Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Another Former Russian Intelligence Officer Poisoned in the UK / Syrian CW Attack (36)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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An interesting 24 hours in Russia’s self-inflicted mess. Other than speculation about impending military action against Syria, the biggest story is that Yulia Skripal was discharged from hospital on Tuesday, and is now understandably at a “secure location”, while her father’s recovery progresses. More bizarre comments from Russia on both the Salisbury attack and Syria, demands that the UK return the funds of alleged kleptocrats now in the UK, while the Rouble and Russian stocks nosedive, described by CNBC as “Russian stocks crash”.

A candid admission by Amb Nebenzya that the Salisbury attack was damaging to Russia, while Vladislav Surkov (Aslambek Andarbekovich Dudayev), Putin’s very adept Chechen political strategist and spin doctor, in an OpEd predicts between one and three centuries of Russia’s isolation from the West, declaring that 2014 was the year in which four centuries of attempted integration with the West failed – a peculiar “Eurasianism Manifesto”, in which Russia’s declares the pursuit of Western values and democracy unattainable (curiously enough many Asian nations have done the opposite over the last half century, while Russia has embraced cultural, social and political ossification).

An excellent OpEd on “mirroring” between the West and Russia, by Portnikov, who correctly identifies both Western and Russian follies in mutual assessment – and why Russia’s folly is ultimately fatal for Russia (Surkov may actually understand this). Three other curious reports from Russia.

Guardian report on the Skripals cites the Salisbury hospital and some background on the treatment.

A veritable deluge of media on Syria. Notable is the excellent address (well worth watching) to the UNSC by Amb Haley, who lambasted Russia for its stubborn and foolish support of the Assad regime. The critique was intensive enough to result in Russian Amb Nebenzya swallowing as he listened – evidently the challenge of explaining away Russia’s complicity was presenting the good ambassador some difficulty.

UK and France deliberating with the US on exactly what actions to take against Assad. Russia has apparently put a large proportion of its military on high level of alert. Ukrainian media reporting that Russian aircraft at Hmeimim AB are almost continuously airborne, and personnel are being evaced from Russian basing.

While the Russians have deployed some capable VKS and PVO-SV assets into Syria, the size of the deployments is only adequate to cover the region surrounding the Hmeimim AB and Latakia naval berths. To cover the whole of Assad’s territory against a substantial attack would require a lot more equipment than Russia could deploy at short notice, and if this was done, key areas of Russia would not be protected.


Russian prosecutor says UK withholding facts on Skripal | Business Standard News

Read more about Russian prosecutor says UK withholding facts on Skripal on Business Standard. Russia’s deputy prosecutor general today accused Britain of refusing to cooperate on the investigation into the killing of a former spy, at a briefing on the deaths of other Russians in the UK. Saak Karapetyan said the poisoning of Sergei Skripal….

UAWire – Moscow urges London to return funds transferred to the UK by Russian citizens

In an interview with Russian NTV TV channel, Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has urged London to return the 500 billion rubles which were withdrawn to the UK by Russian citizens who are convicted according to Russia’s economic laws. A law has been in effect in Britain since February according to which the authorities may freeze the suspicious assets of foreigners until the origins of the funds or assets are explained. “It was stolen in Russia, and now Britain is taking everything into its own state budget. You can keep the criminals, but return the money. It’s our money,” the Prosecutor General said. According to him, the Prosecutor General’s Office “sincerely hopes” that “the law will be used by the British authorities in accordance with the norms of a civilized government, and not according to the principle ‘steal what is stolen’”. Chaika complained already in 2017 that London was in no hurry to return the withdrawn funds to Russia. According to the Prosecutor General, there are more than 60 people in England whom Russia has placed on the international wanted list for economic crimes. According to the British National Crime Agency, as much as 90 billion pounds (127 billion dollars) is laundered through the country on an annual basis. In 2017, Bloomberg reported that at least 10 billion dollars had been withdrawn from Russia through Deutsche Bank “mirror deals” in Moscow and London.

Russian Markets Slide After U.S. Ups Ante With the Worst Sanctions Yet – Bloomberg

The most punitive U.S. sanctions yet to descend on Russian companies and oligarchs are battering the nation’s assets as the Kremlin scrambles to contain the damage.

Russian firms and rouble hit heavily by Trump sanctions | Business | The Guardian

Rouble suffers biggest daily fall for over three years and shares in Oleg Deripaska’s firms slump

Ruble Falls Further, Russian Officials Seek To Calm Nerves

The Russian ruble is falling for a second straight day following the imposition of new U.S. sanctions, while the Central Bank chief and other officials are seeking to calm investors in the wake of …

Russian stocks crash on new sanctions; aluminum prices soar on penalties to global producer Rusal

Russian stocks crashed on Monday, while aluminum prices spiked, after the United States levied its harshest sanctions to date against Russia.

The stock market gold rush that suddenly turned toxic | Business | The Times

It all started with such promise. When the first Russian companies dipped their toe in London’s financial markets 20 years ago after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they were welcomed with open arms. For City bankers, lawyers and PR experts, Russian oil and mining companies offered a lucrative n

UAWire – Russian Ambassador to the UN: Skripal affair has damaged Russia’s role in the world

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, described the incident of the poisoning of former intelligence agent Sergey Skripal as a blow to Russia’s role in the international arena, RIA Novosti reports. “This calls into question our legitimacy in general. This is a blow not only to our role in settling the Syrian issue, but to our role in the entire international arena,” said Nebenzya. He also said that the pressure now being brought on Russia is unprecedented. Nebenzya also said that in the case of the poisoning of former intelligence agent Sergei Skripal, details may come to light that will completely change the investigation of the incident. “There are more and more interesting facts and evidence that may change the whole thing one day … Lately, I have even been wondering – was there such a person?” said Nebenzya. Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned in Great Britain on March 4. According to the investigation, a nerve agent was used against them. Skripal and his daughter fell into a coma. Traces of Novichok were found in their blood, and doctors say that the brain damage is irreversible. Police say that the first place of poisoning was the Skripal’s own home.

