craig murray: they’re not “magnificent,” they’re “an emission of pus”

Democracy and the Corrupt Seven (Eight)
Craig Murray, Feb 19 2019

UPDATE: If you want to understand that the UK truly is not a functioning democracy, consider this. Joan Ryan is all over the MSM this morning as being the eighth defector to the Independent Group. Yet astonishingly, while she is universally reported as citing anti-semitism as the reason she is leaving, it appears not one MSM journalist has asked her about her receipt of US$1 million from the Israeli Embassy for spreading Israeli influence. Not one. Nor has any mainstream media outlet cited the fact in its reporting today. Most, of course, never even mentioned it at the time.

I have heard it argued again and again on television this last 48 hours that it is deeply undemocratic for the electorate to be offered a choice that is any more complicated than between Red Tories and Blue Tories. It is apparently unthinkable and deeply wrong that Corbyn’s standard German style social democracy, which is routinely labeled “hard left” and “communist,” should be proffered to voters for them to support, or not. The overwhelmingly Blairite MPs have put this case again and again to Labour Party members in repeated leadership elections, and have been roundly and repeatedly defeated. But now, according to no less a person than Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the party, the losers’ policies must be embraced by the Party and adopted by its leadership, as to do otherwise is an affront to democracy. I confess I find this argument impossible to follow. Corbyn has compromised already to a huge extent, even accepting that a Labour government will retain massive WMDs, in deference both to the imperialist pretensions of the Blairites and the personal greed of the demented Strangeloves who comprise the membership of the GMB Union. Labour’s pro-Trident stance will persist, until such time as enough Blairites join this forced march, or rather chauffeur driven drive, across their personal caviar and champagne strewn desert to their promised land of media contracts, massively remunerated charity executive jobs, and non-executive directorships.

Democracy is a strange thing. This episode has revealed that it is apparently a democratic necessity that we have another referendum on Brexit, while being a democratic necessity not to have another referendum on Scottish Independence, while the notion that the MPs, who now have abandoned the party and manifesto on which they stood, might face their electorates again, is so disregarded that none of the fawning MSM journalists are asking about it. In rejecting this option, the Corrupt Seven are managing the incredible feat of being less honorable than Tory MPs defecting to UKIP, who did have the basic decency to resign and fight again on their new prospectus. Dick Taverne is a more directly relevant precedent, particularly as he was deselected as sitting Labour MP precisely because of his support for the EU. Taverne resigned, and fought and won his seat in a by-election in 1973, before losing it in the second 1974 election. There are also precedents for crossing the floor and not resigning and fighting under your new banner, but then there are also precedents for mugging old ladies. It is deeply dishonorable.

Luciana Berger is a one-trick pony, and it is worth noting that her complaints about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party date back to at least 2005, while Tony Blair was still PM. Berger had already by Apr 2005 spotted anti-Semitism in the NUS, in the Labour Party and in her student union newspaper, those being merely the examples cited in this single Daily Telegraph article. I am extremely sorry and somewhat shocked to hear of the swamp of anti-semitism in which we were all already mired in 2005, but I do find it rather difficult to understand why the fault is therefore that of Jeremy Corbyn. And given that Tony Blair was at that time PM for eight years, I cannot understand why it is all Corbyn’s fault and responsibility now, but it was not Blair’s fault then. On the contrary, the Telegraph puff piece states that Berger had met Blair several times and was Euan Blair’s girlfriend. This was of course before the privately educated Londoner was foisted on the unfortunate people of Liverpool Wavetree, doubtless completely unfacilitated by her relationship with Euan Blair. The kind of abuse Berger has evidently been attracting since at least 2005 is of course a crime. Two people have quite rightly been convicted of it. Joshua Bonehill-Paine and John Nimmo sent a series of truly disgusting tweets and both were jailed. Both are committed long-term neo-nazis. Yet I have repeatedly heard media references to the convictions squarely in the context of Labour Party anti-Semitism. I have never heard on broadcast media it explained that neither had anything to do with the Labour Party. Like the left wing anti-semitism Berger has been reporting since at least 2005, this Nazi abuse too is all somehow Jeremy Corbyn’s fault.

It is further worth noting that in that 2005 article Berger claims a 47% increase in attacks on Jews, which is highly reminiscent of recent claims from community groups, such as the 44% increase claimed 2015 to 2017 or the 78% increase in violent crimes against Jews in the UK in 2017 alone claimed by the government of Israel. One anti-Semitic attack is too many and all anti-Semitism is to be deplored and rooted out. But if all these claims repeated again and again over decades of 30%, 40%, 50%, 60% or 70% increases in attacks per year were true, then we would be now talking of at least 12,000 violent attacks on Jews per year, if we take Ms Berger’s 2005 claim as the baseline. Yet we are not seeing that. The average number of convictions per year for violent, racially motivated attacks on Jewish people in the UK is less than one. If we add in non-violent crimes, the number of people convicted per year for anti-semitic hate crime still remains under 20. And I am not aware of a single such conviction related in any way to the Labour Party. Let me be perfectly plain. I want everybody convicted and imprisoned who is involved in anti-Semitic hate crime. But the facts given above would cause any honest journalist to treat with more scepticism than they do, the repeated old chestnut claims of huge year on year increases in anti-Semitic incidents. There really are in logic only two choices; either anti-Semitism is, contrary to all the hype, thankfully rare, or the entire British police, prosecutorial and judicial system must be systematically protecting the anti-Semites. And I hardly see how they could blame Jeremy Corbyn for that.

