Trial by Blockhead

Uncle Volodya says, “We become slaves the moment we hand the keys to the definition of reality entirely over to someone else, whether it is a business, an economic theory, a political party, the White House, Newsworld or CNN.”

“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”

– Adolf Hitler

We’re going to do something just a bit different today; the event I want to talk about is current – in the future, actually – but the reference which is the subject of the discussion is almost a year old. and the event it discusses is coming up to its sixth anniversary. The past event was the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 over Ukraine, the future event is the trial in absentia of persons accused by the west of having perpetrated that disaster, and the reference is this piece, by Mark Galeotti, for the Moscow Times: “Russia’s Roadmap Out of the MH17 Crisis”.

You all know Mr. Galeotti, I’m sure. Here’s his bio, for Amazon:

“Professor Mark Galeotti is a senior researcher at UMV, the Institute of International Relations Prague, and coordinator of its Centre for European Security. Formerly, he was Professor of Global Affairs at New York University and head of History at Keele University. Educated at Cambridge University and the LSE, he is a specialist in modern Russian politics and security and transnational organized crime. And he writes other things for fun, too…”

Yes, yes, he certainly does, as you will see. But this bio is extremely modest, albeit he most likely wrote it himself. Mr. Galeotti also authored an excellent blog, In Moscow’s Shadows, which was once a go-to reference for crime and legal issues in Russia, a subject in which he seems very well-informed. The blog is still active, although he seems mostly to use it now to advertise podcasts and sell books. That’s understandable – it’s evident from the blur of titles appended to his name that he’s a very busy man. Always has been, really; either as a student or an educator. He also speaks with confidence on the details of military affairs and equipment…despite never having been in the military or studied engineering; his education has pretty much all been in history, law or political science.

I know what you will say – many of the greatest reference works on pivotal battles, overall military campaigns and affairs were written by those who had no personal military experience themselves. Mr. Galeotti studied under Dominic Lieven, whose “Russia Against Napoleon” was perhaps the greatest work of military history, rich with detail and insight, that I have ever read. It won him the Wolfson prize for History for 2010, a well-deserved honour. Yet so far as I could make out, Mr. Lieven never served a day in uniform, and if you handed him an AK-47 and said “Here; field-strip this”, your likely response would be a blank look. He most certainly was not a witness to the subject military campaign. No; his epic work on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia was informed by research, reading the accounts of others who were there at the time, poring over reams of old documents and matching references to get the best picture we have been afforded to date of Napoleon’s ignominious defeat through a combination of imperial overreach, a poor grasp of logistics and, most of all, resistance by an adversary who refused to be drawn into playing to Napoleon’s strength – the decisive, crushing battle in which the enemy could not retreat, and in which Napoleon would commit all the reserves and crush his enemy to dust.

So it is perfectly possible for an inquisitive mind with no military experience to put together an excellent reference on military happenings which already took place, even if the owner of that mind was not present for the actual event. Given human nature and the capabilities afforded by modern military equipment, it is even possible to forecast future military events with a fair degree of accuracy, going merely by political ambitions and enabling factors, without any personal military experience. After all, the decision-makers who give the orders that send their military forces into battle are often not military men themselves.

Returning for a moment to Mr. Galeotti, it is quite believable that an author with no military background could compose such works as “Armies of the Russian-Ukrainian War”, although there is no serious evidence that Russia is a part of such a conflict in any real military strength. You could write such a book entirely from media references and documentation, which in this case would come almost entirely from the side which claims it is under constant attack by the other – Ukraine. Likewise “Kulikovo 1380; the Battle that Made Russia”. None of us were around in 1380, so we all have to go by historical references, and whoever collects them all into a book first is likely to be regarded as an expert.

No, it’s more when we get into how stuff works that I have an issue with it. Like “Spetsnaz: Russia’s Special Forces“. Or “The Modern Russian Army“. I’m kind of skeptical about how someone could claim to know the actual internal workings of either organization simply from reading about them in popular references, considering that more than half the material on Russia written in English in western references is rubbish heavily influenced by politics and policy. We would not have to look very far to find examples in which ridiculous overconfidence by one side that it had the other side’s number resulted in a horrible surprise. In fact, we would not have to look very far to find an example of this particular author confidently averring to know something inside-out, only to find that version of reality could not be sustained. And I would no more turn to a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague for expert analysis of the “Combat Vehicles of Russia’s Special Forces” than I would ask a house painter to cut my hair. Unless I see some recollections of a college-age Galeotti tinkering with drivetrains and differentials until the sun went down from a pure love of mechanics, I am going to go ahead and assume that he knows what the vast majority of us knows about military vehicles – he could pick one out of a lineup which included a melon, a goat and an Armored Personnel Carrier, and if it had a flat tire he could probably fix it given time and the essential equipment.

Just before we move on, the future event: the MH-17 ‘trial’ has been postponed until June 8th, to give defense attorneys more time to prepare after the amazingly fortuitous capture of a ‘key witness’ in Eastern Ukraine. I’m not going to elaborate here on what a kicking-the-can-down-the-road crock this is; we’ll pick that up later. The whole MH-17 ‘investigation’ has been such a ridiculous exercise in funneling the pursuit to a single inescapable conclusion – that Russia shot it down –  irrespective of how many points have to be bent to fit the curve that no matter how it comes out, it will stand as perhaps the greatest example of absurd western self-justification ever recorded.

There are a couple of ways of solving a mystery crime. One is to collect evidence, and follow where it takes you. Another is to decide who you want to have been responsible, and then construct a sequence of events in which they might have done it. To do that, especially in this case, we will have to throw out a few assumptions, such as all that stuff about means, motive and opportunity. In the absence of a believable scenario, that is. Let’s look at what we have, and what we need, and see how we get from there to here.

First, we need for Ukraine not to have been responsible. That’s going to be awkward, because it looks as if the aircraft was shot down by a missile, but the missile had to have come from inside Ukraine, because the aircraft was too far from the nearest point in Russia at the moment it was stricken for the missile to have come from there. But we need Russia to have been responsible, and not Ukraine. Therefore we need a sequence of events in which a Russian missile launcher capable of shooting down an airliner at cruising altitude was inside Ukraine, in a position from which it could have taken the shot.

You know what? We are going to have to look at means, motive and opportunity, just for a second. My purpose in doing so is to illustrate just how improbable the western narrative is, starting from square one. The coup in Ukraine – and anyone who believes it was a ‘grass-roots revolution’ might as well stop reading right here, because we are going to just get further apart in our impressions of events – followed by the triumphant promise from the revolutionaries to repeal Yanukovych’s language laws and make Ukrainian the law of the land touched off the return of Crimea to its ancestral home in the Russian Federation. Crimea was about 65% ethnic Russian by population at the time, and only about 15% Ukrainian, and Crimea had made several attempts to break free of Ukraine before that…yet for some reason the west refused steadfastly to accept the results of a referendum which voted in favour of Crimea becoming a part of the Russian Federation, as if it were more believable that a huge ethnic-Russian majority preferred to learn Ukrainian and be governed by Kiev.

Be that as it may, Washington reacted very angrily; much more so than Europe, considering the distance between the United States and Ukraine versus its proximity to Europe. Perhaps that is owed simply to Washington’s assumption that every corner of the world looks to it for leadership, and that it must have a position ready on any given situation, regardless how distant. So Washington insisted there must be sanctions against Russia, for stealing Crimea from its rightful owner, Ukraine. We’re not really going to get into struggles for freedom and the right to self-determination right now, except to state that the USA considers nothing more important in some cases, while in others it is completely irrelevant. Washington demanded sanctions…but much of Europe was reluctant.

“It is notoriously difficult to secure EU agreement on sanctions anywhere because they require unanimity from the 28 member states. There were wide differences over the numbers of Russians and Crimeans to be punished, with countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Spain reluctant to penalise Moscow for fear of closing down channels of dialogue. The 21 named were on an original list that ran to about 120 people…Expanding the numbers on the sanctions list is almost certain to be discussed at the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. Some EU states are torn about taking punitive measures against Russia for fear of undoing years of patient attempts to establish closer ties with Moscow as well as increase trade. The EU has already suspended talks with Russia on an economic pact and a visa agreement…The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said any measure must leave “ways and possibilities open to prevent a further escalation that could lead to the division of Europe”.

The original list of those to be sanctioned was 120 people. The haggling reduced that to 21. Only 7 of those were Russians. Putin was not included. That was pretty plainly not the United Front That Speaks With One Voice that Washington had envisioned, and the notion that Europe would buy into sanctions that might really do some damage to Russia, albeit there would be economic costs to Europe as well, was a dim prospect.

Gosh – you know what we need? An atrocity which can be quickly tied to Russia, and which will so appall the EU member states that resistance to far-reaching sanctions will collapse. That’s called ‘motive’. It’s just not a motive for Russia. Having just gone far out on a limb and taken back Crimea, to the obvious and vocal fury of the United States, it is a bit of a stretch that Russia was looking for what else it could do that would stir up the world against it.

Means, now. That presents its own dilemma. Because Russia could have shot down an airliner from its own territory. Just not with the weapon chosen. The S-400 could have done it; it has the range, easily. But if you were setting up a scenario in which something happened that you wanted to blame on Russia, but they didn’t really do it, you must have the weapon to do it yourself, or access to it. By any reasonable construct, Ukraine must be a suspect as well – there was a hot war going on in Ukraine, Ukraine controlled both the airspace and the aircraft that was lost, and the aircraft was lost over Ukrainian territory. But Ukraine doesn’t have the S-400. You could use a variety of western systems, but it would quickly be established that the plane was shot down with a weapon that Russia does not have. In order for the narrative to be believable, Russia must have the weapon – but if it wasn’t Russia, then whoever did it must have the weapon, too.

Enter the Buk system, with the 9K37 SA-11 missile. It’s got the range, it’s got the altitude, the Russians have it in active service. Oooo…problem. It’s got the range, but only if it was fired from inside Ukraine.

Which brings us back to Mr. Galeotti, an expert in Russian combat systems; enough of an expert to write books on them, anyway. And he plainly believes it was an SA-11 missile fired from a single Buk TELAR (Transporter/Erector/Launcher and Radar) which brought down the Boeing; he says that’s what the evidence demonstrates, although by this time (2019) most of the world has backed away from saying Putin showed up with no shirt on to close the firing switch personally (cue the instant British-press screaming headlines before the dust had even settled, “PUTIN’S MISSILE!!!” “PUTIN KILLED MY SON!!!”). Now the story is that the disgraceful deed was done by ‘Ukrainian anti-government militants’, using a weapon supplied by Russia.

“In this context, a full reversal of policy seems near-enough impossible. The evidence suggests that while the fateful missile was fired by Ukrainian anti-government militants, it was supplied by the Russian 53rd Air Defense Brigade under orders from Moscow and in a process managed by Russian military intelligence.

To admit this would not only be to acknowledge a share in the unlawful killing of 298 innocents, but also an unpicking of the whole Kremlin narrative over the Donbass. It would mean admitting to having been an active participant in this bloody compound of civil war and foreign intervention, to having armed the militants without due thought as to the consequences, and to having lied to the world and the Russian people for half a decade.”

We don’t really have the scope in this piece to broaden the discussion to Russia’s probable actual involvement in the war in Eastern Ukraine. Suffice it to say that despite non-stop allegations by Poroshenko throughout his presidency of entire battalions of active-service Russian Army soldiers inside Ukraine, zero evidence has ever been provided of any such presence, although there have been some clumsy attempts to fabricate it. To argue that the Russian Army has been trying to overrun Ukraine for six years now, but has been unable to do so because of the combat prowess of the Ukrainian Army is to imply a belief in leprechauns. This is only my own inexpert opinion, but it seems likely to me the complete extent of Russia’s involvement, militarily, is the minimum which prevents Eastern Ukraine from being overrun by the Ukrainian military, and including the rebel areas’ own far-from-inconsequential military forces. I’m always ready to entertain competing theories, though; be sure to bring your evidence. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Constitution prohibits using the country’s military forces against its own citizens. The logic of ‘Have cake, and eat it” cannot apply here – either the Ukrainian state is in direct and obvious violation of its own constitution…or the people of the breakaway regions are not Ukrainian citizens.

Anyway, back to the Buk system. And not a moment before time, either – I just re-read Don't rely on body language to spot a liar. Just ask them.that sanctimonious stab above, again; “…having armed the militants without due thought as to the consequences…” What, exactly, is the ridiculous nature of the accusation being presented here? That the Russians gave an anti-aircraft system to the ‘militants’ without considering they might use it to shoot down an aircraft? How did they not see that coming? The Ukrainian Army shot down a civilian airliner in October of 2001, and lied about it for as long as it could – interestingly, it took place during joint Ukrainian-Russian air defense exercises on the Crimean peninsula, and Russia tried hard to avoid assigning blame to Ukraine, while at least one Israeli television station claimed the Russians had shot down their own aircraft. This disaster and subsequent lying did not prevent the USA from giving the Javelin missile to Ukraine – did it not occur to them that they might use it to shoot tanks? No due thought to the consequences, obviously.

The Buk air-defense system normally consists of at least 4 TELAR launchers, each with 4 missiles on the launch rails, a self-propelled acquisition radar designated by NATO nomenclature as Snow Drift (the radar on the nose of the TELAR unit itself is designated Fire Dome), and a self-propelled command post, for a minimum of 6 vehicles. Also usually part of the system is a mobile crane, to reload the launchers.  If you were going to supply an air-defense system to militant rebels, why wouldn’t you give them the whole system? In a pinch, you might be able to get away without the command post vehicle, although it is the station that collates all the input from the sensors and makes the decision to assign targets for acquisition, tracking and engagement. If you didn’t give them the crane vehicle, and perhaps a logistics truck with some reloads, they would be limited to the missiles that came already mounted – once those were fired, they’d have to abandon the system, because they couldn’t reload it. Seems a little wasteful, don’t you think?

What about the acquisition radar? Because acquiring targets is all about scanning capability and situational awareness. We’re going to assume for a moment that you don’t use an air defense system exclusively to hunt for airliners, but that you want to defend yourself against ground-attack aircraft like the Sukhoi SU-25. Because, when you think about it, who is more likely to be trying to kill you? A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, or an SU-25? The latter is not quite as fast as an airliner at its cruising height of 30,000 ft+, but it is very agile and will be nearly down in the treetops if it is attacking you. You need to be able to search all around, all the time.

That’s where the acquisition radar comes in. A centimetric waveband search radar, the Snow Drift (called the 9S18M1 by its designer) has 360-degree coverage and from 0 to 40 degrees of height in a 6-second sweep in anti-aircraft mode, with a 160 km detection range, obviously dependent on target altitude. An airliner, being a large target not attempting to evade detection, and at a high altitude, would quite possibly be detected at the maximum range of which the system is capable. But then the operators would certainly know it was an airliner. And the narrative says whoever shot it down probably did so by accident.

Maybe if it was his first day on the job. Let’s talk for a minute about air-defense deconfliction. It would be nice if your Command parked you somewhere that there was nothing around you but enemies. Well, not as nice as parking you across the street from a pulled-pork barbecue joint with strippers and cold beer, but from a defense standpoint, it’d be nice to know that anything you detected, you could shoot. Know something? It’s never like that. Your own aircraft are flying around as if they didn’t even know you are dangerous, and as everyone now knows, civilian airliners continue their transport enterprises irrespective of war except in rare instances in which high-flying aircraft have been shot down by long-range missiles. That rarely happens. Why? Because an aircraft flying a steady course, at 30,000 ft+ and not descending, is no threat to you on the ground. From that altitude it can’t even see you in the ground clutter, and it’d be quite a bombardier that could hit a target the size of a two-car garage with a bomb dropped from 30,000 ft while flying at 400 knots.

And unless you are an idiot, you know it is an airliner. When you are deployed into the field in an air-defense role, you know where the commercial airlanes are that are going to be active. You know what a commercial-aviation profile looks like – aircraft at 30,000 ft+ altitude, flying at ≥400 knots on a steady course, squawking Mode 3 and Charlie = airliner. Might as well take a moment here to talk about IFF; Identification Friend or Foe. This is a coded pulse signal transmitted by all commercial aircraft whenever they are in flight unless their equipment is non-functional, and you are not allowed to take off with it in that state. Mode C provides the aircraft’s altitude, taken automatically from its barometric altimeter. All modern air search radars have IFF capability, and a dashed line just below the raw video of the air track can be interrogated with a light-pen to provide the readout. You already know how high the plane is if you have a solid radar track, but Mode C provides a confirmation.

Military aircraft have IFF transponders, too; in fact, most of the modes are reserved for military use. But military aircraft often turn off their IFF equipment, because it provides a giveaway who and where they are. In Ukraine, which uses mostly Soviet military aircraft, both sides are capable of reading each other’s IFF, so all the more reason not to transmit. Foreign nations typically cannot read each other’s IFF except for the modes which are for both military and civilian use, other than those nations who are allies. Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that the Snow Drift acquisition radar has IFF, and if it detected an airliner-like target at 160 km., the operator would have that much more time to interrogate it and determine it was an airliner. Just to reiterate, the western narrative holds that the destruction of the airliner was a mistake.

I’m going a little further with my inexpert opinion, to say that the Buk system was selected as the ‘murder weapon’, because it provides a limited autonomous capability. To be clear, the Fire Dome radar on the nose of the TELAR does have a limited search capability, and once the radar is locked on to a target, the TELAR vehicle is completely autonomous. The purpose of the surveillance radar is to detect the target from far beyond the Fire Dome’s range, assign it to a TELAR and thereby direct it to the elevation and bearing of the target so that the TELAR’s radar knows exactly where to look, and continue to update its position until the TELAR to which it was assigned has locked on to the target.

That autonomous capability is probably what made it attractive to those building the scenario; consider. A complete Buk system of 6, maybe 7 vehicles could hardly get all the way inside Ukraine to the firing position without being noticed and perhaps recorded. But perhaps a single TELAR could do it. The aircraft could be shot down by an SA-11 missile and blamed on Russia – Ukraine has access to plenty of SA-11’s. But it is a weapon in the Russian active-service inventory. Further, Galeotti’s commitment to the allegation that the single TELAR was provided by Russia’s 53rd Air Defense Brigade tells us he supports the crackpot narrative offered by Bellingcat, the loopy citizen-journalist website headed by failed financial clerk Eliot Higgins. Bellingcat claims the Buk TELAR was trucked into Ukraine on the back of a flatbed, took the shot that slew MH-17, and was immediately withdrawn back to Russia.

Ummm….how was that an accident? The Russians gave the Ukrainian militants a single launcher with no crane or reload missiles, so it was limited to a maximum of four shots. Its ability to defend itself from ground attack was almost nil, since the design purpose of mounting a Fire Dome radar on each TELAR is not to make the launcher units autonomous; it is to permit concurrent engagements by several launchers, all coordinated by the acquisition radar and command post. Without a radar of its own on the launcher, the firing unit would have to wait until each engagement was completed before it could switch to a new target, but with a fire-control guidance radar on each TELAR, multiple targets can be assigned to multiple launchers, while the search radar limits itself to acquisition and target assignment.

The Fire Dome radar mounted on the TELAR can search a 120-degree sector in 4 seconds, at an elevation of 6 to 7 degrees. Its search function is maximized for defense against ground attack aircraft, and a single launcher is not looking at 240 degrees of potential air threat axis during each sweep. It is not looking high enough to see an airliner at 30,000 ft+. More importantly for a system which was not designed to shoot down helpless airliners, it leaves two-thirds of a circle unobserved all the time it is searching for a target. And the Russians provided this to the ‘militants’ for air defense? They should be shot.

A single TELAR with no reloads and no acquisition radar would have to be looking directly at the target when it was activated in order to even see it; it takes 15 seconds for the launcher to swing into line and elevation even when that information is transmitted to it from the acquisition radar. It takes 4 seconds for a scan to be completed when there is a whole two-thirds of a circle that it is not even looking at, and you have to manually force it to search above 7 degrees because it is not designed to shoot down airliners. All this time, the target is crossing the acquisition scope at 400 knots+. Fire Dome has integrated IFF, so if it did by some miracle pick up an airliner in its search, the operator would know from transmitted IFF that he was looking at an airliner. A single TELAR with no reload capability sent on an air-defense mission would have its ass ripped in half by ground-attack aircraft that it never saw – if the autonomous capability is so good, why don’t the Ukrainians use them as a single unit? Think of how much air-defense coverage they could provide! Do you see the Ukrainian air-defense units employing the Buk that way? Never. Not once. Four TELARS, acquisition radar vehicle, command vehicle, just the way the system was designed to operate.

Just because it has a limited capability to function in a given capacity should not suggest you would employ it that way. You can use a hockey stick to turn off the bedroom light, and you won’t even have to get out of bed. Would you do that? I hope not.

A one-third effective capacity in the air defense role together with the covert delivery and immediate withdrawal suggests that the Russians provided the ‘militants’ with a single TELAR for the express purpose of shooting down a defenseless airliner. Except nobody is saying that. It was a mistake. Well, except for Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, who claimed “Terrorists and militants have planned a cynical terrorist attack on a civilian aircraft Aeroflot AFL-2074 Moscow-Larnaka that was flying at that time above the territory of Ukraine.” He further claimed that this was motivated by a desire to ‘justify an invasion’. I’m pretty sure if any western authority could prove anything even close to that, we would not have had to wait 6 years for a trial.

Which brings us to the covert delivery and extraction. As part of his personal investigation, Max van der Werff drove the route Bellingcat claimed was the extraction route by which the single TELAR, on its flatbed, was returned to Russia. He verified that there is a highway overpass on the route which is too low for a load that tall to pass underneath. When he pointed this out to Higgins, he was told there is a bypass spur which goes around it, which would allow the flatbed to regain the road beyond without having gone through the overpass. Max drew his attention to the concrete barriers which blocked that road at the top of the hill, and which locals claimed had been in place long before the destruction of MH-17. And that was the end of that conversation. I cannot say enough about the quality of Max’s work and his diligent, patient dissection of the evidence. His diagrams of the entry and egress routes as provided by Bellingcat illustrate how little sense they make. It was imperative the guilty Russians get the fuck out of Dodge with the greatest possible dispatch…so they drove 100 kilometers out of their way? Don’t even terrorist murderers have GPS now?

