The Baker of Maidan Square Serves Up Another Delicious Puffy Treat

The Baker
It’s all a balancing act of time, temperature and ingredients. That’s the secret to baking.

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly-flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.”

M.F.K. Fisher

“Anarchy is like custard cooking over a flame; it has to be constantly stirred or it sticks and gets heavy, like government.”

Tom Robbins, from “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”

Victoria Nuland has kept a comparatively low profile since her part in the still-unfolding grotesque failure to mastermind Ukraine, at America’s intervention, into a ‘prosperous western-leaning market democracy’ at Europe’s expense. She made a cameo appearance, smiling and nodding and handing out bread and buns to the revolutionaries at the ‘Euromaidan’ on Kiev’s Independence Square, and almost immediately thereafter was recorded in the act of colluding with United States Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt to hand-pick the incoming revolutionary government. The EU was a bunch of twittering incompetents who would never get anything done, so fuck them – America would show them how to grease the guillotine with the fat of tyrants. Then she appeared in a Chevron-sponsored press conference for the National Press Club, at which she was a guest speaker, and announced that since 1991 the United States had invested $5 Billion in ‘democracy promotion’ in Ukraine. I had to listen to nearly the whole speech to verify that fact was in there, through exhortations that the hand-picked-by-America revolutionary government constituted the ‘principles and values that are the cornerstones of all free democracies’, but when she got to the part about how she had personally ‘witnessed the appalling violence when Yanukovich turned his riot police on demonstrators as they sang hymns and prayed for peace’, my stomach revolted and I nearly blew chunks over my monitor. Dear God. I guess a saucepan for your head and a club studded with nails are important accessories for demonstrators these days when they know they’re going to be singing hymns and praying for peace.

Anyway, shortly after that debacle, she shuffled off to her coffin full of graveyard dirt in the basement, and stayed away from sunlight. She only recently emerged, and the alert eye of reader rkka spotted her delightful piece for Foreign Affairs magazine, entitled “Pinning Down Putin; How a Confident America Should Deal With Russia”.

In fact, it’s worth including rkka’s take on it, upon having read it.

“She laments how Vladimir Putin has for twenty years repeatedly slapped away Uncle Sam’s extended open hand, offered in the purest desire for friendship with Russia…She does admit one US mistake, tearing up the ABM Treaty in 2002, but the rest of it is one long whine about Putin.

Her policy prescription: spend uncountable trillion$ the US has to borrow building up US military capability, unify all NATO allies to resist disinformation, hold up the renewal of the new START Treaty conditioned on Russian concessions on Russia’s short & medium range nuclear strike systems & new conventional capabilities, forge a united NATO & EU front on Ukraine with the US participating in the negotiations, and then offer a future Russian government a return to non-substantive participation in Western institutions like the G-7 and NATO-Russia Council as well as a few miniscule economic inducements…In other words, the same offer to Soviet/Russian leaders since Brezhnev: major substantive Soviet/Russian concessions in return for vague assurances of future Western goodwill.”

Having read the piece myself, I frankly doubt I can do any better than that, but I’d like to go over it anyway, because I would like to examine some aspects of it in considerably greater detail.

By way of introductory remarks, I should like to point out the comedic irony of Ms. Nuland’s “Confident America” which is going to “pin down Putin” sharing page space with “America’s Democratic Unraveling: Countries Fail the Same Way Businesses Do, Gradually and Then Suddenly.” It has apparently been some considerable time since Ms. Nuland looked out the window. Oh, the article itself is a complete crock,  blaming America’s descent into the maelstrom as a regrettable consequence of Trump’s dictatorial rule, which is comparable to  – if we indulge in any more irony, we are going to turn into broccoli – those of Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin. But few in the milieu of American politics could have failed to notice that an anarchist commune in Seattle has declared independence from America, and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, whose spine is of purest tofu, has ceded control of a seven-block center of downtown Seattle to them. As if that were not enough, he has gotten involved in a Twitter flame war with that veteran Tweeter, Donald Trump, accusing him of being “totally incapable of governing”.

Two incongruities here, which should inspire thought; one, what Ms. Nuland asserts is a ‘confident’ America is actually up to its nipples in domestic conflict. It should not, under the present circumstances, aspire to ‘pin down’ anyone stronger than Bernie Sanders. Two, where exactly is Ms. Nuland on this domestic revolt? I can remember a time when even if she was asleep, her spider-sense would have detected anyone whispering “independence”, and she would have flown to the scene on her broom, if no faster transport was available, to distribute baked goods and encouragement. As it is, it looks as if nobody has noticed that the declarers of independence in Seattle embody the principles and values that are cornerstones of all free democracies.

Just before we leave the whole Black Lives Matter thing and move on with the subject article, I would like to note that protests around the world – Paris, Toronto, Berlin, London – involving thousands upon thousands of people express solidarity with the movement and global shock and dismay at the state of public order in the USA. America is in no position to be lecturing the world. About anything. If America still feels strong and confident, it might not have too solid a grasp on reality.

So, let’s get to it.

The bullshit actually starts right at kickoff time, but I’ll pass on Ms. Nuland’s first paragraph of stage-setting musings. It’s perfectly true that Russia is viewed from a variety of perspectives, and if she omits to mention the USA is as well, and is certainly not admired by all as a sterling example of global citizen, we’ll put it down to artistic license. Let’s get straight into her characterizations of fact.

Just before the jaw-dropping allegation that Putin has ‘played a weak hand well’ only because the USA and its allies have let him, she purports some facts; low oil prices, the coronavirus pandemic and Russians’ ‘growing sense of malaise’ bring new risks for the Kremlin.

That so? I submit the American energy industry must be feeling a little malaise itself. Consider; Russia’s budget balances with oil at around $40.00 a barrel. As of yesterday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $37.39, and Brent at $40.18, for future deliveries: the WTI figure for July, and Brent for August. Cheerful American sources have told us before now that America’s break-even price is in the high 30’s. That’d make it slightly under Russia’s.

And I call bullshit. The current price is in the high 30’s, and slightly better. But the US operational rig count, according to, was 279 as of yesterday (199 oil, 78 gas), down from 969 this time a year ago. BP will write off $17.5 Billion in assets. Whiting Petroleum, Vista Proppants & Logistics LLC (a private equity-backed supplier of fracking sand), Extraction Oil & Gas, Diamond Offshore Drilling, Weatherford International and California Resources all declared bankruptcy, Weatherford International for the second time in a year. Chesapeake Energy is expected to join them this week. BP slashed 10,000 jobs, which was accompanied by similar cuts at Chevron. Royal Dutch Shell announced voluntary layoffs. The United States lost 100,000 jobs in the energy industry since February, about 45,000 of them in Texas. Massive pipeline company Enbridge announced its intention to concentrate its asset mix in future on natural gas and renewables. Quite the picture of despondency, I think you would have to agree.

Show me a similar picture of ruin in Russia.

Well, I’ll tell you a measurable difference right off the top – Whiting Petroleum and Diamond Offshore Drilling, who recently declared bankruptcy, and Chesapeake Energy who is on the verge of doing so, all paid out millions in executive bonuses before going belly-up and waiting for the US government to print more money so it can bail them out. Meanwhile, in Russia, the state will take an extra $10 Billion in revenues from the oil companies, owing to the way they are taxed. This will be spent on state projects, part of a forecast $71 Billion in new spending, none of it borrowed. The Russian economy is forecast to contract by about 6% this year. The US economy expects an almost-identical contraction of about 5.7% over 2020, although the drop in the second quarter is expected to be about 40%.

The difference there is in the details. Russia is sitting on a half-trillion-dollar National Welfare fund, saved for emergencies like this, and has government debt equivalent to about 15% of GDP. The Fed in the USA is printing more than $2 Trillion in new money this quarter. To put that in perspective, it has only created about $8 Trillion in new money between 2008 and now. And it has a government debt equivalent to 106% of its GDP. In fact, there are credible indications that America is desperate to get more dollars into circulation in hopes of maintaining its status as the world’s reserve currency.

Well, I went on about that for much longer than I meant to. Coronavirus. As of today, the United States has 115,980 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. The Russian Federation has 7,478. Washington’s position on the per-capita discrepancy is that Russia must be lying about its deaths. At the same time, there is broad substantiation that the United States is deliberately overcounting its own deaths. Which is, not to put too fine a point on it, lying about your coronavirus deaths. Should Russia exaggerate its numbers, too, to make Washington happy? Both countries are carrying out extensive testing, and there is a pretty solid dataset emerging that a high number of people test positive and are completely unaware they have the virus, and are not bothered by it at all. Exaggerating the death count makes the virus appear to be much deadlier than it actually is. Who would benefit from that? Well…

“Erroneous data unduly scare people about the risks of the disease. It keeps the country locked down longer than necessary, which destroys peoples’ lives and livelihoods in many other ways. Exaggerated fears of the virus endanger lives by keeping people from obtaining treatment for other medical problems. It also makes it impossible to accurately compare policies across countries.” Billboard calling Trump an 'idiot' removed from NJ town

Who wants to prolong the lockdown – the Kremlin? Or the Democrats, to increase frustration with Trump? Is it a coincidence that New York, an unassailable Democratic stronghold, admitted to exaggerating new active cases by 50% in April, by adding 3,700 additional people who were presumed to have died of the coronavirus but had never tested positive? Here is a tip, completely free of obligation – take it or ignore it as you wish. Leave Trump unsupervised for five minutes without a ball gag and his thumbs tied together, and he will make an idiot of himself. You do not need to make up shit.

Russian malaise where Putin is concerned? Ah ha ha hahahaha. Putin’s approval rating in Russia has never dipped below 60%. Obama’s approval rating slid below 60% after only 6 months in office, and couldn’t reach that altitude again without going on oxygen. Trump’s started out below 50% and remained remarkably consistent, suggesting that both those who worship him and those who loathe him have not changed their minds at all. Which points to two fairly-obvious conclusions – a Trump electoral victory, and a continuing divided America.

Jeez; that’s only one paragraph. This is going to be as long as The Satanic Verses – we’d better get a move on. What else you got, Ms. Nuland?

Whoever wins the upcoming US presidential election should try again with Putin, she says. You know something? I hope I am not jumping the gun here, but I’m going to mention now, when we’ve really just started, two things that are conspicuous by their absence in Ms. Nuland’s piece – the return of Crimea to Ukraine’s control, and the shooting down of MH-17. Not mentioned. At all. Yet on the occasion of both occurrences. the United States was in such a rage that it vowed it would carry out no negotiations with Russia until Crimea had been returned to Ukraine, and the shooting down of MH-17 was the trigger for sanctions by the USA and all its allies, many of whom had been quite reluctant before that. Actually, what America vowed was no relaxation of sanctions until Crimea was returned to Ukrainian control, but it’s pretty hard to imagine any constructive negotiations between the two while the USA maintains its sanctions policy and bullies its allies not to weaken. Now that I think about it, the Nord Stream II pipeline was not mentioned, either, although the American position is that it must not be completed, and the USA will sanction any company which helps Russia do so as well as any international regulator who approves it for operation. Are these issues just the sort of thing that can be talked out by old friends? As if.