Russia Faces ‘100 Years Of Solitude’ Or More, Putin Aide Says

A veteran adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Russia has abandoned its centuries-long hopes of integrating with the West and is bracing for a new era of geopolitical isolation. A veteran adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Russia has abandoned its centuries-long hopes of integrating with the West and is bracing for a new era of geopolitical isolation. In an article for Russia In Global Affairs magazine released on April 9 and titled The Solitude Of A Half-Blood, Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov wrote that “Russia’s epic journey toward the West” is over, marking an end to its “repeated fruitless attempts to become a part of Western civilization” over four centuries. Relations between Moscow and the West are at lows not seen since the Cold War, severely strained by issues including Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region, its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, its role in Syria’s seven-year conflict, and the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in Britain last month. Surkov, 53, a longtime Putin aide who served as his top domestic-policy strategist for many years and currently works as the presidential adviser on Ukraine, wrote that the 2014 split with the West over Ukraine marked the beginning of a new era in which Russia faces “100 years (200? 300?) of geopolitical solitude.” Russia’s seizure of the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine severely strained Moscow’s ties with the West and led to U.S. and European Union sanctions that, together with a slump in global oil prices, sent the Russian economy into a two-year recession.

The loneliness of the half-blood (14+) 9 April 2018 Vladislav Surkov

The article was published in the new issue of the journal Russia in Global Politics. There are different works. For a different can be taken only in a state somewhat different from normal. Thus, the proletariat of the information industry, an ordinary news provider, is usually a man with a disheveled brain, residing in a fever. Unsurprisingly, the news business requires haste: it is faster to learn everything, most likely to inform everyone, to interpret everything first. Excitation of informing is transmitted to the informed. Excited their own excitement often seems like a thought process and replaces it. Hence – the displacement of durable goods such as “beliefs” and “principles” from one-time “opinions”. Hence the sheer inconsistency of forecasts, none, however, is not embarrassing. Such is the fee for the speed and freshness of the news. Few people can hear the mocking silence of fate drowned out by background media noise. Few people are interested in that there are also slow, massive news that do not come from the surface of life, but from its depth. From there, where geopolitical structures and historical epochs are moving and colliding. Belatedly come to us their meanings. But it’s never too late to find out. The 14th year of our century is remembered by important and very important accomplishments, of which everyone knows and says everything. But the most important of the events of that time are only now being revealed to us, and the slow, profound news of him now only reaches our ears. The event is the completion of Russia’s epic journey to the West, the cessation of repeated and fruitless attempts to become part of Western civilization, to become related to the “good family” of European peoples. From the 14th year onward, an indefinitely long new era, the 14+ era, stretches into which we will have a hundred (two hundred? Three hundred?) Years of geopolitical loneliness. Westernization, frivolously started by False Dmitry and resolutely continued by Peter the First, for four hundred years has been tried by everyone. What did Russia do to become a Holland, then France, then America, then Portugal. No matter how hard she tried to squeeze into the West. All of the ideas that came in and shakes happened there, our elite perceived with great enthusiasm, in part, perhaps, too much. The autocrats zealously married German women, the imperial nobility and bureaucracy were actively replenished with “vagrant foreigners”. But the Europeans in Russia quickly and completely razeli, and the Russians were not Europeanized at all. 

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The peak of the Moscow Asianism was the appointment of the Emperor of All Russia Kasimov Khan Simeon Bekbulatovich. Historians, accustomed to consider Ivan the Terrible someone like oberiutov in the cap of Monomakh, is credited with this “trick” only it’s natural playfulness. The reality was more serious. After Grozny court has developed a solid party, promote Simeon Bekbulatovich already quite real kingdom. Boris Godunov had to demand that swearing him boyars promised “Tsar Simeon Bekbulatovich and his children to the throne did not want to.” That is, the state was in a step from the transition under the rule of Genghis dynasty baptized and consolidation of “Oriental” development paradigm. However, neither Bekbulatovich nor the descendants of the Horde Murza Godunov had a future. The Polish-Cossack invasion began, which brought Moscow new tsars from the West. For all the fleetingness of the boards of False Dimitry, long before Peter upset the boyars by European manners, and the Polish prince Vladislav, they are very symbolic. The confusion in their light is not so much a dynastic as a civilizational crisis -Russia broke off from Asia and began to move towards Europe. So, for four centuries Russia went to the East and four centuries to the West. Neither there nor there is not rooted. Both roads are passed. Now ideologies of the third way, the third type of civilization, the third world, the third Rome will be in demand … And yet we are hardly a third civilization. Rather, it is dual and dual. Containing both East and West. Both European and Asian at the same time, and therefore not Asian and not European completely. Our cultural and geopolitical identity is reminiscent of the wandering identity of a man born in a mixed marriage. He is everywhere a relative and nowhere native. His own among strangers, a stranger among his own. All understanding, no one understood. Half-blood, half-breed, strange some. Russia is a west-eastern half-blooded country. With its two-headed statehood, hybrid mentality, intercontinental territory, bipolar history, it is, as it should be half-baked, charismatic, talented, beautiful and lonely. Wonderful words, never said by Alexander the Third, “Russia has only two ally, its army and navy” – is perhaps the most understandable metaphor of geopolitical loneliness, which is long overdue to take as fate. The list of allies can, of course, be broadened to the liking of workers and teachers, oil and gas, the creative estate and patriotically minded bots, General Moroz and the archistrategist Michael … The meaning of this will not change: we are our own allies. What will be the loneliness that lies ahead? The vegetation of the mare on the outskirts? Or the happy loneliness of the leader who has gone to the alpha of the nation, in front of which “other nations and states” are pestered and give her way? ” It depends on us. Loneliness does not mean total isolation. Unlimited openness is also impossible. Both would be a repetition of the mistakes of the past. And the future has its own mistakes, he has no mistakes of the past.Russia will no doubt trade, attract investment, exchange knowledge, fight (the war is also a way of communication), participate in collaborations, be in organizations, compete and cooperate, cause fear and hatred, curiosity, sympathy, admiration. Only without false goals and self-negation.It will be difficult, not once will remember the classic of Russian poetry: “Around only thorns, thorns, thorns … b *** ь, when there are stars already ?!” It will be interesting. And the stars will be.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia and the West Repeating Usual Mistakes of Dictatorships and Democracies about Each Other

