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Assange before Pilate

Good Friday 2019

Julian Assange was arrested a few days ago,

Dragged from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,

His seven-year Gethsemane,

To be presented before a judge, who called him

A Narcissist. No question: what is truth?

Pontius Pilate was a philosopher,

An open-minded seeker after knowledge,

Compared to this English judge, a vile functionary

Of the American Empire, bringing his bigotry

With him to the bench, spewing the latest poison

Of the lackey press, the treasonous collaborators

With the new Nazi world order. And the English parliament

Having just earned the contempt of the whole world,

Cackled like hyenas at the announcement

Of his arrest by the smirking chief Pharisee.

O Democracy,

What crimes are committed in your name! O Demosthenes,

O Pericles, what has become of the idea

You gave the world? We have made a tyranny

That arrests the most courageous voices of truth

Speaking to power, and throws them into dungeons,

Worse than any totalitarian gulag.

While the liberal press, bought by the secret services,

And the English parliament itself, packed with quislings,

Howl: Crucify him! Crucify him now!

We have no God but the Military Industrial Complex

And its puppet governments.  Oh, God of wrath,

Why stay your hand?

And Notre Dame has been consumed by fire,

Which all the tears of Paris could not quench,

That dignified old lady burned at the stake —

Is it not a symbol of what they have done

To truth itself?

 

Michael Antony

 

 

Brexit Endgame

This week, appropriately beginning 1st April, Brexit descended into farce after merely being a two-year comedy of errors.  In fact it went beyond farce and became more like one of those Shakespearian tragedies like King Lear where doomed tragic heroes begin behaving like clowns and demented court jesters.  The doomed tragic hero in this case is the United Kingdom itself and its venerable (some would say senile) parliamentary system.

Brexit had two toxic characteristics built into it. The people voted to leave the EU by a clear majority, but they elected a parliament that was 75% in favour of Remain. This is because of the class bias of the Brexit vote (the Remain chattering classes versus the Leave deplorables.) This required a superhuman abnegation on the part of MPs, to implement the will of the people when they thought the people had gone mad. Some MPs were capable of this spirit of intellectual self-sacrifice for democracy’s sake. Most were not and fought tooth and nail to stop Brexit or water it down to the point of it losing all purpose.  They kept up a dishonest mantra that what was voted for was not deliverable.  It was only not deliverable because of them.

The second toxic element was EU manoeuvring.  The EU had two goals: stop the UK leaving, or if they couldn’t, make leaving a catastrophe for the UK to discourage anyone else. They took advantage of the fact that after May’s reckless snap election she was dependent on the Northern Irish DUP for a majority, and needed every single Conservative MP on side. May went for the full Brexit: outside the customs union and the single market, which meant she needed every Conservative and DUP vote to get her deal through. The EU then slipped into the Withdrawal Agreement a poison pill: the Irish Backstop, a temporary membership in the Customs Union until a free trade deal was negotiated, so as to prevent a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. This arrangement could only be ended by mutual agreement — that is, with EU permission.  What is more it required alignment of Northern Ireland with the single market so long as it lasted. This poison pill could not be swallowed by the DUP, because it divided NI from GB, or by the hardline Brexiteers because it could be used by the EU to keep the UK in the Customs Union forever.

Theresa May should have pounded the table and demanded a time limit on the Backstop or a UK right to leave it unilaterally, or else she would walk away. A dragon in the Commons but a mouse in Brussels, she funked it. The EU were adamant the Backstop must be unlimited in time, and then insisted the deal was now signed and sealed and couldn’t be re-opened. (At most they would give a few toothless verbal reassurances that were not part of it.) This intransigence guaranteed that the Withdrawal Agreement could never pass through parliament. The votes against it by the DUP and hardline Brexiteers, when added to the Remainer and partisan votes of the Labour Party (which falsely labelled the deal a “Tory Brexit”) ensured crushing defeats every time May presented it.

The only logical solution would have been to threaten the Labour Party with a no deal Brexit to make them come on board, since the Withdrawal Agreement itself had nothing in it that the Labour Party could not support. It did not go into the details of the future trade relationship of the UK and EU to be negotiated afterwards (i.e. it did not exclude a customs union or single market.)  As for the Political Declaration, which did sketch out the future relationship in a non-binding way, it could have been fudged to keep everyone happy. Instead, May has now decided to compromise with Labour and explicitly accept staying in the Customs Union in order to get their support.  Her own hardline Brexiteers are now in open revolt.  The dance is becoming frantic as the deadline approaches of 12th April, the new date at which the UK must exit or else ask the EU for a long extension of article 50.

It remains to be seen at this moment whether the compromise over a Customs Union (which makes it impossible for the UK to make its own trade deals, one of the key goals of Brexit) goes ahead. Since it can only be written into the non-binding Political Declaration (as an intention), not the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement, it is hard to see Labour having any faith in the promises of a PM already on the way out.

