A Tale of Two Tyrants: They’re Using Our Own Laws Against Us!!

Uncle Volodya says, Humor is essential to a successful tactician, for the most potent weapons known to mankind are satire and ridicule”.”

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary,
Out by the gas fires of the refinery;
I’m ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain’t got nowhere to go…

Bruce Springsteen, from, Born in the USA

Leafing through Forbes or Fortune Magazine is like reading the operating manual of some strangely sanctimonious pirate ship.

Adam Gopnik

I have reached the conclusion – late, but better late than never, they say – that there is no pleasing the west where its ideological foes are concerned. If they do bad things, they are evil. If they do halfway-decent things, they are only pretending to be good so they can get close enough to whip out the evil. If their economy is tanking, they are incompetent. If their economy is doing well despite efforts to ruin it, they are manipulative and deceitful, and not ever to be trusted. If they break the law, they are reckless criminals – if they hew to the law and nevertheless achieve their objective, they are exploiting loopholes to bring about the downfall of all that’s good. It was kind of the latter I wanted to talk about today. Because if there’s anything that makes the west hot under the collar, it is being put in a position where it looks hypocritical and childish, and cannot avail itself of its customary lofty sanctimony. The moral high ground is sometimes hard to hold, but it’s harder if you are full of shit.

First on deck is the Hungarian Vampire suckling at the Helpless White Throat of Democracy, Victor Orban. Mr. Orban long since turned into a bad smell on the wind for western leaders, owing to some pro-Russian positions and his resistance to western portrayals of Ukraine as The Crucible Of Good Decisions – he is invariably portrayed in western accounts as a ‘strongman’ who just makes up new laws as soon as he comes up against one which inconveniences his ruthless plundering of the state. Keep that ‘strongman’ cliche in mind for a moment, because we’re going to come back to it fairly soon.

Readers will have to be satisfied with a stub as a reference, because it’s from The Economist, which wants you to subscribe – yes, I know, and for money! – to read the whole thing. I would be as likely to do that as I would be to punch the next person who asks me what time it is in the face, because its analysis is typically little better than what you might find in the National Enquirer, and accurately foretells world developments about as often as chicken soup gives you an upset stomach.

“Take Hungary, where Fidesz, the ruling party, has used its parliamentary majority to capture regulators, dominate business, control the courts, buy the media and manipulate the rules for elections. As our briefing explains, the prime minister, Viktor Orban, does not have to break the law, because he can get parliament to change it instead. He does not need secret police to take his enemies away in the night. They can be cut down to size without violence, by the tame press or the taxman. In form, Hungary is a thriving democracy; in spirit, it is a one-party state.”

The thrust of the article is that populism is strangling democracy. Let’s take a quick look at a definition of ‘populism’ – perhaps it really is bad.  Hmmmm…. according to the dictionary, it’s ” A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite.”

Well, the nerve! The people should be glad to have jobs, never mind voting, and perhaps subverting the wishes of their betters, since it’s no fun being a corrupt elite if they are the majority and common as muck. ‘The people’ – generally held to be the poor and the middle clases – greatly outnumber the elites, because being a member of the elite is exclusive, like having a special badge or unlimited free ice cream. All right, let’s take a look at what The Economist is complaining about.

Oh, dear; the party headed by Orban won 133 of 199 seats in the 2018 election – a supermajority, and what is usually described as a ‘landslide’. He was helped – the snake! – by a strong economy. Which became so under his leadership, if that isn’t too inconvenient. Fidesz won 49% of the popular vote, against the 44% it captured in the 2014 election. Which, to most who can work simple numbers, suggests the party became more popular rather than less. Its victory, and Orban’s, was ‘helped by deep divisions among opposition parties’. In a one-party state, if you take my meaning. Are you adding two and two and getting three? Me, too. Was the election monitored? Sure was. In what was termed a ‘damning report’, the monitoring body complained of ‘intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing”. Say – did you hear that in the campaign that’s going on right now in America to determine the Democratic nominee, CNN’s ‘analyst’ Bakari Sellers claimed there was ‘no question’ that military veteran and serving National Guard Major Tulsi Gabbard, democratic presidential candidate, is an agent of the Russian government? How’s that for intimidating rhetoric? Did he inform the intelligence services of his suspicions? Why, no; he didn’t. Because he has no evidence whatsoever, and is basing his ridiculous allegations on dislike of Gabbard’s campaign thus far, which is not sufficiently my-country-right-or-wrong to suit him. Quite a bit like the ‘investigation’ of the Hungarian election conducted by ‘Unhack Democracy Europe’, that determined widespread vote-buying and other dirty tricks based on evidence which…it released exclusively to Open Democracy. Sure; I’ll buy that. Everyone knows it’s an international law-enforcement agency. What? It isn’t? So evidence proving vote-rigging was given to…a deep-pockets think-tank?

Let’s not forget that Orban is a ‘strongman’. If he doesn’t like the law, he just gets Parliament to rewrite it so he does like it.

Say – anyone remember Francois Hollande? You know; serious glasses, a fivehead, spent $10,000.00 a month of the taxpayers’ money on hair styling and still managed to look like he’d just been dragged through a hedge backwards? Image result for Francois HollandeNobody who does remember him would describe him as a ‘strongman’, and in fact he looked like he could not tear a cocktail napkin crossways unless it was spritzed with Evian to weaken it. But Francois Hollande, in a “Fuck les voters” gesture breathtaking in its undemocracy, rammed through a labour reform package that nobody wanted – except the all-the-way-across-town-from-populist elite – which made it easier for employers to fire workers without due cause without even running it past parliament. The western governments declined to pay it much attention, and nobody called for the strongman’s head on a platter or a pike.

Let’s get something straight – the liberals despise Orban because of his immigration policies, which are that you should not accept waves of immigrants for whom you have no jobs, under the rubric of human rights. Show me a European country that is happy with its immigrant population taken in when Mutti Merkel threw the gates wide to refugees. Germany? Nein. France? Mais non. The Netherlands? Nee.

The above notwithstanding, let’s go back for a moment, and look at the litany of complaints. Fidesz – and by extension, Victor Orban – used its parliamentary majority. How did it get that? In a democratic vote which was plainly the will of the people, despite squawking about xenophobia and hate speech. So, it used its parliamentary majority, we’re told, to ‘capture regulators, dominate business, control the courts, buy the media and manipulate the rules for elections’. Behaved like a government, in other words. The regulators work for the government. If the government does not like the way the regulators regulate, it changes the way they operate, through parliament. If the people, in turn, do not like the changes the government made, they toss it out on its ear in the next election. I believe we already mentioned Fidesz increased its take of the vote and has a solid parliamentary majority. What government would have a majority and not use it? Well, okay, Obama. But what sensible government? What is the reason for pursuing power, if not to exercise it?

