing from are being distributed and Ahmet Üzümcü of the Organisation for the Promotion of Chemical Weapons is lending a hand


    The quantities of A-234 used in Salisbury suggest it was manufactured as a weapon. Apparently as much as 100 mls was applied to the magic door handle.

    Fortunately the Forth Estate has abandoned all pretensions to acting as a watchdog and that jaw-dropping claim goes completely unchallenged in the media.

    • Tony

      The Guardian article states that the substance was collected from the park bench, which seems surprising given that the fire brigade in full hazmat suits decontaminated the area on the sunday evening

    • Doodlebug

      And I’ve just seen a unicorn walk past my front window. The devil is, as usual, in the detail:

      ‘The former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a dose of liquid nerve agent as large as 50-100 grams, according to the director general of the international chemical weapons watchdog.’


      ‘In an interview with the New York Times, Üzümcü said he had been told that about 50-100g of the nerve agent was thought to have been used in the attack in Salisbury.’


      ‘He said: “For research activities or protection you would need, for instance, five to 10 grams or so, but even in Salisbury it looks like they may have used more than that, without knowing the exact quantity, I am told it may be 50, 100 grams or so, which goes beyond research activities for protection.”’

      n.b. ‘HE WAS TOLD’

      Hence the assessment is falsely credited to ‘Ahmet Üzümcü, of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’, since it belongs to whoever instructed him prior to the NYT interview.

      And it doesn’t end there.

      ‘Samples of the agent were collected from the door handle of the Skripal home, the park bench where the two collapsed and “a few other places where the Skripals were present,” he added. (How on earth did the cleansing operatives distinguish between droplets of ‘Novichok’, dog pee, ‘Fanta’, snot, and whatever ever else winds up on the pavement – the Skripals are elsewhere supposed to have stepped in it don’t forget. Does it too fluoresce with the application of Luminol?)

      ‘“One thing, perhaps, which is important to note is that the nerve agent seems to be very persistent,” Üzümcü said. “It’s not affected by weather conditions. That explains, actually, that they were able to identify it after a considerable time lapse. (But doesn’t explain NHS England’s advice about simply washing it off with detergent). We understand it was also of high purity.”’ (‘We understand’? From whom? Wasn’t this the OPCW’s own assessment, albeit via a sub-contracted laboratory?).

      Yet another sponsored attempt at making a silk purse from a sow’s ear – a project doomed to fail, however hard they try.

      • Sergei

        Ahmet Üzümcü was trying hard to maintain an appearance of impartiality, but with this latest interview he has gone fully to the dark side. I recommend everyone go to their kitchen, put 100 g (~100 ml) of water into a measuring cup, and ponder how all that could possibly fit on a door handle. Just 20 mg of VX applied to the skin almost certainly kills an adult male (“10 mg kills half a tested population”). The still undisclosed Novichok-class agent is supposed to be “5 times deadlier than VX”, therefore just 4 mg of that agent applied to the skin almost certainly kills an adult male. Even if we multiply that amount by 250 to paint over the whole door handle, that’s still just 1 g. But 100 g? Is Mr. Üzümcü nuts? Even if he was “told” that, surely he must understand that it’s complete bollocks. Therefore, he’s lying, lying by uncritically repeating a statement that he knows makes no sense.

        While we’re on the topic of quantities, the CW Convention allows producing and stockpiling of up to 100 g of VX per year. However, an exception is made for “research purposes”, allowing up to 10 kg of VX per year. Thus, Mr. Üzümcü’s claim that the alleged quantity of 50–100 g is somehow beyond what would be synthesized in government labs, is a lie.

        Of course, since Novichok-class agents are not part of CW Convention, there’s no restriction on their production at all. There’s no requirement to even report their production to OPCW. Czech representatives tried to raise this issue with OPCW, but were shut up by Department of State (see Wikileaks cables).

        • Radar O’Reilly

          I’d suggest further weighing out 100 grammes of Vodka from the freezer into a glass any d work out how to pour it on a door handle , then drink it as a toast to ‘lost friends’

          It was obvious from the seeding first to the NYT that this was a news-plant of the good old Bernard Ingham/Ali Campbell level of ‘trust’, as this qualified quantity was needed to counter the real-fact that the Czech’s have been sitting on for a week!

          from NYT (first source seen in the release timeline) “Investigators have said that the substance was applied to the door of Mr. Skripal’s home, and that it likely seeped through their skin over the course of several hours, rendering them unconscious after they left a restaurant in central Salisbury“

          A few Vodkad would render me unconscious too!

        • Leonardo

          Thanks for pointing this out. I basically got to the same conclusion by a different path. Let’s try to make a crude estimate of what 50g of Novichok applied to the door handle would entail.

          Let’s assume the Skripals’ door handle can be schemetized as a 10 cm long cylinder with a 1 cm diameter. As crude as this assumption might be, I think it’s pretty reasonable. We are interested in the order of magnitude, after all.

