Friday, March 16, 2018

Corbyn Assailed for Requesting Evidence on May's "Russian Chemical Attack" Claims

Corbyn Smeared as 'Russian Stooge' for Requesting Evidence on Poisoned Spy 


March 16, 2018

While harshly condemning the Salisbury nerve agent attack, the Labour Party's leftist leader requested evidence that the Russian government carried it out. A deluge of smears followed. The leftist leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party is under attack, simply because he calmly called for an investigation in line with international law.

On March 4, a former Russian spy who had been a double agent for the British government was found unconscious in Salisbury, England. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia had reportedly been poisoned, and were hospitalized in critical condition.

A week later, the United Kingdom’s Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May claimed the Russian-made nerve agent Novichok had been used in the attack.

JEREMY CORBYN: The attack in Salisbury was an appalling act of violence. Nerve agents are abominable if used in any war. It is utterly reckless to use them in a civilian environment. 

Britain's Slow Killing of Journalist Julian Assange

The Truth About Julian Assange & Wikileaks w/ Suzie Dawson

by Redacted Tonight

March 15, 2018

Redacted Tonight is a comedy show written and performed by Americans, in America covering American news.

FREE TICKETS to our tapings (Thursday nights in Washington, DC) ~ Stand Up Comedy Tour - Weekly Podcast - 

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Vial Lies: May's Pandora's Box

Of A Type Developed By Liars 

by Craig Murray

16 Mar, 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. My FCO source, like me, remembers the extreme pressure put on FCO staff and other civil servants to sign off the dirty dossier on Iraqi WMD, some of which pressure I recount in my memoir Murder in Samarkand. She volunteered the comparison to what is happening now, particularly at Porton Down, with no prompting from me.

Separately I have written to the media office at OPCW to ask them to confirm that there has never been any physical evidence of the existence of Russian Novichoks, and the programme of inspection and destruction of Russian chemical weapons was completed last year.

Did you know these interesting facts?

OPCW inspectors have had full access to all known Russian chemical weapons facilities for over a decade – including those identified by the “Novichok” alleged whistleblower Mirzayanov – and last year OPCW inspectors completed the destruction of the last of 40,000 tonnes of Russian chemical weapons

By contrast the programme of destruction of US chemical weapons stocks still has five years to run

Israel has extensive stocks of chemical weapons but has always refused to declare any of them to the OPCW. Israel is not a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention nor a member of the OPCW. Israel signed in 1993 but refused to ratify as this would mean inspection and destruction of its chemical weapons. Israel undoubtedly has as much technical capacity as any state to synthesise “Novichoks”.

Until this week, the near universal belief among chemical weapons experts, and the official position of the OPCW, was that “Novichoks” were at most a theoretical research programme which the Russians had never succeeded in actually synthesising and manufacturing. That is why they are not on the OPCW list of banned chemical weapons.

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.


This post prompted another old colleague to get in touch. On the bright side, the FCO have persuaded Boris he has to let the OPCW investigate a sample. But not just yet. The expectation is the inquiry committee will be chaired by a Chinese delegate. The Boris plan is to get the OPCW also to sign up to the “as developed by Russia” formula, and diplomacy to this end is being undertaken in Beijing right now.

I don’t suppose there is any sign of the BBC doing any actual journalism on this?

Four Years After Maidan: Nadezhda Savchenko Accused of Ukraine 'Fawkes' Plot

Maidan icon Savchenko faces arrest after claiming top Ukraine official ‘led snipers to central Kiev’ 

by RT

March 15, 2018
Ukrainian MP Nadezhda Savchenko, who was lauded as a hero for her role in the Donbass military campaign and her prosecution in Russia, is now accused of plotting to blow up the national parliament in Kiev.

The General Prosecutor’s Office in Kiev has requested that the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, strip Savchenko of legal immunity and allow her arrest. MPs in Ukraine normally enjoy protection from prosecution. However, General Prosecutor Yury Lutsenko filed the request on Thursday after Savchenko failed to show up for a scheduled questioning.

Lutsenko threatened he would do so earlier this week while Savchenko was on a visit to Europe in her capacity as MP. Savchenko responded by accusing Lutsenko of covering up the involvement in the deadly 2014 Maidan shooting, which escalated mass protest into an armed coup and ultimately brought the current Ukrainian government into power.

“Lutsenko called to go on offensive from the podium. He promised weapons. I saw armed people arriving in a blue van. Those people are now in the parliament,” she said.

Adding that she saw “[current Rada Speaker Andriy] Parubiy leading the snipers to the hotel ‘Ukraine’,” from which shots were later fired.

She added that she gave her testimony on these events to people investigating the mass killings, but that led nowhere.

BBC airs Maidan fighter admitting he fired on police before Kiev massacre

Savchenko later corrected herself, saying that she meant another senior Ukrainian official, Sergey Pashinsky, rather than the parliament speaker. Parubiy was a self-proclaimed “commandant of Maidan” during the mass protests in Ukraine. He was named as a possible ringleader by some critics who allege that the mass killings were initiated by the protestor side.

Pashinsky, who was an MP at that time and remains one in the current parliament, was famously caught on camera helping a man with a hunting rifle escape from an angry crowd. Some people believe that Pashinsky was part of a conspiracy to escalate violence in Kiev and rushed to protect the man believing him to be one of the snipers responsible for the bloodbath.

The prosecutors want to question Savchenko over alleged links to a man named Vladimir Ruban, who was earlier arrested while trying to smuggle a large cache of weapons from the rebel-controlled part of eastern Ukraine into territory that remains under Kiev’s control. The Ukrainian authorities claim Ruban was planning an armed coup in central Kiev.

Lutsentko told the Rada that the MP was part of the “terrorist” plot:

“The prosecution has proof that Nadezhda Savchenko, a member of parliament, personally planned, recruited and directed a terrorist attack in this very hall. She wanted to destroy two balconies with grenades and make the dome collapse by mortar fire. The survivors would have been finished off with firearms.”

Responding to the accusation, Savchenko did not deny, but downplayed Lutsentko’s accusations.

“Ukrainians, just think about it. Who of you never thought about taking down that government just like they were calling on us to do at all the Maidan protests? Who didn’t think about blowing up [the president’s administration] or [the Parliament]?
Are we living in 1937, Stalin’s times, when thinking about such things is a crime? Talking about it in the street? Only a lazy person now does not say such things,” she told journalists.

Earlier Savchenko publicly supported Ruban, who has a long record of acting as an intermediary for prisoner swaps between the eastern Ukrainian rebels and forces loyal to Kiev. Savchenko, who was a military service member before rising to prominence in Ukraine, has been a vocal supporter of such exchanges.

