Bikini Girls and Cyberwars 937

The Times claims to have identified the Kremlin’s latest secret weapon in Cyberwars – “Bikini Girl” @Organicerica. Except there is no evidence @Organicerica has any Russian links or promotes any Russian interests.

It does appear likely that @Organicerica is a bot. The Times claims this is proven by the timing and regularity of the postings (interesting as they claim the same kind of activity pattern proves nothing in the case of Philip Cross). I am prepared to accept, for the sake of argument, that @Organicerica is a bot, or at best a young woman running an automated posting programme.

But what is the output? Promotion of organic restaurants in Seattle. Environmental campaigning particularly against pesticides and genetically modified food. Nothing whatsoever on wider politics, foreign policy, Clinton. And nothing whatsoever related to Russia.

What kind of mindset do you need to have, automatically to equate opposition to Monsanto and to chlorinated chicken with being an agent of the Kremlin? Why is The Times publishing this absolute rubbish? It says something both about the quite hysterical Russophobia gripping the media and political class, and about the desire to delegitimise environmental activism, as witness the jailing of the anti-fracking protestors (against which jailing 1,000 academics have now signed a letter of protest).

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937 thoughts on “Bikini Girls and Cyberwars

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  • N_

    Resigning as US ambassador to the UN, Nikki “Expenses” Haley praised Jared Kushner to the skies. Will her take over in the post?

      • Charles Bostock

        She’s of Indian (Sikh) ancestry – what’s the connection with an Arab state?

        • IrishU

          It was a less than subtle and less than amusing allusion to the death of the Christopher Stevens, American Ambassador to Libya, who was killed by Islamists in Benghazi.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Since Stevens was a wholly inappropriate choice for the job I thought the US would continue with its ludicrous track record

          • IrishU

            Care to elaborate? On which key criteria for the job of Ambassador was he unsuited?

            Stevens had 20 years experience in the Foreign Service, had knowledge and experience of the Middle East and more specifically had been posted to Libya twice before.

            So why was he ‘wholly inappropriate’?

        • Tom

          I believe Sikhs often hate Muslims. Priti Patel is also of Sikh ancestry. I don’t know whether either Haley or Patel dislike Muslims, but just saying…

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Kushner is Israeli Viceroy in DC. Unelected, under 40, biddable and corruptible. Perfect for Netanyahu’s boys.

      • IrishU

        On what do you base this statement? Apart from Kushner and Netanyahu sharing the same religion. Or is that sufficient for you? If so there is a word for that.

        • Charles Bostock

          I agree. And the constant use of “Nimrata Randhawa” for Nikki Haley smacks just a little of racism, does it not? In that it appears to be used to devalue her somehow.

          Her married name, which she uses, is Haley and her family has appaerntly used “Nikki” since she was a child.

          • uncle tungsten

            Thanks Charles but to be precise she is a human warmonger, you can’t be devalued further.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Smacks of racism does it Charles ? Well tell us your true name. I find that someone called Nimrata Randhawa who anglicises her name and says she is Christian to get elected nevertheless continues her Christian devotions in a Hindu temple to be more than highly suspect I not a complete flake.

            I realise it probably causes your ever-so-proper PC antenna to spark into overload but we are not all fooled by fakes to the extent you appear to be. Don’t get choked with your PC hysteria

        • Deb O'Nair

          Kushner and Netanyahu share a similar political and ideological world view, along with many US and UK politicians, which has nothing to do with religion in as much as religion does not (or certainly shouldn’t) define a political ideology. Granted, any religion can be hijacked to promote a political ideology, but the political ideology does not define the religion.

          • Paul Greenwood

            I did not realise the basis of Jewish State Law was “Ideological” and “political” without reference to religion. Apologies !
            1. The State of Israel
            a) Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people in which the State of Israel was established.
            b) The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, religious, and historic right to self-determination.
            c) The fulfillment of the right of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.

            6. The Diaspora
            a) The state will labor to ensure the safety of sons of the Jewish people and its citizens who are in trouble and captivity due to their Jewishness or their citizenship.
            b) The state will act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious legacy of the Jewish people among the Jewish diaspora.

          • Deb O'Nair

            “Granted, any religion can be hijacked to promote a political ideology”

            What you have posted is a racial doctrine and not a religious one. It should not need stating that many Jews are atheists but passionate Israeli nationalists and many Jews are devout worshipers who oppose the current Israeli political leadership, particularly the Israeli Nation State Law, because it is racist.

            Conflating the religion of Judaism with Israeli nationalism is a tactic as old as Zionism. The right wing government of Israel does not represent the Jewish religion anymore than it represent the Jewish people. Judaism is represented by the people who follow it and most are not Israeli citizens and many hold views in opposition to the current Israeli political leadership.

            The point I make is that IrishU was promoting an antisemitic trope; that Kushner and Netanyahu are bound by their religion. Whilst, rather ironically, accusing Rhys Jagger of antisemitism. What binds Kushner and Netanyahu is politics not religion.

        • Jo1

          I suggest you enlighten yourself regarding the main focus of Kushner’s activities since his father-in-law became president rather than throw pitiful allegations around.

          • uncle tungsten

            Well Jo1, I hear the people of Palestine are telling us exactly what Kushner’s activities and main focus means for them.

          • Ffrank

            What? Did Kushner stop funding illegal settlements on stolen land then?

            “Kushner did not disclose his foundation funded settlement projects” –

            “Jared Kushner did not disclose on government filings his position as a director of a family foundation that funded projects in West Bank settlements.

            Kushner’s position as co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation from 2006 to 2015, when the foundation donated at least $38,000 to the building of a Jewish seminary in the West Bank settlement of Beit El and an additional $20,000 to Jewish and educational institutions in other settlements, was not disclosed on his filings with the Office of Government Ethics, Newsweek reported Sunday.”

        • Paul Greenwood

          Netanyahu slept in Kushner’s bedroom when Kushner Sr was such close buddies with Netanyahu that he came to stay at their home.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Yes because Bolton wants to destroy the UN and there are moves to strip Russia of Security Council Veto which will lead to the collapse of the UN. Rockefeller donated the stockyards he owned for building the UN in New York so that the US could not just walk away as it had from League of Nations. Bolton and Trump want to wreck UN as a forum and drive Russia and China out.

        They will end up with a hemispheric world north to south but might end up with a borderline between UK and France along 0 degree longitude

  • Sharp Ears

    Jonathan Ashworth Lab and Phillipa Whitford SNP have led the attack on Stephen Barclay, the so called Health and Social Care Minister, who has been attempting to defend the government’s inaction on the storage and disposal of clinical and non clinical waste shambles. They, and other MPs, demolished him. He gives the impression of being dead from the neck up.

    I will put up the Hansard report later.

      • glenn_nl

        A very fair point. However, your question implies a slight criticism of our sainted SE, so you will not receive a reply.

          • glenn_nl

            You have caustic comment for virtually everybody, myself included.

            What makes you so precious? I have tried making peace with you in the past, and you’re not interested. Grudges are your specialty, even as you denounce others for every last past behaviour, going back many generations.

        • Twostime

          playing the ball and not the man ? … ditto Clarityn above. Haley is a democrat? or do you mean Democrat, she’s a Republican but there’s little light betwixt either party in the land of eternal war. She is and will continue to be a screaching war-hawk at the UN until her tenure ends.

          • IrishU

            Not at all. I come here to debate and challenge. Some are here to cut and paste long tracts of dubious information about the same topics over and over. Those same individuals refuse to accept challenges and usually resort to insults.

      • uncle tungsten

        Oh Clarityn that’s too easy. Any decent minded peacemaker will do. Its time to put the belligerents aside and promote the peace and nation builders. MEGA make earth grand again.

      • glenn_nl

        See? You cannot simply respond to someone even a bit critical about a point you’re making.

        Why do you do that? Why can’t you respond to someone directly, instead of making snide comments in the third person?

        “Some on here” indeed. There was one person who responded to you directly, this is not honest comment.

        I probably agree with over 90% of the points you make, and you’ve written me of as an Enemy of the People. How do you think you’re ever going to convince anyone not already onboard? If n ot, why are you wasting so much of your precious time?

