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The Hague: OPCW Crisis Deepens

by Oui Wed Apr 4th, 2018 at 07:53:00 PM EST

Previous time the European supported OPCW was in crisis when the US forced out José Bustani in 2002. He was too independent in regards to the investigation of Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program and/or destruction thereof. The sacking of Bustani didn't create an uproar, but he was eventually compensated for a wrongful dismissal by decision of the ILO Administrative Tribunal.

Chemical Weapons Convention Chief Removed at U.S. Initiative

The head of the organization implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was voted out of office by convention member states on April 22, ending a nearly three-month-long diplomatic offensive led by the United States.

With 43 delegations abstaining, states voted 48 to 7 to remove José Bustani, a Brazilian who has headed the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) since its inception almost five years ago. Two-thirds of states attending and voting had to vote in favor of removing Bustani for him to be unseated. Many European countries, U.S. allies, and India backed the U.S.-led motion of dismissal; Belarus, Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran, Mexico, and Russia voted against Bustani's removal.

The United States, which pays 22 percent of the OPCW's budget, had made implicit threats not to pay the rest of its dues to the organization if Bustani maintained his position, according to an OPCW official. This prompted speculation that other countries went along with the U.S. initiative to avoid depriving the organization of needed funds.

More below the fold ...

Speaking after the vote, Bustani said, "I clearly made some people in Washington very uncomfortable because I was too independent. They want somebody more obedient," The New York Times reported. The former director-general was also reported to have complained that his removal was illegal. Although the conference used its normal rules for voting on substantive issues, the convention does not specify rules for removing its head.

The State Department hailed Bustani's removal as "an essential first step in restoring stability and sound management" to the OPCW and said the United States "will work closely with other concerned member states to restore the organization to sound financial footing and to overcome the other financial difficulties that it has faced in recent years." A U.S. official indicated that this would involve expediting payment of remaining U.S. arrears.

The OPCW voted today 15-6 to sideline Russian investigators and allow the host nation United Kingdom to keep the lead and choice of their counterpart France for an "independent" result. The OPCW in the back seat?

U.N. Delegates Voice Alarm over Mounting Chemical Weapon Threats, as Disarmament Commission Concludes General Debate

Elaborating on that point, the United Kingdom's delegate emphasized that collective global security depended on the comprehensive set of rules, norms and standards that States had painstakingly built to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Voicing concern that the Russian Federation had flagrantly violated those norms in the recent Salisbury incident -- "the first use of chemical weapons on European soil since the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) foundation" -- he said disrespect for international norms and laws threatened the basis of democracies, open societies and free economies.  Those hostile activities put everyone at risk, he stressed.

The representative of the Russian Federation, rejecting those allegations as he spoke in exercise of the right of reply, said they remained totally unsubstantiated.  Calling for a full investigation of the Salisbury incident, he voiced concern that the United Kingdom continued to block the Russian Federation's access to its own citizens.  In addition, the United Kingdom had failed to request a special session of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council to discuss the incident, as provided for in its statute, having instead delivered its own verdict on the matter.  In that context, the Russian Federation itself had called for a special meeting of OPCW, which would be convened soon and include specific questions about the incident.

Statement by John Foggo, Acting UK Permanent Representative | OPCW - April 4, 2018 |
OPCW Representation Members Executive Council
OPCW Director-General Commends Major Milestone as Russia Completes Destruction of Chemical Weapons Stockpile under OPCW Verification - Sept. 2017

I'm still baffled by Boris Johnson and Theresa May keeping "straight" faces as the novichok storm fails to subside.

Skripal poisoning: deleted Foreign Office tweet leads to awkward questions | The Guardian |

Boris Johnson is facing embarrassing questions over his claims that Russia had produced the Salisbury nerve agent after it emerged that the Foreign Office had deleted a tweet blaming Moscow for the attack.

The announcement prompted claims from the Kremlin that Britain was lying about the origins of the novichok and demanded an apology from Theresa May. It emerged on Wednesday that the Foreign Office had earlier deleted a tweet claiming the British scientists had concluded that the nerve agent was "produced in Russia".

