Wednesday, March 14, 2018

World News Briefs -- March 14, 2018



Reuters: Britain expels 23 Russian diplomats over chemical attack on ex-spy

Britain will expel 23 Russian diplomats in response to a nerve toxin attack on a Russian former double agent in southern England, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday, adding it was the biggest single expulsion in over 30 years.

May said Britain would also introduce new measures to strengthen defenses against hostile state activities, freeze Russian state assets wherever there was evidence of a threat and downgrade its attendance at the soccer World Cup in Russia this summer.

Russia, which has repeatedly denied any involvement in the nerve agent attack, said Britain should expect retaliation for its actions.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Turkish army surrounds Syrian city of Afrin.

Turkey's Erdogan says hopes Syria's Afrin town to be captured by Wednesday evening.

As Turkey draws near, Syria's Afrin braces for siege, tough fight.

Syria war: accusations of torture and executions.

Baghdad ends air blockade on Iraqi Kurdistan.

Saudi Arabia turns to nuclear power to curb oil addiction.

UN Palestinian agency in urgent search for cash at global gathering.

Israel avoids snap polls but Netanyahu's fate awaits.

ASIA

More troops sent to west Afghanistan as Taliban step up attacks.

Top US commander sees peace possibilities in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, India trade barbs over 'harassment of diplomats'.

Duterte moves to withdraw Philippines from International Criminal Court.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's visit to Sydney stirs up anger in expat community.

New Zealand diplomat tells US Democrats to organise against Trump or 'we all die'.

Chinese reporter's spectacular eye-roll sparks viral memes and censorship.

AFRICA

25 killed in fresh clashes in central Nigeria: police.

Sierra Leone election: Julius Maada Bio beats Samura Kamara in first round.

Kenyan president's pick for top prosecutor draws criticism.

Zimbabwe businesses want Western sanctions lifted.

Mauritius President Gurib-Fakim refuses to resign over expense scandal.

Egyptian authorities call on citizens to report on the media.

Tuaregs celebrate culture in Niger Sahara festival.

EUROPE

UK expels 23 Russian diplomats over spy poisoning.

Russia calls UK bluff as nerve agent attack deadline passes. Russia hits back as Britain gains support over poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal.

EU promises solidarity with Britain over Russian spy poisoning.

Russia hopes for constructive ties with U.S. after Tillerson firing: Kremlin.

Brexit negotiations accelerating, German official says.

Angela Merkel elected to fourth term as German chancellor.

Italy bomb: World War Two device forces mass evacuation in Fano.

AMERICAS

PA race tighter-than-tight; Dem claims win, GOP hangs in.

Trump demands answers as Russia ignores Britain's spy deadline.

Intense security on both sides of border for Trump's visit to wall prototypes.

U.S. students to abandon class for 17 minutes to protest gun violence.

Venezuela’s hyperinflation is breaking deli scales.

Belgian royal King Philippe and his wife Mathilde are stood up by Justin Trudeau on state visit to Canada… because the leader was too busy touring a steel plant.

Caribbean volcano Kick 'em Jenny: Ships warned off area.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

U.S. braces for return of terrorist safe havens to Afghanistan.

Al-Qaida in Syria losing ground in battles with insurgents.

Al-Qaeda operative born in Texas sentenced to 45 years for conspiring to murder Americans, supporting terrorism.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Trade war could derail global economic recovery, warns OECD.

Trump pressure scuppers $140bn chipmaker takeover.

Donald Trump eyes massive tariffs on China tech sector.

Fighting 'bad ads,' Google targets cryptocurrency advertisements.

YouTube, Wikipedia team up on conspiracy videos.

8 comments:

B.Poster said...

Before we start expelling diplomats a thorough investigation needs to be completed. There is no way that this could have been done in such a short time. While it is true that many in the "west" have gone out of their way and to extremes to promote and foment a new Cold War with Russia for now I am going to assume that British, American, and/or "western" agents were involved in this.

A Russian double agent/traitor who defected to the US and is now living in the US who worked on this project has stated that only Russia could have done this. While the Russians were the ones behind the initial toxin, it is the height of hubris to assume that Russia and only Russia could now make these compounds. No offense to anyone but I have always been struck by the hubris of Russians. As a very successful country they do carry it well though. I'm getting off topic. Let's assume though that he is right for now. Then this would leave the Putin government or his enemies. Either of them would have access. As pretty well proven elsewhere, there is much to lose and little to gain by Putin carrying this out right now. As such, assuming the defector/traitor is right about who could have done this and who would have access to this the prime suspect at present would be an enemy of Putin.

