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Hereward

UK Politics: The Beast From The East

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2 hours ago, Spockydog said:

Why risk Everything Thats Happening Now by perpetrating the first nerve agent attack in Europe since WW2? Putin gains nothing from this. 

 

On 13/03/2018 at 2:38 PM, Spockydog said:

I'm sorry, but nothing in that post amounts to anything that will damage Putin in any way whatsoever.

I think you can either try to argue that Putin would be a fool to risk the consequences of this action, or to argue that none of the consequences will damage Putin in any way, but arguing both simultaneously doesn't really work. 

 

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6 minutes ago, mormont said:

To begin with, the poison could not have been manufactured anywhere. That's just incorrect.

Please explain. Does this Novichok stuff have some kind of molecular signature that allows location and date of manufacture to be ascertained by law enforcement officials?

 

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7 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

Please explain. Does this Novichok stuff have some kind of molecular signature that allows location and date of manufacture to be ascertained by law enforcement officials?

More or less, yeah.

I've seen and heard people who know a lot more about this shit than I do (not government employees, either) explain that this stuff can only be manufactured in a few facilities anywhere. Only one of those places is known to have the formula and is known to have actually manufactured it. In addition, it is possible to specifically identify the place of origin if you have a sample, though no-one outside the government knows if this has actually been done.

My question would be, if you didn't already know all this, why are you claiming it can be made anywhere? Either you knew this, or you don't know how it's manufactured. Either way...

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There has been a lot of bafflement as to why Russia did this now. It's been pointed out that spy-swaps and exchanges are routine and a commonly-accepted mitigating factor in international espionage: you know that if you're captured, you're probably not going to get dropped off a pier in concrete boots but will kept incarcerated and then swapped when convenient. It's pretty standard stuff.

Putin killing this dude years (and it's been almost a decade) after he was released, by Russia, endangers that international norm: it means that future agent swaps will be endangered and Russia may find it harder to recruit agents if they feel the swap system has been abandoned. It's also illogical that Russia would kill this guy brazenly in broad daylight in a foreign country rather than doing so when he was in an actual Russian jail where he could have disappeared much more quietly.

The counter-arguments are strong, however: that Putin wants to send a message that you're never out of his reach, no matter how much time has passed, and also that Russia can do what it wants, when it wants, with nothing but a token reaction (which is proving accurate so far).

The alternative possibility, of a rogue actor in the Russian intelligence community settling a grudge, has also not been disproven, although not particularly supported so far either.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, mormont said:

 

Forget it. Totally deleted my post during an edit. Imma little stoned and can't remember what I said....Grrr.

 

Edited by Spockydog

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The suggestion isn’t that this was something made fresh when the Skripal were spotted going into a pizza restaurant.  It was created from binary sources left in a stockpile since the Cold War. 

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Not to intrude, but what's the feeling over there? I don't think you guys are alone, even if it came to Pence we'd be on our way in weeks. 

If it helps, I can't imagine Germany and France not having your back and you do live on an island.   

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7 minutes ago, WinterFox said:

Not to intrude, but what's the feeling over there? I don't think you guys are alone, even if it came to Pence we'd be on our way in weeks. 

If it helps, I can't imagine Germany and France not having your back and you do live on an island.   

If they send those nutters that deployed during Euro 2016, we're fucked.

 

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1 hour ago, WinterFox said:

Not to intrude, but what's the feeling over there? I don't think you guys are alone, even if it came to Pence we'd be on our way in weeks. 

If it helps, I can't imagine Germany and France not having your back and you do live on an island.   

There's no particular worry that Russia is going to start bombing anyone. I think some of our European partners are concerned about Russia shutting off gas and energy supplies, but to be frank they should have weaned themselves off Russia's supplies years ago. That was always a serious mistake.

I think the general feeling is that Russia has to be slapped down and if that means really going to town on a much tougher sanctions regime so be it. The question is to what extent other countries are going to back us up: Macron has made it his personal mission to build bridges with Putin and the French response was initially lackadaisical but they've now come more firmly on board so it looks like a more united front is possible.

The cynical concern is that in a few weeks this will have blown over and after a few months there could be a move towards forgetting it ever happened.

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There are presidential elections in Russia this Sunday. One can assume Putin benefits from the "false accusations."

 

There have been quite a few deaths of Russians in the UK that were deemed natural but look suspicious with hindsight: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43299598

Looks like they usually let it look like natural death. In the Litvinenko case the guys who carried out the killing seem to have been very careless with the Polonium. That and the fact that he lived long enough to draw attention are the reasons why the murder was detected. Skripal is another case where the victim doesn't just quietly die. 

