August 15, 2014 - The Constantine Report    
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading

Disappearing People and Evidence: A Deeper Significance to the SSCI Report

This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.

By Katherine Hawkins

When the executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) report on the CIA’s torture program is finally released, it is likely to discredit a story that defenders of “enhanced interrogation” have been telling for years. The narrative first appeared in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos that authorized the CIA program. President Bush repeated it in his September 2006 speech acknowledging the existence of CIA prisons, and in 2008 when he vetoed a bill outlawing waterboarding. Slightly different versions appear in Bush’s memoirs, and defenses of the CIA program by George Tenet, Michael Hayden, Michael Mukasey, Jose Rodriguez, John Yoo, Dick Cheney, and others.

The narrative goes something like this: torture is un-American, but the CIA program was not torture. Unlike the awful abuses depicted in the Abu Ghraib photographs, the CIA’s program was carefully overseen, conducted by experienced, trained professionals, and limited to the most dangerous terrorists in the world. Only thirty or so detainees were subjected to any form of “enhanced interrogation,” and only three were waterboarded. Interrogators inflicted only as much suffering on detainees as they determined was necessary to save American lives. Medical and mental health professionals carefully monitored interrogations to make sure that detainees would not suffer severe pain, and no detainee had shown any evidence of lasting harm. And it worked. The United States gained actionable intelligence, which we could not have acquired any other way. The CIA program saved hundreds of lives, if not thousands.

But carefully regulated, professionally conducted cruelty is an illusion, as Professor Darius Rejali warns in his exhaustive book on the subject, Torture and Democracy:

To think professionalism is a guard against causing excessive pain is an illusion. Instead, torture breaks down professionalism. Professionals become less disciplined, more brutal, and less skilled while their organizations become more fragmented and corrupt. (p. 454)

Rejali warns of three specific ways in which torture tends to spread, and corrupt the organizations that use it:

First, torturers go beyond the specified suspects to torture individuals not normally tortured. Second, torturers go beyond the approved techniques to a broader range of brutalities. Third, torturers break away from the bureaucratic oversight. (p. 530).

Both the leaked “findings” of the Senate report on CIA torture, and the publicly available evidence of the program’s history, suggest that this is exactly what happened during the CIA program. And while the CIA has closed its secret prisons and stopped using “enhanced interrogation”, the agency’s response to the Senate report demonstrates that its resistance to democratic oversight continues to this day.

Going Beyond the Approved Suspects and Approved Techniques

According to McClatchy, the findings of the Senate torture report include the following:

The CIA subjected detainees to interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.

The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques were inaccurate.

The CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques was brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.

The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.

The publicly available evidence on the CIA program supports these findings. The agency claimed that only approximately 30 high-level detainees were subjected to “enhanced interrogation.” But that estimate cannot be accurate unless it excludes CIA prisons in Afghanistan, where many more than thirty men were held under conditions that the detainees claim, and courts have repeatedly found, amounted to torture. One of them, Gul Rahman, died in CIA custody. Others, like German citizen Khaled el-Masri and AlgerianLaid Saidi, appear to be innocent of any involvement in terrorism.

The agency claimed that only three detainees were waterboarded—Abu Zubaydah, Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But two other former detainees, Libyans Mohammed al-Shoroeiya and Khaled al-Sharif, gave Human Rights Watch “detailed and credible testimony” of being subjected to suffocation with water in CIA custody in Afghanistan.

The CIA said that its interrogations used only authorized “enhanced” techniques, always within careful limits. It reassured the Justice Department that doctors and mental health professionals carefully monitored each interrogation to ensure that detainees’ suffering never reached the point of torture. The agency claimed that none of the prisoners it waterboarded showed “any evidence of physical pain or suffering or mental harm…more than 25 months” later, and that no detainee deprived of sleep by being shackled naked to the ceiling “has suffered any harm or injury.”

