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Skripal crisis: Theresa May fires a blank shot

Measures announced today will bounce off Russia but will hurt Britain

Alexander Mercouris

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After days of hysteria and of mounting speculation, and after having stoked up by her statement on Monday expectations of stern action against Russia to stratospheric levels, Theresa May produced a package of ‘sanctions’ today which do no more than expose the weakness of Britain’s hand.

This is how the BBC describes them

  • The expulsion of 23 diplomats – who have one week to leave
  • Increased checks on private flights, customs and freight
  • The freezing of Russian state assets where there is evidence they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents
  • Ministers and Royal Family to boycott the Fifa World Cup in Russia later this year
  • The suspension of all planned high level bi-lateral contacts between the UK and Russia

Note that none of these sanctions include any of the supposedly draconian steps which have been spoken about over the last few days.

Theresa May for example appeared to rule out a blanket visa ban and sweeping asset freezes on wealthy Russians coming to London.  It is clear that ideas for a boycott by the England team of the World Cup in Russia and for the complete severing of diplomatic relations with Russia have been abandoned if they were ever considered.

Reports in the media have also confirmed that the idea of launching a cyber attack against Russia has been ruled out, since the British quietly acknowledge that Russia has immeasurably greater cyber resources with which to retaliate than Britain does.

As to whether or not Ofcom will now strip RT of its broadcasting licence, Maria Zakharova’s threat to expel all British media outlets from Russia is having a chilling effect, with the British media apparently now quietly lobbying the British government against doing it.

By way of example, The Times of London, the newspaper which has been leading the British media’s offensive against RT, now has this to say, tucked away at the bottom of a meandering editorial with the woolly and meaningless headline ‘An Unstable World’

The Kremlin has threatened to expel British journalists from Moscow should London shut down the Russian propaganda channel RT. That would be ill advised. Britain stands for nothing if not free speech. Mrs May should stick to the evidence in the Skripal case, identifying the culprits and bringing maximum international force to bear to punish them personally.

It is interesting to see how the British media suddenly discovers free speech also applies to Russian media when its own interests are threatened.

It is still possible that Ofcom may follow up on its threats against RT, but that is now looking rather less likely.

As for the measures Theresa May announced today not only will they not affect Russia in the slightest, but they are actually counterproductive.

The Russians are sure to respond to the British expulsion of Russian diplomats from London by expelling a comparable number of British diplomats from Moscow.

Since Russia is by far the more powerful country, it is the British who need to maintain a strong diplomatic presence in Moscow to retain relevance.  By contrast Russia, as a Great Power, has no need to maintain a strong diplomatic presence in Britain, which is nowadays a second or even third rank power.

The reciprocal expulsions which are now going to happen will not therefore affect Russia’s position as a Great Power in the slightest.  They will however further marginalise the British in international diplomacy.

The same is true of the British decision to sever bilateral contacts with Russia.

Apart from Boris Johnson’s recent ill-starred to Moscow, there have in fact been barely any bilateral contacts between the Russian and British governments for years, even though it is again Britain as the weaker country which needs these contacts in order to retain relevance, not Russia.

As it happens I expect the Russians to greet the news that they are going to be spared further meetings with Boris Johnson with a quiet sigh of relief.

As for Boris Johnson himself, how he hopes to cut an important figure in international diplomacy when he is now prevented from visiting Moscow – the capital of one of the world’s Great Powers – by his own government, completely escapes me.  The reality is that no one takes him seriously anyway.

The reciprocal expulsions of diplomats will of course also make it more difficult for the British to maintain their intelligence operation in Moscow.

Since this appears to be rather extensive, and seems to involve far more ‘democracy promotion’ activity (ie. meddling in Russian domestic politics) than anything the Russians do in Britain, the Russians will probably also be quietly pleased about it.

Not surprisingly there have been media reports that the British intelligence community actually lobbied against large scale expulsions.  It is not difficult to see why, with her locker largely empty there was little else Theresa May could do.

As for the non-attendance of British government ministers and members of the Royal Family at the World Cup, I doubt anyone would have noticed their presence there anyway.  Certainly the Russians won’t be bothered if they don’t come.  I doubt anyone else will care much either.

As for the threat to seize Russian state assets in Britain “where there is evidence they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents” that may sound ominous, but note that no actual seizures of Russian state assets were announced, and given that such seizures would almost certainly be contrary to international law and would undoubtedly provoke retaliatory action from Russia, I doubt they will happen.

