Hysterics on repeat: British MP, establishment journalists rush to blame Russia after Amesbury chemical death – By RT

amesbury poisoning sturgess novichok

© Henry Nicholls / Reuters
Forensic investigators wearing protective suits in Amesbury, Britain, July 6, 2018.

The death of Dawn Sturgess from what police say was exposure to Novichok has sparked a new fit of Russia-blaming, as an MP, high-profile commentators and mainstream journalists pointed the finger at Moscow.

As British police launched a murder investigation into the poisoning and death of Dawn Sturgess, 44, in Amesbury, various self-styled chemical weapons experts on Twitter have cried for Russia’s blood, squarely blaming Moscow for the incident yet in the early stages of the investigation.

Mike Gapes, the Labour and Co-operative MP for Ilford South who recently got some limelight by urging British parliamentarians against providing any commentary to RT, immediately named Russia as a party responsible for Sturgess’ death.

“This was a murder of a British citizen as a result of use of a chemical nerve agent produced by the Russian state,” Gapes wrote on Twitter, voicing something even Theresa ‘highly likely’ May has yet been wary of saying.

Gapes’ vitriol was joined by Kremlin watchers from UK establishment media, Russia correspondent for The Telegraph Alec Luhn, and The Guardian’s Luke Harding.

Harding, a well-known critic of the Russian government, implied that Sturgess was “collateral damage” of the Kremlin-orchestrated operation that was the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March in Salisbury.

“Dawn Sturgess dies after exposure to #novichok. The circumstances unclear. An utter indifference to collateral damage one of the hallmarks of the #Putin regime and its extra-territorial operations,” he tweeted.

Harding was a long-time Guardian correspondent in Moscow until 2011, when he was denied entry into Russia after violating accreditation rules. While the issue was promptly resolved and he was allowed back several days later, Harding alleged that he was a victim of a Kremlin crackdown on dissenting opinions.

Alec Luhn, another high-profile Russia critic, has used Sturgess’ death to defy Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, commenting on the Skripals poisoning, said that if the father and daughter were indeed attacked by a military-grade toxic agent they would not have survived.

Putin’s remark, according to Luhn’s logic, somehow gives more credibility to the version that it was Moscow behind the Salisbury poisoning.

“Vladimir Putin previously argued that the Russian state couldn’t have used a military nerve agent in the UK because the victims would have died. Now one of them has,” Luhn wrote.

Some commentators have gone as far as accusing the Russian president of personally killing Sturgess. The upcoming Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki was inevitably dragged into the picture.

“Putin is a murderer. What are the odds Trump doesn’t bring this up next week. Putin is our ENEMY!!!” Brian Krassenstein, an editor at Hill Reporter with nearly 500,000 Twitter followers, wrote.

Since the 16 July meeting was announced, hardliners have ostracized the US President for cozying up to his supposed puppet master, denouncing him as “traitor-in-chief” for his intention to have good relations with Russia and calling the Russian leader “fine.”

Far from everyone was convinced by the allegations of Russian involvement, which is still based entirely on speculation, as it’s unclear at this stage how Sturgess came into contact with the substance. Moreover, neither Sturgess nor her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, who remains in critical condition in the hospital, have nothing in their background to suggest they might be of interest to the Kremlin, police said.

However, when faced with backlash (or, indeed, legitimate questions) over his tweet, Gapes preferred to label anyone asking for evidence or doubting Russia’s guilt “Kremlin bots” and “squawking abusive trolls” from Russia.

Gapes reacted the same way when he was accused of attempting to censor alternative opinions in the wake of his attack on RT. At the time, he called those who ventured to disagree with him “Putin apologists.”

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‘Thank God for Russia!’ Remembering when London and Moscow were allies – By RT

1941 British newspaper

© Neil Clark

In the present geopolitical climate, the idea of a pact between the UK and Russia seems far-fetched to say the least. But in the summer of 1941 the two did come together against a common foe.

What lessons can be learned from the ‘Anglo-Russian agreement’ which played a key part in the defeat of Nazi Germany?

The date: Monday, July 14, 1941. The headline of the News Chronicle (price, one penny), states: ‘Britain and Soviet Sign Pact.’ Such a headline would have been unthinkable a few years previously. The British Conservative Party, the dominant member of the ‘National’ government which ruled Britain from 1931-1940, had been fiercely opposed on ideological grounds to the Bolshevik government in Moscow.

It was Tory leader and Prime Minister Winston Churchill who, 13 years earlier, had supported giving aid to the Russian armies who were fighting what he called “the foul baboonery of Bolshevism.”

When it came to expressing his views on Soviet communism, it’s fair to say that Churchill didn’t hold back. He compared Lenin, the father of the Russian revolution, to “a culture of typhoid or of cholera.” Yet here, in 1941, the British – led by Churchill, and the Soviets, were sinking their ideological differences and agreeing to support each other in every possible way against ‘Hitlerite Germany’ – and undertaking that neither would negotiate nor conclude an armistice or peace treaty except by mutual agreement.

Churchill had shown commendable pragmatism, something which too many of today’s leaders seem to lack. “No one has been a more consistent opponent of communism for the last 25 years,” he declared in a broadcast on June 22, the date on which the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. “But all this fades away before the spectacle which is now unfolding…The Russian danger is therefore our danger, and the danger of the United States, just as the cause of any Russian fighting for hearth and house is the cause of free men and free peoples in every quarter of the globe.”

Could you imagine a neocon politician uttering words such as these today?

The historic agreement of July 12 was signed in Moscow by the Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the UK Ambassador to the USSR, the Old Wykehamist Sir Stafford Cripps. One Joseph Stalin, and leading representatives of the British armed forces, were also present at the ceremony.