Despite the pervasive censorship in place at Guantánamo, where the Executive Branch takes the position that detainees’ descriptions of their own torture are classified, there is evidence that every single one of those claims is false. Abd al Rahim al Nashiri was tortured not only with authorized techniques, but threatened with mock execution with a handgun and a power drill. He was also “sexually tortured” and suffered ongoing physical problems as a result, according to recent testimony from Dr. Sondra Crosby, who examined him at Guantánamo. Both Dr. Crosby and an independent military panel diagnosed Nashiri with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Abu Zubaydah allegedly suffers from chronic pain, frequent seizures, and memory loss as a result of his treatment in CIA custody. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s lawyer hassought permission to photograph scars on his clients’ wrists and ankles. Ramzi Bin al Shibh’s mental competence to stand trial has been called into question. Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, better known as Ammar al-Baluchi, allegedly suffered traumatic brain injury in CIA custody. Baluchi’s lawyers are not permitted to publicly allege what caused his symptoms, but the Washington Post has reported that “CIA interrogators forcibly kept his head under the water while he struggled to breathe and beat him repeatedly, hitting him with a truncheon-like object and smashing his head against a wall” at a secret prison in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, the Geneva Conventions applied, and the CIA was not supposed to detain prisoners at all. It nevertheless repeatedly questioned unregistered “ghost prisoners” in military custody—including at Abu Ghraib. The corpse that appears in multiple Abu Ghraib photographs is that of a CIA ghost detainee, Manadel al-Jamadi, who died after agency operative Mark Swanner instructed military police to shackle him with his hands behind his back to a window frame.

Avoidance of Oversight During the Program

A number of the SSCI report’s purported findings concern CIA deception and obstruction of oversight under the Bush administration:

Numerous internal critiques and objections concerning the CIA’s management and use of the Detention and Interrogation were ignored.

The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General.

The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

The CIA inaccurately characterized the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation techniques to justify their use.

The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.

The CIA has actively avoided or impeded Congressional oversight of the program.

The CIA manipulated the media by coordinating the release of classified information, which inaccurately portrayed the effectiveness of the agency’s enhanced interrogation techniques.

Again, there is already a great deal of evidence to support most of these findings. The Department of Justice’s authorization for the torture program, particularly in its later years, relied very heavily on CIA claims that “the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al-Qa’ida has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001” (p.29). The Constitution Project’s bipartisan, independent Task Force on Detainee Treatment (for which I served as the investigator) examined several of these claims in detail, and found them to be false or dubious.

The CIA did not brief the full House and Senate intelligence committees about its treatment of prisoners until September 2006, only days before President Bush publicly acknowledged the black site program. A few members of Congress were briefed earlier, but these briefings occurred under extremely restrictive circumstances (p. 41). Senators and Representatives could not take notes, or discuss the briefings with staff or other members of Congress. Stephen Preston, the former CIA General Counsel, has acknowledged that the Congressional briefings that did occur “included inaccurate information related to aspects of the program of express interest to Members.”

The CIA destroyed evidence of torture. The best-known instance of this is Jose Rodriguez’sdestruction of videotapes of “enhanced interrogation” sessions, but there were other examples as well. For example, the CIA “lost” the sandbag that covered Manadel al-Jamadi’s head at the time of his death. According to government documents, CIA officers gave investigators from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) an explanation for the hood’s disappearance that was uncorroborated and “not believable.”

These conclusions, and a series of other OIG reports critical of the interrogation program, led to some changes to the program. But they also led the CIA to investigate its own Inspector General’s office in 2007. Then-CIA director Michael Hayden ordered the review in response to complaints that OIG was investigating the detainee program with “a prosecutorial mentality” that was harming morale.

Continued Avoidance of Oversight, and Attacks on Overseers

When he took office, President Barack Obama ended the CIA torture program over the agency’s objections (though troubling questions remain about the CIA’s role in torture by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security and other foreign proxies). Obama ordered declassification of OLC memos that described, in graphic detail, the “enhanced interrogation techniques” that the CIA had been authorized to use. Despite Obama’s preference for “looking forward,” and a commitment that he would not prosecute CIA officers who had relied on OLC advice that their actions were lawful, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a limited investigation into cases where CIA officers went beyond the abuses that OLC authorized.

But since 2009, the Obama administration has increasingly deferred to the CIA on how to deal with the legacy of the agency’s experiment with torture.

The Department of Justice has closed all of its criminal investigations without any charges. As is customary, it provided no explanation for why it declined prosecution. Every civil suit by former CIA detainees has been dismissed. The Executive Branch successfully opposed Freedom of Information Act requests for information about the program, on grounds that they would require disclosure of “sources and methods”. These included not only the CIA cables describing what the agency did to prisoners, but eleven Office of Inspector General reports into the program that remain classified in their entirety—including the OIG inquiry into Manadel al-Jamadi’s death. The CIA explained in court declarations that the declassified OLC memos only described its “enhanced” techniques “in the abstract” (p. 6). The details of any individual’s treatment in CIA custody were still top secret.

