1:12 PM 9/27/2018

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MOSCOW — Residents in a small Russian village have identified one of the two suspects in the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain as a senior intelligence agent, Russia’s respected Kommersant daily said Thursday in a report that backed up findings by an investigative group.

British-based investigative group Bellingcat on Wednesday named one of the men suspected to have carried out the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter as Col. Anatoly Chepiga, an agent with the Russian military intelligence agency GRU who was awarded Russia’s highest medal, Hero of Russia, in 2014.

The suspect had been named by British authorities as Ruslan Boshirov, and he had also appeared on Russian television channel RT under that name denying any involvement in the poison attack. The Bellingcat report published a photo from Chepiga’s 2003 passport that resembled Boshirov, but didn’t contain further proof that they are the same person.

Kommersant on Thursday interviewed several residents of Beryozovka, the small village where Chepiga’s family used to live, and quoted them confirming that Chepiga is one of the suspects identified by British authorities.

The villagers said they have not seen Chepiga for about ten years, but could recognize him in the photos released by British police and in the interview on RT. One resident described him as a “very good, clever boy.” Another said people in the village knew that Chepiga was “in the secret service” and that his mother was worried about his assignments.

Britain has charged Boshirov and another suspect, Alexander Petrov, with trying to kill Skripal and his daughter on March 4 with the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok in the English city of Salisbury. Britain has said the attack received approval “at a senior level of the Russian state,” an accusation Moscow has fiercely denied.

Both men appeared in an exclusive interview with the Kremlin-funded RT television station earlier this month, when they denied any role in the poisoning or links to the intelligence services. They said they were in the sports nutrition business and that they were in Salisbury on vacation.

Putin earlier this month said the two suspects are civilians who did nothing criminal.

Asked about Bellingcat’s report, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that the president stands by his statement. He added that the Kremlin doesn’t know who Chepiga was, but promised to check whether he received Russia’s highest award.

A search in the Spark-Interfax corporate database shows that Vladimir Chepiga, whose first and family names indicate that he could be Anatoly Vladimirovich Chepiga’s father, has a 6 percent holding in a small construction company based in the village of Beryozovka.

A local patriotic society briefly wrote about Anatoly Chepiga in a December article, saying he graduated in 2001 from the Far Eastern Military Command College. The article said he had been on assignment in Chechnya three times and has been awarded “Hero of Russia”.

Some Russian media on Thursday tried to debunk Bellingcat’s findings.

Russia’s best-selling newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on Thursday quoted a Defense Ministry employee who pointed to what he described as several discrepancies in the investigation.

The defense ministry source, who was unnamed because he is still an active serviceman, reportedly said that it was unlikely that a graduate of the Far Eastern Military Command College could be a spy because the school doesn’t train intelligence officers.

Chepiga, however, went on to study at another military academy after that, according to Bellingcat.

The official also cast doubt on reports that Chepiga worked in Ukraine, for which he reportedly was awarded Hero of Russia.

Many other commentators, including Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, focused on Belligcat’s sources rather than on the content of the revelations.

Maj. Gen. Alexander Mikhailov told the National News Service radio station that the data released by Bellingcat is so highly confidential that they couldn’t have been leaked. He called the report “nonsense.”

Russian commentators posted numerous memes online on Thursday, making fun of Chepiga’s allegedly blown cover identity.

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-funded RT channel that scored the exclusive interview with the two suspects, posted one of them on Thursday. In the meme, Simonyan asks one of the suspects in a speech bubble: “Are you Chepiga?” and the man who called himself Boshirov replies: “Are you?”

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Russia’s respected Kommersant daily has interviewed residents in a small village in the Far East who have identified one of the suspects in the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain as a senior Russian intelligence agent.

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WASHINGTON — The decision by President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman to admit his guilt and cooperate with prosecutors could be a game-changer for special counsel Robert Mueller, while dramatically ratcheting up the pressure on the president.

It wasn’t only Trump critics who were offering that assessment of Paul Manafort’s stunning guilty plea Friday, but also some of his most ardent supporters.


