When Your Story Implodes, Call Me – I’m an American Chemical Weapons Expert!

Uncle Volodya says, “Stupidity is the same as evil, if you judge by the results.”

I’ve been waiting for something to happen
for a day, or a week, or a year;
with the blood in the ink of the headlines
and the roar of the crowd in my ears.
You might ask what it takes to remember
but you know that you’ve seen it before;
when a government lies to a people
and a country is drifting to war…

Jackson Browne, from “Lives in the Balance”

“People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.”

Otto von Bismarck

During an hour or so of poring over quotes about lying (of course I don’t make these up myself), before the snatch of lyric from “Lives in the Balance” floated into my memory unbidden, I was struck as never before by the prevalence of belief in the truth always coming out. Lyric after quote after stanza has it that you can lie and lie and lie, but eventually the truth will always surface, and the liar will be caught.

Is that true? Was it ever true? Perhaps among the congenitally stupid, who labour simultaneously under their guilt and a suspicion that smarter people (which is everybody else) can read minds; I’m reminded of a story which was set in the American southern states, in which the probable perpetrator of some petty crime or other was brought into the rural sheriff’s office for questioning. He was told that he must take a lie-detector test. Accordingly, a metal colander, such as is used for washing salad ingredients, was placed on his head, with wires from it leading to the photocopier. The deputies had put a piece of paper in the copier which read, “He’s Lying!!”, and whenever they asked the suspect a question, they would press the ‘print’ button following the answer, and out would come a paper which averred that the answer was a lie, which they would show to him. Eventually, confronted with his tapestry of falsehoods and under the apprehension that he was being measured by other-worldly technology, he confessed. But the local law enforcement was already well aware that he was guilty – they just wanted a confession.

So, perhaps in circumstances like that, in which the liar is a desperate fool, perhaps then the truth always comes out. But in reality, not only does truth almost never come out, it only does when all possibility of further elaboration on existing lies has been exhausted. But here’s the real kicker – when the truth does come out, we are led by philosophers to believe that evangelical vengeance will be swift to follow. Does that really happen? Perhaps after the liar is dead, he or she goes someplace featuring a dancing-flames motif, where he or she is prodded the livelong day by imps with little pitchforks. But that sort of forestalls the satisfaction of justice done in the here and now – punishment delayed is punishment denied, am I right?

Look at the case, frequently discussed here, of British intelligence services and the fake rock, which had the guts of a Blackberry cellular telephone inside it, in Moscow. This ‘rock’ was strategically situated so that intelligence assets (you only call them ‘traitors’ if they are western citizens; Russians who betray their country are dissident heroes) could stroll past and flip messages to the rock, and every so often, British intelligence services could remotely extract it; the ‘rock’ only had to be touched to charge the batteries.

But that was six years after the fact. For six years the British stonewalled and denied, and acted hurt that anyone would believe such an obvious Russian-bullshit story; the Foreign Office scornfully retorted, “We are concerned and surprised at these allegations. We reject any allegation of improper conduct in our dealing with Russian NGO’s.” So receiving surreptitious messages through a styrofoam rock is just the above-board, in-plain-sight honest dialogue in which foreign embassies everywhere engage; why the outrage? And when Britain finally admitted what had been going on, minus all the holier-than-thou gilding of trying to build a better world with Russia through an active and engaged civil society…absolutely nothing was done. Not only does the truth not necessarily ever come out – Tony Blair, for example, has never to the best of my knowledge admitted to having lied to influence public opinion in the UK in favour of committing with its partner, the United States, to the Iraq War, which was such a smorgasbord of lies that the weapons-of-mass-destruction whopper was only the biggest. Iraq was wrecked, hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and the liars were never punished, nor ever in fact admitted their guilt. In cases where the guilty must begrudgingly admit they lied, nobody does anything about it, the firebolts of celestial retribution never appear, and the liars go on to lie some more with increased confidence. An eager and gullible audience is always ready to swallow some more horseshit.

Like now, with the Skripal case. We are supposed to believe mysterious Russian assassins daubed Novichok nerve agent on the Skripals’ front doorknob, which transferred to their hands, and then they drove downtown, enjoyed a good meal in a restaurant, and then started feeling poorly, and collapsed on a public bench, victims of a nerve agent much more toxic than VX. Five to eight times, says FOX News. Ten times more deadly than its better-known predecessors, says Anne Applebaum. But the Skripals did not die. They were carefully shielded and monitored by the British security services so that they could not be questioned by the public, but they did not die.

And that’s possible – in the case of a mild dose of, say, VX (much less deadly than Novichok, remember), as a liquid through a skin-contact vector, it might take up to two hours for symptoms (local sweating and muscular twitching) to appear, according to the US Army’s Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command Chemical Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Reigle Report. The trouble with that scenario as applied to the Skripals is that the duration of those effects would be about 3 days for a mild exposure, and 5 days for a severe exposure. The Skripals showed no such effects; they ate dinner in what must have been to all appearances a normal fashion, and then collapsed unconscious on a bench outside. Some accounts suggested they had a quantity of foam around their mouths, which might result from salivation. At least one report says Yulia Skripal had vomited. No reports mentioned excessive sweating and muscular twitching, both of which are hallmarks of nerve-agent poisoning via liquid (as opposed to gas) exposure through the skin.

There are a couple of other problems with the British approach. We’ve all seen the pictures of the chemical-warfare types in their green dung-beetle suits, meticulously taking samples, while unprotected firemen in simple turnout gear with no masks or breathing apparatus stood just a couple of feet away. VX as a liquid could become a gas, but it’d have to be pretty hot. If that happened, it would not be persistent beyond a couple of hours. VX as a liquid, under very cold conditions, can actually persist for a couple of months. Quite a bit colder than it typically is in even England, though, in spring and summer. Daily averages for Salisbury, UK in March are above freezing, an average of about 45F, and it customarily gets much warmer going into summer. So you can’t have it both ways – if it’s a liquid, it’s more persistent in its toxicity over time, but that effect is greatly attenuated by temperature. If it’s a gas, breathing apparatus for anyone who might be exposed is an absolute rule.

Another discrepancy came up, in a timeline of the Skripals’ movements. They left the father’s home at some time close to but prior to 1:30 PM, and drove into town. This, it is estimated, would take about 10 to 15 minutes. They are observed by CCTV entering a multi-story car park in Salisbury at around 1:32 PM. Here one of the Skripals – both of whom apparently touched the front doorknob on the way out, the second one perhaps just for luck – then touched the ticket machine with their bare hand. This machine remained unchecked for 8 days after the event. How many other people touched it between that time and the time anyone checked it for toxicity? Yet nobody else showed any symptoms.

It was an extremely oddball event, which continues to inspire skeptical questions and scornful refutations. But I don’t want to get too bogged-down in the Skripal affair – instead, I want to focus a bit on the more recent incident, the ‘poisoning’ of Dawn Sturgess and Charles Rowley, in nearby Amesbury. This incident, also, has featured a wildly-improbable British-government narrative and skeptical questioning, and one of the foremost skeptical questions has been “How the hell could a nerve agent that did not kill the people who were its targets accidentally kill a chance victim four months later?”

Enter, stage left, the American Chemical Weapons Expert, who announces that Novichok was specially engineered to remain persistent over a long time. So that it could, you know, kill incidental victims months later and further incriminate the country where it is supposed to have originated. That’s why it is the go-to poison for Russian assassins. It might not kill the people you wanted to kill, but it could kill someone totally unrelated, months later. True story.

There are a few things you should know about the expert quoted, Dan Kaszeta. One, he’s the Managing Director of Strongpoint Security (it seems like all the UK’s go-to commentators are executives in the security industry, like FireEye or Crowdstrike). Sounding off in the media, taking a position which unreservedly supports the government narrative – no matter how nutty it is – is a good way to get noticed in the security business, and Strongpoint is a fairly new operation. Two, he’s the resident CBRN expert at Bellingcat. Three, he is not a Trump fan, broadcasting for his anti-Trump audience how the President of the United States’ motorcade and security detail might be confused, frustrated and sidetracked so that he would get the message he was not welcome. I can hardly fault Kaszeta for that, since Trump is over-the-top unpopular just about everywhere he goes, but it’s a little unusual to see a former White-House consultant handing out advice on how to screw up a White House visit.

Four, he is a much bigger noise on the CBRN front than you might have imagined if you’ve never heard of him before, confidently chatting up the wide-eyed press corps on all things chemical-warfare. And always supporting the UK government’s contention that Novichok was always Russian, only Russian, and that it could not have been anyone else. Here he is, letting the WBUR Boston audience know in no uncertain terms, “I don’t know anybody who knows how to make it except these guys in Russia. They’ve been a deep, dark secret.” But their purported engineer, Vil Marzayanov, claimed their precursors were ordinary organophosphates which are commercially available; “One should be mindful that the chemical components or precursors of A-232 and its binary version novichok-5 are ordinary organophosphates that can be made at commercial chemical companies that manufacture fertilizers and pesticides [nerve agents, after all, arose from research into pesticides and are really advanced versions of pesticides]. In my opinion, this research program was premised on the ability to hide the production of precursor chemicals under the guise of legitimate commercial chemical production of agricultural chemicals. And if America was concerned that its manufacture was devious and covert, it is kind of difficult to imagine why an American publisher published a book which featured the formula for making it, courtesy of Marzayanov, and which anyone can obtain for around $30.00. Is that how you keep something a deep, dark secret? And obviously the Defense Research establishment at Porton Down, only a couple of miles from the site of the Salisbury poisoning, had samples of Novichok, since they were able to identify it in a couple of hours. It’s beginning to shape up like the worst-kept deep dark secret in the world.

According to Dan, the Soviets wanted to engineer chemical agents that NATO equipment could not detect. Gosh! Those tricky sons of bitches. So then they engineered it to be extra-persistent, so it would stay around for months, just to make it fair, so NATO could have lots of time to take more samples. The thing is, the whole raison d’etre of a nerve agent is that it be non-persistent; you want it to rapidly and efficiently kill off the enemy, but you want to move your own troops into that same area in a matter of days, to consolidate your gains and establish your own military presence. Months just doesn’t cut it.

Asked why an assassin would use such a distinctive agent, pointing straight back at his own country, Dan suggests that given the historic secrecy of the project, someone might have reasoned that it would go undetected. Uh huh; sure – the Stimson Report came out in 1995. And the agent used is ‘specially engineered to remain a toxic menace for months’.

Here’s Dan again, backstopping the White House’s assertion that only Assad could have been behind an alleged sarin gas attack at Khan Sheikhoun; the Russian version, he says, is “highly implausible”. “Nerve agents are the result of a very expensive, exotic, industrial chemical process — these are not something you just whip up.” Oh, dear – put John Gilbert, senior science fellow at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, in the “Disagree” column: he says all you would need to make sarin is about a 200 square-foot room and a competent chemist.

Two other attributes compound sarin’s insidiousness. First, it’s not especially hard to produce, in terms of both resources and expertise. “A competent chemist could make it, and possibly very quickly, in a matter of days,” says John Gilbert, a senior science fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, who spent much of his Air Force career assessing countries’ WMD capabilities. Producing sarin doesn’t require any kind of massive facility; a roughly 200 square foot room would do.

According to Dan – yet again, this time in the Los Angeles Times – one form of Novichok is as a solid at normal temperatures, and it might have been deployed as a dust or powder. Uh huh, might have been. But (a) that would have been the least-persistent method except for as a gas, it would never have lasted four months outside, through rain, and (b) not even a rummy like Charles Rowley would have tried to pawn off a bottle of dust to his girlfriend as perfume.

Because here we are again, at another ‘Novichok’ poisoning, and Dan helpfully dispels the myth that Novichok would not still be around and deadly after four months, by announcing the Soviets specially engineered it to do just that. And not only that – they made it especially for contaminating large areas of land, such as ports, and equipment, like tanks, so that they would be dangerous for months. That was supposedly ‘the idea’ when they were developed.

Horseshit. Nerve agents are most effective against unprotected troops in the open, and if you want to contaminate an area the size of a port, the only possible way you could do it would be with a spray – the least persistent form of all. All organophospate-based nerve agents can be effectively dealt with – before unprotected personnel are exposed – by spraying and washing contaminated areas with water; moisture makes them break down quickly. Nobody has engineered a miracle waterproof organophosphate nerve agent. Once nerve agents are known to have been used, troops in the field are in TOPP (Threat-Oriented Protective Posture) Medium at least, in full chem suits with breathing apparatus available for rapid donning. Nerve agents were not developed as a weapon of covert assassination, although they have definitely been used in that role; they were developed as a weapon of mass destruction to be used against a military adversary who presumably is trained in CBRN countermeasures. They were not developed to spray tanks, in the hope that some mook would put his bare hand on it two months later, and fall over jerking and drooling. How the fuck would you disperse enough nerve agent to contaminate an airfield? Fly over with a water-bomber and drench it from end to end? You don’t think that might offer a bit of a clue? If you want to disperse a large amount of nerve agent, it will have to be vaporized, and it will have to be carried in the dispersal vehicle as a liquid. Liquids are heavy – the more you want to disperse, the bigger your dispersal vehicle will have to be. The Soviet Union developed gas warheads, to be used on a ballistic missile, but if you can land a gas warhead next to an airfield you might as well go the whole nine yards and blow it up, because a warhead that lies there hissing and dispersing a cloud of vapour is kind of a giveaway. Unless, of course, you only want to kill the military personnel in the area, and not damage the airfield, so you can quickly take it over and deploy your own aircraft from it. In which instance you would have been pretty stupid to envelope it in a toxic nerve agent that is still going to be active next spring. And the whole idea of a nerve agent is to deploy a small amount of it, using an unobtrusive dispersal vehicle, so as not to call attention to it until personnel in the target area are affected.

It’s nice of Dan to try and fill in the blanks the way he did, but there are just too many blanks. The latest story from HM government is that a perfume bottle was found in Charles Rowley’s home, and tests revealed – surprise! – that it contained Novichok. The story is that Rowley found it in Queen Elizabeth Park. Somehow, Dawn Sturgess is supposed to have sprayed the contents of the bottle on her wrists and face, like perfume. Oops! now it’s an aerosol, the fastest-acting form of nerve agent, and she probably would have been affected in minutes at most, not hours. But she was not at Rowley’s home, where the bottle was supposedly discovered. So he either took the bottle with him to meet her, and after noticing her exhibiting symptoms of nerve-agent poisoning, took the bottle home with him and put it in his house, or they were both affected at roughly the same time, and somebody thoughtfully posted the bottle to his home address. If she was poisoned at his house, she would not likely have made it out.; remember, it was dispersed as a vapor. So there is a question as to how the bottle got there, and another as to how it laid there in the park for nearly four months, until Rowley discovered it. And how it remained powerful enough to kill after all that time, when the fresh-off-the-shelf Novichok, four months previously, failed to kill the Skripals. Not to mention how it got there in the first place – are we supposed to believe that highly-trained assassins straight from the Kremlin did the Skripal job, and then tossed away their backup supply in a local park?

Perhaps of greatest concern, if chemical-weapons professionals were aware that Novichok could persist in deadly concentrations for months – that it was specially engineered to be not only virtually undetectable by NATO sensors, but to remain deadly through the deleterious effects of the elements…why did they say nothing when the dozy police assured the public that it was in absolutely no danger?





969 thoughts on “When Your Story Implodes, Call Me – I’m an American Chemical Weapons Expert!

  1. Up in smoke?

    The hurried cremation of Sturgess excludes any possibility of further investigation if, for example, new facts in the case, which would require the second examination or re-examination of primary data on the causes of death of the UK national, will occur. This is a serious cause for concern because the UK authorities continue to destroy any important physical evidence which they themselves somehow link with the poisoning of the Skripal family in SalisburyRussian Embassy source, UK.


      1. And that seems to be the theme with modern-day British criminal incidents which are blamed on Russia – all the evidence is destroyed. Perhaps that’s why the ‘incredibly-toxic nerve agent’ vehicle was chosen; so that wholesale destruction of all the major evidence would not seem so odd. And don’t think it hasn’t been noticed.

        Consider the slapdash investigation also of MH17, in which Ukraine was allowed to get away with shelling the wreckage for days – although there was no strategic value to the crash site – and was still given a seat on the investigative board and unfettered (probably unsupervised) access to the evidence, as well as a veto over the publication of any findings. Graham Phillips documented the complete disinterest of the investigative body in pieces of wreckage found in woods and other cover by area residents. Contrast that with the shoulder-to-shoulder meticulous search of neighbouring woodlands in the Lockerbie bombing, which resulted in the ‘discovery’ of a tiny fragment of circuit board, ostensibly from the timing device, which fingered Libya as the culprit.



        The FBI operative who identified the fragment as a piece of a circuit board which was supplied only to Libya and the Stasi, the linchpin of the case against Megrahi, was later revealed to be a fraud who had given false evidence in American murder trials and had little or no scientific qualifications. The British and US governments have a demonstrated record as fixers.


    1. Doesn’t Chekhov’s observation (along the lines of “ if there’s a gun on the wall in a scene it better be used by the end of the play”) apply? The Novichok-contaminated emissions can now be parked for use in future instalments of the never-ending Skripal Saga…

      “You remember, children, we mentioned the uniquely devious and everlasting nature of the Russian Novichok – it survives in environments no other nerve agent can – and that poor Ms Sturgess’s remains were cremated (with the best of intentions, children, for public safety reasons)? Well, boys and girls, would you believe it? The cremation caused the spread of the horrible stuff…”


  2. Politico.eu: Spain’s Franco plan: Bring up the body

    MADRID — As a symbol, it could hardly be more powerful.

    Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is planning to remove the remains of dictator Francisco Franco from the country’s biggest fascist-era monument, the Valley of the Fallen, on the outskirts of Madrid.

    The plan lets the 46-year-old Sánchez, who took office in June, present himself as a bold leader unafraid of taking decisions others have shied away from — and as a force for renewal, willing to tackle the country’s painful past and move beyond it.

    It is also a chance for Sánchez to gain support among leftists when his room for political maneuver is severely limited. As the head of a minority government, he must cobble together ad-hoc coalitions to get anything done in parliament. The government’s fragility was made plain last Friday, when it suffered its first defeat over the outline of the 2019 budget….

    Just a reminder that when high and mighty western EU stated demand that other countries deal with the war crimes of their past if they are to be accepted in to the club of civilized nations, they have yet to do so themselves. Spain, in particular likes to blow its own trumpet, having charged others for crimes against humanity but done almost sweetFA at home. Remember the UK refused to arrest Augusto Pinochet (faking illness) and claimed that they had nothing to do with torture against the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya until the documentation was accidentally found when emptying government offices.


    1. Coincidentally, I just finished reading Dan Brown’s latest page-turner, Origin , one of whose subplots involves this Franco symbol. In the story, Professor Robert Langdon has some various adventures in Spain, involving various artistic and architectural monuments, including this one. There is political tension between die-hard Franco-ites and liberal forces.

      I have to state for the record, I adore Dan Brown and have read every single one of his novels. Of which, only two disappointed me; this Spanish adventure being one of them, unfortunately.
      The art and architecture subplots are pretty good, and we learn a lot of information about Spanish architecture and modern art; but where the novel falls flat is exactly the same place where Brown’s other novel that I didn’t like falls flat: Brown sort of loses it whenever he has to deal with computer programming. He has a vastly exaggerated image of what computers are, and what they can do.

      IMHO, Professor Langdon should really stick with medieval art. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) subplot here is a ludicrous.
      And the Big Reveal at the climax is [SPOILER ALERT] that machines have become a new “species” that push out mankind for dominance. Again, ludicrous. Somebody has been watching too many “Terminator” sequels!

      How many times do I have to say this: COMPUTERS ARE BASICALLY VERY FAST ADDING MACHINES!
      They can’t think, they can’t plan, they can’t plot murders, they can’t…. [oh, never mind – sigh….]


        1. But I thtill love technology…alwayth and forever…

          But technology gave us the Instant Pot, so I’m sold. I can make pulled pork that could make you weep. Back ribs? It’s hard to keep them in one piece to transfer them to the grill for browning, because the bones slide right out.



              Yup … the world is going down a dark path when AI gives us pole-dancing robots.


      1. You are very brave yalensis. I salute you! I am ashamed to admit that I read The Davinci Code in a moment of weakness (I was bored). Though a page turner, it was clearly slapdash – badly written, cobbled together etc. as many of the critics wrote at the time.

        But, we must not be snobs. There is value even in toilet roll (aka ‘Bogroll’ a la anglais). It is easy to dismiss such popular culture as a fad, but it is culture and popular. For the UK audience, need I say more than Jeffrey Archer & Jackie Collins?

        Let me just say, it’s not my cup of tea. But then again, I enjoy watching ‘The Librarians’ tv show…


        1. Well, in my own defense…. I did learn quite a lot about European sculpture and architecture from reading the Dan Brown novels.
          Admittedly his Professor Langdon stories all follow a certain template. In fact, I could even write the next one myself. This is the one where the Prof is drawn into an international scandal involving the Tretiakovsky Museum in Moscow. Langdon must decipher a secret code embedded in one of the Repin paintings. This, in turn, leads him to the waterfront of St. Petersburg and the architecture of the Petro-Pavlov Island Prison. He finds a hidden cell with an encoded message buried in the wall; and it turns out to be a lost letter from Rasputin.
          Langdon meets a beautiful young Russian woman named Sveta. They are mutually attracted, yet their relationship must remain platonic. Langdon uses his swimming skills to escape from the baddies, who try to kill him on the Neva River.
          These villains of the story are a dark secretive cult of Old Believers who have buried an ancient artifact in the Hermitage Museum…
          The story basically writes itself.


  3. Euractiv: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/trump-bets-on-new-european-lng-terminals-but-eu-funds-meagre/

    …Europe has little need for US LNG now as Russian piped gas surges into the continent’s gas markets at a record pace.

    “In 2017 the average utilization of these terminals was 26% – leaving ample margin for more imports from the US if competitively priced,” the Commission said.

    Yet competitive pricing is the biggest problem facing US LNG in Europe. The most lucrative markets for US LNG are in South and Central America, India and the Far East, with Europe near the bottom of the list given its relatively low prices and ample supplies from Russia and Norway.

    This could change dramatically though as American output soars in coming years and as domestic production from the North Sea and Norway shrinks, leaving a growing gap to be filled by external suppliers…

    Gotev suprises me, not for his dodgy speculations, but that he links to a southfront.org article on the subject, dyed in the wool russophobe that he is!


    1. There seems to be a tremendously broad American – and western – assumption that US production is going to ‘soar’ and continue to ramp ever upward. Is it? Bear in mind that the USA’s own consumption of natural gas is growing steadily, at least partly based on this assumption that natural-gas bounty will just continue to increase. What if it doesn’t? Then America will have refashioned itself as another huge natural-gas market which has insufficient domestic supply to sustain itself.