Paul Goble Staunton, April 9 – Russia and the West are repeating the mistakes dictatorships and democracies make about each other, with the former viewing the latter’s slowness in responding as an indication of weakness rather than deliberation and the latter viewing the bold aggressiveness of the former as evidence of a strength the dictators do not have. In a commentary for Radio Svoboda, Kyiv commentator Vitaly Portnikov focuses on the Russian side of this equation, on the ways in which Moscow has been misreading the West and operating on the assumption that bold aggressiveness will be sufficient to win out, something that won’t work when the West reads Russia right (svoboda.org/a/29153823.html). “The strength of Russia is not in the powerlessness but in the inaction of the West,” he argues, and “the chief error of Vladimir Putin is to view inertness as weakness.” When the Western democracies did not take serious action against his aggression in Ukraine, Putin concluded that they were weak and that he could move elsewhere. But that notion and the related one that Russia defeated the West in Ukraine “exists only in the fantasies of Putin and many of his fellow citizens.” For the West, “the Russian-Ukrainian conflict” was initially something far away and even inexplicable, and thus it acted as it did. But “the Russian president believed that the West is powerless, and he moved into Syria. There Putin repeated his mistake of thinking that he was fighting a war with the Americans, Portnikov argues. In fact, Washington wanted to bring stability to that country and the region and didn’t view the Assad regime as being able to make a contribution to that goal, rather, just the reverse. Thus, Moscow and Washington have been fighting for different goals rather than with each other as Putin imagines. But because Putin read the situation the way he has, the Kremlin leader felt that he could advance in yet another way against the West and hence the poisoning in Salisbury. But contrary to his expectations and assumptions, “the West began to respond in a serious way. Without any particular desire or delight and each time stopping and seeking agreement, but to respond.” And that has created a new and uncomfortable situation for Putin: how can he respond when the response involves “not declarations and telephone calls” but “real action?” The Kremlin leader had no real response to Trump’s airstrikes in Syria or even to the destruction of a Russian plane by Turkey; “and if the Americans again decide to bomb Assad, there will not be any answer. And in this is the main problem of the Kremlin,” according to Postnikov. Moscow’s ability to respond in “mirror-like” fashion to the West is something that exists “only in the Kremlin’s imagination because in the real world and not that which is shown on television, the US and Great Britain are at the center of the globalized world and Russia is on its periphery.” The Russian side can respond to sanctions only by taking actions that further weaken it. It can close a US consulate in St. Petersburg after the US closes the Russian one in Seattle but the fact is that “citizens of Russia are the ones who need both these consulates” more than does the United States. And Moscow can impose sanctions on Western businessmen and politicians, but the situation they are in is not the same as that of Russian businessmen on whom the West has imposed sanctions: the Russians keep their money and property in the West and many want to live there. Few Westerners have villas in Russia or want to live in that country. As long as the West doesn’t take serious steps, Putin can imagine he is winning by responding; but when the West does decide to do so despite all of Putin’s boldness and aggressiveness, the Kremlin leader’s weakness and lack of choices becomes increasingly obvious to all.

