All posts filed under: empire watch

Barcelona, Roger Waters, White Helmets

by Phillip Roddis A Pink Floyd fan for half a century, and neutral on the band’s acrimonious eighties divorce, I was thrilled by Roger Waters’ denunciation – an unequivocal exception to the rule that celebs are intimidated by the Western world’s most powerful lobby – of an Israel I recently described as: [the] world’s premier ethnographic crime scene and, alongside the USA, its most serial breacher of international law. Also – a fact insufficiently appreciated by a pro-Palestinian lobby understandably focused on immediate injustices – up there with Saudi Arabia as regional enforcer, covert and overt, for the West. Alas, many who support the Palestinian cause nevertheless buy the mainstream line on Syria. A vitriolic example is given by this comment from the pro-Palestinian Israeli – yes, there are more of them than Labour Friends of Israel would have us think – Dimi Reider, who took to FB to say: If you think Assad is somehow an anti-imperialist actor, or if your basic assumption is that he COULDN’T POSSIBLY gas his own people and it …

Pentagon Is Concerned About Results Of Syria Strike, Prepares To Launch Internal Probe – Sources

by SouthFront, April 15, 2018 A day after the US-led attack on Syria, the suspicion run deep in the public over the results of the massive missile strike carried out by the US, the UK and France. The Pentagon says that 105 cruise missiles were launched at 3 targets in Syria adding and all of them hit their targets. The Russian Defense Ministry says that 71 missiles were intercepted adding that there were 8 targets of the US-UK-French missiles strike. Since April 14, SouthFront has been receiving indications that the US military leadership is concerned over the results of its military action. Informed sources close to the Pentagon say that the US military is about to launch an internal probe in order to get a true picture of the situation, a real number of missiles, which had hit their targets, the reasons behind a minor damage delivered by the strike and the explanations how the Syrian Air Defense Forces had been able to intercept a part of the missiles using their old-fashioned air defense systems. The Pentagon’s …

Spiez Laboratory, the Skripal Case, and the OPCW

The OPCW has, to date, made no comment and issued no rebuttal of Lavrov’s assertion concerning the full findings of Spiez Laboratory and the presence of BZ and its precursors in the March 23 blood samples taken from Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If Lavrov’s statement accurately reflects the actual findings of the Spiez Laboratory, and if the Skirpals were indeed given BZ in some form, this would account for both the state in which they were discovered on March 4, one of them unconscious and the other spaced out on a bench in Salisbury, and for the length of time Sergei and Yulia Skripal were comatose.

Decisive Failure Of US Forces

by South Front, April 14, 2018 Early on April 14, the US, France and the UK carried out a massive missile strike on Syria justifying their actions with the alleged involvement of the Assad government into the April 7 Douma “chemical attack”. The Russian Defense Minsitry stated that 103 cruise and air-to-surface missiles were launched on different targets across Syria adding that 71 of them were intercepted by the Syrian Air Defense Forces (SADF). “According to available information, a total of 103 cruise missiles were fired… The Syrian air defense systems basically comprising Soviet-made weapons successfully repelled the strikes by aircraft and naval ships. A total of 71 missiles were intercepted,” Head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Department Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi said. Rudskoi said that the SADF had used its S-125, S-200, Buk, Kvadrat and Osa air defense systems to repel the strike. The Syrian General Command said that the US, the UK and France had launched 110 missiles also adding that most of them were intercepted. The numbers provided raise serious questions. Some experts …

The Skripal case & the perils of a rush to judgment

by James O’Neill amended to remove reference to the Spiez laboratory, which is not mentioned directly in the OPCW summary The perils of coming to premature conclusions before all the facts are available has been starkly demonstrated by the latest developments in the alleged nerve gas attack upon the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English town of Salisbury on 4 March 2018. Followers of this particular saga will be aware that British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have made a series of statements to the United Kingdom House of Commons and to the media. They alleged, without qualification, that the Skripals were poisoned with a nerve agent of the “Novichok” class, of a type “developed by Russia.” That these statements were made before it was possible for the British chemical and biological research facility at Porton Down to have made an analysis and reached a scientifically valid conclusion did not matter. The object of the exercise was to demonize Russia in general and …

China must walk the talk and support Russia

by Ghassan Kadi , The Saker, April 12, 2018 This article was written before the most recent missile attack on Syria, carried out by the US, France, and the UK.  Its argument retains relevance. When Chinese Defence Minister, General Wei Fenghe visited Moscow on the 4th of April 2018 and made his historic comment that he was in Moscow to give a message to America that China stands by Russia (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-04/chinas-new-defence-chief-visits-russia-to-send-a-message-to-us/9616216), he put China in a new and unprecedented global position, because China had never made such direct statements about the USA since the early days of Chairman Mao; and that was a long time ago, when China was not an industrial power and an aspiring global power, and long before the rift between the USSR and Mao’s China began. A lot has changed since, and neither Russia nor China are today what they used to be a few decades ago, and as they changed, matured and developed, their relationship vis-à-vis each other and the United States seem to have gone the full circle. Today’s …