The new President (whom I think has a pretty good chance of being the old president, as in the current one), she says, should “resist Putin’s attempts to cut off his population from the outside world and speak directly to the Russian people about the benefits of working together and the price they have paid for Putin’s hard turn away from liberalism.” The part about speaking directly to the Russian people sounds to me like an argument for the re-insertion of ‘democracy-promoting’ American NGO’s to Russia. And it might even be that the USA is going to shoulder the burden of those agencies being forced to register as foreign agents, because it is a certainty they are not going to be given a free hand to proselytize as they once could. And, ummm… what are these benefits of liberalism Ms. Nuland is hinting at? Because the last big blaze of liberalism in Russia was the ‘reforms’ of the 90’s, when Jeffrey Sachs and the Harvard Boys brought their ‘shock therapy’ to Yeltsin’s country. And it was a shock; not much doubt about that. Hyperinflation hit 2,500 percent, the life expectancy of Russian males fell by six years, many people had their life’s savings wiped out, and a powerful cadre of oligarchs seized private control of what had been state assets, for pennies on the dollar. I think it is safe to say many, many Russians remember their introduction to liberalism, and are not particularly eager to renew their acquaintance. Does liberalism promise prosperity? It might, but they’ve heard that before. How does liberalism stack up against this wage growth under the current leadership?

Russia Average Monthly Wages

What did US wages look like over the same time period? I’m glad you asked.

United States Wages and Salaries Growth

Maybe someone should speak directly to the American people, and advise them what the United States government’s hard turn away from liberalism has cost them.

Over the next two decades, Russians would steadily relinquish more and more of their rights—freedom of expression and assembly, political pluralism, judicial fairness, and an open economy (all of which were then new, tenuous, and unevenly shared)—in exchange for the stability of a strong state, a return to oil-fueled growth, and the prospect of middle-class prosperity.

Oh, oh. I see a problem right away. Article 29 of the Russian constitution. To wit, Paragraph 1;

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought and speech.

And Paragraph 3;

No one may be coerced into expressing one’s views and convictions or into renouncing them.

And Article 31;

Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to gather peacefully, without weapons, and to hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets.

The west, and especially the USA, always makes a big deal about having to obtain a permit to hold a rally, march or demonstration. Do you have to do that to hold any of those events in New York? You sure do. Meanwhile, although the western press regularly squawks that the rights of Russians are being trampled upon by the oppressive government, how much of a lawyer would you have to be to get somebody off who genuinely and demonstrably did not violate the constitution?

And just, you know, while we’re here perusing the Russian Constitution, take a look at Article 24, Paragraph 1.

It shall be forbidden to gather, store, use and disseminate information on the private life of any person without his/her consent.

Protections which are characterized more by their absence than their observance in the Land Of The Free.

Western governments generally looked the other way as Putin’s methods for reestablishing control became increasingly Soviet during his first decade in power: closing down opposition newspapers and TV stations; jailing, exiling, or killing political and economic rivals; and reestablishing single-party dominance in the parliament and regional governments.

I do like to see a professional bullshitter spit on their hands and bear down. There is no evidence at all of Vladimir Putin killing political rivals, and jailing of oligarchs such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky was supported by the ECHR, in that it agreed he could not argue the charges against him were political simply because his being jailed was convenient for the government, while there was significant and verifiable evidence of criminal activity. Newspapers and TV stations start up and close down all the time, Not so much in the United States, of course, where media corporations went from 50 in 1983 to 6 in 2011. In that year, those six companies controlled 90% of what Americans read, watched or listened to.

Say – you know what establishes single-party dominance in parliament and regional governments? Popularity. They have these things called advance polls – you probably even have them in your country – and the way it works is, surveys in advance of the vote are conducted and those surveyed tell pollsters who they plan to vote for. And that’s how the vote comes out, time after time. If Putin is forecast to win with 72% of the vote in presidential elections, for example, the actual result is usually well within the margin of error. Show me any time when it was not. The USA does not like this, because it is somewhere between difficult and impossible to carry out regime change where the vote is not even close.

For the most part, the United States and its allies encouraged Russia in its pursuit of the third goal, bringing Moscow into the World Trade Organization and creating the G-8 and the NATO-Russia Council.

Gosh, that kind of smells like bullshit a little bit, too, because according to the World Security Network, the USA was the last major country to put up obstacles to Russian entry to the WTO. They actually say so, in so many words:

The United States is the last major country to put up obstacles to Russian entry to the WTO.

Not only that, Senator Bill Frist claimed that “Russia’s disregard for the rule of law, human rights violations and other “anti-democratic” tendencies “color the position of the United States.”

Human rights – really, Bill? Seriously? I know, let’s have a quick geopolitics quiz. Who can think of a grotesque human-rights scandal that happened just two years before ol’ Bill claimed to be all about human rights? Tick tick tick…need a hint? Iraq. Tick tick tick….happened in a big prison run by the USA. Tick tick tick…starts with ‘Abu’, and ends with ‘Ghraib’. That’s right, just two years before Bill Frist’s soliloquy on the sanctity of human rights, American soldiers were piling naked Iraqi men into human pyramids, making them stand motionless on a box in the belief that if they moved they would be electrocuted, and leading them around on dog leashes while they were smeared with filth.

As if that were not hypocrisy enough, countries which appeared on various sanctimonious western lists of world’s poorest and world’s most oppressive countries had been WTO members in good standing since the mid-90’s. Including the Arab monarchies, and I would have to really think about it if asked to name something less democratic than a country in which potential rulers are limited to sons of the same father. Feel free to help me out, Ms. Nuland.

Both Democratic and Republican presidents worked closely with U.S. allies to prevent Putin from reestablishing a Russian sphere of influence in eastern Europe and from vetoing the security arrangements of his neighbors. Here, a chasm soon opened between liberal democracies and the still very Soviet man leading Russia, especially on the subject of NATO enlargement. No matter how hard Washington and its allies tried to persuade Moscow that NATO was a purely defensive alliance that posed no threat to Russia, it continued to serve Putin’s agenda to see Europe in zero-sum terms.

First of all, we might as well just say ‘presidents’, because on foreign policy and the use of military force there is virtually no difference between Republicans and Democrats. There’s an illusion of choice, but it basically boils down to a Democratic preference for ‘targeted strikes’ such as Obama’s ‘drone wars’, while Republicans like to roll in with the full enchilada and flatten the place. Any American born in the past 20 years has never known a time when the USA was not at war, regardless of who was president. Any American who was born after 1984 has seen America at war for at least half of his or her life.

NATO was formed to ‘thwart the threat of Soviet expansion into Western Europe’. Russia formed the Warsaw Pact group in reaction to NATO admitting a rearmed West Germany into its ranks. That alliance was dissolved March 31st, 1991.   When the Warsaw Pact dissolved, considering that NATO incorporated all the non-Soviet Warsaw Pact countries despite western promises to advance no further eastward than Germany, NATO was essentially a military alliance in search of a mission. It messed about for awhile pretending it was needed to counter global terrorism, before focusing on reframing a generally-friendly Russia which was its partner in many international organizations as a sinister threat that required not only NATO readiness, but a lot more money plowed into it.

But few in Washington considered it an option to slam the door on the new democracies of central and eastern Europe, which had worked for years to meet NATO’s rigorous admission standards and were now clamoring for membership.

As I pointed out 5 years ago, aspiring members could clamor for membership all they liked – knocking on the door doesn’t mean a thing – you had to be invited, and by unanimous consent, in accordance with Article 10 of the NATO charter;

The Parties may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty. Any State so invited may become a Party to the Treaty by depositing its instrument of accession with the Government of the United States of America. The Government of the United States of America will inform each of the Parties of the deposit of each such instrument of accession.”

The emphasis also notes that unanimous agreement is contingent on factors such as a straight-faced contention that admitting the member country will contribute to the collective security of the North Atlantic area. At the time it was admitted – by unanimous consent, apparently – Latvia had 1,250 soldiers and three tanks. None of which had sufficient amphibious capability to protect the North Atlantic; salt water is hard on tanks. That ‘they followed us home, so we had to keep them’ trope is popular with western diplomats, and they like to strum on it for all it’s worth. Please note also to whom prospective applicants must direct their applications.

Moreover, it quickly emerged from polling in countries the United States wanted to see added to NATO that many of them were far more interested in joining the EU than NATO, and that their enthusiasm was mostly founded in optimism about economic advancement. They were far less inspired when questions got around to how willing they would be to contribute a sizable portion of their GDP to raising internal forces for NATO. The polling organization – the United States Information Agency (USIA) – claimed 83% support in Poland for joining NATO. But when the question, “Would you be willing to spend more money on the military in order to meet NATO standards?” was dropped into the mix, 74% said “No” against 16% “Yes”.

Putin has always understood that a belt of increasingly democratic, prosperous states around Russia would pose a direct challenge to his leadership model and risk reinfecting his own people with democratic aspirations. This is why Putin was never going to take a “live and let live” approach to former Soviet lands and satellite states.

Russian opposition to NATO adding former Warsaw Pact and Soviet countries like beads on a rosary was confined to verbal objections, which were ignored. The United States continued to prod countries who had not yet applied, such as Ukraine and Georgia, announcing it intended to add them, and the only thing that stopped that from happening is language in the NATO charter which prohibits the acceptance of nations with ongoing territorial disputes. And this is what it looks like right now in the King of Democratic, Prosperous States. I don’t think Putin would have too much difficulty persuading rational Russians that they don’t want that kind of prosperity. And wasn’t Ukraine supposed to be an example to Russians that would persuade them to accept western offers to make them prosperous, too, if they would only overthrow Putin? How’s that working out? Let’s look at average monthly wages, year-over-year, for the last 25 years.

Ukraine Average Monthly Wages YoY

Despite Putin’s power moves abroad, 20 years of failing to invest in Russia’s modernization may be catching up with him. In 2019, Russia’s GDP growth was an anemic 1.3 percent. This year, the coronavirus pandemic and the free fall in oil prices could result in a significant economic contraction. International sanctions deter serious foreign investment in Russia from most countries except China. Putin’s insistence on tight state control and on the renationalization of key sectors of the economy has suppressed innovation and diversification. Russia’s roads, rails, schools, and hospitals are crumbling. Its citizens have grown restive as promised infrastructure spending never appears, and their taxes and the retirement age are going up.

Despite its galloping anti-Russian bias and propensity for quoting ‘experts’ whose only qualification is their acute Russophobia, The Moscow Times is forced to admit Russian government investment in infrastructure is huge; $96 Billion over 6 years. As Ms. Nuland was kind enough to point out, the country is under an intense sanctions regime by the United States which is aimed at making life sufficiently miserable for the Russian people that they will beg for American mercy. From Newsweek;

“The measures under consideration in Congress—known as the Defending American Security From Kremlin Aggression Act—seek to deter further Russian interference in elections by effectively cutting off the country from the world economy.”

And that was as punishment for alleged Russian interference in the American elections, which the Mueller investigation failed to substantiate just about as catastrophically as an attempt to prove cooked pasta is an effective substitute for steel.

This is the Moscow skyline. Looks quite the underdeveloped third-world shithole, doesn’t it?

Moscow-Skyline - RMJM

Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the United States a D+ grade for infrastructure. If you were awarded a D+ grade in Finding Your Way Home, how many times in a week do you think your mother would have to come and pick you up from somewhere that was not where you live? D+ is not a good grade. ASCE estimated the US government would have to spend $4.6 Trillion – with a ‘T’ – over the next decade, just to bring things up to acceptable.

Look, it’s getting late, and we’re going to have to wrap things up. I’d love to go on countering Ms. Nuland’s arguments, but I think a fairly consistent pattern has been established here. Let it suffice to say that this objective

“The first order of business is to restore the unity and confidence of U.S. alliances in Europe and Asia and end the fratricidal rhetoric, punitive trade policies, and unilateralism of recent years”

is going to consume enough of America’s time and energy – without, by any means, any assurances of success, especially if Loopy Orangeman serves another term in office at the helm of the drifting Death Star – that it will not be able to spare much energy for more fake rapprochement overtures to Russia. Not very many in Russia are upset enough by American sanctions to solicit American nation-building expertise, while European nations just look at each other in stunned dismay at each new advance on American assholery.

