Julian Charles: Hello everybody, Julian Charles here of themindrenewed.com coming to you as usual from the depths of the Lancashire countryside here in the UK. And welcome to another one of my slightly unusual productions during this time in which I am involved in a couple of house moves. The first one is over, that of my parents, but in a few days from now we’re going to be experiencing our own uprooting as our belongings are packed onto the removals lorry and shifted just a few miles down the road, actually to be next door to my parents. That's quite an amazing thing to have worked out, which means, of course, we’re going to be able to help them out in various ways much more easily than before, and my mum and dad will be able to see more of their grandchildren than ever before. So, a blessing in many ways. And indeed—and you will expect me to say this, and I believe it—a providential turn of events.
So, as I said before, during this time I’m using this as an opportunity to do some different things: the first was "A House Move Diary" last time. (If you haven’t heard that, of course I recommend you go and listen to it. A lot of people have contacted me to say how much they enjoyed that, so thank you to all of you who did that – that’s very encouraging.)
This is the second of those rather unusual podcasts: a sharing of a very interesting conversation between Martin Summers and Tony Gosling on the Politics Show of BCFM Radio (Bristol Community FM) that was broadcast just over a week ago on the 16th March 2018 discussing the Sergei Skripal affair in Salisbury, UK, on the 4th March, and the subsequent political fallout of that event, followed by a chat that I had with Tony Gosling a few days later on Wednesday evening late at night. That basically added more background to that story (Tony having worked as a BBC reporter in the past in that very area of Salisbury) and explored some of the persistent and very serious questions that surround that whole, I think, highly suspicious story.
And the reason why I’m doing this is because, like I should think the vast majority of people that listen to TMR, I felt deeply insulted by the mainstream media coverage of that event and many of the statements coming from the British government. In fact, as I said to Tony before we recorded our chat, I have quite similar feelings about this as I did seven years ago about the whole Osama bin Laden assassination story. I found that story so absurd, and I still do, that I felt deeply insulted that anyone should expect me to believe it. And I feel much the same about this.
To my mind it makes no sense that Vladimir Putin should have ordered this to take place. There are a million and one ways to kill a person, so I am informed. Some of them are very difficult to trace back to the perpetrator. If Putin wanted to kill Sergei Skripal: first, he could have done it while Skripal was in custody in Russia; second, he could have done it in a quiet way that wouldn’t lead to international outrage; and third, he surely wouldn’t have used a red-flag chemical weapon on British soil, which of course plays directly into the Weapons-of Mass-Destruction meme that’s been so pressed against Assad.
If he did it, he would certainly have done it in such a way as not to give his geopolitical opponents the opportunity to whip up fear and score propaganda victories against him. I think that to believe that he did it, you have to believe that Putin is mad or that he’s stupid, and I don’t think he’s either; I see no evidence of this. I mean, I’m sure that he’s as hard as nails – and I wouldn’t want to cross him – but I don’t think he’s mad or stupid.
As to the explanation that I’ve heard that this is some kind of warning to would-be traitors – "betray us and die!" — if you work for intelligence agencies, surely you don’t need a warning like that! I mean, you know the score already: you sell secrets, you may well end up in a place that you don’t want to end up. So I find the immediate pinning of this on Russia insulting. Obviously to the Russians it’s insulting, but I mean to me as a consumer of media. So I wanted to respond to this in some way. But time limitations being such as they are, I thought, well I can’t schedule an interview, so I decided to find some good resource to share, as I do from time to time. And I found it in this conversation that I’m going to play today, but that then led to an interview anyway—unplanned, indeed unprepared for—but an interview nonetheless.
So, here they are: first, Martin Summers and Tony Gosling in discussion on BCFM Radio, followed by my late night chat with Tony a few days later. Let me say, as I always do, the fact that I’m playing this does not mean that I necessarily agree with every word that is said. That’s not the point; the point is that this is investigative journalism, which we witness all too rarely these days, asking real questions that need to be raised.
Martin Summers & Tony Gosling
Tony Gosling: So Martin, for you, what’s the biggest thing about this Sergei Skripal spy scandal story?
Martin Summers: Well, I think what’s very clear is that it ought to be obvious to everybody that one of the suspects in this case must be Western Intelligence, or other third-party intelligence services, for example Ukrainian Intelligence. And the fact that the Russians have been tried, convicted and found guilty all in the space of forty-eight hours ought to raise questions in everybody’s minds. How can the British State establish all of these facts in that sort of time scale? They can’t really. To my mind this fits a pattern of Western Intelligence provocation, which we can discuss at some length if we’ve got time. The fact is that in the past Western Intelligence has been engaged in exactly this kind of provocation. So, for example— I’ll just make one point—the anthrax, which was circulated inside the United States after the 9/11 attacks (the facts are very clear, and anybody can check them online), was traced back to Fort Dietrich in Maryland, which is the US equivalent of Porton Down, so it definitely came from inside the structure, no doubt about it.
TG: But can chemical weapons be traced back in the same way as biological weapons can?
MS: Well, I don’t know, and we’re all waiting to hear. Of course the Russians quite rightly asked for a sample of what had been discovered, affirming that they would co-operate with any investigation as they were equally in the dark, not having signed off on it, and said that as they had no hand in it. They were as keen to get to the bottom of it as anyone else. There are mechanisms for getting to the bottom of it. About two years ago, there were celebrations in Russia after they’d got rid of their entire chemical warfare stockpile and were given a clean bill of health.
TG: But, can we trust them?
MS: No, not necessarily, but the point is that that was an internationally supervised deal, whereby the Russians agreed to get rid of their chemical warfare stockpile, and we agreed to get rid of ours. But as a result of this particular incident, Porton Down is to get a massive increase in expenditure and infrastructure. I have to question that, and someone ought to ask the question in Parliament, or make a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request on the government’s decision to expand Porton Down, which has been pushed forward on the back of it.
TG: OK, this is forty-eight millions pounds suddenly descending on Porton Down?
MS: Yes, indeed, and was that decided since this incident, or was it already in the pipeline before the incident, or does it have something to do with the incident?
TG: Yes, I would suggest that it does.
MS: Well, alright Sherlock Holmes, you might be right there.
TG: Porton Down is saying nothing really about the origin of this. In fact, what the former Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, is saying through his contacts in the Foreign Office: “I have now received information from a well-placed Foreign & Commonwealth Office source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve agent 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 a formulation of a ‘type’ originally developed by Russia.” Could this forty-eight million pounds be a bribe to get the Porton Down people to play ball?
MS: If we may just do a thought experiment here for a minute. If this is a Western Intelligence come-on, which I suspect it may be, there’s a possibility that a group like the Ukrainians may have their fingers in it. Don’t forget they used to be part of the Soviet Union as well. Of course, Craig Murray used to be British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, and that was where the equivalent of Porton Down in the Soviet Union was located, but was subsequently dismantled during the Yeltsin era by western scientists from the US and elsewhere when everything that was there was taken away. So, what the British need to do, if they want to make this stick, is to make whatever they’ve found available to others to try and ascertain its provenance.
TG: Martin, it’s already sticking, and has stuck really, because Trump and Macron, and the EU effectively, have all come in on Britain’s side saying: You’re absolutely right, expel those diplomats.
MS: Yes, and so have some right-wing Labour MPs, but I’d say none of them has any evidence to prove it one way or another. All we’ve got is the word of the British government and the word of British Intelligence, who have got a track record going back to the 1940s of behaving in a provocative fashion. (I mentioned earlier the example of the anthrax in the US that killed six people after 9/11, which definitely came from Fort Dietrich—definitely came from within the structure, and yet no one inside the structure was ever punished.) Therefore, we can presume that they will carry on doing the same sort of things.
TG: Look, is this Novichok weapon likely to have been at Porton Down, which is only ten minutes’ drive away from Salisbury?
MS: Well, what the Russians are saying is that the only way they could have ascertained that it was Novichok would be if they have samples of their own to compare it against. Of course the Russian chemical warfare capability was comprehensively dismantled during the Yeltsin era, and virtually all of it brought back to the West. As I pointed out, the Russians agreed to destroy all their stuff and it was subsequently dismantled under the supervision of the Court of International . . .
TG: And have Russia’s chemical weapons been destroyed?
MS: Yes, of course, but ours haven’t. Porton Down hasn’t been dismantled, has it?
TG: And neither has that of the United States. The program of destruction of US chemical weapons has still five years to run.
MS: Yes, well the Russians got ahead of the game and got rid of them all. The point is that what the Russians have been concentrating on is developing fourth-generation nuclear weapons, the stuff that really matters.
TG: So, in other words, chemical weapons can’t be used to take out military targets; they’re much more dangerous to civilians?
MS: No, I think that what’s . . .
TG: ... has anything to do with it because, as it was revealed the other week, Russian weaponry includes nuclear-powered cruise missiles that have been developed to take out hard targets.