Similarly, the simpleminded flailing of the Ukrainian investigators suggests they do not even have much of a grasp of how Surface-To-Air missiles work. In excited posts like this one, the BBC discloses that an exhaust vent from the tail section of a ‘Buk missile’ (the missile is actually the SA-11, while Buk is the entire system) was found in the wreckage of the crashed plane, while this one even shows terminally-stunned head prosecutor Fred Westerbeke standing next to what is allegedly part of the rocket body of an SA-11, including legible inventory markings, also ‘found at the crash scene’.

Do tell.

Let me review for you how an SA-11 missile shoots down an aircraft. Does it pierce it like a harpoon, blow up in a thunderous explosion, and ride the doomed aircraft down to the crash site? It certainly does not. The missile blasts out of the launcher and flies to the target via semiactive homing, which means it has an onboard seeker that updates the missile trajectory, while the radar on the launcher also communicates with it and the missile and the target are brought together in intercept. When the proximity fuse of the missile – this is the important part – senses that the missile’s warhead is close to the target, the internal explosive detonates, and a shower of prefragmented shrapnel pierces the area of the plane near where the missile detonated, usually the front, because the missile is constantly adjusting to make sure it stays with the target until intercept.

MH-17 traveled on, mostly intact, for miles before it crashed into the ground; the crash site was some 13 miles from where the plane was hit. The missile self-destructed miles away from the crash site, and the only parts of it which accompanied the plane to its impact point were the shrapnel bits of the exploded warhead. The body of the missile, together with the exhaust vent, fell back to the ground somewhere quite close to where the plane was hit, not where it fell. Once the missile’s fuel is exhausted, either because it ran out or because it was consumed in the explosion triggered by the proximity fuse, the missile parts do not fly around in formation, seeking out the wreckage and coming gently to rest in it where they can later be found by investigators. I don’t know how many times I have to say this, because this is certainly not the first, but there would not be any missile parts in the wreckage of MH-17 because the missile would have blown up in front of the plane without ever touching it. The missile does not hit the plane. The pieces of the warhead do. But reality has to take a back seat to making out an airtight case.

There is no telling what kind of ordnance might be found in the wreckage itself, as the Ukrainian Army continued to shell the site for days after the crash; doubtless various artillery shells could be found at the crash site, as well, but it would be quite a leap of faith to suggest a Boeing 777 was shot down by artillery. What you would not find is pieces of the SAM that shot it down.

Several witnesses claimed to have seen an SU-25 near the plane before it exploded. They quite possibly did – the Ukrainian Air Force was observed to be using civilian airliners as cover to allow them to get close to Eastern-Ukrainian villages which might be protected by hand-held launchers known as MANPADS (for Man-Portable Air Defense System), reasoning the defenders would not shoot if they were afraid they might hit a civil aircraft. Once they were close enough to the village or other target to make an attack run, they would then return to the vicinity of the airliner for protection while withdrawing; the rebel side complained about this illegal and immoral practice a month before the destruction of MH-17. But there is no evidence I am aware of linking the destruction of MH-17 to an attack by aircraft.

It may no longer be possible to look at the shooting-down of the Malaysian Boeing objectively; the event has become a partisan rush to judgment which was rendered immediately, after which an investigation began which plainly had as its goal proving the accusations already made. Means and motive clearly favour the accusers rather than the accused, and opportunity is mostly irrelevant as a consideration. Ukraine obviously had to be a suspect – the destruction of the aircraft occurred over Ukraine while Ukraine was in control of it and the airspace in which it traveled. Yet Ukraine was allowed to lead the investigation, and to gather and safeguard evidence, while the owner of the aircraft – Malaysia – was excluded until the investigation had been in progress for four months. Russia was not allowed any part in it save to yield whatever evidence the investigators demanded, while all its theories were widely mocked. Demonstrations set up by Almaz-Antey, the designers and builders of the SA-11, were unattended by any investigating nation – small wonder they do not have Clue One how the missile works, and believe they are going to find big chunks of it in the wreckage, perhaps with Putin’s passport stuck to one of them. If any of these conditions prevailed in an investigation which favoured Russia, NATO would scream as if it were being run over with spiked wheels – if the Boeing had been shot down over Russia, who thinks Russia would have been heading the investigation, and custodian of the evidence?

Nor is that by any means all. The Dutch investigation which concluded with the preliminary report implied that nothing of any investigative value was found on the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) or the Flight Data Recorder (FDR). Nothing to indicate what might have happened to the aircraft – just that it was flying along, and suddenly it wasn’t. How likely is that? No transcript was provided, and I guess that would be expected if there was no information at all. Funny how often that happens with Malaysian airliners; they really need to look at their quality control. Oh; except they don’t build the aircraft. Boeing does. I could see there not being any information after the plane began to break up, because both the CVR and the FDR are in the tail, and that broke off before the fuselage hit. But the microphones are in the ceiling of the cockpit and in the microphone and earpiece of the pilots’ headsets, which they wear at all times while in flight. The last audio claimed to have been recorded was a course alteration sent by Ukrainian ATC.

According to the Malaysian government, there was an early plan by NATO for a military operation involving some 9000 troops to ‘secure the crash site’, which was forestalled by a covert Malaysian operation which recovered the ‘black boxes’ and blocked the plan. I have to say that given the many, many other unorthodox and bizarre happenings in the conduct of what was supposed to be a transparent and impartial international investigation, it’s getting so nothing much is unbelievable. The Malaysian Prime Minister went on record as believing that the western powers had already concluded that Russia was responsible, and were mostly just going through the motions of investigating.

The telephone recordings presented by the SBU as demonstrating Russian culpability were analyzed by OG IT Forensic Services, a Malaysian firm specializing in forensic analysis of audio, video and digital materials for court proceedings, which concluded the recordings were cut, edited and fabricated. Yet they are relied upon as important evidence of guilt by the Dutch and the JIT.

The conduct of the investigation has been all the way across town from transparent, and in fact seems to represent a clique of cronies getting their heads together to attempt nailing down a consistent narrative, which is in the judgment of forensic professionals based upon clumsy fabrications. The investigators plainly have no understanding of how the weapons systems involved perform, or they would not claim confidently to have discovered pieces of the very missile that destroyed the plane in the wreckage of it. But rather than take an objective look at how this flailing is perceived, they continue to rely on momentum and the appearance of getting things done while being scrupulously impartial, all the while that more mountains of evidence are collected, which they cannot disclose to the public, although it is all right to let the prime suspect keep it safe under wraps.

Make of that what you will.

Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person’s obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic exceed his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic.

-Harry G. Frankfurt








616 thoughts on “Trial by Blockhead

  1. Hurrah! — better still, a Russian “Uuuurrrrraaaaa!”!

    My registration of residence here as a foreign citizen has been done!

    My wife has just come back from the local Ministry of the Interior office and given me the good news.

    Late yesterday evening, I came back from the country, after having earlier that day gone through all this acquiring online an electronic pass nonsense, with the intention of going to the office myself this afternoon. — by appointment only in this time of the deadly plague. My wife made the appointment last week.

    However, a Ukrainian neighbour, who has a Serb husband, and who both have to do this annual registration as a foreign resident as well, had already been to the MVD place and given my wife the blanks to fill. (I have never ever heard Natasha our Ukrainian neighbour slagging off Russia; nor have I ever heard her husband Zoran saying anything bad about Mordor either.) So my wife went on her own to the registration office, because she says I bug her when she is dealing with bureaucrats, and the deed was done without any hassle.

    And guess what? The bureaucratic bastards told her there in passing that I needn’t have gone through the bureaucratic nightmare that I have twice had to undertake in order to get a full residency permit (2 years it took each time and very many journeys to and fo to the Moscow Immigration Centre, which is 40-odd miles outside of Moscow): they told her I could have got one immediately, as I am categorized as a foreign resident with specialist skills.

    Now they tell me!!!!

    It took me 2 years to get my present vid na zhitelstvo — ВНЖ: now they tell my wife that I could have got it at once “fast track”.

    My God — if there is indeed a God in heaven — all Russian bureaucrats must surely be doomed to burn in hell!


    1. By the way, as regards Natasha the Ukrainian, I have to say I have never heard her speaking Ukrainian. She must be one of those eastern Ukrainians whom the western Nazi filth wish to exterminate.


    2. Just wanted to congratulate you with a major success! From what I’ve heard, getting these permits is extremely complicated, so beating all that bureaucracy is quite an achievement!


      1. To Evgeny:

        Today my residency address was reregistered, a simple matter and something that I have to do each year.

        I got my full residency permit last May 20: that’s one bastard to get hold of, as is the temporary residency permit, which one must have for at least one year before applying for a full one.

        My full permit — вид на жительство — is the second one that I have had. I first received one in 2007. extended it by 5 years in 2012, but come 2017, when I had to apply for another 5-year extension or leave Russia, I did not apply for the extension on time (a minimum of 2 months before the permit expiry date).

        My previous ВНЖ was, therefore, invalidated in may 2017, and, notwithstanding the fact that in 2017 I had already lived in Russia for 24 years, had been gainfully and legally employed here during said period, paid Russian tax and had been married to a Russian citizen for 20 years and had fathered 3 children, who are Russian citizens, through my lawfully wedded Russian wife, I had to leave Russia forthwith, after having had to appear in court and pay a fine of 5,000 rubles for breach of administrative law.

        And that is why I loathe the bureaucracy here!

        Gerard Depardieu and Steven Seagal never had such problems!


      1. Does this mean I shall let my wife handle all my stuff from now on? Well, as regards the annual registration, maybe — but I have done that every May for over 20 years. What compounded the problem this year was that the registration office was closed on Presidential order last April and is only to open on June 15. However, Natasha the Ukrainian found out last week that the office was allowing visits by appointment only in order to register, no doubt to offset the mountain of work facing the pen-pushers there when they officially open for business in a fortnight’s time.

        As regards going about getting a residency permit here, I had to do that off my own bat — twice. First, one has to apply for a 3-year permit, the validity of which terminates after 3 years. After having had a temporary permit for one year, one may then apply for a full residency permit, which lasts for 5 years and its validity may be extended every 5 years. Most acquire a full permit with a view to applying for citizenship, one of the prerequisites for doing so being a continuous 5-year residence in Russia as a foreign citizen.

        To apply for these permits, one has to present a series of medical certificates and proof of not being a convicted criminal. As regards proof of non-criminality, I had to get an apostilled certificate fom ACRO, the criminal records office in the UK, which stated that I had not been convicted of any serious crimes.

        All this malarky costs money, of course and it takes long time to process. Needless to say, my wife could not have done this: it was I who was applying for residence as a foreign citizen in Mordor, not she.

        The application form consists of at least 4 A4 pages (depending on how many relatives and next of kin you have, including non-Russian ones: I had to give the dates of birth and death of my mother and father, where they were born, their nationalities etc., as well as the same information about my sister, about whom, because she is alive, I had to state the name and address of her employer in the UK or whether she is a pensioner, and similar information about my wife and children, including the full addresses of the school/universities my children attend). Needless to say, the forms are in Russian and must be completed in Russian.

        One can pay legal firms a tidy sum to do all this form filling (many guarantee no need to pay if the application is rejected because of errors), but the applicant has to take the medical tests and get the police certificate and present the application at the immigration centre and take a test in Russian, which test also includes many questions about the Russian legislature, judiciary and executive., as well as Russian history.

        And when, finally, the bureaucrats accept an application (9 visits it took me before my application for a temporary permit was finally accepted, and 12 visits before the application for a permanent residency permit was), it takes one year (!) for an application to be vetted and processed..

        As regards passing a test in Russian in order to be given a permit, this is quite a new regulation. However, applicants over 65 years old are exempted from having to take such a test.

        The major problem for immigrants to Russia who wish to apply for such permits is, I should imagine, that their issuance is determined by a quota, set each year (in December, I think) by the government. However, if an applicant is married to a Russian citizen, the quota rule is not applied.

        Out of interest, I took the Russian test last time and passed it easily. I say “easily”, but it is not an easy test: you have to have quite a high competency in Russian to pass the test.

        I reckon that they introduced this test because since the dissolution of the SU, young Uzbeks, Tadzhiks etc. who wish to live and work in Russia, now have a poor command of Russian. I noticed this fact on the very many occasions that I was at the “Multifunctional Migration Centre”, situated way out in the sticks in a village called Sakharovo: the Central Asian immigrants often seemed not understand a word that was being said to them by the many security men there..

        Below is a blog written in English by an expat, who has since left Russia, about the problems one has to face in order to get a residency permit. You will notice that in the correspondence to the blog, there are two contributions from me concerning my woes of 3 years ago:

        Applying for Temporary (And Then Full) Residency… one Expat’s experience


        1. Anyway, it must have been Mrs. Exile whom they liked today, for it was she who went across the road to that nest of Ministry of the Interior bureaucrats with the forms that she had completed.

          I suppose she is quite a likeable person — after a fashion: I must have got somewhat inured to her charms these past 22 years.



          1. Perhaps the bureaucrats saw the Scary Side of Mrs Exile, rather than her Cuddly Side.


            Congratulations on getting your full residency permit! Hope you never have to go through something similar again!

            At least, for other people reading Mark C’s blog and also considering getting a residency permit in Russia, they can see something of the difficulties you experienced and can be prepared.


            1. I got the full residency permit last year, on May 20th. That was the major achievement, compared with which yesterday’s success was small fry. Re-registration is not that too taxing: what has made it difficult this year is this shamdemic.

              Acquiring a “Full Residency Permit for a Foreign Citizen” is the major bureaucratic nightmare that I have twice had to undergo and which takes 2 years to complete — one year in order to get a 3-year “temporary” permit, and then, having had such a permit for 1 year, I was allowed to apply for a “full permit”, the processing of which application taking almost another year to complete.

              My first full permit lost its validity in 2017 because I had failed to apply for its extension on time. I was given that first full permit in 2007.

              Having had to leave Russian August 2017 in order to re-enter with valid documents, namely a visa, I returned in September 2017 and my application for a temporary permit was accepted in October of that year.

              In December 2018, my application for a full permit was accepted and I received said permit in May of last year and then, having returned to Moscow with it, I had to register my address here at the local Ministry of the Interior office not more than 4 working days after having received the full permit.

              I registered my address (where I have already lived for 22 years!) on May 20th last year. This means that on May 20th each year, I must re-register my address. They give you a little lee way if you cannot reregister bang on that date.

              The problem with reregistering my residence this year lay in the fact that because of this shamdemic, all Interior Ministry immigration offices were closed in April and only reopen on 15 June.

              Because of the sleuthing work done by our neighbour Natasha the Ukrainian (there is nothing going on around here which she does not know of), my wife learnt that you could make an appointment at the immigration office and then reregister there before the official re-opening of the place on June 15th.

              So my wife made an appointment by telephone for 2 June, and I rushed back late on the 1st of June from my self-exile within exile at our dacha. On the next day, my wife insisted that she go over alone to the office with the forms that she had already filled in, the blanks of which forms Natasha the Ukrainian had given her. Natasha the Ukrainian had had an appointment there earlier so as to reregister her and her husband Zorgan the Serb’s address.

              My wife, Natasha the Orcess, wanted to go to the immigration because she says that I, Moscow Exile the Englishman, bug her so when she is dealing with bureaucrats.

              So she went there on her tod and was back within half an hour. Upon entering our flat, she cried out: “Guess what?”

              I, not daring to believe that the business had been done, responded: “It’s still bloody raining”,

              “No!” she said. “Your address has been re-registered! No problems”.

              She never knows when I am being cynical: it is because she is an Orcess.

              As regards applying for residency permits, there is no way that my wife can do that for me. I had to do all form filling, travel to Sakharovo (I had to leave my flat at 6 a.m. and got back to Moscow at 1 p.m. each time) and hand the forms in there — 9 times for the application for a temporary permit and 12 times for the permanent one. Each time my application was rejected, I had to return to Moscow and fill out the application forms again and go back to the Immigration Centre in Sakharovo village again, having first made an appointment there for another interview.

              Here’s an example of one of the reasons for my application being rejected: under country of birth for my wife, I once entered USSR.

              “No!” they said, “You should have entered RSFSR”.

              My present full permit is valid until 2024, when I shall have to apply for a 5-year extension, which means more form-filling and traipsing off to Sakharovo village again. However, the form filling for a 5-year extension of validity is nothing like the nightmarish form-filling one has to do for a first-time permit application.

              I do not think I shall be going to Sakhorovo in 2024 for an extension, though, as I might well be pushing up daisies by that time.

              Always look on the bright side, I say!


    1. She didn’t just hand out biscuits anyway: she had a bag of buns, cakes and biscuits with her, and by the look of it, maybe no more than a few dozen of these snacks, which shows what a totally foetid load of bullshit her performance was:

      Such munificence by the Department of State!


  2. Check out America’s catchy new Big-Two style posters – we’re in a war, lads! Fight the Coronavirus!! We are all Americans now! Oh, wait; we ARE all Americans.

    All part of a bigger story – previously split upon various fault lines; racial, religious, political, interventionist, etc…, the USA is now split yet again into factions who hold that ‘it’s too soon’, and perhaps another month hunkered down in the family home with only dashes outside for groceries might be enough to ‘beat the virus’, versus ‘Openers’ who demand that first steps to restoring the economy happen immediately; every second of delay is doing further damage. Needless to say, the two sides are also informed in their philosophies by who believes the WHO knows best and we should wait for a vaccine before we can be really safe, and those who think it was another Bill-Gates-driven messiah campaign based on a virus that was pretty wimpy given its fearsome billing.

    The national government has reluctantly backed down and acknowledged that State Governors have at least as much clout in their own states where it comes to their own economic survival. And so now – in the midst of rioting over the murder of George Floyd – it is state-against-state in the battle for normality versus security.


  3. al-Beeb s’Allah Media Center: The Salisbury Poisonings

    Introduction by writers Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn

    At the heart of our retelling of the events that occurred in Salisbury in 2018, is a story about the internal mechanisms of a public health crisis response. It follows the work of a public servant called Tracy Daszkiewicz, the Director of Public Health of Wiltshire Council, as she works with colleagues to try to combat a lethal and invisible enemy that has appeared out of nowhere. The public health response team of which Tracy is a part instigates a lockdown….

    …We set about contacting the people who had been most directly affected by the events. The Sturgess family, who had lost their daughter Dawn. Charlie Rowley, Dawn’s boyfriend, who almost died from his own exposure to Novichok. Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was contaminated during the course of his own work and who also ended up in a fight for his life….

    But curiously they didn’t talk to the Skripals….

    So, a human interest story, no doubt light on the facts or any crebile explanation considering the considerable amount of bs spouted by officials of different stripes.


    1. “Naturally, we have watched the recent events around COVID-19 with fascination, because there are so many resonances with the story we tell in Salisbury. Many of the things we observed there have subsequently played out across the country.”

      Uh huh. And naturally, it has occurred to nobody associated with this dramatic project to muse, “Say…you know, for a respiratory virus, the government locked down the entire country, and the cops claimed the right to go through people’s shopping baskets to satisfy themselves that what shoppers aimed to purchase was truly essential. If you sat too close to someone on the grass in a public park, the cops would tackle you, they were in such a fucking sweat to protect you and others. For a release of completely unknown magnitude – since it popped up months later in a different town – of the deadliest nerve agent the world has ever seen, a few drops enough to kill everyone in a small city…they said “Just wash the clothes you were wearing, you’ll be arright, lass”.

      Mmm…yes. So many resonances. We’ll see who has made the connections when election time rolls around. I haven’t been much of a voter the last decade or so, simply because I find the leadership choices on offer to be uninspiring. But after having all my rights subordinated to the cause of public safety for a virus that was never really a threat, so that now I’m supposed to sob with gratitude because I can go and get a professional haircut again, you couldn’t get me to the polls with a chainfall. In fact, I declare myself Prime Minister of the don’t vote nation. We don’t live in a democracy when all your rights can be snatched away by a bunch of officious know-nothings over a threat that aroused immediate skepticism as soon as its outlines were defined, without any public consultation whatsoever. We were just told “Do it. It’s the law”. So for as long as ‘voting’ in this ‘democracy’ is voluntary, lube it up and shove it where the sun never shines. And if ‘voting’ becomes the law of the land, just put me down for Whomever. I couldn’t care less.

      When you go out to the polls on election day and make your mark, or fill out your mail-in ballot and send it off in the post, you’re telling the people who have chosen to do nothing with their lives but pretend to lead you, “It’s all right. I forgive you.” Well, I don’t. And they would soon learn how angry the electorate was if they held campaign rallies and all that showed up were reporters and their own staff.

      But perhaps the electorate is not angry. God knows there are still many who would come out on their front step and clap like seals every night at 7:00 Pip Emma for so long as you articulated a reason that they should. And those are the people who deserve the government they get. Not the people who don’t vote. Never forget that. By participating in the system, you legitimize it.


      1. You can get a haircut?

        Much envy!

        I’m starting to look like one of those aged rockers who does annual farewell tours.


        1. Our barbershops and hair salons were allowed to reopen last week. Funnily enough, the day before they were all ordered to close, I was cruising by the place I usually get my hair cut, headed somewhere else. It was getting a bit long and untidy for my liking, and I thought, I should get it cut…no, I’ll do it tomorrow.

          After about a week, I couldn’t stand it another minute, and got my mother-in-law to cut it. She has a set of clippers, so it was pretty even. but all she knows is to just buzz it right off; she normally cuts my father-in-law’s hair because his is getting pretty thin, and I used to snicker at him afterward and call him ‘zek’ (convict).

