All posts tagged: UK

OPEN THREAD: Brexit – Deal or No Deal?

Theresa May’s proposed “deal” for leaving the European Union has been criticised by MP’s from all across the political spectrum. Cabinet Ministers have resigned, jobs have been refused, letters of no-confidence have been sent. Where is this going? Will we see a Tory leadership election? If so, who’s going to win it? If the deal is voted down by Parliament, a vote of no confidence in Theresa May is almost inevitable. A vote of no confidence will almost certainly trigger a new General Election. A General Election Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party would be favourites to win. This puts the anti-Corbyn Blairite MPs in a difficult position – will they ruin what’s left of their credibility by backing the “deal” proposed by the Tory government? Will they call for an election and hope to replace Corbyn if/when Labour win? Or will we see a third Labour leadership election? Discuss below.

Syria: The Creeping Partition

by Peter Ford, October 24, 2018, Syriana Analysis The September crisis over Idlib was brought to a conclusion by the Russian Turkish agreement to create a partially demilitarised border strip. This should have been implemented by 16 October but hasn’t. Idlib Some armed groups have pulled back their heavy weapons from the 15-20 km wide 250 km long strip but others haven’t, while the groups internationally categorised as a terrorist, including Hayat Tahrir Ash Sham (HTS), Hurras Ad Deen, and the Turkmenistan militia, have not vacated the area as the Turks promised. Russia was supposed to be allowed into the area to monitor but isn’t. In blatant violation of the ceasefire, some of the groups are shelling neighbouring government-controlled areas including the outskirts of Aleppo and northern Lattakia. The Turks claim all is well. The Russians, putting a brave face on a very unsatisfactory situation, call for patience. The reality appears to be that the Russians don’t think the Syrian government forces are strong enough to overcome the approximately 90,000 jihadi fighters in Idlib, many …

Further down the rabbit hole with Eliot, Boshirov, Petrov, his grandma & all

Bellingcat today released the second part of their “investigation” into the alleged real identities of Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, the two Russians accused of attempting to murder Sergey Skripal. We offer some preliminary thoughts and open the subject up for discussion.

MI6 Will Be So Proud: Urban & Harding Continue The Ludicrous Skripal Narrative

Bay Kurley, DailyShocker.news Mark Urban is releasing a book on Skripal. He didn’t tell anyone he had met him during 2017 for that purpose mind you, not even his BBC bosses, until forced to, the day after Skripal was allegedly poisoned. Which would explain the intimate knowledge he demonstrated on Newsnight that evening, 5th March. It’s even stranger that Mark didn’t tell his bosses earlier, when he MUST have been aware that Skripal still met his “old” MI6 handler in Salisbury. Urban must have been aware that this handler, who was an old tanker mate of Urban, was linked to Orbis, the company Christopher Steele ran. Seems a HUGE link, to a HUGE global story, to not tell your bosses at one of the world’s largest news agencies? He didn’t admit to the public he had met Skripal until July 2018. FOUR months after Skirpal was “novichoked”. Yes, I met Sergei Skripal a few times in 2017 while working on a book project. He's a remarkable man with a dry sense of humour and a …

“Chepiga” and “Boshirov” – what does Bellingcat actually tell us?

The alleged “citizen journalist” website, Bellingcat has, of course, recently published the results of its latest piece of alleged research on the “real identity” of one of the men accused (so far without any evidence) of attempting to poison Sergey Skripal and his daughter back in March 2018.

We’ve talked about Bellingcat, and its supposed founder, Eliot Higgins, before on OffG. Bellingcat’s work has been revealed on countless occasions to be both incredibly amateurish and incredibly biased toward a certain extreme neocon/neoliberal agenda. Whether Higgins himself knows it or not, his outfit is almost certainly a front run by various intel agencies for the purpose of disseminating low grade, and often fake or corrupted, data that the agencies and associated governments do not want to be associated with directly.

Operation Nina – the Novichok Hoax

There’s no shortage of commentators in the Western mainstream telling us how Russia planned its attack on the Skripals, or how Syria planned its chemical weapons massacres. Anyone who expresses a different opinion from this accepted narrative stands condemned and belittled as a “conspiracy theorist”. But the criticism works both ways – for us it is they who are the conspiracy theorists, as well as the conspirators.

Open Thread: Skripal Suspects Interviewed on RT

For those of you who missed it – the Skripal suspects came forward, approaching RT to tell their story. The whole interview is available here and a transcript here.

UPDATED: Skripal Case: Gaping Holes in New Narrative

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) named their suspects in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal et al. today. The two men – named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – entered the country on legal VISAs but are alleged to be travelling under aliases. The CPS has charged the men with a laundry list of offenses, but not applied to Russia for extradition as it is forbidden, by the Russian Constitution, for the Russian federation to extradite a citizen.

These are the new facts, but like all the previous announcements in this bizarre odyssey, they present more questions than answers.

