latest, media watch, Skripal case

UK media admits that in Skripal case: due process ‘does not apply’ to Russia

by Alexander Mercouris at the Duran

It is becoming increasingly difficult for the British authorities and for the British media to deny that ‘due process‘ – ie. the well-established system of rules for conducting fair and impartial trials and investigations in order to determine questions of guilt or innocence – are not being followed by the British authorities in the Skripal case.

Here are some of the violations of due process the British authorities which in my opinion the British authorities are committing:

(1) The British government is interfering in the conduct of a criminal investigation, with Prime Minister Theresa May and especially Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pointing fingers at who they say is guilty (Russia) whilst the criminal investigation is still underway;

(2) The British government has said that unless Russia proves itself innocent within a specific time the British government will conclude that it is guilty. As I have explained previously this reverses the burden of proof: in a criminal case it is the prosecution which is supposed to prove the defendant’s guilt, not the defendant who must prove his innocence;

(3) The British government refuses to share with Russia – the party it says is guilty – the ‘evidence’ upon which it says it has concluded that Russia is guilty, the evidence in this case being a sample of the chemical with which it says Sergey and Yulia Skripal was poisoned.

This violates the fundamental principle that the defendant must be provided with all the evidence against him so that he can properly prepare his defence;

(4) The British government is not following the procedure set out in Article IX (2) of the Chemical Weapons Convention to which both Britain and Russia are parties. This reads as follows

States Parties should, whenever possible, first make every effort to clarify and resolve, through exchange of information and consultations among themselves, any matter which may cause doubt about compliance with this Convention, or which gives rise to concerns about a related matter which may be considered ambiguous. A State Party which receives a request from another State Party for clarification of any matter which the requesting State Party believes causes such a doubt or concern shall provide the requesting State Party as soon as possible, but in any case not later than ten days after the request, with information sufficient to answer the doubt or concern raised along with an explanation of how the information provided resolves the matter.

This says clearly that in a case like the Skripal case the British authorities should have sent a request for information to the Russian authorities, who would then have had up to ten days in which to respond.

Instead the British demanded a Russian reply within 36 hours, and said they would assume Russian guilt unless a response was provided which satisfied them, even though the Chemical Weapons Convention does not give the British government the right in a case like Skripal to say based on such a reply that the Russians are guilty or not.

There has been an attempt to argue that the British disregard of the procedure set out in Article IX (2) does not breach the Chemical Weapons Convention.

I will set it out the British position as it appears in an article in The Conversation

“The process set out in Article IX(2) cannot be the exclusive remedy in all cases where doubts arise surrounding compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. For example, it would be absurd to suggest that a state which has suffered an armed attack involving chemical weapons may not defend itself against that attack, but instead must issue a request for information to the attacking state and then patiently await its response within ten days.

In fact, on a closer reading, it’s clear that the obligation set out in Article IX(2) is not of an absolute character. It requires state parties to “make every effort” to clarify and resolve doubts. This duty is framed in the language of “should”, rather than “shall”, and is engaged only “whenever possible”. The terms of the clause therefore enable a state to adopt alternative measures should the circumstances so warrant.

After the Salisbury incident, one of the UK’s responses was to call a meeting of the UN Security Council. While Russia vehemently opposed this move as being contrary to the Chemical Weapons Convention, none of the other members of the Security Council, all of which are also signatories of that treaty, shared this view.

It is also important to be clear about the scope of Article IX(2). The provision deals with the clarification of doubts surrounding compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. However, the British government had already concluded that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the incident. Based on the identification of the nerve agent involved, named as Novichok, the fact that Russia has produced the agent in the past and in the light of Russia’s past conduct and current intent, it was not unreasonable for the UK government to come to this conclusion, in line with the standards of proof applicable in international law in similar circumstances.

I find this wholly unconvincing and I am sure the vast majority of international lawyers would do so also.

What this argument essentially says is that the British are entitled to disregard the procedure set out in Article IX (2) because they have already concluded in advance of their enquiry to the Russians on the basis of evidence which they are not prepared to share with the Russians that Russia is ‘highly likely’ to have been guilty of carrying out the attack on Skripal.

That effectively admits that the ‘request for information’ – ie. Theresa May’s ultimatum to Russia – was not made in good faith and was not really a genuine ‘request for information’ at all, but was rather a rhetorical device intended to make it easier for the British government to pronounce Russia guilty without providing further proof.

Far from providing a justification for ignoring the procedure set out in Article IX (2), that looks to me more like an admission that the British have not been acting in good faith, which of course is not merely a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention but of due process.

(5) The British authorities are denying the Russians consular access to Yulia Skripal, though she is a Russian citizen who the British authorities say was subjected to a criminal assault on their territory.

This is a potentially serious matter since by preventing consular access to Yulia Skripal the British authorities are not only violating the interstate consular arrangements which exist between Britain and Russia, but they are preventing the Russian authorities from learning more about the condition of one of their citizens who has been hospitalised following a violent criminal assault, and are preventing the Russian authorities from carrying out their own investigation into the assault on one of their citizens which the British authorities say has taken place.

I would add that this obstruction of Russian consular access to Yulia Skripal has gone almost entirely unreported in the British and Western media.

Needless to say, if the situation were reversed and it was the Russian authorities who were denying the British consular access to a British citizen who had been hospitalised following a criminal assault in Russia, I have no doubt that the British and Western media would be far less reticent about it.

In truth the violations of due process are so egregious that sections of the British media have been in effect forced to admit that they are happening, and are now trying to justify them.