In summary, Theresa May today looks like a conjuror who following a lengthy drum roll discovered she was holding an empty hat.

It is possible that the British may lobby for further action from their allies, and that more such action may come, but frankly I think the prospects of any significant action being taken against Russia by the Western allies at an international level are small.

Note for example the carefully worded readout the White House has provided of Donald Trump’s conversation with Theresa May

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom.  They discussed the United Kingdom’s investigation into the chemical weapon attack on a private citizen and his daughter on British soil.  President Trump stated the United States stands in solidarity with its closest ally and is ready to provide any assistance the United Kingdom requests for its investigation.  President Trump agreed with Prime Minister May that the Government of the Russian Federation must provide unambiguous answers regarding how this chemical weapon, developed in Russia, came to be used in the United Kingdom. The two leaders agreed on the need for consequences for those who use these heinous weapons in flagrant violation of international norms.

(bold italics added)

Contrary to what some reports in the British media were saying yesterday, it seems that the only assistance Donald Trump actually offered to Theresa May was assistance with the conduct of the investigation into the Skripal attack itself.  There is no word here of help with action against Russia.

Theresa May did announce some other measures, which do not specifically target Russia.  The Guardian describes them as follows

  • The government will enact a new targeted power to detain people suspected of hostile state activity at borders. This power was previously limited to suspected terrorists.
  • The government will look at whether new counter-espionage powers are needed

Britain already has sweeping anti-terrorism and counter-espionage laws, and there is concern that they are already being used in an increasingly arbitrary way.  Beefing them up further should invite concern because of the threat to the rights of private individuals, not Russia..

Lastly, on the subject of the Skripal attack itself, the “increased checks on private flights, customs and freight” I take that as further proof that the British authorities do not know how the chemical which was used to attack Skripal was brought into Britain.

Of course based on the information about the investigation which has been released up to now there is also the possibility that the chemical used was produced in Britain.  No one in authority in Britain – least of all Theresa May – is however going to say that.

In conclusion, Theresa May has done what she habitually does: take what appears to be an exceptionally strong stand, and then fail to act on it.

It will probably take some time for this to sink in in Britain itself, but eventually it is bound to do so, and when it does that will only damage her already tattered authority further.

In truth the British were reckless and foolish to enter into a confrontation on the flimsiest of evidence against Russia, a country far more powerful than themselves.

The package of measures Theresa May announced today simply highlights that fact.

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Every dirty Democrat trick shows in bid to oust Kavanaugh

American democracy truly is mob rule now, and the mob is stupid, with no one taking a moment to truly consider the situation.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The most amazing thing about what is ostensibly the last minute “Hail Mary” smear campaign by the left against Judge Brett Kavanaugh is how utterly transparently partisan it is. Let’s look at the list of tactics used thus far in this very dirty escapade:

  • Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein sat on this allegation for three months, until after the confirmation hearings were over (and after no other barnstorming tactic during the confirmation hearings worked against the nominee).
  • The accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, is a registered Democrat, and a feminist. RT notes that she appears to have a strong interest in politics.
  • Reports of “death threats” against Dr. Ford have been reported. This is a common feature of any anti-Trump attack, to relate him to some sort of “right-wing” radicalism. This radicalism does not exist among conservatives, but the media is determined to say otherwise.
  • Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, naturally, believes Ford’s story.
  • Every Democrat senator is in agreement that this matter should table the confirmation vote. Some Republicans were at first but appear to be backing away.
  • A woman Democrat senator,  Mazie Hirono, went on record telling men to “shut up and step up.” It seems abundantly clear that this assumes that there can only be one “step” that the men are expected to do. A second lady senator , Patty Murray of Washington, gave all men a warning against stepping off the plantation by saying “Women are watching.”
  • The Senate Republicans offered a chance for Dr Ford to testify on Monday. She refused, but now she is offering to come “next Thursday” – this is ten days later, past the October 1 start date of the US Supreme Court, and closer to the November Midterm elections.

We interrupt this list to make this point. The issues at hand are threefold.