International Lawyers: Strike Against Syria Would Be Illegal

via Consortiumnews, April 11, 2018 In this statement released Wednesday, a group of international law experts warn that a U.S. military strike on Syria would be illegal if not in self-defense or with U.N. Security Council authorization.  We are practitioners and professors of international law. Under international law, military strikes by the United States of America and its allies against the Syrian Arab Republic, unless conducted in self-defense or with United Nations Security Council approval, are illegal and constitute acts of aggression. The unlawful killing of any human being without legal justification, under every legal system, is murder. And an act of violence committed by one government against another government, without lawful justification, amounts to the crime of aggression: the supreme international crime which carries with it the evil of every other international crime, as noted by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946. The use of military force by a state can be used in self-defense after an armed attack by another state, or, with the approval of the United Nations Security Council. …

Skripal case: Russia counter-attacks; Britain responds by tightening access to Yulia Skripa

by Alexander Mercouris Britain struggles to respond to Russia’s diplomatic counter-offensive, stonewalls all Russian attempts to gain access to Yulia Skripal If during the first three weeks of the Skripal crisis it was the British who made the running, over the last two weeks the initiative has slowly shifted to the Russians. As is often the way, the Russians – caught by surprise by a crisis that seemed to come out of nowhere – initially responded reactively. However as the weeks have passed they have gradually found their footing, and are now starting to score points. By contrast it is the British – who apparently assumed that following the diplomatic expulsions the crisis would subside – who now look increasingly on the blackfoot as, contrary to their expectations, the Russians refuse to let the matter rest. The result has been bitter recriminations in the British media – with much of the blame being placed on Boris Johnson – a flood of not always very consistent or convincing leaks to the media trying to bolster the …

The Empire Strikes Backwards

by John Helmer, Moscow, April 5, 2018 Empires are just like everything else going down the toilet. Bits always stick on the porcelain which require more flushing.  Embarrassing bits. Now in its fifth week since the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on March 4, the bits that cannot be flushed away are producing an odour whose obviousness is embarrassing for  Salisbury Hospital and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The hospital is treating the Skripals for their medical welfare and is required by hospital policy and  UK law to be accountable to their next of kin. Their rights of access to and from the hospital are also required by  European Human Rights Convention.  The evidence now accumulating is that the hospital is detaining and isolating the Skripals against their will, preventing contact with their family. Requested to explain this and identify her legal authority, the response of the hospital’s chief executive, Cara Charles-Barks, is to stonewall. The OPCW, comprising 192 states which have signed, ratified and enacted the Chemical …

What exactly is happening at Salisbury hospital?

The UK has publicly said it is looking for “transparency” in the Skripal investigation. Currently this seems no more true than any other part of the UK’s narrative. In fact the opposite would seem to be the case. The situation with the Skripals in regard to Salisbury NHS Trust hopsital is particularly opaque as things stand. Just to quickly recap. 1. The March 22 High Court judgment by Mr Justice Williams makes it clear the UK govt lawyers were trying to minimise or even deny the existence of the Skripals’ Russian relatives, claiming there was very little evidence there even were any such relatives, even after Sergey’s niece Viktoria had been interviewed by UK media outlets, and using this fabricated “lack of evidence” as a reason for not contacting the relatives or involving them in considerations of Yulia Skripals’ welfare. 2. The Russian embassy has repeatedly said it is being illegally denied access to the Skripals, and there is evidence the pair have been denied due process. 3. There are claims Yulia’s Russian cellphone has …

The Skripal case and the misuse of ‘intelligence’

by Alexander Mercouris at the Duran As the Novichok ‘evidence’ collapses, the criminal investigation into the Skripal attack has become corrupted The events of the last few days in the Skripal case provide an object lesson of why in criminal investigations the rules of due process should always be adhered to. The reason the British now find themselves in difficulties is because they have not adhered to them. This despite the fact that – as they all too often like to remind us – it was the British themselves who largely created them. The single biggest unexplained mystery about the Skripal case is why it attracted so much attention so quickly. Within hours of Sergey and Yulia Skripal being found passed out on a bench the British media were feverishly speculating that they had been poisoned by Russia. This despite the fact that no information at that point existed which warranted such speculation, and despite pleas for the investigation to be allowed to take its course from the police and from the government minister responsible …

UK Govt rewords ambassador’s March 22 speech – makes it appear he DIDN’T say the novichok came from Russia – but he DID & there’s proof

British Ambassador to Russia Dr Laurie Bristow briefed the international diplomatic community in Moscow on the UK Government response to the Salisbury attack, March 22 2018. The tweets have been scrubbed, spokespeople are currently lying or weasel-wording, but here are his own words. Here is the relevant section of Bristow’s words as they clearly appear in this footage and as the caption renders them: “…There is also no doubt that the Novichok was produced in Russia by the Russian state. This is how his words are being rendered on the UK government site – note the all-important missing “the”: By removing that “the”, which is beyond doubt there in the original, they are morphing Bristow’s statement from a direct accusation about “the” novichok allegedly used to poison the Skripals, into a general statement about the generic origin of the novichok class of nerve agents This looks like a flagrant lie. It looks like the real-life Minitrue in operation before out eyes, flushing reality down the Memory Hole, as we discussed earlier. It also looks like …