The agreement came at a time when the Soviets were in desperate need for assistance, as German forces continued to advance rapidly towards Moscow. Cripps urged Churchill to send supplies as soon as possible. Friction soon developed between Sir Stafford, who wanted more done to help the Soviet Union, and Churchill, who believed in prioritizing the Middle Eastern front.

The calls for a ‘second front’ in Europe to be opened up to take the pressure off the Soviets, and which Stalin himself had demanded, steadily grew.

The Soviet Union became very popular in Britain, and indeed in the neutral US – where the News Chronicle reported that 72 percent hoped that the Russians would win.

In his book, The Road to 1945, Paul Addison notes how the German invasion of the Soviet Union came at a time when it was difficult for the British, who had stood alone against the Nazis during the Blitz of 1940/1, to see how victory could be achieved. But that all changed when Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa. Addison records how ‘Home Intelligence’ captured the national mood on February 3, 1942: “Thank God for Russia’ is a frequent expression of the very deep and fervent feeling for that country which permeates wide sections of the public.”

Churchill, while welcoming the fact that Britain had a ‘co-belligerent,’ was, however, worried that the people’s admiration for the gallant Soviet war effort would go too far and lead to increased support for communist ideas at home.

He instructed the Ministry of Information “to consider what action was required to counter the present tendency of the British public to forget the dangers of Communism in their enthusiasm over the resistance of Russia.”

“The official authorities would have liked to depoliticise enthusiasm for Russia by concentrating on the military, patriotic and anodyne aspects of Russian life, but in practice this was very difficult,” says Addison. “The two politicians who presented themselves to the public in 1942 as champions of Russia, Cripps and (Lord) Beaverbrook, were both convinced anti-communists. But both found themselves singing the praises of the Soviet system.”

As I noted in an earlier OpEd, Lord Beaverbrook, a right-wing newspaper magnate, could not have been more effusive in his praise for the Soviet Union and its leader.

“Communism under Stalin has produced the most valiant fighting army in Europe. Communism under Stalin has provided us with examples of patriotism equal to the finest annals of history. Communism under Stalin has won the applause and admiration of all the Western nations. Communism under Stalin has produced the best generals in this war,” Beaverbook wrote.

Can you imagine Rupert Murdoch or Lord Rothermere saying the same things about Putin and Russia, today?

It’s worth noting too that the US, when it was still neutral, was urging Britain to improve supplies to Russia. Was anyone claiming then that FDR was a secret Kremlin agent, as they say about Trump in 2018?

In the end, British supplies to the Soviet Union in the second half of 1941 and 1942, transported via the dangerous Arctic shipping routes, did play an important part in checking the seemingly unstoppable Nazi advance. Britain supplied urgently needed tanks, aircraft and machine tools. Overall between 3.5 and 4 million tons of cargo were delivered, greatly boosting the Soviet war effort. In May 1942, the Anglo-Soviet agreement was strengthened still further with the signing of an Anglo-Soviet Treaty, which established a formal military and political alliance.

Those who served on the ‘front line’ of this alliance have not been forgotten. In May 2015, Russian medals were presented to the Scottish veterans of the Arctic convoys on Victory Day. “The Russians have always been so kind to us. I spent two months in Russia, and your people shared everything they had with me, although they didn’t have much for themselves. I would be ready to do something for you again, whatever you ask,”said veteran James Osler.

In August 2016, five more British Arctic convoy veterans were honored by Russia.

While in October that year, the 75th anniversary of the Arctic convoys was marked at a special event in Liverpool.

Looking back at the World War II co-operation between Britain and the Soviet Union, and the positive difference it made to the course of world history, should make us ask the question: If then, why not now?

Why can’t British politicians chart a new course in relations with Russia and seek to work together with Moscow on areas which should be of common concern, such as countering terrorism, dealing with climate change and bringing a lasting peace to the Middle East? Do we really need a Nazi threat to make our leaders come to their senses and drop their old hostilities?

Let’s leave the last word to the News Chronicle, a newspaper whose humane and common sense approach to world affairs, is greatly missed today. In its editorial of July 14, 1941, entitled ‘Pray Silence,’ it declared: “So, by the devious and paradoxical routes which current history has adopted, what many of us hoped two years ago would happen and some hoped, successfully, might be avoided, has now come to pass. It is a miraculous gift. The unexpected has happened…No question of ideologies is relevant. Two great peoples find themselves fighting for their lives against the same ruthless enemy. That is the only thing that matters and it is tremendous.”

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at http://www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

‘Either Russia is a sovereign country, or there is no Russia’ – Putin on relations with the West – By RT

‘Either Russia is a sovereign country, or there is no Russia’ – Putin on relations with the West
Sanctions, however harsh they may be, will not force Russia to abandon its independent stance in the world, President Vladimir Putin said, adding that Russians will never accept trade-offs at the expense of sovereignty.

Speaking to Chinese TV, Putin said that he believes the rounds of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US, its allies and the EU have only one goal – to hamper its economic development. He went on to stress that no amount of sanctions and punitive measures will ever be enough to make Russia cave in and change its policy.

“I believe that either Russia will be sovereign, or there will be no Russia at all. And, of course, the Russian people will always opt for the first. I think the Chinese people will too. We have no other option,” Putin said.

The Russian president argued that all attempts by the West to wreck the Russian economy will eventually backfire on those who followed the US’ lead in ‘punishing’ Russia.

“Those who followed the US lead, they themselves are beginning to suffer from what the United States is implementing with regards to these countries,” Putin said.