Here for example is what Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian has said:

On the face of it, Jeremy Corbyn’s position, as set out in the Guardian yesterday, seems eminently reasonable. Anxious to learn the lessons of the Iraq catastrophe of 2003, he suggested we exercise patience: let’s wait and see where the investigation leads, let’s not “rush way ahead of the evidence”. After all, said his spokesman, the intelligence agencies had been wrong before……

But those pleas to delay judgment point to a wider error: a misreading of the nature of the contemporary Russian state…..

The error here is to assume that Moscow’s attitude to evidence and due process is the same as that of nations still governed by the rule of law. But in Putin’s Russia, lying has long been a routine and integral part of statecraft. No matter how copious the evidence, Putin will think nothing of denying it….

What meaning does “due process” have when dealing with such a regime? Moscow would not cooperate in good faith with an investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog, offering up evidence that might be incriminating. They would see such an inquiry instead as a useful delaying tactic, one that would allow them to issue yet more denials, wild counter-accusations (“Salisbury was an MI5 plot to distract from Brexit”) and obfuscation – disseminated either through their RT propaganda TV station or by their army of bots and online enablers. That way they could generate yet more of the fog of doubt and confusion that they believe undermines the west’s confidence and strengthens them. This is the Putin modus operandi: spread doubt until the public grows exhausted and concludes that the truth is unknowable.

(bold italics added)

More pithily an editorial the Financial Times says the same thing

President Vladimir Putin’s government uses a well-worn playbook after it commits an international outrage. The first Russian response is denial mixed with the propagation of a variety of implausible alternative explanations….

The Kremlin then tries to blunt the response by wrapping its accusers up in procedure. The game is to confuse the narrative, delay the international response — and demonstrate to the Russian people and the wider world that the Kremlin can act with impunity.

(bold italics added)

The first thing to say about these articles is that they are an admission that in the Skripal case due process – ie. proper procedure in a case like this – is not being followed.

The second thing to say is that they show a startling failure to understand the purpose of due process.

Due process in a criminal investigation is not a favour to the defendant. It is the way to arrive at the truth.

That is why in England in criminal appeals judges say that convictions in cases where due process has not been followed are ‘unsafe’. What they mean is that because due process was not followed the court cannot be sure that the case which has been made against the defendant has been made out.

It follows that doubts about a defendant’s good faith (the reason Jonathan Freedland and the Financial Times are giving for disapplying due process in cases involving Russia) can never be a reason for disapplying due process.

It is ridiculous to say – as Jonathan Freedland and the Financial Times are in effect saying – that due process should be disapplied simply because they believe the defendant in this case – ie. Russia – is lying and is never going to admit its guilt.

Defendants often lie when cases are brought against them. If they did not there would be no reason to have trials.

Defendants very often go on denying their guilt even when courts have convicted them. That is not a reason to deny them due process and their right to state their defence.

Stripped of their bogus arguments, what Jonathan Freedland and the Financial Times are saying is that when Russia is accused of something it has no right to defend itself.

That is an astonishing and deeply troubling thing to say.

It also looks to me rather like an admission that in the Skripal case the British authorities do not have the evidence to prove that their accusation against Russia is true.

That does not surprise me because the British authorities have apparently been unable to provide even their closest allies with evidence which proves that their accusation against Russia is true.

Here is what Der Spiegel says the British have told the Germans about the evidence – or lack of evidence – they have in the case

“The key to the Skripal case is to be found in the toxin that was used. When the British briefed their German colleagues this week, they didn’t go into great detail, according to sources in German security circles. Intelligence services suspect that could be because the British no longer completely trust the Americans and are particularly wary of Donald Trump.

The British didn’t even tell their German counterparts which variation of the nerve agent they believe was used. Western intelligence experts suspect that it was Novichok of the A-232 variety, which is fluid enough to be used as a spray.

The vocabulary used by the UK and its allies indicates that British intelligence officials are highly confident in their assessment. Yet although it is clear which substance was used and that it very likely came from Russian stockpiles, there is no definitive proof that the Russian state was behind the attack, according to a senior German official on Thursday evening. The official has read through all of the documents that have thus far been presented. He said that intelligence officials are viewing the evidence laid out in those documents — several tightly printed pages — as a “compelling chain of clues.”

(bold italics added)

In other words the British case against Russia in the Skripal case is no more than surmise (a “compelling chain of clues”).

It is not based on evidence because as of Thursday 15th March 2018 (when the Germans were given the facts) there was none.

What of the argument Jonathan Freedland and the Financial Times both make – echoing things the British government has said – that concrete proof of Russian guilt in the Skripal case is not needed because Russia’s guilt can be presumed from Russia’s previous conduct.

Putting aside that there are conflicting opinions about Russia’s previous conduct, it is actually a further breach of due process to declare someone guilty not on the evidence in the case itself but purely on the basis of their previous conduct.

Putting that aside there have been at least three cases since The Duran was founded in May 2016 when declarations of Russian guilt which were confidently asserted proved on proper examination of the evidence to be untrue.

1) On 19th September 2016 an attack on a humanitarian convoy in Syria was widely blamed by Western governments and by the Western media on Russia. Yet a UN inquiry headed by an Indian military officer effectively cleared Russia of responsibility for the attack.

2) In a succession of reports Professor Richard McLaren has claimed to have found proof of a gigantic government organised state sponsored doping conspiracy amongst athletes in Russia.

These claims have been enthusiastically repeated by the Western media, and led to partial bans on Russian participation in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, and to a complete ban on Russian participation in the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

However the Schmid Commission, which on behalf of the International Olympic Committee, carried out a thorough review of Professor McLaren’s claims of a government organised state sponsored doping conspiracy in Russia, concluded that contrary to what Professor McLaren has said those claims have not been proved, and that they are most likely untrue.