  4. In other news, I heard on al-Beeb s’allah’s World Service today that Slovakia is ‘worried’ about a Night Wolves center in their country. The story is from a week ago. RFE-RL wet themselves over it:

    Radio Fascist Europe/Radio Lickingtards: Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing? Putin’s Biker Pals Set Up Military-Style Camp In Slovakia

    …Police say they have been monitoring the group’s activities but that so far they’ve seen nothing illegal…


    1. And Russia is supposed to tolerate its so-called non-systemic opposition going to camps in the Baltic states for “training”. Likely Maidan militant style.

      Slovakia is a stupid joke.


    1. Just followed that link to Coda and found Simon Ostrovsky is Investigations Editor.

      You know, the same Simon Ostrovsky who said Russia’s economy was the size of Spain’s economy about this time last year and our fellow Stooge Warren spotted the tweet.


      1. Good catch. Ostrovsky is the same tool who used to shill, on his Vice feed, for Ukrainian Nazis in their so-called “Anti-Terror Operation” against Donbass people.


        1. I must strongly disagree. Everyone says that Russia’s economy is the size of Italy’s. WTF he gets the Spanish comparison I have no idea, nor have I heard of it. Of course, the ftards quote lies, damned lies & statistics, i.e. GDP and not a squeak for PPP.


          1. All that stuff is written for morons anyway, who will assume it is a fact because somebody wrote that it is. We should be sorrowful not that there are liars, but that there are so many morons.


    2. You might enjoy comparing the latest output of two superstars of modern US crime fiction…
      John Sandford’s “Twisted Prey” has baddies from the world of private military contractors and Senators with rather less than the traditionally conceived (by the public) moral rectitude.
      Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novel “Two Kinds of Truth” has an evil gang initially described as Armenian but which is depicted for the most part as Russian with a dollop of Belarusian content.


      1. You have hit upon my great love – Michael Connelly’s character of Harry Bosch. I have read every one I could get my hands on, and I think I have read them all. I’m also very fond of Steve Martini’s courtroom-drama novels featuring the Paul Madriani character.


        1. I loved the classic Bosch novels but lately I’ve had the feeling that Connelly has been lending his name to work churned out by a franchisee. Not the same quality at all – the first series I suspect of the practice of using a hack to exploit the goodwill and readership built up over a number of years was the Travis McGee novels of John D. MacDonald – the tail-off in quality was huge and yet other stuff he wrote in his later years – I’m thinking of the magnificent novel about a televangelist (?One More Sunday – 1984) and his last, ecological novel (Barrier Island 1986) – was even by his high standards outstanding.


          1. There are a few books that I just hold for a few seconds when I get them, savoring their weight like anticipating a good meal, and which I start to regard with apprehension when the pages still left to read start to form the thinner section, as if the refrigerator is emptying. The Harry Bosch novels are like that for me, and although they have not been consistent, even the worst is better than most other writers. I also like the Slough House series by Mick Herron, and I’m currently looking around for “Sabbathman”, a book I read more years ago than I care to remember, can’t even remember the author’s name. According to the intertubes, it was Graham Hurley; the story is about a former British Army sniper from the Falklands era who is whacking the greedy and corrupt like a modern-day Robin o’ Locksley. Not a new concept, surely, but snipers have the same visceral crawling feeling attached to them as giant sharks and axe murderers – a random death from which none can protect you.




            1. Mick Herron definitely does bureaucracy better than anyone else and his Jackson Lamb character is a keeper. I almost (saddo that I am) felt a tinge of nostalgia with the original introduction to the various flop inhabitants of Slough House. Hahaha!


          1. He has a knack for writing memorable characters other than the main character, such as Judge Armando Acosta, who is derisively referred to as ‘the coconut’ by the subordinate legal community because he is brown on the outside but white on the inside, according to his rulings. I seem to recall one Madriani novel had him defending The Coconut in some civil matter, although the two dislike one another intensely; in this, the plot is not unlike that of Michael Connelly’s “The Drop”. And Martini is a master of the seemingly-meaningless detail, introduced early, which will nonetheless be instantly remembered by the reader when it takes on great significance later.


        2. I like Connelly’s books too. My favorite one is “The Lincoln Lawyer”.

          They even made a decent version movie version, starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller.
          The movie versions of the Dan Brown novels have not been very good. The last one (“Inferno”) was just awful, even though the book was actually pretty great. The movie version completely changed the whole tone of the ending and removed a major plot twist, replacing it with a simplistic device.


      2. P.S. – to Cortes: yeah, when I was reading “Two Kinds of Truth”, I almost threw it down when I saw that Connelly was going for the cheap “Russian criminal gang” meme.
        It seemed like, later in the book, he started backtracking on that, clarifying that the criminals were actually Belarussians (not much difference there), and then also clarifying that the gang had been in prison in Russia, then ended up migrating to the U.S. to ply their evil trade.
        It would have been much worse if he had plotted it so that the baddies were in cahoots with the Russian government, but thank goodness he didn’t step over that line, otherwise I would never read his stuff again.


        1. One of the ingredients in my theory that Bosch is now a franchise is that sloppy plotting. The recycling of characters (Soto, Edgar and Siegel) is another. Like the final seasons of hit sitcoms,, with newer, cheaper writers without the pizazz.


          1. It must be hard to keep coming up with new stuff, but using the same characters with the same earthbound timeline – how long can Harry Bosch live, and how many incredible things can happen to him? He already burned up his younger years in Vietnam, and now he’s retired, but he keeps cracking cases that would be the making of any cop’s entire career. After awhile the sheer improbability of it must be a limiting factor.


            1. Maybe he needs Eve, the blonde associate, Mark the token brother as driver, a chicken-lipped guy with a waistcoat whose name I don’t remember, a wheelchair and a panel van…


          2. I have a theory about the recycling of Edgar: It’s due to the Amazon series Bosch, in which they hired an engaging actor and turned Edgar into a positive character.
            I think that’s a more plausible theory, that since the franchise went Amazon, Connelly has to be more careful in how he portrays certain characters, especially ones who are popular with the public. Previously, he didn’t care if Bosch trashed Edgar as lazy and uninvolved.
            Meanwhile, there is supposed to be a new Bosch novel coming out soon, in which he joins forces with a young surfer woman cop. And she will probably then become the lead in a new franchise.

            Personally, I think Connelly could have written more Mickey Haller stories; I like Mickey better than I like Bosch.


            1. Haller is certainly a more rounded or multi faceted character. News to me that there’s a TV series (no TV) about Bosch, but I suppose it feeds the appetite for the incorruptible seeker after truth good guy hero law enforcement figure…


              1. To Cortes: Well, the Bosch TV series is not actually on regular TV, it’s on Amazon, which one watches on one’s computer.
                I watched the first couple of seasons, it’s pretty good. Connelly himself is the Executive Producer, although he allowed some changes in the storylines and characters.
                The writers do the Bosch character pretty well, although they tone him down a bit, so that he is not as much of an asshole as in the books. There is not as much conflict between the cops as in the books.
                Edgar, as I mentioned, is much more likable than in the books. Bosch has his ex-wife and daughter, who are portrayed quite aptly, until Eleanor gets killed off (which also happened in the books).


            2. And the female surfer cop sounds awfully like a ripoff of the resident surfer cops and best-developed characters in the Wambaugh Hollywood series: Flotsam and Jetsam.


                1. Yes, precisely, it is Renee who is slated to be the heroine of the next Connelly novel. I heard (in the advertisement blurb) that Bosch and Renee will be joining together on a murder case. This might also be the hand-off novel, where Bosch actually retires (or is killed), leaving the legacy to Renee. This novel is slated for publication in the fall, I believe.


                2. Bosch’s daughter – Maddie, isn’t it? – also wants to be a cop, and has taken several steps toward that career, so we may see her resurface as well.


  5. India buying NASAMS 2 to protect its capitalIndia buying NASAMS 2 to protect its capital

    News reports from India says the Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC), chaired by Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has approved the “acceptance of necessity (AoN)” to buy the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System 2(NASAMS 2) to defend its capital.

    The deal is rumored to be worth $1 billion. The NASAMS 2 is currently deployed in the United States to protect Washington D.C.


    From the source:

    …India wants to “assess the US response” on different issues, including its punitive sanctions regime under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that seeks to deter countries from buying Russian weapons or Iranian oil, before granting AoN to the helicopter project as well. ..

    …The US is moving towards granting waiver to India from CAATSA but it’s not yet cast in stone. India wants to ink the Rs 39,000 crore deal for five top-tier S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia later this year without the threat of financial sanctions from US, as was earlier reported by TOI. ..

    So not only does India have its own indigenous ‘two-tier’ BMD, it still seeks to buy Russia’s S-400 system and will buy NASAMS out of the blue. The latter looks like a bribe/help face saving/politiking. Buying the S-400 while still developing their own system makes sense. Blowing 1$b on US w**k really says a lot about Indian politics…


  6. Canada excluded from NAFTA trade talks between the USA and Mexico.


    US ‘trade czar’ Robert Lighthizer was quite candid that he hoped to strike a separate deal with Mexico (assessed to be the more malleable of the two, thanks to the recent election of a president who will apparently do anything to get along with the United States) and then use that as leverage to force Canada to make concessions, such as opening our markets to US dairy products.

    The freezeout is said by some to be motivated by Lighthizer’s personal dislike for the Canadian Foreign Minister for Ukraine, Chrystia Freeland. I could hardly blame him for that; I can’t stand her, either. But it’s quite something when your supposed strongest ally says up front that it intends to strike agreements behind your back on trade, and then use them to hammer you into capitulation, until you are more or less running your country for the benefit of American merchants. It’s hard to imagine America is not satisfied with being merely the supplier of more than 80% of our imports. But then, ask not what America can do for you, but what you can do for America.

    “Until Canada signals to the White House or tells them even privately ‘We’re going to give you something that you want,’ they’re going to be on the outside looking in,” said the person, citing private discussions with administration officials. “The negotiating style of the Trump administration is so kind of balls to the wall, just being prepared to sit down earnestly and roll up your sleeves isn’t close to enough at this stage.”

    So I guess we’re not friends any more. Suits me. But that raises a fundamental dilemma. Since we are going to have to seek other markets for trade, what to do about the Trans-Mountain Pipeline expansion? I personally feel a strong dislike for both trading with America on its terms as if nothing had happened, and increasing shipping traffic through sensitive environmental waters. But of the two, I have to say I am weakening on the pipeline, much as I loathe Rachel Notley and Alberta for their American-style brinksmanship. Of the two very tough choices, I would rather stop selling energy to the USA at a discount. In fact, if the previous NAFTA trade deal is null and void, why are we exporting oil and gas to the United States at all? Aren’t they, like, the world’s biggest energy exporter now, or something? Is there not an international market for oil and gas?


          1. I read that some of these monsters lost the use of their forearms almost completely. To the point where they only used them during sex. I mean, the man-dinosaur, to hold on to the lady-dino’s back. Otherwise he might have slipped off. Not sure why lady-dinosaurs kept their front limbs though, since they didn’t really need them. To carry a bag? Or maybe just because they looked kind of cool.


            1. Found this cute video which explores possible reasons for the retention of tiny forearms.

              The most convincing explanation though was on a Quora forum.

              Huge jaws with tremendous bite force capable of crushing bones need huge neck muscles and surrounding muscles to support the neck muscles. Also the animal’s centre of gravity is in its hips and legs (as it moved, the T rex leaned forward) so for the hips and legs to balance the big head, big jaws, big neck on one side and the heavy tail on the other during movement, the arms had to reduce to a size sufficient enough to grip or lift.


              1. Kangaroos are another example of this development path: Most of their weight is on their hinders, and they have much smaller front arms, though not completely vestigial.


                1. The mechanics might be similar and kangaroos do have heavy tails that balance the rest of their bodies while they’re bounding around although the original evolutionary pressures on their bodies were different. As herbivores subject to predation, kangaroos need to move fast but the low nutrient content of Australian grasses (Australia being an old continent with low tectonic activity -> thin and poor soils) combined with marsupial metabolism (lower than for placental mammals) and having to carry an offspring in a pouch means they must use a more energy-efficient mode of movement and taking giant leaps with their hindlegs rather than running on all fours (which could also lose a baby) is that strategy. Having small front arms may have been a side development though kangaroos still use them when grazing and for cooling off (they lick their arms and then wipe their arms over their heads).


  7. Most American readers of Mark’s blog cannot help wondering about the roots of the seemingly never ending epidemic of California wild fires…..

    Charlotte’s comment nails it:

    Charlotte Ruse • 12 hours ago
    “Residential building is carried out wherever individual developers can turn a profit. They carry no liability for long-term risks. Moreover, soaring housing costs have driven people to seek lower rents outside the cities in smaller towns and suburbs with greater risks.”

    ***Every aspect of society has been commodified and monetized.***

    Basic needs such as housing or government services are not determined by logic or how it will best serve the population, but is purely based on whether it will yield a profit. In other words, the rationale behind every action is correlated to whether the politically connected can accumulate greater wealth.

    The late stages of capitalism exposes it’s predatory nature in it’s most extreme form–corruption becomes rampant and overt. There’s no attempt to hide the rapacious exploitation of the ruling class. That’s why Trump without any hesitation can give tax cuts to the wealthy and then an additional $100 billion in bonuses. And that’s why both the Republicans and the Democrats can unanimously allocate $716 billion to the military enhancing the riches of the already wealthy war profiteers while 30 million Americans do not have healthcare and 40 million cannot afford food, their rent, or healthcare.”

    And Remember..????…..

    “Business-friendly governments in Britain — first under Labor and then under the Conservatives — campaigned to pare back regulations. A 2005 law known as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order ended a requirement for government inspectors to certify that buildings had met fire codes, and shifted instead to a system of self-policing. Governments adopted slogans calling for the elimination of at least one regulation for each new one that was imposed, and the authorities in charge of fire safety took this to heart.

    “If you think more fire protection would be good for U.K. business, then you should be making the case to the business community, not the government,” Brian Martin, the top civil servant in charge of drafting building-safety guidelines, told an industry conference in 2011, quoting the fire minister then, Bob Neill. (“Should we be looking to regulate further? ‘No’ would be my answer,’” Mr. Neill added.)

    Mr. Martin, a former surveyor for large-scale commercial projects like the Canary Wharf, told his audience to expect few new regulations because the prime minister at the time, David Cameron, wanted to greatly reduce the burden on industry, according to a report by the conference organizers.

    But in Britain, still no changes were made. “The construction industry appears to be stronger and more powerful than the safety lobby,” said Ronnie King, a former fire chief who advises the parliamentary fire safety group. “Their voice is louder.”


    1. Forecast: the emerging conventional wisdom about the Grenfell disaster will never acknowledge the contribution of residents leaving rubbish (including discarded furniture) in stairways and replacing fire-resistant front doors with more aesthetically pleasing articles which proved to be the proverbial chocolate fireguards. The authorities bear responsibility for their renovations, certainly, but also for their failure to incur unpopularity by enforcing safe practices within the blocks.
      Enforcement is the name of the game now.


  8. Here are some of the ‘racially inferior’ women..according to the nazis:

    Funny..Miss Ukraine is smokin’ hot..but she looks anything but ‘aryan’…LOL!!!


  9. “The participants in the Bratislava meeting discussed the situation in Europe and point out that the increasing activity on the part of the forces of revanchism, militarism, and neo-Nazism in West Germany directly affects the security of socialist States and creates a threat to the cause of world peace. We shall continue consistently to pursue a concerted policy in European affairs in keeping with the common interests of the socialist countries and the interests of European security, and shall continue to rebuff any attempts to revise the results of the Second World War and violate the frontiers that have taken shape in Europe.

    We shall continue to insist that the Munich Agreements were null and void from the very outset. We shall continue to render resolute support to the German Democratic Republic. We shall go on rendering constant support to the Communist Party of Germany and to all forces which fight against militarism and revanchism
    and for democratic progress…

    ****Now, when the imperialist forces of the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, and other countries are flaunting their aggressive activity and making persistent attempts to weaken the socialist community, the representatives of the fraternal parties consider it necessary to emphasise once again the particular significance of the Warsaw Treaty… The treaty raises an insurmountable obstacle in the path of all those who would like to revise the results of the Second World War.***
    (Yup…sound about right in 2018)
    It securely protects the gains of socialism and the sovereignty and independence of the fraternal States. It is aimed at consolidating European security and preserving world peace.”

    Hmmm…Perhaps VVP and the Kremlin crew should update and reissue Bratislava 2018….!!!!



  10. Oh, dear; Ukraine has more or less lost its case before the WTO, in which it wept that Russia’s unfair imposition of an embargo on its railway cars and rolling stock constituted a violation which caused a former $3.2 Billion in annual sales – more than it realizes from transit fees for carrying Russian gas to Europe – to collapse to $150 Million. The WTO bought the Russian rationale that Russian inspectors going to Ukraine to ensure the product conformed to Russian standards would be in fear of their lives.

    But the WTO ruled that the security situation was such that Russian inspectors sent to check that Ukraine’s exports complied with Russian standards would have been risking their lives, and Russia was therefore justified in not sending them to Ukraine.

    “The panel fully agreed with Russia’s position and recognized that there was no systematic restriction of imports of Ukrainian equipment by Russia,” Russia’s Ministry of Trade and Economy said in a statement.

    The WTO did go on to say Russia could have carried out the inspections outside Ukraine, but therein lies a sandbag to the head that Ukraine probably spotted already – if Russian inspectors found shoddy work or any other reason to refuse the offered goods, to say nothing of the probability that no contracting position between the two countries even exists any more, then Ukraine would be out the sale plus whatever costs it incurred to ship the goods outside Ukraine.


    Gosh! Is Ukraine’s Russophobia beginning to blow up in its face?


  11. Mueller tries to pull off the old

    “See: I’m not biased against the POTUS and never have been, cos I’m investigating the Dems, too. So I need to continue my impartial work forever” scam:


    1. “…anything he unearths about Russian election interference..” Future tense, as in not yet accomplished as of this date. Mueller landed himself a good gig, but you can bet he has discovered a great deal about ‘foreign money flowing into Washington’ which will never be told, because it’s not good politics, and has nothing to do with Russia. I daresay a significant amount flows out of Washington as well, for intrigues and influence-peddling abroad.


        1. Subjunctive mood, as in wishful but ultimately deluded thinking on the part of Mueller and the two NYT writers of the article.


  12. Defense News via alert5.com: France to remove American component from SCALP

    France has decided to remove an American component from the SCALP cruise missile so that it can proceed with a new sale of Rafale fighters to Egypt.

    The follow-on sale has been delayed as Washington is refusing to grant export of the weapon.

    French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told the Committee for National Defense and Armed Forces says manufacturer MBDA is now researching on replacing the part with its own.
    Source https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2018/08/01/a-jet-sale-to-egypt-is-being-blocked-by-a-us-regulation-and-france-is-over-it/

    But, but Les Grenouilles under ‘tite Nicolas Le Psycho Sarkozy a joine OTAN! Does. Not. Compute! Oh, hang on a mo, €€€.


    1. If it were up to Macron, he would try to find a way to not hurt American feelings, because he is nearly as pro-American as Sarkozy was. But it is instructive to see European thinking starting to focus on being less dependent on the United States. Because as we know, such decisions are not taken lightly, but once the process is set in motion it is hard to reverse, as a bias against American products takes hold.

      If the French are successful – and there is no reason to believe they will not be, they’re not stupid and are perfectly capable of engineering the component themselves – they will strut a bit, and it will encourage other countries. I read a lengthy article on Robert Lighthizer today, and his philosophy where it comes to trade and trade law. He and The Donald are like two peas in the same pod when it comes to The Art Of The Deal; both believe the US is regarded as Uncle Sucker, and that the whole world has been taking advantage of America, and that it is going to stop now. Both believe you go into trade negotiations hard, threatening that something terrible is going to happen if Country B does not stop generating subsidies for product whatever, so that American products are less competitive or not competitive at all. Then you indicate you might back off a little if Country B voluntarily loosened up a little. It’s all about establishing a penetration point, and then just pushing and pushing. Other articles in the same edition (The National Post; here’s the Lighthizer article) speculate that Canada will have to give up something in order to placate the big bad wolf, probably dropping our dairy subsidy so the market can be flooded with cheap US milk and cheese. Some of those articles also suggest some Canadians agree the subsidy is unfair, so it will really be no skin off our ass if we capitulate. Number one, it will only encourage further American bullying, and number two, the US dairy industry shamelessly overproduces while our own industry is tightly controlled, and the probable result would be the Wal-Mart set would trample over one another to buy cheap American dairy products, and our own industry would go under, all except for the big farms. Then we would be more or less 100% dependent on American Big Ag.

      What the Trump government’s bigwigs actually know about trade, you could put in your eye – everybody is supposed to feel sorry for poor America when everyone is picking on it, but as soon as it’s on top it is strutting and beating its chest and blabbering about can-do and exceptionalism. And what they don’t seem to get is that once marketing patterns change, it can be quite a while before they return to previous grooves, and companies go under in that time because modern business relies on continuous expansion and the capturing of more market share. The Trump government is working overtime at manufacturing distaste and dislike for America. Canada will have a hard time getting out from under the American thumb, because almost 80% of our exports go to the USA, and it is so easy and cheap to ship goods by semi-trailer because we share a common border. But Europe is by no means in the same situation, and can probably find alternate markets for nearly everything it buys from the USA – much of it is solely for the purpose of reciprocal trade, and many of the goods Europe sends to America can be absorbed by the domestic market; it just needs a little rejigging. Trump’s way and Lighthizer’s way is to just bludgeon the USA’s trading partners until they are buying more American goods than they are selling their own goods to America in every market, without exception. And that’s not going to happen.

      Once things settle down – and they will, eventually – brand America is still going to stink out loud for a lot of Canadians, and they will not buy anything American unless they have no choice because Canada or a better-liked ally doesn’t make anything like it. I notice a huge difference in labeling already in supermarkets, with lots of products labeled “100% Canadian” or branded with a maple leaf so shoppers know it is a Canadian product. American products may not be being spurned altogether, but if they are selling less than last year, that’s a failure. And if they’re not selling, their makers will have to search for other markets where the possibility of expansion is there, and gradually those brands will disappear in Canada.

      But it is hugely unfortunate that it had to turn out this way, because free trade is good for business. It should be understood that – in the case of Canada vs. the United States – some industries will do better in each country than others; the USA should be satisfied with Canada buying more from America than it sells to it, which it does. But no – America must have an advantage in every sale.

      Well, fuck that.

      “Free traders “oppose any trade limitations, even if we must depend on foreign countries to feed ourselves or equip our military,” Lighthizer wrote, echoing his current defence of Trump’s national-security-based steel tariffs.”

      But he apparently has no problem at all with other countries depending on the United States to feed themselves and/or equip their military. The USA is the biggest arms dealer in the world, and in its trade negotiations with other countries it consistently tries to steamroller domestic subsidies so its own agricultural products (often including GMO fruit and vegetables) can compete.


