Russia Did It!

This past week saw an enormous outpouring of respect and admiration for Stephen Hawking upon his passing.

In contrast to his frail health in life, his contributions to our understanding of the universe were prodigious and robust. Hawking's elevation of rational and intellectual truth above all else, even his failing body, inspired a generation of science lovers.

Perhaps, too, he represented something in desperately short supply in today's world: intellectual integrity.

Our lives are now fraught with easily-disproved fantasies, frauds and fictions being pushed to us through the media by institutions with deliberate agendas trying to engineer specific outcomes.

Those of us with a pragmatic mindset and an ability to recall (even quite recent) history, often find ourselves with mouths literally agape at the obvious deceptions being foisted upon what appears to be a terminally-gullible public.

Why do so many continue to blindly trust the same government agencies that have brazenly and repeatedly lied to them over the past recent years?

If this craziness continues for much longer, at a minimum, we'll face a punishing market correction/crash from which there will be no meaningful recovery in the lifetime of those reading this article.

At worst, we face the prospect of World War III, fought with nuclear weapons. If that were to happen, the lifetimes of many reading this article will be a lot shorter.

Yes, it’s that serious.

Non-stop Fictions

I risk running afoul of one of the strongest propaganda campaigns of my lifetime when I state that I'm not at all worried about Russia.

Nor am I swayed by the long parade of recent attempts to convince me that Russia is behind nearly every ill action. This includes the recent nerve agent attack in the UK.

I have no informed opinion yet on whether Russia or a different party was behind this act. But I can tell you that the burden of proof to establish Russia’s culpability has not even remotely been met.

If you find yourself triggered by what follows, please note that my over-riding interest here is the truth. My priority lies in assuring that we use our remaining national resources wisely; not squandering them on a monumentally stupid act like sparking a war with a major nuclear power. I’ve been completely consistent on this point over the years.

While the rush to judgment against Russia has been nearly universal by western countries, I would ask us all to please take a deep breath and to remember this:

While this is an historical embarrassment, it's critical that we remember that the vast intelligence agencies of both the US and the UK were deeply complicit in promoting the false narrative that Saddam had vast stores of chemical weapons, claiming that he was within 45 minutes of launching massive and damaging strikes against American and British targets.

Of course, no such chemical weapons existed. There were no stockpiles of WMDs. The Iraqi military also had no means of delivering them, via missiles or aircraft. And more to the point, Saddam had never once threatened to do so at any point in time.

But none of that mattered. Saddam was relentlessly built up as a mortal and imminent threat in the press by a vast “coalition of the willing”.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

~H. L. Mencken

(And for clarity's sake: Saddam was a cruel despot. I'm not defending his character. But he certainly wasn't the existential threat the West claimed him to be, and his removal certainly didn't merit the high cost the world has paid.)

Almost everything that I now read about Russia, including the emotional certainty by those delivering the news that it must be true, is precisely identical to that which accompanied the disastrous (and immoral and illegal) attack of Iraq by western powers.

How can people so quickly forget this very recent and colossal blunder?

In my world, when someone intentionally lies to me in way that causes harm, the burden of proof their future claims need to meet in order for me to believe them skyrockets. Said differently: once my trust is broken, it never comes fully back.

Further, if such claims, threats and retaliations against a much more potent power like Russia could once again trigger war -- but on a tremendously more dangerous scale -- shouldn't the evidence involved be held to the very highest standard possible?

In US law, when a person is being tried under criminal charges, the standard is "beyond a reasonable doubt":

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

The standard that must be met by the prosecution's evidence in a criminal prosecution: that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty.


So in the recent UK nerve agent attack, can there be “no other logical explanation” besides an intentional hit job by Putin?

Let’s examine the ‘proof’ that's been offered so far by British Prime Minister, Teresa May:

The UK government is manufacturing its nerve agent case for ‘action’ on Russia

By Nafeez Ahmed

On Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that former Russian spy, Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia, were poisoned with “a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia” known as ‘Novichok’.

The chemical agent was identified by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. May referred to the British government’s “knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so” as a basis to conclude that Russia’s culpability in the attack “is highly likely.”