While Putin does not refer to anything in particular, it has been reported that the US government is mulling sanctioning European corporations that are engaged in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is expected to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to European consumers per year. 

Germany is one of the key beneficiaries of the project.

Ukraine-linked sanctions, introduced after Russia’s reunification with Crimea and an outbreak of civil conflict in eastern Ukraine, are taking their toll on European economies. Calls to lift the sanctions have been coming from several European capitals, including Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and the new Italian government. 

READ MORE: ‘We must respond to US tariffs, end sanctions on Russia’ – Austrian vice chancellor

Apart from Russia-related sanctions, the EU has been forced to deal with a steep increase in import tariffs on steel and aluminum, which were introduced by US President Donald Trump and took effect last week.

Noting that the countries that sided with Washington on Russia are now themselves starting to feel the burn, Putin said that he points it out not because he likes to rejoice at others’ misfortunes, but because it proves that sanctions are detrimental to all the parties, “including those who initiated them.”

Speaking on the chances that relations between the West and Russia, which are now hitting rock bottom, will improve, Putin said he hopes for “positive,” mutually beneficial ties.

“Eventually, I believe that we will manage to improve the relations one way or another.”

Singer-songwriter Roger Waters calls for defence of Assange By WSWS

By our reporters
4 June 2018

The above message was displayed above the stage of musician Roger Waters’ “Us + Them 2018” concert in Berlin, Germany on June 2.

Roger Waters was part of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd from 1965 to 1985. For the past 33 years, he has continued a solo career, which has included staging the largest live concert event in history.

Throughout his long career, singer-songwriter Waters has spoken out publicly against war, oppression and injustice.

He emailed the World Socialist Web Site last month to convey his support for international action to defend Julian Assange.

Netanyahu and May ‘partners in crime’ over Gaza’s ‘rivers of blood’, Palestinian activist tells RT – By RT

Netanyahu and May ‘partners in crime’ over Gaza’s ‘rivers of blood’,  Palestinian activist tells RT
British PM Theresa May is complicit in the ‘crimes’ of her Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, a leading UK-based Palestinian campaigner has told RT, a day before the Israeli leader visits London.

Netanyahu has this week been visiting his European allies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, lobbying them to follow the US and withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

While he plans to do the same with May, London-based Palestinian activists are demanding he face questions over the scores of Palestinians shot in Gaza by the Israeli military in the past two months.

Up to 121 Palestinians have been killed and around 13,000 injured since the Great Return March started on March 30. Protesters marched to a fence, erected by the Israeli government, demanding the right to return to the land they were expelled or fled from following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. As they approached the fence they were shot at. Israel claims most of the protesters were Hamas ‘terrorists’ trying to infiltrate their country.

In the UK, thousands are expected to protest outside Downing Street on Tuesday for all of those killed, which include Palestinian nurse Razan Al-Najjar ,21, who was shot dead by Israeli snipers last Friday while helping those injured by the Israel Defence Force’s use of live ammunition.

Up to 50 UK health workers signed a letter saying they are “deeply concerned about the level of violence” in Gaza, citing that Al-Najjar’s death was in “violation” of the Geneva Conventions. They called on the government to follow suit and urged the UN to launch an independent inquiry into her visibly unprovoked killing.

Adie Mormech, from Stop Arming Israel and previously a lecturer in Gaza, told RT: “Razan is the second Palestinian medic to be killed in the last 2 months and many more have been shot and injured.

“The horror of these crimes against the Palestinians is clear for all who dare to look, well documented by all the major human right organisations and amidst the ongoing, crippling 11 year siege of Gaza that I spent two years living in, when it was deplorable but not as bad as it is now.

“One has to ask, how many medics, with their hands in the air, have to be executed by the Israeli army until the world holds Israel to account?”

The Downing Street protest comes shortly after it surfaced that the UK’s defense contractors are selling a record amount of arms to Israel.

According to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), the UK last year issued £221m worth of arms licenses to defense contractors selling military equipment to Israel. A significant increase compared to £86 million ($114 million) in 2016.

Mormech said: “Britain has increased Israeli weapons exports the more Palestinians have been murdered. It is appalling and completely inexcusable that Israel is rewarded by Britain given the rivers of blood that are currently flowing through Gaza from the shootings and accompanying bombing campaigns.

“The fact Netanyahu is visiting the UK says to me that these are partners in crimes, profiting from the spoils of the brutality with which Israel is treating the Palestinians.”

The recent escalation of violence has prompted various British politicians to demand the the government halts its arms sales to Israel, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn calling for their review in April.

The conduct by the IDF over the past sixty days has been met with international criticism from human rights organizations, who have called into question the appropriateness of using live ammunition against peaceful protesters. Israel blames Palestinian organization Hamas for the casualties, and claimed most of those killed were members of terrorist groups trying to make it into the country to attack Jewish forces and civilians.

The UN has launched a war crime investigation into what it described as Israel’s “wholly disproportionate” reaction to the protesters. The US was one of the two states opposed to the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution, while the UK was among the 14 to abstain.

By Claire Gilbody-Dickerson, RT

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The Politics of the Salisbury Farce – By Matthew JAMISON (Strategic Cultural Foundation)

The Politics of the Salisbury Farce
Matthew JAMISON | 01.06.2018 | WORLD / Europe

The English seem to have very short memories indeed. At the moment most of the English population, mainly male, are getting very excited and whipped up into a frenzy over their favoured sport – football – with the impending World Cup. As ever with the England football team there is always a great nationalistic burst of pride and joy from the English for their football team, not a United Kingdom or even British football team – just England – on the eve of the World Cup. It happens all the time. The media get every English person excited at the prospect of a great glorious victory and then the mediocre, if that, England football team go out and play pathetically and end up returning home very quickly with their tail tucked firmly between their legs. If I recall correctly the last time that England made it anywhere near the finals was sometime in the 1960s. Because the reality is that the English national football team just like their domestic security service MI5 and their current Theresa May Government, are in reality rubbish.

