Don’t believe Navalny

It is characteristic of Empires (and their intelligence agencies) to believe what they want to hear.

Defectors and people looking for foreign backing to stage a coup in their own country often understand this and play to it. The “45 minute” soundbite which was used to justify the 2003 Iraq invasion in the UK may have been provided by an emigreé taxi driver in Jordan. [1] Whatever the source – it was a meaningless piece of “information”. Did it relate to ballisitic missiles or battlefield munitions? It didn’t matter – it served the political purpose; which was to deceive the public that Iraq was a threat.

When Verica of the Atrebates tribe asked Rome to help him regain his throne from the Catuvellauni, thus providing them with the pretext for invasion, he probably told them what they wanted to hear about the state of Britain.

Navalny, who has apparently been complaining to the New York Times about having to watch hours of Russian state TV [2] has said:

Sooner or later, this mistake will be fixed, and Russia will move on to a democratic, European path of development – simply because that is what the people want [2]

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Russian Foreign Ministry position on the poisoning of Navalny [1]

The following is a summary (based on my own translation) of the statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Below the summary I have put my comments.

  1. Obvious organised media campaign blaming Russia which started almost immediately after the event.
  2. Public statements from German officials at the highest level categorically blaming Russia immediately after the event.
  3. Despite 2. above the German authorities have not backed up their claims with proof in the public domain. They rely on claims based on classified material. They have said that their findings are supported by their allies France and Sweden. However, two years ago these same countries (France and Sweden presumably) were saying that they couldn’t synthesise or detect Novochok.
  4. The US had said they did not need reasons when they brought in sanctions against Russian institutions involved in “chemical weapons research”. Possibly the idea is that this meant the US did not have to rely on evidence of analysis of the toxin. (There may be a suggestion that US sanctions against Russian institutions allegedly involved in chemical weapons research were ‘preprepared’ and that this shows pre-planning of some kind; but I am not sure if I have understood this correctly).
  5. The German side has not answered multiple questions about this matter posed to them by the Russian side. They have answered rudely. This shows that either they are trying to block the unravelling of this story, or they are satisifed with the political effect already achieved.
  6. In terms of the investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibtion of Chemical Weapons Moscow was given the run-around. When they tried to cooperate with Germany they were told to speak directly to the OPCW. When they tried to speak with the OPCW they were told to speak to Germany.
  7. The OPCW, in response to a “far-fetched” German explanation about needing to manage risks of proliferation, classified all details about the nature of the substance found in Navalny’s body.
  8. If we take the German argument seriously this (7) is odd – why would giving Moscow the formula for Novochok be a risk when they already, according to the accusations, have it? This is inconsisent.
  9. In the annual report of the OPCW it is mentioned that the request by Germany to send assistance to Berlin was made on 20/8 – that is the day Navalny was hospitalised in Omsk and before the German authorities had conducted their tests. This is explained as a typo by the German side. Perhaps it is in fact a Freudian slip.
  10. The OPCW declined to cooperate with Russian investigations into the apparent poisoning of Navalny. (The impression is that without this cooperation the Russian investigation could not proceed).
  11. Had such a joint cooperation taken place and specifically had Russia been allowed to investigate the sample in the possession of the OPCW at an OPCW registered lab in St. Petersburg it would have been possible to answer questions about how the toxin (allegedly of a type entered into an OPCW database by Russia, the US, Canada and Holland in 2019) came to be in Navalny’s body.
  12. Medics in Omsk did not find traces of the chemical weapon in question in Navalny. Thus it becomes necessary to confirm that such a chemical did not find its way into Navalny on the plane or when he arrived in Berlin.
  13. This (12) is especially important since on the plane there was a certain German citizen whose identity even up till now has been closely guarded by the German side. Also there was a recently created British Citizen M.K. Pevchikh. This person who is connected with British secret services told the BBC Russian service about her presence on the flight on 18/9/20 but despite this Germany has still not confirmed her presence. [2]
  14. In parallel with these events a series of Western states through the media spread the story that Navalny and his entourage was the centre of democratic protest in Russia.
  15. Foreign Agencies of Western countries regularly pick up the talking points of team Navalny – who is trying to do anything to get himself into the news in order to intefere with the elections to the State Duma scheduled for September 2021.
  16. Berlin and its allies use the artifical hype around Navalny – which they themselves have created – in order to implement strategic restraints on our country and launch attacks on us in the arena of international organisations, masking them with certain “human rights concerns”. It was precisely with these aims in mind that the affair with Navalny was played out.

Commentary

I don’t know if the Russian state poisoned Navalny or not.

Continue reading “Russian Foreign Ministry position on the poisoning of Navalny [1]”

Navalny – banned and Guardian reporting

Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation and political networks have been banned by court order.

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation along with his political network, have been found by a court in Moscow, at the request of the prosecutor, to be violating Russia’s laws on extremism. The organisations have been banned. In a separate move a law has been passed in the State Duma which will prevent anyone who has been involved in an extremist organisation from participating in elections for a period of time. This move will prevent people who were involved in the now banned organisations from standing in the upcoming (Autumn) Parliamentary elections under a new banner. [1]

This is the Guardian’s report on the banning in Russia of Alexei Navalny’s organisations. Andrew Roth has certainly studied the argument of the defence. (Most likely he has been briefed by the defence). The argument is that the law on extremism requires that the offence be accompanied by violence or the threat of violence and in this case the prosecutor has not established that – or even, indeed, tried to.

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How does the Telegraph treat Navalny?

Usually I comment on the misinformation in the Guardian and Independent about Russia. But I strayed today over to the Telegraph. In this article there are some ‘points of misinformation’ but overall this is much better reporting that in the the Guardian and Independent – where extreme confirmation bias leads to a fake narrative. Comments:

The closest the activist came to an elected position was in 2013, when he stood for mayor of Moscow against Kremlin-backed candidate Sergei Sobyanin, scoring around 30 percent in a vote he said was tainted by fraud

This of course isn’t a lie. It could be said to be straight reporting. On the other hand; of course Navalny says that the election he lost was “tainted by fraud”. It is part of his strategy to do this. And it seems to be part of the format of liberal reporting to always give the point of view and explanations of the Navalny camp and to take them at face value. In reality it may well be that Navalny simply didn’t have enough support in Moscow. The idea in always repeating these ‘claims’ is of course to keep Navalny’s campaign alive. (The independently owned magazine ‘Morning’ published an article with multiple political observers saying that the elections were unusually fair [1]).

Five years later he attempted to run against Mr Putin for the presidency but was kept off the ballot paper because of a controversial conviction for embezzlement. Authorities have since resurrected that charge and are using it as the basis for his current detention.

This is not true. “Authorities” have not “resurrected” an old charge. Navalny’s probation for that conviction has been extended – before the current poisoning incident and apparently in line with Russian law. [2]

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