Villain or hero? The many faces of Nadezhda Savchenko

She has also been advocating a reduction of violence in eastern Ukraine and direct talks between Kiev and the rebels, a measure that the Ukrainian government strongly rejects.

Savchenko became a public figure after being arrested in Russia, where she was accused of being an accessory to the murder of two Russian journalists, who were killed by mortar shelling while reporting on the Ukrainian conflict. Russian law enforcement said the shelling deliberately targeted the non-combatants and that Savchenko served as a target spotter for the mortar crew behind the killings.

She was tried and sentenced to 22 years in prison for the crime.

While in pre-trial detention in Russia, Savchenko was elevated to celebrity status in Ukraine and in the Western media, where she was depicted as a heroic figure persecuted by Moscow. She was elected as an MP in absentia, appointed a member of Ukraine’s delegation to PACE and made into a symbol of struggle against Russia.

Her portrait was featured on a giant banner in the Rada’s main hall along with the call to: “Free Nadya!”

Savchenko was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and returned to Ukraine in May 2016. There she proved to be an independent character and did not follow the mainstream narrative about the situation in Ukraine.

Within months she alienated the very politicians who had scored political points via her image and became a fierce critic of President Petro Poroshenko over his perceived corruption and lack of support for the Ukrainian Army.

Critics branded her a Kremlin plant, claiming she must have been recruited while in detention.

After shadows gathered over her head with the Ruban case, Savchenko was rumored to have fled to Moscow, which proved to be false. Responding to the plot allegations, she said she is cooperating with European authorities investigating allegations of the Ukrainian president’s corruption.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

NATO Cornerstones Back Russia Chemical Attack Theory

The Four Large NATO Powers Issue Statement Condemning Russia: Saying it is 'highly likely' that Russia staged a chemical poisoning in England 

by Roger Annis - A Socialist In Canada

March 15, 2018

Below is the text of a statement condemning Russia that was issued jointly by the United States, Britain, Germany and France on March 15. The four countries say it is “highly likely” that Russia staged a chemical poisoning in England on March 4 of two former Russian nationals now living in the country, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

What evidence for the accusation do the four-countries provide? None. Instead, they string together impressions which do not even amount to circumstantial evidence. They say “there is no plausible alternative explanation”.

They cite that Russia did not respond to Prime Minister Theresa May’s ultimatum late on March 12 that Russia furnish proof of its innocence of Britain’s accusations within 24 hours. And lastly, they cite an unnamed “pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behavior”.

The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention outlawed the use of chemical weapons. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was established to enforce the convention. The OPCW has a strict protocol for examining alleged violations. In this present case, Britain and now its three allies have declined to take their ‘evidence’ to the body, despite Russian government demands that Britain do so.

A 2013 report by the OPCW examined the class of chemical named by Britain as having poisoned the two individuals on March 4, 2018, so-called Novichoks. The report concluded,

“Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB [Scientific Advisory Board] makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of ‘Novichoks’.”

A former chemical scientist named Vil Mirzanyanov who worked in the Soviet Union and now lives in the U.S. claims he developed ‘Novichoks’. He published a book in 2007 titled State Secrets: An Insider’s Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program containing what the author claims to be the very formula for the mysterious chemical. In an interview on March 14, Mirzanyanov says he is convinced the Russian government carried out the alleged March 4 attack in England. He told AFP that Sergei Skripal was no threat to Russia but the Kremlin could have killed him just to intimidate potential opponents.

Mirzanyanov also said that ‘Novichoks’ are “ten times” more powerful than the deadly VX nerve agent, the one that allegedly killed a North Korean diplomat in Singapore (though not his attackers). Somehow, Sergei Skripal and his daughter survived the ‘Novichok’ attack on March 4.

In October 2017, the OPCW confirmed the destruction of the last of Russia’s chemical weapon stockpile in accordance with the 1997 convention.

U.S. white phosphorus shell - Mosul, Iraq in June 2017 
(photo by Getty Images, on Human Rights Watch)

Chlorine and white phosphorus are not outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention, but their use in warfare is outlawed. Both chemicals burn the skin and lungs; they are not nerve gases. Chlorine is a less effective substance to use as a chemical weapon compared to nerve gases because chlorine dissipates in wind or rain. White phosphorus is a powder which is delivered by bombs or artillery shells.

The United States has routinely used two chemical weapons in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere—white phosphorus and artillery shells hardened with deleted uranium. The U.S. defends its use of white phosphorus by saying it is used to create “smokescreens”. U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesperson for the U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Syria, told international media on June 9 that,

“In accordance with the law of armed conflict, white phosphorus rounds are used for screening, obscuring and marking in a way that fully considers the possible incidental effects on civilians and civilian structures.”

The U.S. use of deleted uranium has been causing death and illness all the way back to the American War in Vietnam. (There, the U.S. also dropped massive quantities of other chemical weapons, including napalm and Agent Orange.)

Human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued conditional protests in 2016 and 2017 of continued U.S. use of white phosphorus in Iraq. Amnesty International said on October 28, 2016,

“We are urging Iraqi and coalition forces never to use white phosphorus in the vicinity of civilians. Even if civilians are not present at the time of its use, due to the residual risks they should not use airburst white phosphorus munitions unless it is absolutely necessary to achieve military objectives which cannot be accomplished through safer means.”

Human Rights Watch said on June 14, 2017 that U.S. forces should “take all feasible precautions to minimize civilian harm” when using white phosphorus weapons.

According to Wikipedia, 96 per cent of the world’s chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed by the year 2017. Conventional weapons, nuclear weapons, and chemical bombs and shells disguised as ‘conventional’ have seen no such decline.

Related readings: 
* The strange case of the Russian spy poisoning, by James O’Neill, published in Consortium News, March 13, 2018 (James O’Neill is a barrister and geopolitical analyst in Australia.) Applying the principle of cui bono – who benefits? – to the case of Sergei Skripal might lead investigators away from the Kremlin as the prime suspect and towards Western intelligence agencies 
* Novichok – toxic questions about chemical at center of Skripal saga in Britain, including Russia’s UN-verified destruction of its entire chemical weapons capacity in 2017, RT, Mar 13, 2018

* Russian to judgement, by Craig Murray, published on his website, Mar 13, 2018 (Craig Murray was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010)

Statement of the United States, Britain, France and Germany

March 15, 2018

(Text drawn from

We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, United Kingdom, on March 4, 2018. A British police officer who was also exposed in the attack remains seriously ill, and the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened. We express our sympathies to them all, and our admiration for the United Kingdom police and emergency services for their courageous response.