3) The third case is more controversial, but I personally have no doubt that the same applies. Since at least the summer of 2016 it has been repeatedly and confidently claimed that there was a vast conspiracy between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign to steal the US Presidential election from Hillary Clinton and to swing it to Donald Trump.

The House Intelligence Committee, having investigated this claim in detail, now says it is untrue.

Though the Mueller investigation, which is also looking in this claim, has yet to report, none of the indictments it has issued suggest that this claim is true, whilst it seems the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating the claim, is also going to report that the claim is untrue.

Here we have three examples of claims of wrongful activity confidently made against Russia proving to be untrue. Why then assume that the claim of wrongful activity made against Russia in the Skripal case is true?

Obviously presumptions of guilt based on claims of previous Russian misconduct are wrong and unsafe, and that whole approach must be abandoned as both flawed and ethically wrong.

I would finish by repeating a point I have made many times before.

Underpinning the regular allegations made in the West about Russian misconduct including the ones now being made in connection with the Skripal case is the intense Western prejudice against Russia and against all things Russian.

I discussed this Western prejudice against Russia and Russians in detail in a long article The Duran published on 12th October 2016, and I discussed it again more recently in articles I have written about a recent report by a group of US Democratic Party Senators targeting Russia, and about the Hollywood film Red Sparrow which is currently on general release.

Now we see further examples of this prejudice with the demand in the Skripal case that Russia be denied the right to defend itself, a right which every other defendant accused of a crime has.

Personally I cannot see a more straightforward example of prejudice against Russia than that.


  1. Harry Law says

    My comment below refers to unconscious/ incapacitated people the new law was intended to close the loophole for drunk or drugged drivers who could escape prosecution. How much more important, when the Skripal’s lives were in danger, could this mean no test on their blood was performed in all this time, when they had the authority to test it from day one? Unbelievable.

    • MLS says

      The permission is for blood tests to be taken by the OPCW, not the NHS, though I agree it’s a bit weird

      • Thomas Peterson says

        what could possibly be left in the bloodstream anyway?

        • reenmac says

          presumably the results of the NHS blood tests will be made available as well
          Patient confidentiality and consent must surely be trumped by public safety, ie, the poison minutely studied and identified so as to be able to offer treatment to others who might be affected……
          I reckon May has painted herself into a corner

      • Harry Law says

        A spokesperson for the Home Office said the provision, which took effect Oct. 1, gives doctors “a power, but not a duty” to take the samples.
        The British Medical Association (BMA), which had urged the government to change the law, has issued guidelines for MDs. It says there should be “a clear separation between the ‘CLINICAL’ care the patient is receiving and any forensic procedures with which patients are asked to cooperate.” Dr. Michael Wilks, chair of the BMA’s Ethics Committee, says the association rarely supports taking samples without patients’ consent, but in this case there is “a clear public interest” in having it done. He also pointed out that the law would help clear the names of some drivers.
        How much more of a public interest is it to save two peoples lives?

    • FobosDeimos says

      As other comments point out, only because the OPCW staff requested an order from the judge were the blood samples finally taken from the Skripals. It really looks as if “someone” was really hoping and waiting for these two poor people yo die, so that the cannot talk.

  2. Harry Law says

    The Skripals are both in a coma in hospital after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury and therefore unable to give their consent to blood samples being taken or tested.

    A judge has given doctors permission to take blood samples from the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, so that tests can be carried out by chemical weapons experts.
    The judge, David Williams, who is based in the family division of the high court in London, announced his decision on Thursday after analysing the case at a private hearing earlier this week.
    How come Doctors had to wait so long?

    Doctors have been given the legal right to take blood samples from unconscious or incapacitated drivers without their consent.
    The change – under the provisions of the 2002 Police Reform Act – comes into effect on Tuesday.

    • milosevic says

      How can proper medical care be provided to anybody, without appropriate tests being done to determine what is actually wrong with them?

      Is it standard procedure, when unconscious people are brought to hospital, for the doctors to say, “We can’t treat them until we know what’s wrong with them, and we won’t know that until we do a blood test, which we can’t do unless and until they wake up and give us permission, at which point they would be essentially recovered anyway. Live or die, but don’t expect any help from us.”

      This must be part of the alternate universe we now appear to be living in.

    • FobosDeimos says

      Simply unbelievable. The guy talks, walks, uses rather sophisticated words in describing his “surreal” experience, and we are supposed to believe that he was affected by a deadly, potent, military grade nerve agent. And nobody asks him the relevant questions. It is nauseating, no pun intended.

    • “Bailey added: “As I have begun to feel better, I have become aware of the widespread and enormous attention this whole incident has attracted. I find this really overwhelming. I am just a normal person with a normal life.”

      Who wrote this script. Does he think anyone is suggesting he’s supernormal, or what?

    • Jen says

      ‘… DS Nick Bailey called his own experience “surreal” but added: “I want people to focus on the investigation – not the police officer who was unfortunate enough to be caught up in it.”…’

      Oops, that part of the script escaped the proof-reading. Or does DS Nick Bailey normally refer to himself in the third person?

  3. MichaelK says

    If this copper has been released, then it doesn’t seem like he’s been exposed to a powerful and deadly ‘military grade’ toxic nerve agent at all. Because, given how they are supposed to work, in tiny quantities, he’s little more than a living corpse waiting to die, inevitably. There is something very wrong with this story, this apparent hoax. How on earth do the journalists swallow all this bullshit without throwing up? There should be a prize for journalism… the silver bucket of bullshit for the journalist who manages to swallow the most of it during a year.

    • Perhaps he also had the ‘military grade’ Risotto con Pesce?

    • milosevic says

      How on earth do the journalists swallow all this bullshit without throwing up?