In an awkward development for the Foreign Office, the Russian embassy's Twitter feed pointed out that the 20 March tweet on a presentation by Britain's ambassador to Moscow on the Salisbury attack had disappeared.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "An HMA Moscow [British ambassador Laurie Bristow] briefing on 22 March was tweeted in real time by @UKinRussia and amplified by @foreignoffice to explain what happened in Salisbury to as wide an audience as possible.

"One of the tweets was truncated and did not accurately report our ambassador's words. We have removed this tweet."

According to an official transcript of the speech, Bristow's original words were: "The analysts at Porton Down, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in the UK, established and made clear that this was a military-grade chemical weapon. One of the novichok series; a nerve agent as I said produced in Russia."

Build-up of a new Cold War - failure to sit at one table and engage in diplomacy with leaders of a great people - Russia.

OSCE Head - Thomas Greminger

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Apr 4th, 2018 at 10:16:20 PM EST
Theresa May - Boris "what's in a name" Johnson ... we knew the location of the secret lab all along ... just testing whether that Putin fella knew as much.  ;-)  didn't want to tell you earlier ... just a little surprise. From the same factory of the dodgy dossier .. CBW lab at Porton Down - renowned scientist Russia weapons inspector David Kelly - another mysterious death that should be investigated ... oh it has? .. and the 90 minute warning for incoming missiles from Saddam Hussein in 2003. Incredulous, it's MI-6 once again ladies and gentlemen ... straighten your seats, sit back and swallow the British pop corn.

Body of Dr Richard Holmes discovered in a field four miles from the Porton Down defence establishment

Security services pinpoint secret Russian lab, source of novichok nerve agent

Security services believe that they have pinpointed the location of the covert Russian laboratory that manufactured the weapons-grade nerve agent used in Salisbury, The Times  has learnt.

Ministers and security officials were able to identify the source using scientific analysis and intelligence in the days after the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal a month ago, according to security sources.

Britain knew about the existence of the facility where the novichok poison was made before the attack on March 4, it is understood. A Whitehall source added: "We knew pretty much by the time of the first Cobra [the emergency co-ordination briefing that took place the same week] that it was overwhelmingly likely to come from Russia."

Quite fascinating indeed. From this statement and the timeline of the first Cobra meeting, Theresa May knew the result of the Porton Down investigation (just started), knew it was Russia and knew the location of the top secret novichok lab inside the Russian Federation. Well done Maggie ... don't be fooled, Russia is no Argentina to push around.

The British foreign policy motto: "Even of the scientific proof and evidence is not there, our secret service is always apt to provide the missing links." What a wonderfully organized fabrication. Back to sleep everyone, Downing Street 10 is watching over You!

Not just Russians pass away in the London area, what about all the Porton Down scientists and GCHQ employees at a young age. Stress leading to suicide just when publication could mean war or peace. Such a shame.

London is just a dangerous place to be ...

Is London's murder rate really worse than New York's? | The Independent |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Apr 5th, 2018 at 11:54:57 AM EST
I'm looking forward to the first Skripal presser, aren't you? But I am steeling myself for disappoint --a modestly worded letter about amnesia, liberally illustrated with expressions of gratitude for the speedy, professional medical services provided by Home Office, gratis.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Apr 6th, 2018 at 03:51:49 PM EST
I have just seen --"accessed" as the MLA sez or "retrieved" as APA sez-- this Off-Guardian synopsis of the week.

To emphasize: If I've thought of it, thousands more were way ahead of me on the logic train.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Apr 6th, 2018 at 04:09:53 PM EST
Yulia Skripal's cousin Viktoria denied UK visa to visit poisoned relatives in hospital
A Home Office spokesman said: "We have refused a visitor visa application from Viktoria Skripal on the grounds that her application did not comply with the immigration rules."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Apr 6th, 2018 at 08:59:01 PM EST
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are very pleased that both Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia are improving. This is a tribute to the hardworking and talented NHS staff in Salisbury who have provided outstanding care.

"The NHS will continue to provide ongoing care for the Skripals, both of whom are likely to have ongoing medical needs.

"Let us be clear, this was attempted murder using an illegal chemical weapon that we know Russia possesses."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Apr 6th, 2018 at 09:01:13 PM EST
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