          While we don’t know much about Novichok, we know that its molar weight is comparable to that of VX and that the two substances are both designed to be used mainly in liquid form. So, in the computation I will assume a density similar to that of VX, which is basically the same as water, to a very good degree. So 1g/cm3

          With these figures, to apply 50g of Novichok would require for it to be spread on the door handle with an average thickness of about 8-9mm. Which is hardly believable, to put it mildly.

          But even a half millimeter thickness would equate to about 1.5g of the substance, which is many times the LD50* (that is, the dose that would kill half the people that absorb it), even taking into account that a casual contact with the door handle would not expose the individual to the whole substance.

          The door handle would be an inefficient vector anyway. The chemical would be subject to wear because of the weather and if someone were to touch the handle while wearing gloves the poisoning would be delayed and the absorbed dose might end up plunging below the LD50. Which would amplify the risk of “failing a mission” while giving away the sponsor all the same. It doesn’t make much sense to me.

          *Novichock is estimated to be at least 3 times “more powerful” than VX, so I will assume an LD50 of around 7 mg. Thus, 1.5g would be around 200 times the LD50 quantity.

        • Jo Dominich

          Interesting – it seems to me that AU’s statement is only based on information provided to him by the UK Govt – more fool him if he believes it let alone states it publicly.

      • Humbaba

        This also contradicts the claims by Vil Mirzayanov, who is considered in the West to be the “inventor” of the Novichoks. According to Mirzayanov, Novichoks are very volatile and are easily washed off by rain, “only a fool would use Novichoks in the humid weather of the UK.”

    • Billy Bostickson

      “Everyone is busy preparing the ground for the announcement that A-234 was used at Douma”
      Not wishing to be rude, but that sounds unlikely, what evidence do you have for it?

    • Dennis Revell


      100 ml applied to door knob?

      That’s either a humongously large door knob, or A-234 is the stickiest substance on Earth – in which case the Skripals died and went to inGRRRland.


  • Dennis Revell

    : 😉

    It seems “they” learned nothing from the spectacular failure of the admonition:

    “the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat”


    For certain, Western establishments are vitally interested in sowing confusion as to what is good and what is evil on this and other matters.


  • Gideon Blackmarsh

    So, yesterday was World Press Freedom Day. A spokesperson for Reporters without Borders was on the radio with some depressing, but unsurprising, information. In the index of press freedom, the UK is currently 40th out of 180 countries. This is our lowest ranking and we’ve fallen 18 places since 2002. We’re also the worst performing in this regard in western Europe. Our poor positioning, the spokesperson explained, is due in part to the Government’s habit of censuring on the grounds of risks to national security.

    From the intro to the Wikipedia article on World Press Freedom Day:
    “The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day or just World Press Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in Windhoek in 1991.”

    Did any of our press comment on the Day or did they hope it would pass by unnoticed?

    • Geoffrey

      As a matter of fact they did Gideon. There was a long article in The Times at least a week ago on it. In fact they never stop talking about it. At least once a week they write something about the lack of press freedom.

      • Gideon Blackmarsh

        Thanks, Geoffrey. When you say they never stop talking about it in the The Times, do you mean press freedom in general or specifically the freedom of the press here in the UK? If the latter, I’d be interested in a link.

        Rereading my final question in the above post, it comes across as “Did our press say anything? I bet they didn’t”. The point of the question was actually more along the lines of “I’ve not had time to check what’s been written today and I’m just about to go to bed. Did anyone spot any comments by our press about censorship in this country?”

    • Mary Paul

      In the light of the D notices in the UK, have any of the European states published anything? eg France, Germany, Italy. l

  • Mochyn69

    Well that’s really telling it the way it is, isn’t it?

    In an interview with the New York Times, Üzümcü said he had been told that about 50-100g of the nerve agent was thought to have been used in the attack in Salisbury – 100g is equivalent to 100ml, the maximum amount of liquid allowed in carry-on luggage on a flight.


    Sounds like double hearsay to me.

    • Tatyana

      russian comments on this statement by Mr. Ahmet Uzumcu are really funny )))

      “100 grams of warfare poison? Are they serious? 0.1g of VX through the skin is guaranteed to kill a 100-pound person… And “Novichok” … is SEVERAL times stronger than VX.” (c) sergeyschs1

      ” 50 grams of warfare agents are unable to kill two people? Yes, one fart in the elevator is more effective !!!! ” (c) a-v-burylov

      ” with 50-100g of Novichok you may poison half of Britain. So the conclusions of the OPCW – another stud in Theresa May’s libelous ass ” (c) Booz

        • flatulence

          there is no need. There won’t be any complaints because they will swiftly become corpses. Happy holidays!

  • Rhys Jaggar

    RT reports that Czech President ordered an investigation into whether the Czech Republic ever produced Novichoks, in response to Russia naming several countries which could have. Two contradictory rports emerged, one of which concluded that A230 was produced in Brno in small quantities and subsequently destroyed. The President considered the report concluding that Novichoks were produced to be more cogent.

    ‘We seem to have produced Novichok. There is no need to lie about it….’, which in diplomatic tems is a censure of his Prime Minister, who went on an incensed rant after Russia’s claims, of about eight on the Richter scale.

