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Forget due process and evidence. UK PM Theresa May knows Russians are Novichok assassins (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 100.

Alex Christoforou

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British PM Theresa May says the two suspects in the Skripal poisoning case hoax are Russian military intelligence officers.

May said on Wednesday that the poisoning of former Russian Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March was ordered at a “senior level” of the Russian government.

She said that the suspects, named as ‘Alexander Petrov’ and ‘Ruslan Boshirov’, are members of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, and that the poisoning was not a “rogue operation.”

Evidence not provided, everything classified and can never released…of course.

The Kremlin fired back at May’s accusations calling it a ‘cocktail of lies’ timed with an imminent Idlib false flag operation.

Russia has denied allegations that its military intelligence officers were behind the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury, and suggested that the UK government timed its accusations to a potential upcoming false flag attack in Syria.

Via RT

On Thursday, the UK gave an update to the UN Security Council on its investigation of the poisoning attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in May. Karen Pierce, the British representative to the UN, summed up the statements given on the previous days by the British investigators and Prime Minister Theresa May on the case. She reiterated the claim that the two suspects in the case were officers of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, based on classified intelligence available to the British government.

Her Russian counterpart, Vasily Nebenzya, called the allegations “a cocktail of lies” and denied any involvement of the Russian state in the Skripal saga. The Russian diplomat said the promised breakthrough in the case turned out to be disappointing for Russia and simply followed a pattern of baseless accusations against Moscow by the British side.

He said the British site itself stated that the two suspects most likely used aliases when entering Britain, which begs the question why they were called Russian nationals, yet alone agents of the Russian government. The British authorities, he added, refused to hand over to Russia the information they have on the suspects, including their fingerprints, which they must have provided to get a visa. The fingerprints, obviously, would have made identifying those individuals much easier, Nebenzya said, adding that apparently London is not interested in finding out who the suspects are.

“We have a joke in Russia about a ‘Joe-never-caught’, called so because nobody is trying to catch him. It seems that what we have been offered is two Joes-never-caught,” the diplomat said.

Nebenzya said there were several apparent inconsistencies in the narrative of the British side. For instance, he said, the suspects were spotted on CCTV footage on March 4 at midday while the Skripals reportedly left home in the early morning. He also reiterated that the accusations against Russia fail to explain why the Russian state would want to kill Sergei Skripal or chose such a bizarre method of assassination.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss May’s accusations, and her lack of transparency and refusal to provide evidence, as she accuses the Russian government of orchestrating a very sloppy and deeply flawed poisoning of an ex spy with ties to Hillary Clinton’s paid for MI6 informant, Christopher Steele.

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Via RT

Speaking to Parliament on Wednesday, May reiterated her previous accusation that the Russian government was involved in the Skripal poisoning case. “We were right to say in March that the Russian state is responsible,” she said.

While British police investigators said earlier they had no evidence linking the Russian government with the suspects, May insisted that British intelligence services provided evidence, which identifies them as officers of Russian military intelligence, the GRU. She said she would update party leaders on why her government came to that conclusion behind closed doors.

“Based on the body of intelligence, the government has concluded that the two individuals named by the police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) are officers from the Russian military intelligence service also known as the GRU,” May said.

May stated that if the two individuals ever travel outside of Russia, the UK would act to have them arrested and extradited to be tried on British soil.

She reiterated that her government will continue putting pressure on Russia, exposing what she called a “pattern of bad behavior”, with particular focus on the GRU.

The UK’s Counter-terrorism police released images of two suspects in connection with Salisbury attack, as well as a statement by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing, in relation to the Salisbury and Amesbury Investigation:

Today marks the most significant moment so far in what has been one of the most complex and intensive investigations we have undertaken in Counter Terrorism policing; the charging of two suspects – both Russian nationals – in relation to the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal. I would like to thank the Crown Prosecution Service for their independent assessment of the evidence in this case.

This has been a highly complex investigation for UK policing, which would have been impossible without the great staff and abilities of the UK Intelligence Community and the support of the Government.

My thoughts remain with Dawn Sturgess’s family as they come to terms with their loss, the other victims who fell seriously ill after being exposed to a Novichok nerve agent and the people of Salisbury who have shown tremendous resilience throughout.