Yet this is very curious. It was only weeks ago that that the May MI5 and prime minister Theresa May where trashing Russia, the Russian peopleRussian moneyRussian citizens living in Londonthe Russian Government and Russian President, and whipping up and leading the most horrendously racist, xenophobic, nasty campaign of anti-Russian propaganda and smears – just on the eve of the World Cup in Russia and upon President Vladimir Putin’s brilliant achievement of winning a fourth term in office in service of his great people, something which even Margaret Thatcher had wanted to achieve but had been denied by her very own Party. This time, on this subject, the English have gone too far and cannot be allowed to have their cake and eat it as with Brexit. They and their domestic security service MI5 and Theresa May’s Government have turned Britain into a complete laughing stock in the eyes of the world and destroyed whatever credibility the British had left after the circus of the EU referendum campaign.

Mrs. May and her MI5 jump around and flip flop perhaps more so than the abysmal, miserable excuse for an American President called Donald Trump. Both the pathetic disastrous Trump administration and the equally feckless May administration have something in common. There has been a tremendous amount of leaking of State secrets and confidential information on an industrial scale, so much so that neither the American Government nor the British Government can keep a secret any more. This situation is completely intolerable for any functioning Government and State. The British domestic security service MI5 on the orders of Theresa May the prime minister and the now defunct Home Secretary Amber Rudd were responsible for the Salisbury farce. It is indeed quite an ironic coincidence given that it happened in Salisbury having hosted the Marquis of Salisbury some years ago and then also having worked with the current MP for Salisbury John Glen MP.

Remember Sergei and Yulia Skripal being poisoned with the deadly nerve agent Novichok? What was all that really about Mrs. May? Theresa May stated on March 12th:

“Mr. Speaker I set out that Mr. Skripal and his daughter where poisoned with Novichok, a military grade nerve agent developed by Russia. Based on this capability and their record of conducting state sponsored assassinations… the UK Government concluded that Russia was highly likely responsible for this reckless and despicable act.” Note no evidence, hard concrete evidence presented just assertions from the mouth of the arch flip flopper Theresa May.

Then Mrs. May went further. Not content with falsely and deliberately smearing the Russian State of carrying out the so-called Salisbury poisoning, presenting no hard evidence, the prime minister went on the anti-Russian rampage and expelled Russian diplomats from the Russian Embassy in London. Mrs. May began a tour round the country bashing everything Russian, constantly trashing the Russian people’s reputation, badly needed Russian investment in London and the bankrupt dilapidated UK, introducing sanctions against Russian investment, branding Russian money ‘dirty’, whipping up her MI5 into the most ridiculous, offensive and frankly disgusting anti-Russian English circus act and then the most egregious act of all.

Rather than simply leaving it at the bi-lateral level in the full knowledge that the Salisbury farce was staged managed and produced by Theresa May’s MI5 – May had the brass neck, arrogance and two faced cowardice [which I am afraid to say is a hallmark of her MI5] and the stupidity to take it to another extremely dangerous and reckless level entirely with a push at the EU Council Summit in March for a full blown anti-Russian global campaign with mass global expulsions of Russian diplomats throughout North America, the EU and around the world and the attempted fashioning of a broader anti-Russian campaign of interference to destabilise the Russian State. Mrs. May also banned all Government Ministers of the United Kingdom and all members of the British Royal Family from attending the World Cup which was a spiteful, vindictive and totally unnecessary counterproductive move designed only to inflame anti-Russian prejudice among the very anti-Russian English MI5 populace and indeed sadly some in the elites as well. We had our Foreign Secretary label President Putin a name which I will not repeat in the same sentence as a great heroic leader like President Putin.

That was deeply offensive and revolting. I doubt this was paid much attention to in the Kremlin when compared to a brilliant strategic resilient and visionary leader like President Putin who has successfully restored his country to greatness, Boris Johnson pales in comparison. We had our Chancellor state that despite the generosity of Russian citizens the Tory Party would be keeping the almost £1 million and had no intention of returning it despite telling the rest of the country how ‘dirty’ Russian money is. There is no such thing as ‘dirty’ money though some of the English get very particular about money but do not mind in the least taking other people’s money, wasting other people’s money while wasting the givers time and souring the relationship between paying customer and business. It has also seemed to escape some in the Cabinet and Government and population at large that Britain is bankrupt and will depend heavily on international investment and international finance going forward to keep itself afloat in a highly competitive, interconnected and globalised world economy where a great deal of global economic growth this century will be coming from the East.

From start to finish the whole Salisbury farce stank of one of Mrs. May’s false flags gone badly wrong. Her MI5 had us all believe that Lee Rigby was killed. There is the issue regarding the death of Jo Cox. The Westminster Bridge terror attack. The Manchester bombing. The London Bridge attack. Parsons Green. And then the Salisbury farce. If you are going to lie Mrs. May to the nation and then to the world at least get the story straight from start to finish. First, if MI5 is such a great amazing world class security service how on earth did MI5 allow Novichok, one of the most deadly of deadly chemical nerve agents to get into Britain, get on British soil, get transported all the way to Salisbury? Are MI5 really that incompetent and rubbish? Surely if you have high ranking Russian defectors under your protection you would have all kinds of special security systems and protections in place all ready to anticipate and prevent such an attack?

