Wednesday 18th of September 2019

brussel sprouts...

EC President Jean-Claude Juncker said he is not ready to burn bridges with Moscow. It follows the Netherlands’ claims that Russian intelligence officers attempted to hack the OPCW. Moscow denies the allegations.

Despite the disagreements and problems which have been on the rise lately, there is a need for dialogue, Juncker told  Austrian daily Der Standard.

“For the reasons of security architecture, we must keep in touch with Russia and also take joint measures” on certain occasions. Thus, “I am not ready for the massive scolding of Russia,” he said. But the official stressed that Brussels is thoroughly evaluating what happened in the Netherlands.

This week, the ‘Russian hackers’ saga took a new leap after Dutch authorities alleged that four officers of Russia’s military intelligence (GRU) tried to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.

The “hackers,” who reportedly had diplomatic passports, were expelled from the country in April, according to the Dutch Defense Ministry.

Moscow called the accusations an “anti-Russian spy mania campaign,” which puts even more pressure on the already strained ties with the West.

Firing back, the Russian Foreign Ministry wondered why Dutch officials were in no rush to roll out the news about the case months earlier. “Any Russian citizen with a mobile device is perceived to be a spy [now],” it noted.

The Netherlands was not the only state to accuse Russia of spying. The UK claimed that Russians also targeted its Foreign Office and Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, while Germany was “almost certain” that Russian military intelligence was behind the activities of the elusive Fancy Bear hacking group.


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russia included...

A:   Afghanistan   Albania   Algeria   Andorra   

Angola   Antigua and Barbuda   Argentina   Armenia   Australia   Austria   Azerbaijan

B:   Bahamas   Bahrain   Bangladesh   Barbados   Belarus   Belgium   Belize   

Benin   Bhutan   Bolivia   Bosnia and Herzegovina   Botswana   Brazil   

Brunei   Bulgaria   Burkina Faso   Burundi

C:   Cabo Verde  Cambodia   Cameroon   

Canada   Central African Republic   Chad   Chile   China   

Colombia   Comoros   Congo   Congo-Brazzaville   

Cook Islands   Costa Rica   Côte d’Ivoire   Croatia   Cuba   Cyprus   Czech Republic

D:   Denmark   Djibouti   Dominica   Dominican Republic

E:   Ecuador   El Salvador   Equatorial Guinea   Eritrea   Estonia   Eswatini   Ethiopia

F:   Fiji   Finland   Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia   France

G:   Gabon   Gambia   Georgia   Germany   Ghana   Greece   Grenada   

Guatemala   Guinea   Guinea-Bissau   Guyana

H:   Haiti   Holy See   Honduras   Hungary 

I:   Iceland   India   Indonesia   Iran   Iraq   Ireland   Italy

J:   Jamaica   Japan   Jordan

K:   Kazakhstan   Kenya   Kiribati   Kuwait   Kyrgyzstan

L:   Laos   Latvia   Lebanon   Lesotho   Liberia   Libya   Liechtenstein   

Lithuania   Luxembourg

M:   Madagascar   Malawi   Malaysia   Maldives   

Mali   Malta   Marshall Islands   Mauritania   Mauritius  Mexico   Micronesia   Moldova   Monaco   

Mongolia   Montenegro   Morocco   Mozambique    Myanmar

N:   Namibia   Nauru   Nepal   Netherlands   New Zealand   Nicaragua   

Niger   Nigeria   Niue   Norway 

O:   Oman

P:   Pakistan   Palau  Palestine  Panama   Papua New Guinea   Paraguay   

Peru   Philippines   Poland   Portugal

Q:   Qatar

R:   Republic of Korea   Romania   Russia   Rwanda

S:   Saint Kitts and Nevis   Saint Lucia   Saint Vincent and the Grenadines   

Samoa   San Marino   São Tomé e Príncipe   Saudi Arabia   

Senegal   Serbia   Seychelles   Sierra Leone   Singapore   

Slovakia   Slovenia   Solomon Islands   Somalia   

South Africa   Spain   Sri Lanka   Sudan   Suriname  Sweden   Switzerland   Syria