First, the Democrats and other left-wing activists are terrified that they will lose the “Warren Court”, which is the name of the Supreme Court Justice who was a major left-wing judicial activist that enabled the Court to “legislate from the bench” along liberal policy lines since 1969. If Kavanaugh comes in, even if President Trump is somehow magically removed from office, his mark will remain on the Court for at least a generation. Of course, the removal of President Trump is predicated on the Democrats regaining control of the House, which actually looks somewhat likely if polling data is to be believed, and of course a Democrat Senate. (The actual tiny caveat that the President has done absolutely nothing which warrants impeachment will not be taken into consideration. He is to be eliminated. That is Democrat point number one, and make no mistake.)

Second, if the Judge is confirmed, it will look great on the President’s achievement list and energize his voter base even more than it already is. The result could be that the Senate expands its Republican majority, and gains Trumpian conservatives in its ranks, which would likely help the President continue his really great agenda. A defeat in the House that holds or expands GOP, again with Trumpian conservatives, would solidify this, and make it more difficult to stop Trump’s re-election and further solidification of reforms in 2020.

Third, and probably even more important, is that the possibility of a third seat getting vacated on the Court in the time period between now and 2024 is relatively high. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the oldest Justice on the Court, and she is a raving liberal. If she retires (which she promises not to do), or if she is retired by the processes of old age, Trump can score a three-peat and get a third constitutionalist justice into the Court and that will signal the closure of one of the biggest avenues of liberal activism.

To return to the list, some of the further characteristics that make this situation patently obvious are these:

  • As reported in The Duran, the smear job is looking a bit ragged around the edges as time goes by. President Trump called Dr Ford’s bluff by saying he is interested in having her come to testify and that it would be “unfortunate” if she didn’t do so. Ford’s response was as shown above, to try and delay this testimony.
  • The Hollywood “sisterhood” is on record defending Dr Ford. For them, she’s right. She said Kavanaugh did this, so she is right. And why? Because she is a woman, a feminist and a Democrat. She is one of them. It would very interesting to know if the sisterhood would stand behind a conservative woman raising such a concern against a Democrat, but we have President Clinton to show how well that all went.

This by no means concludes the list of characteristics, but as noted earlier here, anyone that does even just a little critical thinking about this can see that this issue is no moral outrage, it is strictly partisan hackery, making use of the greatest weapon against conservative men put in use over the last fifty years – the sexual allegation from a woman, who must always be believed, because the woman is always right. 

The unfortunate truth is that this tactic works. It works because most men are actually gentlemen. We honor women, and we are taught to defer to them in America, because that is what a gentleman does. Feminism takes this characteristic of men, especially in modern times who really want to make sure they treat the ladies right, and it throws it back in their face in contempt. It is so bad it even has a physiological effect on men, who are now marrying less, and having fewer kids. There are even physiological changes that result from this abuse.

Further, there is an appalling lack of critical thinking in our society. The British news site, The Independent offers a poll with questions about the Kavanaugh case. The astonishing lack of critical thinking is clearly evident as the reader votes his or her thought and then sees the results for that question. Going through the questions and observing their responses can be very illuminating.

Dr Ford is demanding an FBI investigation, but she has no date, time or location attached to the incident she accuses now-Judge Kavanaugh of perpetrating. Rush Limbaugh did a great job at showing just how absurd this demand actually is, given these glaring areas of non-knowledge and we include some of that transcript below:

What would happen, let’s say — I don’t know — in the last 10 years up to last week if any woman had walked into any FBI office in the country and said the following: “Hi. I’m here to report that I was abused 35 years ago. I was — I was — I was at a party. Uh, I was 15, a little bit to drink, and a 17-year-old guy pushed me down on top of a table and laid on top of me. And then — and then and then I think — I think — a friend came in and did something and anyway they left and I was left locked in the room. And I want to you to investigate.”

Do you think if somebody shows up at an FBI office with that story, if they show up in person with that story, that the FBI is gonna give it any time whatsoever? The agents are gonna look at each other with kind of wary eyes and they’re gonna crack silent jokes to one another. I’m not kidding. You take this out of the realm of a letter to a crazed, partisan United States senator, Dianne Feinstein, and just move this into the victim walking into an FBI office, “It was 35 years, 34 years. I’m not sure where. But I know that when I was 15, I was at a party, and some guy jumped on top of me.”

So let’s say the FBI agent decides to actually take this further and in a very respectful way says, “Well, Miss, were you raped or injured?”

“Uh, no, not really.”

“Did you report this or tell anyone at the time, 36, 35 years ago?”

“Uh, no.”

“What year was this, again, that this happened?”