Does anyone remember the previous US Republican practice of using recess appointments to stack the courts with controversial judges? Yes, some people – notably the Democrats, who had previously blocked these appointments – complained. But is it legal? Sure is, or the decision would have been forcibly rescinded. Oh, but that was in a free democracy, so it’s allowed. Is it relatively common practice among British MP’s to use their staffing allowance to hire their wives for positions like research assistant, at salaries upwards of £40,000 a year? Why, yes; yes, it is. Buying the media? Well, that’s not strictly necessary in the UK – the BBC is a state organ. Although the government does not directly underwrite it, the BBC is entirely funded by a fee levied against every British household with a television. Who controls the disbursement of public funds? The government. US government control of the media is a well-established fact. From the premise that if it is against the law it would be abolished, all these practices must be legal. When carried out in The Democracy Klub, there seems to be little resistance to them. When carried out in more or less exactly the same fashion in governments which are in popular disfavour, such policies are thuggish and unethical. Set Sheep Filter to ‘On’.

Orban has been head of the Fidesz Party, and Prime Minister of Hungary, since 2010. Let’s take a look at how the country has performed economically during that time. When he took over, GDP growth was a record low of -7.9%. Global financial crash; you can’t really blame it on his predecessor. But by the end of 2012 it was at about 2.3%, and currently stands at 4.9% (measured quarterly, first quarter of 2019, figures lag a bit in all economic readings). Remember the part about not admitting floods of immigrants for whom you have no jobs? Hungary’s unemployment rate is 3.4% (August 2019, most recent figures). By way of unpleasant contrast, the unemployment rate in France is almost triple that at 8.5%, Italy 9.5%, Poland 5.2%, and even economic powerhouse Germany is at 3.1%. The overall economic picture of a nation is of course quite complicated, but I don’t see any of the disastrous performance that could be attributed to an out-of-control dictator.

Speaking of dictators, the second tyrant in the crosshairs is that perennial favourite, Vladimir Putin. Well, the Russian state, actually, but Putin has been synonymous with Russia for so long that the two are – for western media purposes – inseparable.

Ashland, Kentucky, USA. 6.2% unemployment, well above the average of a struggling state and nearly double the national average. But all that was about to change. There was a plan to build the biggest aluminum mill the United States had seen in 40 years, an outfit that would provide 600 full-time jobs at twice the region’s average wage, and 18,000 associated jobs in the state. The company with the big ideas, Braidy Industries, planned to partner with Rusal, the Russian aluminum giant.

And then there was a problem. A problem named Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska, billionaire owner of Rusal, was under investigation by Robert Mueller in the stupid vanity project the Clintons kicked off to assuage Hillary’s hurt feelings over losing to Trump – for reasons only a brave psychiatrist could explain, it was necessary for Americans to accept that the 2016 election was derailed by Russian hackers working for Putin, who was determined to put Donald Trump in the White House.

I leave it to ‘veteran diplomat’ (another way of saying ‘slow learner who does not want to work for a living’) Daniel Fried to sum up western thinking on taking dirty money from the Russians – “That’s just what the Russians do. They insert themselves into a foreign economy and then start to influence its politics from the inside.”

This is yet another example of a moment when the next thing that should have happened would be a surprised look crossing Daniel Fried’s face, and a puff of smoke from his lips, followed by his blazing tongue being ejected from his mouth. It’s what we in the business call an Incendiary Hypocrisy Event. If ever there was a country more characterized by inserting itself into foreign economies, and then trying to leverage that economic interest as investors to influence national politics than the United States of America, I’ve never heard of it and frankly cannot imagine it. The Bush presidency even formalized the imperative of encouraging the flow of American investments to Iraq as a Presidential signing statement.

Have you ever seen a more loyal lapdog to American policy than Australia? Yes, okay, except for Canada. All four of Australia’s biggest banks are majority-owned by American investors. The nation’s biggest company – the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, is 60% owned by American investors. The United States and its investors use Investor-State Dispute Settlement clauses to formalize rights for US investors that citizens of the country in which the investments are held cannot exercise; an American investor can sue the Australian government for compensation in an international tribunal if that government makes any change in law or policy that “harms” an investment. I think you can sort of see how that might translate to political influence.

Anyway, back to Ashland, Kentucky. Deripaska and Rusal used a variety of legal stratagems to get around the sanctions. ‘Legal’ being the key word – everything meets the letter of the law. Which brings a wail from Heather Conley, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President George W. Bush; “They use our laws, our rules, our banks, our lawyers, our lobbyists—it’s a strategy from within.”

Image result for russophobiaAmerica’s hearty, good ole boy business credo has always been, “The U.S. benefits from economic ties to foreign powers as long as everyone plays by our rules”. Or it used to be. Now it has apparently become, “Foreign investment is dandy so long as we get to say who is playing by the rules, even when everyone is playing by the rules”. The complaint, if you can believe it, is that a firm like Rusal uses American laws, rules, banks, lawyers and lobbyists…and still somehow has not been excluded. Therefore, it must be excluded under the Discomfort Clause, more commonly known as ‘National Security’. Playing by the rules and acting in accordance with American law are no longer enough. All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.

Let’s encapsulate what ethics and business in America have become, under the current climate of Russophobia and situation-driven fearmongering, in a personal example – Braidy Industries’ CEO, Craig Bouchard. He’s the one trying to get this whole deal rolling, to save Ashland, the region it’s in and maybe even the cash-strapped state. In 2008, Bouchard and his younger brother sold their steel mill to a Russian oligarch, Alexey Mordashov, for more than $750 million. Bouchard became rich.

And then made a few bucks more, from a book he co-authored; “America For Sale”, which warned that foreign investors pose a threat to America’s economic and national security. “If Putin harbors a nasty wish to throw a wrench into the works of the U.S. economy, then he now has acquired the means to do so,” Bouchard wrote. When it comes to industries vital to defense, like steel and aluminum, “the bottom line is that we believe it is risky business to trust Russian oligarchs,” the book concluded.

Ask yourself if a country that fucked up deserves to succeed. Or be anyone’s business partner.

1,014 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Tyrants: They’re Using Our Own Laws Against Us!!

  1. Euractiv: Zelenskiy orders law regulating Ukraine’s media, causing uproar

    President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has ordered officials to swiftly draft a bill regulating media activity in Ukraine, in an effort to increase media accountability and prohibit Russian ownership and financing of news outlets.

