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  • You will be updated daily on events in the Middle East - I am currently based in Damascus, Syria

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Vanessa Beeley
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Protecting the OPCW against transparency – who is Nathalie Loiseau?

On the 15th April 2021 an extraordinary event took place in the European Parliament, in Brussels. An Ireland South MEP, Mick Wallace, expressed concerns over the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) handling of an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Eastern Damascus, Syria, on the 7th April 2018, which was immediately blamed on the Syrian government prior to the OPCW investigative team securing access to the site of the reported attack. 
A “chemical attack” that led to the US, UK and French bombing of Damascus and Homs on the 14th April 2018, targeting purported “chemical weapon” research centers, a claim denied by Syrian officials and employees at the centers. 
Wallace’s intervention can be watched here: 

Wallace addressed his question to the Director General of the OPCW, Fernando Arias, but before Arias could respond the subcommittee chairwoman, Nathalie Loiseau interceded to apparently protect Arias from such “fake news” questioning. 
“I cannot accept that you can call into question the work of an international organization, and that you would call into question the word of the victims in the way you have just done,” Loiseau reprimanded Wallace. 
Clearly incensed, Wallace retorted – “Is there no freedom of speech being allowed in the European Parliament any more?. Today you are denying me my opinion!”
At that point Wallace’s microphone was cut and Arias was given the floor. The OPCW DG failed to respond to the issues raised by Wallace. Instead, he expressed gratitude for the “words of support” from MEPs present and reinforced claims that the Syrian government is responsible for “humanitarian catastrophe of massive proportions”. 
In so doing, Arias, further denigrated senior members of the original OPCW investigative team dispatched to Douma, whose findings have been deliberately buried by the OPCW because they conclude that no chemical attack took place – a finding that would render the tripartite alliance in Washington, London and Paris liable to prosecution for war crimes, having carried out unlawful aggression based on spurious “intelligence” claims emanating from compromised open sources, including the UK/US/EU-incubated White Helmets, embedded with the armed groups in Douma and throughout Eastern Ghouta. 
Those responsible for the “humanitarian catastrophe” are the same nations who appear to be corrupting the OPCW’s integrity to serve their “regime change” agenda in Syria. Not forgetting that former OPCW DG, Jose Bustani, had been intimidated by John Bolton and pressured into resigning when his conclusions threatened to scupper US/UK-led plans to invade Iraq in 2003 based on the WMD dodgy dossier
Who is Nathalie Loiseau?

Loiseau is a staunch ally of French President, Emanuel Macron, former Secretary of State for European Affairs until March 2019. In July 2019 she was elected an MEP. Since then, she has been a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence. Loiseau has defended Macron’s domestic record despite the horrifying increase in state-sanctioned brutality to suppress rising economic unrest in France since Macron came to power.

This means that Loiseau was a French Government Minister when Macron’s government decided to bomb Syria immediately after the alleged Douma “chemical attack”. Loiseau’s response to a question regarding Douma in the French National Assembly on the 10/4/2018 was an unequivocal condemnation of the Syrian government, leaving no room for doubt that they were to blame for the attack. Loiseau described events on the 7th April 2018 as a “monstrosity”:- 
“It is a violation of international law, a violation of all conventions and UN resolutions, but a monstrosity because it is one more step into the barbarism that Syria has suffered for seven years. Bashar Al Assad has shown he is the enemy of his people. What happened in Douma [..] are women, men and children deliberately murdered while they slept.” (translated from original French text)
Three days after an event that had not yet been investigated, Loiseau was already arguing for punitive intervention – “France will ensure that the ban on the use of chemical weapons is respected [..] We want the whole truth, we want to act, we must work to bring peace to this martyred country.”
Loiseau continued in this condemnatory vein. On 15/4/2018 she gave an interview to France’s TV 5 Monde, one day after France, US and UK bombed Syria. The reporter refers to the French Defence Ministry assessment report which was based largely on “declassified French intelligence” and open source witness testimony, videos and photographs and asks Loiseau to give reassurances that the conclusions drawn are correct. 

Loiseau cites the “medical NGOs on the ground” which probably refers to the FUKUS- financed White Helmets embedded with the Army of Islam (Jaish Al Islam) in Douma, an extremist armed group also heavily promoted & supported by the UK FCDO (Foreign Commonwealth Development Office) via one of their many outreach agencies responsible for media and PR for the “opposition” militia in Syria. 

Loiseau claims that symptoms “observed in the victims show that chlorine and powerful neurotoxins were used.” A claim later proven to be completely false by the dissenting OPCW inspectors. Loiseau argues that none but the Syrian government had cause to deploy chemical weapons and that only the Syrian Army had helicopters which were used to drop the chemical weapons. “So there is absolutely no doubt”… according to Loiseau. 

The reporter gamely presses Loiseau on the lack of analysis of the presumed chemical products. Loiseau repeats the White Helmet-amplified claims of symptoms, suffocation, convulsions and so on. Symptoms that would be explained differently by medical staff on duty in Douma Medical Point on the night of the attack – when interviewed by acclaimed journalist, Robert Fisk, on the 17th April – three days after the unjustified FUKUS bombing of Syria.
the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.”
This explanation was repeated by interviews I conducted in the Douma Medical Point shortly after Fisk’s visit.
For Loiseau, there is no alternative explanation, no the images have not been manipulated – it was later proven that they were manipulated. Loiseau responds to TV5 concerns that information on social media is not a basis for launching punitive strikes against a sovereign nation, by blaming Russia for the delay in the OPCW inspection. Loiseau effectively isolates the propaganda war as being generated solely by Russia with their ‘talk of manipulation, provocation and uncertainty” – talk that has been vindicated by the subsequent testimony of OPCW dissident inspectors. Loiseau finishes by stating: 
“We are certain we do not strike facilities which themselves have been used to produce and use chemical weapons unless we are certain that these chemical weapons have indeed been used”

 It was no coincidence that FUKUS launched the attack against Syria the night before the OPCW Inspectors were due to visit Douma. Many in Damascus came to the conclusion that the US alliance were trying to thwart the investigation and to possibly destroy evidence or even to empower the terrorist groups into staging further "chemical attacks".

It is therefore, not surprising that three years later, Loiseau is defending the OPCW against transparency because she is effectively defending France against prosecution for acting unlawfully and carrying out an act of aggression that could have precipitated military escalation in the region, even led to direct confrontation between Russia and the US Coalition. An act of aggression that Loiseau actively endorsed.
Loiseau is deeply embedded in the anti-Syria regime change complex
On 3/3/2021, Loiseau participated in a webinar “Syria: The fight against impunity” – hosted by Renew Europe and heavily promoted by The Syria Campaign – “how can the EU reassert itself in the eyes of Syrians and use its power to uphold international justice and accountability for crimes against humanity?”. Not only did the title of the webinar hark back to Loiseau’s lexicon at the time of the alleged Douma attack, the other participants represent the FUKUS-backed “opposition” to the Syrian government.

Screenshot of Loiseau’s intervention in the Syria webinar hosted by Renew Europe, promoted by The Syria Campaign. [below]
Other speakers included Bassma Kodmani, former spokesperson for Hillary Clinton-courted Syrian National Council – Kodmani is widely considered a US intelligence asset – and Rami Jarrah a “journalist” embedded in Syria at the start of the “Arab Spring” and responsible for maintaining the narratives that have criminalised the Syrian government since the FUKUS-led destabilisation project was initiated in 2011 (planned long before).
The Syria Campaign is a central lobbyist in the regime change complex. Seed-funded by Syrian oil-executive, Ayman Asfari, who has also generously donated to the UK Conservative Party under Theresa May and is extensively invested in regime change in Syria. May was Prime Minister when FUKUS bombed Syria in April 2018.

