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‘Cyber attacks, propaganda’ from Russia threatens UK, says Britain’s MI5 Director

The head of Britain’s MI5 used his maiden interview to deceive the public about a fake Russian threat. This undermines efforts needed to cooperate against Islamic terrorism.

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The people of Britain have recently witnessed both an historical and hysterical moment. For the first time in history, a director of MI5, Andrew Parker, the British internal intelligence agency (aka secret police), gave a public interview to the neo-liberal Guardian newspaper.

But he did not disclose any state secrets, nor did he talk about matters concerning the pragmatic security of the British public. Instead, he used to opportunity to add his voice to the chorus of individual saying ‘Putin Did It’.

MI5 director Andrew Parker said that Russia is, …“using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks”. He added that, “It is MI5’s job to get in the way of that”.

It doesn’t help that he gave no tangible evidence of such things, but as the leader of MI5, it’s difficult to say what one can and cannot disclose in an interview. Perhaps he could consult former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on such matters….or maybe not.

What is clear is that Britain is following the example of John Kerry and the US State Department by shamefully putting Russia on par with the very real and present threat of Islamic terrorism. The truth is that, of the great world powers, Russia is the only country fighting Islamic terrorism without any caveats or exceptions. This ought to unite the world behind Russia’s efforts, but sadly, a warped ideology has come between what Enoch Powell described as the gap between ‘freedom and reality’.

Powell understood Britain’s role in the post-colonial world and moreover, he understood the proper manner in which Britain could conduct a meaningful and mutually beneficial  relationship with Russia. In 1971 Powell made a speech advocating a contrary opinion to Britain’s membership of the Common Market. In the speech he spoke of Britain and Russia bookending Europe rather than being an implicit part of Europe. If anything, his words ring truer today than they did then. Powell said:

“Of all the nations of Europe Britain and Russia alone, though for opposite reasons, have this in common: they can be defeated in the decisive land battle and still survive. This characteristic Russia owes to her immensity. Britain owes it to her ditch. The British feel – and I believe that instinct corresponds with sound military reason – that the ditch is as significant in what we call the nuclear age as it proved to be in the air age and had been in the age of the Grande Armée of Napoleon or the Spanish infantry of Philip II. Error or truth, myth or reality, the belief itself is a habit of mind which has helped to form the national identity of the British and cannot be divorced from it.”

What a divergent statement Powell’s is from the childish, near-sighted and anti-factual remarks of Mr. Parker. Britain ought to be an ally of Russia. It was indeed an alliance between Britain and Russia which twice saved Europe from Continental aggression, first against the terror of Napoleon and in the 20th century against the horrors of Hitler’s fascism.

The periods in which Britain has been antagonistic to Russia have been mutually detrimental to both sides. One can point to the ‘Great Game’ of the latter part of the 19th century as a total waste of British expenditure and diplomatic will against an enemy that never was. Likewise, one can point to the Cold War, where Britain was in no danger of ‘falling to Communism’ if she did not throw her weight behind the, by then, far more powerful United States in her carefully conducted cold war of attrition.

To quote Powell again from the same year:

“The prospect of a Russian conquest of Western Europe is one for which history affords no material. The theory that the Russians have not advanced from the Elbe to the Atlantic because of the nuclear deterrent is not more convincing than the theory that they have not done so because they do not want to do so and have never envisaged, unless perhaps in terms of world revolution, a Russian hegemony in Western Europe… Of all the nations of Europe, Britain and Russia are the only ones, though for opposite reasons, which have this thing in common: that they can be defeated in the decisive land battle and still survive. This characteristic, which Russia owes to her immensity, Britain owes to her moat.”

Manifestly, Britain and Russia have more in common than they do in opposition. Any opposition rendered against the two countries in modern times, is a product of historical racism, or those with lingering depression over the lack of influence Britain was able to exude over Russia in the 1920s, both amongst those who financed the October Revolution and those who attempted to conduct activities in opposition to it.

