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 OilPrice.com, 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. KER-POW! ZAAAP! THWAT!

    You are on fine form Mark! I think we can all be grateful that the United States is so free with absurd abundant opinions from ‘people who know’ to keep us entertained long in to the future.

    So, as you point out no mention of MH-17, Crimea & the Ukraine? Is this Victoria at her magnanmous best? If Russia acceds to western wishes, the latter will promise – maybe – to lay off Russia for an inderterminate time, usually until it can go down to the garden and find another stick to beat it with!

    So why has Tricky Vicky popped up now? The most logical conclusion is this years Prezidential erections. She’s staking her claim of ‘Pick me! Pick me!’ in the event of a democrat winning the booby prize (like you, I think this erection is for t-Rump to lose).

    But, it’s just more of the same. They’ve all (Dem/Rep) got a one-track mind: Russia must [please fill in this blank].

    One interesting thing that has popped up is that another split is opening up in the Democratc party. Younger, new generation Democratic progressives are challenging for their seat at the table (i.e. getting rid of Ellion Engel) and are supported by the likes of Elizabeth Warren, the incumbents supported by the likes of Hillary Clinton. Is this the first step of party regeneration after the successful STOP BERNIE campaign? I hope so, but political corruption is so well entrenched that’s it’s hard to believe anything will change short of an absolute disaster.

    Politico: ‘We just need a win’: The left unites to take down Eliot Engel
    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/16/eliot-engel-progressives-election-324102

    The Washington Times: AOC blueprint: Leftist challenge to ‘old guard’ Democrat illustrates fight for
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jun/16/jamaal-bowman-bid-unseat-eliot-engel-follows-aoc-b/

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    1. I agree, Tricky Vicky must be angling for the US State Secretary’s job if Creepy Uncle Joe wins the election.

      Thanks for another great article, Mark. 🙂

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      1. Thanks, Jen! And yes, that’s a possibility – in fact, getting her foreign-policy chops out front just before the election is fairly good strategy, when you think about it; never hurts to remind the politicos that they have a bona-fide expert only a phone call away. But I found the omission of the issues I mentioned extremely significant; it certainly wasn’t her memory. Now I think about it, did she mention election interference? The things that are being dropped might well signal a refocusing of priorities in the event of a Democratic win. Not because the Democrats no longer believe them, but because they have become unsustainable as causes and rallying points. MH-17 is demonstrably impossible to prove to the required standard without resorting to lies which are continually and increasingly challenged, with commensurate increased demands for public records, Russia is plainly and resolutely immovable on Crimea, the election-meddling story is becoming the joke of the century, and Ukraine is a bubbling mess. Perhaps there has been a political decision to stop talking about them, and just let them fade away. Alternatively, this might be just Nuland’s own maneuvering. She is venal but certainly not stupid.

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    2. Thanks, Al!! This time around, you can’t go wrong with a black candidate, and ‘rooting out systemic racism’ has joined ‘;protecting Israel’ on the checkoff list of must-supports. But in order to implement any of their allegedly-ambitious agenda, the Democrats must win the presidency, and so long as they insist on running…all right, too strenuous; walking Uncle Joe, they will lose. Maybe they have a last-minute surprise brewing, but I frankly doubt it. As long as Hillary lives, the Democratic party will be too arrogant to imagine itself losing, and it will always be a bitter and traumatic surprise – how could our people do this to us?

      Besides, political history since and including George W. Bush has so thoroughly damaged the office of President of the United States that it will never recover. Bush started it, in my opinion, with his obvious pride in having achieved the office despite being rated an underachiever by his teachers. Ronald Reagan turned out as dotty as a box of Smarties, but his supporters could honestly argue the man was gravely ill with a debilitating disease the made him increasingly live in unreliable memory. George Bush was congenitally stupid, and proud of it, having successfully triumphed over the despairing efforts of some of the finest institutions of higher learning in the world to teach him anything. Obama was indeed, in the end, the empty suit his detractors – not least of all Hillary Clinton herself – billed him, although it wasn’t too obvious until his second term. But the legal wrangling surrounding Clinton was, I believe, unprecedented for a politician in the sense of how deeply the public got involved and how polarizing a figure she became as a result. The Nixon hearings were nothing compared with it; it appeared to be out of the public’s depth, and they were mostly confused about the charges and glad to let the legal beagles handle it. Everybody had an opinion on Benghazi, and on the illegal email server and the deliberate blocking of Sanders’ candidacy so as to clear the field for Clinton, and as a consequence Clinton went into the election one of the two most despised people in America. The other won, and now daily astounds his critics with some new depth of idiocy, squabbling on Twitter with whatever citizen chooses to engage him, and being assessed by one of his own state governors, publicly and in writing, as incompetent to lead. There is no path back from this Roman circus to a time of decorum and implied respect, restraint and reluctance to slander the highest office in the land where foreigners may hear. Part of being American now is just opening the front of your head and spewing abuse about the figures in national politics you hate the most.

      The Democratic party is not ‘progressive’. I don’t know why they even include that as a rating category. American infrastructure did not suddenly begin to decay when Trump took office, but Obama could always find money for more drones and more weapons and more war, and many times turned his much-touted oratorical skills on Russia just because it was good politics, not because there was any truth to it. Excepting only fiscal responsibility – increasingly irrelevant when your debt is bigger than your GDP – and a few hobbyhorse issues like immigration, there is virtually no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.

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      1. Don’t forget Clinton coming under ‘sniper fire in Sarajevo! She has COMBAT EXPERIENCE(TM).

        As long as Hillary lives..

        Sounds like the beginning of a Chicago crime novel, or maybe a play. Probably a farce.

        Imagine the scene in Democrat Mansion, a vast 18 century complex hiding a secret that it was built by slave money. The Lady of the house ‘Dame Hilarious’ – not known for her humor – swans about in a long chiffon dress holding an ever full glass of champagne whilst her courtiers fuss and follow her past dusty portraits of former leaders on the wall, covered in abundant cobwebs. She barks orders. She will be obeyed.

        Wandering about the house, only at night from suitable ladies bedroom to bedroom via the house’s secret back passages is her husband, The ‘Willymeister’, sporting easy to remove velcro clothing, only adding to the creaking and light screams of delight in the house at night

        In the east wing, a white haired grandpa known as ‘NCS (Not Colonel Saunders)’ is banging his desk for the thousandth time asking his hamsters why the f/k he isn’t Democrat nominee for President and talking of plots. One of the hamsters tells him that he’s heard of a guy who knows three witches…

        In the bath is ‘Mr. Bidet’, chosen Democrat nominee, attended by a young comely nurse who’s single job is to stop him from hanging himself in public, metaphorically or literally. She sits near him in her underwear because he demands it and calls her miss because he can never remember her name. She is in fact employed by a cabal of shady weapons makers and men with V-shaped mustaches. She will, at a moment’s notice, pull the rug out from her ward’s feet and cause him to slip and die in a tragic accident, if and when it is called for.

        And here’s the rub. Everyone is in limbo as long as Dame Hilarious is around. Cue plotting, parties, lots of sex, money under the table, CIA/DIA/NSA/TLA and it all wraps up on Groundhog Day!

        Any suggestions are welcome!

        Like

        1. I love it! I nominate Carol Burnett to play Dame Hilarious; she already has some experience playing a southern belle, in “Went With The Wind”, in which she starred as Miz Scarlett.

          Like

          1. Then there’s One Eye’d (‘I bring peace but I’m packin’ for war’) Liz, elder Dem stateslady who is not actually one-eyed, rather a strategist who deigns The Time Has Come (a fact’s a fact, it belongs to them, let’s give it back). She packs two six-shooters and always has plenty of bullets, but doesn’t waste any.

            Like

  2. al-Beeb s’Allah: Canada loses out to Ireland and Norway in Security Council vote
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53087650

    …It lost out to Ireland and Norway for the two “Western bloc” seats

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invested heavily in the campaign, employed 13 full-time staff and invited diplomats to a Celine Dion concert in New York. ..

    …Norway secured 130 votes, while Ireland got 128 and Canada managed just 108.

    India ran unopposed to win in the Asia-Pacific region, while Mexico also ran unopposed.

    The terms for new members start on 1 January 2021…

    …This is the second time in a row Canada has lost its bid for a UN Security Council seat.

    When the former Conservative government lost the race in 2010, the then-opposition Liberals were among the critics calling it an embarrassing failure on the world stage.

    They said it was the result of a disregard for multilateralism and engagement…

    ####

    Not even the mighty Celine Dion could cloud voters judgment that picking Canada would effectively give the US another vote due to the implementation of ex-FM Chrystia Freedland’s key ‘USA! USA! USA! First!’ foreign policy. If the US is the Titanic, Chrystia is the band playing on.

    Like

    1. And your analysis is so deadly accurate there is no point me even adding my own. Canada is perceived – correctly – as being in the USA’s hip pocket and just another talking head for American priorities, while America itself is increasingly unpopular, and Freeland is perceived – correctly – as a yammering agitator for Ukraine, which is also an increasingly unpopular issue. If there’s a bright side, and there almost always is, perhaps this will be the political slap in the face that awakens Canada’s establishment to the need for defining a contrary identity to simply being America’s Siamese twin.

      And the TITANIC analogy was a jewel. Well done.

      Like

  3. Always good to catch up on news of old favourites, and Ms Nuland comes into that category. Thanks once more, Mark.

    Another perennial favourite is “Mission Impossible” or how to make sense of the Skripal story. John Helmer’s series of guides for students continues with his examination of the (completely independent) BBC’s dramatised version of events supposedly occurring the Salisbury:

    http://johnhelmer.net/too-crooked-to-lie-straight-in-bed-bbc-tries-to-right-the-wrongs-of-its-skripal-story/#more-33996

    Finally, I presume that Uncle Volodya is too busy rogering his latest floozie in one of his secret palaces on Sardinia or elsewhere to share his words of wisdom with us this time.

    Like

    1. That’s actually only the second time a Kremlin Stooge post has not been mastheaded by Uncle Volodya. On the other occasion, it was led by Werner Klemperer in his role as Colonel Klink on ‘Hogan’s Heroes’, I can’t remember why. It marked the occasion of my being banned from ‘Kim Zigfeld’s’ (La Russophobe) second blog, ‘Dying Russia’, after La Russophobe went under as all except the yearning crazies drifted away.

      https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/achtung-ve-have-vays-off-making-you-not-to-talk/

      When I remembered it just now, I thought it celebrated the occasion of my being roasted at La Russophobe after years of her pretending I didn’t exist, which was a little ungrateful considering I started blogging because of her. But it wasn’t.

      https://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/editorial-kremlin-stooge-the-very-bottom-of-the-fetid-russophile-barrel/

      I guess she just snapped. Or it was a slow day, and she had nothing to write about. When I started, every one of my posts was a direct response to something she had written. But after awhile I started to notice other sources of Russophobia, and write about them and mock them, and I kind of didn’t notice her so much. Perhaps she missed the attention, and it was a cry for help.

      Like

      1. And then he/she/it suddenly vapourized! What a sudden and unexpected end to a short-lived Russophobic career! Clearly, Langley saw no further use for the person or persons or thng that existed as “Kim Zigfeld”.

        Like

        1. Well, “Dying Russia” was nowhere near the success La Russophobe had been when it started, and I guess starting all over was too much for her. But she used to be the ‘Russia correspondent’ for Pajamas Media (under her own pseudonym, Kim Zigfeld), which is still going, although now they call themselves PJ Media because the other name was too silly. I assume that was a paying gig, and I further assume she is still out there blathering her barking-mad hatred somewhere. I used to run into her in the comment forums of The National Interest or The American Conservative, opportunities I used to very much enjoy, because we could go toe to toe and she couldn’t just delete the whole exchange if she was being shown up to be a fool. But I haven’t run across her in years.

          Like

    2. I wonder if the clue is not in the name ‘Skripal.’ In Russian ‘скрипка‘ is a violin. It appears Skripal has been playing his own tune, but was not as clever as he believes(d?) he is (was)?

      What comes back to me is even Russian scum want to come home at some point. Whatever they are promised by their friends, there is a always a draw back to the motherland. Money, hot weather etc. whatever is just not the same.

      I have little doubt that before Berezovsky dies, he wrote to Pootie-Poot (as reported but not validated) looking for a way back. The grass may well be greener in the west, but gangsters and games start to look little different as time goes on and you start contemplating your own mortality.

      It is frustrating to say the least, that the whole plot does not run like cinema. Cards are held close to chests, powders kept dry (MH-17 ‘satellite proof’ that the US has refused to provide knowing that at least Russia and China also have satellite or other information that could call US ‘evidence’ in to doubt – a fruity stand-off if you will) for potential future trade offs. We are left forever in the dark. It’s deeply unsatisfying. Bummer.

      Like

      1. The Berezovsky angle is believable only because of his sudden death. Putin is not in charge of immigration and customs, and Berezovsky could have gone back at any time – he probably still had enough money to hire a crackerjack lawyer, and he might have beaten any charges outstanding against him. But if he wanted to go back and make a new start in Russia, he probably would have had to have something to trade. I think he did. And postulating that someone found out about it, and wanted to block it certainly does not sound any crazier than him hanging himself in his locked bathroom.

        Like

      2. The Helmer piece just before that is new to me, too, also about the Skripal case. It introduces Nick Gent, a chemical-biological warfare expert (much like Hamish de BeeGee) who – surprise! – was on the team which presented the government’s evidence to the Owen Inquiry into the death of Litvinenko.

        So many coinky-dunces!

        It is Helmer’s contention – and he is a man who can see further into a brick wall than most – that the BBC mini-series was a very important part of the case, because it has been used to introduce explanations for slip-ups caught by the public, such as the spare key used by Nick Bailey to get into Skripal’s house when he was not there. The BBC helped put Skripal, the assassins and Nick Bailey all at the same door handle. They’re editing the story as they go, and the BBC is recounting it as the way things actually happened. Oh, yeah, of course – we forgot to tell you about the spare key. Make sense to you now? That’s how it happened. Honest.

        Helmer believes the Skripals actually were poisoned, but by the British. Whether or not the poisoning was intended to kill them is debatable.

        Like

        1. The BBC will have a hard time explaining how the Novichok migrated from the door handle to the roof without somehow contaminating the walls, the ceilings, the building’s framework and all the cabling. Unless they can rope in the fellow who hosts the TV show “Grand Designs” to demonstrate how the Novichok could discriminate between the door knob and the roof on the one hand and on the other, the rest of the house.

          “Grand Designs” episode:

          Like

          1. The heartless BBC swine never even mentioned the other victims of Russian beastliness: the Skripals’ cat and hamsters

            I think there were hamsters in the Skripal house of horrors, weren’t there?

            Like

            1. The animals were guinea pigs. Skripal apparently kept two guinea pigs in a room near the front door. One would think the little creatures would have died instantly from inhaling Novichok fumes coming through the keyhole. Instead they apparently died from starvation and thirst not long AFTER the police had prowled around the house’s interior and failed to notice them.