      Simple. You don’t get to be a prominent mass-media “journalist” without a demonstrated ability to regularly swallow bullshit, in large quantities, and pretend that it’s delicious. If they weren’t able to do it, they would have been weeded out long ago. It’s probably the primary qualification for the job.

      Noam Chomsky used to have some thoughts on this subject, until he himself became a prominent bullshit practitioner.

  4. John Marks says

    Surely the doctors are allowed to report medical facts?
    Such as “is the policeman recovered?”
    Or “Skripal senior and his daughter are still in a coma”
    Are medical conditions now a matter of national security?

    • DS Bailey has been released from hospital. Judge David Williams has given permission for blood samples to be taken from the Skripals. Should be interesting results? The doctor who treated Yulia has been memory-holed.
      Interesting detail: “[Kier] Pritchard explained that initially police believed they were responding to a medical emergency when Skripal, 66, and Yulia, 33, were found ill on a bench in Salisbury on Sunday 4 March.

      When it was realised on Sunday night that the antidotes that medical staff were using were not working, the force contacted the counter-terrorism network and on Monday morning a major incident was declared, he said.”

      • mog says

        Bailey described ordeal as ‘surreal’.
        Interesting choice of word.
        No details on his medical treatment, except that he has been receiving psychotherapy and occuaptional therapy.
        Let’s just hope that his shrink isn’t Jolyon West

      • reenmac says

        The original antidotes given to the Skripals…
        Does anyone know what they were meant to be active against ….fentanyl?
        I imagine there should be a series of blood tests that the doctors would have undertaken for diagnosis….am I correct in that?
        I’m surprised at the heavy sedation
        The way it was being reported , I imagined the Skripals being on life support
        How to explain the policeman’s recovery?

        • I’m no medic: but they were almost certainly treated with atropine, which is a generic antidote for nerve agents. Don’t know what they would have turned to if that didn’t work: the only conclusion I can draw from the fact that they have so far survived without a specific antidote (which they would need to synthesize) was that they were never exposed to Novichok. God knows what the blood tests will say.

          • reenmac says

            The counter terrorism people were brought in quite some hours after the Skripals were first given medical attention.
            Does this not suggest that several of the nursing staff must have been exposed in the same manner as the policeman, not realising that a”military grade “nerve agent was the cause of illness until much later
            And they have not been affected

      • MLS says

        If they were initially treating the Skripals for some “medical emergency” (food poisoning? Drug overdose?), it’s not easy to see how they leaped straight from “oh the treatment isn’t working” to “my God it must be terrorism!” Surely they’d need more than five or six hours to start suspecting deliberate poisoning? And surely it would take a lot longer than 24 hours to then isolate the poison, determine it was a rare nerve agent and declare a “major incident”?

    • FobosDeimos says

      DS Bailey is very much alive and well! Look at this report from Sky News

      He certainly does not look like someone posisoned with a military grade nerve agent.

      Also, Sky reports that FINALLY (18 days after the Salisbury event) a court ordered bloos samples taken from the Skripals! And the court only acted because the OPCW filed a request! The Russian consul was denied any access to the courts or to Yulia Skripal, but fortunately (except for May and Boris) the OPCW was able to.

      Last but not least, they say that they are caring for the Skripals because “they ASSUME” that these poor fellows actually want to live!!! Isn’t that terrifying? Would the Skripals be still alive if the OPCW officers weren’t in Salisbury?

      • MLS says

        There’s no footage or photo of Bailey in that link. Haven’t seen any of him anywhere, and the only pics of him are the two or three all taken at that police event where he was in uniform. Haven’t seen any pics of his wife or father in law yet either.

    • milosevic says

      Are medical conditions now a matter of national security?

      Only when they’re fake. For real medical conditions, the standard rules apply.

  5. Mikalina says

    I’ve just had another look at Bernays’ Propaganda. It’s probably worth another read:

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

    • MichaelK says

      Yes, those were the days. When the ruling elite felt so secure and powerful they could afford to be… ‘honest’ and they lacked the ghastly sentimentality that characterizes the time we’re living in. It’s a return to a kind of New Victorianism. They loved sentimentality too. Of course some would call it something else… the deep, deep, trough of hypocrisy.

      • The unseen mechanism and invisible government have donned the armoured gauntlet …no longer content to be the invisible hand: now revealed as the iron fist. Craig Murray’s site has been under sustained DNS attack for daring to speak outside the Overton window, as he put it. He has also been attacked using the anti-semitic smear for suggesting Israel might be behind the Salisbury saga. As they say, you only get flak when you are directly over the target!

        • I’ve never made a deliberately anti-semitic remark in my life, but my research into the possible motives behind this poisoning is pointing to the Jewish oligarchy of Browder, Khordorkovsky, and the deceased Berezovsky: and the Jewish lobby with Ben Cardin and Ian Austin (the politicians who pushed the Magnitsky laws in the US and UK). Fusion GPS seem to be interwoven as well. So Murray’s speculation that Israel might be involved, and that the Orbis Steele connection is being overlooked is substantive. More so than the crude Russia dunnit post-truth verdict. So that might be why he is getting flak?

          • milosevic says

            Jewish oligarchy

            As you must surely know, those two words alone are sufficient to qualify you as a major Thought Criminal. Please report to the authorities immediately for punishment and re-education.

            • Mikalina says

              And it gets more difficult with the latest investigations of
              “Antisemitism in Anti Zionism”.