Violence and inaction. Vitaly Portnikov – about mirrored confrontation

Russia’s Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika promises to tell how the British Home Secretary Theresa May granted political asylum to Boris Berezovsky on the false denunciation of the disgraced oligarch to Russia. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova laughingly calls the former “colonel” GRU Sergei Skripal, a runaway cat, who was poisoned by Novichok. The niece of Colonel Victoria says that her sister Julia desperately wants to return to Russia, to the dog and her beloved. The propaganda campaign against London is in full swing, and at that moment a chlorine bomb explodes in the Syrian city of Dumas. That is, from the point of view of the Kremlin, there is no bomb, as it were, but a special meeting of the Security Council has already been convened, and the representative of Russia will again have to listen to accusations and brand the ungrateful West. And the Russian leadership will just have to wait, whether Donald Trump will hit. Because there is simply nothing to reply to this blow. As there is nothing (despite the loudness of the propaganda campaign against Great Britain) Teresa May responds, if measures are taken against “Londongrad” and its rogue inhabitants. The strength of Russia is not in impotence, but in the inaction of the West. The most important mistake of Vladimir Putin is the perception of inertia as weakness. When the West, after the annexation of the Crimea, confined itself to pinpoint sanctions and phone calls, when, after fanning the war in Donbass, Putin was tried to admonish, not punish, this could only be perceived as a weakness. As an inability to stand up for “their own”, which the Kremlin puts in place. But the fact of the matter is that the West, which “won” Ukraine from Russia, exists only in the fantasies of Putin and many of his fellow citizens. And in the Western mind Ukraine existed in a world centered on Moscow. For the West, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict was originally a conflict between this distant and foreign world. This Putin fought for Ukraine with the United States. And from the American point of view, Putin seemed to be at war with himself, and it was difficult to understand why he was doing it. But the Russian president believed that the West was powerless, and rushed to Syria. In Syria, you could also imagine a war with the Americans. But the White House was interested in stabilizing the situation in the region blown up by the “Arab spring”, and did not believe that the Assad regime of this stabilization would contribute. And from the Kremlin, the Syrian events were seen as the conquest of the country by the Americans, which at all costs must be stopped. What we see in Syria is not a war of two parties wishing to establish their own control, but a battle of supporters of maintaining the dictatorship with the adherents of stabilization and compromise. Of course, Moscow or Tehran is easier than Washington, because the regime can rule a set of cemeteries and consider that its legitimacy is assured. And stabilization does not imply cemetery silence, it implies the consent of the living. But from the Kremlin’s point of view, the West’s actions in Syria showed that the free world is ruled by solid weaklings. And Putin moved on. In Salisbury. And here came the moment when the West began to respond really. Without much desire, without enthusiasm, every time stopping and agreeing, but – responding. It is worth asking yourself a very simple question: what will the Kremlin say about the actual actions rather than declarations and calls? After all, there was no real answer to Trump’s blow to Syria and even to the destruction of the Russian aircraft by Turkey. There is nothing to answer to the demolition of “London”, and if the Americans decide to bomb Assad again – there will be no answer. This is the main problem of the Kremlin. “Mirror” of confrontation with the West exists, again, only in the Kremlin’s imagination. Because in the real world (not that on television, but that in fact), the United States and Britain are at the center of the global world, and Russia is on its periphery. It is possible to introduce anti-sanctions in response to sanctions, only Western products are needed first of all for the inhabitants of Russia. You can close the US Consulate in St. Petersburg in response to the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, only both of these consulates are needed primarily for Russian citizens. It is possible to impose retaliatory sanctions against Western politicians and businessmen, but these Russian oligarchs and companies keep money in the West, and not American ones in Moscow or Saratov. Banks are there. Exchanges are there. Mansions are there. The dachas are there. The children are there. Russia is just a territory for stealing or earning what is spent in the real world, and it will never replace the West with its elite, because the outskirts by definition can not replace the center. That is why the Kremlin could play an equal rivalry with a silent, indifferent and inert West, stubbornly unwilling to notice that they are at war with it. Ready to respond, irritated and bristling the West, the Kremlin can only lose.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: US Sanctions Changing Balance of Forces in Russian Elite in Unexpected Way, PolitSoviet Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 7 – US sanctions are having an impact on the Russian economy and may affect Moscow’s foreign policy, but there is one way, which has passed “almost unnoticed,” the PolitSoviet portal says, in which they are already having an impact on the balance of forces within the Russian elite and hence on how politics there will play out in the future. And that is shown, the Yekaterinburg news and commentary site continues, not by any declaration of either side but by the specific charges brought against Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg by the American side (politsovet.ru/58602-kak-amerikanskie-sankcii-izmenyat-rasklad-sil-v-rossiyskoy-politike.html). “It turns out,” the portal says, “that the Americans in introducing sanctions considered a criminal case brought by the Russian siloviki not against Vekselberg himself but against his associates. Sentence in that case has not yet been passed – and there is no guarantee that it will be handed down by a court – but it has already played a role in Vekselberg’s fate.” It is indicative that “the US authorities trust the Russian investigation and consider the accusation of bribery an important circumstance for the introduction of sanctions.” Russians do not have the same trust in their own siloviki, and so the American faith in them stands out, PolitSoviet says. Instead, it continues, Russians are “inclined to consider that the siloviki in such circumstances are acting in the interests of one or another elite group. A criminal case is an element in the transfer of property and the settlement of business conflicts among the various clans. “But now,” in the wake of the American action, these conflicts “are ceasing to be an internal affair of the oligarchic clans” and “any accusation even not against an oligarch but against his team can become the occasion for the introduction of international sanctions.” That raises the stakes enormously for all concerned. Without necessarily recognizing what they have done, the site says, “the Americans have sharply raised the status and power of the siloviki” because “the price of any criminal case has grown many times over” and “this cannot but change the domestic political balance of forces in [Russia].” Now, PolitSoviet says, “there are two variants of the further development of events.” In the first, the siloviki may recognize that they have far more power than they did and demand ever more from businesses for positive treatment. If that happens, “the economic – and this means the political – role of the siloviki bloc will grow still further. And in the second, it could happen that the political elite will restrict the actions of the siloviki in their dealings with business lest the opening of such cases lead to a new round of Western sanctions. That wouldn’t be easy for the political elite to achieve or for the siloviki to accept, but it could happen if Putin got behind it. “In other words,” PolitSoviet says, “either the siloviki will intensify their pressure on business or the political leadership of the country on the contrary will limit their power in order not to put the oligarchs under sanctions. The decision is the Kremlin’s,” yet another result albeit yet unresolved of the impact of sanctions.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Return of Soviet-Style Conformity to Russia ‘Shocking,’ Pilar Bonet Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 9 – Pilar Bonet, the longtime Russian correspondent of Madrid’s El Pais newspaper, says that she has been shocked by how easy it has been for Soviet-style conformity to make a comeback under Vladimir Putin, a comeback that reflects more changes in the environment in which Russians live than in the Russians themselves. In an interview with Svetlana Reyter of the Colta news portal, the respected observer of the Russian scene says that in recent times “it has become more difficult to find information or to speak with sources. As in Soviet times, people are suspicious of journalists and the number of sources is shrinking” (colta.ru/articles/society/17755). But that is not the most important change, Bonet continues, noting that she “is struck by how people who were normal in the past have in breathtaking fashion made the transition” back to Soviet practices including double standards, hypocrisy and the elevation of the state to the status of the most important thing in their lives One can understand why some people do this: they have their families and their careers to think about, she says. “But it is shocking how easily Soviet-style conformity has returned. People who think and understand are playing in some kind of a theater” in which they know how they are expected to speak and act even though “internally, they have remained the same.” That is true not just in Moscow but across the country, Bonet says, a journalist who has distinguished herself from other foreign correspondents by her frequent travels not only throughout the Russian Federation but also in the former Soviet republics. She adds that she couldn’t have remained in Russia so long if this larger space did not exist. Indeed, she says, her travels outside of Moscow are “in a certain sense, a continuing search for answers” to questions that arise from living in the Russian capital. Bonet says that “the imperial factor is very strong in Russia,” and it is far from clear when it will be overcome. But Putin’s statement in his address to the Federal Assembly that “when the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia lost a certain amount of territory and population” is worrisome because “Russia didn’t lose anything.” “Even according to the USSR Constitution, this was a federal country, the republics of which had the right to leave the federation. That is exactly what they did in 1991. The republics acquired freedom, although it is another question how they have used it. But expressions of regret about the Soviet Union’s end together with pictures of new weapons is frightening.” Asked why there has been a breakdown in relations between Russia and the West, Bonet suggests that “the current leadership of Russia has a large number of complexes. It seems to [her],” she says, “that they do not love themselves. At the same time, they want others to love them, but to promote this, their main instrument is only fear.” One must remember, Bonet continues, “that Russia is not only Putin” and not only Moscow. Outsiders must consider more than Putin when they think about Russia, and those who cover that country must “get out of Moscow and consider things from a different point of view, especially now.” And journalists must tell the truth, carefully distinguishing between “those whose who seek truth from propagandists. Recently, the two roles have been so mixed together that we do not know where the one ends and the other begins.” But despite the time pressures the Internet imposes, journalists along with others must make an effort to do so, she concludes.

