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President Trump plays his cards close on Skripal assassination attempt

US President remains personally reluctant to lay blame on the matter of responsibility for the Skripal assassination attempt in England

Seraphim Hanisch




On 15 March, the United Kingdom, together with allies Germany, France and the United States, issued a collective statement regarding the allegation that the assassination attempt on ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia were orchestrated by agencies in the Russian Federation:

This looks like a united front, but in reality, as regards the American president, this is not quite the case.

According to the New York Times, Mr. Trump has actually been under pressure by the usual suspects for not being fiercely vocal about this matter. He has been quiet about it on his legendary Twitter feed, and has instead talked about other issues. In fact, the New York Times noted that the US President left this matter to his aides to express public solidarity with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and the others.

Under the direction of his aides, the White House released this statement:

This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes. The United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again.”

One interesting point about this is that a search on the site does not reveal this above statement, but instead presently only reveals the joint statement.

Later, while speaking to the press during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a member of the press corps did ask Mr. Trump if he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind the attack, and he responded “It looks like it.” – He also said more:

I’ve spoken with the [British] prime minister and we are in deep discussions. It’s a very sad situation… It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it. Something that should never, ever happen and we’re taking it very seriously as, I think, are many others.”

However, this is quite far from the bellicose statements made by Prime Minister Theresa May about this situation, even more so very different than Piers Morgan’s outright accusation that President Putin kills journalists. Mr. Trump has been toeing a line that would be rather difficult for a politician to do. That line is the position of simply not going with the crowd, but thoughtfully acknowledging what is true, while steering clear of emotional rhetoric.

President Trump, however, is not a politician – at least, not in the career sense.

It is perfectly plain and right to express sorry and outrage for the attack on these two Russian people itself. It is further right because the attack also seriously sickened a police officer, who was by all counts innocent of anything other than trying to help. And further, a total of 38 people were seen by doctors in relation to this incident, including the Skripals, and one of those remains under observation as an outpatient. A lot of people got hurt by this attack, and that is indeed outrageous.

It is also fair enough to proceed on the finding that the poison used was indeed Novichok, an agent that was developed in the Soviet Union.

But after that there really is nothing that is based in cold hard proven fact for anyone to say.

Since there is a common basis to speak out against the incident itself, it is certainly easy for Mr. Trump or anyone who wishes to express solidarity on that point, without buying the whole package that is built up on top of that, and it appears from Mr. Trump’s silence on this matter outside this tweet above that he is not getting himself involved in anything that is dubious beyond expressing what an ally should express – alliance with other allies.

Now, of course, this matter of taking a position against “evil Russia” is politically popular for some amazing and unclear reason (my opinion), but a lot of US politicians are highly invested in bellicose rhetoric against “the Russians.” Among this number include Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, Republican Senator Ben Sasse, former Pentagon official Evelyn Farkas (who oversaw Russia policy under President Obama), and no doubt, plenty of others. Russia is a popular foil to beat, though for reasons explained elsewhere here on The Duran, it is certainly a foolish one.

Sergey and Yulia Skripal, still in the hospital after an assassination attempt.

Although Mr. Trump’s silence is subtle to many people, it has not gone unnoticed by these people listed above. But it probably has also not gone unnoticed by the Russian government itself. Ever since before the election victory went to the Donald, the drumbeat allegation that he was somehow complicit with the Russians to “steal” the election away from its “rightful” victor has bedeviled the President’s ability to conduct an effective rapprochement with the Russian government that would actually work. Obvious moves would be interpreted as proof that President Trump is a Putin operative and a stooge, and this would have galvanized that part of the establishment politicians in the US to oppose or even create reasons to try to try the president for treason or any sort of impeachable offense. As it stands, the court of public opinion was manipulated to some degree for some time, and this is only now slowly dissipating as RussiaGate is revealed to be the sham it always was.

There are many places that one could speculate about this event and others like it in terms of “what is really going on.” But speculation is rife with risk and intrigue, and in the present situation we can see what that is producing. It is producing hysteria on the scale of governments. Not to sound overly alarmist, but it is producing hysteria in governments who have nuclear weapons and very powerful conventional armed forces. There are precedents to what is happening now, and some of them are evocative of the events that set up the start of the First World War. It would seem therefore to be the safest course to do what Mr. Trump appears to be doing – to not go for the rampant bellicose speculation of PM May, and to not move in any manner without careful consideration.

Why all this is happening is probably well explained by others who are better at geopolitical speculation than I am. But my own caution is that, here, it seems that speculation, circumstantial evidence, and the court of public (or at least political figure) opinion are not to be trusted. Any time someone becomes a hothead, it is very dangerous for that person to act in their hotheadedness.

Oddly enough, it seems like in the West, the US President has the coolest head in the room.

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou



RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.


Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.





Via RT

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran



Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said ( the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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