As is the case with America, Vladimir Putin and Russia do not actively nor in any sense wish Britain harm. If the London Underground is to be blown up tomorrow, it will almost certainly be at the hands of Islamic terrorists. By no possible twist of logic could such a tragedy be conducted by the hands of Russia. Implicitly, the British public know this.

When one steps away from the snobby clubs of Pall Mall and St. James’s, one finds a British public who partly voted for Brexit because they yearn for an independent foreign policy, one not influenced by the hysterical nations of Eastern Europe, nor by the ambitious and misguided war-mongering policies of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic party in America.

If Donald Trump wins next week, perhaps Mr. Parker will need to reconsider his remarks.

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Five Saudis Face Death Penalty Over Khashoggi Killing; Crown Prince Cleared

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Via Zerohedge


Saudi Arabia public prosecutor Sheikh Shaalan al-Shaalan said on Thursday that the kingdom will seek the death penalty for five suspects among the 11 charged in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, confirming suspicions that members of the murder squad purportedly sent to “interrogate” Khashoggi will now themselves face beheadings as the Saudi Royal Family closes ranks around the Crown Prince, per the FT.

As for Mohammed bin Salman who runs the day to day affairs of the world’s top oil exporter and is the de facto head of OPEC, the prosecutor said had “no knowledge” of the mission, effectively absolving him of any domestic suspicion, if not international.

The charges were handed down after the kingdom dismissed five senior intelligence officers and arrested 18 Saudi nationals in connection with Khashoggi’s disappearance. The Saudi insider-turned-dissident journalist disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to pick up documents that would have allowed him to marry his fiance. Khashoggi was a legal resident of Virginia.

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime,” according to CNN.

The prosecutor said that the former Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri, ordered a mission to force Khashoggi to go back to Saudi Arabia and formed a team of 15 people.

They were divided into three groups, the Saudi Public Prosecutor said: a negotiation team, an intelligence team and a logistical team.

It was the head of the negotiating team who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, the prosecutor said.

The Saudis stuck by latest (ever changing) narrative that the Washington Post columnist was killed after a mission to abduct him went awry. The deputy chief of intelligence ordered that Khashoggi be brought back to the kingdom, Shaalan said. The team killed him after the talks failed and his body was handed to a “collaborator” in Turkey, he said.

Asked whether Saud al-Qahtanti, an aide to Prince Mohammed, had any role in the case, Shaalan said that a royal adviser had a coordinating role and had provided information. The former adviser was now under investigation, the prosecutor said, declining to reveal the names of any of those facing charges.

Al-Shaalan did reveal that a total of 21 suspects are now being held in connection with the case. Notably, the decision to charge the 5 comes after National Security Advisor John Bolton repudiated reports that a recording of Khashoggi’s murder made by Turkish authorities suggested that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was behind the murder plot.

But as long as OPEC+ is planning to do “whatever it takes” to boost oil prices, the US’s willingness to give the Saudis a pass could always be tested if crude prices again turn sharply higher.

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U.S. May Impose Sanctions Against Turkey Over S-400 “Threat” To F-35

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform.

The Duran

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Authored by Al Masdar News:


Turkish officials have repeatedly insisted that Ankara’s purchase of the advanced Russian air defense system poses no threat whatsoever to the NATO alliance. Last month, the Turkish defense ministry announced that delivery of S-400s to Turkey would begin in October 2019.

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform, and may impose sanctions against Ankara, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency has reported, citing a high-ranking source in Washington.

“I can’t say for certain whether sanctions will be imposed on Ankara over the S-400 contract, but the possibility is there. The US administration is not optimistic about this issue,” the source said.

While admitting that Turkey was a sovereign state and therefore had the right to make decisions on whom it buys its weapons from, the source stressed that from the perspective of these weapons’ integration with NATO systems, the S-400 was “problematic.”

The source also characterized the deployment of S-400s in areas where US F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighters are set to fly as “a threat,” without elaborating.

Emphasizing that negotiations between Washington and Ankara on the issue were “continuing,” the source said that there were also “positive tendencies” in negotiations between the two countries on the procurement of the Patriot system, Washington’s closest analogue to the S-400 in terms of capabilities.