At Guantánamo, the Obama administration continued the Bush administration’s policy of censoring former CIA prisoners’ descriptions of their own torture—even as the CIA’s prepublication review board approved several memoirs making detailed claims about the same detainees’ interrogations. The administration has also resisted providing evidence of high value detainees’ torture to their military commissions defense lawyers, although the lawyers hold top secret clearances, and this evidence will be essential to their argument against a death sentence.

There is little evidence of CIA officers having faced administrative penalties for involvement in torture. The Associated Press reported in 2011 that several officers involved in Khaled El-Masri’s kidnapping and Gul Rahman’s homicide have been promoted. TheNew York Times recently reported that this April, the head of the CIA’s counterterrorism center told John Brennan that 200 people involved in the detainee program still worked for him, and they wanted to know how Brennan was going to defend them from the Senate’s torture report.

Brennan reportedly described the SSCI as a “prosecutor’s brief,” (p.132) and the CIAresponded in June 2013 with a brief for the defense. When Senators noticed the contradictions between the agency’s official response and an earlier internal CIA review—commonly known as the “Panetta Review”—that acknowledged the programs’ flaws, they began to ask some awkward questions about the discrepancies. In response, as described by Senator Dianne Feinstein on the Senate floor in March,

The CIA did not ask the committee or its staff if the committee had access to the Internal Review, or how we obtained it. Instead, the CIA just went and searched the committee’s computers… the CIA’s unauthorized search of the committee computers was followed by an allegation—which we have now seen repeated anonymously in the press—that the committee staff had somehow obtained the document through unauthorized or criminal means, perhaps to include hacking into the CIA’s computer network.

Feinstein went on to describe how the CIA’s then-Acting General Counsel, Robert Eatinger, made a criminal referral of Senate staffers to the Department of Justice. Feinstein said that Senate report mentioned Eatinger “by name more than 1,600 times,” and described how he and other CIA officers “provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice about the program.” She denounced the CIA’s search as unlawful, and the criminal referral as an attempt at intimidation. (The Department of Justice has since announced that it would not launch criminal investigations into either Senate staffers or CIA officials for searching Senate files.)

Brennan said that Feinstein’s allegations were “beyond the scope of reason,” and the CIA’s actions were lawful and appropriate. But after the CIA OIG completed its report into the incident, he abruptly changed his mind, and apologized. According to a public summary of the OIG report, CIA employees: (1) improperly accessed Senate staffers’ computer files; (2) searched and read Senate staffers’ emails; (3) provided “inaccurate information” to the Acting General Counsel, leading him to file a criminal referral against Senate staffers that was “not supported”; and (4) “demonstrated a lack of candor” in interviews with OIG.

Soon after, the White House returned a declassified version of the executive summary of the SSCI report with redactions that Feinstein said “eliminate or obscure key facts that support the report’s findings and conclusions.” The report’s release has been indefinitely postponed while the White House and Senate negotiate over the redactions.

On August 12, in response to these developments, twenty public interest organizations sent a letter to President Obama asking him to take three concrete steps:

  1. Replace John Brennan as CIA Director;
  2. Declassify the CIA Inspector General’s report on the CIA’s searches of Senate computers;
  3. Remove the excessive redactions of the Executive Summary of the Senate torture report, and declassify the full report.

We expect that the first of these requests will receive the most attention. But the other two are every bit as important. The problem did not begin with John Brennan, nor will it end with him, even if he resigns or is fired. The problem is that no bureaucracy can be trusted with the power to disappear people, torture them, and then disappear the evidence of these abuses.



 (@krhawkins5) is the National Security Fellow at She previously served as the investigator for the Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment.

By David A. Lieb, Associated Press 

Mom: Brown “didn’t Create Problems. He Fixed Things.” According to his mother, Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shot dead Saturday night in an altercation with a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, had been eager to start…

FERGUSON, MO. — Michael Brown Sr. stood alone in the center of the narrow street where the blood of his namesake son still stained the gray pavement, two days after the 18-year-old was shot dead by a police officer. He straightened a waist-high wooden cross and re-lit the candles erected as part of a makeshift memorial.