Most important will be the attitude of the EU when May asks for an extension next week. Will they grant a long extension in the hope that Brexit fires will burn out and a second referendum will cancel it? (Resigning themselves to more of Farage’s caustic Eurosceptic harangues in the EU parliament, cheered on by hordes of Italian and French populists.) Or will they call time and force the UK to choose between renouncing Brexit and leaving at once with no deal? (In other words, surrender or suffer — the endgame of the more Machiavellian among them, but also perhaps of the merely exasperated and despairing.)

If the EU chooses the second course, this may be a salutary kick in the pants for the most factious, blinkered, self-centred political elite on the planet. It is always enlightening to learn how unloved and dispensable one is. If it happens, it remains to be seen whether the UK parliament will still have enough tattered remnants of pride left to walk away, or whether they will cringe and crawl one more time (this time forever) to the cracking of the whip of their masters in Brussels.  That will determine what sort of nation Britain is and will be.

 

The Alternative Skripal Narrative

First posted on The Saker website, reprinted with permission.

Michael Antony

The recent titbit fed to us by Bellingcat (reputedly close to MI6) that a third Russian agent was booked on the flight from Heathrow to Moscow on the night of 4th March 2018 — the flight taken by the two alleged GRU officers filmed in Salisbury — but didn’t show up for it, has pointed to a possible solution to the baffling Skripal puzzle. What if the third man, or perhaps the man who was supposed to take his place, was by then lying in Salisbury Hospital in a coma from opiate poisoning? What if Sergei Skripal was a triple agent trying to escape back to Russia to tell the world the truth about the Steele Dossier, which he had helped to concoct as a scurrilous, obscene joke and which had unexpectedly become the new bible of the insane war party in Washington?  

This is the alternative narrative I will set out in detail here so that the reader can judge whether it forms a more plausible and coherent story than the mishmash of improbabilities, absurdities and contradictions served up by the British police and MI6. Of course in the absence of all the facts we must sometimes use imaginative reconstruction to fill in the gaps, but the point is to see how many thorny problems, raised by the facts we do have, can be solved by this narrative and cannot be solved by the official one.

It is not necessary to decide whether Skripal was a triple agent from the start (that is, a plant sent across in a spy swap, a classic Cold War way of infiltrating the enemy) or whether he became a triple agent when he realized how important this grotesque Steele Dossier had become and how much the Russians would pay him to come back and demolish it. What evidence there is (his phone call in 2012 to his old school friend, Vladimir Timoshkov, whose account of it three weeks after the poisoning gained widespread UK media coverage) suggests he started out as a purely mercenary traitor. Disillusioned by the collapse of the USSR into a gangster capitalist state run by Yeltsin’s mafia cronies, he decided he might as well profit from it by selling the corpse of what had once been his country to the highest bidder. The Russians didn’t seem to think of him as much more than a common criminal (only worth a moderate 13-year sentence, instead of the death penalty he would have got in the USA for betraying 300 agents) or they wouldn’t have let him survive six years in their prison. Perhaps when they exchanged him in the spy swap they gave him a wink and said: “Since you’re just a money-grubbing whore, any time you want to come back with some interesting stuff learned from working for MI6, let us know and we’ll discuss the price.” 

He soon got to learn that interesting stuff when he was sent to Salisbury, the home town of his MI6 recruiter and handler, Pablo Miller. Miller had recruited him in Spain in 1995 and later handled him from Estonia, when he was posted there as a diplomat. It is a little too much to believe Skripal’s move to Salisbury was a coincidence. The two men became friends again, met regularly in the pub, and there is every reason to think Miller resumed his role as handler. Miller was now working for Christopher Steele, his old boss at MI6, in his private intelligence firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, based in Mayfair. This is one of the private intelligence-gathering outfits run by ex-spies of the kind Litvinenko used to work for. Just as Litvinenko got Lugovoy (his accused assassin) to help him out with due diligence reports on Russian businessmen because of his more up-to-date information, so Miller would have used Skripal in the same way. His help became vital when Steele got the commission from the Democratic Party to dig up Russian dirt on Donald Trump, and they had to invent some GRU set-up of the Donald with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel. Miller, the old Russia hand, would have done a large part of the work on this dossier and would have needed all the authentic detail his Russian agent could provide. Perhaps it was Skripal who came up with the scenario of Trump getting prostitutes to urinate on the bed the Obamas had slept in, which hidden cameras filmed. He must at least have given it his imprimatur as a typical GRU blackmail ploy to turn somebody into an asset. And that obscene fiction, the core of the Steele Dossier, became the basis of the neo-con legend that Trump was a Russian stooge — the insane underpinning of the whole mad Mueller probe into “Russian collusion”.  

