Working thread ahead of the putin-trump summit in helsinki on july 16 [Upated w/ almost surreal fallout]
Updates at the end of comments.
What we know (as opposed to Darth Cheney’s known unknowns) is that yesterday, Friday July 13 (Not april fools day, however), Deputy AJ Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment of 12 Russian members of GRU, a military intelligence agency, and that they had “corresponded with several Americans through the internet”, including an associate of the Trump campaign (assumedly Roger Stone).
b at MoA says there’s no evidence other than circumstantial, if any. He annotates the eleven charges, but this one is key:
“The first charge is for a “Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States” by stealing emails and leaking them. The indictment claims that the GRU units sent spearfishing emails to the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party organizations DNC and DCCC. They used these to get access to email boxes of John Podesta and other people. They are also accused of installing spyware (X-agent) on DNC computers and of exfiltrating emails and other data from them. The emails were distributed and published by the online personas DCLeaks, Guccifer II and later through Wikileaks. The indictment claims that DCLeaks and Guccifer II were impersonations by the GRU. Wikileaks, “organization 1” in the indictment, is implicated but so far not accused.
Note: There is a different Grand Jury for the long brewing case against Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Assange has denied that the emails he published came from a Russian source. Craig Murray, a former British ambassador, said that he received the emails on a trip to Washington DC and transported them to Wikileaks.
The indictment describes in some detail how various rented computers and several domain names were used to access the DNC and DCCC computers. The description is broadly plausible but there is little if any supporting evidence.”
Bill van Auken at wsws agrees that the charges are evidence free, and given the supreme unlikelihood that any of those named people will ever be tried in an Amerikan court, the timing looks exactly like a political maneuver, not a legal one. Noting that Rosenstein had informed the president of the indictments earlier this week, part of the political maneuver is working already:
“The announcement of the criminal charges against the 12 Russians provoked a wave of hysteria from the US television news networks. Leading Democrats, including Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and the ranking Democratic members of the Senate and House intelligence committees, Mark Warner and Adam Schiff, demanded that Trump call off his meeting with Putin.
“Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy™,” said Schumer. Warner warned that “the president could be taken advantage of,” and Schiff charged that Trump “plainly lacks the courage—or the motive—to confront” Putin.”
Underlying this line of attack are sharp divisions within the US ruling establishment over foreign policy strategy. Trump’s planned meeting with Putin has been preceded by a series of worried editorials and opinion columns in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, all of them warning that the meeting in Helsinki could lead to a de-escalation of US military pressure on Russia, particularly in relation to the failing US-backed war for regime change in Syria.
Typical was a piece in the Times by Susan Rice, Obama’s former national security advisor, who writes: “Mr. Trump has already delivered to Mr. Putin much of the benefit he might have sought by supporting Mr. Trump’s election. The balance due is the agenda for Helsinki.” Her greatest concern is that Trump may “prematurely withdraw United States forces, thus ceding total victory to Russia, Mr. Assad and Iran.”
Now just in case you’re up for some laughs (I was) comes this utterly wonderful dynamic duo in RT’s July 14: ‘Call the midwife: Maddow goes to meddling & collusion expert Nuland for tips on Trump-Putin puppetry’. Yeppers, just the purrrfect expert. I’ll include the quotes in case you’re not able to play videos. Miz Noodle-andia’s startin’ to look like her hubbie Robert Kagan, ain’t she?
“In Thursday’s episode of her show, the MSNBC anchor bemoaned Trump’s threats to withdraw from NATO and how his abrasive manners were offensive to other allies. No mention was made of Trump berating Germany over energy cooperation with Russia, though.
Then she interviewed a guest about Trump’s upcoming meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, asking in a most peculiar manner what the Russian leader may want from it.”
“Nuland and the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt were photographed handing out pastries to anti-government protesters in Kiev. She became notorious, however, after a conversation between her and Pyatt in February 2014 was posted online. While Nuland’s vulgar dismissal of the EU may have stolen the headlines, the topic of their conversation was arguably more scandalous, since the two US diplomats discussed who should and should not be in the new Ukrainian government. Two weeks later, US-backed protesters violently deposed Ukraine’s democratically elected president.
“The insight into Putin’s wishes Nuland offered was devoid of surprises: Money in the form of sanctions relief, a Syria deal, recognition of Crimea as part of Russia and cancellation of NATO exercises in the Baltic Sea, because if Kim Jong-un got it, why wouldn’t Putin? Maddow suggested that pulling the rug out from under NATO would be good for Putin too. Nuland agreed.
“He’d want more trouble between us and our closest allies like Germany,” she said.”
Okay, now on to Novichok™!
On July 13 RT reported ‘UK police claim to have found bottle containing ‘Novichok’ nerve agent in Amesbury victim’s house’
“UK police say they have found the source of the nerve agent that allegedly poisoned two people in Amesbury, killing one. They claim the source appears to be a small bottle discovered in one of the victim’s homes.
The bottle was apparently found in Charlie Rowley’s house in Amesbury on Wednesday. “Scientists have now confirmed to us that the substance contained within the bottle is Novichok,” a Friday statement by police said.
Investigators say they’ve not yet determined how a bottle of supposedly weapons-grade chemicals ended up in Rowley’s home, or if there are more like it around. Police cordons will remain in place around the scene “for some considerable time.”
Rowley, 45, and his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess, 44, took ill on June 30, with what British police later said was nerve agent poisoning caused by Novichok, citing researchers at the nearby Porton Down chemical lab. Both were admitted to the Salisbury hospital in critical condition.”
Dawn Sturgess apparently died a week later of a heart attack.