        Sincerely asked. Not expecting much by way of an honest return, though, I have to admit. We’ve both been here for about a decade, so that’s a pretty sad indictment on you. Surprise me, though, I’d be delighted.

          • glenn_nl

            Yes, we must be on here at the exact same time.

            I would hope an honest person would have a more expansive reply, though.

          • Ian

            She is a martyr, glenn, and as such is beyond mundane debate. (S)he has suffered greatly on our behalf by listening to May’s speeches, Andrew Marr etc and reporting back how awful they are. Clearly we had no idea, without this selfless sacrifice. We are not worthy.

        • Hatuey

          Glenn: “Surprise me, though, I’d be delighted.”

          Glenn, I doubt that surprising or delighting you is high on sharp’s priority list. At least, I hope it isn’t. You do yourself no favours by making things personal like this.

          • IrishU


            Out of interest how long have you been commentating or reading this blog?

            I ask because I have been reading and commenting for about eight or nine years (reading longer than I have contirbuted). During that time Sharpie’s various incarnations have dealt out considerable personal abuse by lieu of reasonaed debate. For some unfathomable reaosn it only becomes trolling when she is attacked, either personally, or her contributions challenged. Strange that.

          • Hatuey

            Irish, I didn’t accuse anyone of trolling. I didn’t see anyone calling anyone a troll either. I have no idea what you mean by this.

            But I’d defend sharp on the grounds that he or she isn’t simply here as so many are to win pats on th back. He or she has also championed the Palestinian cause which in my opinion is firmly in the top 10 most important issues of the day.

            I couldn’t really comment on Glenn as I don’t know much about him. I suppose, though, if you’re going to have background noise then you need a certain amount of people to take part.

          • glenn_nl

            H: “Irish, I didn’t accuse anyone of trolling. I didn’t see anyone calling anyone a troll either. I have no idea what you mean by this. “

            If you’d been here for more than 5 minutes while paying attention, you’d know SE accuses anyone not instantly paying her full deference and agreement a “troll”.

            But don’t let that stop you making snap judgements and telling people around here how they ought to regard each other.

  • Dan

    God bless Russia. They gave us Dostoyevsky, Stravinsky and Kandinsky. Can’t say much fairer than that.

    • Ingwe

      Just heard the appalling Helena Kennedy QC who calls herself (not many in the know would agree) a human rights lawyer, holding forth on PM (Radio 4) condemning Russia for the Skripal poisonings. It’s bad enough when the MSM asserts guilt with no evidence but when a so-called human rights lawyer makes the same comments, also without seeing any evidence, then it becomes apparent that her Damehood was not for contributions to human rights jurisprudence, but for kissing the Establishment’s arse. She will now be wheeled out on every occasion to justify the government’s Russian phobia.

    • uncle tungsten

      Totally with you Dan and they give us great fireworks in Ukraine about once every year interspersed with excellent UK all fools day in Salisbury now and then.

  • glenn_nl

    Interesting (to me anyway) that a Latvian I work with expressed some dismay at the BBC coverage of their election on the weekend.

    From the BBC take, it was “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!”

    However, from this Latvian’s perspective, the main hard-line pro-Russian party got very little, while Harmony (pro-Russia Lite) got 20%. That made them the largest single party, but they actually lost 10 seats from the 100-seat Saeima (their equivalent of Parliament). No other party is likely to enter in a coalition with them, so the idea that this is a Russian takeover is ludicrous.

    The pro-European parties also got a boost this time around. About a third of the population are actually Russians of various sorts, so the pro-Russian showing in the polls is no surprise at all.

    It appears the BBC’s foreign audience is losing faith in its impartiality, which is a rather sad thing to hear.

    • Ivan Sharkov

      Just bear in mind that most Russians who reside in Latvia do not hold Latvian passports and are not allowed to vote.

      • glenn_nl

        Interesting… how do they get residency, in such large numbers? They are not EU citizens.

        • Aslangeo

          The Russians and other Slavs have been there a long time. Latvia and Estonia have stripped all those that arrived since 1940 of basic civic rights it is an apartheid system. They do have a very onerous naturalisation process and children born in Latvia to non citizens can become citizens. I guess that some ethnic groups don’t qualify for common decency

          • Charles Bostock

            Come off it. When the USSR occupied the Baltic states for the second time it sent off a few hundreds of thousands to the gulag and imported Russians. That’s why there are so many ethnic Russians there.

            The first occupation was in 1940.

          • N_

            Yes indeed – it was a disgrace that Latvia was allowed to join the EU after it denied citizenship to a large proportion of its residents.

            This is similar to what at least two SNP supporters suggested here when they proposed banning English residents of Scotland from voting in a second independence referendum.

            It was equally wrong when the Nazis did it to the J__s in Germany.

          • Resident Dissident

            The first occupation was long before 1940 – and the Swedes and the Poles have had a go as well as the Germans and Russians. Also need to bear in mind that ethnicity throughout the former USSR and indeed much of Eastern Europe is far from the clear cut thing that some would like to make out – there is an awful lot of interbreeding and I suspect most people are a bit of everything including Mongol. Which is of course why all those nationalist politicians trying to heighten ethnic differences are really just playing nasty games. I know from living in Moscow that there are an awful lot of people there with Ukrainian names and good looks and despite those banging the nationalist drum the reality is that the city is a real melting pot.

          • Resident Dissident

            Although the Latvians are far from without sin on these matters – it is just not correct to say that most Russians who reside in Latvia were denied citizenship – all who were resident there in 1992 when the SU collapsed (and the propiska system would mean that the vast majority were registered as living in Latvia) have the right to Latvian citizenship.

          • MaryPau!

            I spent an extended holiday in Estonia a few years ago, staying with an Estonianl family. They had hated being ruled by Russia and generally disliked the etnic Russians who were shipped in while Estonia was under Russian rule. There was no integration between the communities, in particular the Estonians kept their own language alive to ensure this. I brlieve quite a few of the Russians living in Estonia, went back to Russia after Estonia achieved independence, as they were not welcome.

  • Ingwe

    Also on the BBC news at 18:00, was the hilarious statement that, if Saudi Arabia has kidnapped or killed the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, then Saudi Arabia will have crossed the line, as to what is acceptable, so far as the UK and the USA are concerned. Waging an unlawful war on Yemen didn’t do it then?
    Talk about Alice through the Looking Glass. World’s gone mad.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Joirnalists are SUPERIOR species. It would be like having sex with your under-age daughter.

      Even the US and UK politicians do not stoop to that, do they?

    • Keith McClary

      So far I have seen mild statements of “concern” from US and Canada. Also some human rights orgs and a Moroccan prince.

    • Paul Greenwood

      I like the video shots of the 15 hitmen sent to Turkey in two private jets. Better still that US intercepted the SIGINT planning the abduction. Clearly both Turks and US (and no doubt Russians) have lots of details to feed the docile Western press which will make sure not to upset MBS “I buy your weapons” as he chops up his opposition and sets out to hang this female Shia dissident.

      Erdogan knows he is going to rub it in the faces of Western Europeans and the US by outing the thuggery of Saudi Arabia and the abject silence of Western arms dealing regimes

  • MaryPau!

    I see Salvini has been sounding off about the EU where Juncker and Moscovici have been making threatening noises about Italy’s proposed budget. I confess I am not up to speed on Italian politics. The implication seemed to be that Italy’s national budget has to be approved by the EU? Is that correct?

    • iain

      It is indeed, Mary. Eurozone fiscal rules impose strict limits on the size of a country’s budget deficit. The rules mean any struggling country can only make itself more competitive through internal deflation – cost cutting and austerity. It is the kind of independence many Scots hope one day to enjoy.

      • Republicofscotland

        As opposed to the £15 billion pounds black hole with regards to the GERS figures as part of the union.

        Or the £1.7 trillion pounds of national debt.

        Give me independence any day of the week.

      • MaryPau!

        Seems like a good reason not to be in the eurozone. Someone care to remind me of the benefits of being in the eurozone?