The Syria Campaign runs much of the PR for The White Helmets and ensures considerable public donations are given to the controversial organisation accused of war crimes by the Syrian people that have endured the armed group invasion and occupation – the White Helmets are almost universally described as “Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) Civil Defence”by those civilians. The Syria Campaign has consistently advocated Syrian “No Fly Zones”, effectively a declaration of war. Even Hillary Clinton admitted that a NFZ  “would kill a lot of Syrians”.
The White Helmets have also been instrumental in supplying “evidence” of the alleged chemical attacks attributed to the Syrian Government by the FUKUS-dominated international community and UN. Any initiative that will discredit this externally funded and protected, terrorist-linked organisation threatens the entire “regime change” humanitarian pretext – intervention to prevent the ‘gassing of the Syrian people” by a “tyrant”. In the case of Douma, it was even admitted by a BBC Producer, Riam Dalati, that the hospital scenes were staged – by the White Helmets.
White Helmet “evidence” that supported the Khan Sheikhoun chemical weapon claims in 2017 was discredited by former Iraq weapons inspector, Scott Ritter. Loiseau is aligning herself with the alliance of media and FUKUS-aligned perception influencers who have managed the Syria narratives from the beginning and who have ensured ten years of misery, war, bloodshed and displacement for the Syrian people they claim to defend.
Loiseau’s participation in this webinar and the narratives she reinforces during her statement firmly identify her as a Syrian “regime change” lobbyist. There can be no doubt that her silencing of dissent in the EU Parliament is driven by her bias against the Syrian government and allies. 

Transparency is the only way to restore OPCW credibility

Those calling for transparency from the OPCW are not attempting to destroy the OPCW, on the contrary they have all expressed a desire to restore credibility to the organisation. The OPCW is a global security agency, it has now been afforded the mandate to attribute blame, a move supported primarily by the FUKUS alliance. Effectively this means the OPCW might be responsible for military intervention against another nation deemed to have used chemical weapons. How will the world be reassured that the report is not doctored as the OPCW has clearly falsified the Douma report according to its own senior inspectors? The future of global security hangs in the balance and airing concerns and respecting the opinions of experts in their field is the only way forward.

A recent Statement of Concern, published on 11/3/2021 expresses the concerns of a number of eminent individuals including Jose Bustani, Tulsi Gabbard and US Colonel Lawrence B Wilkerson:

“The issue at hand threatens to severely damage the reputation and credibility of the OPCW and undermine its vital role in the pursuit of international peace and security. It is simply not tenable for a scientific organization such as the OPCW to refuse to respond openly to the criticisms and concerns of its own scientists whilst being associated with attempts to discredit and smear those scientists. Moreover, the on-going controversy regarding the Douma report also raises concerns with respect to the reliability of previous FFM reports, including the investigation of the alleged attack at Khan Shaykhun in 2017.

We believe that the interests of the OPCW are best served by the Director General providing a transparent and neutral forum in which the concerns of all the investigators can be heard as well as ensuring that a fully objective and scientific investigation is completed.

To that end, we call on the Director General of the OPCW to find the courage to address the problems within his organization relating to this investigation and ensure States Parties and the United Nations are informed accordingly. In this way we hope and believe that the credibility and integrity of the OPCW can be restored.”

On that basis, we can safely conclude that Loiseau is defending global insecurity and perpetual war. Loiseau silenced a voice of reason in the European Parliament out of self interest and in the interest of France’s neocolonialist ambitions in Syria that have nothing to do with the protection of the Syrian people who rejected French rule in 1946. Loiseau argued that France would stay in Syria when former President Trump favoured withdrawal of US troops in December 2018.

Loiseau is an intervention-biased voice that has no place in any reasonable debate and it is unethical that an MEP with such long, deep connections to Globalist policies led by the US – Loiseau declared vigilant partnership with the US in March 2018 – is permitted to interfere in the campaign to hold the OPCW accountable.
Mick Wallace represents the honorable voice of justice in the EU and that must be supported and upheld at all costs, the alternative is too terrifying to contemplate for all of us.

***
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Vanessa Beeley
Public post

CIJA Sting Operation Stirs FCDO's 'Hotch Potch' of Spooks


A recent sting operation carried out by the Commission for International Justice and Accountablity (CIJA) entrapped an unsuspecting academic member of the Working Group on Syria Media and Propganda (WGSPM) into engaging in a series of email conversations with a fake “Russian agent”. These emails were then supplied to the BBC producer, Chloe Hadjimatheou, who is responsible for a prolonged smear campaign against the Working Group, journalists and former diplomats who are challenging the establishment narratives on Syria — narratives that have sustained the “humanitarian” pretexts used to justify the ten-year proxy war against Syria by hostile states forming the US Coalition. The UK has played a major role in the war to topple the Syrian government and to reassert US/UK rule-by-puppet over the country and, effectively, in the region.
The academic Paul McKeigue, who was targeted by CIJA, was in the process of investigating the organisation’s financial background, their intelligence agency, US State Department and other government connections and their collaboration with extremist armed groups fighting inside Syria.. McKeigue’s briefing on CIJA was published shortly after the revelation that he had been the victim of the protracted sting operation launched by CIJA.
Professor Tim Hayward, another member of the WGSPM, has asked important questions about the conflict of basic principles demonstrated by CIJA’s entrapment.
McKeigue’s briefing demonstrates that “in the Syrian conflict, one of the most prominent organizations reported to be gathering evidence of crimes allegedly committed by the Syrian government is the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), established by William Harry Wiley, a Canadian former army officer.” CIJA is at the centre of a number of initiatives to push through charges of alleged “war crimes” against Syrian officials and President Bashar Al Assad himself.
CIJA is a major cog in the wheel of politicised justice designed to crush countries legally that have resisted UK/US-dominated military interventionism, as Syria and her allies have done successfully for ten years. McKeigue’s briefing provides a rigorously researched analysis of why CIJA was incubated, and of the nexus of UK government bodies and intelligence agencies behind the operations in Syria.
My focus in this article is not on CIJA but on an ostensibly minor spin-off from the parent complex. I was intrigued by an “entertainment” company established in November 2019, one week after the death of James Le Mesurier, the former British military intelligence officer who founded the terrorist-linked White Helmets organisation financed by multiple governments invested in regime change in Syria, headed up by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO).
The CIJA sting and McKeigue’s subsequent briefing included the first mention of a company called Hotch Potch Entertainment, established by an erstwhile colleague of Le Mesurier, Alistair Harris, who is an influential fixer for UK FCDO interventionist policies globally. Harris was interviewed by BBC producer, Hadjimatheou, for the Mayday series, a concerted attack against the WGSPM and associated independent journalists who have been questioning mainstream narratives on Syria for years. The timing of the establishment of the company led me to investigate further.

Hotch Potch Entertainment, Alistair Harris and the MI6 spin-offs

Alistair Harris is listed as one of three directors of Hotch Potch Entertainment Ltd (HP), which was set up on 18th November 2019, and has its registered office listed as Lower Newnham Farm in Dorset, UK. Harris has a history of involvement with UK FCDO foreign policy operations in the Balkans, Pakistan, Central Europe, Yemen, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Syria.
Harris, with the reversed baseball cap. Photo taken from LinkedIn.
Harris was the founder/director of Analysis Research and Knowledge (ARK) Lebanon in 2009. In 2011, as the “Arab Springs” swept across the Middle East plunging the region into orchestrated chaos, Harris established ARK FZC (registered in Dubai), later renamed ARK Group DMCC, as another of the multiple outreach agents providing intelligence support for UK FCDO foreign policy in nations targeted for regime change.
CIJA was an ARK creation, as were the White Helmets, founded by James Le Mesurier while he was employed by ARK in 2013. Le Mesurier was with ARK from 2011 until 2014, when he established Mayday Rescue (also originally registered in Dubai, later in the Netherlands) as a so-called NGO which acted as intermediary between UK and EU governments and the White Helmets, funnelling funding to that entity embedded with armed groups dominated by Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) in Syria.
Le Mesurier’s second wife, Sarah Tosh — who also conducted work in Lebanon for UK FCDO contractor Siren — was likewise an ARK employee from 2013 to 2020, and his third wife Emma Winberg founded Innovative Communications and Strategies (InCoStrat) together with Paul Tilley, another suspected MI6 agent and former military officer. Incostrat was tasked and funded by the UK FCDO to provide PR and media support for US/UK-backed armed groups in Syria. These groups included Jaish Al Islam (Army of Islam), a group renowned for sectarian brutality and ethnic cleansing pogroms across Syria. Jaish Al Islam admitted using banned chemical weapons against the Kurds in Sheikh Maqsoud in 2016, to the north of Aleppo City. Winberg later joined Mayday Rescue as a director alongside Le Mesurier.
After Le Mesurier’s demise (in November 2019), Winberg joined Guernica Chambers, a legal practice co-directed by UK FCDO-contracted lawyer Toby Cadman, who is also on the board of CIJA.
CIJA, the organisation behind the sting operation that effectively entrapped McKeigue, was spawned from Harris’ ARK Group. All these connections demonstrate the incestuous nature of these barely concealed UK government- and intelligence agency-linked networks that provide essential legal, media and intelligence/information back-up for Global Britain’s neo-colonialist, hybrid-war-focused foreign policy.
While Harris appeared to dodge the issue of his potential MI6 connections when interviewed by Hadjimatheou for the BBC’s Mayday series, McKeigue had concluded that Harris is or was very probably a British intelligence operative. His UK FCDO-linked operations certainly reinforce that conclusion.
The activities of Harris’s ARK Group DMCC in the Syrian conflict and in Lebanon are described in detail in batches of leaked FCDO documents that appeared online in September 2020, labelled as Operation HMG Trojan Horse. When the first batch of files revealing the extent of UK FCDO (the recent rebranding of the previous FCO) subversive operations in Lebanon were released on 11 December 2020, the Anon preface to the leaked material included a warning to British Embassy intelligence officers to leave Beirut before the second batch of documents was released. McKeigue points out that Harris did indeed relocate from Beirut to London at this time, “announcing on his LinkedIn profile that on 21 December 2020 he had been appointed to a new post with the Stabilisation Unit’s Civilian Stabilisation Unit.” The British Ambassador to Beirut, Chris Rampling, also resigned “for personal reasons” during the same period; perhaps a coincidence.