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. It is an assault on the United Kingdom’s sovereignty and any such use by a state party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law. It threatens the security of us all.

The United Kingdom thoroughly briefed its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack. We share the United Kingdom’s assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia’s failure to address the legitimate request by the government of the United Kingdom further underlines Russia’s responsibility. We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury.

Russia should, in particular, provide full and complete disclosure of the Novichok program to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Our concerns are also heightened against the background of a pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behavior. We call on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the U.N. Security Council to uphold international peace and security.

The Other Stephen: Hawking, Progressive Fighter

Stephen Hawking: Fighter for Progressive Politics


March 15, 2018

Scientist Stephen Hawking spoke out against wars, called for action against climate change, and defended socialist programs - Ben Norton reports.

Ben Norton is a producer and reporter for The Real News. His work focuses primarily on U.S. foreign policy, the Middle East, media criticism, and movements for economic and social justice. Ben Norton was previously a staff writer at Salon and AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton

Macron's Foreign to Foreign Policy Policies

President Macron’s foreign policy

by Thierry Meyssan - Voltaire Network

March 13, 2018

According to President Macron, "France is back" (in English in the text), and intends to play an international role once more, after ten years of abandon. However, Emmanuel Macron has never yet explained what might be the policy he intends to apply. Picking up the elements he has already developed in these columns, and placing them in the European context as well as the context of this country’s History, Thierry Meyssan analyses the change of direction which has just been announced.

When Emmanuel Macron began his campaign for the Presidency of the French Republic, he knew nothing about international relations. His mentor, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, head of the General Inspectorate of Finances (a corps of 300 senior civil servants), made sure he was given accelerated training. France’s prestige had been considerably depleted by its two former Presidents, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, the position of France perceived as "inconsistent" due to its absence of priority and its innumerable changes of direction.

This was the reason Macron began his mandate by meeting as many heads of state and government as possible, demonstrating that France was repositioning itself as a mediating power, capable of talking to anyone.

After having shaken hands and distributed dinner invitations, however, he had to give a content to his policy. Jean-Pierre Jouyet [1] proposed that France remain in the Atlantist camp, gambling on the US Democrats who, in his opinion, should soon be back in the White House, perhaps even before the elections of 2020. When the British were leaving the European Union, France confirmed its close alliance with London while maintaining its relationship with Berlin. The Union had to be recentred on the governance of the Euro. It would put an end to free exchange with partners who did not respect it, and would create huge enterprises on the Internet capable of rivalising with those of the GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon). It should also develop a common defence against terrorism. With its allies, it would engage in the struggle against the Russian influence. Finally, France would pursue its military action in Sahel and the Levant.

In September 2017, Jean-Pierre Jouyet was nominated as French ambassador to London. In January 2018, France and the United Kingdom relaunched their diplomatic and military cooperation [2]. Still in January, the two states formed a secret authority, the "Little Group", to reprise the Franco-British colonisation of the Levant [3].

This policy, which has never been discussed in public, not only ignores the History of France, but also the German demand to play a more important international political role. Indeed, seventy years after its defeat, the fourth economy in the world is still limited to a secondary role [4].

Concerning the Arab world, President Macron – an ENA alumnus (Ecole Nationale d’Administration) and ex-collaborator with Rothschild & Co - adopted the point of view of his two consultants on the subject. They were the Franco-Tunisian Hakim El Karoui (another ex-Rothschild & Co) for the Maghreb, and ex-ambassador to Damascus Michel Duclos – another ENA alumnus – for the Levant. El Karoui is not a product of Republican integration, but of the transnational haute bourgeoisie. He alternates a Republican attitude on the international plane, with another, communitarian, on the interior. Duclos is an authentic neo-conservative, trained in the USA under George W. Bush by Jean-David Levitte [5].

El Karoui has still not understood that the Muslim Brotherhood is an instrument of the British MI6, just as Duclos has still not understood that London has not yet digested the Sykes-Picot-Sazonov agreements which caused the loss of half of its empire in the Middle East [6]. Consequently, the two men see no problem with the new "entente cordiale" with Theresa May.

We may already note certain incoherencies in this policy. In application of the decisions of the "Little Group", France has re-adopted the habit of President Hollande’s team of relaying to the UNO the positions of its employees in the Syrian opposition (those who pay allegiance to the flag of the French mandate in Syria [7]). But times have changed. The letter by the current President of the Syrian Negotiation Committee, Nasr al-Hariri, transmitted to the Security Council in the name of France, insults not only Syria, but also Russia [8]. It accuses one of the two major military powers in the world [9] of perpetrating crimes against Humanity, which contravenes the "mediating" position of a permanent member of the Council. While Moscow preferred to ignore this slip of the tongue, Damascus replied angrily [10].

Finally, the policy of Emmanuel Macron is almost the same as that of Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, even though, because of the presence of Donald Trump in the White House, it relies more on the United Kingdom than the United States. The Elysée pursues the idea of an economic recovery for its multinationals – not in France but in its erstwhile colonial Empire. These are the same choices as those made by the Socialist Guy Mollet, one of the founders of the Bilderberg Group [11].

In 1956, the President of the French Council allied himself with London and Tel-Aviv in order to conserve France’s shares in the Suez Canal, which had been nationalised by President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Mollet proposed to his British counterpart, Anthony Eden, that France join the Commonwealth and pay allegiance to the Crown, and that the French people adopt the same civil status as the population of Northern Ireland [12]. This project for the abandon of the Republic and the integration of France into the United Kingdom under the authority of Queen Elizabeth II was never discussed publicly.

Never mind the ideal of equal rights exposed in 1789 and the rejection of colonialism expressed by the French People when they were faced with the aborted coup d’etat of 1961 [13] – in the eyes of Power, foreign policy has nothing to do with democracy.

Thierry Meyssan

Pete Kimberley

[1] “From the Saint-Simon Foundation to Emmanuel Macron”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 16 April 2017.

[2] “The Franco-British « Entente cordiale »”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 30 January 2018.

[3] « Syrieleaks : un câble diplomatique britannique dévoile la "stratégie occidentale" », par Richard Labévière, Observatoire géostratégique, Proche&, 17 février 2018.

[4] This is also the case for Japan.

[5] Jean-David Levitte, alias « Diplomator », was the permanent French representative to the United Nations in New York (2000-02), then ambassador to Washington (2002-07).

[6] From the British point of view, the Sykes-Picot-Sazonov agreements of 1916 are not a fair sharing of the world between the three empires, but a concession made by the United Kingdom to ensure the support of France and Russia (Triple Alliance) against the German Reich, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy (Triplice).