              There was a cat as well, possibly two cats of which one escaped and the other ended up so severely malnourished that when the guinea pigs and the remaining cat were finally discovered two weeks later, the cat had to be put down. All the dead animals were incinerated at Porton Down.

              Like

              1. I’m beginning to suspect that ‘search’ for British cops in such cases means ‘check for a large colour picture of Putin, and if there is one, look behind it for a concealed safe’. Because apparently the perfume bottle which allegedly killed Sturgis was not discovered until after she was dead – four days after, to be specific. Unless, you know, it was put there sometime after.

                Like

          2. Oh, the whole story is too stupid for words, but I suppose they will just keep releasing explanatory documentaries after patching the latest round of holes until they eventually arrive at something believable. For the doubters, that is – there is already a wide audience that believes it wholeheartedly just because it ‘sounds like something the Russians would do’. I don’t know why they can’t just be satisfied with that, rather than trying to put something convincing together for the skeptics. But there is far too much contradictory information already in released official documents, and the only way they can address that for the punters is to lie. Which they are doing, any number of times, as Helmer diligently points out.

            Like

      3. I am pretty sure I saw an interview here on TV, during which Putin acknowledged that Berezovsky had written to him and had voiced his wish to return to Russia. Or perhaps it was in a KP interview where I read this?

        Yes, he did! I remember now: it was during the February 2013 Putin call-in TV marathon, when Putin said live that Berezovsky had written him 2 letters, in which he had asked for forgiveness and the right to come back to Russia.

        Strange, because he had not been deported: he could have come back here any time he wanted, but if he had done so, he would have been handed a “Go to Jail” card at Sheremetevo.

        Like

        1. Maybe Berezovsky had asked Putin for an official pardon. This could have invalidated any outstanding arrest warrants.

          Like

        2. Yes, that’s just it – he could have gone back at any time of his choosing, but there were charges against him that he would have to answer. I think it is at least possible he had offered something to trade in return for a normal return. I am sure MI6 keeps close track of all its assets and monitors all their communications – it was suggested as much in the Helmer articles over the last few days on the BBC Skripal saga. Some calls to Skripal’s phone triggered an MI-6 trace. And somewhere near the beginning of the film – I only watched a few minutes of it – Skripal is in a car and he has on old flip phone or something instead of his regular phone, and apparently the suggested implication is that he fears his phone is being monitored by Putin but in fact he fears it is being monitored by MI-6. It is entirely possible any mail sent out by Berezovsky could have been intercepted, although it is not clear why they would have sent it on to its destination if that were the case; it’s not like breaking the law is a deterrent.

          Like

  4. I thought of so many holes in the USA/Nuland/Maidan story, and relevant links, from the Georgian snipers confessions (murders organized under American direction), to the leaked recordings of the Estonian foreign minister to Cathrine Ashton pointing to the same… I let it sit all day (Central Europe Time) and finally tossed them all out in favor this timeless piece that would be relevant yesterday, today and (no doubt) tomorrow; comedy straight out of the Pentagon where Matt Lee grills an imbecile on NATO & Russia’s borders. Enjoy!

    ^

    Like

    1. Ahhh, yes. Admiral Kirby. He, too, got his very own post on the old blog, to mark his breakdown upon being asked a straightforward question by the other non-bobblehead in the room, the delightful Gayane Chichakyan of RT. I think I see part of her in the clip you attached, sitting in the row behind Lee and just to his left. She is Armenian, and a former film-school major.

      https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/admiral-kirby-buys-a-farm/

      Yes, there was much, much more to explore in Ms. Nuland’s article, and I think it will be an evolving topic of discussion because it was actually the July/August issue of the magazine, so it will be current for awhile longer. I wanted to go on picking away at it, but unusually for me, I worked on it for most of the day where a post normally only takes a couple of hours so long as I am undisturbed. I worked on and off, not constantly, but it did occupy most of the day. So it was getting on for 11:00 pm and I was getting tired. But in the end I think I stopped because rkka’s initial summary nailed the overall tone and pretentious patronization so perfectly. Nuland obviously thinks America is still calling the shots around the world and that it has a stable of quivering allies eager to do its bidding.

      Like

  5. Tass Press Review: Press review: Belarus looks for gas options and Central Asia impacted by Russia’s lockdown
    https://tass.com/pressreview/1168495

    Top stories in the Russian press on Wednesday, June 17

    Kommersant: Belarus looking for alternatives to Russian gas

    Belarus is gearing up to search for alternatives to Russian gas as relations between both countries are going through another rocky period, Kommersant reports. Previously, Minsk acted in the same way when it came to oil imports. Although it is possible to find alternative suppliers of oil to Belarus, other gas supply options are rather scarce, the newspaper notes. Minsk can purchase significant amounts of gas only through Ukraine or Poland, if Gazprom, which owns the Belarusian gas transport system, greenlights such deliveries…
    ####

    Plenty more at the link.

    Yes kids, it’s another Prezdnitentul erection! Big Man gotta show his chops.

    Like

  6. Another ‘incoming’ in my email from OilPrice.com. I’m not a member any more, so I can’t read the feature articles but only the abstracts – the variety of stuff I usually publish is from a weekly ‘intelligence report’. Anyway, the lead-in to this one says;

    “The world’s most controversial pipeline is now 93 percent complete.

    But that isn’t going to stop the Trump administration from trying to delay it for as long as possible – and with good reason.

    The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project will effectively double Russia’s direct export capacity to Germany – which is the first EU entry point. That means the completion of the project will not only increase Russian influence in Europe but will also deprive the U.S. of an opportunity to increase its LNG exports to the EU.

    Tomorrow’s Global Energy Alert newsletter will delve into exactly how the U.S. plans to delay the development of the pipeline and what Washington is capable of achieving. “

    Washington is not actually very likely to be able to stop it, no matter what it thinks, but it is going to give it that old American try. And there are going to be a lot more bitter feelings generated by its attempts. But this gives the lie to Washington’s earlier statements that it was not a matter of commercial interest, at all – America just did not think it was a good idea for its European friends to be so dependent on Russian gas supplies. That’s why it wrote the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act – it wasn’t called the Sell More American LNG to Europe Act, now, was it? But they seem to think if they only mention that it is really all about gaining more market share for American gas once in awhile, it will slowly seep into the public consciousness, and the people will believe they thought of it themselves.

    The Nord Stream II pipeline spells circling the toilet bowl for Ukraine in more ways than one. The USA is not interested in paying for Ukrainian independence itself, or for it to join the EU – it wants Russia to help pay for it, with billions in transit fees for sending Europe’s gas across Ukraine. But much more critical than that is the fact that Nord Stream II gives Russia direct access to Germany with major amounts of gas. There’s no more middleman. And the USA loses the opportunity to mess with Europe’s gas supply before it gets to Europe, which it can do at present simply by stirring up trouble in Ukraine. Introducing shortages and interruptions is a great sales pitch for Uncle Sam’s freedom gas.

    And it probably goes without saying that as soon as Ukraine is no longer useful in that role, the USA will that quickly lose interest in the brave Ukrainians and their inspiring battle against the cruel giant across the border. At that point the whole mess will be dumped in Europe’s lap, so I hope it is prepared.

    https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2020/06/17/572508.htm

    Like

    1. Kirby, that is.

      As for the Skripal show on BBC I believe that the term of art in the world of comics and animation is retconning.

      Like

      1. Don’t mention “retconning” to the BBC or like those DC Comics books (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern) where the superheroes’ origins are given complete makeovers every 2 – 3 years and with each retcon the number of readers keeps falling away, the BBC will bring out a completely new revision of the Skripal poisoning every couple of years. Like what it does with Jane Eyre’s “Pride and Prejudice” every decade, come to think of it. We must be due for another new televised version of that novel.

        Like

          1. “Pride + Prejudice + Zombies” was a pretty funny film that surprisingly managed to preserve the theme of the original Jane Austen source novel: the obsession that the nobility had with marrying for status and to preserve property within the family, and the heroine Elizabeth Bennet’s fight to determine her own destiny.

            Like

  7. Fairly lengthy essay on the origins of WWII by President Putin

    https://thesaker.is/75th-anniversary-of-the-great-victory-shared-responsibility-to-history-and-our-future/#comments

    It reflects on the failings of the League of Nations and points out the risks inherent in calls for the right of veto at the UN Security Council to be abolished.

    Perhaps its most telling point is making reference repeatedly to accessing original documents in the archives and encouraging western “partners” to declassify more materials to aid historians.

    A great read.

    Like

      1. There is nothing for western capitalism in a social revolution which sees leadership emerge whose actual purpose is the betterment of social standards for all its subjects, and everything in preservation of the ‘American Dream’, in which a poor immigrant can stumble off of Ellis Island or its modern equivalent, and before he’s halfway through his working life, have a comfortable home and two cars, be financially secure and go about in a modern suit with a fat stogie sticking out of his face.

        “…genuine equality of opportunity is impossible to achieve without an equal distribution of economic resources, good parents, favorable genes, and many other things.”

        https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/10/study-finds-the-american-dream-is-more-dead-than-you-thought.html

        The continued propagation of the capitalist model depends on unwavering belief that you can start with nothing and end up with everything, all in your lifetime. And you can, if you win the lottery, which is probably why it is so heavily patronized by countries’ poorest citizens wherever it exists, despite its phenomenal odds. Otherwise, if you live in a society where those things listed above matter and you don’t have them, you are out of luck. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, black youths from The Projects who have risen to be high-rolling stockbrokers, but such examples are so uncommon as to be statistically insignificant. So much so that when you see it happen, make a movie about it. Because that’s the only way the rest of the population will see it.

        Like

        1. I’m a bore on the subject but for me the real rise of the neocons dates from the choreographed trashing of Cimino’s pretty decent film “Heaven’s Gate.”

          All those “edgy” critics? Kiss my hairy arse. Shills, every one,

          Like

    1. Indeed; as full of subliminal messaging as a nut is full of meat – some of it for the Russian people, some for the Americans, some for both. Like this, for example;

      “This is why I am confident that one of the characteristic features of the peoples of Russia is to fulfil their duty without feeling sorry for themselves when the circumstances so demand. Such values as selflessness, patriotism, love for their home, their family and Fatherland remain fundamental and integral to the Russian society to this day. These values are, to a large extent, the backbone of our country’s sovereignty.”

      America’s frantic virtue-signalling is not winning it any converts in Russia, and Russians know their own history too well to be head-faked by western rewrites which try to re-distribute the sacrifice. At the same time, the challenge to this generation of Russians is to triumph over American sanctions and bullying, and western spite and nastiness, with their heads held high – and to forge trade alliances with a consciousness that depending on the west will never happen. Prejudices indoctrinated daily in the west will survive any number of political changes, and while it is perfectly possible for friendships to spring up between Russians and western individuals and even agencies on each side, Russia will never be able to safely put itself in a vulnerable position, on a national level , with the west. Every transaction must be viewed for the the implicit degree of leverage it might afford western policymakers, and with a view to denying them that leverage. Any overture by the west to ‘mend fences’ must be viewed as another deception, and constant attention to supporting evidence must be observed to guard against false-flag events like MH-17, where focused and professional efforts to blame it on Russia will go into action as part of a coherent plan. Russia must be alert for the potential in such events, and prepared with exculpatory proof wherever possible.

      Like

  8. The Verge: Russia lifts its ban on the Telegram messenger app
    https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/18/21295535/russia-telegram-ban-lifted-security

    The ban was mostly ineffective, as Russians found ways to access the app

    Russia will lift its nearly two-year ban on messenger app Telegram, Reuters reported. The country’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor said the company had shown “willingness” to help with counterterrorism efforts. …

    …Earlier this month, Durov said authorities in Russia should lift the ban to let Russian users access the service “with more comfort.” He said the company has improved its tools for detecting and deleting extremist content on the platform. ..
    ####

    It’s quite hard to block apps on an open internet. Detecting and removing extremist content is finally recognized as essential even here in the freedum lovin’west and it’s not just something evil dictatorships are desperate to control. The SocMed companies have long been given plenty of leeway (not ‘publishers’ ergo responsible for content, just ‘distributors’) which has saved them $$$ in not developing reasonable tools to limit extremist crap, but that party is already over and is why Section 230 in the US is coming under review and kicking off big dumb fights:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200617/13341644736/justice-department-releases-own-preposterous-recommendations-updating-section-230.shtml

    Like

    1. Well, you see, first you take your law, see, what was written when you did not see the possibilities of exploitation by people who were smarter than the ones who wrote the law. Then you do your carve-outs, so’s you can keep the stuff you like, and forbid the stuff you don’t, even though they might be word-for-word the same, because one meant well while the other was trying to be hurtful. Then every time you see something you don’t like, you add another carve-out. And pretty soon, ain’t no law left a’tall!

      The USA is turning itself inside-out because there are many, many incidents now in which people are staying perfectly within the law and exercising their vaunted freedom of speech, which America once thought it could entertain but now finds the Age Of Manners, in which you could tell a lie and politeness forbade calling you on it, has passed. I don’t know who to blame for the shift – it started well before Trump, although his habits of engaging in Twitter flame wars in the small hours of the morning with basement dwellers who are delighted to tell the President to go fuck himself once they realize the FBI can’t come and arrest them because the President started it certainly did not help – but it is definitely here. When politicians who are theoretically leading the country and writing policy write something stupid, people are on them before the sound of the last click dies away. It makes it hard to govern, or be seen to be governing, when people question everything you do. And now that someone in China can see and question US government policy as soon as it appears, well, we can’t have that.

      It is fairly plain that the ruling government wants sites somehow held to remove content the ruling government dislikes or finds embarrassing, while leaving content which exposes rifts in the opposition or highlights embarrassing or possibly illegal things it does. The opposition, typically, wants the opposite. Both parties want everything removed which could be suspected of being Russian or Chinese, with the exception of content from either country which says the United States is the best and is doing everything right – these are the valuable voices of dissidents, and they must be preserved. Time for a carve-out.

      Like

  9. AsiaTimes.com: Warmonger paints Trump a peacenik
    https://asiatimes.com/2020/06/warmonger-paints-trump-a-peacenik/

    Bolton’s book bodyslams Trump but the excoriating account may ultimately lift the fallen leader from the canvas before a next round election

    by Pepe Escobar

    A career warmonger becomes the darling of limousine liberals just because he’s ridiculing the president of the United States.

    The current, convoluted spectacle in the hallowed halls of Empire is worthy of the most demented WWE scripts – as everything about Donald Trump has to be understood as a pile-up of professional wrestling plots. Here we have former national security advisor John Bolton playing The Undertaker with Trump trying to cast himself as The Rock…
    ####

    Plenty more at the link.

    My take from this is that the Dems will take any s/t from any s/t (like Bolt.on) that they think will stick. It smacks a bit of desperation and also distraction from Pinky without the Brain Biden. The other thing about this all is just because an American president didn’t blow up something, doesn’t make things much better when he’s already doing other nasty stuff.