The three directors of Hotch Potch and their spy ring potential

In Companies House records, Harris is listed as a “business owner” by occupation, and his country of residence is given as the United Arab Emirates. His co-directors in HP, both appointed on 18 November 2019, are Helen Frances Busby (Solicitor) and Simon Jules Wilson (Consultant). Busby is listed as UK resident, Wilson based in Oman. The registered address of HP is Lower Newnham Farm, Broadwindsor, Beaminster, Dorset, UK.
Tellingly, a Google Maps search for the property reveals that the building has been obscured. This is not necessarily unusual, but the investigation into the other businesses registered at this address and the British government/intelligence links of company directors do increase suspicion. It also reminds me of the Integrity Initiative disused mill scam — yet another military/intelligence operation running (dis)information campaigns, with Russia as a primary target.
Wilson appears on a list of MI6 officers published in 1999, detailed as “Simon Jules Wilson: date of birth 1966; [diplomatic cover postings with year —] 91 Athens, 93 Zagreb, 199 New York, 02 Budapest”. Wilson’s biography confirms these postings, followed by missions in Oman, Iraq and Kuwait. He left the “British Diplomatic” service in 2012 and now works as “an advisor on government relations for a number of companies specialising in the Gulf”. Wilson speaks Russian, Hungarian, Serbian, French, Greek and Arabic. Wilson was appointed OBE in June 1997.
When the spy list was leaked in 1999, the British government tried unsuccessfully to prevent the informations publication on the web. Blame for the breach of security was attributed to Richard Tomlinson, an “embittered” MI6 agent who was released from service in 1995 and later served a jail sentence for “violating Britain’s Official Secrets Act” . The UK Foreign Secretary at the time, Robin Cook, claimed the list was “riddled with inaccuracies” but admitted that some names were indeed those of current MI6 operatives.
After being “let go”, Tomlinson made a number of assertions, some quite impactful, “including accusations that MI6 tried to assassinate the Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milošević, in 1992”; that British intelligence was involved in the death of Princess Diana; and that the UK had a “highly placed spy in German’s central bank who leaked secrets over a 12-year period”. Tomlinson was, unsurprisingly, discredited as being “prone to fantasy” by a UK Foreign Office (UK FCDO) spokesperson.
The release of the MI6 agent names led to the withdrawal of operatives from the Balkans, as widely reported in 2004 here and here, and it exposed the murky, clandestine operations of the British government and intelligence agencies as part of NATO operations to destabilise and forcibly partition the former Yugoslavia, a dismemberment perceived by various analysts to be the blueprint for operations against Syria and other target nations.
Harris was also working for the UK FCDO from 1996 to 2002 and his postings included the Balkans, Central Europe and Pakistan. Harris speaks Serbo-Croat and “operational”-level French and Arabic. Harris was appointed an OBE in 2013 “for services to stability in Lebanon”: ironic, as the recent UK FCDO document leak has revealed that Harris was yet again involved in an extensive destabilisation project in a country torn apart by externally-orchestrated sectarian divisions.
Why would two such high level UK FCDO operatives, both suspected MI6 agents, combine to establish a company that purports to provide motion picture and television programme production activities, immediately after the death of James Le Mesurier? It is also worth observing that Le Mesurier’s death on 11 November 2019 followed on from a protracted investigation into suspected fraud and embezzlement by the Mayday Rescue NGO founder and director who had set up the NGO, in 2014, to funnel government funds to the terrorist-embedded White Helmets inside Syria.
There is the possibility of another connection between Le Mesurier and Simon Wilson, namely in Iraq. Wilson was there in 2005 and Le Mesurier was adviser to the Minister of Interior in Iraq around the same time.
Work on the BBC Mayday radio ‘documentary’ began in late 2019; the series was eventually broadcast in November 2020. Harris was interviewed by Hadjimatheou, as was Abdul AlKader Habak, a former ARK-trained videographer and stringer working inside Syria, who was also listed as a researcher for the entire Mayday series. Chloe Hadjimatheou has been asked, by myself and journalist Kit Klarenberg, whether she or the BBC have any connection to Hotch Potch. The response I received, not from Hadjimatheou herself but from a BBC publicist, is as follows:
This programme is the result of independent investigation by an experienced team of BBC journalists and we stand by it and our journalism.In regards to your specific query regarding Hotch Potch Entertainment, there is no connection between this organisation and the series. Please make this clear.

This response clearly does not address the possibility of a connection between Hadjimatheou and Hotch Potch, a possibility raised in McKeigue’s briefing; it answers a question I did not actually ask. Why?
On 10 February 2021, Wilson and Helen Busby applied for Hotch Potch to be dissolved before accounts would become due, resulting in the disappearance from view of Hotch Potch and a lack of website or any accounts to give some indication of the outfit’s purpose or client base.
The Lower Newnham Farm / Beaminster company cluster
Hotch Potch is not the only company apparently linked to a former MI6 VIP registered at Lower Newnham Farm.

George Busby Ltd

George Busby Ltd was registered at Lower Newnham Farm in April 2015. Listed as a management consultancy (in the sub-category “Activities other than financial management”), its directors are Helen Frances Busby and George Busby. A filing of micro-company accounts in April 2020 show a turnover of £192,189 — as against £473, 016 in 2019. Capital and reserves also dropped from £363,780 in 2019 to £125,558 in 2020.
Apart from the obvious connection to Helen Frances Busby, who was also listed as “solicitor” for Hotch Potch, the George Busby links took us back into MI6 territory.
Busby was named alongside Hotch Potch’s Simon Wilson in the 1999 Balkans MI6 agents leak: “George Benedict Joseph P Busby: [diplomatic-cover postings] 89 Bonn, 92 Belgrade; date of birth 1960; OBE.” Thus, Busby was in Belgrade one year before Wilson was in Zagreb — and the disgraced spy Tomlinson claimed that the MI6 assassination plot against Milošević was in 1992. Busby was appointed an OBE in 2015, when he was serving as Counsellor, British High Commission, Islamabad, Pakistan. The appointment was for services to international security.
An article published in the Nacional, a Serbian daily newspaper, in 2004, alleges the pivotal role played by Busby to further British interests in the Balkans as a senior MI6 operative. He is described as later becoming “one of the six top men in the agency”. After Belgrade, Busby was relocated to Vienna, which, according to Nacional, is considered the main spy headquarters for the Balkans and Central Europe. The Nacional names Busby as one of those most intent on the overthrow of Milošević, alongside another MI6 agent, Anthony Monckton, who is credited with helping to arrange the flight of Milošević to The Hague to face trial for “war crimes” — accusations for which Milošević was posthumously exonerated. The section detailing Busby’s connections to Serbian underworld figures and influential oligarchs has been recorded here.