On these grounds, she claimed that only two scenarios are possible:

“Either this was a direct act by the Russian State against our country. Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

The British government’s line has been chorused uncritically by the entire global press corps, with little scrutiny of its plausibility.


The case, such as it is, rests on the proposition that the presence of Novichok confirms that this was either the result of Russian State action or the negligence thereof by allowing it to get into the hands of assassins.

No samples have been released yet for independent analysis, so we're forced to trust the word of the UK government for now. That’s ding #1 to the case. I'll feel a lot better about the facts after other independent and transparent entities have analyzed the samples.

As the investigative journalist, Nafeez Ahmed, went on to point out in the rest of the article, there are a host of state actors with the capability to manufacture the Novichok nerve agent, including the UK, the US, Ukraine, and Israel -- all of whom may have varying and significant motivations to implicate Russia at this moment in time.

It’s utterly and completely illogical to simply say “Russia invented this stuff, so it must be Russia who did it”. Such a claim wouldn't stand up in a court of law as being “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Not even close.

Let's look at this next statement by Teresa May:

Her ‘reasoning’ can be deconstructed thusly:

“The poison in question was once produced by the Soviet Union in a place called Uzbekistan. But I’m going to say 'Russia' instead, even though the two counties don't even border each other. Anyways, because it was once produced by the Soviets there, we can be certain the Russians used it now to kill our double-agent.”

The lack of context and transparency is astonishing. The overly-simplistic logic is astonishing.

Is May's conclusion correct? Who knows? The truth is, we don't have enough evidence yet to come to any hard conclusions. 

To build a tighter case, you’d want to have the nerve agent sample(s) analyzed. Does it reveal some identifying chemical fingerprints that would prove it came from Russia? You'd push your police forces work to catch the person(s) responsible for administering the agent, and get a solid confession along with a paper trail (or its electronic equivalent) all open to public scrutiny.

We don't have any of that type of evidence yet. But the rush to judgment is now nearly complete. A number of strong sanctions are already being placed against Russia, risking much.

As for ‘reasonable doubt’, it turns out it's not clear at all that the presence of Novichok is a tell-tale sign of Russian involvement.

A very simple web search turns up the fact that it was the US military who helped Uzbekistan decommission the former Soviet chemical weapons site where Novichok was stored and tested:

U.S. and Uzbeks Agree on Chemical Arms Plant Cleanup

May 1999

The United States and Uzbekistan have quietly negotiated and are expected to sign a bilateral agreement today to provide American aid in dismantling and decontaminating one of the former Soviet Union's largest chemical weapons testing facilities, according to Defense Department and Uzbek officials.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon informed Congress that it intends to spend up to $6 million under its Cooperative Threat Reduction program to demilitarize the so-called Chemical Research Institute, in Nukus, Uzbekistan. Soviet defectors and American officials say the Nukus plant was the major research and testing site for a new class of secret, highly lethal chemical weapons called ''Novichok,'' which in Russian means ''new guy.''


Now, after reading that, nobody could possibly say that the presence of Novichok, all by itself, proves that it must have come from modern-day Russia.

Because we know for a fact that both the Uzbekistan and US government had access to Novichok, there’s no “chain of custody” that can be proved here that results in Russia being the only actor with access to Novichok.

To Ms. May’s other accusation: what if was Uzbekistan who lost control of some of that Novichok under its supervision back in the late 1990’s? What would Russia’s responsibility for that slip-up be today? Enough to risk a shooting war over?

Now, to fast-forward, let’s turn to the New York Times' coverage on March 12th, a full eight days after the March 4th nerve agent attack on Skripal. By this time, the paper had had plenty of opportunity to scan it’s own archives:

“It is now clear that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia,” Mrs. May said in the House of Commons. “The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.”

She said that either the poisoning was a “direct act of the Russian state against our country” or that Moscow had lost control of its nerve agent and had allowed it to get into the hands of others.


At no point in this article, or any other I’ve so far read, does the New York Times recall for its readers that Novichok was kept at a facility in Uzbekistan that the US military helped to dismantle and clean up in 1999.