    All of which proves little more than that Russia’s claims as to where Novichok could have been produced has been given some credence and Uk’s claim that nowhere but Russia could produce it (apart from Porton Down, that is) has been given a signficant knife to the ribs.

  • jazza

    So, on World Press Freedom Day leeds Cty council cancel the long planned Media On Trial event for UKColumn

    “Media on Trial Booking Cancelled

    Media on Trial has released the following statement:

    Today, on World Press Freedom Day, Leeds City Museum, a city council owned and operated venue, cancelled the Media on Trial’s booking for the event we had planned for 27 May.

    The fact that the event was cancelled is perhaps bad enough. What became clear as the day has progressed, though, is that Leeds City Museum appear to have informed the press and media of the cancellation before they informed Media on Trial organisers. Indeed they waited for the Media on Trial representative to arrive at the venue for a planned meeting following a four hour train journey before giving us the news.

    They seem to have taken this decision on the basis of misinformed assumptions about the content of the event, and offered no right of reply to Media on Trial.

    Leeds City Museum has cancelled an event that threatened mainstream media and UK Government narratives that have enabled another regime change war to be waged against Syria, financed by British taxpayers contributions.

    The cancellation of the event denies public consensus a platform to express its profound dissatisfaction with the systematic disinformation campaign run by a British media that protects power from truth, rather than holding truth to power.

    Media on Trial fully intends to hold this event despite these attempts to silence us. We will be in contact with ticket holders shortly to explain our plans.

    Further information will be published at https://www.mediaontrial.uk in due course. If anyone in the Leeds area can suggest alternative venues, please let us know and we will pass the information along. In the meantime, please share this as widely as possible.”

    So the authorities are declaring WAR on the british people and our FREEDOM OF SPEECH & EXPRESSION – the boundary lines have been drawn – local councils are the enemy of the people

    • Peter Rumsby

      The similarities between East Germany and Britain grow day by day, it seems that “start the day with a D notice” is becoming more prevalent, Blair’s legacy just steamrollers on.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ jazza May 4, 2018 at 06:32
      They are a great group, Frome Stop the War. I’m sure they’ll find another venue. Shame on Leeds Council; let’s hope Media on Trial turn Leeds Council’s dastardly attempt to stop the truth getting out to their advantage.

    • Mary Paul

      has it occurred to anyone that maybe Leeds City Council were told to cancel it by the “authorities” , while all these D notices are in place, in the interests of national security?

  • Sharp Ears

    The ultra smarmy Adam Boulton on Sky News is stirring up the anti-semitism meme in his ‘analysis’ of the local elections results this morning. He is saying that the difficulties that Labour and Corbyn have been experiencing have affected their results.

    He has just quoted Barnet as a case in point and on their website, this is quoted.

    LIVE: Tories gain Barnet after Labour anti-Semitism row
    07:18, UK, Friday 04 May 2018………

    Anti-Semitism impact for Labour
    As we wait for the final result in Barnet, it is worth noting Labour lost a seat in Kersal, Salford, to the Tories earlier.

    The population of the ward is 41% J**ish, no doubt demonstrating the impact of Labour’s anti-Semitism row.

    and so on.

    The bias against Corbyn is both insidious and sly. SKY NEWS AND BOULTON ARE A DISGRACE.

      • Gideon Blackmarsh

        It’s more a precautionary measure, I believe, to prevent the comment being deleted by automatic moderation software which might regard the uncensored word and related terms as taboo topics. I don’t think the word is on the taboo list for this blog (and your ability to type the uncensored word would back that up), so Sharp Ears probably just does it out of habit after having comments deleted elsewhere.

      • Mary Paul

        My local Tory party flooded our area with leaflets but interestingly the three local candidates were identified only by name and photo. There was no personal statement about them, no comment on their interests, background etc. They could have lived 200 miles away. There was also no information about them on the local Conservative Party website and nor could I find anything on any of the other websites about yesterday’s candidates. I suppose it was assumed that they were standing on a party ticket so telling us something of their background and interests did not matter.

  • quasi_verbatim

    Salisbury Porker update from the Guardian:

    The Turk has turned and the fix is in.

  • Sharp Ears

    Leeds City Museum’s curator is John Roles.


    It would be interesting to know the make up and interests of the committee members within Leeds City Council who are responsible for the Museum’s activities.

    This is censorship of free speech by a public body that is funded by the people.

    Robert Stuart of Saving Syria’s Children and others have also written about this censorship.


      • Paul Barbara

        @ Sharp Ears May 4, 2018 at 08:06
        Well, the press is ‘free’ insofar as they give the Standard away at Underground stations.
        How they get people to actually pay money for propaganda rags like the Guardian is a mystery.

  • Jo Dominich

    I’ve just realised that the FCO had supported yesterday’s World Freedom of the Press day – they sent a tweet. I thought this was priceless given how our MSM are nothing more than a Propaganda machine for the Tory party and given the D Notices they have slapped on the Skripal case.

    • Doodlebug

      You don’t. And the Skripals are supposed to have had it on the soles of their shoes. Presumably it dripped from the door handle to the floor below and they walked it into town. Half the population of Salisbury is now dead, hence the relative lack of complaint about those people in fancy dress using hoses to purge a substance that’s water resistant, apparently.