None of this will stop the relentless promotion of the “Corbyn anti-Semitism” theme, as the idea of a leader not completely behind the slow extirpation of the Palestinian people is unthinkable to the MSM class. The Corbyn anti-Semitism meme is possibly the most remarkable example of evidence-free journalism I have ever encountered. Still more fascinating is the way the broadcasters are going to devote an astonishing amount of time to these political puppets. Of one thing I can assure you: these seven MPs will get more airtime than the 35 MPs of the SNP, with at least twice as many Question Time and Today programme appearances. At some stage they will have to form a new party, in order to get airtime in elections. At what stage Blair declares for them is an interesting question. It is also a crucial test of just how horribly degraded the Lib Dems have now become. My old friend Charlie Kennedy will be spinning in his grave at an alliance with the Blairite warmonger faction, but the modern party appears bereft of any of the old Liberal values, cleared away by Clegg and his fellow orange Tories. If the party members do not revolt at association with Mike Gapes and Angela Smith, it really is time to wind the party up. That the Corrupt Seven are some of the most unpleasant people in British politics is not entirely relevant, nor is the question of which interest groups are funding them. They are just an emission of pus, a symptom of the rottenness of the British body politic. They have nothing interesting to say and are feeble tools of the wealthy, thrown out as protection for a crumbling political system. The end of the UK is not pretty, and this is one of its uglier moments. It really is beyond time to crack on with Scottish Independence and the reunification of Ireland.

vanessa on RT

Going Underground: Are Syria’s White Helmets Involved in Organ Trafficking?
RT.com, Feb 20 2019

On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to independent reporter Vanessa Beeley on her investigations into alleged White Helmets organ trafficking and the brutality of the French police in the Yellow Vests protests.

we were all mossad then… (c)

It’s Back to the Iran-Contra Days Under Trump
Wayne Madsen, Strategic Culture, Feb 18 2019

Showing that he is adopting the neocon playbook every day he remains in office, Donald Trump handed the neocons a major win when he appointed Iran-contra scandal felon Elliott Abrams as his special envoy on Venezuela. Abrams pleaded guilty in 1991 to two counts of withholding information on the secret sale of Pindo weapons for cash to help illegally supply weapons to the Nicaraguan right-wing contras. Abrams would have headed to a federal prison, but Pres Bush 41, an unindicted co-conspirator in the scandal, issued pardons to Abrams and his five fellow conspirators, Caspar Weinberger, Robert McFarlane, Alan Fiers, Duane “Dewey” Clarridge and Clair George, on Xmas Eve 1991, during the final weeks of his lame duck administration. Abrams escaped being charged with more serious crimes by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh because he cut a last-minute deal with federal prosecutors. Trump, who has made no secret of his disdain for cooperating federal witnesses, would have normally called Abrams a “rat,” a gangster term meaning informant. The man who helped engineer the pardons for Abrams and his five convicted friends was none other than Bush’s Attorney General, William Barr, who has just been sworn in as Trump’s Attorney General. Trump, who is always decrying the presence of the “deep state” that thwarts his very move, has become the chief guardian of that entity. During a recent hearing of the Pindo House Foreign Affairs Committee, newly-minted Congresscrittur Ilhan Omar reminded her colleagues and the world about the sordid background of Abrams. Omar zeroed in on Abrams’s criminal history, saying:

Mr Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by Bush 41. I fail to understand why members of this committee or the Pindo creeple should find any testimony you give today to be truthful.

Abrams, as is the nature of neocons, refused to respond to Omar and cited her comments as “personal attacks.” The use by Abrams’s and his fellow criminals’ of mercenaries and death squads to conduct secret wars in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala during the Reagan administration in the 1980s has made a reappearance under Trump. Abrams was brought on board by Bolton, Pence and Pompeo to oversee a Pindo military build-up in Colombia, said to be 5000 Pindo troops, to support Venezuelan paramilitary and military efforts to topple Pres Maduro. Abrams and Bolton are also believed to have retained the services of another unindicted conspirator in the Iran-contra affair, Michael Ledeen, a colleague of the disgraced and convicted former Trump NSA, Lt-Gen (Retd) Michael Flynn. Ledeen and Flynn co-authored a book titled “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and its Allies.” The book contains nothing more than the standard neocon tripe one might expect from the likes of Ledeen. An official investigation of the Iran-contra scandal by the late Thug Sen John Tower of Texas concluded that Abrams’s and Ledeen’s friend, Iranian-Jewish middleman Manucher Ghorbanifar, a long-time Mossad asset and well-known prevaricator, was extremely instrumental in establishing the back-channel arms deals with Iran. Ghorbanifar has long been on the CIA “burn list” as an untrustworthy charlatan, along with others in the Middle East of similar sketchy credentials, including Iraq’s Ahmad Chalabi, Syria’s Farid “Frank” Ghadry, and Lebanon’s Samir “Sami” Geagea. These individuals were warmly embraced by neocons like Abrams and his associates.

Abrams, whose link with Israeli intelligence has always been a point of consternation with Pindo counter-intelligence boxtops, is part of an old cabal of right-wing anti-Soviet Demagogs who coalesced around Senator Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson in the 1970s. Along with Abrams, this group of war hawks included Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, William Kristol, Douglas Feith, Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, Abram Shulsky and Paul Wolfowitz. Later this group would have its fingerprints on major foreign policy debacles ranging from Nicaragua and Grenada to Lebanon, Iraq and Libya. Later, in Dec 2000, these neocons managed to convince president-elect Bush 43 of the need to “democratize” the Middle East. That policy would later bring not democracy but disaster to the Arab MENA.

Abrams and his cronies will not stop with Venezuela. They have old scores to settle with Nicaragua’s Pres Ortega. The initiation of “regime change” operations in Nicaragua, supported by the CIA and SOUTHCOM in Miami, have been ongoing for more than a year. The Trump administration has already achieved a regime change victory of sorts in El Salvador. Nayib Bukele, the former mayor of San Salvador, who was expelled from the formerly ruling left-wing FMLN and joined the right-wing GANA, was recently elected president of El Salvador. Bukele has quickly realigned his country’s policies with those of the Trump administration. Bukele has referred to Pres Maduro as a “dictator.” He has also criticized the former FMLN government’s recognition of China and severance of diplomatic ties with Taiwan. It will be interesting to see how a sycophant like Bukele will politically survive as Trump continues to call hapless asylum-seeking migrants from his country, who seek residency in Pindostan, “rapists, gang monsters, murderers, and drug smugglers.”