    Like

  10. AsiaTimes.com: US Navy was sold subpar steel for its subs for decades
    https://asiatimes.com/2020/06/us-navy-was-sold-subpar-steel-for-its-subs-for-decades/

    Kansas City-based Bradken Inc. paid US$10.9 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement

    For decades, the US Navy unknowingly received subpar steel for many of its submarines after a long-time employee of the service’s leading supplier falsified lab results, calling toughness tests conducted at negative-100 degrees Fahrenheit “a stupid requirement.”

    The anomaly was only discovered when an alert metallurgist being groomed to replace the worker upon her planned 2017 retirement noticed suspicious results, Gene Johnson of the Associated Press reported….

    …There is no allegation that any submarine parts failed, but prosecutors said the Navy had incurred increased costs and maintenance to ensure the subs remain seaworthy, the report said. ..
    ####

    I have two questions about this. -100F/-37.7c is well below water freezing temperature, so a) at what temperature was it still able to keep its elasticity; b) what circumstances is such a requirement needed; and c) if this had been known earlier, would it have affected naval operations?

    I imagine that in the case of ‘a’ there includes a safety margin of 10 to 20%. In the case of ‘b’, I would guess that surfaced submarines in arctic conditions are subjected to much lower temperatures (wind) than zero which if it makes the metal more brittle so prone to crack and break which is certainly more risky considering the large quantity of ice usually found there. Once under way I would guess less so. Apparently the quality of metal plate used for the Titanic’s hull was an important factor in its sinking, i.e. it was at its most brittle around freezing temperature, so close to that of the waters of the North Atlantic.

    Like

    1. Yes, I noticed that story mentioned by a commenter at Andrei Martyanov’s blog. You have to wonder how many other proof tests are fudged because the supervisor doesn’t understand the requirement for them.

      Like

  11. Can you check that F -> C conversion? I make it ~ -73C.

    I get the impression the woman might have been right!

    -40F == -40C

    Like

    1. Yes, you are absolutely right of course! A dumb mistake of me to make.

      So what if the steel was only rated to -50c? Artic temperatures seems to average about -30c in the winter months. That still leaves a significant safety margin.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HY-80

      …a high yield strength (strength in resisting permanent plastic deformation). HY-80 is accompanied by HY-100 and HY-130 with each of the 80, 100 and 130 referring to their yield strength in ksi (80,000 psi, 100,000 psi and 130,000 psi). HY-80 and HY-100 are both weldable grades…

      …HY-100 too was dogged by problems of weld cracking. Seawolf’s construction suffered setbacks in 1991 and an estimated 15% or two years’ work on hull construction had to be abandoned.[8] Although later solved, these extra costs (and the post-Soviet peace dividend) were a factor in reducing the planned 29 Seawolf submarines to just three constructed…
      ####

      I think rather the ‘Peace Dividend’ was behind the curtailing of the hugely expensive Seawolf program ($3.5 billion for stretched special ops/system test USS Jimmy Carter)…

      Like

      1. Well, we here in tropical Southern Ontario can get -60C so maybe it could be needed but -100C does sound crazy. The boat is supposed to be under water not sitting on top of an ice floe.

        Like

        1. But US submarines are supposed to be able to break through thin ice and surface in leads, called ‘polynyas’ in the ice cap. I believe USS SKATE was the first to do so, although USS NAUTILUS was the first US submarine to pass under the pole. They can’t break thick ice, but they can see the glow from a polynya through the periscope underwater. While surfaced, the submarine’s hull would be surrounded by sea ice for extended periods and sometimes in direct contact with it. A good reference is “Surface at the Pole: The Extraordinary Voyages of the USS SKATE”, although it is a rare book now and hard to find. Obviously only nuclear boats can do this, as a conventional submarine might run out of breathable air before finding a lead in which it could surface.

          Or perhaps it is just an engineering handicap, the way the Germans build some engine components to be much stronger than they need to be. Cables and straps used in hoisting are typically only rated for a third their breaking strength – a cable that will break at 15,000 pounds only has a safe working load of 5000 pounds.

          http://cargoequipmentcorpblog.com/understanding-break-strength-vs-working-load-limit/

          Like

  12. Via Gugl nudes:

    The Guardian, six hours ago: Australian cyber attack not ‘sophisticated’ – just a wake-up call for businesses, experts say

    The Guardian, four hours ago: Cyber-attack Australia: sophisticated attacks from ‘state-based actor’, PM says
    ####

    The latter is now what the Pork Pie News Networks are running with, even though in the detail they describe bog-standard attacks using well known exploits. Of course Australia ‘Is not being provocative‘ in anything they say or do (WTF Tindall AFB?). It’s just copying from the t-Rump PR playbook of ‘we only respond to others’ after multitudes of provocation causes the other side to finally react. Even after all these years, most politicians are still fundamentally (willfully?) retarded when it comes to technology. It all fits in to CHINA! CHINA! CHINA! pr offensive that is t-Rump’s main erection thrust for november. Why is Australia involved? Why not? The USA has got their back…

    Like

  13. Tass Press Review:

    Vedomosti: Russia may break off tax treaty with Cyprus
    https://tass.com/pressreview/1169437

    …Russian businesses operating through offshore companies in Cyprus could face not only a sharp rise in the tax burden, but also double taxation. Russia’s negotiations on changing the tax agreement with the Mediterranean island country have reached an impasse and it may be terminated, a federal official and several consultants told Vedomosti. The decades-old mechanisms no longer suit Moscow, the newspaper wrote, adding that President Vladimir Putin demanded to increase the rates in tax treaties to 15% starting from 2021 or terminate them. The second option threatens the agreement with Cyprus…

    …According to the Bank of Russia, in 2019, Russia invested $14.5 bln in Cypriot companies, and received $8.1 bln in direct investments. The deal with Cyprus makes it possible to reduce taxes on dividends and interest paid on loans abroad to 5% and 0% from 15% and 20%, respectively.

    Russian businesses with funding that went through Cyprus, will suffer as taxes on interest on loans will grow to 20%,..
    ####

    I seem to recall that Russia already laid down the law with Cyprus and Russian companies back in 2014 when it fingered those Cyprus based Russian businesses by booking themselves as loss making to avoid paying tax in Russia whilst hiding their money in Cyprus. The Russian state offered them a tax amnesty if they brougth themselves back on-shore (to Russia). It looks like quite a number of them thought of a new way to avoid paying their taxes. I also recall the government saying that there would be no government Covid-19 financial support for Russian companies still based abroad..

    Like

    1. Not to mention that debacle where western agencies thought to expose Russian government tax dodges and ruin Cyprus as a tax haven for Russia, and so leaned on Cyrus and reminded it of its vulnerabilities to force its cooperation. I realize we are talking about the same event; I am just viewing it from a different perspective. Russia has the same tax policy as the United States, from the point of view that nobody is obligated to pay a penny more in taxes than is their legal obligation, and it is therefore up to the citizen to educate himself on possible reductions of his tax burden so long as they are legal. The western attitude at the time had nothing about it of sober and measured application of international law, and everything about it of gleeful mayhem in which it thought to catch a lot of ‘big fish’ close to the Russian government, and to spoil Cyprus as a further tax haven while preserving all of its own favoured hiding-places for western big money.

      Like

    1. Russia is serving notice – wisely, I think – to Europe that there will not ever be a recurring gas-transit contract which will see Russia pumping large volumes across Ukraine. Best to pay attention to the volumes being transited now, because it is a moment in history that will not be repeated. Next year, it’s 40 BcM annually, and not too long after that we will be once again at the end of the contract. But this signal of resolution will hopefully persuade Europe that it is Nord Stream II, or much more expensive gas from a variety of sources. Blather on about security of supply all you want to, but if you want plentiful supplies of cheap gas, there’s only one place to get it. If you’d rather pay more, that’s up to you, but it’s make-your-mind-up time. It also serves to torpedo any wild plans by ideological Europeans to plow money into refurbishing Ukraine’s GTS, in the hope that could be used to pressure Russia into signing another transit contract. The Ukrainian GTS will be connected to nothing. Not literally; it will still be possible to pump small volumes. But the very possibility of pumping major transit volumes is being eliminated.

      Like

    1. “The two big differences between Stalin and Hitler”

      Adolf initiated & waged a war of racial extermination against Slavic untermenschen, Poles & Ukrainians very much included.

      Iosif defeated Adolf in that war.

      That there are now Poles in Poland & Ukrainians in Ukraine is due to Iosif defeating Adolf.

      Polish & Banderastani heads explode when you tell them that.

      That was an excellent writeup Mark!

      Like

      1. Thanks very much for the great reference! I could have just posted your comment for an analysis, because it broadly covered all the bases, but I had so much fun fleshing out the details that only fatigue made me stop; otherwise it might have been another 1000 or so words longer.

        Like

      2. While it is true that Stalin deported Volga Germans, Crimean Tatars, Chechens and various other ethnic groups to Kazakhstan, he did so in the belief that they were collaborating with Nazi Germany or (in case of Koreans living on Sakhalin Island) Japan.

        Like

    2. 20.06.2020 07:30
      “СССР заплатил в войне более высокую цену, чем любая другая страна”

      “The USSR paid a higher price in the war than any other country”

      Italian public figures have commented on an article by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, which was published today by Rossiyskaya Gazeta and the American magazine “National Interest” a few days before the celebrations and military parade on the occasion of this date in Moscow.

      Ernesto Ferlengi, Co-Chair of the Russian-Italian Forum – Dialogue among Civil Societies:

      “The Second World War is one of the most tragic periods in the history of mankind, which left their mark on the fate of tens of millions of families around the world. The death of people, the crippled lives of entire generations cannot be justified by any ideology.

      The biggest mistake in Europe was that the Western countries were not able to correctly interpret the signs of the growing phenomenon on the continent, which led to the emergence of Nazism. In my opinion, the illusions about the Nazi regime and the inability of some European countries to take timely decisions to contain Hitler led to irreversible consequences.

      President Putin’s reaction to the resolution of the European Parliament of September 19, 2019, and to statements that are increasingly heard in Europe, equating the Soviet Union with Nazism, are very understandable. It is impossible to compare the role of Nazism and the USSR in the events that preceded and accompanied the war. The role of the Soviet Union was to protect and hinder the growth of the Nazi threat in the world. It is important to understand that the USSR paid with the lives of tens of millions of its citizens — a higher price than any other country.

      In his article, President Putin speaks not only about past events, but also shares his views on how to avoid the recurrence of such mistakes in the future. I believe that the initiative to convene a nuclear five summit is a progressive and important idea. In today’s world, we, more than ever, need coordination and a joint approach to solving global problems. An open and honest dialogue is important.

      Selflessness, patriotism, love of the motherland, all that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin writes about in his article are fundamental characteristics of Russian citizens. These features are inherent in the Italian people. Today, in the era of COVID-19, we are fighting side by side with a common enemy, and I have no doubt that success is possible only through joint action and mutual assistance. And the consequences of the pandemic could become a key issue on the agenda of the Nuclear Five summit. “

      Enrico Vina, public figure, writer, author of the book “The Great Patriotic War. Its history, its values. May 9 and the Immortal Regiment”:

      “In his article, Russian President Vladimir Putin has again decided to emphasize and legitimize the historical, as well as cultural and spiritual roots of the Russian people and today’s Russia, which are deeply rooted in its history of liberation, resistance, in avoiding any abuse and in refusing to relinquish its territory.

      I consider this toughness, which has been repeatedly confirmed publicly, to be not only an important aspect, but also fundamental, for at least two reasons. Firstly, such a message is directly related to the protection of the historical memory of their country. Secondly, we are talking about a message to new generations who have yet to be formed, and who will be the country’s leaders in the future. In this view, including that expressed in his [Putin’s] article, positive ethical values ​​will be laid in them[the new generations], and they will be progressive and free people.

      The history of the last century and recent years should serve as a lesson for all of us. I believe that this is precisely what the president of Russia wanted to convey to the world through his clear and comprehensive statements regarding attempts to rewrite history, which is the first step towards the emergence of new forms of Nazism and fascism in Europe and in the world. Thanks to such statements, Putin, who is undoubtedly a respected statesman in Russia and in the world, this time also acts as a leader who has initiated a common historical, political, spiritual and cultural development.

      Is the Western European worm for turning?

      Wonder what Vicky and her pals think of this — not to mention War Hag Clinton and her coterie?

      Like

      1. They will probably think, maybe it’s time I gave my pals in Brussels a call, and have them slap Italy down hard. Because Italy is in such a perilous economic state now that it is more or less a debt slave to the EU.

        “The Italian government is already in fiscal tight spot. By the end of this year its debt will already have surged to around 155%-160% of GDP, from last year’s 136% — the result of three simultaneous processes: massive growth in government spending to counter the virus crisis, a dizzying slump in tax revenues, and a sharp decline in GDP.

        If Italy’s government is unable to deal with the approaching tsunami of bad debt, external help will soon be needed. Other Eurozone members will be in the same boat, which is why the ECB is quietly talking about creating a bad bank to “warehouse” hundreds of billions of euros of unpaid debt. Getting the blessing of some Northern European countries, particularly Germany, for the scheme will be a tough task, especially given the current standoff between the German Constitutional Court and the ECB. But for Italy’s economy, time is of the utmost essence.”

        https://www.anti-empire.com/eus-debt-slave-thanks-to-lockdown-italys-debt-to-gdp-to-hit-a-fantastic-160/

        It is certainly commendable if Italy broadly feels that way, and I have seen a lot of positive press on Mr. Putin’s article. But Europe’s leaders remain committed to a policy that relations with Russia should extend no further than they must in order for Europe to buy the things it must have and cannot get elsewhere at a competitive price, which boils down to energy and a few raw materials. Italy will not be allowed to become any friendlier to Russia and still remain a member of the EU, and it will not be allowed to leave the EU without paying its debt. And it can’t, and there is no foreseeable way it ever could.

        It’s a timely reminder, though, for every country on earth to think, there but for the grace of God go I. Everyone suffered the same three blows – enormous growth in government spending to counter the virus (paying people’s wages while they were not working), a slump in tax revenues (although that will be worse in some countries than others, but nearly all citizens will have seen a sharp reduction in personal income, on which they are taxed) and a sharp decline in GDP. Some will be able to pull themselves out, some will only sink deeper. Italy is one of the latter.

        And what prevents the USA from being in virtually the same boat as Italy is the US dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, and its quick action to print even more dollars and get them into circulation. And a few other factors, such as its investor class running branch hotels and industrial plants and fast-food joints in foreign countries in situations where all the profits accrue to the parent company, and all the host country gets is low-level employment for a few of its workers. America did such a favour for Russia by imposing sanctions on it designed to crush its economy that Moscow should send Washington the biggest box of chocolates ever. It forced Russia to abandon its dependence on foreign investment. That’s a nice to have, but as soon as foreigners gain significant enough market share in your country that they can hurt your economy if it’s withdrawn, you’ve let it go too far. If Volkswagen, for example, builds a plant in Russia, it never transfers enough technology that Russia would be able to start up its own company. Russia maybe gets to produce the door panels, or the glasswork, something like that, and of course Russians on the assembly lines have jobs, but other Russians are buying Russian-made Volkswagens and all the profits are going to Germany. When they pull out, on whatever whim, Russians lose their jobs and the country has bugger-all to show for it, and probably built the plant for Volkswagen in the first place, as an incentive.