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4:29 AM 9/27/2018 – The issue of the “New Abwehr” is important and very, very real, it seems to me, and the very clear communications (and not just the hints), acknowledgement, and the open discussions of these issues should be beneficial, for all involved. – M.N.

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M.N.: It appears that Putin signals the “green light”: 

В ходе рабочей встречи с Олегом Кожемяко.

Рабочая встреча с Олегом Кожемяко. Президент подписал Указ о назначении О.Кожемяко исполняющим обязанности губернатора Приморского края.

Рабочая встреча с Олегом Кожемяко. Президент подписал Указ о назначении О.Кожемяко исполняющим обязанности губернатора Приморского края.

Из альбома к материалу

26 сентября 2018 года Московская область, Ново-Огарёво

_________________________________

It appears that Putin signals the “green light”, und me thinkz humbly, that it relates to the idea of granting the Amnesty to the New Abwehr on the certain conditions (complete and full disclosure of all the past and present operations everywhere, etc.). 

The issue of the “New Abwehr” is important and very, very real, it seems to me, and the very clear communications (and not just the hints), acknowledgement, and the open discussions of these issues should be beneficial, for all involved. 

It is also possible  that this “unmistakable green light or green sign” intend to convey Putin’s agreement with  Mr. Trump’s idea of the declassification of the materials of the Russia Inquiry, which most likely include the documents supplied by Russia (and Germany, among the others). The most recent pronouncements indicate that these supplied materials are the backdrop for the dress rehearsal and the dances with The Chinese Mask, the latest sale by the Demiurge. 

“The Chinese Mask” definitely has to be addressed, exposed, and to be dealt with, but it is just the mask, just one of the covers, in the present circumstances and within the given context. 

We want to see you naked, Demiurge. You must be real good looking ’cause you are so hard to see… 

Michael Novakhov

9.27.18 

___________________________________


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4:05 AM 9/27/2018 – Salisbury poisoning suspect named as a Russian colonel by UK media | 3:36 AM 9/27/2018 – Novichok Signatures and the “Chechen Tool” | Global Security News

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Update: 

8:47 AM 9/27/2018 – Boshirov Petrov FSB Passports scandal: “The special services believe that Russian Interior Ministry officials could have cooperated with the press to sell passport applications and border-crossing data of the two men suspected of poisoning the Skripals in Salisbury.” – 

________________________________

Salisbury poisoning suspect named as a Russian colonel by UK media

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3:36 AM 9/27/2018 – Novichok Signatures and the “Chechen Tool” | Global Security News

It is also quite possible that the “Chechen Tool” was used in this, just as the previous cases of suspected poisonings by the “Russian agents” in Britain. The Chechen trace and connection are quite visible: Litvinenko, Skripal, and “Boshirov” himself were the active participants of the Chechen Wars of the late 1990-s, and they might very well had been the objects of the  retaliation for quite some time. 

The level of sophistication and the deliberate “show-offs” in both the Litvinenko and Scripal “operations” indicate that the real mastermind is the New Abwehr, who most likely designed and executed their contract with the Chechens who are under their control, just like in WW2. Abwehr had the experience with them, and it mattered. 

Michael Novakhov

9.27.18

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Salisbury poisoning suspect named as a Russian colonel by UK media
Salisbury poisoning suspect named as a Russian colonel by UK media
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_______________________________

It is possible that the German Intelligence or the “New Abwehr”, as I call them, “ordered and bought” those fake passports for “Boshirov and Petrov”, and after the “operation” they fed this detailed information to the press. 

It is also quite possible that the “Chechen Tool” was used in this, just as the previous cases of suspected poisonings by the “Russian agents” in Britain. The Chechen trace and connection are quite visible: all of these actors: Litvinenko, Skripal, and “Boshirov” himself were the active participants, as the GRU officers, of the Chechen Wars of the late 1990-s, and they might very well have been the objects of the  retaliation for quite some time. The “people of the mountains” traditionally have very long memories, strictly regulated by their customs. 

