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Russian envoy killed in a ‘parallel universe’

The Russian ambassador was killed in Ankara on the evening of Dec. 19 . The killer, a 22-year-old Turkish graduate of the police academy who had been fired in July after being deemed untrustworthy, fired 11 bullets into the ambassador’s back as he finished addressing the attendees at the opening of the Russia Through Turkish Eyes photo exhibit.

Andrey Fomin

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This article originally appeared on OrientalReview.org

Since the murderer was killed by a detachment of police who arrived a few minutes after the tragedy, the upcoming investigation is unlikely to lead back to those who ordered this crime.  Obviously this was not the work of the Turkish government – this murder was specifically intended to disrupt the process of rebuilding the dialog between Russia and Turkey spanning a wide range of issues – from resolving the situation in Syria to shipping natural gas to Europe.

Many point to Daesh’s underground network in Turkey – but it should be understood that that is under the full control of the Turkish authorities and the cover operation now being conducted by the authors of this campaign of intimidation is intent on convincing the world that the Islamists are beyond anyone’s control and too reckless to be kept in check.

The gunman was likely an agent from Mossad or a Western intelligence service who was passing himself off as a covert terrorist, which would be an entirely plausible story for a young man who had found himself in difficulties.  The shots that rang out in an Ankara gallery of contemporary art a few minutes after a plane carrying Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu turned toward Moscow were also intended to overshadow his visit (which turned out not to have been worthwhile, based on the negotiations).

By and large this act of terrorism was a desperate, angry move by figures at the backstage in the global theater who have lost this round in Syria.

Back in October we wrote about how the events in Syria are in no way a local conflict, but rather reflect a clash between powerful forces, one demanding “freedom of capital” and the other – protecting freedom of the soul.  These high stakes explain the unprecedented campaign of lies that major transnational news outlets have launched in recent weeks concerning the state of affairs in Aleppo with their baseless accusations that the Syrian army and its allies have committed war crimes.

The propaganda has become so ferocious that Syrian, Russian, and alternative sources of information that report on the real situation in Syria have been accused of fabricating a “parallel universe.”  It’s hard to believe, but people who are well aware that  the “documented evidence” that they are presenting as “proof of the regime’s atrocities” was actually filmed, say, somewhere in Egypt, still have the audacity to claim that their reporting reflects “reality” and that anything inconsistent with that is something “parallel.”

The fanatical faith of the devotees of “freedom of capital” in the “sanctity” of their “civilizing” mission, which they see as the only path, can be attributed to nothing but this entirely Trotskyist psychic phenomenon (that the end justifies the means).

The result of the astonishing intellectual selectivity of these blind guides (or Intellectual Yet Idiots, as the Lebanese-American scholar Nassim Taleb has called them) was recently clearly exhibited by a US correspondent for the Norwegian mainstream newspaper Aftenposten.  He was covering the press conference held by Eva Bartlett, a Canadian journalist and activist with the International Syria Solidarity Movement, in the United Nations building in New York on Dec 9.  That Norwegian correspondent challenged her on one point and her reply resonated throughout social networks for the next few days.

Among other things, she declared that the volunteer group known as the White Helmets, although so renowned in the West, is entirely unknown in Aleppo (another activist with the Syria Solidarity Movement, Vanessa Beeley, recently published a detailed investigation of these terrorist accomplices).  Aftenposten interweaves its usual propaganda with photos and videos from highly dubious sources supporting the insurgents and condescendingly notes, referring to UN humanitarian official Jan Egeland, that “no one in Aleppo has ever heard of the UN either.”

To Russians, who continually find themselves up against a similar lack of coherence in the way Europeans think of their country (whether in the imaginary “Russian threat” to the Baltics, “aggression in the Donbass,” or the “occupation of Crimea”), such metamorphoses are interpreted as “Russophobia.”  But it seems that the problem goes much deeper.

A favorite catchphrase for most US and European politicians is “Western values.”  This slogan is invariably trotted out whenever they need to force someone else to agree to some decision that is essential to the West, while anyone who opposes them is declared an enemy of these values and is subjected to ostracism, sanctions, condemnation, or even destruction.  Few realize that that concept is now widely used within a context that has nothing to do with axiology (the study of values), but which is at its heart merely a political mythology.