If you were planning on handing out bread and muffins on Red Square, I wouldn’t start laying in bulk flour just at this point.







470 thoughts on “The Baker of Maidan Square Serves Up Another Delicious Puffy Treat

  1. The Truth About Russian Constitution Amendment “Voting Irregularities”
    July 2, 2020S
    Stalker Zone

    Employees of the “Golos” organisation, recognised as a foreign agent, continue to work on the task of discrediting the vote. On the last day of the process, pro-Western “observers” traditionally became very active. From different parts of the country, reports came of mass provocations being prepared by “Golos” activists.

    A video of the briefing of employees of the Novosibirsk branch of “Golos” was published online. They were asked to behave as provocatively as possible at the polling stations, and in general to do everything possible to ensure that the Precinct Election Commission Chairperson made a decision to remove the “observer” from the site.

    “I think you do not need to be taught, you can do it”, says the person in the video, requiring everyone to come early, “make a little scandal”, and be sure to record everything on video. After that, the curator specifies, the material should appear on the “map of violations” as soon as possible.


    1. I love it when they actually get caught in the act like this – that intercepted phone call between Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt did more damage to the US State-Department regime-change machine than ten years worth of complaining that the US meddles in other countries’ electoral processes. That GOLOS worker looks a right luvvie, too, just the type. Americans have meddled in foreign elections – directly or through their proxy NGO’s – since time out of mind, but in the last decade, decade-and-a-half they have gotten lazy and so confident in the process that they just throw up a hand and say ‘ballot-stuffing’ and ‘carousel voting’, and then show a video clip of something that professes to be an example of the behavior they describe, and the average voter doesn’t have a clue what he’s seeing so he just nods and says ‘I see’.

      GOLOS could quickly claim that kid never worked for them, that he is an FSB plant coached to discredit an honest and non-partisan political observer, and that’s probably what I would do if I were them. But the damage is mostly done, and it endures. They can show this clip next year, and the year after, and it’ll still be effective proof of western meddling and an attempt to discredit the democratic process in Russia.


    1. Or at least don’t leave it in a western bank. There are probably reasons leaders stow a substantial portion of the national wealth abroad, especially if your country is susceptible to coups and sudden forced changes of government. Any group that seizes both the seat of government and the national wealth would have a pretty good chance of proclaiming itself the government. But England is notorious for financial confiscations on political grounds. The west cannot be trusted, and the most untrustworthy in an untrustworthy alliance are the financial institutions, which are completely political themselves. This is outright and open theft, but nobody is going to do anything about it. The British government will lend out its value and make money from it, all the while holding on to it for Guaido, who has as much chance of being an opera star as president of Venezuela. But the UK doesn’t care, because it’s making money.


  2. The Grey Zone: Trump used looted Venezuelan public money to build border wall with Mexic

    An estimated $24 billion of Venezuelan public money has been looted, and the Trump administration has used at least $601 million of it to construct a militarized wall on the US-Mexico border.

    By Ben Norton

    …In his new book “The Room Where It Happened,” former Trump administration national security advisor John Bolton boasted that the British government “was delighted to cooperate on steps they could take” to assist in Washington’s coup efforts, “for example freezing Venezuelan gold deposits in the Bank of England, so the regime could not sell the gold to keep itself going.”..

    Remember that Juan Guan is recognized by 50 UN states as interim President of Venezuela. But it’s not the number that counts, but who those countries are. It is an effective loading of more votes per country though the unofficial Law of the Jungle system that the democratic West employs.


  3. The American Conservative via Three Glaring Problems with the Russian Taliban ‘Bounty’ Story

    There seems to be a lack of sourcing and a big whiff of politics, say former intelligence officers.

    …Furthermore, the unnamed intelligence sources who spoke with the Times say that their assessment is based “on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals.”

    That’s a red flag, said John Kiriakou, a former analyst and case officer for the CIA who led the team that captured senior al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002.

    “When you capture a prisoner, and you’re interrogating him, the prisoner is going to tell you what he thinks you want to hear,” he said in an interview with The American Conservative. “There’s no evidence here, there’s no proof.”..

    Plenty more at the link.

    I read some other article that gave an interesting Afghan angle, i.e. those in Kabul don’t want to be left high and dry and don’t particularly like Russia because its interests are to protect its southern flank which means talking to the Taliban and having them hands off. Kabul could quite have easily planted such people. This is despite Russia having a much better reputation in the region than the US amongst most Afghans.

    Remember that after the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, the US and everyone else did too and that’s when it’s further descent in to hell started, which also destroyed much of Kabul (which had previously been spared) in the process and led to the rise of the Taliban. The world leaving it alone and particularly the $$$ used to dish out to family and friends that has helped warlords and Big Men to keep their political power, upsets all that and possibly means a self-quarantined Taliban regime in most of the territory. Keeping Afghanistan unstable and a cause for concern is thus ‘a good thing’ however counter-intuitive and bad for the country.

    As for the US, the screeching and wailing is in direct proportion to its ability to actually do something and reflects their dissapearing soft power. Are the Dems actually dumb enough to snooker themselves with Russia? Speaking of which, the name Condoleezza Rice is being whispered as a possible Biden no.2, in which case the answer is ‘YES!’ She ticks all the boxes…


    1. I think you must mean Susan Rice – Obama’s former National Security Advisor. A known Russophobe and neo-liberal Democrat warhawk. I believe Biden promised, in one of his lucid moments, to choose ‘a woman of color’ for his VP. This is what it has come to in the fight to capture votes; it’s not enough to spend – literally – billions in campaign funds, but you also have to court as many communities as possible instead of just picking the best person for the job. I’m not suggesting it is impossible a black or brown woman could be the best person for the job, but in that case there would be no need to announce it in advance, thereby eliminating all whites and males from competition. You can blame the voters for that as much as the politicians – screwing up the job of leadership has become so commonplace that a perception has arisen that the choice should be made on the basis of ‘whose turn it is’.

      Susan Rice could be baited into war with Russia at the drop of a hat – she is not a diplomat, has a filthy temper and is totally committed to the ideal of the United States as a benevolent tyrant which is not afraid to make the tough decisions because it knows what’s best. When it says ‘do’, you do. Or else. I think it is pretty plain now that the Democratic strategy is to either use Biden – if elected – as a talking head for the Clinton Machine if he is able to remain reasonably convincing, or to relieve him for health reasons if he becomes visibly incompetent. Either way, rule in that administration will not be Biden’s decisions.


        1. It is so much easier to get along when both can be right and wrong in the same exchange. I do not have to run to my room to bury my face in my pillow and scream, like I do when I’m wrong. Well, that’s The Hill, so it’s a solid recommendation and not one of those throwaway “Hey, she’d make a great president!” endorsements like the papers make whenever some new mouthpiece appears briefly on the radar (remember ‘Joe the plumber’?) But Condi has been out of politics an eternity, in political time, and would have to rebuild alliances and get quickly up to speed. I frankly doubt Biden is considering her.

          She would be a marginal improvement on Susan Rice, though, for the faults I have already cited.


      1. During Obama’s presidency, the US ambassador to the UN was a wonderfully talented brown woman. Can’t remember her name now, but she liked taking names.


        1. Bear in mind, at the same time the US had a couple of dumb blue-eyed blondes as spokeswomen for the Department of State.


          1. I sure like Trump’s spokesgirl now, Kayleigh McEnemy. Good a name as any. She promised before she even got started in the job that she would never lie, and her cute little nose would have grown three feet right then if there was any truth to the fable. To be fair to her, it would be impossible to represent Trump to the public and not lie. But she sure is good-looking. She doesn’t back up, either.


            1. She told a whopper the other day when being questioned about whether her boss had been informed by US “intelligence” about the evil Orcs paying the Taliban money to kill US servicemen in Afghanistan. She replied that there is no one better informed about US state security than Donald Trump.


        2. No, no, this was during the first couple of years of Donald Trump’s Presidency: the woman’s name was Nikki Haley, originally born Nimrata Randhawa and of Sikh Indian background. She liked keeping a long shit list of people and countries to nurture dreams of punishment against.


  4. Inspector General slams Boeing for holding back information on 737 Max

    A US government report finds that Boeing purposefully held back information about the automated flight control system on its re-engineered 737 Max during the aircraft’s certification process, that led to two fatal aircraft crashes that killed 346 people.

    In a scathing 52-page report published on 1 July, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Inspector General writes that the Chicago-based manufacturer did not share vital information about the new aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) during the lengthy process, thus significantly downplaying the risk that it posed. …

    More at the link.

    From an engineering led company to a finance led company. Go figure.


  5. Well well well – no surprise here

    Ben Norton
    The CIA’s shady “Russian bounties” leaks are having their intended impact: sabotaging efforts to end the war in Afghanistan.

    The bipartisan House Armed Services Committee just voted to block Trump from withdrawing from Afghanistan.

    Bipartisan imperialism

    //////Next there will be more sanctions on Russia for a fake story.

    Trump is not supported by his own party – both sides are loyal only to eg military industrial complex


    1. Doesn’t matter in the least. Things have gone so far past the possibility of the USA and Russia ever having friendly relations again in our lifetimes that when the USA is chuckling to itself over how it is fucking things up for Russia, it is only fucking things up for itself. Russia is moving ahead on the assumption that the west is a write-off, or at least the North American part of it, and while it may continue to warily court Europe, the best chance the USA ever had of taking down Russia is already years in the past. It took a long time to learn the American pattern of smile-and-backstab, but Russia has learned it now and the decision has been made. If the USA wants to stay in Afghanistan until the judgment trump, brooding obsessively over its empire of mud huts and walnut trees, fine. It’s not hurting Russia. I do think, though, that the next time the USA tries to stir up a pocket religious war by claiming the ‘rise of ISIS’ in some choice target country by injecting its pet militants, it is going to meet with resistance to the narrative, and would be about as able to form a coalition of the willing as it would a march of the dead.


  6. The Russian Foreign Ministry welcomed the formation in Malaysia of its own position on the collapse of MH17
    The department noted that in the West this tragedy has been portrayed one-sidedly and biased.

    July 2, 2020
    <bMOSCOW, July 2. / TASS /. The publication of a book written by Mahajir Ibrahim on the causes of the downing of flight MH17 indicates the formation of a position in Malaysian society on this tragedy. This was announced on Thursday at a briefing by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.

    “The appearance of the book testifies to the increasing desire of the Malaysians to form their own opinion about what happened. We believe that the latter is especially important, given how the tragedy has been covered in a one-sided and biased manner in the West”, she said.

    As noted by Zakharova, in the book, the author pays special attention to various versions of the airliner crash as well as to motives, “including not always obvious ones which concern one or another country involved in the crash investigation. For example, the United States, as the author claims, has used tragedy to justify the need for new sanctions against Russia”, the diplomat said.


    1. Sweet. Does me no good here, though; no searches of that article will appear here as it was on the old blog. It’s good to see that creep finally getting his comeuppance, and the more they hang the label ‘crook’ on him, the less likely he’ll ever reach his previous dizzy heights of controlling billions. Also, they cited the German article that turned a skeptical eye on his bullshit about Magnitsky, and I had been looking for that but couldn’t remember where I had seen it.


      1. The Unz article actually does link back to your original article at the old blog so you could always use that pathway.


  7. Evidently Nicolas Maduro’s patience is not infinite. Upon the EU cravenly going along with new sanctions as ordered by its Big Buddy, Maduro kicked the EU Ambassador out of the country.