The Balkan connection

We now have two confirmed MI6 agents, Wilson and Busby, and two suspected MI6 agents, Harris and Le Mesurier, all with connections to the Balkans and the Middle East, all appointed OBEs (Le Mesurier was appointed in 2016) and born around the same time, all acknowledged as “international security” specialists. Le Mesurier founded the UK FCDO-incubated White Helmets while working for Harris at ARK, which then spawned CIJA.
Le Mesurier operated extensively in the Balkans both while serving with the British military and then as policy adviser on security justice to the United Nations mission to Kosovo. In July 1999 and continuing until 2000, Le Mesurier “was appointed Intelligence Coordinator for Priština City, acting as liaison officer between intelligence officers of different national contingents” forming KFOR (the NATO-led Kosovo Force). It was under these auspices that Le Mesurier helped transform, or rather, rebrand the Al Qaeda/Albanian warlords of the Kosovo Liberation Army into the Kosovo Protection Corps.

Burstock Ltd — military-intelligence networking

Burstock is registered at PO Box 9256, Beaminster, Dorset, UK. The company is listed as carrying out “other professional, scientific and technical activities not elsewhere classified”. It was incorporated in July 2015. Its directors are Helen Frances Busby, George Busby, Sir Barnabas White-Spunner and Lady Amanda White-Spunner. George Busby and Sir Barnabas White-Spunner were the original directors “with significant control”. Helen Busby and Lady Amanda White-Spunner joined in January 2018. Notably, in the company filings another address is also listed: “Lower Sandpit Farm, Drimpton Road, Broadwindsor, Beaminster, Dorset DT8 3RS”.
Burstock is one of the few companies among this cluster that actually has a website. Their mission statement reads as follows:
Burstock helps governments, commercial organisations and institutions to achieve their goals. We can help you to understand how the United Kingdom works and how to engage successfully with British partners. We also help British and multinational organisations engage overseas.
It appears that Busby is maintaining his Balkans role as facilitator for overseas oligarchs and corporate interests to gain a foothold in the UK. According to the website, “Sir Barney White-Spunner KCB, CBE served in the British Army for thirty-five years, finishing as the Army Commander. He has extensive experience in the Middle East, Africa and Asia leading both British and multinational forces. Most recently he has run the largest UK rural campaigning group representing the interests of 500,000 people. He is an Honorary Member of the French Foreign Legion and holds the US Legion of Merit.”
White-Spunner served in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, eventually retiring from the Army in 2012. So the links to the Balkans and the Middle East are maintained. White-Spunner commanded the Household Cavalry Regiment in 1996, making four deployments to Bosnia. In 1998, he was deputy director of defence policy at the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). In 2003, White-Spunner became Chief of Joint Force Operations and Chief of Staff of the national contingent in the Middle East. The general later went on to become the British commanding officer in southern Iraq after the country had been decimated by the US/UK-led war against it, justified by the non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Further details are found here.
In 2020, Burstock declared £403,000 in the bank/cash in hand, owing £357,414, and the directors’ salaries amounted to £56,172. In 2016/17 the company appeared to be dormant; in 2018, 2019 and again in 2020, Burstock was exempted from audit due to its size as a small company.
On the Burstock Ltd website, there are lofty and vague claims of projects in hand. They are working with an unnamed Central European government, an unnamed Middle East client, an unnamed government, an unnamed African government and an unnamed but major US aviation service corporation. It is curious that a company ostensibly offering “other professional, scientific and technical activities not elsewhere classified” is not highlighting major government and corporate clients — unless, of course, these collaborations are intelligence-related and must be shrouded in secrecy, despite the public website.

Pillsdown Partners Ltd

Pillsdown Partners Ltd is another management consultancy (non-financial sub-category), incorporated in April 2018, and registered at the same Beaminster PO Box address. The two directors are Busby and Sir Barney White-Spunner, Helen Busby is Company Secretary. Up to 5 February 2021, the company has been dormant; therefore, no audit has been carried out.

Center for Dynamic Research and BNWS Cladding Ltd

The Busby connections lead us on to a cluster of companies, most with links to Beaminster and some to Lower Newnham Farm. According to Companies House, Busby holds a total of seven company appointments. Of those seven, two are registered to a Beaminster PO Box 9256 — namely Pilsdon Partners Ltd (previously Pilsdon Consultancy Services LLP) and Burstock Ltd (previously Burstock Partners LLP, registered at the Lower Newnham Farm, Beaminster address). George Busby is registered at Lower Newnham Farm. The Centre for Dynamic Research is registered in Grays, Essex, and BNWS Cladding UK Ltd is registered in Covent Garden, London. A telephone number listings webpage, however, shows BNWS Cladding to be a builders’ merchant based at Lower Newnham Farm, Beaminster.
BNWS Cladding Ltd. — registered in Covent Garden, London, and incorporated in July 2020
In October 2020, the company changed its name from Alubond Cladding UK Ltd. to BNWS Cladding Ltd. and the address was changed from Lower Newnham Farm to Covent Garden in the same month. So, Alubond Cladding UK had been registered at the same address as Hotch Potch and George Busby Ltd. The Covent Garden neighbourhood of London’s entertainment district certainly seems a strange relocation for a company registered as “agents involved in the sale of timber and building materials”. A look at the Covent Garden premises on Google Maps shows what appears to be office buildings, some apparently vacant.
The Centre for Dynamic Research has Busby as Director, is registered in Grays, Essex, UK, and was incorporated in April 2018. The company is listed as undertaking “other information service activities not elsewhere classified” and it does have a website and email address — [email protected].
According to the website, C4DRES (the abbreviated company name given on the website) provides insights and intelligence to give clients the ‘edge’ in their geopolitical decision-making. Its clients are NGOs, government agencies, campaigning bodies and individuals. The company claims to have influenced the Bank of England, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister), and a global foundation providing networking and advisory services to former and current world leaders. The company claims to have enabled the countering of propaganda by militaries and governments. Once again, there are no client names disclosed. The website is a single page, indicative of it not being a working site, more of a front cover for what appears to be an intelligence-related operation run by a former top man in MI6.
C4DRES is also listed as a dormant company, and it’s accounts show only £100 cash at hand, which begs the question, how did this ‘dormant’ company influence the Bank of England?.

Walsingham Foundation — named after Queen Elizabeth I’s spymaster?

The final piece of the puzzle registered at Lower Newnham Farm, Beaminster, UK is a charity that goes by the name of the Walsingham Foundation. This perhaps reveals a little dark humour on Busby’s part: Sir Francis Walsingham was spymaster to Queen Elizabeth I. The charity was registered in February 2020: four months after the death of James Le Mesurier and eight months before the BBC Mayday series was broadcast and was closed down three months later.
Its trustees are George Busby, Helen Frances Busby and Sir Barney White-Spunner.
According to the Charity Commission for England and Wales website, this is how Walsingham will spend its money:
The charity aims to promote, sustain and increase individual and collective knowledge and understanding of intelligence analysis and studies for the public benefit. The funds raised by the charity will be used in supporting academic institutions, granting scholarships and teaching intelligence skills. (Emphasis added)
The Walsingham Foundation provides grants to organisations and individuals, provides advocacy, advice and information, and sponsors or undertakes research. The Foundation operates in Wales and England, and, according to the Charities Commission website, it helps mankind. Again, there are no accounts available to afford transparency to the Foundation’s operations. The website reveals nothing regarding sponsors or donors, nor does it specify recipients of the grants. Is it a barely disguised front for intelligence agency activities with undisclosed funding?