Isn’t that a relevant fact that introduces credible alternatives to the assertions of Ms. May? Given what we experienced leading up to the Iraq invasion in 2002, we need to be asking these sorts of questions -- as the possible consequences are so severe.

What a responsible media organization (which many of my closest friends continue to insist the New York Times is) should do in its coverage is point out that many other world players could easily, and with reasonable doubt, have had access to Novichok. Objective and balanced reporting would have done that. 

Further, even if the Novichok used to poison Skripal and his daughter did not come from old stockpiles, it could very easily have been manufactured as Dave Collum (the Cornell Chemistry professor who writes the fantastic annual Year In Review summary that appears on Peak Prosperity each December) makes clear here:

This, too, could have and should have been part of the reporting. Why wasn’t it?

Given this omission, and the eminently-likely probability that the UK itself manufactured Novichok at Porton Down at some point in order to study it (as the US, Israel, North Korea, etc have all likely done, as well) what does the presence of Novichok in the recent nerve agent attack tell us about where it came from, who used it, and why?

In a court of law? Virtually nothing.

And when a war could be triggered? Worse than nothing. It’s dangerous and irresponsible.

A former member of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (the FCO is Britain's equivalent of the US State Department), Craig Murray, writes that the carefully worded phrase “of a type manufactured by” (seen in the articles above) is pure propaganda:

Of A Type Developed By Liars

Mar 16, 2018

I have now received confirmation from a well-placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the “Novichok” programme a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilisers. This substance is a “novichok” in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China.

To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days. The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was used by Theresa May in parliament, used by the UK at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, “of a type developed by Russia” is the precise phrase used in the joint communique issued by the UK, USA, France and Germany yesterday:

"This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War."

When the same extremely careful phrasing is never deviated from, you know it is the result of a very delicate Whitehall compromise. Porton Down is still not certain it is the Russians who have apparently synthesised a “Novichok”. Hence “Of a type developed by Russia”.

Note developed, not made, produced or manufactured.

It is very carefully worded propaganda. Of a type developed by liars.


Let me propose that antagonizing a major nuclear power using such flimsy “evidence” and weaselly wording is insane. The UK may well get a “conviction” in the court of public opinion (and may have already done so), but what’s been released so far would never stand up in a court of law. Sadly, as already noted, it wouldn’t be the first time the intelligence and political machinery went entirely off the rails in the UK or the US.

I’ve written extensively over the years (here, here and here) about the forms of propaganda being used to demonize Russia (as well as sell us all more consumer goods), and the risks that those deceptions entail. In short, if this all ends in a shooting war between the West and Russia, you can kiss goodbye a lot of things -- your standard of living probably the least worrisome of the lot.

As a counterbalance to the high degree of existential threat the western military powers apparently perceive as coming from Russia, I would simply offer these two facts:

  • Entire Russian Military budget for 2017 = $70 billion
  • The US’ increase in military expenditures for 2018 will be $90 billion (from $610b to $700b)

In other words: merely the increase in the US' military budget will be 128% of Russia’s entire military budget.

So here’s the bottom line: when war is on the line, shouldn't we insist that the very highest standards of evidence be used? And because the general public bears the worst costs of war, shouldn't that evidence be made freely and publicly available with full transparency?

Should we readily believe the UK government which has only so far made two claims: (1) it looks like Russia did this and (2) “trust us”?

I, for one, cannot. Not after the Iraq WMD fiasco.

I admit that, as a critically-thinking individual, I'm personally annoyed and offended that the level of evidence being offered up here falls so far below the minimum standards of proof. The implication is clear: those in charge think we're easily-led idiots.

The question for us as a society to answer is: Are we?

Well, we are if we allow our leaders to drive us all again into an unnecessary and preventable war.


The case presented (so far) against Russia by Teresa May could not and would not stand up in a court of law. The standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” has not been met. In fact, the case falls so ridiculously short of that standard that we're reminded of the slip-shod rush to war in Iraq back in 2003.

The elements are all the same: (1) serious charges levied against a proposed enemy, (2) a lack of any actual evidence presented to the public, and (3) a near universal and non-stop repetition of the charges by the press without any serious questioning or appropriate context.

My concern, as always, is avoiding an unnecessary war, especially one that could be so damaging.