T:   Tajikistan   Tanzania   Thailand   Timor-Leste   

Togo   Tonga   Trinidad and Tobago   Tunisia   Turkey   Turkmenistan   Tuvalu

U:   Uganda   Ukraine   United Arab Emirates   

United Kingdom   United States of America   Uruguay   Uzbekistan

V:   Vanuatu   Venezuela   Viet Nam

Y:   Yemen

Z:   Zambia   Zimbabwe

passing speculations as "journalism"...

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker slammed the British media for what he called an utter disrespect of politicians’ human rights, and insisted that press freedom has “limits.”

In an interview with three Austrian news outlets, Junker was quizzed on the way the UK media behaves on certain occasions.

It [British press] is, in part so, that they do not respect the human rights of political actors at all. Press freedom also has its limits.

While he could not say exactly where those limits lie, he urged that journalists should be able to “feel what you are allowed to do” and not “bring people in privacy in distress.”

Notably, during the interview, Juncker also said people should “stand up” to attempts to suppress press freedom, and that politics should not have its fingers in journalism.

The top brass also gave his take on another issue that’s seemingly marred his ties with the media world. He particularly castigated news outlets – not only from UK – for trying to make it look like he was responsible for the Brexit.

Saying he was asked by the government of former UK PM David Cameron not to interfere in the Brexit campaign, Juncker now regrets that the EU Commission failed to do so. It would have brought “proper questions” into the debate, the official argued.

The EU Commission president has taken his share of hits from the media, including the British press, from his appointment as commission president to alleged drinking problems, which he has repeatedly denied.

Juncker, 63, found himself in the media spotlight in July when he was filmed stumbling at a NATO event. Later, he left the building through a side entrance in a wheelchair. Dismissing accusations of drunken behavior and condemning the “insulting headlines” published that day, Juncker explained that he had suffered from a “painful attack of sciatica.”


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Natalie Nougayrède writes rubbish for the guardian...


For all the efforts the Kremlin put into staging the World Cup earlier this year as a demonstration of Russia’s openness, news seems to keep pouring in about the blunders of its not-so-secret services. In the latest instalment yesterday, Bellingcat, an investigative website, published the name of the second Russian agent involved in the Skripal poisoning.

Official Russian reactions have ranged from denouncing a “stage-managed propaganda campaign” to sneering at “western hysteria about all-mighty Russian cyber-spies”. But for a Russian president who prides himself on efficiency and making Russia look powerful, it all smacks of a major setback.


And so on and on, Natalie Nougayrède, rabbits on and on for the Guardian...

This opinionator has no understanding of what she reports on.


First of all, the Skripal affair smells far more (99%) of a "coup monté" (to use her own native French lingo) by MI6 or by the "Russian Mafia" (1%) who hates Putin as much as Natalie does. So far no-one has seen the Skripals since their supposed poisoning in March — apart from a managed WEIRD interview with the daughter.

Natalie Nougayrède nearly destroyed the venerable French newspaper "Le Monde" when she was placed in charge. "Le Monde" is a centrist (slightly leaning left) respectable news outlet and Natalie took it to right, somewhat to the extreme right. Editors resigned "en masse". Eventually she had to resign herself. She speaks Russian and English, but hates the Russians far more than the Americans hate Russia who hate Russia far more than anything else. The Guardian gave her a platform from which to spruik her putrid venom against Putin. 



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

What is going on with the Skripal poisoning narrative?

Anyone who thinks they have a definitive answer at this point had better pause and reflect. Very little of anything is clear and nothing makes much sense.

The “official” UK story (except not really official since the government has been careful to keep its distance and its wiggle room on the details) was initially, and remains, contradictory, factually implausible and bereft of corroboration on most important details.