MS: Well, they’re there to take out any target you like. I mean, let’s face it, a nuclear bomb is not very discriminating. The point about chemical weapons is that this whole trope of Weapons of Mass Destruction – we all know the phrase “Weapons of Mass Destruction” – now the reason that was pushed in the run-up to the First and Second Gulf Wars is because it blurs the line between nuclear weapons, which are nuclear, and conventional weapons. Chemical warfare is effectively just enhanced conventional warfare. You can kill quite a lot of people with chemical weapons, but not that many. They were found to be pretty useless in the First World War—they didn’t work that well—and they are not comparable with nuclear weapons; they’re just not. But by using the phrase “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, you make them sound as though they are.
TG: A chemical weapon could kill millions of people.
MS: In theory.
TG: Surely a bullet can’t do that?
MS: No, but a nuclear weapon can.
TG: Also, biological weapons could—effectively, if it was the right kind of thing—kill the entire population of the planet.
MS: Well, I’m quite sure that the Iranians still have a biological chemical warfare program because they don’t have nuclear weapons.
TG: Biological weapons are also much more indiscriminate. Anyway, Israel also has extensive stocks of chemical weapons, but has always refused to declare any of them to the chemical weapons regulators. They’re not a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, nor a member of the OPCW, so Israel signed in 1993, but refused to ratify as this would mean inspection and destruction of their chemical weapons.
MS: Well, If I were a Wiltshire police officer, I would suggest that the Israelis could be one of the suspects in this case, because their policy in Syria has been completely frustrated by Putin and the Russians. And they’ve got a vested interest in stirring trouble between Britain and Russia. Also, the Russians are just about to have a presidential election. In another universe they would be congratulated for having the third, relatively free, election in their history after hundreds of years of authoritarianism, but instead of being congratulated, they’re being vilified. And, of course, Putin is going to win; he’s going to win handsomely.
TG: Martin, they’re saying that this is an attempt to interfere in the Russian elections.
MS: Yes, that’s how it is perceived in Russia, because they know that Putin’s going to win. Putin’s win will be very embarrassing for the West.
TG: And there’s also the death of Nikolai Glushkov as well, a friend of Boris Berezovsky. Now can we talk about that a little? Glushkov was actually involved very much in working for Berezovsky at Aeroflot. Aeroflot is absolutely key to understanding this competition between Putin and Berezovsky, because once Putin got into power, Berezovsky thought Putin was going to be his little puppet and do what he wanted, but he revived this old Aeroflot case. Now, think about who these oligarchs are. Berezovsky was running the NTV Channel, the biggest private channel in Russia...
SM: ...Yes, he was like a Berlusconi figure...
TG: ... and also running Aeroflot. So what was happening was that the whole nation under Yeltsin, the drunken President, was being asset-stripped, and Berezovsky was one of the oligarchs that was doing that asset-stripping. He was asset-stripping the national airline. Once Putin got into power, he revived this old case, saying: “Actually, Berezovsky, you’ve got some questions to answer about what’s happened to our national airline.” Then Berezovsky had to flee the country, and he came to London. Now, was this guy, who has been found dead, someone that knew all about what happened there?
SM: Yeah, well Berezovsky himself of course was found dead in his Surrey mansion some years ago, and the local coroner wouldn’t suggest that it was a suicide.
TG: It does make you wonder, doesn’t it, if these people have been killed by someone who didn’t want what they knew to come out in public?
SM: Yes, what you’ve got to remember is that these opposition figures to Putin—like this chap Berezovsky...
TG: ...Nokolai Grushkov to just remind you of his name...
MS: ...and Kordokovsky, who was sent to prison and then released—these people are big-style criminals; they are gangsters. The idea that Russia is an oligarchic state in a sense is true. But what Putin has done is to discipline the oligarchy, particularly the oligarchs of Jewish origin, many of whom have joint Israeli-Russian citizenship, and were basically at one stage pulling Russia into Israel’s orbit.
TG: So the most draconian or ruthless elements of the Russian mafia, shall we say, are in London, and some of them are actually funding the Conservative Party.
MS: They’re also opposed to Putin; that’s why they’re in London. Berezovsky was getting more and more frustrated because, of course, he couldn’t get the West to back him. He tried to...
TG: Didn’t he have a close relationship with the Duke of Kent, the Queen’s cousin, who is also head of the Freemasons?
MS: Don’t forget that these people are quite capable of murdering each other in order to make Russia look bad. I know that many people listening will think that that’s a preposterous idea, but it’s not. If you knew anything about Russia in the light of the "without-rules era", you would come to realize that all these people are very, very gangster-ish and they’re quite capable of killing each other over various disputes that they’ve got among themselves.
TG: It’s handy in a way that this guy is no longer around, because it makes it more difficult to dig up all this stuff about what happened with the privatisation of Aeroflot—the asset-stripping of Russia under Yeltsin.
MS: Well, don’t forget that this guy’s 68 and he’s died of a heart attack, so it’s not necessarily the case that he was murdered by anyone at all. Berezovsky, on the other hand, was strangled. According to police reports, there’s evidence of compression on his neck. Ok, but that still doesn’t mean that the Russian State has done this. These people are gangsters, and they’ve got enemies. Don’t forget, you’ve got to see this in the context of all the lies that have been told by Western Intelligence about Russian policy over the last five years. For instance, it has just been revealed in a court case held in Kiev that during the coup in the Ukraine, the demonstrators in Maidan Square were not shot by police under the then regime of Yanukovich, but by hired mercenaries from Georgia, who were actually given instructions by US military personnel.
TG: [Someone] was mentioning the coup in the Ukraine on BBC Question Time last night and getting pilloried, as was Jeremy Corbyn for questioning what the government was doing over this Russian-Salisbury case.
MS: Then you can see what the motivation is for Western Intelligence to carry out this scam: it puts Corbyn on the back foot; it means that we can ask for more money for the Military Industrial Complex, £48 million more for Porton Down; it pulls Britain into line with Trump. I’m quite sure that will be the assessment of Russian Intelligence. They will know whether they were involved or not. Think, why would Russian Intelligence, when they’re just about to have a successful national election in which Putin is going to win, come to Britain and kill somebody and make it so obvious that they did it and get the blame? That would be pretty silly, wouldn’t it?
TG: Ok, so what you’re saying is that this is psychological warfare. Let’s have a listen now to one of the initial statements by Theresa May about this whole business, and the reaction by former psychological warfare officer in the US army, Scott Bennett.
Theresa May (UK Prime Minister):
"It is now clear that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. This is part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok. Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at the Defense, Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent, and would still be capable of doing so, Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations, and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations, the Government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal."
"I think this was orchestrated by the UK government, possibly using other assets such as the CIA and Mossad, because Russia certainly doesn’t gain from anything like this. And to summon the Russians and say: "Answer which of these two is correct: either you did this against us, or someone else got your material and did this?", the Russians need to say: “No, there’s a third option, and that is that the United Kingdom has designed a psychological operation to manipulate its own public to distract the United Kingdom away from the MI6 Christopher Steele agent that wrote a false Russian dossier to undermine Donald Trump, and the British role in that, as well as the British role in the Al Nusra chemical weapons that has just come out, which Russia and Syria have said all along had nothing to do with Syria or Russia, but everything to do with the United Kingdom and the United States.”
TG: What’s he talking about there? I wasn’t aware about this business of the British in some way being involved, and maybe the Americans, in chemical weapons in Syria too?
MS: Well, that’s a key point: the Al Nusra Front. Scott Bennett’s a former US psychological warfare officer, but Seymour Hersh is a senior US journalist, if not the senior US journalist; he’s got several Pulitzer prizes and so on. He was the one that exposed the My Lai Massacre. He wrote an article about the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta some years ago, which was blamed on the Assad government. And he pointed out that it was not only not the Assad government that carried it out, it was carried out by the Al Nusra Front—which is Al Queda—and that the sarin used for the attack came from Libya and had been supplied to Al Nusra by Western Intelligence. So not only are the Russians not guilty in Syria, we are the guilty party. And when Obama was saying there was a "red line" here if people use chemical weapons against their own people, or people in general, it’s actually Western Intelligence who are the guilty party. Also, the White Helmets, who have been the source of much of this scurrilous information, who are themselves funded by the British tax payer to the tune of millions of pounds. You’ve got people sleeping on the streets, but we’ve got people running around in Syria doing PR for Al Queda as part of MI6. As I said in the first hour, MI6 in places like the Middle East is not regarded as some kind of benevolent organisation; it’s actually regarded as extremely tricky, ruthless and not very pleasant.
"There is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr. Skripal and his daughter, and for threatening the lives of other British citizens in Salisbury, including Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. This represents an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom. And, as I set out on Monday, it has taken place against the backdrop of a well-established pattern of Russian State aggression across Europe and beyond. It must therefore be met with a full and robust response beyond the actions we have already taken since the murder of Mr. Litvinenko, and to counter this pattern of Russian aggression elsewhere. As a discussion in this House on Monday made clear, it is essential that we now come together with our allies to defend our security, to stand up for our values, and to send a clear message to those who would seek to undermine them.