As I wrote back in 2016 in the report Do We Really Want a War With Russia?

Where we could analyze the Russian-US situation from a variety of directions – political, historical, etc. – I am going to do it from the psychological perspective.

I see the neocons and likuds as very damaged and traumatized individuals. They carry a set of internal wounds that express on the outside as a very belligerent and hostile set of postures and actions.

If I were to guess at their internal wound, it might be something along the lines of “I was really hurt as a child and nobody will ever hurt me again like that.”

The best way to not be hurt is to lash out as fiercely and as rapidly as you can, in every circumstance. The motto is “Do on to others before they do on to me.”

The mistake you and I could make would be to assume on any level that these people share our world view and will not “go all the way” before turning back. They are not built the same. The ends always justify the means to these people. They do not rationally calculate outcomes because they are operating from a very wounded and highly irrational spot.

Have you ever tried using logic on someone who is in a full emotional meltdown? How did that work out? Not well, right? In fact, it almost certainly made things worse.

Well, as I worried, here we are.

Yes, somebody really wants a war with Russia and they seem determined to get it. Shame on the media for again failing to perform its role even minimally. Again.

I remain confused why so few others in the public see these patterns of deception yet.  I'm especially confused as to why Europe would go along with all this given that they receive so much of their daily energy needs, from Russia. Should Russia ever turn off the spigots, Europe would collapse in a hurry, economically, financially, and possibly socially.

I fully anticipate an emotional reaction to this piece, but my role is to call things as I see them. I'll ignore any responses that are merely ad hominem, or attempt to portray opinions as facts (i.e. “look this is the sort of thing Russia does, so I believe they did it!!”)

Instead I appeal to the use of logic, data and reason. Let's have an open debate based on those.

Given the stakes involved, shouldn’t we appeal to our greatest intellectual and rational abilities? It’s what Stephen Hawking would have encouraged.

Thanks for persisting through this long article. The punchline to it all is: War with Russia is a distinct possibility, and the West is increasing that risk through escalating provocation.

Should a war break out, it could be along a variety of dimensions which are outlined in Part 2 below.

For now, it should be (hopefully) sufficient for you to take the threat seriously and to make whatever provisions seem prudent to you. To our European readers, such preparations seem even more necessary because you will be close to the front lines of any direct, conventional hostilities that break out.

In Part 2: How To Prepare For War (Updated Version), we explain how conflict can take many forms: trade wars, energy wars, financial wars, cyberwar, shooting wars, and nuclear war. We lay out in great detail the steps we, as individuals, can do to prepare for each.

And fortunately, this preparation comes with an upside: as many of these precautions will be life-enhancing steps even if -- hopefully, if -- tensions de-escalate from here.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

From “Moon of Alabama” blog:…

The British government claims that its own chemical weapon laboratory at Porton Down, only a few miles from where the incident happened, has identified the poison as one of the 'Novichok' chemicals.
But in 2016 a leading chemist at Porton Down had doubts that such chemicals exist....
The former Soviet scientist, Vil Mirzanyanov, who 'blew the whistle' and wrote about the 'Novichoks', now lives in a $1 million home in the United States. The AFP news agency just interviewed him about the recent incident: Mirzayanov, speaking at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, said he is convinced Russia carried it out as a way of intimidating opponents of President Vladimir Putin. "Only the Russians" developed this class of nerve agents, said the chemist. "They kept it and are still keeping it in secrecy." The only other possibility, he said, would be that someone used the formulas in his book to make such a weapon. "Russia did it", says Mirzanyanov, "OR SOMEONE WHO READ MY BOOK".

From Club Orlov

BY TOM O’CONNOR ON 3/13/18 AT 2:27 PM
Top Russian officials have threatened to retaliate with force if President Donald Trump orders an attack that could endanger the lives of its soldiers stationed there in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign against rebels and jihadis near Damascus.
Army General Valery Gerasimov warned on Tuesday that the U.S. was preparing to launch raids against Moscow’s ally, the Syrian government, as it attempted to clear the pockets of insurgents—some of which were once backed by the West—in the suburbs of the capital city of Damascus. Gerasimov, who acted as chief of Russia’s general staff and deputy defense minister, claimed that the U.S. would strike under the false pretense of a chemical weapon attack—a tactic that Russia has denied the Syrian military utilizes—and vowed to fight back.
“In the event of a threat to our military servicemen’s lives, Russia’s armed forces will take retaliatory measures to target both the missiles and their delivery vehicles,” Gerasimov said, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency.
[To me, this sounds like they are indicating that they will shoot back at US airplanes and ships that launched the missiles.]