        • Andrew H

          The Eurozone was probably not the right thing for Greece and many other countries that signed on. The original idea was probably just to simplify the daily lives of businessmen. It was an experiment, with an unknown outcome. Sharing a currency works when the countries involved have similar same financial goals, but as has been shown a single currency for Europe was unworkable since different countries cannot have different monetary policy or different inflation rates. However, there is no way for Greece or another country to drop out of the Eurozone without even greater financial hardship. Lucky UK got burned just before joining and backed off.

          • Hatuey

            The sort of analysis you can find in The Dandy, to be honest.

            The thing you continually fail to mention is the part played by the credit crunch. Of course, you can’t pin that squarely on the EU so down the memory hole it goes.

            Who do you think played a bigger part in causing the credit crunch, the UK government or the EU government?

            Did the EU cause the economic devastation in the US too at the time? Something like 6 million foreclosures in the space of ten years.

          • Andrew H

            Hatuey, Mary asked what the benefits of being in the eurozone were. There is no point making this more complicated than The Dandy, because that is about the right level. The credit crunch is irrelevant to this and was neither caused by the UK government or the EU government, but by Bilbo Baggins in conspiracy with Bellingcat. I don’t even know where you pull this nonsense from.

          • N_

            The original idea was probably just to simplify the daily lives of businessmen.

            It was about centralising monetary policy in the zone’s main financial centre, Frankfurt.

          • IrishU


            What makes Goldman Sachs the main villain in this piece? Why them as opposed to the dozens of other banks?

        • Andrew H

          “It was about centralising monetary policy in the zone’s main financial centre, Frankfurt.”

          That’s a pretty cynical view.

          If you worked in Luxembourg (paid in Lux Francs) but lived outside the city in Belgium (mortgage in Bel Francs) currency fluctuations would mean your living allowance effectively going up and down. Shopping next door in France and Germany would have meant having two more currencies in your wallet. Ask these people if they would rather go back to that and the answer would be no. Also bear in mind that businesses tend to screw employees when it comes to currency fluctuation. When exchange rates are hurting them they say they can’t afford to offer pay increases, but when the exchange rates are helping them the surplus never goes to the employee.

          For many people the Euro works (not just Germany). Southern European nations are having problems with the Euro because they have a different pace of life.

          • wonky

            The Luxembourgians have robbed European tax money by the billions under their drunkard gangster kinpin Juncker, and they continue to do so. Just look at how they treat whistleblowers from the criminal banking sector.
            Frankly, who cares about the poor (rich!) Louxembourgian sentiments and their frigging cross-border shopping habits. In fact, Europe (not its banks and shadow banks, obviously) would be a lot better off with a forced Luxit !
            Southern Europeans have problems with the Euro, because emotional barbarians north of the Alps are such thieving, lying neoliberal scumbags with a centuries old neurotic calvinist superiority complex.

        • Sven Lystbak

          The most obvious advantage is that trade within the Eurozone does nor require currency exchange which implies substantial savings in banking transaction cost. It also makes price comparison much easier and reduces financial risk in long term contracts so all things considered it is a prety good idea as it also meens that there is an alternative to the US Dollar.

      • Sven Lystbak

        An agreed upon limit on the maximum deficit and maximum public debt as a per cent of GDP does not meen that the budget of the individual countries have to be approved by the EU. During the crisis of 08 most countries broke the rules on the deficit as well as the debt cieling. To day most countries are within the deficit limit but still break the maximum debt rule.

        • MaryPau!

          But I am reading that the European Commission may reject the Italian budget. . Then what happens? And re earlier post, if membership of the Eurozone is not suitable for all EU member states. why is joining it supposed to be an aspiration for all of them ?

          • Sven Lystbak

            I think the worst offenders in breaking the fiscal stability rules entered into specific bilateral agreements with the EU Commission on medium and long term goals for improvements of their fiscal position and this is the reason why the Commission has a say in their budgets but it is still not a general rule.

          • Sven Lystbak

            Conserning the single currency this was simply seen as a logical step to reduce frictions in trade, increase competion and minimize financial risk within the EU area. It was therefore seen as a very important part of the single market and it was planned to make it mandatory with the Mastricht treaty. As you are well aware a few countries opted out. Rather than drop the whole treaty it was accepted that a few countries could continue whith their national currencies which is the situation to this day.

          • Iain Stewart

            As Yanis Varoufakis said in a recent interview, ” If the government wanted to help the EU change in a manner that is beneficial to Italians as well as to other Europeans, it would not be repeating Renzi’s ridiculous mistake. You will recall that Renzi too demanded that Italy be allowed to bend the rules of the Fiscal Compact without having the courage to call upon the EU Council, as the Italian Prime Minister had a right and an obligation, to convene in order to discuss a radical change of the Compact. This government is adopting Renzi’s spoilt-child strategy: Without proposing different rules, a new Compact, it is demanding that Italy is allowed to break the current rules.”

            Salvini is looking for a fight.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Mario Draghi was the Governor of Italy when the great disaster was covered up by himself. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena and the strange loans from Deutsche Bank for example.
      He has spent his time at ECB buying junk bonds from Italian banks to keep them afloat and the Italian Government has been issuing more Junk Bonds to the banks to offload onto the ECB while the cash in the Italian banks goes walkabout to Germany. Thus the ECB is funding Government Deficits which it is prohibited from doing ie. monetising debt on a grand Euro Scale.

      Hence the Bundesbank has huge credit positions at the ECB which Italy might not honour. As the world’s No3 Borrower Italy could blow up the entire EuroZone and Salvini simply issues the warning

    • Jack


      Just curious, exactly what statement, use quotations now, prove that Craig was wrong, and wrong about what, since we dont know what the facts are yet?

      Also, this is your first post ever on this page? What brought you here just like that?

      • IrishU

        Congratulations on spotting the spook.

        Tell me, for how long must someone comment on this blog before they are allowed to comment freely without their motives being questioned?

        If one supports the prevailing mood of the commentators here, are they allowed to comment straight away without a waiting period?

          • pretzelattack

            it’s not disguised, and i’m not surprised you missed it. you ignored the main problem and instead employed deflection, although not cunningly.

        • Jack


          Perhaps it went over your head but I responded to an obvious troll trying to defame Craig, that is why I was curious why he suddenly went here commenting.

          • neil

            Jack, are y man enough to admit you’re wrong?

            FYI, I read Craig’s book, have a lot of respect for him, but it seems quite obvious to me now that this was indeed a Russian operation, which Craig has resisted all along. And do you know what, that’s nota big deal, I get things wrong myself sometimes. And another thing, I’ve commented on this site many times before, I’m not a troll. Have a nice day.

          • Jack


            You guys have still not put up the quotations I asked for. And again. We dont know what happend so how can Craig let alone anyone else be wrong?

      • neil

        Jack, I’m not about to trawl through a load of pages copying and pasting quotes just because someone calls me a troll. As for what we know, I’m persuaded by the latest Bellingcat stuff. I may be wrong, and if I am, I hope I’m big enough to acknowledge it. I also hope I’m big enough not to make up stuff and accuse people of being trolls just because I don’t agree with what they have to say.

        • Jack


          Funny, you are dead sure Craig is wrong but you cannot tell me where, and more importantly how he was wrong.

          • Neil McFarlane

            You respond to my admitting that “I may be wrong” (my previous post) by claiming “Funny, you are dead sure Craig is wrong”?

            Think about this Jack: one of the strongest urges that controls the human psyche is the urge to justify oneself, to believe one’s own words, not because they are true, but because they are one’s own words.

          • Jack


            That is what you do now. Claim things and then refuse to prove it with facts. Thus, you believe your ‘own words’ how things are.

    • David Cohen

      [CUT TO Craig Murray]
      “Why would a doctor hurt anyone? Aren’t they trained to help people? Could this be part of MSM agenda to demonise doctors ahead of more NHS cuts? Questions you won’t see on BBC.”

        • Sharp Ears

          Why are you maligning the medical profession Blunderbuss? You have made a sweeping statement there with absolutely no evidence

          • Spencer Eagle

            More a members club than profession. Who else say’s ‘oh that didn’t work, let’s try this’.

          • IrishU

            ‘You have made a sweeping statement there with absolutely no evidence’ – Perish the thought! IMagine doing such a thing, eh?

          • MaryPau!