    “Portuguese diplomat Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa was given 72 hours to leave Venezuela, in response to the European bloc imposing new sanctions against Venezuelan officials and politicians.”

    Clean out your desk, Isabel, and get your ass on a plane. Doing Elliott Abrams’ dirty work for him is no longer without consequences.

    How many times have we seen this happen, just in the past five years? The USA makes a complete ass of itself, decisively eliminating itself as a partner. China rolls in to fill the void. The USA blats that everyone is anti-American, and that it will use sanctions if it must to restore a level playing field.

    Venezuela, with the help of Chinese partners, is slowly but surely restoring and upgrading its refinery capability, and when it has a solid handle on that it will sell directly, without having to partner with the United States to refine its oil. And the USA needs Venezuela’s heavy crudes to mix with its own light oils, which it cannot refine on their own. I mean, how stupid do you have to be to not see your own foot in the gunsights, time after time? Maduro is not going anywhere unless he is assassinated, Guaido is destined to be always a bridesmaid, but the west just can’t give him up – especially considering it has already recognized him as the real president of Venezuela. Meanwhile, the real world moves on without the west, and new alliances crystallize. Everyone can see it happening – everybody but the west. Whoever they have working for them as trade attaches should be rounded up and shot for meat.


  8. A quite apocalyptic, Land-Destroyerish story from Strategic Culture on the unshakeable European plan for Vaccination For All. They really, really seem determined to carry this out no matter what people think, and have been laying the groundwork for years by portraying ‘anti-vaxxers’ as queer and disturbed characters straight out of Oliver Twist.

    There…ahhh…doesn’t seem to be much freedom in the offing in the years ahead, only a kill-you-with-kindness smothering of individual will because it’s for your own good – you don’t want to be a danger to public safety, do you? I remember the UK tried several times to introduce the National ID Card, because once broadly accepted, it would be an incredibly powerful instrument for control. You would ‘swipe your card’ for even the most routine transactions, and the regime would be able to collect data on everything you do and everywhere you go. And of course if you didn’t want to play along, your card would be taken from you, and then you would literally not be able to do anything. It’s the Russian internal passport on steroids.

    And they seem to be headed the same way on vaccinations – first, the beguiling approach; you don’t want to spread dangerous illness to your family and friends, do you? Think of them! Stop thinking just about yourself, it’s selfish. But they seem perfectly willing to make you if you will not willingly comply. It’s quite telling that it’s referred to as a ‘vaccination passport’; haven’t had your shots? Sorry, Sunshine – you’re not going anywhere.


    1. I am impressed by that link. It seems to hit every anti-vax trope available.

      On the other hand, re vaccination passports, does anyone have that little yellow book, perhaps stuck away in a drawer somewhere ,that lists one’s vaccinations?


      1. Yes, I do. Whenever we were deploying to a theatre in which diseases which are uncommon in Canada are commonplace, we had to muster for ‘needle parade’ and be vaccinated against them. If you don’t have your book, and they can’t locate your records, you get them all again just to be sure. The only vaccination I can definitely recall is hepatitis, because it was a two-stage shot; you got a needle for it and then had to come back for another in a week or two. But I have probably been inoculated against malaria, dengue and yellow fever as well, as those are common ones. I just don’t remember. The book itself is in the basement with my military medical records.


  9. KP:

    A summary of what the constitutional changes entail:

    Русские, Бог и пенсии: что дадут принятые поправки в Конституцию

    Russians, God and pensions: what the adopted amendments to the Constitution will give

    After processing 100% of the ballots, the Central Electoral Commission has summed up the results: for – 77.92%, against – 21.27%. Turnout – 65%. Amendments to the Constitution have been approved, and therefore, in fact, adopted. Total changes – 206. Now let’s see how the most important parts of the updated Basic Law of the country will change our lives.

    In a graphic within the article, the following is pointed out:


    In the 1993 vote for the “Yeltsin Constitution”, the turnout was 54%.

    For the Yeltsin constitution — 58%.

    [This constitution was drawn up under US guidance after the “democrat” Yeltsin had ordered that the Russian White House be bombarded. It was occupied by protesters against that Washington puppet’s regime. The Yeltsin Constitution gave the president great powers. This is when that drunken bastard’s government was selling off Russian state assets for a kopeck in the ruble and the whole country had been plunged into abject misery; when that cnut Chubais had said “tough shit” to those who could not adapt to market conditions and that they would soon die off and be replaced by a generation that could.]

    Turnout for the 2020 vote on the constitution — 68%.

    For the constitution — 78%.

    Harding doesn’t like this.

    Navalny doesn’t like this.

    No fucker likes this — apart from a majority of Russians, that is!

    And the following are the amendments that Western critics a Russian liberal shits and “oppositionists” are squawking about

    13. One person cannot hold a post of the president more than 2 terms. Clarification “in a row” was removed.

    14. A reservation has been added that the rule of no more than two terms applies to the current head of state, but without taking into account the number of terms during which he held this position before. Which allows Putin to be elected in 2024.

    Vladimir Putin is now 67 years old.

    I hope he is fit and well in 4 years’ time and I hope he stands for re-election then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I might add, since it appears to not be generally well-known, that when the revolutionary government which preceded Yeltsin took power – which it held only a few days – the KGB commenced 157 investigations into financial misdeeds; ‘economic crimes’, at least two-thirds of which involved joint ventures with foreign firms. Yeltsin’s triumph put a block on them all before they could get much beyond identifying some suspects.

      “Gorbachev was cautious about the plan when Yavlinsky first presented it last spring, while Yeltsin backed it. His biggest task will be to restore some value to the discredited Soviet currency. Says Robert Hormats, former U.S. assistant secretary of state and now vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International: ”The reformers must use the next month or two to lay out the fundamental pieces of a price and currency reform program.” So far, Yavlinsky has kept quiet about what he will do. Western diplomats expect that he will move quickly to slash government spending, legalize private property, and abandon price controls. The goal would be to restore value to the wounded ruble so that it can be made convertible with the dollar and other hard currencies. Says one diplomat: ”There are no more ideological hang-ups. Now they can at least get the laws in place and start working on the hard part — implementation.” Under the Harvard plan, all of these Soviet steps would be accompanied by heavy U.S. and European aid.”

      Privatize, abolish price controls, borrow huge amounts from the IMF and World Bank. Certainly sounds a recipe for success…but…I have this nagging sense that I have heard the formula before…


    2. I have to say the one provision in the new constitution I dislike, and where i agree with your wife—clearly a wise woman—is the citizenship provision.

      I am not sure how many PMs we might have lost but we would have lost Michaëlle Jean & Adrienne Clarkson as GG’s. I am a bit neutral on Jean but Clarkson seems to have done some good work. Showing up in Afghanistan while we had troops there was a plus for me.
      I thought that having Cdn Forces there was a horrible idea, but recognising their service was appropriate for the CinC.


      1. I liked Adrienne Clarkson as a presence and as a speaker. What I liked considerably less was the expense of keeping her, extending to long after she left the position, taking into account her expensive junkets around the world with a full staff of retainers. She has billed the taxpayers more than a million dollars in administrative expenses since she left office in 2005, to the tune of $100,000.00 a year or more. Her salary when she wound up her term of service was $137,500.00 a year, tax-free, and she receives a pension based on that figure. And claims over $100,000.00 a year in expenses on top of it. She must have quite a shoe collection.


  10. TheFederalist: Schiff Learned Of Russian ‘Bounty’ Intelligence In February, Withheld Information From Congress, And Took No Action

    Schiff demands the Trump administration brief all of Congress about the unverified allegations, yet he himself did not ask for a briefing following the February briefing of his own staff.

    …As chairman of the intelligence committee, Schiff had the authority to immediately brief the full committee and convene hearings on the matter. Schiff, however, did nothing. He did not brief his committee on the matter, nor did he brief the gang of 8, which consists of top congressional leadership in both chambers….

    It yet again goes to show how the Dems dirty tricks can compete with that of the Repubs. Will the US media ignore this or just move on to another story?


  11. Euractiv: MEPs alarmed by ‘politically motivated persecution’ in Ukraine

    “We are alarmed by continuous attempts to misuse the Ukrainian justice system for politically motivated persecution of political opponents,” said lawmakers from the informal Friends of European Ukraine group in a statement on Friday (3 July).

    After the peaceful power transition of 2019 election in the post-Soviet country, “current attempts to prosecute political opponents pose a risk of democratic backsliding,” the group of MEPs added.

    Ukraine’s former president, Petro Poroshenko, is suspected of abuse of office by illegally pressuring the then-chief of Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Yehor Bozhok, into appointing Serhiy Semоchko as his deputy.

    Poroshenko is involved in 24 investigations, with three others recently closed, and denies any wrongdoing, calling the probes selective justice ‘at the orders of [Volodymyr] Zelensky’, the current president….

    …The 50-member group, which does not have formal standing, was created in September last year with the goal of providing political support and to promote Ukraine’s economic integration with the EU…

    Unfortunately there is more at the link except the names of MEPs.

    A Ukrainian oligarch has his own MEP lobby group! Why should we be surprised? I can’t find a list of members (this is not the old 2014-19 group and this European Parliament page has not been updated with the new group of the same name) but Auštrevičius is the chaiman. There’s also the Friends of Ukraine with the like of Fogh Rasmussen, Versbow, Rifkind, Cox, Bildt etc. on the Rasmussen site.

    No matter how corrupt, murderous or just plain nasty, it is more important to keep the u-Kraine close to the EU, close to NATO etc. for strategic purposes. It’s just another western chapter of looking the other way for their ‘son of a bitches.’


  12. They missed “short list”.

    Twitter’s engineering team will systematically purge a list of offensive terms from its source code and internal documents in the name of political correctness. Terms like “master” and “slave” will go, as will gendered pronouns.

    “We’re starting with a set of words we want to move away from using in favor of more inclusive language,” Twitter Engineering announced on Wednesday.

    Among the terms to be terminated are “whitelist” and “blacklist,”“master” and “slave,” which will be replaced with “allowlist” and “denylist,” and “leader” and “follower” respectively. Gendered pronouns such as “guys” will be swapped for gender-neutral terms like “folks” and “y’all,” while the terms “man hours” and “grandfathered” will have their patriarchal connotations expunged, and will be replaced with “person hours” and “legacy status.” Even “dummy value” was deemed offensive.


    1. All the more reason Twitter can go fuck itself. I have a Twitter account, but almost never use it, and only created it so I could respond to things that really make me mad. Since then almost everyone I strongly dislike has banned me anyway, so if they want to go to Ze and Zir and Zippity Fuckin’ Doo Da, it’s no bother for me. But if they are really serious in their busybody political correctness, they are embarking on a path which will eventually make the English language almost unrecognizable. “Master” is a useful and common verb – I hope one day to master the knots used in rigging – as well as an adjective: he is a master of the instrument.

      Sort of unsurprising for the country that claims to be the last word in free speech, though. One wonderful day the only words allowed to be used in any questionnaire sent around by your employer will be “I approve”, and anything you say will be changed to that by software.


  13. Goodness! The quivering jelly formerly known as Chancellor Of The Free World has shown potential indications of still having a spine in it somewhere.

    “We think that extraterritorial sanctions, like the ones imposed by the US, do not match our understanding of what is legal. This concerns the currently debated second tier. We must admit this is complicating the construction. We believe that completing this project would be the right thing to do and we will act accordingly,” she said in parliament.

    I would venture to guess that the motivation for her outburst was not the imposition of the sanctions itself, but a back-channel attempt to find common ground which failed. Americans always think if you try to negotiate, you’re weak. That’s why they learn so many lessons the hard way.