I found this item in the story rather amazing since the official line is that the uprising was a spontaneous sympathetic response to the Arab spring.
Russia intervened in Syria in 2015 at Assad’s request, helping him overcome a 2011 uprising sponsored by the West, Turkey and Gulf Arab states.

I don’t know how to characterize imminent anymore. . .things I thought were right around the corner seem to be years away still. . .but I have recently become convinced that we are being prepped for war with Russia. Why? Because the economy is collapsing, we are overpopulated with expensive pensioners, and the march toward globalism must continue.
Other enemies haven’t worked out. The “Islamist threat” can’t get it together and pose no real threat to the homeland. The worst we get from them or false flags attributed to them are a few days of “thoughts and prayers” and more proxy wars that don’t impact the people at home. You can’t wipe out big chunks of the population that way.
China is simply too intertwined into the global and US economy for the globalists to take on right now. Who would make all the iphones, buy all the oil, and invest in US T-Bills? We can’t destroy the Chinese. . .we NEED the Chinese.
That leaves the Russians an economy small enough to wipe out without destroying the global economy, familiar enough as an enemy to the simpletons recalling the cold war, and just tough enough to make for a “good” conflict with the desired results - lots of population reduction, lots of munitions sold, and a blind eye to what the other hand is doing while we save democracy.
The method - a false flag attack or provocation - just like many of the major wars of the twentieth century. Recall the sinking of the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and 9/11. This time we are being prepped for a “cyber attack on the power grid”. All the benefits of an EMP without the nasty damage to the transformers - it can last long enough to cull the herd, declare martial law, bring Trump to heal, and mobilize the nation for war - but no so long as to interfere with next season at Martha’s Vineyard.
This is my prediction.

Russia responds with predictable proportionality.
The UK doubles down on the silliness by escalating beyond “highly likely” into the Twilight Zone:

A spokeswoman for the U.K. Foreign Office said that Britain had anticipated Moscow’s response. “Russia’s response doesn’t change the facts of the matter—the attempted assassination of two people on British soil, for which there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable,” the spokeswoman said but added that "we continue to believe it is not in our national interest to break off all dialogue between our countries but the onus remains on the Russian state to account for their actions."
From 'highly likely' top 'no alternative conclusion.' That's a big jump. They are doubling down. Pretty sad from the nation that invented and idolized Sherlock Homes. Here are some alternative conclusions: It was a family affair somehow - jilted lover, angry ex, crazy mother in law. It was Turkey. It was Israel. It was the US. It was Ukraine. It was Saudi Arabia. It was the UK government (see next video...a pretty solid explanation?)
Means, motive and opportunity exist in each of these areas. None can be excluded based on the evidence so far offered. So, yes, alternative conclusions remain.

I guess the silver lining to these dark clouds, that is if you like black humor, is perhaps we go bankrupt before we can manage to attack anyone. 700 billion in department of defense, than add in related expenses in veterans affairs and nukes in the department of energy etcetera, where are we at? I have heard were at a trillion in total spending before the latest increase. Meanwhile pension funds are 5 billion under funded, 70% of Americans are living pay check to pay check, mean retirement savings are at under 100,000, but the median retirement levels are $5,000 for working families.
Retirement homes are turning into automobiles, people are figuring out how to take the back seats out of their cars to fit in beds, millennials are figuring out how to live in vans. Student loan debt is at all time highs, automobile delinquencies are starting to soar, and now credit card is climbing again. Tiny house movement? Translate, welcome to the 3rd world movement. Another 2008 event and perhaps they will not be able to paper over it with funny money. Another war? Game over for the US as global super power.