    …At a special hearing on freedom of speech in Ukraine’s parliament on 6 November, Tkachenko suggested sanctioning Ukrainian media outlets that were not profitable for three consecutive years. The absence of profits may indicate that these news outlets are mere political tools in the hands of their owner, he argued.

    Speaking at the hearing, Borodiansky announced that the bill may include civil and criminal liability for journalists who spread false or manipulative information….

    Well that would be the Guardian (Puke Farting for example) and a whole host of other western news outlets stuffed… if only they were based in the Ukraine…

    This looks like a fairly disastrous bill if there has ever been one. For a country that has been lauded by its sponsors for its ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom of speech’, it’ll be interesting a) to see what happens; b) be to hear – or not hear – what its sponsors think about it.



    …The Russian motive, Hill hinted, was that Yovanovitch had been one of the supporters of a display of US Navy firepower in the Black Sea, after the November 25 Kerch Strait incident; for details of what exactly happened, and the Ukrainian role in initiating it, read this. http://johnhelmer.net/force-talks-an-approach-with-hostile-intent-to-the-russian-frontier-aircraft-ships-at-sea-or-troops-in-the-field-will-be-shot/

    …Hill reveals no sign that she reported to her superiors the US intelligence assessment of what had happened. Poroshenko may have made a “miscalculation”, she conceded in later testimony, though she appears not to have known the evidence herself, nor to have been privy to Yovanovitch’s role…

    …Might Trump have judged Poroshenko guilty of plotting to sabotage his proposed summit meeting with Putin? Yovanovitch also? Hill wasn’t asked, but she didn’t know…

    …Hill admitted she left the NSC on July 19, days before the President’s controversial telephone-call with Zelensky on July 25. She acknowledged knowing, however, that the freeze on deliveries of Javelin anti-tank missiles and other US military assistance to Ukraine had been frozen on July 18 — before the telephone-call and not for reason of partisan or personal advantage Trump allegedly pressed on Zelensky during the July 25 conversation…

    Much more at the link.

    We certainly learn a lot more about what she said but was filtered out by the professional media.

    More like, Fiona Hill – conspiracy theorist. Except it’s only a conspiracy theory if it comes from someone with different political views.


  3. Craig Murray: The Sad Death of James Le Mesurier

    We should never forget that all human deaths are tragedies. No human is perfect and none is completely evil. Even the most wretched, snivelling excuse of a human being you can possibly imagine – say Ian Austin – has known a mother’s love. Le Mesurier leaves a wife and children who will be mourning. We should not forget that.

    Unfortunately he worked in a profession where you can very quickly move from an asset to a liability. …

    The rest at the link.


      1. I see his point; he means all human deaths are tragedies to someone – not to society as a whole. Someone will miss Le Mesurier, but it won’t be me, and I would hazard a guess it won’t be you, either.


        1. James Le Mesurier’s wife Emma Winberg sure will be missing hubby because she will have to run MayDay Rescue herself.

          Here is Winberg’s bio from Skoll.org.


          As a Director of Mayday Rescue Foundation my focus is on developing new solutions for building upstream grassroots community resilience in the context of global threats from issues such as forced migration, violent extremism and climate change.

          I believe that by empowering vulnerable communities and equipping them with a basic and versatile toolkit of skills and means to prepare for, respond to and adapt to the man-made and natural threats that they face, we can increase their intrinsic resilience. By fostering networks of these communities through the shared language, philosophy and approach of community resilience-building we can help transcend ethnic, sectarian and cultural divisions.

          My background is in security, stabilisation and peace building in states that are entering, enduring and emerging from conflict. My postings have been in Kabul, Damascus, East Jerusalem, Istanbul and Erbil [largest city and capital of Iraqi Kurdistan] with shorter postings in Yemen and East Africa.

          I have been working in the Middle East and South Asia for the past ten years, first as a member of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and subsequently in the fields of strategic communications and community resilience. I am fluent in English, Swedish and Arabic.

          MayDay Rescue is a not-4-profit based in The Netherlands that channels money from the UK, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands (and from the US through Chemonics International on behalf of USAID) and provides training to … the White Helmets in Syria.


          1. Winberg, the wife of whom the Daily Mail describes as having been “a quiet British hero”, is a Swede.

            Why DO so many of Russia’s enemies plunge to their death from balconies? After ex-Army officer James Le Mesurier was found dead at the foot of his Istanbul flat, just what is the truth about the brutal end of a quiet British hero?

            Yes, why DO they???

            Or are you confusing some of these deaths of those whom you claim as having been enemies of Russia with the deaths of those who were enemies of Bandera bastards in Banderastan and who have also mysteriously plunged to their deaths off balconies?

            DO tell, Daily Mail!


            1. Just look up balcony death on DM’s own site:


              Man, 22, plunges to his death from the 15th floor of a Gold Coast high-rise – as police investigate if he had been hanging off the balcony

              ‘My son is dead’: Harrowing cries of mother after boy plunged 100ft to his death from fourth floor flat on his third birthday – the SECOND child in fatal fall in London in 24 hours

              British holidaymaker, 20, died after plunging 70 feet at Majorcan apartment complex where three Brits fell to their death in a year, inquest hears

              Bereaved families criticise Foreign Office´s handling of deaths abroad

              ‘I heard her mother screaming’: Girl, five, suffers serious injuries after plunging from a third-floor hotel balcony

              And that’s only for this november. Maybe they were Russia’s (unknowing) enemies? He’s missed a trick.


            2. “Nikolai Gorokhov, lawyer for the family of Sergei Magnitsky – who died in jail in 2009 after exposing massive tax fraud by government officials – fell from a fourth-storey window. The authorities alleged, apparently with a straight face, that he’d been trying to move a bathtub” — The Daily Mail.

              I’m pretty sure that indeed was the case: he fell when attempting renovations on his apartment.. I faintly recall the incident.

              Адвоката семьи Магнитского госпитализировали после падения с высоты

              Magnitsky Family lawyer has been hospitalized after falling from a great height
              22 March 2017

              Lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov, who is representing the family interests of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a pre-trial detention centre, and those of the head of the William Browder Foundation, who is on the wanted list in Russia, was hospitalized in Moscow, according to materials posted on the “Law and Order in Russia” portal, which is organized with the support of Browder.

              As specified in the message, Gorokhov was “thrown off the top floor of the house” and is currently in intensive care “in critical condition” in the capital’s Botkin Hospital.