      The Bull that deposited this turd is one big, dangerous beast.

      • Peter Rumsby

        Doodlebug: perhaps they followed official advice and used babywipes.

    • SO.

      Cellotape the bottle to it with a little label saying ‘not poison’?

      I wonder if anyone’s pointed out the minor fact that 100ml of N5/N7 or GV agent should be enough (with individual dosages) to kill approximately 10,000 people.

      It’s quite remarkable the Salisbury investigation managed to miss such a quantity for a few weeks especially when considering the remarkable speed at which they successfully identified not only the compound in particular but the culprits too…

      • Tatyana

        I’m curious how will they now tie up all the loose ends of this narrative? Or will they just shut up and never bring ‘results of investigation’ in public?

        • SO.

          They won’t even bother.

          The fact it doesn’t make any sense is irrelevant.

          Instead they’ll just blank the story, classify the case as a national security issue and the media idiots will continue to regurgitate the same paranoid fantasy they’ve always done until whatever fantasy world they’ve created supplants reality in enough peoples minds.

          Truth through simple repetition & we’ve always been at war with whoever.

          • bj

            Salisbury treasures its tourism, I am lead to believe. Any yet they have an obligation to inform the general public about silent lethality that may lie around every corner in their beautiful town.

            Their main tourism website though gives no mention at all. I think the tourism website should be seen as the canary in the coalmine here. It doesn’t lie. It is a calm and quiet matter of course there; the canary is s still alive and kicking.

      • copydude

        So wrote. “I wonder if anyone’s pointed out the minor fact that 100ml of N5/N7 or GV agent should be enough (with individual dosages) to kill approximately 10,000 people.”

        DEFRA: “The risk to the public is low”

        • SO.

          > One thing, perhaps, which is important to note is that the nerve agent seems to be very persistent,” Üzümcü said. “It’s not affected by weather conditions. That explains, actually, that they were able to identify it after a considerable time lapse. We understand it was also of high purity.”

          Interesting old contradictions eh?

          Funny thing since it was initially reported that it’s not persistent at all and reacted with water.. Now it appears i’s not only immune to the weather but that there’s about 100ml of it tromped all over sailsbury without even a single accidental death.

          It’s almost as if the public information disseminated with regards to the novochok series is somewhat misleading.

        • Sergei

          Just wipe it with a soft cloth. I guess in the event of a nuclear explosion their recommendation would be to just pour a bucket of water over it.

          • bj

            Instructions for cleaning with water are to be found on YouTube; just search for ‘white helmets syria’.

      • Doodlebug

        “I wonder if anyone’s pointed out the minor fact that 100ml of N5/N7 or GV agent should be enough (with individual dosages) to kill approximately 10,000 people.”

        I just did, sort of.

    • Sharp Ears

      Well old Hamish de B-G said at the start of this nonsense that CW can be made in powder form or else as an oily gloopy substance, so we mustn’t contradict the expert. 😉

      • Jo Dominich

        Sharp Ears, same as he said in the first instance that it was used in powder form. Old Humbug-de-bullshitter-grand should perhaps take a a dose of something himself – preferably an antidote to grandiose delusions if importance!

    • flatulence

      now picturing a bucket propped above the door. It’s just a Russian prank. We would fill the bucket with water, but these guys use pepper spray on their chips and they throw Novichoks on each other for laughs. Childish sense of humour these Russians, granted, but they sure are hard fcukers.

      0.4mg may kill an adult English male, but 100g is only enough to make a Russian consider changing his or her shirt. Only consider mind.

  • N_

    @Paul Barbara

    As Kissinger said: ‘“Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” Some realise they are being used, like Veterans For Peace’, and campaign against the Warmongering ass*oles, but most just take the Queen’s shilling, and their tot of rum.

    More specifically, many of the cocky opinion-channellers in the British army view the wars against Muslim forces in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of a larger war that will include war on British streets in places like Bradford. That is a very common view in the army.

    There is no better place online than arrse.co.uk to keep up with what British soldiers really think. I highly recommend it as a source for information on beliefs and morale. The armed forces are not like the rest of society. The army in particular were around 80% in favour of Brexit. The figure among Tory voters was only 58%. Or to put the figures another way: Tory voters were 1.4 to 1 in favour of Brexit, whereas the army was 4 to 1 in favour.

    The army is a far right nationalist organisation. We are talking about a hatred of “chavs” that is so extreme that it may make some people’s jaws drop.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ N_ May 4, 2018 at 09:30
      Thanks, I’ll check it out when new hostilities threaten.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ John Goss May 4, 2018 at 09:34
      What Churchill quote? The Facebook page just gives a list of videos.

      • Doodlebug

        It comes at the end of the short video. I shall not repeat it here as it is grossly offensive. Even ‘the Donald’ would not stoop so low.

    • Doodlebug

      Instructive. Thank you John.