“Big Mike,” as some of his friends called Michael Brown Jr., wasn’t the type to fight, family and neighbors said, though he lived in a restless neighborhood where police were on frequent patrol. His parents and neighbors described him as a good-hearted kid with an easy smile who certainly wouldn’t have condoned the violence and looting that spread though his north St. Louis suburb following his death.

“He was funny, silly, he would make you laugh,” his father said, and when there was “any problem going on, any situation, there wasn’t nothing that he couldn’t solve. He could bring people back together.”

Brown, who was unarmed, was shot Saturday by a Ferguson police officer while walking with a friend down the center of the street. Police have said a scuffle broke out after the officer asked the boys to move to the side. Witnesses say Brown’s arms were in the air — in a sign of surrender — as a white policeman repeatedly shot the black youth.

After a vigil Sunday night, an angry crowd looted stores, and a night later police in Ferguson fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters. The U.S. Justice Department has announced that its civil rights division was opening an investigation, and Brown’s family retained the same lawyer who had represented relatives of Trayvon Martin — the Florida teen killed in a racially charged 2012 shooting. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton was to meet with Brown’s family on Tuesday as tensions remained high.

Brown, who had recently graduated from Normandy High School, had been staying at his grandmother’s apartment, where he would often hang out in the parking lot tossing a football with friends, said Markese Mull, a neighbor whose 17-year-old-son was one of Brown’s closer friends.

Brown was an aspiring rapper, though it was more of a hobby. This week, he was supposed to start college in pursuit of a career as a heating and air conditioning engineer. On the day of this death, Brown had walked with another friend to a nearby convenience store. Mull saw them in the street and honked his horn to say to “hi” — just minutes before the police officer came by.

“He was never a person who liked confrontation,” Mull said. “His smile was going to make you smile.”

Neighbors described Brown as quiet and respectful — a “good boy,” who “was never in trouble,” said Sharon Johnson, 58, who lives just a little ways down the street. Johnson said Brown would frequently stop to chat.

“We talked about how when you turn yourself to the Lord you feel so good — and good things come your way,” Johnson said. “He had a more mature mind than a little boy’s mind.”

On Monday, Johnson was standing at the side of the street where Brown was shot as a woman who had driven in from a nearby community preached loudly to anyone willing to listen about the importance of peaceful protests and parental discipline for teenagers.

A passing car stopped, letting out a man wearing a newly made black T-shirt bearing Brown’s baby picture and the words “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE.”

“I’m his father,” he said somberly, eliciting hugs.

The older Brown picked up a piece of cardboard that had been lying on the ground. “End police brutality,” it read. He placed it on a pile of toy animals stacked by a streetlight pole, then set about straightening up his son’s mid-street memorial.

He had just returned to the grass when a gunshot rang out. Then another. And another. It was time to go.

“… Baumgardner said that he was referring to ‘hot springs,’ which he said his grandmother called ‘burning waters’ …”

By Jason Plautz
National Journal, August 14, 2014

A Colorado state legislator has dismissed concerns about hydraulic fracturing polluting water with methane as “propaganda,” saying that it’s natural to have methane in water.

In fact, state Sen. Randy Baumgardner said that methane actually helped Native Americans.

“If you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the burning waters,” Baumgardner said in a video posted by the site Right Wing Watch. “And that was methane in the waters and that was for warmth in the wintertime. So a lot of people, if they just trace back the history, they’ll know how a lot of this is propaganda.”

The comments were made in an interview for the program “Pray in Jesus Name,” which is run by former Navy chaplain and state House candidate Gordon Klingenschmitt at the Western Conservative Summit.

In a follow-up email, Baumgardner said that he was referring to “hot springs,” which he said his grandmother called “burning waters.” The bacteria in the geothermally heated hot springs can produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, but the natural phenomenon is different from the potential to have methane from a gas well pollute a water source.

While some methane does occur naturally in groundwater, there have long been concerns that natural-gas production will pollute ground- and drinking-water sources with the gas. A studyfrom Duke University last June found that drinking-water wells near natural-gas sites in Pennsylvania and New York were more likely to show elevated levels of methane.

The documentary Gasland built on those concerns with a famous scene where Colorado residents lit their tap water on fire (critics of the film have said that the methane at those water sources was naturally occurring).