              However, according to an unnamed source at Interfax, “according to preliminary data, the incident occurred due to the banal non-observance of safety precautions”. “Nothing indicates any criminal activity” he said, noting that, according to him, the incident happened during a time when the lawyer, along with workers, had been trying to raise a bath into the house. However, as the agency’s interlocutor noted, the winch being used could not take the strain and Gorokhov was badly injured. “The winch was clearly not chosen by a specialist; its design is rather primitive”, the interfax source explained. The lawyer, according to the agency, was taken to the hospital by helicopter.

              Apparently, it was a jacuzzi he was trying to lift and, contrary to advice from the workers, he improvised a winch to do the job.

              Адвокат семьи Магнитского, выпавший из окна с джакузи, сам делал ремонт
              Стали известны подробности спасения юриста, получившего серьезные травмы

              Whilst doing structural alterations himself, the Magnitsky family lawyer has fallen from a window with a Jacuzzi.
              Details of the rescue of a lawyer, who received serious injuries, have become known


              Nikolai Gorokhov, lawyer for the family of Sergei Magnitsky almost died on Tuesday, when trying to raise a Jacuzzi on a makeshift winch to his apartment in Troitsk. The unreliable set-up broke, and Gorokhov fell from the fourth floor, receiving severe injuries.

              But did Gorokhov die?

              The Mail says that not only did he die, he was murdered.


              1. “The Mail says that not only did he die, he was murdered”.

                Sorry, mail, you did not say that: you just said that the stupid cnut had been pushed from a balcony,.

                No doubt, all the workers and witnesses present watching while the idiot was trying to winch his jacuzzi up to the attic after having warned him not to do it, were in the hire of the Evil One.


              2. “The authorities alleged, apparently with a straight face, that he’d been trying to move a bathtub” — The Daily Mail.

                Yes, apparently!

                So the Mail apparently knows what the attitude of the “authorities” was when they made that alleged statement, or did indeed know what the appearance of their faces was when they made it, apparently.

                It was a fucking jacuzzi, also, you slimy bastards, not a “bathtub”: a fucking great heavy hunk of a jacuzzi, you arseholes at the Mail, which the dickhead lawyer was trying to winch up to the top of his house so as to save a few bob because he’s so fucking well badly paid in Putin’s Russia, apparently!!!


                1. Of course the intent was to suggest ‘the authorities’ were lying, and not even a very good lie, at that. Nobody should believe it – of course it was an attempted murder. But this is the British press, where a glimpse of a starlet’s tit is Page One Under 20-Point Bold. I don’t think too much of the world takes the British press seriously, as it seems to be mostly staffed by people who could not get a job anywhere else. They took a look at the story, and came up with a line that would hew more or less to the truth, but would sound so absurd that everyone would laugh mockingly.

                  If many, even most of the British believe it – who cares? Russia has never had very many friends in the UK, and should not look for any now. I’m sure Russians can live just as long and die just as happy for not enjoying the regard and admiration of the British people.


                2. You can see an embedded video of the scene of the accident and the “bathtub” in the linked article below:

                  22.03.2017, 10:40
                  Врачи оценивают состояние адвоката семьи Магнитского как критическое

                  Doctors assess the condition of the Magnitsky family’s lawyer as critical

                  Putin’s killers must have pushed out the jacuzzi as well so as to make Gorokhov’s fall look like an accident.


                3. I wonder where he intended to put it – in the middle of his living-room? Usually a big appliance like a Jacuzzi is built in when the building is constructed. It’s obviously not unheard-of for them to be added later, but it’s a huge job and you have to take out the best part of a wall in the bathroom because it won’t fit through the door. Hard to get up the stairs, as well, doubtless the reason for his improvised lifting gear. And finally, there are structural considerations – when it’s full of water and a fat-assed liberal, it weighs probably twice what an ordinary bathtub does.

                  ‘In critical condition’ must be a new category of ‘murdered’.


      1. Ian Austin is a British politician in the right-wing faction of the British Labour Party. Incidentally he and his siblings were adopted as babies by a school-teacher and his wife.

        Even without the whitewashing you expect of Wikipedia editors, Austin’s Wikipedia bio reveals him to be something of a backstabber and traitor to his party.


  4. CounterCurrents.org via Antiwar.com: Plane carrying Morales lands in Paraguay after getting refusal from Peru

    …he plane was supposed to refuel in Peru before heading to Mexico, where Morales has been granted political asylum, with the local authorities having already granted agreement to it.

    However, the departure held off due to the need to coordinate the route again.

    The aircraft carrying Evo landed at 04:35 GMT.

    The decision to land in Paraguay was made after traffic controllers in Peru, Chile and Brazil banned the aircraft from passing over their airspace…

    …Bolivia’s armed forces commander Williams Kaliman announced Monday that the military would take joint action with the police in repressing people’s mobilization against the coup that forced out President Evo Morales’ democratically elected government….

    …In doing so, the commander in chief is obeying the request of the Senate’s Second Deputy Senate Majority Leader and member of the opposition Democratic Union party Jeanine Anez, who asked the military to join with the police units to “control the masses; hordes,” referring to militants and supporters of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) who demand the respect of the popular vote…

    …However, they were met with violent police repression, in which officers are reportedly using live ammunition and rubber bullets.

    “After the first day of the civic-political-police coup, rebellious police use bullets to cause deaths and injuries in El Alto. My solidarity with those innocent victims, among them a girl, and the heroic alter people, defender of democracy,” Morales said from his Twitter account Monday…

    Chile, Peru & Brazil. No surprise then. Say, how is Chile doing? It’s no longer considered ‘important’ by the media.

    al-Beeb s’Allah: In pictures: Clashes in Chile amid national strike


    1. Eh, et Al, watch this video and tell me that at the 40-second mark that Luis Fernando Camacho is not flanked on his right-hand side by a Blackwater mercenary:


      1. You never know; according to Jeb Sprague (whoever that is, haven’t had time to dig into it yet, I’m just getting home from work), the top coup plotters in Bolivia were “graduates of the infamous School of the Americas or groomed in DC-based FBI police training programs”.

        We are all aware that Washington has awakened with dismay to the inroads and connections the China/Russia axis is making in South and Central America, which Washington considers its backyard. Additionally, as I have said before now, it will not suffer a socialist government to live, because it is a deterrent to rampant capitalism and over-the-top enrichment of the investor class.

        I did watch some of the clip, and that puerile “Bolivia is free, a dictator has been toppled” crap just makes me tired. Same old thing that has happened time and time again, but people never learn – dictators were toppled in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya: are any of them better off now that they are free and have democracy up the wazoo?