      Co-incidentally on Wednesday I happened to notice a pic. of Treason May on a tabloid front page (the Express I think it was) adopting the most un-statesman/woman like pose I can ever recollect seeing. If she believes there is a need for her to posture like an Amazon she is truly mistaken.

  • Sharp Ears

    There is a nasty comment about Craig on Crawford’s latest blogoir entry in which Crawford was boasting of his prowess in training a speaker. You have to pay the Garudian to have the speechifying training from Crawfie! http://charlescrawford.biz/2018/04/20/giving-a-speech-whos-next/

    It was put on in the name of ‘John Gross’. I think I know who might have placed it. So patently predictable. So transparent. John used to be addressed on here as Goose or Gross. Vile stuff.

    The following piece is entitled Syria: Red Lines. Don’t bother to find it.

    • Doodlebug

      Perhaps someone should just add ‘Hello’ so that poor ‘Johnny’ doesn’t feel quite so lonely, his being the only comment to date.

    • Keith

      The language is similar to that of a post a couple of pages back.

      The subject is the same – subscriptions and tax.

      What seriously weird behaviour!

  • N_

    What is Sputnik’s source for the allegation that western forces are planning to stage a second false-flag chemical attack? Last time, the information came from the top, from Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian general staff. As we know, that information was correct.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ N_ May 4, 2018 at 09:46
      I posted on that below, not having read your question. It’s based on Syrian Intelligence.

  • Sharp Ears

    A Tool to Combat Washington’s Middle East Wars
    A Review of Dan Kovalik’s The Plot to Attack Iran: How the CIA and the Deep State have Conspired to Vilify Iran
    by Stansfield Smith / May 3rd, 2018

    The Plot to Attack Iran gives a readable and well-referenced look at Western — especially US — abuse of Iran. The author and human rights lawyer Dan Kovalik presents a concise overview of US imperial conduct since World War II. The book is a reminder, which we need from time to time, of the outrageous hypocrisy and deceit of the US government and the corporate media. Kovalik also drives home that Washington’s foreign policy operations are not just a threat to other countries, but threaten the basic safety of the US people.

    The US strove to crush any Iranian attempts to create their own development path for their country, particularly as oil became an important resource. The US has continuously sought to overthrow the government since the 1979 revolution. The book reviews the US-British coup against Iranian democracy in 1953 which installed the brutal Shah, who established the SAVAK torture network. The double standard of Jimmy “Human Rights” Carter, the struggle against the Shah’s murderous regime, the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini, the background to Iran-Contra, the US playing both sides against each other during Iraq’s war on Iran, the US relations with the Taliban, and the US-Saudi war on Yemen are all covered.

    One aspect that could be added to the book is a summary of the social gains made by the Iranian people in the Islamic Republic, particularly under President Ahmadinejad (2005-2013), who instituted many anti-neoliberal programs which helped the poor. For instance, poverty had been reduced to one-eighth of what it was under the Shah, while health care is free for those who can’t pay.

    Kovalik does note that in 1970 only 25% of Iranian women could read and write. By 2007 it was 80.3%, compared to 88.7% for men, and 90% percent of women are enrolled in school, free for all even through university. While about one-third of university students were women before 1979, now women make up 65 to 70% of the students. Women are legally entitled to ninety days maternity leave at two-thirds pay, have an entitlement to employer-provided child care centers, both gains which are denied women in the US. Iran has an equal pay for equal work requirement, also denied women here.


    • Doodlebug

      What did they ‘find’ in the ruins of the pharmaceutical company that was reduced to rubble?

      Rubble, I imagine.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Doodlebug May 4, 2018 at 10:34
        Sure, rubble. But also traces of whatever it was they were making or storing there. But of course, that wouldn’t suit the narrative, so they stay shtumn (unless they planted something).

    • Jo

      Going to exhume some bodies apparently…although I seem to recall the Syrian doctors saying there were no bodies ….?

  • Laguerre

    I presumed the 50-100 gm of Novichok from Uzumcu was a typo for 50-100 mg. 50-100 gm is a massive physical quantity, and quite improbable.

    • Doodlebug

      Good point. The average weight of a violin bow is c. 60 gm. and that comprises wood and metal (the horse hair contributes very little). That said, you’d have thought the editor should have been more on the ball, since as small a thing as a mis-placed comma can prove very costly, never mind mis-representing the force of a WMD, so-called, in the midst of a weapons debate. It could after all result in a 21st century equivalent of the Charge of the Light Brigade (taking the offensive on the strength of a mis-construed message).

    • Tatyana

      no, Laguerre, no typos, there’s also explanation by Mr. Uzumcu
      “… required to declare production or stockpiling of Novichok beyond the 5 to 10 grams needed for research purposes, or to develop an antidote, he said…”
      here is the article by The New York Times –
      I think that general director on Chief Chemical Weapons organization in the World knows difference between grams and milligrams. He must also know what effect this quantity might produce in Salisbury.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Tatyana May 4, 2018 at 12:40
        The guy doesn’t appear to know his arse from his elbow. Who gave him the job? He might make a good dogcatcher or hair stylist, but head of the OPCW?