Joining Some Dots on the Skripal Case: Part 3 – The Agitated Mr Skripal

In Part 1 of this series, I stated why I believe the official narrative on the Skripal case does not appear to hold water. Firstly, the nerve agent A-234 (Novichok) can and has been produced outside Russia, in a number of places, thus disproving the claim that it must have come from Russia. Secondly, the fact that the effects experienced by the Skripals — four hours of moving freely around Salisbury, followed by no irreparable damage — do not remotely fit what the scientific literature says about that substance — almost instantaneous death or a short life with irreparable damage to the central nervous system –, makes it highly unlikely that they were indeed poisoned by it. Indeed, the burden of proof is on those making the claims to show how and why the scientific literature was wrong.

VISA Payment Crash and the Dangers of a Cashless World

Yesterday, Visa’s payment system crashed in Europe. Millions of people were unable to complete purchases. Some found themselves trapped overseas. It was a small glitch, apparently, but could have caused a major panic.

This situation should be a special warning to the people of the UK, who on average carry only £17 in cash at any moment, and where 1/4 of us will leave a store if paying by card is not an option. I count myself among those people.

Open Source Investigation: The War on Cash

Following last nights shutdown of Visa’s payment system across large parts of Europe, we thought this would be good time to revisit the topic of money. Cold hard cash is on the way out, following a sustained global effort to undermine its usage. Is that a good thing? Does the Visa crash exemplify just how little power the consumer wields in a world of universally digital payments? James Corbett has been running his Open Source Investigation into the “War on Cash” since 2016, here we post some of the more concerning findings. Feel free to contribute BTL if there are any further developments, or get in touch with The Corbett Report directly here. The Cashless Society List ARGENTINA – Argentina’s currency crisis has been known for some time. In short, Argentinians don’t trust the peso and are willing to pay premium for any currency they perceive as “more stable,” especially US dollars which are traded on the black market as “blue dollars” at prices far exceeding the official exchange rate. That’s why Argentina has been …

ANALYSIS: Signs of Compromise in Yulia Skripal’s Statement

by Tony Kevin Tony Kevin’s summary responses to the MoA view that Yulia’s statement is suspect, because it was allegedly written under duress of some kind, and from a prepared English script translated into Russian. There are at least two big questions here that need to be separately addressed. MoA and many of their correspondents segue from one to the other and back again , which is not conducive to a clear understanding and quickly leads one down unproductive, hypothetical blind alleys: leaving one in the end in a not useful position of general skepticism of everyone and everything involved in the Skripal affair. One of the classic forms of deception in naval warfare is to hide what you are trying to hide by laying dummy targets behind a lot of smoke. This letter is an effort to clear away smoke and help to see the real targets more clearly. The two big questions are: 1. What were the circumstances of Yulia’s videoed statement ? Was it made under duress, Stockholm Syndrome, or coached ? …

Don’t Panic! Lighten Up! Smiley Skripal case forces scientists to revise everything they thought they knew about Novichok

Rob Slane Warning: This article is likely to contain traces of satire. In the aftermath of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on 4th March, scientists are currently re-evaluating their understanding of A-234 – or Novichok as it is more commonly known. Prior to the poisoning, it had been thought that the substance was around 5-8 times more toxic than VX nerve agent, and therefore that just a tiny drop would be likely to kill a person within minutes or possibly even seconds of them coming into contact with it. In the unlikely event of a person surviving, it was believed that their central nervous system would be completely destroyed, and that they would suffer numerous chronic health issues, including cirrhosis, toxic hepatitis, and epilepsy before dying a premature and miserable death, probably within a year or so. However, according to an anonymous source at the Porton Down laboratory, which is located just a few miles down the road from Salisbury, scientists now believe they may have completely misunderstood the properties and …

The Rohingya Psyops: Waging Covert War on Myanmar

The United Nations has accused the Government of Myanmar of committing ‘genocide’ against the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country’s troubled Rakhine State. In recent weeks the crisis in Myanmar has escalated, with human rights groups and NGOs publishing copious denunciations of the alleged human rights abuses and mass murder committed by the Myanmar Armed Forces, (Tatmadaw). The Myanmar government claims that they are fighting a war on terrorism against forces which seek to destabilise the state, Islamist forces in particular. They also claim that the so-called ethnic minority commonly referred to as ‘Rohingya’ are really illegal East Bengali immigrants.