        1. Major league discussion going on at The Saker in the comments forum involving the commenter called Bosnian Croat on Luis Fernando Camacho’s mentor and backer, the exiled Croatian-Bolivian businessman Branko Marinkovic and that fellow’s role in a 2008 plot to break Santa Cruz department away from Bolivia.

          In 2009 Marinkovic hired two assassins to kill Evo Morales: one of the assassins was Eduardo Rozsa-Flores who had fought with the Croatian First International Platoon, a group with Nazi and fascist histories and connections, during Croatia’s war for its independence in the early 1990s; the other assassin was an Irish fellow. Both assassins were killed by Bolivian police.

          Bolivia terror plot: The Rózsa-Marinkovic “Ustasha Connection”

          Grayzone Project report by Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton

          Discussion of the backgrounds of Eduardo Rozsa-Flores and Michael Dwyer, the two men shot dead by Bolivian police

          Appears that Rozsa-Flores once worked for the BBC World Service.


          1. As usual, Washington has a lot to answer for, as it attempts to sweep the Americas putting wealthy businessmen in leadership roles, where they will enable pillaging by the investor class. Also as usual, it will never be held to account.


      2. Yeh, had a look Jen. Even though Blackwater rebranded with the paw in the crosshairs logo a while ago, that skull long chin symbol shows up on sites that sell Private Military Contractor clothing. It hardly matters whether it is Blackwater/Xe/Academi/whatever, it’s guns for hire that allow plausible deniablity for the US and friends.


        1. Yeah, the Blackwater logo has been, at various times, a paw or a skull. I could swear I have seen that elongated skull logo somewhere though, it might not be Blackwater specifically, but, as ET AL notes, does it really matter?


            1. Ah, well, I don’t know Marvel Comics superheroes all that well. I’ve never seen the movies and only have the vaguest idea of who’s who in the Marvel Comics universe.

              On the other hand, I know the DC Comics universe fairly well, having collected Wonder Woman comics in the distant past and seen the TV series. I have never seen the movie though and don’t plan to watch it or the sequel that is currently in production.


              1. I don’t really know them, either; I’m not a fan of ‘graphic novels’, and haven’t read a comic book since I was a kid. I just did an image search until I found the picture, then selected the article that accompanied it.


  5. The Register: Section 230 supporters turn on it, its critics rely on it. Up is down, black is white in the crazy world of US law

    Meanwhile Facebook appears to have shot itself in the foot

    Plenty crazy at the link.

    Yet another stick in the Internet regulation pool. How it all shakes out is anyone’s guess. You would hope that common and practical sense would be the rule but we are dealing with not only quasi untouchable globocorps, we’re dealing with politicians who now want them to police and censor the internet on the back of fake news conspiracy theories, aka ‘us pols are never responsible for anything we do’. We’ve already seen their aversion to being publicly challenged for their bs lies when they are caught but f*buk will will give the pols a pass as it is their profession.


  6. The Grey Zone: Why is the US Arming Ukraine?

    Ukrainegate impeachment saga worsens US-Russia Cold War

    As the House opens impeachment hearings for President Trump, Professor Stephen F. Cohen warns that the US military assistance at the heart of Ukrainegate escalates the US-Russia Cold War.

    Video at the link.

    There’s also another very good video of Arron Mate interviewing his dad about anti-semitism ‘Gabor Maté on the misuse of anti-Semitism and why fewer Jews identify with Israel’:


  7. Ukrainegate impeachment saga worsens US-Russia Cold War
    5,464 views•13 Nov 2019

    The Grayzone
    70.6K subscribers
    Pushback with Aaron Maté

    As the House opens impeachment hearings for President Trump, Professor Stephen F. Cohen warns that the US military assistance at the heart of Ukrainegate escalates the US-Russia Cold War.

    Guest: Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University, contributing editor at The Nation, and author of “War with Russia: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.”


  8. В Киеве пообещали отреагировать на запуск поездов по Крымскому мосту
    16:25 13.11.2019 (обновлено: 19:52 13.11.2019)

    In Kiev, they have promised to respond to the launch of trains on the Crimean bridge
    16:25 11/13/2019 (updated: 19:52 11/13/2019)

    MOSCOW, Nov 13 – RIA Novosti. The so-called representative of the President of the Ukraine in the Crimea, Anton Korinevich, has said that the Kiev authorities will definitely respond to the launching of railway traffic to the peninsula along the Kerch bridge. However, he did not specify what kind of response actions the Ukrainian authorities would take.

    “Of course, we will respond to this. We know about these initiatives, about the corresponding price of the so-called tickets”, an UNIAN official quotes.

    According to him, access to the territory of the Crimea outside the checkpoints of Chongar, Kalanchak and Chaplinka violates Ukrainian law.

    Korinevich also emphasized that the Crimea bridge, according to the Ukrainian authorities, was built illegally.

    Last week, ticket sales began for passenger trains to the Crimea started, which will begin to run in late December.

    The first train will leave St. Petersburg on December 23 (No. 7/8) and leave for Sevastopol from Moskovsky Station at 14:00 Moscow time. It has to cover 2741 kilometers. Travel time will be more than 43 hours. In total, five single-decker trains consisting of compartment and reserved seats carriges will be used on this route.

    Having a length of 19 kilometres, the Crimea Bridge is the longest in Russia. Its road section is already open.

    Появились первые фотографии интерьера поездов в Крым
    17:41 08.11.2019 (обновлено: 18:39 08.11.2019)

    The first photos of the interior of trains to the Crimea have appeared
    17:41 11/08/2019 (updated: 18:39 11/08/2019)


  9. the Economist via European Tribune: Krugman-Admits-He-Was-Wrong! (Pt. 1?)

    …Now Krugman has come out and admitted, offhandedly, that his own understanding of economics has been seriously deficient as well. In a recent essay titled “What Economists (Including Me) Got Wrong About Globalization,” adapted from a forthcoming book on inequality, Krugman writes that he and other mainstream economists “missed a crucial part of the story” in failing to realize that globalization would lead to “hyperglobalization” and huge economic and social upheaval, particularly of the industrial middle class in America…

    And next week he’ll be as apologetic as Mark ‘Gerasimov’ Galeotti. After all, both are just an honest mistake, so move on!


  10. TASS Press Review – Top stories from the Russian press on Tuesday, November 12

    Kommersant: Sports minister delves into WADA’s technical questions for Moscow anti-doping lab

    …”These questions concern advanced technology experts, because computers, computer bases are complicated, it may be related to a system’s setup, it may be a file transfer,” the Minister said. He stressed that WADA issues are related to purely technical subtleties, and do not concern athletes.

