Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russian propaganda campaign devolves down to toxic trolling and bizarre stunts, while in Syria reports emerge of a substantial chemical attack on civilians almost certainly intended to troll the US and UK as payback for the embarrassment of the expulsions and sanctions. As expected, the Nazi theme is applied to the UK, as was done with Ukraine, and likely we will see in coming days every 1930s and 1940s UK based Nazi sympathiser appearing in Russian propaganda missives. Russian Propaganda Doctrine 101: “When all else fails, label the other side as Nazis.”
Some very good observations by Pastukhov, Tsipko, Lawson, and a superb OpEd by Daley.
In the UK, media briefed on the Royal Air Force SIGINT intercept from a Russian site in Syria that validated the attack, while media also briefed on the details of the chemical agent employed, and the exceptional luck of the Skripals on the day. Media also reporting that the UK is negotiating with the US to relocate the Skripals to the US under new identities, due to a well justified concern that the Russians will try again, having embarrassed themselves in the manner they did.
A very sorry debate going on in UK politics.
The UK calls Russia’s response “unsatisfactory” after the Russian Embassy calls for a meeting.
The Russian Embassy sought a meeting with Britain’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, as both countries blasted the other’s actions in the case of the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter.
Russia’s embassy in London has requested a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Salisbury, saying its dealings with Britain over the is…
The cousin of Yulia Skripal has made an appeal to Theresa May to allow her to come to the UK to see her recovering relatives.
The Russian Embassy has accused the Foreign Office of failing to answer questions on why former spy Sergei Skripal’s niec
The Russian Embassy said it was ‘disappointing’ the niece of Sergei Skripal had her visa denied. Viktoria Skripal also blasted the decision and goaded Theresa May in a video message. The Russian Embassy said it was disappointing Viktoria Skripal’s visa was denied. Ms Skripal asked Mrs May ‘as a human being’ to help her meet the Skripals. Has given interviews questioning Britain’s claims about Russian involvement . She said visa refusal means she is not seen by Britain ‘as a member of the family’.
She has insisted the chemical attack on the Skripals in Salisbury was really a bad case of food poisoning.
Viktoria Skripal said her cousin ‘has a life’ in Russia including a job, boyfriend and a dog as she claims she was refused a visa to visit Sergei and Yulia Skripal because Britain thinks she is a spy. Viktoria Skripal said Yulia has a job, boyfriend and a dog back home in Russia, She was denied a visa to come to UK to visit Yulia and Sergei Skripal in hospital Skripal’s relative has said she was refused entry because Britain thinks she is spy. The Russian Embassy last night branded the visa decision as ‘political’.
Soviet foreign minister Sergei Lavrov sent the snap to the Foreign Secretary after he likened Russia’s hosting of the World Cup to Hitler’s 1936 Olympics
Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov posted a snap of England’s 1938 football team making the chilling gesture after Boris compared Russia’s World Cup this summer to Hitler’s Olympics
It is the first aggressive use of a nerve agent in Europe since 1945.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 6 – “The chief pieces of evidence” against Russia in the Skripal poisoning case “are Kremlin’s militant rhetoric and both the inadequate and hysterical reaction of the Russian authorities and the ‘bad reputation’” Russia has acquired over the past several years, Vladimir Pastukhov says. London, the Britain-based Russian historian notes, “preferred to begin its political attack on Moscow without waiting for the results of a judicial investigation” because the UK and its Western allies have every reason to suspect that Moscow was behind this action and thus decided to act quickly (bbc.com/russian/blog-pastoukhov-43653417). “Beginning in2014 and perhaps even earlier, the Kremlin’s policy toward the West has consisted of promoting the idea that we are prepared for anything … Russia is not afraid of fighting. Russia is ready to fight. Russia will fight. And in the final analysis, Russia is already fighting,” Pastukhov continues. With each Russian action, Moscow has raised the stakes ever higher. This campaign of intimidation ahs worked. “It is not that people in the West are convinced that the Russians tried to kill Skripal but that they now sincerely believe that these guys are quite capable of killing,” the historian says. The Kremlin and its allies constantly shout that “’we will bury you’” but at the same time “they demand the presentation of evidence before anyone accuses them of that. [But] if you advertise your ability to kill, then you must be prepared to be accused of murder without anyone waiting for the presentation of evidence.” It may be, Pastukhov says, that people “in Russia are accustomed not to pay attention to the rhetoric of the authorities because they know that the latter lie … but the rest of the world does not yet have such an extensive experience with that phenomenon. [And as a result,] it believes such heavy Russian words and judges accordingly.” Had the Kremlin reacted with expressions of concern to the Skripal case, the