Another country heading for a Pindo-installed “banana republic” dictator is Haiti. Pres Jovenal Moise has seen rioting in the streets of Port au Prince. The State Dept removed all “non-essential” personnel from the country. Moise, whose country has received $2b in oil relief from Venezuela, to help offset rising fuel prices, has continued to support the Maduro government. However, at the Pindo-run neocolonial OAS, Moise’s envoys have been under tremendous pressure to cut ties with Venezuela and recognize Guaido as president. Moise’s refusal to do so resulted in armed gangs hitting the streets of Port au Prince demanding Moise’s resignation. It is the same neocon “regime change” playbook being used in Venezuela and Nicaragua. There will be similar attempts to replace pro-Maduro governments in his remaining allies in the region. These include Surinam, Antigua-Barbuda, Dominica and Saint Vincent-Grenadines.

Elliot Abrams was also brought in as an adviser on Middle East policy in the Bush 43 administration. The carnage of Iraq is a stark testament to his record. In 2005, it was reported that two of Bush 43’s key lieutenants, Karl Rove and Elliot Abrams, gave a “wink and a nod” for the assassinations by Israeli-paid operatives of three key Lebanese political figures seeking a rapprochement with Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah: MP Elie Hobeika, former Lebanese Communist Party chief George Hawi, and former PM Rafiq Hariri. In 2008, a UN panel headed by former Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare later concluded that Hariri was assassinated by a “criminal network” and not by either Syrian and Lebanese intelligence or Lebanese Hezbollah, as proffered by Abrams and his friends in Faschingstein. Rep Ilhan Omar was spot on in questioning why Elliot Abrams, whose name is as disgraced as his two fellow conspirators Oliver North and John Poindexter, is working for the Trump administration on Venezuela. The answer is that the neocons, who sense Trump’s political weakness like raptors, have filled the top-level vacancies in the administration.

the centrists are all zionists cos the whole thing has been a conspiracy from day one

Joan Ryan, MP who fabricated anti-Semitism, quits Labour
Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada, Feb 20 2019

MP Joan Ryan quit Labour on Tuesday, citing party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s supposed “demonization and delegitimization” of Israel. Ryan is the leading member of Parliament in Labour Friends of Israel, an Israeli embassy front group. She notoriously fabricated a charge of anti-Semitism against Labour member Jean Fitzpatrick at the UK opposition party’s 2016 annual conference. Labour Friends of Israel was defiant on Tuesday night, insisting that Ryan would “remain in her position as our parliamentary chair” despite her departure from the Labour Party. In her resignation statement, Ryan claimed Corbyn is responsible for a “culture of anti-Jewish racism and hatred for Israel” and a government led by him “would be an existential threat” to the Jewish community. Ryan has been a leading voice in the manufactured “Labour anti-Semitism” smear campaign over the last few years. The North London member of Parliament’s move leaves local constituents without the Labour Party representation that they voted for in 2017’s general election.

In an extensive media blitz, Ryan announced she would be joining the new “Independent Group” of MPs who quit Labour on Monday. The group has claimed Labour is “institutionally anti-Semitic.” On Wednesday, the members who broke away from Labour were joined by three MPs from the Conservative Party, who resigned citing their opposition to Brexit. Labour leaders have responded to the splinter faction by calling on them to do “the honorable thing” and resign their seats in Parliament. Such a move would trigger local by-elections. The defectors would face a strong challenge from Labour-backed candidates and would therefore face an uphill struggle to retain their seats. On Wednesday, Labour announced a new policy which would allow local constituents to force a by-election if their MP resigns from the party under whose banner they were elected. Six out of the eight MPs who have split from Labour, including Ryan, are listed supporters of Labour Friends of Israel. Yet while they are no longer members of the party, they apparently remain members of an Israel lobby group that claims affinity with Labour. In July last year, I predicted in the viral Twitter thread embedded above that the right-wing pro-Israel faction of Labour would implement an exit strategy, but only in a way that could inflict maximum damage on the party. Other MPs appear likely to follow, such as the staunchly anti-Palestinian and anti-Corbyn Ian Austin.

Joan Ryan became infamous among the Labour Party grassroots in 2017, when an undercover Al Jazeera investigation exposed her close relationship with the Israeli embassy. That film shows Ryan fabricating a charge of anti-Semitism against a Labour member who challenged her anti-Palestinian stance at the 2016 party conference. It also shows her discussing Israeli funding of “more than one million pounds” worth of junkets to Israel with Shai Masot, an embassy agent. The film revealed an LFI employee privately admitting that Ryan talked to Masot “most days.” Masot was expelled from the country, and Labour initially called for an “immediate inquiry” into the extent of Israel’s “improper interference” in British politics, but nothing ever came of it. Jean Fitzpatrick, the Labour member Ryan falsely accused, had her membership suspended by the party’s disciplinary apparatus. She was later readmitted to the party, but received no apology, and Ryan was totally unrepentant.

During the 2017 election, Ryan openly sabotaged the Labour Party and the Labour leadership while campaigning. Despite her best efforts to throw the election, Ryan actually won an increased majority, riding a national wave of support for Jeremy Corbyn’s popular, moderately socialist manifesto. But in an interview with the BBC Today on Wednesday morning, Ryan disputed this obvious fact, claiming of Corbyn that she “didn’t win my seat on his coattails.” Her open disloyalty led local party members in her Enfield North constituency to narrowly pass a vote of no confidence in her last year. Although long associated with the Blairite right-wing of Labour, Labour Friends of Israel has no official standing in the party. Its support has dropped so much that last year it announced it would no longer run stalls at Labour’s annual conference, and even some of its parliamentary supporters have deserted it.

Three Tory MPs quit party to join rebel Labour MPs’ breakaway group
RT.com, Feb 20 2019

PM Theresa May has been dealt a severe blow as three pro-EU Conservative MPs have announced their resignations from the party to join forces with eight ex-Labour politicians in the newly-formed ‘Independent Group.’ Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston, and Anna Soubry have quit the Tory Party and will now sit with the other rebel Labour MPs on the opposition benches. In a joint letter to the prime minister, the three MPs wrote:

We no longer feel we can remain in the party of a government whose policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DUP.

The pro-remain MPs accused May of not standing up to the hardline Brexiteers within her party, saying:

Brexit has re-defined the Conservative party, undoing all the efforts to modernise it.