When Sergei the mercenary realized the vast importance this farcical, obscene Steele Dossier had taken on, that it was gospel truth for the whole anti-Trump, anti-Russia war party in Washington, he began to see how much it might be worth to the Russian state to blow it sky-high. If he were to describe on a prime-time Russian talk-show how he invented these obscene details over a beer with Miller and Steele in a pub, it would not only have all of Russia rolling on the floor with laughter. Heads would roll in Washington. The neo-con war party would become a laughing-stock. MI6 would be run out of town. Steele might face FBI perjury charges. The CIA might have its budget cut. Trump would be able to talk to Putin again. And the rewards for Sergei might be considerable. Not only seeing his 90-year old mother again, but perhaps even a swanky villa with a sea-view in Crimea or Sochi instead of that dank, shabby row-house in darkest Salisbury.

Was it Sergei who broached this subject to Yulia on one of her visits to Britain, or was she recruited by the GRU to put it to him? My bet is the latter, since after the poisoning her cousin Viktoria claimed Yulia’s new boyfriend and his mother both worked for the Russian secret services (before disappearing from view.) With all of Sergei’s communications monitored by MI6, the only way he had of talking to the GRU was through his daughter, living back in Russia again but able to visit Britain. Through her he must have managed to negotiate a deal for his return. Somehow MI6 got wind of their plans — perhaps Yulia, not a trained spy, was a bit naive or careless about listening devices. Steele became convinced they had made an escape plan for Sergei, to be carried out next time she visited Salisbury. 

The thing that proves this was a British crime not a Russian one is the fact that Yulia was a prime target. The Russians had no motive to eliminate her, but if they had, they could have done it in Russia with a simple road accident with no questions asked. Only the British had to do it in Britain, since they didn’t have the resources in place to do it in Russia. And if she was not a prime target but collateral damage, why was Sergei not attacked when he was alone? Why wait for her to visit him? The fact they were both targeted the day after she arrived in Britain puts MI6’s signature all over it. She was a danger to MI6 because she knew of Sergei’s plan to return to Russia and trash the Steele Dossier, and she had to be stopped from revealing this to the world when he was killed. Silencing her at the same time was just as important to MI6 as silencing him.     

To imagine that Putin would have ordered the assassination of an old double agent whom he had held for six years in prison (with ample opportunities to arrange his death) and then pardoned and swapped in a spy swap (part of the rules of the spying game on which his own life had been based), a week before the Russian elections and three months before the Football World Cup in Russia, which he hoped would lead to Russia’s re-acceptance into the community of nations, makes no sense. It carried only huge risks for a negligible benefit, and Putin does not take pointless risks, as his consistent prudence in Syria, even when his forces have been attacked, has shown. Compare the enormous gains this crime brought Britain. This assassination (as it was meant to be) gave MI6 a perfect opportunity to frame the Russians and incite a new anti-Russia frenzy to sabotage their celebratory Football World Cup (compared by the British Foreign Secretary to Hitler’s Olympics.) It would also show the EU Britain’s value as an anti-Putin cheerleader, bringing Europe and Britain together in an anti-Russia hate-week to distract from their Brexit quarrel, and uniting a fractious parliament behind a floundering leader. With any luck it would derail the Nordstream2 gas pipeline, a priority target for the US neo-con plan to ruin Russia’s economy, overthrow the regime and break up the country — goals MI6 fully shared, as their propaganda wing, the Integrity Initiative, has since made clear. In fact MI6’s plans to work for the total isolation and economic ruin of Russia, including sporting bans and ending cultural exchanges, date from 2015 and were leaked recently by Anonymous. The enormous preponderance of motivation on the British side, as well as the low risk in carrying out such a crime on their own turf with a grovelling press, a brainwashed public and tame police, point clearly to MI6 as the perpetrators.

Steele probably turned to his CIA friends for suggestions on how to frame Russia. They came up with novichok. This nerve agent invented by a Soviet chemist who later moved to the US and published the formula could be pinned on Russia as a uniquely Russian “chemical weapon.” Never mind that any decent laboratory could produce it, as a chemistry professor at Cornell has testified. Never mind that the British-invented nerve agent VX had been used to assassinate Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother in Kuala Lumpur Airport without Malaysia screaming that Britain must have done it. Russia is different. Hysterical hatred can be instantly incited against Russia by the MI6-controlled media and MI6-brainwashed politicians. Anyone who doubts Russia’s guilt can be vilified as a Putin stooge. Whether the novichok was sent over from the US by courier or produced at Porton Down is not important. What is important is that MI6’s attempt to kill the Skripals with novichok failed disastrously.

Let’s take the famous Nina Ricci perfume bottle, laced with novichik, which was found in a rubbish bin or charity bin by a homeless man and given weeks later to his woman friend, who tragically died after spraying it on her wrist. The police/MI6 narrative is that this perfume bottle was used to transport the novichok from Russia in the baggage of one of the alleged GRU men caught on CCTV in Salisbury. The novichok was then sprayed on the door handle of the Skripals’ house. The assassins then callously threw away the bottle (which they knew contained enough novichok to kill more people) in a dustbin or charity bin, demonstrating their indifference to loss of life as well as their indifference to leaving clues all over the place. There are problems with this narrative.