We said from the start that this investigation would take time as we gathered and assessed all the evidence available to us. Around 250 detectives from across the Counter Terrorism Policing Network have worked on the investigation, brilliantly led by Counter Terrorism Policing South East, and supported by officers from Wiltshire, numerous forces on mutual aid, as well as partners and agencies, ranging from Public Health England to the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory in Porton Down.

Over the last six months we have meticulously followed the evidence, working closely with specialist forensic teams and scientists, as we have investigated both the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, and the poisoning of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley. Let me be clear, we have no doubt these two incidents are connected and now form one investigation.

Today’s announcement by the CPS marks the most significant development in this investigation. We now have sufficient evidence to bring charges in relation to the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and domestic and European arrest warrants have been issued for the two suspects. We are also seeking to circulate Interpol Red Notices.

However, our enquiries do not stop here; and today, as well as updating you about the progress of the investigation, I am appealing once more to the public for their help, as we continue to build our evidence in this case.

To recap, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury city centre at 4.15pm on Sunday, 4 March, after being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent.

Both Sergei and Yulia spent weeks critically ill in hospital but thankfully are now making a good recovery. Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, a Wiltshire police officer, was also seriously ill after being exposed to the nerve agent. He continues to make good progress but remains off work. The medical support provided by NHS, Public Health England and expert scientists has been fantastic, particularly given the fact that we have never had to deal with a poisoning by a Novichok nerve agent before in the UK.

Tragically 44-year-old mother of three, Dawn Sturgess died in hospital on Saturday, 8 July. She fell ill on 30 June after being exposed to Novichok and she never regained consciousness. Her partner, 48-year-old Charlie Rowley, was also exposed to the nerve agent and became seriously ill later that day. He received treatment at Salisbury District Hospital over three weeks.

We have now linked the attack on the Skripals and the events in Amesbury which affected Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley. It now forms one investigation. We do not believe Dawn and Charlie were deliberately targeted, but became victims as a result of the recklessness in which such a toxic nerve agent was disposed of. We know that Novichok was applied to the Skripals’ front door in an area that is accessible to the public, which also endangered the lives of members of the public and emergency service responders.

Our rationale for linking the two investigations is primarily based on the following four facts:

  • Firstly, our own analysis, and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague, has confirmed that the same type of Novichok was used in both cases.
  • Secondly, the nerve agent is one of the rarest chemical warfare agents in the world and its discovery, twice, in such close proximity is beyond a coincidence.
  • Third, the manner in which the bottle and packaging has been adapted makes it a perfect cover for smuggling the weapon into the country, and a perfect delivery method for the attack against the Skripal’s front door.
  • Fourthly, the lack of crossover between the known movements of the suspects and Dawn and Charlie’s known movements around Salisbury, and the fact that there is no evidence to suggest they have been targeted mean it is much more likely Dawn and Charlie found.

Despite the meticulous and painstaking searches, and although unlikely, it is impossible to guarantee that there are no other materials present in the Salisbury area. Therefore we are repeating the advice from Public Health England that people should not pick up items which do not belong to them. We don’t yet know where the suspects disposed of the Novichok they used to attack the door, where Dawn and Charlie got the bottle that poisoned them, or if it is the same bottle used in both poisonings.

As you have heard, today’s charges relate to the first incident involving the Skripals and Nick Bailey. We continue to liaise with the Crown Prosecution Service regarding the poisoning of Dawn and Charlie.

Since March we have received tremendous support from the people of Salisbury and Amesbury and our many partners, which has been invaluable to the investigation team. Today we are releasing further information and a number of images in the hope that the public can assist us further.

On the 14 March the Prime Minister said there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter. We now need to hear from the public.

I am therefore, appealing for anyone who has information about the suspects named by the CPS today as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov to contact police. Both suspects are approximately 40 years old, and are Russian nationals who were travelling on Russian passports.

It is likely that they were travelling under aliases and that these are not their real names. We would like to hear from anyone who knows them. We are releasing these photographs of them, from the travel documents they used to enter the country.

We’d also like to hear from anyone who saw them while they were in the UK between Friday, 2 March and Sunday, 4 March. We are particularly interested in establishing as much as possible about their movements during the period 2pm to 4.30pm on Saturday, 3 March, and 11.30am to 2pm on Sunday, 4 March.