            No but there have been several examples in recent years of trainee and actual doctors becoming terrorists. There were those Welsh Moslem brothers who ran away to join ISIS and that Scottish Moslem hospital doctor a while back who planted a car bomb. Training as a doctor do not prevent someone holding views which justify killing their fellow human beings.

      • Jack

        David Cohen

        You use Straw man arguments to ridicule and defame Craig on his own blog? What do you gain by this behavior?

      • Paul Greenwood

        T4 Program under Third Reich was run by doctors. There was a well-qualified doctor called Josef Mengele who did lots of research – his work was utilised by the US postwar. I do not think there is any evidence – and even Harold Shipman would back me on this – to suggest physicians or surgeons are universally above suspicion for committing criminal or unethical acts.

    • Isa

      Why should he ? If anything was evident yesterday is that Bellingcat is a fraud that relies on assumptions and and unidentifiable sources and missing grannies . Maybe he should do some reverse image search to find Granny . He’s like a low cost version of an intelligence asset . I’m amazed he’s not dressed in bright blue and yellow .

    • Agent Green

      We’ve yet to see any official evidence yet.

      As the Russians have quite rightly stated, there is no reason for them to answer or deal with ‘evidence’ or allegations put forward by random websites or NATO linked research groups.

      If the UK has evidence it should submit it in the correct way, through the correct channels. As the Russians have requested.

    • Node

      Good find, Brian. Graham Phillips disrupted a carefully orchestrated propaganda excercise. Do I sympathise with the scores of journalists who’d travelled there to cover the press conference, and who were unable to interview Eliot Higgins? No. I’m willing to bet that 95-plus% of them were sent there by their media paymasters to uncritically record and propagate the propaganda. Phillips is a ballsy resistance fighter taking on a full scale media army.

    • Jack

      Great job by Graham, isnt it amazing, its like 25-30 photo/journalists there but only 1 pose real questions and he get violently attacked by bellingcat thugs – somehow this brave guy is the one that is allegedly at fault!
      The flags behind bellingcat is such a classic propaganda meme tool too, heinous!

      • Andrew H

        It wasn’t a great job. He was behaving like a total fuckwit. He should be embarrassed, even to try to call himself a real journalist. His behaviour was more reminiscent of an entitled 2 year old wanting a lollipop. You are not doing much better yourself to applaud such behaviour.

        • Deb O'Nair

          Not at all. It was a carefully orchestrated corporate media event, the aim of which is to project geopolitical propaganda to the masses and dress it up as if it’s some form of free press gathering. Parliament and pro-EU Union Jacks wavers provide a backdrop to make it feel all free speechy. Do you think any of the hacks gathered will ask Eliot Higgins any serious questions?

          It was funny how the pro-EU demonstrator told Graham Phillips to let Eliot Higgins speak, as if Eliot Higgins is having his freedom of speech inhibited, while he stands before dozens of adoring representatives of the corporate media and is paid handsomely for his efforts by multi-billionaires and NATO funded lobby groups.

          • Andrew H

            Whatever your views on Bellingcat it is not ok to behave in a way that is abusive and disorderly. I disagree with this as much as I disagree with male bosses yelling at their female employees called Deb. Its wrong. Period.

          • Hatuey

            Andrew H, nobody else asked who was funding bellingcat. It’s likely that most of those “journalists” didn’t even know that it was funded by NATO / The Atlantic Council.

            I think Phillip’s questions and points could have been made more effectively with a different approach, but that takes nothing away from his bravery and we should be grateful for people like him.

        • uncle tungsten

          Thanks Andrew, but blundercat deserves every second of Graham Phillips disruption. The press standards of not asking any hard questions are exposed by disruption and Graham’s questions are reasonable and effective. Sure he could have been better rehearsed but spontaneity in this circumstance was might effective.

          Graham Phillips has become a legend for this one act and I hope his journalism flourishes.

        • Isa

          When you go to a circus treat them like circus acts . Not my style of approach but he was right in what he said and disturbed the one permanently adored by media act Elliott show .

        • Jack

          Andrew H

          No it was a great move by Graham, he crashed it no doubt, but why wouldnt he crash an obvious propaganda meeting?

      • BrianFujisan

        October 10, 2018 at 00:11

        Good one.. That’s how I feel too.

        A Brave Dude..

        P.S.. I did get you wrong the other day..Keep up the good posts

        • Hatuey

          Did you say nasty things? I can’t remember. I have skin like leather, or, should I say, skin like Graham Phillips…

    • Kempe

      Having your own blog does not make you a journalist. Philips wasn’t interested in asking questions, just screaming about Bellingcat’s (alleged) links to NATO, CIA etc which is a bit rich coming from someone previously employed by RT! I understand they dumped him because even they found his ranting intolerable.

    • Crispa

      Yes thanks for the find. Whatever one thinks about the appropriateness of Phillip’s behaviour – journalists are meant to ask questions not just rant – it had a desired effect and made me chuckle. It was certainly not the prestigious sounding event – press conference at the Houses of Parliament – implied by the GuardIan yesterday – just a shambles! Doubt if there will be much reporting of the content, context or of the disruption.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Don’t understand those who want to set up Putin by going on about the second suspect, the doctor, being honored by the Russian President before the alleged novichok attack, He most likely was honored for his medical services which weren’t displayed in Salisbury.

    Looks like it helps give the pair with the alibi that they were simply tourists,

    • Andrew H

      Tourists with false passports you mean? (You can’t keep the doctor bit without the rest !!!!)

    • Crispa

      I think this is part of the Bellingcat method which is to create stereotypes that an be associated with the pictures to provide more effect and authenticity. The fresher more youthful Petrov becomes a doctor and the burlier “Chegiba” a military man. The stuff about being decorated as “Heroes of the Soviet Union” and personally decorated by Putin also feeds into the stereotype about how Russia rewards those that do their patriotic duty – a hangover from the communist era. They are embellishments put there for effect.

  • Skye Mull

    Just watched the first in the BBC series on the Assad family. It ended with the assertion that Assad released and armed prisoners who became Al Qada and bogged down the US and U.K. in Iraq.
    No doubt the programme next week will tell us that we had to arm the Syrian moderates against Assad.

    • Twostime

      Desparate lies from the BBC again.

      I disagree with so many of the Duran’s commentators on so many subjects but find this interview with a conservative Republican senator (also not likely my cup of tea) so compelling as a result. . We can find truth across all shades of political opinion. IMHO.

    • James Charles

      For what it is worth?
      ‘How Assad Helped Create ISIS to Win in Syria and Got Away With the Crime of the Century
      ‘“In 2011, the majority of the current ISIS leadership was released from jail” by Assad, Mohammed Al-Saud, a Syrian dissident with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, told Newsweek in 2014. “No one in the regime has ever admitted this, or explained why.”
      The leaders of two major Islamist groups, Hassan Aboud of Ahrar al-Sham and Zahran Alloush of Jaysh al-Islam, were also both in Assad’s prisons in early 2011. Additionally, as the Islamic State began to take root in Syria and spread into Iraq, Assad let the group grow. Phillips wrote in The Atlantic in August that this “was partly pragmatic, as ISIS was in the peripheral east while other rebels threatened the western heartlands, but it was also strategic.”
      “The regime did not just open the door to the prisons and let these extremists out, it facilitated them in their work, in their creation of armed brigades,” a former member of Syria’s Military Intelligence Directorate, one of more than a dozen of Syria’s secretive intelligence agencies, told Abu Dhabi-based The National in 2014.
      Assad “concocted a legitimizing narrative: It portrayed the oppositionists as violent, foreign, sectarian Islamists,” Phillips wrote, “in the hope that only jihadists and his regime would be left for Syrians and the world to choose from.” ‘

      • laguerre

        Why cite propaganda on this blog? That’s an old story that the Israelis have been peddling for years. Before it was: “the Syrians never attack ISIS”, that is of course, until, as you would expect, they actually did. Now your story is that the Syrians actually founded and supported ISIS. Naturally Netanyahu doesn’t understand, having a profound visceral contempt for Arabs, that Shi’a don’t launch extreme Sunni organisations who will only attempt to attack them. But neither you nor the Israelis you must be working for are bright enough to understand this fundamental contradiction in the story.