    Maybe she should send a diplomatic note which reads, “Oh, and those planned LNG terminals? Ha, ha, ha! Not if the world were flooded with piss and you lived in a tree.”


  14. Суд одобрил повторный запрос у США снимков с места крушения MH17
    RT на русском, 3 июля 2020

    Court has given approval for a re-request to the United States for images of the MH17 crash site
    RT in Russian, July 3, 2020

    The Netherlands court has called the proposal to re-appeal to the United States about satellite images from the crash site of a Malaysian Boeing in eastern Ukraine in 2014 justified.

    This was reported by RIA Novosti with reference to the presiding judge Hendrick Steenheys.

    According to him, interest in viewing satellite images and introducing them to the case is obvious.

    “The court notes that since the autumn of 2016, the prosecutor’s office has not made any attempts to verify whether these images can be made public as part of the criminal process. A second request would be reasonable”, said the judge.

    It is noted that at past hearings, lawyers asked to make a second request to the United States about satellite data that allegedly recorded the launch of a missile on Boeing flight MH17.

    Earlier, the Dutch prosecutor Theis Berger, said that the Ukraine had not provided primary data from radars for the case concerning the downing of the Malaysian Boeing.

    The Boeing 777, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17, 2014 in the Donetsk region of the Ukraine, killing 283 passengers and 15 crew members.


    1. However, in RBK, 3rd July, 18:48:

      A Dutch court has denied MH17 crash lawyers a second request for satellite data from NATO. This was announced by the presiding judge Hendrick Steenhuis reports RIA Novosti.

      Earlier, on June 29, Dutch lawyer for the accused Oleg Pulatov, Baudewein van Eyck, stated that NATO has not provided satellite data from the crash site. In this regard, he asked the court to find out whether the North Atlantic Alliance has relevant records for the eastern Ukraine zone on July 17, 2014. The court, in turn, recalled that it had already made such a request and the response said that no data was recorded from the crash site of flight MH17.

      “We conclude that NATO does not have such data … So the second request was rejected,” the judge explained at the July 3 hearing.

      A stitch-up or what?


        1. But on the other hand:

          A Dutch court investigating the downing of MH17 has agreed to hear from Almaz-Antey, a Russian arms manufacturer, which argues that the prevailing Western narrative – that rebels in eastern Ukraine shot down the plane – is false.

          The hearing in Badhoevedorp, Netherlands says it will explore alternative scenarios in the high-profile trial, in which four anti-Kiev fighters stand accused of using a Russian anti-aircraft missile to destroy the civilian plane, killing 283 passengers – mostly Dutch – and 15 crew on board.


      1. Crash site, crash site, crash site. We don’t give a flip about the crash site; it has been done to death. What Kerry claimed, and never, ever substantiated in any way whatsoever other than non-stop allusion to having the information amongst its mountains of evidence, was that the USA had remotely observed the taking of the shot, and had seen the where and the when of its origin, and seen the very moment the airliner disappeared from radar. NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE CRASH SITE. The dispute does not revolve around whether or not the aircraft crashed, or where, but who shot it down and from where the shot originated. The USA claimed to know – and be able to prove conclusively – both those things. It manifestly is not going to do so no matter how many requests are floated, because if the Dutch thought there was any hope of proving the case to that level of certainty, the prosecution would never have embarked on its ridiculous strategy of ‘conditional intent’.

        I think it is at least possible if not probable that the USA did record something, or bought it from Digital Globe and now is sitting on it. I personally think the USA knows full well that Ukraine was probably or even definitely responsible, and is deliberately blocking that discovery. It is at least possible that this trial is all about a verdict of ‘Guess we’ll never know’, so people will stop digging. But I’m sure they would still like a conviction of some Russians if it looked like they could pull it off.


    2. The entire trial, and indeed the investigation which preceded it, has been an attempt to push a narrative in which first the investigators and then the officers of the court have stated ‘facts’ which are not in evidence. On occasion persons have claimed to have seen the evidence themselves, and satisfied themselves that it invites the conclusion they have arrived upon, and have asked to be believed on the strength of their reputations because the evidence cannot be made publicly available. Sometimes this has been difficult to grant because no such reputation for veracity is present, and sometimes because the scenario the missing evidence purports to tie together is so plainly ludicrous and/or biased toward or away from certain conclusions that it is broadly unacceptable. Anyway, I think it is fair to say that there is little we can claim we ‘know’.

      One think I believe we do ‘know’ is that if the United States had some slam-dunk evidence which would prove east-Ukrainian militias shot down MH17, regardless by design or by mistake, the United States would find a way to make that evidence available, and would have done so long since. It is so clearly in its own interests to make this case, simultaneously removing all doubt that its loyal ally – Ukraine – was not responsible, and so many examples exist of the United States flinging aside its own rules when doing so served its interests, that it is impossible to believe conclusive satellite evidence exists which proves what they say it does, but modesty and concerns for national security prohibit showing it. Similarly, if actual US government satellite data showed the movement of a single Buk TELAR from Kursk to eastern Ukraine and back again at the time of the disaster, it would be in every newspaper. Instead, we get limited hangouts and photoshops from Bellingcat, which has turned out to be a nice little earner for Higgins and like-minded computer nerds.

      I believe, but cannot prove yet, that an ATC is not allowed to assume control of an aircraft in his/her airspace if no primary radar is available – something which has long bothered me is Ukraine’s cheeky assurance that it cannot supply any electronic data because no primary radars were available, and the west’s no-problem acceptance of this excuse. If no primary radar is available, the ATC actually has no video contact with the aircraft; Automatic Dependent Surveillance- Broadcast (ADS-B) consists of the aircraft determining its own position relative to everything else, and broadcasting it to the ground. The ATC must, armed with this information, provide guidance on altitude and course which will not take the aircraft he/she is controlling too close to other aircraft operating in the same airspace. There are rules on acceptable separation with/without primary radar, and obviously when the ATC cannot see the aircraft on his/her own radar, greater separation is necessary for safety. Other aircraft were operating in proximity, and there was speculation at the time that one or more of them might have seen the flare from the explosion, but I forget now how far away each was and am too lazy to look it up. Anyway, separation between aircraft in the best conditions, when you have primary radar contact and can see raw video on your scope, and secondary broadcast (because primary radar does not give identification or altitude) is five miles ahead on the aircraft’s course and three miles to each side.

      ICAO PANS-ATM (Doc.4444, Chapter 8) details radar separation minima of five (5) and three (3) nautical miles. These minima allow for a considerable increase in airspace utilisation compared to procedural control. Changes to ICAO documents are about to be published (2007) recognising ADS-B use to support 5 nautical mile separation standards. ICAO’s Separation & Airspace Safety Panel (SASP) is working on proposals to allow 3 nautical mile separation standards using ADS-B and also on the use of multilateration to support both 3 and 5 nautical mile separation standards.

      Click to access gmst_technology.pdf

      Early in the investigation of the incident, within a day or two, alert observers claimed Ukraine had given MH17 an ordered course correction which took it directly over the DNR. There was some talk about a altitude reduction as well, but I can’t find any reference to that now. There was immediate pushback from Ukraine’s defenders, so,me saying the course correction was just an urban legend and had never happened, some that MH17 had itself requested a course change due to weather, etc… Whatever the case, the information was expunged from FlightRadar and other sites which provide it in the public domain, although there are many screen captures of it as it appeared at the time – people have learned that sensitive information has a way of vanishing from the internet as if it had never been.

      Perhaps you can give course corrections to aircraft that you cannot see on radar, but it would be an act of faith that their broadcast data is accurate, and you must observe proper flight separation; the five-and-three rule applies to separation of aircraft that you can see on radar. So what I am saying is that if MH17’s separation from other flights did not exceed five miles to the front and rear and three miles to either side, either the Ukrainian controller had primary radar available and could see MH17, or else he/she was controlling in violation of ICAO rules.

      So, as to the satellite data which would reveal who shot down MH17, there are two alternatives I can see; one, the USA has no such data, and John Kerry was full of shit as usual, just grandstanding. Two, they do have such information, but it reveals a scenario drastically different to the one in the official narrative. Whatever the case, if the USA could prove beyond a doubt that Eastern-Ukrainian militia using a single Buk TELAR provided by Russia shot down the aircraft from the vicinity of Schnizne, and then booked it back to Russia with all reasonable dispatch, all the while firing off frantic radio messages to one another, there is nothing which would stop them from providing it. People already have a pretty good idea what is possible through satellite photography and analysis, what resolution is achievable and how easy it is to interpret what is revealed, and it’s pretty hard to believe America is playing coy because it has unearthly technological capabilities which must remain secret even if it means murderers go free.

      I’m afraid I still think the Dutch have their minds made up, and have done from the first, who is going to be awarded responsibility, and are now just going through the motions of being scrupulously fair; they would not accept Russia’s primary radar data or insisted it shows nothing useful, supported the Ukrainian view that data held by Russia which shows the missile the Ukies are exhibiting as the murder weapon was transferred to Ukraine many years ago and never returned to Russia is forged or faked, ignored the impossibility of parts from such a missile being found ‘at the crash scene’ or ‘in the wreckage’ because the missile responsible would have exploded by proximity fuse without ever touching the airliner, except for the shrapnel from the warhead – the missile parts would have fallen to earth miles away, where the aircraft was hit and not where it landed. The premise of now exploring ‘alternative scenarios’ just looks like window-dressing to me, and I think it should be regarded with the greatest suspicion.

      The title of the linked article implies the Dutch will seek ‘images of the crash site’ from the Americans. We have seen images of the crash site up the yingyang. What we need to see is imagery of the missile shot being taken, and from where it originated plus any detail visible of the system which fired it.


      1. I seem to recall that it was reported that the ATC audio tapes were taken by ‘armed men’ shortly after the event but no mention of radar tapes:

        …The BBC reported on July 17th:

        “Ukraine’s SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency.”…

        The link above of course doesn’t work but this one from the 16:38.18 snapshot does (so take a screenshot!):

        15:29: Ukraine’s SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency.


        1. Ummm…how does that square with reports that examination of the Cockpit Voice Recorder on the downed flight revealed ‘nothing useful’. and there being nothing on it – no audio – for some four minutes (just guessing, I would have to look it up again, somewhere on Helmer’s site) following a routine positional update? What would be the point of confiscating voice records of communications between the ATC and the aircraft from one end if they had a recording in full from the other, the receiving end?

          Unless, of course, there was something on it you felt you could safely remove, considering no other record of it remained.

          I believe the report of armed men seizing the ATC recordings was first offered by ‘Carlos’, the mystery ATC whose every appearance is greeted with yodels of joy by Matt, our former Venezuela correspondent, who claims that Carlos was conclusively and irrefutably proven not to exist, being a complete fabrication by Russia. So it’s kind of complicated. The only thing I could say about it at this point would be that if it actually was done by Ukraine and was not a planned provocation but an accident, the speed and efficiency with which the global PR apparatus swung into action was awe-inspiring. If it was planned and executed by Ukraine, it was such a cold-blooded act that they would never live it down if it were exposed. But how likely is it that either Ukraine or Russia accidentally shot it down, and in only minutes, goons broke into the control tower and seized the recordings? If that ever actually happened, it would be a critical piece of evidence arguing that the shooting-down of MH17 was a carefully-planned provocation by Ukraine. They certainly would not seize recordings required by law to be retained as part of an investigation in order to protect Russia. The sole explanation for such behavior, if it could ever be proven to have happened, would be to prevent one’s own implication in the crime. And it could never have happened so quickly by happenstance – it would have to be part of a plan.


