« Aleppo City comes next? | Main | Cat Birds »

11 April 2016

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

cynic

Some time ago there was mention of the big Bronze Age battle in northern Germany.
Here's an article about the DNA of the bones. It appears that one side came from the south or south east.

http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2016/03/bronze-age-war-in-northern-germany.html

From a comment: 'This battle was around 1,250 BCE and apparently a conflict between a "standing army" made up of professional soldiers of widely mixed origins, and people from the south or southeast (as compared to northern Germany - we will know more precisely after the DNA analysis has been completed)'

rjj

Bernays writing comes from the same source as Bauhaus/modernist architecture cult (scowl!!!) - earlier visionary meddlings via perfectly rational and utterly unworkable grand designs for The Masses. (another bigger scowl)

It took a while but eventually realized what inspired these ideas and how they make sense. They are a product of/reaction to the world of Central Europe.

David Habakkuk

LondonBob,

If you ever hear reports in the press about a mysterious death in West London – sometime journalist and television producer choking in hysterical laughter on his whisky and water – they could even be true.

The notion that Andrei Lugovoi and/or Dmitri Kovtun poured polonium into Litvinenko's green tea in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel is laughable; the suggestion that Mario Scaramella sprinkled it on his sushi at the Itsu even more so.

However, while the claims by Paul Barril are clearly in part a continuation of a series of Russian 'information operations' designed to obscure the truth of how Litvinenko died, they also help open up areas that are important. Interesting skeletons may be tumbling out of cupboards.

While some of what Barril says about 'Operation Beluga' is dubious, it seem reasonably clear that MI6 and elements in the U.S. intelligence community were in cahoots with Berezovsky in covert operations, and in particular 'information operations', one of whose purposes was to destabilise the Putin 'sistema'.

And here, another report which appeared on 'Russia Insider' on the same day as the full Barril interview was posted – Gilbert Doctorow's account of programmes on Russian state television making claims about the role of Bill Browder in such attempts – is interesting.

( See http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/agent-william-f-browder-smoking-gun/ri13858 .)

Unlike a very large number of other people who are involved in disseminating claims about these matters, I think Doctorow is an honest man, as well as a highly intelligent one.

And the possibility that there was a cache of documents collected by Berezovsky, which he was attempting to use as a 'bargaining chip' for a return to Moscow, is a real one. It is also, I think, quite likely that a top-class 'hitman' was employed by person or persons unknown to murder Berezovsky and try to make it look like suicide, precisely to head off the threat of his returning to Moscow.

(Ironically, this helps put the ludicrousness of Owen's report into sharp relief. If either the FSB, or Lugovoi, a top-class bodyguard, had wanted Litvinenko assassinated, they would have hired a competent 'hitman' who would have covered his tracks.)

However, there is reason for a good deal about caution about some of the 'evidence' produced in the Russian TV programmes. If there was a cache of documents, some of the material might be absolutely what it appears to be. Also, other material might be completely genuine, but not actually originating with the 'cache' – this could provide an ideal means of disguising 'sources and methods'.

And, as Doctorow himself clearly thinks perfectly possible, crucial material could have been simply faked, or at least doctored.

Here the situation is actually oddly parallel to that at the Litvinenko Inquiry. In paragraph 3.132 of his report, Owen refers to the 'interviews' supposedly recorded with Litvinenko by DI Brent Hyatt on 18-20 November 2006. He writes:

'The interviews were transcribed and I adduced the entirety of the transcripts into evidence. It is, to put it mildly, unusual when inquiring into a death to have available lengthy transcripts of interviews with the deceased conducted shortly before his death. I regard these transcripts as being of great value to this Inquiry.'

A few facts that if Owen should have considered. One of the – many – reasons why polonium is an improbable choice of assassination weapon is that, commonly, people intending to commit murder do not want the police to have the opportunity to conduct 'lengthy' interviews with their victim.

Moreover, if indeed at the time of his supposed poisoning, on 1 November, Litvinenko suspected Lugovoi and Kovtun, as well as Scaramella, how do you account for the fact that he was apparently not interviewed seriously by the police until 18 November? Is Scotland Yard utterly incompetent?

How also do you account for the fact that, if the interviews are to be believed, the MI6 'handler' who had met Litvinenko on 31 October was still ignorant of the fact that he had been poisoned on 20 November? Is MI6 utterly incompetent?

What we need to make a considered judgement – and people ought to be demanding – is the original audio of the interviews. Likewise, in relation to the materials produced on the Russian TV programmes, we need to see the originals. Redaction of some passages would be quite acceptable – we simply need enough material for competent analysts to be able to assess authenticity.