Poll: More Than Half Of Russians See Stalin As ‘Wise Leader’

A public-opinion poll in Russia has found that 57 percent of respondents view the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as “a wise leader who led the Soviet Union to might and prosperity.”

Yulia Skripal discharged from hospital after Salisbury attack | UK news | The Guardian

Release comes just over a month after she and her father were poisoned with nerve agent. Speaking outside the hospital on Tuesday, its medical director, Christine Blanshard, said: “We have now discharged Yulia from Salisbury district hospital. Yulia has asked for privacy from the media and I want to reiterate her request. “I also want to take this opportunity to wish Yulia well. This is not the end of her treatment but marks a significant milestone. “Her father has also made good progress. On Friday I announced he was no longer in a critical condition. Although he is recovering more slowly than Yulia, we hope that he too will be able to leave the hospital in due course.” Blanshard gave further insight into how the nerve agent attacked the two patients and the treatment they received. “In the four weeks since the incident in the city centre, both have received round-the-clock care from our clinicians, who have been able to draw on advice and support from world-leading experts in the field,” she said. “Nerve agents work by attaching themselves to the particular enzymes in the body, which then stop the nerves from functioning. This results in symptoms such as sickness and hallucinations. Our job in treating the patients is to stabilise them, ensuring that they can breathe and blood can continue to circulate. “We then need to use a variety of different drugs to support the patients until they could create more enzymes to replace those affected by the poisoning. We also use specialised decontamination techniques to remove any residual toxins. “Both patients have been responding exceptionally well to the treatment we’ve been providing, but equally both patients are at different stages of their recovery.”

Russian spy: Daughter discharged from hospital – BBC News

Yulia Skripal, the poisoned daughter of Russian ex-spy Sergei, has been discharged from hospital. The 33-year-old left Salisbury District Hospital on Monday night and has been taken to a secure location. The hospital said: “This is not the end of her treatment but marks a significant milestone.” Her 66-year-old father remains in hospital and is “recovering more slowly than Yulia”. Doctors hope he will be discharged “in due course”.

Poison Victim Yulia Skripal Discharged From U.K. Hospital

Yulia Skripal, the poisoned daughter of a Russian former spy, has been discharged from a hospital in the English city of Salisbury.

Yulia Skripal to be discharged from British hospital, Sky News says

Britain says Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent and has blamed Russia for the attack.

Yulia Skripal, daughter of Sergei Skripal, discharged from hospital

Yulia Skripal, 33, has been taken to a secure location, the BBC reported.

Yulia Skripal has been discharged from hospital

Yulia Skripal has been discharged from hospital a month after she was poisoned with a nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury along with her Russian ex-spy father.