          So it was satisfactorily short, for sure. But because of the way it was cut, it all grew out the same length. So when it was still not too bad on the top, it was so proportionally long on the back and sides that it looked like I was wearing a Ushanka, those Russian hats with earflaps.

          Both barber/stylists and the client must wear masks, but it’s kind of farcical because they ask you to just hold the mask on your face while they do around your ears; if you actually were germy in any way it would be most unlikely they could avoid getting it, especially something as crazy infectious as we were led to believe COVID-19 is. But otherwise the elastics are in the way. So we’re really just going through the motions. There have been no new cases of COVID-19 on the island for more than two weeks, so we’re past the incubation period. I think there is one remaining active case, in hospital. Overall the numbers for British Columbia were pretty low; 2,601 confirmed cases, of which 2,229 have recovered.

          The biggest affected group was those aged 50-59. The Canadian numbers overall have dwindled quite a bit, but there are still some new cases. And in the USA, obviously, there are still a lot of active cases, but re-opening is going ahead anyway. Which is an explicit acknowledgment that shutting down the economy and cowering under our beds was stupid enough as advice – but it was criminal as an order. I just hope people will remember who is to blame, and not let the fast-talking carny hucksters fob it off on someone else.

          Which reminds me to check on Belarus; there’s a good example of what most probably would have happened where you live, if nothing had been done against the onset of the virus except perhaps advice to wash your hands more often, cough into your elbow and don’t touch your face with your fingers unless you have just washed your hands and not touched anything else. Belarus has a population as of last calculation of 9,449,553. Out of that 9 million plus population, there were 43,403 confirmed cases, and 240 deaths. Both of those measures have stabilized and appear to be past their peak. Belarus came out of it about the same as British Columbia, except the Belarusian economy, such as it is, stayed operational throughout, nobody lost their job because of COVID-19, and the hospitals were not overwhelmed with choking desperate people. It was all, all a lie.

          Our postal service should be more or less back to normal soon, as well – is the mailing address I had for you still current? I think it was your sister’s place or something.


              1. Wasn’t that as a marker for a “milestone” comment on the old blog?

                If so, maybe you could re-use it for the same sort of milestone for this new blog? I’m happy to waive all right, title and interest in the figurine to enable you to do that.


                1. Yes, it was; you were the lucky commenter. I still have a few of them left, so you’re good. But I will have to start doing that again on this blog. We’re at 37,600 and a bit at the moment, so a ways to go yet. I used to give something away at every 100,000, and Patient Observer won a T-shirt for the millionth comment.


                2. Is Mrs, Stooge going to come over to Mordor this summer to replenish stock?

                  I say “summer”, but it’s still pissing it down here and still unseasonably cool – plus 13C as I write at 07:08 Moskva time and a deluge outside.

                  It’ll be plus 29C next Wednesday, they say, but still raining and thunder storms.


                3. It remains to be seen what sort of travel opportunities are available after the Great Plague swept through and decimated the global population. But she and the little ‘un (who is not so little any more and frankly is getting too big for her britches, as the saying goes) were indeed planning to visit in June or July.


                4. Wore it to a Chetnik commemoration and received a 110% approval rating. Serbs in general are big Putin fans.


          1. Victory Day parade in Minsk on 9 May 2020:

            Hmmm, not much social distancing among the crowds, though they were not huge, and almost no-one wearing masks or disposable gloves. We should have been hearing about a humongous outbreak of infection in non-lockdown Belarus over the past week by now.

            John Hellevig’s VKontakte page has a fair bit to say about Belarus’ response to COVID-19 (just ignore the RIP Jon messages, they’re humorous responses to a post of his) and Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s competence (or lack thereof) in managing the COVID-19 response in the city and its region.


  4. AKADEMIK CHERSKIY has apparently had a change of ownership. She was previously assigned to the Gazprom fleet, but her registration has recently changed to the Samara Thermal Energy Property Fund (STPF).

    I saw it reported on the Free News site, but it was a machine translation and so gibbled that I could not make much sense of it. Both sites seem to believe the transfer was made to ‘circumvent US sanctions’, but I’m still not sure how that was accomplished, if it was. I would say at this point that I wouldn’t count on that; if some legal trick prevents the USA from doing what it wants, it simply rewrites the law or, if that is not under its purview, ignores it. The only way to ‘circumvent’ US leverage is to not care about it, and say “go fuck yourself”. And not many countries are in a position to do that. Which should tell them something.


    1. The “Academician Chersky” pipelayer, which is to complete “Nord Stream-2”, officially changed its owner. Now the ship belongs not to Gazprom, but to the Samara Heat and Power Property Fund (STIF).

      Before that, the vessel was listed in the Russian Maritime Register as Gazprom Fleet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gazprom.

      The reasons for this decision of the Russian structures lie on the surface – last month the U.S. Congress declared its determination to prevent “Academician Chersky” from completing “Nord Stream-2” and to impose sanctions against its owner. This structure was Gazprom, which is not included in the toughest package of American sanctions.

      “I believe that the change of ownership took place long ago – it has simply become known about only now. Now Academician Chersky is not afraid of sanctions, because the ship is no longer directly owned by Gazprom. And STIF will play the role of a buffer that will keep Gazprom safe from American sanctions”, says Pikin.

      For a fortnight, “Akademik Chersky” has been in the German port of Mukran, which until 1991 was considered as the sea gate between the USSR and the GDR. It is still unclear when this ship will start construction of Nord stream 2, where it needs to lay 160 km of two gas pipelines. All information about the “Academician Chersky” is hidden, because the Americans are monitoring the development of the situation.

      The passage of the Akademik Chersky from Nakhodka to the Baltic sea lasted two months, and during this time the ship repeatedly changed its course and destination. Thanks to this, it was impossible to assess the future plans of the Russian vessel.

      The problems of Nord stream 2 and Akademik Chersky in connection with American foreign policy pressure influenced the Russian decision to strengthen the Constitution of the Russian Federation with a package of special amendments , which will be voted for on July 1.

      Nord stream 2 will be completed either this year or in the next -there are no questions about that, and no one doubts it”, concludes Pikin.

      The EU will resist pressure from the Americans
      However, events in Washington are developing in such a way that US congressmen are ready to continue to strengthen sanctions against the “Nord stream-2”. Preventing the implementation of this gas transportation project becomes a strategic goal of American foreign policy, even if it is unclear how to achieve this, given the presence of our country’s “Academician Chersky”.

      The construction of Nord Stream 2 is taking place in international waters – this has been confirmed by the adoption of the EU Gas Directive, which extended the scope of the Third Energy Package to gas pipelines that are not subject to European law, but come to the EU. The US must put direct pressure on the European Union and Germany to ensure that Brussels and Berlin prohibit the purchase of gas from this project.

      There are great doubts that the Americans will decide on this option, because it would mean direct interference in the internal affairs of the European Union, but the US Congress is able to adopt any regulation, so this cannot be excluded.

      Vladimir Olenchenko, chief researcher of the Centre for European Studies of IMEMO RAS, in conversation with FBA “Economy Today” came to a conclusion that the EU and Germany have a desire and the possibility to prevent this American policy.

      “The main actors here are Germany and its leader Chancellor Merkel. She is convinced that Russian gas supplies via the new pipeline will increase the competitiveness of the German economy and make it stronger. This fact is even more important today than before because of the uncertainties that the world and European countries are experiencing because of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic”, Olenchenko concludes.

      According to Vladimir Anatolievich, for Merke l”coronavirus” is a major argument in the history of “Nord Stream-2” .

      “Recently, Germany and the EU have become irritated by constant US interference in European economic and political processes. Therefore, the dissatisfaction in the EU with this crude American policy and economic uncertainty should become a tool to complete the project”, says Olenchenko.

      At present, the Americans have beaten off with their sanctions all the European companies that were directly involved in the implementation of “Nord Stream-2” – a landmark story was the pressure on the Swiss pipe-layers from Allseas, so the arguments of the United States are almost spent, save for their making direct external interference in the internal affairs of the European Union.

      Europeans are afraid of this option, but if the U.S. goes for it, it will cross the red line and completely destabilize relations with the EU.

      “The situation with COVID-19 should serve as an incentive for the European Union to take a tough stance in Brussels on the Americans’ desire to impose their conditions and, in particular, their LNG in exchange for Russian gas exports” ,concludes Olenchenko.

      In the opinion of experts, Germany and the European Union have sufficient arguments to oppose American lack of ceremony.

      As a result, the U.S. will impose sanctions against STIF, but this will not go any further, simply because restrictions against Gazprom would be an unnecessary foreign policy risk for them.

      Source: «Экономика сегодня»


      1. Thanks very much for that very informative piece; lots more detail to flesh out the story. I still, though, don’t get how this is going to forestall sanctions by Washington, and it seems to tend in the opposite direction. Gazprom did almost no business in America, and unless they are fools they have moved all remaining assets out of reach. Therefore, sanctioning Gazprom property or commerce in the United States does Gazprom no harm. They can’t do anything to Gazprom in Russia. Therefore what both sides have been avoiding – for the same reason – is sanctions against Europeans who do business with Gazprom. And I would have thought the sooner America crosses that line, the better for Russia.

        Gazprom does too much business with Europe for the United States to replace, even if it thought it could. American LNG tankers cannot compete with the volumes Gazprom sends through its pipelines, either for price or logistics. That’s something they’re going to learn when the new pipeline in Bulgaria – which everyone is celebrating because it allows everyone to compete and send gas through it – once American LNG has to compete with pipeline gas from Russia. Russian gas is high-quality and cheap. The Bulgaria operation is small-scale, though – what was it, something like 15 BcM? Therefore, America would have to order Europe to accept a large shortfall in available gas supplies, plus buy what they did get from America at higher prices so American producers and investors could make money. The combined shortage of supply and higher hub prices would send the cost through the roof for European consumers. I would have thought the sooner America pushes their backs to the wall, the sooner they will tell America to mind its own effing business.

        US shale extraction is already past its peak, and entering a period of sustained contraction, even by the estimates of those in whose interests it is for production to just keep going up and up. And that was its analysis before the fake pandemic caused an economic shutdown.

        “2019 solidified the pivot from growth to capital discipline in North America,” Miller told analysts and investors Tuesday on a conference call. “As unconventionals enter maturation phase, Halliburton is committed to the North American market.”

        Houston-based Halliburton said North American revenue slumped 21% in the final three months of last year compared with the third quarter. It took $2.2 billion of impairment charges for the most recent period, related to severance costs and writedowns on pressure-pumping and drilling equipment.

        Halliburton cut 22% of its frack fleet last year, Miller said. Schlumberger, the largest oil and gas services company, has already reduced its pressure-pumping fleet in half, and said Friday it has no intention of bringing that equipment back into service. It took $12.7 billion in pretax charges for the third quarter and is restructuring its North American land business.

        Halliburton expects its ‘international growth’ to continue even as it restructures its North American operations. You know what that means. More interest in other people’s oil, developed, pumped and sold by American companies. Sometimes that is not part of those countries’ plans. And we all know what happens then. But that’s as may be – all of America’s leverage against Russian energy exports to Europe is based on their replacement by American products, or forcing consumers who normally buy Russian gas to carve out some market share for American gas. Who’s going to do that knowing (1) they will have to pay higher prices, (2) the cheaper gas they don’t take will be sold to someone else, and (3) their new partner’s supply capability is finite, and will one day drop below profitability no matter how high the prices are.

        If I were Russia, I would be keeping a very close eye on developments in Venezuela. Because America needs Venezuela’s reserve capability, even if the quality is not that high. They took a run at getting control over Iraqi oil, and that didn’t work. They took a run at getting control of Syrian oil, which wasn’t even that great a prize, and they stepped on their dicks there, too. Now they’re hanging on to a little piece of it, like a dog in the manger, but even if nobody makes them get out, it isn’t going to be enough. And I can’t believe the whole world is just going to sit by and watch while the USA sets up shop in a country it invaded and where it remains unwelcome, and start drilling and pumping its oil and selling it for its own profit.

        The USA is in much more trouble than most of its people know.


        1. …The Bulgaria operation is small-scale, though – what was it, something like 15 BcM..

          ‘Up to’ 20 BcM, but this is Borissov saying so:
          Neuters: Bulgaria can boost Balkan Stream capacity to ship non-Russian gas

          …“With the new compression stations we will be able to boost the capacity of the Balkan Stream to 20 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year from the current (planned) 15 bcm,” Borissov said. ..

          …The interconnector pipeline with Greece, with an initial annual capacity of 3 bcm, is expected to be operational by the end of the year and transport Azeri gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG)….


          Euractiv avec AFP: Hungary banks on Balkan Stream to triple capacity of gas supply to Slovakia

          Hungary will triple the capacity of a natural gas pipeline border interconnector towards Slovakia by 2024, enabling the pipeline to carry more than 5 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year, the foreign minister said on Tuesday (2 June).


          1. But the USA is happy as a sandboy with all this, because there’s an LNG terminal nearby, so it’s fair, see? All the Americans need to do is sanction the shit out out of everyone involved with pipeline gas, and then you GOTTA take LNG. But of course they don’t see that coming, because they ain’t crafty.


      1. In the latter years of the SU, they did quite a bit of research into telepathy.

        When I was living in Germany in the late ’80s, I had an acquaintance, an aged psychology postgrad (in Germany at that time, they had the world’s oldest students and youngest pensioners: a student could state when he was ready to take his finals and early retirement was in vogue), who, for his Ph.D, was going to defend a paper on telepathy.

        He was a crafty bugger. He told me that he was successful in applying for his grant to study telepathy in order to gain a doctorate because he told those who handed out the dosh that telepathy was being seriously studied academically in the USSR. On learning that the wicked Reds were doing this, the German academic powers that be had no hesitations as regards giving him a grant.

        The student’s name was Joachim. He was a member of a far-left tendency in Germany. He was from Stuttgart. I remember visiting him once, and on the Palace Square in that city, there is a war memorial to the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) that interested me.

        So I was reading what was inscribed on it, when Joachim crept up behind me and whispered in my ear: “That’s the last one we won!”

        I thought that was quite amusing, though absolutely true.


  5. Kit Knightly asks, in a provocative piece for OffGuardian, if we are seeing the beginnings of a colour revolution…in America.

    A way to get rid of Trump before the election, just in time for the new wave of COVID and the necessary lockdown.

    “If the events currently unfolding in cities across the United States were happening in any other country in the world, a lot of us would already have said that the US Deep State was behind it. All the hallmarks are there…But then maybe it’s not about Trump per se, maybe it’s about the process of elections and the office of President in general. Maybe it’s about getting martial law in place well before the Covid19 backlash kicks in. Maybe there’s something else coming down the pipe that will make it clearer.”


  6. Euractiv: The Netherlands likely to scrap NATO spending target

    The Dutch government is unlikely to fulfill its NATO defence spending obligations within the next four years. The news comes after parliamentarians called Dutch defence minister Ank Bijleveld in for questioning on the so-called ‘recalibration’ of the defence memorandum.

    Ho ho ho! The US’s super allies in u-Rope are finally forced to make a choice between guns and butter. At least they’ll have the F-35 ‘Turkey’ and be locked in to a US service agreement for the next 40 years!

    Meanwhile in Orcland:

    Euractiv: Russia revamps its nuclear policy amid simmering tensions with NATO

    …it outlines four scenarios in which Moscow would order the use of nuclear weapons, two of them new and involving potential instances of nuclear first-use scenarios.

    The two established protocols permit nuclear use when an enemy uses nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction on Russia or its allies, and in situations when conventional weapons “threaten the very existence of the country.”

    In reverse, the two new provisions include cases in which the government receives “reliable information” that a ballistic missile attack is imminent or in the case of ”enemy impact on critically important government or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the incapacitation of which could result in the failure of retaliatory action of nuclear forces.”

    The main threats for Russia are described as follows: the increase of the potential of NATO in territories and waters close to the country, bringing new weaponry close to Russia, including new anti-missile systems, deploying strike weapons in space and deploying nuclear weapons in non-nuclear countries…

    I.e. if the US re-deploys its tactical B61XX nukes from Germany/The Netherlands/Turkey/Belgium or Italy to the Balts, the lo-land of Po-land, Ro, Bg etc. This is hardly a surprise. Whe Democratic luminary, all round good guy and sex pest Bill Clinton expanded NATO across u-Rope, there was little Russia could do little. Things have changed and there are now direct consequences of NATO wankery.

    Note the right panel to the article advertizes Raytheon Technologies and sponsored content like Q&A: How transatlantic defense cooperation brings safety to an unpredictable world’,
    ‘NATO at 70: The enduring transatlantic alliance for peace and security’ and a Raytheon Missile Defense infographic ‘Collaborating for Stronger Defense.’ BTW, Germany is not going buy EuroHawk, the u-Ropean version of the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk.



    The Wiltshire county coroner investigating British Government allegations that Russian military agents using a Russian-made poison called Novichok caused the death of a woman, Dawn Sturgess, on July 8, 2018, has lied in his report of the inquest into her death.

    This has been revealed by evidence gathered by the Wiltshire police two years ago, and recovered this week….

    The rest at the link.


      1. I wonder if there will be an attempt to buy them off, somehow settle out of court to avoid making a public spectacle of it? It seems to me completely impossible for the British government to come up with a story that reconciles these two narratives. And they can’t very well say it was the drugs story that was a joke or a trick or a mistake – Rowley and Sturgess were both known hard drug users with an extensive history, and the other men involved were also well-known to police. A child could present the case that the authorities used a convenient death to introduce their phony evidence and then relied on momentum to do the rest. It would be delicious if May went to the slammer, but I suppose she is insulated six ways from Sunday against prosecution. However, all the people who presented her with ‘evidence’ which convinced her it could have been nobody else but Russian agents should go to jail.


  8. The Daily Star: Israeli tanks cross over Lebanese ‘Blue Line’ border fence ‘for first time since 2006 war’

    UN peacekeeping forces are deployed along the ‘Blue Line’ between Lebanon and Israel [Twitter]

    Over 1,000 Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty in 2020: Diab

    i-Srael is counting on domestic instability to take advantage and it looks like they assume Lebanon can be easily neutralized in the run up to their theft of the West Bank on July 1.

    So, I’m putting the odd of war this year up to 60/40. It really is ~now~ or never.

    Whether a small incident will set off a conflagration in the region and further afield depends on the the big powers. Sitting on the fence will only be taken as a sign of weakness and passive acceptance.

    Serious domestic trouble back in the US, tanked economies in the west it looks like the nutters are coming close to their Rapture. 😦


    1. t-Rump has so far talked big but not delivered on many of his threats. Does he really want to risk dragging the US in to a new war in an election year and especially when one of his key promises was ‘bring the boys back home?’ I’d like to think he will fold or do nothing, but we have been here before where US allies have thought Washington has their back and done something very stupid, only to find that they had ‘misunderstood.’


    2. The only thing that will deter the Zionist land-grabbers is assurance that an Israeli incursion would be so costly that possibility cannot be entertained. And since the US-led west enthusiastically goes along with anything Israel wants to do, that assurance will have to come from someone else. Lebanon is not strong enough to stop them on its own.

      Maybe we can get Madeleine Albright out of retirement to croak that there is a special place in hell for Benny Netanyahu, and, you know,kind of rally the troops.


    1. British soldiers are genetically incapable of harming innocents abroad and only injure or kill evildoers, because they are members of the forces of freedom and democracy. The one guy is the token sacrifice, or else did something so horrible in front of so many witnesses that it could not be hushed up.

      “A lawyer representing some of the soldiers accused by Shiner called for a public apology over the “vile war crime slurs”…”At long last, this witch-hunt is coming to an end,” lawyer Hilary Meredith said.”

      So it’s not enough that the Iraqis complaints, which they probably went to some trouble to lodge, are now coming to naught – no, they must apologize to the nice lads whose reputations they impugned. Maybe there actually were some squaddies who were unjustly accused; there nearly always are in such affairs. But it seems more than just likely that quite a few acts got whitewashed on the altar of Britain The Good.

      What this teaches brown folk is that it is pointless to complain – the invaders always justify the actions of their own, and their chunnering about justice is just to mollify their electorates that they are still morally above the sand people. Just as the blacks in America are learning, there is no punishment for those who are the same colour and persuasion as those who weigh the law and award punishment. Therefore when you are confronted by the enemy, there is no use ‘coming along peacefully’ or ‘getting down on the ground’. Fight, because they intend to kill you either way.


  9. South China Morning Post: China unveils plan to make Hainan a free trade hub like Hong Kong, Singapore as risks of US decoupling loom

    Beijing has outlined plans to turn Hainan into a ‘free trade port’ similar to Hong Kong, as China faces the risk of decoupling with the United States

    The tropical island will benefit from a low income tax rate, freedoms in trade, investment, capital flows and an easier investment environment

    This announcement perfectly illustrates the embarrasment of options China has when it comes to neutering America’s threats.

    I used to read SCMP regularly years ago but then stopped I think because something pissed me off about it. I’m glad it’s back on my list.


    1. Once again, a caution for western countries – this is not a fit of pique. This is for keeps, and once China has taken concrete steps to insulate itself from western economic warfare, there will be no going back. That means an end to massive market share for western goods in China, an end to the galloping Chinese growth opportunities for western businessmen and an end to inexpensive Chinese manufactured goods in western stores like Wal-Mart. A lot more American manufactured goods will be made in America, and that’s good for America, but American consumers are going to have to get used to much higher prices for everything. And that goes for everyone who throws in their lot with the United States. Western governments are not going to allow a flood of cheap Chinese clothing and manufactured products to enter the country when they are not allowed to sell their own products to advantage in China. Trump bitched about the trade deficit and the lack of a ‘level playing field’ but he hasn’t seen anything yet.