        2. A couple of interesting things from the Malaysian statement: one, it affirms that Ukraine ordered a descent in altitude from 35,000 ft to 33,000 ft. Two, it affirms the aircraft was at all times within airspace which had been cleared by the ICAO. If true, not only Ukraine is to blame for not closing the airspace over a war zone.

          I don’t see anything between 16:37 and 16:41. Are you talking about the live feed record?

          When the US State Department was not yet even sure if any Americans had been aboard, Sammy Power was already saying it was a surface-to-air missile that brought down the plane, and there was already language being used which said “a Russian missile system or supplied by Russia”. In retrospect, it kind of looks like a plan, doesn’t it? Similarly, all early statements said that if the plane had been shot down, it was ‘an unspeakable crime’. There was never any question of it being an accident.

          At 03:13 the narrative says “Data on MH17’s flight route by flightradar24 suggests the plane had deviated slightly from its usual route and flew across the length of Ukraine.” “Flightradar24” is a hotlink, but if you click it you learn that Googlemaps has disabled the feed and the data is not recoverable.

          Wow; spooky; at 04:05 the feed says “Aviation website says in a Facebook post that MH17’s plane crashed exactly 17 years after its first flight.” First time I’d ever heard that.

          All through the narrative are regular intercessions by the Americans, the British and the Australians to reiterate that it was a horrible murder and that Russia is responsible.

          Mmmm…interesting – in reference to my earlier statement that if you had the tapes you would know what could safely be removed from the CVR once it was located, this report reflects that several news sites including the BBC mentioned the ATC tapes being seized by the SBU. At one point, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Malaysia Ihor Humennyi said “it is just the same as the flight data and cockpit voice recorders”.

          Oh, okay – now I see it. 15:28. I was looking at 16:38. “Ukraine’s SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency.” But Matt has told us several times that is all bullshit concocted by the now-proven-to-have-never-existed ‘Carlos’.


          1. I think ‘Carlos’ claimed to be ATC at Kiev Borisopol and I also doubt he was what he said he was:


            It happens to all of us, no? But, being right once doesn’t verify all the other opinions of that person. Remember he frequently refused to admit he was wrong and would accuse others of deliberately misinterpreting what he wrote, which was very odd as his english was quite good. He was quite the Princess because that is how he behaved, petulant, childish, priviliged, and never, ever wrong. Or in short, a troll, which is why I never engaged with him(?).


            1. If the whole thing was a wicked plan and an influence operation – quite a step, I think you’ll agree, because it involved real people and state property of a foreign country, so if exposed it could never be explained away – then a fake insider is just the sort of thing you would introduce early, because when the fakery was exposed it would discredit all other suspicions as well. I vaguely remember ‘Carlos’ being in direct communication with The Saker during that time period, and I’m almost positive I remember seeing the announcement – ostensibly from him – that government goons were breaking into the tower and confiscating records even as it was allegedly happening, like minutes after the aircraft disappeared from radar. I believe it was in the comments, you’d have to go back and look at his posts from that time period, if they’re still there. That would obviously imply a planned operation. But Boryspil was not controlling the Boeing at the time it disappeared; Dnipropetrovsk was, and in only minutes it would have been handed over to Russia.


    1. Whatever happened to the “East of Suez” policy — better said: “No East of Suez Policy”?

      After the 1956 Suez fuck up, I thought the UK had decided to pull its horns in as regards further ventures east, leaving Uncle Sam and its Australian satrap to contain the Sleeping Dragon.


        1. That dickhead Gavin “go-away-Russia-and-shut-up”Williamson must be back in the running for Foreign Secretary.

          When he was defence minister, he was after sending the Royal Navy to the China Sea to show them pesky Chinks what’s what.

          He must have been bedazzled by that whooping great sitting duck of an aircraft carrier that has no aircraft, HMS Queen Elizabeth II, when he dreamed that idea up.

          The Defence Secretary says the UK could establish new military bases in the Caribbean and the Far East.

          Gavin Williamson has told the Sunday Telegraph it would allow Britain to become a “true global player” following Brexit.

          Mr Williamson said: “I am very much looking at how we can get as much of our resources forward based, actually creating a deterrent but also taking a British presence.

          “We are looking at those opportunities not just in the Far East but also in the Caribbean as well.”

          He said he expected a dramatic shift in political focus after Brexit – with the UK building deeper relationships with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Caribbean states and nations across Africa.

          Mr Williamson predicted these countries would look to the UK for “the moral leadership, the military leadership and the global leadership”.

          He said Britain should be “much more optimistic about our future as we exit the European Union.

          He further added:

          “This is our moment to be that true global player once more – and I think the armed forces play a really important role as part of that”.

          Williamson is now education minister.

          “Rule Britannia!” Gavin, you arsehole!


          1. I say “back in the running for foreign secretary” as I think he might have had dreams of being such. As it happens, his intellectual superior, Boris Johnson, got the job.

            On 11 February 2019, Williamson delivered the speech “Defence in Global Britain” at the Royal United Services Institute outlining the future direction of the British armed forces. The speech, among other things, outlined plans to send Britain’s new aircraft carrier to the Pacific; the Chinese Government in turn cancelled trade talks with Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and prompted Hammond to state that the decision to deploy the aircraft carrier was premature.

            On 15 March 2018, in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning, Williamson answered a question about Russia’s potential response to the UK’s punitive measures against Russia by saying that “frankly, Russia should go away, and it should shut up”. Meanwhile, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman of the Russian Defence Ministry, said: “The market wench talk that British defence secretary Gavin Williamson resorted to reflects his extreme intellectual impotency”.

            Did Konashenkov really say “market wench” ?

            I don’t think so, but that’s how the UK press quoted the Russian general

            This is what the general said:

            «Риторика базарной хабалки, продемонстрированная сегодня главой британского минобороны Гэвином Уильямсоном, замечательно характеризует крайнюю степень его интеллектуальной импотенции», – заявил Конашенков.

            “The rhetoric of a bazaar shrew, demonstrated today by the head of the British Ministry of Defence Gavin Williamson, perfectly characterizes the extreme degree of his intellectual impotence”, said Konashenkov.

            I wonder what Russian for “gobshite” is?


            From my Russian dictionary:

            Хабалка – это грубая, наглая, вульгарная женщина. Современный толковый словарь русского языка

            Khabalka – a rude, arrogant, vulgar woman. Modern explanatory dictionary of the Russian language



          2. Moral leadership – ah ha ha ha hahahahaha!!!

            Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Williamson – you were serious.

            Britain does not have the money for any of those trappings of empire – has it not been on an austerity budget for ages? Who in their right mind wants to host British military bases abroad when it guarantees meddling and intrigue with no commensurate trade perks?


      1. NAO raises concerns about missing Carrier Strike components

        The UK National Audit Office (NAO) has released a report on the Royal Navy’s plans for Carrier Strike, raising concerns about the lack of support ships and slow progress on critical systems needed for the Carriers to function to their full capabilities.

        And don’t forget this bit of exceptional British planning:

        Daily Fail: HMS Hopeless: £1bn Royal Navy warship has spent FOUR YEARS stuck in port because of engine problems and a shortage of sailors

        HMS Dauntless spent 4 years in port due to engine problem and sailor shortage

        Warship cost £1billion and has been sitting in port since 2016

        Six Type 45 destroyers were at sea for a combined total of 649 days last year

        We covered this already more than once I think. Apparently the RN didn’t tell the contractors that these ships might be operating in warm waters. Personally, I think it was down to penny pinching by the Treasury, just like they did with the new Astute class SSN’s* that were designed for newer small NPPs but had to have the older, larger PWR2 NPP from the Vanguard SSBN class shoehorned in to it giving it a ‘bubble butt’ and thus being about 30% larger than it would have been otherwise.



    2. According to Stalker Zone, it is China which has taken the first concrete step toward war.

      It’s not very well substantiated, though. I think that after the adoption of the Hong Kong security Law, China will again maintain an unobtrusive presence and try to let Hong Kong live in peace and relative autonomy for so long as it does not see any indications of foreign meddling and opposition astroturfing. If it does, it now has an instrument to smoothly move in and shut it down. Ditto Chinese criminals committing crimes and then fleeing to Hong Kong, which was the original issue if anyone remembers.

      China is convinced, I believe, of the inevitability of closer ties over the long term between mainland China and both Taiwan and Hong Kong, along ethnic lines. The people of both zones are more Chinese than they are anything else, and are therefore far less likely to try a cultural merger with western countries, whom they privately regard as Lands of Baboons just as the Chinese do.

      As far as overt conflict with the west goes, what would be the point of having so many brilliant strategic writers like Sun Tzu counseling patience and the beautiful art of using the enemy’s maneuvers against himself, only to lead a brazen, colourful and well-announced charge that plays directly to his strengths? I think China is far more likely to continue as it has been doing, countering American threatening overtures with trade alliances that undermine American confidence and cockiness and cause it to react with predictably assholeishness, to the disdain and disgust of its former partners. Look how much American global power has eroded in the last decade, since the beginning of the Sino-Russian alliance – more correctly, since America decided it needed a new enemy, and selected Russia and China.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. China wisely picks its battles at its own pace. HK is a very good example. The security law was supposed to be introduced by the HK legislature and as forseen by the Basic Law underpinning the UK-China HK handover, but it never happened. Foreign funded Honkie Hamsters flew out o the gate and howled at the first breath of such a HK origin security law. The HKHamsters took advantage of HK police don’t aggrevate stragegy as weakness and went on to loose their shit in a rage of destroy, destroy, destroy.

        While much of the world’s media was focusing on hte HKHamsters, the rest of the much larger population of older Honkies was watching their younsters attempt to torch the HK economy. That’s the audience for Beijing. It was never going to win over the HKH, so why waste energy and effort to do so. The HKH burned their own bridges, to Beijing in anything other than ‘accept it, or else’ and their parents when Beijing timed the introduction of the law during the the current pandemic. Sometimes the best way to fight a fire is to let it burn itself out first and pick up the pieces later…

        HK is a non-negotiable red-line which is why the west chose it and had their HKH throw themselves in to the firing line. The west insists on prodding China closer to home, but strategically that is where Beijing has the advantage and can close the cauldron at its leisure.

        Asia Times reports* the ASEAN under Vietnam’s current chairship is behaving more decisively and collectively against China’s ‘ambitions in the region’, but I’m not convinced and it is more likely just a blip on the way to the new normal. There is this assumption that China’s Nine Dash line is about taking all the resources rather than keeping the US and the west far from its shores. There really is nothing to stop China giving preferential treatment to its neighbors and fair priced first buy option of energy found there, much in the same way as BP, Exxon, Shell and others operate around the world and profit share with those countries in who’s EEZs they extract. Also, if China offers best price, it can deny those supplies going elsewhere perfectly legally, yet can at as a strategically useful tool.

        As Asia will be driving world growth for the forseeable future (and Africa), then having a peaceful neighborhood is clearly in China’s interests. All the West has is spoiling tactics, and that is precisely what all those sales of long (anti-ship) range missiles etc. to countries like Australia are about, the West’s famous STB (s/t the bed) strategy of if we can’t have it, no-one can and we will walk away and leave it all with you. Kisses.



        1. rather than = and. To be clear, the Nine Dash Line is to keep the US and allies away and benefit from South China Sea resources. I rather mangled the paragraph…


  15. Latest Independent “Premium” shite:

    Russia’s grip on Europe is gradually tightening – we can’t wait for the next attack to do something about it.
    We’re used to hearing about acts that could be pulled straight from an Ian Fleming novel, writes Jack Straw, but there are many worrying developments that you won’t read about in the morning papers

    1 day ago

    In recent days, the BBC’s retelling of the 2018 Salisbury poisoning has gripped millions of British viewers, reminding us of the continued threat from Russian state and non-state actors.

