British PM May Using Skripal Poisoning to Divert Attention from Child Sex Abuse – By Sputnik

may theresa

© REUTERS/ Parliament TV

The assumption that British Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the alarm over the Sergei Skripal case to downplay political failures of her cabinet cost Dimitros Lyacos, Greek journalist and foreign affairs columnist, his job. Speaking to Radio Sputnik Lyacos shared his views on what could really be behind London’s hysteria.

Having said on the air that British Prime Minister Theresa May is hyping the scandal about the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury to divert public attention away from the Rotherham child sexual exploitation case and Brexit problems, Dimitros Lyacos, a foreign affairs columnist, was fired from Cyprus’ state-owned television channel.

“I dared to say on the air in Cyprus, the former British colony, that the reason behind British PM Theresa May’s brining up [the Skripal case] is – at least according to Moscow – the Brexit problem which she has yet to solve. In a year Britain should withdraw from the EU and pay a huge sum of money to Brussels. And the second reason is a scandal about the rape of more than a thousand underage girls in a [South Yorkshire] provincial town,” Lyacos told Radio Sputnik.

The journalist specified that the rape incidents remain neglected due to the fact that some of perpetrators were “refugees” which makes the case highly sensitive for the British authorities.

It was previously reported that over 1,500 children had fallen victim to sex abuse on an unprecedented scale in the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. According to the 2014 independent inquiry into the child sexual exploitation in the town, the majority of abusers were individuals of “Asian” origin which prompted fears among local officials to be labeled as “racists” while tackling the problem.

“However, does the sexual violence issue really matter after Russia’s sudden ‘attack’ against [Britain]?” Lyacos asked wittily.

“On Friday morning my colleague from London went on air and began to praise May, who made a general statement [on the Skripal case] along with [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel, [US President Donald] Trump and [President of France Emmanuel] Macron. And then they [Cyprus state-owned broadcaster] addressed me: “Dimitros, good afternoon. What’s going on in Moscow?” And I began to tell them [about May’s attempt to divert Britons’ attention away from domestic problems]. While speaking to them I felt that they were about to say ‘All right, Dimitros, good-bye!'”

A week later, Lyacos was replaced with another correspondent to cover the 2018 Russian presidential election. The journalist sent an official letter to the editorial office asking his colleagues to explain the situation, but received no response. At the same time, he believes that the editorial board ceased cooperation with him against its will.

“If I were a British ambassador in Cyprus and heard this report, I would react like this: ‘Who allowed him to say such things?’ Then you can speculate about what could happen. The only thing is that this is not an initiative of my colleagues and my direct supervisors,” the journalist said.

On March 4, the police found former spook Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, unconscious near a shopping center in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. The Skripals were reportedly poisoned by nerve agent А-234.

Sergei Skripal, a former MI6 agent, has been living in Britain since 2010 when he and three other individuals were pardoned by the Kremlin and swapped with 10 Russian intelligence agents, exposed in the US at the time.

Although the inquiry into the poisoning of the former spy has yet to be completed, British Prime PM May groundlessly claimed that it was Moscow who was responsible for the attempted murder of the Skripals. She severed top-level diplomatic ties with Moscow and authorized the expulsion of 23 Russian envoys from the UK which prompted a similar move on the part of Moscow.

Commenting on the British hysteria around the Skripal case, British journalist Rod Liddle dubbed London’s response to the nerve gas attack as “an act of self-harm” in his recent op-ed for Spectator.

“Our response to the Salisbury nerve gas attack has been precipitous, shrill, petulant and an act of self-harm,” Liddle wrote on March 24. “And already our European allies are – rightly – beginning to row back a little from their original stance of unequivocal support for the UK and refusing to attribute the attack directly to the Kremlin. That’s because they don’t know it is attributable to the Kremlin, and frankly nor do we at this stage.”

“Why not, you know, wait a little? Gather a bit more evidence?” the British journalist asked rhetorically.

Meanwhile, 14 EU member states and the US have signaled their willingness to expel Russian diplomats “in solidarity with the UK.”

“Fourteen out of 28 EU member-states have decided to expel diplomats from the Russian Federation as a measure of solidarity with London on the Skripal case,” European Council President Donald Tusk told journalists Monday.

Comment: Poisoning a British spy in order to blame it on Russia is reprehensible. Even more reprehensible is the British authorities refusal to adequately protect their own children from sexual abuse for the sole reason that they’re afraid of being called racist. It just goes to show how inverted Western values have become. Racism is the supreme evil and must be fought, even if that means subjecting our children to rape and murder.