Keeping it in the Intelligence family

I asked journalist Kit Klarenberg for his comments on the constellation of companies in Beaminster, and elsewhere in the UK, established by former British spies who operated in similar regions targeted for UK FCDO interference. Klarenberg told me:
There’s an enormous constellation of Whitehall contractors founded and staffed by former military and intelligence veterans — or are they truly former? — engaged in industrial-scale grift, leeching untold millions from the Exchequer [the British taxpayer] each and every year. Despite the number of firms involved, though, the sphere is incestuous in the absolute extreme and there’s a high degree of staff and operational overlap between them all — much like the highly fluid movement of fighters between separate jihadist groups in the Middle East, ironically enough.Often, individuals running ostensibly separate companies will work on the same or similar projects. These same people will have connections that may go back to education, military, government etc. MI6 is nothing if not an old boys’ club, specifically recruiting from elite institutions.

There is also the issue of spooks setting up companies of undefined origin that never file accounts throughout their existence. In September 2019, I exposed Citizens=Network, a seeming front for private intelligence firm Hakluyt, which is staffed by ex MI5/6 operatives and widely believed to be a façade behind which those agencies operate in secret.

Individuals involved in Citizens=Network have set up dozens of companies across the globe over many years, all of which remain officially dormant, sometimes for years. By definition, we don’t know if these entities are used to siphon and/or distribute illicit government or corporate cash. They could also serve as vehicles to conceal and facilitate fraud.

In April 2017, Le Mesurier and Winberg founded a “resilience solutions” company in the Netherlands, R3covery BV. It has never filed accounts, in breach of Dutch law, and Winberg has refused to answer questions about the entity. One could speculate that the company may have permitted Le Mesurier to funnel money out of Mayday via purchasing “resilience solutions” from himself. It would have shown up on the supposed charitable organisation’s balance sheet as a payment made to an external supplier and slipped beneath an audit radar.

Assumptions of bad faith on the part of these characters should be reflexive. In early 2019, Aktis Strategy, a “conflict resolution” specialist founded by two veteran FCDO operators, went bust, despite multi-million funding from the UK FCDO. A vast number of staff, and subcontractors, are still owed months of pay, expenses, and pension contributions. Yet one of its directors, Andrew Rathmell — former deputy director of the Foreign Office Strategy Unit — lives in a £2 million home in Oxfordshire. He charges members of the public £5 to visit his garden, which the National Garden Scheme describes as a “wildlife haven”.

The sting operation to entrap individuals seeking justice

Questions should definitely be raised as to the purpose of a media company established so soon after the suspicious death of James Le Mesurier and hot on the heels of a financial controversy surrounding the organisation Le Mesurier had established to siphon government funds to the equally controversial White Helmets. Did Mesurier’s former employer, Harris, establish Hotch Potch so soon after the suspicious death of Mayday Rescue’s Founder in order to help with the cleaning up of suspected financial irregularities? Was Hotch Potch involved in providing information for Hadjimatheou’s “investigation” despite the BBC’s denial?
While the BBC is refusing to provide any further details on its involvement, if any, with Hotch Potch, it is clear that the director of the company, Harris, is intrinsically linked to UK FCDO-outsourced intelligence operations that have destabilised multiple countries, including Syria, Lebanon and states in the Western Balkans. Harris is, in fact, at the centre of the web of entities pushing to bring Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
CIJA deployed an unethical sting operation to entrap McKeigue into revealing details about colleagues who are working to expose the black ops that the UK FCDO has planned and carried out against Syria for more than a decade. Who is going to put the boot on the other foot and entrap the BBC, the MI6 spin-off agencies and UK FCDO outreach organisations into revealing the extent of their campaign to destroy Syria and other sovereign nations, concealed beneath the fig leaves of “humanitarian aid”, “diplomacy” and “security solutions”? When will these entities be held accountable or forced to respond to the questions that any thinking person would ask?

First published at UK Column.




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Vanessa Beeley
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Syrian fuel crisis - manufactured by the US UK Coalition

Just one of the many fuel queues (video below) in Damascus, filmed on our way home last night. Iran has just successfully delivered one tanker of oil to Banyas in Tartous with protection and air cover from Russia but it is not enough yet to put Syria back on its feet. In the last few weeks, the country has literally run dry. The government has introduced a scheme whereby drivers receive a text message giving them a time and date that they must be at a specific fuel station to receive twenty litres of fuel. This will cut down on the endless queues that were visible for many weeks, some up to 15km, people waiting up to 24 hours to fill up. People can only take 20 litres ever 7 days - this means many of the taxi drivers will have to sit at home for part of the week losing vital income to feed their families. 


Increased fuel prices - from 25,000 Syrian pounds ( $ 6 ) per 20L, the price is now 100,000 SYP per 20L ( $ 24 ). This huge price hike cannot be passed on to customers in most cases because nobody can afford to pay high transport prices. 


There are more Iranian tankers due to dock in Banyas which will further relieve the crisis but the US occupation of the oil fields and the draining of resources by US Coalition proxies like the SDF is crippling the country. People are living hand to mouth for fuel, electricity, gas, bread, heating oil, cooking oil etc etc. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KscegSoTBM

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Vanessa Beeley
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Al Qaeda is a US asset in Syria:

"In his first interview with an American journalist, Jolani told FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith that his role in fighting Assad and ISIS, and in controlling an area with millions of displaced Syrians who could potentially become refugees, reflected common interests with the United States and the West."

"James Jeffrey, who served as a U.S. ambassador under both Republican and Democrat administrations and most recently as special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy to the global coalition to defeat ISIS during the Trump administration, told Smith that Jolani’s organization was “an asset” to America’s strategy in Idlib."

Excerpts from a recent PBS interview with leader of Al Qaeda offshoot in Idlib, Mohammed Al Jolani. Analysis below by Syrian journalist, Kevork Almassian of Syriana Analysis: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLtcM9nYY2k
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Vanessa Beeley
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Dr Bouthaina Shabaan – “The strategic crisis facing the human race”


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqEHR8gDli0&t=2s
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Vanessa Beeley
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Yemen - six years of Saudi aggression backed by UK and US military and intelligence agencies


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DSvMyRPRc4

Vanessa Beeley on The Last American Vagabond.

YouTube shut down TLAV back-up channel as soon as this interview was published.

"Joining me today is Vanessa Beeley, here to discuss her recent meeting with the Yemeni ambassador to Damascus, who had some very revealing things to say, as well as the recent leak regarding the CIA caught asking for the release of an al-Qaeda leader."

https://www.thelastamericanvagabond.c...

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https://linktr.ee/VanessaBeeley


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Vanessa Beeley
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British policy in Syria is a vindictive campaign to crush Syrian/Russian relations


Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador in Damascus, gave the following speech at the recent EUROCSE conference – ten years of war against Syria 15/3/2021: 

“I shall try in this presentation to look at what UK officials say is British policy towards Syria and what it is in reality. I shall also examine how successful it is and what underlies it, asking why it is that the UK has such a remarkable and bitter hostility towards Syria.

First a little personal reminiscence. The FCO has hated Syria for a long time. Ambassadors who went there loved it, but always Whitehall was deeply hostile.

I bought into this culture very soon after I joined the FCO in 1970 and went to Lebanon to learn Arabic. The Cold War was in full swing. Next door Syria was considered virtually enemy territory, being part of the Soviet sphere of influence and socialist to boot. Hafez Al Assad was demonised. It didn’t help that in the great Middle East carve up after World War 1 rich Syria had fallen to France’s lot while Britain got poor Jordan and the headache of Palestine.

What we see today is not very different from the 1970s. We hate Syria as much for being in the Russian sphere of influence and never having been in ours as for anything in Syria’s own actions.

Syrophobia as I would diagnose it is then a subset of Russophobia, a pathology of the British establishment too complex to go into here, but fundamental to any understanding of almost any aspect of British foreign policy.

When Trump was elected, before he took office even, Boris Johnson, then Foreign Secretary, rushed over not just to ingratiate himself but top of his agenda was trying to dissuade Trump from putting into practice what he had promised to do on the stump, dial back on US interference in Syria. In doing this Johnson was acting in concert with the powers that really be in Washington, the security-military establishment, which Trump never managed to overcome.

I wish I could say that British policy towards Syria was just the usual British kowtowing to Washington. But it’s not. It’s worse than that. If anything the British are even more obtuse over Syria than the US. We mix sanctimoniousness with crude Syrophobia, while the Americans at least are basically only really concerned about power. American policy could easily tilt, if Syria would just kow tow. The British wouldn’t. Even when Syria was tilting in the early 2000s when I was Ambassador, and pleading to be cut some slack, Whitehall refused to concede any demands.