    This despicable act undermined UK-Russia relations like no other event in recent history. Russia has continued to deny any culpability despite the overwhelming evidence. For me, this poisoning symbolises the ever-present threat of Russia’s efforts to destabilise the UK and European Union.

    As foreign secretary at the time of Vladimir Putin’s first state visit to the UK in 2003, I was strongly in favour of ushering in a new era of UK-Russia cooperation. Colin Powell, former US secretary of state, used to say that we must practice progressive realism when it comes to dealing with Russia. That remains my view. Russia continues to be an important international player, in the UN security council and elsewhere, and cannot be wished away. It feels burnt by its pre-invasion cooperation over Iraq, and in respect of the west’s air campaign against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. It continues to cooperate with the UK, France and Germany over the Iran nuclear deal. However, despite high spending on its military, it is no match for the US, which spends 12 times as much, nor China, which spends four times its budget. Russia’s population is declining, and its GDP per head is just 50th in the world. It feels isolated, surrounded by potentially hostile forces, and weak

    A series of the nation’s actions, from its 2008 invasion of Georgia, to the annexation of Crimea, and the murder of 298 civilians with the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, along with those Salisbury poisonings, means that Russia has embarked on actions which collide with western economic and national security interests.

    While many of Russia’s confirmed and suspected acts could be pulled straight from an Ian Fleming novel, there are others which don’t make the cover of the morning papers.

    These include illicit financing and soft loans to increase both control and influence. Few efforts appear excluded from Russia’s playbook, much of it focused on weakening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) and the European Union as a whole.

    In mainland Europe, Nord Stream 2, which will run Russian natural gas to Germany and other EU member states, has been described as a geopolitical project. Once completed, Nord Stream 2 will make Germany an ever bigger European hub for abundant and cheap Russian gas. The numerous European sceptics have even been joined by a bipartisan group of US senators in expressing concern that the gas pipeline weakens European energy security and increases the dependence of western European countries like Germany and Austria on Russian oil and gas.

    Sberbank, which is widely known as “Putin’s bank”, is heavily involved in financing the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. Its Vienna-based subsidiary, Sberbank Europe (SBAG), finances deals across Europe that deepen Russia’s geopolitical sphere of influence.

    A recent example involves one of Austria’s best-known water brands, Gussinger Beverages. The company’s efforts to restructure gave Sberbank its latest foothold, though the investment has been problematic. Gussinger, which was owned by E&A holdings, is now reportedly controlled by Russian oligarch Andrei Kotchetkov, a member of Putin’s inner circle. Senior Austrian political figures such as Franz Loschnak, former minister of interior and Andreas Staribacher, former minister of finance, are involved as board members of the parent company, E&A holdings.

    In 2019, Sberbank Europe sold more than 11 million Euros of E&A debt in Gussinger to Regent Capital, a European investment firm with US shareholders. As part of that transaction, Regent Capital received an E&A collateral package from Sberbank. Gussinger was a significant portion of the package. The collateral is alleged to have been fraudulent, by which the transference of debt coincided with the consolidation of control of the remaining assets.

    Regent Capital has just filed legal proceedings in Austria’s Commercial Court, alleging that Sberbank failed to transfer assets that amount to Sberbank Europe defrauding western investors, a clear example of Russia’s malign influence in Europe. When Russian banks cheat, western companies like Regent Capital lose out.

    The tactics have not gone entirely unnoticed.

    While Sberbank’s transaction was signed off on by Alexander Witte, the chief risk officer who sits on the Board of Directors, Igor Strehl, who was responsible for Sberbank’s lending practices, approved the deal with Regent Capital.

    Strehl is now under investigation by the prosecutor-general’s office in Vienna, while financier Strehl has been accused of peddling “soft loans” across Europe, quasi-official extensions of Russia’s foreign policy. By using Sberbank as a proxy, Russia continues to strengthen its grip on many EU member states, which are traditional UK and US allies.

    Our allies in Vienna have ground to make up in this struggle. Austria was one of just a few EU countries not to expel Russian diplomats over the poisoning in Salisbury. Karin Kneissl, Austria’s foreign minister from 2017-19, invited Putin to her wedding, dancing with him for the cameras as the world looked on.

    Others in Europe have been less accommodating.

    The UK and EU member states need to take a hard line against Russian proxies that seek to do us harm. As a first step, the UK and EU member states like Austria should send a strong signal through both bilateral action and the courts, that Russia’s malign activities, including Moscow’s predatory and mafia-like lending practices, disinformation campaigns and economic warfare are unacceptable.

    If these practices are to continue, then one option would be for all Russian banks to be sanctioned by the EU, the UK and the US, cutting Russia off from European capital markets.

    I have been seated across the negotiating table from Putin at a time when we were able to do serious business with him. But I’m afraid that their current strategy is to exert greater geopolitical influence through a combination of economic and energy initiatives, punctuated by the occasional and often lethal attacks which grab the world’s attention. We should not have to wait for the next attack for Europe’s democracies to come together, enforce the rule of law against Russia and her proxies and stand strong in the face of Moscow’s disruption.

    Jack Straw is a former foreign secretary, justice secretary and home secretary with responsibility for the UK security services.

    Nice one, Jack!



    1. Straw is a barrister: he worked for 2 years in criminal law.

      I’m glad he doesn’t work in Crown Courts now: if he were, he’d be pleading to juries for conviction without evidence, judging by what he has written above.


      1. “Which is widely known as Putin’s bank” — yeah, they call it nothing else here!

        Straw knows fuck all about Russia.

        “Sberbank” (Сбербанк) — initially a contraction of “сберегательный банк” – sberegatel’nyy bank; English: “savings bank”) — is the national savings bank of Russia. It is a state owned bank.

        It is the biggest savings bank in Russia and Eastern Europe and the third largest bank in Europe.

        The majority shareholder of Sberbank is the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, owning 50%+1 voting share of Sberbank’s voting shares. The rest of the shares are dispersed among portfolio, private and other investors with an estimated shareholding of over 43% held by foreigners. By law, the central bank cannot sell its stake in Sberbank, but clearly it must have done so on the sly to the Evil One!

        It is Putin’s bank — everyone knows that, even Jack Straw.

        Vladimir Vladimirovich “l’état, c’est moi” Putin?


    1. Poor old Porky; look at the difference in his jawline in the poster and in his more recent photograph – the poor old lad has lost weight. Must be worry over his wretched wrongdoing being exposed. I’m no fan of Zelensky, but he seems much less obviously on the take than Poroshenko, who continued adding to his comfortable little nest egg the whole time he was president, and doubtless has a solid stable of nice little earners to this day from his acquisitions whilst president. Like the dockyard that builds those snazzy little river patrol boats.


      1. There has been much comment in the Yukietard press about his weight loss. Apparently, he went on an intense “detoxification” course at a Spanish clinic:

        Раскрыт секрет похудения Петра Порошенко

        On that July 2 March attended by many “several thousand”:

        Марш «Национального корпуса»: радикалы помогли Порошенко и Зеленскому


        1. Translation of the above linked article on Porky’s weight loss:

          “” journalists have revealed the secret of former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko’s weight loss. Information appeared on the portal website.

          It turns out that in March the politician spent a week in the Spanish clinic SHA Wellness, where he underwent a detoxification course. Experts say that during the rest period he lost between 10 to 20 kilograms.

          Poroshenko’s treatment included cosmetic rejuvenation procedures, a course of lectures and training, as well as a weight loss programme based on a macrobiotic diet (balanced nutrition, the principle of which is based on the ideas of Taoism — “

          Between 10 and 20 kg?

          Not very precise that, is it?

          SHA Wellness is an “elite” clinic in Alicante, Spain.

          Porky has a villa in Spain.


      2. Poroshenko’s wealth increased by 11% during the last year of his presidency, if I rightly remember, and his bank was the only profitable one in the whole of Banderastan.



    2. Supported by the suspects I posted about earlier, the currently informal MEP grouping ‘Friends of European Ukraine’ and Rasmussen’s ‘Friends of Ukraine.’ You have to admit, Porky has some top-notch supporters!


  16. The British gutter press — is there any worse?

    Sorry! I shall revise that: the British press IS gutter press — all of it!

    Sorry, China! Boris set to unveil MAJOR plan to block Huawei in revenge for China threat
    BORIS Johnson is ready to begin the process to start phasing out the use of Huawei technology in the UK’s 5G network as soon as this year, in what is being seen as a major U-turn.
    02:15, Sun, Jul 5, 2020

    [It is the annoying style of the Express to strew block capitals around its htysterical articles. ]

    GCHQ is understood to have revised its previous assurance that the risks posed by the Chinese technology giant can be safely managed. The Prime Minister will be handed a report this week which will contain new information on the US sanction on Huawei. These measures will force the company to use untrusted technology that could make the risk impossible to control. It comes after China reacted with fury over Boris Johnson’s offer to allow Hong Kong citizens to come to the UK after the new controversial security law was approved last week.

    FURY they say!!!

    It’s a report by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre and has concluded that sanctions, which bar Huawei from using technology relying on American intellectual property have had a “severe” impact on the firm that significantly changes their calculations.

    And will also look to speed up the removal of technology that is already in place.

    Whitehall figures are now also examining the “ramifications” for existing Huawei equipment in other infrastructure outside 5G.

    This is being viewed as a fairly dramatic reversal by the Prime Minister.

    Especially after in January when Boris Johnson allowed Huawei to build parts of the network.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They just need to give themselves a reason, because some people will be bound to inquire timidly, “Yes, but, won’t it be expensive?” Why, yes, it will, Tommy, m’boy – but can you put a price on INTEGRITY?? And probably Canada will go along now that it risks having a different network from everyone else in the west; convincing the principals, the USA and UK was always the linchpin of the problem, and if the UK is going along, we probably will as well, And so the west will end up with an inferior network for a third again the price, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles, innit? Asia and parts of Europe will have a much faster network, which means you can do more with it, and it’ll cost them less, but Nokia and Ericsson will be happy, and Washington will be happy, and that’s all that matters. When you are governed by fatuous fuckheads, you have to expect to end up with inferior products because they were made by THE RIGHT PEOPLE.

      It will make a difference, of course, and Huawei will be disappointed, but it certainly won’t wreck the company, and their smartphones are good enough that they will probably be able to engineer western models which will work with the west’s crappy 5G network and perform as well or better than western designs. Meanwhile, Apple will be as extinct as the dodo in Asia, at least in China. If the west wants to play a game of trading blocs, it will find out soon enough that it has sacrificed all its expansion opportunities, and faces increasingly stiff protectionist competition from its own members. Having dumped China to please America, the west is not going to go all-Apple and risk losing its entire communications system if Washington is angry with it because of something its leader said.


      1. Sanctions…Huawei ban…isn’t that CUTE?? They’re just like a little tiny America!! Before you know it, they’ll be having tailgate parties and NASCAR.

        “This is a clear example of how the UK will act as a force for good in the world, standing up for human rights.”

        Uh huh, sure it is. I’ll give you some free advice – start at home.

        Look at that – the UK finished 169th out of 182. Smokin’. A little bit of work, a nip here and a tuck there, lick of paint, and you’ll be pulling ahead of Yemen and Sudan like they were standing still. How did your enemies do, the ones you’re going to set a human-rights example for? Well, Russia was at 87. That’s…let’s see, my math is a little rusty…82 places ahead of you. Eat a good breakfast, mind; you’ve a busy day ahead. Uh oh; North Korea came in at 111, 58 places ahead of you. Cheer up, though. You were almost as bad as Saudi Arabia; it was a squeaker – they’re ahead by 11 spots.