    • IrishU

      ‘Even the title is loaded – A Dangerous Dynasty: House of Assad’.

      I know you decry everything Western and promote whoever opposes the West / US / UK and most obviously Israel, but are you really taking issue with the title of the programme? If so, presumably you don’t think the Assad dynasty were / are dangerous? Care to stand over that assertion?

    • Agent Green

      Typical attempts to re-write history.

      ISIS and the other terrorists in Syria are there at the instigation and creation of the West.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Just watched it on the i player. Toe curling propaganda. Charged Damascus with sponsoring Sunni jihadis in Iraq but fails to mention General Wesley Clark’s “seven country in five years” statement.

  • Skye Mull

    When did Bellingcat supposedly identify the doctor? Odd that the BBC have already got a reporter to his home village on the Arch Angel railway…. a journey taking two days from Moscow? Sounds as if both the BBC and bellingcat are being fed something at the same time from another body.

      • Charles Bostock

        “A BBC team travelled some 5,000 miles east of Moscow to the village of Beryozovka, where Anatoliy Chepiga grew up, close to Russia’s border with China.’

        Craig, you, and many others on here are always crtiicising the BBC for simply “repeating the official line” and never doing any investigative journalism.

        So surely the BBC should be congratulated here for doing what Craig, you and many others keeping saying it should do?

        • Republicofscotland

          A Whitehall controlled propaganda machine investigating, hmmm, I wonder what the outcome will be.

          It’s a bit like sending Sputnik or Press TV, to find out what happened to Dr Kelly.

        • laguerre

          The intelligence services even supplied telephone numbers in the villages concerned so that the Beeb could ring up the school friends, and say what they were like at the age of nine. Same tactic as used in Syria.

        • Agent Green

          Still not any official evidence yet.

          As the Russians have quite rightly stated, there is no reason for them to answer or deal with ‘evidence’ or allegations put forward by random websites, the BBC or NATO linked research groups.

          If the UK has evidence it should submit it in the correct way, through the correct channels. As the Russians have requested.

    • MaryPau!

      surely the BBC team is following the trail of Boshiroff/Chepiga not Petrov. ? I would be more interested to know how they got a visa?

  • Tom

    It is funny to see our political and media class pointing the finger at Putin when it is their own lies and stupidity on Brexit and Skipral that are doing far more to undermine and embarrass the country. Honestly, could any of our ‘enemies’ be doing a more thorough job of discrediting the UK? The other issue is that presumably there are genuine threats out there – and I really fear for our safety if our intelligence agencies consider these ridiculous fairytales to be credible.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Tom October 9, 2018 at 23:00
      ‘…The other issue is that presumably there are genuine threats out there…’
      I agree with the first part, but re ‘..presumably there are genuine threats out there..’, there should certainly be some, but all and every so-called ‘terrorist attack’ seems to have the hallmarks of various ‘Western’ ‘Security Services’.
      They seem to have cornered the market.
      If you think I’m wrong, just check this out: ‘Operation Gladio – Full 1992 documentary BBC’:

    • Goose

      Can anyone explain why we as Brits are suppose to really identify with Sergei?

      I mean, the guy betrayed his own country and possibly lots of agents too. Would we feel sympathy for an turncoat agent in Russia that the CIA or British agents tried to take out?

      As for Dawn Sturgess’ death that did change things but, depending on what narrative you believe, that was either a tragic unintended accident with novichok or a heroin addict’s fentanyl death the agencies have latched onto.

      • Goose

        And btw, I’d distinguish between a bent spy like Sergei (who sets out to profit and doesn’t care about the harm he causes)and a whistleblower, like Snowden. I don’t consider Snowden to be a traitor, yet others refuse to make such a distinction.

      • Agent Green

        Putin quite correctly described Skripal as a ‘scumbag’ and a ‘traitor to the motherland’.

        Skripal is clearly an almost entirely worthless individual with very few redeeming qualities.

        • MaryPau!

          The UK has turned a blind eye to plenty of Russian on Russian killings in the UK in recent years. The reason this was different was not from some misplaced sympathy for Skripal but due to alleged the use of a banned nerve agent in an English city in a reckless manner.

  • Goose

    ‘Russian spy’s grandmother vanishes after telling friends Putin gave him a hero’s medal’ – Telegraph

    Love this story

    Where do they think they’ve taken her?

    The GRU factory?

    • Hatuey

      GRU, Dr Nefario, and the minions have taken her to the Villain-Con convention.

      Not to worry.

      • Goose

        Why would our UK media even want to travel there? It looks like a very cold, remote place?

        Startling isn’t it, the way Bellincat’s ‘investigation’ (or handed information dressed up as an investigation) has led the BBC news today in the UK , yet basic questions on the Skripal case are left completely unanswered like the elephant in the room no one is talking about.

        • Andrew H

          hmmmm, i think most of my questions have been answered. What elephant are you talking about? We have a couple of Russian state sponsored terrorists and child molesters who came to Salisbury and tried to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal but failed in that task and instead murdered Dawn Sturgess using Novichok a banned nerve agent.

          Above you try to suggest Dawn died of a fentanyl overdose, thus proving unequivocally you are a troll – the perfume package tested positive for Novichok, not fentanyl. Don’t they send trolls to troll school, or do the ones that are sufficiently smart to put together a cohesive sentence just get drafted into hacking?

          • SA

            You will find D notices attached to some of these questions which remain unanswered
            1. Why have the Skripals and DS Bailey been ‘disappeared’?
            2. What is Pablo Miller’s connection to the case?
            3. What exactly does anybody mean when they say that the 5 cases were poisoned with ‘novichok ‘ given the ambiguity of the term?
            4. Why has the supposed highly lethal agent had such a relatively low mortality rate?
            5. How come the multi billion dollar secret service fail to come up with the names of the ‘GRU agents’ when a poorly sources and brain powered outfit using ‘open sources’ managed to do so just by using Google?
            There are many more but these will suffice. If you have answers please answer.

          • SA

            “We have a couple of Russian state sponsored terrorists and child molesters ..”

            We have here an example of blatant propaganda Andrew. As far as I know none of this has been claimed even by Bellingcat.

          • Andrew H

            To answer your questions:
            1. They are probably hiding and don’t wish to talk to you. They are victims and privacy is their right. Obviously I would like to hear their story as much as you, but it doesn’t change the facts.

            2. Pablo Miller’s connection to the case is zip.

            3. I would like to know more about Novichok science too (seriously). There have been plenty of good documentaries on how nuclear bombs work not to mention Africanised killer bees, so yes we are missing the science of Novichok (come on bbc get your act together).

            4. That was explained by the doctors. They got them to hospital quickly, and kept them alive until the chemicals in their body were replaced. I am satisfied with my understanding of this (compared with Q3 where I still feel I’m missing stuff).

            5. Easy. Firstly, there is nothing to say intelligence services did not discover the same information. In contrast to Bellingcat, intelligence agencies don’t like to reveal the information they have discovered or the methods by which they discovered it. Bellingcat, by explaining everything has provided a huge amount of insight and extra information that I never really expected would come out (so in some ways I have more questions answered than I originally expected). Secondly, if you have ever worked for a large company or government office you will know they have tremendous trouble recruiting smart people and even more trouble organising them. (every large company is almost universally incompetent). Explaining this would be a long rant. Take the time to read the stuff from Bellingcat, and you will understand their research is impressively clever. They are not idiots. I suspect, intelligence agencies will be analysing their work to see if they can learn anything. In contrast, I doubt they spend too much time on this blog because it is all unsubstantiated crap.

            As a British citizen, I am somewhat dismayed that so many people support the monkey like behaviour of Graham Phillips (Are we really that degenerate that we prefer hooliganism from a loud mouth over articulate well researched information?). On the other hand, as a British citizen I am proud that there is still hope for humanity in that some smart people like Elliot Higgens and others at Bellingcat still exist and kick arse. [But as at school there are always those that are jealous of the nerds]

            Love it. This is truly a moment that as a nation we can be proud.

          • Andyoldlabour

            @Andrew H,

            “We have a couple of Russian state sponsored terrorists and child molesters”

            I don’t know what you are taking, but it isn’t doing your brain or imagination any good.