And if not, why not? If so, what happened with MI5’s much vaunted all seeing, all hearing, all knowing monitoring and surveillance capabilities? Where they switched off for some reason? Where they not working properly that day? Where the MI5 ‘oscars’ drunk as per usual on the job? If we are to take what Mrs. May told us at face value then once again this raises serious questions about how effective, efficient, competent, professional, intelligent and fit for purpose MI5 really are from the so-called leadership of Parker and the Home Secretary and PM at the top and the Chairman of the JIC to the ‘helpers’ at the bottom.

Then let us again take Mrs. May’s script at face value. First somehow this deadly chemical nerve agent after being transported into the UK and driven all the way down to Salisbury was administered in Zizzi restaurant. Then it became the Mill pub. Then it was Yulia’s car. Then it became the door handle. And I think there were a few other alterations as well but quite frankly there really is not much point in trying to keep track because it was so totally inconsistent to be unbelievable. Totally unbelievable. Then there is the large elephant in the room of scientific and medical facts that just will not disappear. If Novichok had really been used on a door handle or a car or in a restaurant or a pub, there would have been hundreds if not thousands dead already. In fact, no one died and no one has been hurt. Everyone from the police man to Yulia to Sergei all made miraculously, totally miraculous recoveries. Yulia was up and dancing and singing and able to discharge herself from the hospital. Where she is now and how she is, is anybody’s guess? Her father Sergei is also doing very well and has made a full speedy recovery and is out and about. And the police man is also up and about and singing and dancing. The creator of Novichok told the world that death was most likely from being infected with Novichok and if death could be prevented then in all likelihood the victims would be vegetables the rest of their lives and need around the clock assistance. What wonder drug do they have in Salisbury that the rest of the world has been unable to produce yet? Then there was the confession from the Chief Executive of Porton Down that they were unable to verify that the Novichok came from Russia. Then there was unfortunately the very biased OPCW investigation conducted under the most bizarre of rules.

The fact is, to clear the air before the beginning of the historic and fantastic impending World Cup in Russia, I think it would be best and appropriate for Theresa May to apologise to the Russian Government, President Putin and the Russian people. May will never have the backbone and courage to admit in the National Interest that it was she and her appalling former Home Secretary Rudd and co. Along with some of their more crazed Clinton-Obama CIA friends who cooked up the whole plot to undermine Russia before the World Cup and damage also Jeremy Corbyn and any hope of detente between the United States and Russia. Jeremy Corbyn who has been doing an outstanding job as Leader of the Labour Party and Her Majesty’s Official Opposition under very difficult circumstances deserves enormous praise and credit for being the only major British political public figure and Leader to call this nonsense out for what it was. Jeremy Corbyn called it right and should receive the full backing of his Parliamentary Party instead of constantly being undermined and sniped at by the likes of Barry Sherman.

So perhaps either a new Leader could do so or May might just state that she got the whole matter wrong. Either way it would greatly help improve UK-Russia relations and the wider Western-Russo relationship to lift the ban on the British Royal Family attending and also send some high ranking Government Ministers to make peace and offer an olive branch in the spirit of reducing global tensions and enhancing international peace, stability and security. After all, as Mrs. Thatcher said: ‘There is a great strand of equity and fairness in the British people. This is our national characteristic.’ I can think of no better way to demonstrate to the world and international community than to admit somehow Theresa May got it wrong and the English and British in their entirety are big enough to admit when they are wrong and have wrongly slandered another great nation.

Tags: UK 

‘Terrible massacre’: Israel kills 52, injures 2,410 Gaza protesters as US embassy opens in Jerusalem – By RT

‘Terrible massacre’: Israel kills 52, injures 2,410 Gaza protesters as US embassy opens in Jerusalem
Fifty-two Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations on the day of the US embassy’s inauguration in Jerusalem, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday.

More than 2,400 protesters have been injured in Gaza on what has been the most violent day of the six week long Great March of Return. Those wounded on Monday include 203 children and 78 women, according to the ministry. 

The Palestinian government denounced Monday’s violence as a “terrible massacre” perpetrated “by the forces of the Israeli occupation”, and called for an immediate international intervention to prevent further deaths. A day of national mourning has been declared by the government in Ramallah, to be held Tuesday.

Around 35,000 protesters gathered at the border fence and thousands more within half a mile of the vicinity, according to Israeli Defence Forces. 

Clashes have also reportedly broken out between protesters and the Israeli Defense Forces in Bethlehem. 

The first of Monday’s deaths was 21-year-old Anas Hamdan Qudeih, killed east of Khan Yunis, a spokesperson for the ministry said. A 29-year-old man, Mosaab Yousef Ibrahim Abu Laila, was later killed east of Jabalya. Some of the dead have yet to be identified. Six children under the age of 18, including one girl, are among the fatalities.

Amnesty International has called the Israeli violence in Gaza “an abhorrent violation of international law & human rights.” 

Around half of all injuries were caused by live bullets while hundreds more were targeted with teargas, according to the ministry. The Palestinian Health Ministry claims that Israeli forces are directly targeting emergency services and journalists and are calling on citizens to urgently donate blood to help save the lives of those wounded.

Six journalists have reportedly been injured while covering Monday’s demonstrations, according to the Journalist Support Committee.

Meanwhile, the IDF said Israeli Air Force planes targeted Hamas posts near Jabalya after its soldiers came under fire in the area.

The latest deaths bring the number killed since the Great March of Return protests began six weeks ago to 97.

Dr. Mkhaimer Abuseda, professor of political sciences at Alazhar University in Gaza, told RT that the relocation of the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem is “a very sad day for the Palestinians, reminding them of their first Nakba some 70 years ago.”