              Today, anti-Semitism unites a diverse but increasingly coherent coalition across classes, races and continents. Though partly feeding off hostility to Israel, its main strand is anti-capitalism and nationalist anti-globalisation

              Brendan Simms – Professor of the History of International Relations at Cambridge University

              • Big B says

                My Daddy taught me the principles of moral judgement: follow the evidence (even if circumstantial) wherever it leads; and look at both sides. Once you use your moral calculus to rule out the improbable (Russia dunnit); then what is left – however improbable – is your ‘justified true belief’. Which, of course, can be completely wrong! But balance of probability (beyond the phenomenological ‘real world’ we can experience through our senses) is all we have. The genesis of Russian xenophobia traces back to Putin locking up Khordorkovsky, IMO. That was his ‘crime’ that turned the deep deep state – Soros in particular vehemently protested the case – against Putin. Browder has been pushing their agenda under the faux-human rights banner of “Justice for Sergei” (Magnitsky) ever since. I don’t like to employ the lazy ‘Jewish Oligarchy’ meme; but if the cap fits, it can’t be racist.

                • Mikalina says

                  The point is not what IS racist and what isn’t racist. The point is to confuse the issue to the degree that no-one knows for sure and thus closing down the debate for fear of appearing racist – result.

                  By the by, the kids in school these days don’t have the advantage of an adult who grew up when times were more ‘moral’. Everything is relative; truth doesn’t exist, or worse, isn’t important.

                  • I’d love to expand on the “dictatorship of the relative” post-modern debate another time. The hyper-PC “anti-semitism” tool of power has emasculated the Labour party: and made it impossible to question the motives of the likes of Browder. From that deep-cover he pushes his xenophobic lies unchallenged. Apart from Alex Krainer and the film maker Andrei Nekrasov, who are censored out of the debate. He uses the fake human rights banner to wage ideological lawfare. So the Magnitsky case and Buzzfeed “14 deaths ” become the incontestable factual basis of our elite xenophobic ideology and policy making? What did you say about moral and truth relativity and lack of import? It’s not just the kids that are lacking an “adult” with moral authority? We need a Lavrov to tell them to “shut up and go away”!

                    • Mikalina says

                      Gavin “oh what a lovely fireplace, give us a kiss” Williamson said shut up and go away.

                      The permanently serene and statesmanlike Sergey Lavrov said:

                      “He is a nice young man. He probably wants to get a place in history by making bold statements,” He has said ‘Russia should go away and shut up.’ Well, I don’t know. Maybe he lacks upbringing.”

                • bevin says

                  One of the problems is that the State of Israel is run by fascists.
                  Or rather, Fascists. By any measure, from the historical origins of the Jabotinsky current, which was not only sponsored by Mussolini but avowedly Fascist (Netanyahu Sr being perhaps the most notable of them), to their co-operation with the Nazis in breaking the international boycott of Germany in 1933 to their mob terrorism, to their complete racism, to their systematic ethnic cleansing. ..The Jabotinsky Fascists, including but going beyond Likud, are the oldest, most powerful and influential Fascist party in existence.
                  To call this anti-semitism is exactly the same as calling opposition to the Nazis Anti-German racism. (Which of course was a charge regularly made in the 1930s by the appeasers.)
                  But the real problem is that people feel unable to reckon up the simple logic of Fascism + State power= Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its aggression towards neighbouring states (populated by untermenschen).
                  It is all very simple. Central to our culture is the residual memory of the ‘struggle against fascism’ . It implies an understanding of the basic outlines of fascism and their automatic rejection. Thus it was that the long struggle against South African ‘Nationalism’ and colonialism was always lighted by the supposed example and ‘memory’ of the War.
                  As Roger Waters would no doubt tell us: modern Israel is a classic example of all that our fathers are supposed to have fought against- a Fascist State, the last one of the old kind standing.
                  Current cowardice in the face of Israel’s unconscionable behaviours is thus a betrayal of all that the struggle against fascism stood for. It is the re-institution of Appeasement. And justified as the original version was: these people are powerful therefore they are not to be offended.

            • Do we say “Christian oligarchy”? Or “Celtic/Saxon oligarchy”? The problem is the oligarchy not the race they belong to. It’s really simple. And nothing to do with Thought Police.

              • Yes we do use the term “Christian oligarchy” or “Celtic/Saxon oligarchy”, and nobody gets particularly upset nor assumes there’s rabid, dangerous anti-Christian or anti-Celtic/Saxon sentiment involved. It’s just a description of the people involved for heaven’s sake. Surely it’s about time we are similarly able to freely use the adjective “Jewish”.

                Talk about walking on eggshells…

              • Big B says

                Admin: It’s the first time I have used that particular phrase: and I chose it considerately. Of the oligarchs who stole Russia’s wealth, 7 out of 8 were Jewish [according to Alex Krainer]; Browder is Jewish and appears to have been mentored by Maxwell and Edmond Safra – who were Jewish; at a deeper level Soros seems to be involved – who is a fake-Jew (or fair weather Jew when it suits him); the particular genesis of the Magnitsky laws seems to be through the Jewish lobby; Ben Cardin in the US is prominent part of it; Ian Austin and Dominic Raab are prominent LFI and CFI respectively.

                So, do you defend Austin’s racist abuse of platform to defend Israel’s army and its abuse of children:

                “As a psychologist, will the hon. Lady comment on the likely impact on children of the Palestinian Authority’s glorification of terrorists who have murdered Israelis, presenting them as role models? What is the likely impact on children of Palestinian schools using textbooks that glorify violence and of countless examples of hatred and anti-Semitism being promoted on children’s television programmes on official Palestinian Authority TV in the west bank”

                …whilst I cannot point out the ethno-ideological roots and fostering of the current hysteric Russophobia …which as you constantly and rightly point out, could be the death of us all?

                To say “Christian oligarchy”? Or “Celtic/Saxon oligarchy” is not applicable. In fact it is obfuscational. Of course not every Russophobe is a Zionist or a Jew: nor are these people representative [“Jews who are not Jews” is the cogent phrase, I believe] – but that is how it appears to have been disseminated. And hyper-defensive “anti-semitism” is part of the cover.