      1. Just saw this via the piece on JC:

        Politico.eu: German bomb debate goes nuclear

        …“If Germany was to relinquish its status as a non-nuclear power, what would prevent Turkey or Poland, for example, from following suit?” Wolfgang Ischinger, the head of the Munich Security Conference and a former German ambassador to the U.S., asked in response to Hacke’s essay. “Germany as the gravedigger of the international non-proliferation regime? Who can want that?”

        Indeed, given how important maintaining the international order is to Germany’s political establishment, it’s hard to imagine it taking such a drastic step…

        …Ischinger and others have suggested that instead of building its own nuclear capability, Germany might consider helping to fund France’s arsenal as part of a Europe-wide “extended deterrence” strategy under the banner of a European defense union.

        Even if Paris was to agree, however, such a shift would take years to realize.

        A study last year by the research department of the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, concluded that while there aren’t any legal restrictions to co-financing another country’s nuclear arsenal, there would be no discernible advantage for Germany beyond the status quo. In other words, Germany’s membership of NATO and the EU already put it under France and the U.K.’s nuclear protection…

        Much of what I was thinking, though I disagree that it would take years for such an agreement to be put in to place. It’s ideal as the Germans get to have their cake and eat it. As for reports that ‘nothing’ works in the German military, I’m fairly sure that their nuclear tasked Tornado squadron is fully supported, as is the Dutch, Belgian and other squadrons. There’s a reason we don’t hear about them much…


  13. Ratheyon ‘Death cumz easy 2 us’ via alert5.com: Raytheon to produce 250 MALDs

    The U.S. Air Force has given Raytheon a $96.1 million contract to produce 250 Miniature Air-Launched Decoys (MALD).

    The company recently completed the delivery of the 1000th MALD system.

    I posted about MALDs previously. If we wonder about the likelihood of the US attacking I-ran, then they need to tool up. MALDs are used to saturate enemy air defenses to soak up their missiles and destroy IADS, so the fact that the US now has delivered the 1,000th ‘system’ (is that 1,000 individual MALDs or 1,000 MALD ‘systems’, i.e. a lot more) tells us that the logistics for such an operation (I can’t think of another country with IADS that the US is thinking of bombing soon, publicly) is in the pipeline. Whether they will is a different question entirely, but once all the logistics are in place, it can happen at any time. Mostly useless without ground troops – any MEK support will be turned in to mincemeat. What we do know about the US is that nothing is off the table however retarded, self-defeating or devastating for the entire region. If anything, the lower the IQ, the more likely it will happen, god help us all. When I wrote last year that 2018 would be even crazier than 2017, I wasn’t joking. August surprise anyone?


  14. As an added sweetener, they were sent in as tourists. The whole enterprise looks more like a ritual of human sacrifice than anything else – but whereas livestock must be dragged to the bloody altar, the liberal is such a dutiful beast that he walks to it of his own accord.

    I’d say Orhan Dzhemal’s death is a gain to the human race:

    (Tl;dr,Dzhemal praised Odessa massacre as it ‘saved lives’)

    Anyone who would keep company with him is probably equally worthless.


    1. Here is what the Grauniad has to say about this dodgy team of imperialist agents that Khodor sent into Africa:


      The final 4 paragraphs of the story, Graun recaps the prerequisite aria about Russia being no place for journalists (even though this crew was actually killed in Africa):

      “Russia is one of the world’s more dangerous countries for journalists. At least 58 journalists have died violent deaths in the country since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. ” (blah blah) … goes on to list the usual gang of dead journalists starting with Politkovskaya…


      1. The Fraudian article reads like a cut-n-paste job. Perhaps its newsrooms are already being staffed by robots with AI, pulling whatever bits’n’bytes have been written in the past and mashing them together to generate articles with the whiff of staleness.


      2. Yes, totally irrelevant as the country they came from had nothing whatsoever to do with the hour or the manner of their deaths, but is capitalized upon to bash that country as British journalists are wont to do.


          1. Here is the post that I did.
            It is mostly a recap of the Roth insinuations, and then a short VZGLIAD piece which offers some additional info that could lead to a different “theory” of the murder.
            Currently there are around 3 ongoing theories: (1) Kremlin-linked mercenaries, (2) local residents, or (3) thieves who were after their pickup truck.


    1. Too tough to call for me without knowing more about the appearance of the gun and the victim’s behavior; in many cases now, police deadly force is triggered as much by the victim’s refusal to obey orders as by the appearance of a weapon. And with the entrance on the scene of cartoonish 3-D printed plastic guns, you’re likely to see a lot more such incidents in which people will ask afterward, “How could you have thought that was a gun?” The young man was likely not capable of understanding “drop the weapon and kneel with your hands in the air”, or whatever arrest procedures in such circumstances are in Sweden. But police can hardly tolerate someone who might be just pretending to be mentally handicapped waving what they believe to be a loaded gun around. As many times as the police have done amazingly stupid things, they are kind of often in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation in which if they had hesitated and some bystander had been shot, Monday-morning quarterbacks would have howled, “Why didn’t you do something sooner? You could see he had a gun!”

      It’s very unfortunate, but seems more to me like a tragic mistake than deliberate misuse of force or incompetence, and somebody of such diminished capacity should probably not be allowed to wander about alone; quite apart from trigger-happy police, there are all manner of unscrupulous folk who could take advantage of him.


      1. Surely at 4 am in the morning in Stockholm at this time of the year (summer), the sun is already rising and people may already be out and about? Depending on the area where the incident occurred, some people might already be walking or jogging as part of their morning routines or alternately going home after a night out. It might not be unusual even for children to be outdoors at this time in Stockholm.

        Three police officers shot this guy with Down’s syndrome. There is a photo of the victim in Et Al’s link. He has that distinctive facial look and the thick-set appearance. A major part of Down’s syndrome is the poor muscle tone which means as they grow up the victims look fat and dumpy and they have poor control over muscles in their faces (this explains why in some people they can’t control their mouths and the tongue is almost falling out). Surely three night patrol police officers with half a brain and a torch among them can see the guy had Down’s syndrome and was not likely to be a threat to them?


        1. Let us not forget the ‘anti-terrorist’ climate of the last 17 years that has lead to a very high state of alert by Intelligence services all the way down to the armed po-lice at the sharp end. The margin is gone.

          One of you not so long ago reminded us of Jean-Charles de Menezes who was shot down by UK anti-terror police over a decade ago because he legged it out of the tube. The kind of hair-trigger alert, clearly from high above, has not reduced. I see this latest ‘incident’ as very much in that vein, only the country is different. That they cannot tell the difference between a toy gun and a real one is deeply disturbing too as toy guns continue to be widely and openly sold. I could have picked up a full-sized AK-74 replica at a flea market a year ago if I wanted. Did they see what they wanted to see and skipped the ‘is it fake?’ check list. Either way, it’s not got any better.


          1. I suspect it is analogous to the bomb threat, which is always treated as real even if you’re fairly sure it’s not – you can’t afford to be wrong. There have been several cases lately in which the American police have shot people holding a cell phone or other non-gunlike object because they are so keyed up over the possibility they will be shot at. But realistically, toy guns have no place in a public setting, especially in a violent gun culture, and they certainly have no place being carried around in public by an adult, because the police (like most people) tend to view toy guns as exclusively for small children. An adult who carries around a realistic-looking toy gun is asking to be shot, that;s just a reality. As I mentioned, you probably can’t get away now with carrying a toy gun as an adult if it is bright red with a blue trigger, because of the emergence of printed guns.

            I’m also pretty sure there is no ‘is it fake?’ checklist in the case of a potential gun carried by somebody who might be about to shoot you. A bullet travels pretty fast and you don’t have time to dick around. If you have the advantage of surprise, you probably have time to yell ‘drop the gun and raise both hands’, but that’s probably it and if the suspect whirls toward you instead of immediately throwing away whatever he/she is holding, he/she is likely to be shot. The biggest factor in your favour as both police officer and potential police officer’s target is the notorious inaccuracy of handguns at anything but point-blank range.


        2. Well, based on the data here


          I’d be hard pushed to fault the actions of the officers involved. Pre-dawn murky light (at best) faced with an apparently armed individual who is not responding to calls to do something necessary to ensure a safe outcome…

          Suicide by cop is a recognised phenomenon. Maybe this was euthanasia by cop? Interesting to know how he came to be outside with the toy gun at that hour…


          1. Ah, thanks for the information about sunrise / sunset times and the temperature in Stockholm.

            I have read a little bit more about the shooting … Eric Torell’s family had reported him missing. I presume family members gave a description of him to police and added that he had Down’s syndrome plus autism apparently. On top of that, neighbours in the area also contacted police after he visited them and showed them his plastic gun which they thought was real. The neighbours must have also described him to police. I wonder if the police failed to realise the two reports were of the same individual. Another possibility is that the family and the neighbours might have called separate police stations and the two stations did not contact each other.


        3. I couldn’t say; I’m not a policeman and I don’t know how someone thinks who is part of such a potentially violent occupation. But I suspect that when they see a gun or think they see a gun or another policeman shouts ‘gun!!’, that’s all they tend to see and the threat’s features are a blur to them.


          1. Considering that law enforcement is the US is not a particularly dangerous occupation, this constant refrain of fear and personal danger is getting old. Police do not even make the top ten list .


            More details:

            Fifty-one police officers were killed on the job in 2016, according to BLS (not including traffic deaths). That’s a 50% increase from the 34 police homicides in 2015, but still historically low compared to the early 1990s. The 2016 figure includes five Dallas police officers who were fatally shot that July by a gunman who said he was upset by police shootings of black men.

            Yet police killings in the US are over 1,000 per year.

            From this data, the authors estimated that at least 1,166 people were killed by police in the U.S. in 2015. The news-based system counted over 93 percent of the deaths, while NVSS captured less than 45 percent.



  15. Neuters via Antiwar.com: U.S. Senator Paul to visit Russia to promote diplomacy

    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov will meet U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a proponent of encouraging diplomacy with Russia amid tense relations, in Moscow on Aug. 6, the senator’s office said on Thursday. …

    …“Senator Rand Paul is a proponent of diplomacy and is supporting President Donald J. Trump in engaging around the world. He looks forward to his meetings,” Paul’s office said in a statement on Thursday. No further information was available about the trip, including who else might be in the delegation. …


    Sources via Antiwar.com: US Senators Announce Russia Sanctions ‘Bill From Hell’

    Bill intends to sanction Russian ‘oligarchs,’ restrict energy projects

    The Russian Ruble dropped Thursday to a near-term low after bipartisan US senators announced what they are calling a “bill from hell” round of new sanctions and restrictions targeting the Russian economy and leadership.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the leading proponents of the bill, said the massive present US sanctions against Russia have failed, saying that all of these new sanctions are needed to “punish” Russia.

    As currently envisioned, the sanctions target a number of top Russian politicians and “oligarchs.” The bill also aims to severely restrict Russia’s ability to raise sovereign debt, and to restrict their ability to seek investment in energy projects.

    There is no timeline for a vote on the bill yet, but reportedly some senators are also lining up to offer amendments adding yet more sanctions or other measures against Russia. This could go on for quite awhile, with almost the whole Senate looking to one-up each other on being anti-Russia these days, and could mean an actual vote won’t happen.

    It looks to me that with the mid-terms coming up and showing diplomacy with Russia not taking a hit with Republican voters, this further push by Rand Paul looks to make the Dems look and sound even more extreme, maybe drawing disgusted voters to the Republican camp..


    1. This is just America pretending to itself that it controls the global economy and that it can strangle any country economically at a time of its choosing – I am frankly surprised to see them continually trying harder when their efforts to date have had such negligible success. I suppose the Senate needs something to do to make itself look busy and necessary. But all this will achieve is further cementing of America as an enemy of Russia in the eyes of ordinary Russians – should a future US government decide that was a mistake, and soft power is the way to go, it will not be able to make any progress for around 50 years, and a great deal of hard work and careful relationship-building has been thrown away. American businesses must be finding it increasingly difficult to continue operations in Russia, and Asian companies must be acing them out for market share. Altogether a continuing exercise in stupidity and willful blindness – if America wants to destroy Russia, it is eventually going to have to take it on in a head-on military confrontation. Because its efforts to destroy it economically are failing and will continue to fail. Not to mention that they are building sympathy around the world – outside North America – for Russia. America has to understand that while it is enjoying playing “I’m crushing Russia”, it has consequences and it will not be able to make things up for a generation.

      I’m not quite sure what Paul thinks he might achieve with this, but he certainly is not going to make any friends in Russia, and he certainly is not going to have any leverage to make changes in American policy so long as the Russophobic majority has the bit in its teeth. He’s basically just wasting the taxpayers’ money on a junket to Moscow. Alternatively, he might be going to measure Russian desperation, to see if there is any possibility the country can be brought to its knees without having to fight it.


    1. All US leadership generally fit what you describe. Trump is the lesser of many evils. The mobilization of the deep state to remove Trump should tell you something.


  16. Check Point Asia: America’s New Ford-Class Is a Study in How NOT to Build a Carrier

    It’s an ‘aircraft carrier’ that can not launch aircraft

    Pres. Donald Trump used the Navy’s next-generation aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, as a backdrop to unveil his vision for the next defense budget in March 2017.

    The moment was meant to symbolize his commitment to rebuilding the military, but it also positioned the president in front of a monument to the Navy’s and defense industry’s ability to justify spending billions in taxypayer dollars on unproven technologies that often deliver worse performance at a higher cost….

    A lot more at the link.

    I knew it was bad, but not this bad. The EMALS catapults cannot operate or be repeaired independently of each other!!!!

    This, from the same site, is interesting too

    Forget Super-Carriers. At Most Russia Could Do With a Light Carrier for the Mediterranean

    A former Soviet officer weighs in on the Russian carrier debate saga

    Summary: Seeing how anti-ship missiles now outrange carrier-based aircraft, the role of any carrier has been relegated to action against second-rate opponents. In that context Russia can do with a single light carrier to prop up friends in the Middle East and North Africa…

    I’ve seen the argument that more and smaller carriers is the way to go, cheaper, mix ‘n’ match per mission to go with extra fries if necessary. Going head-to-head on carriers makes no sense as Russia does not seek to become a global hegemon like the US. The Syria operation has shown that limited goals matched with sufficient equipment and manpower and a steady approach is the way to go. Not to mention the cost of mega carriers….


    1. Again, the USA is currently still the best at aircraft-carrier operations, and it uses the carrier task group when it wants to put a US airbase within striking range of a target where one does not currently exist. Fukuyama the-end-of-history sweeping statements like “Seeing how anti-ship missiles now outrange carrier-based aircraft, the role of any carrier has been relegated to action against second-rate opponents” oversimplifies the equation. Aircraft carriers never go anywhere on their own in wartime or even in periods of tension, they are heavily escorted, and unless you know which one is the carrier you cannot engage from ‘beyond the range of carrier-based aircraft’. The escorts are there to provide antimissile defense to the carrier, one missile is usually not going to destroy a carrier, and you are probably going to have to fire off a blizzard of missiles to be sure of getting it. There is still a role for the aircraft carrier, and it is still to project air power into any theatre where you don’t currently have airbases.

      It’s true, though, that Russia does not need a fleet of large carriers as it does not seek to project power beyond its region. Assault carriers like the MISTRALs are probably big enough, they carry helicopters, and regional power projection could be dome with the army rather than the air force. Many Russian aircraft can also fly out and land from rough strips, so Russian air cover would still be a possibility in many scenarios.


      1. I don’t disagree Mark, but it is precisely that pedigree of decades of design and operation that makes the mind boggle at some of the choices made to include immature designs such as EMALS. Sure, there are always hiccups in military programs and they do go over budget (for the usual reasons), but when something so fundamental to operations like this gets through, you have to wonder where all the competent people have gone. It’s not even an isolated incident (Zumwalts) etc., the UKs spanking 1b quid Type 45s not able to operate properly in water that is too warm (the Gulf), the F-35 ping-pong choice farrago and the apparently common carrier design with the Frogs. I can at least understand the Brits because they want to play with the big boys but are inveterate penny-pinchers, but it looks like the US MIC is taking the mick.

        As for the actual raison d’etre for US carriers since the new policy of China containment in place since the 1990s, we have news like this:

        The Diplomat: A Closer Look at the ASEAN-China Single Draft South China Sea Code of Conduct

        A sneak peek at the ASEAN-China Single Draft Code of Conduct in the South China Sea Negotiating Text.

        Whither the US?


        1. A great failing of several modern militaries is the drive to design jack-of-all-trades systems, except they like to call it ‘multirole’. There were some early successes with minesweepers and small-boat classes in which the design accommodated lift-out-drop-in modules which enhanced certain capabilities, maybe a side-scan sonar, that kind of thing, something the ship didn’t need all the time. So there was a certain amount of ‘mission tailoring’, and the concept has long fascinated military planners. Taken to its extreme, you can end up with something like the F35 fighter-bomber, which is actually not any good at either, a supposed multirole aircraft that actually does nothing very well. There have been efforts as well to make frigates do everything, so a lightweight and less-capable air defense/surface attack/antisubmarine warfare suite has been mated up to general-purpose sensors, and results in a half-assed capability at each, whereas if you optimize a ship for air defense, that’s more or less all it does, and its radar is purpose-built to detect and track aircraft (with separate low-cost systems, of course, for navigation so you can get from place to place). But that means bigger navies, and the bean-counters don’t like that.


          1. To be fair, I have a whole bunch of “multi tools” which I sucker myself into buying (“oh, great: a pair of pliers which I can also use for fishing, ironing clothes and digging up dandelion roots – just the job!”) and which may, occasionally, get used to hold down the edges of wrapping paper but otherwise lie unloved in a drawer or toolbox. Why should the military be any different? Well, an acquaintance in the procurement business once told me that the essential difference between the amateur and the professional buyer is that the latter should be able to give honest answers to two questions:
            Does it do what we need it for?
            Would you buy it for that price and in that condition with your own money?


      2. All true yet a single hit, for example, by the hypersonic Kinzhal with a 480 kg warhead, would, in my inexpert opinion, knock a carrier out of action. it would be easy to imagine that missile timed to explode somewhere in the middle of the hull. The kinetic energy alone would ensure destruction across the entire breadth of the ship. It would be hell below decks. I just can’t see the ship continuing operations.

        If Russia can indeed install up to four (4) Kinzhals on a single Tu-23M and if the range of the missile is indeed 3,000 km, it would seem a few of these aircraft can degrade an entire US aircraft carrier group from a rather safe distance.

        Targeting would be an issue yet between satellites, aircraft and subs, there ought to be enough data to get the missile in the general vicinity.

        Although there is a lot of hype about weapons systems, the Kinzhal seems to be the real thing.




        1. There is no dispute that it can install 4 of them on the Tu-23M. If a Mig-31 can carry one and there is video of it doing so, then the much larger Tu-23M can handle 4. The Kinzhal is actually not that massive, which speaks to its very high level of propulsion technology (something no NATzO prick can understand).

          The top range was claimed to be 2000 km. But this is not some “wild claim”. The faster a missile flies the longer its range. At Mach 10 it takes 9.7 minutes to reach 2000 km:

          2000000 m/ 3430 m/s = 583 s = 9.72 minutes

          This is reasonable since a missile with a 1 minute burn would be basically useless. Mach 10 is likely the peak speed, so the flight duration of the Kinzhal must be over 20 minutes.


          1. The Kinzhal lineage includes the Iskander missile which itself is not a ballistic missile. I believe that its engine fires for the entire flight and never flies a ballistic trajectory making it more of a cruise missile albeit at hypersonic speed.


            1. Solid rocket fuel technology in Russia has evolved tremendously since the 1980s. But one never hears about this. The Kinzhal is made possible by recent advances in fuel.


        2. Warships are compartmented to enhance survivability, and incapacitating one depends on what you took out – engineering, the operations room, the bridge, maybe a magazine or a fuel tank, any of those would make it a bad day, often as much the irreplaceable professionals who would be killed as much as physical damage. But continuing to play devil’s advocate, a range of let’s say 3000 km is just as far as it will fly before it runs out of fuel, and not the range at which it can be fired against a carrier task group and single out the carrier. I’m just concerned that people are confusing the maximum range with the maximum range at which it can accurately be fired against a target. It’s a little like a bullet, whose overal range exceeds the range at which it can be accurately fired by quite a bit.

          The hypersonic thing is a game-changer, though – even if the firing location was unable to determine which was the carrier (it’s usually a good policy to start at the center and work outward), the screening unts would be theoretically unable to do anything to stop such a weapon. So someone who possessed such a weapon could just keep shooting until they got it.


          1. The Exocet missile that sunk the Sheffield in 1982 was a rinky dink toy compared to the Kinzhal.


            It has a total mass of 670 kg and a peaks at 0.92 Mach. The Kinzhal has a mass of about 4000 kg (https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/kinzhal/). The damage done to an air craft carrier done by the Kinzhal would huge and simply the kinetic energy of say 1 ton of metal traveling at Mach 10 would produce a rupture right through the hull. It would more than likely result in the splitting of the carrier hull or loose attachment between two sections. In either case the carrier would be rendered inoperative for its function and would be scrap. The compartments would prevent instant sinking and would save the lives of lots of sailors.

            Since the Kinzhal has a roughly 500 kg warhead, it could do much more damage than the kinetic impact. And much more than the Exocet.

            As for range. That depends on the fuel load of the missile. This particular one would have around 3,000 kg of fuel or more. That is substantial. And we are not dealing here with an ICBM. There is no 10,000 km of range. For naval engagements a 1,000-2,000 km (assuming 3,000 km max) range is very generous. That is over the horizon flight like an IRBM.


            1. True, but SHEFFIELD was lost not due to immediate destruction caused by the missile, but the resulting fire that burned out of control and forced the crew to abandon her. I don’t think any of the missile attacks in the Falklands war resulted in more than 20 dead from the strike itself. Not to downplay death, but that’s not a lot considering how closely the crew are packed in a warship. And SHEFFIELD was a long way from the size of a carrier.


              1. Enough of the fire suppression system was damaged to allow a fire to do in the ship. This would be true for any other ship. The ratio of kinetic energy of the Kinzhal to the Exocet is:

                (m_1 * M_1^2) / (m_2 * M_2 ^2) = (1000 * 10^2) / (300 * 0.92^2) = 394

                Where I assume that the final impact mass of the Kinzhal is 1000 kg and the Exocet is 300 kg.

                Then we have modern high energy explosive warhead of 500 kg vs a 1970s warhead of 165 kg. I would guess that the energy ratio between these two is 5 or higher. We should not forget that Russia designed the Kinzhal to be able to destroy an air craft carrier. It is quite credible that they have achieved this ability.


                1. That might have been a factor, but what doomed SHEFFIELD was her construction, which featured extensive use of aluminum in her superstructure to reduce overall weight. The melting point of aluminum is far lower than steel, and it was this that made it impossible for the crew to contain the fire. And that would not be true of any ship; in fact, the use of aluminum in ship construction was catching on at the time, but it hit a wall after the Falklands. US Navy ships are all-steel to the very best of my knowledge, although a few very specialized small boats might incorporate some structural aluminum .


