No need to spend a fortune on a wedding gown, no need to follow strict diet to fit in either. No need to look like a Hollywood star and suffer from plastic surgeries and pain from injecting Botox to enjoy ‘wedding of the century‘. Even at the age of 54 and with some extra kilo you can catch the limelight of the entire mankind, if you invite distinguished guests. Since times of late Tsar Nicolas IIRussian heads of state have not been attending weddings abroad. Austrian Minister of Foreign affairs Karin Kneisslperformed a dance with one of the most powerful politician in the world, sparkling both indignation and admiration. Public opinion has never been so divided, however the wedding has not passed unnoticed. Was that the purpose?
President Vladimir Putin assessed Russian engagement in Syria as a “uniqueexperience” for military, and an “important mission” aimed at protection of interests of Russian citizens, he underlined that those who sacrificed their lives defeating terrorism will be “never forgotten“. The President said that Russian military presence in Syria is fulfilled within the framework of international law, and the assistance in big-scale combat operation of the Syrianarmy in not needed any more, while the major focus has shifted towards political resolution of the conflict. The comments were made during ‘direct line’ emission.
Thousands of insurgents accumulated in Syria, and it was better to neutralize them there, than let them enter Russian Federation through Central Asian open borders, Putin continued. At present there is no more need in large-scale combat operations, the President ensured, while the political resolution of the conflict is on the agenda.
However two Russian military locations – Tartus and Khmeimim Air Base in Syria will stay as long as “beneficial and needed” to defend Russian interests in this “close to Russia region“.
The President explained that there are no permanent constructions on the territory of both Russian basis in Syria , and in case of necessity, the military can be moved out swiftly.
“The experience in Syria is a precious for our troops, but Syria is not a test site for Russian weapons“, Putin continued, “Russian specialists adjusted already functioning systems to in the field, in the combat situations”.
A significant number of Russian officers and generals had an opportunity to participate in missions in Syria, accumulating experience of combat operations, allowing to make one more step to “perfect our military“.
As bright as he his, Mr. Zuckerberg appeared in the European Parliament Brussels for a short address, representing a mixture of advertising for his company and benefits it brings to the EU, and his intentions for future cooperation. Unlike any other CEO of a telecom company he has competences to provide service and powers to decide if we are good enough to use it. A very innovative approach, we have never experienced before: is post office allowed to inspect the content of our letters, before sending them? Are telecom operators encouraged to listen to our conversation and decide if we are entitled to remain the clients?…
But in case of the Facebook the MEPs encouraged Mr.Zuckerberg to filter content, banning the “fakenews” in spite of the absence of a legal definition, monitor the exchanges to define if it does not contain a threat.
Mr.Zuckerberg came to European Parliament with an aura of the Emperor of the World, who can make, and overthrow kings: he apologised for Analytica, but accepted the mission of filtering the Facebook content. Who is the judge? Mr.Zuckerberg himself?..
We do not expect the same people to construct the roads, maintain them and monitor those, who use them – ‘unbundling’ is the word for the policy requiring the division of powers. But in case of Mr.Zuckerberg it does not work: he is the one who provides the communication service, monitors the content, bans those, who he thinks are not entitled. Is the Facebook a modern service provider or an old-fashioned monopoly?
Imagine you are coming to a post office, where an agent is opening your envelope, reading a letter, and denying a further service, sending it into trash! That is what Mr.Zuckerberg does: he provides service, monitors the users, and bans those unwanted upon his own subjective criteria. The most striking element of the entire endeavor is, that it is accepted by the otherwise democratic societies. Where is the division of powers? In case of Facebook, it goes a beggar.
#Zuckerberg I think it is utterly wrong to give to one man so much powers to deliver and control information flows. I think they should be separated the way we use telephone or post office.
A global chemical weapons watchdog OPCWsays it has deployed fact-finding teams to investigate an alleged chemical attack in Douma, a town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta kept in hands of insurgents.