                Correct me if I am wrong, or produce an antithetical argument if you do not think that Browder is the premier thought-leader on this. But it is hard for me to see that you could if you research his agenda – post Magnitsky’s death in 2009. I stand by my claims: I am not making casual anti-semitic slurs, merely trying to expose the roots of a poisonous billionaire ideology that could threaten life on earth if allowed to go nuclear. And hyper-PC criticism will only further their agenda.

        • Michael Leigh says

          I gather that the website NEO organisation which features Wm Emdahl among, other relevant writer commentors, has been under attacks hosted by Google, and Safari browsers, and most browsers claim to be unable to connect to the NEO site safely ?

            • Mikalina says

              As usual, Chris Hedges gives a sensible, action orientated, based on experience (he was at Standing Rock), analysis. I agree with his suggestion that a print based media may become, once again, our form of communication in a fight for freedom.

              I am not part of the World Socialist movement. I am not keen on the ideas that David North seems to present of controlling and educating the ‘working class movement’. Is his Marx/Trotsky ideology just another hegemonic bid for leadership?

              David North seems to take every ‘action’ idea that Chris Hedges presents, and turns it back into a passive ideological stance which only has the appearance of action. In this way, he closes down the debate on how exactly we can organise resistance to internet control. His only suggestion is that everyone joins his website. He ‘misses’ the point that it will probably be shut down in the event of Government ‘national disaster’ measures

              Has excellent input from Pilger near the beginning.

              • I agree and share your sentiments. I now only use WWSW for a perspective: the debate BTL can quickly become dogmatically Marxist intellectual dick-waiving. In 150 years, you would think that someone would realise that the petty bourgeois lower classes (the proletariat was long exported and internationally atomised) are not revolutionary? I think they want to organise their navel fluff?

  6. At this juncture if anyone in the Western political class or Western media told me “the sky is blue” I wouldn’t believe a word of it unless I looked out the window for myself and conducted my own observations. Why would any rational person continue to believe a single word that comes out of official government sources in the U.S. or U.K.?

    The demonization of Russia “is” the message here, just as the demonization of Saddam Hussein was the message of the fake “Kuwaiti incubator babies” story, and the demonization of Gaddafi was the message of the fake “Gaddafi’s viagra fueled rape camp” story. “Reality” has nothing to do with such affairs of State propaganda and in fact is simply an impediment to be overcome. Thus the role of corporate media in endlessly repeating official lies like the carnival barkers they are, and publicly shaming anyone who might be so irresponsible as to ask for “evidence.”

    • Mikalina says

      “The corporate media is not owned by big business, as is often claimed – it IS big business. It does not watch over concentrated power – it IS power. The media system does not fail in its task of guarding the people against power – it SUCCEEDS in its task of protecting power at the expense of the people and the planet.”

      Newspeak in the 21st Century (2009) – Media Lens

    • John Marks says

      They’ve learnt a lot from Josef Goebbels.

      • MichaelK says

        Goebbels loved Bernay’s work and learned an awful lot form it. Apparently he recruited Americans of German decent for his fledgling propaganda ministry. Their interest in propaganda was a reaction to Germany’s clear defeat in the ‘propaganda war’ by Britain in WW1, especially in North America.

        • Very interesting. This is probably just very impressionistic but it strikes me that Americans are the world champions at propaganda.

    • milosevic says

      At this juncture if anyone in the Western political class or Western media told me “the sky is blue” I wouldn’t believe a word of it unless I looked out the window for myself and conducted my own observations. Why would any rational person continue to believe a single word that comes out of official government sources in the U.S. or U.K.?

      I’ve been saying exactly that, almost word-for-word, for quite a few years, now.

  7. Thomas Prentice says

    HEY! ENGLAND AND FRANCE INVADED RUSSIA’S CRIMEA SO TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY: At some point Russia will have had enough and take two or three weeks to reach France’s Atlantic coast via The Czech Republic and the outskirts of London via Scotland.

  8. bevin says

    This is an excellent article. But it has to be read in the light of history.
    Due process and the presumption of innocence has never been guaranteed in practice in English law. Power has always made its exceptions. The ‘saucy’ labourer, accused of poaching never got justice from the Magistrates, nor did he find it in Australia when he was transported.
    The colonised never enjoyed English justice. Nor did the miners in 1983. History is full of clearly innocent victims of a judicial system set up top protect the wealth of the rich by all means necessary.
    And that is what the Skripal case is all about, protecting oligarchs from Putin, protecting property itself from socialism and Corbyn.
    There is another piece of context that we ought to consider too: the role of ‘feminists’, crusaders against ‘paedophilia’, denouncers of ‘hate speech’ and the liberal establishment in eroding the rights which, as Mercouris points out, the Russians are being denied. At one level it is a matter of reminding ourselves that freedom of speech applies not only to those with whom we agree but, most particularly to those in the least fashionable minority.
    Beyond that is the need to recognise that fascism is born of liberalism, not just as a reaction against it but as a continuation of it is much the same way that, war is a continuation of politics in different circumstances.
    Carl Schmitt was not particularly unusual amongst lawyers, except for his brilliance.

    • Edwige says

      “crusaders against ‘paedophilia’”.

      Yeah, the rush to detect elite paedophiles has been terrible. Oh look over there, a squirrel….