Baumgardner has served in the state Senate since 2012 and served four years in the state House. He led an unsuccessful bid to defeat incumbent Mark Udall, a Democrat, in the U.S. Senate race, but failed to win the Republican nomination over Rep. Cory Gardner. In aninterview with The Denver Post, he acknowledged that he was an underdog in the race.

Watch Baumgardner’s comments here:

(Image via Flickr user ecopoly)

CIA_al-qaeda“… The outrageous fraud that purported to show intercepted communications from rebel leaders discussing the attack on a civilian aircraft clearly indicates that the Security Service of Ukraine – which, as Mr Cameron knows, are controlled by the CIA – were involved in preparing for this crime and covering its tracks. The fraud has been perpetrated in order to provoke European countries into war with Russia. And Mr Cameron is a central figure in this criminal provocation. …”

The British Prime Minister shows a staggering arrogance and frightening lack of historical perspective in supporting the neo-Nazi regime of the Ukrainian government, and luring the Russian Federation into a conflict with the European Union and the West by blaming it for condoning the shooting down of Flight MH17 on 1 August over the disputed territory of eastern Ukraine.

Last month, David Cameron published an article in The Sunday Times that, in a series of sweeping accusations, marked a high point in interventions by the West which fuel conflict in Ukraine and, eventually, could drag Russia into a war with the European Union.

Even before this intervention, US and EU politicians had been drumming up the conflict, first by helping neo-fascists in Ukraine into power, who then committed atrocities against the people of eastern Ukraine.

But Cameron’s article stands out as the first time that the head of a leading European power has directly sought war with Russia. Stirred by such support, Ukrainian troops began their assault on Lugansk and Donetsk, mercilessly destroying those cities and all the citizens within them.

Just as in 1938, when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain called on European leaders to support the German Nazis in their campaign against the USSR, the present Prime Minister expressed unequivocal support for the Ukrainian neo-Nazis and angrily demanded that his European colleagues “change their attitude to Russia fundamentally”.

He is attempting to lure us into war. As we seek to avoid a return to the nightmare of global conflict, it is incumbent upon us to answer the allegations and threats made by Cameron.

First, the statement that “the growing weight of evidence points to a clear conclusion: that flight MH17 was blown out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile fired from a rebel-held area” is an outright fallacy.

In reality, evidence grows by the day to confirm President Vladimir Putin’s statement – made just after the crash – that the plane was shot down by the Ukrainian military.

A Pro-Russian rebel adjusts his weapon in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. Air strikes and artillery fire between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops in the eastern city of Donetsk have brought the violence closer than ever to the city centerA Pro-Russian rebel adjusts his weapon in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine.

Air strikes and artillery fire between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops in the eastern city of Donetsk have brought the violence closer than ever to the city centerCameron is surely aware that a Ukrainian Air Force fighter was found near the downed aircraft. It was reported by the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Defense, and confirmed by the Spanish air traffic controller in Kiev, as well as the local population near the crash site.

Then there is data from just before the crash showing that Ukrainian air forces rapidly activated their fighters in the area. That this crime was prepared in advance is confirmed further by the fact that flight MH17 was lured off its path and into a military trap prepared by the Ukrainian army.

Moreover, the outrageous fraud that purported to show intercepted communications from rebel leaders discussing the attack on a civilian aircraft clearly indicates that the Security Service of Ukraine – which, as Mr Cameron knows, are controlled by the CIA – were involved in preparing for this crime and covering its tracks.

The fraud has been perpetrated in order to provoke European countries into war with Russia. And Mr Cameron is a central figure in this criminal provocation.

Second, Mr Cameron insults us with the incorrect accusation that the downing of MH17 “is a direct result of Russia destabilising a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them”. He adds: “We must turn this moment of outrage into a moment of action.”

I will direct our response to the respected leaders of NATO countries: the truth is that this tragedy is a direct result of your actions. You and your colleagues have supported a coup d’état and armed rebellion in Ukraine, carried out under the banner of neo-Nazism.

You must be aware of the mass murder of Ukrainian citizens committed by the Poroshenko regime.

If you do not know, look in the White Book, a report on human rights violations in Ukraine prepared by the Russian Foreign Ministry. It shows in harrowing detail the murderous nature of the Ukrainian junta to which you have given your support.