If you recognise them, know who they are or saw them please contact police in confidence on 0800 789 321 or email the investigation team [email protected]

I will now go through their movements in detail:

At 3pm on Friday, 2 March, the suspects arrived at Gatwick airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588.

From there it is believed that they travelled by train into London, arriving at Victoria station at approximately 5.40pm.

They then travelled on London public transport to Waterloo station and were in the area between approximately 6pm and 7pm. They travelled to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, East London, where they stayed on Friday, 2 March, and Saturday, 3 March.

On Saturday, 3 March, they left the hotel and took the underground to Waterloo station, arriving at approximately 11.45am, where they caught a train to Salisbury, arriving at approximately 2.25pm.

They are believed to have taken a similar route when they returned to London on the afternoon of Saturday, 3 March. Leaving Salisbury at approximately 4.10pm and arriving in Bow at approximately 8.05 pm.

We assess that this trip was for reconnaissance of the Salisbury area and do not believe that there was any risk to the public from their movements on this day.

On Sunday, 4 March, they made the same journey from the hotel, again using the underground from Bow to Waterloo station at approximately 8.05am, before continuing their journey by train to Salisbury.

CCTV shows them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house and we believe that they contaminated the front door with Novichok.

They left Salisbury and returned to Waterloo Station, arriving at approximately 4.45pm and boarded the London Underground at approximately 6.30pm to London Heathrow Airport.

From Heathrow Airport, they returned to Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2585, departing at 10.30pm on Sunday, 4 March.

We have no evidence that they re-entered the UK after that date.

Having taken advice from Public Health England, we are confident that there was no risk to members of the public who were on the same flight, trains or public transport used by the suspects.

On 4 May 2018, tests were carried out in the hotel room where the suspects had stayed. A number of samples were tested at DSTL at Porton Down. Two swabs showed contamination of Novichok at levels below that which would cause concern for public health. A decision was made to take further samples from the room as a precautionary measure, including in the same areas originally tested, and all results came back negative. We believe the first process of taking swabs removed the contamination, so low were the traces of Novichok in the room.

Following these tests, experts deemed the room was safe and that it posed no risk to the public.

In terms of those who stayed in the room between 4 March and 4 May; to-date, we have had no reports of any persons falling ill. It is likely, given what we have learnt from this investigation, that anyone exposed to Novichock will have experienced symptoms within 12 hours of exposure. The levels of Novichok we found in the room at the time of police sampling in May were such that they were not enough to cause short or long-term health effects to anyone exposed to it, at that point or thereafter. We will continue to work closely with Public Health England as new information comes to light.

We are asking anyone who stayed at the hotel between 4 March and 4 May to call 0800 789 321 or email [email protected]. Staff from PHE will be on hand to give advice and reassurance.

To help understand the suspect’s movements as fully as possible, we are releasing a selection of CCTV images that clearly show the men and the clothing they were wearing over the weekend of 3 and 4 March.

The public may remember it was a particularly cold weekend and there was heavy snow in Salisbury.

The first CCTV image (timed at 16.22 on Friday 2 March) shows the man we know as “Petrov” arriving at London Gatwick airport.

The second image, also time at 16.22 on Friday 2 March, is of the man we know as “Boshirov” at Gatwick.

Image three, shows the suspects at 16.11 on Saturday, 3 March at Salisbury train station about to catch a train back to London.

Image four captures the suspects at 11.48 on Sunday 4 March having returned to Salisbury. Here they are seen exiting Salisbury railway station.

Image five shows the suspects ten minutes later – at 11.58 – on Wilton Road, Salisbury, we say, moments before the attack.

At 13.05 on Sunday, 4 March, the suspects are caught on CCTV (image six) in Fisherton Street, in Salisbury town centre, heading towards the train station.

Image seven is a rear shot of the suspects in Fisherton Street minutes later, at 13.08 on Sunday, 4 March.

Image eight shows the suspects at Salisbury train station at 13.50 on Sunday, 4 March, as they embark on their journey back to London – “Boshirov” is in the foreground and “Petrov” at the rear.

In image nine, we see the suspects passing through passport control at London Heathrow at 19.28 on Sunday evening (4 March) – in the image, “Petrov” is at the front and “Boshirov” at the back.

Did you see these suspects between Friday 2 March and Sunday 4 March? Do you recognise or know them? If so please call police on 0800 789 321 or email the investigation team at [email protected]

Detectives continue to work around the clock to fully understand the circumstances in which Dawn and Charlie were contaminated.