Russian spy: What happened to Sergei and Yulia Skripal? – BBC News

Timeline of events leading up to the poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

With Sergei Skripal and his daughter recovering, we may be getting closer to the truth of novichok’s origins | The Independent

The news that Sergei Skripal and his daughter are both getting better means that the unravelling of what lay behind the shocking nerve agent attack is now getting closer. They will be able to provide the information which will be crucial in piecing together the possible motive for their attempted murders and who carried it out.

Poisoned Europe: lesson not learnt – LB.ua news portal

Poisoned Europe: lesson not learnt. The mutual expulsion of diplomats means a reduction in the number of “white” intelligence officers. But considering that any data is transferred and paid online, there is not much damage to a spy network. Besides, each one of a half a million well-off Russians does all this work quite effectively anyway. My Canadian colleagues wrote that the Skripal case had “the effect of a bomb that exploded near the High Park in Etobicoke” on Canadians. To explain, I would say that this is a 161-hectare cult place for Canadians, a third of which is pristine nature and other two-thirds are as charming as Kyiv’s Botanical Garden with the only difference that they have been in good care for about 150 years now. That is, an imaginary bomb “near the High Park” implies the effect of fear, not of human victims. Such a gentlemanly terrorism in the spirit of the old IRA, when they warned police 10 minutes before a blast at a certain place and civilians could evacuate from there. I read these touching lines from Canada and thought that the explosion of a bomb near our Botanical Garden would not have made anyone concerned today, had there been no casualties. There is something exploding in the country all the time. War, the usual. The assassination of former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter with the latest nerve agent, which triggered a diplomatic war, exposed a very old problem of the British counterintelligence.

We must learn from past mistakes and act now to stop chemical warfare

For Western nations to pull out of Syria would be to relinquish the ability to prevent future horrors

RAF spooks ‘intercepted Russian message before Skripal poisoning’ | Daily Mail Online

An RAF base in southern Cyprus intercepted a message sent from Syria to Moscow on the day the Skripals were poisoned saying the ‘package has been delivered’, according to reports.

Poisoned Russian spy’s daughter Yulia Skripal ‘will claim political asylum’ as she continues recovery from nerve agent attack – Mirror Online

The apparent move was revealed by her cousin Viktoria who claimed to have recorded a phone conversation with the 33-year-old as her health improves in hospital

‘Yulia Skripal to apply for political asylum while she recovers’ | Daily Mail Online

The 33-year-old’s cousin, Viktoria, told a talk show in Russia the poisoned spy’s daughter will seek protection outside of Russia. She said her asylum application is ‘coming already’.

Boris Johnson: Russia’s torrent of absurdity is soaked up by an ‘infantile’ Corbyn | News | The Sunday Times

Sometimes it seems as if running a good cover-up is the main job of the Kremlin. No other government devotes as much time and effort to the business of trying to sabotage or discredit international inquiries.It says much about the Russian state’s appetite for high crime and misdemeanour that it has

Corbyn Is Russia’s ‘Useful Idiot’ in Spy Case, Johnson Says – To Inform is to Influence

Unless you are a Russia-watcher for some time, you may not understand the term “useful idiot”.  I once submitted a paper for publication and they tried to excise the term because they were not familiar with its meaning.  From Wikipedia, In political jargon, a useful idiot is a derogatory term for a person perceived as a propagandist for…

I developed deadly nerve agent, says Russian researcher – The National

<p>Vladimir Uglev said that in 1975 he probably developed the substance used to attack former double agent Sergei Skripal last month</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Russia has restarted the Cold War – this time without an ideology to defend – To Inform is to Influence

JANET DALEY 7 April 2018 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…

U.S. Threatens Military Action Against Syria; Russia Warns Of ‘Grave’ Consequences

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to take military action against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on Damascus civilians over the weekend, while Russia warned any such action wou…

Trump vows ‘major decision’; Putin warns against ‘provocation’ | Syria News | Al Jazeera

Heated US-Russia exchange erupts and Security Council holds urgent meeting amid outrage over suspected chemical attack.

Russia complicit in Syria gas attack, Haley tells U.N. Security Council – POLITICO

The monster who was responsible for these attacks has no conscience,” she said.

Haley says Russia’s hands are ‘covered in the blood of syrian children’ – CNNPolitics

The US will respond to the Assad regime’s alleged chemical attack against Syrian civilians, US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the United Nations as she excoriated Russia, saying its hands are “covered in the blood of Syrian children.”

United Nations: Nikki Haley Condemns Syrian Chemical Attack | Time

Nikki Haley condemned the recent chemical attack in Syria while speaking at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council

Nikki Haley shames Syria after suspected chemical attack: ‘We are on the edge of a dangerous precipice’ | Fox News

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivered a forceful repudiation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his supporters while delivering remarks to the UN Security Council on Monday, following an alleged chemical attack in Syria that killed at least 40 people over the weekend.

Russia suddenly puts troops on full combat alert – Defence Blog

The Russian military command suddenly puts troops on full combat alert, movements of combat vehicles and missile systems observe almost all over the country. An activity of Russian troops is most notable in the Western part of Russia, near the borders with Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus, as well as in the Transbaikal region and the Far East. On April 8-9 active movements of a large number of military vehicles and tanks, also were seen moving of the Iskander missile systems with Air Defence support. Some source reported about deploying command and control systems on main military naval bases and military airfields. Russian defence officials refused to comment on any moving of troops. Some experts attribute this to the fear of a possible US and NATO invasion of Syria after an alleged chemical attack on a Syrian rebel-held town. It should be reminded that Ukraine’s Defenсe Minister Stepan Poltorak said in an interview that Russia has concentrated 19 battalion tactical groups of more than 77,000 troops near the Ukrainian. At the moment, the government in Kyiv is ramping up its fight to reclaim Ukraine’s restive eastern regions, at the same time Russia has deployed 77,000 troops along its border with Ukraine, included modern main battle tanks. missile systems and combat aircraft.