  9. FobosDeimos says

    There is one way for Russia to stop all this circus, including the attempt by the UK to manipulate the OPCW investigation (for example by invoking Article 8 instead of Article 9). The way Russia can and should stop all this nonsense is by availing itself of Article 9 paragraph 5 of the CW Convention. Paragraph 5 allows states who have been accused of violating the Convention to set themselves in motion a proper OPCW investigation. Russia should send a formal notice to the OPCW under paragraph 5, demanding to be heard and also demanding that the UK be forced to share all the alleged evidence of the incident with Russia, with the intervention of the OPCW’s highest authorities. i hope they do this as soon as possible, in order to stop the British charade at once.

  10. Harry Stotle says

    I see the EU is banging the drum for conflict – according to Guy Verhofstadt (Brexit representative for the European parliament) “the reality is that the Kremlin is again at war with our liberal democracies.”

    Verhofstadt sounds redolent of Blush and Blair who started bombing Iraqis after accusing them of being jealous of our freedoms, yet anyone who suggests this article typifes a classic form of projection (l.e. blaming the Russians for western belligerence) disappears into the Guardian memory hole quicker than you can say ‘community standards’.

    I have no idea how Russia can be accused of anything until we have more than a speculative diagnosis.
    Despite daily bulletins from the media, and endless pontificating by the Europe loving/hating Johnson we know little more than the fact a few people became ill and were taken to hospital.

    • Michael Leigh says

      But significantly, we do know that at home and abroad, the United Nations organisations for example, that Mde T May has chosen ” to Judge the Russian president without any normal legal process ” and forever she will become an example of gross perfidty, and by so acting she has become more notorious than her female parliamentary model ?

      • Mikalina says

        As notorious, perhaps but not as deadly……

        …the second time as farce…..

      • Dave Hansell says

        Let’s not let the Government supporters on the opposition benches who signed EDM1071 off the hook.

  11. Harry Law says

    I am pleased you have picked up this excellent article by Mercouris. Some of the perfidy the Russians are alleged to have carried out by Western Governments and MSM are that the Crimean people did not have the right to join Russia [self determination], and that because of it and its behavior in Syria the Russians had acted against International Law, [Russia had in fact been invited into Syria by the legitimate Government of Syria]. Also the Ukraine takeover was a coup, here is why ..Article 111[of the Ukrainian constitution] obliges the Rada to establish a special investigatory commission to formulate charges against the president, seek evidence to justify the charges and come to conclusions about the president’s guilt for the Rada to consider.
    Prior to a final vote to remove a president from power, it requires
    (a) The Constitutional Court of Ukraine to review the case and certify that the constitutional procedure of investigation and consideration has been followed, and
    (b) The Supreme Court of Ukraine must certify that the acts of which the President is accused are worthy of impeachment.
    The Rada didn’t follow this procedure at all. No investigatory commission was established and the Courts were not involved. On 22 February 2014, the Rada simply passed a bill removing President Yanukovych from office.
    Furthermore, the bill wasn’t even supported by three quarters of the members of the Rada, as required by Article 111 for the removal of a president from office – it was supported by 328 members, when it required 338 (since the Rada has 450 members). Also as Freedland joined in the media frenzy in the Mercouris link above about the Russian invasion of Crimea.
    The media described in hysterical tones how the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was under a full-scale Russian invasion with headlines like: “Ukraine says Russia sent 16,000 troops to Crimea”, “Ukraine crisis deepens as Russia sends more troops into Crimea,” as well as “What can Obama do about Russia’s invasion of Crimea?”.
    Facts, and ardent statements by top Russian diplomats were totally ignored by the western ‘war press’.
    Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin pointed to the longstanding 25,000 troop allowance’ in a signed deal with Ukraine in 1997.
    The Russian navy is allowed up to
    – 25,000 troops,
    – 24 artillery systems with a caliber smaller than 100 mm,
    – 132 armored vehicles, and
    – 22 military planes, on Crimean territory.
    The little green men as the MSM described them, were there legitimately after all.

    • Francis Lee says

      The Russian government also held the lease for Sevastopol until 2042 and paid a rental of $500 per annum to the Ukrainian ‘government’.

  12. Betrayed planet. says

    Johnson is deeply unstable. There is NO justification for his now illegal actions except to say that the Westminster government are no longer a legitimate and democratic body. They are systematically turning the country into a banana republic with total disregard for international diplomacy, justice and transparency. It was deeply embarrassing to hear his ridiculous comparisons between 1930s Germany and the current Russian government. I have written to May, phoned, sent emails. I realise this in itself will make no difference however if enough people are outraged even the twisted Theresa will not be able to ignore the outcry. It is all over FB today, some people have clocked the ludicrousness of our current regime.
    That the MSM are ignoring the importance of consular access to Yulia is an indication of the way politics is going in theUK and West in general.
    It is getting extremely serious but the bulk of people appear to remain in ignorance about the very real and present dangers this case is highlighting.

    • I made a formal complaint to the BBC about their craven reproduction of Johnson comparing Putin to Hitler. I pulled no punches about what journalism is about and what propaganda is about and positioned the BBC square on the side of propaganda.

      They will come up with some excuse about reporting the Foreign Secretary’s words. I respond with: ‘you can report this as ‘Foreign Secretary makes unheard of allegations about the democratically re-elected President of Russia’.

      You still report the words. You just interpret it in historical context…..

  13. JimmyPocket says

    What is missing about this event is the fact that our security services get their instructions from Tel Aviv, which plays a double game as regards Russia, on the one hand it appears as if relations between both countries are fine, but behind the scenes are using their Zionist friends in Europe & USA to demonize Russia. They are not happy that the long plans to break up the middle east and they creation of their world order has been brought to a standstill by Putin. Our Parliament is riddled by the so called “Friends of Israel” and our foreign policy is dictated by the Zio neocons. So it is not surprising that this government , no longer feels that they have to play by the rules of agreements and International Law, they have adapted the behavior of their Masters who have ignored them over the last seven decades without any opposition, and believe they can do it too.