Detailed and systematic searches have been conducted at a number of sites in Salisbury, Amesbury and London.

Officers have interviewed Charlie a number of times about his recollections prior to falling ill.

Charlie told police he found a box he thought contained perfume in a charity bin on Wednesday, 27 June. Inside the box was a bottle and applicator. He tried to put the two parts together at his home address on Saturday, 30 June, and in doing so got some of the contents on himself. He said Dawn had applied some of the substance to her wrists before feeling unwell.

After Charlie told police where he found the box, cordons were put in place and two bins behind shops in Catherine Street, Salisbury, were removed.

Previously, during a search of Charlie’s home address in Muggleton Road on 10 July a small box labelled as Nina Ricci Premier Jour was recovered from a rubbish bag in the kitchen. On 11 July a small glass bottle with a modified nozzle was found on a kitchen worktop. Tests undertaken at DSTL established the bottle contained a significant amount of Novichok.

We have carried out numerous inquiries in relation to the bottle and are now able to release an image of it with the nozzle attached. We are also releasing an image of the box that the bottle and nozzle were in.

We have spoken to Nina Ricci and undertaken further inquiries. Nina Ricci and our inquiries have confirmed that it is not a genuine Nina Ricci perfume bottle, box or nozzle. It is in fact a counterfeit box, bottle and nozzle that have been especially adapted. I’d like to reassure anyone who has bought Nina Ricci perfume from a legitimate source that they should not be concerned. It is safe.

We cannot account for the whereabouts of the bottle, nozzle or box between the attack on the Skripals on 4 March and when Charlie Rowley said he found it on Wednesday, 27 June.

Did you see this pink box or glass bottle during that time? Do you have any information about where it might have been discarded? If so, please contact the investigation team on 0800 789 321 or [email protected].

We must continue to build as comprehensive a picture as we can to reassure the public and secure a future prosecution through the UK criminal justice system. Any extra information from the public will be extremely welcome.

In summary, I am asking for the public’s help worldwide and I want to restate the following appeal points:

  • Do you recognise the men from the CCTV or do you know them?
  • Did you see them while they were in the UK and in particular during their time in Salisbury?
  • Has anyone seen the bottle or box between the attack on the Skripals on Sunday, 4 March to when Charlie says he found it on Wednesday, 27 June? This is vital information.

Anyone with information should contact the investigation team in confidence on 0800 789 321 or email[email protected].

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A.F.VethVolkerAM HantsHamletquestNicole Temple Recent comment authors
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Volker
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Volker

The same kind of complete Bullshit and huge Pack of Lies, from the two rotten criminal wannabe ‘Empires’ USA+UK AKA Russian Meddling Hoax and Poisening Hoax.

AM Hants
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AM Hants

I remember Blair, back in 2003, standing up in Parliament, convincing us of the WMD that Sadam had. In fact the Chilcott Report, was only released, 2 years ago. I guess our politicians, over in the UK never learnt from those lessons. Funny, how the same crowd behind events in 2003, are the same crowd financing the ‘White Helmets’, plus, all the Russian hysteria. God save us from immoral politicians and the carnage they do to the world.

AM Hants
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AM Hants

Enjoyed the video. Where is the law, when May opens her mouth in Parliament? Blair taught her well.

Russia Challenges The US To Highlight Where There Are Chemical Weapons In Syria – US Remains SILENT… https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/09/russia-challenges-the-us-to-highlight-where-there-are-chemical-weapons-in-syria-us-remains-silent/

Good response Russia. Now why won’t the US provide the information?

AM Hants
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AM Hants

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Hamletquest
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Hamletquest

The British Governments Crown Prosecution Jurisprudence Guide for Dummies…

“Fu*king shred it and and blame it on the Russians!!!”

Nicole Temple
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Nicole Temple

As shown in this article, there is one key reason why the CCTV images of the suspects are “suspect”:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-skripal-poisoning-and-narrative.html

It is interesting to see that the British intelligence services don’t know the real identity of the suspects but they are certain that they are Russian.

veth
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veth

When Russkies deny their crimes, the opposite is true! Like with the invasion in Donbass, CRIMEA, DOWNING mh17

Bassan17
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Bassan17

It is becoming increasingly obvious to all (even to the so far unawakened) what vassals our governments are to higher powers and how in turn our governments are treating “we the people” as vassal idiots who can be lied to with impunity.