UAWire – Russia calls any military intervention in Syria unacceptable

Military intervention under fictitious pretexts in Syria, where Russian soldiers are stationed, is unacceptable. A statement to this effect was made by the Russian Foreign Ministry and published on the department’s website. The Foreign Ministry pointed out that the Russians are in Syria at the request of the country’s legitimate government. Outside interference, the department said, is absolutely inadmissible, and “may lead to the most severe consequences”. “The spread of information that chlorine and other toxic substances were used by government forces continues,” the department stated, commenting on reports of a chemical attack in Duma which appeared on April 7. The Foreign Ministry noted that the information comes from the White Helmets humanitarian organization, which has been caught on multiple occasions for violations, and found to be connected to terrorists, and from advocacy organizations based in the US and UK. On April 8, General-Major Yuriy Yevtushenko, head of Russia’s Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, said that the statements on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian forces aim to disrupt the withdrawal of Jaysh al-Islam militants from the city of Duma. He added that this is “one of the West’s favorite topics”. Earlier SANA reported that the Syrian state army had renewed the attack on the final hotbed of Syrian opposition resistance in Eastern Ghouta – the city of Duma. Reuters reported with reference to the rebels that the Syrian forces had bombed the civilians with chemical weapons. Human rights advocates reported the deaths of 11 people.

How Putin’s Folly Could Lead to a Middle East War – POLITICO Magazine

Russia’s intervention in Syria has brought the region to the brink of disaster.

BREAKING: US Joint Chiefs Appearing to Prepare Air Strikes for Syria Over Use of Chemical Warfare | The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com | Hana Levi Julian | 24 Nisan 5778 – April 8, 2018 | JewishPress.com

Senior U.S. military officials say both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and CENTCOM – America’s military force in the Middle East – are preparing a raft of options for carrying out strikes against the Syrian government in retaliation for the deaths of scores of Syrian women and children due to another deadly chemical attack, according to a report by i24TV news, quoting U.S. military sources. The options and target list are to be presented to the president and his national security team within the next few hours.

Thornberry: U.S. should consider new round of airstrikes against Syria – POLITICO

The House Armed Services chairman urged greater international condemnation of Assad’s regime.

Lindsey Graham: Trump Must Back Up Syria Talk or `Look Weak’ | Fortune

“If it becomes a tweet without meaning, then he has hurt himself in North Korea,” Graham said.

Theresa May under pressure to join strikes on Assad in Syria | News | The Times

Theresa May is under pressure from ministers and allies to join a US-led military strike against the Assad regime as France set the pace for retaliation against a suspected chemical attack.The prime minister said that President Assad and Russia would be “held to account . . . if they are found to be

UK defence secretary warns Russia not to block UN probe into suspected Syrian chemical weapons attack – The National

<p>Gavin Williamson says supporters of “dreadful” Syrian regime must now act to reign in Assad forces</p>

Macron Needs to Attack Syria – Foreign Policy

“When you set out red lines, if you are unable to enforce them, then you decide to be weak,” French President Emmanuel Macron declared last summer. “Such is not my choice.” Macron’s repeated warnings that France was prepared to strike in case chemical weapons were used in Syria will be tested this week as at least 42 people have been found suffocated to death in rebel-held suburb of Douma by a chlorine like substance. On Sunday, President Donald Trump and Macron spoke on the phone and “agreed that the Assad regime must be held accountable for its continued human rights abuses.”

UAWire – Macron and Trump exchange information ‘confirming’ chemical attack in Syria

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron exchanged information that “confirmed the use of chemical weapons” in Syria during a phone call. This was announced in a statement published on the official website of the Élysée Palace. “They also agreed to coordinate their actions and initiatives in the UN Security Council on Monday, April 9, in New York, for discussion of the non-compliance with resolution 2401 and repeated use of chemical weapons. All of the guilty parties will be clearly established,” the report states. The press release did not mention the manner in which the two presidents exchanged the information. It mentioned only that Macron and Trump had agreed to maintain close contact, and to talk again in the next 48 hours. Meanwhile Reuters’ sources in the US government reported that Washington’s assessment of the reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria is that a chemical attack did in fact take place. However, the details of the attack are still being determined. The sources clarified that the conclusion that a chemical attack really took place was made “with some degree of confidence”. Earlier Russia initiated a session of the UN Security Council on the topic of the threat to international security. Western countries have also requested that the reports of a chemical attack in Syria be discussed in the session. Information on a chemical attack by the Syrian Air Force came out on the night before Sunday, April 8. According to activists in the Syrian American Medical Society, at least 49 people were affected by the attack. The Syrian Foreign Ministry denied that Damascus was involved in the attack. Donald Trump accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons, and promised Assad that he would pay a “high price” for it. Trump also reiterated that Russia and Iran are also responsible, as they have supported the Syrian regime.

Trump, Macron Vow ‘Strong’ Response As Emergency UN Session Set On Syria

U.S. President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron say they will coordinate “a strong, joint response” to a reported chemical attack in Syria’s rebel-held city of Douma that has sparked international outrage.

Trump to Decide Soon Whether to Retaliate for ‘Barbaric Act’ in Syria – The New York Times

The president said Syria’s patrons in Russia and Iran may also be responsible for enabling last weekend’s chemical attack. “Everybody’s going to pay a price,” he said.