There are the children and women brutally burned in Odessa, the thousands of murdered civilians in Mariupol, Slavic, Kramatorsk, Lugansk, Donetsk and other Ukrainian cities. All this blood is on the hands of your protégés.

Unless these massacres happen to your own citizens, it seems you do not notice them. Nor do you pay attention to the daily shelling and bombing of cities in eastern Ukraine, which includes the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous, and the deliberate destruction of hospitals. Now Ukrainian neo-Nazis, supported by you, have in fact touched your citizens – killing the hundreds on board flight MH17.

Perhaps it will interest you to hear that American and European advisers are currently training and educating these neo-Nazis, and, moreover, the CIA and possibly your own security services are involved in the planning of punitive strikes on the inhabitants of Eastern Ukraine.

Third, Mr Cameron claims that if President Putin stopped supporting fighters in eastern Ukraine, and allowed Ukrainian authorities to restore order, then the crisis would be over.

That may indeed end this conflict, but it would end in quite different fashion to that which Mr Cameron expects – with the murder or expulsion of all Ukrainian citizens who disagree with the neo-Nazi regime.

Fourth, when Mr Cameron claims that the rebels do not represent the people of Ukraine, he acts as an advocate for the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, who refuse to consider anyone that disagrees with them a citizen. In doing so the Prime Minister supports ethnic cleansing and the mass execution of civilians.

Rescue workers carry the body of woman who was killed during shelling in the Petrovsky district of Donetsk, eastern UkraineFifth, it appears that he has forgotten the lessons of European history. By provoking a new war with Russia, Mr Cameron reveals an extraordinary arrogance; he considers himself fit to judge other nations, while his false judgments  are leading the world down the path to violence.

So did his predecessor. For his part, Blair destroyed Iraq on the false charge that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Then there’s the bombing of Belgrade, and, since Mr Cameron himself participated in it, the destruction of Libya. Millions of innocent citizens paid with their lives for these crimes. Now the list of victims includes those passengers of flight MH17.

Finally, we agree with Mr Cameron that it is necessary to conduct a full investigation into the crash. Russia, as he requested, provided a detailed and comprehensive report on the incident, and facilitated the collection of evidence at the crash site.

We hope that Western experts, to whom the evidence was transferred, will now be able to scrutinise the situation objectively.

And perhaps they will also find out why the Ukrainian authorities are destroying all the data from their air-traffic radars. Perhaps they can take testimony from Ukrainian air traffic controllers, who have thus far been silenced by an order from the Security Services of Ukraine.

Cameron suggests that the future of Russia’s relations with the West depends on how it responds to this tragedy. The Russian authorities have responded to his demands, calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities and pressing for the start of negotiations. That is where we stand. Now we can only hope the West comes to its senses.


MH17, the investigation so far

Dutch officials investigating the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines plane in eastern Ukraine have left the country.

The Dutch Safety Board, which says that its investigation will continue in The Netherlands, has had few opportunities to visit the area where MH17 crashed last month after apparently being hit by a surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 people on board. Russian separatists fighting Ukrainian troops in the region have been blamed for the attack.

The board said in a statement that there is little left for them to learn from the crash site after being denied access by the ongoing fighting. “To date under [Ukrainian] supervision only a few investigators were able to briefly visit the crash site immediately after the plane crash. Since the Dutch Safety Board took charge of the investigation, no new opportunity has arisen for the team to visit the crash site.”

It is believed that a number of body parts could still be lying among the wreckage and that it could take months for the remains of all the victims to be formally identified. The black box flight recorders, which are likely to yield the best evidence of what actually happened, have been recovered and are already being analysed.

About Sergei Stepashin

Sergei Stepashin served as Russia’s Prime Minister for three months in 1999, before then Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, replaced him with Vladimir Putin. He has held a number of ministerial jobs in Moscow, having portfolios such as Justice and the Interior.

In 1995, he resigned as Federal Security Minister following the Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis in which as many as 140 people died when Chechen separatists took between 1,500 and 1,800 people hostage prompting a bungled rescue attempt by Russian forces.

Mr Stepashin was once considered as a potential successor to Mr Yeltsin, but the former president had felt that he lacked sufficient enthusiasm for the first Chechen war, which took place between 1994  and 1995.

Since leaving politics, Mr Stepashin has been head of the Account Chamber of the Russian Federation, the parliamentary body that oversees the country’s finances.