This morning I chaired a further meeting of the Security Council where we agreed immediate actions to dismantle the Russian espionage network in the UK, urgent work to develop new powers to tackle all forms of hostile state activity, and to ensure that those seeking to carry out such activity cannot enter the UK, and additional steps to suspend all planned high-level contacts between the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation. Let me start with the immediate actions:
Mr. Speaker, the House will recall that following the murder of Mr. Litvinenko, the UK expelled four diplomats. Under the Vienna Convention the United Kingdom will now expel twenty-three Russian diplomats, who have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers. They have just one week to leave. This will be the single biggest expulsion for over thirty years, and it reflects the fact that this is not the first time that the Russian State has acted against our country.
Through these expulsions we will fundamentally degrade Russian intelligence capability in the UK for years to come, and if they seek to rebuild it, we will prevent them from doing so.
Second, we will urgently develop proposals for new legislative powers to harden our defences against all forms of hostile state activity. This will include the addition of a targeted power to detain those suspected of hostile state activity at the UK border. This power is currently only permitted in relation to those suspected of terrorism, and I have asked the Home Secretary to consider whether there is a need for new counter-espionage powers to clamp down on the full spectrum of hostile activities of foreign agents in our country.
Mr. Speaker, as I set out on Monday, we will also table a government amendment to the Sanctions Bill to strengthen our powers to impose sanctions in response to the violations of human rights. In doing so, we will play our part in an international effort to punish those responsible for the sorts of abuses suffered by Sergei Magnitsky.
And I hope with all the measures that I am setting out that this will command cross-party support.
Mr. Speaker, we will also make full use of existing powers to enhance our efforts to monitor and track the intentions of those travelling to the UK, who could be engaged in activity that threatens the security of the UK and of our allies. So, we will increase checks on private flights, customs and freight. We will freeze Russian State assets wherever we have the evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents, and, led by the National Crime Agency, we will continue to bring all the capabilities of UK law enforcement to bear against serious criminals and corrupt elites. There is no place for these people or their money in our country.
Mr Speaker, let me be clear, while our response must be robust, it must also remain true to our values as a liberal democracy that believes in the rule of law. Many Russians have made this country their home, abide by our laws, and make an important contribution to our country, which we must continue to welcome. But, to those who seek to do us harm, my message is simple: you are not welcome here.
MS: Unlike the Saudis, of course, for whom the red carpet will be rolled out.
TG: Well, it was, wasn’t it, last week?
MS: Even though we know that various people were tortured to death by Mohamed bin Salman in the previous weeks before he arrived.
TG: Also, we know that they are the main funders of Islamic extremism in Britain.
MS: Indeed, that’s right, because there was a government report that showed they were the main funders of extremist madrasas in the country, but we’re not allowed to hear that, because that might upset the government.
TG: One thing that strikes me about what she’s saying there is this Rush-to-Judgement, and these are very extreme measures.
MS: The point I would make about this is: “Where is the evidence that the Russian State was involved?
TG: She’ll say: “We can’t tell you, because of national security.”
MS: Well, I would say that that’s not good enough, especially when we’ve got evidence, going back decades, of Western Intelligence engaging in this kind of provocation. I’ll mention for the umpteenth time Fernando Imposimato, the Head of the Italian Supreme Court who died last year, who uncovered the fact that Western Intelligence was involved in terrorism, including provocational terrorism like kidnapping and killing the Italian Prime Minister (Aldo Moro) and pretending that it had been done by the Red Brigades when it was in fact orchestrated by NATO Intelligence—by MI6. If they can do that, they can also kill a couple of Russian nobodies who have crossed the line in Salisbury, although they haven’t died yet.
TG: She also mentions Litvinenko there. How is that connected?
MS: In Litvinenko’s case, the Russians have always maintained that they didn’t kill him either. He was a Russian agent, but he also wrote a book Blowing up Russia. And of course, in that book, which I’m quite sure Theresa May hasn’t read, Litvinenko said that Putin and others that are running Russia were involved in the Moscow Ryazan Apartment bombs of 9/99—September 1999—when hundreds of people were killed by these no-warning bombs, supposedly by the Chechens, but in actual fact carried out by the FSB as a means of consolidating the power of Boris Yeltsin in his second term when Putin was the Prime Minister. What’s interesting about the book is that Litvinenko says: I know this happened because I and my boss Berezovsky were involved in these bombings with Putin, and therefore Putin’s guilty. At the same time, these people were given asylum in Britain because they were used as a mechanism for getting back at Putin, once Putin had double-crossed the CIA and MI6. But, of course, all these people are expendable. When the police investigated the Litvinenko case, they found polonium everywhere. I mean if you’re going to kill somebody, there are less detectable ways. Chavez, who died of a very, very rare cancer, which nobody could put a finger on, was probably murdered by the US.
TG: So, for example, it could appear that Litvinenko was simply the man that knew too much, who might actually start to talk and finger Berezovsky?
MS: If I were a police officer investigating, I would suggest that Berezovsky was the prime suspect, because he was getting desperate, and Berezovsky was pushing the idea that we’ve got to start using this involvement in the Moscow bombing against Putin: We know he did it. But, of course, the western powers are basically saying to Berezovsky that we can’t start accusing Putin of bombing Moscow...
TG: ... Because that would let the cat out of the bag...
TG: And 7/7.
MS: And 7/7. Basically, virtually all these incidents are in fact western, not Russian, intelligence come-ons. As I said on Russia Today the other week, the real scandal here is not that the Russians have been interfering in western elections and trying to steer things, it’s that Western Intelligence has been interfering. Look at the way in which this has played out: within 24 hours the whole raft of what the Military Industrial Complex wanted in the West has been achieved on the back of an incident where it hasn’t even been proved that there was any nerve agent. We’ve only got the word of government, who won’t provide the nerve agent. It could be that the whole thing is just theatre. That’s a possibility.
TG: Ok, that wasn’t all that Theresa May had to say; there were some more measures that she talked about. This bit is a lot shorter. We may hear from you again after this, Martin.
Mr. Speaker, let me return to our bilateral relationship. As I said on Monday, we’ve had a very simple approach to Russia: “Engage but beware!” And I continue to believe it is not in our national interest to break off all dialogue between the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation, but, in the aftermath of this appalling act against our country, this relationship cannot not be the same. So, we will suspend all planned high-level bilateral contacts between the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation. This includes revoking the invitation to Foreign Minister Lavrov to pay a reciprocal visit to the UK, and confirming that there will be no attendance by Ministers or indeed members of the Royal Family at this summer’s World Cup in Russia. Finally, Mr. Speaker, we will deploy a range of tools from across the full breadth of our national security apparatus in order to counter the threats of hostile state activity. While I have set out some of these measures today, members on all sides will understand that there are some that cannot be shared publicly for reasons of national security. And, of course, there are other measures we stand ready to deploy at any time should we face further Russian provocation.
Mr. Speaker, none of the actions we take are intended to damage legitimate activity or prevent contacts between our populations. We have no disagreement with the people of Russia, who have been responsible for so many great achievements throughout their history. Many of us looked at a post Soviet Russia with hope; we wanted a better relationship and it is tragic that President Putin has chosen to act in this way.
But we will not tolerate the threat to the life of British peoples and others on British soil, nor will we tolerate such a flagrant breach of Russia’s international obligations.
MS: Well, it’s just sickening, really, to hear this hypocritical tirade.
TG: So, does she think she has definite evidence it happened or not, because she’s saying both things? She’s saying we think that Putin was behind it, and then she’s saying also that he definitely was behind it at the same time.
MS: Well, in other words, they basically haven’t got any evidence that they’re prepared to share with us, so we’re entitled to presume that they may be lying. The idea that the British government doesn’t lie about stuff like this—when there are examples of Western Intelligence involvement in the Bologna bombing and in West Belfast, and in Syria where the chemical weapons attack was carried out by factions aided by and with the support of Western Intelligence, including our own—would produce a hollow laugh.
TG: You can hear her turning the pages there. Who writes these speeches for her? She’s reading this off a piece of paper.
MS: They’re written by the securicrats who run this country. Dearlove, who used to head MI6, was quoted in The Telegraph or The Times the other week saying: “Corbyn’s unfit to be Prime Minister, he wouldn’t pass a vetting.” So, somebody who used to be head of our intelligence services presumes to decide who can and who can’t be Prime Minister, and that’s because they have far too much power. They’ve always had far too much power.
TG: Anyway, let’s have a listen now to Jeremy Corbyn—Leader of the Opposition (Labour Party)—for his response to Theresa May’s statement on this.
Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement, and to echo absolutely her words about the service of our emergency services. 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. This attack in Britain has concerned our allies in the European Union, NATO, and the UN, and their words of solidarity have strengthened our position diplomatically.