I know Putin may have more skeletons in the closet than most US politicians, possibly even the Clinton’s, but, in interview, he sounds intelligent, rational and the responses he considers, measured. His motives, for the most part, sound like they are aimed at improving Russia, rather than a special interest group.
He is easier to listen to than many western politicians.

I totally get the sinister reasons behind why the first W. Bush Administration started a carefully-planned propaganda war against Saddam Hussein leading up to a real, and illegitimate, war against Iraq.
Can someone please explain the U.K.'s motives in starting/escalating a propaganda war against Putin/Russia?
When one party falsely accuses the other party of a very bad thing, one expects to see a clear motive for the false accusation.

Lemonyellowschwin wrote:
I totally get the sinister reasons behind why the first W. Bush Administration started a carefully-planned propaganda war against Saddam Hussein leading up to a real, and illegitimate, war against Iraq. Can someone please explain the U.K.'s motives in starting/escalating a propaganda war against Putin/Russia?
I'm no expert on UK politics, but the US is already involved in a pretty hyperbolic Russia demonization program where Russia has been accused of everything from hacking DNC servers, hacking the election (wrong term, I know, but that's how bad things are), hacking the nation's power grid, to operating hyper-effective social influencing troll farms. The UK has a long history of following along with US trends and wishes (dodgy dossiers and all that). But the video I linked above shows that Teresa May's party, the Torries, is losing ground very rapidly to the Labour party. Well, had been. Here's the top image from Google at the moment: Corbyn is being painted as "blind to the truth" even though no truths have been established, and losing ground to Teresa May over her handling of the topic. Allegedly, I should endeavor to point out...these polls and such are very easily and quite often rigged during a propaganda push. Worse, Corbyn has been painted in all the top media outlets of the UK as being possibly a traitor but certainly dangerously ignorant over his stance on the Skripal poisoning. His offences? Simply calling for evidence first, decisions second:
The Labour leader doubled down on that cautious approach on Thursday night. “This horrific event demands first of all the most thorough and painstaking criminal investigation, conducted by our police and security services,” he said. “To rush way ahead of the evidence being gathered by the police, in a fevered parliamentary atmosphere, serves neither justice nor our national security.” Corbyn warned against a “McCarthyite intolerance of dissent” over Russia. “Labour is of course no supporter of the Putin regime, its conservative authoritarianism, abuse of human rights or political and economic corruption,” he said. (Source)
That all sounds rather measured and statesmanlike to me. But the Torries represent big corporate interests and wielding the power of the state whenever possible for narrow political ends. The nearly deranged rantings of Boris Johnson (Teresa May's choice as Secretary off State for Foreign Affairs) are hopefully an acute embarrassment to all thoughtful UK citizens. As a prime example of propaganda, done heavy handed and clumsily and rather obviously in the trademark way of the BBC, I would offer up this image of a recent set featuring Corbyn in a Photoshopped Russian hat set against a Moscow skyline in menacing red tones: Isn't that dramatic? How awesome!! /sarc It's good to know that movie set designers have work at the BBC after the movie shoots are over. I'm detecting the work of this set designer again: Okay, I was just having a bit of fun there. But it did remind of an over-the-top-movie set... Speaking of the BBC, they of the still unexplained "WTC building 7 has just collapsed" 20 minutes before the event, I'm finding that lots of people share my jaded, critical view of their 'work.' Here's one such comment that wraps up the entire sentiment of the Corbyn/BBC farce: Great summary. At any rate the 'reason' for the UK possibly being behind this range from the mundane to the deeply worrisome. Mundane would be "to score political points at a key moment." Teresa May has been doing a horrible job on the Brexit negotiations by most accounts and her party was flagging badly at the polls against Labour. This event 'solved' both problems at once. The benign(est) explanation is that the Skripals were poisoned with Novochok as described but the UK government then did not look too closely at the particulars of who might have actually done it preferring to immediately spin it to best effect for political gain by blaming Russia. Worrisome would be that the UK government is one part of a large machine encompassing several governments all seeking to initiate a war with Russia. I have no idea where the truth lies, but I do know that the statements made so far by the UK government and the media are not even remotely supported by the facts presented so far.