The homeless man claimed he had found the perfume bottle still in its box sealed in cellophane, proof it was not reopened after it had been laced with novichok and professionally repackaged. The bottle could not therefore have been used (as claimed) to spray the novichok on the doorknob, or the cellophane seal would have been broken. Assassins far from home don’t usually carry around cellophane-wrapping machines to repackage opened perfume bottles, especially when they are just going to chuck them in the bin. Nor would they take the risk, having fitted the separate spray nozzle onto the bottle and sprayed the doorknob, of disassembling it again to put it back in the box, knowing that a drop on their skin would kill them. And where would they perform this delicate operation? On the street? This poisoned perfume bottle was therefore never reopened, never used and it affected nobody until it ended up in the hands of the homeless man. So who or what was it intended for?

Ladies’ perfume bottles are normally intended for women. How many women are there in this story? Only one. The only possible explanation for the existence of this unopened, unused bottle of perfume laced with novichok is that it was a poisoned gift meant for Yulia Skripal. Why didn’t she open it? Because she had a spy father who took one look at it and said: “Don’t touch it!”

So here is the alternative narrative. MI6 had the bright idea of putting novichok in a Nina Ricci perfume bottle and sending it as a birthday present to Yulia Skripal at her father’s house. Her birthday was on 17th March, but the present was probably delivered on the 3rd, the day she arrived, so as to nip their escape plan in the bud. It was meant to seem like a present from her family or boyfriend. No doubt the parcel had Russian stamps on it, designed to frame the Russian state when the Skripals were found dead in their house with an open perfume bottle in Yulia’s hands. Unfortunately for MI6, Sergei took one look at this Nina Ricci perfume bottle and his spy instincts smelled danger.  He refused to open it, but instead went for a long walk with it and put it in a rubbish bin or charity bin half-way across town. There it was found by the homeless man and given to his woman friend, a victim of MI6’s murderous callousness.  Even after MI6 knew it had gone missing, they did not warn the public to beware of picking up a Nina Ricci perfume bottle because they didn’t want to give themselves away as the assassins.

The failure of the perfume bottle to kill the Skripals must have alarmed MI6. They followed the pair around Salisbury the next day. Where did they go? We can’t be sure since we have not been given all the CCTV footage. But let us engage in some more imaginative reconstruction to cover the gaps. The Skripals’ car made some untraceable  journeys around Salisbury because they had switched off the GPS of their mobile phones.  Why? The two alleged GRU men caught on Salisbury’s CCTV also walked in some unexplained directions, with no evidence they came within half a kilometre of the Skripals’ home. What if the two unexplained journeys intersected? Not necessarily in time but in place. What if they met at that hoary cliché of spy stories, the dead drop, the discreet delivery point for a package? The hole-in-a-garden-wall just big enough to hide something? A Mossad spy, commenting on the British police narrative, said that no GRU assassination team would ever have flown direct from Russia using Russian passports. But a support team delivering a package? Why not? What did they risk?

Now what would the GRU need to deliver to Sergei Skripal to help him escape from Britain back to Russia? Clearly, a passport. MI6, once they suspected his loyalty, would have put him on an airport watch list. He would need a passport in a false name to get out, and perhaps a flight ticket to Moscow in the same name so he wouldn’t need to make an internet booking, easily spied on. But the passport could not be blank. It needed a UK visa and entry stamp. So the third Russian agent who Bellingcat now tells us didn’t show up for the flight back to Moscow must have intended his seat to be taken by Sergei Skripal, who would use the passport and visa which he had flown in with a few days before (delivered to Sergei by his two colleagues at the dead drop that day.) Either Sergei and the third man bore a sufficient physical resemblance or passport photos were switched by an expert forger in London. Unfortunately, though Sergei now had a usable passport, he was hit before he made it to the flight.

MI6, after the failure of the perfume bottle attempt, knew they had to act fast to stop the Skripals driving to the airport. Once they observed the package delivery at the dead drop, they would have guessed it was a passport. There was now no chance of using novichok. The Skripals were unlikely to return home and pack a bag, so they had to be knocked out in a public place. Using novichok and risking the lives of dozens of other people was too much even for MI6. So they decided to spray them in the street with an opiate like Fentanyl, and later on to add novichok to the blood samples they sent to Porton Down for analysis (without of course any controlled chain of custody except their own.)  

We know that the Skipals were knocked out with an opiate and not a nerve agent because of a simple incident — in fact, a slip-up. The first person on the scene when the Skripals collapsed on their bench was an army nurse, the Chief Nursing Officer of the British Army, Colonel Alison McCourt, accompanied by her teenage daughter, Abigail. Does anyone believe she was there by chance and was not part of the MI6 team following the Skripals about and looking for an opportunity to drug them discreetly? Now Colonel McCourt had long experience both with Ebola in Sierra Leone and with the danger of chemical weapons during her service in Iraq, where protection against nerve agents was a priority. She knew the enormous precautions required in approaching a victim of a nerve agent attack. Yet Colonel McCourt encouraged her daughter to rush over to the collapsed Skripals and begin administering first aid to them, something very dangerous if a nerve agent had been used. She later even recommended Abigail for a medal for heroism for her action, which is why it got into the papers. How did Colonel McCourt know that a nerve agent had not been used on the Skripals? Did she see they were not showing symptoms of a nerve agent, or was she part of the team that had sprayed them with an opiate? Would she have allowed her daughter to touch the Skipals unless she was sure one way or another there was no nerve agent present? This is what is known as a smoking gun.  