Our response as a country must be guided by the rule of law, support for international agreements and respect for human rights. So, when it comes to the use of chemical weapons on British soil, it is essential that the government works with the United Nations to strengthen its chemical weapons monitoring system and involves the Office of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The Prime Minister said on Monday either this was a direct act by the Russian State or the Russian Government lost control of their potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent, and allowed it to get into the hands of others. Our response must be both decisive and proportionate, and based on clear evidence.
If the government believes that there is still a possibility that Russia negligently lost control of a military-grade nerve agent, what action has been taken through the OPCW with our allies?
I welcome the fact the police are working with the OPCW, and has the Prime Minister taken the necessary steps under the Chemical Weapons Convention to make a formal request for evidence from the Russian Government under Article 9.2?
How has she responded to the Russian government’s request for a sample of the agent used in the Salisbury attack to run its own tests?
Has high-resolution trace analysis been run on a sample of the nerve agent, and has that revealed any evidence as to the location of its production or the identity of its perpetrators?
And, can the Prime Minister update the House on what conversations, if any, she’s had with the Russian government? And while . . .
[Heckling in the background]
And while suspending planned high-level contacts, does the Prime Minister agree that it is essential to maintain a robust dialogue with Russia in the interests of our own and wider international security?
With many countries, Mr. Speaker, speaking out alongside us, the circumstances demand that we build an international consensus to address the use of chemical weapons. We should urge our international allies to join us and call on Russia to reveal without delay full details of its chemical weapons program to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
It is, as we on these benches have expressed before, a matter of huge regret that our country’s diplomatic capacity has been stripped back with cuts of 25% in the last five years.
[Background heckling and shouting]
It is, Mr. Speaker …
The Speaker (of the House of Commons):
The Rt. Hon gentleman must be heard. There will be adequate opportunity for colleagues on both sides of the House to put questions.
[Indistinct interjection by the Foreign Secretary]
Members must be heard.
I couldn’t understand a word of what the Foreign Secretary just said, Mr. Speaker, but his behaviour demeans his office.
[Background heckling and shouting]
It is in moments such as these that governments realise how vital strong diplomacy and political pressure are for our security and national interests. The measures we take have to be effective, not just for the long-term security of our citizens, but to secure a world free of chemical weapons.
TG: Now, the obvious question here is that surely a sample of this should be sent either to the OPCW, or to the Russians for the Russians to say they know where this came from, or whatever.
MS: That’s exactly what the Russians said, and that there was a procedure to follow. They stated that they were perfectly happy to co-operate since it was not in their interests to have people killed needlessly. Don’t forget the Russians were adjudicated to have got rid of their chemical weapons stockpile under agreements made during the Yeltsin era, and were given a clean bill of health celebrated by a big party to follow. And don’t forget, it was Putin who put pressure on Assad to get rid of his chemical weapons. Now, it’s possible that somewhere they’re hiding some, but we’re not hiding ours; we’re actually expanding our chemical weapons facility at Porton Down by spending another forty-eight million quid on it.
TG: Ok, what about The World Cup? She talked about that as well.
MS: One of my friends was suggesting that if these big wigs don’t want to go to The World Cup, we should have a lottery to have free tickets for those who do want to go.
TG: Are we going to see ultimately a boycott of The World Cup?
MS: Well, the Russians may turn round and say the only team that’s not going to be allowed to come here is the English team, and you can suck on that!
TG: Would that be a good move?
MS: I don’t think they’d do that, but they could.
TG: That would just alienate the population, surely?
MS: Well, exactly. If I were the Russians, I wouldn’t even expel British diplomats at this stage, but the problem is that you’ve got public opinion in Russia. Public opinion in Russia is that they are being scapegoated. They feel that they’d never get a fair crack at the whip, and that everything they do is wrong; it doesn’t matter how they behave, they’re always going to be accused.
TG: Most recent on this subject, I suppose, is the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who was talking here in Bristol yesterday up at Rolls Royce. Before he became a MP, he used to sell fireplaces.
Gavin Williamson (UK Secretary of Defence):
What we will do is we will look at how Russia responds to what we have done. It is absolutely atrocious and outrageous what Russia did in Salisbury. We have responded to that. Frankly, Russia should go away, it should shut up. But, if they do respond to the action that we have taken, we will consider it carefully, and we will look at our options, but it would be wrong to prejudge their response.
There is no doubt where this attack came from; it came from Russia. It is time for the whole country to unite behind the Prime Minister, give her our full support, make it clear as a nation that we stand together. That is what I believe when you sit in the House of Commons and you listen to the members of Parliament from all parties on the back benches, that is what they’re wanting to see: Britain standing together against this great threat, that is what we will do, that is the support we will offer the Prime Minister, that is what the nation wants to see us doing from all parties.
TG: On Twitter, somebody described him as a sort of sinister version of Frank Spencer. "Go away and shut up" doesn’t sound like very diplomatic language.
MS: Well, also, they’re saying we think the Russians did it, but then that’s elided into: they definitely did do it. Now, in actual, fact it’s not proven that they did, and of course the Russians are saying they didn’t.
TG: What they’re doing is conflating fact with speculation.
MS: Well, of course, they’re also trying to bully people into lying in Parliament. If you criticise us, then you’re somehow a traitor or whatever. Now, the obvious thing for the Russians to do, if they really want to hurt us, is to turn round to BP and say: “Right, you’ve got get out of our oil fields. Just go.”
TG: And is that going to happen?
MS: No, because what the Russians want is actually—and I’ve said this on RT where I’m a regular contributor, as you know, Tony...
TG: They’ve also talked about revoking their licence.
MS: Yes, but of course what they said to that is they’ll revoke the BBC’s licence in Russia. Everybody can go down this ‘tit for tat’ road, and it’s not likely. . .
TG: And is that likely to end in war?
MS: Well, it could easily do, because the RAF are overflying Syria at the moment with drones run from RAF Waddington killing Russian Military personnel.
TG: Now, in the background to all of this, you’ve got to ask yourself: why would anyone want war. It was fascinating speaking to a campaigner against space weapons and nuclear power in space—you can hear this on Dialect next Tuesday at noon here on BCFM— and he was explaining to me that the real fear in the US Military is that the Chinese and the Russians are catching up with the ability to destroy satellites in space. S so we’re kind of back at the old Cuban Missile Crisis stage in the 1960s, where we had a missile gap and the Russians were catching up with the Americans, and so the military were saying: Look, if we can have some sort of conflict now, we can actually deny space to the Chinese and to the Russians, but we need to do it now, because they’re catching up.
MS: Alright, well there’s quite a lot to unpack there. There wasn’t a missile gap, in fact; that was a come-on by the Military Industrial Complex. The fact of the matter is that Mutually-Assured Destruction is still there; that is what Putin’s speech was about the other week. They’ve been pushing missiles into Romania and Poland that are effectively first-strike missiles. When a …
TG: NATO, is it?
MS: Yes, when the Russians tried to do a similar thing in Cuba, the Americans went nuts, but Russia is being asked to tolerate that being pushed in their face. Before this incident, the Russians said that they had evidence that there was going to be another chemical weapons false-flag inside Eastern Ghouta, and that then was going to be used as an excuse for a military strike by NATO powers on the Syrian Military. And the Russians said don’t do that, because we will shoot your planes down. Without anybody wanting war, it could break out. Don’t forget, Hillary Benn, who was Shadow Foreign Secretary at the time, was pushing to go to war over the Ghouta chemical weapons attack, which Seymour Hersh, I think, has shown pretty comprehensively was carried out by the Al Nusra Front in league with the White Helmets, who are all working for NATO Intelligence. So, in actual fact, there is strong evidence of NATO using chemical weapons as part of provocation.
TG: Ok, what I’m talking about is this whole thing in space, because this is concerning. The US Military wants, as Donald Trump announced this week, a Space Force, which is like an Air Force in space, which I imagine is there to destroy Russian and Chinese satellites.
MS: Yes, but the thing is that the Russians and Chinese have known that they can’t really compete in satellite technology with the West, so what they’ve got are weapons able to shoot down satellites.
TG: What about these power cruise missiles, new technology that Putin announced. Are they a game-changer?
MS: They are a game-changer. The thing about the state-run arms industry in both China and Russia is that the state decides what it wants to produce and produces it. In the West, on the other hand, you have these various lobbies pushing for their stuff to be produced. For instance, the Porton Down people want chemical warfare and the Navy wants more aircraft carriers, even though aircraft carriers are finished. The Russians meanwhile are concentrating on the important stuff, so that if they, or their allies, are attacked (this is the important thing that Putin said) with any nuclear weapons, they will respond most forcefully in kind.
TG: So, what’s Theresa May’s role in all this rush to war?
MS: She is basically a puppet of the intelligence services. She was a puppet of the intelligence services when she was Home Secretary; she is very much an insider in their games, and they tell her what to think, and that’s what she thinks.
