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George Galloway

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Britain puts new roof on Skripal House of Horrors

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In 12 months of shifting sands, one thing remains as its original foundations: the British state narrative on Salisbury stands as a castle in the air.

One year from the dastardly fate of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, no one is a step forward on what happened to them, how, why, or of course where they are.

One year ago, a nerve agent was allegedly sprayed onto their front doorknob. One year later, their house needs a new roof as a result. And why the roof? And why only the roof?

I don't know what happened to the stricken pair but then, neither do you, however much you've followed the story in Britain's mass media. In fact, the more you've read, the more confused you're likely now to be.

There are some things I do know, however.

The first is that the Russian state had as little to gain from attacking this pair in broad daylight on a Salisbury street with a signature Soviet-developed weapon, 'novichok,' as I said at the time.

It was exactly 100 days before the World Cup, just days before President Putin's re-election. If – and it's a big if – the Russian state wanted to kill the Skripals, many things would've been different.
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Mystery of the Venezuelan Gold: Bank of England is Independent of UK Govt – But Not of Foreign Govts

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Pirates don't have to look like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. They can fly the Union Jack rather than the skull and crossbones. They can be called the Bank of England rather than the Jolly Roger.

The 'Old Lady of Threadneedle Street' is a port in a stormy world for all kinds of countries in which to moor their national wealth. And it's not even necessarily voluntary.
After the fall of the communist regime in Albania, I had a brief tenure as joint chairman of the Britain-Albania Society with the Tory MP Steve Norris. He and I had to move mountains to try and persuade the British government (which then entirely controlled the Bank of England) to give the Albanians back their gold, which had been seized by the British during Second World War.

This week's brigandry – unnoticed by any commentator I read – took place in an era when the Bank of England is officially independent of government control. And yet it was triggered by a phone call from a foreign government official.

The bank's decision to seize – a polite word for steal – more than a billion dollars' worth of Venezuelan gold was reported to have been ordered by the governor after a call from US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – not even the president himself.
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