The level of sophistication and the deliberate “show-offs” in both the Litvinenko and Skripal “operations” indicate that the real mastermind is the New Abwehr, who most likely designed and executed their contract with the Chechens who are under their control, just like in WW2. Abwehr had the experience with them, and it matters. 

M.N.

_____________________________________

Novichok SignaturesBoshi (Germans)-rov, Pet-rov

Российское освободительное воинство ров абвер

Hypothesis: These are the  New Abwehr’s agents under the demonstrative Russian covers, to sow discord between Great Britain and Russia. – M.N. 

mikenov on Twitter: RT @CarlSchreck: FSB reportedly looking for Interior Ministry officers who might have sold passport info of alleged Salisbury Novichok pois…

FSB reportedly looking for Interior Ministry officers who might have sold passport info of alleged Salisbury Novichok poisoners to journalists (@bellingcat & @the_ins_ru) or others: rosbalt.ru/moscow/2018/09… Report by @rosbaltru, which usually has good sources among spooks.


Posted by CarlSchreck on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 7:39am
Retweeted by mikenov on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 10:21pm

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Bellingcat logo.png
Type of site
Citizen journalism
Available in English, Russian
Created by Eliot Higgins
Website bellingcat.com
Commercial No
Registration None
Current status Active

Bellingcat (also rendered bell¿ngcat) is a website founded by the British citizen journalist Eliot Higgins. Bellingcat publishes the findings of citizen journalist investigations into war and the criminal underground. The site’s contributors also publish guides to their techniques, as well as case studies.[1]

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Skripal Suspect Boshirov Identified as GRU Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga

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The suspect using the cover identity of “Ruslan Boshirov” is in fact Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly decorated GRU officer bestowed with …
Salisbury poisoning suspect is Russian colonel – reports
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Salisbury poisoning suspect named as a Russian colonel by UK media
 

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The real identity of one of the men wanted by Britain for the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter is Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga, according to media reports on Wednesday which said he was a decorated Russian colonel.

Salisbury poisoning suspect named as a Russian colonel by UK media
 

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LONDON (Reuters) – The real identity of one of the men wanted by Britain for the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter is Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga, according to media reports on Wednesday which said he was a decorated Russian colonel.

Earlier this month, British prosecutors charged two Russians – Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – with attempted murder for the Novichok poisoning of the Skripals in the southern English city in March but said they believed the suspects had been using aliases to enter Britain.

The Daily Telegraph and the BBC said Boshirov’s real name was Chepiga, citing investigative reporting by Bellingcat, a website which covers intelligence matters. Two European security sources familiar with the Skripal investigation said the details were accurate.

Russia denies any involvement in the poisoning, and the two men have said they were merely tourists who had flown to London for fun and visited Salisbury to see its cathedral.

The British government knows both their real identities, sources close to the investigation have said.

The Telegraph reported that Chepiga, 39, had served in wars in Chechnya and Ukraine, and was made a Hero of the Russian Federation by decree of President Vladimir Putin in 2014.

The Metropolitan Police, who are investigating the poisoning, and the Foreign Office declined to comment on the report.

Reporting by Alistair Smout and Mark Hosenball; editing by Stephen Addison

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Head of the Mossad Yossi Cohen during a toast for the Jewish New Year on October 02, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Head of the Mossad Yossi Cohen during a toast for the Jewish New Year on October 02, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Mossad head Yossi Cohen is flying Tuesday to the US with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the crisis in ties with Russia, in the aftermath of last week’s downing of a Russian plane by Syrian anti-aircraft fire during an Israeli airstrike.

Army Radio said that Cohen was headed to Washington to meet with senior US officials about Russia’s decision to send S-300 advanced surface-to-air missiles within two weeks to Syria, which both Jerusalem and Washington have warned would further destabilize the region and increase already high tensions.