      • MightyDrunken

        What Laguerre says makes sense, 100g is a huge amount, most research purposes could easily be met by 50-100mg. However in researching the rules it appears that for Schedule 1 chemical weapons which have the most stringent conditions, Wikipedia states:
        “These may be produced or used for research, medical, pharmaceutical or chemical weapon defence testing purposes but production at sites producing more than 100 grams per year must be declared to the OPCW.”

        So it looks like Ahmet Üzümcü did not make a mistake. I guess they have no real idea how much was used or made other than what they found. So some spinning is going on. It appears they are suggesting that whoever made it broke the rules even if someone else used it. Though I thought Novichok was not on the schedule list yet!

  • Thomas_Stockmann

    Last night the first part of Lyse Doucet’s documentary about Syria was shown. I believe it will prove important in shaping opinion, at least among those who take any interest in foreign affairs. Let me say first of all that I think she is a brave and principled journalist, and I don’t doubt that she intended to be even-handed and to portray what she believes to be the truth. Moreover, there is no denying the overall brutality of the Assad regime towards its opponents, whatever disputes there may be about individual incidents.

    As expected, the narrative hinged around Obama’s supposed fatal error in not enforcing his “red line” with an attack. The impression was given that up until that point, the rebels were largely moderate and the regime was about to fall. Obama’s alleged weakness created the space for Russia to step in and for the Saudis and Qataris to turn to more radical groups.

    I linked yesterday to an interview with Obama in which his reasons are retrospectively reaffirmed. It confirms what Seymour Hersh reported, that James Clapper gave Obama reason to doubt the intelligence that the regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta, and makes the point (mentioned only in passing in the documentary) that the strike would not have destroyed the weapons (too dangerous to attempt and too uncertain) and that the OPCW removal deal was far more effective in this respect.

    More importantly, Lyse Doucet’s narrative about the opposition in Syria glossed over those aspects which might prove uncomfortable for potential Western supporters of the revolution. In effect, she “detoxified” the opposition by playing down its largely Islamist character and the role of foreign interference, and by suggesting that the Saudis and Qataris were largely driven to the radicals by frustration. Her questioning of the Saudi foreign minister (urging democratic reform and condemning brutality!!) was particularly weak.

    The Free Syrian Army was supported by Turkish intelligence from an early stage, and Turkey has been accused of playing a major role in destabilising Syria. Doucet made no mention of the arms pipeline from Libya via Turkey, and pushed the start date of Saudi/Qatari funding back (she didn’t even mention Kuwait). From an early stage, the revolution developed sectarian characteristics in terms of which communities were loyal or rebelled, though some Sunnis supported the government. The revolution drew a lot of its support from small towns and rural areas where Islamic beliefs are strongest; many protests followed Friday prayers. The objectives of the opposition groups and the balance between them were never adequately discussed in the documentary, but many, probably a majority (even elements in the FSA) believed in Sharia law, many were salafists, many foreign jihadis took part, many were salafist-jihadist. In these circumstances, the strategy of the CIA and others was to treat as “moderate” those groups which in their view posed no (immediate) threat to the West. An analysis which covers the Syrian opposition in its early stages can be found here:
    One notable feature of the above document, by Aron Lund, is that it makes clear that the release of Salafist activists from prison by Assad in an early amnesty was part of a package of measures to assuage Islamist opposition. Doucet repeated the unproven claim that it was all a plot by Assad to discredit the opposition, and ignored the Iraqi roots of some of the jihadist opposition in Syria.

    Of course, in largely Muslim countries it is to be expected that some of any democratic opposition will be Islamic. The hope in Egypt was that it would be moderate and pragmatic, but even in a country which had experienced much less violence than Syria, the tensions proved uncontainable, bizarrely leading secular liberals to support a military coup. In Syria the prospects of a truly moderate and democratic Islamic government in the present climate look substantially worse. I suspect some in US intelligence are counting not such much on their own forces but on the requested Saudi/Qatari troops to prevent reprisals and ethnic cleansing if Assad is toppled with the aid of Western air power. I have little confidence in that, and fear that the consequences could be even grimmer than what we have seen so far, leading to an even bigger refugee crisis.

      • Thomas_Stockmann

        Sorry if it’s a bit wordy. It was meant to be a critique, not a synopsis. 🙂

        • Sharp Ears

          Not a fine and principled journalist. She works for the BBC, the state broadcaster for goodness’s sake. She is a stooge and shill for the New World Order and the USUKIsNATO axis’s continuing wars. Her hearts and flowers sob stuff does not distract me from her message.

          She even has an OBE plus so many honorary doctorates, it’s difficult to count them.

          This is the killer.
          Doucet has been a Council Member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and is currently a Council Member of the International Council for Human Rights (ICHR) based in Geneva.

          Lyne was on Chilcot which squelched Blair’s liability for trial as a war criminal.