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

For cripes sakes, I am embarrassed to read this pack of lies and stupidity, to actually think that any body thinks I am dumb enough to buy any part of this Theresa May “idiocy” !! This stupid woman is 2 bricks short of a load !! I cannot accept that she was actually elected to British parliament, what you people been “smokin” over there ???

john vieira
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john vieira

Wonder if the “authorities” have pulled/doctored the original arrival photographs at Gatwick…wherein one suspect…all alone…nobody within 6′ (2m) is clocked in at 16.22:43 and the other…exact same scenario at 16.22:43 ALSO. Maybe the “time piece” malfunctioned???

veth
Guest
veth

Russian hitmen spent weeks in Geneva before nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal – The Telegraph 12:22, 08 September 2018 Whitehall sources said establishing who they met in Geneva was now “absolutely key to the ongoing investigation”. news.met.police.uk Intelligence agencies are investigating a series of trips by two Russian hitmen to Geneva prior to carrying out the nerve agent attack on Salisbury. Flight ticket details obtained by the Telegraph show Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov made at least six separate trips to the Swiss city in the run up to the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal. Records show they booked… Read more »

veth
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veth

The Argentine Cocaine Scandal Is Just the Tip of a Russian Iceberg (Op-ed) The embassy cars and diplomatic flights are reminiscent of wilder times Handout / Reuters It can be depressing how often Russian reality sounds like a script from a thriller. Twelve suitcases of cocaine worth some 40 million euros ($50 million) found in an embassy school in Argentina. Drugs smuggled in diplomatic flights. A sting. A cast including a shadowy Russian security officer and an Argentina cop of Russian extraction. Sadly, this is no piece of fiction but a reminder that the criminal instincts of the 1990s never… Read more »

A.F.Veth
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A.F.Veth

After horror of Salisbury attack, ex-KGB spy admits: ‘Russia ordered me to POISON ENEMIES’
A FORMER Russian agent says he was ordered by Moscow spymasters to kill two targets by smearing poison on their doorhandle.

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Ukraine Wants Nuclear Weapons: Will the West Bow to the Regime in Kiev?

Efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation are one of the few issues on which the great powers agree, intending to continue to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and to prevent new entrants into the exclusive nuclear club.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The former Ukrainian envoy to NATO, Major General Petro Garashchuk, recently stated in an interview with Obozrevatel TV:

“I’ll say it once more. We have the ability to develop and produce our own nuclear weapons, currently available in the world, such as the one that was built in the former USSR and which is now in independent Ukraine, located in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) that can produce these kinds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Neither the United States, nor Russia, nor China have produced a missile named Satan … At the same time, Ukraine does not have to worry about international sanctions when creating these nuclear weapons.”

The issue of nuclear weapons has always united the great powers, especially following the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The decision to reduce the number of nuclear weapons towards the end of the Cold War went hand in hand with the need to prevent the spread of such weapons of mass destruction to other countries in the best interests of humanity. During the final stages of the Cold War, the scientific community expended great effort on impressing upon the American and Soviet leadership how a limited nuclear exchange would wipe out humanity. Moscow and Washington thus began START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) negotiations to reduce the risk of a nuclear winter. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances persuaded Ukraine to relinquish its nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT in exchange for security assurances from its signatories.

Ukraine has in recent years begun entertaining the possibility of returning to the nuclear fold, especially in light of North Korea’s recent actions. Kim Jong-un’s lesson seems to be that a nuclear deterrent remains the only way of guaranteeing complete protection against a regional hegemon. The situation in Ukraine, however, differs from that of North Korea, including in terms of alliances and power relations. Kiev’s government came into power as a result of a coup d’etat carried out by extremist nationalist elements who seek their inspiration from Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. The long arm of NATO has always been deeply involved in the dark machinations that led to Poroshenko’s ascendency to the Ukrainian presidency. From a geopolitical point of view, NATO’s operation in Ukraine (instigating a civil war in the wake of a coup) follows in the footsteps of what happened in Georgia. NATO tends to organize countries with existing anti-Russia sentiments to channel their Russophobia into concrete actions that aim to undermine Moscow. The war in the Donbass is a prime example.