[7] “France: seeking old mandate in Syria”, by Sarkis Tsaturyan, Oriental Review (Russia) , Voltaire Network, 6 October 2015. In 1932, France imposed a new flag on mandated Syria. It is composed of three horizontal bands representing the dynasties of the Fatimides (green), the Omeyyades (white) and the Abbasides (black), symbolic of the Chiite Muslims for the first and the Sunnis for the two others. The three red stars represent the three minorities - Christian, Druze and Alaouite. This flag was still in force at the beginning of the Syrian Arab Republic, and returned in 2011 with the Free Syrian Army.

[8] “Russia and Syria charged by France”, by François Delattre, Voltaire Network, 9 February 2018.

[9] “The new Russian nuclear arsenal restores world bipolarity”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 6 March 2018.

[10] “Syria’s response to France”, Voltaire Network, 28 February 2018.

[11] “What you don’t know about the Bilderberg-Group”, by Thierry Meyssan, Komsomolskaïa Pravda (Russia) , Voltaire Network, 9 May 2011.

[12] “When Britain and France nearly married”, Mike Thomson, BBC, January 15, 2007. « Frangland? UK documents say France proposed a union with Britain in 1950s : LONDON: Would France have been better off under Queen Elizabeth II? », Associated Press, January 15, 2007. Guy Mollet was not accepting the proposition for a Franco-British Union as it was formulated by Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden in 1940, after the French defeat, to create a provisional fusion of the two nations in order to fight the Nazi Reich. He was in fact inspired, in the context of the Suez crisis and the hope of saving the French Empire, by the proposition of Ernest Bevin, eleven years earlier, to create a third block against the USA and the URSS, by joining the British, French and Dutch empires within the framework of a Western Union. This project was abandoned by London for the benefit of the CECA (ancestor of the European Union) on the economic level, and NATO on the military level.

[13] In 1961, a military coup d’etat, organised in secret by NATO, attempted to overthrow General-President Charles De Gaulle in order to preserve France’s colonial policy. The French People refused massively to join this movement. « Quand le stay-behind voulait remplacer De Gaulle », by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 10 September 2001

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Ghost of Colin Powell Haunts Salisbury

The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam

by Craig Murray

14 Mar, 2018

As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown. Yet now, the British Government is claiming to be able instantly to identify a substance which its only biological weapons research centre has never seen before and was unsure of its existence.

Worse, it claims to be able not only to identify it, but to pinpoint its origin. Given Dr Black’s publication, it is plain that claim cannot be true.

"In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures.
Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published." - (Black, 2016) Robin Black. (2016) Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents. Royal Society of Chemistry

The world’s international chemical weapons experts share Dr Black’s opinion. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is a UN body based in the Hague. In 2013 this was the report of its Scientific Advisory Board, which included US, French, German and Russian government representatives and on which Dr Black was the UK representative:

"[The SAB] emphasised that the definition of toxic chemicals in the Convention would cover all potential candidate chemicals that might be utilised as chemical weapons. Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”.
The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”." - (OPCW, 2013) OPCW: Report of the Scientific Advisory Board on developments in science and technology for the Third Review Conference 27 March 2013

Indeed the OPCW was so sceptical of the viability of “novichoks” that it decided – with US and UK agreement – not to add them nor their alleged precursors to its banned list. In short, the scientific community broadly accepts Mirzayanov was working on “novichoks” but doubts he succeeded.

Given that the OPCW has taken the view the evidence for the existence of “Novichoks” is dubious, if the UK actually has a sample of one it is extremely important the UK presents that sample to the OPCW. Indeed the UK has a binding treaty obligation to present that sample to OPCW. Russa has – unreported by the corporate media – entered a demand at the OPCW that Britain submit a sample of the Salisbury material for international analysis.

Yet Britain refuses to submit it to the OPCW. Why?

A second part of May’s accusation is that “Novichoks” could only be made in certain military installations. But that is also demonstrably untrue. If they exist at all, Novichoks were allegedly designed to be able to be made at bench level in any commercial chemical facility – that was a major point of them. The only real evidence for the existence of Novichoks was the testimony of the ex-Soviet scientist Mizayanov. And this is what Mirzayanov actually wrote:

"One should be mindful that the chemical components or precursors of A-232 or its binary version novichok-5 are ordinary organophosphates that can be made at commercial chemical companies that manufacture such products as fertilizers and pesticides." - Vil S. Mirzayanov, “Dismantling the Soviet/Russian Chemical Weapons Complex: An Insider’s View,” in Amy E. Smithson, Dr. Vil S. Mirzayanov, Gen Roland Lajoie, and Michael Krepon, Chemical Weapons Disarmament in Russia: Problems and Prospects, Stimson Report No. 17, October 1995, p. 21.

It is a scientific impossibility for Porton Down to have been able to test for novichoks, without possessing some to develop the tests. As Dr Black has revealed Porton Down had never seen any Russian novichok, they cannot have a test for it unless they synthesised some themselves to develop the tests. And if they can synthesise it, so can many others, not just the Russians.

And finally – Mirzayanov is an Uzbek name and the novichok programme, assuming it existed, was in the Soviet Union but far away from modern Russia, at Nukus in modern Uzbekistan. I have visited the Nukus chemical weapons site myself. It was dismantled and made safe and all the stocks destroyed and the equipment removed by the American government, as I recall finishing while I was Ambassador there.

There has in fact never been any evidence that any “novichok” ever existed in Russia itself.

To summarise:

1) Porton Down has acknowledged in publications it has never seen any Russian “novichoks”. The UK government has absolutely no “fingerprint” information that can safely attribute this substance to Russia.
2) Until now, neither Porton Down nor the world’s experts at the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were convinced “Novichoks” even exist.
3) The UK is refusing to provide a sample to the OPCW.
4) “Novichoks” were specifically designed to be able to be manufactured from common ingredients on any scientific bench. The Americans dismantled and studied the facility that allegedly developed them. It is completely untrue only the Russians could make them, if anybody can.
5) The “Novichok” programme was in Uzbekistan not in Russia. Its legacy was inherited by the Americans during their alliance with Karimov, not by the Russians.

With a great many thanks to sources who cannot be named at this moment.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, David Swanson, John Helmer, Janine Bandcroft March 15, 2018

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

March 15, 2018

It’s not the Ides Iraqis are wary of in March, but the 20th day. That marks the date in 2003 their lives changed forever. It was of course when America and its allies, its “Coalition of the Willing”, launched the infamous, ‘Operation Iraqi Liberation’.

You may recall the shock and awe of watching a nation blown to pieces LIVE on CNN; not in living colour, but rather transmitted in the eerie iridescence of infrared night vision?