Designed to stop enemy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at ranges of up to 400 km and altitudes of up to 30 km, the S-400 is currently the most advanced mobile air defense system in Russia’s arsenal. Russia and India signed a ruble-denominated contract on the delivery of five regiments of S-400s worth $5 billion late last month.

Last week, the Saudi Ambassador to Russia said that talks on the sale of the system to his country were ongoing. In addition to Russia, S-400s are presently operated by Belarus and China, with Beijing expecting another delivery of S-400s by 2020.

Washington has already slapped China with sanctions over its purchase of S-400s and Su-35 combat aircraft in September. India, however, has voiced confidence that it would not be hit with similar restrictions, which the US Treasury has pursued under the 2017 Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

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OPEC Plus: Putin’s move to control energy market with Saudi partnership (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 150.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss OPEC Plus and the growing partnership between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which aims to reshape the energy market, and cement Russia’s leadership role in global oil and gas supply.

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Russia and Saudi Arabia’s ‘long-term relationship’ WILL survive

The Express UK reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia’s ‘long-term relationship’ will not only survive, but grow, regardless of geopolitical turmoil and internal Saudi scandal…as the energy interests between both nations bind them together.

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Vladimir Putin’s Russia have a “long-term relationship” which is strategically beneficial to both of them, and which underlines their position as the world’s most influential oil producers, alongside the United States, an industry expert has said.

Following concerns about too much oil flooding the market, Saudi Arabia on Sunday performed an abrupt u-turn by deciding to reduce production by half a million barrels a day from December.

This put the Middle Eastern country at odds with Russia, which said it was no clear whether the market would be oversupplied next year, with market analysts predicting the country’s oil producing companies likely to BOOST proaction by 300,000 barrels per day.

But IHS Markit vice chairman Daniel Yergin said the decision was unlikely to jeopardise the relationship between the two allies.

The Saudis have faced significant international criticism in the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Speaking to CNBC, Mr Yergin made it clear that Moscow and Riyadh would continue to be closely aligned irrespective of external factors.

He explained: “I think it’s intended to be a long-term relationship and it started off about oil prices but you see it taking on other dimensions, for instance, Saudi investment in Russian LNG (liquefied natural gas) and Russian investment in Saudi Arabia.

“I think this is a strategic relationship because it’s useful to both countries.”

Saudi Arabia and Russia are close, especially as a result of their pact in late 2016, along with other OPEC and non-OPEC producers, to curb output by 1.8 million barrels per day in order to prevent prices dropping too far – but oil markets have changed since then, largely as a result.

The US criticised OPEC, which Saudi Arabia is the nominal leader of, after prices rose.

Markets have fluctuated in recent weeks as a result of fears over a possible drop in supply, as a result of US sanctions on Iran, and an oversupply, as a result of increased production by Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, which have seen prices fall by about 20 percent since early October.

Saudi Arabia has pumped 10.7 million barrels per day in October, while the figure for Russiaand the US was 11.4 million barrels in each case.

Mr Yergin said: “It’s the big three, it’s Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, this is a different configuration in the oil market than the traditional OPEC-non-OPEC one and so the world is having to adjust.”

BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley told CNBC: “The OPEC-plus agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia and coalition is a lot stronger than people speculate.

“I think Russia doesn’t have the ability to turn on and off big fields which can happen in the Middle East.

“But I fully expect there to be coordination to try to keep the oil price within a certain fairway.”

Markets rallied by two percent on Monday off the back of the , which it justified by citing uncertain global oil growth and associated oil demand next year.

It also suggested  granted on US sanctions imposed on Iran which have been granted to several countries including China and Japan was a reason not to fear a decline in supply.

Also talking to CNBC, Russia’s Oil Minister Alexander Novak indicated a difference of opinion between Russia and the Saudis, saying it was too soon to cut production, highlighting a lot of volatility in the oil market.

He added: “If such a decision is necessary for the market and all the countries are in agreement, I think that Russia will undoubtedly play a part in this.

“But it’s early to talk about this now, we need to look at this question very carefully.”

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