Julian Charles: Well, thanks very much, Tony, for allowing me to use that piece of investigative reporting with Martin Summers. And thanks for joining us now on TMR. You’ve said since then that there are various things you’d like to share with us: various developments that you sent me in a text message, particularly about this guy who recruited Sergei Skripal to sell Russian secrets, a man called Pablo Miller, and the fact that both Skripal and Miller have links to this chap called Christopher Steele of the company Orbis Intelligence (of course people will know that name because of Steele being the source for this famous Trump-Russia dossier). So, I’m interested to know what you think the connections are here between these various people and what the significance of all that is.
Tony Gosling: Well, before I answer that one, Julian, I would just like to say something about the fact that people are talking about this story all over the country, in pubs and supermarket cafes None of those sorts of conversations are making their way onto our television screens or into our radio stations. Occasionally maybe the odd phone-in, and that’s a very important way to get these things discussed.
Actually, there is no proper journalism going on with this story whatsoever. What’s happened is the opposite, a dissemination of lies and disinformation that haven’t been checked against reality, and which have been fed to journalists—presumably by Ministry of Defence Press Officers, Police Press Officers, Cabinet Office Press Officers—and then just regurgitated as fact, and reported as fact, with no checking of these facts by any of the journalists. So not only are they not asking questions in their own minds, they’re not going to the actual, supposed source of the story and checking.
Just to give you one example: there was a report that scores of people in Salisbury had also been subject to this nerve agent, and that they’d gone into the Salisbury District Hospital or surgeries in the area and been treated for nerve agent. Now this was disproven by the emergency medical doctors at Salisbury District Hospital. A letter was written to The Telegraph, or The Guardian, saying that nobody, apart from the initial three people, had been treated at all for any kind of nerve agent. So, it just beggars belief that when you’re reading something in the newspaper that tells you something about this story, particularly because it’s highly politically charged, that it may be just complete nonsense and an outright lie. You know the old phrase “fake news”, well this Novichok Salisbury story says more about the state of our press in Britain than it does almost about the story itself. It’s almost like the story kind of dissolves as you see another thing, and you think to yourself: “Well, this sounds like nonsense.”
JC: It is interesting though that John Pilger described it as “carefully crafted”. You’re saying it’s not carefully crafted at all.
TG: No, I think these are almost the sort of lies scribbled haphazardly on the back of an envelope. I worked as a reporter for the BBC for about eighteen months in Salisbury over the years 1992, ‘93 into ’94, roughly, for what they called the Salisbury Opt Out on Wiltshire Sound, which was the BBC station for Wiltshire—and still is, although it’s now called something else like BBC Wiltshire. They had an office in Salisbury and I worked there almost every day. The area itself is about as military as it’s possible to get. For a start, Salisbury Plains, a massive part of Wiltshire right next to Salisbury, is the main UK military training area for all sorts of types of forces, including things like the Fleet Air Arm, whose aircraft use it for bombing practice, or liaison with the ground for example, in what they probably call Close Air Support, or something like that, where aircraft are supporting troops on the ground. There are whole areas, quite large and fenced-off around Balford and Tidworth, which are totally and utterly military, and which you can’t go into. Wiltshire is about as militarised as it is possible to be with Salisbury Plains dominating the county. If you live around there, it’s actually quite nice as you can go there at Easter and Christmas time and over the New Year when you’re actually allowed to drive through. If you see any red flags, turn back.
JC: You can almost not avoid bumping into Porton Down as well, can you? How many miles away is that from Salisbury?
TG: Well, it’s very close. Let me just finish what I was saying. There is actually a church in the abandoned village of Imber, now fenced off, which can be seen at Easter and at Christmas, and which is actually an amazing sight. The village itself has pretty much gone apart from the church and the village pub, which is used as part of the military training. There has been a campaign for many years for people to get their land back, since they were booted out in the 2nd World War. Anyway, I’d suggest that for wildlife and all sorts of things, Salisbury Plains is a wonderful place to go to, and is actually quite accessible, particularly around the periphery.
There’s also, as you say, Porton Down, which is the Chemical Biological Weapons Centre. You’ve also got Boscombe Down, the military super-long runway, the RAF’s testing station, where the Bouncing Bomb, for example, was developed during the 2nd World War. There’s the Land Warfare Center at Wilton, just a couple of miles west of Salisbury, and underground nuclear weapons stores—something I discovered, although it is not supposed to be public knowledge, but certainly well-known to us—at various places dotted around there. Where the stone to build Salisbury Cathedral came from, stone was quarried leaving massive underground areas used to store nukes and various other highly-toxic stuff.
Anyway, Salisbury looks like a lovely tourist town with its beautiful cathedral and spire, but actually everywhere you go there’s a military presence. Porton Down is only a ten-minute drive from Salisbury. I can remember when I was working in Salisbury there was a place called the Common Cold Research Center, which had just closed down in the early '90s, where experiments with various viruses were conducted. The positive aspect to it was that they were finding out about the common cold, but the Common Cold Research Center also had a very close link with Porton Down. In the 1950s and '60s, military personnel, many of whom were on obligatory National Service and so had little choice in the matter, were horrendously used as guinea pigs with the offer of an extra £10 a week. Back in 2000, there was an enquiry launched into the deaths of 45 servicemen from the Royal Marines and the Army mostly, who volunteered for Porton Down testing, told it was quite safe, all above board, and then died as a result.
JC: They tested sarin on them, didn’t they?
TG: They tested all sorts of things, and have yet to reveal all the things that were tested on them. I’ve spoken personally to one guy who was tested with others wearing one those protective chemical/biological suits and gas masks, but when the soldiers encountered some sort of substance that made them laugh uncontrollably, they all tore off their suits, leaving them exposed to any chemical or gas substance out there. They were simply guinea pigs, Julian, and what an appalling way to treat people. Then, in 2008, a paltry sum of, I think, three million pounds was issued as compensation. Actually, the BBC here in Bristol was quite influential in getting that into the public eye and getting the courts to take that whole business seriously. So, look, at the end of the day the question is: Can you trust Porton Down? The answer: No!
JC: No, I have no love for Porton Down, because I was brought up in Swanage on the South Coast, and, as listeners will know, Porton Down was involved in the spraying of live bacteria out on the coast there, out in the bay, and when I was a child I had frequent chest infections. Of course, I don’t know that there’s any connection there, but I do wonder if that is in fact connected to what they were doing.
TG: It could well be, couldn’t it (?) It’s also very interesting that there’s been hardly any reported mention of Porton Down being nearby, and being a potential source for this nerve agent, which, to me, is just laughable really; it is the most obvious potential reason. I actually spoke to a former army officer today, who, as part of his job as an army officer, worked at Porton Down, and he told me that they definitely had Novichok there.
TG: The interesting thing about the story is that nerve agents kill people very, very quickly, efficiently and very effectively. They are extremely dangerous substances. Even contact with a tiny droplet of the stuff will kill you, which beggars the question as to why we’ve got three people that were not killed by this. I mean if the Russian State were behind this, and wanted to kill any of these people, they would be dead. So, something has gone wrong somewhere, or else the story doesn’t stack up.
JC: Did you pick up on the story of a medical professional who gave assistance to them, and who was not hurt in any way, but the policeman was? That doesn’t seem to add up at all. Did you come across that?
TG: It doesn’t make any sense, does it? One of the first things I heard from some colleagues in Salisbury was that they were extremely surprised that a Detective Sergeant was the first person on the scene. Normally, the first person on the scene would be a PC, and the Detective Sergeant would only get involved at a much later stage once an investigation had been launched, possibly once potential charges had been made and arrest warrants prepared, that sort of thing. He would certainly not have been the first person on the scene, so that’s immediately suspicious.
The other thing is the timing with the Russian election just a couple of weeks afterwards. Was the story designed to interfere with the Russian election? We’ve been making a lot of fuss about the Russians interfering in our elections without a lot of evidence, it has to be said, so maybe we’re accusing them of what we’re doing through operations like this. You started asking about the whole Pablo Miller/Jonathan Steele/Orbis Intelligence business, and that does definitely look suspicious. I would suggest that Sergei Skripal would have a grudge against Russia and the Russians, having taken the Queen’s shilling and betrayed his country and been ridiculed by his country, even though he was involved in a spy swap and wasn’t very well-respected there. So he could be quite willing to take part in any psychological operation against Russia. Certainly, that fits potentially with the idea that he’s working with this private company, basically an M!6 front it seems, and Jonathan Steele who wrote the Trump dossier. I’ve even had someone suggest to me that maybe Trump did it ...