          • James Charles

            No one was affected by a ‘nerve agent’?
            ‘ . . .   he began his letter to the Times . . . with; “may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury” ‘
            “ The Times published a letter from Stephen Davies (Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust) on the 16th March. ‘Sir, further to your report (‘Poison Exposure Leaves Nearly 40 needing Treatment’), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.’ ”
            “Dr Stephen Jukes, the intensive care consultant who treated the Skripals a week after they arrived at the hospital, said once the nerve agent was detected”

          • Mighty Drunken

            SA asked.
            “Why has the supposed highly lethal agent had such a relatively low mortality rate?”
            Andrew H answered
            ” That was explained by the doctors. They got them to hospital quickly, and kept them alive until the chemicals in their body were replaced. ”

            Here is a weird thing. According to the OPCW the poison in the perfume bottle was 97-98% pure. Yet Dawn did not get treatment for many minutes and took 8 days (?) to die. While Charlie survived by washing his hands and did not succumb until hours later when going back into the bathroom where Dawn fell ill. This cannot be a lethal nerve agent in the same class as Sarin or VX. Maybe an organophosphate pesticide or other dangerous but not potent poison. We are definitely being lied to on the nature of the poison.
            Luckily for the Skripals, after wondering around Salisbury while poisoned for hours, when the alarm was called a doctor was immediately on hand and the paramedics arrived a few minutes later. Though according to the doctors they did not treat them for nerve agent poisoning for many hours afterwards.

            Every person affected was fine for hours, except for Dawn who started feeling ill within 15 minutes. It is curious that Charlie did not appear particularly ill until going back into the bathroom which makes me wonder if there was something else he and Dawn did?

          • SA

            Andrew H
            Are you trying to disseminate false information? Please answer Mary’s answer above.

          • Andrew H

            Mighty Drunken: “This cannot be a lethal nerve agent in the same class as Sarin or VX”

            Nobody is claiming that. Also don’t confuse Q3 (before hospital – lots of unknowns), Q4(after arriving at hospital – understood how doctors were able to reduce mortality)

            Although this Novichok is a nerve agent it is clearly not as lethal as VX. By comparison, you can have an acid like vinegar 99% pure but it doesn’t burn your hand and is safe to drink vs 90% pure sulphuric acid which will and is not. The purity is not particularly meaningful in this sense – but high purity is rather an indicator that it wasn’t made in a kitchen sink by mixing together some weird collection of garden fertiliser and drain cleaner. It could also be an indicator that it was made a long time ago (in order to prevent degradation you want high purity).

            If I had to speculate, this Novichok seems to work something like a nicotine patch – that the toxins are slowly absorbed into your body and you are not even aware that it is happening (because if it was burning like a snake bite, the victim might be tempted to wash it off).

            Also, these chemicals don’t seem to be binding to receptors in your fingers, or I think you would feel some numbness/itchiness but instead it is again more like a nicotine patch where it gets into the blood stream. Over a period of hours these chemicals are building up in concentration and at some point you pass out. It is not clear to me, what the victim feels – do they feel groggy or dizzy and at what stage. This is the kind of question, I would have hoped the media would have grilled Charlie on, but perhaps he doesn’t remember or perhaps media have been asked not to ask questions about this aspect.

            The above couple of sentences are just pure speculation and I don’t know any more than you, but I don’t think anyone in government is going to provide this information. I do agree its a bit unfair that I’m allowed to know how to build a nuclear bomb, but not this. Part of the issue may be there are very few people who know the details – I know the media did find one Russian expert that worked on Novichok decades ago, but it clearly wasn’t this Novichok (its a vague umbrella term for any toxin developed by Russians rather than a specific toxin). This Novichok is very different to anything that we have seen before so comparisons with VX are not useful. However, a professional in the pharmaceuticals industry might be able to shed some light on possible mechanisms better than me.

            As I say, it is an interesting subject, but I don’t think anyone in an official capacity is going to provide scientific information (that would take someone at bbc to go around some universities asking experts on biochemistry and even then these experts are going to have to speculate and explain what is possible vs what is not. Making a nice documentary with lots of pretty pictures of molecules streaming through blood vessels interspersed with video of Yuila putting her hand on her head also takes time and without the pretty pictures it doesn’t really work).


          “Pablo Miller’s connection to the case is zip.”

          You mean apart from the fact he was skripals handler, lived in Salisbury, and was the immediate subject of two dsma notices forbidding press naming him.

          That type of zip connection?

        • MaryPau!

          I repeat, how did the BBC get a visa? eg Q: “Reason for visit?: A: “”To uncover the real identity of Russian spies seen in Salisbury England in March 2018” . Yes that should do the trick.

  • Olaf S

    The whole Skripal affair has been an enormous propaganda success (whatever actually happened).

    In view of the several unanswered we may well have in it a parallel to the “Whiskey on the Rocks” incident from the first cold war: In 1981 pictures of a Soviet “Whiskey class” submarine hanging helplessly on a rock in the midst of a narrow Swedish fjord was on the first pages all over the world.

    Now, since Sweden had been complaining about foreign sub intrusions in their fjords for years (building typically on periscope sightings by ordinary people) this particular incident was seen by everybody as a final confirmation that the Soviet Union was behind the intrusions. The photos could not lie! All the people traveling to the site to enjoy the spectacular view could not lie!

    Nobody seemed to be bothered by the fact that the boat had been in surface position and at high speed with thundering diesel engines (steering towards an area where it would have no room to navigate further, some say) when it went on ground.
    Only after the cold war the – quite obvious – truth was known: There had been a substantial fault in the calculations of the navigating officer or something like that. So it had essentially nothing to do with the “threatening submarine intrusions” going on elsewhere. Needless to say, those in knowledge did not reveal anything of this, rather mercilessly exploited the incident, leaving the entire population totally convinced about the guilt of the Soviets (also) in those other cases.

    (In a certain kind of magazines for men with mid-page bikini girls (sometimes without bikini) back then, one could read scary stories of Spetsnaz groups landed by Soviet subs in the Stockholm harbour, running through the streets for in a few minutes to take control of all the Swedish central government institutions..).

    Only after the cold war had ended, it became known/admitted that the military of neutral Sweden had been very closely co-operating with their NATO
    Colleagues, and it appeared rather probable that many (the majority?) of the “periscope sightings” could very well have to do with submarines from NATO countries, secretly invited by the Swedish military, for “budget purposes”.


    (Personally I am convinced that the presence of the two “GRU guys” in Salisbury was exploited rather similarly.)

  • Andyoldlabour

    I have been thinking about austerity cuts and the need to save money, and I have come to a conclusion about how to save £millions.
    Why do we need MI5/MI6/anti terrorism organisations?
    The reason why I ask this, is because all of the terrorist attacks in the UK and around Europe seem to be carried out by persons known to the security services.
    But, I hear you ask, who or what do we replace them with?
    Well, this again is blindingly obvious – volunteers/bloggers.
    Well actually, most of the news/information/intelligence nowadays, particularly when related to Syria, Ukraine, Skripals seems to come from two sources – Bellingcat – Eliot Higgins, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
    These two sources have been working their little socks off, because hardly a day goes by without our great and noble MSM using their information in relation to most important breaking news stories.
    So, we don’t need all these spies in Thames House or New Scotland Yard, we just need Eliot Higgins and Rami Abdul Rahman, two modern superheroes who will ensure that we can all sleep easy in our beds at night.

    • JOML

      Andyoldlabour, I thought you were going to say that without these organisations, we wouldn’t have the terrorism. Just a thought!

    • Sharp Ears

      Anyoldlabour Are you sure you mean ANTI terrorism organisations? Emphasis on the ‘anti’ especially ref Manchester.

    • Republicofscotland

      “The reason why I ask this, is because all of the terrorist attacks in the UK and around Europe seem to be carried out by persons known to the security services.”

      Of course they’re known to them, the security services infiltrate, coerce, bribe etc especially those of a particular persuasion to carry out deeds for them. Sometimes those deeds include bloodshed.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Andyoldlabour October 10, 2018 at 08:44
      ‘..we just need Eliot Higgins and Rami Abdul Rahman, two modern superheroes who will ensure that we can all sleep easy in our beds at night.’
      And, of course, Bana al-Abed.