There has been extraordinary silence in the mainstream media about the fact that none of the first responders or the Salisbury Hospital staff were in any way affected by the deadliest nerve agent known to man, even though no precautions were taken against it for at least two days. The nurses assumed they were dealing with an opiate overdose. When the blood test results came back from Porton Down showing novichok present in the blood samples, the hazmat suits were donned and the hospital allegedly went into panic mode. We can assume most of this was a charade. Sergeant Bailey, allegedly contaminated with novichok though the police can’t decide where, recounts in the Panorama BBC film shown in November that the nurses who cared for him wore full hazmat suits, but his wife and children wandered in to see him wearing no protection at all. Clearly the nurses were engaging in an MI6-mandated charade but couldn’t bear to impose it on his family because they knew there was no novichok present. Bailey, no doubt also drugged by an opiate, had been selected as a fake British victim to stir up more indignation against Russia, and to add further fake proof that novichok had been used, which the total absence of contamination of first responders might cast doubt on. As part of this charade, all the poor man’s furniture and belongings were destroyed by the heartless brutes of MI6, which he recounts in tears, in order to incite more irrational hatred of Russia — which the British public, the most brainwashed on earth, came up with on cue.

Of course the failure of the perfume bottle assassination attempt, and the need to switch drugs and use an opiate instead of novichok, left MI6 and the police with the task of explaining how the phantom novichok was administered. The farcical story they finally came up with, that it was sprayed on the Skripals’ front door handle with the perfume bottle, has convinced nobody except the brainwashed masses. Even the clownish Foreign Secretary’s story that MI6 had shown him a Russian spy handbook which described how their spies had recently been practising putting novichok on door handles (a technical skill obviously requiring weeks of training and about to be unleashed en masse against Britain’s hapless doorknobs) but unfortunately he couldn’t produce this handbook as it was classified, left people howling with laughter. It was worthy of a Monty Python sketch, something the Russians, who are great fans of British comedy, must have appreciated.

The idea that assassins could walk up to the front door of a terraced house in broad daylight, a door with clear glass panels in the middle and on both sides of it, so that anyone outside is visible from the hallway, and spray the doorknob with novichok while the Skripals were inside and their car was in the driveway, is simply not believable. These alleged professional assassins did not even have a car or even bicycles to make a getaway if they were seen. And the two police versions of what time the attackers did this, first of all at 9.15 before the Skripals left home and then at 1.30 (after the police revised their timeline to fit the train schedule of the two Russians caught on CCTV) would both have left many hours’ delay before this deadly nerve agent took effect at 4.15 that afternoon.

We are asked to believe that two people of very different size, a man of 66 and a girl half that age, fell unconscious at the exact same moment either seven hours or three hours after being poisoned with a deadly “military grade” nerve agent. Why this delayed effect? Would this be useful in a battlefield chemical weapon — let’s leave the enemy active for several hours? And how to get a simultaneous collapse many hours later? No explanation. And if novichok was used to attack the Skripals, why was Abigail McCourt not affected when she gave them first aid and why did her highly trained army nurse mother allow her to touch victims of a deadly nerve agent?   

The intelligent people who work in Salisbury Hospital cannot possibly be dupes to this grotesque deception, riddled with impossibilities. They are therefore accomplices and criminally responsible. I believe many of the hospital staff  suspected MI6 was staging this whole thing but went along with it because of the high level of Cold War, anti-Russian brainwashing of the British population. They saw it as an exciting spy game they were taking part in with their wonderful secret services who had Won the War and Saved the World. It was a question of loyalty to Britain to defend this criminal lie. They must have suspected the Skripals’ blood samples had been laced afterwards with novichok. Perhaps the OPCW did too, since they claimed the traces of novichok were “very pure”. Was that a hint it had never been through any human body? One can sympathize with the Russians for trying to hack the laboratory computers to find out if any of the experts had expressed doubts to each other or suspicions the OPCW had set this up. Since they knew they were victims of a shameless NATO conspiracy to frame them, all they could do was try to expose it by any means they had.  