            2. Agreed that the 3,000 km range stated in the article was likely an exaggeration. The range is dependent to some degree of the launching altitude and initial velocity. The Mig-31 is an extremely powerful aircraft so presumably it launches the missile from, say, over 50,000 ft and at supersonic speeds. If four (4) missiles can be carried internally in the Tu-23M, the launch speed and altitude could be similar.

              The officially stated value of 2,000 km is significantly greater than the Iskander missile but it carries a smaller warhead and is launched from high altitude and high speed. Regarding targeting; per Wikipedia:

              Targets can be located not only by satellite and aircraft but also by a conventional intelligence center, by an artillery observer, or from aerial photos scanned into a computer. The missiles can be re-targeted during flight in the case of engaging mobile targets.[12] Another unique feature of Iskander-M [20] is the optically guided warhead, which can also be controlled by encrypted radio transmission, including such as those from AWACS or UAV. The electro-optical guidance system provides a self-homing capability. The missile’s on-board computer receives images of the target, then locks onto the target with its sight and descends towards it at supersonic speed.

              …According to some rumors, in flight, the missile follows a quasi-ballistic path, performing evasive maneuvers in the terminal phase of flight and releasing decoys in order to penetrate missile defense systems. The missile never leaves the atmosphere as it follows a relatively flat trajectory. The missile is controlled during the whole flight with gas-dynamic and aerodynamic control surfaces. It uses small fins to reduce its radar signature.[21]

              The Russian Iskander-M travels at a hypersonic speed of 2100–2600 m/s (Mach 6–7) and an altitude of 50 km. The Iskander-M weighs 4,615 kg, carries a warhead of 710–800 kg, has a range of 500 km and achieves a circular error probable (CEP) of 5–7 meters (when coupled with optical homing head; 30-70 m in autonomous application [22] ).

              The Kinzhal likely has substantially improved performance in all aspects (speed, range, targeting, maneuverability, etc.) over the Iskander. I think that the main question is the ability of a US carrier to soak up the damage of a 480 kg warhead traveling at hypersonic speeds not to mention the added damage from the missile body and any remaining unburned fuel. I suppose a lot will depend on the exact location of impact and detonation. It may take 10-20 missiles to ensure that the entire battle group is degraded but that would be incredibly favorable ROI.


              1. I think it is safe to say that the full ability of the Iskander is not advertised. Russia likely limits it to conform to the INF Treaty.

                There was a distinct attenuation of WWIII hysteria after Putin’s announcement of these wunder waffen. So American generals must have been informed by their experts that US Naval assets have been made substantially more obsolete than they were already. In particular, Russia is able to outpace any carrier defense capability. And one Kinzhal is enough to wreak any US carrier. Without the carrier, its battle group is rather useless.


                1. I’d like to see some realistic tests, against a moving, hardened target with some remotely-operated or automatic air defenses, something approximating an operational USN aircraft carrier. Shooting at obsolete ships anchored in the middle of a test range is harder than it looks, but still not very representative of the difficulty of attacking a manned and maneuvering ship which is expecting an attack and has mobilized its defenses. I understand current defenses cannot cope with a hypersonic missile, but just the same I would like to see a realistic test. In fact, it would be much to Russia’s advantage to conduct one, and have it turn out the weapon is every bit as dangerous as advertised.


                2. Why do you think that air craft carriers are fortresses on water? They are tubs like any other ship. Compartmentalized or not. The shrapnel from the Kinzhal will slice through any ship hull and partition metal literally like a hot knife through butter. It will not bounce off like some 22 caliber pistol round. It will not be confined to one side of the ship. It will perforate it lengthwise if the impact is from the stern or bow.

                  The speed achieves two goals at once: 1) rendering any defense Gatling gun and missiles useless and 2) doing more damage since the kinetic energy scales as the the square of the speed.

                  Here is a video of the ancient Moskit supersonic missile impact on a large, compartmentalized ship:



                3. The Moskit video showed the shock wave from its supersonic flight hitting the water. The warhead clearly had a delayed detonation; going off some distance from the point of impact but still within the hull. Per Wikipedia, its warhead is actually smaller than the Khiznal at 300 KG (660 lb). I suppose that the effectiveness of a single hit on a carrier would depend on the points of impact and warhead explosion. It would seem that the carrier deck would have a substantial crater along with twisted main structural elements and the high probability of massive fires from aviation fuels and other combustibles. As a total guess, the affected area could have a radius of perhaps 60 feet meaning the entire width of the hull would be affected not to mention the missiles path through the hull to the point of detonation. Again a guess but one hit would likely take the carrier out of action as well as its entire air wing. Multiple hits would likely be needed to sink it but that would be an unneeded waste of firepower.


              2. Yes, that’s true – if things ever got to that stage, incapacitating an entire Carrier Battle Group (CBG) would be a message that could not be ignored or spun, and three times that many missiles would still be cheap if it resulted in the loss of the carrier alone. Targeting as described in the article mostly relates to feeding information on a target that does not move. Ships move, and the carrier group changes its disposition – although, as I said, the carrier is almost always in the middle because it’s difficult to effectively screen something that is not. But if target discrimination was no longer a factor, it would certainly make such an attack less complicated. Perhaps coordinated with a Kalibr cruise-missile strike from another direction.


  17. Just finished watching an episode “Air Disasters” – an excellent series that explore in detail and objectively aviation accidents. An episode just aired (Smithson channel) on the shoot down of Iranian flight 655 by the US cruiser Vincennes back in 1988.

    Although we have discussed this slaughter before, this episode, while obviously seeking to sympathize with the plight of the American crew by whitewashing their actions as well-meaning confusion and cracking under pressure, it did reveal new facts, at least to me.

    A US Navy “media crew” was on board the Vincennes to capture some footage of the US Navy in action. Meanwhile, there was an incident involving Iranian gunboats and another US cruiser. The Vincennes was never ordered to travel toward that action but, apparently to put on a show, the captain ordered the Vincennes to head toward the action without orders.

    Buffoonery/incompetence ensues on the CIC(?) where series of mistakes cause an Iranian civilian airliner on course on a scheduled flight to be identified as an Iranian F-14 on an attack run. The radar man claimed that the aircraft was descending on an attack profile prompting the captain to order the shoot-down. Yet, data logs shows that the aircraft was ascending at a rate typical of civilian during climb out.

    The US board of inquiry suggested that the crew was looking for a fight (no doubt to impress the media crew) to the point of making up data to justify the attack. Naturally, this information was censored from the published report. The story unraveled due to the diligence of a civilian investigator using reports from a civilian aviation authority.

    The icing on this sick cake was that the Vincennes fired on the civilian aircraft from inside of Iranian waters.

    Despite all, the story had a happy ending. The Vincennes was given a hero’s welcome upon returning home and the good captain and crew given medals.

    “Air Disasters” showed sympathy to the victims but did go way easy on the US crew.

    Oh yes, the US report held Iran equally culpable.


    1. I suspect the ‘heroes’ welcome given to the crew of the Vincennes on returning to the US together with the US’s refusal to apologise for shooting down a civilian airliner doomed Pan-Am 103. If the US had been able to say “My God, we made a terrible mistake”, paid compensation and disciplined those responsible, the Pan-Am flight would have landed safely instead of coming down over Lockerbie.


      1. Indeed. Pan Am 103 was pure revenge.

        We also have the case of the Ossetian father who killed the Swiss flight controller who was responsible for the collision between a cargo jet and a Russian passenger jet. The Swiss tried to cover it up, but the Germans exposed them without hesitation. I think the Ossetian enacted poetic justice. Pan Am 103 was the blind slaughter of innocents. It would have been better to sink a US warship instead.


        1. PanAm 103 would’ve been a footnote but for the efforts of Dr. Jim Swire.

          Swire (almost singlehandedly – he must have had sympathisers in the media) kept the Lockerbie bombing alive so long that action of some -however defective- nature had to be taken. Absent his efforts (and resources): Lockerbie? What was that? Really?

          (A source told me that the initial alarm for “ALL hands to battle stations” at potentially receiving hospitals from Lockerbie was treated with disbelief and ignored- as were several follow-ups- due to the seasonal parties going on…)


    2. And these sick f*cks whinge about Russia “violating” the legally irrelevant ADIZ boundaries of NATzO states. Imagine if Russia shot down some civilian airliner from within foreign territorial waters. We would have all sorts of laws and tribunals enacted as punishment.

      Iran Air flight 655 nullifies all the pseudo-legal BS being waged against Russia over MH17, utterly and totally.


      1. I need to raise my hand to dispute linking Lockerbie to Iran. The physical evidence of a bomb was vanishingly small. Structural failure of the 747 was an ongoing issue and in the mind of some was the cause of the Lockerbie crash.

        This 747, had the failure had progressed a little further resulting in a breakup at high altitude, would probably have been treated as a terrorist attack.



        1. The Lockerbie bombing, if such it was and it likely was, as the CIA was poised to take instant advantage of it, had nothing to do with Iran. It was blamed on Libya and was probably carried out by Syria.


    3. The Iranian Airbus was also in a recognized air corridor used by civil aviation, and its IFF showed it was both climbing and traveling at a speed which strongly suggested it was a civil aircraft. The VINCENNES had positioned itself underneath an aviation corridor, so that aircraft traveling in a recognized airlane on their legitimate business would appear to be closing the cruiser. The search/acquisition radar on the F14 was the AN/AWG-9 – its electronic signature is extremely distinctive and looks nothing like the search/nav radar on the Airbus. It would be impossible to confuse the two. Sailors who claim they genuinely confused the Airbus with an F14 should not be allowed inside an operations room ever again, because it would be inexcusable incompetence.

      Additionally, when the ship’s weapon-control acquisition radar locked on to the target in preparation for firing, it would have indicated the target was climbing and not descending – its beam constantly ‘paints’ the target and registers any change in direction or altitude, since it must guide a missile to it.

      But there is no shortage of disastrous situations, often leading to loss of life, in which the American military claims to have simply made an honest and really unavoidable mistake.


      1. Yes, it was epic incompetency combined the desire to put on a show followed by a coverup reminiscent of official investigations of police murder of innocent civilians.

        I forgot to mention a surprising claim in the documentary. It indicated that the captain could have aborted the attack right up to the point of the missiles reaching the target. Do control systems for anti-aircraft, anti-ship or ballistic missiles have such an abort option? I was under the impression that once they were launched, there was no turning back. I suppose if the missiles rely on ground guidance then they could be directed away from the target at any time. but is this really an option?


        1. Long-range anti-air missile systems like the Standard SM have a ‘kill’ function which terminates the engagement (Command Destruct). But what it actually does is terminate guidance, so that the missile no longer has a target reference. A missile whose engagement is thus broken will continue to fly until it runs out of propellant, using its last-known target position as a reference. If the engagement is terminated early, and the missile is not almost at intercept, there’s a good chance it will miss. Fired into a busy civil-air corridor, though, there’s also a chance it will blind-impact something else that was never an intended target.


        1. Like the Vietnam war as an honest mistake made by good well-meaning men. Right. The US has not even progressed beyond the denial stage. The fall will be long and hard.


          1. My Lai was the result of frustration in US troops in Vietnam. Basically the “manifest destiny” of the USA means that it can never do any wrong. In spite of all the hate projection on Russia and Russians, they do not have such a delusional mindset. In fact, they are excessively attacked from both within and outside Russia about various historical events. We see this with the MH17 hoax and the Iran Air 655 (where is the chorus of anti-US voices on this atrocity?)


  18. Talking of air disasters, does anyone remember the “bijlmerramp” of 1992?

    I was a frequent visitor to Amsterdam in those days (guess why!) and although there was lots of reporting at the time, the story faded away from mainstream attention fairly quickly – then came back a few years later after a NRC Handelsblad (a business newspaper – this was not their usual stuff) investigation. The public disquiet and rumours had been ignored until then – the Bijlmer was a black ghetto for “allochtonen”.


    It’s topical to revisit because of the attention it brings to Israel’s Biological Research Institute at Nes Ziona. “A biologist formerly associated with the IIBR told the London Times on 4 October 1998: “There is hardly a single known or unknown form of chemical or biological weapon…which is not manufactured at the institute.”


    1. Holy shit. Great catch, this is the first I had ever heard about any of this. Works nicely as a backgrounder also on the reliability of the Dutch government as an impartial investigator of MH17.


      1. Oh, the Dutch! Israel has a hold over them because of WW2. Their political elite based its post-war national image on supposed widespread Dutch resistance to the German occupation (hiding Jews, giving German soldiers wrong directions while being ever so polite, defiant Queen Wilhelmina leading the government-in-exile). Soldaat van Oranje is the book and film which puts this myth across so brilliantly.

        In the 60s, the Dutch counterculture started to uncover the ugly truth. Prince Bernhard was an I.G. Farben spy and a Nazi, 75% of Dutch jews perished (highest percentage in western europe). In Amsterdam, jews were a commodity – when they ran out of money to PAY those who hid them, they were SOLD to Dutch police collaborators and rounded up for deportation.

        It was always about money. The information in the article below started to emerge when I was living in Holland. I didn’t think anything could shock me, but this – and the real story of Friedrich Weinreb – certainly did.



        This shameful wartime history was a subject only for the Dutch to discuss among themselves. To the outside world, they promoted Anne Frank, philosemitism, and the habit of agreeing with every foreigner at his own level of knowledge.

        Paul Verhoeven, who made the patriotic-myth film Soldaat van Oranje in 1977, told the tale of this widespread collaboration, treachery, and end-of-war vindictive score-settling in the more recent Zwartboek in 2006. Both films are well worth watching.


        1. I’m speechless. Probably the same Thyssen family which is currently half of Thyssen-Krupp: I seem to remember reading that Krupp was investigated for war crimes over Krupp Motor Works.


          We currently probably know Thyssen-Krupp best for elevators, but they are a big diversified industrial outfit.


          1. There is an excellent book written in the 60’s about Krupp. As a matter of fact there are two well known such books apparently, but I’ve only read William Manchester’s “The Arms of Krupp” which traces the family line back to the 17th century. It’s definitely a product of its time, both in terms of style and presentation, and in terms of perspective, but with that in mind it does an excellent job of conveying the essence of the Krupp history, from its humble beginnings, to the family’s complicity with Hitler, all the way to the Krupp family’s loss of control of the firm in the late 60’s, which the author curiously connects, at least marginally, to a form of “private Ostpolitik” on part of the firm in looking to sell large amounts of machinery to the DDR. Its a fine piece of narrative history.

            Here’s a review: https://patricktreardon.com/book-review-the-arms-of-krupp-by-william-manchester/


        2. Wow, confirms my impression that ALL of Western Europe was basically pro-Nazi and fit quite well into the broader Reich.
          Exceptions and honorable resistance coming in only onesies and twosies.


          1. As far as I know, the only truly large scale grass roots resistance to the Nazis were in the Soviet Union and Serbia. As for the rest of Europe, the “conquest” by Germany was little more than an upper management shakeup at worst or, more typically, a friendly management takeover.


        3. I am also surprised but not really (does that make sense)? The foundational value of Western Europe is racism, class and divine rights of the elite. Nevertheless, it is shocking to learn how those “values” are applied and how the truth is suppressed; least the peasants raise their heads from their iPhones.


    2. I found it especially disgusting the claim the cargo was just “perfume”. I bet they had a good laugh on that one. Those guys are such comedians!


      1. Wikipedia article on Boeing 747:

        ‘… During later stages of the flight test program, flutter testing showed that the wings suffered oscillation under certain conditions. This difficulty was partly solved by reducing the stiffness of some wing components. However, a particularly severe high-speed flutter problem was solved only by inserting depleted uranium counterweights as ballast in the outboard engine nacelles of the early 747s.[54] This measure caused anxiety when these aircraft crashed, for example El Al Flight 1862 at Amsterdam in 1992 with 282 kilograms (622 lb) of uranium in the tailplane (horizontal stabilizer) …’

        So, all Boeing 747 jets contain some depleted uranium as ballast in their wings and the engines in the wings, and in their tails. Gulp,


        1. Can anyone imagine if a Russian civilian airliner had resorted to a similar solution? Flying Chernobyls! Must be banned from Western airports!

          About 4% of all 747s have crashed or otherwise suffered damage beyond repair. That is a lot of depleted uranium. NATO used a great deal of DU in its attack on Serbia as well. Per Wikipdia regarding health effects:

          The use of DU in munitions is controversial because of concerns about potential long-term health effects.[5][6] Normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver, heart, and numerous other systems can be affected by exposure to uranium, a toxic metal.[7] … The biological half-life (the average time it takes for the human body to eliminate half the amount in the body) for uranium is about 15 days.[8] The aerosol or spallation frangible powder produced by impact and combustion of depleted uranium munitions can potentially contaminate wide areas around the impact sites, leading to possible inhalation by human beings.[9]

          …A 2005 epidemiology review concluded: “In aggregate the human epidemiological evidence is consistent with increased risk of birth defects in offspring of persons exposed to DU.”[10]


          1. There is hysteria about lead in paint and in gasoline. But somehow uranium is not harmful. Freaking clowns. If you are going to worry about lead, then you better start worrying about other toxic heavy metals such as uranium.


    3. Don’t forget also that Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was also the place where the Underpants bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded a plane bound for Michigan back in December 2009.

      The company in charge of airport security at AAS then was ICTS whose subsidiary Huntleigh USA was responsible for airport security at Boston’s Logan International Airport on 11 September 2001.



      1. IIRC, the Underpants bomber did not have a valid passport and had other travel issues as well. A US lawyer who happened to witness the brouhaha swore in an affidavit that the authorities, nevertheless, allowed him to board the plane without a passport.

        Having traveled through Schipol airport many times, I can say that the authorities give the appearance of being very security conscious. For example, they almost always interview every passenger on US bound flights. If you appear “nervous”, the questioning intensifies. I can not imagine them allowing anyone on the plane without a valid passport. Presumably, US authorities were contacted to confirm the individual would be granted entry. So the security failure (if that what is was) included the US. More likely, it was something else.


        1. First there was the Shoe Bomber, after which the TSA acquired ever more powers, and people had to start taking off their shoes at the airport.
          Conspiracy theory: The Underpants Bomber was also an inside job. The plan was to stage a fake terrorist attack, so that the TSA could force people to start taking their underpants off.
          This plan would have worked, but too many important people drew the line at taking off their underpants.


          1. Actually, what appeared right after the Underwear Bomber was the Rapiscan full-body scanner. It did not work at all for its designed purpose, and was easy to fool; moreover, and despite TSA’s fervent promises that people’s privacy would be respected, and it was not possible to preserve body images after the person had passed through the scanner, those were lies. Probably few were surprised to discover that, as lying has become expected behavior for federal agencies, and all of them do it all the time. Cynicism is a growth industry.



            1. Yup. Every new terror attack led to more infringements of personal liberties and ever-increasing powers for the TSA and Federal Government. It’s either (1) a series of false-flag conspiracies; or, at best, (2) locking the barn door after the horse has already escaped.


  19. “Perhaps they are right. As Howard Bloom and Dianne Star Petryk-Bloom advised in 2003, both the Russians and Chinese now have the deadly SS-N-22 Sunburn missile at their disposal. This massive long-range missile, equipped with nuclear or conventional warheads, is extremely difficult to detect or destroy. According to Jane’s Information Group, it is more than capable of destroying any US aircraft carrier. More to the point, Timperlake (a former USMC fighter pilot and US Naval Academy graduate) and Triplett warned that the Sunburn missile is “designed to do one thing: kill American aircraft carriers and Aegis-class cruisers. The SS-N-22 missile skims the surface of the water at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound, until just before impact, when it lifts up and then heads straight down into the target’s deck. Its two-hundred-kiloton nuclear warhead has almost twenty times the explosive power of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima…

    ****The U.S. Navy has no defense against this missile system…****

    As retired Rear Admiral Eric McVadon put it, ‘It’s enough to make the U.S. 7th (Pacific) Fleet think twice.’” The only caveat, said Karam, would be the possibility of US nuclear retaliation against the enemy’s homeland.”

    Ummm…It only gets ‘worser’ and ‘worser’…for USA Lewis Carroll Class Carriers!!!!

    “My own experience (in war games) is that I never have any problem getting a carrier… those fleets are going to get ground into peanut butter in a war.”

    – Anonymous US Navy submarine commander on how easy it is to find and sink a US Navy aircraft carrier.

    “One enemy diesel submarine lucky enough to get one torpedo hit on a CVN (nuclear powered aircraft carrier) or an AEGIS cruiser could easily turn US resolve and have a huge impact on a conflict… the challenge of finding and destroying a diesel submarine in littoral waters can be nearly impossible… In general…a diesel submarine operating on battery power is quieter, slower, and operating more shallow than a nuclear submarine.”

    Lieutenant Commander Christopher J. Kelly, US Navy

    Earlier, I discussed how easy it is for foreign diesel submarines and air forces to attack American carriers. But it is not just the Russians, Chinese, Canadians, Chileans, Dutch and Australians who think the US Navy’s carrier battle groups are overrated, expensive and extremely vulnerable. The Late Admiral Hyman Rickover, US Navy (Retired) didn’t think much of his own carrier-centered navy, either. When asked in 1982 about how long the American carriers would survive in an actual war, he curtly replied that they would be finished in approximately 48 hours. The atypically unreticent submarine commander, Captain John Byron, US Navy (Retired) also intimated in the early 1980s that even noisy American nuclear submarines (noisy when compared to state-of-the-art diesel submarines, and in Compton-Hall’s opinion, to RN Trafalgar-class nuclear boats) had little difficulty operating against carriers. “Operating against a carrier is too easy,” he quipped. “The carrier’s ASW protection often resembles Swiss cheese.” In a 1985 exercise in the Pacific, this was confirmed when one US nuclear submarine sank two aircraft carriers and eight other ships, and as per standard operating procedure, these painful results “were never publicly disclosed.” Shuger, in 1989, noted: “I’ve seen enough photos of American carriers through periscope crosshairs – most sub crew offices feature one – to become a believer. Despite all the antisubmarine warfare equipment that carrier groups take with them to sea, in my own experience most exercises against subs ended up with my carrier getting a green flare at close quarters, the standard simulation for a successful torpedo or cruise missile attack.”

    Actually the death knell of carriers was sounded back in ’45 off Okinawa….