TG: … as a way to get back at Jonathan Steele for writing the document. You know, MI6 quite clearly has its finger prints all over this, and we know MI6 are designed to kill, designed to lie; that’s what they do. The only trouble is that they seem to be using some of their MI6 tactics—their James Bond techniques—against the British public, against British politicians (they're the target for this), and against British lawmakers—against all officials in Britain. This is, I think, a way to bend their minds to hate Russia more, because there are so many holes in this story. It’s a Rush-to-Judgement, which, to me, in a way is the biggest hole of all. “We’ve decided who did it, we’ve decided what happened, we’ve decided you did it, and we’ve decided why”, literally only twelve hours after it happened. Look, no sensible person can make an actual decision, and a whole lot of diplomatic expulsions based on that decision, when you haven’t even got the facts and the evidence together. This is definitely a Rush-to-Judgement, and I think one of the best commentators on it has been the former Uzbekistan Ambassador, Craig Murray.
JC: Absolutely, very interesting.
TG: Craig Murray has pointed out how this Novichok nerve agent is "of a type developed by Russia". Well, that doesn’t mean anything, and, as we’ve just heard, I think there are something like thirteen countries, including South Africa, that have developed this stuff and have phials of it. Then we hear stories about a woman with a red suitcase disappearing up an alleyway just as the couple was discovered.
JC: Let’s go back to that "of a type developed by Russia". That was quite an important point that Craig Murray was making, that this was a sort of compromise phrase that he says Porton Down agreed to, because they couldn’t actually pin this on Russia, but they were sort of arm-twisted into accepting the phrase that now has been repeated all over the place. I mean, everywhere you listen that is the phrase that is coming out.
TG: Well, it may even be true that Russia developed this.
TG: But that does not mean that it was actually administered by them. Actually, the most obvious source for this is ten minutes down the road, Julian.
JC: Yes, I wasn’t saying that it’s necessarily not true. Iwas saying—and I think this is what Craig Murray was implying—that this phrase is being used as a way of saying: “Only Russia could do it”. It doesn’t mean that, but that’s the way it’s being employed as a phrase.
TG: Yes, that’s right; it’s psychological, isn’t it? There are one or two appalling pieces in the media coverage on this whole thing such as that deployed against Jeremy Corbyn who simply said—Let’s just abide by international regulations, by the rule of law, let’s just do this by the book—with the result that a picture of him appears on Newsnight using an image of him standing in front of the Kremlin wearing a very Soviet-style cap that has been photo-shopped. It’s really an attempt to fit him up as a Russian agent. Now, this is exactly what the Establishment did to Harold Wilson in the 1970s, and this is what they do to people who are actually trying to abide by the law and do what ordinary British people want.
JC: I was very interested by what someone said—a couple of years ago now, I think, by somebody high up in the military—that if Jeremy Corbyn ever comes to power, the military would rebel against that.
TG: Well, they’re saying he wouldn’t pass vetting as well.
JC: Right, right. In connection with this, I’m wondering if you think what happened a few weeks ago, when there was this business of Jeremy Corbyn having had connections with a Czech communist spy—whether that is actually part of the operation that’s going on here. Because there’s been a link back to that in the news, hasn’t there? “Ah look, you can see there are these connections to the Cold War and communism back in those days. It’s all connected. Look, he won’t blame Russia”, etc.
TG: Yes, of course, and I think that what’s going on here [has to do with] military psychological warfare units. The most obvious one is the place that trains psychological warfare officers in Chicksands in Bedfordshire. But now we’ve got another, announced about three or four years ago, called Brigade 7/7. (One can’t help but wonder if it was so-called after the 7/7 bombings. Who knows? It’s the sort of in-joke they like.)
Now, I also wonder whether these units—or maybe people who have worked and trained there, but are now employed in the private sector—are being used to cook up these sorts of stories? I think they realise that there is nobody in Britain that is going to stop the military, or private businesses (like Bell Pottinger, for example). Bell Pottinger was a London-based firm that was taking money from the Pentagon to manufacture fake Al Queda videos and get them shown on British TV. This is the sort of thing, I think, we might be witnessing here, the very same kind of process whereby the military are funding private companies to cook up propaganda narratives to then feed to the British people. The thing is, basically, as they’ve run out of options on foreign policy internationally—(they’ve been blocked in Syria and Ukraine by Russia and by China elsewhere)—they’re thinking: “Well, we might as well bamboozle our own people and get them on board with the kind of foreign policy we want.”
JC: Are you suggesting that the whole Skripal affair is made-up?
TG: Well, it could be a drama that we’re watching here. I haven’t seen any evidence. When Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned and in hospital, we kept seeing his photograph every day on the front page of the newspapers.
Incidentally, that was all to do with Berezovsky and Russia too. I think Litvinenko was poisoned because he was starting to realise that there was a much bigger game going on. He wrote a book, Blowing Up Russia, about Berezovsky and Putin getting together to blow up housing blocks in Moscow in order to blame it on the Chechens, and get the Chechen war started. What happened was, Berezovsky decided that Putin was wrapped up in this (in his role as an officer of the FSB). Therefore, if he ever needed to get rid of Putin, he could just threaten him by saying: “I’m going to expose your role in these bombings.” He thought that Putin would be his puppet, first as Prime Minister and then as President.
Anyway, once Putin became President after Yeltsin, he turned the tables on Berezovsky by going to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, and saying: “Look, there are some old charges we’ve got on Berezovsky (and Glushkov, Aeroflot’s finance manager, the guy who has just died in London) to do with the privatisation of Aeroflot”. So, the Aeroflot case was reinstated by Putin, and that meant that Berezovsky, who had had two Swiss companies involved in asset-stripping Aeroflot, would have to testify. (This is how oligarchs, like Berezovsky, made all their money, by just asset-stripping the whole country, like they’ve done here in the West.
To cut a long story short, Berezosky was phoned by Putin, who said: “Look, just to warn you, because you’re a mate, in 24 hours the police are going to come and arrest you and charge you over this Aeroflot business and various other things where you’ve stolen government assets. I’m just letting you know as a favour. It’s probably a good idea that you get out of the country tonight.” So, Berezovsky did; he flew to London. That was it. Berezovsky then tried to use this whole business of the Moscow Ryazan bombings in 1999 to blackmail Putin. But the West didn’t want him to do that, as Martin explained.
This background, I think, is important if you look at the way that the Litvinenko story ran out. There were pictures of him all the time. Now, why haven’t we seen pictures of these ill people in their hospital? I think we need a bit more evidence than what we’re being told actually happened.
Anyway, the point I was trying to get onto was about who is behind the policy of escalating tension with Russia. Who is behind it? It doesn’t seem to be in the British national interest at all, because a nuclear war with Russia would lead to the deaths of millions of British people. S whose interest is it in? Difficult. Maybe it is the US that sees Britain as expendable. After all, so long as they can fly jet planes from Britain, and store nuclear bombs here, they don’t really care what happens to the rest of the country. So it could well be the Pentagon. The other thing, of course, is the Israelis, who are annoyed about the way the Russians have blocked them in the Middle East (and, of course, MI6 too, who are very close to both of those two).
But, the people really pushing this are the members of The Royal Institute for International Affairs. That’s Chatham House in London, which is close to Prince Charles’s St. James’s Palace just off Piccadilly. Leading the way are the guys who have been doing all the analysis that repeats the mantra, “Russia did it! Russia did it!” When I was at the BBC in London, whenever there was some sort of international crisis, we were told, “Oh, ask Chatham House.” Chatham House is completely funded by the Corporates: that’s to say the banks, the hedge funds, car manufacturers, big media. This is a private think-tank that is now actually setting our foreign policy. The US equivalent is the Council on Foreign Relations. These two institutions, the CFR in the US and the RIIA (or Chatham House) in London, are driving all of this. That is simply because the funders of those institutions see Russia as a threat to their expansionist policies in Ukraine, in the Black Sea and in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is key to controlling the Middle East.
JC: So, would that observation fit with what Finian Cunningham wrote a week or so ago that this could be in opposition to the Nord Stream gas line? Many in the US and EU consider that the gas line would give Moscow too much power over Europe, so they want that to fail.
TG: They’re just trying to block the Russians in, and to completely deny the rest of the world to the Russians. Let’s make no bones about it, when the MH17 airliner went down in Ukraine a few years ago, the European Union introduced sanctions, without—again—any proper evidence that the Russians had done that. They decided they would institute sanctions anyway.
Just a few weeks ago the Americans put sanctions on, I think it was, fifty different major firms in China that had been trading with North Korea in one way or another. Now, these are acts of war, Julian. Sanctions are economic warfare. What they’re doing is, signalling very clearly to the Russians: “We’d like to fight you, but not yet, maybe in a few months’ time, and if you don’t do as we say, we’re gong to put more and more sanctions. We’re going to isolate you even more; we won’t trade with you.” And, it has a negative effect on their national economic prospects and investment, so it’s just another form of warfare, just as this psychological warfare is.