    2. I get the feeling the rest of the world is nowhere near as hardened against China as detractors try to make out – the United States has demanded a unified front, and European leaders are doing their best to be seen that way. Except for Britain, to whom snapping to attention when the USA shouts “Ten…HUT!!” is second nature. I don’t believe this huge international investigation into the origin of the virus is going to go anywhere, and medical professionals seem pretty solidly convinced it is a natural jump that has been building for some time. As Orlov accurately pointed out, if it was an engineered bioweapon, its designers ought to be ashamed that it got out before they managed to hone it so it actually killed people.

      I trust western business – outside the United States, where corporations ultimately have to obey loony laws devised by crackpot politicians, it’s the price you pay for lobbying to get crackpot patsies elected – to recognize in time that those who shut out China will be doing so in order that America gains an advantage, and America will want to sell to advantage to them, as well. That means a trade deficit in which all America’s allies buy more from America than they sell to it; that’s the ‘level playing field’ that makes American merchants and corporations so happy. I further trust those business heads to find ways they can continue to do business with both; the USA wants to make it a black-and-white choice – you’re either with Team America, or you’re with the Chinkies. But it’s not that simple, and nobody with any size commercial sector wants to shut themselves off from either of the two largest markets. What is most likely to happen is some form of biased exclusion of Chinese goods by America (excluding what it can’t get anywhere else), a strikingly similar sort of punishment mechanism in China against American goods, and then everybody else who to one degree or another trades with both. The eventual loser in this arrangement will be the USA.


  10. Neuters via ‘Stop the cockroach’: protests rattle Belarus President Lukashenko before election

    …”I want to warn you and everyone who is listening to us that there will be no Maidan in Belarus,” he said. ..

    Plenty more at the link.

    Po-lands refusal to sign a new XXX agreement with Russia certainly weakens Lukashenko the longer volumes remain minimal. Is Warsaw doing Moscow a solid (now that would be a conspiracy theory!) or is it just a long line of solids produced by Warsaw that will only go down the tubes? Reminder: big EU cash cushion stops at the end of this year. Only regional and other standard (but still comparitively substantial as Poland retains the Zloty) development funds will be available.


        1. Mark, you are assuming that I can use my left hand while I use my right hand, or vice-versa!* 😉

          I’m trying to retrain my brain to not make immediate corrections to typos as I write. I’m finding it quite difficult but the benefits are that you don’t lose your train of though/stream of consciousness.

          *Or, beer then wine is fine. Wine then beer, oh dear!


    1. I think the opposition has a point – stability under Lukashenko has meant a low standard of living and meager wages. I don’t know enough about the country’s economy to say how it could do better. However, a catchy name like ‘the cockroach’ and a rallying symbol – the slipper – screams US State Department meddling. If Belorussians would like to see where throwing their support to an American campaign to oust Lukashenko would lead, look at Ukraine. Far, far worse off than it was before American meddling, and nowhere to go but down.

      There’s probably a lot of validity to the analysis that the US is trying to figure out how to proceed, because it sees a chance of splitting Belarus off from Russia while using Lukashenko. The trouble is, he’s so crooked that they could never count on him to stay bought, and they would likely prefer to start fresh with a new leader. But who? I have yet to see Washington favourably mention any other candidate.

      I doubt they have the juice to overcome Lukashenko’s machine, and the likely result is another Lukashenko victory, while if he perceives the USA made a serious attempt to unseat him, he will be pissed off and his attitude will reflect it. Consequently the probable outcome is inertia and a lot of State Department fluttering about to no real effect.


      1. What is the American state scared so shitless of in Eastern Europe that it feels forced to implement “regime change” there.

        Why cant it just fuck off and mind its own fucking business?

        Its not as if the “Shining City on the Hill” has nothing to be concerned about on its own patch.


  11. Euractiv: Nord Stream 2: New decisions and clear consequences

    On 15 May, the German regulator rejected an application from the gas import pipeline Nord Stream 2 for a derogation from new EU rules. Kim Talus looks at the ongoing judicial proceedings and the consequences of the decision.

    Kim Talus holds the James McCulloch Chair in Energy Law at Tulane law school. He is a professor of European energy law at UEF Law School and a professor of energy law at the University of Helsinki. He provided legal advice to Nord Stream 2 in the area of EU energy law.

    …It will also be equally interesting to see whether Nord Stream 2 remains the only pipeline subject to the new rules of the game.

    In the meantime, the Permanent Court of Arbitration has published a number of documents that show that the company’s arbitration proceedings against the EU for an alleged breach of the Energy Charter Treaty are underway.

    Why this elaborate ballet dance? The date was put in place specifically to target NSII. Whether other much lesser field-pipes are affected is secondary. How can the ECJ uphold this ruling on appeal if the EU as a whole is to be taken seriously by international investors (least of all EU based ones) over its golden Rule of Law. The NSII partners are not intimidated and are holding Brussels’s feet to the fire. The latter would no doubt prefer some kind of byzantine deal that would leave its legal reinterpreation of the Energy Charter intact.

    On the one hand it would be sensible to accept this as long as NSII can operate normally and is not under a continual threat of sanctions. On the other, allowing Brussels to get away with such behavior can be seen as a sign of weakness and will only encourage it elsewhere which it already practices (sic Serbia and turning the phrase ‘good neighborly relations’ in to effectively recognizing the independence of Kosovo.*) For all the talk of law, the EU like all other power blocks is more than happy to throw its weight about and ignore its own rules if it thinks it can get away with it. Thus I would vote to continue arbiration regardless and obviously to appeal the German decision at the ECJ, however long it takes.


  12. First A220 assembled in Mobile takes flight

    ….Airbus purchased majority ownership of the A220 programme, formerly known as CSeries, in 2018 from Bombardier, and promptly went to work opening a second assembly site in Mobile. Airbus also produces A220s in Quebec, Canada.

    The Mobile plan was initially viewed as a means by Airbus to avoid potential US tariffs on A220 imports, but the tariff threat evaporated in 2018, and Airbus still moved forward with A220 assemblies in Mobile….

    Canada, oh Canada… Well done! Sux to Boing and good luck to Embraer!

    BTW France’s ‘Grizzly and the Lemmings’ (set in Canada) is my new favorite show:

    It’s not competition for Masha and the Bear, but…


  13. Russian government ready to invest US$422 million in new far eastern airline

    May 27th, 2020

    This huge amount is higher than the total funds that have been set aside as a bailout measure for the nation’s entire Coronavirus crisis-plagued airline industry

    investing for the future, where all the significant growth is. How old skool. How bold.


  14. Just in case anyone was thinking that maybe the USA is not the biggest dick on the planet, its government has gone ahead with another round of sanctions against Nord Stream II, this time directed at “parties involved in pipe-laying activities, not just pipe laying, and on parties providing underwriting services, insurance or reinsurance for the vessels.” A copy of a draft bill was seen by Reuters.

    “Congress must once again take decisive action and stand in this pipeline’s path,” Shaheen said.

    All in all, really good stuff; already Germany is muttering that the Yanks need to mind their own fucking business, and if Washington actually does go through with its threat and sanction anyone European, it is likely to result in a sharp increase in anti-Americanism in Europe. If the US just sanctions Russian companies, big deal. All of its leverage is grounded in prohibiting companies that do business with Nord Stream II from doing business in the United States. And at some point, those European companies will conclude it is no longer worth doing business in the United States, considering if it works this time, the Americans will adopt it into their make-everybody-do-what-we-want toolbox.

    Only the Americans, who are tone-deaf to irony, could name the legislation that aims to cut Europe off from cheap gas, and force them to buy expensive American LNG the “Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act”.

    Keep it coming, Washington. You are making the USA the most hated country on the globe. If I was running Russia, I would announce construction of Nord Stream II was discontinued, but that there would be no further gas transit through Ukraine. They’re probably not going to get any more done on Nord Stream II this summer anyway, because the Danes have fucked them again, so it would be a great scare for Europe and the Germans would be marching on Brussels.


  15. US President Donald Trump has dubbed Russia rejoining G7 “common sense” – but the move was met with resistance by some US allies. Trump insists it is better to talk with Moscow, instead of talking about it.
    “Many of the things that we talk about are about [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Trump told Fox News Radio. Having the Russian leader in the room during the G7 talks would “get things done,” he added.

    His statement came after the UK and Canada – two of America’s closest allies, and fellow G7 members – voiced their opposition to the idea of having Russia onboard again. London, for example, demanded Moscow be barred from rejoining the group until it “ceases its aggressive and destabilizing activity”.

    [my stress]


    Words fail me!

    Well, they don’t really, but Ican’t be arsed.


    1. Well, you know who in Canada voiced their opposition – that’d be the Canadian Deputy Prime Minister for Ukraine, who likely harbours strong interest in being the next Prime Minister. And I can’t see Putin being too interested in sitting at the table with that orange arsehole who is trying his country’s level best to stop a commercial pipeline project from Russia in order to strongarm Europe into buying American gas. Best to just leave things as they are; everybody who is a member of the G7 is also a member of the G20, and Russia has more allies in that forum. Russia should say thanks, but get stuffed sideways, you poxy jag-offs. But that’s not up to me.

      I sometimes think these countries pretend to be thinking about reinstating Russia tn this or that only so that they can say not a fucking chance, and then pretend it was Russia’s idea and that they got stopped short at the door. Just fuck off, all of you, why not? And when you get there, fuck off some more.


  16. Vladivostok yesterday:

    Below: Sail Training Ship “Sedov”, formerly Magdalene Vinnen II (1921–1936) and Kommodore Johnsen (–1948), a four-masted steel barque that for almost 80 years was the largest traditional sailing ship in operation. pinched off Fritz by those thieving Orcs in 1945 after the USA had liberated Europe from the Nazis.

    Above: Russian Pacific Fleet rust tub cruiser “Varyag” and alongside her is the full-rigged Russian STS “Pallada” (the fastest sailing ship in the world with a recorded 18,7 knots), built 1987, and alongside the wharf is Russian full-rigged STS “Nadezhda”, built as recently as 1987.

    Both “Pallada” and “Nadezhda” were built in Gdansk, Poland, to a design by a Polish naval architect.

    Why do the Orcs have so many sailing ships?

    What is afoot?

    There must be a method in the sneaky Orcs’ madness!

    Do you miss Vladivostok, Chief Stooge?


      1. Well, quite a bit of the Russian Far East did once belong to China, as I’m sure you recall. Some worry that one day the Chinese might try to take it back, but that is most unlikely now that the west has pushed China and Russia into partnership. China and Russia signed a deal in 2014 to jointly develop the Far East port of Zarubino. This will give China sea access to the Sea of Japan. Similarly, in these geopolitically-challenging times in which war with the United States is no longer a silly notion but a very real possibility, trying to retake the Far East would only make an enemy of Russia when plowing significant investment and friendly relations into co-development harnesses the by-no-means-insignificant Russian military forces on China’s side in common cause against a common enemy. I frankly do not think the USA could prevail against either, and it certainly could not prevail against both, nor could NATO.


      2. Had Simon Reeve done his homework properly before visiting Vladivostok, he would have discovered that Russia and China signed a friendship treaty back in 2001 in which each signatory pledged to give up all territorial claims in the other signatory’s dominion.

        Northeast China (the old Manchuria) is actually in decline with rust-bucket heavy industries based on iron and steel production and the area is losing population. I doubt that people in Vladivostok and other parts of the Russian Far East bordering that part of China need to worry about being invaded by yellow devil hordes going banzai.


    1. I certainly do miss Vladivostok; I always had a great time there. As you might expect considering I had to pack a year’s worth of sex into a month when the missus was still in Russia but I lived in Canada, and only got to see her in person for a month per year. But of course that could not occupy all our time, and I got to love the city. The VARYAG is my favourite Russian warship now that the SVERDLOV and CHAPAEV classes are long gone; they were WW-II looking designs, with the big director tower atop the bridge fr the long guns, but they were a beautiful ship and the last of the Soviet gun cruisers.

      Both were still on the books when I joined the navy in 1977, although the remaining CHAPAEV was a training ship. The SVERDLOVs in particular were elegant with that long. low forecastle. I think SVERDLOV was actually at the last Queen’s Naval Review, or the last one I recall in which international warships all showed up to be inspected from the Royal Yacht. I believe Canada sent HMCS ATHABASKAN, who was herself only retired a few years ago, and she would have been brand-new then. ATHABASKAN or HURON, I can’t recall now.


      1. It was a toss-up between becoming a Jolly Jack Tar or a Canadian lumberjack, but I ended up working down the bloody pit with the rest of the chumps.

        From the sublime to the ridiculous, so to speak, and I ended up in Mordor!


      2. It was not my original plan – I wanted to be a musician or an artist. My first wife prevailed upon me; she thought sailors were glamorous. That alone should have offered a tingle of warning, but I was young and foolish, and it didn’t register; I was at that age when young men’s brains are overridden by other organs. As well, her vision of sailors in uniform was borrowed from the little chap on the Cracker Jack box.

        That actually represented the USN. The Canadian Navy, post-unification – the brainchild of Paul Hellyer The Idiot, whose mischief took decades to undo – wore a common uniform with the Army and Air Force; green (the Army must have lobbied hard for that). Distinctive environmental badges and headgear were the only nod to sea service. We never went back to blue; the naval uniform now is black, with white shirts for dress wear, although the working rig is blue. Anyway, she proved more persuasive than durable, and slipped her anchor after four years; two young children were cramping her style. If it were a movie, she would have run off with another sailor, but it wasn’t, and she ran off on her own, and later married a furniture salesman in Ontario.

        By then, for me, the job had sort of ‘took’. So I messed about with it for another 34 years. Just when I had about decided to make it a career, it was time to leave.

        A shipmate of mine has an inspirational picture on the inside door of his locker; it shows a woman sitting on a bed talking with her young son. He says “Mom, when I grow up, I want to be a sailor”. She replies, “Well, son, you’ll have to make your mind up. You can’t do both”.


  17. Compare and contrast!

    In Thailand:

    Russian Sailors vs. USA Sailors!!!
    Performance on parade

    It says at the beginning: The water on the street is the result of a cyclone.

    The man addressing the Russian sailors is, I guess, the Russian ambassador to Thailand. He speaks of the relationship between Russia and Thailand and says: “Your visit is a great gift for all those Russian people who live and work in Thailand. I wish you a successful and happy participation in the naval parade dedicated to the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and new success in your service for the good of our great Motherland”.

    ASEAN — Association of Southeast Asian Nations, member states: Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos.

    The music being played in the video when the Russian sailors are marching is a jazzed up version of “Day of Victory”.

    Yep! I reckon its time for me to apply for Russian citizenship before I head for Davy Jones’ Locker.


    1. I cannot understand, though, why at the beginning of the above clip it reads: “Visit to Korea”.

      Maybe the person who put the clip together just got confused because of the Burger King sign.

      Korea is not a member of ASEAN, nor should I imagine that the Russian navy would be welcomed at a parade there, let alone be invited to parade their with the US allies of Korea.


      1. Or maybe the USN parade was in Korea and is simply shown so as compare that parade with a Russian navy parade through ankle deep water in Thailand.

        However, the placards indicating the nationality of the parade participants, which placards are held by navy servicewomen, seem to be identical.


        1. It matters not, though, how well Russian sailors march: the point to remember is that Russian warships are all obsolete rust tubs. And they don’t have aircraft carrier task forces either, the pathetic idiots!


      2. Difficult to say; I assume the luscious young lady leading them is native to the area, and I am afraid I do not know the Asian races well enough to distinguish between Koreans and Thais. I suppose signs for popular western fast-food joints would be in English in both places, although there are a lot of other commercial signs in English as well.

        Some parts of South Korea are heavily Russian – areas of Pusan, for example, have street signs in both Korean and Russian.


    1. Navalny’s official duties in the service of the US State Department are simple – make an outrageous arse of himself at every opportunity, so that he is constantly in the papers and on the news, getting more and more name recognition, and defining himself as opposite to the current government. You don’t have to be for Navalny to vote for him – you only have to be pissed off at the current government.


  18. Euractiv mit Neuters: Rosneft replaces sanctioned trading arm with new one

    Russia’s Rosneft, which closed its oil trading arm after sanctions were imposed by US authorities in February, has set up a new Geneva-based trading business, four trading sources familiar with the matter said.

    …“Energopole SA is a 100% subsidiary of Rosneft. The company is involved in commercial dealings in the interest of Rosneft and has no connection to Rosneft Trading SA. It is registered in Switzerland and operates in accordance with applicable law,” a Rosneft representative told Reuters…


    1. Enter the top BBC slime merchant in Russia Steven Rosenberg:

      Coronavirus in Russia: ‘I don’t trust Putin any more’

      In Russia, President Putin’s approval rating has fallen to an all-time low.

      Russia, like many countries, is suffering acute economic hardship after weeks of coronavirus lockdown.

      Amid rising unemployment, there are signs of growing disillusionment with the Kremlin. Our correspondent Steve Rosenberg has been to Vladimir Putin’s home city of St Petersburg to gauge the mood.

      Keep on truckin’ Stevie boy!

      “All time low”, you say.

      How low might that be, arsehole?

      “Its lowest level in 20 years”, you say.

      Go on, give me the figures!


      1. Tell you what, Rosenberg, you’re eating well here. Piling weight on, you are.

        Must be eating at all the top spots, smetana piled on thick, pancakes etc.

        No shashlyk, though, I bet.

        Not traditional Russian shashlyk., that is.


        1. Waddya reckon, Stevie? You reckon Putin will have to annex more territory so as to regain popularity?


    2. Retards. Being accurate is less important than feeding the narrative. Look at les idiots in France; a 15.4% mortality rate? That would make if far more deadly than malaria, twice as deadly as SARS. This reference lists Coronavirus mortality as 3.4%. and that’s using the WHO’s rigged figures and western written instructions to tag all deaths where COVID was even suspected as COVID deaths.

      They want to have their cake and eat it – the ‘excess deaths’ method is being blamed for the perception that coronavirus is really not much of a threat, certainly not worth the shutdown of the global economy and the painful re-balancing to come, to say nothing of the abrupt withdrawal of civil rights and the jackboot swaggering of the police. But now they want to use the ‘excess deaths’ method, because it offers an opportunity to catch Russia lying, and that’s always worth whatever has to be spent.


    1. Mrs. Exile and I once travelled in a de luxe coupé for two with en suite toilet and shower. We hadn’t long been wed and even though I took along my Ian Allan Russian trainspotting book, I didn’t do much trainspotting.


        1. Nah, but some drunken idiots in the next coupé sang Kalinka all bloody night accompanied by a balalaika.


          1. I saw a bear once, but that was a loooong time ago, it was dark and I was in a car.

            As for Kupe traveling, I rather liked it on the couple of occasions I did it. I like listening to other peoples stories… especially if there is free vodka involved. Fellow travelers were friendly and curious, quite the opposite to taking the Moscow metro or even the Tube in London.


  19. Sir Richard Dearlove, retired head of MI-6 and responsible for peddling UK lies about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and the blood of British soldiers on his hands, now says in a podcast (how modern!) that he has seen a ‘report’ that says COVID-19 was ‘made by the Chinese’ and escaped an laboratory ‘by accident.’ Oh, wonders whether China would have to pay reparations if it admitted the ‘accident.’ Cherry picking ‘intelligence’? Check. Giving only that piece credibility by someone of re-pute? Check. Except this time this is an unofficial accusation in all the media as Dearlove is retired.

    The British establishment is clearly picking a fight with China. Using Dearlove as the medium will not fool anyone and maybe that is the point. This is the same strategy the t-Rump uses against the EU, Russia and others to justify their actions. A) deliberately anger your opponent in to making a rash move; b) claim to be responding to their reaction. It’s also cheap, which is also very British government. Why, because they still think they are more clever than the rest of the world. Idiots.


    1. The scientific paper has still not been published:

      Independent: Government has seen ‘no evidence’ that Covid-19 is man-made after ex-MI6 chief suggested it escaped from Chinese lab

      The British government is already backtracking.

      Evening Standard: Government has seen ‘no evidence’ that Covid-19 is man-made after ex-MI6 chief suggested it escaped from Chinese lab


      1. Too fucking late. He was only the head of your Foreign Intelligence Service, you brainless twats, and he’s obviously as dotty as a Smarties pizza – don’t you wonder what else he has been getting off the wall of the gent’s toilet in the way of ‘intelligence’? How much were you paying that fucking walnut? I’d ask for it back. With interest. Apology by soonest post, please.

        How many times? How many times does the British government get to say it is “very certain’ or ‘almost positive’, or ‘absolutely no doubt’ about a story that turns out to be just as full of shit as a great big sack of shit with ‘100% shit’ stamped on the front in shit, before the press starts reporting it with a ‘may contain traces of shit’ disclaimer label? Why does the British government – and Dearlove is as much British government as he ever was – get to be wrong over and over and over again, but the press just shrugs it off and reports their next jolly jape just as if there were no reason to believe it isn’t true?


    2. Sir Richard Dearlove is full of something besides Ovaltine. I suggest he read this report, which was completed after a study by an international body that included Scripps Institute, which is as American as the Chili Dog and which specializes in biomedical research. Of course you can find ‘reports’ which say the Chinese hatched it to destroy American competitiveness. If you get your medical reports from Wolf Blitzer or Piers Morgan or Rudy Giuliani or some other American-exceptionalist tit like them.

      Suck on that, Sir Richard, you spotty old git.


  20. Made in Russia news:

    Russian Aviation: Conversation with the pilot of the first Mi-38 helicopter

    A significant event happened in the domestic aviation industry. The first serial civilian Mi-38 helicopter has replenished the fleet of commercial operators – Russian Helicopter Systems. We are talking with the first Mi-38 line pilot, the chief pilot of the Russian Helicopter Systems company Sergey Fadeev, about the new Russian helicopter of the development and production of the Russian Helicopters holding.