This brings me back to Barril. Part of the use to which the interviews I think forged have been put is to explain away the only statement by Litvinenko about the circumstances of his poisoning for which we have direct verification of authenticity – the interview he gave to the BBC Russian Service on 11 November 2006. In this, he unambiguously pointed the finger of suspicion at Scaramella.

The forged interviews allow Owen to accept an 'information operations' line originally produced by Goldfarb in March 2007, according to which the incrimination of Scaramella was a ruse designed to lure Lugovoi back to London. By contrast, the claims by Barril – which pick up on earlier claims by William Dunkerley – are attempting to persuade us we should take the BBC Russian Service interview at face value. Both suggestions are ludicrous.

Ironically, Owen and Dunkerley alike ignore critical evidence about the circumstances in which Litvinenko originally broke the story of his poisoning, in collaboration with Akhmed Zakayev.

On this, an excellent starting point remains a thread on 'European Tribune', which opened with a 'diary' by someone calling themselves 'eternalcityblues' on 19 November 2006 – the day the story broke in the mainstream Western media. This was a piece of first-class targeted internet research, which put the whole Anglo-American MSM to shame.

In it, he or she – I suspect it was a she – quoted from one of the early reports on which the story was broken, on the Chechenpress and Kavkaz Center websites:

'As earlier reported by the Chechepress news agency, Mario Scaramella is a FSB agent in Italy and a close friend and business partner of the FSB deputy chief Kolmogorov. The Italian visited several time the FSB headquarters in Moscow.'

(See http://www.eurotrib.com/?op=displaystory;sid=2006/11/19/20439/209 .)

A few quick Google checks enabled 'eternalcityblues' to establish that in fact Scaramella was – to use my language – a dirty little disinformation peddler, targeting the enemies of Silvio Berlusconi, who had wheeled in his fellow disinformation peddler Litvinenko to make entirely bogus charges that Romano Prodi was a KGB agent.

Moreover, the Italian had a nice line in nuclear scaremongering – in which as it turns out Litvinenko collaborated with him. So Scaramella was hardly an obvious choice for an FSB 'hitman'. But then, he was hardly an obvious choice for an MI6 'hitman' either.

To be frank, if the notion that either the FSB or Lugovoi would have arranged an assassination so incompetently is hokum, so too is the notion that they would have read the Chechenpress reports and concluded that Litvinenko suspected Scaramella.

Here, Barril is again of some use: the FSB clearly knew all the Italian's involvement in anti-Russian 'information operations' – and there is good reason to suspect that Lugovoi was playing a double game, and feeding information back to Moscow. sources.

A plausible hypothesis is that Litvinenko incriminated Scaramella in part at least because he wanted the story of his poisoning brought into the open – but did not want to make public what he thought had actually happened.

If moreover there was any substance in the claim that MI6 and Berezovsky were involved in a deliberate assassination, they would not have been going round like headless chickens after their supposed victim – apparently against their will – broke the story.

A critical document in this whole affair – not admitted into evidence by Owen – is the long report by David Leppard and his 'Sunday Times' colleagues published under the title 'Cracking the code of the nuclear assassin' on 3 December 2006.

(See http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1747654/posts .)

If you compare the claims made here with the 'evidence' which Counter Terrorism Command claim to have identified by the end of November 2006, one has to explain why practically everything the 'Sunday Times' team – fourteen journalists – were told contradicted what we are now given to understand Litvinenko had told DI Hyatt.

In particular, at this point the Pine Bar is not being pointed to as a likely murder location.

It is instructive to compare the 'Sunday Times' report with a report in 'Izvestiya' on 1 December 2006. This is a classic 'information operations' piece, but its timeline for 1 November 2006 is I think likely to be accurate, although incomplete. It begins with Litvinenko leaving Berezovsky's office with the polonium, then has him visiting Lugovoi at the Millennium, and then going on to meet Scaramella at the Itsu. And there is no mention of the Pine Bar.

(See http://www.sras.org/news2.php?m=821 .

Reading between the lines of this story, it seems likely that at this point those 'in the know' in the Russian security services thought that Scotland Yard would have to produce a timeline which would leave Berezovsky and Litvinenko caught in the act in possession of a highly dangerous radiological isotope.

At that point, the only people who wanted to bring the Pine Bar meeting into the open were Lugovoi and Kovtun – who also wanted to disavow the existence of any earlier meeting between the former and Litvinenko, prior to the latter's encounter with Scaramella.

What changed everything was the discovery, in the week following the 'Sunday Times' story, that the extent of contamination in the Pine Bar – and in particular, the fact that seven bar staff had ingested polonium – could not be disguised.

The 'Izvestiya' report also makes explicit what lay in the background of the presence of polonium in London in October-November 2006. As it noted – accurately:

'Eighteen months ago, Berezovsky was saying that the Chechen guerrillas had a portable nuclear bomb. According to him, all it lacked was "a small component" to make it ready for use.'