[Let me mention] The Saker, who is a very good international analysist—(his website is called The Vineyard of the Saker, https://thesaker.is/)—and former UN military analyst, who was booted out because he kept telling people things they didn’t want to here, a bit like me at the BBC maybe. His analysis of this is that modern warfare is, I believe, 80% psychological warfare; that’s to say bamboozling the public, bending their minds, lying to them and conning them. And not just the public of course, but politicians. People are like sheep, they just go along, but politicians don’t want to stick their neck out. They want to make sure they’re re-elected; they don’t want to say something to attract the attention of the major newspapers and get pilloried. So, 80% psychological warfare mainly using the mainstream corporate media, and 15% economic warfare. Only 5% is actually fighting. So I think the modern major war is of a more propagandist nature followed by economic warfare, which, of course, was happening between the wars to punish Germany for the 1st World War, and we know where that lead.
The actual fighting will be very, very sharp and quick, if the Russians decide—as they’ve threatened to do—to retaliate against the United States for any attack on their troops in Syria. Syria is effectively Russia. Don’t even think about trying to take hold of Syria; it’s Russian territory. They need it in order to survive. If you try to take Syria away from Russia, you’re saying you want Russia to die. That’s why the Russians have stuck with Assad.
When that happens it will be so fast, Julian; it will be very, very quick. It will be wham, bam, thank-you mam! We might see military bases across Norfolk, for example, hit with Russian weapons. Not necessarily nuclear initially, but quite possibly various things like aircraft hangars, control towers destroyed with precision-guided weapons. The first target, I would suggest, would be US bases in Britain, places like Menwith Hill. Then we might well see British bases being hit, if Britain decided to go along with an American assault on Russia. So that’s really what we’re looking at. I think it would be very, very fast.
JC: But, would it escalate immediately to the nuclear dimension?
TG: Not necessarily, no, but I think we’re actually moving towards that, now that we’ve got the US and the Russians squaring up against each other in Syria. We’ve got immense pressure being put on Trump by the Israel lobby to do what they want in the Middle East. We’ve had that here in the UK as well, tremendous pressure, and a great deal of power by the Israeli lobby in the British media. One other thing you can say to prove that is how little real historical criticism there’s been of the whole Zionist project in the press and the media here.
JC: No, you’re not allowed to criticise political Israel at all, are you? That’s another thing that Craig Murray talks about. He said that Israel was a possibility in this equation. A lot of people have attacked him as being an anti-Semite just because he said that. But it’s a possibility. Just logically speaking it’s a possibility.
TG: Yes, it is. Glen Greenwald, very brilliantly I think, pointed this out: Look, if you try and fight Israel you’re a terrorist, and if you want to do it peacefully through peaceful means you’re an anti-Semite. Whatever happens, you will shut up; you will agree. Now, this is actually a very totalitarian attitude that’s being promulgated, and actually being supported for quite a while within the senior ranks of the Labour Party. I hope that’s all come to an end now.
JC: Going back to Chatham House, I noticed in a reproduction of one of their articles on your forum that the reasons they give, the motives they give, for Putin having done this are extremely weak. They say things like: Because he can; he's flexing his muscles; he’s trying to test the UK because Russians think the UK is weak. And I think: “What kind of reason is that for doing such a thing?" It makes no sense at all.
TG: Along with the Rush to Judgement, this total lack of motive is another massive flaw in the story. Anybody chatting about this down the pub tonight is thinking these things, and the incredible thing is that the mainstream press is not allowing those things to be talked about. You end up with a mainstream press now that has literally become the spearhead of the war machine.
There was a comment sent to me written originally, I think, by the Russian Ambassador to the UK, literally just a few days ago. It was sent to me by a guy called Scott Bennett, a former psychological warfare officer in the US army.
(He's an interesting bloke to track down. He worked at the Rand Corporation designing the Arab Spring, so if you want to know where the Arab Spring came from, it was something dreamed up by the Rand Corporation that Scott Bennett called a Rand Corporation Product. The idea was to ferment and stir things up so that they could be rearranged and put back in a different order in the way US foreign policy wanted. That’s of course what happened.)
Anyway, one of the thing he says is that the Russian Ambassador to the UK gave an interview to Russia Today’s Anastasia Chergonev about the chemical poisoning of the former Russian spy and the allegations made by PM Theresa May against Russia and Putin. So, the number one thing to say is that the Press and the British Cabinet and government have done a really basic mistake. That is to conflate speculation with fact. Now what that makes them is... guess what? They’re all conspiracy theorists!
JC: Yes, yes, certainly right.
TG: Anyway, what this excellent intellectual Russian Ambassador says is this: "The blow-back from this will be a separation of the thinking people from the mindless idiots in society, and an increase in social distrust and hostility towards politicians and media and government institutions, thus fomenting instability and the destruction of personal civil liberties through manufactured national hysteria." Essentially, they’ve cried wolf far too many times to be given any respect by intelligent citizens.
Now, to me, that just sums it up and it links back to Chatham House being the originator of this kind of policy move. This is Big Business wanting to break up and fragment society and destroy government. Effectively, you’re talking about an anarcho-capitalist nihilistic force, which sees money and the pursuit of wealth and power as the only things they’re interested in as a way of destroying all opposition; that is including within the government. Not only are they actually physically destroying the government by the power and the immense amount of wealth that they are accruing by not being taxed properly and thus starving the government, they’re actually also smashing the morale of those involved in those kind of democratic and government institutions. So, that suits the book of the big financial corporates and those who are funding Chatham House. What I’m saying, really, is that those institutions are at the bottom of what’s going on. It’s simply private power saying: “Democracy can go hang as far as we’re concerned. We’ll just do what we want.”
JC: Yes, this ‘psychological operation’ angle has revealed itself to me in a number of ways during this affair. One is this explanation that the only plausible conclusion is that Russia did it, or that Russia lost control of its stocks [of chemical weapons], and so is culpable one way or the other. They don’t say it’s the only possible explanation; they don’t say it’s the only feasible explanation; they say it’s the only plausible explanation. That makes me wonder whether what’s being said is: There’s certain sphere of discourse; there’s a certain way of thinking outside of which you’re not allowed to go. There’s a plausibility structure, which is this: The West and its allies wouldn’t ever be involved in anything like that. You’re not allowed to think outside that particular box.
TG: Yes, it’s just as deeply insulting as it was in Nazi Germany to circulate the lies about the Jews being behind everything.
TG: It’s just deeply insulting—totally disgusting. The other thing we haven’t mentioned is just how strangely similar this all is to the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” meme in Iraq. That was proved to be total rubbish.
TG: I think we’re dealing here with a criminal elite, which has got no interest in the lives of ordinary people, and is only interested in its survival, because it knows that if a democratic system of government is reinstituted—potentially through people like Jeremy Corbyn and his ilk, rather than through the likes of the Blairites—that actually manages to take power and starts to change things in this country, that many of these people are going to be on trial. Many of them might well go to jail for long periods of time with their reputations destroyed and ruined. That’s why, I think, these people are taking such ridiculous and insulting measures against the intellect of tens of millions of British people in order to get what they want, and are prepared to be so utterly brazen about it.
Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Nathaniel Rothschild, Jonathan Ford the lead writer for The Times, and George Osborne were all members of the Bullingdon Club at Oxford Uni, where they were singled out as future leaders to run the show, and are now in positions of power, or at least have been recently, and probably still are to some extent. Their loyalty is not to us, it’s to their cult, their little club, and that’s why we have the problems we’ve got is because we’re in the hands of a cultish kind of criminal elite.
JC: And they clearly think we’re all stupid. This is one of the things I constantly think as I’m listening to the news: “How stupid do you think we really are to believe this?" Because it’s all so preposterous.
TG: Some people don’t necessarily realise what’s happening; that’s the trouble I suppose. It’s a very good way of dividing society, isn’t it? And what does the Devil do? The Devil’s The Divider. The Freemasons are the dividers and the rulers, as shown by the rule and the square. Divide and Rule is exactly what the British Empire and the British ruling class have been doing for centuries.
JC: You mentioned “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, and that reminded me of the simple fact that choosing chemical weapons as a means to carrying this out is something that Putin, I’m quite sure, would certainly not have done, because it feeds exactly into the narrative we’ve had about Assad using chemical weapons. It’s absolutely absurd that he would do it that way. If he were going to kill that guy off, he would have done it with a heart attack pellet or something, the kind of thing that was talked about in the 1970s that the CIA had. I’m sure the Russians have that as well. They would have done away with him quietly, wouldn’t they?
TG: I’m sure there are lots of different ways. Look, Russia celebrated the destruction of all its chemical weapons about eighteen months ago, and now don’t have any chemical weapons. At least that’s what we’re being told, and yet we’re also being told that they do.
JC: And even if they did, is there any way that you could imagine that Putin would do that and feed into that narrative against his own interests?