“The Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirms that the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team is on its way to Syria and will start its work as of Saturday 14 April, 2018,” – the official confirmed.
The announcement came a few days after the alleged chemical attack which, according to NGOs on the ground, claimed the lives of more than 85 civilians and harmed thousand more.
Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar Al-Jaafari confirmed Damascus’ readiness to provide unlimited assistance to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission coming to the city of Douma in order to investigate into an alleged chemical attack.
“My country Syria stresses its unlimited cooperation with the OPCW to fulfill the commitments stated in the convention of the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons,” Al-Jaafari said during an emergency meeting on Syria at the UN Security Council this week.
Once again Al-Jaafari reminded that Syrian government has no possession of any chemicals weapons including chlorine that was allegedly used over the weekend in Douma, he added.
“The Syrian Arabic Republic stresses once again it does not possess any chemical weapons of any type, including chlorine,”Al- Jaafarisaid, while addressing UN.
However the record of co-operation between OPCW and Syrian government is far from being flawless. Back in 2017 Syria rejected the conclusions of the report of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism on Khan Sheikhoun incident because it was not “neutral and not professional, and it built its false charges against Syria on the process of fabricating evidence and manipulating information” Al-Jaafariclaimed.
In a session (November 2017) of the Security Council on the report OPCW-UN Joint Mechanism, Al-Jaafariwondered how the Mechanism didn’t consider Khan Sheikhounincident as a political issue, saying “Since when is chemical terrorism considered a fully technical issue and not a political one?”
Al-Jaafarisaid that some states’ governments claim that they adhere to ethics and they consider themselves as custodians of the provisions of international law and the UN Charter while at the same time they adopt policies that violate these noble moral principles and they exploit them to implement their destructive interference agendas“.
“Some UN committees, such as the Joint Mechanism, which should be neutral, professional, and credible, have proven through their work that they are biased and politicized,” Al-Jaafari continued ‘(2017).
Ambassador cited a number of examples indicating to lack of neutrality and professionalism by the Joint Mechanism, and regretted that the report on the internal investigations on the incident of Khan Sheikhoun did not reveal the truth about the attack.
Syria-OPCW turbulent record casts doubts if the current mission findings would be accepted by Syrian government as objective. Subsequently it asises even more doubts if military action is an adequate solution: Saddam Husseinalso claimed he had no chemical weapons of mass destruction, however four star US Gen.Colin Powell had an alternative point of view…
The question on alleged chemical weapons use in Syria leads the West to another dilemma: is Abu-Bakr al Baghdadi a viable alternative to Bashar Al-Assad?
Russian decision to postpone the appointment of a new ambassador to NATO announced today marks a new low in rapidly deteriorating relations between the East and the West, but even more it underlines Kremlin assertiveness, and claims of parity, turning the page of a period when one could label Russia as a “regional power“.
However while looking at new splendid NATOheadquarters in Brussels one wonders what it the purpose of the Alliance today? What’s the raison d’être? If it is the revival of the Cold War, what is its aim this time? The Communism has fallen, and there is no official state ideology in Russia to defeat. The authoritarianism, human rights and rule of law issues can hardly be targets of criticism, while NATO ally Turkey’s ‘Sultan’ Erdogan openly, and literally conducts purges against his political opponents, and wages a war against Kurds, describing it the ‘Olive Branch’ operation against Islamic State.
Meanwhile the radicals are not shy about showing faces in Afghanistan. After a decade of military campaign, NATO has withdrawn its troops in 2014 without any definite conclusion, but rapid and widespread rise of Taliban. Nowadays the Islamists are taking grounds, imposing unprecedented levels of violence, and there is hardly a week without news of terrorist attacks, and numerous victims among civilians. Unlike the time of the beginning of the US military missionJawbreaker (2001) against Osama Ben Laden in Tora Bora, the radicals are not hiding in the caves, they are claiming power, and constructing networks in real and virtual world, controlling two-thirds of Afghan territory. The airstrikes in defeating the radicals do not help much, but turn against the Kabul and the West the entire population of the provinces for ‘collateral damages’.