        Okay, so you have a worse human-rights record than all the countries you’re going to sanction for their poor human-rights record. Never mind, I know – it’s actually just politics, and you’re looking to make a big splash in the papers….there, there. Let’s look on the bright side, hmmm? You actually did very, very well in one area of kid’s rights – Relationships and Sex Education!! That’s important, surely? Never too early to start teaching the kiddies about the pleasure potential in their plumbing, is it? Still not happy? I know – let’s sing a little. Do you know, “Westminster Cathedral”?

        “Westminster Cathedral…you’re bringin’ me down….you stood and you watched as…”

        Well, come on – I feel like I’m carrying the whole thing here.


  17. Further to recent posts about Susan Rice as a potential BiDumb running mate: Susan Rice sees stock rise in Biden VP race

    Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are getting most of the buzz, but former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is also been getting a lot of attention in Joe Biden’s campaign as he considers who to pick as his running mate, sources say…

    I say, is that a cheeky cooking pun squeezed in to the headline? It gets a clap from me if it is intentional!


    1. Why is Elizabeth Warren getting ‘buzz’? I thought Biden promised to choose ‘a woman of colour’. Warren is ‘a woman of no colour’. And by the way, Kamala Harris would be such a disaster as Vice-President that she would possibly match the disaster Biden would be as President. But it would be just like Biden to pick her with the thought in the back of his mind that he might get into her pants. Nobody in their right mind would entertain such thoughts about Susan Rice.


        1. Warren apparently submitted a sample for DNA testing which, according to Wiki, “”strongly support[ed] the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor”, likely “in the range of 6 to 10 generations ago.” That’s still pretty thin, though. The only point in her favour I can think of which might make Biden consider her is that Trump loathes her. And that’s not a very strong endorsement, because Trump really only likes himself. He despises most people, either instantly upon meeting them, or later when he thinks about their encounter and decides they were not sufficiently overwhelmed by him.


  18. MiddleEastEye via Former soldiers angered by UK plans for Iraq war crimes ‘amnesty’

    Overseas Operations Bill amounts to a ‘de facto decriminalisation of torture’ and an effort to draw a line under British forces’ involvement in abuses in Iraq, according to ex-officers


    It looks like a PR problem. The UK retains the right to go to war for ‘Humanitarian purposes’ that just happens to dovetail with its strategic objectives so this law will make the UK look bad and be harder to defened by those ‘charities’ who believe in Humanitarian Intervention(tm), aka do something while ignoring the UK’s ongoing complicity in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide* in places like Yemen… because selling weapons to the Gulf states trumps humanitarian values.

    * Remember kids, the west said and showed (ICTY etc.) that intent does not need to be proved. You only need to believe it.


    1. And here to make it even more farcical.

      al-Beeb s’Allah: UK sanctions regime to target human rights abuser

      The UK will later impose sanctions independently for the first time on dozens of individuals accused of human rights abuses around the world.

      Dominic Raab will name the first violators to have their assets frozen as part of a new post-Brexit regime.

      These are expected to include Russian officials thought to be implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.

      The whistleblower’s maltreatment while in custody has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights.

      In the past, the UK has almost always imposed sanctions collectively as a member of the United Nations or European Union but, after its departure from the EU in January, a new framework is being put in place in UK law….

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The UK is sanctimonious to a fault. The UK says Magnitsky was a crackerjack tax lawyer and whistleblower who exposed a gigantic tax fraud by the Russian government. The Russian government says Magnitsky was a crooked accountant who masterminded a tax-cheat scheme to help a western crook set up tax shelters and buy Gazprom stock at the price accorded to nationals only. The UK has been caught in lie after lie after lie, and the scenarios it has constructed for wrongdoing by Russia on its own soil will barely withstand critical thinking by alcoholics and farmyard animals. Who’s got form here?


  19. Mark Felton Productions
    776K subscribers
    In World War II, the Germans used some Asian soldiers, but did the Japanese employ any Caucasians in its army? Find out the full story here.


    1. «Бог, нация, труд»

      Константин Родзаевский (в центре со скрещенными руками) встречает на Харбинском вокзале лидера российских фашистов в Америке Анастасия Вонсяцкого.


      «Фашист» — слово сегодня нарицательное, горе тому, кого им назовут. В то же время фашизм — это реакция людей на качество жизни, на отношение к ним власть предержащих, это стихийный протест против бесправия и нищеты, только доведённый до абсурда.

      Идея такого протеста существовала и в России. И родилась она на краю страны, в Благовещенске Амурской области. О рождении русского фашизма на Амурской земле в своей книге «Харбин» рассказал амурский писатель и журналист Алексей ВОРОНКОВ.


  20. The Vatican may be the most influential element on US foreign policy, even more so than Israel whose interests are not nearly as global. Via the Saker:

    In can be argued that the Vatican’s interest simply aligns with the “deep state” or it can be argued that the Vatican is part of the deep state. Indeed the Vatican predates the “deep state” by centuries and may be the first transational empire.

    In any case, the Vatican has been the key player in major international operations from Poland to Argentina to S Vietnam. Of course, lets not forget their unforgettable role in WW II and the war against Serbia and the Soviet Union.

    The posted article is well worth the long read. The Vatican has gotten a free pass in the West for far too long with their mass rape of children, organizers of genocide, buddy-buddy with organized crime and crooked bingo operations. Their role in Ukraine was particularly eye-opening for me.

    I would imagine that the Pope is absolutely fuming about that Russian military cathedral. My take? That cathedral was built, in part, as a message to the Holy See that if they mess with Russia or its church, the response will be swift and final.


  21. BBC

    UK to impose sanctions independently for first time
    1 hour ago

    The foreign secretary will name several dozen people who will have their assets in the UK frozen and who will also be banned from entering the country.

    The first list is expected to include individuals from Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea but not, as yet, China.

    Yeah, the UK really is capable of punching above its weight!

    And it can duck and weave to avoid counter punches.


  22. Дания разрешила использовать новые суда для прокладки “Северного потока – 2”

    STOCKHOLM, July 6. / TASS /. At the request of Nord Stream 2 AG, the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has given permission that vessels with anchor positioning be used on an unfinished section of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline southeast of Bornholm Island. This was announced on Monday in a departmental press release.


    1. Ha, ha! I expect the Danes had their wetted finger to the wind, and were reasonably quick to observe Merkel’s kiss-off of the United States when it did the inadvisable, and went ahead with more sanctions to try to prevent completion of the pipeline. Might be too late to start construction this summer, though – we’re into the cod-spawning season now. Maybe they could do part of it at the other end, or something.


      1. The Danes have set August 3rd as the restart date because that’s when the Baltic cod stop doing their thing.


        1. No, not after the spawning season has stopped — I think that must have just been a load of bollocks of an excuse for blocking further work — but when the time allowed for an appeal against the Danish govt decision has elapsed:

          К достройке газопровода приступят после истечения срока обжалования обновленного разрешения Дании — 3 августа.

          The completion of the gas pipeline will begin after the expiration of the appeal period for the renewed Denmark permit — August 3./


  23. Send in the a United States Navy!!!

    Europe must be saved from Russian gas weaponization!

    Let the US freedom gas molecules ring!


  24. Thank you for an informative and entertaining post. The “BoJo Bank” phrase just might catch on! Biden Basement may be another one. Oh, the other day he called himself “Biden’s husband”. I would pay good money for a pay-per-view of him debating a watermelon.


  25. Just finished reading a popular psychology book “The Sociopath Next Door”. Having had a multi-year encounter with a sociopath, I found the book quite enlightening.

    What is relevant here, per the aforementioned book, is that standardized test criteria indicate sociopathic behavior is exhibited by 4% of the US population. In east Asian countries including China and Japan, approximately 0.1% to 0.2% measure as sociopaths. The author was bemused by this as sociopathic behavior is viewed as 50% genetic and the balance environmental. She did attribute much of the difference to the fact that sociopathic behavior is lionized in the Western world (individualism, narcissism, impulsiveness, winning at all costs) while cooperation and community dominate eastern thinking. Essentially, a sociopath does not fare well in those countries while they rise to the top in Western cuntries (that was a typo but decided not to correct). One would imagine that the US is very good at recruiting sociopaths for their various regime change operations.

    The thing about sociopathy is that there is no course of therapy and no drug that can change their behavior. The only recourse is to flee them or, in the case of Eskimo culture, take them to the edge of the ice… (per the book). The current crop of western-recruited Russian dissidents should be handed over to Eskimos for treatment.


    1. Actually, the fact that sociopathic behavior is heavily promoted by the media is a clear indication of the personalities that control the media are, indeed, sociopathic.


  26. “Collapse is an inevitable eventual outcome for all capitalist economies and all growth-driven socialist ones. Infinite economic expansion within a finite physical environment is a concept that is valid only to imbeciles, the insane and Nobel prize-winning economists. The collapse scenario described above is the best-case collapse scenario. Alas, it is not the scenario we presently see unfold in the large developed country that is by far the farthest along on the collapse trajectory—the United States. And so it is time to throw away the rose-colored glasses and look at what the worst-case scenario might look like, informed by a more realistic view of the humans involved, for no natter how sympathetically we attempt to view them, they do not appear to be the sorts of paragons of virtue that would make the best case collapse scenario possible.”

    That second line is a keeper; “Infinite economic expansion within a finite physical environment is a concept that is valid only to imbeciles, the insane and Nobel prize-winning economists.”


  27. Russian Aviation Insider: Domestic traffic through Russia’s St. Petersburg airport recovers completely

    Pulkovo claims to outperform London’s Heathrow, Munich and Oslo in July so far

    …In the first three weeks of July the airport handed over 400,000 domestic travelers, level with the same period of last year. According to the airport’s operator Northern Capital Gateway (NCG), the most popular destinations in July were Black Sea resorts Simferopol, Sochi, Krasnodar and Anapa, as well as Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Mineralnye Vody and Chelyabinsk.

    In May and June Pulkovo ranked among Europe’s 10 largest airports in Europe by passenger numbers, according to Airports Council International (ACI). In May, the airport handled 136,355 passengers ranking eighth largest. In July, NCG claims, Pulkovo outperformed London’s Heathrow, Munich and Oslo as its traffic exceeded 435,000 passengers..


    1. In a typical year, April and May have, on average, about 2.4 million air travel passengers per day [in the US]. But, for the week ended April 17, 2020, the count was only 95,161 per day. The week ended May 17, the count was 212,580 per day.

      So, the air travel rate in the US has fallen 92% but Russian domestic travel at some airports is back to normal virtually guaranteeing a massive spread of the Virus. Yet, Russia seems to have suffered far less from the Virus. The Virus is a fickle thing – picking on the US for some reason.


  28. Russian Aviation: Gazpromneft-Aero Implements a Digital Aviation Fuel Accounting System

    …“The new accounting system reduces refueling time by an average of 10% and improves control over fuel operations on the airport apron. We see great potential for the development of online services and are working to create a unified digital ecosystem of aviation fuel supply, which will include technological solutions developed by our specialists. We are confident that the unified intelligent platform will increase the efficiency of our work with our airline partners all over the world”, said Vladimir Yegorov, CEO of Gazpromneft-Aero.

    The company plans to launch a similar system at the international airports of Novosibirsk, Murmansk, Ulyanovsk, Chita, Saratov and other cities…

    Plenty of detail at the link.


  29. Were there unknown yet highly advanced civilizations lost in deep time? Were the Uke’s the progenitor of all that is good and mighty in human civilization? Somehow, this fascinating video on the topic of lost civilizations failed to mention the highly likely central role played by the Ukes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s