I think we’d all like to believe, deep down, that something as serious as a war would not be conjured up ‘just because’ and then be ‘justified’ using completely fabricated evidence, but that view, nice as it is, does not comport with history.
Here’s a blast from the past. See if you detect any echoes to today’s situation.

In the [BBC] programme, Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6, was reported as having told Mr Blair that Washington had fixed policy on a war against Iraq and was going to fit the intelligence around that policy. Despite the humiliation of losing its director general, Greg Dyke, over its allegations concerning David Kelly, the government arms control officer, the film contained powerful condemnation of the government. It included interviews with former officials who had al ready broken in public with the government's Iraq strategy. It also quoted extensively from leaked documents first revealed by the Daily Telegraph. In the most startling revelation, the programme claimed that at a meeting on July 23 2002, Sir Richard said a war was inevitable, adding that the facts and the intelligence were being fixed round the policy set out by George Bush's administration. The claim was based on several reliable sources, Panorama said. It claimed that Sir Richard briefed Mr Blair that the quality of intelligence sourcing for some claims made in the run-up to the publication of the intelligence dossier was developmental, adding: "The source remains unproven." Nevertheless, Mr Blair told MPs two weeks later: "The intelligence picture they paint is one accumulated over the past four years. It is extensive, detailed and authoritative." The programme also claimed that British intelligence was unable to convince neutral members of the UN security council, such as Mexico, of the dangers of Iraq's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. The programme quoted Adolfo Zinser, former Mexican ambassador to the UN, referring to a meeting with MI6. Mr Zinser said: "I asked them: 'Do you have full proof of the existence of these weapons at any one of these particular sites that you are referring to? The MI6 officers told me: "No." (Source)
Sometimes you just have to fit the facts around the policy. The policy right now is "demonize Russia." What the ultimate purpose of that policy is, or what it seeks to achieve, remain open questions. However the risk such a policy entails is war, and whether that's intentionally achieved or an accidental by-product of clumsy policy aims is irrelevant. That risk is why I wrote part II of this report. We all need to understand that war drums are being beaten, and risks are involved.

Thanks Chris, you’ve filled in some of the blanks for me. Here in the UK, my BS-o-meter ™ has been going off the scale for the last weeks. Not helped by my educated friends and colleagues bemoaning the audacity of the Russians attacking someone on British soil. The ability to critically analyse information appears to be atrophying in the population.
My own analysis only leads to one terrifying conclusion…
Russia has nothing to gain from this. Zip. Nadda. Even if they did, why use such an obvious weapon? This is a false flag attack to set up the Russians
So why do that? Because the population need a bogeyman.
Why? If you know anything about the 3 E’s then you know change is coming. As a politician, would you rather be in charge of the descent, and able to do nothing about it, or would you rather have someone to point at and blame them as everything goes to hell in a handbasket?
The population are being prepared. War is coming and it’s not going to be a pretty little foreign war that we can all watch from the comfort of our homes. One way or another, this one is going to hit us all. Personally, my money is one cyber warfare
I used to think Theresa May was one of the few (very few) politicians I had a modicum of respect for. Not anymore.

It never ceases to amaze me how Australian governments are so eager to stick their noses into other peoples’ affairs:

Both the British and Australian governments have repeatedly said they are consulting closely on responses to the poisoning, raising the prospect that Canberra will take out its own measures against Moscow along with others [sic] countries that are rallying around Britain over the unprecedented use of a chemical weapon on British soil.
Source Shakespeare wrote of "Low-crooked curtsies, and base spaniel fawning." (Julius Caesar Act 3 Scene 1.) How repulsively true. Oz has been rather good at base spaniel-fawning for as long as I can remember, with one glorious, swiftly-despatched exception. I am sure the Russians are quaking in their boots at the terrifying prospect that the full might and majesty of the Australian nation and its federal government may be brought to bear against — whomever. It is so comforting to know that all forensic and legal procedures have been openly and publicly followed and the results made patent. Bah! We're being led by the nose and sooner or later that nose will be grievously hurt. Serves us right. So sad. In Oz I see daily proof that mass delusions are easy to establish and maintain when an independent, inquiring and analytically-minded press has largely been eradicated. Speaking for myself, I cannot bear even to glance at the front pages of the Murdoch press any more — too emotionally and psychologically damaging. Yet people read this stuff daily. Unbelievable. Little wonder the readers seem invincibly convinced that the world is seething with baleful terrorists who hate us and everything we stand for and would swiftly murder us all in our beds if it weren't for our wonderful, admirable, plucky security systems and "robust" laws and military interventions in the Middle East standing between us and Them. Democracy? Forget that. These are serious times! Good grief. How much psychic damage can a nation absorb? Chris wrote: "I fully anticipate a emotional reaction to this piece". Rest assured that my emotions consist of joy that you have written it, pleasure at its logic and careful exposition, and full agreement with its conclusions. And yes, I have tried to reason with someone in emotional meltdown and no, it did not end well. It felt so good when I stopped... (By the way, don't adulate Hawking too much. In physics he was stellar. In philosophy he was quite out of his depth.)