The Russians’ patience and calm in the face of this campaign of lies and hate have been almost saint-like. If the West is not wiped out by the nuclear war they are constantly pushing for with Russia, then one day Britain and all the other NATO vassal states which wrongfully expelled droves of Russian diplomats will have to make Russia an abject apology and pay compensation for the misery caused the Russian people by their illegal sanctions. Is it too much to hope that some people at Salisbury Hospital or in the local police who know the truth will have the courage sooner or later to come forward and expose this vile warmongering deception, and the totalitarian media manipulation by the sinister forces that secretly govern Britain?  Do they spare a thought for the Skripals and the state they are in right now — held incommunicado without any charge against them, not represented by any lawyer, and unable to communicate with their family or the public? Surely they are not fooled by that creepy scripted video of Yulia? Where are the human rights campaigners protesting against this totalitarian sequestration?  What world are they living in? Has it not occurred to them that in the era of MI6’s proven involvement in torture, whether in Guantanamo, Abu Graib, black sites or extraordinary rendition to places where people can be tortured to death, Yulia Skripal might be listening every night to her father whimpering in the next cell as the voice goes on repeating: “You Russkie bastard, tell us when you started lying to us.”

The official narrative about the Skripals has been shot full of holes by various dissident commentators in the alternative media. That always begs the question: well, so what really happened? The above alternative narrative, combining both the known facts and speculations to cover the gaps where the facts are still missing, should allow the reader to judge its overall plausibility, compared to the official one. To prove an alternative narrative to the criminal’s story, a prosecutor does not need to establish every single event in the chain, many of which will remain unknown. He only needs to prove that certain key events in the criminal’s narrative are contrary to the known facts, and that these facts are compatible with the alternative narrative.  The key facts in this case are the state of the Nina Ricci perfume bottle, clearly never opened after it was laced with novichok and repackaged, and therefore never used to spray novichok anywhere; the impossibility of a deadly nerve agent having a three hour delay in its effects and then affecting two very different people at the same moment; the unlikelihood of a senior army nurse allowing her daughter to touch victims of a nerve agent; the unlikelihood novichok was used (rather than an opiate), given the lack of any effect on the first responders, and the fact Sergeant Bailey’s children were allowed to approach him without wearing hazmat suits, which the nurses, however, wore. 

Put those basic problems in the official narrative together with the speed with which the UK government blamed Russia for this event, when there was no more link between Russia and novichok than between Britain and the use of British-invented VX nerve agent to assassinate Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother in Kuala Lumpur airport. No nerve agent whose formula has been published is the monopoly of any nation, nor does its use incriminate any nation. This rush to judgment reveals a premeditated plan by Britain to use this event to sabotage Russia’s Football World Cup (which they compared to Hitler’s Olympics) as part of a long-term British goal to isolate, discredit and economically ruin Russia. The need for MI6 to prevent Skripal exposing the Steele Dossier, produced by Skripal’s MI6 handlers, since it would show the degree of Britain’s cynical interference in the American election to discredit Trump and destroy any rapprochement with Russia, formed the motive for MI6 to commit murder, for which it has a considerable reputation. Combining the two things, killing the Skripals and crucifying Russia for it, was no doubt seen as a great coup by MI6. It was seen as even more ingenious to follow up this alleged “chemical weapons” attack on British soil with the fake chemical attack at Douma staged by the White Helmets, founded and financed by MI6. This was aimed at relaunching the war to overthrow Assad and dismantle Syria, giving the Americans and the Israelis its oil fields, and allowing Qatari gas to be piped to Europe to replace Russian gas. All of these fit Britain’s and NATO’s known strategic goals.  The speed of the knee-jerk response of NATO countries in expelling Russian diplomats, without any debate or demand for evidence in any parliament, raises the suspicion that this was planned not by MI6 alone but jointly with the CIA and other NATO secret services, which largely control supposedly democratic governments.    

The continued NATO harassment, sanctions and campaigns of lies and false accusations against Russia, including the blatant war rhetoric of the British Defence Secretary, do not bode well for the future. For the US to tear up nuclear arms treaties and then blame Russia is beyond shameful: it is destroying all possibility of negotiations to avert war. The Kerch Strait incident staged by the puppet regime in Kiev, sending gunboats into the Kerch Strait without observing the 2003 Protocol requiring them to notify in advance the Port of Kerch (a protocol observed by the dozens of ships that go through the Strait peacefully every day) was clearly part of a NATO plan to set up a major naval clash in the Black Sea. That clash (followed by an attempt to recapture Crimea or at least blow up its magnificent bridge, a reproach to a man who cannot even build a wall) may be expected in coming months, perhaps as a distraction from Brexit or a way of derailing it. NATO, in short, is on a clear trajectory towards war with Russia, which their deluded worldview convinces them they can win. Their initial use of Russia as a scapegoat and bogeyman to unite the NATO vassals against a common threat, keeping Europe in subjection to America, has got out of hand, and is heading, under the impetus of hysterical rhetoric, towards actual war. Unless decent people unite to stop this escalation then the nuclear catastrophe will occur.  Exposing the barefaced lie of the Skripal false flag attack may be a step towards averting that global cataclysm.

 

An Unreal WWI Centenary

I watched the commemorations of the end of World War I in Paris today and listened to the speech of Emmanuel Macron with a growing sense of unreality. Or rather a sense that Macron and most of his foreign heads of government guests were living in an unreal world.  Here we were commemorating the end of a senseless slaughter that took 20 million lives and which was caused by a system of alliances which trapped each country in a commitment to war that seemed legally and morally binding upon it without its people having the slightest chance to debate, decide or propose alternatives such as negotiations.

