Permalink Secretive Covid disinformation unit worked with security services

Documents submitted to inquiry reveal the ‘UK intelligence community’ has been involved in the CDU since it was founded in 2019 | A government unit accused of seeking to suppress free speech during the pandemic worked with Britain’s intelligence agencies, senior civil servants have confirmed. Documents submitted to the Covid inquiry and marked “official sensitive” reveal that the “UK intelligence community” has been involved in the Counter-Disinformation Unit (CDU) since it was founded in 2019.  The unit was set up by ministers to tackle disinformation – false information that is deliberately spread – and initially focused on foreign interference in the European elections. However, in 2020 it turned its attention to the pandemic and collected social media posts by members of the British public. The intelligence community – which includes MI6, MI5 and GCHQ – continued “working closely” with the CDU “where appropriate” during this time, documents show.

Permalink Moscow warns of direct clash with NATO

“Nothing can be ruled out” in such an “intense” proxy conflict between NATO and Russia in Ukraine, Dmitry Polyansky has said | The military confrontation in Ukraine has reached a point where it could easily spiral into a full-blown conflict between Russia and NATO, Moscow’s deputy envoy to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, said on Friday. The diplomat blamed the US-led military bloc’s ever deeper involvement in the fighting between Moscow and Kiev. [...] Moscow sees “many indications that there are some instructors, mercenaries” in Ukraine, the deputy envoy stated. He also pointed to some “strange messages” about the deaths of NATO officers and generals. “That does raise major suspicions,” he said, adding that “we cannot rule out that they [NATO specialists] are participating in certain actions in Ukraine,” Polyansky added, without naming any specific examples. Polyansky also claimed that the current situation is “very bad” for the Ukrainian military and that “Western aid is their only salvation.” Many people in the US and elsewhere “are starting to understand that the Kiev regime is losing,” he added.

Permalink Ex-Italian PM: France, US Downed Passenger Jet in 1980

Ex-Italian PM claims 1980 passenger jet crash was failed attempt by France to kill Libyan president | More than 40 years after the mysterious shooting down of an Italian plane that carried 81 passengers, former two-time premier Giuliano Amato claims France was behind it [He] has accused France and the United States of being responsible for the deaths of 81 aircraft passengers in a mysterious crash more than 40 years ago, in a failed assassination attempt on former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.  On the evening of 27 June 1980, the Itavia flight 870, with 81 people on board, crashed near the island of Ustica (north of Sicily), resulting in the deaths of passengers and crew members. The incident is one of Italy's worst air disasters in history.  In an explosive interview published on Saturday by the newspaper La Repubblica, former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato said he supported the claim that France, with the assistance of Washington, sought to eliminate Libyan leader Gaddafi, believing he was on board the targeted aircraft. The passenger plane was shot down by a missile fired by a French fighter jet, Amato alleged.

Permalink US to Arm Ukraine With Toxic Depleted Uranium Ammunition

The munitions will be used with US-made Abrams tanks | The US is set to arm Ukraine with controversial depleted uranium (DU) ammunition as part of an upcoming arms package for use with US-made Abrams tanks, Reuters reported on Friday.  DU is a heavy metal that’s a byproduct of enriched uranium and is extremely dense, making it a good material for armor-piercing rounds. But DU ammunition is toxic and is linked to cancer and birth defects in places it has been used, including Iraq, where the US used an enormous amount of DU in the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion.  The UK has already provided Ukraine with DU ammunition for use with British-made Challenger 2 tanks, but the US has yet to take the step. Earlier this year, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he was deploying nuclear weapons to Belarus, he said it was a response to the UK arming Ukraine with DU.  According to Reuters, the arms package for Ukraine that will include DU ammunition is expected to be announced this week. The first Abrams tanks are due to arrive in Ukraine in the coming weeks.

US to send controversial armor-piercing munitions containing depleted uranium to Ukraine (Business Insider)

Permalink Interview with US Ambassador Peter Ford

Steven Sahiounie of MidEastDiscourse interviewed Ambassador Peter Ford to hear his expert analysis of important issues developing in the Middle East region. | Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey are neighbors in an increasingly unstable Middle East, in which Saudi Arabia plays a key role. The US has meddled in the Middle East for decades and is responsible for the destruction of several countries who have not recovered from failed American policies. Peter Ford served as the British ambassador to Bahrain from 1999 to 2003 and Syria from 2003 to 2006, and is currently the London-based Co-Chairman of the British Syrian Society. He is an Arabist with long established expertise in the Middle East.

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