    • @Jimmy. Certainly the Allied resistance to NATZO’s attempted “Libyanization” of Syria has severely popped Israel’s ballooning ambition. No Balkanization of its Syrian neighbour. No Syrian gas takeover for Israel, no Syrian water, even the prospect of stealing Syrian oil from Israeli-occupied Golan is receding. No Eretz Kurdistan oil state to be run by Israeli advisors. If the A-Z-C had pulled of their NATZO terrorist coup in Syria, Israe would have been the Energy Broker of the ME: straddling the gas and oil pipelines. Through Eretz Kurdistan (now alas no more) it would have controlled the flow of gas and oil EW from Iran / Iraq / Syria; and through its occupation of a Balkanized Syria it would have equally controlled the gasline NS from Qatar. In addition, a NATZO victory would have destroyed Hezb’Allah as an Ally of Syria, opening the way for Israel to invade Lebanon and take over their offshore gas fields as well as the offshore gas fields of Gaza.

      You are right, there is indeed much cause for bitterness against Russia in certain quarters of the Zionazi regime.

  14. Media, politicians are simply being told what to do and say. They may be trained to ‘tell themselves’ to comply. Thus they tell likewise ‘trained’ populations what to think and how to feel.
    How does a dictate operate? It works by the carrot and the stick.
    When the stick is feared enough, and believed inescapable, a lesser sacrifice to pain or loss becomes the carrot of inducement or a sense of privilege, gained by sacrificing others as a demonstration of ‘loyalty’.
    A captive asset survives by operating within its remit to have the little that the dictate allows.
    A bot-net of collective mind-capture demonstrates an unwillingness and inability to question or know – anything but what is being run – even if the script changes daily.
    This model of a world and its identity runs under mask of science and fact while its truth is usurped by lies. Fear seeks to deny and protect itself in ‘narrative control’.

    “The greatest sources of our suffering are the lies we tell ourselves. People can never get better without knowing what they know and feeling what they feel” ~ Elvin Semrad

    • milosevic says

      A bot-net of collective mind-capture demonstrates an unwillingness and inability to question or know – anything but what is being run – even if the script changes daily.

      I guess you would be well-positioned to speak about “bot-nets” and “scripts”, and how they are “run”, in the interest of “mind-capture”.

  15. stevehayes13 says

    In the current Russophopic climate anything that Putin or Russia does or says, doesn’t do or say, is simply interpreted as proof that Russia is evil. Boris Johnson and James Clapper (and others) have gone so far as to attribute manipulative and deceptive behaviour to Russian genes. Johnson went on national television and claimed that he knew Putin had ordered that Skripal be assassinated by the way that Russia denied it, and he wasn’t challenged. In this climate, to expect any regard for due process or observation of international law from the west in regard to Russia is nothing but fantasy.

    • Kathy says

      Watching Johnson raving yesterday comparing Putin to Hitler etc. I couldn’t help wondering if it wasn’t Johnson who could have been wearing that moustache. I am trying to do a Binra!, but there are times when I get pulled in to their movie. W.T.F are they like.

      • Mikalina says

        ‘Binra’ is esoteric tosh designed to have you sit contemplating your navel all day rather than doing something. Around a quarter of people in the UK are suffering some degree of poverty and I am sure they aren’t lying to themselves or don’t know what they are feeling – cold, tired, depressed, worthless. They have one thing in common with everyone else though – they are being manipulated.

        I think we just need to remember that the the circus is to engender ‘outrage’ and ask ourselves, for what purpose? Similarly, the controlled information we are allowed to see in the Guardian – why this? Why now? For what purpose?

        • Kathy says

          I do understand poverty and life in the under class. I have quite a lot of personal experience to go on for that but I have found great solace and peace of mind when I let go of all the negative thoughts and preconceptions and just be. I have found this even when in desperate situations because In these circumstances I realize fully that I cannot change anything no matter how much I may wish i could and I have to let go.
          I do view the circus as a circus and what ever I do it will still be the circus and I have never clapped along to the show or been a sleep walker in it.

        • milosevic says

          ‘Binra’ is esoteric tosh designed to have you sit contemplating your navel all day rather than doing something.

          That was well-put.

          One might say the same thing about post-modernism; although the flavour has been adjusted slightly, to appeal to a different target market.

  16. Interesting that both FT and Fraudian base their case on vituperaton against the Russian “regime”. Reminds me of the old attorneys advice to a begginner: If you have the Law on your side hammer itinto the judge; if you have the Facts on your side hammer it into the jury; if you have nothing hammer the table.

    • Great quote!

      Is it not revealing that those who try to hammer lies into accepted discourse have nothing but noise to cover for a lack of substance?
      What most exposes a lie is an unwillingness to join in its terms.
      Once we have presence of mind instead of a phishing ruse, a true communication extends as an honesty of curiosity.
      The idea that control of a society of is best served by means of orchestrating and asserting big lies is also the conviction in human worthlessness – excepting as fodder to serve the gratifications of masked agenda. Another way of arriving at this is to see people as something to get from or use, and as a result, lose awareness of one’s own humanity.
      Perhaps ‘bottoming out’ opens the recognition of addiction in place of pretension to self-specialness or ‘power’. I’m not putting ‘addiction’ as a blame attack – but as an honesty of reflection.

      Don’t believe everything you think!

      • milosevic says

        I guess you would be well-positioned to speak about “phishing ruses” and “orchestrating and asserting big lies”.

        Don’t believe everything you think!

        I can see why you would believe that. Your error is in imagining that anything you do would qualify as “thinking” at all. Hence, the “noise to cover for a lack of substance”.

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