    1. Well, people can believe what they choose, of course, but carriers have been a part of many naval actions since World War II, and nobody has gotten one yet, although not for lack of desire and effort. Submarine skippers are particularly cocky and assume because they were able to ‘sink’ a carrier in exercises, they could as easily do it for real. A couple of things which are true is that a submarine is the most dangerous threat to a carrier, and that a torpedo can sink a carrier where several missiles might not. But it is the job of the screening units to keep the submarine away from the carrier. A carrier’s own ASW protection is not ‘Swiss cheese’, it is virtually non-existent – with four screws, at all except dead slow a carrier makes so much self-generated noise that it usually does not even have sonar, although it embarks a group of ASW helicopters with dipping sonars and torpedoes. The helicopter is the submarine’s nemesis, because it can work the picture passively, without the submarine having any idea a helicopter is there unless they can see it at periscope depth. Not many submarines are at periscope depth when they are being hunted. Once the helicopter has a good idea where the submarine is, it can dunk its ball in the water, ping once or twice and launch, with reaction time cut to near-zero (under perfect conditions for both; perfectly good for the helicopter and perfectly bad for the submarine).

      Incidentally, none of the factors mentioned about the SS-N-22 describe why it is so feared by non-Russian navies – it is feared because it executes a terminal weave either side of its base course during final homing. Anti-air weapons systems direct the weapons they control based on predictive lead angle, meaning they predict where the SS-N-22 is going to be at a future point in time based on its course and speed at present, and fly a missile or fire a gun round so it will arrive at that point at the same moment the SS-N-22 does. But the terminal weave means it is never on the same course; consequently, defense systems cannot generate a position where they expect it to be, because its course is constantly changing.


  20. From three days ago.

    Independent: Legendary journalist Seymour Hersh on novichok, Russian links to Donald Trump and 9/11

    In a rare interview, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh talks about his illustrious career and how he believes the official versions of some the biggest news stories of our time just don’t add up

    Youssef El-Gingihy


  21. Just posted this one which focuses on Rastorguev and his relationships with Navalny and Sobchak.
    Does not have much relevance to Rastorguev’s murder in Central African Republic, except in the sense that he needed a new job, after Navalny’s actions caused him to be fired from his Radio Liberty gig.


  22. Why? This is the truly ridiculous action

    “Russia’s Foreign Ministry has made U.S. actor Steven Seagal its special representative for Russian-U.S. humanitarian ties. The role is meant to deepen cultural, art, and youth ties between the two countries.”


    1. For sure, this is a ridiculous move on the part of the Russian government.
      But what can you do, you should just make peace with the reality of it.
      After all, it’s better than losing your teeth.
      Or you don’t hate being dead and toothless?

      Now, people say that Steven is the guy of guy who would drink a gallon of gasoline, then piss into your campfire.
      Nonetheless, I hear you retort, “That maniac should be wearing a number, not a badge!”
      That’s true. But the jury decided, and Steven presided.
      You want to take it up with him? Nothing can prevent you, except fear and common sense.
      Okay, okay, go ahead and tell Steven how stupid this is… You’ve got 5 seconds, and 3 are already up…

      What’s that I hear? Unfortunately, Steven is in a gunfight right now, he’ll have to take a message.
      Bang! Don’t worry, he only shot you in one foot, you can still hobble to the hospital.
      The moral of the story: Never underestimate the ability of Russian officials to be completely star-struck, especially by violent action heroes!


      1. Is he a star?

        The government just look foolish – do they not get embarrassed by all this grovelling to a has been film star.?

        This is when you sense government had been there too long when this type of action is a substitute for real policy.


        1. Steven Seagal as a special representative conduit between Russia and the US would be no worse (if no better) than Dennis Rodman as an unofficial US ambassador to North Korea.


        2. Uh huh, sure, yeah. The government should be replaced by one which would send Steven Seagal home to the USA and revoke his citizenship. Because that’s important.

          I think you have enough on your plate replacing your own government, which went past the Seagal Threshold years and years ago.


    2. Perhaps they intended it as mockery, or a joke, suggesting Seagal is as effective or more effective than Trump. And Seagal does have his fans in the action-film crowd, mostly among those who have not taken the trouble to see what state he is in now. But he is mostly just a bloated buffoon, and the dialogue that he seems to deliver in all seriousness in some of his films suggests his diplomatic gene is recessive.

      I can’t conceive of it as anything other than a taunt, since the restoration of relations between the two countries is hopeless at present and probably is not a high priority for the Russian government.



  23. Oh, look; Ukraine already is down to about half the gas in storage that it will need for winter. Turning to the west certainly made it ‘energy-independent’ at least to the extent that the west must ‘lend’ it money to buy gas which is reverse-flowed from eastern-European countries so that all the Russian is squeezed out of it, and it becomes European freedom gas. Nice work if you can get it, and since Ukraine will not be able to pay it back, it becomes a gift! Why worry, as long as Uncle Sugar is paying the bills?


    Speaking of gas, once-bitten-twice-shy Bulgaria is eager to get a piece of the action, signifying up front its willingness to tap into Turkish Stream for transit to Europe.


    And that’s another route through Ukraine which is pretty likely to go dry next year.


    1. The article itself is pretty good. Many of the commenters are loathesome Jew-haters and Red-baiters, as is typical of the sort of crowd that Unz attracts.


  24. PPNN are reporting that the UK is about to ask Russia to extradite two ‘Novichok’ suspects.

    Surely they know that no extradition is allowed as per the Russian constitution?

    An what of the accusations that the Kremlin is behind it or the more recent mutterings of organized crime. The UK will not apologize for any of what they have said or admit being wrong. If there is actual evidence, then it is for the UK to deliver it to Moscow and hope for a trial there – which would be the most sensible solution, but that they are calling for extradition means they’re not interested in a trial and are on the verge or restarting a diplomatic war with Russia. In August. What a surprise!

    Only morons burn their bridges and then expect co-operation. So what happens next, more UK pushed sanctions? What’s the point if they can’t get the EU onboard (BREXIT)? Nothing but a face saving exercise?


    1. Headlines via Google Nudes UK

      Sky Nudes: Reports: UK preparing to seek extradition of Russian suspects over novichok attacks

      The Groaning Man: UK poised to ask Russia to extradite Salisbury attack suspects

      Metro: The British government is poised to submit an extradition request to Moscow for two Russians suspected of carrying out the Salisbury nerve agent attack that left

      The Bum(hole): Britain will demand Russia extradites two suspects of Salisbury Novichok attack to the UK

      Ass-kissing or demanding@#? The British media require di(e)rection!

      Quite the pickle! At least there won’t be a boring August.


      1. The entirety of the UK government is well aware that Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the UK, as well as having a policy of not extraditing its citizens to foreign countries on demand to stand trial. Russia has asked for various Russian nationals who fled to the UK to be extradited, and been told to pound it up its chuff, and the UK will get the same reply. Consequently, they could just make up the names of the people they want extradited – Boris and Natasha, why not? – because the answer will be nyet. This will, of course, be good for a few more days of stories of a monumental Russian government cover-up. Yawn. So predictable. British news – make it first, make it up.


      2. Of course the UK press knows (or should know) that Russia will not extradite its citizens. This demand on the media’s part is just a way of keeping the Skripal poisoning incident in the public eye and banging the drum for Russophobia now that the World Cup is over.

        Incidentally Ukraine also forbids the extradition of its citizens as per its constitution and its criminal code.
        https://rm.coe.int/ukraine-template-extradition-2017/1680764c1b (page 8)


        1. I should have added this obvious bit to the comment I made above:

          That the media is reporting this in advance, leading the story rather than following the action of the government shows that this is a prepared campaign by the government and also that the so-called ‘fourth estate’ has shown simply no interest in questioning the intelligence of kicking off another massive diplomatic fight. Nothing learned from I-rack WMDs or Libya or absolutely anything. They quite happily toe the line, whatever the consequences.


  25. Business Insiders: Saudi Arabia appeared to threaten Canada with a 9/11-style attack in a feud over human rights

    Saudi Arabian state media tweeted an infographic appearing to show an Air Canada airliner heading towards the Toronto skyline in a way that recalled the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

    Saudi Arabia expelled Canada’s ambassador after an official account called for the release of detained women’s rights activists in the Kingdom.

    15 of 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi citizens, and Osama Bin Laden, the attack’s mastermind, was a Saudi who has family there.

    The Saudi media account deleted the tweet and reposted another without the airliner.

    With allies like these, who needs enemies?

    The sooner the Gulf state sponsors of terrorism are isolated from the rest of the world, the better.


    1. And as the Canadian saying goes, “Fuck off, Saudi Arabia, and when you get there, fuck off some more”.

      Naturally the Canadian government minister who started the whole mess is the Canadian Foreign Minister for Ukraine, Chrystia Freeland, the worst Foreign Minister we have ever had, so I want to be clear that I am absolutely not on her side or defending her in any way. That notwithstanding, the Saudi human-rights record is an easy target, Harvey Weinstein could probably criticize them and get away with it. And if the Saudis want to sever relations with Canada, be my guest. I read the Saudi government is taking steps to withdraw all Saudi students in Canadian universities and transfer them to other countries; many will probably go to that Saudi goodbuddy destination, the USA. Good – buh-bye. If they were not withdrawn, they might well have been kicked out.

      In fact, if we could send Chrystia Freeland to Saudi Arabia on permanent assignment to straighten out their appalling human-rights record, so much the better.


    2. I think we can take this as an official admission of guilt on the part of Saudi Arabia, that they “did” 9/11.
      Something everybody knew anyhow, but nice to have their confession for the record.
      They should have been forced to cough up the $$$ to rebuild the Twin Towers.


      1. Have a butcher’s s at any tweet commenting on this and watch the saudi bots come out to play.

        Saudi Arabia’s average I of 84 very much on display.


  26. FYI
    Officials from three leading US groups that support increased exports of US LNG separately addressed concerns on Aug. 3 over the Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s announcement that tariffs ranging 5-25% will be imposed on US LNG.

    “China’s retaliation will hit America’s energy industry particularly hard,” said American Petroleum Institute Vice-Pres. for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower. “American oil and gas already hit by US tariffs on industrial products and specialty steel essential to our industry will now be faced with Chinese tariffs on critical US exports, affecting American jobs that rely directly and indirectly on the energy industry.”



    1. Yeah, how’s that trade war going so far, America? I seem to recall Trump boasting that the USA would quickly win, and it would not even be hard. Because he knows how global trade works like the back of his tiny hand, presumably.


      There are still a few people who say Trump is an idiot-savante, and that while his ways might be mysterious to many, the results will be unequivocal and America is going to come roaring back. The carnivores of America probably would like to carry him aloft on their shoulders, because suddenly meat in America is cheap, you can buy steak for the dog. That’s because the USA has 2.5 billion pounds of meat in cold storage, because it is suddenly overproducing now that so many countries have applied tariffs against American meat imports. Cheap meat is great news for America, said no American meat producer ever.


      And it’s not just meat, of course; Ford and General Motors lowered profit forecasts for 2018, citing higher steel and aluminum prices caused by new US tariffs. Tesla has increased prices on two of its models, and plans to shift some of its production offshore to avoid the tariffs. That means jobs for non-Americans, and layoffs in America. Coca-cola will increase its prices in North America, passing on the additional costs incurred for higher freight rates and higher aluminum prices.


      Meanwhile, China announces it is ready for a protracted trade war with the US.


      But the state of American ‘jurnalism’ is such that the media must portray America as winning, and will not acknowledge catastrophe until major damage has already been done, because it is patriotic to report on American success.


      1. There are still a few people who say Trump is an idiot-savante…

        Or he’s just a symptom, part of the process of the pendulum swinging back to normality. It has to get worse to get better.

        The Democrats are more extreme on some issues, particularly Russia (coz they can and still not be ultimately responsible), but both sides adopting maximalist positions as put forward by all sorts of left, right full-spectrum neo-con nutters may well completely discredit them and open the door for realists. Unfortunately no-one knows when this will happen. All I can do is bleat on about the Five Stages of Grief and look of signs and evidence for indications of where we may be. There have been some rumblings, but It’s like divining from frog entrails…


  27. Two pieces by Euractive with Neuters, though curiously no byline or attribution is given. Why so shy?

    BS1: Friendship no more: How Russian gas is a problem for Germany


    The headline is pure tabloid and not supported in the body of the article apart from ‘opinions’ by certain people or through use of qualifiers. This is not journalism. Only further proof in my opinion that Euractiv has become part of the EU’s unofficial channels of hybrid warfare. Euractiv/Neuters has also expanded in to the Balkans to provide ‘services’ in Croatia/Serbia etc. which just so happens to coincide with all the shrill headlines about Russia ‘influencing the Balkans’ – which are of course BS. Just look at the map. Short of Macedonia (not for long) and Serbia, they are all NATO states. Russia only helps states who want to help themselves (Syria/Serbia – more or less).

    Not a shred of proof, nay evidence, that Germany is shifting away from NordStream II. FAKE NUDES!

    bs2 with Neuters & crAP: https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/russia-used-lessons-from-georgia-war-in-ukraine-conflict/

    Languages: Slovak

    Ten years ago, in August 2008, Russia and Georgia went to war over South Ossetia, a small separatist Georgian region which Moscow would later controversially recognise as independent, in the face of international criticism.

    Ten years later, Moscow has still not softened its position towards its neighbours and its rift with the West has only deepened.

    Russia launched armed action against Georgia to come to the rescue of South Ossetia, a small pro-Russian separatist region where Tbilisi had begun a military operation. The Russian army rapidly outnumbered the Georgian forces and threatened to take the country’s capital.

    A peace treaty was finally hammered out by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy that led to the withdrawal of Russian forces. But Moscow recognised as independent the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where it has stationed a large military presence ever since.

    Russia demonstrated its military might over the five days and showed its readiness to defend – by force, if necessary – its interests in the region it considers its sphere of influence….

    Well shove that in your pipe and smoke it!

    Yet again, no attribution, no name. It smacks of a thinktank piece peddled through their Slovak branch.

    But this is how things work in the West. No-on is ordered on pain of death to produce certain items, but is is made very clear that it is in their interests to do so, from without & from within, but remember kids, it is voluntary! Neither self-censorship exists. Those in positions of influence may convince themselves, but for the rest of the great unwashed, no so much. We’ve already seen the system fail and produce not only BREXIT, but other referendums contrary to EU dogma. The evidence is all around us and plain to see, but still the structures persist in the same old ways, which only bodes ill. Apparently they still think the sheeple are too stupid to notice let alone act.


    1. Public opinion polling suggests that many Americans would not think twice if there were a great many casualties against evildoers. For example, a 2017 survey found that 60 percent of Americans would support a nuclear attack on Iran that would kill 20 million civilians, to prevent an invasion that might kill 20,000 American soldiers.

      Yup, exceptional people of an exceptional nation.


      1. Yes the psychos were planning mass murder a decade ago under Bush.



        A more detailed analysis of some of the background material relating to your comment:

        “We were not surprised by the finding that most Americans place a higher
        value on the life of an American soldier than the life of a foreign noncombatant.
        What was surprising, however, was the radical extent of that preference.
        Our experiments suggest that the majority of Americans find a 1:100 risk ratio
        to be morally acceptable. They were willing to kill 2 million Iranian civilians to
        save 20,000 U.S. soldiers. One respondent who approved of the conventional
        air strike that killed 100,000 Iranian civilians candidly expressed even more extreme
        preferences regarding proportionality and risk ratios, while displacing
        U.S. responsibility for the attack onto the Iranian people: “I would sacrifice
        1 million enemies versus 1 of our military. Their choice, their death.”


        1. Yes, mmm hmmm, their choice, their death, when their country was attacked by the United States. I guess the proper response to an American invasion is to not resist, to ensure no Americans are killed, and just let America have its way. It can be trusted to act in the best interests of the country and not in its own best interests, of course.


        2. There was a discussion the the value of human life. American military and Israeli everyone were at the top. Loss of Arab life was a wash and death of Serbs and Russians were viewed as positive.

          The order is apparently malleable. Japanese have moved up the list while Iranians are gaining Serb-like status.


          1. In part I suspect it has to do with the fact that most of the uneducated idiots responding can’t relate to numbers as large as a few thousand, much less compute ratios, even in cases where the numbers don’t relate to those being bombed to bits. Or at least I’d rather lie to myself that way.


            1. It is all about the radius of impact and the background MSM brainwashing. The average media consumer lemming does not think for itself and lets its opinion be essentially implanted by the MSM for anything that is not immediate. Those remote Russians and Serbs are definitely not in the immediate realm of the lemming.

              Interesting how the PC “west” engages in pure hate ideology towards the un-west. Tolerance is strictly for domestic consumption. The far domain is populated by barbarians who need to be controlled by force since they are a “threat”.


  28. Viktoria Skripal reported to be campaigning for election in regional government elections in the Yaroslavl area:

    She has also spoken to Julia again in early July and in late July on the phone. The conversations suggest that Julia has been kept in the dark about what happened to her and her father until very recently when Julia got access to the Internet and only then realised the extent of the international attention surrounding them both.

    The Skripals are now in effect political prisoners.


  29. I suppose few were under any apprehension that Trump would not sign the sanctions bill reimposing American sanctions on Iran. Consequently, most will be unsurprised that he did so.


    Interestingly, the USA is increasingly going it alone in such actions, and the EU – remarkably, for such a spineless outfit – has actually imposed a ‘blocking statute’ which allegedly will protect European companies from being sanctioned by the USA, while Brussels has taken the unprecedented step of instructing European firms not to comply with demands by the White House that they cease doing business with Iran. Even more astonishing, if that were possible, EU companies who opt to pull out of business with Iranian contacts must first obtain authorization from the European Commission to do so. Without such authorization, they may be sued by EU member states, while a mechanism has been created to allow EU businesses impacted by the sanctions to sue the US administration in the national courts of member states. Who could have forecast that would happen, as recently as a year ago?

    I need hardly draw attention to the unmitigated and brazen arrogance of the stated US aim: to “force the Iranians to the table for a renegotiation of their role in the Middle East”. They fucking live there, for God’s sake, but the intent of the sanctions is to force them to bow to American will, and accept the plans for them of a state which is more than 6,000 miles away – yet insists on its right to direct and order regional affairs to its own strategic and economic benefit.

    Once upon a time, America’s meddling in the Middle East could count on the support of all the major western powers. For the time being, that practice is in abeyance, as the major western allies try to bring about American failure. Goodwill toward the United States has more or less evaporated completely, and America is increasingly regarded as an enemy by former allies. I can’t see any possibility of it prevailing, unless it starts a major war and drags everyone into it. I can, however, see irreparable economic damage being inflicted on the American economy.


    1. If the EU will actually protect European companies from US enforcement/retaliation and compel European companies to honor contracts with Iranian companies or government, that is big. But why would they do such?

      I speculate the US plan is to take Iranian oil off the market thereby driving up crude prices. The downside is that it helps Russia (perhaps not a major concern for Trump) and hurts China but it will be a boon for US oil frackers to the point of avoiding mass default of loans and collapse of major US operations. If Nord Stream II can be stopped, US LNG may surge as well assuming gas frackers can ramp up. And when Iran capitulates (in US dreams) US companies will be granted special concessions to soak up Iranian oil revenues and the EU left of the sidelines.

      So the above could be some of the reasons for the EU’s stiffening. Putin is probably breaking out the popcorn.


      1. The US has suddenly recollected that if it wants to take on China, it will actually need the support of its traditional allies, and is supposedly launching a make-up effort, especially where Europe is concerned.


        Trump is such a boob; his policies are all over the place – first the hard-ass who will never back off, then conciliatory and talking international unity. Anyone who would willingly help that country achieve its goals needs their head examined, as it clearly will turn on its traditional friends the instant it is unhappy with the relationship. Trump brags that trade hardball is ‘his thing’, but that’s just more of his stupid ego, and he appears to not grasp many of its implications.

        American farmers understand, though, all too well. It does not take a genius to figure that a $12 Billion bailout fund suggests an assessment of a potential $12 Billion in damage to the sector, which seems like a lot of money. But as agricultural economists correctly deduce, the real damage is to long-term trade relationships, as customers repelled by America’s thug tactics turn to other suppliers. I already mentioned the new prominence in Canadian supermarkets of identifying symbols to highlight Canadian products, and Canada is the biggest export market by a considerable margin for American agricultural products. Canada could not win in a trade war against the USA, but it could inflict serious damage on the agricultural sector. Much of Canada is farm country just like south of the border, and all the USA really has going for it in the way of growing-season advantage is California and Florida. Products from there which are out of season in Canada can be purchased from Mexico. Otherwise, pretty much anything you can grow in the USA, you can grow in Canada.



  30. Finished my 3-parter on Rastorguev.

    The punchline to this sad joke is Khodorkovsky’s callous denial that he sent these journos into Africa without any thought for their safety. Tossing the dead under the bus, Khodor stated that it was their own decision to go there, and that if he’d had his ‘druthers he would have hired cheaper local labor.
    Quoting myself, and I am quite proud of penning this sentence:

    Ouch! What an insult to a veteran film director and graduate of the prestigious St. Petersburg Theater Academy, being compared unfavorably to “cheap local labor” as would befit some under-educated African teenager hired to lug a camera tripod!


    1. When Khodorkovsky was the richest man in Russia he took his own security very seriously (gated communities, tons of armed goons, and I think that one oligarch who had missile defense on his yacht.) It’s not like he has no access to the billions he stashed away in the West, so why else would he suddenly cheap out?



    In the Polish capital of Warsaw a fortnight ago, Igor Kolomoisky met secretly with Yulia Tymoshenko. The reason for the secrecy is the terms of exchange which they discussed. These include Tymoshenko’s agreement that if she is elected president in Kiev in eight months’ time with Kolomoisky’s support, he will get relief from Ukrainian state pursuit of billions of his dollars currently frozen on British court orders.

    Kolomoisky wants relief from prosecution by the Ukrainian courts and the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) for theft, fraud and unjust enrichment of $1,911,877,385 from Privatbank, which Kolomoisky lost control of in a state takeover in December 2016. For the story of the looting of Privatbank, and the diversion of the International Monetary Fund’s Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ElA) loans to the NBU, and from there to Privatbank, read this archive….

    Sunday, July 29th, 2018

    The rest at the link.


    1. If it weren’t for the fact that millions will suffer from these twats’ shenanigans, I’d be all for Yooolia becoming President and then Kolomoisky pushing her for the money if only to see their sordid collaboration blow up in both their faces. We could place bets on how soon Yooolia will blink first after becoming President.


      1. Anyone willing to place odds on Yulia stabbing Kolomostomy in the back once elected? I think she will as the current environment affords her the opportunity to reform the Ukraine and cement a positive image of her for prosperity. I think the EU/whatever would be willing to back her all the way as the least worst alternative who would also offer the chance to get out of the hole they’ve dug themselves with Russia. After all, if Yulia makes up with Pootie-Poot, who to the west would meaningfully object? Maybe this would be the Ukraine equivalent of what happened at the end of 1999 in Russia. At some point the cycle has to be broken. Either this is even more revolution/revulsion/chaos or someone grabs the bullshit by the horns.


        1. Russia does not have too many options right now when it comes to Ukraine; and Yoolia might well be the lesser of several evils. A plus is that Pootie-Poot has bedded worked with Yulia successfully in the past.