Okay: the day the bottle was alleged to have been found was Wednesday, July 11. The statement by Scotland Yard didn’t say that Putin’s fingerprints had been found on the bottle, but did say that ‘…we are not in a position to disclose any further details regarding the bottle at this stage’, and also that a post-mortem has been scheduled for Tuesday, 17 July and that an inquest into Dawn’s death is set to open and adjourn in Salisbury Thursday, 19 July.
Now I may be mooking up the timing on this, but there have been over 100 counter-terrorism police, as well as unknown numbers of London police, investigating this case, right?
On July 10 wsws had reported that ‘the murder’ (according to Theresa May) and that “police and security officials were working around the clock to establish the full facts of the incident according to Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
“Most attention thus far has focused on the “contaminated item” which Sturgess and Rowley are deemed to have come into contact with. Suggested items have ranged from a bag, a pot or an unspecified container, to a syringe or a cigarette butt. Besides the complete lack of evidence for these claims, none make sense even taken at face value.
How a cigarette butt is supposed to have become contaminated with a significant dose of nerve agent or came to be shared between Rowley and Sturgess is not explained. Nor is where any of the other items might have been picked up—as it remains wholly unclear as to how long the alleged agent can persist in the environment and remain effective and in what conditions.
“In addition to an activity log, created out of 1,300 hours of CCTV footage, and the eyewitness account, police have searched Sturgess’ and Rowley’s residences and vehicles and have access to a staff of 100 counter-terrorism officers. Yet fully nine days after Rowley was first attended by paramedics in hazmat suits, the public is none the wiser.
“That said, it is entirely possible that, once the police, government and media have coordinated their version of events, the finger will be pointed once again at Russia. The security-intelligence apparatus, already beset by the ongoing crisis over Brexit and instability of May’s government, is anxiously waiting to see how the upcoming NATO summit and US President Donald Trump’s meetings with May and Putin play out.”
On July 8 CNN had reported that ‘Detectives are working to identify the source of the contamination, police said, and that:
“Police initially cordoned off six sites in Amesbury and Salisbury and later expanded their probe of one of those sites — low-income housing in the center of Salisbury — to include part of the nearby street and inside the building.”
Now wouldn’t one be safe in assuming that one of those six sites…was Crowley’s house?
Zo…does it make any sense at all that it took that it took four days or even more to find the bottle of Novickok™ in Rowley’s house? Ya don’t suppose the bottle might have been planted, do you? Nah; just a coincidence. One of my inside sources said an anonymous counter-terrorism official said that the family dog just happened to barf it up.
The rest of the CNN ‘news’ has over-the-top lies as to ‘Soviet-era Novichok, very rare, few people outside Russia have experience with it, Trump thinks it was the Roosians who’d poisoned the Skripals, too. I’d forgotten that aside from levying boatloads of sanctions against The Bear, 20 nations had pulled their diplomats out of Roosia in solidarity with the UK. How veddy virtuous of them, don’t you think?
Now Craig Murray is sick of the lies about Novichok:
“The nub of the British government’s approach has been the shocking willingness of the corporate and state media to parrot repeatedly the lie that the nerve agent was Russian made, even after Porton Down said they could not tell where it was made and the OPCW confirmed that finding. In fact, while the Soviet Union did develop the “novichok” class of nerve agents, the programme involved scientists from all over the Soviet Union, especially Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia, as I myself learnt when I visited the newly decommissioned Nukus testing facility in Uzbekistan in 2002.”
Ha; small wonder that ‘US 6th fleet flagship, Marines flock to Ukraine for massive Sea Breeze war games (PHOTO, VIDEO)’, via RT today.
“30 vessels, dozens of combat jets and around 3,000 troops from 19 nations have been deployed to Ukrainian waters to take part in massive the US-led Sea Breeze 2018 war games in the Black Sea.
The US Navy, one of the major Sea Breeze contributors, deployed command-and-control vessel USS ‘Mount Whitney’ – the 6th fleet flagship, the guided missile destroyer USS ‘Porter’, a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft, as well as Marines and frogmen from Navy Underwater Construction Team 1.”
…which is exactly what Poroshenko had asked Jens Stoltenberg for at the Nato summit this week as an ‘aspirational partner under NATO’s umbrella’. (No matter how many times the IMF lends ‘em the dues, they just can’t seem to pony up enough hryvnia to get admitted to the club…fully. But you might think another item the two just might discover at the Summit is why the hell the Great Orange One extorted more and more money from the member nations and wanna-be nations to…make war on Russia at the NATO Summit.
July 14, Kyiv Post: UkrInform: British military train over 11,000 Ukrainian soldiers
I dunno, here’s the Kyiv Post’s Ukraine tab; too much fun stuff to bring, not limited to ‘Ukraine amends anti-graft court bill to meet IMF demands’, grin.
Now are any of you convinced that the White Helmets, psyop stars of stage and screen…are considering staging another ‘gas attack’ in Syria before or during the Putin-Trump summit? Or that the neo-nazis is Ukraine won’t make attacks on Donbass or Crimea?
You’re likely understandably tired of reading, I’m tired of copy/pasting, so I’ll forgo bringing all of the links to the many ‘we know all’ opinion-makers who’ve gamed the outcome of the Summit.
But the likeliest one I’ve seen comes from Pepe Escobar’s July 5 at the atimes.com: ‘Eagle-meets-Bear and the Syria tug-of-war, Trump and Putin are likely to discuss the tricky situation in southern Syria when they meet; while the US president says he wants US forces back home, the CIA, Pentagon and Israel may be happier to see them stay so the war-torn state remains unstable’
…and let it go at that. It’s one the few prognostications that doesn’t include ‘sell out Iran for Israel’, plus people sincerely do talk to Pepe given his vast knowledge of the geopolitics and realpolitik of the area.
It’s certain that there will be more to add ahead of the Monday Summit.
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)