Despite serial declarations to the contrary, the "operation" in Iraq never really was accomplished and fifteen years later the country, with its cities in shambles, millions killed, maimed, or driven into exile is, like fellow invadee Afghanistan, still a chaos; is still at war.

Listen. Hear.

David Swanson is a peace and political justice activist, journalist, radio host, and author whose book titles include: ‘War No More: The Case for Abolition,’ ‘When the World Outlawed War,’ ‘War Is a Lie,’ and ‘The Military Industrial Complex at 50’ among others. He’s director of, blogs at Let's Try Democracy ( and, and hosts the public affairs program, Talk Nation Radio.

David Swanson in the first half.

And; as though tensions between the World's nuclear titans weren't taut enough, a bizarre alleged poisoning in Britain has Western fingers pointing again at a Russian conspiracy. Former spy and exile, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia were discovered collapsed on a Salisbury park bench a week past Sunday last.

Though the pair have not been seen or heard from outside of hospital since, authorities claim they were poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent believed once to be part of the USSR's chemical arsenal. Now, British prime minister, Theresa May says, "Putin did it!" But what she won't, or perhaps can't say is, why.

John Helmer is a Moscow-based journalist and author. His latest article, 'Fourteen and a Half Certainties in the Case of Sergei Skripal' is up now at his website, Dances with Bears.

John Helmer and uncertain certainties in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and CFUV Radio broadcaster at-large, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin. But first, David Swanson and the enduring legacy of war in Iraq and beyond.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

What Does Pompeo Nomination Mean for Peace?

Does Pompeo at State Mean War with Iran?


March 13, 2018

President Trump's ouster of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State in favor of Mike Pompeo is a step closer to US war on Iran, says national security reporter Marcy Wheeler.

Visit for more stories and help support

our work by donating at

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Knowns, Half-Knowns, and Unknowns in the Skripal Poisoning Case

Fourteen and a Half Certainties in the Case of Sergei Skripal

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears

March 13, 2018

MoscowIn cases like the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the only way to proceed is by identifying the evidence which proves with certainty what happened; or failing that, proves with certainty what did not happen. Perpetrator, co-conspirators, method, motive, intention – all come later, if they come at all.

At the moment, according to police and government releases and the British state media, the crime scene in Salisbury is being combed by at least 250 police officers; with another 180 military personnel specializing in chemical warfare. Dozens more electronic surveillance and cyber-warfare agents are also engaged.

The crime scene locations include the Skripal house; the cemetery graves of Skripal’s wife and son; the Mill public house where Skripal and his daughter had a drink; the Zizzi restaurant where they ate before collapsing; and the public areas where they walked between house, pub, restaurant, the Maltings shopping precinct, and park bench.

At least 240 pieces of evidence have reportedly been identified as such, not counting the Skripal house, and 200 witnesses interviewed, including Wiltshire Police Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. He developed symptoms after being despatched to the Skripal house. That is, after the Skripals had been found and hospitalized.

According to Lord Ian Blair, a former Metropolitan Police Commissioner,

“[T]here are some indications that the police officer who was injured had been to the house, whereas there was a doctor who looked after the patients in the open, who hasn’t been affected at all. So there maybe some clues floating around in here.” 

Blair said this on the BBC.

His disclosure, also confirmed in several newspapers, provides the first certainty in the case: the Skripals came into contact with the poison for the first time inside their own home. They then went out to the pub and the restaurant.

Certainty No. 2 – the poison cannot have been fast-acting for them at home. Certainty No. 3 – the poison was faster-acting for Sgt Bailey because he developed symptoms almost immediately at the Skripal house.

Follow the next eleven certainties. 


Certainty No. 4. 

Prime Minister Theresa May has identified the poison as a “military grade nerve agent…part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok.”

Listen to May making her announcement in the House of Commons yesterday.

Certainty No. 5. 

Novichok components are harmless until they are combined.

Once that is done, and the mixture dispersed, the poison acts swiftly to attack the nervous system, triggering heart and lung failure, and death by suffocation.

Note: the Soviet development of Novichok was designed to be
undetectable by NATO standard chemical detection equipment.
It is not certain how the British could detect an undetectable
Russian substance; read more.

Certainty No. 6. 

The time between exposure and death is minutes. Sgt Bailey suffered contact with Novichok at the Skripal house, and developed symptoms very quickly.

After they had left their home on Sunday afternoon, the Skripals spent more than an hour before developing symptoms. It is certain, therefore, that there were two sites of active poisoning. The Skripals must have carried the poison from their home through the streets to the mall, the pub, and the restaurant, before they were exposed.

The large numbers of police, special service agents and soldiers have been deployed in order to trace the route the Skripals took, and all points at which they stopped, in order to identify, measure and map all concentrations, then dilute or destroy them for public safety.

Certainty No. 7. 

The British forces have inventoried all contents of the Skripal home, and verified all deliveries to the house, including mail and packages before last Sunday. They are certain to know if there are traces of the chemical components required for the Novichok combination, and whether these traces are in separate locations of the house.

It is certain they have asked themselves how the nerve agent was active in the house to strike Sgt Bailey, but inactive for the Skripals until hours later. 

Certainty No. 8.

The British secret services and the Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory near Salisbury know what contact, if any, there has been recently between Skripal, his British secret service contacts and the Porton Down lab.

Certainty No. 9. 

The British Government agencies have informed Prime Minister May if samples of Novichok components, and of the active nerve agent itself, are in stock at Porton Down.

Certainty No. 10

The Prime Minister has not informed the House of Commons if Novichok is — or was until Sunday evening — in stock at Porton Down.

Certainty No. 11. 

Although the British, American, and Russian secret services have the electronic capability to have been monitoring the Skripal house, Yulia Skripal on her travel from Moscow to Salisbury, and Sergei Skripal at home, in advance of the poisoning, they are unlikely to have been doing so on Sunday afternoon.

British sources add that the security perimeter for the Porton Down establishment doesn’t extend the nine kilometres (twelve by road) to Salisbury town. 

However, it is certain, the sources acknowledge, that in retrospect the British and American services will have identified all unusual mobile telephone, other electronic signals and encrypted messaging around the Skripals on Sunday, including computer, internet and mobile telephone signals the Skripals sent and received before the Sunday events.

Just as certainly, the Russian services will have the retrospective capacity to follow the communications of all their agents in the vicinity, if any there were. It is sure that if there had been a Russian operation targeting Skripal, an unusual volume of electronic evidence would now be visible to the British and Americans — and the Russians would know it.