The Kan national broadcaster, meanwhile, claimed Cohen would join Netanyahu in New York and discuss Iran’s involvement in the Middle East with a number of officials from other countries on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

The reports of Cohen’s trip followed an almost three-hour meeting of the security cabinet Tuesday during which Netanyahu warned ministers to remain silent on the Russian affair, Hadashot news reported.

A statement after the meeting said the Security Cabinet “instructed the IDF to continue to take action against attempts by Iran to establish a military presence in Syria while continuing the security coordination with Russia.” It said ministers “share in the sorrow of the families in Russia and of the Russian people over the loss of the Russian air crew members as a result of the irresponsible action of the Syrian military.”

In this file photo taken on Saturday, March 4, 2017, the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 electronic intelligence plane of the Russian air force with the registration number RF 93610, which was accidentally downed by Syrian forces responding to an Israeli air strike, flies near Kubinka airport, outside Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Marina Lystseva)

Following the meeting, Netanyahu left for New York for the UN General Assembly, where he will give a speech and also meet with US President Donald Trump.

Russia blamed Israeli actions for the downing, by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, of the plane, in which all 15 Russian serviceman aboard were killed. The Israel Defense Forces has maintained the plane was shot down due to indiscriminate Syrian fire and vowed to continue targeting Iranian weapons shipments in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had informed Netanyahu of the decision to provide Syria with the S-300 system in a phone call Sunday.

In response, according to a statement by Netanyahu’s office, “The prime minister said providing advanced weapons systems to irresponsible actors will magnify dangers in the region, and that Israel will continue to defend itself and its interests.”

In his call with Netanyahu, Putin said he disagreed with the Israeli version of events concerning the downing of the Russian plane.

“The information provided by the Israeli military… runs counter to conclusions of the Russian defense ministry,” the Kremlin said of the content of Putin’s remarks in the call, adding that the actions of the Israeli pilots had led to the plane being targeted by Syrian air defense systems.

“The Russian side proceeds from the fact that the actions by the Israeli air force were the main reason for the tragedy,” a statement said.

A before and after photo of an ammunition warehouse which was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike on a Syrian base in Latakia, September 18, 2018 (ImageSat International (ISI/Ynet)

Netanyahu’s office said Monday night that, in the call, he had “expressed his confidence in the credibility of the IDF probe and its conclusions, and stressed once again that responsibility for the unfortunate incident lay with the Syrian army that brought down the plane, and with Iran, whose aggression destabilizes [the region].”

At the same time, it said, Netanyahu had “once again expressed his condolences for the deaths of the Russia soldiers.”

The statement added that the two leaders agreed to “continue talks between professional teams and coordination between the armies through military channels.”

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Merkel’s Party Ousts Chancellor’s Close Ally From Top Post
 

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BERLIN — A close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel was ousted Tuesday as head of her conservative bloc’s parliamentary group, a surprise defeat that dealt a blow to the longtime German leader’s authority in her own ranks.

Volker Kauder, who had led the parliamentary group of Merkel’s Union bloc since she became chancellor in 2005, was defeated by Ralph Brinkhaus — a budget policy expert who had been one of his deputies.

The vote followed a wobbly start to Merkel’s fourth government, a coalition of the Union and the center-left Social Democrats that has squabbled persistently since it took office in March. It came a year after the conservatives lost significant support in an election that saw the far-right Alternative for Germany enter Parliament.

Mr. Kauder had been widely expected to prevail in Tuesday’s vote of lawmakers from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union. But he was defeated 125 to 112 margin, with two abstentions.

“This is a moment of democracy,” Ms. Merkel told reporters. “Those also include defeats, and there’s no glossing over that.”

She said she hoped to work well with Mr. Brinkhaus and left without taking questions.

Mr. Brinkhaus, 50, who is not well-known to most Germans, was the first challenger Mr. Kauder, 68, had faced since taking office 13 years ago.

Mr. Brinkhaus hasn’t suggested any significant policy changes and has insisted that his candidacy was not directed against Ms. Merkel, but stressed the “independence” of the parliamentary group.

The vote had been viewed as a barometer of Merkel’s authority in the conservative ranks after a difficult year.