Syria ‘chemical attack’: Trump pledges ‘forceful’ US response – BBC News

The US leader says a response will come “shortly” to Saturday’s alleged chemical attack in Syria.

Donald Trump promises ‘forceful’ response to Syria gas attack | World | The Times

President Trump vowed to respond to a “heinous” suspected nerve gas attack on Syrian civilians, saying he would decide within 48 hours, adding: “Nothing’s off the table.”Mr Trump called the strike on Douma that killed scores of people “an atrocious attack” and said that President Putin would “pa

Trump mulls “very tough” military response to Syria attack – ABC News

Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.

Mattis ‘not ruling out’ Syria military action after Douma attack | News | Al Jazeera

Comments by Pentagon chief Jim Mattis come before UN Security Council discusses gas attack in Syrian rebel-held town.

For a Second Strike on Syria, Trump Will Have to Go Big – Foreign Policy

With little to show for last year’s missile attack, the Trump administration is contemplating a larger campaign against the Assad government.

Opinion | In Syria, Trump Faces the Limits of Bluster – The New York Times

After chemical weapons kill dozens, the president must face up to the complexities of ending the slaughter there.

Fox News Tells Trump: Bomb Syria—Now

The Trump administration is still deciding what to do about an alleged Syrian chemical attack. The Trump TV network has already cooked up a response. It involves things exploding.

What Is America Going to Do About Syria Now? – Defense One

After the latest suspected chemical attack, the United States has four options.

Firing missiles into Syria may be cathartic — but catharsis isn’t foreign policy – The Washington Post

America’s ability to influence events in Syria is vanishingly small.

What’s at stake for Trump in Syria – CNNPolitics

A decision by President Donald Trump to use force in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria appears inevitable and imminent. But his goals in taking such action are less clear, as is the scale of the US response.

Opinion | Bashar al-Assad Knows What He Can Get Away With – The New York Times

Syria’s president watches Washington carefully. He wouldn’t use chemical weapons if he thought it would endanger his regime.

UAWire – As American warships converge in the Mediterranean Russia getting ready to defend Assad from possible strikes

It’s still not known what the response of the US and allies will be to the chemical attack in Douma which took dozens of lives. Two meetings of the UN Security Council are taking place on Monday regarding the attack. At the same time American officials did not rule out a military response, blaming Russia and Iran for backing the Assad regime. It is reported that the US Navy Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS Georgia changed its area of operations to the Mediterranean. It carries up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima is currently located off the cost of Djibouti and might be ready to conduct strikes at Syria. US Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Laboon crossed the Suez and is located in the Red Sea. USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) arrived in Cyprus on April 5th. USS Georgia (SSGN-729is also in the Mediterranean. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64) and the Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner (SSN-785) are currently also in the Mediterranean. At the same time, Russia has put S-400 anti-missile systems in Syria into high readiness state. The Su-24 bombers from Khmeimim air base are monitoring the actions of the U.S. Navy in the Mediterranean, according to the reports on social networks. “A second pair of Russian Air Force Su-30SM fighter jets left Khmeimim , while a third pair is ready for departure after return of the first pair which has been airborne since an hour ago. Russia’s S-400 SAM battery is also on high alert,” Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) writes on Twitter. The sources in Tartus report that Russian fighters conduct low altitude flights “apparently on a monitoring mission of the US Navy”. It is reported that two Russian Il-38 anti-submarine aircraft are patrolling the Syrian coast. War_Intel (@WarIntelNEWS) writes that all Russian aircraft have left Khmeimim airbase and are constantly in the air only returning for refueling. Syrian news agencies report that the evacuation of the personnel from the military facilities is underway.

Gassed where they had hidden, Syrian families killed in minutes – CNN

They lay lifeless on the ground, babies, children and parents, some with foam coming from their mouth, families killed within minutes.

Bombed and gassed into oblivion: The lost oasis of Damascus

Ghouta, Syria is being destroyed. The latest news tells of at least 40 residents killed in a chemical weapons attack. But Ghouta’s past was all about beauty, and its very name meant “green oasis.”

How the Death of 6,000 Sheep Spurred the American Debate on Chemical Weapons | History | Smithsonian

The Dugway sheep incident of March 1968 made visible the military’s covert attempts to test and stockpile millions of dollars worth of chemical weapons

OPCW started investigation of chemical attack in Syria – 112.international

OPCW started investigation of chemical attack in Syria

Bolton Faces a Dangerous World – WSJ

He joins the chaotic Trump team amid the greatest uncertainty since Truman’s era.

Syria provides John Bolton with first test as Trump’s national security adviser | US news | The Guardian

As one of the hawks who led the Bush administration into war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bolton is unlikely to urge restraint on the president

John Bolton back on the job, as President Trump weighs Syria options

John Bolton, Trump’s third national security adviser, will have a trial by fire, arriving amid renewed crisis in the Middle East following a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma.

John Bolton: A complex worldview that just might work for Trump

The president’s new national security adviser is a hawk without being a neocon, and he’s not afraid of alliances.

Tucker Carlson is questioning legitimacy of reported Syrian chemical weapon attacks

The conservative firebrand’s comments come just after President Trump declared he will make a decision in the near future on a response to the chemical weapons use in Syria.

Apparent Syrian chemical attack must not change Trump foreign policy | TheHill

There is no simple response if Assad again gassed his own people. A one-off attack would mostly be for show and a more serious assault would put the U.S. on a collision course with Moscow.

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