Certainty No. 12.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has not yet summoned the British Ambassador, Laurie Bristow, to present the electronic evidence — if the British Government has it. Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian Ambassador in London, has yet not been to the Foreign Office to request the Foreign Secretary’s evidence. Nor has he been recalled to Moscow for consultations, yet.

Certainty No. 13. 

 The Russian Security Council has not been called into formal session since February 26. This two-week gap is an unusually long one. It is certain that President Vladimir Putin has requested Council members Sergei Lavrov of the Foreign Ministry, Sergei Shoigu, the Defense Minister, and the heads of the security and intelligence services to report what evidence they have; their assessment of what happened to the Skripals; and their view of the seriousness of the Skripal case for Russian state interests.

Certainty No. 14.

It is the ministerial consensus, particularly Lavrov’s and Shoigu’s, that the seriousness of the case is very grave.


Sir Andrew Wood, 78, was the British Ambassador to Russia between 1995 and 2000. Since then he has been making his living selling opinions on Russia to commercial organizations and think-tanks.

He has also been caught lying in public about his commercial involvement with Christopher Steele, and the role the two of them played together during the American presidential election campaign to accuse President Donald Trump of improper collusion with the Kremlin.

Wood’s story can be followed here.

On March 10, the Guardian reported Wood as accusing the Russian intelligence services of an official assassination attempt against the Skripals.

“I don’t doubt”, Wood told the newspaper, “[the poisoning] had general approval from senior heads – that’s the system he’s [Putin] created. Since 2012 Russia has been going backwards, rejecting economic reform and better courts in favour of renewed state control and repression, a fear of anything that is other. It’s the revival of Stalinism and the idea that Russia has the right to dominate its neighbours.” 

Read the newspaper report in full.

It is certain Wood had no evidence to substantiate his allegation at the time he spoke. It is equally certain he had no doubt of it. With Wood’s record for veracity, these two certainties add up to a fraction less than one.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Facts Defying Debate on Ghouta and Intervention Continue

Debate: Syria, Ghouta, and the Left


March 12, 2018

In a complex proxy war that has killed so many, where should leftists and people of conscience stand? Independent journalist Rania Khalek and scholar Yasser Munif debate the ongoing siege of Eastern Ghouta and the wider Syrian war.

Rania Khalek is an independent journalist and co-host of the weekly podcast Unauthorized Disclosure. Her work has appeared at The Nation, FAIR, Vice, The Intercept, Alternet, Salon, The Electronic Intifada, Al Jazeera and more.

Yasser Munif Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College. He is the co-founder of the Global Campaign of Solidarity for the Syrian Revolution.

Kinder Morgan's Burnaby "Bubble Zones"

Burnaby bubble zone puts recreation sites under potential lockdown

by Wilderness Committee

March 12, 2018

Vancouver, B.C. – Friday, Justice Kenneth Affleck of the Supreme Court of B.C. granted an interim injunction as requested by oil pipeline company Kinder Morgan. Section F of the document creates a 50-metre buffer zone around the Westridge Marine Terminal and Burnaby Tank Farm.

This injunction puts anybody within 50 metres of Kinder Morgan's properties at-risk of arrest, placing common recreational sites such as trails, a soccer field, part of a golf course, even roads to Simon Fraser University and some homes in the Forest Grove neighbourhood within the no-go zone.

“If you sliced a drive on the 5th tee of the golf course and went to retrieve your ball you could technically be in contempt of court,” said Wilderness Committee Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney.

“This ruling essentially places a substantial swath of suburban Burnaby on lockdown so people can’t even walk near Kinder Morgan’s property — or heaven forbid — protest the company’s unpopular pipeline scheme without fear of arrest.”

After a few arrests last week, Kinder Morgan applied for an injunction to prevent anyone from disrupting its work. Opponents argue that existing laws regarding trespass and mischief already allow the police to arrest anyone impeding the company. Now with an injunction and the creation of a no-go buffer zone around company facilities, people out walking their dog for exercise or simply exercising their right to legal protest are put at risk of arrest.

“This injunction could technically impact many people simply going about their daily lives,” said McCartney.
“Of course it will mostly disrupt peaceful protesters who are simply exercising their right to gather and speak out against Kinder Morgan’s reckless pipeline and tanker project.”

This injunction will also hinder groups like the Wilderness Committee from doing their critical public education work to document construction impacts on local ecosystems as well as potential impacts on the ocean and climate should the project ever be built.

“We were out there every day last week taking photographs, gathering data and keeping people informed on the work Kinder Morgan is doing,” said McCartney.

“Now with this injunction, the company will be better able to hide behind this court-ordered wall of secrecy. It makes our work much tougher.”

– 30 –

For Immediate Release - March 12, 2018

For more information, please contact:
Peter McCartney | Climate Campaigner, Wilderness Committee

US/Israel Operation Juniper Cobra Less Exercise Than Rehearsal for Regional War

US Commander: ‘US Troops Prepared to Die for Israel’ in War against Syria, Hezbollah

by Whitney Webb - MintPress News

March 12, 2018

Operation Juniper Cobra is not a routine exercise; it is a portent of a potentially devastating war against Syria, Hezbollah and Gaza for which Israel is actively preparing — a war likely to erupt within the coming months.

Last Sunday, the largest joint military exercise between the United States and Israel began with little fanfare. The war game, dubbed “Operation Juniper Cobra,” has been a regular occurrence for years, though it has consistently grown in size and scope. Now, however, this year’s 12-day exercise brings a portent of conflict unlike those of its predecessors.

Previous reports on the operation suggested that, like prior incarnations of the same exercise, the focus would be on improving Israeli defenses. However, this year’s “Juniper Cobra” is unique for several reasons. The Post reported on Thursday that the drill, set to end on March 15, was not only the largest joint U.S.-Israeli air defense exercise to ever happen but it was also simulating a battle “on three fronts.”

US and Israeli troops deploy a Patriot missile
defense battery during the 2018 Juniper Cobra air
defense exercise in March 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

“Juniper Cobra 2018 is another step in improving the readiness of the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] and the IAF [Israeli Air Force] in particular to enhance their operational capabilities in facing the threat posed by high-trajectory missiles,” Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovitch, the IDF’s Aerial Defense Division head, told the Jerusalem Post. 

In other words, Israel and the U.S. are jointly simulating a war with Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine – namely, the Gaza strip – simultaneously.

What makes this last part so concerning are Israel’s recent statements and other preparations for war with all three nations, making “Juniper Cobra” anything but a “routine” drill. It is instead yet another preparation for a massive regional conflict, suggesting that such a conflict could be only a matter of months away.