So the 'information operations' contests came to involve a scientifically totally-implausible polonium-beryllium 'initiator' being supplied to make functional a non-existent nuclear weapon. This is a state of affairs the contenting intelligence services alike want keep out of the limelight.

cynic

Here's the article about the Tollense Bridge battle from Old European Culture blog that I mentioned previously. It has photos of finds and a discussion of the metal trade. The author thinks that a large caravan, including women, children and old people was ambushed by robbers.

http://oldeuropeanculture.blogspot.com/2015/07/tollense-battle.html

' I believe that they were traders, and more specifically metal, tin and bronze traders. It was these Silesian metal traders who were traveling in a caravan protected by the armed guards, which were attacked by a gang of robbers. And these robbers attacked the caravan precisely because it was carrying the most precious metal of the bronze age: tin.'

cynic

Is there no more 'Red Mercury'?

bth

Soleimani has flown to Moscow for meetings with defense ministry. S300 stated purpose and to discuss Syria. Always good to keep an eye on his doings. Wouldn't be surprised to hear that Iran is suddenly making good on some old trade deals that were expected to close last year and some arms purchases this fall and perhaps food shipments from Russia to Syria and Yemen. This is just speculation but we shall see.

Also Iran and Turkey are meeting. One item on list is transportation routes and tariffs which is probably timely if Turkish southern trucking routes have become problematic again. Now that sanctions are being lifted on Iran I wonder how that affects the family business in Turkey that made a pretty penny circumventing those regulations.

Valissa

William I looked for your review but couldn't find it. Maybe it hasn't been approved yet. I will check again tomorrow. Did you like it?

I noticed that the reviews for Mike Lofgren's book The Deep State are consistently higher. From what I can tell from the reviews, esp. one of my favorite reviewers, Robert David Steele, who trashed the book, the Ambinder book focuses on secrecy and related problems.

Mike Lofgren's book is about the ordinariness of the Deep State, and is focused more on explaining the out of control bureaucracy, the revolving door between gov't and corporations, the high percentage of contractors used in gov't work today (esp. problematic is the defense industry), the power of lobbyists and think tanks, the powerful influence of Wall Street, and the types of people that get ahead in this environment (hint: not people who are oriented to solving actual problems). Lofgren is a former long time congressional aide, he's not an investigative journalist and he has no hidden agenda of his own or axe to grind. Just wants to educate the public on how the gov't really operates. This is why I've been recommending Lofgren's book to anyone that's willing to listen. It's easy to read and requires no special knowledge to understand it. There is absolutely zero conspiracy theory type info in it and Lofgren hardly mentions anything about secrecy issues. That's not a concern of his.

turcopolier

valissa

I sometimes get a dozen comments a day from WRC. I have asked him not to do that. pl

Valissa

I thought he was referring to a book review he did at Amazon. They also wisely moderate reviews before they post them.

LeaNder

without looking into it, for someone selling 'revelations' for profit it may well feel completely impossible someone else wouldn't want to be paid solidly, worse not at all.

If I may joke, in the proverbial land of winners and losers, or in more up to date terms, black versus white heads, it may feel a bit beyond belief.

As a nitwit I would never rule out interested parties, or that the leaker was a black or at least gray versus white head, including hired by intelligence. But without doubt intelligence would be the most popular accusation. Don't you think?

rjj

""competence is like that of the industrial engineer, the management engineer, or the investment counselor in their respective fields". To assist clients, PR counselors used "understanding of the behavioral sciences and applying them – sociology, social psychology, anthropology, history, etc."

V., this is rhetorical packaging (aka flaming bullshit) for marketing his services. How much could he have charged and how much demand would there have been for Mom's Own Mindf---® brand?

the principles and methods are the same. they scale.


turcopolier

LeaNder

"including hired by intelligence. But without doubt intelligence would be the most popular accusation" So your vision of things is that the CIA roams the world looking for people to hire to do what, exactly...? pl

rjj

thanks for these links. please keep them coming. would be more interested in isotope analysis data than the DNA. [personal] For a long time I have claimed people are creatures of place and the particularities of place LITERALLY get written into our bones. It was nice to have that confirmed - people assumed I was being fanciful.[/personal]

The third paragraph below is the most interesting. Would like to know where these people and their horses grew up.

Isotopic oxygen is incorporated into the body primarily through ingestion at which point it is used in the formation of, for archaeological purposes, bones and teeth. The oxygen is incorporated into the hydroxylcarbonic apatite of bone and tooth enamel.