scandal would have been much restricted in size. But the reaction of Moscow has ben such that it “has become almost the main piece of evidence against Russia: It has been viewed as an [implicit] recognition.” Pastukhov says that this all reminds him of an old joke about a wealthy buyer of a Bentley who purchased the car and drove away only to be approached moments later by the dealer who said the new car didn’t have an engine. In that case, the buyer asked, how come the car has been moving? To which the dealer said “on its reputation.” For several years now, Russia has been living on its reputation, “unfortunately a negative one. The behavior of Moscow in the past does not leave any doubt that it can and wants to commit political murders. In essence, Pastukhov says, Russia fails the well-known “’duck test’” – if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, then it is a duck. “At first glance,” the historian continues, “the behavior of Russia in a situation which amounts to a crisis for it looks completely irrational. It seems as if the Kremlin is doing everything to undermine its own position and increase suspicions toward itself. But this is only at first glance.” In fact, what the Kremlin has been doing follows a certain “precise and cold calculation.” Its hysterical reaction has bought it time to come up with numerous alternative explanations for who was responsible for the Skripal poisoning, especially if it is able to find out just what the British investigators know. Such knowledge, Pastukhov continues, “is vitally necessary so that at a necessary instant, [Moscow] will be able to retreat in a sensible way by putting out its own truth-like ‘alternative’ version of events.” These versions will simply provide the FSB and thus the Kremlin with its “own KGB(r)exit” from this crisis at least in their own eyes and those of the credulous. “At a certain moment,” he suggests, “the Kremlin will change its anger to sweetness and light” and offer its own explanation for what occurred, a version of reality that will be “just as convincing as its versions on the downing of the Malaysian airliner over the Donbass of its version of the death of Magnitsky.”
Paul Goble Staunton, April 7 – The mass expulsion of Russian diplomats from Western countries shows that the world is mono-polar and that “in spite of our Russian fantasies,” it is going to remain so in the coming decades, Aleksandr Tsipko says; and it also shows that the West views Russia as a threat” and as “an unpredictable country.” “To a great extent,” the Moscow social theorist and commentator says, “today we are not needed or the object of interest by many even among those countries which survive on the basis of our oil and gas.” Instead of becoming part of a common European home, “Russia has been transformed into ‘a wild field’ which the countries of the West go around on their way home” (ng.ru/ideas/2018-04-05/5_7205_civilization.html). According to Tsipko, “never have we been so alone as now. With no friends and no allies, we live as in a besieged fortress. As Ivan Ilin predicted more than half a century ago, the East European countries Stalin imposed communism on now “form around us a ring of enemies.” And by its actions, Moscow has added Ukraine to their number. The West shares some of the blame for Russia’s self-isolation, the commentator says. Its failure to treat Putin as an equal is something he cannot bear But his response, directed toward restoring Russia’s great power status “has given birth to a new version of the cold war,” albeit one based not on ideology but on “the special features of Russian national character.” But a large part of the blame belongs to the response of Putin and Russians to “the chaos and anarchy of the 1990s,” a response which involved the construction of “the power vertical.” But Russians, including himself, Tsipko acknowledges, “forget that Russia is threatened not only by anarchy and chaos but by the willfulness of an autocrat.” “The problem is that we today live in a Russia where there is no politics but one where the will and impulses of a single individual decide the fate of a multi-million population. But none must recognize that when only one person defines the fate of a country with nuclear weapons, this involves a potential danger not only for Russia but for all humanity.” Tsipko says he has ever more doubts that there was a way in the past to prevent Russians from fleeing from chaos and anarchy back into support of autocracy. “As a result,” in any case, “we have what we have:” sincere joy about the return of Crimea and an expanding conflict between Russia and “the leader of present-day Western civilization, the US.” But the most terrible thing is that “we will never return to March 2014, to Russia without Crimea and the US will never reconcile itself with a Russia” that insists it can act on the basis of its own interests without regard to anyone else’s. That is clearly “a deadend situation,” the Moscow analyst says. According to Tsipko, “Russia has found it very difficult to reconcile itself with the logic of the new global world where leadership belongs only to economically developed countries.” Indeed, he says, “behind our current feverish great power ambitions stands an inability to recognize the extend of Russia’s lag behind the developed West.” And it is certainly the case, he argues, that Russians “are not in a position to follow the necessary path of hard work which China did in the time of Deng Xiaoping.” Tragically, Tsipko