Hundreds of Dashte Arche residents started moving to #Kunduz city in protest over #Afghan airstrike. They say that if the gov't doesn't investigate these airstrikes, all residents of Dashte Arche will joint the #Taliban and announce their support from Islamic Emirate of Taliban. pic.twitter.com/cvdC8hMAvd
However even the rapid progress of Taliban does not motivate NATO to start a coordinated action with Moscow, in spite of the obvious interest of both sides to defeat terrorism, there are instead allegations of Russians ‘arming Taliban’.
“They say they wouldn’t mind if we gave them weapons, but they don’t need weapons. They say ‘give us money, we’re buying weapons from the stocks of the Afghan army and police’,” AmbassadorZamir Kabulov was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.
Ambassador said that in their talks with the Taliban, the group’s representatives said they buy all their weapons illegally from the Afghan government and police, and asked for financial support for that.
While the West argues with Russia, reducing diplomatic missions and expelling staff, the Taliban actively uses an opportunity to expand, and it will succeed until there is a comprehensive joint NATO-Russia strategy for counter-terrorism. However within the current political situation, the low tight in diplomatic relations does not provide with an effective response to the rapidly growing terrorist threat.
The omitted factors in presumption of Moscow deliberate assault on a former KGB Colonel Sergei Skripal with Cold War mass-destruction chemical weapon Novichok reduce the blame of Prime Minister Theresa May to a highly subjective hypothesis.
Challenging the official conclusions, different episodes from Novichok sinister legend frame the official British version as endogenous, thus serving the political strategy of accusing Kremlin, but not pursuing the search of the truth, which goes begging…
The narrative of Novichok is deeply rooted in Cold War, when the USSR was flaunting its military might. The Communist party was so proud of a possession of such a powerful chemical weapon, that honoured both inventors of Novichok – Vladimir Ouglev (Владимир Углев) and Vil Mirzayanov (Виль Мирзаянов) with Lenin Prize (1991) for a break-thought in science. The special achievements of this new generation of nerve agents were it is unprecedented might – with one liter of liquid a population of multi-million city could be destroyed without a chance of recovery. The other characteristic was in method of application – in unremarkable composing elements, which represent no danger to humans if kept apart, will produce a lethal effect when assembled.
“Scripals are practically dead”, said the Vil Mirzayanov, an immigrant in the USA since collapse of the Soviet Empire. “And even if they survive, they will never recover”, he added. There is not antidote to Novichok.
Tragically Skirpals attacked with nerve agent were not the only victims who came to public attention. The sinister story of Russian banker Ivan Kivelidi (1995) assassinated by application of chemical weapon to a telephone in his office, shocked Russians. His secretary (30) and coroner (40) who performed autopsy on Kivelidi’s body also lost their lives – the poison was so powerful, that continued the devastation in derivatives.
After this sequence of suspicious deaths the investigation led to an employer of the scientific laboratory in the institute where the chemical was invented, and his wealthy client, who purchased the formula, – a businessman and former victim’s partner – Vladimir Khutsishvili. Both men arrested and sentenced. It is useful to mention that Kivelidi was not just “a” banker, but a chair of a club of bankers, with a pronounced interest in politics.
However it was unclear then how the former partner managed to insert the nerve agent in the telephone membrane – one should have special costume, triple layer gloves and gas mask to survive the manipulation, but the accused Vladimir Khutsishvili entered the office of the victim in tenue de ville…
At present one of two Novichok inventors lives in the USA, Mirzaynov claims that he revealed the formula of the chemical in his book, and at collapse of the USSR warned Americans about this secret Russian weapon, that should have been included in the list of prohibited substances. Russian expert at United Nations Igor Nikulin confirmed that the formula of Novichok was known by the potential foes after collapse of the USSR.