An impartial analysis of Western values, especially in comparison with those held by the Russians, gives a very clear answer to the question as to why Russia, although it seems to no longer have any fundamentally new ideological project to offer the world, is emerging as the new “shining city upon a hill” for a growing number of people across the globe.

First of all, when Western ideologues attempt to define the concept of Western values, they usually cite a dozen or so stock phrases such as “democracy,” “tolerance,” “a strong civil society,” “the rule of law,” and “political pluralism,” all of which were divorced from their original meanings long ago.  In fact, only provincial Europhiles and American students in liberal arts colleges believe in these mottos anymore.

On the contrary, the difference between the word (“democracy”) and the deed (utterly suppressing dissent and ordering the overthrow of legitimate regimes in objectionable countries) has become one of the most important tools used by the West to promulgate its quasi-values, which are actually fronts for its true expansionist interests.

Let us turn to a comparative table of the actual value systems of the contemporary West vs. Russia:

The  West

 Russian (Eurasian) civilization

  • globalism
  • a multi-polar world
  • universality
  • the diversity of identities
  • the superiority of the Western world (Western civilization as a model)
  • all civilizations are equal and sovereign
  • limitless progress
  • movement forward without destroying the old
  • material prosperity
  • spiritual and social development
  • multiculturalism
  • internationalism (the brotherhood of nations)
  • a society that is open to migrants (at the expense of the native-born population)
  • a strict migration policy (the protection of the interests of the native-born population)
  • political pluralism
  • the spiritual communion of an entire society (“sobornost”)
  • a strong civil society
  • a society in solidarity
  • the bourgeoisie (the primacy of the propertied classes)
  • communitarianism (the primacy of the majority)
  • agnosticism, atheism, and secularization
  • faith (traditional religions)
  • a preference for newly formed religions and sects
  • a preference for traditional religions and a rejection of sects
  • gender equality (the feminization of men and masculinization of women)
  • the preservation of natural gender differences and traditions
  • same-sex marriages and surrogate motherhood
  • the traditional family
  • sex “education” in schools
  • moral education in schools
  • support of the LGBT community at the expense of the traditional majority
  • the identification of non-traditional sexual orientation as an abnormality
  • juvenile justice that includes the legal protection of children from their parents
  • the exclusive right of parents to raise their children as they see fit, up to a certain age
  • the right to euthanasia
  • a ban on euthanasia and a focus on improving pain relief
  • the right to clone
  • a ban on cloning
  • individualism
  • various forms of collectiveness
  • freedom defined as the utmost rejection of social taboos
  • freedom defined as alignment with the (Divine) ideal
  • the law means justice
  • justice above the law
  • formal tolerance
  • genuine forbearance and compassion
  • political correctness
  • truth
  • transparency
  • openness (in the sense of “honesty”)
  • a “free” press
  • an accurate press
  • shame
  • conscience
  • a preference for private ownership
  • all types of ownership are equal
  • an open economy
  • a balance between openness and sovereignty
  • the “free market” as the primary regulator of economic relationship
  • the state determines the national priorities for the economy
  • the right to the unilateral use of force in the name of democracy
  • non-violence
  • social safety nets for those who are loyal to the system
  • social safety nets for all
  • an army of paid professionals
  • the universal conscription of citizens
  • wars are justified and essential in order to bring democracy to the “barbaric” part of the world
  • only defensive wars are acceptable

It is important to note that the values listed in the right-hand column of the table of values are merely ideals that are professed and are not officially approved Russian imperatives – they are understood identities that Russians have adopted (and these are being retained even amidst the atmosphere of the aggressive recoding emanating from the West, which, however, has not been very successful over the last 25 years).

Since the onset of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, the process of re-traditionalizing Russian society has greatly accelerated, and this now seems irreversible and is even having a clearly beneficial effect on the West.  The hysteria unleashed by the owners of a number of international media outlets communicating only a single, primal thought – “Russia is the world’s greatest evil” – is tied to this Russian renaissance and the subsequent frustration of the hopes of Western elites to build a totalitarian super-society in the foreseeable future based on pseudo-liberal slogans.

But what kind of “evil” can Western civilization speak of when it has placed its bets on Hominid immoral in its classical, Biblical delineation?