As for buying gas from Russia, one might worry about this but there aren't any "good" suppliers. And historically, Russia / the Soviet Union has always been a very reliable supplier, even at the height of the cold war. They live on the revenue, after all. Putin's reputation as the guy who made Russia great again is a direct result of the rising oil prices in the early 2000s.

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My understanding is that the Russian economy isn't doing as well as it was, so Putin is not going to be inclined to stop selling gas to EU countries if he can help it. 

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4 hours ago, Loge said:

As for buying gas from Russia, one might worry about this but there aren't any "good" suppliers. And historically, Russia / the Soviet Union has always been a very reliable supplier, even at the height of the cold war. They live on the revenue, after all. Putin's reputation as the guy who made Russia great again is a direct result of the rising oil prices in the early 2000s.

What did Norway do?!

Anyway, Britain is not reliant on Russian gas. According to the government, less than 1% of our gas comes from Russia.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Hereward said:

Anyway, Britain is not reliant on Russian gas. According to the government, less than 1% of our gas comes from Russia.

According to Reuters, it's more like 9%*.

Quote

Britain’s largest energy supplier Centrica has signed new gas contracts with two of the world’s largest producers, Russia’s Gazprom and Norway’s Statoil, reflecting the UK’s growing dependence on gas imports as its production declines.

The Gazprom deal gives Britain a much higher exposure to Russian-sourced gas and comes despite European Union pressure to reduce the region’s dependence on Russian gas due to frosty relations with President Vladimir Putin over the conflict in Ukraine.

Gazprom’s supplies to Centrica will rise to 29.1 billion cubic metres (bcm) until 2021, compared with 2.4 bcm agreed in a three-year deal in 2012. On average of the six-year deal, Gazprom will provide roughly 9 percent of Britain’s gas needs, according to Reuters calculations.

* Story dated 2015, refers to contracts that expire in 2021.

Edited by Spockydog

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According to the story, the deal is for gas supplied by Gazprom, which sources its gas from a number of different countries apart from Russia, and the 9% figure is  an average over the period, rising each year, so there is not necessarily a discrepancy between the two figures.

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Hereward said:

According to the story, the deal is for gas supplied by Gazprom, which sources its gas from a number of different countries apart from Russia, and the 9% figure is  an average over the period, rising each year, so there is not necessarily a discrepancy between the two figures.

The source of their gas is irrelevant. Gazprom is a Russian company, controlled by the Russian state. It provides over a third of Europe's gas, and, depending on what you read, anywhere between 5% and 13% of our own. I'm sure the Government would like everyone to think that it's only 1%, but nothing I've read comes even remotely close to backing up that figure. The only thing I've seen supporting the 1% claim is a statement from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

From The Economist:

Quote

Gazprom is not a normal company. It serves two masters. As a firm that issues shares to outside investors, it should in theory strive to maximise profits in the long run. But since it is majority-owned by the Russian state, it pursues political goals, too.

In practice, it serves one master more assiduously than the other. As President Vladimir Putin consolidated his power in the early 2000s, he built Gazprom into a main instrument of Russia’s new state capitalism. He appointed allies to top positions. He used Gazprom as a tool of foreign policy, for example by cutting off gas supplies to Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova during political rows.

Gazprom’s deep pockets have helped Mr Putin at home, too. It sells gas cheaply in Russia, so that the poor do not freeze in winter. Oddly for an energy company, it has bought television stations and newspapers, all of which are now friendly to the Kremlin. Mikhail Krutikhin of RusEnergy, a consultancy, says, “Gazprom has one manager: Putin.”

 

Edited by Spockydog

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It's not irrelevant because if Gazprom decides to breach the contract, it will presumably not be sourcing that gas from non-Russian sources anymore, making it available for purchase on the market. 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Hereward said:

It's not irrelevant because if Gazprom decides to breach the contract, it will presumably not be sourcing that gas from non-Russian sources anymore, making it available for purchase on the market. 

What makes you think they won't stockpile said gas just to screw with their enemies?

Edited by Spockydog

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18 hours ago, Blue Roses said:

So if the Tories are pathological liars and never ever to be trusted in any statements in the House of Commons, who would you implicitly trust if they stated that Russia carried out this act? Just interested, as you seem to be approaching this as 'yes Russia in all probability did this but I don't trust it 'cos one of those nasty Tories said they did it'. An interesting approach to say the least.

 

Meanwhile, the appalling Telford grooming/rape case is being somewhat ignored. Jess Phillips has a piece about it on the Guardian website today. It is heart breaking to read about such abuse on an industrial scale, yet again. I remember Jack Straw raising this about a decade ago with his 'white meat' comment and being howled down, especially by those in his own party.  And we haven't even got our heads around women being trafficked into this country for sex purposes. Probably young boys as well. 

The latest conspiracy theory is that the Salisbury poisoning was carried out by our security services to distract attention from Telford.

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