At present Russians instantly deny the possession of Novichok – in 1997 Kremlin ratified the Convention of prohibition of chemical weapons, and subsequently President Putin received report of a complete destruction of the entire Soviet arsenal in Russian Federation. But Igor Nikulin added that Novichok samples could have been kept in any of the former Soviet Republics after collapse of the Communist system. In the USSR one of the leading production laboratories of chemical weapons was situated in Noukous, in Uzbekistan, outside Russian jurisdiction, where the government worked closely with the USA in destruction of its arsenal.
Considering these omitted in public debate factors – the leak of Novichok formula from laboratory in 90th, and migration of its inventor Vil Mirzayanov to the USA, the access to production and samples in Soviet Republics, which became independent states, – the circle of potential holders of the nerve agent formula is significantly larger than Lubyanka secret service office in Moscow.
Beyond mentioned above, there are too many inexplicable elements in the assassination of Sripals: why father and daughter collapsed at the same moment? If she was the one who brought poison in her luggage from Moscow, and was exposed to it first, logically there should have been a time difference in their collapse, but there was not. If the suitcase was contaminated with such a powerful nerve agent as British media reports claim, all workers along the air transport chain should have been dead by now, but fortunately there are no reports of any ‘suspicious deaths’ so far. But was it Novichok, or some other nerve agent?.. Only an independent international inquiry can establish the truth, until independent experts have an access to the information, the accusations would remains in the realm of hypothesis, serving political concept of demonizing Russians, and dragging the world backward into Cold War era, where Skirpal belongs.
Recruited by MI6 while serving as a military attaché of Russian Embassy in Spain, Skripal sold 20 000 pages of secret documents, receiving more than £100 000 in 10 years before his arrest in 2004, and subsequent sentence for 13 years.
The former double agent was pardoned five years later in a swap operation between Moscow and Washington. Freed, the disgraced Colonel installed in a small English town of Salisbury, not far from his recruiter, where he led low profile lifestyle, until the spectacular assassination, worth masterpieces of Bondiana, when Skripal’s name stormed the headlines of media worldwide, and ascended to UN debate.
The linguistic argument over President Trump choice of epithet to describe the situation of rampant criminality in Haiti ( 219 murders per 100,000 a year), and some other African countries overshadowed the concern with the situation itself, becoming a hysteria of Pharisees, outraged for pointing to the unpleasant truth.
African nations started to express their protest and request apology for the unflattering comparison, being used to comfortable “politically correct” public discourse, indulging in escapism. The population rushed to express their frustration and rage in destruction. (Image below: spontaneous protests in H&M store in South Africa against epithet “shit hole”, reportedly used by President Trump.
A discussion in White House with President Donald Trump on immigration regulation that suggested asylum for people from Haiti and other likewise places, caused a whirlwind of emotions. Why US citizens should welcome immigrants from “shithole countries” rather than from Norway? The question the President reportedly asked, according to sources present in conversation leaked to press and make headline. But it is not rate of gang rapes that concerned the general public, but an obligation to hide the abhorrent reality, making it a taboo. The next question is how to fight evil, if politicians are not allowed to raise an issue without censorship?
“It is not a pipe!” says the line on painting of the father of Surrealism Renée Magritte. The international politics has become totally surrealistic, rejecting realities, and sheltering in illusions. While the UK FCO travel advice (see below) warns about horrors of Haiti, Pharisees among the US #Democrats attack the President for using an epithet, slightly hinting on degradation of failed states and territories, with highest rates of murders and gang rapes on planet Earth. Pharisees do not attack the problem, they attack the President pursuing their own political aims, manipulation public opinion in their own selfish interest, waging infowar against Republicans. However it is time to establish the truth, all Pharisees should present a reason for their indignation. If President is wrong, they should leave for next holiday there:) Welcome to #Haiti! We are waiting in anticipation for the photographs on your Facebook pages:)