        Like

  14. A couple of interesting developments discussed at Fort Russ; the first is of the good news/bad news type. The good news? India is fast-tracking a deal to purchase nearly a Billion dollars’ worth of Russian fighter aircraft: 21 MiG-29’s and 12 SU-30’s. The bad news? It’s to counter China, in the ongoing dispute which has flared up again. That puts Russia in an uncomfortable spot. Of course it wants to sell the aircraft, but China is an important ally – moreover, only the west gains when the non-aligned powers fight each other. It is interesting, however, that India approaches Russia for help rather than the United States, considering the latter is frequently swooning in the press over how awesome its relationship with India is right now. In my opinion, it would be worth blowing off $800 Million in aircraft sales to try to strike a peace agreement and cool things down some.

    https://www.fort-russ.com/2020/06/major-india-to-make-an-emergency-purchase-of-33-russian-fighter-jets-to-counter-china/

    Next up, Mexico thumbs its nose at Uncle Sam, and offers to provide gasoline – sell it, not donate it – to Venezuela, on ‘humanitarian grounds’. This is extremely significant. Mexico is a major energy provider, and has the gas to sell. It is also a free-trade partner with the USA, so repudiating Washington’s criminal strangling of Venezuela to force political change to America’s liking is extremely courageous. I am sure the Mexican government will come under tremendous pressure from the Americans to reverse the decision, but I dare hope Mexico already knew that would happen, and factored it into their decision-making before making the announcement.

    https://www.fort-russ.com/2020/06/mexico-defies-us-sanctions-offers-to-sell-gasoline-to-venezuela/

    You’d never see Canada making a gutsy move like that; Ms Freeland loves to cuddle with the Americans and giggle about intrigues and covert plans, and Canada set up the Lima Group to help drop Venezuela into America’s apron like a ripe plum. Meanwhile, Trudeau is too busy arranging his sock collection and hobnobbing with the pansexuals to notice much of what is going on. Viva Mexico!

    https://www.fort-russ.com/2020/06/mexico-defies-us-sanctions-offers-to-sell-gasoline-to-venezuela/

    Finally, at the most recent meeting of the Tripartite Contact Group in Minsk, Ukraine announced a position that the Minsk Agreements are non-binding on Ukraine. Since the Howdy-Doody Nation signed them, they plainly are binding on Ukraine, leading to speculation that if it insists on holding the announced position, it has left no alternative but a military solution.

    https://www.fort-russ.com/2020/06/major-ukraine-declares-minsk-agreement-non-binding-effectively-ceding-donbass/

    Like

  15. As regards its economics and investment, North Stream 2 is ready

    All possible technical means are being used to complete the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. As regards economics and investment, the project is already ready, said Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in an interview with the German publication Handelsblatt.

    The construction of Nord Stream 2 had to be stopped late last year due to US sanctions against Russian offshore pipelines to Europe. To date, more than 2,300 km of Nord Stream-2 pipes from about 2,460 km, that is, 94% of its total length, have been laid.

    The gas pipeline can be completed by Russian vessels currently in the German port of Markan – the Akademik Chersky pipe-laying and the Fortuna pipe-laying barge, after receiving all the necessary permits from Denmark.

    Earlier, Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the gas pipeline, announced the economic and investment readiness of Nord Stream-2 in the light of disagreement with the decision of the Federal Network Agency of Germany to withdraw the gas pipeline from the scope of the updated EU gas directive. The company insists that the pipeline has been completed in terms of economic functionality and that it has made irrevocable investments of several billion euros. On June 15, Nord Stream 2 AG appealed to the Düsseldorf Supreme Regional Court for a decision by the German regulator.

    Having received all the necessary permits from Denmark, the gas pipeline can be completed by Russian vessels currently in the German port of Markan – the Akademik Chersky pipe-layer and the Fortuna pipe-layer barge.

    What’s the betting that the Danes will again piss on the Orcs’ chips?

    Yes master! If you wish master!

    Like

    1. I’d say not, because the article points out – as I have seen elsewhere – that all the necessary permits have already been issued and remain in effect. All they are arguing about now is that a different vessel will be completing the pipeline, and that should make no difference whatsoever – raising the querulous arguments that unexploded ordnance may be disturbed is absurd, because Allseas already had a permit and can’t see the bottom any better than any other pipelayer: there was apparently no uncontrollable risk that they might disturb it. They’re fighting over the FORTUNA which has to use anchors to remain in position, and that is an added risk, but it is possible she may be used only in shallow areas of the Baltic inside German waters, and the Germans have a bit more spine than the Danes. America is plowing everything into a roll of the dice that the Russians cannot lay any pipe without both vessels being used. Remember, they don’t need to lay anything like 160 km to be outside Danish waters. I would guess that this year is pooched, because the cod season will keep them from working until fall and then the bad weather will begin to set in. You never know, they might get lucky, but there really is no great hurry. Russia is committed to transit at least 40 BcM of gas through Ukraine for a couple more years, and the pipeline already laid is built to last for decades. It’s not going to deteriorate, provided it was properly capped, and there is only maybe three months work left at the outside.

      Like

  16. Shadowproof.com via Antiwar.com: Northrop Grumman Accused Of Fueling False ‘Revenge Porn’ Allegations Against CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou
    https://shadowproof.com/2020/06/16/northrop-grumman-false-revenge-porn-accusations-cia-whistleblower/

    …He seeks damages from Northrop, John Bamford, an Arlington County police detective, and his ex-wife Heather Kiriakou…

    …According to the complaint [PDF], Heather was allegedly involved in an affair with a Northrop executive. John contacted Northrop’s ethics office in July 2018 to inform them that he “possessed documents” showing Heather, a director of global business development at Northrop, and an executive “fraudulently billed” the company for “business travel.” However, they were engaged in “tens of thousands of dollars” of “personal travel” that involved cheating on him.

    The ethics office allegedly “instructed” John to transmit the documents he claimed he possessed, but subsequently, Northrop shared the documents with Heather and engaged in retaliation…

    …Northrop Grumman has a history of whistleblower retaliation. In 2009, the military contractor settled a whistleblower lawsuit for $325 million. It was the largest military contractor settlement at the time.

    ####

    More at the link. Bring popcorn for this one. Disco inferno.

    Like

  17. MiddleEastEye: US reveals new evidence of Russian aircraft activity in Libya
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/russia-fighter-jets-active-libya-us-military-says

    …On Thursday, US Africom raised concerns that the mercenaries may not be equipped to fly the military aircraft being handed to them.

    “There is concern these Russian aircraft are being flown by inexperienced, non-state PMC mercenaries who will not adhere to international law; namely, they are not bound by the traditional laws of armed conflict,” Gering said.

    “If this is true and bombing occurs, innocent Libyan lives are at risk.”..
    ####

    USAfricom should have a slot on Saturday Night Live as really bad comedians. We have no idea when the (single) image was taken or where.

    I would also add that whilst the second plane clearly looks like an Su-24, the first one looks like a Mig-31, not a Mig-29, but there are no reports of Russian Mig-31s in Libya.

    It’s the rectangular intakes that mark it out and it’s tail.* The Mig-29’s intakes are covered by its curved LEREX and are thus not visible from above.

    So clearly USAfricom cannot tell the difference between them. Amateurs.

    So, either it is Mig-25 which is still operated by Algeria, Azerbaidjan, Syria and Libya (not sure about the latter two) or the image is from elsewhere, i.e. Russia.

    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-25#Specifications_(MiG-25P)

    Like

    1. “Haftar also claimed that he had the “people’s will and mandate” to govern the country – a move that was denounced as a coup attempt by the GNA.”

      The GNA had better watch out, because that’s the same rationale the USA uses for its coups. So it’s obviously an approved template. And that does look like a MiG-25.

      Like

  18. Gazprom (the sole shareholder of the Nord Stream 2 project operator) has the opportunity to complete the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline without fear of US sanctions, Die Welt writes.
    The newspaper notes that this became possible after the Akademik Chersky vessel, previously operated by Gazprom’s subsidiary Gazprom Fleet LLC, became the property of the Samara Thermal Energy Property Fund (STIF). According to Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, Academician Chersky is able to complete the construction of Nord Stream-2, for the completion of which there remain to be laid 160 km of pipes.

    The only thing that could slow down construction, according to the newspaper, is the ban on most work in the Baltic Sea in July-August. At this time, says Die Welt, cod spawning occurs there.

    Source: RBK reporting article in “Die Welt”

    Like

  19. The Space Review via BMPD: Peresvet: a Russian mobile laser system to dazzle enemy satellites
    https://www.thespacereview.com/article/3967/1

    https://bmpd.livejournal.com/4064641.html

    by Bart Hendrickx

    On March 1, 2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a saber-rattling State of the Union speech that harkened back to the darkest days of the Cold War. He used the occasion to put on a display of new armaments such as nuclear-powered cruise missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles capable of penetrating US missile defenses, underlining they had been developed as a result of the US pulling out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in 2002. Putin also boasted that Russia was “one step ahead” in what he called “weapons with new physical properties”, adding:….
    ####

    A lot more detail at the link.

    As it later says, this was a thing back in the 1980s.

    Also, the space object spotting equipment based in the Caucausus I think is the same one that I posted about a few weeks ago about Russia publishing a picture of the super expensive and secret American LaCrosse spy satellite, much to the USA’s annoyance. I also seem to recall a previous article (same author?) which also tracked public documents (Open Source Intelligence OSI) to make such analyses. Still, its shows Russian cheaper and effective KungFu to USA’s incredibly expensive sword swinging (‘Star Wars’and more recently ‘MD’ Missile Defense.

    Like

    1. Those clumsy Russians – they are forever revealing tantalizing details by accident, and then quickly taking them down. But not quick enough to prevent student super-sleuths from documenting them, thus forever cementing the west’s dominance of space.

      Like

  20. An excellent piece of analysis by Tony Cartalucci at Land Destroyer.

    https://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2020/06/america-empire-eating-itself.html

    It remains to be seen if the USA will collapse, and I frankly doubt it; it is too powerful a country, although it has hurt itself dreadfully with the stupid lockdown. The riots are just icing on the cake, and probably could have been weathered fairly easily if not for the simmering fury over the lockdown and the destruction of the middle-class economy which was looking for an outlet.

    But what is not in dispute is that American influence worldwide has eroded rapidly and to an astounding extent under Trump’s bull-in-a-china-shop blundering about and firing sanctions this way and that.

    “Individually, nations have begun creating alternatives to once unrivaled American monopolies. Huawei’s rise – first out from under Apple – then far above it – is a perfect example. Russia positioning itself as a key partner for Middle Eastern nations exhausted from America’s “stewardship” of the region is another.

    Even in smaller nations the idea of creating alternatives to things like social media platforms monopolized by the US is taking hold – empowering these nations, keeping income local, and displacing America’s unwarranted influence within their borders.

    America’s problem is that it has long since abandoned building and making things and instead has focused on coercion, exploitation, thievery, schemes, and moving numbers around on ledgers. This only works as long as no one else starts building and making things and as long as no one attempts to insulate themselves from financial trickery by creating alternative systems for investing in tangible progress…

    As long as the rest of the world remains determined to continue building better alternatives to America’s “international order” it will continue to displace American hegemony around the globe. Most nations desire greatly to work with the American people themselves – 99.999% of whom are likewise victims of Wall Street and Washington – whether they realize it or not. This helps explain the almost endless patience of nations like Russia and China in the face of daily provocations by the West.

    For Americans, it is up to them regarding what kind of nation they will live in once the dust settles.

    One where power and wealth is still very-much concentrated on Wall Street and the violence sown helps justify an even bigger police state than ever before? Or one in which Americans learn that no one in Washington, on TV, or with blue check marks next to their names on Twitter are on their side and start thinking and acting for themselves?”

    Very good; inspiring, really. I saw a reminder of it somewhere else; I was just wandering about, looking for data on how Apple is doing considering its pasting in China, which market represents 17% of its global revenue. Its first quarter was terrible…but…you know what’s coming, don’t you? Yes, its stock is surging to a new high, best day evah, as the investor class indulges in masturbatory fantasies of Apple’s future greatness and even more unshakeable dominance.

    I wonder what will happen when they have to move iPhone manufacturing out of China? Surely to God China is not going to let that continue even as Washington tries its best to ruin Huawei? Google, Apple and Microsoft all allude to ‘toying with the idea’ of moving some production out of China, but they’re only talking about going elsewhere in Asia; Vietnam and Thailand.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/05/coronavirus-apple-microsoft-google-look-to-move-production-away-from-china.html

    I’m not talking about that kind of sweet-talk-me-or-I’m-leaving rubbish, I’m talking about China saying here’s your coat, hit the road, Jack. Pack up your shit and get out. I don’t know why they haven’t done it already. It isn’t money, because all China is getting out of it is jobs for workers and a little offset as a supplier for component materials. China is a high-tech country, and it does not need to be running moneymakers for Uncle Sam. But I suppose if I am fair, Apple an d Google are not the US government, and if it is true as Cartalucci says in his closing paragraphs, China is still eager to do business with Americans – just not the US government. And as we saw, the US government has recently had to make that position clear itself.

    Speaking of Huawei, they were Number 1 Smartphone in the World in April, kicking iPhone’s ass,

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2020/06/15/samsung-and-apple-beaten-by-huawei-in-huge-new-smartphone-surprise/#1a06590f58ab

    and stomped Apple in the smartwatch market as well, with a 113% year-on-year increase in sales.

    https://www.wareable.com/apple/apple-watch-market-share-drops-8011

    Like

    1. I find it hard to believe too, but who knows? Someone has predicted how it will all play out but amongst all the many other predicitions, well…

      There seems to be evidence that the USA is realising that it cannot cut off China completely. More recently they have been talking about developing tech more quickly (like the mil link I posted earlier with electronics upgraded every five years or so, airframes replaced much earlier than 30+ years etc.) but as I pointed out then, China has already adopted rapid 3D ALM prototyping and upgrading from everything from motorcycles to fighter aircraft. The USA hopes of out innovating and producing China is a mountain to climb considering the huge resources going in to Chinese education, employment (electrical engineering for our robot future) etc. The USA’s failure is to invest in its own people because they think that cannot be done at a profit. A lot of people are left in the dump and that is considered acceptable. It’s insane.

      Underneath all of this is that someone has to pay and there have to be profits/encouragement for USA industrialists (or whatever they are called now). So can it be done? Yes. Will it, in a reasonable short space of time and also be successfull? Meh. Rock bottom hasn’t been reached.