Amb. Andrey Karlov became the real victim of aggressive imposing of false values and world-views on entrapped individuals, vainly wishing to find the Truth in distorting mirrors of the lavishly financed Western propaganda machine. They never realize that consuming Daily News or Al-Jazeera, they are turning into a Mevlut Mert Altintas themselves…

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US continues to try to corner Russia with silence on Nukes

Moscow continues to be patient in what appears to be an ever more lopsided, intentional stonewalling situation provoked by the Americans.

Seraphim Hanisch

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TASS reported on March 17th that despite Russian readiness to discuss the present problem of strategic weapons deployments and disarmament with its counterparts in the United States, the Americans have not offered Russia any proposals to conduct such talks.

The Kremlin has not yet received any particular proposals on the talks over issues of strategic stability and disarmament from Washington, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Sunday when commenting on the statement made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton who did not rule out that such talks could be held with Russia and China.

“No intelligible proposals has been received [from the US] so far,” Peskov said.

Earlier Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis aired on Sunday that he considers it reasonable to include China in the negotiation on those issues with Russia as well.

“China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States. And it’s one reason why, if we’re going to have another arms control negotiation, for example, with the Russians, it may make sense to include China in that discussion as well,” he said.

Mr. Bolton’s sense about this particular aspect of any arms discussions is correct, as China was not formerly a player in geopolitical affairs the way it is now. The now all-but-scrapped Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, was a treaty concluded by the US and the USSR leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, back in 1987. However, for in succeeding decades, most notably since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US has been gradually building up weaponry in what appears to be an attempt to create a ring around the Russian Federation, a situation which is understandably increasingly untenable to the Russian government.

Both sides have accused one another of violating this treaty, and the mutual violations and recriminations on top of a host of other (largely fabricated) allegations against the Russian government’s activities led US President Donald Trump to announce his nation’s withdrawal from the treaty, formally suspending it on 1 February. Russian President Vladimir Putin followed suit by suspending it the very next day.

The INF eliminated all of both nations’ land based ballistic and cruise missiles that had a range between 500 and 1000 kilometers (310-620 miles) and also those that had ranges between 1000 and 5500 km (620-3420 miles) and their launchers.

This meant that basically all the missiles on both sides were withdrawn from Europe’s eastern regions – in fact, much, if not most, of Europe was missile-free as the result of this treaty. That is no longer the case today, and both nations’ accusations have provoked re-development of much more advanced systems than ever before, especially true considering the Russian progress into hypersonic and nuclear powered weapons that offer unlimited range.

This situation generates great concern in Europe, such that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on both Moscow and Washington to salvage the INF and extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or the New START as it is known.

“I call on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various issues that have been raised. It is very important that this treaty is preserved,” Guterres said at a session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Monday.

He stressed that the demise of that accord would make the world more insecure and unstable, which “will be keenly felt in Europe.” “We simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War,” he said.

Guterres also urged the US and Russia to extend the START Treaty, which expires in 2021, and explore the possibility of further reducing their nuclear arsenals. “I also call on the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the so-called New START Treaty before it expires in 2021,” he said.

The UN chief recalled that the treaty “is the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals” and that its inspection provisions “represent important confidence-building measures that benefit the entire world.”

Guterres recalled that the bilateral arms control process between Russia and the US “has been one of the hallmarks of international security for fifty years.”

“Thanks to their efforts, global stockpiles of nuclear weapons are now less than one-sixth of what they were in 1985,” the UN secretary-general pointed out.

The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. The new START Treaty obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The new START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent. Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay the issue of extending the Treaty.

 

 

 

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Trump witch hunt dots connected: CNN to Steele to John McCain (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss documents released which show that Christopher Steele admitted to using posts by ‘random individuals’ on the CNN community website ‘iReport’ in order to back up his fabricated Trump dossier.

President Trump took note of Steele’s use of CNN citizen journalist posts, in a twitter tirade that blasted the British ex-spy for running with unverified community generated content from a now now-defunct ‘iReports’ website as part of his research.

Trump the proceeded to rip into late neocon Arizona Senator John McCain, tweeting that it was “just proven in court papers” that “last in his class” McCain sent the Steele’s dossier to media outlets in the hopes that they would print it prior to the 2016 US election.

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Via The Daily Caller

A federal court unsealed 43 pages Thursday of a deposition that former British spy Christopher Steele gave as part of a lawsuit over his infamous anti-Trump dossier.