“It seems to me that the Palestinians have decided that the US is no longer an honest broker in the MidEast peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis,” he said, adding that it will likely lead to further Palestinian rage and resistance.

Scuffles have reportedly broken out outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem as the inauguration ceremony took place inside.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has condemned Monday’s violence, claiming the US, as well as Israel, is responsible for the “massacre” because of their “unjust decision” to move the embassy.

Tuesday marks the commemoration of Nakba Day, a term which Palestinians use to describe their forced mass exodus from their homes during the establishment of the State of Israel. It is celebrated among Israelis as Independence Day. Thousands of people have gathered near the border to take part in Monday’s protests.

Huge demonstrations are expected to mark the May 15 event, which brings to a close the six-week Great March of Returndemonstrations.

The IDF dropped leaflets warning people in Gaza to stay away from the security fence ahead of Monday’s protests. Demonstrators in North Gaza brought down an IDF drone that was allegedly dropping fire bombs on tents, according to the Great Return March movement.

READ MORE: Israel fires tear gas, drops leaflets warning Palestinians to stay away from border

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How Britain enabled the ethnic cleansing of Palestine – By David Cronin Rights and Accountability (Electronic Intifada)

A Gaza City mural remembering the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. 

Ashraf Amra APA images

Supporters of Israel among Britain’s ruling elite tend to recite mantras about the two nations sharing the same values.

If theft and plunder were regarded as values, the mantras would have a ring of truth to them.

Expecting full honesty and transparency from Theresa May’s government would, however, not be realistic. So it comes as little surprise that one of her cabinet colleagues has wished Israel a happy 70th birthday, while trumpeting its commitment to “justice, compassion, tolerance.”

The greeting – from Gavin Williamson, Britain’s defense secretary – was delivered at a time when unarmed protesters were being massacred in Gaza.

Omitted from the discourse on shared values is that Israel and Britain have a shared culpability. While Zionist troops were directly responsible for the Nakba – the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine – their crimes were enabled and, in some cases, abetted by the British authorities.

The first important point is that the Haganah – the main Zionist militia at the time – was, to a large extent, trained by Britain while it ruled Palestine between the two world wars.

Although the Haganah was illegal, the British relied on it when conducting ambush operations against a Palestinian revolt during the 1930s. The Haganah provided thousands of men who joined the “supernumerary” police force that the British assembled while trying to crush that revolt.

Haganah commanders were also brought into the “special night squads,” led by Orde Wingate, a notoriously violent British officer.

Wingate worked closely with Yitzhak Sadeh, later a key military figure during the Nakba and a founder of the Israeli army. The 1930s cooperation has been credited by Yigal Allon, a general who became a high-level politician, with pulling “the Haganah out of its trenches and barbed wire into the open field, making it adopt a more active kind of defense.”

This means Wingate – a maverick who nonetheless enjoyed support from his superiors at a crucial period – helped shape the tactics and thinking of the men who forcibly dispossessed the Palestinians the following decade.

Powerless?

The relationship between Britain and the Zionist movement is admittedly complicated.

Through the 1917 Balfour Declaration, Britain assumed the role of imperial sponsor to the Zionist project.

A series of measures were subsequently implemented to boost colonization efforts in Palestine. Yet the pace of events was not sufficiently fast for the more hardcore elements in Zionism.

Unhappy that their coveted Jewish state had not yet been established, two armed groups – the Irgun and the Lehi – began to wage a guerrilla war against Britain in the 1940s. The ensuing turmoil and a more general weakening of its empire led Britain to decide it would relinquish the League of Nations mandate under which it had governed Palestine.

The Nakba was underway well before the date set by Britain for ending its rule: 14 May 1948. So long as they remained in Palestine, the British, therefore, had an obligation to protect Palestinians from harm.

The British reneged on their obligations.

On 9 April that year, Zionist troops went on a killing spree in Deir Yassin, a village near Jerusalem. Alan Cunningham, the British high commissioner in Palestine, acknowledged that a “deliberate mass murder of innocent civilians” occurred, yet argued that the British forces were “not in a position to take action in the matter owing to their failing strength and increasing commitments.”

Of the approximately 800,000 Palestinians who would be expelled or flee their homes in the 1948 Zionist onslaught, more than 400,000 had already been displaced by the time the British left.

Was Britain really powerless?

In 1948, there were around 100,000 British soldiers in Palestine, along with a British-headed police force. The Haganah had about 50,000 members, although only around half that number may have been active fighters.

The inescapable conclusion is that Britain could have spared Palestinian suffering – and chose not to.

“Fight it out”

It was not simply a case of inaction.

On 20 April 1948, Cyril Marriott, the British consul-general in Haifa, sent a telegram to London officials apprising them of the security situation where he was based. Zionist forces were expected to attack Haifa – a strategically vital port city – within the next day or two, Marriott noted.

The priority of the military, he added, would be to safeguard “the route and installations” regarded as essential for the evacuation of British troops. Once that objective was achieved, Britain would “let Jews and Arabs fight it out in other parts of the town.”

The instruction to allow the warring parties to “fight it out” overlooked how the Haganah was numerically stronger and equipped with more modern weapons than the Arab forces.

When the offensive took place, Zionist forces swiftly captured a large part of Haifa. Hugh Stockwell, a British general, refused to allow Arab reinforcements to advance towards the town. He also ordered British forces to withdraw.

Stockwell then instructed Arab forces to disarm. He told “all foreign Arab males” to assemble at a place designated by the Haganah, so that these men could be expelled “under military control.”

Palestinian leaders in Haifa complained that Stockwell’s conditions were unfair. Without any viable alternative, they requested that Palestinians leave the area.