    Kolobkov explained why the Russian side took such a long time to transfer the database to WADA. “Removing the database itself was a very complicated procedure. The computer that stored everything was released in 2003, the disks are very old, actually ancient,” Kolobkov said. “If the server had stopped, all the information could have been lost, so WADA’s special group had to renew their stay in Russia. We simply did not want to tell people about these problems earlier. Because of this, it seems, various assumptions and rumors surfaced,” he added.

    “Representatives of WADA, primarily the investigation department, which should draw the final conclusions, experts from the Lausanne Anti-Doping Laboratory and our specialists, including an independent group that provided the database, will participate [in the meeting],” Kolobkov said. “Our task is to explain all – as WADA calls them – inconsistencies between the database provided earlier by Grigory Rodchenkov and the database transferred in January. Explain whether there were logins into the system and what they consisted of,” he told Kommersant.

    So, what Russia provided didn’t exactly match what ‘I don’t quite remember what I said’ Rodchenko provided. Quelle surprise!


  11. With the Schiff/CIA lynching starting in the House today , I thought this worth reposting.
    What’s the connection?
    I explained that when I posted the link to the book yesterday…..


    Maybe this will help…some of you:

    Read the excerpt from her 2003 book …..you may figure out why it is insanity for her to have played ANY role whatsoever in setting policy for dealing with Russia.

    Or just grin and Bear it…LOL!!!


  12. Navalny on his way out?

    Запад кинул Навального, и блогер хочет поднять денег на заказных «расследованиях»
    Сегодня, 20:37

    The West has ditched blogger Navalny, and he now wants to raise money by means of contract “investigations”
    Today, 20:37

    The summer riots in Moscow have long been a single page in the life of the capital and it is now time to turn it over. But the blogger cannot tolerate this failure. After all, after his protegés did not get into the Moscow City Duma, Western sponsors have turned away from him. Therefore, Navalny is diligently seeking out how to make money in Russia.

    Publicist Dmitry Puchkov is confident that the opposition is firing off mediocre “investigations” just for the sake of profit and a coup d’état. The fact that Navalny is looking for new sources is confirmed by his meeting with the deputy from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Valery Rashkin, and the weed-smoking bum Maxim Reznik.

    The blogger’s positions have really weakened, he’s not such a clear leader of the “unsystematic opposition”, and in comparison with him, his hysterical comrade-in-arms Lyuba Sobol even looks to have a distinct advantage, although, as you know, she has became a burden to him.

    Yes, there have been obvious squabbles within the opposition. Sobol scored points after those summer protests; foreign publications even call her “the most influential woman in the world”, but this is ridiculous and untrue. And Lenny Volkov, Nav’s “right hand”, has even approved her candidacy for the post of head of the so-called Anti-Corruption Fund.

    It is not surprising that Navalny wants to get rid of her: Lyuba has long had herr eye on his position. place.

    Dmitry Puchkov believes that there can be no à priori unity in the opposition flock. Each of them pursues one single goal: “to get out and chew on a grant.” They really don’t care about the country for which they stamp on about so much.

    Puchkov believes that Sable is as stupid as Navalny. She is worthless and nobody needs her. All that Sobol knows what to do is hysteria and to forge documents. “It’s better to go away and don’t show your face!” Puchkov advises the liberal.

    But his reputation is not the only thing that Navalny has lost: he has lost an impressive share of funding. He is not supported by sponsors, the accounts of the FBKashniks [ФБК — FBK — “Fund to fight Corruption”; it’s members are, therefore, FBKashniks — ME] have been seized, and the fund organisation itself is now a “foreign agent”. Navalny has been forced to be a beggar amongst Russian politicians. He has not been blessed with major [investigative] contracts, so he has bowed before the Communists and Yabloko.

    But nothing will come of this — Navalny issues mediocre, meaningless investigations. Puchkov even invited the blogger to read the works on this genre of journalism. According to the publicist, in recent years the blogger has hit the bottom: first, he went on a fast for students, and now for kids. And once he announced at Bolota Square that there would be a revolution.

    Now the student kiddies don’t go to him either — they are not interested in him. So Nav dances around the Communists, with whom he developed warm relations this summer. Through “UG” [УГ — умное голосование: “smart voting” — ME]), the blogger called for voting for Commie candidates. Out of the 45 candidates proposed by Navalny, 35 were from the Reds and 13 got elected as a result. And then, there are certain other deputies.

    In general, Navalny has been ditched everywhere and now he is a beggar. The Communists, by the way, may turn out to be greedy, so the blogger won’t get rich through them.


    1. He should be careful – he might not have much influence in Russia any more, but I daresay he could blow a number of western connections if he chose to throw himself on the mercy of the Russian government, and sing like a canary in exchange for a solid, reliable salary. It’s a rare ideologue indeed that does not become disillusioned with the cause he supported, somewhere along the way. Western former supporters have to think in terms of how much damage he could cause, not would – like in tactics, the maxim is ‘think capabilities, not intentions’. When assets become more risk than asset, they tend to have accidents, so as to wring the last bit of value from them. And few would believe the Russian government would top Navalny years after he lost all his mojo. Now, when he’s floundering, is the moment.


    2. “They really don’t care about the country for which they stamp on about so much” should have been “They really don’t care about the country which they have been stoking up so much”.


    3. Oh dear, no help even from Mikhail Khodorkovsky? Navalny has indeed fallen on hard times.

      We’ll know for sure when the Dill Pickler from The Fraudian suddenly gets his head out of the fridge at 2 am in the morning and bangs out an article about Navalny’s activities at Kirovles and how he really did fleece the company of money and bullied its employees.


    4. “поднять денег” – to raise money (?!) Egads, such a phrase never existed in Russian.
      It’s one thing to borrow individual words from English, but this egregious calquing of phrases must end now! The purity of the Russian language is at stake.

      Thus spake the Philologist.


  13. Euractiv: Germany makes legal changes to ease completion of Nord Stream 2

    Germany’s parliament on Wednesday (13 November) approved changes to the law governing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to make it compliant with European Union regulations, removing a hurdle to completion of the Russia-led project.

    Well it’s only Germany that needs to do this considering that it OPAL pipeline has been specifically targeted by the Commission. It’s easier for Germany to change its laws and wait for the Commission’s illegal and discriminatory changes to the European Gas Directive to be thrown out during legal arbitration brought by the NSII consortium than make any waves. Build it, and they will come…


    1. EU Observer has a desperate article entitled: Mustard gas and cod: Last chance to stop Nord Stream 2?

      No, I’m not going to link to it, but as you can imagine it is a smorgasboord of ‘it’s not safe’ any group that is against Russia giving their two (euro) cents why Denmark’s decision to give its go ahead for NSII to lay its heavy pipe though their waters could be bad for the environment.