continues, there is an even more serious danger. It isn’t just a cold war that has returned. Instead, Putin has begun talking about a nuclear war that would destroy all of humanity. No leader at the end of Soviet times or afterwards until Putin has been so casual about referring to the kind of war that would end civilization. That is unfortunate, but even more unfortunate is the fact that “a significant portion of the population of present-day Russia is reacting completely calmly to this talk about the inevitable end of humanity. Such indifference to the problems of the death of humanity Russian people did not have in Soviet times,” Tsipko says. Over the last four years, talk about Russia being a besieged fortress has undermined the already weak Russian instinct for self-preservation. Lenin, Trotsky said, was “not a Russian national type.” But Putin, Tsipko says, “really is the embodiment of genuine Russianness in all its depths and contradictions.” The current Kremlin leader “very exactly reflects the attitudes of many Russian people who cannot reconcile themselves to the dominant position of the US in the present-day world. In these attitudes there is a lot from the deep Russianness and from the philosophy of the man ‘from the underground’ about whom Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote.” Since his Munich speech, Putin has insisted that Russia can and will act without regard to others; “but the tragedy is that the West and the US have the real privilege to deprive us of the source of economic development, but we unfortunately have only the privilege to expel their diplomats or test another inter-continental rocket which can reach Florida.” Russians today, whatever Putin and they think, “in fact do not have serious economic, social, and civilizational bases for any power privileges” of the kind Putin and Russians now insist upon because Russia does not have the resources on which real power in the world today rests. “Beginning with the spring of 2014,” Tsipko says, “we have lived and continue to live by the joys of one day without reflecting on what we will pay for these joys tomorrow or what Russia we will leave to our children or whether we will even leave them their own country.” That is what Russians should be reflecting upon. At the present time, no one threatens the territorial integrity of Russia even with the addition of Crimea; and so Russians have time to begin to think about where they are and what they must do in order to ensure that their millennium of statehood will not come to an end and that the Russian people will be able to have a genuinely dignified life. There have been occasions in history “when the leader of Russia has had to sacrifice a very great deal and above all his personal dignity in order to preserve his people, his faith, and his right to live in the future.” One of those may have come again, and he will have to work hard to overcome Russian poverty and income differentiation rather than talk about nuclear war.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 7 – The new sanctions the US has announced will hurt the Russian oligarchs but they will not lead to a conspiracy against Putin because “the main source of their incomes is in Russia and they are completely dependent on the orders of the president,” Liliya Shevtsova says. And they haven’t and won’t lead to a “significant change of policy” by Vladimir Putin who can be counted on to come up with some “symmetrical or asymmetrical response in order to show that ‘We aren’t surrendering!’” the prominent Russian analyst says (liga.net/politics/interview/liliya-shevtsova-kreml-ne-gotov-idti-na-popyatnuyu). But that does not mean they are unimportant or will not achieve other goals including unifying the West, Shevtsova says. “The American administration is still obviously searching for its own approach to the formation of a sanctions package regarding Russia and for a mechanism of implementing it.” This search is affected, she suggests, by the knowledge and judgment of American officials and experts about the resources of the Russian elite, the role of its members in the Putin system, the desire to avoid any negative impact of sanctions on the American establishment, and an effort to form a united front with Europe rather than go it entirely alone. The list of individuals and companies on the latest sanctions list, whose release was not unexpected, shows “how Washington understands the structure and mechanisms of power in Russia.” Some who were not included may very well be in the future, making a final judgment problematic. Indeed, Shevtsova continues, one must keep in mind that at times the expectation of future actions may play a bigger role than any actions themselves, especially as Putin can be counted on to make up for any losses those on this list incur as a result. The Russian analyst rejects suggestions that Washington has changed its focus from seeking to hurt the Russian economy by limiting its access to resources to going after members close to Putin in hopes of sparking resistance to him within the Russian elite or even regime change. She says that up to now she doesn’t see any actions that suggest this. In brief, Shevtsova concludes, it is still not entirely clear what Washington hopes to achieve: contain Moscow, take revenge, force Moscow to compromise or achieve Western unity. “All these goals presuppose different sanctions packages.” But there is still no unity in the West on which one is paramount.