Bone is continually remodelled throughout the lifetime of an individual. Although the rate of turnover of isotopic oxygen in hydroxyapatite is not fully known, it is assumed to be similar to that of collagen; approximately 10 years. Consequently, should an individual remain in a region for 10 years or longer, the isotopic oxygen ratios in the bone hydroxyapatite would reflect the oxygen ratios present in that region.

Teeth are not subject to continual remodelling and so their isotopic oxygen ratios remain constant from the time of formation. The isotopic oxygen ratios, then, of teeth represent the ratios of the region in which the individual was born and raised. Where deciduous teeth are present, it is also possible to determine the age at which a child was weaned. Breast milk production draws upon the body water of the mother, which has higher levels of 18O due to the preferential loss of 16O through sweat, urine, and expired water vapour.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotope_analysis

http://archive.archaeology.org/0705/abstracts/isotopes.html


rjj

too bad you're not close by. would volunteer to milk for milk and duck eggs (when they eventually get in the mood).

rjj

More and more am appreciating why the American War of Independence should not ever have been called a revolution.

LeaNder

not so, Pat. I wrote: "the most popular" for a reason. The world is complex and wide. My most favorite choice is, admittedly, someone with the right tools to travel the net in search of bugs that allow entrance without need for profit, which would turn it black. In our case at hand case a real hit.

Concerning the CIA. Maybe the popular lore turned me off, at least the way I encountered it on the US web. My guess is that much of the lore is the result of the basic secrecy: The popular mind wants to fill the void.

But yes, without doubt US services are so well funded, that they can hire the best geeks out there. ;)

bth

Fascinating read. Thanks

William R. Cumming

Published under my non-profit's name Vacation Lane Group.

William R. Cumming

Agree with your analysis and also recommend Lofgren's book. My review was prompted by a current study by Marc Ambinder and call to me requesting info. I gave him me following link maintained for me by FAS's Steve Aftergood:

http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dhs/fema/index.html

His question: How could the United States protect its civil population from nuclear attack? My answer! It cannot and could not yet no American President has told the American people that fact and explained why IMO!

William R. Cumming

While I do comment on other comments since your request have never posted more than three comments on their own on different days. Now, I will refrain from comments on others comments.

Chris Chuba

I have heard complaints about Russian aggression towards NATO member states in international waters but I have never heard as much caterwauling as now with the buzzing of the U.S. destroyer in the Baltic sea. I am including the following link because it is one of the more professionally written articles on the subject.

http://pilotonline.com/news/nation-world/world/russia-rejects-criticism-of-fly-by-near-us-navy-destroyer/article_bea7a912-0dbd-5fef-bd4d-e3335e45511c.html

1. Given the outcry over this incident, perhaps the previous incidents weren't so bad?
2. I keep hearing that the Russian jets were not armed but in the released videos I can clearly see two large objects under the fuselage. Are these auxiliary fuel tanks?
3. The destroyer was conducting naval exercises with Poland, so I expect that Russia will be more aggressive the closer that exercises are done to their territory. I believe in the exact opposite of Carly Fiorina, she seems to think that we need to do this to show the Russians who are boss, time will tell who is right.
4. Kerry says that we could have shot at the Jets in international waters, the Russian's say that there is a NATO agreement and that we can lodge a complaint.

Given our track record, I suspect that the Russians are correct. I don't know the protocol for firing at Jets in international air space but I suspect that it would have to be done only when a naval vessel feels that they are under attack. So the first approach of Russian Jets would have to be a direct intercept pattern, warned that they will be fired on, and shot at during the approach but again, what do I know?

Any thoughts on this incident would be appreciated.

Fred

This gentleman sounds like he was quite a character.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2016/04/12/lt-col-graham-tullet---obituary/

bth

Colonel I suggest that this article by Bacevich is probably worth
a separate thread regarding national policies and the all volunteer force.
http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20160418-andrew-bacevich-why-americas-all-volunteer-force-fails-to-win-wars.ece

bth

Some curious articles coming out of Belarus of late.

First, Lukashenko gives a speech were he says that elements in Russia should stop treating Belarus as its 'lackey'. http://eng.belta.by/president/view/lukashenko-tells-certain-forces-in-russia-to-stop-talking-about-belarus-alleged-u-turn-90743-2016/

Second it looks like Russia is going through with its plans to place at least motorized rifle brigadenright near the intersection of major road and rail lines where Russia, Belarus and Ukraine intersect. Timing for initial base completion September 2016 with units sleeping in the field until completed. Apparently the plan was initiated in February if I read the article correctly and is being fast tracked. https://charter97.org/en/news/2016/4/21/200624/

Third, Belarus alters its defense doctrine to prevent its military forces from participating outside its own territory. http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/international/europe/2016/04/18/belarus-military-doctrine-csto/83178728/


The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28            
Blog powered by Typepad