        2. Kolomostomy – I just shook my head in amazement. Kudos; I wish I had thought of that.

          I’m betting Yooolia will just be Poroshenko with breasts. All right, then; Poroshenko with woman breasts. Reforming Ukraine would be hard and thankless work, and so far as I am aware, Yooolia is not into work of any kind. She is also an oligarch, like Poroshenko, with perhaps an even more opaque accounting of her personal wealth – when she’s driving around in a fabulous luxury car, it was lent to her by a friend; when she’s living in a luxurious house, someone she knows let her stay there for free. Poor girl hasn’t got a bean; just lots of rich friends. Personally, I would submit that bodes ill for the Yooolia-will-fix-it hopefuls.

          It’s just a pity Ukraine can’t get anything done unless either a billionaire or a Nazi is in charge,


  32. The Register: Internet overseer ICANN loses a THIRD time in Whois GDPR legal war

    US org told by German court its delusional claims in privacy rules battle are not credible

    The internet’s domain names overlord has failed in a third attempt to keep to the wheels from falling off its Whois service in Europe, raising questions over its competence.

    US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was slammed by the Appellate Court of Cologne, Germany, for not having “sufficiently explained” nor provided a “credible reason” for seeking an injunction against German domain registrar EPAG….

    More at the link.

    The USA writ large.


  33. ZeroHedge.com: The Crackdown Continues: Twitter Suspends Libertarian Accounts, Including Ron Paul Institute Director

    One day after what appeared to be a coordinated attack by media giants Facebook, Apple, Spotify and Google on Alex Jones, whose various social media accounts were banned or suspended in a matter of hours, the crackdown against alternative media figures continued as several Libertarian figures, including the Ron Paul Institute director, found their Twitter accounts suspended.

    On Monday, Twitter suspended the editorial director of antiwar.com Scott Horton, former State Department employee Peter Van Buren, and Dan McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute.


    More at the link.

    This smacks all of the SocMed companies trying to do things on the cheap with rough ‘n’ ready al-gore-ythms and opportunism to see how hard the push back is. I’m sure the suspended accounts will be back, but hopefully the damage done to Twatter and others will be great and not just disappear down the memory hole. All the systems have long been in place for full on authoritarian control. The question is, how far will they go?


    1. All the bleating about freedom of speech back during the USSR days has been shown to be nothing but vapid propaganda. When things get rough, out come the totalitarian instruments to control the dissidents. BTW, these are the real dissidents and not 5th column stooges like Navalny and the rest of the liberasts in Russia.

      I’ll take the USSR communism of the 1960s and 1970s over the PC totalitarianism of NATzO any day.


  34. Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Arsenal: Shareholder Alisher Usmanov says he accepts rival Stan Kroenke’s bid for club

    Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov says he will accept rival Stan Kroenke’s bid to buy him out for £550m and take full control of the club.

    More at the link.

    Meanwhile, Roman Abramovic (not related to Maria, the bonkers but great Serbian artist*) and owner of Chelsea Football Club is still denied a visa to the UK. Is it because he refused a request of UKgov? It’s outrageous except the British media doesn’t think so at all.

    That the UK is employing a hostile environment towards Russians in London, coz they’re all thieves taking advantage of London’s lax rules, is obvs, and in this climate it does lok like Usmanov has had enough. Maybe that is the point. Rather that openly targeting Russians and damaging Brand UK, just make it unpleasant enough that they leave.

    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Abramovi%C4%87


  35. In other news, can’t find the link at the mo, the Caspian Sea nations are set to meet shortly hand hammer out a final and binding agreement that should be good news for each.



    …Iran has had a special position on the first issue. Insisting on Soviet-era agreements, it has not recognized the agreements between Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan on the division of the northern part of the Caspian Sea signed in 2003. These three countries used for delimitation the middle modified line (equidistant from the coast line and taking into account the length of the coastline). The Iranian position was instead to divide the sea into equal sectors of 20 per cent, since using the middle modified line would leave it with the smallest sector of about 11 per cent.

    In response to such a difficult challenge, the draft of the convention does not include precise wording with geographical coordinates of the boundaries of sectors, but rather only the principles for the division of the sea. This allows for the transfer of responsibility for the division from the five-sided discussion to the two – and three-way level, as was the case when the northern part of the sea was divided.

    Judging by the dynamics of recent contacts between Iran and Azerbaijan, bilateral negotiations on the division of the southern part of the sea are in full swing. This positive trend in relations between the two may have been one of the reasons for progress in the five-sided Caspian dialogue…

    It’s in both their interests to stop f*&ing about. I would say that the omens are better now than they’ve ever been. Either it is more of the same and no Caspian Sea bordering nation benefits, or they more on and benefit.


  36. https://syria360.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/assassination-of-prominent-syrian-figures-blatant-attempt-to-undermine-syria/

    “6 August، 2018
    Damascus, SANA
    For over eight years, the sponsors of terrorism in Syria have used many methods to destroy the state and undermine it and prevent it from playing its role, chief among them is the assassination of prominent Syrian figures.
    On Saturday, Dr. Aziz Isber, head of the Center for Scientific Research, was assassinated by targeting his car with an explosive device in the area of Misiyaf in the western countryside of Hama.”

    For Stooges who upon reading just the above few lines ,whereupon immediately a certain ME nest of psychos came to mind… Ding..Ding… You are on the money..or Shekel:




    1. No hysteria over these state murders of opponents on foreign soil. Instead we will have endless fake stories about how Russia offs nothings for no reason and how Biblically evil that is. NATzO and its associates are the most bloody hypocrites in all of history.


    2. The politico.com article is misleading on at least two counts – which makes its author, Ronen Bergman,’s book Rise & Kill First also a “limited hangout”.

      He states that “it [Hezbollah] could activate its terror cells abroad, with the assistance of Iranian intelligence, to strike at Israeli or Jewish targets. This is what it did in 1992 and 1994, when it responded to Israeli attacks in Lebanon by blowing up the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the Jewish community center AMIA in that city, with a massive number of casualties in both attacks.”

      This is a flat out lie. They were Israeli false flags.


      Bergman also fails to mention the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK,PMOI) as the agents of Mossad in the killings of Iranian scientists. By redacting the involvement of this “Murder Incorporated” cult, he is covering up its significant political influence in the US and Europe.

      Decades of fraud and corruption have made the MEK stinking rich, and inside today’s US administration, its supporters include Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton and Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani.



    1. Maxine Waters is nutty as a squirrel wet dream. And how childish is it to extinguish someone’s broadcast by yelling in their face with bullhorns and loudly chanting talking-point slogans? That’s not ‘protest’; it’s intervention. I think Trump is an idiot, but this is not the way to go about protesting against him.


  37. “Washington allies with ISIS as great power conflict trumps “war on terror”
    7 August 2018
    The “National Defense Strategy” document released at the beginning of this year declared bluntly that the nearly two-decade focus by the US military on the so-called “global war on terrorism” had come to an end. In its place, a new strategic orientation was being introduced based on preparing for “great power” confrontation, i.e., war with nuclear-armed Russia and China.

    This was the first such defense strategy to be issued by the Pentagon in over a decade and expressed the urgency with which Washington views the preparations for a third world war.

    A particularly crude and criminal outcome of this policy shift is becoming increasingly apparent in three major theaters where US forces are engaged in active combat operations. Reports from Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan provide firm evidence that the US and its local proxies are allying themselves with and employing the services of elements of ISIS and Al Qaeda in the pursuit of Washington’s broader strategic interests.

    In Yemen, hundreds, if not thousands, of fighters from Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), branded by the US government as the “most dangerous” affiliate of the loose international Al Qaeda network, have been recruited by Washington’s closest allies in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to fight as foot soldiers in the near-genocidal US-backed war that these Persian Gulf oil monarchies have been waging against the impoverished country of Yemen since 2015.

    According to an investigative report published Monday by the Associated Press, the Saudi-led coalition “cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash… Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.”

    It added that “Key participants in the pacts said the US was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes.”

    “Elements of the US military are clearly aware that much of what the US is doing in Yemen is aiding AQAP and there is much angst about that,” Michael Horton, a senior analyst at the Jamestown Foundation, a CIA-connected Washington think tank, told the AP.

    “However, supporting the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against what the US views as Iranian expansionism takes priority over battling AQAP and even stabilizing Yemen,” Horton added.

    This is a gross understatement. Washington is providing indispensable military support for a war that has reduced millions of Yemenis to the brink of starvation. It is prepared to wipe out much of the country’s population in order to bolster its strategic position and that of the reactionary Arab regimes with which it is allied against the perceived threat of Iranian influence to US regional hegemony.

    The war has escalated in recent days in the ongoing siege of the Yemeni Red Sea Port of Hodeidah, which was green-lighted by the Trump administration. The UN has warned that a quarter of a million people could lose their lives in this operation, while millions more across the country may die of starvation if it shuts down the port, the sole lifeline for food, fuel and medicine for at least 70 percent of the population.

    Recruiting Al Qaeda fighters to slaughter Yemenis in this immense and bloody war crime is entirely consistent with US policy.

    In regard to Syria, meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry last Thursday issued a statement warning that ISIS has increasingly concentrated its forces in the area around al-Tanaf, near the Syrian-Iraqi border, where the US military maintains a military base and has unilaterally declared a 34-mile exclusion zone around it. US troops there have provided training to so-called “rebels” opposing the government of President Bashar al-Assad and appear to be providing a security screen for ISIS.”

    “Under the mantle of the “war on terrorism,” successive US governments, Democratic and Republican alike, have not only conducted wars whose victims number in the millions, but also carried out an unrelenting attack on democratic rights, from domestic spying to censoring the Internet.

    The emerging international alliance between the Pentagon and ISIS only serves to expose the real interests underlying these policies, which are bound up with the waging of war to offset US imperialism’s loss of economic preeminence and defend its crumbling global hegemony, and domestic repression to sustain a social order characterized by the most extreme inequality in modern American history.”



  38. The USA proudly announces that it is repatriating captured ISIS fighters from the Syrian war to their countries of origin.


    Keep in touch, ya hear?

    Why no money from the Trump administration for Syrian recovery? You know why – because the wrong side won. They say so, in so many words.


    “The very abhorrent reality is that Assad has prevailed in this civil war,” Dalton said.


    1. “While many of the countries that have received detainees have chosen to keep quiet about the repatriations, the Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday that the Republic of Macedonia had taken custody of a group of foreign fighters.
      “Today’s transfer of Foreign Terrorist Fighters to their country of origin, Macedonia, marks a significant milestone in the much-needed cooperative effort to combat the global threat of terrorism,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told CNN.”

      Huh? Are the Westie media not even pretending any more, that they are fighting against the terrorists? Most of us know that was B.S. anyhow, but the broader (ignoramuses) public, the kind of morons who watch CNN every day, were not ever supposed to be let in on that little secret.


    1. High class entertainment would follow if the GOP claimed that Inspector Clouseau was palming instructions from his “handler.”

      Just wonderful!


    1. Was just about to post


      Air-to-air missile launched “in error” by Spanish Eurofighter during “normal” training flight over SE Estonia.

      “Hostia puta” is possibly a decent translation of “Holy shit!” (And Castilian has the endearing habit of using the reflexive to distance oneself (!) from regrettable actions…

      “Se me cayó” (“It fell from me” instead of “I dropped it.”) – in the case at hand it’ll be “Se me disparó” – It went off.


      1. What a crock, and another excellent example of the European press tumbling over one another to be first with the story, before they even know what happened – it’s sufficient that something did. At this point they apparently do not even know if the missile was actually fired or simply jettisoned by mistake. There’s kind of a big difference, and it’s pretty hard to imagine the jet’s consorts would not have noticed an accidental launch and cannot confirm or deny one took place.


    2. Imagine if the missile had hit someone near the border with Russia: the Estonians would make up a story about how the missile had actually been fired from the Russian side instead, just to squeeze more money out of NATO.


      1. Or that some Russian border regiment had smuggled the launcher into Estonia, taken the shot and then fled back to Russia, photographed all the way by eager-beaver amateur reporters, so that the incident could be blamed on Estonia.


  39. Meanwhile, perilously close to the shores of Misty Albion, those damned Russkies ar at it again!

    The Daily Fail breathlessly reports as follows:

    Russian warships pass through English Channel as Putin’s armed forces ratchet up pressure on the Royal Navy

    Russian warships have passed through the English Channel as Putin’s troop’s continue to put pressure on the Royal Navy…

    Putin’s troops?

    Since when have tars been pongos, and Putin’s pongos at that?

    …the warships were part of a group heading to the ocean to begin operations following a naval parade for Putin held in Saint Petersburg.

    A parade for Putin?

    Thought it was because of Navy Day, which takes place every year on the last Sunday of July.

    My son’s birthday is on 31 July, so each year, either on or shortly before his birthday, there are always Jolly, pissed-out-of shape Russian Jack Tars all over the show here, whose larks are then followed on August 2 each year by former Russian airborne troops celebrating their own day.

    What a tin-pot, despicable dictatorship Putin’s militarized Russia is!


    1. Stop grousing, Putin’s foot soldiers must continue to sail unimpeded through the Channel, one massive fleet at a time, so as to put on their spectacle for the Glorious Leader.


    2. It’s also held not only in St Petersburg; I’m sure there was a ‘parade for Putin’ held in Vladivostok as well, where there also is every year, since it is the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet. I’ve watched from the vantage point of a high apartment building’s balcony, overlooking the harbour; quite a spectacle. Also easier to tell who is a navy spy and who is not, when in the bars in the evening, since they are all in uniform.

      And ‘Putin’s troops…continue to put pressure on the Royal Navy’!!! Do tell – what do they have to do that’s so stressful? Sally forth with weapons bristling, and escort the Mongol-Ugric beasts out of …ummm….international waters?? Sailors who are unprepared or unwilling to sail in the ship whose company they are a part of are not of much use, and I daresay they occasionally have to do it even when there are no Russians for a day’s travel in any direction except for the tame ones in London.


  40. Enter McFaul fuming over Seagal’s spelling:

    To which above Mark Sloboda replies:

    Replying to @McFaul
    Your Russia-rage is causing you to attack Steven Seagal for this?! #FFS
    The latest neocon manifestation of the supremacist ideology of American Exceptionalism is “patriotic” Spelling Nazis”?!?
    Michael, do yourself a favOUr and seek professional help.


    1. “Respect the culture and traditions of your your host country”? In what country is the ritual repetition of ‘your’ traditional? I thought McFaul was American. And since when is it traditional and a bedrock value of diplomacy to hold meetings with the political opposition immediately upon taking up an ambassadorial post in Russia? And then lose your temper when confronted by a news team, and refer to the place as a ‘wild country’?


    2. McFail is a retard. Even if Americans came up with a different spelling, they are using English and the original English spelling predates the US illiterate version by centuries.


  41. McFaul is talking shit:

    First rule of diplomacy– respect the culture and traditions of your your [sic] host country, aka as [sic] the place where you were born.

    In Seagal’s case, the “host” country to which the “academic” McFaul refers is not “also known as the place where you were born”, where “you” is Seagal, to whom McFaul is proffering unsolicited advice.

    The place where Seagal was born is the USA: Seagal’s host country in this instance is Russia.

    If Seagal had truly wished to respect the culture and traditions of his host country, he should have made his statement of acceptance of the post in Russian:

    Я глубоко потрясен и польщен назначением специальным представителем российского Министерства иностранных дел по гуманитарным связям с США. Надеюсь, что мы сможем достичь мира, гармонии и положительных результатов в мире. Я очень серьезно отношусь к этой чести.

    However, as far as I am aware, Mr. Seagal does not speak Russian, but McFaul does, albeit он несет полную хуйню!


  42. McFaul shredded for his hypocrisy here:


    McFaul is a long time friend of Browder. In 2011, when he was Obama’s advisor and architect of the “Russian reset” policy, he disagreed with the proposed Magnitsky bill and wrote this memo:

    Then off he went as US Ambassador to Russia, where he almost immediately invited a host of Russian opposition figures to the US embassy. According to Olga Romanova (& wikipedia) they discussed the recent Russian protests and “the United States Presidential election campaign” with McFaul.

    While McFaul was away fostering Democrat collusion with Russian opposition figures, Browder rammed the Magnitsky Act through Congress because of the legislative anomaly that the Jackson-Vanik Amendment had to be repealed and Congress wouldn’t give away something for nothing.

    McFaul and Browder are on the same team, playing different positions.


    1. But ultimately they are impotent chimps. This ain’t 1917 and not Sorosite and similar funding of regime change is going to work in Russia. All these US laws and sanctions are blowhard vapidity. They only generate healthy stimulus for Russia to clean up the last vestiges of Yeltsin’s 1990s era distortions in its economy and legal system.


  43. History Extra Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Britain’s foreign policy secrets

    Rory Cormac investigates Britain’s use of spies and special forces for covert operations in the postwar period

    Historian Rory Cormac discusses his new book Disrupt and Deny, which investigates Britain’s use of spies and special forces for covert operations in the postwar period

    Podcast at the link.

    There’s plenty not mentioned within, but still interesting. I would question though the veracity of official reports released under (Freedom of Information) requests and would assume that some of those documents are fabricated. After all, if keeping secrets is your business, then you have have whole range of options for obfuscation, from complete release to none at all.

    Curiously having spoken of the Mau Maus, no mention is made of the discovery a few years ago of MoD dossiers discovered in a skip (UK gov selling off real estate) detailing the torture and abuse of them which until then had been completely denied, and ultimately went before the high court and was fully exposed…


  44. Saudi Arabia is slapping Canada:


    Actually, I tend to agree with the Saudi position. The Canadian action is political ain’t-we-superior posturing in a public forum (the MO of Western countries to convince the world of their moral superiority). I have no knowledge of the merits of the Canadian claims but if they were truly sincere about helping the alleged victim, they should do it by diplomatic means rather than grandstanding. But, it has always been about grandstanding, right?


    1. Well Canada has rather upset the apple cart, hasn’t it? On the one hand, western moralizing and sermonizing other states about what they should do used to be only restricted to mostly enemy states, preferably much less rich ones, on the other hand values only mean something if you actually are willing to pay a literal price in either money, blood or both.

      The financial papers are saying that this will damage SA’s the confidence of foreign investors, precisely those SA is trying to attract so that it can start to diversify its economy away from petroleum based products, but we have yet to see if this will have a noticeable effect, rather than just a wish effect.

      The US has said Sweet FA, along with the rest of the sermonizing weapon selling west, so Canada has very little support from its allies. So far. Germany should be an obvious supporter but if pissing of the Saudis makes it more dependent on Russia… ergo there are plenty of reasons that can be wheeled out to keep treading lightly.

      It looks to me as just another sign of the existing order breaking down, whether or not Canada back tracks or not. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.

      As for the so-called free and democratic media, well they only further discredit themselves publicly.

      Meanwhile, I just checked out the Canada headlines and this jumped out:

      National Post: Canadian sniper rifles expected to be in the hands of Ukrainian military by fall, MP says

      Global Affairs Canada would not say whether Canadian taxpayers are financing the sale, and would not provide any other details about the arms deal

      …Few details are available about the proposed sale of weapons, as the Canadian government says such information is commercially sensitive. It has declined to name the company selling the guns or indicate how many rifles would be sent to Ukraine. However Conservative MP James Bezan, who has been in contact with the Canadian company that has the agreement to supply the rifles to Ukraine, confirmed the deal’s likely timeline. He declined to name the firm since the sale still has to be finalized. …

      …Nicolas Moquin, a spokesman for the Canadian Joint Operations Command Headquarters, said the Canadian military has been providing sniper and counter-sniper training to Ukraine’s security forces since September 2015. He said Canada is not looking at this time of providing additional sniper training to coincide with the delivery of new weapons….

      Freeland will be doing her grandfather justice!

      Canadian sniper rifle manufacturers:

      PGW Defense Technologies – C14 Timberwolf (CAF current rifle)

      Parker-Hale C3, C3A1 and M82

      Where as this old NP article fingers Colt Canada chasing sales to the Ukraine, though this seems to be for assault rifles rather than sniper rifles:


      OR, is this just Canada selling sniper rifles that are not necessarily of Canadian origin?

      According the the video below with Canadian MP James Barazan, he says there are large numbers of weapons such as assault rifles, sniper systems, mortar systems, counter battery radar etc. sitting in warehouses in Jordan (& Toronto) that were supposed to go to Kurdistan.

      But, if they love the Ukraine so much, why aren’t they being given them for free? And what could possibly go wrong by sending sniper rifles to Nazis?


      1. Yes,, the world order is falling apart. For some reason, this state of affairs reminds me of the observation that married couples who are heading toward divorce are on that path not because of a lack of communications but because they are now communicating for the first time.


      2. Ukraine is awash in small arms – they could give them out with a box of tea at the supermarket as a promotion, and it would still take months to work through their supply. The last thing they need is more rifles. On the other hand, new ones will probably fetch a good price on e-Bay.


    2. You don’t have to agree with the Saudi position to resent the posturing of the Canadian Foreign Minister for Ukraine. I wonder if her unswerving dedication to human rights and women’s rights will experience a tiny swerve if Saudi Arabia cancels its $15 Billion arms deal with Canada.


      That’s about a fifth of what Canada plans to spend on its defense budget for the next 30 years. That’s right, 30, with a three and a zero. Can the country afford for that sale to collapse because of Chrystia ‘Secret Nazi’ Freeland’s high-flying ideals about human rights? Well, let’s just see.

      For the record, I think the Saudis can just go suck it – their reaction to criticism is immature, and I would not be a bit surprised if their over-the-top fury is because they were criticized by a woman; you know, one of those second-class citizens who must always follow a respectful pace behind her husband and can’t go see ‘Die Hard 20’ without some gooseberry male chaperone right beside her, in case some guy talks to her. But none of that means I support Freeland, whom I can’t stand. And yes, it’s all about grandstanding with her.

      I can’t help wondering if the White House’s studious lack of comment is not only because they are great friends with The Kingdom, but also because they hope to pick up the sale if the Canadian deal collapses. The USA is all about human rights, except when it knows enough to keep quiet about them because there is a despot in the guest room.


  45. Breaking news here in the UK.

    USA say that Russia did poison the Skripals in Salisbury.

    “The US blamed the attack on Vladimir Putin and said they would be issuing fresh sanctions in response to the deadly attack.

    The state department says Wednesday the sanctions will be imposed on Russia because it used a chemical weapon in violation of international law.

    State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: “The United States determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law, or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals.”

    Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, in the British town of Salisbury in March.”

    What can I say – perhaps now Russia will batten down the hatches and stop all this pandering to western partners.


    1. No need to batten down the hatches. Just ignore the yapping NATzO chihuahuas. We have not even had a proper trial to determine guilt. The US leadership is not some ultimate judicial body. They can make as many political judgements as they want, but that will do Jack to Russia.

      At this point all the hysterical US-driven sanctions against Russia are totally self defeating. The monkeys in Washington clearly think that Russia is a banana republic and that it needs to have access to foreign money and technology to function. They are cleared fucked in the head.