As the Palestinians fled – reportedly with just the clothes they were wearing – the Haganah fired on an ambulance, ransacked a hospital and looted homes. Once more, the British held back.

By leaving Palestinians with no option than to quit Haifa, Stockwell was arguably an accomplice in mass expulsion. The Zionist capture of Haifa that he facilitated helped turn it into what David Ben-Gurion called a “corpse city.”

Ben-Gurion, it should be stressed, favored transforming Palestinian communities into corpse cities. He predicted that the Zionist success in Haifa could be replicated throughout Palestine.

Within a few weeks, Ben-Gurion had formally declared the establishment of Israel. He became its first prime minister.

Britain’s involvement in Palestine did not end when it gave up the League of Nations mandate. For most of Israel’s seven decades, Britain has given it practical and rhetorical assistance.

Britain’s ruling elites have never atoned for their role in enabling the 1948 dispossession of Palestinians. Rather, they have prolonged and exacerbated the suffering of Palestinians, while pretending to believe in justice.

 

Middle East teeters on brink of region-wide war after US withdrawal from Iran deal – By Jordan Shilton (WSWS)

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By Jordan Shilton
10 May 2018

Tuesday’s decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear agreement has pushed the Middle East to the brink of a catastrophic regional conflict that could rapidly draw in the major powers.

Within minutes of Trump’s announcement, Israeli fighter jets violated Syrian airspace to launch a missile strike on a government base close to Damascus. The strikes caused the deaths of 15 people, including at least seven Iranian military personnel stationed in the country to support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The situation escalated further late Wednesday, as reports emerged of Israeli shelling of Syrian army positions from the Golan Heights. Rocket sirens sounded in the north and explosions were heard. According to the Golan Regional Council, several towns in the region were targeted by rocket fire.

The Israeli military released a statement early Thursday accusing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds force of firing 20 rockets at army border posts in the Golan. It claimed several projectiles had been intercepted and reported no injuries.

According to the Syrian state news agency, Sana, Israeli war planes began firing missiles at targets near Damascus early Thursday, soon after the alleged Iranian attack. As of this writing, the extent of these air raids and whether they caused any casualties remain unclear.

Tel Aviv justified Tuesday’s air strike with the unsubstantiated claim that Tehran was preparing to strike Israel in retaliation for a raid on the T4 airbase in April that claimed the lives of nine Iranians. The absurdity of such allegations is obvious, given that Iran would have nothing to gain from being the first to launch an attack just as Trump was set to announce his decision on the Iran nuclear agreement.

Everything points to the Israeli attack having been closely coordinated with the US. On Sunday, Israeli media began reporting unverified allegations of an Iranian plot to strike targets in Israel. Then on Tuesday, CNN reported that the Pentagon was concerned about alleged preparations for an Iranian strike.

In light of this, it is all but certain that the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, informed in advance of Trump’s decision, planned the aggressive strike on the Syrian airbase to coincide with the US announcement, with the aim of provoking a response from Iran that would serve as the pretext for a wider military assault.

The air strike was accompanied by a campaign to whip up a war fever in Israel. Amid the reports of an immanent Iranian attack, the military revealed that it had deployed additional batteries for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence shield in the north, while the US embassy in Tel Aviv prohibited US government employees from traveling to the Golan Heights without prior authorization.

Speaking from Moscow, where he traveled to secure Russian assent to Israel’s continued targeting of Iranians in Syria, Netanyahu preposterously compared the Tehran regime to the Nazis. He belligerently asserted Israel’s right to “defend itself” from “Iranian aggression,” and alleged that Iranian forces were using Syria as a base to move troops and lethal weapons into position for an attack.

Underscoring that Tuesday’s air strike is merely a foretaste of what is to come, an Israeli government defence official told Haaretz, “The strikes on the Iranian missiles in Syria are a drop in the ocean. Even the army understands that this won’t prevent missiles and other systems from arriving in the area and we’re seeing that happen.”

Trump’s abandonment of the Iranian deal is only the latest in a long line of reckless actions by US imperialism that have emboldened the unstable Zionist regime to provoke a military conflagration across the Middle East.

Israel’s bombing of Iranian targets inside Syria has been intensified following the US air strike on pro-Assad forces in early February that killed dozens of Russian military personnel in Deir Ezzor province.

Over the past month alone, Israel has struck inside Syria on at least three separate occasions, including Tuesday’s strike, killing dozens of Iranians.

Washington is encouraging Israel to go on the offensive as it prepares for war with Iran. In Syria, where the US has sought, in collaboration with Islamist “rebels,” to overthrow the pro-Iranian Assad regime for over seven years, killing hundreds of thousands of Syrians in the process, American forces are focused on thwarting attempts by Iran to open up a land bridge from Tehran to Damascus. To this end, US air power and ground forces have been directed towards holding territory in the east of Syria near the Iraqi border—territory that is also home to much of the country’s oil reserves.

In its drive to consolidate control over the energy-rich Middle East, Washington is determined to confront Russia in Syria, even at the risk of inciting a conflict fought with nuclear weapons.

Trump made clear in Tuesday’s White House address announcing Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement that plans for war with Iran are far advanced. He announced that the highest level of economic sanctions would be imposed against the country, indicating that the next step in an escalation of the conflict would involve military force.

That Trump is aware of this fact was clear from the tone of his speech. The president of a country that has waged virtually uninterrupted war over the past quarter-century in the Middle East and Central Asia denounced Tehran as the leading “state sponsor of terror” in the world. In language usually reserved for enemy nations during a war, Trump ranted against Tehran’s “malign and sinister” influence across the Middle East.