      Like

  21. What’s going on over at Boeing these days? Well, they’re in the shit again, is what. Allegations that Boeing tried to amend its bid for developing landing systems to be used on the USA’s ‘return to the moon’ by 2024 after insider conversations with NASA’s former human-exploration chief, Doug Loverro, caused Loverro’s resignation last month.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/boeing-tried-to-amend-lunar-lander-bid-after-guidance-from-nasa-official-raising-concerns-it-received-inside-information/

    Boeing is in a tough spot, and it needs to start generating serious income again. But this just makes it look like they have learned fuck-all from what should have been a humbling experience. Instead, they’re still trying to get a leg up on the competition by cheating and sneaking around, getting insider tips that will help them tailor their bids to just what the buyer wants at the exact price that will get them in the door.

    Speaking of aircraft, a new report attempts to persuade the US government to get out of the F-35 program before it’s too late. Which it is, obviously, they’ve gone way too far with it now to back out, but it merely highlights what a useless and overpriced pig’s ear of an aircraft it really is. The authors of the report suggest it is not even serious competition for the MiG 21, whose production line shut down in 1985. What a kick in the pants for Lockheed-Martin.

    “The F-35 will find itself outmaneuvered, outgunned, out of range, and visible to enemy sensors. Going forward, full investment in the F-35 would be to place a bad trillion-dollar bet on the future of airpower based on flawed assumptions and an underperforming aircraft.

    To avoid such a catastrophic outcome, Congress and DOD should begin the process of considering alternatives to a large-scale commitment to the F-35. Staying the present course may needlessly gamble away a sizable margin of American airpower at great expense and unnecessary risk to American lives.”

    Putin must have written it.

    https://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/165924/thunder-without-lightning%3A-new-report-slates-f_35.html

    In 2015 international competition, the Indian Air Force swept the field against Royal Air Force Typhoons, flying the SU-30; scoring a 12-0 win in within-visual-range combat, which is the fancy new name for dogfighting. The SU-30 consistently turned inside the Typhoon. This really is much more humiliating than it sounds – the Eurofighter first flew in 2003, was designed as an air-superiority fighter, and costs €90 million apiece without development and production costs figured in, like if you were a foreign buyer. The SU-30 first flew in 1989, was designed for multirole air-to-air and air-to-surface missions, and costs €33.5 million. Tally ho, chaps!!

    https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/indian-air-forces-top-guns-score-wins-in-the-uk-1204336

    Like

    1. Or Boris Johnson as an authoritarian thug and dictator, despite the individual rights of all his subjects having been overruled on his orders and their being committed to house arrest.

      Like

  22. Rainsford of the BBC on Whelan of the USA, Canada, the UK and Ireland:

    Paul Whelan: The strange case of the ex-marine jailed for spying in Russia
    By Sarah Rainsford
    BBC News, Moscow
    21 June, 2020

    Paul Whelan is being held in the renovated wing of Lefortovo Gaol, where the Norwegian [a Rainsford source]</b] says there is hot water in the cells now as well as a fridge, TV and toilet. But the space measures 9.5 square metres between two prisoners and exercise is one hour a day on the roof.

    Cellmates get to shower once a week, together, in the basement. One light remains on in the cell 24/7.

    Horrors!

    When I was a guest of her majesty, I too was allowed only 1 shower a week. And there was no fridge and no TV in the tiny cell that I shared with 3 other convicts, which was designed in the 1880s for 1 inmate. The “toilet“ was a bucket that had a lid. It was emptied every morning at 07:00 in turn by me and my fellow inmates into a sluice that served the row of the wing of the block where I was imprisoned. My daily exercise consisted of walking around in a circle and in total silence with other cons in a tiny yard. The “exercise” lasted 30 minutes.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-53110087

    Like

    1. Did you have a poster of Raquel Welch on the wall?

      The idiot Norwegian spy, Frode Berg, was sent home in some kind of spy swap.

      Norwegian media was full of horror stories about how bad prisoners were treated in Lefortovo prison, when Frode Berg was there.

      When he came home and told a different story, they ignored him.

      Like

      1. Why should I have picture of Raquel Welch on the wall?

        Berg was quoted in an article published a few hours ago today by the BBC and written by the BBC woman in Moscow, Rainsford, who never writes anything about Russia without a negative spin, of course

        Like

        1. Sorry, I have only just understood that you wondered if I had a picture of Welch on the wall when I was doing bird.

          Hardly.

          Firstly, I did time in 1985, and secondly, no posters, pinups etc. were then allowed in prison cells.

          What do you think her Majesty’s Prisons were then — rest and recreation centres?

          Like

        2. The poster on the wall is a reference to the popular film, “The Shawshank Redemption”, based on the novel by Stephen King. The prisoner, Andy Dufresne, has a large wall poster of Raquel Welch on the wall of his cell, but behind it is…nothing. He has been tunneling his way out for more than a year, at night, carrying the soil from digging that he cannot simply push to one side out in the cuffs of his pants and distributing it in the exercise yard while walking around. One morning, he is just not in his cell for count, and it is as if he vanished. His escape method is only discovered when the Warden snatches angrily at the poster in frustration at receiving no explanation of where Prisoner Dufresne might be, and exposes the large hole behind it. Dufresne discovered the potential escape route from studying prison blueprints in the historical section of the prison library (probably not a good idea to include those, for any future institutions of incarceration) and realizing a waste pipe runs right behind his cell, and the wall is thin there but the pipe eventually emerges outside the wall.

          British miners likely reckoned Raquel Welch was soft as shite, and preferred braw lasses what could shift a tub with the best of them, like Mae West.

          Like

          1. Andy Dufresne had a better plan for escape than Le comte de Monte Cristo.

            Edmond Dantès escape from Chateau d’If was almost suicidal.

            But both books is good.

            Like

    2. I personally think it is thoughtful of them to provide a night-lite in case one cannot find the toilet in the dark; there is a risk you might suddenly trip and fall on your cellmate, which has the potential to be misunderstood. And showering together in the basement would be dreamy if your cellmate was, say, Abby Martin.

      Maybe not for her. But there’s only so much room for self-indulgence in a fantasy. And I could easily imagine her in jail – one of the few times, probably, that Washington and I are on the same wavelength.

      Like

      1. “And showering together in the basement would be dreamy if your cellmate was, say, Abby Martin.”

        LOL!

        But seriously, stay away from her!

        All the pretty girls belong to me.

        (In my dreams).

        Like

        1. You sexist bastard. I only wanted Abby Martin for a cellmate because I respect her mind and want to learn from her. The shower is just where I do my best learning and listening.

          Like

  23. al-Beeb s’Allah: Racism in Russia: Stories of prejudice
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53055857?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/ce1qrvlegnyt/russia&link_location=live-reporting-story

    By Amalia Zatari BBC Russian, Moscow

    he Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests have not swept across Russia the way they have elsewhere, but people of colour living there have told the BBC about the casual discrimination they experience on a daily basis.

    There are estimated to be tens of thousands of people of colour living in Russia – including Russian-born people with mixed heritage and people from African and Caribbean countries who are working or studying in Russia.

    Here are some of their stories…

    ..[para.34.]…”It’s the casual racism that’s a problem in Russia and it comes from ignorance. I don’t think we have the institutionalized racism of the West.”…
    ####

    al-Beeb discovers racism in Russia. They should get an award for looking for something and finding it, even if it occurs everywhere!

    Like

    1. And they called Africans and persons of African descent негру, the racist swine!

      The term негр (plural негры) in Russian is absolutely neutral: it means “negro”, which, I suppose, some in the West might think “racist”.

      There are offensive terms for negroes in Russian, though, such as черномазый — literally “black smeared”, the Russian equivalent in offensiveness to the “N-word”.

      Like

    2. The more I see of this sudden ‘woke’ consciousness, the more I think maybe if you are not black, you should stay away from black people and not talk to them or have any engagement with them, and vice-versa. You don’t need to be hating on them or anything like that, they’re just people, like you. But everything you say and do is racist. Because you’re not black. I saw something just the other day; yeah, here it is; Questions from white people that feel racist.

      https://level.medium.com/stupid-things-people-say-e3b941476fb8

      I’ve read all my free Medium stories this month, so someone else will have to enlighten us on the details of what new oppression we are inflicting on blacks by speaking to them. But I can read this far:

      “Black people know what you’re thinking about us – subtly but often blatantly – by the stupid things you say. Many of you will implore that we give you the benefit of the doubt, that your intentions are good, but I’m tired of treating you all like baby cotton balls.”

      It’s probably just as well that I can’t read the rest of it, because it would only infuriate me, like those articles by precious feminists who insist that any man who looks in their direction while speaking to them is ‘objectifying’ them or ‘undressing them with his eyes’.

      I remember the black sailors on the USS CLAUDE V. RICKETTS, a CHARLES F. ADAMS class destroyer which was our NATO mate when I was on HMCS SAGUENAY. They had their own language, albeit all they spoke was English. They would say, “Say, bro; let me hold one ‘a your squares”. That meant, “Could I borrow a cigarette?”, because – I was informed – a cigarette package is square. And that was true of Canadian cigarettes, provided it was the small pack of 20 rather than the large pack of 25, and eventually large packs disappeared altogether because nobody could afford them. But all American cigarette packages I ever saw were rectangular. And to ‘let one hold something’ was to lend it. Not difficult to understand, once explained. But should I have suggested they were being racist by not speaking a language I could understand although we both spoke the same language? Probably not then, but as Lou Reed told us, those were different times. These days, if you wear clothing brands which are the preferred of black people, use words which are peculiar to black argot or avow an appreciation for historic black figures, you are ‘appropriating black culture’. And you are a racist. It would be difficult to not conclude that if you are white, end of story – you are a racist, and you should take your white ass someplace else and leave the black folk alone. You might think you are trying to help, but you’re not, because you’re a racist.

      Maybe the crabby old American segregationists were half-right. It was never right to restrict black people to inferior accommodations, services or infrastructure, and everybody should be entitled to the same standard of both. But if the black folk do not want to mix with the white because they make black folk feel downtrodden no matter what they do or say, perhaps they ought not to. Perhaps we should have black banks where the staff are all black, so black folk do not have to feel patronized by snippity honky white tellers who say “May I have your account number, please?”, in that way they do so you just know they’re thinking “You is just a dumb nignog who don’t even know what I’se talkin’ about”. Ditto restaurants. I could say that it makes absolutely no difference to me what colour or gender the staff at a restaurant or my fellow diners are, that I am there to eat and assume they are as well, and no social judgment at all accrues on my part based on your colour or gender, although if you are clearly a man and you are wearing clamdiggers and carrying a purse, I may snort in amusement. But those in the know would recognize the oppressive racist subtext in what I said.

      Like

      1. Mark, stop reading shit, particularly the woke stuff that is so maximalist and cherry picked for advertizing clicks. Rather than bringing up the level of poor people of whatever color, others would rather have us all talking about everything else however abstract or infintessimal.

        Only morons feel guilty for the color of their own skin. The general rule should be don’t be an a/h, treat people with respect and equally. That would be normal, as I believe most people are, but it’s boring so the media and politician buddies aren’t interested. They have ‘product’ to sell. It almost doesn’t matter what it is as long as it draws attention away from them doing nothing to improve the general lot, and particularly those at the bottom of the ladder.

        Holding politicians to account should be essential, but the business run media empires don’t have to chase votes, only advertizing clickz and by whatever means necessary. They’ll burn the bridge under their feet (democracy) if they think that they could make a profit out of it. After all, they can afford the helicopter to lift them off and take themselves somewhere nice!

        Like

        1. You’re probably right, but I am as prone to being hooked by a headline as anyone else, and whenever I read anything by activists I am likely to be incensed, because their position is always so extreme. Radical feminists preach a doctrine that if you were born with a dick, you should crawl to the nearest bridge and roll off before you are old enough to have it rule your life and make you a menace to society. Black activists espouse the position that all whiteys need to get the fuck out of town when black people are there, because we can sense your patronizing contempt and it makes us uncomfortable even if you don’t say or do anything. Oh, and Bob Marley was black, so don’t be thinking you can play his music in your car (that alone would be enough to make me climb a clock tower). And everything you have is a result of white privilege. I don’t care if you worked for it; you only got that job because you are white.

          Have you seen the list of demands posted by the Seattle demonstrators who have seized a section of downtown Seattle, and claim it as a separate but associated autonomous zone? Many of the demands are entirely reasonable, and focus on reasonable justice which has long been denied. Similarly, I don’t think anyone reasonable is arguing that black people have been badly treated by predominantly-white justice in America.

          However, some demands look to me to be nothing more than angry cries to replace ‘white privilege’ with ‘black privilege’. I personally think that is a bad mistake which will alienate a great deal of white support, which supported equality, not a pendulum swing in the opposite direction. Some of them propose the end of prisons, with some cockamamie transformative-accountability system to replace it. Not all prisoners in the United States are victims of railroading, and some are violent offenders who would be incredibly dangerous if released. Such as:

          7. We demand a retrial of all People in Color currently serving a prison sentence for violent crime, by a jury of their peers in their community.

          13. We demand the abolition of imprisonment, generally speaking, but especially the abolition of both youth prisons and privately-owned, for-profit prisons.

          14. We demand in replacement of the current criminal justice system the creation of restorative/transformative accountability programs as a replacement for imprisonment.

          1, We demand the hospitals and care facilities of Seattle employ black doctors and nurses specifically to help care for black patients.

          2. We demand the people of Seattle seek out and proudly support Black-owned businesses. Your money is our power and sustainability.

          View at Medium.com

          Like

          1. Yes, it’s hard to avoid. It is real master baiting! Meanwhile the number of people depending on handouts and food banks increases.

            I read that even feminists are being loudly attacked on SM for not wanting to share public toilets with non-gender changed transexuals! Maybe we should all have cubicles, but if I am being honest I don’t think I can cope with having to queue, particularly as I have a bladder the size of a pea (see what I did there?)!

            These are strange times and a lot of very aggressive people are getting their moment in the sun before they are squashed, one way or another. Think of it as a pot on the boil. The authorities for once aren’t trying to beat the s/t out of them and are biding their time, leaving some steam to be released before acting.

            Like

  24. Carroll of the Independent ever on the alert for dastardly deeds in Mordor:

    Pyotr Verzilov: Anti-Putin activist ‘disappears’ from Moscow flat
    News comes nearly two years after reported poisoning attempt

    Oliver Carroll Moscow
    35 minutes ago

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pyotr-verzilov-missing-russia-moscow-putin-pussy-riot-a9577816.html

    Verzilov seeking attention again.

    In September 2018, Mr Verzilov was taken ill in Moscow in what appeared to be a poisoning attack. He was evacuated to Berlin, where doctors confirmed his symptoms were consistent with poisoning. Russian authorities have so far failed to open a criminal case into the apparent attack.

    Like

      1. Nah, it’s Carroll, an Irish family name. Hardly surprising, Carroll being from Birkenhead.

        When I used to frequent the Emerald Isle in the ‘70s, I used to smoke Irish cigs there called “Carroll’s”.