The West Just Might Be Giving Up On Syrian Regime Change At Last

In the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, sieged by ISIS, residents watch a speech by president Assad projected on a wall. Caitlin Johnstone in Medium: The Guardian has published a new article titled “Victory for Assad looks increasingly likely as world loses interest in Syria”, which is just as significant for what it says as for who is saying it. The Guardian has long been one of the most virulent promulgators of establishment lies about the Syrian government, giving extensive coverage to the transparent Bana Alabed psy-op, the western-instituted propaganda outlet known as the White Helmets, as well as advancing establishment narratives about Aleppo and Assad and many other blatant falsehoods. And indeed the article itself does a good job of retaining that vintage Guardian propaganda feel, portraying the failure to unseat Bashar al-Assad as something unfortunate and talking about poor refugees who are afraid to return home now that regime change is looking unlikely. But it also describes how the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and other nations have been coming to terms with …

The world remembers 64th anniversary of the west-sponsored coup in Iran

After WWII, the West had one huge ‘problem’ on its hands: all three most populous Muslim countries on Earth – Egypt, Iran and Indonesia – were clearly moving in one similar direction, joining group of patriotic, peaceful and tolerant nations. They were deeply concerned about the welfare of their citizens, and by no means were they willing to allow foreign colonialist powers to plunder their resources, or enslave their people. In the 1950’s, the world was rapidly changing, and there was suddenly hope that the countries which were oppressed and pillaged for decades and centuries by first the European and then North American geopolitical and business interests, would finally break their shackles and stand proudly on their own feet.

NO LEAVE to REMAIN

by W Stephen Gilbert Last Christmas, as you do, we received the usual batch of greetings cards from people we’re only in touch with at that time of year. Almost without exception, these cards included a message to the effect: “isn’t it terrible about Trump and Brexit?” As we are perceived as (ex-)metropolitan, enlightened, middle class professionals, we obviously must subscribe to all the views prescribed for that demographic. My partner can speak for himself. But I voted to leave. This is an outrage that many of my friends cannot understand and find difficult to forgive. They tolerate my intolerance of that ugly, specious, coined term that Theresa May likes to use twice in one mantra. But by my vote they think I’ve taken leave of my senses or become a class traitor or revealed myself as a closet fascist. Bracketing Trump and the 2016 referendum result is thought a legitimate summary of a year that was in many ways the most ghastly anyone can recall. It’s almost as though the leave campaign was implicated …

Domestic U.S. Politics of War with Russia

by Eric Zuesse First, the context in which the issue of war against Russia is being raised: Syria’s government is allied with Russia’s government, and ‘The West’ is trying to overthrow Syria’s government and is bringing into Syria, and arming, tens of thousands of jihadists there, as the footsoldiers to do it. Syria and Russia are bombing the people that we are bringing in. The Presidential candidate of the U.S. Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, is a longstanding and ardent proponent of the U.S. establishing a “no-fly zone” over at least the parts of Syria where non-ISIS jihadists — the jihadists that are financed and armed by the U.S. and its allies (mainly by the Sunni fundamentalist royal families who own Saudi Arabia and Qatar) — have conquered territory from Syria’s (legitimate and internationally recognized) government. It’s conquest of Syria, that the U.S. is backing. The U.S., in both law and fact, is already participating in an invasion of Syria. Syria’s government is run by the ideologically committed anti-Sharia-law and non-sectarian Ba’ath Party, under President Bashar …

Russia’s “secret propaganda assault on Britain”

by Paul Robinson, August 1, 2016 A couple of newspaper articles caught my attention this weekend. The first was in The Times, and claimed the following: President Putin has launched a secret propaganda assault on Britain from within its own borders, The Times can reveal. The Kremlin is spreading disinformation through a newly opened British bureau for its Sputnik international news service, and is infiltrating elite universities by placing language and cultural centres on campuses. Analysts said that the push was part of Russia’s military doctrine, which specifies the use of ‘informational and other non-military measures’ in conflicts. The Times is particularly alarmed by the fact that, ‘the University of Edinburgh accepted £221,000 from the Russkiy Mir (Russian World) Foundation to host Britain’s first Moscow-sponsored language and cultural centre. The foundation has also opened centres at Durham University, which accepted £85,000, and St Antony’s College, Oxford.’ According to The Times, ‘A Nato source accused Russia of “operationalising information” from within Britain. “The Russian information effort is to muddy the waters, to create uncertainty,” he said.’ The second …

Obama’s “Humanitarian” Bombing Campaign “Against” the Islamic State (ISIS)

by Prof. Michael Chossudovsky, for Global Research Almost 2 years ago, August 8, 2014, Obama launched a bombing campaign against Syria and Iraq, in defiance of international law. The US Air Force with the support of a coalition of 19 countries has relentlessly waged an intensified air campaign against Syria and Iraq allegedly targeting  the Islamic State (ISIS) brigades.    The counterterrorism operation was granted a humanitarian R2P mandate: at the outset, the bombing campaign was allegedly directed against the Islamic State mercenaries (ISIS) with a view to protecting the Yazidis of Northern Iraq.  Obama: A Pack of Lies According to Obama, military action was needed to protect innocent civilians and prevent ISIS’ advance on Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region.  In his Nationwide address on August 7, 2014, Obama also intimated the need to send in US ground troops: Good evening. Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and …