The ‘Gang of Seven’ Labour MPs stunned Westminster on Monday, quitting their party, with many of the politicians citing leader Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism accusations and Brexit issues as their reasons for jumping ship. On Tuesday, Joan Ryan, the Enfield North MP, became the eighth Labour parliamentarian to resign and join her colleagues in their new group, claiming Corbyn’s party had become “infected with the scourge of anti-Jewish racism.” Launching the new breakaway group, its ringleader, Chuka Umunna, promised to dump “this country’s old fashioned politics,” and claimed the UK needed a political party “fit for the here and now” and that this was the “first step in leaving the tribal politics behind.”

ignorance is strength

Coups are Peace. Censorship is Trust. Intolerance is Love.
Three Orwellian slogans Western leaders adore

Igor Ogorodnev, RT.com, Feb 20 2019

Spreading the Love. (Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters)

Exactly 70 years after George Orwell’s 1984 came out, most fancy themselves smart to totalitarian doublespeak. But perverse lies need no torchlight or mass rallies, just a tailored suit, complacent media and a docile populace. We know this, yet hear them so often that they become background noise, and even if they come from the mouths of politicians we do not believe, we let the distortions wash over us, unwilling to expend the mental effort to challenge them every time. But when we stop and think, they barely make any sense.

‘Peace-loving nations’
“Peace-loving nations” desire a “peaceful transition” in Venezuela where “peaceful protesters” are being “threatened with violence” by “dictator” Nicolas Maduro, Donald Trump declared recently. In fact, the POTUS is openly urging what he must know will be an armed and bloody uprising, perhaps magnitudes more devastating than the violence that has already taken place. A month after the same dove-releasing Western powers barely bothered to conceal how they coordinated efforts to endorse out of nowhere a little known self-proclaimed president, furnishing him with every financial tool and foreign-aid incentive to topple the elected government. One doesn’t have to be a fan of Chavismo or hate Pindostan to appreciate the sheer gall. Unless we think of this peace as some cast-iron Western guarantee for post-revolutionary idyll (hello, Libya and Iraq) the only way these nations could be less peaceful is if they actually invaded Venezuela themselves. And it’s not like they haven’t considered that option. Close relative: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg telling the Munich Security Conference at the weekend that Russia’s missiles in Europe are a threat to stability, but that the alliance must invest more in weapons “to keep our people secure,” all while insisting that “we remain determined to avoid a new arms race.”

‘Internet of Trust’
“We need to build this new space, a free, open and safe internet which I believe in profoundly, enabling the access of all but also enabling us to ensure our values and our ideals are respected there,” argued Emmanuel Macron in a speech to the UN last November. So which is it? Free or respectful? Because as he has now discovered with the Yellow Vests, in a truly free internet not everyone might share his “values and ideals.” Further in his speech Macron did little to hide that censorship was his solution to the quandary: proposing an “Internet of Trust” that offered “regulation” that would keep out “enemies” that “enter all our systems, giving the impression they had the same rights as the others.” From Ruptly Facebook bans, to German social media laws, to the 1984-ish Newsguard, the Internet of Trust is already here. Close relatives: Fake news. Integrity Initiative.. who if not these people, should be the inquisitors of online truths? Almost anyone.

‘Don’t let hate win’
Variations of this refrain are particularly popular among the liberal luminaries even as they spread their love by condemning their political opponents as black-hating or children-caging bigots, denying that they could experience such human feelings as kindness or empathy. All while congratulating themselves on being much nobler people, while occasionally physically assaulting them, if they are Antifa. What a way to defeat hate. Intolerance for supposed intolerance is an established tactic at this point, and the sympathetic media will clap along as Hillary Clinton talks about “deplorables” or Michelle Obama boasts about how “When they go low, we go high.” The moral high ground was occupied a long time ago. Close relative: Celebration of diversity. Who could argue with Justin Trudeau or Barack Obama’s assertion that it is indeed our strength? Perhaps those who disagree with them, thus espousing the wrong kind of diversity, that of thought. Being the bad kind of diverse is particularly inadvisable for those holding political office or incapable of tear-filled public apologies.

the luvvies

Roger Waters slams ‘humanitarian’ concert for Venezuela
RT.com, Feb 18 2019

Pink Floyd ex-frontman Roger Waters is slamming Virgin tycoon Richard Branson’s “Venezuela Aid Live” as a sham, warning fans and performers not to be “led down a garden path that ends in regime change.” Waters declared in a video released on Tuesday:

It has nothing to do with the needs of the Venezuelan people, it has nothing to do with democracy, it has nothing to do with freedom, and it has nothing to do with aid.

The musician and political activist tore into the western media narrative depicting Venezuela as the victim of a humanitarian crisis created by socialism. Citing friends “on the ground” in Caracas who could confirm this, he said:

There is no civil war, no mayhem, no murder, no apparent dictatorship, no mass imprisonment of opposition, no suppression of the press.

Venezuela Aid Live will take place on Friday in the Colombian border city of Cucuta. Branson has announced a fundraising target of $100m to purchase food and medicine for Venezuelans suffering the privations of socialism, or Pindo sanctions, depending on which version of the narrative one prefers. Waters reserved special scorn for Branson himself, “with his bleeding heart worn openly upon his Virgin Airways t-shirt,” claiming the magnate has bought into Pindo propaganda. A Branson spox told the National Post that Pindostan was “not involved in any aspect of this” and that the concert was “not a political statement.” The Pindo-backed would-be regime change in Venezuela has not gone as smoothly as planned, with the country’s military still loyal to Maduro despite National Assembly leader Juan Guaido having declared himself an ‘interim president’ over a month ago. On Monday, Trump gave a speech warning the Venezuelan military to follow Guaido or “lose everything.” Waters finished his speech with a warning to friend and fellow musician Peter Gabriel not to fall for the Pindo line, reminding him how Pindo-backed regime changes have turned out in the past:

Do we really want Venezuela to turn into another Iraq or Syria or Libya? I don’t, and neither do the Venezuelan people.