      For me though, the most curious thing is that when I saw the article yesterday it was just a stub, i.e. behind a ‘pay to subscribe’ wall. Now it’s shite is completely free to read. As if anyone would pay for it! They are in part supported by the ‘Adessium Foundation’, something I’ve posted about before, i.e. the usual suspects.


      1. While I’m here the usual sources are reporting that Magnitsky’s wife is complaining that there is still no EU ‘Magnitsky Law 10 years after his death. That’s because the west has milked this cow until it is a dessicated corpse and still not got what it wanted from Russia. Neither did the Nazis strangely enough.

        Like Litvenenko’s wife, she neither accepts that her husband was up to his eyeballs in shit, let alone what he was actually up to on behalf of his employers, Magnitsky the books cooker for Bill Browder and Litvenenko MI6’s shit digger on organized crime (or so we are told). They’re no longer useful to the west.


        1. RT did a story involving Litvenenko’s father. IIRC, the father thought his son was working for British intelligence and was a traitor. Here is another story on the topic.


          The bigger truth, of course, is that British intelligence (what an odious term) killed Litvenenko as a twofer – get rid of someone who was no longer an asset (if not already a liability) and blame it on Russians (never gets old, does it?)


  14. Antiwar.com: Bolivia Police Block Pro-Morales MPs From Legislature

    Morales talks return as new president urges elections

    …Anez failed to secure a quorum to elect her as interim president, and unilaterally declared it. The Bolivian military has since announced a leadership shake-up and swears loyalty to her….

    So there you have it kids! Through a series of resignations, Jeanine Anez has anointed herself interim President despite the Bolivaran constitution that requries a minimum number of persons to be present and support such an action.

    It’s a good thing she’s got the police and military backing her, you know, keeping law ‘n’ order. What’s that, the sound of KRS One in the background? Whoop Whoop, that’s the sound of da police, Whoop Whoop that’s the sound of da beest!


    1. And no complaints from the west about this flagrantly anti-democratic lunge for power. Of course not – it’s approved. Anything to get that stupid socialist Indio out of power.

      A possible return by Morales is exactly the reason the western regime-changers prefer the outgoing leader be killed by overzealous coupsters.


        1. Russia is doing everything it can not to be drawn into a new cold war sought by the West. Besides, how would not recognizing the new “government” help restore Morales? Hint: it would not.

          Patience combined a strong position (economic stability, military strength and having the moral high ground) will eventually win. The strategy is apparently starting to pay off in Ukraine and is certainly a success in progress in Syria.


      1. No reason not to; Morales publicly resigned, and allegations that families of the government were threatened are unproven. It will not be very long at all before the new western-friendly ‘government’ with its self-proclaimed ‘president’ is busily fucking over the poor and the middle class for the exclusive benefit of the wealthy elite, just the way its patrons do it. There may be a revolution; there may not. But I think it’s safe to say Morales’ gains against poverty will be reversed, and a significant body of the people will lapse back into miserable poverty. Because that’s the way of the west.


  15. Daily Caller via Antiwar.com: Joseph Mifsud May Have Finally Resurfaced

    A newspaper in Italy published an audio statement provided by someone claiming to be Joseph Mifsud.

    In the seven-minute recording, the man said he did not knowingly have contact with any intelligence services in 2016.

    Mifsud has not been heard from publicly in more than two years, since he was first linked to Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

    The special counsel’s team suggested Mifsud was a possible Russian agent. Trump allies have asserted the Malta-born professor might have worked with Western intelligence agencies to set up the campaign.

    In other news, Mifusd is a virgin, has personally met Mother Theresa and is a champion of Le Mans 24hr.

    Why now?


  16. Al Arabiya via Antiwar.com: Russia in talks with Damascus for third base in Syria: Reports

    Moscow and Damascus are in talks over leasing Qamishli Airport in northeastern Syria to the Russian military, according to reports from Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper.

    The move would establish Russia’s third base in the country and cement the Russian presence in northeastern Syria, where Turkey recently launched a military offensive against Kurdish-led forces.

    According to the Gazeta, a Russian daily newspaper, “If Moscow establishes a presence there, it will allow neither the Americans nor the Turks to enter the city.”…

    So much for those claiming that Putin is hoodwinked by InSultin’ Erd O’Grand. Russia is nailing this down and then some.


  17. And in news on the American military presence in Syria…Guess what?
    It’s still there…

    Ya’ see crucifying Erdogan has little if anything to do with removing Old Glory from flying over Syrian oil fields.
    Moreover Erdogan has to some extent self neutralized himself by alienating powerful members of the American MIC/Congressional establishment:

    So VVP need not worry about fuckin’ Erdogan around…he’s doing a good job of that himself.

    The pesky Americans in Syria…THAT’s the problem folks..try to keep up!!!



    1. My God, that’s rich – Lindsey Graham ‘ripping into’ Erdogan for his ‘BS about fighting ISIS’! Unbelievable! The USA pretended to ‘fight ISIS’ for almost two years, while secretly feeding them money and arms and vehicles so they could overthrow al-Assad.

      The most likely result of being told that the US is ‘united against Turkey’ – which is a laugh in itself, as it is not united on anything – will be to push Erdogan into an even more comprehensive agreement with Russia. And Erdogan’s suggestion that he might buy the Patriot ‘as well as the S-400’ is tremendously humiliating for the USA. Of course they would not sell it to him in those circumstances.

      Basically, Erdogan can do whatever he wants, and he knows it. He can even buy two squadrons of SU-35’s, as Turkey has suggested it is considering, and the west will still not cut him off because Turkey is far too strategically valuable to let it go. Lindsey Graham can hold his breath until he turns blue and it will be no skin off Erdogan’s ass.


    1. Yawn. The US government loves to hear how its schemes and manipulations are yielding success, and hearing that Russia is desperate and isolated is almost as good as it being true. It does not bother me if ‘people with juice’ are imbibing incorrect information just because they like the sound of it.


  18. Украинский адмирал пожаловался на российские “Калибры” в Черном море
    02:01 15.11.2019 (обновлено: 05:28 15.11.2019

    Ukrainian Admiral has complained about Russian “Calibre” in the Black Sea
    02:01 15.11.2019 (updated: 05:28 15.11.2019)

    MOSCOW, 15 Nov – RIA Novosti. The commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Admiral Ihor Voronchenko, has complained that Russia has significantly increased the combat potential of its Black Sea fleet by starting to build vessels equipped with “Calibre” cruise missiles . This statement, as reported by the press service of Ukraine Defence Ministry, Voronchenko made during a speech at the International conference on Maritime security in Odessa.