To the disappointment of many observers, the full deposition was not unsealed in Thursday’s motion. Instead, portions of Steele’s interview, which he gave in London on July 13, 2018, were unsealed in separate court filings submitted in the lawsuit.

Steele’s full deposition totaled 145 pages. The portions published Thursday focus mainly on questions about the dossier’s claims about Aleksej Gubarev, a tech executive who Steele alleges took part in the hacking of Democrats’ computer systems.

Gubarev has vehemently denied the claim and sued Steele and BuzzFeed News, which published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro, who handled the lawsuit, ordered a slew of previously sealed documents to be made public Thursday. Ungaro dismissed the lawsuit on Dec. 19 but did not weigh in on whether the dossier’s claims about Gubarev were accurate.

It is unclear whether Steele’s entire deposition will be released. A source familiar with Steele’s interview tempered expectations of any bombshells in the document, saying that Steele avoided going into detail about his efforts to create the dossier and his sources.

A deposition given by former State Department official David Kramer was perhaps the most enlightening document contained in the dump.

Kramer, a longtime associate of late Arizona Sen. John McCain, was BuzzFeed’s source for the dossier. Kramer shared the dossier with at least 11 other reporters, including CNN’s Carl Bernstein. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Gave Dossier To A Dozen Reporters)

Kramer obtained the dossier in late November 2016 after visiting Steele in London. Steele acknowledged that Kramer and McCain were picked as conduits to pass the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey. McCain met with Comey on Dec. 9, 2016 and provided all of the dossier’s memos that had been written up to that point.

“I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack,” Kramer said in the deposition when asked why Steele and his business partners at Fusion GPS wanted McCain to meet with Comey.

Via Washington Examiner

Former British spy Christopher Steele admitted that he relied on an unverified report on a CNN website for part of the “Trump dossier,” which was used as a basis for the FBI’s investigation into Trump.

According to deposition transcripts released this week, Steele said last year he used a 2009 report he found on CNN’s iReport website and said he wasn’t aware that submissions to that site are posted by members of the public and are not checked for accuracy.

web archive from July 29, 2009 shows that CNN described the site in this manner: “iReport.com is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they post.”

In the dossier, Steele, a Cambridge-educated former MI6 officer, wrote about extensive allegations against Donald Trump, associates of his campaign, various Russians and other foreign nationals, and a variety of companies — including one called Webzilla. Those allegations would become part of an FBI investigation and would be used to apply for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

During his deposition, Steele was pressed on the methods he used to verify allegations made about Webzilla, which was thought to be used by Russia to hack into Democratic emails.

When asked if he discovered “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla” during the verification process, Steele replied: “We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport.”

“I do not have any particular knowledge of that,” Steele said when asked what was his understanding of how the iReport website worked.

When asked if he understood that content on the site was not generated by CNN reporters, he said, “I do not.” He was then asked: “Do you understand that they have no connection to any CNN reporters?” Steele replied, “I do not.”

He was pressed on this further: “Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals’ assertions on the Internet?” Steele replied: “No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”

When asked about his methodology for searching for this information, Steele described it as “what we could call an open source search,” which he defined as “where you go into the Internet and you access material that is available on the Internet that is of relevance or reference to the issue at hand or the person under consideration.”

Steele said his dossier contained “raw intelligence” that he admitted could contain untrue or even “deliberately false information.”

Steele was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Fusion GPS was receiving funding at the time from the Clinton campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm.

The series of memos that Steele would eventually compile became known as the “Trump Dossier.” The dossier was used in FISA applications to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

When asked whether he warned Fusion GPS that the information in the dossier might be “Russian disinformation,” Steele admitted that “a general understanding existed between us and Fusion … that all material contained this risk.”

Steele also described his interactions with Sen. John McCain’s aide, David Kramer, whose own deposition showed that he provided BuzzFeed with a copy of the dossier and had spoken with more than a dozen journalists about it.

“I provided copies of the December memo to Fusion GPS for onward passage to David Kramer at the request of Sen. John McCain,” Steele said. “Sen. McCain nominated him as the intermediary. I did not choose him as the intermediary.”

When asked if he told Kramer that he couldn’t “vouch for everything that was produced in the memos,” Steele replied, “Yes, with an emphasis on ‘everything.'”