Almost all of the initial questions and areas of puzzlement remain unanswered and unresolved at this time. We still have no explanation for any of the following:

  • Why Russia would want to murder Skripal at all let alone by use of something as exotic and untested as this still poorly defined substance known as “Novichok”. And why they apparently would do so at a time that dovetailed perfectly with UK/US plans in Syria, including a possible false flag chemical attack in Douma as a justification for a full-scale NATO attack on Damascus
  • How the UK authorities were able to be so certain so quickly of Russian state involvement or of the source of the alleged “Novichok” used.
  • What form the alleged nerve agent was in; was it gel (on the door knob) powder/aerosol (in Skripal’s car a/c system) or liquid (in a perfume bottle)?
  • How, when or where the poison was allegedly administered.
  • How the allegedly super-deadly nerve agent (supposedly many times more deadly than VX) did not kill either of the primary targets, or any of the secondary targets, save for the woman who allegedly literally sprayed it on her own skin.
  • Where the two Skripals and DS Bailey are and why they either can’t or won’t speak to the press or appear in public. While fear (either of their “protectors” or of Russian reprisals) may be a possible reason in the case of the Skripals, it’s hard to see why this would apply to Bailey.
  • Why the timing of the alleged poisoning does not fit with the itinerary of the two alleged suspects in the case, who did not arrive in Salisbury until several hours after the nerve agent was allegedly applied to the door handle (if indeed this is the one of many versions we are supposed to assume is true).
  • Why there is no released CCTV footage placing the two suspects closer than 500 yards from Skripal’s house. No footage of them even in a road adjoining or leading directly to said house.
  • Why two alleged GRU agents would behave in any of the ways Boshirov and Petrov behaved, including leaving a visible trail of their visit and browsing Salisbury high street for vintage coins.

To date these questions remain outstanding. But late last month we were treated to the added bizarreness of Bellingcat’s entry into the fray, culminating in the second part of their “report” released today (we discuss part one HERE), replete with a presser outside parliament by the man himself – Eliot Higgins.


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And by the way, I think that Putin is smarter than to try to "divide" Europe, as Natalie claims... I would see Putin's "plan" (say hope) as trying to make Europe stronger and be able to wean itself from the US teats. This would make far more sense.

full of gaps, discrepancies and inconsistences...


On Monday, Russian experts held a press-conference to respond to that paper. Moscow’s Permanent Representative to OPCW, Alexander Shulgin, told RT after the event that the chemical arms watchdog’s findings were “full of gaps, discrepancies and inconsistences.”

Key witnesses ignored

“We noted that the report by the FFM disregarded the briefing organized [at the OPCW headquarters] in [late April] 2018 with the unwilling witnesses or even ‘unwilling comedians’ that took part in the video performed by the White Helmets,” Shulgin said.

More than a dozen people testified back then, saying that there was no chemical attack in Douma and that they’d been forced to star in the fake footage, devised by the members of the White Helmets, a Western-backed aid group with apparent links to terrorists.

“There's a small footnote in the FFM’s report, saying that [the statements by] alleged witnesses… were dealt with like information from open sources. Somehow this very important information was dismissed.”

Blind eye turned to terrorist chemical stockpiles

Shulgin recalled that the Syrian authorities have, on numerous occasions, reported that stockpiles of chemical weapons had been discovered in areas liberated from terrorists and the OPCW was well aware of that.

“In Douma, there was also a warehouse with chlorine barrels and the [FFM] experts didn’t accept to inspect it, alleging that it was too dangerous to manipulate these items.”

The investigation failed to uncover what really happened in Douma despite the fact that “from the very beginning the Syrians were very open. The [OPCW] Technical Secretariat experts were given access to all places they needed to examine. Moreover, the Russian military police did their best to secure the work of the Technical Secretariat experts,” the Russian envoy pointed out.

Pressure from Washington

With Western politicians and mainstream media at the time swiftly pinning the blame for the Douma incident on the Syrian government, the OPCW was “under a kind of pressure” during the probe, Shulgin said.


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