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Two Russians poisoned; Britain goes mad

Feverish speculation in the British media of Russian state involvement in alleged poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter is unwarranted

Alexander Mercouris

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Once again the British media is going through a James Bond moment following the discovery on Monday of two Russians – Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia – seriously ill and poisoned on a bench in the town of Salisbury.

The story has dominated the media for two days, the British cabinet’s COBRA committee has met, there have been portentous (and quickly retracted) announcements by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson concerning a British intention to boycott the World Cup in Russia, a further (calmer) announcement today by British Home Secretary Amber Rudd (one of the few relatively level headed politicians left in Britain), and it seems that a statement to the House of Commons by British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected shortly.

Meanwhile the media has been pouring out stories asserting “Russian state involvement” in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter as fact, along with speculations about whether or not the substance which poisoned them is radioactive (it isn’t), with comparisons being made between the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter and the murder by polonium poisoning in 2006 of the exiled Russian ex-policeman and FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko.

It needs to be said clearly that all these speculations are at the present time both groundless and unwarranted.  So far not a scintilla of evidence has publicly appeared linking the Russian state to the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter.

Moreover in one important respect the reporting is demonstrably wrong.

Skripal is invariably described in the British media as a “Russian spy”.  It should be said clearly that he is no such thing.  Just as Alexander Litvinenko was never a spy (he was a law enforcement officer tasked by the FSB with combatting organised crime) so Skripal is not a “Russian spy”.

Skripal is a former Russian army officer who beginning in December 1995 started accepting payments from the British in return for information.  He was a British not a Russian spy.

Skripal became an informer for British intelligence at a time when the influence within British intelligence of Christopher Steele – the compiler of the Trump Dossier – was approaching its peak.  As Business Insider says, it is likely – though not proven – that he was a member of Steele’s network.

In the event the Russians discovered in 2004 that Skripal was working for the British, and he was arrested and jailed by them in that year.  As John Helmer has pointed out, shortly after in 2006 the Russian counterintelligence agency the FSB rolled up what was left of Britain’s intelligence operation in Russia.  Skripal himself was pardoned and exchanged by the Russians in 2010 in return for the ‘illegals’ (Russian deep cover agents) infiltrated by Russian intelligence into the US, who were arrested by the US that year.  The glamorous Anna Chapman was one of these Russian ‘illegals’.

Why the Russians would want to murder an ex-spy who they had previously pardoned and allowed to go to the West after they had caught and jailed him is not obvious.

As several British media commentaries have rather grudgingly admitted, by the time Skripal was poisoned he had been thoroughly exposed and debriefed by both the Russians and the British, and was living a quiet life in retirement in Salisbury.  At the time of his poisoning he posed no conceivable threat to Russian intelligence or to Russia.

Theories that his poisoning was some sort of act of ‘revenge’ against Skripal for his previous activities, or was intended as some sort of warning by the Russians to Steele, are not only entirely unsupported by evidence but would be wholly out of character for Russian intelligence, and should be discounted.

Though there is in fact very little publicly available evidence at the present time upon which to base speculations about the case, such evidence as there is if anything points away from Russian state involvement.

Though the substance which poisoned Skripal and his daughter has apparently so far not been conclusively identified, some reports suggest that it is fentanyl, a powerful opoid drug, which is widely available in Britain where it is used both for medical and for recreational drug use.

The fact that traces of this substance were found on the bench where Skripal and his daughter were sitting when they were found suggests – though it does not prove – that they ingested the substance themselves.

If the substance was fentanyl then that might suggest either a case of recreational drugs use which went horribly wrong – and fentanyl has been linked in Britain to the deaths of large numbers of recreational drugs users – or sadly to something darker.

It is a commonplace that defectors cut off forever from their home country often fall into depression and engage in suicidal thoughts – here is an article discussing this condition amongst North Korean defectors – and Skripal has in addition recently suffered the double blow of the death in 2012 from cancer of his wife and of the recent death in July last year of his son.

Assuming that his daughter shared his grief it is not impossible that this is a joint suicide attempt.

Let me stress that I do not know whether either of these two theories is true, just as I do not know that the substance which poisoned Skripal and his daughter is fentanyl – other theories suggest that it might have been a nerve agent – though I would say that the accounts of witnesses of the appearance of Skripal and of his daughter when they were found which I have seen do seem to me to be consistent with fentanyl poisoning.