nukes for the toad finger-choppers

Flynn pushed to share nuclear tech with Toads
Chad Day, AP, Feb 20 2019

FASCHINGSTEIN — Senior White House boxtops pushed a project to share nuclear power technology with the Toads despite the objections of ethics and natsec boxtops, according to a new congressional report citing whistleblowers within the Trump administration. Congress critturs from both parties have expressed concerns that the Toads could develop nuclear weapons if the Pindo technology were transferred without proper safeguards. The Demagog-led House Oversight Committee opened an investigation Tuesday into the claims by several unnamed whistleblowers who said they witnessed “abnormal acts” in the White House regarding the proposal to build dozens of nuclear reactors across the Middle Eastern kingdom. The report raises concerns about whether some in a White House marked by “chaos, dysfunction and backbiting” sought to circumvent national security procedures to push a deal with the Toads that could financially benefit close supporters of the president. Congress critturs are increasingly uneasy about the close relationship between the Trump administration and the Toads, which has raised alarms even among members of his own party. Trump has made the KSA a centerpiece of his foreign policy in the Middle East as he tries to further isolate Iran. In the process, he has brushed off criticism over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and the Toads’ role in the war in Yemen. At the same time, Jared Kushner is developing plans that could include economic proposals for Toad Arabia. According to the report, the nuclear effort was pushed by former NSA Michael Flynn, who was fired in early 2017. Derek Harvey, an NSC boxtop brought in by Flynn, continued work on the proposal, which has remained under consideration by the Trump administration. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, announced the investigation Tuesday. Relying on whistle-blower accounts, email communications and other documents, the committee’s report details how NSC and ethics boxtops repeatedly warned that the actions of Flynn and a senior aide could run afoul of federal conflicts of interest law and statutes governing the transfer of nuclear technology to foreign powers. Congressional investigators are also probing the role of Tom Barrack, a proponent of the nuclear proposal who ran Trump’s presidential inaugural committee, which is under separate investigation by federal prosecutors in New York. Rick Gates, a former Barrack employee, was also involved in advocating for the nuclear proposal. A statement from Barrack said that he will cooperate with the House probe, noting he never joined the Trump administration. It said:

Mr Barrack’s engagement in investment and business development throughout the Middle East for the purpose of better aligned Middle East and Pindo objectives are well known, as are his more than four decades of respected relationships throughout the region.

According to the report:

(Concerns were expressed) about efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive Pindo nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of the Atomic Energy Act and without review by Congress as required by law, efforts that may be ongoing to this day.

A 2017 ProPublica article detailed some of the concerns raised inside the NSC about the nuclear proposal advocated by a company called IP3 International and known as the “Marshall Plan for the Middle East.” IP3 is led by a group of retired military officers and natsec boxtops including Rear Adm (Retd) Michael Hewitt, Army Gen (Retd) Jack Keane and former Reagan NSA ‘Bud’ McFarlane. IP3 and other proponents of nuclear power in the Middle East argue that Pindostan needs to be involved because otherwise it will lose out to Russia, China and others on billions of dollars in business. They also say that Pindo involvement, and the limits on nuclear fuel that come with it, are essential to stem an arms race in the region. IP3 said in a statement Tuesday:

The only way to address concerns over development of WMDs is for Pindostan to participate in the introduction and secure operation of international nuclear power plants. IP3 looks forward to sharing what we know.

Up until the month before he joined the Trump administration, Flynn listed himself on public documents as an adviser to an iteration of Hewitt’s company advocating for the nuclear power proposal. Last year, IP3 told the Wash Post that Flynn was offered a role in the company but never formally came aboard. On Tuesday, the company said:

He was never an advisor to IP3 or its affiliate, he had no stake in the company and was never compensated or reimbursed for expenses by IP3.

Still, according to the report, Flynn served as a conduit for IP3 inside the White House. A few days after Trump’s inauguration, the company sent Flynn a draft memo for the president’s signature that would have appointed Barrack as a “special representative” in charge of carrying out the nuclear power proposal and called on the DCI and the Secs of State, Energy, Treasury and Defense to lend him support. The report also quotes former Deputy NSA KT McFarland as saying Trump personally told Barrack he could lead the plan’s implementation. The report also catalogs the actions of Harvey, the Flynn confidant who was put in charge of the NSC’s MENA affairs. According to the report, upon entering the White House in Jan 2017, Harvey saw his mission as getting Trump to adopt the nuclear proposal despite the objections of ethics and natsec boxtops. Even when HR McMaster, who replaced Flynn as national security adviser, and NSC lawyer John Eisenberg directed that work stop on the proposal because of concerns about its legality, Harvey continued pursuing the proposal, according to the report. Harvey was fired from the NSC in Jul 2017. He then joined the staff of Thug Rep Devin Nunes, a Trump ally and the former chairman of HPSCI.

House launches probe of Pindo nuclear plan for Toads
BBC, Feb 19 2019

Pindostan is rushing to transfer sensitive nuclear power technology to the Toads, according to a new congressional report. A Demagog-led House panel has launched an inquiry over concerns about the White House plan to build nuclear reactors across the kingdom. Whistleblowers told the panel it could destabilise the Middle East by boosting nuclear weapons proliferation. Firms linked to the president have reportedly pushed for these transfers. The House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee report notes:

The question is particularly critical because the Administration’s efforts to transfer sensitive Pindo nuclear technology to the Toads appear to be ongoing.

Trump met nuclear power developers at the White House on Feb 12 to discuss building plants in Middle Eastern nations, including for the Toads. Jared Kushner will be touring the Middle East this month to discuss the economics of the Trump administration’s peace plan. Congress critturs have been critical of the plan as it would violate Pindo laws guarding against the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons programme. They also believe giving the Toads access to nuclear technology would spark a dangerous arms race in the volatile region. Concerns regarding the possibility of Iran developing nuclear technology are also at play, according to Pindo media. Previous negotiations for Pindo nuclear technology ended after the Toads refused to agree to safeguards against using it in weapons, but the Trump administration may not see these safeguards as mandatory, ProPublica reported. The House report is based on whistleblower accounts and documents showing communications between Trump administration officials and nuclear power companies. It states:

Within Pindostan, strong private commercial interests have been pressing aggressively for the transfer of highly sensitive nuclear technology to the Toads. They could reap billions of dollars through contracts associated with constructing and operating nuclear facilities for the Toads.

