Unexplained fire in house linked to pizzagate:
>A fire gutted a McLean mansion Saturday morning, sending a plume of black smoke over the Northern Virginia suburb that was seen from parts of the District and Maryland.
>Fairfax County fire officials said that six people escaped and firefighters rescued two dogs from the stately tan-brick home in the 800 block of Turkey Run Road. No one was injured.
>The home is owned by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, according to property records and two men who lived there.
Russian ambassador dies unexpectedly
This is the fourth dead diplo in three months!
Here are 5 things that must be considered:
1. A Macabre Pattern Has Emerged
Beginning in 2015, there were several deaths within the Russian Diplomatic corps and a special Russian Presidential adviser.
First there was Russia’s RT founder and special adviser to President Putin, Mikhail Lesin. He died in November of 2015 in his hotel room. Reports said that he appeared discombobulated during his last sighting before he died. Later it emerged that he died of a blunt head trauma. Drinking was blamed, but many questions were left unanswered.
Earlier last month, Andrei Malanin, Russia’s Ambassador to Greece was found dead in his bathroom. The causes of death remain unknown.
Just last month, Russia’s Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, an always prestigious role, died of a heart attack, although no one was aware of any previous health issues.
In December of last year Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated by a lone jihadi gunmen in an art gallery. There was no effective security as the killer simply walked up to Ambassador Andrei Karlov and shot him multiple times in the back.
Vitaly Chirkin is the highest profile member of Russia’s diplomatic corps to die in recent years.
2. A Motive For Foul Play?
Each of the recently deceased Russian Ambassadors were high profile targets for miscreants and criminals, whether state actors, mercenaries or fanatics.
Lesin was a instrumental in the creation of RT, a news outlet which has come under constant attack from the western establishment.
Malanin had overseen a period of warming fraternal relations between Greece and Russia at a time when Greece is feeling increasingly alienated from both the EU and NATO.
Karlov is said to be responsible for helping to facilitate the rapprochement between Presidents Erdogan and Putin.
Kadakin oversaw a period of renewed tensions between India and Pakistan at a time when Russia was trying to continue its good relations with India whilst building good relations with Pakistan.
On the 31st of December, 2016, Churkin’s resolution on a ceasefire in Syria passed in the UN Security Council after months of deadlock. The resolution is still in force.
Anyone who wanted to derail the diplomatic successes that the aforementioned men achieved for Russia would have a clear motive to extract vengeance.
3. Who Stands To Gain?
In the matter of Karlov, any derailment of restored Russo-Turkish relations would be good for those happy for Turkey to continue her support of jihadists in Syria rather than moving towards accepting a Russian and indeed Iranian brokered peace process which respects the sovereignty of Syria as Russia and Iran always have, but Turkey has not.
In the case of Lesin, anyone wanting ‘vengeance’ for RT’s popularity would be able to say that a kind of former media boss was taken down.
For Malanin, many fear that if ‘Grexit’ happens, Russia will become an increasingly important partner for Greece. The EU would not like one of its vassal states enjoying fruitful relations with Russia, a country still under sanctions from Brussels.
For Kadakin, it is a matter of interest for those wanting Pakistan to continue favouring western powers and not wanting Russia to be able to mediate in conflict resolutions between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Churkin had come to dominate the UN in ways that his counterparts on the Security Council simply could not. No one really stood a chance in a debate with Churkin. His absence leaves open the possibility for a power vacuum that would makes other peoples’ jobs easier.
4. Where The Deaths Took Place
Each death took place on foreign soil. Mr. Karlov’s killing in particular, exposed the weakness of his security contingent. If security was that weak in a comparatively volatile place like Turkey, it goes without saying that security in states considered more politically stable would be even more lax.
Again it must be said that a non-biased detective might say that the only pattern which has emerged is that many people in the Russian diplomatic corps and related institutions have heart attacks. Maybe they eat fatty foods every day and drink and smoke too much. But if this was this case, why are the heart attacks all on foreign soil?
If all of the former Ambassadors except Karlov were really in bad health, is it really just a coincidence that none of these men had a health scare on Russian soil? Again, a pattern has emerged.
5. The Ethics of Speculation?
Many will say that it is too early to suspect foul play. Indeed, I must make it clear that this is simply speculation based on a pattern of tragic and at times unexplained events, combined with the objective reality that because of Russia’s recently elevated profile as a born-again geopolitical superpower, Russia is a bigger target for international criminals than it was in the broken 1990s or the more quiet early 2000s.
When such events happen, one’s duty is to speculate so that better health and safety precautions are taken to ensure the wellbeing of Russia’s important diplomats. Furthermore, if foul play is a factor, it means that such seemingly unrelated events must be investigated more thoroughly.
>France’s Marine Le Pen canceled a meeting with Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Tuesday after refusing to wear a headscarf.
>The far-right presidential candidate is on a two-day tour of Lebanon where she is courting Franco-Lebanese votes ahead of the first round of French elections on April 23.
>Le Pen told reporters that she was surprised by demands that she wear a scarf, and said she had met the Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar during a visit to Egypt in 2015 without covering her head.
>”I met the grand mufti of Al-Azhar,” she told reporters. “The highest Sunni authority didn’t have this requirement, but it doesn’t matter.”
>”You can pass on my respects to the grand mufti, but I will not cover myself up,” she insisted.
>Le Pen has been outspoken in her opposition to the headscarf and has stated that she would ban all religious symbols in public places.
> Lithuanian ultra-nationalists marched…
>Approximately 170 people attended Thursday’s annual march in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city that is also known as Kovno, the website Defending History reported.
>The main banner …included a quote attributed to the Pepe-like portrait of Skirpa, an envoy of Lithuanian nationalist to Nazi Germany, which read: “Lithuania will contribute to new and better European order.”