    “In five years, starting from 2014, Russia has dramatically increased the combat potential of the Black Sea fleet and concentrated in the Black Sea new ships and submarines that carry missile strike weapons such as the long-range “Calibre” . A total salvo of these missiles is of 72 units, and by the end of next year, they will increase to 168 missiles”, said Voronchenko.

    According to him, Russia has created in the region a deeply layered system of anti-ship defence, strengthen the defense system the new S-400 and, has increased the aviation fleet through the supply of new fighters and bombers.

    In this case, the response of Kiev to these “threats”, according to the Admiral, should be the restoration of the naval capabilities of the Ukrainian Navy, the buildup of ship-boat composition and the “quality of cooperation” with NATO countries.

    The “Calibre” cruise missile was originally developed for the latest multipurpose nuclear submarines of project 885 “Yasen”. Then they began to arm submarines of project 636, which is the “Great Novgorod” class, and surface ships. The range of “Calibre” is about 2.5 thousand kilometres.

    As previously stated, Deputy foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, security in the Black Sea region should be protected through cooperation amongst the Black Sea countries. “We have all the necessary ingredients for this. The Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation in the military sphere is a document on confidence-building measures in the Black sea”, said Grushko. The diplomat pointed out that the increased activity of NATO in the Black Sea undermines regional stability, to which Moscow will react “appropriately”.

    Aggressor state! Aggressor state!

    Arming its vessels with the latest technology!

    The very thought!


      1. Far away from the West.

        I repeat again, the west doesn’t have a problem with little Nazis, either in Croatia, the balts, Ukraine etc. because like ISIS in Syria, they are manageable. Until they aren’t. Curiously, the lo-land of Po-land was expected to play along and not mention the war (WWII) and Ukranian banderite re-enactments and glorificiations, but that was beyond the pale.*

        * Phrase intended.


          1. And in that same issue, the Beast lionizes Diaspora Banderite Yovanovitch , portraying her as the plucky female victim of Trump’s male chauvinist bullying campaign.

            For anybody in doubt as to her ethnic loyalties, just read Marie’s glowing wiki page . Most Stooges will know how to read the code:

            “Marie Yovanovitch is the daughter of Mikhail Yovanovitch and Nadia (Theokritoff) Yovanovitch,[5] who fled the Soviet Union and later the Nazis.[3] She was born in Canada, moved to Connecticut at age three, and became a naturalized American citizen at age eighteen. She grew up speaking Russian.[3]”

            TRANSLATION: her parents were Russian-speaking Nazi collaborationists from the Ukraine. When their side (=the Nazis) lost the war, they had to flee to the U.S. Later, after the coup, a grown-up Marie was able to return to her ancestral homeland to carry out American and Banderite policies. Trump fired her for being an incompetent clown, but the Clinton Machine has her full support.


            1. P.S. In this earlier report RT saw fit to print Marie’s entire deposition.
              I only had time to skim it, but Marie spends a lot of time whining about Trump’s unfair treatment of her virtuous self. She comes off as someone who is verbally competent and can make a few debating points for her handlers. But mostly insufferably self-righteous and hitting all the usual high notes about “Russian aggression”, “apple-pie patriotism”, and “Ukrainian valor”, and the like.

              When imbibing the verbiage of these diaspora clones, one must always keep in mind that they are basically Nazi pod people. In other words, one can dismiss virtually every word uttered, including “the” and “a”. Just tell yourself they are pre-programmed machines, and that’s pretty much all they are.


    1. Oh, noes – the Commander of the Ukrainian Navy! That’d be the HETMAN SACHADACHNYY something-or-other, and a motley collection of yard boats. Oh, and those amazing river boats that can only go out on the Black Sea when the weather’s good. Truly fearsome. Couldn’t patrol Walden Pond.


      1. That brings back a humorous sight I once witnessed at the height of the Falklands War in the early ’80s, when an RN task force was heading south from Portsmouth.

        In my old dead-end part of England, the now defunct Lancashire coalfield, there is a canal, constructed in the 1750s, along which barges used to take coal to the Mersey and thence to Liverpool and Manchester. It was last used for transporting coal as recently as the ’80s.

        Anyway, it has still to be dredged and most certainly was dredged regularly then, and along the stretch that runs through my old neck of the woods, there was an ancient barge, converted into a dredger, the vessel and the dredging buckets powered by an ancient donkey-engine.

        Anyway, there I was, in 1983 or whenever Thatcher’s little far-flung war was running its course and nationalist fervour in the UK was reaching fever pitch, trudging along the canal bank at the crack of dawn to the pit where I worked, and there ahead of me I spotted the dredger.

        It’s crew of two were preparing a fry-up, and as I got closer, I could see that they had decorated their noble vessel with bunting and from its stern there fluttered a White Ensign. Painted on the bows of the barge was “HMS Dredger” and on the side of the deckhouse, that I am sure had been fashioned out of an old garden shed, had been proudly painted: “Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!”

        Reminds me of the Banderastan navy.


    1. Why now? Because they are preparing the ground with yet another non-smoking gun! We’ll see over the next week or so if there are to be ‘more revelations’. I’d rather watch the tennis.


      1. The source of the “revelations” will, of course, be the Banderastan FSB.

        Now if the Russian FSB were to issue information on the downing of MH-17, it would be laughed of court in the squeaky-clean and rule-of-law West because Orcs are inveterate, evil lying bastards.


    1. It’s certainly true that with the advent of the intertubes, western governments have been looking for ways to control the dissemination of information the way they have successfully done with television, radio and newspapers. The intertubes are a unique problem for government because they can’t manage information simply by putting their own people on it – they’ve tried, with the cutesy-named ‘Brigades’ which are supposed to be staffed with eager volunteers who will ferret out ‘fake news’ and ‘disinformation’. And those efforts failed – people simply ignored them. People like to read everything and make up their own mind, and pushing public opinion relies on being able to control what you read before making your decision.

      But governments look benignly upon the intertubes as their creation – a wonderful public service provided almost free of charge. Therefore, when dirty hippies and other non-right-thinking folks freeload on it by mucking it up with their disinformation and fake news, why, the government has to step in. Not to censor – oh, my, no. Just to get it back to the happy place it once was, where you could watch cute cat videos all day long. The intertubes is not really the place for politics, is it? You go to CNN for that.


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