So what is British policy towards Syria today? Let’s look first at the declared policy before we look at what is not declared but matters more. The most recent iteration of policy came at the Security Council discussion of Syria on 21 January from the mouth of Ambassador Jonathan Allen: 

Now, Mr President, the political settlement envisaged in Resolution 2254, which this Council adopted unanimously just over five years ago, remains the best means of resolving Syria’s multiple crises. …

Without a new constitution, free and fair elections involving all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, cannot take place as envisaged in Resolution 2254.

Free and fair elections should involve all Syrians, including membersof the diaspora. If the Syrian regime wants refugees to return, they need to ensure that the conditions set out in paragraph 14 of Resolution 2254 are met and that Syrian citizens will not be returning to the status quo that led to and sustained this conflict.

Note the double emphasis on including members of the diaspora, and the opposition to refugee return. This is what gives the game away. Why? Because including the diaspora in elections would be a way of rigging them to produce the result we want, which is to get rid of Assad. We know the diaspora is stuffed with opposition and others gasping for the opportunity to win in a rigged election what they lost on the battlefield. It’s asking Assad to sign a suicide note to accept it, at least until a substantial number of Syrians have returned home. But of course we are not keen for them to return home and put every obstacle in the way of that happening, mainly by our sanctions policy which ensures there are no jobs to go back to and by subsidising refugees to stay where they are with our billions of pounds worth of aid.

Can anyone seriously expect that after recovering control over most of his country Assad will just cheerfully accept a political process deliberately designed to remove him? You have to be either deranged or a cynical British official to claim that such a policy is serious. But of course it is not meant to be serious. It is meant just to have something to which we can nail our flag, anything, which looks like a solution, however unreal. And to have a stick with which to beat the backs of Assad and the Russians because they will not buckle to our unrealistic demands.

Declared but hollow support for a political solution and undeclared but ferocious economic war, mainly in the shape of sanctions, are the twin pillars of British policy, both aimed at undermining the current government and if not securing regime change then at least preventing Assad and the Russians from enjoying success. It’s vindictiveness dressed up as a policy.

The UK is in denial about sanctions. In our heart of hearts we know how they are causing hardship to ordinary Syrians but we pretend it’s not the fault of sanctions. Here is Ambassador Allen again:

We are …concerned about the recent water crisis in regime-controlled Syria. As with many serious problems, rampant corruption has played its role, with regime diesel supplies designated for the city’s water pump generators being sold illegally. The food, fuel and economic crises – all of the regime’s making – sadly continue.


The sheer mendacity of this is breathtaking. Of course corruption exists in Syria but set beside the impact of sanctions it is very secondary. Successive UN Rapporteurs on Coercive Measures have testified to this. And to the fact that the humanitarian exemptions to sanctions are in practice meaningless.

The truth is that punishing sanctions are the absolute core of British policy towards Syria. They make it more difficult for the Syrian government to feed and fuel its people, they create unrest, they hamper anti-ISIS efforts, they make refugee return impractical.

But are they actually working? Does anyone even ask this question? Is Assad after eight years of severe sanctions anywhere near buckling ? Of course not. But British policy is blinkered and cynical. As long as our mainstream media ignore the impact of sanctions the government can continue to pursue a pointless cruel policy leading nowhere except to Syria’s immiseration.

Which brings me to another strand in British policy. The immense propaganda effort which goes into justifying the economic warfare we wage on Syria. The support for dubious organisations like the White Helmets. The support for the notorious Bellingcat website, an outlet for doctored intelligence. The private briefings for a supine mainstream media. The propaganda use of the BBC World Service. The support for exiled pro-jihadi medics given sinecures in universities from which to pump out propaganda.

British spokesmen like to boast about our humanitarian effort on Syria. And indeed we have poured many hundreds of millions into keeping Syrian refugees festering in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. No expense spared, as long as the refugees don’t head our way or back to Syria.

There is much more that can be said about British policy but I shall stop here. I shall conclude with a pessimistic assessment that the British will only change that policy after the US does. The visceral hostility of the British establishment for Syria has such deep roots that it cannot be assuaged by issues of practicality or morality. As long as British governments incur no pain for the pain they inflict on Syrians British policy will carry on its blinkered short-sighted cruel way.

***



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Vanessa Beeley
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Yemen - the six year genocidal war waged by the Saudi Coalition against a besieged nation.

On the 16th March 2021 I sat down with the incoming Yemeni Ambassador to Damascus, HE Abdullah Sabri. We discussed the liberation of oil-rich Maarib, Israeli collaboration with the United Arab Emirates in the south of Yemen, the occupation of the island of Socotra and the revision of UN Resolution 2216 which must happen for there to be political resolution of the Yemeni situation. 

I will be on The Last American Vagabond tonight to discuss these points and the situation in Yemen leading up to the 25th March 2021 - 6 years of war. 


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Vanessa Beeley
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British policy on Syria - Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador to Syria: 

"British policy on Syria is based on two principles: 
1. The declared but hollow support for a political 'solution' that would be suicide for the Syrian government and for the current secular nature of Syrian society, and 
2. An undeclared but ferocious economic war.
Both principles are designed to prevent the Syrian government and the Russians from 'enjoying' their military success.  They are nothing but vindictiveness dressed up as 'policy' - because the UK and US governments have failed in their regime-change policy.
The cruel sanctions against the population of Syria are at the core of British policy towards Syria. The other plank in British policy is information warfare. Information warfare is necessary in order to 'justify' the brutal sanctions policy, and that information warfare against Syria is ratcheting up because there is a growing voice internationally against sanctions because of their humanitarian impact.  Britain's proud 'generous' humanitarian effort is in place purely to keep the refugees where they are - away from Britain's shores - and away from Syria and the ability for any kind of return to normality in Syria."
Taken from Peter's speech at yesterday's EUROCSE conference: 


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Vanessa Beeley
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Excerpts from Dr Bashar Al Jaafari's (Syrian deputy Foreign Minister) keynote speech at the EUROCSE conference 15th March 2021 - "A decade of war on Syria, future trajectories"

"Geographically, we, the Syrians, are among the closest countries and nations to the European continent. A factor that has increased our interaction over ages…
Stories of seven emperors of the Roman Empire from Syria itself, such as Julia Domna and Philip the Arab, were not just a strange coincidence, nor is it a coincidence that the most beautiful architecture that Rome boasts today, the Pantheon, is designed and implemented by the Syrian engineer Apollodor of Damascus.
The Syrians had a great role in civilization and culture, east and west, and this civilized role was demonstrated by being a bridge between ancient Greece and the West. History tells that at least four of the Popes are of Syrian origin. Saint Paul set out from Damascus to spread Christianity in Europe…
Historically, interaction and exchange between Syria and Europe were never interrupted in one day, nor in one era, but rather a continuous process that contributed with all its pros and cons in drawing the region’s map and its role on the global stage.
Culturally speaking, the reciprocal process has existed throughout the ages, and its fingerprints are present in both regions.
Some may not know that the name of this Continent came from Syria… Europe, a name means broad face, is the daughter of Agenor, the Phoenician king of Tire city, according to Greek mythology. It is claimed that the continent of Europe was named after the Phoenician princess Europe, and her picture is printed today on the 2-Euro coin.
The equation tends towards saying that a lot brings us together, and that Syria has offered a lot to Europe... SO, what happened? Where did the mistakes happen, and why did the EU no longer have independence in dealing with the situation in Syria and prefer to rotate in the American orbit?
Historically, interaction and exchange between Syria and Europe were never interrupted in one day, nor in one era, but rather a continuous process that contributed with all its pros and cons in drawing the region’s map and its role on the global stage.
Culturally speaking, the reciprocal process has existed throughout the ages, and its fingerprints are present in both regions.
Some may not know that the name of this Continent came from Syria… Europe, a name means broad face, is the daughter of Agenor, the Phoenician king of Tire city, according to Greek mythology. It is claimed that the continent of Europe was named after the Phoenician princess Europe, and her picture is printed today on the 2-Euro coin.
The equation tends towards saying that a lot brings us together, and that Syria has offered a lot to Europe... SO, what happened? Where did the mistakes happen, and why did the EU no longer have independence in dealing with the situation in Syria and prefer to rotate in the American orbit?
What have we, the Syrians, done for Europe to deal with us unfairly and unjustifiably?"