    – Sergey Sergeyevich, please tell us what the new domestic Mi-38 helicopter is? For what purposes and tasks is this machine intended? What are its main differences from the legendary Mi-8?…

    Plenty at the link.

    The Mi-38 had a very long gestation, previously being a ‘joint project’ with the EU in the 1990s, i.e. code for western engines, flight deck etc. (mostly western by value), but now is fully Russian and has been ordered by the Russian state. It should do well also in asia where other Mil-Mi models have sold decently.


    1. I am terribly sorry to hear that; we used to speak fairly often on the old blog, and had collaborated quite a bit on an idea to start an English-language Russian news site which would compete with the rah-rah exceptionalist rubbish in The Moscow Times – it eventually became Russia Insider, but Jon did not participate in it. He was a real gentleman, and Russia has lost a good friend. Thanks for letting us all know.


    2. Oh my goodness! I just saw Jon Hellevig’s VKontakte page yesterday, saw the condolences and thought the msgs were sardonic. I just checked his Wikipedia entry now. My apologies for my comment earlier in this thread (with the link to the Minsk Victory Day Parade video).

      Hellevig had been critical of Sergei Sobyanin’s decision to put Moscow under lockdown when Belarus had opted for no lockdown. The Moscow lockdown trapped Hellevig where he was. No news as yet on how he died.

      RIP Jon.


      1. I don’t know how reliable this is, but some sources in Finland say that before his death Hellevig claimed that he had received death threats in his VKontakte page because he had heavily criticized how Russia handled the Corona situation. His VKontakte page has been wiped out now but there are some screen captures where Hellevig allegedly writes about receiving death threats.

        Here’s a link to the screen capture photo:


        1. Did you read that Awara post that you linked? Where was the criticism of the Russian response to the coronavirus in this?

          In a global comparison, Russia’s corona epidemic response has been very strong. The best and most foolproof indicator is the fatality rate. Russia has experienced the lowest Covid-19 mortality among all countries in the Northern Hemisphere, significantly lower than nearly all Western countries. Presently the fatality rate in Russia is 10 per 1 million, compared to 684 in Belgium, 544 (Spain), 483 (UK), 481 (Italy), 386 (France), 274 (Sweden) and 211 (USA).

          Russia’s initial decisive response helped reduce the spread. The Russian healthcare system proved superior to most other countries in terms of adequate facilities, medical devices and protective gear. Russia increased capacity nationwide by refurbishing existing hospitals and constructing 17 new ones in record time (4-6 weeks). The country also ramped up domestic production of medical necessities, including personal protective equipment. By May, Russia’s production capacity was enough to cover 100% of domestic needs. At the time of this writing, Russia has not yet exhausted its hospital capacity (even at the virus’ epicenter in Moscow).

          Another commendable facet of its response has been the rapid roll out of testing. In absolute numbers, Russia (4.5 million tests) is second only to the US. In per capita terms, Russia has conducted one-third more tests than the United States and is now on par with Germany.

          Where did he criticize Russia’s handling of it? And how would that have any credibility after the endorsement here? The ‘Russian regime’ would try to kill him? That totally looks like a fake Twitter account with a copy of his picture.


        2. I saw that comments thread on Jon Hellevig’s VKontakte page. That thread is what led me to believe Hellevig and his responders were being sarcastic about his demise.

          From what I saw of the rest of his VKontakte page yesterday, Hellevig had opposed Sergei Sobyanin’s decision to impose a severe lockdown on Moscow and its environs. Sobyanin may have taken advice from Anna Popova, the consumer protection agency head., on shutting down Moscow. Hellevig refers to a “crazy woman” advising Sobyanin and seems to imply Popova is that woman.

          Hellevig was full of praise for Belarus’ response (no lockdown) and condemned Sweden’s response, not because of that country’s no-lockdown policy, but because Sweden failed to protect its elderly people in its factory-style aged care facilities and the refugee / immigrant carers working in those institutions. Both groups are over-represented in Sweden’s COVID-19 infection and mortality statistics.

          Hellevig also mentioned he had had a severe flu and thought maybe he had actually had COVID-19. There have been some reports that people with severe cases of COVID-19 infection have had neurological problems ranging from headaches and dizziness to hallucinations (which might lead to paranoia, in an environment where lockdown is prevalent) and strokes. These symptoms might be part of the body’s immunological response over-reacting to the virus.


          1. Well, all that certainly sounds possible, but the comments he made did not sound like the Jon Hellevig I knew. That guy would never have mused about the state trying to kill him and make it look like a COVID-19 death. It’s funny the liberal whackjobs have not already seized upon it and announced that Putin murdered Hellevig. The deletion of the account would certainly feed nicely into that.


        3. Reminiscent of Alexander Litvinenko’s various final statements. Here is one per Wikipedia:

          Before his death, Litvinenko said: “You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world, Mr. Putin, will reverberate in your ears for the rest of your life.”

          I will write a statement or two, you know, just in case. How is this one?

          You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world, Ms. Clinton, will reverberate in your ears for the rest of your life.

          See how easy it is?


      2. I find it pretty hard to believe that he thought Sobyanin would have him killed because he criticized the lockdown. He was otherwise strongly positive about Russia’s reaction. If Sobyanin had everyone killed who claimed the lockdown was bullshit, they wouldn’t need too many ballots for the next mayoral election.


  21. Anandtech: Russia’s Elbrus 8CB Microarchitecture: 8-core VLIW on TSMC 28nm

    All of the world’s major superpowers have a vested interest in building their own custom silicon processors. The vital ingredient to this allows the superpower to wean itself off of US-based processors, guarantee there are no supplemental backdoors, and if needed add their own. As we have seen with China, custom chip designs, x86-based joint ventures, or Arm derivatives seem to be the order of the day. So in comes Russia, with its custom Elbrus VLIW design that seems to have its roots in SPARC….

    More at the link.

    VLIW = Very Long Instruction Word.* It’s rare that there is much written in the english language press about Russian microprocessor developments. Fanbois will sniff at the Elbrus considering it’s rather massive 28nm, but for most uses size & speed are not key requirements, more notably a) purely domestic design; b) good enough. Even then, this is a multi-core chip and is affordable, which a lot of cutting edge stuff isn’t. That all fits in to Russian (and even Soviet) design philosophy of good enough to get the job done and deploy in numbers as opposed platinum plated quality over quantity. It’s also there not to compete with AMD or Intel. This is also just a snapshot and tells us nothing of other developments. Ultimately it’s not much of a stretch to imagine Russia using Chinese chip fabrication plants such as SMIC if asked.



    1. “There is quality in quantity”, allegedly said, I believe by Stalin, as regards the number of T-34’s being churned out by the USSR in comparison with their technologically superior Wehrmacht tank opponents, which were produced in fewer numbers and which needed more technicians to keep them operative.


      1. There is quality in simplicity. A good engineer strives for simplicity. Idiots often conflate complexity with performance, complexity with understanding and complexity with effectiveness. Russian designs, to my eye, are an excellent balance in complexity, cost, reliability and effectiveness. That is what happens when the metric is value and not profits.

        Good software can minimize the need for speed and allow use of more resilient hardware. Again, the Russian understand.


  22. A very pertinent and well-defended piece on the loosening underpinnings of the western system, concluding with a warning of how important it is to confine it to America, so that it does not drag everyone down with it. I think some of it is a bit of a stretch; however, the author was absolutely right-on regarding Ukraine:

    “In particular, I justified the inevitability of the deepest crisis of the Western model of development (not to be confused with the general crisis of capitalism, which has not yet been observed) by referring to my extremely skeptical attitude towards the prospects of implementing the international choice of Ukraine, whose course on NATO and the EU was formalised long before Yushchenko. For both of us it was no secret that the Ukrainian authorities thought that joining Western civilisation meant access to unlimited external financing (within the framework of EU alignment programs). But in order to do this, it was necessary that the EU itself flourished. And for the EU to thrive, maintaining the dynamic development of the entire US-led Western system was critical. Since I had concluded that it was inevitable that the system would enter into a crisis, the next conclusion was self-evident. In the best case for itself, Ukraine would have time to jump into the last carriage of the outbound European train, but it turns out that it was a baggage carrier – it is not fed, there are no amenities, in general, no one will help. In the worse case for itself, Kiev, on its way to the EU, will have time to fight with all its economic partners, destroy its own economy, and then it will become clear that the great west, with all its attributes, including the EU, no longer exists, and there is nowhere to integrate and there is no-one to save Ukraine and its masters.”

    The whole paragraph, accurate as it is in my estimation, could be boiled down to this sentence: “For both of us it was no secret that the Ukrainian authorities thought that joining Western civilisation meant access to unlimited external financing (within the framework of EU alignment programs).”

    Exactly correct; Ukraine perceived that if it could join the EU and NATO, the job of making it a rich country would be done by others. All its leaders would have to do would be to ensure they got re-elected in order to reap the spoils. But there is no room now in the EU for another large, poor country. Ukraine missed the boat that Poland caught. But it has yet to dawn on Ukraine. Nothing to be ashamed of there; it hasn’t dawned on the EU, either.

    The rest of it is probably the kind of narrative that will have you nodding along as you read. An excellent dissection of financial collapse, and of debt kneeling on fiat currency’s neck.


    1. Yes, indeed. It was logically consistent description of the evolution of the West’s economic domination and its unraveling. That was a good observation that the dissolution of the SU and the subsequent exploitation by the West bought the West another 20-30 years or so before the great unraveling (at least my take). It was a shot of adrenaline and a real confidence builder but the fatal flaws were still fatal.


    1. I should dearly like to know what kind of tyranny the British Empire meted out in 1776 to its North American subjects. British North American colonialists enjoyed a higher standing of living than did their UK fellow subjects of King George AND paid less tax than they did. The taxation imposed by the British government that the colonial gentry and merchant class objected to was a result of victory in the costly 7 Years’ War, the first global war in history, which in North America was fought by British and colonial forces against the French and their Native American allies.

      Not all British Redcoats were illiterate, brutal, criminal thugs, the fantasies of the Hollywood “historical” movie “The Patriot” notwithstanding: there were some who served in the war against North American “Patriots” who observed and noted in diaries that their opponents seemed to have been living well off the fruits of a bountiful land and these soldiers of the tyrannical empire, therefore, couldn’t understand what the rebellious colonials’ beef was about.

      Liberty? Democracy?

      My arse!

      The main beef was that the British government had forbade further expansion from the eastern Atlantic seaboard colonies into what was then the Louisiana territory of the King of France.

      The colonists, however, were land hungry and, in their opinion, all land westwards was up for grabs. As regards the indigenous peoples of those lands, well … they weren’t really people

      And there was also that little matter of negro slavery: in 1776, the writing was already on the wall as regards its coming abolition. Shortly before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, slavery had been made illegal in the Mother Country: not so in the rest of the empire, though it was sure to come.

      The Commonwealth of Virginia with its tobacco plantations relied heavily on slave Labour as well as white “bondsmen”.

      Come 1783, there were no longer any taxes imposed by Westminster; there were still slaves though, and slavery was not finally abolished in the USA until 1865.

      After that, everyone was happy in the “Land of the Free”… it seems?


      1. British tyranny in North America?

        History as written by the victors!

        I, on the other hand, only know full well what living under a tyrannical regime is all about!



    2. I usually like what Caitlin Johnson writes but it seems to me, she is caught up in the mainstream media’s interpretation of what is going on;
      The alternative media and the mainstream media are united.


      1. I’m afraid you’ll have to expand on that a little; how, exactly? Because I got the opposite sense. If you look at some of the sidebars in her twitter feed, the incident in which that white-haired man was knocked down by the police and began to bleed from his head or his ear and seemed to be unconscious, there were several comments right away justifying the police action, implying the man had made a move to grab the policeman’s gun (surrounded by armed police, yeah, that’d be a good move) or that he had fallen outside the view of the camera and so the incident was faked to make the cops look bad.


  23. Get the pot boiling!


    05.06.2020, 11:10
    Социологи предупредили о возможности массовых протестов в России

    Sociologists have warned of the possibility of mass protests in Russia

    The situation in Russia as a result of the pandemic of coronavirus COVID-19 can lead to socio-political upheaval in the country — this is the opinion of more than half of Russians polled by independent sociologists from the Belanovsky Group. Researchers published the report “A New Spectrum of Political Sentiments in Russian Society in 2020” (.pdf). Sociologist Sergei Belanovsky was one of those who predicted mass protests on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow in 2011.

    The study consisted of two stages — quantitative and qualitative. As part of the quantitative stage using the Google questionnaire from March 27 to April 5, 4640 people were surveyed; from 3 to 11 May – 3177 people. For the qualitative stage, sociologists conducted 236 surveys using an in-depth telephone interview method. First, they turned to their friends and Facebook subscribers for an interview, then they asked everyone who agreed to ask their apolitical and pro-friends or relatives about the conversation. As a result, 112 opposition respondents, 92 apolitical respondents, and 32 government supporters participated in the study.

    Using this technique, sociologists came to the following conclusions:

    • the belief of Russians in the ability of both federal and regional authorities to effectively deal with the outbreak of coronavirus is declining;
    • fears of becoming infected with COVID-19, as well as fears of negative financial consequences of the period of self-isolation, have slightly decreased over the month (probably due to adaptation), but the level of stress has increased;
    • the trend towards an increase in a negative attitude towards the federal government, which began to take shape in 2011 and reappeared after the “Crimea Respite” in 2018, has been sharply intensified by the coronavirus pandemic;
    • the predominant emotions in people were irritation, anxiety and anger, and state pro-government propaganda has ceased to function;
    • President Vladimir Putin personally has become the main target of negative statements, and the main complaint against him was that he allegedly has not lived up to hopes and has built a state system that does not work.

    Earlier, the Higher School of Economics conducted an online survey according to which 23.2% of Russians consider the coronavirus pandemic a fiction of “interested parties”, another 9.6% – that its danger is exaggerated.

    According to VTsIOM, 83% of Russians are not afraid of contracting COVID-19 in the upcoming Constitutional vote on July 1. 67% of Russians surveyed are ready to take part in the vote. At the same time, 61% of those who intend to vote are likely to vote for the amendments, 21% are against them. According to the latest VTsIOM poll, published May 24, 68.9% of Russians trust Vladimir Putin.

    Oh, look at that!

    According to the latest VTsIOM poll, published May 24, 68.9% of Russians trust Vladimir Putin.

    What do you think of that, Rosenberg of the BBC?


    1. First, they turned to their friends and Facebook subscribers for an interview.. . .

      Why don’t we conduct a poll of regular Stooge posters about the future of Russia? It would be a similar methodology as used by the Sociologists.


      1. Exactly! Do an opinion survey amongst those who are most likely of the same opinion as is yours, then ask them to do a survey of other like-minded people.

        Dead scientific, that is!


  24. Германия допустила введение штрафных пошлин на американский газ
    14:54 05.06.2020 (обновлено: 16:12 05.06.2020)

    Germany has allowed the imposition of penalties on American gas

    BERLIN, Jun 5 – RIA News. Germany may impose penalties on US gas if Washington does not stop pressure on Nord Stream 2, Klaus Ernst, head of the Bundestag energy committee, has told RIA Novosti.

    “US behavior in this matter should no longer be understood as a friendly act, it is an encroachment on the sovereignty of Germany and the EU”, the politician says in a written response to a request from RIA Novosti.

    The agency asked Ernst to comment on the sanctions bill against the pipeline under construction. The document was submitted to the Senate the day before, its authors having proposed that restrictions on insurance companies serving ships that work on the construction of Nord Stream – 2 be introduced.

    A spokesman for the German Ministry of Economics said earlier on Friday that Berlin is closely monitoring US actions on this issue and categorically rejects the idea of extraterritorial sanctions.

    Sanctions against Nord Stream 2
    At the end of last year, the United States adopted a defence budget, which included restrictions against companies participating in the implementation of Nord Stream 2. Swiss Allseas, engaged in the laying of the gas pipeline, stopped work.

    The Minister of Energy of Russia, Alexander Novak, in December 2019 announced that the use of the Akademik Chersky pipe layer is one of the options for completing the project, but it will take some time for additional preparation of the vessel.


    1. And so now things have come full circle to where Germany (likely with the covert support of other EU members such as France) is threatening sanctions against American products if they don’t butt out. And American gas was already not competitive. Too far, boys; better dial the social engineering back a little.


      1. The USA won’t like this either:

        Euractiv: Altmaier charts Gaia-X as the beginning of a ‘European data ecosystem’

        …The initiative will set European standards for data storage and will also function as a platform for businesses to search for data storage providers, in addition to offering a secure environment for the cross-business sharing of data in Europe…

        …Altmaier noted that firms from outside the EU will have to abide by the principles of the project in order to be involved, which include openness, interoperability, transparency, and trust.

        “In my talk with American companies, there is a real chance that Gaia-X standards could become a gold standard in cloud services around the world,” Altmaier said….

        Good luck enforcing that. This is clearly designed to take business away from Amazon/Microsoft/Oracle/whatever not to mention sovereignty flies in the face of the EU’s baked in internal market (Maastricht Treaty, innit?). If you can’t beat them (M$/Gugl/Oricl etc.), do your own. It’s not as if any of them are being effectively held to account.


  25. Откуда у безработного Навального такая дорогая одежда?

    Where does the jobless Navalny get such expensive clothes from?

    [Dumb question! Off his Uncle Sam, of course — ME]

    An ardent fighter against corruption and concurrently leader of the school pseudo-opposition, Alexei Navalny loves to discuss the clothes and accessories of famous politicians….

    A question for Navalny supporters: explain where your leader of little respected gets the money from y to buy such expensive things, given that he is unemployed?


  26. Settmana News via The US-China Rashomon moment

    If the US and China don’t find a way to talk to one another, conflict could be the only solution.

    by Francesco Sisci

    Exactly 31 years after June 4, 1989, for the first time all eyes were not fixed just on the memory of that night in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square but followed events unfolding in the United States, during the largest, most sweeping protests in decades.

    America is in fact engulfed in one of the worst crises in its history. With some 40 million unemployed and more than 100,000 dead in a destructive epidemic, dozens of cities are up in flames in violent demonstrations against police brutality. The black minority secluded in the inner cities has suffered the brunt of these upheavals, with more people infected with the coronavirus, more unemployment, and more people in prison or killed by the police than any other segment of the population….

    A lot more at the link.

    A very interesting piece, particularly the reminder about robber barons et al (not me!).

    I think that China knew it would come up against resistance from the US at one point and is probably surprised it did not come earlier, but that as ultimately afforded it options and is capable of accelerating and changing plans such as redirecting the core economy to domestic consumption rather than a dependence on exports etc. Maybe it is precisely because China is more aware of its ghosts that it is more determined to not let itself be snookered and is realistic about the chances, unlike the US which imagines that there is some magical solution on the near horizon that will quickly & easily return it to prize fighting form.


  27. Motherboard: The Military and FBI Are Flying Surveillance Planes Over Protests

    Motherboard tracked high-tech aircraft previously used in warzones, as well as flights from other agencies above protesting cities.

    …”Military surveillance planes over America’s cities are a rare visible indicator of tectonic increases in surveillance quietly underway,” John Scott-Railton, a security researcher who has also been tracking some of the surveillance aircraft flights, told Motherboard.

    For several hours last night, authorities flew an RC-26B aircraft over Washington DC, making dozens of circles above the city, according to data Motherboard reviewed from ADS-B Exchange, a repository of unfiltered flight data. Authorities also flew a RC-26B over Las Vegas Tuesday night, as spotted by Scott-Railton…

    More at the link.

    It’s not just the US either, but here in u-Rope too (and I include London). They’re usually visible on such apps, but sometime there is no information about the type at all . This makes sense if they are watching crims and its secrecy is key, but people can see police helicopters etc. over them at demonstrations so who do they think they are kidding.

    Meanwhile in not 1984 land: Policeman stops woman in street for wearing ‘f**k Boris’ T-shirt


    Not much risk of being unemployed if you are police. They’re essential because it would be mob rule without them. /sarc


    1. So much for British “freedom of expression”!

      You can wear a “Fuck Boris ” T-shirt in Moskva and nobody will say fuck all!


      1. During the previous UK premiership, there was absolutely no point in wearing a “Fuck You Theresa!” T-shirt — because nobody would.

        Fuck her, I mean.

        Someone did Thatcher, though: she had 2 kids.

        Then again, Thatcher’s sprogs are twins, so it might have happened only the once.

        Right! I’ll go and wash my mouth out with soap and water, as looney nuns that taught me used occasionally to instruct me,


  28. It is as I thought – Russia is not particularly interested in being part of the G8 again. As I mentioned, at the time when Russia was kicked out of the G8 and Anders Aslund had his second orgasm since he was 24, the G7 nations would be sorry they went for the cheap thrill, and now they are. But as I also mentioned at the time, Putin said he was more comfortable in the G20 format, since all the G7 countries are in the G20 anyway. But I’m glad to see Moscow officially take that position now.


  29. Hillary Clinton: “Oh, my…my gosh, it’s…it’s getting a little warm in here. Could…could somebody open a window?”

    The other shoe just dropped.

    “There are other issues that our committee needs to be focused on – not a partisan issue that’s coming up just before an election related to a political candidate,” [Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.] said, citing the ongoing civil unrest in U.S. cities and the coronavirus pandemic. “It looks as if it’s a fishing expedition, and we don’t have time for fishing expeditions. We need to be focused on the domestic crises that we have right now in our country.”

    Geez;, you know, I have a whole different recollection of the Democrats’ willingness to let everything else go to the back burner, while they settled in and got comfy and prepared to lavish whatever degree of loving attention and focus might be required on Trump’s alleged ties to the Kremlin. No hurry – we’ve got all the time in the world. In fact, I suspect Nancy Pelosi might have accused anyone who argued that there was other important business that needed attention of being a co-conspirator.