However, Ukraine has been unable to subdue the rebels in the Donbass region, the conflict freezing into a stalemate and the popularity of the Kiev government falling as the population’s quality of life experiences a precipitous decline. The United States and the European Union have not kept their promises, leaving Poroshenko desperate and tempted to resort to provocations like the recent Kerch strait incident or such as those that are apparently already in the works, as recently reported by the DPR authorities.

The idea of Ukraine resuming its production of nuclear weapons is currently being floated by minor figures, but it could take hold in the coming months, especially if the conflict continues in its frozen state and Kiev becomes frustrated and desperate. The neoconservative wing of the American ruling elite, absolutely committed to the destruction of the Russian Federation, could encourage Kiev along this path, in spite of the incalculable risks involved. The EU, on the other hand, would likely be terrified at the prospect, which would also place it between a rock and a hard place. Kiev, on one side, would be able to extract from the EU much needed economic assistance in exchange for not going nuclear, while on the other side the neocons would be irresponsibly egging the Ukrainians on.

Moscow, if faced with such a possibility, would not just stand there. In spite of Russia having good relations with North Korea, it did not seem too excited at the prospect of having a nuclear-armed neighbor. With Ukraine, the response would be much more severe. A nuclear-armed Ukraine would be a red line for Moscow, just as Crimea and Sevastopol were. It is worth remembering the Russian president’s words when referring to the possibility of a NATO invasion of Crimea during the 2014 coup:

“We were ready to do it [putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert]. Russian people live there, they are in danger, we cannot leave them. It was not us who committed to coup, it was the nationalists and people with extreme beliefs. I do not think this is actually anyone’s wish – to turn it into a global conflict.”

As Kiev stands on the precipice, it will be good for the neocons, the neoliberals and their European lackeys to consider the consequences of advising Kiev to jump or not. Giving the nuclear go-ahead to a Ukrainian leadership so unstable and detached from reality may just be the spark that sets off Armageddon.

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Mike Pompeo lays out his vision for American exceptionalism (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 158.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at Mike Pompeo’s shocking Brussels speech, where the U.S. Secretary of State took aim at the European Union and United Nations, citing such institutions as outdated and poorly managed, in need of a new dogma that places America at its epicenter.

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Speaking in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unwittingly underscored why nobody takes the United States seriously on the international stage. Via The Council on Foreign Relations


In a disingenuous speech at the German Marshall Fund, Pompeo depicted the transactional and hypernationalist Trump administration as “rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order.” He did so while launching gratuitous attacks on the European Union, United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—pillars of the existing postwar order the United States did so much to create. He remained silent, naturally, on the body blows that the current administration has delivered to its erstwhile allies and partners, and to the institutions that once upon a time permitted the United States to legitimate rather than squander its international leadership.

In Pompeo’s telling, Donald J. Trump is simply seeking a return to the world that former Secretary of State George Marshall helped to create. In the decades after 1945, the United States “underwrote new institutions” and “entered into treaties to codify Western values of freedom and human rights.” So doing, the United States “won the Cold War” and—thanks to the late President George H. W. Bush, “we won the peace” that followed. “This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting.”

That leadership is needed because the United States “allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode” once the bipolar conflict ended. “Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end unto itself,” Pompeo explained. “The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done.” What is needed is a multilateralism that once again places the nation-state front and center.

Leave aside for the moment that nobody actually believes what Pompeo alleges: that multilateralism should be an end in itself; that paper commitments are credible absent implementation, verification, and enforcement; or that the yardstick of success is how many bureaucrats get hired. What sensible people do believe is that multilateral cooperation is often (though not always) the best way for nations to advance their interests in an interconnected world of complicated problems. Working with others is typically superior to unilateralism, since going it alone leaves the United States with the choice of trying to do everything itself (with uncertain results) or doing nothing. Multilateralism also provides far more bang for the buck than President Trump’s favored approach to diplomacy, bilateralism.

Much of Pompeo’s address was a selective and tendentious critique of international institutions that depicts them as invariably antithetical to national sovereignty. Sure, he conceded, the European Union has “delivered a great deal of prosperity to the continent.” But it has since gone badly off track, as the “political wake-up call” of Brexit showed. All this raised a question in his mind: “Is the EU ensuring that the interests of countries and their citizens are placed before those of bureaucrats and Brussels?”