The report includes a timeline of events and names other administration boxtops who have been involved with the matter, including Energy Sec Rick Perry, Kushner, Trump’s inaugural committee chairman Tom Barrack, and former NSA Michael Flynn. The commercial entities mentioned in the report are:

  • IP3 International, a private company led by ex-military officers and natsec boxtops that organised a group of Pindo companies to build “dozens of nuclear power plants” for the Toads;
  • ACU Strategic Partners, a nuclear power consultancy led by Pindo-Brit Alex Copson;
  • Colony NorthStar, Barrack’s real estate investment firm;
  • Flynn Intel Group, a consultancy set up by Flynn.

The report states that Flynn had decided to develop IP3’s nuclear initiative, the “Middle East Marshall Plan,” during his transition, and while he was still serving as an adviser for the company. In Jan 2017, NSC staff began to raise concerns that these plans were inappropriate and possibly illegal, and that Flynn had a potentially criminal conflict of interest. Following Flynn’s dismissal, IP3 continued to push for the Middle East Plans to be presented to Trump. According to the report, one senior boxtop said the proposal was “a scheme for these generals to make some money.” Whistle-blowers described the White House working environment as “marked by chaos, dysfunction and backbiting.” The report says an investigation will determine whether the administration has been acting “in the natsec interests of Pindostan or rather to serve those who stand to gain financially.” These apparent conflicts of interest among White House advisers may breach federal law, and the report notes that there is bipartisan concern regarding the Toads’ access to nuclear technology. The oversight committee is seeking interviews with the companies, “key personnel” who promoted the plan to the White House, as well as the Depts of Commerce, Energy, Defence, State, Treasury, the White House and the CIA.

they could cancel MbS’ visit, for a start

Ahead of MbS visit, China seeks deeper trust with Iran
Reuters, Feb 19 2019

BEIJING – China wants to deepen strategic trust with Iran, the Chinese foreign minister said on Tuesday, days before MbS visits Beijing, underscoring China’s difficult Middle East balancing act. China has been trying to raise its profile in the Middle East, especially in the Arab world. The Toad King Salman visited Beijing in 2017, and MbS arrives in China later this week, but China has had to walk a fine line because it also has close ties with Iran. Meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at a state guest house in Beijing, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi said he had watched Zarif’s Sunday speech at the Munich Security Conference, where he had accused Israel of looking for war. Wang said in brief remarks in front of reporters:

I saw on television how you defended the rights of Iran loud and clear at the Munich Security Conference. I think an audience of hundreds of millions of Chinese also watched what you said, and you are a famous person now. I would like to take this opportunity to have this in-depth, strategic communication with my old friend, to deepen the strategic trust between our two countries, and to ensure fresh progress of the bilateral comprehensive and strategic partnership.

According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement, Wang added:

China sets great store on and looks forward to Iran playing an even more constructive role in regional affairs.

Zarif is in Beijing accompanying a delegation that includes Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani and Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh. Zarif said in remarks in front of the media:

Our relationship with China is very valuable to us. We consider our comprehensive strategic partnership with China to be one of our most important relationships.

vintage classic GWOT horseshit revived

Trump Administration Attempts to Tie Iran & AQ
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Feb 19 2019

Dominated by those hawkish against Iran, the Trump administration has a sizeable contingent that has been itching to start a war with Iran. It is a big enough concern that Congress has let this inform the language of bills. Numerous bills, including sanctions-related bills and recent NDAAs, have included language declaring that nothing in the bill may be construed as an AUMF against Iran. Some bills have had language to this effect as far back as 2012. This suggests that Congress is unlikely to sign off if the administration just asks for a new war authorization specifically aimed at Iran. Instead, the administration is looking to again try to broaden the decades-old authorization they already have, hoping to squeeze one last big, plainly unintended war out of it. To that end, boxtops have begun trying to advance a preposterous claim that Iran is secretly backing “high-level AQ operatives.” Iran has been at war with AQ since the group’s founding, and the Shi’ite Iranian government is fundamentally incompatible with the Salafist terrorist group. Tying the two groups together is so absurd that Pindo boxtops have rarely tried to argue for doing so, instead presenting the possibility as little more than a notion. They seem now to hope that if it is repeated often enough and with enough alarmist tone, this notion will just become widely accepted, or at least not challenged enough to be rejected out of hand. It is at that point the hawks’ favorite gift that keeps on giving, the 2001 AUMF starts to matter. That AUMF authorized a war against AQ, and has been broadened since to include anything remotely AQ-affiliated, even groups that didn’t exist in 2001. It was obvious the 2001 AUMF was never meant to apply to Iran, but even a plainly flimsy argument has tended to be enough to support Pindostan’s assorted other wars to come out of that authorization. Once a president picks a fight, Congressional leadership rarely has any interest in reviewing it. This seemingly eternal malleability of the AUMF has been behind several so-far-unsuccessful attempts to repeal and replace it with something more clearly defined. Administrations have resisted such efforts, and even if Congress has the foresight to try to do so before the administration can attack Iran, they will doubtless face veto threats and intense pressure.

Iran-AQ alliance may provide legal rationale for Pindo military strikes
Lauren Meier, Wash Times, Feb 18 2019

AQ suspects go on trial in Sanaa, Apr 22 2014 (Photo: AP)

Iran is providing high-level AQ operatives with a clandestine sanctuary to funnel fighters, money and weapons across the Middle East, according to Trump administration officials who warn that the long-elusive, complex relationship between two avowed enemies of Pindostan has evolved into an unacceptable global security threat. With the once-prominent Daesh receding from the spotlight, the WashTimes has learned that the administration is focusing increasingly on the unlikely alliance between Iran and AQ, with what some sources say is an eye toward establishing a potential legal justification for military strikes against Iran or its proxies. Skeptics have long doubted that Iran could find common cause with AQ, but Pindo boxtops argue that a confluence of interests and a common enemy in Pindostan and its vassals, has brought a level of covert cooperation and coordination that has reached new heights.