  30. Returning to the topic of ships and the cut of Russian warship jibs:


    Source: The Northern fleet will become the fifth military district

    The Northern fleet will equate to the military districts, the status he gets from 1 January 2021. The corresponding decree was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The document posted on the website legal documents.

    According to the decree, part of the Northern fleet, as new military and administrative unit will be composed of the Republic of Komi, the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions and Nenets Autonomous Okrug, which will be withdrawn from the borders of the Western military district. The boundaries of the other three military districts remain unchanged.

    To set 1 January 2021, following the military-administrative division (…) Northern fleet – within the administrative boundaries of the Komi Republic, Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions, Nenets Autonomous district

    – the document says.

    Note that on the basis of the Northern fleet of the new military-administrative unit, equivalent to military districts, it was reported last summer. In addition, the defense Ministry announced the development of a draft decree that will be held on these changes.

    Recall that on 1 December 2014, the Northern fleet was removed from the Western military district and on its base was established the Arctic United strategic command, reinforced stationed in the Arctic by forces and resources of the Western, Central and Eastern military districts.

    Your move, Pindosi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That English in italics above is Russian-English, not mine, hence, for example, the pronoun “he” referring to “fleet”, which word in Russian is a masculine gender noun.

      The Russian blog that I copied the content of my last posting from is, for some reason or other, written in English — sort of.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, the Russians build ’em pretty, as even their detractors will admit. Also, as we’ve discussed before, military hardware is built rugged and with a design effort to avoid unnecessary complexity. If I could contribute any changes to Russian ships, it would be to add a non-skid coating to the weather decks. The Russians just paint them that red-ochre shade like the primer paint known colloquially as ‘red lead’ – and that’s what it might be, for all I know – and they must be terribly slippery when wet and with the ship heaving about at sea.


      1. I think red lead has long been illegal in the UK — ever since I was a teenager, which is way, way back: so far back, in fact, that when I was a “teenager”, there was no such thing. I was paid at a “boy’s rate” and only got a “man’s rate” when I was 21.


        1. ‘Tis here, as well. We use a different primer now, and where we used to use red lead for everything, now a bright-yellow primer called zinc chromate is used on aluminum, while the new primer for steel is grey. We stopped using red lead ages ago; I can remember using zinc chromate when we were painting on one of the old steamers, probably ANNAPOLIS. So that’d be pre-1998, when she was decommissioned. She’s a reef now, near Gambier Island, off the west coast of the mainland.


  31. That Yukie habit seems to be catching on everywhere, I see.

    Justin Trudeau takes a knee during a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario, June 5, 2020. © Reuters / Blair Gable

    What’s with this “to take a knee” crap?

    Whats wrong with “to kneel”?


      1. Once again, ‘kneeling’ and ‘taking a knee’ are two completely different things. Politically-minded footballers ‘take a knee’ during the playing of the national anthem to express disrespect for what the nation it represents has become; it is not a gesture of respect, but a refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem. I think a lot of people don’t get this, because what the Ukies mostly do is kneel, putting both knees on the ground or floor, the way you do in church. Putting one knee on the ground does not imply an acknowledgment of power dynamics.


    1. Hip designer clothing will soon include knee pads and replaceable message panels on the front and back and along the sides of pants. Available phrases in a variety of fonts and colors include:
      – I can’t breathe
      – These color don’t run
      – USA! USA! USA!”
      – Shame!
      – Free Cuba
      – Better Dead than Red
      – Vote for Hilary – Why Settle for the Lesser Evil?

      (getting nauseous, must stop…)


    2. “To Kneel” has religious connotations plus requires an excessive physical effort. Taking a knee seems more thoughtful and reflective as well as being associated with soccer which everybody loves.


      1. I don’t!

        I mean love “soccer”.

        I never saw anyone “take a knee” before or after a rugby match.

        The All Blacks, for instance, would never dream of doing such a thing!

        Don’t they know its rude to stick your tongue out?


        1. Что означает встать на колени?
          What does to kneel mean?

          In the United Kingdom, kneeling down in whole districts in redemption for racism, xenophobia and patriarchy is already taking place.

          And this is in the USA:

          In Russian:

          встать на колени — to kneel down [literally; to stand on your knees, meaning a movement ]
          быть на коленях — to be kneeling/to kneel [literally: to be on your knees, a position]


            1. I should like to think that I should never be willing to kneel before or for any man, whether that man be alive or dead.

              With Mrs. Exile, it’s different — and she ain’t a man!



              1. it’s

                Bastard spellchecker!

                I mean that!

                Earlier today on another blog, it changed my “pop my clogs” to “pop my vlogs”.


                1. We all have our little crosses to bear where computing devices are concerned. For me, when I first turn it on in the morning and start typing, unless I remember to change the language, it defaults to CMS, the ‘Canadian Multilingual System’. I’ve looked everywhere in Settings but cannot find a way to remove that as the default, and periodically throughout the day it switches back, so I have to remember to regularly go back and switch it to US English. The Canadian system drops in the French e with the accent aigu (é) instead of quotation marks. So if I don’t proofread before I hit ‘send’, everywhere I used either the single or double quotes looks like gibberish. I tell you, they have a mind of their own. An evil mind. And for some reason WordPress, although they can roll out a new editor program every few months, does not offer a comment engine which permits editing by the original author, as many programs do.


        2. The All Blacks were kneeling quite a lot during that haka and the opposing team probably thought all that gurning and posturing was a big laugh.


    3. ‘Take a knee’ is military parlance, and is actually a directive. On occasions when several factors come together; inadequate or no breakfast, hot sun and standing without moving for long periods such as you do when you’re on parade, you may pass out without too much warning. Those on parade are instructed to wiggle their toes inside their boots as best they can, just to keep some circulation going, but it must not be a detectable movement – it is a function of military drill that you not move around after you have completed an ordered movement.

      It is for this reason that when the Inspecting Officer or dignitary arrives, the entire parade is brought to ‘Attention’, and then only the first company to be inspected is left that way – “B company stand fast; remainder, Stand At Ease”. ‘Attention’ is the hardest position to hold for any length of time, especially in the conditions described. As soon as B Company’s inspection is complete, they will be stood at ease by their Company Commander, and the Company Commander of the next to be inspected will bring his troops to attention, and so on. Parade officers try to avoid leaving their troops standing at attention for long periods. I’m sure we all remember the poor bastard who flopped about like a landed trout when Poroshenko was striding up the red carpet to assume his new office following his inauguration.

      Just as happened there, during military parades there are parade officers strolling about, watching for signs like excessive sweating (the way you do when you’re fighting for consciousness), a noticeable wobble or anything untoward. They will ease up behind the unfortunate soldier and whisper in his ear, “Take a knee, lad”, and help him down so that he doesn’t fall. If you lose consciousness when you are standing, it’s quite a long way to fall, and you don’t put your hands out to protect your face or anything; you’re out. If you are holding a rifle with a ceremonial bayonet fixed, that goes, too. The one about to faint is assisted off the parade ground, his hat is removed (that’s bad, too, all your body heat is building up under your hat until your brains are almost boiling) and he is seated and supervised until he recovers. It happens a lot, because the jag-offs who are invited to inspect are never in a hurry to get to the parade, and the troops will be fallen in as much as an hour beforehand to ensure the formation is crisp, professional and squared off.

      Media figures love to adopt military slang – they think it makes them sound like seasoned war correspondents used to the zip of bullets around their ears. ‘Boots on the ground’ is only the most odious example. For a long while, any ad hoc group some authority pulled together to study a particular problem or situation was a ‘task force’, or the mayor’s ‘tiger team’. So that’s where, “Take a knee”, comes from and it is different from ‘kneeling’ which is a pose of obeisance in that the one told to take a knee only rests one on the ground; it is only to recover your balance and enable you to continue what you were doing, and is not meant to convey respect or awe.

      In the case of the unfortunate Ukrainian lad, he had probably been standing there for upward of a half-hour without moving while the fat pig smirked and accepted the congratulations of an adoring mob at his inauguration parade.


  32. Now just take your time when answering, mon brave!

    He’s beginning to look more and more like a fin de siècle Frog artist.


    1. I would give him a pass on that one – how he answered could have profound implications for our relationship with the USA, and his pause was not because he is so stupid or vocabulary-challenged that he couldn’t formulate a coherent answer, as seems often the case with Trump and even Johnson. Nobody should be surprised to hear a politician speak in meaningless platitudes; it’s their language, and in this instance was a means of answering the question without actually saying anything. Trudeau is very well-spoken in both official languages, and ineptitude at public speaking is not one of his faults, although they are legion. I think he paused to decide what sort of tone he wanted to set, and he went with ‘sympathy’.

      Trump, as we all know, is very sensitive to perceived insult, and already does not much care for Trudeau. We have to get along with the USA as best we can because we share a very long common border – although it might be some time before it is open again for anything but commerce, due to the prevalence of coronavirus in the USA – and our trade relationship is extremely integrated. All countries, at least those who shut down their economies, are wondering how to get them started again, and we certainly don’t need some fanciful embargo because Trump was insulted. I don’t know who Trita Parsi is, but she obviously does not know anything about trade if she really thinks any other country would have imposed sanctions against the USA. Going sanction-happy and slinging them back and forth would only result in a massive global GDP contraction right on the heels of the worst quarter since the Great Depression.

      Just wait until it’s Prime Minister Freeland! Then it would be, “We devoutly hope the USA gets its shit together as quickly as possible, so that together we can drive the dirty Russians off the earth”. Don’t say never; she has amassed quite a following who think she did just a wonderful job with the Free Trade deal and consider her a ‘strong woman’, and to that you can add all the me-tooers who would vote for anything female.


      1. Doing nothing is an equally valid action as well as being for or against. It’s something the West seem very poor at chosing. Remember, the righteous must always do something, even it it makes the situation worse (sic the 1990s+)!


        1. Yes, I didn’t bother, the name sounded girly to me. Whoever he is, he sounds like a snowflake who burns to implement social justice without clue one of how trade dynamics work. Canada probably could impose sanctions on the USA; we are their biggest foreign oil supplier. But what would that achieve? A new racial balance based on mutual respect and regard? Ha, ha, ha. Yes, ‘course it would.


    2. I imagine that in a future Hollywood dramatisation of the life and times of Justin Bieber Turdeau, fellow Canadian Keanu Reeves could just sleepwalk his way through the main role.

      Admittedly the question asked was so fast, and it probably came after several questions, that Trudeau was justified in taking his time to answer it (or waiting for his teleprompter or looking for cues on what to say). On the other hand there may have been better ways to answer the question. Trudeau could have been honest and told the reporter that his government was still observing the situation in the US, that it was extremely volatile, and that Canada needed to be on the US’ good side due to its trade and economic ties and current issues Ottawa has with Washington, such as Sabrina / Wanzhou Meng’s extradition trial in Vancouver.


  33. Neuters via France says its army killed al Qaeda North Africa chief Droukdel

    …“On June 3, French army forces, with the support of their local partners, killed the emir of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Abdelmalek Droukdel, and several of his closest collaborators, during an operation in northern Mali,” French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly wrote on Twitter…

    I’m sure I saw an earlier Neuters report very similar to this one except including the comment that Abdelmalek Droukdel was a former Afghan mujahedin that ‘fought the Soviets. It’s the Brutish, French and American gift that keeps giving, decades after…

    al-Beeb s’Allah: Al-Qaeda chief in north Africa Abdelmalek Droukdel killed – France

    …Aged in his late 40s, Droukdel fought against Soviet troops in Afghanistan, and was thought to regard the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as his inspiration.

    Under his leadership AQIM carried out numerous deadly attacks, including a 2016 assault on a hotel in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou that left 30 dead and 150 injured…

    What a great investment.


    1. Funny they should mention Zarqawi; I seem to recall the west killed him several times, but he was like a Timex, he kept on ticking. So watch for a reincarnation of Droukdel. In Zarqawi’s case, when he actually was killed, they didn’t quite know what to do with it. First the Americans killed him outright in an airstrike, then the Americans claimed he had survived the airstrike and tried to make a break for it, but died of his injuries.

      With what I thought was a slight tone of contempt for the Americans’ typical lack of imagination, the British had even a little bit more fun with it, and reported he had been beaten to death in the ambulance.

      I would have said he became a woman and is now the wife of a transgender landscaper in Phoenix, Arizona.


      1. Even there, there was no need to say that al Zarqawi had been “beaten to death” in an ambulance when the ambos could have driven him around all over the country across rough roads and through zigzagging mountain passes looking for a hospital with a vacancy so that by the time they found one that was not full of other casualties from past US bombing raids, the patient had already expired from being boinged around the walls of the van like a ball in a pinball machine.


      2. I also found a version of that “beaten to death in an ambulance” story in which US soldiers had al Zarqawi removed from the ambulance van so they could give him first aid. Al Zarqawi died shortly after. That sounds a bit more convincing. Maybe the terrorist expired from a crushed sternum, ingesting too much psilocybin residue from someone’s breath or the defribillation equipment had been turned up to 11 on the scale of 1 to 10 in someone’s desperate attempt to revive the patient.


      3. In the old days, someone would have chopped of his head and left it on a spike as a warning to others. But now we have drones and bombers. Much safer. Except for civilians.


  34. Bellona: Russia plans to raise radioactive wrecks in the Arctic

    By 2030, the Russian government will raise seven pieces of radioactive debris – including two nuclear submarines – from the bottom of Arctic oceans, where they were intentionally scuttled during the Soviet era, documents received by Bellona confirm.

    ….Of particular importance, the documents say, are the K-159 and K-27 nuclear submarines, the nuclear reactors of which were still full of nuclear fuel when they went down.

    Both submarines, say experts, are in a precarious state. In the case of the K-27, which was scuttled intentionally in 1982, the sub’s reactor was sealed with furfural, before it was sunk. But experts say this seal is eroding. The K-159, which sank while it was being towed to decommissioning in 2003, poses similar threats. Some 800 kilograms of spent nuclear fuel remained in its reactor when it went down in some of the most fertile fishing grounds in the Kara Sea.

    In both cases, experts fear that a nuclear chain reaction could occur should water leak into the submarines’ reactor compartments…

    Bellona used to be one of my regular sites, but like SCMP, I cannot remember why I stopped though it may well be some sort of shite that annoyed me.


  35. Trump Orders 9,500 US Troops Out of Germany

    As US-German tensions grow, Trump caps troop levels

    …This will leave 25,000 US troops there, which is the new “cap” for maximum troop levels…

    …Trump was keen to get Germany to pay more to NATO, and more to the US, as a condition for keeping the troops, and this current cut is likely a prelude to asking for more money. Germany, however, has not been desperate to placate Trump, and may just shrug this off.

    Even veteran US bootlickers like The Netherlands said they won’t be spending the requisite NATO 2% GDP on weapons in future.


  36. Marine Link: Unique Arctic Journey for Russian LNG Carrier

    Sovcomflot’s Arc7 ice-class Christophe de Margerie liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier has made history by successfully transiting the Eastbound ice-covered part of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in May, carrying LNG from Novatek’s Yamal LNG project to China…

    …Novatek said that the 2,563 nautical miles long journey across the NSR to the Bering Strait took 12 days…

    Meawhile elsewhere, I’ve read that Fat Bastard The 90s Were Great Anatoly ‘2%’ Chubais has warned that Russia must reduce ‘it’s dependence on oil.’ Does he know the difference between the Federal Budget and the Consolidated Budget? Clearly the massive investments in LNG production, infrastructure and transport he must have missed. Even u-Rope sees gas/LNG as a means of moving on to the Holy Grail(TM) of the Hydrogen Economy? Or is he just doing the blabla circuit like Tuberculosis Blair?


    1. Liberals in Russia like to parrot what they hear from the font of wisdom in Washington, and Washington says Russia’s weakness is its reliance on oil – well, it doesn’t really have anything else.


  37. Paging Dr. Fauci…can we call it a least a grotesque overreaction yet?

    “Fewer people are testing positive for COVID-19 and those who test positive don’t seem to be getting as sick, a UPMC doctor said Thursday.

    “All signs that we have available right now show that this virus is less prevalent than it was weeks ago,” said Dr. Donald Yealy, the chair of emergency medicine at UPMC. Yealy further said, among people who test positive, “the total amount of the virus the patient has is much less than in the earlier stages of the pandemic.”


  38. I got this from Vanessa Beeley’s Twitter account. Check it out.

    Abstract: Masks and respirators do not work. There have been extensive randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, and meta-analysis reviews of RCT studies, which all show that masks and respirators do not work to prevent respiratory influenza-like illnesses, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by droplets and aerosol particles. Furthermore, the relevant known physics and biology, which I review, are such that masks and respirators should not work. It would be a paradox if masks and respirators worked, given what we know about viral respiratory diseases: The main transmission path is long-residence-time aerosol particles (< 2.5 μm), which are too fine to be blocked, and the minimum-infective-dose is smaller than one aerosol particle. The present paper about masks illustrates the degree to which governments, the mainstream media, and institutional propagandists can decide to operate in a science vacuum, or select only incomplete science that serves their interests. Such recklessness is also certainly the case with the current global lockdown of over 1 billion people, an unprecedented experiment in medical and political history.

    Her Twitter account is full of interesting stuff.


      1. By the way, I’m back at the dacha, despite the restrictions imposed on me in my dotage by Mayor Sobyanin. No hassle whatsoever in my getting an e-pass online and I just sailed through the barriers at the local metro station and at the railway station, Where I was given a 192 ruble ticket to here free of charge after having had my social card scanned by the cashier, which card is blocked on the metro. Because I am an over-65-year old, my social security card is blocked on all Moskva public transport. The security guard at the metro station just waved me through the barrier, opening it for me herself having not bothered to scan the image on my iPhone of my e-pass, and on the train, the ticket inspectors checked my freebie ticket and then wished me a good journey. I showed them a print-out of my electronic pass, which they ignored.

        Three weeks ago, a railway ticket inspector approached me immediately upon my entering the railway carriage, brusquely saying to me: “How old are you?”

        And as I travelled here late yesterday evening, I thought to myself: “Fuck you, Sobyanin and the rest of you hysterical arseholes!”

        The other day, Sobyanin announced that restrictions on movement will be gradually lessened, though they will remain in force until at least July.

        After the order had been given the other week that masks and gloves be worn in public places, on public transport and in shops, I was refused entry into the local supermarket because I had forgotten to don such useless apparel.

        Two days ago I did the same thing at the same supermarket and nobody there said sweet FA to me about it.

        It’s all a load of dog’s bollocks!


  39. More breaking ranks on The Great Plague That Ate Our Jobs, and soon the trickle will become a flood.

    “Thousands of treatments for non-Covid ailments have been cancelled or delayed to give blind preference to Covid, while non-Covid deaths are mounting. We know our Covid deaths are not yet 40,000. But have all the other causes plus non-Covid flu topped that figure? Has all the misery been for nothing? Was it all based on a catastrophic series of misjudgements in high places? Only Covid-ascribed deaths are being released to us.The others are being quietly buried.That too must end when lockdown ends, the sooner the better. We have a right to know. Have we been duped?”


    1. I wonder whether it is the métier of all the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Jewish immigrants from Russia or, as the case may be, the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire, to slag off persistently Russia, Russians and all things Russian? Seems to be the case.


      1. Having said that, I must repeat what I have said here many times before: I have worked or am acquainted with many Jews in Moskva and not a few in the provinces as well, some of them religious and orthodox, who have never, in my experience, had any beef about Russia. In fact, one of my previous Natashas was a charming Jewish girl. She was not religious, though — far from it! She was a Komsomol member.


  40. Norway’s Prime Minister admits she ordered lockdown measures to close schools out of panic, and that in retrospect it was not necessary.

    “Ms Solberg, who announced plans to fully lift Norway’s coronavirus lockdown by mid-June, went on to say she and the Directorate of Health overruled the advice of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health which had suggested that schools remain open. “


    1. That’s a welcome and refreshing experience: to learn that a leading political figure is big enough to acknowledge that they fucked up. Hopefully others will follow her example.


      1. That’s true, I suppose, although ideally we would not approach international crises with fuckups in charge. What I took from it is that this was the second example in not more than a week – the other was German – in which the government overruled the recommendations of its own National Health Services in order to implement the directives of the dysfunctional and corporate-friendly WHO. Which in turn claims to have been tricked by the Imperial College computer model. Well, I haven’t actually seen them claim that yet, but I am confident they will, since they defended it as the root inspiration for the public-health measures. What else are they going to say – it has been proved to be unstable and largely conjecture based on whatever numbers came up the last time you ran it.

        National health services recommended to their governments that they not close schools, and were not generally supportive of a commerce-killing lockdown. Governments overruled them and, in the German instance, stripped the national health service of its regulatory status and changed it to advisory-only. Now more and more medical authorities are openly saying the coronavirus is nowhere near the pubic-health menace it was portrayed. So national governments were obviously wrong to overrule their own national-health services, which can be assumed for the moment to actually be motivated by the public interest. So national governments bowed to international pressure. Where did that come from, and whose interests did it serve?


      2. “to learn that a leading political figure is big enough to acknowledge that they fucked up”

        She is big. Really, really fat.

        There was a big fire in an airport parking gargage in Stavanger when she was visiting offshore platforms.

        When she came back to Stavanger she found out that she could not fly back to Oslo.

        They had to drive, and her first twitter-message was about where she could get fast-food, while Stavanger was burning…


    2. I hear also that the Danish govt has had similar regrets about imposing a lockdown and that its actions were also an over-reaction.


  41. Worth reading:

    The gist is that blacks are less likely to be murdered by police than whites when accounting for the difference in rates of criminal activity which presumably correlates with the opportunities for police violence include deadly confrontations.

    Black police officers were more likely to kill blacks than white police officers. However, this statistic may be misleading as black officers may be more common in predominately black neighborhoods hence skewing the data.