          You cannot make any of this stuff up.
          ‘Sir Roderic Lyne is now Vice-Chairman at Chatham House where, from 1986 to 1987, he was a Visiting Research Fellow. He is an advisor to JPMorgan Chase,[1] who have been chosen to operate the Trade Bank of Iraq, which will give banks access to the financial system of Iraq [7] He was a special adviser to BP, which currently has major interests in Iraq.[8] He is a non-executive director of Petropavlovsk plc (formerly Peter Hambro Mining). He is a member of the Board of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce; the Board of Governors of Kingston University; and is a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation.[6] From 2005-7 he was a member of the Task Force of the Trilateral Commission on Russia.[6] He was a member of the Chilcot inquiry into circumstances leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq,[9] having been appointed to the Privy Council in 2009.[10] Several people have commented that he is the toughest inquisitor on the committee.[2] He currently sits on the Advisory Council of the Front Row Group of Companies Ltd.’ Wikipedia

        • Doodlebug

          I wasn’t being sarcastic. I appreciate your comments, having missed the programme myself.

          • Sharp Ears

            Thanks doodlebug. I was replying to Thomas Stockmann.

            btw I am old to remember the doodlebugs used in WW2. We lived in the New Forest. You could hear the whine as they fell. Then a silence and then the explosion. Horrible. Southampton was being bombed to smithereens.

          • Doodlebug

            So was I! (these indents can get quite confusing). Thankfully I am not quite old enough to have experienced the blitz first hand, nor have I adopted my alias with ridicule in mind. I play string quartets with friends, one of whom persistently signs his e-mails ‘V2’, which makes me ‘V1’, which was, historically….

    • Paul Barbara

      @ John Goss May 4, 2018 at 12:13
      I tried to post a comment, I got thanks for your comment or somesuch, yet nothing appeared. I tried again, same thing. Yet it says the comments haven’t been moderated. I tried a third time, just saying ‘Search ‘Let Yulia Skripal speak’ and take the appropriate action’ and even that didn’t appear, so maybe I’m blacklisted.
      I don’t do twitter, but if there are some tweeters on this thread, could they please tweet about this petition, and see if you can get more joy than we’ve been getting on other platforms?

  • Sharp Ears

    From the Campaign Against the Arms Trade by e-mail

    ‘Amazing news just in! This morning, Judges have ruled that we can continue our legal action on arms sales to Saudi Arabia!

    Our case – which aims to stop the sale of arms that could be used in Saudi Arabia’s ongoing bombing of Yemen – will be heard in the Court of Appeal in the months ahead.

    We couldn’t have got this far without your support, so thank you!

    It’s vital that we stop these sales. Just a few days ago a Saudi airstrike in Yemen hit a wedding party, killing at least 20 people, including the bride.

    The Ministry of Defence’s own figures record 42 potential violations of international humanitarian law in the first three months of 2018 alone.

    These atrocities are being carried out with UK made warplanes and UK made bombs and with the support of the UK government. Since the Saudi-led bombing campaign began in 2015 the UK has licensed over £4.6billion worth of fighter jets and bombs to the regime.

    UK arms export policy clearly states that the government must not allow the sale of arms if there is a ‘clear risk’ that the arms ‘might’ be used in ‘a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.’

    The sales of these weapons should never have been allowed. With your help we’re going to stop them.
    If you can, please donate to support the next stage of our campaign.
    You can also help keep the pressure on by sharing this success and asking your friends and family to sign the petition to the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, telling him to stop putting arms company profits ahead of Yemeni lives.
    https://www.caat.org.uk/get-involved/act-now/petition/boris-stop-arming-saudi (Warning. On the link there’s a photo of Boris and Treeza sitting with the Saudis)
    If we can stop the flow of weapons, we can help end the suffering in Yemen. And all the time we keep Saudi crimes in the public eye we are making it harder for the government to secure more arms sales. Last year Defence Minister Michael Fallon told MPs that criticism of Saudi Arabia is ‘not helpful’ and threatens a proposed deal to sell more fighter jets.

    Thank you so much for your support. It’s good to be able to share progress today!

    Sarah Waldron
    Campaign Against Arms Trade
    P.S. We’re taking action next Saturday in solidarity with Bahraini human rights activists, protesting King Hamad’s attendance at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Saudi Arabia used UK-made weapons when it intervened to help crush democracy protests in Bahrain in 2011, and the UK government continues to whitewash Bahrain’s human rights abuses today. Do join us if you can.’

  • P

    hahahahaha, no no, it is getting even more funny!
    100 ml of Novichok! This is one big vodka in my country. I suppose you can kill at least the whole Liverpool with 100ml Novichok.
    Given the supposed price of this I assume the Russians could have used not one but 10 big vodkas to kill them! The price would have been 20 Pounds.
    It is so embarrassing for Britain!

    • Tatyana

      I’m not surprised with quantity, let it be, nevermind
      but what surprises me most – how did they know the bench in the park?
      Did they use a crystal ball or mirror and candles to know which bench in the park must be sprinkled with Novichok? They also need exact time, not to hurt anybody but Scripals.
      I say, the police officer was affected too, so the bench must be contaminated.