The AUMF passed by Congress in the days after the 9/11 attacks provided the legal framework for Bush 43 to order Pindo military action against the Taliban for harboring Osama bin Laden and AQ fighters in Afghanistan. The law has underpinned the Pindo GWOT and has largely gone unchanged for the past 17 years through three presidential administrations. Congressional and legal sources say the law may now provide a legal rationale for striking Iranian territory or proxies should Trump decide that Tehran poses a looming threat to Pindostan or Israel, and that economic sanctions are not strong enough to neutralize the threat. Top Pindo boxtops argued in recent interviews that the partnership between a resurgent AQ and Shiite Iran has been one of the most under-reported and misunderstood aspects of global Islamic extremism over the past two decades. The dynamic is nuanced, the history is fraught, and the two sides remain distrustful and occasionally in conflict, as evidenced by the deadly suicide bomb attack last week blamed on an AQ-linked group in Iran’s south-eastern region. Pindo boxtops insist that a mountain of hard evidence shows the two have made a calculated decision to work together, and it’s an alliance that Pindostan & its vassals in the region cannot tolerate. It’s an argument that dovetails nicely with deep skepticism Trump and his top aides have expressed for the regime in Tehran, which they accuse of fomenting instability and threatening key Pindo vassals across the Middle East. Nathan Sales, State Dept coordinator for counter-terrorism, has been a key player in the administration’s Iran policy team since Trump appointed him to the post in 2017. He told us in an exclusive interview:

Since 9/11, the Iranian regime has given sanctuary to senior AQ members, and it remains unwilling to bring these terrorists to justice. This partnership of convenience between Tehran and AQ is both dangerous and unacceptable, and it further reinforces Iran’s status as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

The recently unclassified version of the CIA’s annual Worldwide Threat Assessment for 2019 did not delve deeply into Iran-AQ ties, but it contained a map that highlighted Iran for its presence of an AQ “Affiliate, Element or Network.” The latest State Dept report on global terrorism trends issued in the fall went further. It laid out the case for at least a working relationship between Iran and AQ:

Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior AQ members residing in Iran and has refused to publicly identify the members in its custody. Iran has allowed AQ facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran since at least 2009, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.

Faschingstein has long listed Iran as the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism. It cites the estimated $1b/yr that Tehran sends to a host of recognized terrorist organizations, most notably the Lebanon-based Shiite group Hezbollah and the Palestinian Sunni group Hamas. The listing, however, falls far short of the heft carried by a congressionally backed AUMF because it allows the White House to order only sanctions, not military strikes, against Iran. The administration has not publicly commented on whether it is considering strikes on the grounds where Iran is willingly offering safe haven to AQ leaders, but some Congress critturs and other sources say the discussion is taking place among his top aides, including Bolton and other sharp critics of Iran, who stress that all options are on the table for dealing with Tehran’s institutionalized support for terrorism and its nuclear weapons potential. Since Trump last year pulled Pindostan out of the 2015 JCPoA with Iran, the administration has been using harsh unilateral sanctions to starve its economy and to limit the amount of money it sends to terrorist groups. Pindo boxtops say the pressure campaign is bearing fruit. Brian Hook, a pivotal figure inside the State Dept on Iran policy, said in an interview:

Iran is still the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. They organize, train and equip militias around the region with the ambition of creating a Shia corridor. Our focus has been to go after the money that allows Iran to do this, and we have a lot of economic leverage being outside the Iran nuclear deal. We are also working with nations to restore deterrence against Iran’s missile testing and proliferation. We are very pleased with the progress that we are making, with the results of our campaign of economic pressure. There’s a lot more to come.

Sources say the willingness of Iran and AQ to join forces grew after the Pindo aerial bombardment of Afghanistan’s Tora Bora cave complex in Dec 2001, an assault that left many powerful terrorist leaders searching for a new home. Although Iran initially condemned the 9/11 attacks, Bush 43 quickly included Tehran in what he called an “axis of evil” along with Iraq and NK. Government assessments show that Tehran adopted a complex stand toward AQ early in the GWOT, placing conditions on the group’s presence in its country, insisting that AQ not conduct operations on Iranian soil or recruit Iranian citizens. Last week’s attack in south-eastern Iran would seem to violate those conditions, though many details behind the planning of the assault are not clear. Jaish al’Adl, a group with close ties to AQ, claimed responsibility for the blast, which killed 27 members of the IRGC. Although the AQ-linked group said it was behind the attack, Iranian Pres Rouhani instead blamed Pindostan and Israel. Mr Rouhani said:

The crime will remain as a ‘dirty stain’ in the black record of the main supporters of terrorism in the White House, Tel Aviv and their regional agents.

The attack took place in the poor, restive Sistan-Baluchistan province, which is home to many of Iran’s Sunni minority. Despite the attack, Pindo boxtops say some of AQ’s most influential figures have been granted sanctuary in Iran. In response, Pindostan has placed bounties on some of those men, including a $10m reward for information leading to the capture of Yasin al-Suri, whom Pindo intelligence has described as the head of AQ’s Iran operation. State Depnt documents describe al-Suri as a pivotal figure in the Iran-AQ relationship and in the broader terrorist nexus across the Middle East. Documents say al-Suri helped oversee the transfer of AQ fighters and weapons through Iran to AfPak and elsewhere. Pindo intelligence has been closely watching AQ operations in Iran for years, although information from the classified case files has rarely been made public. One of the more prominent albeit mysterious cases involved Muhsin al-Fadhli, a key figure in the Iran-AQ partnership who was killed by Pindo bombs in Syria five years ago. The 2014 strikes were aimed at the so-called Khorasan Group, a shadowy AQ-linked organization. The group’s leader, al-Fadhli, was a top target in those attacks and in the years prior had taken over “leadership of the Iran-based AQ facilitation network,” government documents show. In 2016, the Obama administration imposed economic sanctions on several senior AQ figures in Iran. Treasury boxtops said the men helped acquire and transfer arms, raised money and pursued other illicit activities on behalf of AQ.