Skripal case: belief in Russia’s guilt looks to be based not on evidence but on a guess

by Alexander Mercouris at the Duran British authorities admit have no proof poison made in Russia; entire case against Russia based on a classified assessment On the eve of the meeting of the OPCW’s executive council – convened by Russia and scheduled for tomorrow – we have had a highly revealing succession of statements about the Skripal case from the British authorities. The one which is attracting the most attention is the admission by Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, that whilst British scientists are able to confirm that the poison used in the attack and Sergey and Yulia Skripal was a ‘military grade’ Novichok type substance (the Russian authorities say the British have told them it is A-234), they cannot confirm that it was produced in Russia. We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent. We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to Government who have then used a number …

WATCH: Tony Benn Speaks to Parliament

Tony Benn would be 93 years old today, and in tribute to greatest Prime Minister Britain never had, we publish this video, showing at once how right he was in his predictions, and how little the political scene has really changed. He cites America fabricating a pretext for war in the Middle-East, the dangers of acting outside the UNSC, the hypocrisy of supporting Saudi Arabia whilst condemning alleged human rights abuses in other countries and the vile hate propaganda creating a fever for war in the press. He talks about America’s history of brutality and the consequent lack of moral authority, the profit of the military industrial complex and their real motivation being oil and energy supplies. He was speaking in 1990.

UK’s treatment of the Skripals may be “violation of due process”

Alexander Mercouris at the Duran writes “the High Court Judgment however appears to confirm that the British authorities are doing all they can to freeze the Russians out of the investigation of the case – which involves an attack on a Russian citizen – and to prevent them from learning any of the facts of the case.” Those trying to make sense of the Skripal poisoning will have their work cut out following the news which have been coming out about it over the past week. Firstly, the British police have announced that they now believe that Sergey and Yulia Skripal came into contact with the deadly chemical which poisoned them because it was smeared onto their front door. This announcement has come after weeks of speculation during which a bewildering range of competing theories explaining how the poisoning supposedly took place have appeared in the British media. These theories have included claims that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were (1) sprayed with the supposedly deadly chemical by a passer-by; (2) sprayed with the supposedly deadly …

Skripal Poisoning – The UK’s Case for Russian Involvement

Earlier this week, over 130 Russian diplomats were expelled from over 20 separate countries. It was billed as a “massive show of unity”, and claimed as further evidence of Russian guilt. The familiar chorus repeated, that there is “no plausible alternative explanation”. So what was the strong evidence that the UK government shared with their allies? It must have been compelling in order to move the EU, US et al. to make moves of solidarity. It’s a slide show. Now, that might not sound like much. But a slide show can be very persuasive. It could have witness testimony, scientific test results, photographic evidence. It could explain motive, provide alibis for other suspects. It could be hundreds of pages of hard evidence laying out a perfect, bulletproof case. It could be all of those things…but in this case it’s not. We have it here, in PDF form. And here is another version. It’s five slides. That’s all, just five. Slide 1: Timeline An incredibly rough timeline of all the important events, skipping over the crime …

Some Further Thoughts on the Skripal Affair

Barrister at Law James O’Neill offers some thoughts on the Skripal case and the recent judgement by Mr Justice Williams in the High Court Let the jury consider the verdict” the King said. “No, No” said the Queen: “sentence first, verdict afterwards”. “Stuff and nonsense” said Alice. The furore surrounding the alleged nerve gas poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia shows no signs of abating. It continuously puts one in mind of the quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland at the head of this article. For those of us with fond of memories of some of the traditional virtues of common-law justice, such as the presumption of innocence, the onus of proof upon the accuser, a verdict based upon evidence beyond reasonable doubt, and a prohibition on prejudicial pre-trial comment, it all seems like a very distant past. The latest development has been a group of nations, largely in the European Union, but also including United States, Canada, Australia and European minnows like Albania and Macedonia, joining the collective hysteria and expelling, …

How the Military Controls America

by Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Unlike corporations that sell to consumers, Lockheed Martin and the other top contractors to the U.S. Government are highly if not totally dependent upon sales to governments, for their profits, especially sales to their own government, which they control — they control their home market, which is the U.S. Government, and they use it to sell to its allied governments, all of which foreign governments constitute the export markets for their products and services. These corporations control the U.S. Government, and they control NATO. And, here is how they do it, which is essential to understand, in order to be able to make reliable sense of America’s foreign policies, such as which nations are ‘allies’ of the U.S. Government (such as Saudi Arabia and Israel), and which nations are its ‘enemies’ (such as Libya and Syria) — and are thus presumably suitable for America to invade, or else to overthrow by means of a coup. First, the nation’s head-of-state becomes demonized; then, the invasion or coup happens. And, …