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Vanessa Beeley

Sanctions as a weapon of mass destruction in Syria and VenezuelaRichard Medhurst for Press TV - T...

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Vanessa Beeley

The Ides of March: Ten Years of Bloodshed in Syria“The “protests” did not emanate from internal p...

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Vanessa Beeley
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Vanessa Beeley on Biden's escalation of the war against Syria amidst a "pandemic"

Welcome to  MintCast — an interview series featuring dissenting voices the establishment would rather silence. I’m your host Mnar Muhawesh Adley.
Within just three months in office amid a global pandemic, the Joe Biden administration recently ordered an airstrike that dropped 1.75 tons of explosives on a town in Syria near the Iraq border. The move is re-inflaming tensions between Washington and Damascus as the war enters its 10th year.

Joining me today to discuss the latest on the ground in Syria is Vanessa Beeley.

Vanessa is an independent British journalist based in Damascus and specializing in Middle Eastern affairs. She is perhaps best known for her coverage of the Syrian Civil War and the Western media propaganda machine drawing up support for a so-called humanitarian war against Syria.

Mint Press News

ep17..mp3
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Vanessa Beeley
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Joe Biden Unlawful Agression in Syria Signals the Endgame in the Region

The "build back better" US government with Joe Biden at the helm waited 40 days after inauguration to violate international law in Syria. On the 25 February, Biden launched missiles at the border between Syria and Iraq close to Al Bukamal under the pretext of retaliation for prior attacks on a US military occupation base well inside Iraq that allegedly killed one US contractor and injured five others.

Damage from US strike in Al Bukamal. Photo: Khaled Iskef (Al Mayadeen)
According to John Kirby, Pentagon spokesperson, “two F-15E Strike Eagles dropped seven, precision-guided munitions, which totally destroyed nine facilities and partially destroyed two others, functionally destroying them”. The flimsy pretext for unlawful aggression against a sovereign nation disintegrates, however, when one understands that the attack on the US base in Iraq is around 500km from the area targeted by Biden, inside Syria.


Even Vice President, Kamala Harris, questioned the legality of Biden’s revenge strike and demanded consultation with Congress to lay out a “comprehensive strategy” in Syria.
Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador to Syria (2003-2006) told me that the attack demonstrated Biden’s caving in to pressure from the Washington neoconservatives. Ford told me:

Any truly strong leader would have ignored the Irbil incident and prevented recurrence by giving Iran an incentive not to take more chances by getting back to the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) negotiating table without delay. He would also have pressed on with the draw-down of US forces in Iraq, which are not actually assets but vulnerable liabilities - as shown by the Irbil attacks.

Ford went on to explain that “Iranian hardliners will draw the conclusion that Biden cannot be trusted not to crumble before domestic pressure and it is therefore not worth abandoning Iran’s nuclear cards”. In other words, the attack on Syria has made it more difficult for Biden to renew the Obama deal he has claimed to support. An early failure by Biden to stick to his declared policies only plays into the hands of the Washington war hawks whose eye is on the removal of Iran and Iranian influence from the region which only serves Israeli interests in the long run.
According to Syrian journalist, Kevork Almassian, Biden deliberately bombed the border crossing at Al Bukamal because it is a primary trade route for Iraq and Syria, largely under the protection of the Syrian Arab Army and the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Unit/Forces (PMU), renowned for defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The message being sent to Damascus is that the US will double-down on multi-spectrum pressure to achieve the compromises that will satisfy their need for victory against President Assad, effectively the surrender of the Syrian government as already described by Peter Ford “Joe Biden’s new policy on Syria is a poisoned chalice”
It is worth noting also that the US gave Russia a five minute warning before the attack which was a provocation in itself. Russian military is present in the north-east of Syria and is in control of the air-space unofficially but was given no time to react by the US. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, saidOur military was warned 4 or 5 minutes in advance. Of course, even if we talk about de-conflict, as is customary in relations between Russian and American servicemen, this does not give anything".
Lavrov responded with a forceful condemnation of the attacks and of the illegal presence of US Coalition forces on Syrian territory both in the oil-rich north-east and the military base at Al Tanf close to the border with Jordan. Al Tanf has a 55km exclusion zone surrounding it where the US regularly conduct military exercises with illegal armed groups (including ISIS), proxies that are deployed to target Syrian and Russian military positions and convoys. Lavrov called out the US for the occupation of Syrian territory, the plundering of Syrian oil and support for extremist militias, in “flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254”.
Pentagon claims of 17 victims of the aggression are denied by local sources. According to Seyed Mohammed Marandi, Iranian academic and regional analyst, only one PMU fighter, Seyed Rahi al-Sharifi, was killed in the attack, while fighting ISIS on the border with Syria, hundreds of kilometers from the US occupation base. The irony should be pointed out that the US claims to be in Syria to fight ISIS.
The Pentagon are claiming the PMU are an Iranian proxy and therefore a legitimate target for US aggression or “self-defence” as it will be described. However a media interview of the former leader of the PMU, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, that I attended in Iraq, November 2017 presents a very different image of this military group that has almost single-handedly defeated ISIS in Iraq.

Abu Mahdi Muhandis in Iraq 2017. Photo: Vanessa Beeley
The PMU works closely with the Iraqi government to both defeat ISIS and to rebuild the country’s infrastructure after decades of violence orchestrated by the US neocolonialist occupation. Muhandis, himself, was an engineer not a soldier by trade. The PMU is an inclusive organisation, comprising Yazidi, Sunni and Shia Turkmen, Arab Sunni, Christians and Kurds. More than one third of their forces are Sunni Muslim.In 2020, former President Trump assassinated Muhandis alongside Qassem Soleimani, the iconic leader of the Iranian Quds forces also instrumental in the defeat of ISIS in the region.
Rather than de-escalating violence in the region, successive American administrations have ensured that Iraqi youth will join the very “Iranian” militia that the US is trying to eradicate from the Middle East. The expansionism of anti-imperialist sympathy is a direct result of US tyranny, lawlessness and belligerent foreign policy in the resistance-bloc nations.
US Coalition expansionism in north-east Syria
While Trump made noises about the withdrawal of US forces from Syria, the military footprint has remained firmly in place. The US occupation forces have taken control of the oil-region in north-east Syria which provides substantial revenue for their proxies, including the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who have hugely benefited from the trade of Syrian resources since they were power multiplied by the US and supported by Israel to ethnically cleanse and take control of areas of the Syrian north-east, now ubiquitously recognised by NATO-aligned media as the “autonomous region”.
The Kurdish contras perceived that Trump had sold them out causing them to flip back towards negotiations with Damascus. In Biden, the Kurdish separatists see renewed hope of their partitioning plans coming to fruition which, in turn, brings us full circle back to the Obama administration’s “Plan B- partitioning of Syria” policy in revenge for their military and political failure to topple the Syrian government.
The US is reported to be establishing a new military base in Iraq. This, despite demands from the Iraqi Parliament and people for the removal of the US military from the country, demands that became more forceful after Trump’s criminal assassination of Soleimani and Muhandis on Iraqi soil. On the 22nd February, local media reported “swarms of helicopter gunships and drones flying over Al Anbar” as the US was establishing its second military base in western Iraq close to where Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian borders meet.
A new US occupation base was also established in the triangle of Syrian territory between Iraq, Turkey and Syria - the Ain Dewar region close to Hasaka in the north-east oil-rich territory. Since Biden’s inauguration local media has reported the influx of at least eleven substantial US military convoys bringing armoured vehicles, artillery, weapons, military and logistical equipment into Syria. This is not an army on the point of withdrawal, this is an army diggin in for the long haul.
ISIS expansion and re-emergence under Biden
On 2 March 2021, local sources reported that 25 ISIS terrorists had entered Syria from Iraq on the 28th February, shortly after Biden’s attack on Al Bukamal. The ISIS fighters headed to Al Sahl town in the southern countryside of Hasakah “under the protection of the US military”. The fighters were then transferred by US armoured vehicles to the US Al Bulgar base to the east of Al Shaddadi city, Hasaka countryside. From there, two US helicopters flew the ISIS militia to the US base in Al Shaddadi and then to the countryside of Deir Ezzor.
This US Coalition percolation of ISIS terrorists into Iraq from the holding camps in north-east Syria and back into Syria is not new and has been going on for some time, discussed in this article dated November 2019. The aim appears to be to create a “super ISIS” that can be injected into strategic areas of Syrian territory, in this case the Badia desert between Deir Ezzor and Homs (another oil-rich region) to carry out “swarming”, isolated attacks on Syrian Arab Army positions and installations. The purpose, to maintain military instability and insecurity and to jeopardise the meagre oil supply that is allowed to trickle through to the Syrian people, ensuring they remain in a state of misery and deprivation on all levels.
The coincidental increase in ISIS attacks in the region and their re-emergence as a regional threat just prior to, and after Biden’s inauguration provides some indication of Washington’s neoconservative game-plan. Reignite the ISIS activity in order to justify increased US Coalition military presence.
Not to be outdone, the UK, a powerful partner of the US against Syria, is apparently funding the expansion of ISIS holding camps in Hasakah, doubling their size to hold an estimated 10,000 ISIS fighters of all nationalities, including British and European. A considerable threat to the security of north-east Syria and Iraq and under the control of the US Coalition and SDF contras who are also not averse to exploiting the ISIS camps for their own corrupt gains. Strategic prison break-outs cannot be ruled out akin to “Operation breaking the walls”. This camp will give the US Coalition serious leverage and a means to blackmail the Russians and Damascus and to maintain pressure on Iraq and Iran. Meanwhile, foreign and regional ISIS fighters can be re-grouped, trained and equipped, effectively in secret.