Russia’s lies are not a clever ploy, merely its embittered leader lashing out. Can we clear something up at the outset? The Russian government is not coming over all outraged because it knows it is being falsely accused of complicity in the attempted murder in Salisbury of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. It has more knowledge of the nature of its own involvement than anyone. No, its theatrical expressions of outrage stem from quite other feelings. The feeling that it should be allowed to get away with poisoning “traitors” in the UK, as it did with Alexander Litvinenko. The feeling that London, having been more greedy than any other financial centre for Russian mafia money, is not showing appropriate respect to the capo di tutti capi himself — Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Above all, the feeling that the West is ganging…
The first Cold War was about ideology. It was, at least ostensibly, an argument – conducted on a global scale – about how people should live. What is the new one about? Because there can be no doubt any more that this is where we are. As shocking and unexpected as it might seem, we have no choice but to conclude that Russia is now engaging in wilful provocation that exceeds even those revanchist acts of aggression in Georgia and Ukraine within what it regards as its own territorial sphere. Its belligerence goes beyond any comprehensible political disagreements. It is simply visceral nationalism. There are no more abstract moral justifications for its involvement in disputed regions of the world: the old communist logic that the Soviet Union was defending the poor peoples of developing countries from imperialism and capitalist exploitation has been superseded by – what? A reckless, almost anarchic, programme of disruption designed to confound normal expectations in Western political life and set its leaders against one another. Sheer adventurism and defiance of international ethical codes carried out with truly shocking bravado in the first instance and then denied with childish lies when challenged.
Russia dismissed reports of a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Douma, Interfax news service reported on Sunday, citing Russia’s Ministry of Defence.
Activists and rescue workers said as many as 70 people suffocated to death Saturday after a barrel bomb containing a chemical agent hit a shelter in a rebel-held town in Syria.
Rebels claim Syrian forces dropped barrel bombs containing poisonous chemicals on civilians; Syrian forces deny the charge
The government alleges a “fabrication” despite graphic images of bodies in rebel-held Douma.
An alleged chemical attack reportedly killed scores of civilians, including children, in Syria on Saturday, with the US describing the reports as "horrifying".
The president warns of a “big price to pay” after a “mindless chemical attack” in Syria.
The United States says it is closely monitoring “very disturbing” reports of the possible “horrifying” new use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces and said Russia would be held …
An electronic message to Moscow sent on the day former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury included the phrase “the package has been delivered”. It also said two named individuals had made a successful departure. This and an earlier intercept form a key part of Britain’s intelligence evidence against Russia over the Skripal poisonings, sources said last night. Insiders said the two messages were intercepted by RAF analysts stationed at a listening post in southern Cyprus. On the day of the poisonings, March 4, one was sent from a location near Damascus in Syria to “an official” in Moscow including the phrase ‘the package has been delivered” and saying that two individuals had “made a successful egress”. This prompted a young Flight Lieutenant to recall a separate message that had been intercepted and discounted on the previous day. What it said has not been revealed but sources say it became relevant once the Skripals were attacked.
PUTIN’S scientists created a ‘watered-down’ gel version of deadly Novichok to be smeared over the door handle at the Skripals’ Salisbury home. While the less toxic nerve agent bought the hitmen time to escape, it also allowed medics more time to diagnose and treat the poisoning.
Security sources say to help the agents avoid capture, the Russians developed a less powerful ‘Novichok in the form of a gel that was smeared to the door of Sergei Skripal’s home (pictured). Novichok comes in the form of clear, odourless gel which was smeared on door. By chance, doctors with chemical weapons training were on duty at the hospital. Former commander of UK’s chemical weapons praised the medical staff. Skripals understood to be helping police and the Security Services find culprits.