      1. More on the above per RT:

        It would reportedly include more drastic measures, such as downgrading diplomatic relations, banning the Russian airline Aeroflot from flying to the US and cutting off nearly all exports and imports.

        So, are we talking about RD-180 rocket engines and Americans traveling to the ISS on Russian rockets? Are we talking about titanium fabrications that Boeing needs for its aircraft manufacturing?

        This Russian hysteria is masking something, something big. My one-track mind suggests fixated on the idea of an approaching economic collapse and subsequent imposition of martial law and/or massive levels of censorship; all to be blamed on Russia. The increasingly frenetic pace of Russian hysteria suggests a near-term sh!t-storm is on the way.


        1. The Russian hysteria is scary as so many citizens over there believe in the Russiagate nonsense and have been manipulated to feel they have been attacked.

          It means therefore that conditions have been created whereby the USA has the support to attack back.

          Putin should never have gone to Helsinki as that escalated the madness.

          Trump is emasculated just as obama was and has no power to do anything to block this pathway to outright confrontation

          The Europeans will sit by and watch – Russia has no allies there.,


          1. Europe will stay on the porch and let the big boys duke it out. In the red corner, we have Vlad – the Terminator. In the other corner, we have Donald – the Orange Haystack. In another corner we have Bruce – the Red Dragon.

            Haystack lumbers out of his corner before the bell rings, makes some nasty gestures and starts his victory dance. The Terminator stands in his corner, muscular arms folded across his chest with a wry smile across his face. The Red Dragon is closely studying Haystack with an inscrutable stare. Haystack exhausts himself and collapses mid-ring. The Terminator and Red Dragon leave the arena as the Haystack fans seek their autographs. Something like that.


    2. Perhaps a boxed piano will fall from a ninth-floor balcony and crush Nauert to a rectangular pizza. I’d pay to see that.

      Define ‘pandering’. Can you name some concessions the United States has wrung from Russia in the last two years? I seem to recall the British investigators said there was no proof that anyone in the Russian government was involved – they simply speculated that because Novichok could only be made in a state facility, there must be state involvement. Does the USA have some evidence that the British have not seen yet? Perhaps they found it in the same place they filed their satellite photography of the Buk missile taking out MH17.


    3. You mean the same Russia that is one of only 7 nation states to have verifiably dismantled and destroyed their chemical weapon stockpiles as ratified by the OPCW and in compliance to the CWC? That Russia?

      I can’t wait for this determination to be made public along with the coinciding evidence as released by an official judiciary body wielding the requisite jurisdiction and authority under official auspices of the UN. That’s what is meant by determined right? Pretty unambiguous terminology there.

      This entire charade has gone so far beyond farce it’s not even comical anymore, just depressing.


      1. That’s an interesting point, because a likely consequence of the continued hysterical hostility from the west will be opacity where there once was transparency; ie: if the United States wants to know something about Russian unconventional weapons programs, it will have to go to extensive and complicated labour to insert a deep-cover spy or persuade an asset that it can trust to find out the information, never knowing if it is being fed disinformation deliberately by a double agent, where once it could simply have asked and been invited to verify the truth itself. International organizations controlled by Washington will be less and less likely to have a free pass to come in and poke about as they see fit.


  46. A concise summary of the nuclear attack on Japan (emphasis added):

    …According to Kamps, US estimates of American casualties during the first month of a US invasion of mainland Japan — before the bombs were dropped — were approximately 50,000, not 1 million.

    “And the myth became that a million American lives were saved by dropping the bombs. That was not true. The truth is, the bombs were dropped to send a message to the Soviet Union where to get off. Billions of dollars in 1945 money had been spent on that [atomic] project, and the bombs were dropped to fulfill an experiment as well, to show some return on the so-called investment. If those billions of dollars had been spent on ships, tanks and guns in the US military instead of atomic bombs, would the war have ended sooner because of that?” Kemps asked.

    Another common myth is that the bombs ended World War II, Kamps said.

    “But no, it was the threat of a Soviet military invasion that ended World War II. The Japanese had been firebombed by the Americans for months already, and that lends a lot more to the theory that these atomic bombings were tests, because they [the Americans] were saving some cities to use these bombs against, and they wanted to see full on what the effects were. So Hiroshima was preserved for that purpose,” Kemps told Radio Sputnik.


    Ghastly and perhaps the single greatest war crime of WW II.

    Also, IIRC, Japan was preparing to surrender to the Soviet Union but the nuclear attack caused them to reconsider.


  47. The funniest thing in this whole article is the statement that the Ukrainian hryvnia was the world’s best-performing currency this year, until recently.


    The treasury-account balance had dwindled to 2 billion hryvnia on Aug. 1, a level not seen since ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s regime crumbled. As well as the costly military conflict with Russian-backed insurgents, privatization revenue hasn’t materialized, tax receipts are lagging and hryvnia strength lowered proceeds from customs duties.


  48. Youtube video of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki press conference, standing next to Donald Trump, stating that “business associates” of Bill Browder earned over $1.5 billion in Russia but did not pay any tax on this money in either Russia or the US; instead these “associates” sent $400 million to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential election campaign:


    1. I believe that there was later an official correction to the $400 million figure. It was more like $5 million since Putin quoted the ruble equivalent figure.


  49. Mark asked what I meant by Russian pandering

    When I used the term pandering I mean the following

    – Agreeing to meet in Helsinki with no agenda.
    The meeting btw Lavrov and Pompeo was cancelled.
    But Russia went along and has now escalated the Russophobia attacks against itself – this behaviour by Russia is pandering – let’s meet with America whatever the cost, since at least 2014 and the latest Ukrainian coup; USA has proved untrustworthy yet Russia turns up when the USA asks. Putin was even going to Washington.

    Is the Kremlin living in a bubble?
    Putin lavrov Shoigu have been there for years and yet they seem to wear rose coloured glasses when it comes to America

    Now with the latest sanctions – there is a protest and vague threat to respond –

    Peskov made a statement about how unfriendly this action was after the two presidents met and got on – is this guy for real?

    The Americans are aiming to crush Russia and Peskov thinks it’s unfriendly

    This is what I mean by pandering

    I really think the government needs fresh people – doing what they have been doing is not working.


    1. …let’s meet with America whatever the cost

      What was the cost to Russia? Nada. What did it do to the US – more comical flailing, posturing and noise. Russia clearly understood what they were doing and the repercussions to the US political system – more dysfunction and misdirection. Score: Russia 1, USA 0.


    1. If the situation eventually resolves itself without a major war, and things go back to something more like normal, when American manufacturers like Caterpillar and Ford are looking to expand into Russia, they will say “Waaahhhhh!!! Why do they hate us?”

      Well, for your freedom, of course.


    1. Any testimony Julian Assange gives would be given in a secret trial before a grand jury so whatever he actually says can either be twisted or left out in any heavily redacted version.


      1. I’m not sure; the latest word I heard was that he might testify before the Senate or Congress, and if he were to do such a thing he would want guarantees, such as that it not simply be used as a pretext to take him into custody. Likely also he would want it to be in a semi-public forum or at least on the record. Of course the USA will seek to keep it close-hold, because of the perennial ‘national security’, but whatever Julian Assange might say which could jeopardize American national security, he already knows and could say it anywhere he likes. It should be plain that the US government is simply trying to keep Americans from hearing it.


        1. Julian should take the same gambit that Trotsky did, when preparing to testify before the Dies Committee [a testimony which never actually took place, I might add]:
          Namely Julian should insist on full publicity and open testimony covered by all the major networks, with full transcripts, etc. He could really blow the lid on some shit.


  50. Media: “We would like to have better relations with the Russian government. And sanctions are one tool from a whole set, through which we can try to set up some kind of government that shows an improvement in its behavior”, the head of the State Department press service has said.

    What kind of tool-set is this, “through which governments are set up to improve their behaviour for the betterment of their relations with the US”: 🦇🗜🧟♀️🕷🐍☄️🌪🦂💨🤹🏻♂️🌋🔫💣🔪⚰️🕳 💉⛓⚔️📌🔞🃏?
    And I should like a couple of examples of where and how this “set” has worked.


    1. I daresay there are a few countries in the world which would like to use various tools against the United States until those countries managed to set up a government in America which showed an improvement in its behavior. Would that be regarded as just another avenue of diplomacy by America? Surely not, in the Shining City On A Hill? Then what’s all this talk of ‘meddling’ in America’s democracy? Either the people of the country get to pick its leader, or the international community decides who would be appropriate and then uses the tools at its disposal to maneuver a satisfactory government into power. Make up your mind, but stop babbling about ‘democracy’, what say?

      Amazingly enough, some people believe this nonsense. There are a handful of Russian liberals who allow that the country deserves to be sanctioned, and express hope that there will be more until the government is cast down, and a new American-style – possibly even American-picked – government takes power. This, to the US State Department, is the very distilled essence of democracy and freedom. However, the electoral process in America is evidently flawless, as no tampering with it is either required or permitted, and any result which does not meet with the approval of the corporate lobbyists is obviously an engineered takeover attempt by Russia.


    2. 1/ Third from the left of the tool-set: zombie.
      As in zombie politicians leading zombie governments throughout the West.

      2/ Fifth from the left of the tool-set: tarantula.
      As in Gavin Williamson’s soul brother.

      There, I answered Maria Zakharova’s query.


    3. Hey, McFaul!

      See how I spelt “behavior” two ways above, just to please you, you soft cnut!

      Then again, you probably will think that I spelt “spelled” wrongly, arsehole — or should that be “asshole”?


        1. I cannot imagine Seagal is much of a literary bright spark, and it may well have been dependent on the software of the machine on which he was typing his acceptance. Every time I spell “behaviour”, although I know it’s correct, I get that little crinkly red line under it which tells me it is a misspelling. Seagal may simply have accepted the keyboard’s judgment. In any case, how he spells a word likely little foreshadows his performance as a cultural attache, and there is an embarrassment of riches there that McFaul might rightly have chosen from; for instance, he should under no circumstances be allowed around young women unless he is supervised. As I pointed out, Seagal’s spelling is nowhere near the cultural insult of McFaul’s reference to Yekaterinburg as ‘Yoburg’. But he shrugged it off as a hallmark of someone who was ‘still learning’. Is it difficult to imagine Steven Seagal as still learning? Not for me.

          I still think it’s a veiled insult, like the Americans re-naming the street on which the Soviet Embassy was located “Andrei Sakharov Street’.


        1. Just like Egyptian hieroglyphics, this probably spells out an actual phrase…
          But without a Rosetta stone, all we can come up with is:

          Bat Vise Zombie Woman Spider Something Something Tornado Something Something Clown Man Volcano Gun Bomb Knife Coffin Manhole Syringe Something Swords Pin Under-18 not permitted Harlequin Question Mark


          1. You can right-click on each of these icons and you get a prompt to open a new tab which will show a much enlarged image of the icon.


  51. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned the US that any sanctions targeting Russian banking operations and currency trade will be treated as a declaration of economic war and retaliated against by any means necessary.
    If they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we’ll have to respond to it accordingly – economically, politically, or in any other way, if required,” Medvedev said during a trip to the Kamchatka region.

    Our American friends should make no mistake about it,” he emphasized.

    Source RT: Russia to treat further US sanctions as an open declaration of economic war – PM
    Published time: 10 Aug, 2018 04:42
    Edited time: 10 Aug, 2018 08:25

    Why does that prick of a Russian PM speak about “our American friends”?

    I wish Medvedev would just fuck off out of it.

    FFS! They are not your friends, idiot!!!!!


    1. Why is Medvedev even discussing the areas that would cause Russia harm in public?

      It is like pointing a big arrow at the banking and finance sector with “Sanction this”” written on it in big red letters

      There is a time for silence. And he needs to come off twitter as well.


      1. It’s time for everyone to come off Twitter – it is like writing your message on your buttocks with a black sharpie and dropping your trousers. Tweets are the kind of stupid thing you send out at the end of work after you’ve had a bastard of a day, and something you read or hear pushes you over the edge. People in diplomatic posts should not be allowed to use Twitter at all, and should be punished for doing so – reporters now avidly follow the Twitter feed of anyone who is anyone, and pounce on anything that has not been thought through before it can be deleted: an attempt to delete it is just the icing on the cake, an admission that you shouldn’t have said it.

        Time was, diplomats ran everything they said in writing in an official capacity through a review before it was released, it was parsed six ways from Sunday to see how it might be spun, twisted or misinterpreted. Diplomats speaking in a live interview were careful to remain vague and say nothing which might not have meant several different things. You did not get countries straining to get at one another because of something the minister of agriculture said. But now everybody feels they can speak for the government on Twitter. It’s hard to imagine how the various countries of the world could come to be represented by their stupidest citizens.

        I hope America does formally sanction the Russian finance and banking sector. They’re already doing it under the radar, and going formal would give Russia an excuse to dump SWIFT and stop using it, as well as the US dollar. Mastercard and Visa would be gonzo, taillights, possibly in China as well. America sanctioning the Russian financial sector would remove its last ability to keep an eye on it easily.


    2. Regarding the Russian characterization of America as their “friend”, I believe that Russia is simply playing with us. The US wants Russia to come across as an angry, belligerent and shoe-waving peasant. The intent is to keep alive the Cold War image of Russia as uncivilized and crass. The best response is to do exactly what they are doing. It makes the US look like the petulant bully that it is. Call it judo-politics .


    3. It’s just diplo-speak, to mark the speaker as a civilized man and not a thug. That is beginning to become a bit of a sore point – is there anyone left who actually believes that because Russian diplomats say “our American friends” or “our American colleagues”, that they labour under a delusion that this is just a temporary spat and under it all they still have brotherly connections? If so, let me disabuse all those people of that notion; the Russian government and all its operatives are well aware that America is a self-declared and thus committed enemy. But saying, “the Americans, our enemies” would make for tiresome commentary in the western papers, in which ideologues would assess that this practice proved the Russians are the aggressors while westerners are just trying to work it out. Alternatively, they could lower themselves to the vernacular and instruct, “Listen up, motherfuckers”.

      Russia understands that America is an enemy and not a friend of any description, just as it understands the United Nations is an American-dominated body and that it is next to useless to expect the UN to back any Russian initiative. It continues to go through the motions in both cases, merely to underline who is following the rules and protocols set up by a better and more aware global civilization than currently prevails, and who is just kicking sand in the other’s face and trying to get him to swing for the chin.


    4. I feel that I should add that by saying that Americans are not Russia’s friends, I mean “deep-state” Americans and others of like mind.

      I am sure that most American citizens just want to live their lives in peace and do not feel threatened by “Vlad” and his Evil Empire.

      Not long back from the country and head off there again this afternoon for the rest of the week.

      And no, I am not building my nuclear fall-out bunker there!



      1. Very true. Poll after poll fails to show any concern by American citizens over Russian “meddling” or Russian “assertiveness”. Sure, questions can be posed such as “Should the US resist the Russian invasion of xxxxx?”. Naturally, the answer would likely be yes. But when asked, without prompting, what concerns them, Russia does not register as a concern at any level. I find this remarkable as anti-Russian news is often the lead on every network evening news show. I can not recall a news broadcast for many months that did not include a Russian-bashing story. The tipping point on media credibility may have been reached


  52. This is old news, but I decided to take a closer look at it. You may remember this viral tidbit:

    Yup, that’s 54,000 retweets and 65,000 “likes” right there. Good lord…

    Most of the actual names aren’t visible, but the ones that can be read go as follows (I added some background information on them as well):

    Funny, ain’t it?


      1. Out of all those that can be easily identified in the photograph above, I think it’s safe to say only two of them even knew about Putin. The rest died when Putin was a nobody, save for Pralnikov, but he had been hospitalized on and off for a decade before he finally passed away in 1997.

        When you dig deeper into it, the trail of dead journalists, business competitors and local officials in the wake of Boris Berezovsky’s and Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s 1990’s escapades is the most striking one by far. That was under Yeltsin’s watch, needless to say, and we all know what became of those two gentlemen when they finally ditched Russia for Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

        Among the journalists that have died since 2000, nearly all of which are attributed to Putin in one way or another these days by lazy pundits (and politicians, and human rights organizations etc), several curiously also probed Berezovsky. Then, you have a big bunch of deaths that are routinely and grossly misrepresented e.g:

        All in all, summing it up it’s all a steaming pile of fake news.


  53. http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/10/pers-a10.html

    “The Saudi warplane scored a direct hit on a bus loaded with school children traveling through the market from their summer camp to a mosque for an annual celebration marking the end of summer vacation.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported that its hospital had received the lifeless bodies of 29 children pulled from the smoldering wreckage of the bus. Most of these children were under the age of 10, some of them as young as eight.

    According to Saada’s medical office, the air strikes killed 47 people, including people in the streets near the bus. At least 77 more were wounded, some of them grievously, with the death toll likely to rise.

    Hassan Muwlef, executive director of the Red Crescent office in Saada, arrived on the scene an hour after the attack on Thursday morning. He described what he witnessed: “Body parts were scattered all over the area, and the sounds of moaning and crying were everywhere. The school bus was totally burned and destroyed.” He added that many of the children’s bodies were burned beyond recognition, and that the wounded were riddled with shrapnel.

    Another witness reported that “Some pieces from their bodies were scattered 100 meters away from the bus.”

    ALL those who faciltated the attack on the bus-including those involved in manufacturing the weapons-are cut from the exact same bolt as those responsible for this:



    1. The picture’s jpg metadata information says it’s from the Canadian Groovy History website. I suggest this is Chrystia Freeland’s mother.


  54. Here’s quite a good collection of references and commentary on the Skripal ‘poisoning’. Every time I read over one of these summaries – and I by no means read this one over in detail, just skimmed it – some new incongruity jumps out that sailed right past me on the initial run-through. In this instance, Nick Bailey. The Skripals were supposedly poisoned by Novichok daubed on the doorknob of their front door, and Bailey was supposedly affected by the same vector. Yet the Skripals lived it up for about four hours before they showed any symptoms, while Bailey was affected almost immediately.



    1. Curious thing also is that police officers were initially posted outside the front door – there were quite a few photos of the two women police officers (one chubby, the other not so chubby) standing near the driveway – for some time without being affected by any fumes, until the doorknob story became prominent.

      One of the more sinister aspects of the “poisoning” is that all major evidence – the Zizzi restaurant table, the park bench, the pet animals that starved – has been or is being destroyed by the British authorities. Even Dawn Sturgess was cremated without anything in the press about whether her body had been autopsied. If someone blames somebody else for a murder or some other serious crime, and then covers up or gets rid of important evidence, what does such behaviour suggest?


      1. Too true, blue. Although the police officers might have stood there until the clap of doom and not been affected if the agent was present as a gel, and slathered on the doorknob. But that story always sounded like a crock, because both of them likely would not have touched the doorknob on the way out, probably only one of them, and the supposed Russian assassins would not have known if it might have been Yulia. Good assassination plots, as we have been told the Russians have practiced for decades, ensure that the target is taken out. They’re not particularly squeamish about collateral damage, but in this instance only Yulia might have succumbed. But assuming it was a gel and it was on the doorknob, much of it might be assumed to have been removed by the target on the way out, and still Bailey was overcome in less than half the time of the Skripals, both of whom appear to have been simultaneously afflicted around four hours after leaving the house.

        It’s kind of comical, the stubborn and progressive destruction of evidence by the British authorities, the buying of Skripal’s and Bailey’s houses at taxpayers’ expense, and so on – it’s as if after a brief blink of bewilderment that the official narrative is not being accepted at face value, the British government is trying to get a do-over.


  55. My God, what has Salisbury done to the Dark Lord? When will his fearful shadow be lifted from this unhappy city? There has been an explosion in a ‘military factory’ (not sure what that means) in Salisbury which has killed at least one person. The MSM has not yet announced the Russian connection but Luke Harding/The Guardian/The Independent/the Foreign Office/the entire US State Department/ are, no doubt, manufacturing one as we speak.

    Maybe the Russian agents who poisoned the Skripals by smearing a non-lethal fatal nerve agent on a door handle after pumping it through a car ventilation system after sneaking it into Yulia’s luggage and who then high-tailed it back to Moscow but not before decanting some of it into a gift-wrapped bottle which they left in a local park where it could be recovered in a pristine state after four months and used to poison a couple of dumpster-foragers, made a hitherto unknown deviation from the Kremlin’s master plan and hid the remaining nerve agent in a factory along with a time-controlled detonator so all evidence of their evil doing was destroyed.

    Hey, I’ve just written Harding’s copy for him….


    1. Now the authorities will be telling people that Novichok is highly inflammable and children should not be allowed to play with Novichok and matches or cigarette lighters.


      1. The Russians engineered it to be that way – a fatal nerve agent that seldom kills, persistent for months if wrapped in cellophane, explosive and flammable, eats dreams and makes you lose your job.


    1. That is indeed an interesting piece – generally speaking, we most enjoy writing with which we agree, and I mostly agree with it and feel the ring of familiarity, because some of it is what we have been saying here for a couple of years. Notably that while the west is gradually leaning toward dumping Ukraine and hoping Russia will solve the problem, the warning signs are there that Russia has no intention of bailing out an exhausted Ukraine, and that this time it is going to be allowed to fail all the way down. The west should be warned that nobody is riding to the rescue and pouring their resources into stabilizing Ukraine – if the west cannot do it, the alternative is collapse and draining emergency work to keep the population from starvation. Prosperity is an impossible dream now, and the people – I think – would be pretty happy to be back where they were before the glorious Maidan.

      Interestingly, something that was not touched upon in the ‘Necessary’ section was the elimination of the oligarchy in Kiev and other major cities. I will declare frankly that I have no idea how this might be achieved – as discussed before several times, the Ukrainian oligarchs control something in the order of 70% of Ukrainian GDP, and are not about to gift any of it back to the Ukrainian state. But for so long as Ukraine continues to elect one oligarch after another to the office of President, the oligarch of the moment will be far more occupied with increasing his/her personal wealth and power, and settling scores with rivals, than with governance and accountability. At the same time, there is no use hoping the President will be a poor man or woman, because they generally do not have the worldly education to grasp the problem and envision solutions while being simultaneously beset from all sides by the oligarchy, seeking to retain its power and influence. You’ll know there’s no more money in Ukraine when the oligarchs leave, and I see no sign of that so far, while it is evident they intend to be a big part of any future rebuilding. They’ve already successfully stolen most of the IMF money, and plainly think an even bigger payday is still in the offing.

      The United States has largely forgotten Ukraine, as it was only ever a pretext for a full-court press against Russia anyway, and it now has enough Russophobia sustainment in its ditzy population to press forward without the need to invoke sympathy for Ukraine. Europe is still quite interested in a resolution, but only because of its fear that it is going to get stuck with the booby prize, and be made to assume responsibility for getting Ukraine on its feet somehow, perhaps even absorbing it. Eventually, if the USA is unsuccessful in forcing the outbreak of another world war, the west will get around to either asking Russia to help, or trying to dump Ukraine on Russia.