If the UK and US were serious in their “war on terror”, the sensible thing would be to hand the policing of the ISIS fighters over to the Syrian state and their allies. However, that would inevitably result in the return of their own national terrorists to the mothership. Clearly that is not a desirable option when one remembers that the Supreme Court upheld the UK Foreign Office revocation of UK citizenship for ISIS bride, Shamima Begum, a few days ago.
UK government pushing for “aid” to Al Qaeda in Idlib
The decisions taken by members of the US-led Coalition of interventionism in Syria since Joe Biden came to power must not be analysed in isolation. The UK is working with the US to ensure an increased ISIS presence in north-east Syria.
At the same time, UK Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council briefing on Syria, 25th February 2021, claimed that “aid running through Bab al-Hawa has never been more important.”. Idlib, north-west Syria is controlled by Al Qaeda and various affiliated rebranded extremist militias. Bab Al Hawa is well known locally as a trading hub for Al Qaeda. Effectively, Woodward is advocating the provision of “aid” to sustain revenue streams for a terrorist group that runs Idlib like a military mafia trading operation, imprisoning, starving and persecuting Syrian civilians that do not comply with their tyranny and bleeding them dry to fund their Caliphatist ambitions backed by NATO-member-state, Turkey.
CENTOM integrates Israel
Another development under Biden’s administration is the reported integration of Israel into CENTCOM, reported in the Israeli media towards the end of February. According to Israel Hayom:
“The move formalizes regular military exercises among the US, Israel and Arab states, which is "crucial for developing effective theater missile defenses, as well as boosting readiness and interoperability in cyber, counterterrorism, special operations, and maritime security."

Effectively this move by Washington is further evidence of the ramping up of “pre-emptive defensive” aggression ostensibly against Iran but with Syria as the main arena for this military hostility. It signals the official normalisation of relations between Israel and pragmatic” Sunni Islam nations like the United Arab Emirates, recently described by journalist, Sharmine Narwani, as the “global hub for conflict gold” used to fund terrorists and thugs - “pragmatic” is a euphemism for mercenary Arab petro-dollar states who are largely responsible for the terrorists that are being used globally as proxies by the neocolonialist US alliance.
This anti-Iran alliance is being established in preparation to “defend” Israel against the threat of “Iranian or Iranian proxy” belligerence. This cartel of criminal states will also be deployed against Syria on the basis that Iranian proxies are operating on Syrian territory. The fact that those “proxies” are fighting the terrorist forces that the US Coalition has used to invade and decimate Syria is omitted from the narrative by Coalition-member-states and their aligned media.
Biden’s hypocrisy and war-hungry actions
Many on social media pointed out the hypocrisy of the Biden administration who had previously been sharply critical of Trump’s unlawful aggression against Syria. Some analysts highlighted the irony of the Pentagon’s claim that bombing Syria would miraculously “de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq” and others sowed doubt on the veracity of Biden’s intentions to return to negotiations with Iran over the nuclear deal.
Biden also came under fire at home over his reneging on the $ 15 minimum wage deal while “picking a fight in Syria”. US progressives were left feeling betrayed that Biden’s priorities were to obey his neoconservative handlers over fulfilling his domestic promises. Some tried to save face by pointing out that, at least Biden violated international law “quietly” without the Twitter bellicosity associated with Trump.
The end result - provocation and setting the scene for war
Russia’s reaction to the Biden attacks was one of frustration and impatience. The Russian message has been changing lately to one of general irritability at the US continued mission creep in Syria which is impinging further on joint Syrian and Russian military authority in the north-east. During a press conference in early February, after a meeting with the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Lavrov said:
“I understand those who think that Russia could be more aggressive in reacting to the openly high-handed, unseemly rhetoric from Western leaders. In our diplomatic and political culture, we are not used to resorting to thuggish rhetoric. We are polite people and are used to achieving our goals in a civil and civilised manner. As we say: “God is not in power but in truth.” We also have a good proverb that should be remembered: “Honey is sweet, but the bee stings.” Those who take our polite manners for a sign of weakness are making a big mistake.” (Emphasis added)

Peter Ford’s interpretation of recent events in Syria is that it reveals weakness not strength from the US/UK-led globalist coalition. That may well be true but a desperate cornered animal is always the most dangerous and the most unpredictable. We may well be seeing the death throes of US supremacy in the region but we still have a long and painful road to travel before the world can be transformed into a multi-polar one with more pragmatic, constructive-rather-than-destructive global powers at the helm. “Syria will no doubt continue to be the cockpit in which regional rivalries play out” Ford told us in his latest update on the situation in Syria.
On the day of Biden’s attacks, historian and journalist, Marcus Papadopoulos, said:
It did not take long at all for Biden to commit his first international crime as president, given that America militarily attacked Syria a few hours ago. Perhaps he can explain to the world why he did not order the American military to, instead, strike Al-Qaeda in Idlib.

Nothing the US Coalition does in Syria makes sense to a rational, justice-oriented mind regardless of whether it is a Democrat or Republican in power because as journalist Finian Cunningham says:
Ultimately, however, American power in the Middle East is unstable and unsustainable. It is predicated on provoking tensions and conflict. Biden of all people should know that. He spent nearly 50 years as a politician involved in promoting the deadly interests of US empire in the Middle East.

Under Biden we have arrived at the endgame and for Syria this will mean an increase in US aggression, land grab and terrorist-proxy attacks, a doubling down on economic pressure and legal attacks against President Assad with Syrian elections looming in April/May 2021. The US is a sore loser and Syria and her allies are bracing for a new war on multiple fronts while the rest of the world is distracted by the Covid-19 “pandemic”.


***


First published at UK Column.  

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Vanessa Beeley

from 05 Mar, 2021

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A warm welcome to subscribers - thank you for your support. There is not much content on here yet as I have only just started and it is a full time job just maintaining the various websites etc to circumvent the ever increasing censorship. Hope to fill it up soon :-) x
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UK Column News extra. After the regular news programme, we continued discussing on a more informal basis. To receive news extra on a regular basis please subscribe to UKColumn.org one of the best news and analysis websites available right now. 
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My talk last night with Ryan Cristian of The Last American Vagabond - we covered pretty much everything that is going on in Syria these days since Biden took over the war machine in the US. My virtue signalling cat makes her usual appearance. 
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UK Column News - 1st March 2021

We cover everything from Covid-19 to Syria, MI6 and BBC in the same breath. I hope you enjoy. 

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