    This is not to say racism is not a factor but rather other factors seem to dominant the use of lethal force by police. My take is that many police officers are simply into bullying/brutality with little regard for race. Combine that with the closing of ranks ensures a perpetuation of brutality along with a steady injection of army veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan where appalling behavior towards civilians seemed to be the norm.


  42. Don’t forget, the trial which is the subject of this post starts tomorrow! It promises to be an exciting parade of lies, I’m sure John Helmer will have a scathing dissection of it to follow.


    1. Unless of course at the very last moment the trial is suddenly postponed because of some new revelation or kid … erm, arrest of another person of interest, requiring the DSB investigators’ attention to try to squeeze a confession … oops, my bad, evidence out of him.


      1. They might have left it a little late for that. I think it will go ahead, in all its farcical glory, as a testament to the western reverence for the rule of law. I’m most interested to see if they will still try to use missile parts supposedly ‘found in the wreckage’ as evidence. It’s a little like saying the gun used in a murder was discovered inside the victim.


  43. I have seen some reports that shed some interesting light on the initial Floyd / Chauvin incident and which suggest there may be something more personal involved.

    Floyd led quite a varied life in his time. He’d been a rapper (in the Houston hiphop scene in the late 1990s / early 2000s, he was known as Big Floyd and was part of a musical collective under a guy called DJ Screw who pioneered a form of slowed-down rap with added samples and chopping up of the slowed-down song; the scene fell apart after DJ Screw’s death in 2000 from drug overdose at age 29) and apparently also acted in some porn films. He also had a criminal record including two armed robberies but tried to reform after a 5-year prison term, and moving to Minneapolis in 2014 was part of that reform. He then worked as a truck driver and his most recent job before the COVID-19 lockdown was as bouncer for a nightclub – where Derek Chauvin also worked as off -duty outside security. There is a possibility that both men could have known each other before the incident with the supposed fake $20 bill at the grocery store that led to Floyd’s arrest.

    Another complication is that Chauvin’ s wife (who has now started divorce proceedings) comes from a Laotian Hmong refugee background. Her brother is one of the three police officers who have also been arrested along with Chauvin.

    A recent UK Morning Star online newspaper article states that in 2012, 100 Minnesota state police officers received training at a workshop hosted at the Israeli consulate in Chicago. The kneeing technique used on Floyd is one that IDF soldiers and other Israeli security have used on Palestinians.

    Incidentally the store where Floyd was suppsed to have used the fake dollar note was owned by a Palestinian-American. The store owner has pledged to pay for Floyd’s funeral.


    1. If anything is as much a factor in the violent and truculent nature of American cops as their frequent military backgrounds in chaotic wars where they can kill without retribution, it is the malign influence of the IDF. I can easily see them getting along very well together in a mutually admiring culture where they are the only real people, surrounded by vermin and degenerates.

      Not that the police do not come up against vermin and degenerates, because they do. But American cops seem to have lost the capability of distinguishing genuinely bad people from basically ordinary folk who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now see everyone as a potential threat – as soon as they don’t do exactly what they are told, or give them that whiny, “Why am I being arrested, I didn’t do nothing”, they upgrade themselves to a real threat which requires action.

      This story attempts to put an optimistic face on the situation, and blabbers about ‘hope’. But while Chauvin is charged with murder – although that would not likely ever have happened without the level of public outrage that resulted – the article never refers to Floyd’s death as other than one of those unfortunate things that sometimes happen; he was ‘a black man taken too soon’, or he ‘died’.

      Meanwhile, the editor of the New York Times editorial page has resigned and been reassigned to other duties after he ran an editorial by Republican Senator Tom Cotton which called upon the President to send in the military. The Times portrays it as the result of a joint backlash of the public and Times employees, but the paper has actually turned into little more than a tabloid which panders to the lowest common denominator.

      It’s funny how people in certain occupations who step on their dicks are never actually fired – they’re just found an equally-lucrative job someplace else, as the deputy editor was. Politicians and newspaper executives come to mind. Check out Tom Cotton The Warrior, a skinny ubergeek your average rioter could throw like a lawn dart. No wonder he wants military protection. Yes, I know he was in the infantry and that he’s six foot five. He still looks like a geek, and he doesn’t look tough.


      1. I read somewhere a while ago that they did know each other.

        Others are also noting the irony of organized massed protest at home against corruption to the US supporting ‘NGOs’ abroad who help organize and propagandize mass protests against their governments. It really is, “If it’s good enough for them, why isn’t it good enough for us?” As if voting will make the fundamental changes that are necessary, because it hasn’t in the past. The Democrats and the liberals are plenty responsible too, but that’s something few will admit to.


        1. There is really no important difference between the Democrats and Republicans in the USA when they are in power. Individual performance may and does vary, but policy-wise there is now no significant difference. Each party vociferously criticizes whatever the ruling party does when it is not them, and proceeds to act just like them once elected, whereupon the roles switch.


    2. The “kneeing technique” was used on me in July 1984 during massive disorder outside a Lancashire pit yard. I was targeted by “snatch squad”, having long been considered by the plods as a “ringleader”.

      I was thrown to the ground, where I lay stretched out on my back. The bastards then attempted to handcuff me with my arms across my chest.

      Unfortunately, because of a serious break to my left arm some 15 years earlier, movement of that arm is severely restricted. (In anatomical terms, I cannot pronate or supinate my left forearm.) So in trying to bring my left wrist across my chest in order to cuff it to my right wrist, the pig had difficulties and believed that I was an immensely strong person who was attempting to resist arrest. The fact was that my left arm is partly dysfunctional.

      So the pig bastard put one knee on my throat whilst one his piggy colleagues held my legs. He then began to try to force my left arm into a movement that was not possible.

      If he had persisted doing this, he would have broken my left arm at the elbow. I could not shout out or protest in any way: I could not utter a sound. I also felt my consciousness drifting away.

      This is what gets me about the Floyd case: “I cannot breathe!” is the latest phrase beloved of protesters. This is, apparently, what Floyd was saying when a cop was kneeling on his neck.

      Maybe that was true, that Floyd could not breathe — more exactly, that he was having difficulties breathing — but if one is having difficulties breathing, surely one cannot say much about that fact?

      In 1984, when a cop was “giving the knee” to my throat as I lay prone on the ground, I most certainly was having difficulty breathing — and I could not protest about this fact: I could not utter a sound..

      I am not a negro, so why did he do that to me, a “privileged white”?

      Oh right! I forgot: I was a working class white; furthermore, one who wasn’t willing to accept orders.

      It’s all about CLASS, innit?


      1. The brutal tactics of the US police are not particularly race-sensitive – the only cautionary note seems to be authority or something that would be likely to come back on them. For instance, they might be less likely to handle you roughly if they knew you were a high-profile lawyer before they started. But if you are white and they say ‘put your hands behind your back’ so they can cuff you, which they seem to do for even routine stops, and you protest instead of doing it immediately, you’re going to get slammed around. And then there are the cases of wildly disproportionate force, perhaps the best example of which is the Rodney King beating. Go back and have a look at that; the video quality is not great and I don’t remember the details, I think King’s was just a traffic stop as well, there is what appears to be his vehicle behind him with the driver’s door left open. Anyway, there are four or five large men hitting and kicking him while he is lying on the ground; one keeps enthusiastically whaling on him with a truncheon like he is trying to hit a home run out of Fenway Park. There is no way any of those guys fears for his life, they are jostling for position to find an opening where they can get a foot in, or a fist.

        I can easily see how Floyd would use the last air he had to protest that he could not breathe, because if you want whatever is restricting your airway to be removed, a reasonable hope is if you can communicate that fact, it might happen whereas if you can’t, it most likely will not. The police seem to think they are sufficiently expert at choking people that they can make you lose consciousness without causing any serious harm. Obviously, they are not.

        I still think a large part of the blame accrues to America’s fascination with guns, and what is in some states almost an imperative to be armed at all times. You don’t see too many police shootings in the UK, or Canada, where it would be most unusual for a person you were attempting to detain to whip out a Smith & Wesson equalizer and blast you out of your socks. I’m not sure if American cops actually think they see a gun when a black man is holding a cell phone or something equally un-dangerous, but the believability of that seems to assure that they will get off of any charges. He could have had a gun, because everybody’s got a gun.


  44. Well, well…lookie here. A Minneapolis City Council majority votes to dismantle and disband the city’s police department.

    Trump will throw a wobbler. Obviously this does not mean there will be no police in Minneapolis; there will be a new police department of some description, which will allegedly be built with public input. But the serving police department will be disbanded, although that will bear watching, too – a lot of them will probably just be transferred to other departments.


  45. A bill has been submitted for ratification by the Duma and Federation Council which would impose import-substitution quotas on state procurement of various products, such as electronics and software. If passed, the new law will mandate use of domestically-produced products up to the amount of the quota before foreign-made products can be purchased with state funds. Naturally, private enterprise is not affected and businessmen can import what they choose so long as it is legal.

    This has both good and bad ramifications. It is good to promote the idea that Russian-made products are as good as foreign manufacture, and generally speaking that is true. Technology used in state enterprises should be Russian-made because of the known American habit of secreting ‘back doors’ in computer equipment which allow remote exploitation and data extraction. But it would not do to create the impression that innovation is not necessary in state-sponsored production, because the state is obligated by law to buy it anyway. Much will depend on the inspection process and the integrity of the inspectors.


    1. Perhaps that link above leads to the full article that I had earlier opened through logging in. It does this end from deepest Mordor, where summer has at last arrived.


    2. The article does a stellar job of exposing the USA’s calamitous response to COVID-19. Trump is an idiot. Nobody will ever be able to convince me he is dumb about some things but brilliant at others – finance, for instance; he has declared bankruptcy how many times? And continues to insist the Chinese pay his tariffs on their products, instead of the American importers who receive them – because he exhibits soundproof-level dumbness in every subject on which he speaks. Peter Navarro is worse than an idiot; he is a vindictive idiot who fancies himself a manipulator of more-powerful idiots. Niall Ferguson and the editor of the National Review are idiots. The United States Government is a slow-motion train wreck, and a change of leadership to Dotty-Joe Biden and the Holier-Than-Thou Democrat bullshit-movers would make zero-point-zero difference.

      But. The article also tries to rehabilitate the WHO, and present it as a helpless do-gooder victim of Trump’s pompous evil. If people allow themselves to be taken in by that elementary bait-and-switch, they will rue the day. Perhaps some might be encouraged that the WHO actually is independent because Trump ordered that it be defunded by the USA. Au contraire. The management of the WHO is stiff with Big-Pharma execs and it is all the way in bed with the Bill and Melinda Gates We-Have-A-Vaccine-For-That Foundation. Like every other major international organization, it has been relentlessly politicized and monetized. The author paints a picture of future calamity in a theoretical pandemic in which nations would not receive the benevolent guidance of the WHO, and oh, dear, what would happen then? I would remind everyone that the WHO was reluctant to declare COVID-19 a pandemic at all, but did so because it did not like the reluctance of some countries to adopt its suggestions. Those who declined to do so ended up no worse off. The WHO is behind the insistence on those absurd paper masks for everyone everywhere, despite product warning labels right on the box that say they will not protect you from infection by coronavirus. National governments overruled the advice of their own National Health organizations in order to implement lockdowns which were totally unnecessary, but were promoted by the WHO, and any suggestion of lifting them was met with teeth-gnashing at such recklessness by, you guessed it, the WHO.

      I don’t doubt there are good people working for the WHO, but keeping it as is just because there are some good people way down the food chain is foolish. Support for it is merely supporting Big Pharma in its quest to secure more patents, control more vaccines and increase dependence on vaccines, and make more money.


  46. The Daily Star: Syrian pound plummets as new US sanctions loom

    Syria’s pound hit record lows on the black market Saturday trading at over 2,300 to the dollar, less than a third of its official value, traders said, ahead of new US sanctions.

    Three traders in Damascus told AFP by phone that the dollar bought more than 2,300 Syrian pounds for the first time, though the official exchange rate remained fixed at around 700 pounds to the greenback….


    The US doing what the US does best, kicking even more when they are down.


    1. Bring it on, Yanks. It will not crush Damascus, it will not force Assad to relinquish power to a selected US toady, and the process of realignment will continue until Syria is more or less out of America’s reach. America continues to shut off alliances around the world with its unbridled assholery, and this would be a perfect moment for China to step into the breach with investment proposals. If I were Bashar al-Assad, I would sell a partnership in the oilfields the USA is sitting on to China. Then I would ask China to help push them off it. China would not send military forces to initiate open conflict, I am sure, but America is justifiably nervous that China will implement a policy of no more American LNG. That’s leverage.

      Biden could get elected and spend his entire first term trying to undo the damage Trump has done around the world. If Trump gets another term – as I am confident he will – he will finish the job and when he’s gone, America will realize it has no friends left.


  47. AFP via New wave of Belarus opposition wants to oust strongman president

    Just a year after the launch of his channel, Belarusian vlogger Sergei Tikhanovsky has galvanised a new movement ahead of this summer’s polls, aiming to unseat the country’s strongman leader…

    …”It’s been 26 years since the dictator is leading the country with criminal incompetence and negligence,” Tikhanovsky said in a video from May 7, which he made after a year of travelling the country to meet ordinary people.

    “2020 is the year of change, stop the cockroach!” Tikhanovsky said…

    More at the link.

    Maybe Saakashvili could provide advice too? I don’t see either how Poland or the US can resist sticking their fingers in, sucessful as they have been at making corruption worse and tanking functioning economies in the name of Freedumb. As for Lukashenko, it’s hard to see he going anywhere, but that’s been said about others before.


    1. The USA should wake up to the fact that it is actually not very good at advertising. Every new opposition ‘movement’ it starts around the world is always ‘electrifying’ and so very exciting, and it’s always some knob with big ambitions and a tiny CV. So he traveled the country to meet ordinary people. Whoopty-doo. How does that qualify him to lead the country? The lazy Americans cannot even spell his name correctly.

      Gosh! He’s got 1000 supporters already. Before long he will be able to hold rallies in his garage, if his support continues to snowball like this. Since when does ‘popular blogger’ translate to ‘political leader’? Since Navalny?


  48. A Pipelineistan fable for our times

    Ukraine was supposed to prevent Russia from deepening energy ties with Germany; it didn’t work out that way

    by Pepe Escobar

    Once upon a time in Pipelineistan, tales of woe were the norm. Shattered dreams littered the chessboard – from IPI vs. TAPI in the AfPak realm to the neck-twisting Nabucco opera in Europe.

    In sharp contrast, whenever China entered the picture, successful completion prevailed. Beijing financed a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Xinjiang, finished in 2009, and will profit from two spectacular Power of Siberia deals with Russia. ..

    More at the link.

    I was thinking of t-Rump’s recent thinking aloud about inviting Russia to the next obsolete G7 summit while at the same time his administration is enacting and preparing new sanctions on anyone associated to NordStream II. Who is the audience? 2 year olds?


    1. Richard Grennell is going to become the new head of US National Intelligence? Gee; that bodes well for its product.

      Hey; it’s not often you catch Politico in a spelling error.

      “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy praised the pick, tweeting Wednesday that he “has a proven track record of fighting for our country, and now, he will work every day to make sure Americans are safe.” Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), an Intelligence Committee member also seen as a potential intelligence chief, also applauded the decision to tap Grenell.”

      Here’s that first line again, with the missing ‘r’ restored.

      “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy praised the prick, tweeting Wednesday that he “has a proven track record of fighting for our country, and now, he will work every day to make sure Americans are safe.”

      Uh huh, sure; because Grennell was always pressuring Germany to disinvite Nord Stream II because he wanted to make Americans safe.


  49. MOSCOW, June 8 – RIA News. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has cancelled the regime of passes and schedule of walks from June 9.

    Starting tomorrow, all residents of the capital, without exception, will be able to go out, go about their business and visit public places.

    The mayor noted that the self-isolation regime has helped to avoid a sharp increase in the number of patients with coronavirus, the mass testing for the presence of infection and the timely provision of medical care to patients has contributed to this.


    1. My wife explained to me yesterday why I have not been having hassle recently whilst travelling by train to the sticks despite my advanced years: restriction on movement had been lifted the other week by the governor of Moscow Region, whereas no such lifting of travel restrictions had been stopped in Moscow City, Sobyanin’s fiefdom.

      Tomorrow this nonsense stops in the capital.

      I had quite forgotten about provincial governors stopping these isolation regimes.


      1. (from a link posted earlier)

        In Moscow the regime of control is also by an app. A person who visited hospital or even a doctor, has to install the app, and send a selfie whenever the app demands, even in the middle of the night. An omission to comply within one minute is punished by a 4000 roubles (US$55) fine. If you sleep soundly, you’ll wake up in the morning with a heap of these fines.

        The Moscow regime of surveillance and control is exceedingly strict. You have to apply for a QR pass to leave your home, marking your destination and the reason. Churches and parks are not listed as permitted destinations. Only a few people disagree with the arrangement. People in general take it easy. They share on Facebook their satisfaction with the system, enthusing that it was easy to apply and receive the pass. Is it Stalin’s training of their parents, or slavery (until 1861) of their more remote ancestors that installed this compliance and obedience, I mused, but then I noticed the report from the freedom-loving State of Washington:

        What a dope Shamir can be. Conflating cooperation with slavery. Conflating trust in the government with slavery. This is not conflation: Shamir can be a dick.


        1. I agree that sometimes Shamir can be a dick. But I can assure you that from my point of view, staying home from work and maintaining that ridiculous ‘social distancing’ so that every fucking busybody thought they owned a six-foot circle around themselves – and looked at you incredulously if they thought you had stepped it it – could not by the most generous stretch be characterized as ‘cooperation’. I did not ‘cooperate’ – my right to dissent was taken away, eclipsed by the imperative to safeguard the good health of my fellow man. And I suspect it was the same in Russia. Putin is not infallible – he either bought the line of shuck-and-jive the duplicitous WHO was selling, or he chose to go along with it for his own reasons. His own capitulation might be characterized as ‘cooperation’, but Russians went along with it because they had to. Some of them, just like some citizens everywhere, likely embraced it with the eagerness they do every new civic responsibility, and got all moist with zeal to be more cooperative. But I daresay quite a few Muscovites – and Russians outside the cities – thought it was a crock from the first. However, orders are orders.

          Governments everywhere, with some rare exceptions, arbitrarily removed their citizens’ rights and freedoms with no public consultation whatsoever, some of them against the express counsel of their National Health services. And they should pay a price for it. I would not vote for anyone in a current government position in Canada, because they all went along with the farcical nonsense and still are, prancing about in masks and gloves like medical orderlies and trilling, “We’re all in this togetherrrrr!” They can go fuck themselves at election time, because I imagine the right to not vote will remain.

          Russia is a little different. I have no fears that the USA is trying to mastermind regime change in Canada, and it’s pretty much all the same crop of sad sacks to choose from anyway. Russians will have to decide how the government should be punished for its contempt of the people’s rights, but ‘massive street protests’ leading to wild excitement in the US Department of State is probably not the way to go. However, Russia’s leaders showed gross disrespect to the electorate, and Russia’s population should let its leaders know that it is not at all happy about it. Just as should electorates everywhere. “What, like Corona?” should become an expression of sarcastic disbelief used to remind our political leaders what useless shite they are.


          1. Disagree here completely, Mark. Before any restrictions at work or on anyone’s personal lives were imposed in Russia, Putin had already given the go ahead to build several new multi-hundred bed hospitals throughout the country, appointed Sobyanin to lead a covid19 task force, set up the rather generous fund of extrapay ( 52 billion Rb) for healthcare workers and clearly started to set-up a quite remarkable testing system in Russia for covid19 given its size and population.

            On top of that he has chosen the perfect moment to end lockdown – the day infections reached it’s peak. Of course liberast cretins were too dumb to realise that is a very good move, even as it became clear that infections were never going to increase in a day more than that particular one.

            That doesn’t mean that these restrictions on pensioners haven’t been too harsh or connected deaths related to lockdown but not covid19 haven’t occurred ( sadly as looks the case with the wonderful russophile Jon Hellevig) but Russia has risen to the challenge made against it that it doesn’t “look after its own people” , stemming from claims made against the Tsars, bolsheviks and WW2 losses. It has one of the lowest death rates of any major country in the world and shown its healthcare system much better than even they must have expected. If Russia had 1500 deaths in a day like US or France then I don’t think Putin would still be in a job!


            1. Well, that may be – I certainly did not make any kind of connection with the day chosen to end the quarantine – I’m tired of calling it a ‘lockdown’; that’s a buzzword the media borrowed from prison. I was just disappointed to see Russia scramble along with the herd and make everyone stay at home. It didn’t really serve any purpose, but it fell to Lukashenko to prove it. Eventually the west will get around to admitting it panicked – or perhaps that’s the excuse they will use if there was really another reason behind it – but coronavirus is not gone and everybody is opening up again. So, ipso-facto, there was never any reason to shut the economy down in the first place. I would have liked to see Russia defy the WHO’s foolish directives. But the Russian government can redeem itself a little if no small businesses are lost because of the lengthy quarantine. Maybe a few were barely staggering along even before the shutdown, but it will be an instructive test to see who comes back. I fully expect the monopolies in the United States to increase as large corporations gobble up market share from small and medium businesses who don’t have the capital to reopen.

              Good argument – well presented.


            2. I think Putin played it well. When people are, so to speak, allowed to breathe again and a predicted public health catastrophe averted, his popularity will rebound from merely good to very good or even very very good. The average Joe Ivan needs simply to look to the UK or the USA to feel good about their country and their health care system.

              I’m with you on the contrived nature of the crisis but if Putin had to play along for unknown reasons, he did so fairly well.

              One more thought on Shamir’s dig at the Russian character, if they were Chinese or Japanese he may have described them as “well disciplined” and “socially responsible”. That slavery shit was racist and miserably stupid.