“The parliamentary group’s revolt against Merkel’s candidate of choice is a visible sign of the chancellor’s eroding power,” the daily Handelsblatt wrote. “Kauder didn’t stand for much anymore, other than securing majorities for the chancellor.”

This is widely expected to be the final term for Ms. Merkel, 64, though the chancellor has not yet set out her future plans.

The latest upheaval comes just as the government tries to get past an embarrassing two-week argument over the future of Germany’s domestic intelligence chief, whom coalition leaders eventually agreed to move to a job at the Interior Ministry after he appeared to play down recent far-right violence against migrants.

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Story image for merkel and brexit from New York Times

Is Merkel to Blame for Brexit?

New York Times2 hours ago
HAMBURG, Germany — Angela Merkel is the chancellor of … like President Trump’s election that same year, Brexit was dismissed as an …
Angela Merkel rejects UK Brexit proposal
InternationalDeutsche WelleSep 25, 2018
Merkel: ‘still unclear what Britain wants in Brexit talks’
InternationalThe Local GermanySep 25, 2018

Media image for merkel and brexit from The Guardian

The Guardian

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CNBC

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Deutsche Welle

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Reuters

Media image for merkel and brexit from The Local Germany

The Local Germany

Media image for merkel and brexit from Express.co.uk

Express.co.uk

Story image for merkel and brexit from Bloomberg

Merkel Calls for Brexit ‘Fundamental Vision’ Accord by November

BloombergSep 24, 2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union and the U.K. must lay out a “fundamental vision” of their future relationship by …
UK Labour opposition party vows to reject May’s Brexit deal
Associated Press (press release)Sep 25, 2018

Media image for merkel and brexit from Express.co.uk

Express.co.uk

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SFGate

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Associated Press (press release)

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WBTW – Myrtle Beach and Florence SC

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CBS News

Story image for merkel and brexit from POLITICO.eu

Angela Merkel: I can’t rule out Brexit talks breakdown

POLITICO.euSep 4, 2018
A breakdown of the Brexit talks cannot be ruled out, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told financial leaders Tuesday. In a rare comment on …

Story image for merkel and brexit from Express.co.uk

What Ireland? Merkel reveals real reason May’s Brexit deal has been …

Express.co.ukSep 20, 2018
Speaking to reporters at a press conference after crunch talks with other leaders of the European Union, Mrs Merkel said it is clear that “we …

Story image for merkel and brexit from Express.co.uk

Merkel wants EU to have ‘CLOSE’ relationship with UK after Brexit

Express.co.ukSep 14, 2018
We want good, reliable ties with Britain – we want close cooperation in the fields of security and defence policy and we want cooperation …

Story image for merkel and brexit from Express.co.uk

Pound to euro exchange rate: Pound surges as Brexit deal confidence …

Express.co.uk6 hours ago
The GBP/EUR exchange rate clawed back above €1.120 on Wednesday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared confident a Brexit …

Story image for merkel and brexit from Bloomberg

Merkel and Macron Sound Gloomy on Brexit as UK Disappointed

BloombergSep 20, 2018
Germany and France, the European Union’s two most powerful countries, struck a downbeat tone about the prospect of a Brexit deal, as the two …

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Still unclear what Britain wants in Brexit talks: Merkel

The Daily StarSep 25, 2018
BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that Britain had still not expressed a clear position on its post-Brexit relations with the …
Opinion | Is Merkel to Blame for Brexit?
 

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HAMBURG, Germany — Angela Merkel is the chancellor of Germany, not the prime minister of Britain, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that she played a critical, if indirect, role in Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union. If not for her decision not long before the vote to allow for uncontrolled mass immigration into the heart of Europe, the pro-Brexit forces might have lost.

Remember that, like President Trump’s election that same year, Brexit was dismissed as an impossibility, until it happened. But unlike in the United States, Europe has not done much in the way of asking what happened, and why.