We also have to ask ourselves "can we trust a traitor?" How much stock do we put in what a traitor says?" As an American I know how I feel about traitors like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. I know what I want to happen to them and it is not pretty!! At a minimum, a traitor has already betrayed someone once. Given that record, there is risk they will do so again. How much is someone offering them? Are they now angry and wish to get back at someone? I think it is experiential common sense that for example if an Iranian or North Korean traitor were to offer us something we would treat it with extreme care and would want our own experts to analyze any and all information they are providing us with to, at a minimum, ensure we are not being double crossed.

While the former Russian official thinks only Russians could have manufactured this, the western officials who identified the poison seem to know a allot about it. As such, I think it would be a stretch to assume that only Russians could have done it. Given the irrational hatred toward Russia often expressed, some have shown themselves capable of just about anything. Again, I am discounting the idea of British or other "western" agents being involved in this right now but it cannot be dismissed entirely.

The Russian defector also assumes the toxin was stored carefully and only in Russia. As I understand it, when the Soviet Union fell it was a chaotic scene. While I cannot say how Russians would act in such a situation, I know, if the roles were reversed and America collapsed American officials, government employees, and private sector contractors would be carrying off anything and everything not bolted to the floor and, as for those things that are bolted to the floor, unscrew the bolts and carry it off as well. The items would then be sold for personal profit, kept for personal use, or stored and sold later for profit. This would include just about everything. As such, pretty much anyone willing to pay the money could have likely gotten access to this. I'm thinking scientists in a former Soviet Republic who worked on this and know how to deploy it. After all they have been trying to manipulate America and NATO to go deeper into their conflict with Russia for decades now.

Maybe Russians have a degree of ethics Americans do not. The editor may be shed some light on the fall of the Soviet Union, how chaotic it really was, and if the selling off of something like this would have been possible. After all he was there!! As for America, an act like that would not only be possible but probable.

B.Poster said...

So far the primary suspects would be an enemy of Putin or an agent/agents from a former Soviet Republic. While the theory of "westerners" being behind this to further foment the new Cold War that they went out of their way to essentially start, seems less likely, it cannot be discounted. Part of the reason for discounting this is I don't want to believe my government would be morally capable of such treachery and to have such a brazen disregard for the interests of the American people. Unfortunately they don't have a good track record.

The Putin government carrying this out is possible but highly unlikely, to much to lose and no real possibility of gain. This is the "exotic theory." As with any such theory, they require extraordinary evidence to which none has been presented.

First we have the British giving the Russians until midnight to respond to the allegations. Such a demand is impossible. Next we have diplomats being expelled. This reminds me of when BHO threw a temper tantrum post election and expelled Russian diplomats. These are impulsive people who do not take the time to investigate things, ask questions, and seek to find things out. In contrast Donald Trump is circumspect, thoughtful, seeks to research things thoroughly, seeks counsel from advisors, works hard to keep his own ideology out of the decision making process, and is not driven by his own ego to the point that he cannot see areas where he might be prone to biases.

Unlike the British leader and the former POTUS who do not/did not take time to find things out before acting, DJT does take the time to try and find things out before acting. The current British leadership and the former POTUS are/were impulsive. They seem either mentally ill or they are like impudent children in the bodies of adults.

Of course giving the Russians only until midnight to respond when that clearly would have been impossible and now expelling diplomats. All of this has the makings of and looks like a "fix" whereby the conclusion was already predetermined and the facts of the situation nor logic simply don't matter. An agenda is being carried out. It doesn't matter if this serves the interests of Britons, Americans, or any other "westerner." These people want their Cold War!! They MUST have it any cost. If our top diplomat jumped in on such nonsense, then naturally he had to be separated from his job.

Anonymous said...

The trail to Moscow is so obvious it is like the Yellow Brick road leading to Oz.
We're talking about a forbidden agent outlawed decades ago. This is clear evidence the Russians have broken that treaty as well as the INF. Moscow's conduct is eroding any rationale for arms agreements. Moscow is acting like an outlaw nation, for instance like the DPRK which sanctions assassinations abroad on the orders of Kim, also using banned substances.

PM May's actions are quite limited and moderate. The world is turning very ugly of late, I don't see anything but trouble from the dictators in charge of Russia, DPRK, China and others such as Iran. All turning expansionist, nationalistic and aligned.

fred lapides said...

No need to delay...odd: those who believe Mueller taking too long with his investigation are ask for delays in what the Brits clearly have examined and made their findings.If you think they are wrong, then supply evidence and not feelings about how long it should take

Anonymous said...

Russian apologist B. poster strikes again!

B.Poster said...

Anonymous,

"The trail to Moscow is so obvious..." How do you know? Who told you this? Did your media handlers tell you this? Did your college professor tell you this? I've already pointed out the flaws in the argument. I will try again and break this out rationally for you yet again.

I am going to assume you are capable of rational thought. For the purpose of this post, I am eliminating the possibility of British or American operatives being behind this even though both governments do have a negative history and they have often acted unnecessarily in ways that seem almost designed to go out of the way to stoke tensions with Russia.