“Uhhh, I’m not — I’m not sure. I think it was 1982.”

“Where did this happen?”

“I don’t know! I don’t know. I was so traumatized; I don’t remember any of it. I just remember some guy jumping on me and I was drunk and — and I don’t know. But I want you to investigate it.”

“Okay. Ma’am, were there any witnesses?”

“Just the one friend of his that pushed him off, and then they left before he could do anything.”

What would the FBI do with this, if that scenario happened in one of their field offices? I will tell you what they would do: Zip, zero, nada. And the reason for bringing it up this way is to try to shine some kind of a different light on this and try to put this kind of allegation in some kind of context. The president is handling this in a quite fascinating way. He’s saying, “I hope she shows up. I want to hear what she has to say. I really hope she shows up. I’m very interested in what she has to say. We all are. And if she shows up and if she’s credible, why, then we’re gonna have to do something about that.”

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Russian Hierarch explains Ukrainian issue in detail (VIDEO)

A Russian Orthodox Hierarch explores the incursion of earthly politics into the life, pastoral activity and needs of the Orthodox Church.

Seraphim Hanisch

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RT’s “Worlds Apart” interview program recently interviewed Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), a hierarch who heads the Department of External Church Relations for the Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church. The Duran has covered the crisis in Ukraine surrounding the activity of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, of Constantinople, intended to create a fully independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This effort falls completely outside the normal and authorized operating procedures of the Orthodox Church, but to the lay listener it is difficult to understand what the fuss really is all about.

Metropolitan Hilarion and Oksana Boyko do an excellent job with both the answers, but more importantly, the questions, since Ms. Boyko asks the questions that someone who knows nothing about the Church might ask. This situation is completely about politics and not about the true work of the Church, and Met. Hilarion answers these questions very completely and thoroughly.

One of the really interesting points that Met. Hilarion makes is the idea that the Ecumenical Patriarch seeks to bring about the creation of a fully independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church from these four groups:

  • The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (which is canonical and which has not requested self-rule, called autocephaly
  • The Ukrainian Orthodox Church “Kyiv Patriarchate”, led by Filaret Denisenko, which is a completely schismatic group. This group, and Filaret, are leading the charge.
  • The Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church – another schismatic group that is not in communion with Filaret’s church
  • The Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine – and this is truly interesting, because this group is not even Orthodox, but is an Eastern Rite group under the Pope of Rome, and is in fact Roman Catholic.

The notion of bringing together such a disparity of groups is stunning to the Metropolitan, and yet he understands the motives of the men driving this idea, President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, Patriarch Bartholomew, and Filaret Denisenko.

While the United States is not mentioned in this interview in any prominent sense, it should be noted that this move also does have strong US support as the American political leadership has been advocating for the Poroshenko government in an effort to continue to surround and isolate Russia. As we have noted elsewhere, this series of moves may well create more problems for Russia, by design.

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James Woods Suspended From Twitter Over Satirical Meme That Could “Impact An Election”

James Woods crushes Jack Dorsey: “You are a coward, @Jack.”

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Outspoken conservative actor James Woods was suspended from posting to Twitter over a two-month-old satirical meme which very clearly parodies a Democratic advertisement campaign. While the actor’s tweets are still visible, he is unable to post new content.

The offending tweet from July 20, features three millennial-aged men with “nu-male smiles” and text that reads “We’re making a Woman’s Vote Worth more by staying home.” Above it, Woods writes “Pretty scary that there is a distinct possibility this could be real. Not likely, but in this day and age of absolute liberal insanity, it is at least possible.”

According to screenshots provided by an associate of Woods’, Twitter directed the actor to delete the post on the grounds that it contained “text and imagery that has the potential to be misleading in a way that could impact an election.

In other words, James Woods, who has approximately 1.72 million followers, was suspended because liberals who don’t identify as women might actually take the meme seriously and not vote. 

In a statement released through associate Sara Miller, Woods said “You are a coward, @Jack,” referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “There is no free speech for Conservatives on @Twitter.

Earlier this month, Woods opined on the mass-platform ban of Alex Jones, tweeting: ““I’ve never read Alex Jones nor watched any of his video presence on the internet. A friend told me he was an extremist. Believe me that I know nothing about him. That said, I think banning him from the internet is a slippery slope. This is the beginning of real fascism. Trust me.”

Nu-males everywhere non-threateningly smirk at Woods’ bad fortune…

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