In late 2015, the Leave campaign started putting up placards which showed the exodus of refugees from Syria and other countries through the Balkans, and adorned them with slogans like “Breaking Point” and “Take Back Control.” With Ms. Merkel declaring an open-door policy, the message hit home for millions of worried Britons and Europeans. Not coincidentally, it was around this time that support for Brexit began to tick up.

If members of the chancellor’s government recognizes her complicity, they don’t show it. Ms. Merkel’s diplomats in Berlin treat the looming farewell of the second-biggest economy in the European Union as if it were merely another tiresome bureaucratic process that needs to be handled according to the treaty rules. If they consider the bigger picture at all, it is to think of ways to scare off other union members from following Britain’s lead.

There is, in other words, a near total lack of strategic thinking in the face of the most severe blow the European Union has ever suffered. Britain is not just another member, something officials in Berlin tell themselves repeatedly. Its exit will remove a good part of the union’s international clout. London is not just a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, it has significant military and diplomatic forces, as well as Europe’s best intelligence service. And, as a frequent outlier on European Union debates, it was always an important dissenting voice at the table in Brussels.

Strangely, while other member states listened (often grudgingly) to Britain while it sat at that table, they are paying no attention to the message being sent by its departure.

Britain is leaving because too many of its people became unhappy with one of the union’s governing principles, namely the free movement of workers. In a healthy, functioning organization, such a departure would lead the remaining members to revisit that principle. This is especially true if other member states have exempted themselves from that rule in the past.

A bit of background: When the European Union took in 10 mostly central European states in 2004, the German government sought the right to restrict free movement of laborers for a period of up to seven years. Ms. Merkel, then the opposition leader, thought those restrictions did not go far enough to protect the German labor market against an feared influx of low-wage workers from Poland and the Czech Republic. The government should have installed an even “better protection mechanism,” Ms. Merkel insisted in spring 2005.

Britain’s prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, did nothing of this sort; he left his country’s borders open to internal immigrants from every member state, old or new. As a result, over the next decade, around two million people from Central and Eastern Europe migrated to Britain. While they integrated well into the labor market, the influx strained public services like schools, health care and transport.

In 2014, 77 percent of British respondents said they favored a reduction of immigration numbers, which caused Prime Minister David Cameron to call for quotas on internal migration. Ms. Merkel rebuffed him. Strangely opposed to her own, earlier demands, she now insisted that “no compromise” could be made on the principle of free movement of workers.

In other words, Germany has no excuse not to lead a period of union-wide introspection into its own failure to keep Britain in the group, and whether the union should revisit its principles in light of that failure.

The union is not just lacking in vision, its hardball approach to Brexit is likely to backfire. Has anyone in Berlin or Paris thought about the consequences of an economic downturn in Britain after a Brexit, or, much worse, after a “hard,” no-deal Brexit that could entail a customs barrier across the English Channel? It does not take much imagination to realize on whom the Murdoch yellow press outlets (and not only them) will pin the blame for the downfall: stubborn, egoistic, Anglophobic Europeans.

Given what is at stake, Brussels and Berlin are gambling with far too poor a hand. What, after all, is to be gained from a stumbling, humiliated, angry and alienated Britain?

For those of us who still want to see a vibrant, unified Europe, our best hope for the moment is the faint chance for a second referendum on Brexit. If Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan on how to leave does not find approval in Westminster, the question of whether to leave with no deal at all could be put to the British people: Look, is this really what you want?

It is a remote possibility, yet it offers Ms. Merkel her own second chance — an opportunity to do everything she can to show British voters that the European Union is worth keeping. She could begin by endorsing limits — even slight ones — on the free internal movement of labor. Done right, it would send a signal that Brussels and Berlin are listening to voters, while doing minimal harm to Europe’s labor markets.

This would not hurt the principle of free movement as such. It would also be a move that the Germans themselves might find attractive, given that a new batch of countries — this time in the western Balkans — are lining up for membership. Whatever her answer, the choice is pretty clear for the European Union: reform, or face the next revolt.

Jochen Bittner is a political editor for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit and a contributing opinion writer.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion).

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