        Carroll’s also had a brand called “Sweet Afton”, on the pack of which was a portrait of Robert Burns. The daft buggers must have thought he was a Paddy — or maybe they thought he should’ve been a Paddy because he was good with the Blarney with women.

        Flow gently sweet Afton among the green braes
        Flow gently I’ll sing thee a song of thy praise
        My Mary’s’ asleep by the murmuring stream
        Flow gently sweet afton disturb not her dream…

        Mary’s probably asleep because he’d been rogering her.

        Like

    1. Every maiden’s dream, the precious thing; just look at that scraggly beard – dead sexy. Someone should tell him that if you use the chicken-shit-and-molasses poultice on your face method and lie out in the spring rain to grow facial hair, you should be sure to apply it evenly. I do hope he’s all right. First place to check is the Registry Of People Who Have Faked Their Own Death Or Disappearance.

      If he truly is an ‘anti-Putin activist’ I hope nobody is paying him for it, because we have heard the square root of fuck-all from him for years.

      Like

  25. Politico.com: Did Vladimir Putin Support Anti-Western Terrorists as a Young KGB Officer?
    https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/06/20/vladimir-putin-dresden-kgb-330203

    Putin has sworn his time as a KGB officer in Dresden was uneventful. There’s a lot of reason to doubt that claim.

    Catherine Belton is a former Financial Times reporter and the author of the new book PUTIN’S PEOPLE: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West.

    DRESDEN—When Vladimir Putin first arrived in Dresden as a mid-level KGB officer in 1985, East Germany was already living on borrowed time. On the verge of bankruptcy, the country was surviving with the help of a billion-Deutsche Mark loan from West Germany, while voices of dissent were on the rise. All around the eastern bloc, the mood of protest was increasing amid the misery and shortages of the planned economy and the brutality of state law-enforcement agencies.

    Most of what Putin did during the Dresden years remains shrouded in mystery, in part because the KGB was so effective at destroying and transferring documents before the collapse of East Germany…

    …This former Red Army Faction member and his colleagues would travel into East Germany by train and would be met by Stasi agents waiting in a large Soviet-made Zil car, then driven to Dresden, where they were joined in a safe house by Putin and another of his KGB colleagues. “They would never give us instructions directly. They would just say, ‘We heard you were planning this, how do you want to do it?’ and make suggestions. They would suggest other targets and ask us what we needed. We always needed weapons and cash.”…
    ####

    Well that’s subtle. Did Zil make ‘small’ cars then? It’s not as if any other intelligence service would be keeping an eye out for Zils and their occupants.

    It’s amazing how much a journalist can wring from one, unnamed source. Extraordiary claims require extraordinary evidence and Cathering Belton doesn’t provide any. At all. Absence of evidence? Proof! There’s not smoke without fire! When a chicken walks in a circle, it means there’ll be a drought this summer!

    She does get a good write up by the Guardian’s Luke ‘Plagarist, Moi?’ Harding though. Belton also wrote for (suprise surprise) the Moscow Times & Business week and is now a special correspondent for Neuters. Apparently the central meat of the book is about Yukos, which leads to the question, how involved is Khodokovsky in the book? After all, he was just a regular businessman and has no need of reputation management.

    Apparently her book is the most important one on ‘Russia’, ‘essential reading’ and other marketing terms that pepper the search results. That’s good to know for 25 quid and 640 pages. If I was to spend money, it would have to be the audiobook version of it so I can drift off on waves of comforting bulls/t for a good night’s sleep.

    A year ago Belton wrote the article ‘In British PM race, a former Russian tycoon quietly wields influence’, so if that’s anything to go by, she really is very good at tilting at windmills. RUN! BEAR!

    Like

    1. Belton features regularly in John Helmer’s articles. Not, in the words of the late Hirohito, necessarily to her advantage.

      Like

    2. “When Vladimir Putin first arrived in Dresden as a mid-level KGB officer in 1985, East Germany was already living on borrowed time. On the verge of bankruptcy, the country was surviving with the help of a billion-Deutsche Mark loan from West Germany, while voices of dissent were on the rise. All around the eastern bloc, the mood of protest was increasing amid the misery and shortages of the planned economy and the brutality of state law-enforcement agencies.”

      It is a matter of public record that the reunification of Germany was not enthusiastically sought in general by East Germany, and that Honecker was appalled by Gorbachev’s squishiness and snowflake ‘reforms’. It is perfectly true that every time someone tried to go over the wall it was in the western direction, and the western media made a big deal of it every time – if you blather about the streets being paved with gold and money for nothing, there will always be some who believe it. But East Germany was by no means sobbing with gratitude at being brought under the fraternal wing of West Germany, and for some time continued to insist they were separate countries.

      Mr. Honecker will step right into the middle of the argument from the moment he alights from his plane at the Bonn-Cologne airport. In the East German view, he is arriving on a state visit as a foreign head of state. Mr. Kohl, for his part, has insisted that Mr. Honecker is coming on a ”working visit,” implying no special recognition.

      All the protocol of the visit has been painstakingly worked out to sustain both claims. The West Germans have scaled down the arrival ceremonies just a notch below what heads of state normally receive. Mr. Honecker, for example, will be escorted by 17 rather than 21 motorcyclists, and the program lists ”anthems,” not ”national anthems.”

      But the East German leader has been left with enough flag-raisings, anthems, troop reviews and ceremonies, including a state dinner Monday night hosted by President Richard von Weiszacker, to make his point…

      For Mr. Honecker, the chance to corner a bit of spotlight must be a welcome relief from the political pressure Mr. Gorbachev’s policies of change have placed on him. At 75, the East German leader is just the sort of aging Communist chieftain Mr. Gorbachev is trying to retire, and the chants of ”Gorbachev! Gorbachev!” at a recent demonstration in East Berlin were a worrisome signal to Mr. Honecker that the Russian’s calls for change were proving contagious.

      For his part, Mr. Honecker has not concealed his irritation with the Kremlin’s belated conversion to openness and economic reconstruction, to the extent that some of Mr. Gorbachev’s speeches have been censored in the East German press.

      On the economic side, the East Germans, with the strongest economy in the Soviet bloc and an incomparably higher standard of living than the Russians, feel they have no need for Soviet guidance. As Prof. Gudrun Langendorf of the East German Academy of Social Sciences said in a recent interview, ”Most things that are being done in the Soviet Union were done here a long time ago.”

      It is tiresome to have to keep pointing out the west’s obsessive self-worship. to the point that anyone from without who would not give his left nut to be an American or Briton or Dutchman is viewed as an impossibility.

      Well, as I also often say, if westerners want to spend good money to study wrong information about the countries their governments have appointed to be The Enemy, that’s all to the good for The Enemy. Well done, Special Agent Belton.

      Like

  26. Metro.co.uk: Reading terror suspect named as Libyan national Khairi Saadallah
    https://metro.co.uk/2020/06/21/reading-terror-suspect-named-libyan-national-khairi-saadallah-12882000/

    …Saadallah, 25, is a Libyan asylum seeker, the Press Association reports. A security source told the agency that mental health is being considered a ‘major factor’ in the incident…
    ####

    The never ending benefits/sarc of the west’s Libya intervention! Chalk another one up for MI6 (inc. Manchester Arena bombing’s Salman Ramadan Abedi who’s brother Hashem has recently been found guilty of helping to plan the attack). There are Wrong Monsters, and there are Right Monsters. Right Monsters sometimes become Wrong Monsters…

    Remember kids, the west is bombing them over there, so it doesn’t have to bomb them over here! Hold on a moment….

    Like

    1. al-Beeb s’Allah: Reading stabbing attack suspect Khairi Saadallah known to MI5 – sources
      https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53129046

      …Sources told the BBC he is originally from Libya and came to the attention of MI5 in 2019. ..

      …Security sources said the suspect came to the attention of the security services after they received information he had aspirations to travel abroad – potentially for terrorism, according to the BBC’s home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani.

      When the information was further investigated, as the first stage of looking into a potential lead, no genuine threat or immediate risk was identified.

      No case file was opened which would have made him a target for further investigation….

      Like

      1. We asked ‘im straight up, guv; look ‘ere – are you ‘ere to do terrorism? An’ he says, why no, just as nice as pie. Now I ask you – what are we supposed to fink?

        Like

        1. It always tickles me when you apply for a British passport or to renew one, as I did last April for my mixed race Anglo-Orc trio, and one of the questions goes something like: “Have you ever been a member or supporter of a terrorist organization?”

          I wonder how many “yes”- boxes below that question get ticked?

          Like

          1. There used to be a separate category in Canada Immigration documentation, Table 7, which was headed “Persons of the Inadmissible Class Who Require Ministerial Permission to Enter, But Who Were Admitted”.

            I used to be quite the researcher into Canada Immigration’s paperwork, because as you will recall, my wife’s immigration was held up for nearly 5 years because the Canadian authorities thought she was an FSB plant, or sometimes affiliated with a Mafia criminal gang, and I don’t know what-all. I used to search out examples of outrageous injustice such as the one above – in which, that year (around 2003, I think, if I recall correctly) there were over 300 ‘inadmissibles’ admitted, two of them who were ticked as having once had something to do with terrorism – and put them in a letter and send it off to the Prime Minister. Shortly after I highlighted that particular one, Table 7 vanished from the internet. I still have a copy of it, though, in the documents stored on my old laptop.

            I never got a direct answer from the Prime Minister, although I did get a letter from Anne McLellan when she was Deputy PM. but I got a Christmas Card from Paul Martin when he was PM, with a lovely picture of his family. I never got anything official which said, “What the Fuck??? Why are we letting in people who are graded as INADMISSIBLE???”

            Like

  27. AsiaTimes.com: 1962 India-China war redux?
    https://asiatimes.com/2020/06/1962-india-china-war-redux/

    China no longer thinks that it can afford to take lightly the steady Indian buildup of military infrastructure

    …However, the red line was breached when the Indian government followed up its decision last August on abrogating Article 370 of the constitution to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir by making a breathtaking territorial claim on Aksai Chin, enshrining the claim on a map, which in military terms could only imply from the Chinese perspective a strategic intention on India’s part to sever Tibet’s link with Xinjiang – nothing more, nothing less. ..
    ####

    Alles klar! I’d seen similar reporting on poor strategic thinking by the Indian side. It also explains why after a long silence the Chinese leadership has declared the whole Galwan valley as their territory. It should also be noted that China in recent years has itself been building up infrastructure close to India’s borders that could be seen as threatening or upsetting the balance. One side’s interpretation of ‘defense’ an be the other side interpretation of ‘threat.’

    Yet again, allying oneself with the United States leads to delusional thinking that Washington has your back whatever you do. Event’s in Georgia and more recently the Ukraine show that cannofodder is ‘thanked for its service’ to the US Empire and not much more.

    Meanwhile the USA sees fit to compete with China nearby:

    AsiaTimes.com: Nepal faces dilemma over US grant
    https://asiatimes.com/2020/06/nepal-faces-dilemma-over-us-grant/

    Provisions of the $500 million grant by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation have stirred up controversy

    …The opponents inside and outside the ruling party argue that the US is trying to foist its “hidden geopolitical agenda” on Nepal through the grant in an apparent bid to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). After top US officials and documents linked the MCC with America’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), the Nepal Compact fell into controversy….

    Like

    1. Craig Murray:

      The Miracle of Salisbury

      It turns out that the BBC really does believe that God is an Englishman. When the simple impossibility of the official story on the Skripals finally overwhelmed the dramatists, they resorted to Divine Intervention for an explanation – as propagandists have done for millennia. …

      Like

          1. Well, the one I posted as an example is, I presume, the very latest, and retails for around $1,100.00. That’s pretty pricey for me, although you probably get a bonus from the Kremlin just for being English. Anyway, I can’t vouch for the more pedestrian models, but the newest top-of-the-line Huawei won decisively over the new iPhone. For me – since I am not a gamer and mostly use mine just as a phone – the far longer battery life and twice the RAM would have clinched it right there, but they point out in fairness that the phones use power differently, and so that might not be the straight-up measure it appears.

            Like

        1. Oh, sorry; that’s my software exploit that I use to hoover up your private information – I call it “Project Mole”. I must have left it on again by accident, I normally only turn it on between 4:00 and 5:00 AM. It’s off now – better?

          Like

        2. ‘Zackly like when them two what did Litvinenko went to the British Embassy or some such to plead their innocence. The British had to shut the place down afterward to decontaminate it, Polonium 210 all over the place, it was so radioactive you could have seen it in the dark. The chairs where they sat, tables where the palms of their hands had rested – and this was after how long? And in all that time neither man ever picked up something like a pickle or bit of cheese with his hands, and put it in his mouth? Come on. The British do like their little jokes.

          Like

      1. Neither Jeeves nor Wooster would label the items of clothing in question as “pants”

        “Trousers”, old bean, is what one says in the UK.

        Or, depending where one comes from, “britches” or “keks”.

        Like

  28. Unsurprisingly – and, I think, beneficially – EU leaders agreed in their recent ‘online summit’ to extend the sanctions against Russia for a further six months. They are mostly symbolic now, as Russia has largely reoriented its supply chains so that when sanctions are finally lifted, if they ever are, nobody should notice any difference. Russia will be wary of buying from Europe and mostly has alternative markets in steady-state relationships, while Europe doesn’t buy much from Russia except energy and raw materials, and energy was left untouched. I expect titanium is worth its weight in…well, titanium in other parts of the world, because Russia has most of it, but it is being its usual good-guy self and not putting restrictions on it, else there would be a scream from Airbus that you could hear on Saturn. But except for the sobbing liberals blubbering “Cheese!! Cheese!! It’s…it’s all too…beautiful!!” on the great day sanctions are lifted, it should have almost no impact.

    I just find it funny, in the context that Ukraine so recently announced it did not consider itself bound by the Minsk Agreements and has no intention of implementing its part in them. That’s another meeting the western leaders can cross off their calendars.

    I am curious to what extent sanctions are actually being observed, anyway – I notice Mercedes and BMW sales were both up in 2019 year-over-year, 11.3% for the former and 16.6% for the latter, with more than 40,000 units sold by each.

    https://www.marklines.com/en/statistics/flash_sales/salesfig_russia_2019

    Oh, dear: Chevrolet, down 27.3%. Ford….down 57%. Only Ford Light Commercial Vehicles showed a slight uptick. The big winners were Haval and Geely, whom I had never heard of. Both are Chinese, Haval owned by Great Wall Motors and Geely its own brand owned by a privately-held multinational in Hangzhou. Haval sold 12,284 units, and Geely only 9,602, and each represent only 2% of the market, but they must have just started selling them for them to show such large gains with such low numbers; they look likely to do very well in Russia as they gain brand recognition.

    And in case anyone thought it was only the Americans getting the pip – Jaguar, down 31.5%.

    Oh, hey – Geely is the biggest single shareholder in Mercedes-Benz, and also owns Lotus and Volvo. Jesus, where have I been?

    https://www.ellectricar.com/2018/02/chinese-billionaire-investor-wants-its.html

    It looks like they are fairly well-placed to tear up the Russian vehicle market, and largely replace American and British brands.