  • Blunderbuss


    The question I want answered is this:

    How were the Skripals poisoned by a door handle at 9.15am when the door handle was not contaminated until 12 noon? Perhaps I can answer my own question. The Russians have developed a time machine.

    • Republicofscotland


      You’re letting facts get in the way of a good story. Virtually no one in the media wants this anti-Russian tirade to end, keep them scared, and they’ll keep buying the papers, until public opinion (as in the illegal Iraq war) allows the British government to push for stronger sanctions against Russia.

      • Blunderbuss


        I expect you’re right but it’s very depressing. I’d better buy some more Russian Standard Vodka before the government bans it.

      • Lokyc

        Jacob Rees-Mogg never got to complete Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Like me, he just wanted to know the ending.

  • N_

    Tory government says “no more austerity”…as the BBC goes on about Winston Churchill. Ever get the feeling the surface message isn’t the same as the main one?

  • Sharp Ears

    All Treeza can do at PMQs, as Corbyn reads out statistics proving that her statement that austerity is ending/had ended is totally incorrect, is to shout back reading from her scripted notes.

    On either side, Lidington and Hancock nod away like those nodding donkeys. Hunt and McVey join in. Perhaps the energy these Tory supporters are expending could be harnessed in some way.

    May is wearing a green ribbon for World Mental Health Day.

    She said she is meeting members of the armed forces later today. I expect she knows that many leave the military with mental health problems, PTSD and the like.

    My MP, a junior minister, is seen chewing. A sweet or chewing gum? Not very professional. I have noticed this before even when sitting in plain view on the front bench.

    • N_

      The scale of the mental health problem is far larger than is being admitted.

      If monkeys in a zoo picked at an object as frequently as many human beings pick at their phones, even when other individuals of the same species are present, the vet would be called in.

    • N_

      If the MP is on opioids the chewing gum might stop them scratching their nose all the time, which would be a giveaway on TV.

      It could also itself contain a drug.

      I wonder what other filthy habits your MP has. Why don’t they go further and sniff their fingers all the time? Or scratch their armpits or the crack in their bum? It’s tempting to wonder whether something inside such a person ever sends them a message saying “You’re a complete and utter fake and phony, and you’ve chosen to be like that, you piece of turd”. Obsessive fiddling might be a response.

      Chewing gum could also help them deal with symptoms of withdrawal from phone-picking. While sitting on the Commons benches, many MPs can’t resist picking their phones.

  • N_

    Meanwhile, regime-paid journalist Laura Kuenssberg can neither punctuate nor spell. I reckon her judge-faced grandfather probably could.

    “IF, it can be made to work, then likely Raab will appear alongside Barnier in Brussels on Monday, draft conclusions signed off by foreign ministers in Luxembourg on same day, key Cabinet on Tuesday, then EU leaders get their mits on it all on Weds night”

    How did such a person get a university degree? Oh wait…

  • Sharp Ears

    In the only democracy in the Middle East. Even if you are an American visitor with a visa, you are detained and locked up awaiting deportation. The trouble is that the American visitor is a supporter of Palestine and the BDS movement.

    ‘A 22-year-old American student who has been held for a week at an Israeli airport accused of supporting a pro-Palestinian boycott campaign has become the focus of a debate around the country’s growing intolerance of critics.

    Lara Alqasem, a US citizen with Palestinian grandparents, arrived at Ben-Gurion airport last week with a valid student visa, but authorities barred her from entering and ordered her deportation.

    An immigration authority spokeswoman, Sabine Haddad, said late on Tuesday that Alqasem would contest the ban in court.

    “She can fly back to the United States whenever she likes,” Haddad said. “She decided to appeal and is being held in the facility for those refused entry,” she added. No date was given for the hearing.

    While free speech is broadly protected in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration and its parliamentary allies have waged a campaign against domestic and international critics.

    Last year, parliament passed a law banning entry into Israel for those who support the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, echoing measures against South Africa during the apartheid era.

    The prime minister has tasked the ministry of strategic affairs and public diplomacy to lead the fight against BDS, which Israel sees as a strategic threat, particularly as it has grown in popularity among university students.

    Alqasem is the former president of the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. The group is aligned with the BDS movement, which holds among its demands an end to the occupation of the Palestinian territories.’


    I wonder what the ‘ the facility for those refused entry’ is like and where it is located.

  • Spencer Eagle

    After following the events for some while I remain in Craig’s camp on this, so here’s my take on things.
    1/. The Russian State didn’t do it, why on earth would they?
    2/. The two GRU, low level ‘likely lads’, were sent to Salisbury because Russian intelligence got wind of something about to unfold there. 3/. Was it real intelligence that got them to go to Salisbury? or did whoever was behind the event lure them there so that they could be used as convenient patsies in a broader agenda? Whoever put the compound on the door knob did so prior to the Skirpals leaving at around 9am. The two GRU slackers were probably meant to arrive in Salisbury before 9am, however their knees up the previous evening meant they arrived three hours late at 12 noon, inadvertently blowing a huge hole in the fit up.
    4/. Putin made a huge mistake by not admitting they were GRU on an observation mission.
    5/. The photographs, identities and histories of the men don’t matter.

  • J

    This year world spending on ‘public relations’ is expected to reach $500 billion by the end of the year, which as far as I understand it includes lobbying as well as advertising in mainstream media and the online corporate. The market model of society breeds emotional, critical and intellectual dependency, to and through those dollars. We’re looking at the results of this vast resevoir of money all around us. And presumably that’s just the portion which is declared in accounts.


    Whatever one believes about PR, imagine five hundred thousand million dollars of it’s message washing all around you, in every niche and space of your life. Imagine not considering that consequential.

  • Andyoldlabour

    At last, someone writing for a mainstream rag starts to question and exhibit some doubt over the Skripal affair.

    “I am in the UK, a British citizen and a UK journalist, and I find the evidence and the explanations so far offered by our own side in what is becoming an all-out information war both deficient and scandalously short on credibility – and so, I suggest, should you.”

  • Tony_0pmoc

    It will be Craig Murray’s 60th Birthday a week today and I think we should all club together and send him an appropriate present. A Scottish Passport from Amazon costs 4.88 Groats, but we need to supply a photo where he has a straight face ? Tony ☺

    • Aslangeo

      This is the process that non EU nationals face, why should a Finn be waved through when an Aussie or Kiwi is interrogated? The visa system is a racket and non Europeans are routinely humiliated. As far as I am concerned we are all human and we should all be treated with dignity, unfortunately immigration agencies (of all countries) do not subscribe to this point of view

      The life in the UK test is a bit of a joke, I remember speaking with an Indian friend about increasing his consumption of Bacardi Breezers to get his UK passport.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile, Hillary (We came, We saw, He died) Clinton gave a speech at the University of Oxford yesterday.

    In her speech Hillary Clinton, raised concerns about attacks on global human rights.

    I bet she even had a straight face at the time of saying that sentence.

    • IrishU

      Hilary Clinton was awarded an honorary degree from Queen’s University Belfast a few hours ago. Quite a good speech, although probably too NI centric for the audience of this blog.

      Had to agree with her that Brexit may go down as one of the worst self inflicted political wounds in history. A popular line with the audience.

        • IrishU


          Dear, oh dear oh dear. A failure of comprehension perhaps?

          Would you care to point out which passages of Secretary Clinton’s speech at Queen’s Univeristy Belfast could be construed as warmongering? (Video available online).

          Considering the speech was based on the need for peaceful dialogue and partnership building ( it was aimed at the NI audience), I think you will struggle to find any.

          Perhaps you thought her comments regarding Brexit as being a self inflicted wound were warmongering? If so, I pity you.

          • Andyoldlabour

            the same reason why I would not for any reason, attend a speaking by Blair, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Trump, Cameron, Clinton – they are all warmongers and war criminals who should be behind bars.
            George W Bush actually drew up some legal document, to state that NO US citizen will ever be tried for war crimes.