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Putin ‘extremely concerned’ over UK’s ‘destructive, provocative’ stance in Skripal case – Kremlin – By RT

Putin ‘extremely concerned’ over UK’s ‘destructive, provocative’ stance in Skripal case – Kremlin
In his first public reaction to the UK measures against Russia in ex-spy Sergei Skripal’s poisoning, President Vladimir Putin said he was “extremely concerned” by the “destructive and provocative” stance of the UK.

A “detailed discussion” of the current crisis in Russian-UK relations was held when Putin met with top officials from the Russian government, military and security services on Thursday, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “Extreme concern was expressed about the destructive and provocative stance taken by the British side,” the spokesman added.

It was Putin’s first public reaction since the UK announced steps against Moscow on Wednesday. Accusing Russia of using a chemical weapon on British soil, Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK was expelling 23 diplomats, limiting ties and freezing Russian state assets.

May went as far as to confront Russia with an ultimatum, demanding an explanation as to what had happened to Skripal. Moscow rejected the demand, saying that it was open to cooperation only if Russia was treated as an equal partner in the probe. However, all the official requests for evidence have fallen on deaf ears.

The UK meanwhile dragged the issue to the UN Security Council, where Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzya stressed that Moscow has “nothing to hide.” He said the UK was more interested in waging “propagandist war” than finding the truth in the Skripal case.

READ MORE: Moscow will ‘definitely’ expel British diplomats in wake of UK’s reaction to Skripal case – Lavrov

After Moscow said it will expel UK diplomats as a mirror response, the British Parliament lashed out, with Labor MP Chris Leslie saying that Russia was “increasingly looking like a rogue state” and calling for its rights in the UN Security Council to be limited. Other hawkish suggestions included the expulsion of Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, the expansion of the BBC World Service to counter “Russian disinformation and propaganda,” and re-investigating cases of former spy deaths, dating back decades.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said on Thursday that Russia “should go away and shut up” when asked about the possible Russian countermeasures to the sanctions. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said that the undiplomatic comment meant that the British authorities are nervous and have “something to hide,” while Twitter users blasted Williamson for being childish.

READ MORE: ‘Russia should go away and shut up,’ UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson says (VIDEO)

Former Russian-UK double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in critical but stable condition after being discovered slumped on a bench in Salisbury in early March. Authorities in the UK claim a Soviet-era nerve agent called Novichok was used in the attack. Russia has rejected the British accusations and promised to retaliate to the planned British restrictions.

 
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Britain’s presumption of guilt towards Russia invites conflict and chaos – By Finian Cunnigham (RT)

Finian Cunningham
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.
 
Britain’s presumption of guilt towards Russia invites conflict and chaos
Britain’s abandonment of due process has taken a dangerous and reckless leap, with Theresa May declaring economic sanctions and diplomatic expulsions for Russia’s “failure” to respond to allegations over the Skripal poisoning.

Provocatively, Moscow was given a 24-hour deadline to “answer” charges leveled by the British government that it was responsible for the attempted murder of a Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, who had been living in England since 2010 after a spy-swap deal.

Skripal (66) and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were apparently stricken with a deadly nerve agent in his adopted hometown of Salisbury on March 4 while strolling through a public park. The pair have been receiving treatment in intensive care ever since.

Earlier this week, the British prime minister asserted that the chemical weapon used was a Soviet-era nerve agent, Novichok, and – on that basis – the Russian state was implicated in the attempted murder of the former spy. Skripal had been exiled from Russia in 2010 after he was convicted of treason as a double agent for British intelligence MI6.

The new economic and diplomatic sanctions against Moscow, which were announced by May in the House of Commons on Wednesday, constitute a reckless escalation towards conflict between Britain, its NATO allies, and Russia.

Moscow has said it will not stand for British punitive measures and is vowing to take reciprocal actions.

Washington and European states have quickly followed Britain’s lead in ramping up hostile rhetoric towards Russia, and issuing statements of “solidarity.” Relations between Russia and NATO states had already plummeted to Cold War depths before the latest row.

The invitation for more chaos and conflict comes with the abandonment of any pretense at upholding legal principles and standards.

Britain and its allies are relying on the inverted principle of “presumption of guilt” as opposed to “innocence.” Within days of the apparent poison attack on the Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the British authorities and media had rushed to judgement that the alleged attack was the work of the Russian state in an act of revenge for past betrayal. That motive does not stand up to scrutiny, noted former British ambassador Craig Murray.