I only bring up these theories because there have been so many other theories which look to me far less grounded in the facts of this case as they are so far known.

If – as is to be earnestly hoped – Skripal and his daughter recover from their poisoning, perhaps they will tell us what happened and we will know the truth.

In the meantime there is no justification for the orgy of unsubstantiated speculation about this case which we are currently witnessing in Britain and elsewhere.

Nor – given that only two people are involved – is there any justification for the preposterously over the top publicity which is being given to this incident.

In Britain sad to say people die from drugs overdoses every day – with fentanyl responsible for a large proportion of these deaths – making it absurd to focus on just two cases of poisoning until more is publicly known about this incident which justifies treating it as something more sinister.

Certainly convening the COBRA committee and getting the Foreign Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to make statements at this stage in the case is profoundly wrong and frankly ridiculous.

What unfortunately it shows is how extreme the atmosphere of Russophobia in Britain has become that speculation like this can run rife and dominate the headlines for days in the complete absence of any facts.

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Russia’s economy continues to outperform as gold takes center stage (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 118.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine how US and EU sanctions have continued to provide a huge boost to Russia’s economy. Russia’s food sovereignty has practically been achieved, as the Russian central bank continues to buy gold and lower its exposure to western financial markets.

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Via TASS…

Outside pressure in the form of sanctions has become an incentive to resolve various issues of Russia’s economy, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stated in an interview with the Izvestiya daily.

He noted that through introducing sanctions against Russia, “the West aims to destabilize Russia’s economy and to create social and political tensions in society.”

“But during the difficult times, Russians have always stuck together and mobilized their resources in order to ensure the country’s sovereignty. This is what is happening now – the outside pressure has become an incentive to resolve many problems in Russia’s economy,” he said.

“Before the sanctions, it seemed that we would never be able to feed ourselves and that we are doomed to be dependent on Western import. However, right now, Russia’s food sovereignty in crucial sectors has practically been achieved, and in some areas, Russia has become the leading exporter,” Patrushev noted.

Those who apply the sanctions “can see that they (the sanctions – TASS) are ineffective and often achieve the opposite goal,” the Russian security chief concluded.

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US Neocon Foreign Policy and the War Waged Against Serbia

The Serbian assault began first by a ‘financial war’; by sanctions and finished off by an aggressive unprovoked incessant NATO bombing campaign.

Richard Galustian

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The ‘witch-hunt’ against President Trump over Russian collusion has officially ended, following the submission of the Mueller Report, enabling us to now focus on the real problems of America that effects the whole world.

In the hope of a waining of the Russophobia in America, let’s look at the US’s recent war history by starting with the 20th anniversary this month of the NATO war on Serbia in 1999 which amounted to almost 100 days of bombing of historic cities and infrastructure.

Firstly, these problems are, in the main caused by the Neocons, or Deep State, whatever you wish to call them, and the continuing promotion, by the US Military-Security Industrial Complex, of wars and regime change and secondly, Trump’s unreserved support for Israel, regardless of war crimes they may continue to commit against the Palestinians.

Incredibly after that one sided unjust and illegal war that NATO executed, NATO has the audacity to invite Serbia to join it! Something that will never happen. What do they smoke in DC, in the Pentagon and Brussels based NATO?

To compound these overall problems, the US Military and Israeli Defence Forces collaborate on these US regime change policies on all continents evidenced most recently by the arrival of crack Israeli troops last month in Brazil, prepared to support an attack potentially by Brazil and Columbia on Venezuela.

As, has now come to be expected, America pursues its Venezuelan regime change with full main stream media (MSM) cooperation, using well proven sophisticated propaganda techniques along with a variety of pretexts.

From Serbia to Iraq to Libya, where does it end? Observe that Trump is now seeking a ‘NATO alliance’ offering NATO status, to President Bolsonaro of Brazil to back the invasion of Venezuela.

So it is important to remember, as an example, that after a long war of economic and financial destabilization ended with the bombing of Serbia.

Serbia was previously a part of Yugoslavia, a country which had successfully evolved after 1945 to solve the old rivalries of the 19th and early 20th Century Balkan ethnic animosities which was, prior to the advent of power of President Tito, its past history.

The United Nations, instead of supporting, in effect, so called ‘humanitarian wars’ and ‘regime change wars’ by the US, using NATO, helped and relentlessly driven home by MSM outlets like CNN and FOX NEWS into people’s heads, must finally take a stand.