              1. “[Putin’s] popularity will rebound from merely good to very good

                So let’s hope that Rosenberg et al. will rise to this challenge and find some bleating Russian willing to counter claims of resurgence in trust in the Tyrant, whose popularity ratings have fallen, as the BBC’s Man in Moscow reminded us all a few days ago, suggesting that the oppressed people’s of Russia had had enough of Tsar Putin.

                Rosenberg forgot to mention, however, that Putin still enjoys a popularity rating of about 64%.


                1. I doubt very much that Rosenstern* ‘forgot’ to mention it. He has a job to do after all.

                  ‘Rosenstern & Rainsencrantz’ are my new names for them! Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, they are two halves of the same character who forever wring existentialist crises about Russia but in this case are not unaware of the larger setting of the play (Get Russia), rather happily take part.



                2. Yeah, like that other BBC propagandist who, on one of his backpack jaunts in the Evil Empire found a woman, distraught at having to move from her 2-room Khryshchyovka flat and who made a lone protest about this fact outside a ministry building here.

                  He failed to mention that all the other residents of that condemned block were only too pleased about their “eviction”, no doubt owing to the fact that by law the new apartments that they were being brutally forced to move into were, by law, to be no more than a few kilometres from their former address, and if they did not wish to move into an allocated new place, they would receive considerable financial compensation for their having to move.

                  That bloke from Nottingham — Phil summat-or-other — followed the story up and interviewed that frantic woman’s former neighbours about their compulsory removal from the house: they were happy as Larry about the removal order.


                3. That would have been Graham Phillips pulling apart that BBC Russia travel-documentary episode in which Simon Reeve interviews the woman in the khrushchovka flat.


                4. When they can’t find such a testimonial witness, they simply make one up. Someone told me, but he didn’t want his name used for fear he would be hunted down by Putin’s thugs. Makes it all the more poignant, you know.


      2. What about the Iron Hand(TM) of Putin?

        Oh yes, I forgot! International correspondents have it all covered. Either it is a) micromanaged; or b) avoiding responsibility by letting local leaders make decisions once in a blue moon. And of course an old favorite c) Putin is on the verge of losing control as the people and the republics are on the verge of revolting. Tomrrow. Or the day after. Or the day after that etc.


      1. It’s not as if NZ is a massively populated country with huge conurbations in which the piece-of-shit traitorous Skripal can vanish without trace with his hapless daughter, is it?


        1. Our biggest city is a one-horse town by international standards, and they would stick out like a couple of poisoned thumbs anywhere smaller.


    1. I reckon they’re still at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

      This is just The London Times saying “nothing to see here, move on” and all other UK media falling into line. Once the Skripals are “out of Britain”, they’ll be a case of “out of sight, out of mind”.

      Where would the Skripals be living in New Zealand anyway?

      Oh, of course …


  50. Euractiv: Warsaw hopes to host some of the US troops withdrawn from Germany

    Washington’s announcement to reduce the contingent of US troops in Germany drew criticism from the host country and took NATO allies by surprise. At the same time, Poland has been quick to offer to host some of these forces.

    …Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Saturday (8 June) he hoped that some of the US troops that are set to be removed from Germany will be reassigned to Poland.

    “This will strengthen NATO’s eastern flwank,” Prime Minister Morawiecki told private radio RMF24.

    “I deeply hope that as a result of the many talks that we had … part of the troops based today in Germany which are being removed by the United States … will indeed come to Poland,” Morawiecki said.

    “The decision is now on the US side,” he adde..


    It’s erection season! PiS think this is a jolly good idea coz it would wind up Russia whom they would expect to overreact to whit PiS will ride to election victory as nationalists protecting the Polish people. As we know with desperate politicians and parties, it is open season on formenting crises and targeting groups that will get it good media attention. There’s no bad PR!


    1. The Polish leadership is pathetic in its eagerness to grovel before Washington’s boots. Sort of reminds me of a little goat, bunting at your leg for attention. The Department Of Solving Washington’s Problems.


  51. Declassified UK: REVEALED: Veterans of the UK military’s cyber warfare unit are teaching school children how to launch cyber attacks

    GCHQ, the UK’s largest intelligence agency, is enabling a company set up by the former commander of its top-secret cyber warfare unit to enter dozens of British schools, where it is teaching children how to spy on others, to hack, and launch “brute force” cyber attacks.

    A long read at the link.

    Get ’em young!


    1. But it is Russia that is crawling with ethically-compromised hackers, and China who should be reviled for its ‘hacker competitions’, in which the Chinese government offers scholarships or other incentives for the best in young hacker talent. What are we always saying about projection?


  52. The George Floyd protesters should maybe try to get hold of whoever does the Navalny protests.

    The George Floyd crowd, although it is sizable, has to make do with cardboard signs obviously made by those who carry them.

    Whoever supplies the signage for the Navalny protests has a much slicker operation. And I suspect its offices are closer to the George Floyd protesters than they are to Navalny, in terms of physical distance.


    1. Plus the signage for the Navalny protests will have little “Made in China” or “Made in Vietnam” tags on the back. 🙂


      1. The George Floyd protests are still resulting in the wrong message, though.

        Brown said he started Activate Chi during the 2016 presidential election and revived it recently when the nationwide Floyd protests reawakened his spirit of activism.

        He concluded the sequence of speakers at Cabrini Green with a passionate speech encouraging protesters to make their voices heard again by voting later this year. “It’s the most important thing to take away from this,” he said afterward. “All of this will be in vain if we do not show up at the polls. We have to beat these politicians up at the polls.”

        Nothing is going to change with regard to the candidate who spends the most money is the most likely to win the presidency, and the political machine spins a large voter turnout as signs of a vibrant, healthy democracy. They don’t give a tin weasel if you voted because you were angry – you voted. There’s only two choices for President, and if both are repugnant to you, who do you imagine you are beating up by voting? All you are doing is lending legitimacy to the process.

        Politicians will know that American democracy is in trouble when nobody shows up at the polls. But you can’t tell Americans that – the more disgusted they are with the direction the country is taking, the more eager they are to get out and vote. And then either the guy or gal they wanted to win does win, or he/she doesn’t, and half the country is livid for four years because the other jerk got in. Meanwhile the jerk who did get in huddles with his/her advisors, and before you know it, they’re loading the army onto planes and sending it somewhere to make some more trouble.


    2. A former workmate who still lives in my hometown has just mailed me the following:

      Anti racism protests here have led to buildings being burnt to the ground, widespread graffiti and numerous shop windows being smashed.

      “We cannot condone this kind of behaviour”, said the council in a statement, “however, we do appreciate the improved look of the town centre”.


  53. Despite having abandoned its prosecution of Concord Management and Consulting LLC, a Russian company owned by Evgeny Prigozhin, which had been accused of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, because…well…because they didn’t have shit and knew the case would rapidly fall apart, not to mention the very real possibility of being laughed at for their ineffective flailing….despite all that, the USA has not given up. These colours don’t run, bucko. Now the USA is trying to pressure INTERPOL into taking up its cause in its behalf.

    “US law enforcement agencies are doing everything they can to keep the matter of Russia’s alleged interference in the country’s 2016 presidential election alive. Despite the collapse of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation to search for any trace of Russia and his admission in 2019 that there was no evidence proving the involvement of Russian companies, US intelligence agencies want to take their anger out on individual Russian citizens by ensuring their international prosecution courtesy of INTERPOL.

    The US Department of Justice has asked for Prigozhin and 12 other Russian citizens to be put on INTERPOL’s wanted list. The request is currently being considered by the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files. America intends to use every opportunity and administrative resource available to them at the INTERPOL General Secretariat to influence members of the Commission and decide whether the Russians should be placed on the wanted list. Teresa McHenry, head of the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the US Department of Justice, is the US representative on the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files. She has repeatedly stated that she works closely with employees of the FBI and other US law enforcement agencies, the same employees who are requesting that Russian citizens be placed on INTERPOL’s wanted list. And this fact leaves little doubt about her partiality in the matter.”

    McHenry was a prosecutor on the International Criminal Tribunal on war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, and it is the opinion of the article’s author that she did her bit in that capacity to ensure all blame was assigned to Serbian military and political figures.


    1. US investigators at the ICTY worked in their own section of the building in the Hague and also kept themselves apart from other international investigators, no doubt to memory hole any information or evidence of their favorite clients’ war crimes

      Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE) is the legal contruction they invented with which to blame every Serb for everything regardless of whether they were there, did anything or any need to provide evidence, let alone intent. The latter one is key, particularly when it comes to the formerly extremely high bar set for genocide. The ICTY dispensed with proving/providing evidence of intent beyond a reasonable doubt completely.

      The flipside is that this can now be used against the West if anyone powerful enough sees fit, just like illegally recognizing the republics of Yugoslavia and carving off and the uniqueness and not a precedent of ‘recognizing’ Kosovo. They never imagined that their own hyperpower stupidity will come back to bite them.

      As much as the US gets blames for dismantling/ blowing up decades of international accords and international law, u-Rope has been right there along with them in one way or another. Our elites can play back to themsleves through their compliant media about how great they are, but the rest of the world has long lost its awe and respect of the west.


  54. Moon of Alabama: Russia Attempts To Freeze The Conflict In Libya

    The war in Libya has become a proxy conflict between many international players.

    The Government of National Accord (GNA) under Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood. Its main political and financial sponsor is Qatar and its main military ally is Turkey. Italy is also supporting Sarraj. The GNA controls the capital Tripoli and Misrata in the west of the country…

    I was wondering what was going on with all the back and forth. Nicely explained. Yet again, the west blows something up and leaves it to fester, Russia steps in to the vacuum with limited and achievable goals and tries to get an agreement negotiated. Both sides takes this as a sign of weakness etc. etc.


    1. What an ideal solution. Compared with Gaddafi, the Muslim Brotherhood is the very heart and soul of secularism, employing the Big Tent principle to allow freedom of worship. Not, just in case someone did not realize I was being sarcastic. As soon as anyone says ‘sponsor’ and ‘Qatar’ in the same sentence, it should arouse suspicion, because Qatar is becoming a sort of understudy of Israel in its numerous intrigues and manipulations and its eagerness to harness the power of the US military. And Qatar and Turkey are frequently thick as thieves, as they were in their complete accord on the idea of Qatar running a pipeline across Syria to Turkey to compete with Russian gas flows, except Assad fucked that plan up. Let me see; the force the west has picked controls the capital and…well, not much else – where have I heard that before? My stars, it was Hamid Karzai, sometimes contemptuously referred to as the “Mayor of Kabul”.


      1. Vinyard the Saker: Egypt Sends Battle Tanks To Libyan Border As Haftar Forces Retreat Under Turkish Strikes

        The Turkish involvement in the Libyan conflict allowed the Government of National Accord (GNA) to turn the tide of the battle of Tripoli and even develop further success by expanding control over a notable chunk of northern Libya.

        After capturing Tripoli International Airport last week, GNA forces and Syrian militant groups with a direct support from the Turkish Armed Forces forced the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar to retreat from a number of villages and towns including Tarhuna and Dawun….

        Egypt not only has the benefit of geography, but it is quite well equipped with both western and eastern systems, lately ordering $2.3b of AH-64E upgrades. If they get actively involved, there’s little Turkey can do.


  55. U.S. satellite images that allegedly capture the time of a missile strike on a Boeing-777 in the sky over the Ukraine in 2014 will not be declassified in a court at The Hague, which today resumed after a coronavirus break. None of the defendants are in court.

    Court asked prosecution if confidentially shared US sat photos showing a missile should be added to the case. Prosecution said it received a memorandum on it, and a Dutch representative was allowed to inspect the sat data to confirm accuracy of report. He/she confirmed

    — Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) June 8, 2020

    Anyone sense a set-up?



    1. “Ukraine has effectively not presented any primary radar data. Ukraine has told the Dutch Safety Board that no primary radar data was registered, as the radar was not operating at that moment”, Dutch Prosecutor Thijs Berge said at the hearings into the MH17 case.


      Why is this case not laughed out of court?

      Hmm …. tough one to answer!


    2. Who was this representative?

      What was the representative’s qualifications, competence and experience in ascertaining the veracity of the sat data presented to him/her or it, if it is “transgender”?


    3. But they were quite happy – nay, eager – to share satellite photos of holes in the ground that Geoffrey Pyatt swore were proof of Russia artillery shelling Ukraine from its own side of the border, and columns of Russian armored vehicles inside Ukraine which turned out to be farm equipment cultivating the fields or harvesting or some such.

      What’s the difference? Everybody has had a look at US satellite photography – they get how it works in principle. The reason incriminating photography of an alleged missile launch in Ukraine is not being ‘declassified’ is because members of the public would pick it apart in half a day as a fake, if it even exists. Convicted on secret evidence from the biggest fucking proven liar on the planet. Perfect. Does the defense get to inspect it as well? Or just the prosecution, which kind of has a vested interest in the defendants being convicted?

      This fails to meet the threshold for a show trial. I’m not quite sure what to call it. A comedy inspired by a show trial, perhaps. A satire of a show trial.


      1. ‘…time of the missile strike…’, not ‘launch.’ So not so useful except to confirm that a missile hit MH17… which is not a surprise to anyone.



          The foundation stone of the Dutch prosecution of the Russian state, three Russian soldiers and a Ukrainian from Donbass for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is the US satellite imagery of the missile launch, trajectory, and detonation. The US Government publicly laid this foundation within hours of the incident, on July 17, 2014, following the destruction of the 298 people on board.

          If the satellite images are not presented in the trial, which began hearings again this week, the prosecution case fails,…


          1. I think we all knew Helmer would be all over this and would be jumping in their shit from the starting gun. This is like the prosecution in a robbery insisting they have the gun the defendant used – but can’t let anyone (including the defense) see it or verify that his prints are on it. You just have to take the word of the prosecution, whose objective is to convict the defendant.

            The process has been shambolic from the first, from the disinterest in collecting all the evidence to the permitting of a major suspect to have custody of and access to the evidence, to ruling that suspect among the interested parties who could veto the publication of any conclusions it did not like, to passing over the suggestion that Ukraine was controlling international overflights without its radars operating, to accepting of evidence that cannot be produced in court. If Russia tried to do any of this in its own defense, you would hear the collective scream “Cover-up!!!!” from Neptune. The planet. What a crock.


  56. JFC, all the media are now reporting that ‘researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston University of Public Health and Boston children’s hospital’ have reported seeing a spike in hospital admissions in Wuhan in August 2019 and increased searches of ‘diarrhoea’ and ‘cough’ on Baidu search engine. But kids, that’s NOT Fake News! Nor is it ‘Hybrid warfare(TM)’, coz only the bad sides do that. But that is where we are at. However weak the piss is, it’s China wot did it, becuz. That the ‘research’ is in ‘pre-print’ and ‘not been peer reviewed’ is strictly irrelevant. This is how desperate things have become.


    1. So they observed this in August, and were still not prepared for the ‘pandemic’ the following March? Or this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School are doing with their time now, instead of trying to find a vaccine? Are diarrhea and cough so uncommon in China that Chinese have to search them up on the internet to find out what they are?


        1. I thought children were the group least affected by COVID-19?

          According to the Brookings Institute, we were expecting 60 million global deaths this year WITHOUT Covid-19. Deaths due to respiratory illnesses were projected to be more than 6 million. And when the Coronavirus ‘epidemic’ was at its peak in China, it was still only the 49th-rated cause of death in that country. Where’s the terror that importing auto parts from China will cause out-of-control road-accident deaths in America? More to the point, why do people insist on being stupid even after their stupidity is demonstrated to them?

          The death rate of children infants to age 9 in China due to COVID-19 – AS REPORTED, so naturally an investigation should commence at once by the Harvard Medical School to determine why they lied to us – was less than .01 percent. Given China’s reported overall mortality, beyond statistically insignificant.

          It’s one thing to be stupid. There’s no real shame in it, because there are any number of reasons for it. But it’s quite another to tug at the sleeves of passers-by and announce it to them. With all its manifest problems, the United States still seems to view blaming China for all of them as Job One. From the accusative article;

          “However, it is not clear whether the satellite images used in the study were all collected on the same weekdays or even the same times of day, which would affect whether they were directly comparable.”

          Putting sloppy garbage like this out on the internet is actually insulting, and is plainly pitched at those who only read headlines, to ‘get a grasp of what’s going on in the world’.


          1. Lots of hand-wringing in sunny Spain over teenage behaviour as various phases of the “thaw” are rolled out. A particularly nauseating example is the government trying to lasso professional footballers in to peddle the official line (because they are “role models”) as the weather improves enough for the seasonal wave of “botellones” ~ “teen piss-ups” to kick off. A bit like the old joke that a Calvinist being someone obsessed with the idea of someone else, somewhere, having fun.




        2. A classic case of clutching at straws.

          One of the hospitals in that Harvard Medical School study is apparently the largest children’s hospital in Hubei province. No wonder its carpark filled up so much over August – this was probably during school holidays and probably during the hottest part of the year when mild food poisoning leading to diarrhoea among other things might be rife.


  57. Apparently the Romanian president has put forward a national defense strategy to parliament that declares Russia a threat. I guess it will be adopted as Ro is a very faithful member of NATO and is still in the “ME! ME!” group when the US asks “Who’s up to be our canonfodder?”


    1. I was checking out the Crimean War in Wiki the other day. As one of the causes of that war, it was stated there that the Russian Black Sea fleet was a “threat to the Mediterranean Sea”.

      The Mediterranean was, in the 19th century considered by the British, of course, to be a British pond, it having been controlled by the Royal Navy since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, notwithstanding the fact that the French fleet based at Toulon might very well have thought otherwise. And since 1867, the k. u k. Kriegsmarine, the fleet of the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire, based at Trieste in the Adriatic Sea, might have thought otherwise too, as no doubt did the Italian and Ottoman navies.

      The British finally came to an agreement with the French in the so-called Entente Cordiale of 1904, whereby the Frogs had the Med as their patch and the RN took care of the Western Approaches, the English Channel and the North Sea, because John Bull and the Frogs by that time had become scared shitless by the German Empire and it’s rapidly expanding blue-water navy.

      The Western powers all took it upon theirselves to stake out their claims on international waters. So why, in the mid-19th century, was the Russian Black Sea fleet considered to be a threat to the Mediterranean? Were the Russians considering carving out an Empire in the Balkans, North Africa and Southern Europe?


    2. The Romanians have still not got over the severe twatting they received at Stalingrad.

      The Romanians behaved despicably in the Soviet Union when they were more than willing allies of the Wehrmacht. I don’t recall horror tales of Italian war crimes in the USSR, but by all accounts, the Romanians were absolute bastards in Odessa.


      1. Would not be surprised by such Romanian behavior. The Italian occupiers in Yugoslavia were not overly harsh and were known to object vigorously to the excesses of the Ustache based on my limited knowledge. So, Italian Catholics objected to the criminality of other Catholics and Romanian Orthodox acting barbarously towards other Orthodox.


        1. The Romanian fascist party, the “Iron Guard”, was authoritarian, nationalistic, pro-Eastern Orthodox Church, anti- Communist, anti-Slav and anti-Semitic.

          They had “issues” as they say these days.


          1. And when the Red Army decided to stuff the Nazi 6th Army at Stalingrad, it attacked its weakest link: the junction of the Romanian army with the Wehrmacht. The Romanians got pasted and fled and the 6th Army was encircled. Von Paulus, the 6th Army General was, ironically, married to a Romanian aristocrat.


            1. “Paulus”, in fact. He was never a German aristo in any shape or form. The German aristocratic “von” somehow got tagged onto his name, possibly, I suspect, because he married an “aristocrat”.

              What a load of shite this concept of “aristocracy” is!


                1. Wel, he was only a field marshall for 1 day. It was a given that he would “fall on his sword” thereafter, because up to his surrender of the 6th army, no German field marshall had ever been taken prisoner.

                  Der Führer threw a wobbler on learning that Paulus had surrendered.


    1. Ah yes the “intermarium” – a catholic curtain to contain those Russian beasts with Poland as the anchor. Idiots still.


  58. Pretty much everything I read that was written by Thierry Meyssan leaves me with the sense of unreality that accompanies the reading of good science fiction. You can’t believe people could act like this and expect to get away with it.

    Wheels within wheels – Gilead Science was once run by Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush’s loose-cannon Secretary of Defense. It is the producer of some of the most expensive and least effective drugs. The Lancet, prestigious medical journal, published studies in which the results were crudely and not even very imaginatively falsified. The mind reels.


  59. Russia has mostly sold off its US debt holdings, reducing its exposure to dollar investment to about $4 Billion. Last year China unloaded $110 Billion in US treasuries, and recently sold off another $10 Billion. China still has a significant amount in US treasuries, but it has reduced its holdings down to little more than $1 Trillion. Japan is now the largest holder of US securities.

    It is possible China no longer believes the USA is going to recover economically, and that the bottom is going to fall out of the dollar. The Fed has been printing money like crazy, over $2 Trillion in new cash dumped on the market just in the first quarter. To put that in perspective, between 2008 and 2019, new money amounted to about $8 Trillion in total.

    Every few years, the demise of the dollar is predicted, and somehow, it never happens. The USA just laughs, and goes on printing money and justifying the need for more of it. But the signs of overreach are becoming overwhelming.


  60. Russia has set up basic grouping of satellites for early warning missile attack

    …”With the launch of the fourth Tundra-type space vehicle from the Plesetsk cosmodrome on May 22, the Kupol integrated space system has been brought to the minimum required structure and allows tracking any launches of ballistic missiles and space rockets from the territory of the United States. The satellites are accomplishing their mission in working orbits in full,” the source said.

    The Tundra satellites “are equipped with next-generation infrared surveillance devices that make it possible to register with high precision the launches of missiles against the background of the Earth’s surface,” he said….

    It’s taken a while.


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