Sergei and Yulia Skripal will be offered new identities and a new life in America in an attempt to protect them from further murder attempts. Intelligence officials at MI6 have had discussions with their counterparts in the CIA about resettling the victims of the Salisbury poisoning. “They will be offered new identities,” a senior Whitehall figure said. Senior sources revealed both victims were conscious and would soon begin helping investigators with their inquiries into the nerve agent attack on March 4. Yulia, 33, a Russian citizen, has rejected demands by the Russian embassy in London that it provides her and her father with consular support — a move that has convinced British officials she might move to the West permanently.
Authorities are said to be drawing up plans to protect the pair as they both continue their recoveries from the Novichok nerve agent attack which left them fighting for their lives
London Sunday Times says officials at the MI6 intelligence agency have had discussions with counterparts in the CIA about resettling the victims, who were poisoned last month in the English city of Salisbury
Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper is reporting that the country is considering offering Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter new identities and a new life in the United States to prote…
To protect them from any future murder attempts.
Former Russian spies Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yula reportedly will get new names — and start new lives in the US. The Sunday Times of London said MI6…
High-level discussions about 33-year-old Yulia Skripal’s future were held ahead of her imminent discharge from hospital amid concerns for her safety should she return home. Yulia Skripal due leave hospital after being poisoned with father Sergei. Concerns for her safety if she returns back to Russia where she has boyfriend. Sources have said Mr Skripal’s home in Salisbury may have to be demolished. Local MP said he would ‘welcome the offer of asylum to Yulia Skripal’,
According to a report, Britain would want to ensure their safety by resettling them in one of the so-called ‘five eyes’ countries.
British police are drawing up elaborate plans to guarantee the safety of the victims of the Salisbury poisoning once they have been discharged from hospital.
Doctors treating Sergei Skripal and his daughter following the Salisbury nerve agent attack say the pair are no longer in a critical condition.
Labour hits back at foreign secretary after he says leader’s response to spy poisoning aids Moscow.
Boris Johnson has branded Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn the Kremlin’s “useful idiot” amid a deepening diplomatic row with Russia. The Foreign Secretary said Moscow was peddling an “avalanche of lies and disinformation” in the wake of the attack that left Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia critically ill.
Boris Johnson has hit out at the “torrent of absurdity” from Moscow following the Salisbury nerve agent attack – and accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of being the Kremlin’s “useful idiot”. The Foreign Secretary said the Kremlin was peddling an “avalanche of lies and disinformation” following the attack which left Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in hospital. And he stepped up the Tory attack on Mr Corbyn, claiming the Labour leader was lending “false credibility” to the propaganda from Moscow by refusing to say “unequivocally” that the Russian state was responsible for the Salisbury incident. A Labour spokesman hit back, claiming that Mr Johnson had “made a fool of himself and undermined the government” by misrepresenting the findings of the Porton Down laboratory on the source of the Novichok chemical agent.
British foreign secretary s claims over the Skripal poisoning leaving no room for doubt have handed Moscow a major propaganda victory
The Foreign Secretary made a statement, the Foreign Office put out a tweet in support of what he said. In an interview on March 20 when he was asked why the United Kingdom believed that Russian Federation was the source, Mr Johnson said: “The people from Porton Down, the laboratory, they were absolutely categorical”. The head of Porton Down laboratories has since said that they could only determine the substance used was Novichok, and not where it came from. However, Aitkenhead said that the nerve agent would require “extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor”. The UK has said that identifying the substance at Porton Down was “only one part of the intelligence picture”. A huge criminal investigation, likely to take months, is underway and being led by the UK’s extensive counter-terror network under the command of the Metropolitan Police Service. The Labour leader added: “Where does that leave the Foreign Secretary?” Speaking with Sky News a day earlier, Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, stated that DSTL had not be able to prove that Russian Federation was the source of the Novichok. Boris Johnson is facing embarrassing questions over his claims that #Russia had produced the Salisbury nerve agent after it emerged that the Foreign Office had deleted a tweet blaming Moscow for the attack. “With egg on his face”.
Russia is showing its true colors. The UK traded for Colonel Skripal’s release, the UK wants him safe and alive, to thank him for taking the risk of being a double agent. Russia wanted him dead, not only to punish a double-agent but to send a message to anyone contemplating becoming a double agent. Russia is…
Poisoned Former Russian Spy Recovering Rapidly. Daughter Yulia Speaks With Family In Russia.