As MintPress recently reported, Israeli officials recently told a bipartisan pair of U.S. Senators that it needed “ammunition, ammunition, ammunition” for a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon — a war that will expressly target Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings. The alleged motive for the invasion is the presence of Iranian rocket factories. However, this allegation is based solely on the claims of an anonymous deputy serving in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and was first reported on by a Kuwaiti newspaper known to publish stories planted by the Israeli government.

In addition, Israel has been laying the groundwork for an invasion of Syria since last year and is largely responsible for the current conflict in Syria that has raged on for seven years. Israel’s current push to invade Syria is also based on flimsy evidence suggesting that Iran is establishing bases in Syria to target Israel.

Israel has also been preparing for a conflict on the embattled Gaza strip, which – owing to the effects of Israel’s illegal blockade and the devastation wrought by past wars – is set to be entirely uninhabitable by 2020. Reports have quoted officials of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which governs the Gaza strip, as saying that they place the chances of a new war with Israel in 2018 “at 95 percent” and that war games, like Operation Juniper Cobra, were likely to be used to plan or even initiate such a conflict.

This concern was echoed by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who stated that another Israeli invasion of Gaza, home to 1.8 million people, was “likely” to occur this year. Eizenkot ironically framed the imminent invasion as a way to “prevent a humanitarian collapse” in Gaza.

U.S. lights match, prepares troops 

Such a war is likely to be ignited by the unrest destined to follow the U.S.’ imminent move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move, set to take place in May, led Hamas to call for a third intifada, or uprising, in response to the U.S.’ unilateral decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in defiance of the international consensus.

Beyond the fact that Israel is preparing to go to war with several countries simultaneously is the fact that U.S. ground troops are now “prepared to die for the Jewish state,” according to U.S. Third Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Richard Clark. “We are ready to commit to the defense of Israel and anytime we get involved in a kinetic fight there is always the risk that there will be casualties. But we accept that, as in every conflict we train for and enter, there is always that possibility,” Clark told the Post.

However, more troubling than the fact that U.S. troops stand ready to die at Israel’s behest was Clark’s assertion that Haimovitch would “probably” have the last word as to whether U.S. forces would join the IDF during war time. In other words, the IDF will decide whether or not U.S. troops become embroiled in the regional war for which Israel is preparing, not the United States. Indeed, Haimovitch buoyed Clark’s words, stating that: “I am sure once the order comes we will find here U.S. troops on the ground to be part of our deployment and team to defend the state of Israel.”

Operation Juniper Cobra is not a routine exercise; it is a portent of a potentially devastating war for which Israel is actively preparing, a war likely to erupt within the coming months. In addition to overtly targeting civilians, these preparations for war — as Juniper Cobra shows — directly involve the United States military and give the war-bent Israeli government the power to decide whether or not American troops will be involved and to what extent. This is a devastating giveaway of national sovereignty by U.S. President Donald Trump.

While the potential involvement of the U.S. forces in such a war is being framed as limited in scope, there is no indication that such a war will be so in practice. Indeed, the U.S. is currently occupying 25 percent of Syria and the Trump administration has economically attacked Palestinians living in Gaza by withdrawing crucial aid, as well as Hezbollah by enforcing new sanctions against the group. Furthermore, Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the fact that Iran — and even Russia — could become involved in such a conflict means that it could quickly spiral out of control.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, the Anti-Media, and 21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License. 

America's War-Losing Ways (According to Ullman)

Anatomy of Failure - Why America Will Lose Every War It Starts

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears

March 12, 2018

 Moscow  - It’s novel for a US military institution to publish a report which contradicts its own conclusions, and adds up to evidence instead for the opposite of its proposals. This feat has just been achieved by the Naval Institute Press and Harlan K. Ullman in a book dedicated to the US Naval Academy Class of 1945. The title is Anatomy of Failure, Why America Loses Every War It Starts.

Ullman’s case is that because the US military lacks a “brains-based approach to strategic thinking”, it keeps losing the wars it starts.

Ullman isn’t against the US starting wars. What he proposes is that the only brains for winning these wars are his own. Naturally, the London media have clicked their collective heels, saluting Ullman with reviews declaring, among other things, that “there is not an army in the world that could stand up to the Americans in a fair fight. But winning wars is a different matter”.

In short, the adversaries of the US don’t fight fair. They win by fighting dirty. Americans need to use their brains, er Ullman’s brains, to compensate.

What those brains propose is a combination of “extensive knowledge and understanding of the enemy at all levels, brilliance in execution, rapidity, and sufficient control of the environment in all dimensions to impose our will.”

Ullman expands the IMPOSE-OUR-WILL phrase into a warfighting doctrine he claims to have invented himself in 1994. He was sitting, he claims, on a Pentagon committee of retired generals and admirals he calls by their diminutives – Bud, Fred, Chuck, Tom, Jim and Snuffy. Ullman says he first called the doctrine “shock and awe”. But this is Ullman’s selfie, as fake as the photograph on the book’s dust jacket (lead image, left). This is also Ullman’s recapitulation of the old force concentration and mobility doctrines of Julius Caesar, Richard the Lionheart, Napoleon, German blitzkrieg, and Georgy Zhukov.

It’s a battlefield idea which, as the Germans learned on the Soviet Front, doesn’t win wars. The Americans are also learning the same these days on the Syrian, Ukrainian, Korean and South China Sea fronts where they lack air superiority and on the ground have no better than parity of firepower with the other side. Ullman and the US Navy have produced this book revealing they still don’t comprehend.

Ullman is better known in Washington for boots on his own ground, according to the testimony of a local brothel madam who identified him publicly as her client before she was prosecuted and committed suicide. That’s a doctrine of schlock and whore.

Ullman’s book is organized into seven chapters, each dedicated to the mistakes of the president in charge since John Kennedy took office in 1961. In this time frame Ullman particularly dislikes the only US Navy officer who became president, Jimmy Carter; and he’s especially partial to the Hollywood cowboy, Ronald Reagan . He’s uncommonly respectful toward three Harvard armchair strategists – Stanley Hoffmann, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Henry Kissinger.

Left: Jimmy Carter in 1946; centre, Ronald Reagan in 1953; 
right, Osama bin Laden with Zbigniew Bzrezinski in 1981.

There are just seven references to Ullman’s sources of evidence on the enemy, all of them American — three by journalists; one by a Clinton Administration appointee; a US general’s ghost-written autobiography; a British compendium of military data; and another book by Ullman himself. For his own brains approach to each of the wars he analyzes, Ullman refers to no source on the enemy side. The only foreigner he claims to have known personally was Benazir Bhutto, the ill-fated prime minister of Pakistan. Nothing she may have told him of military strategic value is reported by Ullman – only what he told her.