The answer, as one listener shouted out, is “Yes!” The secretary, like many U.S. conservative critics of European integration, is unaware that EU member states continue to hold the lion’s share of power in the bloc, which remains more intergovernmental than supranational. Pompeo seems equally unaware of how disastrously Brexit is playing out. With each passing day, the costs of this catastrophic, self-inflicted wound are clearer. In its quest for complete policy autonomy—on ostensible “sovereignty” grounds—the United Kingdom will likely have to accept, as the price for EU market access, an entire body of law and regulations that it will have no say in shaping. So much for advancing British sovereignty.

Pompeo similarly mischaracterizes the World Bank and IMF as having gone badly off track. “Today, these institutions often counsel countries who have mismanaged their economic affairs to impose austerity measures that inhibit growth and crowd out private sector actors.” This is an odd, hybrid critique. It combines a shopworn, leftist criticism from the 1990s—that the international financial institutions (IFIs) punish poor countries with structural adjustment programs—with the conservative accusation that the IFIs are socialist, big-government behemoths. Both are ridiculous caricatures. They ignore how much soul-searching the IFIs have done since the 1990s, as well as how focused they are on nurturing an enabling institutional environment for the private sector in partner countries.

Pompeo also aims his blunderbuss at the United Nations. He complains that the United Nations’ “peacekeeping missions drag on for decades, no closer to peace,” ignoring the indispensable role that blue helmets play in preventing atrocities, as well as a recent Government Accountability Office report documenting how cost-effective such operations are compared to U.S. troops. Similarly, Pompeo claims, “The UN’s climate-related treaties are viewed by some nations simply as a vehicle to redistribute wealth”—an accusation that is both unsubstantiated and ignores the urgent need to mobilize global climate financing to save the planet.

Bizarrely, Pompeo also turns his sights on the Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Union (AU), for alleged shortcomings. Has the OAS, he asks, done enough “to promote its four pillars of democracy, human rights, security, and economic development?” Um, no. Could that have something to do with the lack of U.S. leadership in the Americas on democracy and human rights? Yes. Might it have helped if the Trump administration had filled the position of assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs before October 15 of this year? Probably.

Equally puzzling is Pompeo’s single line riff on the AU. “In Africa, does the African Union advance the mutual interest of its nation-state members?” Presumably the answer is yes, or its members would be headed for the door. The AU continues to struggle in financing its budget, but it has made great strides since its founding in 2002 to better advance security, stability, and good governance on the continent.

“International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated,” Pompeo declared. Sounds reasonable. But where is this “free world” of which the secretary speaks, and what standing does the United States today have to defend, much less reform it? In the two years since he took office, Donald Trump has never expressed any interest in defending the international order, much less “returning [the United States] to its traditional, central leadership role in the world,” as Pompeo claims. Indeed, the phrase “U.S. leadership” has rarely escaped Trump’s lips, and he has gone out of his way to alienate longstanding Western allies and partners in venues from NATO to the G7.

When he looks at the world, the president cares only about what’s in it for the United States (and, naturally, for him). That cynicism explains the president’s deafening silence on human rights violations and indeed his readiness to cozy up to strongmen and killers from Vladimir Putin to Rodrigo Duterte to Mohammed bin Salman to too many more to list. Given Trump’s authoritarian sympathies and instincts, Pompeo’s warnings about “Orwellian human rights violations” in China and “suppressed opposition voices” in Russia ring hollow.

“The central question that we face,” Pompeo asked in Brussels, “is the question of whether the system as currently configured, as it exists today—does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world?” The answer, of course, is not as well as it should, and not for nearly enough of them. But if the secretary is seeking to identify impediments to a better functioning multilateral system, he can look to his left in his next Cabinet meeting.

“Principled realism” is the label Pompeo has given Trump’s foreign policy. Alas, it betrays few principles and its connection to reality is tenuous. The president has abandoned any pursuit of universal values, and his single-minded obsession to “reassert our sovereignty” (as Pompeo characterizes it) is actually depriving the United States of joining with others to build the prosperous, secure, and sustainable world that Americans want.

“Bad actors have exploited our lack of leadership for their own gain,” the secretary of state declared in Belgium. “This is the poisoned fruit of American retreat.” How true. Pompeo’s next sentence—“President Trump is determined to reverse that”—was less persuasive.

 

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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