TG: There is one positive side to all this. I think it shows that the ruling class in Britain—in London (it’s not really Britain, is it, it’s just London)—has really lost it. They really do think that people will believe this rubbish. George Orwell resigned from the BBC in, I think, 1942 saying that propaganda doesn’t work. He’s right in a way, because the more you try and force lies down people’s throats through propaganda, the less people will believe you. OK, so it has this effect of fracturing and dividing society into the Credulous and the Intelligent, with the Credulous supposedly have all the kudos and the Intelligent being the conspiracy theorists, or whatever. It really is topsy-turvy putting the idiots in charge, and the intelligentsia (the most intelligent) are somehow ground down to nothing as people of little value. The effect of this is ultimately going to be, I think, the end of this Tory government. I don’t think they can carry on with this kind of tactic and be taken seriously. It will be interesting to see, actually, how they get on in these forthcoming local elections, particularly in London. I believe they’re going to be absolutely massacred, but we’ll see.
JC: It will be interesting, as some people are suggesting that Theresa May will benefit from this.
TG: And what with Grenville Tower too. It was absolutely disgusting the way the Tory government and the Kensington and Chelsea Tory Council dealt with that. After all this time there hasn’t been a single arrest.
JC: I wonder how many people were shocked to hear about Gavin Williamson announcing this £48 million pounds extra for the Chemical Weapons Defense Centre?
TG: It sounds to me exactly like a bribe.
JC: Exactly, I thought the same thing.
TG: It’s just a bung. Martin was wondering whether it was organised before. I don’t think so; I think it was organised on the hoof: They’re not playing ball, OK, let’s just chuck ‘em some money. We’re effectively living in a kind of gangster state at the moment, Julian; they’re behaving like gangsters: Let’s just use a bit of this trough of money we’ve got here from the poor people. Many of the rich avoid tax. The real winners are the super rich; the poor are just being completely destroyed under this government, and I don’t actually think the British people are going to stand for it much longer.
JC: And today we had Boris Johnson liken Putin to Hitler, echoing Hillary Clinton’s remark.
TG: Prince Charles did that a few years ago, and I wrote about it saying: “Charles Strikes a Blow for the British Republic.” Boris Johnson and Prince Charles are very close, aren’t they? This elite class really does see itself as better. It’s disturbing to think that people like that are in power, but hopefully their days are numbered. We’re going to see a new generation coming forward, particularly with the rise of Prince William and Harry, and the possible by-passing of Prince Charles. He wouldn’t make a popular Head of State; he’s just said so many ridiculous things. If a law is passed that he doesn’t like, such as the Freedom of Information Act, he just has it changed, and this doesn’t go down well. It’s about time for the old fossils to get out of the way.
JC: Well, the last thing I want to ask you is whether you think Putin is right when he says there are going to be more false flags coming down the line. He was saying that a while ago with respect to Damascus, but I’m wondering whether you think they are going to be more false flags directed at Russia coming down the line?
TG: The Russians have shown that there are chemical attacks being prepared in Syria, and have actually come out with this news beforehand with the idea of stopping them before they happen. This shows the importance of channels like Russia Today and Press TV, the Iranian channel out of Teheran that people forget about, and on which I report regularly. That was banned. We need to have all these things. Look, go back to the 2nd World War...
JC: Before you say that, I agree with you. I mean, each of these channels has its own propagandistic angle, but I think it’s important to have that variety to look at so that you can make the decision for yourself, but that doesn’t come into the conversation. Rather, it's said: “Oh, well, of course that’s Russian propaganda.” Well, yes, of course it is, but that’s important in its own right.
TG: British propaganda is far worse actually. I criticised Putin on Russia Today and found that when the YouTube clip went up, that bit had been cut out. That sort of thing happens, and is to be expected with a state broadcaster. If I were to have a pop at the Queen on BBC, you might find that part deleted when that went up on YouTube.
The BBC actually used to be much more balanced up until 1987 when Alasdair Milne, whose son is now the Director of Communications for Jeremy Corbyn, was sacked by Margaret Thatcher and by Victor Rothschild, effectively by the City. Victor Rothschild, as Peter Wright makes clear in his book, Spycatcher, selected the new Director General of MI5 and MI6. It was one of those things that happened in the 1980s, but I didn’t read it at the time. Reading it in the late '90s gave me a fascinating insight.
When it comes to press around the world, go back to the 2nd World War. Radio Luxemburg, a Nazi propaganda station, employed "Lord Haw Haw", a very British Lord, all through the war to ridicule the British Establishment from the point of view of Nazi Germany.
"Lord Haw Haw":
The British Ministry of Information has been conducting a systematic campaign of frightening British women and girls about the danger of being injured by splinters from German bombs. The women reacted to these suggestions and alarms by requesting a milliner to shape the spring and summer hats out of very thin tin plate, which is covered with silk, velvet or other draping material.
TG: Churchill’s subordinates in London were scratching their heads, saying: “We could jam this, Sir.” Churchill replied: “No, we want everyone to hear it. If we jam it, people will wonder what they’re saying.” This was a sophisticated and confident approach taken in the 2nd World War. In retaliation, the British had shows on the BBC making fun in turn of "Lord Haw Haw". They reacted, but in a very mature and sensible way, so people could listen to "Lord Haw Haw" if they wanted to, but then they knew they were being fed Russian… No, sorry…
TG: ... they were being fed Nazi propaganda. Now, the opposite is true. It’s like we are the Nazis; we are trying to feed propaganda around the world, and we’re not prepared to listen to the points of view of other countries. Now, that inevitably is going to lead to war unless we have some really serious political change in this country.
JC: Yeah, before you go, I just want to ask you if you know much about Gavin Williamson, because I find him the most implausible person, and he is just such a Yes Man all the time, it’s incredible.
TG: He seems, shall we just say, shallow. When we were at the BBC, they made a big play about being authoritative. Well, there’s nothing authoritative about him. It seems like he’s playing at being Defence Secretary. God only knows who decided that he’d make a good Defence Secretary. I don’t think that, if he was in any kind of combat situation, he’d be the one that all the hardened soldiers would turn to for advice, and yet he’s at the head of the whole military establishment in the country.
JC: Is it just because he is a Yes Man? Is it because he thinks the right thoughts?
TG: We have a bunch of cowards and control freaks in charge. He’s a pliable stooge; he will do as he’s told. He will read from the script, and he will probably burble his lines, but at least he’s a so-called ‘safe pair of hands’, who will do what he’s told. Remember, behind the scenes the big corporations are growing in strength all the time as government is dying around us. This means that they won’t be regulated; they will do what they want—commit crimes with impunity—and that’s exactly the way these big, powerful, rich players want it.
JC: Well, thanks very much, Tony, for spending all this time, and just coming out with this avalanche of information, which you said you were going to do before we started talking here.
TG: Thanks ever so much. Stay in touch, mate.
My thanks also, of course, to Martin Summers for the earlier part of today’s show, a very astute observer of current events. So my thanks to him. And also to BCFM for permission to use that valuable segment from their Politics Show.
So that is almost it, but I just want to add one thing before closing today’s program. There was something which Tony and I had intended to mention, which got missed in the recorded conversation, probably because it was getting so late, but I shall add it now.
On the forum that Tony runs, which I shall link to in the show notes, there’s some discussion about a TV program that’s been going on for a while called Strike Back : Retribution, which is apparently a ten-part UK/US action TV series, which was first aired in the UK on 31st October 2017 on Sky One. Now, very interestingly, episodes 4, 5, and 6 (at least according to their Wikipedia page) make mention of – wait for it – the nerve agent Novichok in the plot description. Something which—and I have to admit I’m guessing here—has not made a regular appearance on British or American TV over the years. And yet here were three episodes—broadcast in the UK on the 21st and 28th of November last year, and then on the 31st January this year, and even more peculiarly aired in the US on the 23rd February, 2nd of March and 9th of March this year, thus overlapping with the event in Salisbury—in which we get mention of the very nerve agent claimed to have been used, plus prominent mentions of Russia. Coincidence? Well, possibly, but considering what we know from the work of people such as Tom Secker and Matthew Alford in their book National Security Cinema, who have documented the involvement of intelligence agencies in the entertainment industry, maybe not. Maybe we’re looking here at predictive programming. Maybe someone was priming us for this event so that we’d be much more likely to believe the story when it happened for real. I don’t know, but I do find it suspicious.
Anyway, that is now it for today. Thank you for your attention. You have been listening to me, Julian Charles of themindrenewed.com, and I very much look forward to speaking to you again in the near future.
How come he was working in a hospital under an assumed name?
Because Novichok wasn’t a myth. The Russians were so terrified of what they’d made, they blew the whistle on themselves after Valdivostok. There was a leak at the chemical plant where Markov was overseeing its creation. Every single person working there died as a result, except Markov, who disappeared, went dark. It might have been an accident, but there’s a strong suspicion that Markov deliberately released the Novichok. This the man Jane Lowry wants . . .
Disclaimer: The views expressed by Martin Summers and Tony Gosling in this episode and interview are their responsibility alone; they do not necessarily reflect those of The Mind Renewed.