The nations of Europe did not decide to make war in 1914: they were dragged into war by an alliance system which imposed it as the inevitable legal consequence of certain actions by the “other side”.   And this commemoration was taking place less than a week after the largest NATO military exercises since the Cold War, carried out a few hundred miles from the Russian border with Russia clearly designated as the enemy.  And on this very day America imposed yet another round of economic sanctions on Russia for the crime of defending its two-hundred year old naval base, Sevastopol, from being taken over by NATO through a coup d’état in Ukraine intended to bring it into the NATO alliance.  And not once in Macron’s speech or in this entire ceremony was Russia mentioned — the allied country which lost the most soldiers in World War I, and sustained the most lasting damage through the communist revolution deliberately fomented by Germany facilitating the return of Lenin to Russia through their territory.  Schoolchildren read out letters written by French, British, American, German soldiers in the war, and even a Chinese worker in France. But no Russian. Even as the Russian president sat listening.  The most active peace-maker in the world, hosting talks on Syria, talks on Afghanistan. From the nation that paid the highest price in the war. And the nation which France and its allies are preparing to make war on again in another world war dictated by the logic of a vast military alliance which never ceases to expand up to Russia’s borders,  engulfing Russia’s former allies and even former provinces. And installing missiles so close to Russian cities that launch on warning is now mandatory for Russia’s nuclear forces.

The only discussion held between Macron and Trump was not on disarmament or peace, but on whether Europe should form its own army or simply contribute much more to the NATO alliance preparing for war with Russia.

And Macron had the gall and the ignorance to invoke “the rise of nationalism” as the danger threatening Europe with a new world war — when the nationalist or populist parties he was clearly referring to (those of Marine le Pen, Salvini, Orban, plus the Austrians and the German AFD) are all advocates of reconciliation with Russia and an end to sanctions, in the teeth of the warmongering of the NATO alliance.

Am I alone in seeing Macron as a kind of lunatic, living in an unreal world, spouting the platitudes of another age, bound to his NATO allies in a death pact, and all of them sleep-walking into Armageddon?

The Skripal frame-up unravels

So the two “suspects” accused by the British police and Theresa May of the Skripal poisoning have shown up on Russian TV (RT), confirmed their identities and claimed to be tourists visiting Salisbury.  They made two trips because the weather was so bad the first day and transport was disrupted.  The British have called their entire story a pack of lies and an insult to the intelligence. The UK has not put forward a shred of evidence for their own insulting dismissal of what seems to be the professional work of the director of RT, who showed a considerable amount of scepticism and objectivity.

A number of facts invalidate the British accusations and argue in favour of these men being the tourists they claim to be:

1) They travelled under their real names, not the “aliases” the police keep insisting on. Sooner or later they will be persuaded to show their ID cards/passports on Russian TV. But who knows if this will convince the British?

2) They flew direct Moscow-London on Russian passports under their real names, which no GRU assassin would ever do (as some of their ex-agents have testified)

3) They were NOT in Salisbury at the time of the poisoning of the doorknob, which occurred before the Skripals left home at 9.15, never to return (according to Police.) These men arrived in Salisbury at 11.48 on Sunday when the Skripals were in a pub. Nor could they have done it the day before or the Skripals would not have survived the night.

It is time somebody from MI6 came clean that this was their operation to stop Sergei going back to Russia to sell what he knew about the Steele dossier which he worked on with his old MI6 handler Pablo Miller, who lives in Salisbury. The fact they waited till Yulia arrived to get her too proves she was part of a plot to help him escape from the UK. The only possible role these 2 oddball “tourists” might conceivably have played is delivering the false passport Sergei would have needed to get out.

The poisoned perfume bottle might have been part of an initial MI6 attempt to send Yulia a birthday present (birthday 13 days later) to kill them both but suspicious Sergei refused to open it and threw it in the rubbish. MI6 had then to spray them in town and hastily invented the doorknob theory to explain how they were poisoned. This stretched credulity that the poison took 5 hours to act and then hit them both in the same minute, but the police were preaching to the most gullible public on earth. British media gullibility has reached the level of moral culpability. They are confirming what they know are official lies and treating any doubts expressed about them as treason.                   RIP British journalism.

Julian Assange: a modern martyr

Julian Assange should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And any other prize going for courageous reporting of the truth about the abuse of power by our pseudo-democratic governments, in the face of lifelong persecution, death threats and threats of life imprisonment in solitary confinement. That is perhaps the only way to try to generate enough public concern to stop him being handed over to the UK/US police state in some sordid underhand deal by Ecuador’s new US-backed regime.