When asked why he believed it was so important to provide the dossier to Sen. McCain, Steele said: “Because I judged it had national security implications for the United States and the West as a whole.”

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Trudeau’s Top Bureaucrat Unexpectedly Quits Amid Growing Corruption Scandal

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

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Via Zerohedge


Since it was exposed by a report in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper earlier this month, the scandal that’s become known as the SNC-Lavalin affair has already led to the firing of several of Trudeau’s close advisors and raised serious questions about whether the prime minister was complicit in pressuring the attorney general to offer a deferred prosecution agreement with a large, Quebec-based engineering firm.

And according to the first round of polls released since the affair exploded into public view…

…it could cost Trudeau his position as prime minister and return control to the conservatives, according to the CBC.

Campaign Research showed the Conservatives ahead with 37% to 32% for the Liberals, while both Ipsos and Léger put the margin at 36% to 34% in the Conservatives’ favour.Since December, when both polling firms were last in the field, the Liberals have lost one point in Campaign Research’s polling and four percentage points in the Ipsos poll, while the party is down five points since November in the Léger poll.

Meanwhile, as the noose tightens around Trudeau, on Monday another of the key Canadian government officials at the center of the SNC-Lavalin scandal has quit his post.

Michael Wernick, clerk of the privy council, the highest-ranking position in Canada’s civil service and a key aide to Justin Trudeau, announced his retirement Monday. Trudeau named Ian Shugart, currently deputy minister of foreign affairs, to replace him.

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

“It is now apparent that there is no path for me to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the opposition parties,” he said, citing the need for impartiality on the issue of potential foreign interference. According to Bloomberg, the exact date of his departure is unclear.

As we reported in February, Canada’s former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, quit following allegations that several key Trudeau government figures pressured her to intervene to end a criminal prosecution against Montreal-based construction giant SNC. Wernick was among those she named in saying the prime minister’s office wanted her to pursue a negotiated settlement.

Wernick has since twice spoken to a committee of lawmakers investigating the case, and during that testimony both defended his actions on the SNC file and warned about the risk of foreign election interference, as “blame Putin” has become traditional Plan B plan for most politicians seeing their careers go up in flames.

“I’m deeply concerned about my country right now, its politics and where it’s headed. I worry about foreign interference in the upcoming election,” he said in his first appearance before the House of Commons justice committee, before repeating the warning a second time this month. “If that was seen as alarmist, so be it. I was pulling the alarm. We need a public debate about foreign interference.”

Because somehow foreign interference has something to do with Wenick’s alleged corruption.

Incidentally, as we wonder what the real reason is behind Wernick’s swift departure, we are confident we will know soon enough.

Anyway, back to the now former clerk, who is meant to be non-partisan in service of the government of the day, also criticized comments by a Conservative senator and praised one of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers.

Wernick’s testimony was criticized as overly cozy with the ruling Liberals. Murray Rankin, a New Democratic Party lawmaker, asked the clerk how lawmakers could “do anything but conclude that you have in fact crossed the line into partisan activity?” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said he seemed “willing to interfere in partisan fashion for whoever is in power.”

Whatever Wernick’s true motives, he is the latest but not last in what will be a long line of cabinet departures as the SNC scandal exposes even more corruption in Trudeau’s cabinet (some have ironically pointed out that Canada’s “beloved” prime minister could be gone for actual corruption long before Trump). Trudeau had already lost a top political aide, Gerald Butts, to the scandal. A second minister, Jane Philpott, followed Wilson-Raybould in quitting cabinet.

Separately, on Monday, Trudeau appointed a former deputy prime minister in a Liberal government, Anne McLellan, as a special adviser to investigate some of the legal questions raised by the controversy. They include how governments should interact with the attorney general and whether that role should continue to be held by the justice minister.

As Bloomberg notes, the increasingly shaky Liberal government hasn’t ruled out helping SNC by ordering a deferred prosecution agreement in the corruption and bribery case, which centers around the company’s work in Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya. Doing so would allow the company to pay a fine and avoid any ban on receiving government contracts. That decision is up to the current attorney general, David Lametti; of course, such an action would only raise tensions amid speculation that the government is pushing for a specific political, and favorable for Trudeau, outcome.

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