It’s the Völkischer Beobachter and Poland all over again.
Only this time it’s the noble, justice-loving Anglosphere bearing the false witness.

It exasperates me to no end when persons near and dear to me, who have ostensibly fine intellects, fall for this propaganda and accept proclamations of Russia’s guilt without demanding ANY hard evidence. It must be the relentless repetition of assertions of Russian involvement that never stops in the mainstream media. It is a very lonely existence to not accept statements of guilt that are not accompanied by evidence. It also helps to watch absolutely no television.
Add to that, the failure to recognize the parallels to the “weapons of mass destruction” meme in the propaganda build up to the Iraq war. No wonder the late great Gore Vidal referred to us as “the United States of Amnesia.” Gosh, people, it was only 15 years ago!!
Thanks for letting me vent. Here’s a link to The Saker’s latest: “Hold my beer and watch this!”

Just a few tidbits from my readings of Russian authors. I am struck by the way Solzenitsyn’s words seem to be just as descriptive of our present situation in the United States as they were of Russia at the end of the Soviet Union. Tolstoy’s thoughts on how people react to danger also seem to be an accurate description of our time. Putin’s words are most ominous, but not without historical precedent, or without reason. If we continue on the present course, it will not end well.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:
In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.
A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.
Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.
Leo Tolstoy
In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.
Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace (Kindle Locations 15991-16011). Waxkeep Publishing. Kindle Edition:
At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal power in the human soul: one very reasonably tells a man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of escaping it; the other, still more reasonably, says that it is too depressing and painful to think of the danger, since it is not in man’s power to foresee everything and avert the general course of events, and it is therefore better to disregard what is painful till it comes, and to think about what is pleasant. In solitude a man generally listens to the first voice, but in society to the second.
Vladimir Putin:
“From the beginning we failed to overcome Europe’s division. The Berlin Wall fell but invisible walls were moved to the East of Europe. This has led to mutual misunderstandings and assignments of guilt. They are the cause of all crises ever since.”
“Nobody should have any illusion about the possibility of gaining military superiority over Russia. We will never allow this to happen.”

ezlxq1949 wrote:
It never ceases to amaze me how Australian governments are so eager to stick their noses into other peoples' affairs
I suspect that it's not a case of sticky beaks by Australia, but instead doing what it's told - just like the UK is doing. Malcolm Turnbull is about as strong as a wet celery stalk in a typhoon, so I expect he'll tow the line, even if the stark reality to him is that Russia could casually walk over and obliterate Australia in a heartbeat. Or maybe Turnbull believes the US would repeat its last-minute WW2 cavalry performance. Servility, stupidity or delusion - the outcome of blind accedence is the same.

Personally I’d support this……
But my stance is mainly related to a wild rumour that is also circulating where by England maybe asked by FIFA to host a postponed tournament in 2019… cool

Rector wrote:
This time we are being prepped for a "cyber attack on the power grid". All the benefits of an EMP without the nasty damage to the transformers - it can last long enough to cull the herd, declare martial law, bring Trump to heal, and mobilize the nation for war - but no so long as to interfere with next season at Martha's Vineyard.
With you, bro. Made the same prediction yesterday. It's so obvious it hurts. Gonna go to the bank and get some extra cash, top off the home supply.

VIVA anyway – Sager