      • Tatyana

        If we suppose for a moment, that Skripals were poisoned at the restoraunt. It is easy to give poison there not affecting anyone else. And I think it was another poison, not Novichok at all.
        To make the case a ‘russian assassination’ one need to add Novichok into samples for OPCW. It can explain why pets survive, why no chemical hazard to the town was announced, high purity of Novichok in samples, its absence in the cemetry, why they didn’t know who the poisoned woman is until Victoria said she is Yulia, why they even didn’t take care of pets until Viktoria asked of their destiny, why they don’t allow Yulia or Sergey go public, why they denied a visa for Victoria, why they denied consular access.

        I just say 50-100 gramms of high purity Novichok spread here and there in Salisbury and no one person dead – it is nonsence.

        Or, as simple as, OPCW just took samples ‘gathered’ by the UK. And echo what they hear from the UK.

        • Tatyana

          It can also explain why they didn’t ask Russia for antidote, why they banned Russia from investigation, why OPCW didn’t jump into the incident immediately, why medics at the hospital were not affected, why had nobody seen a person in hazmat costume applying Novichok to Skripal’s door, why pets were hastily killed, why sources of information all top-secret.

  • Paul Barbara

    @ John Goss May 3, 2018 at 22:44
    ‘As to the Yulia Skripal petition it occurs to me that because Russia Today has not got back to me there could be some heavy negotiations going on behind the scenes between representatives of Russia and France, UK and US (FUKUS). I can’t see how the triumvirate trying to fuck us can end up anything but fucked themselves.
    However, if Yulia Skripal was assured safe passage to Russia I would happily take the petition down. They are never going to grant Sergey safe passage.’
    As I suggested, and you may have missed, it is better to phone them in normal office hours, rather than leave a message on their answerphone out of hours and expect them to get back to you.
    I think they will actually be very interested in the mediating firm’s apparent shenanigans, and probably don’t have a clue it is going on.
    Or that the firm is based in the US and Tel Aviv.

      • John Goss

        It is not there. Please take a screen shot of what you see Paul. The petition is not going up anywhere. Otherwise there would be hundreds and thousands of signatures. Did you look at the FB message I sent you with a screen shot of what I see and you don’t? Or is that not there either?

        • Tatyana

          I’ve just checked, there is no direct link to petition.

          Paul Barbara • 3 hours ago
          … Search ‘Let Yulia Skripal speak’ https://www.change.org/p/th… and take the necessary action.

          I also shared the link with my Twitter and Facebook – no reaction at all. Today I put a question at Quora.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Tatyana May 4, 2018 at 17:55
            Thanks, Tatyana. We do seem to be getting some kind of handle on the fact they are screwing us up re what we THINK is being presented through our comments or whatever, to what is actually getting out.
            I’m no tech buff, in fact I’m almost totally techno-lacking, but some good folks amongst us will, hopefully, be putting the info together and figuring what they are up to, and how we can respond (if we can).

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Tatyana May 4, 2018 at 17:55
            If you just search ‘Let Yulia Skripal speak’, it will come up, So are you getting my comment on South Front?

        • Paul Barbara

          @ John Goss May 4, 2018 at 16:47
          Sure, I got your facebook message and saw two screenshots, but hey were far too small for me to make out any details.

          Here is what I see:
          Paul Barbara • 8 hours ago
          Many among us don’t believe a word of the British narrative re the Skripals. Search ‘Let Yulia Skripal speak’ https://www.change.org/p/th… and take the necessary action.

          •Edit•Reply•Share ›
          frankly • 9 hours ago
          Just give the World one logical reason for the Syrian people to attack their own people with chemical weapons. Ironic given the F.UK.US coalition has lots of reasons to stage them. The main one being they have no legal basis to be in the country at all. These fake attacks, if real, would be there only premise.

          The F.UK.US support of all terrorists in Syria and the inability of any legal entity to stop it or even comment on it is perhaps the single most terrifying fact of all!

          •Reply•Share ›

          Paul Barbara • 10 hours ago
          Many among us don’t believe a word of the British narrative re the Skripals. Search ‘Let Yulia Skripal speak’ https://www.change.org/p/th… and take the necessary action.

          •Edit•Reply•Share ›
          NeoLeo • 10 hours ago
          Of course they’ll try this again. Douma was the fakest of all false flag attacks in history, yet the western mainstream media (100% controlled by intelligence agencies), still repeat that utterly debunked garbage, instead to finally expose ‘white helmets’ as a complete fraud/ cheap terrorist propaganda.

          •Reply•Share ›
          Steve Bell NeoLeo • 10 hours ago
          Robert Fisk seems to be the lone exception- his interviews with people in the tunnels of Douma exposing the fraud should’ve been headline news everywhere.

          Chances are, South Front use the same ‘moderating’ service as RT, without realising they are playing into the hands of USIS.
          We could actually be on to something here, I’m sure RT and South Front don’t have a clue what kind of ‘moderators’ they are paying to ‘moderate’ their sites.

  • MightyDrunken

    Robert Fisk has another article on The Independent that I found by accident, “Once the Syrian war is over, Qatar could become an empire once more”

    Nothing earth shattering but some of his thoughts on Syria, Qatar and Israel.

    I see I also missed this article by Robert Fisk on his visit to the Scientific Studies and Research Centre in Damascus which was bombed.


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