      Whatever happens, the dream of Ukrainian nationalists to forge a great and powerful fascist nation of Ukraine is always going to remain that – a dream. They’re happy enough at present scampering about in the ruins and glorying in their imagination of great power, but they are kings of the dungheap without any clue of nation-building. The few who both hated Russia and honestly aspired to a Great Ukraine – free of corruption and able to pay its way through judicious management of its undeniable resources and casting off the peasant mentality – have no influence, and operate at the pleasure of the power-brokers; they are allowed to dabble at anti-corruption until their probing becomes uncomfortable, and then they are discredited and fired, if not charged with the crimes they say they are investigating.


      1. Well said. Presumably, the Donbass will pull away from Ukraine and vote to joint Russia and Russia will approve for any number of reasons but certainly including humanitarian, ethnic/cultural connections and military considerations. Other regions such as Odessa could jump aboard as well.

        There may be a mass exodus from what is left – the grifter to the West and those seeking a better life to the east. The Nazis will remain behind and may serve some purpose such as providing a pool of mercenaries for CIA projects.

        I, for one, do not think the Donbass will be an overwhelming economic burden in the long run. The population has shown resolve and resilience. Given leadership and material aid, they can rebuild fairly quickly I think.


  56. Lovin’ it:
    … the recent call by the German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, to engage in dialogue with Moscow only from a “position of unity and strength,” Shoigu reminded his counterpart that, while Russia seeks peace, it will not tolerate being coerced.

    “After everything Germany has done to our country, I think, they should not talk on the issue for another two hundred years,” Shoigu said. “Ask your grandparents about their experience of talking to Russia from the position of strength. They will probably be able to tell you.”

    Shoigu was to the point.


    1. Exactly; it seems it was almost instantly impolite to remind the Germans of their Nazi past, along with their aspiration to achieve their goals through military force. When Germany starts up talking again about ‘negotiating from a position of strength’, it should be slapped down as if it had said ‘lebensraum’. The EU has to know that it is not frightening Russia with tough talk, and so it may as well cut it out. Russia by itself would squash the EU like a bug if they could not go running to Uncle Sam, and NATO as a whole would have a tough time with China and Russia – it’s hard to say who would win, because military victory depends on a lot of things and you can’t plan for them all, but the scale of global casualties would be so horrific it would be difficult to call any outcome ‘victory’. Washington wants it, because Washington sees the world as existing to support the comfort and entertainment of Americans, but America cannot do it on its own, so von der Leyen is just doing America’s bidding with the tough talk – the whole barnyard of European political elites needs to be cleaned out before there can be any hope of better relations, as they are all committed Atlanticists.

      If I were Shoigu, although I cannot fault his actual response, I would have said, “I see nothing constructive will be accomplished here today, so I will leave you to it, for I have drills to conduct and work to do. I’ll see you next time”.

      There’s nothing wrong in dealing from a position of strength so long as you are prepared to be reasonable; it merely signifies that you do not have to accept any terms that are offered. But when NATO speaks of ‘dealing from a position of strength’, it means ‘you know what will happen if your offer is not as expected’. In the NATO lexicon, there is no such situation as both sides dealing from a position of strength.


  57. TheRealNews
    Published on 11 Aug 2018
    From Alex Jones to alleged Russian trolls, major internet companies are increasingly policing content on their platforms. Max Blumenthal of the Grayzone Project says the partnership between Facebook and the Atlantic Council highlights “the merger of the national security state and Silicon Valley.”

    Published on 11 Aug 2018
    Russiagate has deepened the partnership between Washington and Silicon Valley, and leftist websites are among the first casualties. After falsely accusing an anti-white supremacist rally event page of being a fake, Facebook shut down the page of VenezuelaAnalysis.com for several hours without explanation. We speak to VA founder and TRNN host Greg Wilpert, as well as the Grayzone Project’s Max Blumenthal


    1. Western “freedom” of expression in action. I find it interesting how the voices of a few heretics are supposedly some big threat to NATzO. That would indicate that NATzO is not quite the bastion of democracy it paints itself to be. It is unstable because it is based on lies and heretics can initiate the crashing of the facade. But if this is indeed the case, then NATzO is on its way out since no amount of repression of dissidents will change the fundamental inconsistency of its existence.


    2. America has a real problem here with accomplishing its goals – which it is obviously achieving, the silencing of legitimate dissent and the prioritization of the national-security narrative – while simultaneously advertising itself as the center of what the evildoers hate for its freedoms. Americans, and everyone who uses their services, are increasingly regulated in everything they do and say, extending now to what you are allowed to see and hear. Actual freedom is dwindling away to a pinpoint, and what the government wants every election cycle is more cops, more law and order and more security.


  58. Just finished posting my latest , it’s about the Serbia-Kosovo conflict.
    Apparently WWIII was narrowly averted (once again) a couple of weeks ago, when Albanians rejected the compromise “solution” on Kosovo, and NATO troops occupied a major hydroelectric plant in Serbia, called Gazivode.


  59. PaulCraigRoberts.org


    The Self-Imposed Impotence of the Russian and Chinese Governments

    Paul Craig Roberts

    “The Russian and Chinese governments are puzzling. They hold all the cards in the sanction wars and sit there with no wits whatsoever as to how to play them.

    The Russians won’t get any help from the Western media which obscures the issue by stressing that the Russian government doesn’t want to deprive its citizens of consumer goods from the West, which is precisely what Washington’s sanctions intend to do.

    The Russian and Chinese governments are in Washington’s hands because Russia and China, thinking that capitalism had won, quickly adopted American neoliberal economics, which is a propaganda device that serves only American interests.

    For years NASA has been unable to function without Russian rocket engines. Despite all the sanctions, insults, military provocations, the Russian government still sends NASA the engines. Why? Because the Russian economists tell the government that foreign exchange is essential to Russia’s development.

    Europe is dependent on Russian energy to run its factories and to keep warm in winter. But Russia does not turn off the energy in response to Europe’s participation in Washington’s sanctions, because the Russian economists tell the government that foreign exchange is essential to Russia’s development.

    As Michael Hudson and I explained on a number of occasions, this is nonsense. Russia’s development is dependent in no way on the acquisition of foreign currencies.

    The Russians are also convinced that they need foreign investment, which serves only to drain profits out of their economy.

    The Russians are also convinced that they should freely trade their currency, thereby subjecting the ruble to manipulation on foreign exchange markets. If Washington wants to bring a currency crisis to Russia, all the Federal Reserve, its vassal Japanese, EU, and UK central banks have to do is to short the ruble. Hedge funds and speculators join in for the profits.

    Neoliberal economics is a hoax, and the Russians have fallen for it.”


    1. The USA is a foaming at the mouth, rabid dog. Russia and China must, therefore, walk on egg shells not to trigger the lunatics in Washington to start a nuclear war. So both Russia and China are always engaging Uncle Scumbag and his minions (the EU). Any sort of shoe stomping at the podium is simply not in the interests of Russia and China. Any real hard line against Washington will not yield miraculous positive results but is bloody dangerous.

      Russia is actually doing fine. Discussion about Russia is always hysterical and unbalanced. Paul Craig Roberts is clearly in the irrational camp. He sees failure where there is actually good management. Anyone who thinks that Putin’s government is obsessed with providing imports to pacify consumers needs to put the crack pipe down. The late 2014 ruble devaluation was a hammer blow on such imports and even the demand for domestically produced foreign cars collapsed. These sanctions will not kill off Russia’s access to consumer junk. Period. There is no such thing as “western consumer goods”. They are all made in China and South-East Asia. Russia’s access to the premier global semiconductor fabricator (TMSC) will not be cut off. So Russia does not need Intel CPUs even if Trumpy bans their import into Russia (*)

      (*) MCST is delivering the Elbrus 8CV this year. It is an 8 core CPU that supports 4 channel DDR4 access and performs like relatively recent Core I7 CPUs in terms of double precision floating point. MCST has proven it has the software capable of efficient binary recompilation so anything that runs on x84 will run on the Elbrus. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elbrus-8S).


      1. Russia is simply trying to preserve an impression of normalcy for its own population, and trade is normal – Russia replaces those goods it cannot buy from the west with those from other markets, but completely shutting off the purchase of all western goods would subject Russians to unnecessary privations for the sake of pride. Mr. Putin’s popularity with the Russian people rests largely on their confidence that he is looking out for them, and always carefully balancing risk with reward. If Russia were run by somebody like Erdogan, the west would have succeeded in overthrowing him ages ago.

        Russia is in a good position to resist sanctions, because Washington dares not impose restrictions on its trade in oil and gas. While it would be wrong to assume Russia has nothing else, these are core industries and in the other sectors where Russia is strong, the west does not buy much from it anyway except for steel and raw materials. Russia can easily replace those markets. But western brands who spent decades building up their market in Russia slowly and carefully have lost it almost overnight. And they will be a long, long time getting it back.


    2. PCR’s sources of information probably focus too much on the doings of the Central Bank of Russia and not enough on other sources of advice that the Russian government might rely on. You wonder whether PCR or his researchers are aware that the Russians and the Chinese might be mocking the US in the statements and policies they choose to make public.


    3. Russia has many arrows in its quiver. Best not to use them until needed. Big ones like turning off the gas to the EU would only makes sense if there is imminent war which is clearly not the case. In fact, it would be in Russia’s best strategic interest to continue to the the main supplier of energy to the EU as it inhibits them from doing things that are potentially stupid dangerous.

      I would like to see Russian stop supply of the RD-180 and 181 as it is ultra-high tech which would be a nice reminder to the West regarding Russia’s science and technology edge as well as delivering a serious blow to the US presence in space – military and civilian. Trump’s “Space Force” would be DOA.

      Western sanctions have done Russia enormous good. It provided an escape from WTO restrictions and unfair trade practices. Good that they are taking full advantage of this opportunity. I suppose that Paul Craig Roberts means well but he needs to take a step back and see the bigger picture.


      1. I agree that Russia should start cutting the United States off from things it needs from Russia – like the RD-180 and titanium – which would be expensive for the USA to get elsewhere. I also agree Russia should keep on supplying the EU with energy, for a couple of reasons. One, any interruption in the supply is just what Washington and its Atlanticist Eurobuddies are looking for so they can label Russia an unreliable partner, and start that whole alternative-sources conversation again: it’s why they want to keep Ukraine in the loop – to initiate disruptions and promote uncertainty about the reliability of Russian gas. Two, Russia has a good chance of splitting factions in Europe off from the USA, as the latter is more and more perceived to be trying to boss the European energy market so as to secure a captive customer for its own exports. The last thing Russia needs is to create the impression that Washington is saving Europe instead of dicking it around.


  60. https://www.strategic-culture.org/authors/finian-cunningham.html

    US Sanctions Are Pushing Russia to War

    “The new round of sanctions this week unleashed by the United States on Russia has only one meaning: the US rulers want to crush Russia’s economy. By any definition, Washington is, in effect, declaring war on Russia.
    The implemented economic measures may have a seemingly abstract or sterile quality about them: banning electronic exports to Russia, rattling financial markets, stock prices falling. But the material consequence is that American officials are intending to inflict physical damage on Russian society and Russian people.
    It’s economic warfare on a sliding scale to military warfare, as the Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz would no doubt appreciate.”


    1. All these articles are hysterical pap. The events after 2014 have demonstrated that Russia is immune to western sanctions and actually massively benefits from them. It has also shown that it can rapidly react to changing financial conditions as seen in the offloading of $230 billion in foreign debt in 2015. The current round of “the mother of all sanctions” trash talk from Washington is desperate and pathetic failure.

      Russia has no reason or incentive for war. It is NATzO that wants to take Russia out. Russia will adjust to the new sanctions by become fully independent of any western financial or economic links. Russia has the critical economic mass to by an autarchy. But it does not need to be since it will keep on trading with most of the planet. NATzO accounts for 11% of the global population (but thinks it is 100%). The congenital retards who run NATzO are helping China to become the next premier financial power. The Yuan will replace the dollar by necessity if not by choice.

      I want to see the writers of this scaremongering garbage list the actual economic impacts on Russia. Starting with the financial ones. Russia does not depend on foreign currencies. It also does not depend on foreign loans like some banana republic. The current claims by the chimps in Congress that they will bring Russia’s economy to its knees are the same BS as during the post Banderite Kiev coup sanctions which Obama was sure were going to cut Russia down.

      Enough already!


      1. There is some truth in what you say but nevertheless I think you quite underestimate the threat of US sanctions. One doesn’t have to be an unabashed fan of Ben Aris to accept some of the points that he makes in the following article.
        In any case, I am a fan of Eric Kraus and he has serious concerns- check out some of his comments here, say, for example, 7 minutes in.

        There is, of course, a body of thought that argues that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour was a direct response to the US economic sanctions that the US imposed upon Japan.
        Unfortunately, Russia’s relationship with the US are not likely to improve until a financial or corresponding political crisis hits the US… we’ll have to wait and see.


        1. Eric Kraus apparently thinks that Russian enterprises need to borrow dollars or euro from the west. He is dead wrong. Russia can get all the dollars and euro it needs via the exports of oil and gas, minerals, military equipment, nuclear power plants and assorted other exports over $400 billion US per year. That was the point of my post: Uncle Scumbag’s sanctions on financial transactions do not cut Russia off, they cut the US and the EU off from the Russian market. We are back to 2014 and these new “mother of all sanctions” will be as useless as the previous round.

          As for Japan, it is a useless comparison. Pearl Harbour was triggered by the US trying to cut Japan off from vital resources. Non financial ones. Nobody can cut Russia either from natural resources or the financing it needs. But Russia can f*ck the EU over big time by cutting off natural gas exports. As the rabid mutt in Washington tries to go for broke, Russia should keep diverting natural gas eastward. Let Uncle Scumbag save the EU with the spare LNG he doesn’t have.


          1. Yes, the analogy between prewar Japan and Russia is false. It can be argued that it is exactly the opposite. Russia has the resources that the West needs and if Russia were to cut those off, the West could be induced to launch a war of desperation as Japan did. If Russia is “walking on eggs” that is why.


          2. Russia also can borrow whatever money it needs to from China. China probably has more than enough to lend of its own, but if it does not, it is under no restrictions against borrowing from western banks, and those banks have no control over how that money is reallocated.


            1. I commented on the Pearl Harbour episode simply to make the point that the proposed sanctions are a very aggressive move- this is clearly how the Russian government sees them, and rightly so. If these sanctions clip a percent or so of Russian GDP growth for the foreseeable future then they are very damaging for the country. Frankly, I would not be very sanguine about Russia’s long term future if it were not for China, and I continue to back Kraus’s opinion over Kirill’s This earlier article by Aris sets the stage reasonably well- it’s obvious weakness is that the role of China is not taken into account
              A further point. No matter how creative Russia’s scientists and engineers might be, it beggars belief to imagine that any country can compete technologically long term if largely isolated by the rest of the World. Again, this further emphasizes how critical China is likely to be for Russia’s well being.


              1. Russia needs China and China needs Russia if it wants to remain a sovereign nation.

                I would add that the US is in a very fragile state burdened by a stagnate economy despite massive deficit spending in addition to a crumbling global empire. Russia may simply need to ride out the storm and let nature takes it course relative to the US.


                1. The chimps in Congress can’t see past their own noses and think that borrowing and debt is what sustains the Russian economy. Their bubble of delusion has no bearing on Russian reality. They are currently engaged in “the definition of insanity is to repeat the same failed approach over and over and expect a different result”. You can’t cut Russia off from western banks more than once and there is obviously no cumulative impact from such sanctions.


              2. On what basis do you estimate 1% GDP growth reduction (or contraction?) for the foreseeable future? Kraus needs to make a case and not just engage in proof by assertion. How can we have the same restrictions to banking access that were imposed in 2014 all of the sudden starting to matter now? That is just ludicrous. Cutting off access to NATzO banks in 2014 was the limit of what NATzO could do. It can’t go into Russia and shut down Russian banks to prevent Russian companies from financing themselves there or from the Russian government.

                Anyway, too much obscure mush and utter lack of details. These “mother of all sanctions” are a joke because the 2014 sanctions did most of the “damage”.




              3. But for how long can the rest of the world (meaning, I suppose, the United States and western Europe, which seem together to think they are The World) keep it up? Long enough to bring Russia down? I frankly doubt it. America needs trade for its corporations to flourish and expand market share, and it is not achieving that through sanctions and tariffs. The USA is not just taking on Russia; it is making enemies everywhere. The global economy is so interwoven now that it is very difficult to sanction a country to death unless you can block all its major moneymakers. And Washington can’t do that (to Russia) without hurting Europe.

                The present sanctions are lame and do not really do anything but get journalists excited and use up paper. The sting is in the ones set to automatically go into effect in three months, because to avoid them Russia must admit that it has a secret chemical-weapons program, agree to shut it down and allow UN inspectors into the country to verify it has been done. Perhaps Trump and his cabal gamble that Russia will cop to something it actually doesn’t have, just to avoid sanctions, as Gadaffi did. But Russia will not, while the American attempt to bring more inconvenience and problems to the Russian people in an effort to use them to bludgeon the government into doing Washington’s bidding is about as shitty a thing as America has ever done without involving weapons, since it offers no proof at all of its conclusions. It is simply imposing collective punishment in order to get ts own way, and would be the first to squeal if Russia did it.


                1. “The global economy is so interwoven now that it is very difficult to sanction a country to death unless you can block all its major moneymakers. And Washington can’t do that (to Russia) without hurting Europe.”

                  The entire sanctions discussion in a nutshell.


              4. From the Ben Aris link:

                “Like the Romans, the US has built a military-industrial economy that can massively out-resource all its opponents’ and so is impossible to defeat – a legacy of the rapid militarisation during WWII when it simply out produced first the Nazis and then the Soviet Union, the only other country on the planet at the time with any chance of matching the US’s industrial might”

                Unlike the Reich the USA industrial base wasn’t hampered by round the clock bombing from the Eighth AirForce and the RAF , which also involved the diversion on billions of Reichsmarks for thousands of planes and the Luftwaffe manpower in an attempt to stop or at least mitigate the air attacks.

                Likewise the USA industrial base was not hampered by having to -in a massive undertaking-uproot its core manufacturing facilities and move them thousands of kilometers to where they could be reassembled and resume production of machinery , armor and weaponry in general.


                These are just a couple reasons for the fall of Rome, but what is perhaps most terrifying about the fall are the corollaries to today. The Unites States of America has a Gini coefficient of .45, and 40% of the wealth is controlled by the top 1% of the population.[5] By every metric, the United States is even more divided and unfair than Rome before its fall. The effects are perfectly evident as well as there is increasing inclination from the rich to build fallout bunkers and withdraw from civilization and politics just as the roman elites did centuries before. Worsening matters is the evidence of extreme racism towards migrant workers who like slaves in Rome “take the labor from the hardworking middle class”. Increasingly the middle class shrinks as social unrest and bigotry grows. It is a scary combination that, if we aren’t careful, could spell the end of civilization as we know it, just like it did for the Romans centuries before.

                AND the five links therein.

                Therefore the Aris notion that USA can simply bide its time and wait for Russia to collapse is suspect. If anything there may well be be a collapse…but not Russia.


                1. Agree with the sentiment but the Soviet Union outproduced the US in every industrial category that mattered. Its military was much stronger than the US on land and in the air. On the sea, the US probably had the edge.

                  The Soviet Union fell because its ideology provided no means to deal with psychos and sociopaths. Religion, with all of its shortcomings, at least tried to address sociopathic behaviors with such terms as sin, evil, etc. When religion left the building, there was nothing left to stop the psychos and its kissing cousins, the Randites.

                  The West is immune from such dangers as it embraces sociopathyy. Russia, I believe, is seeking a society that can withstand such assaults without heavy handed purges which only provide temporary relief. The Orthodox Church ascendancy in modern Russia is helping to provide that moral anchor to keep socciopathy from becoming the dominant world view. I think even atheists can agree on the importance of its role in providing a stable and humane society.


    2. https://www.rt.com/business/435760-russia-response-us-sanctions/

      In short:
      1. Cut off titanium metals and fabrications to the West – Boeing shutdowns as well as many other US aerospace operations;
      2. Close off air space or charge much higher tariffs to US carriers using Russian airspace. US airlines become non-competitive in many Asian and European markets;
      3. Stop exporting LNG and other energy products to the US;
      4. Raise taxes or shutdown US companies in Russia;
      5. Stop exports of the RD-180 and 181 rocket engines.

      Action 1 would have a devastating impact on US aerospace manufacturing. The US has little ability to replace with domestic or foreign supplies. This action should be reserved in the event of extremely aggressive US actions such as a direct military attack on Syria;

      Perhaps the sequence should be 2, 3, 5, 4, 1.


      1. I propose a 6.

        Call a presser at the UN and have the Ambassador confirm that Obama and HRC are wholly paid-up RF assets and watch Civil War II unfold.


  61. Al Jazeera English
    Published on 12 Aug 2018
    Thousands of students from Saudi Arabia studying in Canada are being ordered by their government to return home.

    A Saudi student group issued a press release urging their leaders to keep them out of the political dispute.

    Canadian students unions are trying to help them cope with the uncertainty surrounding their academic future.

    The recalling of students follows the expulsion of the Canadian ambassador from Riyadh and the suspension of new trade and investment after Canada criticised the arrest of human rights activists in the kingdom.

    Al Jazeera’s Fintan Monaghan reports.


  62. Al Jazeera English
    Published on 12 Aug 2018
    It took 22 years of negotiations, but the leaders of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan have signed an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

    The dispute hinged on the definition of the Caspian as either a “lake” or a “sea”.

    The agreement means the five countries can move forward with sharing out the resource-rich inland body of water, the largest in the world.

    Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands reports from Moscow.


  63. Al Jazeera English
    Published on 12 Aug 2018
    US Vice President Mike Pence says the time has come to prepare for the next battlefield… and that battlefield is space.

    The Americans want to create a space force within two years… to defend US satellites and space craft from attack.

    It will be the first new branch of the military since 1947.

    Pence’s boss Donald Trump wants Congress to vote yes to the plan…and agree additional funding of $8bn.

    But who will the US be competing against?

    And is it the start of a new space race?

    Presenter: Hoda Abdelhamid

    Oliver McGee, former adviser to Donald Trump
    Einar Tangen, China Political Analyst
    Morris Jones, a space analyst and author of ” When Men Walked on the Moon”


    1. The biggest threat in Space is debris and junk flying around. Too much junk and the area becomes uninhabitable. It is rather easy to do, so the only solution is to fix your relations with countries that can reach space.


      1. US space forces keeping busy defending US satellites and spacecraft from attack by junk and debris spewed out from US satellites and spacecraft in the past … the irony is delicious!


  64. Apologies if the above was posted before. But that is nice smackdown to the morons running the UK and their inane propaganda about how the World Cup was like the 1936 Berlin Olympics. No high ranking UK officials attended the World Cup as you know. But they had quite the entourage to the 1936 Olympics. Sick, hypocrite f*cks.