    Like

    1. Dear Mr. Chapman,

      As regards your comments concerning the non-effectiveness of sanctions meted out by the World Community against the former USSR as a consequence of its persistent breach of international law and its endless aggression towards its neighbours, to say nothing of its sponsorship of world terrorism, you simply cannot imagine, even in your worst nightmares, how thinking, creative, intelligent people in this blighted land REALLY DO SUFFER from shortages of commodities and services, which deficits are the clear results of those truly justified economic sanctions.

      Is it really possible that even in a mind such as yours appears to be, a mind clearly distorted by Kremlin propaganda , how truly dreadful one’s existence can be without the presence of such finer things in life as imported French wines and cheeses, Finnish dairy products, Latvian sprats and British toilet paper?

      Like

      1. I can get Latvian sprats here – Riga Gold – from the Great Canadian Superstore (a big-box competitor of Costco). But I imagine Russia has substitutes. Toughen up, man, for the love of God! You must make these sacrifices for the Motherland. And I can remember when British toilet paper could have been used to extract confessions from prisoners in Afghanistan, it was like wiping your bum with a bark-covered stick in a field. That was in the public toilets, mind, you, probably as a discouragement, and doubtless the gentry’s was like silk, or perhaps even was silk. But surely Russians can learn to make soft toilet paper. You just take the industrial stuff and chew it a little, I think.

        Like

        1. Kaliningrad sprats are better: same bloody fish from the same sea, but canned in Russia!

          Слава России!

          Like

            1. No, шпроты России or российские шпроты maybe.

              To be contentious, one could say шпроты Пруссии.

              Like

    1. Armstrong:

      “To sum up, a former head of GCHQ said at one of my presentations in the Putin era, “they just don’t share our values”. Russians would probably agree, but not in the way he meant”.

      Damned right!

      I don’t either — and I’m not Russian: looking at Western “values” from the other side of the fence, as it were, gives one a different sense of perspective.

      Bear in mind, I didn’t like those “values” much when I was over there on the other side of the fence.

      Like

  29. Once again Helmer is way out in front of the crowd, perhaps first in the world – except for the complicit, of course – to have intuited the Dutch scheme of prosecution in the MH-17 trial. No proof need be offered, as they are going with a ‘conditional intent’ angle which does not exist in American or other European law. Incredible. The persons accused in the incident need not be the ones who pulled the trigger – figuratively speaking. No, indeed; it is enough that they wished to down an aircraft, and it came to pass that an aircraft was downed. They did not need to have fired the missile; actually, no proof needs to be offered of the circumstances under which the missile hit the aircraft. It happened, and they wanted it to happen. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

    Read it and weep.

    http://johnhelmer.net/how-the-dutch-prosecution-and-the-judge-have-rigged-the-outcome-of-the-mh17-trial-on-a-charge-that-requires-no-proof/#more-34033

    Like

    1. Lack of proof to show intent is nothing new. The whole International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia hindges on it, i.e. you can cherry pick evidence and use that as a basis to claim intent, even if it is well below the normal legal standards found in countries.

      The facts are chosen to fit the conclusion, i.e. somebody (who we chose) is guilty, therefore they will be found guilty, by hook or by crook. Those we like get a free pass or much less interest.

      But that is how the west has operated for 30 years.

      It is politics as an extension of war, rather than the more traditional war as an extension of politics. Or lawfare as it is more commonly known. You just shop for lawyers who you know will deliver your outcome. The rest of the world isn’t fooled, but this is all for domestic gratification and the Media happily goes along with it. speaking of which, it is litte relevant whether such media is directly funded by the state or in private hands. When it comes to foreign policy in particular, the vast majority reflects the position of the state.

      Like

      1. What they seemed to be rejoicing about in advance was that Russia’s refusal to admit it is militarily involved in East Ukraine opens up the whole Russian state to prosecution and orders to pay reparations. Dumb shits – if they had only admitted their involvement, then only the persons who are before the court – figuratively speaking – could be found guilty. But as the situation lies, in which all Russians were involved in Ukraine and all wished for an aircraft to be brought down and one was – well, the Russian state obviously can be found guilty. And since it has lots of money where others have blown theirs, why, it shall pay and pay and pay.

        It’s like Lord of the Flies on a national scale.

        It’s nice to see western lawyers overtly mocking the Dutch proceedings and their complete perversion of law, but even that is not necessary. The west is all by itself on the playground now.

        Like

  30. The BBC this morning on the postponed Victory Day parade to be held in two-and-half hours’ time from now:

    The annual parade – starting this year at 10:00 (07:00 GMT) – is always an occasion for President Putin to harness Russian patriotic feelings, in a way reminiscent of Soviet times.

    He has restored Cold War-era Soviet symbols, and in 2008 he reintroduced heavy weaponry in the parade. The black-and-gold wartime St George’s ribbon is especially ubiquitous.

    A touch of negative spin, anyone?

    Speaking objectively, I, as a long-time resident in this country, can unequivocally state that the huge majority of the population here celebrates the Victory of 1945 with joy, yet it is a joy tinged with great sadness, at the frightful loss of lives that the Nazi onslaught against the Soviet Union cost. And they revere the few survivors of that conflict — witness the “Immortal Regiment” parade, so scorned by the liberal filth here.

    Russian citizens DO NOT yearn for a restoration of the Soviet Union.

    Russians enjoy consumerism, if allowed to do so, by the sanctions-wielding Hegemon that has taken upon itself the task of policing the “Global Economy” for its own benefit.

    As for the Cold War era Soviet symbols that the president has restored, I should dearly like to know where they are.

    Where are these hammers and sickles and red stars that the BBC sees everywhere here; where are the CP banner slogans that the BBC alleges are fluttering everywhere?

    Слава Ленину, Слава КПСС, Слава Советским Космонавтам ????

    More negative spin:

    Technically [sic] mass gatherings are still banned in Moscow, which continues to record a stubbornly high number of new Covid-19 cases each day – more than 1,000 were reported on Tuesday, the eve of the parade.

    [The BBC semi-literate journalist who wrote the above should have placed a comma after “technically” — fucking BBC halfwit!]

    Of course, “stubbornly refuses“ means (nudge, nudge; wink, wink) the data is falsified — by the Evil One himself, no doubt.

    BBC — go and get fucked, will ya?

    Please?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53152725

    Like

    1. You see, the irrefutable reasoning behind the implied allegation that the Russian COVID data are false is that if true, the figures are lower than they are in the free world, which is a patently absurd proposition.

      QED

      Like

      1. I’m watching the parade now. Six minutes to go! A glorious summer day — 25C. Next to Putin in the stands is Lukashenko.

        Like

          1. All the presidents of the former Soviet republics were present, except for the Baltic states and Yukiestan, of course, and Georgia.

            A Chinese military detachment took part in the parade. The Chinese sang Katyusha — and very well too.

            Like

          2. RFE/RL has some of the nicest photos. Of course the tone is reproachful-verging-on-catty because Putin went ahead with this silly parade for his own personal glorification to remind Russians to vote for his make-me-president-forever constitutional amendment in July. But they did have good photos. Of course they made a big deal about the Buk M3 being part of the parade, as if Russia had previously tried to snow them that it didn’t have it or something. Anyone know what those twin white cars are that the Turkish standard-bearers are riding in? They look like classics of some description, but their lines are elegant.

            https://www.rferl.org/a/parade-amid-a-pandemic-russia-holds-massive-wwii-victory-day-celebrations/30688316.html

            They blabber on and on about the deadly pandemic, but do mention that all parade participants were tested in advance and then quarantined. Not mentioned in their hushed and aghast reporting on the number of Russian coronavirus cases and deaths (‘but the real number is surely much higher’, as they always say about any figures Russia reports unless the figures are positive, in which case ‘the real number is surely much lower’) is that the numbers of recovered have overtaken the numbers of new cases; in Belarus it has been that way for a week.

            Like

            1. The favoured words are “stubborn” or “stubbornly” (as in “new cases remain stubbornly high at 7,000 a day”) as if the SARS-COV-2 virus has a mind of its own and is wilfully disobeying the Canute-like actions of Moscow in trying to stop it from further infiltration into the Russian public.

              Those standard-bearers in one of the snazzy white coupés (the one closer to the front from the photographer’s POV) are from Turkmenistan and are carrying the Turkmenistan flag (bright green background with white crescent and stars, and a Turkish-style carpet pattern down the hoist side).
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Turkmenistan

              Hard to tell what the standard-bearers in the other car are carrying. The cars look like 1950s or 1960s models, going by the design of the front bumper bars.

              Like

              1. According to the IMF, the ‘global carnage’ will reduce global GDP by 4.9%, and wipe $12 Trillion off the board.

                https://asiatimes.com/2020/06/imf-forecasts-global-economic-carnage/

                They refer to it as ‘a crisis like no other’, which is as clear a signal as we have received from that body so far that nobody official is going to support the view that it was not ever that dangerous, and instead will stick with the official narrative that by their timely, decisive and brave actions, our leaders saved us from a depopulated world with millions of dead, and that we should be grateful for our lives. And whatever crumbs of our liberty they see fit to let us have again, it goes without saying. So get ready to be a crazy outlier, cackling over your charts and numbers, as the very great majority support the mass delusion that the world barely escaped a plague that could have wiped us all out.

                That way we won’t be so ungrateful as to blanch at an 8% economic contraction, if we live in the USA. Double digits if we live in France, Italy, Spain or Britain.

                Oh, except China. Whose economy will even grow a little, about 1%. That’s gratitude for you, after they released the virus on the world and destroyed the global economy, you’d think the least they could do is share in the collapse. And no mention of what will befall the Russian economy, what was already in tatters, I mean – they just get a sniffy dismissal for nobody wearing masks during the Victory Day Parade they insisted on having, to prevent Putin’s people from learning the truth that the Americans defeated the Nazis.

                Fits in perfectly with the overall atmosphere of surrealism.

                In the last post he made at Awara before he died, Jon Hellevig forecast that “Having after 2014 following sanctions been cut off from the Western debt orgy, even Russian corporations are shielded against a possible Western debt apocalypse.” We shall see, because America is still pressing on with ambitious plans to spend $6 Billion bolstering its military presence in the Indo-Pacific region. I guess a country that owes more than 100% of its GDP in debt can always find an extra $6 Billion when it looks like someone needs some freedom. Oh, sorry; that was all the other times – this time around, it’s all about ‘Peace and stability’. You know – like the United States military brings wherever it goes. Anyway, it doesn’t sound as if they’re worried about money, as I guess you don’t need to be when you simply bump the money supply by pressing a button and magicking another few Trillions into existence, then sell them to yourself by printing more money. No wonder the market just keeps going up and up and up. Who knew it was so easy? It’s a wonder more countries don’t do it. Or perhaps ‘caution’ is the word I was looking for.

                https://asiatimes.com/2020/06/us-military-spending-to-skyrocket-over-china-sea-footprint/

                Like

            2. Yes, those cars looked like late 1940s “repros” — “Kaisers”, perhaps, for parading in front of the Tsar (Caesar).

              They weren’t Turks standing in the vehicles in question and a Turkish contingent following: they were Turkmen from Turkmenistan.

              Other hacks for Western rags commented about the breach of the “pandemic” regulations — all for the greater glorification of the Tyrant: no masks, no social distancing.

              In fact, there were a few veterans in the stands wearing masks — only a handful I saw. And of course, nary a word by these Western filth that pose as truth-seeking journalists that the military personnel on parade had all been test for that virus.

              Like

              1. Note photo 8 in the above linked RFE/RL article on yesterday’s victory parade: is that one of those resurrected by Putin Soviet symbols I see — you know, what the effing BBC Loves to go on about?

                Like

                1. Rosenberg of the BBC. on yesterday’s victory parade, which he says took place, in spite of that virus, to ensure that the the Evil One be re-elected yet again.

                  According to Rosenberg, Putin has built up the Soviet Union victory against Nazi Germany to be “part of the Russian national idea”.

                  That a fact, Rosenberg?

                  I shall tell you a fact, BBC Man-In-Moscow: the Soviet Union DID defeat Nazi Germany.

                  That’s no fucking phantasy drummed into Russian dullard heads, no “idea” cynically propagandized by the Evil Regime: it’s a fact!!!

                  Like

                2. I don’t understand why they let him continue to report from Moscow – tell him to clear out and go the fuck home, he can make stuff up as easily from his kitchen back in Fuckoff-on-Thames.

                  Like

                3. Hey, Steve – seen this?

                  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/uk-response-coronavirus-pandemic-one-worst-world-report-finds/

                  The UK was rated second-worst in the world for its response. Shouldn’t you be back there, delivering your gripping reporting over what a bollock BoJo dropped? I mean; and apparently a lockdown was not critical for success, either. No, amazingly, “Overall, the countries that managed the pandemic the better all reacted early and swiftly, as New Zealand did, for instance. Not all of them introduced stringent lockdowns, but all implemented aggressive testing and tracing programmes, which were among the most crucial factors to contain the pandemic,” said Ms Demarais.”

                  Like

                4. I don’t understand why they let him continue to report from Moscow

                  Quid pro quo.

                  It’s my guess that if the UK actually follows through with threats to ban RT/correspondents/reporting in the UK which it does once or twice a year under the guise that is has not followed UK media rules (which the UK media itself doesn’t follow), Rosenstern & Rainsencranz will be the first out of the door from Russia, along with the rest of the BBC… which the government considers an essential part of its soft power.

                  As any fule ‘no, the Beeb doesn’t do news except when vociferously bashing those abroad. At home it has become neutered, it’s scared of its own shadow and the tory government.

                  Like

    2. I heartily second the diagnosis, and the BBC should go and get fucked, and stay there because it is obvious previous treatments have not taken. The less the western opinion matters to Russians, the more strident it becomes. As far as the BBC is concerned, Putin spends half his day knouting the downtrodden and the other half fantasizing about the recreation of the Soviet Union. He never sleeps; merely drives his toenails into the ventilation trunking and hangs there like a bat for brief naps.

      In Russia, as in Belarus, recovered cases have outstripped new cases, and a growing body of data suggests the coronavirus was never anything much to worry about unless you were over 80 and/or had an underlying condition, pretty much the same conditions which would make you wary of a bad flu season. Let them twitter on mindlessly about evil Putin and how he does not care for the hearts and souls of Russians the way the BBC does. And it will continue to blat about the coronavirus in Russia until some Russian official admits they had millions of deaths whose victims they buried in an industrial disposal site on the outskirts of town. Just tell them that – it’ll make them happy and they’ll go away. They don’t care whether it’s true – it gives them something sensational to report, and for wise eggheads to fill the comments with “Knew it all along, Libby – didn’t I say, wot, wot?” Barking dogs and caravans.