Ullman provides a great many Big Notes in which he reports himself telling the highest officials of the US state what they should do – advice he subsequently blames them for not taking. Ullman’s big-noting includes Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, President Lyndon Johnson, National Security Advisor Brzezinski, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and a clutch of general staff officers – all failures because they ignored Ullman.

Not an insuperably difficult task considering how much of what Ullman was saying was tautological cliché, such as “personalties count”, “know your enemy”, “seasoned diplomat”, “superior weaponry and technology”.

Ullman’s analyses of American wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Kuwait, Iraq, Libya, and Syria are filled with stunning errors of his “cultural intelligence” – “prerequisite of success” — in place of intelligence.

In reporting the ethnic, religious and tribal balance of Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s rule, his miscount of the Sunni-Shia balance in the population is colossal. His account of the clashes between US forces and Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi during the Reagan years stops at White House and Pentagon newsfeed such as “Libya’s illegal territorial claims” and Qaddafi’s “foolhardiness”.

He compounds this ignorance by repeating the discredited evidence of “Qaddafi’s agents” in the bombing of the Pan American flight at Lockerbie in 1988.

Omitting the story of the last years in power of the Shah of Iran, Ullman claims he and the Pentagon believed in “the threat of the Soviet Union marching south across the Zagros Mountains to capture Iran’s oil assets.”

Because he ignores the role of the Central Intelligence Agency entirely, Ullman claims Yugoslavia just “dissolved”, while in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the mujahideen “metastasized”. The US Army’s practices at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad “sullied the American reputation for ethical behaviour”.

When something sensible comes out of Ullman’s mouth, his ears seem unable to hear it. He acknowledges that US faking of enemy attacks have been used to justify many military interventions. Still, he repeats President George Walker Bush’s lie that Saddam had tried to assassinate his father in Kuwait in 1993.

Ullman warns against over-confidence in US military technology. But after the Russian use of cruise missiles in Syria, he claims “the US Tomahawk cruise missiles were far more effective.” Ullman reported this after the firing of 59 Tomahawks by two US Navy destroyers at Syrian targets in April of 2017 reached less than half their targets, disabling none of them.

Ullman writes that demonizing the enemy defeats the understanding required for effective strategy. The point is obvious, but not so obvious Ullman knows when he’s demonizing himself. Oleg Penkovsky, the GRU colonel caught spying for the US and UK, was tried and executed in May 1963. His execution was by firing squad, according to all Russian sources and the CIA. But according to Ullman, “one story has it that Penkovsky was thrust alive into a blast furnace”.

Left: Richard Bayfield, a London book importer and publisher of the Bible, 
being slow-burned to death on the order of the Lord Chancellor Thomas More, in 1531. 
Right: Oleg Penkovsky’s public confession. For more details, click.

Not only are Ullman’s demons obvious. So are his gods, er God. With approval he quotes the well-known US Army counter-insurgency expert, Lieut.Col. John Paul Vann. “I guess God put all the good guys on the other side.” For the US to continue to repeat past failures in Afghanistan Ullman claims to be certain “unless God or luck intervenes.” Ullman’s theology is the holy trinity of American exceptionalism – God, Luck, Self.

For a strategist keen to denigrate his superiors for lacking his own knowledge of the enemy, Ullman is unusually self-assured when reporting what “[Nikita] Khrushchev knew” in 1962, in the runup to the Cuban missile crisis; to Ullman, “Khrushchev’s strategic thinking was clear”. Just so, forty years later, “the Russians fully understood”, according to Ullman, “that the United States and NATO had unmatched conventional superiority over Moscow”.

Ullman’s assessment of the Caucasus war of 2008 starts because “Putin set a trap for Georgia that its president, Mikheil Saakashvili, foolishly ignored.” In the Ukraine in 2014, Ullman accepts that “by using social media, including Facebook and Twitter, unimpeachable unclassified evidence of Russian military presence was collected”. A year later, “the Atlantic Council with which I am affiliated, presented a brilliant demonstration of… incontrovertible proof of the presence of Russian forces in Ukraine.” When on a visit to Moscow in 2016, Ullman reports being told by a Russian official “we cannot trust the United States to do the right thing”, Ullman reports himself as replying that he and his military associates at the Pentagon are more trustworthy than those at the White House or State Department. “Let me urge you,” Ullman quotes himself as advising the Russians, “to seek some sort of military-to-military dialogue or ‘Track II’ [nongovernmental, unofficial diplomacy between influential elites].”

Later, when Ullman’s Track II turns out to be exactly what led to the firing of Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor after three weeks in office, Ullman concludes “Flynn was not a good choice.” Just weeks after that, in April 2017, Ullman reports himself as a guest of the Institute for the USA and Canada Studies in Moscow. There he accuses the Russian chief of staff, General Valery Gerasimov, of having “greatly exaggerated NATO’s military capability… He also wrongly implied that Supreme Allied Commander had the authority to deploy forces and hence [sic] start a war.”

Ullman’s brain-based strategy for dealing with Gerasimov’s mistakes is “providing the Baltic and Black Sea NATO members with a ‘porcupine defense’, one that would badly bloody any attack”; despatch Javelin anti-tank missiles “along with other weapons to stop or kill ‘little green men’ at [sic] the border”; and then “finding new confidence-building measures.” Ullman’s third brainwave is contradicted by his first two, but he blames this “on virtually all members of Congress [who] see Russia as an adversary, if not an enemy.” How this could be and Ullman’s fourth brain-wave be true at the same time is a puzzle he doesn’t try to explain. Putin , according to Ullman, “is sweeping the public-relations battlefield.”

Ullman’s final brain-wave is the military application, not of cypher-breaking of World War II vintage, but cyber warfare of the Google type. “A twenty-first century equivalent of Bletchley Park must be created to employ against our adversaries to understand them better and to use that knowledge to defeat them. This capability can be achieved by exploiting ‘big Data’, social media, the universally available Google Earth, and other public platforms.”

If that sounds like an internet and social media attack on Russia, it is. “The British Army…has already begun. Two brigades – 77 Brigade and 1 ISR (that is, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) – have been formed for this effort. The former is tasked with employing nonkinetic forms of war to achieve military purposes. The latter exploits open and civilian sources of information to gain knowledge.”

For the unit websites, click and here.

Ullman is very firm that the US has made profound mistakes of warmaking strategy because “unfortunately, the ‘What next?’ was never considered.“ But then he ran out of paper at page 242 of his book – that’s before he has time to clarify what will happen if the Russians defend themselves in cyber space and media and counterattack. This is a story we already know. And if we are forgetful, there isn’t an American or British newspaper or broadcaster which doesn’t remind us several times a day.