The Iran-AQ nexus stretches beyond simply offering a hideout for prominent AQ figures. Foreign policy analysts who have studied the origins and evolution of the connection point to terrorist strikes that were planned with the tacit support of Tehran, especially if those attacks targeted Iran’s Sunni rivals. In 2003, for example, AQ attacked residential compounds in Riyadh, killing 35 people (Khobar Towers – RB). Those strikes were planned and directed by AQ figures Saif al-Adel and Sa’ad bin Laden, both of whom were given sanctuary in Iran and used their home base there to plot the assault. In 2008, AQ operative Ahmad Wali Siddiqui stood trial in Germany for plotting terrorist attacks in Europe. In court, Siddiqui said he and other AQ fighters used Iran as a launchpad to travel throughout the Middle East and Europe with minimal attention. Nelly Lahoud, a former terrorism analyst at West Point Military Academy now at the New America Foundation, was one of the first to review documents seized from bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan. She wrote in an analysis for the Atlantic Council this fall that the bin Laden files revealed a deep strain of skepticism and hostility toward the Iranian regime, mixed with a recognition by AQ leaders of the need to avoid a complete break with Tehran. she concluded:

In none of the documents, which date from 2004 to just days before bin Laden’s death, did I find references pointing to collaboration between AQ and Iran to carry out terrorism, although the interplay between the two was clearly complex and conflicted. One captured 2007 document, apparently written by an AQ operative, concluded that in the wake of the 2003 invasion of Iraq “Iranian authorities decided to keep our brothers as a bargaining chip.”

Although many pieces of the Iran-AQ relationship have been exposed through news reporting and government documents, analysts say few in Faschingstein have stood up to paint a full picture of the alliance and just how dangerous it remains. Bradley Bowman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said:

The Trump administration is right to focus on Tehran’s full range of malign activities, and that should include a focus on Tehran’s long-standing support for AQ.

The FDD circulated an analysis in recent days asserting that the Iran-AQ relationship should command the attention of the Financial Action Task Force, a global body devoted to setting standards to combat illicit finance. The analysis said:

Iran’s support for AQ is incompatible with FATF standards.

It remains to be seen what action the FATF, which is meeting this week in Paris and is currently headed by Marshall Billingslea, Asst Sec at the Treasury for terrorist financing, may take against Iran. Last week, Trump made clear that the White House is keenly focused on Iran’s connection with terrorists and suggested that more action is on the horizon. He said during his SOTU address:

My administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, the radical regime in Iran. To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew Pindostan from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, and last fall we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country. We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants ‘death to Pindostan’ and threatens genocide against the Jewish people.

Behind the scenes in Faschingstein, there is increasing speculation that the White House could make a case for military strikes using the existing AUMF. Legal analysts say the administration likely would have a strong argument. USAF Maj-Gen (Retd) Charles Dunlap, now at Duke University, said:

For many reasons, I think we need an updated AUMF, but if the facts show Iran or any other nation is harboring AQ, that’s a circumstance which would make the argument for the applicability of the 2001 AUMF quite strong. After all, AQ was directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks Congress was addressing at that time. Since Congress chose not to put a ‘sunset’ provision in the resolution, it remains good law.

For political and strategic reasons, Congress has repeatedly been unable to pass a new AUMF to more narrowly define the president’s right to strike terrorist groups. Ironically, an attempt last summer to craft a new AUMF failed partially because some Demagogs feared the text could be twisted to greenlight military action against Iran. Last week, some Congress critturs downplayed the notion that attacks on Iran could be justified by an AQ connection, and they argued that the current AUMF simply wouldn’t apply. Angus King, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said:

There are certainly AQ boxtops and leadership in Iran, in and out of Iran, but the relationship with the government is somewhat unclear. We have the right to react if Iranian forces attack our people in some other part of the Middle East, but if we’re talking about some kind of preemptive action in Iran, I don’t think that would be authorized under the AUMF.

 

irritated

‘Irritated’ admiral sends destroyer to Black Sea
Joel Gehrke, Faschinstein Examiner, February 19, 2019

MUNICH — A Pindo destroyer is sailing to the Black Sea to conduct naval exercises with Ukraine to demonstrate “solidarity” in response to a clash with Russia that has infuriated Admiral James Foggo, commander of Pindo naval forces in Europe and Africa. He told reporters on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference over the weekend:

The whole episode in the Sea of Azov was extremely bothersome to me.

Russian forces fired on three Ukrainian naval vessels that attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait, and arrested the sailors in late November. Since the takeover, Moscow has used control of the land on both sides of the waterway to restrict access to key Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov. Foggo said of the Cook’s deployment to the region from its home port at Rota, Spain:

We’re showing solidarity.

Russia maintains that the three ships were seized after they tried to force their way through the strait without following standard safety procedures. Sergei Lavrov said during a Saturday panel at the Munich Security Conference:

Even though some people have illusions about Crimea, they were apprehended at a place which was Russian territorial waters even before the referendum.

That statement is false, according to Pindo boxtops and representatives of other NATO vassal states who say that the ships were seized in the Black Sea on the international side of the Kerch Strait. Foggo wasn’t shy about condemning Russia’s imprisonment of the 24 Ukrainian sailors on charges of crossing a Russian border illegally. Foggo told reporters last week:

Let me tell you, that irritates me to no end. They are uniformed Ukrainian sailors and officers and chiefs, they’re not criminals, and they are being charged under a criminal code. They should be protected under the Geneva Convention, which is why Pindostan and other NATO vassals have come to the table and said ‘Release them immediately,’ and they still continue to hold them. That is just absolutely wrong, and it is not the kind of behavior that you would expect from a major power, which Russia wants to be.

The joint exercises were planned to coincide with negotiations with the EU over new sanctions on Russian individuals involved in the Kerch Strait incident, according to a European diplomat. Russian naval forces track Pindo warships in the Black Sea as a general matter, but their surface ships can’t stack up to Western fleets. Foggo said:

Let’s face it, the Russian carrier Kuznetsov doesn’t even come close to the Ford-class carrier or the Nimitz-class carrier, and the surface navy is not an equivalent match for either the Pindo Navy or NATO navies in the world.

The confrontation is most dramatic example of a series of Russian actions, including the construction of a low bridge over the strait that has hampered Ukrainian access to the Sea of Azov, home to the port of Mariupol. Pres Poroshenko says that Russia is trying to set the stage for an annexation of the city, but Foggo disagrees. He says:

No, I don’t think they want to take the port of Mariupol. I think that they’re using other methods to punish the Ukrainians through the economy by restricting shipping traffic in there. It’s economic strangulation.