Furthermore, the hypothetical Soviet-era nerve agent identified by the British authorities has not been independently verified. We are relying on official British claims. The alleged chemical may or may not have been used in the attack.

READ MORE: Corbyn challenges May’s ‘evidence’ of Russian ‘culpability’ in ex-spy poisoning

As Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed, all requests from Moscow for access to the alleged poison as evidence have been refused by London. Such a refusal is a violation of the Convention on Chemical Weapons treaty, which mandates joint inspection of alleged incidents.

So, the British government imposed an ultimatum on Russia to provide “answers” to provocative charges without Moscow being given a fair chance to ascertain those charges. On the basis of that contemptible lack of due process, the British are calling on its NATO allies to escalate punitive measures against Russia.

There are even British media reports of Britain invoking NATO’s Article Five clause, which mandates the military pact to come to the defense of another member deemed to be under attack.

One senior British cabinet minister was quoted anonymously by The Independent as saying: “What happens will be an economic war, these will be economic measures. Russia’s economy is only half that of the UK… That doesn’t give us any pleasure at all, but we need the nations of Europe to behave within the rule of law and not like gangsters.

The logic is unhinged. British authorities are claiming to be acting within the rule of law against Russian “gangsters,” when in fact it is the British who are bludgeoning any legal standard of due process.

Paramount to due process is the presumption of innocence, which is the bedrock of international law and the United Nations’ Charter of Human Rights.

Canadian-based war crimes defense attorney Christopher Black says: “The presumption of innocence is the foundation stone of modern criminal justice. It is the pre-eminent factor in every trial. The accused is deemed to be innocent unless and until evidence that cannot be doubted establishes that the crime took place as claimed, and the accused is the person who committed it and had the intent to commit it.”

Black says that this is the exact opposite of what is taking place with regard to British claims over the latest alleged poisoning incident in Britain. The lawyer adds that the erosion of standard legal principle has been underway for several years due to political expedience by Western states. He points to the various ad-hoc war-crimes trials pushed by the United States and its NATO allies to convict political enemies in former Yugoslavia and Africa.

With regard to Russia and, in particular, the demonization of the government under President Vladimir Putin, the Western states have used the principle of “presumption of guilt” on numerous occasions, including the downing of the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine in 2014; implicating Russia in Ukraine’s conflict; smearing Russia over sports doping and banning it from the Olympics; allegations of Russian “interference” in US and European elections; and blackening Moscow for “war crimes” in Syria.

In all cases, allegations are simply leveled and repeated ad nauseam without evidence ever being presented. Indeed, sometimes in spite of plausible counter-evidence.

Christopher Black continues: “The accusations against Russia from the MH-17 Malaysian airliner, Crimea, Ukraine, electoral interference, and so on, are all part of carefully orchestrated propaganda warfare aimed at reducing Russia’s prestige in the world, its range of friends and allies, and to paint it as the ‘evil other’ for the Western public, who are having their minds conditioned to prepare them for war.

The presumption of guilt towards Russia has now converged over chemical weapons and Syria.

In rallying Washington and European allies to back Britain’s “economic war” against Russia, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson this week said of conversations with his French counterpart: “The French government stressed particular concerns about Russia’s use of chemical weapons elsewhere, as is evident with their support to Assad’s murderous regime in Syria.”

On the basis of no evidence, dubious hearsay from terrorist-affiliated groups like the White Helmets, and the expedient presumption of guilt, Britain and its NATO allies are willing to go to war in Syria.

This week, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused Syria and its Russian ally of carrying out chemical-weapons attacks, for which the “US is prepared to take military actions.

All this should be a lesson on why there is such a thing as legal standards and due process as a safeguard for international order. Once certain states start to assert “presumption of guilt” towards others, then all pretense of upholding law and order collapses into a descent of chaos and conflict.

Attorney Christopher Black goes further. He says that Britain and its NATO allies are not just derelict in their duty to abide by law. “As in the latest reckless statements concerning Russia and the alleged poisoning in Britain, the case can be made that the British and their allies are in fact guilty of war crimes by inciting the conditions for war.

Finally, there is one very obvious question that nobody seems to be asking, and that relates to the timing of Skripal’s alleged poisoning. Why would Russia do it now, just a week before the presidential election and three months before the World Cup?

It suggests total insanity on Moscow’s part. How could Russia possibly benefit from such an act? Skripal was previously in Russian custody and has lived in the UK for years. If Russia did want to poison him, as the UK has imagined, could it not have waited for a few more months?

It is not clear who benefitted from the inopportune timing of the incident, but certainly wasn’t Russia.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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