    • flatulence'

      Sorry to be a killjoy, but just checked the centres of the circles, and that is true that they do not align, but I think that may be because the stamp is not actually circular. If using an ellipse somewhere close to the ratio 407:420 they align perfectly. The colours of the stamp being different on the photo can be explained to by the differing porosity of the picture vs rest of area. The same is evident on the ‘genuine’ example, but to less extent. Same goes for not a complete stamp, some is missing in the same areas on the genuine stamp, but to less extent, suggesting this is to be expected.

      A difference not mentioned though is that the outside text is placed quite differently angle wise on both stamps, something you might expect to be the same, but maybe they have various stamp designs.

      Just my 2 penneth. Still don’t think the Russians did it though, and they are no more evil than the rest of us.

      • flatulence'

        Been off daydreaming about ellipses and thinking about what a tool Brian Cox is and thought I would just add… Yawn warning… The genuine stamp is much more circular. This would appear to be because the picture of it is taken much more flat, as in scanned rather than from an angle. The Chepiga license, it appears the picture is not taken from directly above, which would make a circular stamp appear more elliptical.

        The centres could still be off of course, it would need much finer analysis than I can be bothered to do though, and I am pretty bored and capable. If it’s off, it’s by a tiny amount, but this may be a lot when it comes to forgeries vs genuine, though I doubt it, too many variables.

        • flatulence'

          Just in case any physicists drop by, I wonder if I can digress and bend your ear? No offence to Cox fans by the way, I found him alright, guilty of the usual announcing theory as fact, but alright and a good sport on radio 6. And then recently he had a go at Labour for not working together with the Tories over Brexit, so I decided he was a nob.

          Physicists… I was thinking about orbits, described as elliptical, and I thought that they probably aren’t actually elliptical but oval. Assuming ovals are not always elliptical, since egg shape is oval not elliptical if my understanding is correct. So I’d imagine that planetary orbits for example would be egg shaped, since they may have a tighter radius at one end when closer to the larger mass or slower, and more radius at the other extreme when further away etc. Not quite as simple as that I know, wobble etc, but I’m sure you know what I mean. So orbits are egg shaped, not elliptical. Is that right? Everywhere online calls orbits elliptical, but don’t know if they are over simplifying or would also call egg shape an ellipse, or if orbits are so close to elliptical, it would be silly to call them egg shaped. So I thought I’d see if anyone can put me straight?

          • Andrew H

            They are ellipses, not ovals. You don’t need to be a physicist to know this. I would strongly recommend you don’t try to obtain information pertaining to science from this blog. There is Wikipedia and a lot of other good information on the internet. See for example, Trying to obtain this kind of information from here is simply likely to result in you being led into the woods like poor Hansel and Gretel.

          • Iain Stewart

            “I would strongly recommend you don’t try to obtain information pertaining to science from this blog.”
            Paradox alert!

          • flatulence'

            “I would strongly recommend you don’t try to obtain information pertaining to science from this blog.”
            Paradox alert!

            Indeed. If Kepler had listened to witches or Andrew, he may never have settled on elliptical orbits, and in other circles the Earth would still be flat. Either way, Andrew, this question was obviously not for you. I’m not likely to be led into to the Grimm woodland because I’m not entirely unqualified to ponder this question or suggested answers, but thank you for comparing me to a sweet innocent child or two.

            Kepler seemed to imagine the orbits would be slightly ovoid too, but found ellipses fitted by accident. Is that just an approximation though? Or should the true shape be an ovoid close to an ellipse? It seems like the perfect ellipse may be in doubt on further reading. If it’s an ellipse, then maybe it has something to do with the combined centre of mass changing the orbit, throughout the orbit, and forcing it to be mathematically elliptical rather than the more intuitive ovoid. I’ve just not seen it explained like that, so not sure if we are just approximating to an ellipse because Kepler couldn’t get ovoid to fit. Here is a paper that seems to touch on what I’m talking about:


            Just thought I’d bring it up here in case there is a passing physicist to whom explaining this is akin to tying their laces.

  • Sharp Ears

    Omidyar funds Bellingcat

    Omidyar’s Intercept Teams Up with War-Propaganda Firm Bellingcat
    Despite promoting itself as an “independent” and open-source investigation site, Bellingcat has received a significant portion of its funding from Google, which is also one of the most powerful U.S. military contractors and whose rise to prominence was directly aided by the CIA.
    October 8th 2018

    Greenwald is of the three founders of The Intercept.

    ‘By their words ye shall know them’ to paraphrase that saying.

  • Sharp Ears

    Just minutes before PMQs started and with the green benches full for maximum effect, these two Conservative Friends of Israel staged this nasty little performance.

    Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke) (Con)
    Does my hon. Friend share my concern about the Palestinian Authority’s continuing naming of schools after terrorists and the payment of salaries to convicted murderers? Can we be sure that UK taxpayers are not facilitating payments?

    Alistair Burt
    My hon. Friend can be absolutely sure that we share his concern in relation to this. The matter is continually raised with the Palestinian Authority. There should be no incitement to terror and no incitement to violence. We make rigorously sure that no UK taxpayers’ money is spent on this.

    Burt, who recommended a bayonet up President Assad’s rear in 2011 when the vote to bomb Syria was lost, is the MENA minister at the FCO. Burt is a self described ‘Christian’. Earlier he was name dropping by saying he was with Amal Clooney at the UN. Bet that gave her a thrill. He’s a silly little man and dangerous for his support of Zionist Israel.

    The PMQs knockabout that followed.

    • IrishU

      It you describe the question and answer as a nasty little performance, can it be taken that you do support the naming of schools after terrorists?

      Additionally, what is the relevance of Alistair Burt’s religion, self described or otherwise? The good book contains rather a lot of violence.

      • Rowan

        “… the naming of schools after terrorists?” One individual’s terrorist is another individual’s martyr.

        • IrishU


          How twee. I imagine that seemed quite witty as you typed it.

          If you think a suicide bomber who kills himself and dozens of others by blowing up a disco is deserving of respect and the naming of educational establishments, then I pity you.

          Martyr indeed!

          Still it would be nice to hear the Sharpie’s original thoughts on the matter.

          • Andyoldlabour

            The current regime in Israel has its roots in the Irgun, a terrorist organisation who were not too fussy who they killed.
            In South Africa, the ANC was only taken off the US terrorism watch list in 2008, despite the fact that Nelson Mandela was President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was president of the ANC.

          • Rowan

            @ IrishU: “Twee”? Excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty or sentimental? Really? Do you consider the concept or the appellation “martyr” to be sentimental, per se?

      • Andyoldlabour

        Do you know that in Tehran, Iran, the Iranians after the revolution in 1979, renamed the street where the UK embassy is located from Winston Churchill St to Bobby Sands St. There is also a Nelson Mandela St in Tehran.

        • IrishU

          Indeed I did know that Andyoldlabour. Quite a common fact around these parts.

          I wonder what Bobby Sands and his compatriots would think about their erstwhile comrades in the Provisional IRA and Provisional Sinn Fein administrating British rule in the North of Ireland?

    • Ken Kenn

      All part of the latest game to be played by the Powers that be.

      The end of austerity is in sight ( via binoculars or a telescope?) and Corbyn has won the battle of economic policy.

      We’ve had the Antisemitism ” debate/demands” from the MSM and politicians so now we move onto:

      Can you trust this man with your security as PM?

      Hence the sneaky questions you refer to.

      Interesting that shifty anti Corbnynist Neo Liberal Thatcher groveller Andrew Neil tried tying up the Labour woman ( can’t remember her name ) with a smear on Corbyn re: The Skripal farce and to her credit she din’t collapse on the matter.

      Post PMQ’s :

      Strangely for the ever parsimonious Mr Neil, is that he and Laura didn’t pick up on Ronnie Campbell’s ( Labour ) question to May as to the size of The National Debt.

      Mrs May said he ( Campbell) “Knows the answer ”

      He does – but the public doesn’t.

      Perhaps the Neil question should have been:

      Can the government explain after eight years how they have managed to add an average of 100 billion per year to the National Debt over eight years and more to the point what it has been used for over that period and has it done any good?

      Has the credit card bill been paid off by taking out a second mortgage?

      Andrew missed that one but he usually does when he’s trying to discredit Corbyn.

      He’s not alone in that.

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