The only other way is for journalists to finally expose the truth about the Seth Rich story, whether he was murdered in his hospital bed after a successful operation for non-lethal gunshot wounds, in a room full of goons who prevented any medical staff attending to him. Surely it is not too great a task for American gumshoe journalists to track down the medical staff on duty that day, including the surgeon who operated on him? And it would be helpful if Assange would, before he dies or disappears into a black hole, drop his exaggerated principle of not naming sources even after they are dead. Especially when the Russia lie, which is universally pushed by MSM in the absence of his clear naming of Seth Rich as his source, is being used as a run-up to the 3rd World War.

Ray McGovern (former CIA agent) has exposed the lie of the Guccifer.2 source of the supposed “hack” of DNC emails, and has even identified Guccifer.2 not as a Russian hacker but as a CIA construct. The download speed of the supposed hack makes clear it was in fact a leak by a source with physical access to the DNC computer network, not a transatlantic internet hack which would have taken three times longer.  If Julian Assange would only speak clearly about his DNC source before it is too late and he disappears from the scene, he would leave the world in a better state, and the side of truth, peace and justice in a stronger position.  The whole narrative about Russian meddling in the US election relies so heavily on this one allegation about the DNC “hack” that putting it to rest would change the balance of argument considerably against the warmonger party in Washington.

Syria: It’s not over yet

So the illegal military attack on Syria by the three countries that represent the biggest threat to world peace didn’t lead to World War 3 as I feared it might. The Russians showed exemplary restraint as usual and are trying to calm the situation down. This is far from over, however.

First the three war criminal countries, who acted only hours before the fact-finding mission of the OPCW began its work in Douma to find out if a gas attack even happened, are still trying to get another Security Council resolution to send another mission to Douma to “attribute blame” for the “attack” , even before any evidence has emerged that one took place. You can be sure their mission will be as biased as always, relying on the testimony of the White Helmets (founded by an MI6 agent, funded and controlled by the UK government, and trained not in first aid but in making propaganda films). And you can be sure that if it does announce that gas has been found and Syria was responsible, there will be yet another military attack on Syria.  Having meted out the “punishment” before any verdict was given, they will mete it out again after they have passed a verdict.  This time they hope to provoke a Russian military response so they can escalate into a major military clash which will have two goals: First, organize a boycott of the Russian Football World Cup to prevent Russia’s rehabilitation as a normal respectable nation, and second to pressure the Germans to cancel the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. This is their main goal: cut off Russia’s gas exports to Europe, so as to smash its economy (it is hugely dependent on gas exports), bring down Putin and dismantle the country as they did Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and Syria.  At present all Russia’s gas exports to Europe have to go through Ukraine, and the NATO puppet government there can systematically disrupt the supply so that finally Europe turns to more reliable sources like American  LPG.  Meanwhile if the US succeeds in tearing Syria apart, they can build the pipeline for Qatari gas through Syria to Europe, which was the whole goal of their campaign to overthrow Assad in the civil war they launched 7 years ago.

You can be sure the Western powers have not given up on Syria, despite Assad’s large victory in the field. They will probably fake more gas attacks. And they will now threaten a major war again unless he agrees to negotiate with Islamist fanatics and give up power to them, after defeating them in a seven year civil war.  We should start praying for the Christians of Syria, the last big Christian community in the Middle East, who are desperately supporting Assad as the only person standing between them and a jihadi Islamist government which will exterminate them or drive them out, as happened in Iraq. The West is implacably against any secular government in the Middle East which is tolerant of all religions (witness their overthrow and murder of Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi, and support for the Saudi fundamentalists.)

An additional means of aggression which the West is already preparing is false flag cyber attacks. The British press is full of alarmist fears about a Russian retaliation through cyber attacks on the NHS, water, electricity grids, transport systems, etc.  They are disguising this as a criticism of May for attacking Syria without parliamentary approval, but in reality the goal is to prepare the ground for a huge false flag cyber attack to be blamed on Russia. That will then be used to incite a World Cup boycott and further economic sanctions, such as cutting Russia off from the world financial system. The deep state of US/UK is convinced this campaign of hostility, lies, hatred and sanctions will destroy Russia’s economy and bring down Putin, so they can replace him with a puppet, as they did in Ukraine. My bet is that it will lead Russia (whoever its leader is) to sell its latest nuclear and missile technology to China, to create an even bigger threat to the West than Russia is. China has the deep pockets to build or buy infinitely more armaments than Russia can, but it lacks the technology. Putin, a blond from St Petersburg, preferred a partnership with Europe from the start, but faced with the West’s implacable hostility, his only choice will be a pivot to China and to arm China (which has a pathetic nuclear deterrent of only 300 warheads and can no longer defend itself against the 8000 that Russia and the US have.) If Russia seriously arms China (they have resolved all their border disputes), it will create the conditions for a war between China and the US in the South China Sea, and the annihilation of both countries.  Russia may well emerge from it as the undisputed superpower.  They are playing a much longer chess game than the West and must be laughing quietly as they watch the feverish moves against them. Despite all the dirty tactics the West is using to destroy Russia, I don’t think they’ll succeed.

 

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