On Wednesday, Trump issued a bellicose threat to Iran, warning that it would face “very severe consequences” if it restarted its nuclear programme.

Under these conditions, the bourgeois-clerical regime in Tehran, confronting a deepening crisis, may conclude that its only option is to fight back. Representatives of the hard-line faction, including the head of the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, have already proclaimed the nuclear accord dead and dismissed claims by the European powers that it can be revived without Washington.

While a clash between Israel and Iran poses the most immediate war threat in the Middle East, Trump’s torpedoing of the Iran deal has further destabilised an already explosive region. Apart from Israel, his announcement received endorsements from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two countries bitterly hostile to Iranian influence in the Persian Gulf. Riyadh has waged a genocidal war in Yemen since 2015 against Houthi rebels it claims are backed by Tehran.

In a speech last May, Trump called for Saudi Arabia to take a leading role in the formation of an anti-Iranian alliance across the region. His administration, following from where Obama left off, has supplied weaponry and intelligence to enable Saudi aircraft to continue their murderous bombing raids in Yemen, which have killed tens of thousands of civilians.

Just days prior to Trump’s announcement, it was revealed that US special forces have been operating in Yemen since December 2017.

As oil rose to over $77 in the wake of Trump’s Iran announcement, Saudi officials declared they would consult with the UAE on increasing oil production to stabilise prices, a move that would severely impact Iran.

Seizing on missiles fired into Saudi Arabia by Houthi rebels Wednesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir blamed Iran for the attack, which he said amounted to a “declaration of war.” Iran has to be “held accountable for this,” he ominously declared. “We will find the right way and at the right time to respond to this … We are trying to avoid at all costs direct military action with Iran, but Iran’s behavior such as this cannot continue.”

Al-Jubeir also vowed that should Tehran restart its nuclear programme, Riyadh would take steps to acquire nuclear weapons.

‘Iran has no reason to strike Golan’: Analysts dispute Israel’s ‘political’ claim of missile attack – By RT

‘Iran has no reason to strike Golan’: Analysts dispute Israel’s ‘political’ claim of missile attack
Staging a missile attack on the Golan Heights makes no sense for Tehran under the current circumstances, military experts told RT. They speculate that Israel’s claims about the attack lack solid proof and might be agenda-driven.

“Every time one resorts to arms, one seeks to hit some particular targets and has to analyze the potential consequences [of the attack],” Leonid Ivashov, the president of the Academy for Geopolitical Problems and a retired colonel-general of the Russian military intelligence (GRU), told RT. Ivashov was commenting on the reports accusing Iran’s Quds Force of launching a missile attack on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights from Syrian territory.

“It would be just egregiously silly to launch a missile targeting the region of Golan Heights [which is heavily guarded by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)] as it would certainly prompt military response,” Ivashov said. Iran has “absolutely no reasons” to launch a missile strike against Israel, he added.

The retired colonel-general also drew attention to the fact that Tehran is even less inclined to make such moves at a time when the fate of the 2015 deal on the Iranian nuclear program is in limbo. “Iran is highly interested in keeping the deal” intact, Ivashov said, implying that Tehran would probably avoid any aggressive steps that could spark a backlash from the international community.

Tehran is also not interested in drawing Israel into the Syrian conflict, Dr. Konstantin Sivkov, a military analyst and the head of the Geostrategists’ Association, told RT. There are no serious reasons for Iranian forces in Syria to attack Israel, he said, adding that “if Israel does engage in the Syrian war, it will have dire consequences both for the Iranians and the Syrians.”

Sivkov also called the latest series of incidents a “dangerous game” that is fraught with perilous consequences, ranging from rapid escalation of tensions in the region to a risk of a global conflict. In the meantime, the analysts drew attention to the fact that the Israeli claims about the suspected Iranian attack actually lack solid proof.

“Israel has so far provided absolutely no evidence of the attack” except for the claims from its military, Ivashov said, adding that Tel Aviv, just like some of its allies in the West, rarely bothers with presenting any evidence that could justify its actions. The Israeli authorities and the military believe “they can launch strikes at will,” he added.

In the meantime, Igor Korotchenko, the editor-in-chief of the ‘National Defense’ magazine and the member of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Public Council, said that Tel Aviv’s claims might, in fact, be politically motivated. This whole issue “might as well have a political vector aimed at demonizing Iran and its allies,” he told RT.

According to Ivashov, this could also be an attempt to support the US in its decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran, as the incidents took place just days after US President Donald Trump announced that he would pull the US out of the agreement. Meanwhile, Sivkov said that it is Israel that is actually responsible for the escalation in the region, as it repeatedly carried out strikes against targets in Syrian territory just because it “did not like” the fact that the Iranian forces are present in the war-torn country.

“Syria has a legitimate right to deploy any troops on its territory,” Sivkov said. Israel’s strikes against the targets located on “the territory of another sovereign state” are a violation of international law and a direct “act of military aggression,” he added.

On Wednesday, it was reported that sirens were heard in the occupied Golan Heights. Later, the Israeli media, citing the IDF, said that the local missile defense systems repelled a missile attack, which was supposedly staged by the Iranian Quds Force. Some 20 missiles were launched into the Israeli-controlled territory, according to the media.

In response, the Israeli Air Force launched a massive strike against what they called the Iranian facilities in Syria overnight into Thursday. A total of 70 projectiles, including 60 air-to-surface rockets and more than 10 surface-to-surface missiles, hit Iranian military targets and Syrian air-defense systems near Damascus and in the south of the country on Thursday morning, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Three people were killed and another two were injured in the Israeli strike that destroyed a radar station and an arms warehouse and damaged some air defense units, the Syrian SANA state news agency reported.

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