So too, Yugoslavia, once the envy of many in the world, given its then ‘non-aligned’ status under President Tito, was destroyed and broken up; ‘Balkanized’ in the early 1990s.

The Serbian assault began first by a ‘financial war’; by sanctions and finished off by an aggressive unprovoked incessant NATO bombing campaign. That’s what we can expect in Venezuela next.

This ‘Balkanization’ strategy similarly applies to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria et al. It serves US Neocon interests to dismember States in the world and create smaller more ‘manageable’ countries.

‘Regime change’ runs against the intent, the very words contained in the US Constitution. No one in MSM ever reminds us of that fact. Nevertheless America’s ambition to overthrow other States continues, which they arrogantly now make no secret of. The next States will probably be Nicaragua then Iran to name but two.

A very noteworthy most recent outrageous unilateral declaration was made by President Trump, not yet formally agreed by US institutions, ‘giving’ something he has no authority to give; Syrian territory, the Golan Heights to be precise, to Israel. Something that one day could trigger a full scale Arab-Israeli War.

This is of extreme importance yet no real outcry comes from world leaders; well not so far.

The main reason for that decision given by senior US Administration figures is that “God anointed Trump to save the Jews”.

Not forgetting Trump’s need (which we the people don’t understand exactly why) to support Prime Minister Netanyahu in his difficult upcoming elections in Israel – in part because both countries failed to ‘regime change’ Syria – but more importantly to help the ‘financial terrorists’ who formed a company jointly that has already started drilling for oil in the Golan Heights. You might like to know who owns such oil drilling company which should answer a plethora of questions in one go that you must be asking yourselves.

The shareholder’s names tells us everything; Dick Cheney; Baron Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch. The titular heads of neocons, bankers and media on the planet.

In ending there is no more evidence required for us, the people of the world, to rise up against the globalist dark forces wherever they exist, be it in Brussels, London, France or Washington. We must demand democratic elections or start revolutions, the latter has already begun in France in the form of ‘the yellow vests’. And Brexit, by definition, is a rejection by the British people of globalism and American Hegemony.

The pattern of US destabilization and destruction of States to loot them of their sovereign resources is the unseen history of the last 100 years, not taught in any university, anywhere in the West.

As far as Ukraine is concerned, its government was taken down by the CIA and replaced by an ultra fascist regime that has full backing from America. This is no secret. But the MSM simple don’t report it.

US led NATO is ‘the transnational war machine’ of the world, devouring almost all free countries wealth. It can extort to terrorize all into conformity to the global ‘carcinogenic’ US Neocon imperialistic strategy.

A total estimated 20m people around the world have died since the end of WW11 at the hands of US Forces. Think about that for a moment.

One of the most famous sayings attributed to America’s great President Abraham Lincoln is about deception: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

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‘Dark day for internet freedom’: EU approves controversial copyright reform

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”

RT

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Via RT


The European Parliament has voted to adopt the highly controversial Article 13 provision which would govern the production and distribution of content online under the auspices of increasing copyright protections.

Tuesday’s move will update the EU’s 20-year-old copyright rules and will govern everything from audiovisual content to memes, much to the dismay of many social media users who have already begun outpouring their grief online.

MEPs passed the legislation by 348 votes to 274 Tuesday. Opponents had hoped for last-minute amendments to be made but their efforts were in vain.

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”

Article 13 or ‘The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ makes all platforms legally responsible for the content hosted and shared on their platforms.

The process of updating the bloc’s copyright laws began in the European Commission two years ago, ostensibly to protect Europe’s publishers, broadcasters and artists and guarantee fair compensation from big tech companies.

By essentially forcing companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter to pay artists and publishers for the reproduction of their work online, include in meme format, the EU is effectively clamping down on online memery.

The onus will now be on tech companies to clamp down on content-sharing on their platforms, which will likely ensure yet more draconian policing of speech and content.

EU member states now have two years to pass their own laws putting Article 13 into effect.

Tens of thousands marched in protest across Germany ahead of the vote, decrying what they viewed as severe online censorship.

Tech giant Google said that while the directive is “improved” it will still lead to legal uncertainty and will damage Europe’s creative and digital economies.

Critics have argued that the only way for Article 13 to be effectively enforced would be through the use of upload filters which automatically check content to see if it’s copyrighted or not, at least in theory. However, the exact mechanics of such a system have yet to be fully debated and the potential for abuse is immediately clear.

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