1.) As any good detective does, ask who benefits and who loses from an action. With Vladimir Putin in the midst of an election, a world cup coming up, and a VERY dicey situation in North Korea right now he gains nothing from carrying out this right now coupled with huge downside risks. If he wanted to, he could have carried this out at any other time. The timing could not be worse. With no upside and huge downside risks barring extraordinary evidence which has not been presented he should be dismissed as the prime suspect for now.

2.)Who does benefit? Obviously Putin's internal enemies would benefit from this and they would have access to the toxins. They get several benefits from this a.)it undermines Putin, weakening him, and making it easier for them to go in for the kill later, b.)there is currently a VERY dicey situation in North Korea, I don't think you even realize the enormous risk that Putin and Xi took in supporting the sanctions nor do I think you realize that many in positions of power in those countries would deem this worthy of overthrowing their governments, c.)it further inflames tensions at a very difficult time posing a grave risk of undercutting a very careful diplomatic process with North Korea, and d.) Putin's enemies and ours get to sit comfortably on the sidelines while mutual enemies tear each other part!!


Note: I am not saying Putin is a good idea. His opponents are far worse. You undermine him and not only do you undermine a very careful diplomatic initiative with North Korea but you are going to be dealing with people who are more "hardline" than he is.

The flaws in the Putin did it argument mentioned above are coupled by the fact that Britain expected the Russians to respond by midnight an obviously unreasonable demand followed almost immediately by an expulsion of diplomats. This all being done hastily before a proper investigation could have possibly been conducted.

Congratulations!! It's stupidity like this that undermines careful diplomacy and places all of us in danger. Such rash and impulsive has no place in people who hold major positions of power. Obviously Mr. Trump has to be much more circumspect about these things. If our British "ally" undercuts our careful diplomatic initiative with North Korea by these rash and ill conceived actions, there obviously should be some reprisals taken against them.

If you think this initiative could have happened without Russian support and significant action behind the scenes you obviously have no clue about how foreign policy or the world in general works. By the nature of your post it appears you do not. I would suggest GROW UP and be careful to guard against ideology.

Now if our top diplomat can't grasp something this basic obviously he needed to go. I think the British leadership has allowed ideology to run ahead of common sense. By falling for the bait Mr. Tillerson revealed that he is not fit for such an important position.

B.Poster said...

Fred,

The British need to supply the evidence. They have made an extraordinary claim of which extraordinary evidence is needed. They haven't even taken rudimentary time to do anything.

As for the Mueller Commission this has been going on for about a year and it is an enormous distraction. I think this should be more than ample time. Given the resources that have been applied to this, a reasonable amount of time would have been about 2 months. In the current case, obviously 24 hours for Russia to respond is not enough time and taken the drastic action of expelling diplomats before a proper investigation could be conducted is at best rash and impulsive. At worst, these actions indicate a fix is in and the facts don't matter. With so much at stake it seems circumspection should be practiced and care should be taken.

B.Poster said...

The Mueller Commission and the current UK situation are completely different animals. To compare them indicates either one who has not things through or a dull mind at work. Those who do so can decide which one is which.

In the case of the Mueller Commission it was created allegedly to find collusion between team Trump and the Russians. No evidence of a crime was presented for this at the outset other than "because we said so" or because "the Clinton Campaign said so." This has now been expanded or so it seems because the original pretext of the investigation has either been debunked or evidence cannot be found.

We must continue with our coup against a duly elected president regardless of the cost to America!! Furthermore reasonable people would know that such an action would be enormously distracting and would undercut our ability to conduct our affairs. If there is a crime or might be, then perhaps it would be worth this costs. Unfortunately launching the commission was done on the flimsiest of evidence pretty much imaginable combined with the high costs its a wonder any rational person would have even done this.

Perhaps there needs to be a new mental illness in the records. "Trump Derangement Syndrome" abbreviated "TDS." Such people it seems will stoop to almost any level of depravity to get what it is they want. An investigation was launched under the flimsiest of evidence and circumstances because HRC and her supports said so, they presented no reasonable evidence, and they along with their media allies don't exactly have a good track record. In so doing, they further undercut and destroyed a very careful and meticulous diplomatic process.

In the British case, there are dead people who were killed by a poison that the British powers that be claim was supplied by Russia. These people don't exactly have the greatest track record either for honesty along with a record of acting to unnecessarily acting to provoke Russia. This alone would be enough to treat with extreme skepticism anything these people are saying.

Now continuing, a dead body may well be a crime. There clearly is a need to investigate. Real investigations take time. This investigation has moved ridiculously quickly, reaches a bizarre conclusion, and immediately seeks reprisals against the accused without even affording them a reasonable amount to respond.

I'm not the only one who has posted here who sees glaring problems with this. The editor himself said something does not look right here.