      Like

  31. Russischer Energieminister: „Die US-Sanktionen gegen Nord Stream 2 sind reiner Protektionismus“

    Russian Energy Minister: “The US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 are pure protectionism”

    Source: https://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/international/interview-mit-alexander-nowak-die-us-sanktionen-sind-reiner-protektionismus/25932840.html

    This is how the Minister of Energy of Russia Alexander Novak sees the situation:

    “The “Northern duct-2″ is de facto already built;

    – sanctions do not work;

    – sanctions will not work.

    We have long forgotten that there are sanctions in general”, Novak told the Handelsblatt newspaper. “They were introduced in 2014. Only by your asking about them, have I remembered that they still exist.

    And he explained:

    “Our companies have long been accustomed to carrying out their projects on their own. We have very much developed our own conveyor technology and implemented import substitution programme. Sanctions no longer burden us. We used to do energy projects with Western companies, now we do them on our own”.

    The journalist asked him how this is consistent with what is happening: will Gazprom be able to complete the Nord Stream-2 pipeline by itself?

    “The pipeline is being built by a consortium of foreign companies, not Russia. The Nord Stream 2 project has already been completed in terms of investment and economic viability. All possible technical means are used for the purely physical completion of construction work.

    Well, the United States is just a hooligan,
    messing around and breaking its own rules.

    We remember that it was the USA that always promoted free trade”.

    Novak said about Nord Stream-2:

    “This is a commercial project; It creates competition in the gas market, and does not choke it”.

    “Sanctions against NS2 are absolutely illegal and completely inadequate”.

    “This is pure protectionism. It is also interference in the sovereignty of European countries”.

    But all this is nonsensical because “the Nord Stream 2 project has already been completed in terms of investment and economic viability”.

    “Basically, we have already built Nord Stream-2“.

    “There are those who say that it will not work: in fact, it, has been completed”.

    Source: https://zen.yandex.ru/media/vg_saveliev/severnyi-potok2-uje-postroen-sankcii-protiv-energeticheskih-proektov-ne-rabotaiut-5eee35c4d219d5037298a87b

    Comment to the above from a Russian smart-arse libtard:

    Новак на какой планете живёт?Вы эти 136 км будите 30 лет строить.😂😂😂😂😂

    What planet are you living on, Novak? These 136 kms will take 30 years to build.

    Like

    1. The Americans have been quite open that they mean to stop the project in order to create a market for their own LNG. Only dullards like Jens Stoltenberg (not necessarily him specifically, just dullards of his type who cannot envision a world in which there is no Washington to tell everyone what to do and make them like it), who are always the last to get the memo, still believe America has a chance of crushing the pipeline and preventing its completion. What they might better occupy themselves thinking about is the brave new world in which Russia and the west are not friends and cannot be again, where the west just says “Hey, I was only kidding – you knew that, right?” and everything is all right again. I say once more; supply chains have been reoriented, and Europe’s former markets in Russia are not coming back. Have fun trying to cram more English carrots into Germany, and Dutch ‘Wasserbomben’ tomatoes into France. Think of it as doing you a favour; now some European farmland can be allowed to overgrow, and perhaps you can make more parks.

      Like

    2. The five emoticons following the above libtard’s comment indicate to me that the commenter is some juvenile Navalnyite or some older, yet still juvenile in attitude, bourgeois member of the “creative class”.

      Like

  32. Speaking of Nord Stream II, a top manager – Chief Project Officer Henning Kothe – has just left the company ‘for personal reasons’. The Nord Stream II Project claims he has already been replaced by an experienced employee who worked on both legs of Nord Stream, whose name cannot be announced at this point until company documents have been changed.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-gas-nordstream-idUSKBN23Q1QM

    That’s not exactly why I mentioned it, though; I wanted to point out this hysterical paragraph. I love the writers at Reuters, they’re so deliciously zany that it speaks to two possibilities – deliberate taking the mickey, or paralytic drunkenness.

    “U.S. senators this month announced a bill expanding sanctions on the project which Washington says will boost Moscow’s economic and political influence in Germany and other European countries.”

    Well…umm…thanks, U.S. senators! It reminds me of one of Bush’s tortured aphorisms;

    “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

    Like

    1. Plus after Nordstream I was done and dusted and before Nordstream II began, the Americans discovered Greenland on a map and someone must have mentioned as an aside (obviously thinking it was unimportant) that it was Danish territory.

      Like

  33. Aaaaaannd the labour pool in Britain, at least in journalism, seems to have shrunk to a few retards fighting and scratching each other under the break-room lunch table, and one guy trying to jimmy open the Coke machine. Check out this headline:

    Gazprom sues Germany over Nord Stream 2 decision

    Is there no difference in Britain between launching a lawsuit and filing an appeal? Apparently not. Which says a lot about how a chrome-plated assrocket like Sir Robert Owen could rise so high in the jurisprudence field.

    For the rest of the world that does not live in the land of celebrities, titties and warm beer, Gazprom is – has done, actually – filing an appeal of the earlier decision to make the Nord Stream II pipeline comply with European standards which were written specifically for it so as to give the receiving side more regulatory control.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/06/21/gazprom-sues-germany-nord-stream-2-decision/

    According to this source, if the Danes get off the pot, pipelaying could start in July. I personally have my doubts, I think the fisheries restriction will scupper any plans to get started this summer. However, an interesting tidbit was contained within:

    https://www.icis.com/explore/resources/news/2020/06/17/10520242/nord-stream-2-gas-pipelay-in-denmark-could-restart-in-july

    “The anchor pipelayer Castoro Sei built 70% of Nord Stream, the existing twin of Nord Stream 2. The two pipelines follow the same route for the most part, except in Danish waters where Nord Stream 2 goes more southeast of the Bornholm Island.”

    So the vessel that laid the great majority of Nord Stream I was also an anchor pipelayer, with no Dynamic Positioning System (DPS) and it was apparently not a problem then. Mind you, although the USA did not care for Nord Stream I either, it was nowhere near the gas-exporting dynamo it now fancies itself back then, and the pressure on the Danes to put another stick in its spokes must be immense now that America imagines itself in the running for serious market share in Europe with its LNG.

    Like

  34. Well, well – lookie here, Patient Observer.

    “A prosecutor in The Hague has indicted Kosovar President Hashim Thaci, former parliamentary chairman Kadri Veseli, and “others” for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during or after the 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict.”

    https://www.rferl.org/a/kosovar-president-indicted-on-war-crimes-charges-/30688529.html

    The men indicted are said to have been Commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK).

    Like

    1. Western governments have had plenty of evidence for years and some of the crimes even preceeded the war. They’ve just been sitting on it. Can’t play favorites otherwise. A ‘Kosovo tax’ for weapons/whatever was levied by the usual top gangsters on Albanian owned businesses abroad in the run up to the war. You don’t say ‘No.’

      Like

    2. Milosevic is exonerated of war crimes (after being murdered while in custody) while actual war criminals become the officially recognized leaders of “Kosovo”. This recent “discovery” regarding the Kosovar leadership is likely just a sop for Serbia to recognize Kosovo.

      Recognition of Kosovo as an independent country seems is important to the West for these reasons:
      – make Serbia grovel
      – show Russia that their staunchest ally can be broken
      – show the world that the West is still the boss (as in organized crime “boss”).

      When they indict NATO leadership for war crimes against Serbia then I will believe that the Hague is doing something other than throwing a few thugs under the bus who have outlived their shelf life.

      Like

  35. Hey, Yurrup! Were you looking for a reminder why you need a secure and uninterruptable supply of gas from a reliable provider who has direct access to the European market? Well, here it is.

    https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/ukraine-needs-eu-rules-to-avoid-global-gas-imbalances/

    However, if no agreement is reached, they would be stranded with anything between 3-4 billion cubic meters of gas, which would have far-reaching consequences not only for the European gas market but also for US LNG suppliers.

    Well, gee; yeah, but…

    However, it has so far been unable to reach an agreement as Slovakia reportedly insists that the application of EU network codes is not compulsory since Ukraine is not an EU member state.

    Brussels has so far taken a similar position, arguing that, given existing legislation, it is up to national regulators to decide whether EU network codes should apply at borders between member and non-member states.

    Like

  36. Getting too narrow above!

    More here on the reporting of yesterday’s victory parade:

    From Carroll of the Independent UK.

    First, he describes the event, but then there follows:

    The Kremlin surprised most observers when it rescheduled the victory parade for as early as 24 June, the anniversary of the first parade in 1945, and the plebiscite for an unprecedented week of voting, beginning this Thursday.

    “Putin has shown that both events are of crucial importance to him,” says Maria Lipman, an author and close observer of Russian politics. “Undoubtedly, he counted on using the parade to improve people’s moods and tell them that his Russia is great.”

    [Yeah, indoubtedly!]

    The quick rescheduling has also had its downsides. The Kremlin had hoped for a star VIP list including the French and Chinese presidents. Instead, it had to make do with delegations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Serbia, Tajikistan, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Belarus. The president of Croatia withdrew late, citing technical problems with his plane. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was, the Kremlin says, never invited.

    Flanked by Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus on his left and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan on his right, Mr Putin presided over a scaled-down parade. In the first part of the ceremony, a total of 14,000 troops, including foreign divisions from India and China, marched across the cobbles. [as a matter of fact, as I have pointed out many times before, very many of those on parade are cadet-students at various military academies — ME] The second part, all about steel, saw 75 aircraft fly overhead and 234 armoured vehicles trundle across the square.
    russia-1.jpg
    Military police armoured vehicles during Wednesday’s Victory Day military parade in Red Square (Host Photo Agency/Getty)

    There was relatively little in the way of new military hardware, besides the newest T90M tank, dubbed to become the Russian army’s main battle machine.

    For Mr Putin, it was a time to reflect on what might have been – and the destructive effect a small virus had on both elements of his grand storyboard.

    [How do you know what Putin reflects on, Carroll? — ME]

    In one shocking – though disputed – poll published last week, seven in ten Russians said they disagreed with the decision to go ahead with the rescheduled parade. Remarkably, dissent was highest (89 per cent) among those 75 years or older, a cohort usually considered to be most loyal to the president and the idea of remembering the war.

    Sergei Belanovsky, the sociologist who led that polling, argued the results were reflective of a disintegration of the key constituencies of Mr Putin’s support.

    Other sociologists have disputed Mr Belanovsky’s methodology, saying it exaggerates the protest mood. But other polling also seems to reflect more general disillusionment with the Kremlin’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis, most especially its financial support, or lack thereof.

    As for the rearranged constitutional vote, Levada Centre, the last remaining major independent polling organisation, this week found that only 25 per cent of Russians would vote for the amendments if they had the chance for voting for something else.

    Mr Putin began to address the issue of his faltering support on Tuesday with a televised address unveiling several populist measures. He announced tax cuts for IT firms, as well as substantial new child support packages of £120 per child under 16, a move designed to help Russia’s poorest families. The president also abandoned Russia’s flat tax system to introduce a new top rate of income tax, with the proceeds being earmarked for disabled children.

    According to Ms Lipman, the generous package is unlikely to affect voting patterns in any significant way, but it might do something to address the overall mood.

    “The vote is a travesty, it will be delivered, and people can see that,” she said. “But when it’s over, and summer plays out, and if the epidemic continues to decline, then the handouts might buy some level of acquiescence.”

    Thank you, Ms Lipman.

    Now fuck off, will ya?

    Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/world/russia-victory-day-parade-coronavirus-moscow-putin-a9582446.html

    Like

    1. What would English commentary on Russia be without Masha Lipman, I wonder? She must be in every BBC correspondent’s phone directory, and when she finally turns her toes up, Britain will have lost an indispensable source who could be relied upon to empty her bowels over Russia on demand.

      Like

    2. What “popular bewilderment” as regards the holding of the parade are you talking about, Carroll, as regards the contradictions between the “quarantine” in force in Moscow and the lifting of quarantine rules on Red Square?

      Do you not mooch around Moscow at all? Do you not use public transport? How many mask and glove wearers do you see in the streets and public places in Moscow now?

      Written as a 71-yeare-old, obliged to travel 55 miles back to Moscow on business this morning on board a train, in which most passengers will not be wearing masks and gloves, and who, having arrived in the Black Heart of Mordor, will then travel by metro to his home, unmasked and ungloved and also, unacosted by the bewildered Moscow citizenry for his not obeying the strictures of Mayor Sobyanin.

      I return to the sticks tomorrow and shall also not be apprehended for ignoring the quarantine rules

      Like

      1. Towards the end, as the leaders headed to lay their flowers at the Eternal Flame, a bemasked cameraman began cavorting around near Putin. The “minders” gave him 25/30 seconds to take some shots and then smoothly wafted him away while allowing unmasked photographers to continue their work.

        Like


        1. Komsomolskaya Pravda, 19th June, 2020: In Moscow, because of the heat, the “orange” hazard level hasbeen held for the third day running. Mercury columns in thermometers have risen, showing 30-32 degrees Celsius

          Wot? No gloves or masks?

          Source: Kp

          Like

          1. That’s the Crimea Bridge in the background of the photo above: the fountains are on a bank of the Moscow River.

            And here’s the same bridge:

            23rd June, 2020: Bewildered Muscovites?

            source

            8th June 2020: More of the bewildered buggers!
            source

            Like

        2. He was lucky to get that – considering how advantageous to Washington it would be for some hitherto-undetected crazy radical Chechen or something to take Putin out while masked, I wouldn’t let anyone wearing a mask near him if that was my job.

          We’ve seen the odd crime here on the west coast in which – at the only time perhaps since the old west when it has been acceptable to walk about outdoors masked at all times – clever crooks have taken advantage of the economic shutdown to rob stores whose surveillance cameras are still on, no masks, caught within hours.

          Like

          1. I was thinking the same myself but the security detail looked very alert and presumably had already vetted him thoroughly.

            Like

      2. Should be “unaccosted” above.

        It was, but the spellchecker queried it.

        Don’t folk say “unaccosted” in California?

        My two “unaccosted” above are also being queried as I write and it is suggested that I might mean: “unaccounted”, “unaccustomed” or “unaccouted” FFS!!!!

        As far as I am aware, there is no such word as “unaccouted”.

        Like

  37. June 25: today, Slavs of the whole world celebrate the Day of Friendship and Unity.

    Slavs are the largest linguistic and cultural community of the peoples of the world.

    https://ria.ru/20200625/1573344554.html

    Now don’t you go tell them there Yukietards about this!

    And the Polacks too!

    Bear in mind, I know some Ukrainians who are not Russophobes, and Poles as well.

    Like

    1. They just launched the last of 8 Aegis destroyers, though – the MAYA, if memory serves. Nope, it’s the HAGURO, second of the MAYA Class but eighth of the Aegis destroyers. Apparently what makes the MAYAs unique is that they are fitted out for Ballistic Missile Defense from the time of commissioning, while the others would require some tinkering and embarking a different missile.

      https://news.yahoo.com/japan-missile-defense-destroyer-starts-154730181.html

      Check out the comments, all the landed American swabbies cheering on Japan to go get China. That’d be a pretty brief war, to say the least. It’s funny how Japan can afford all these shiny toys when their debt is over 200% of their GDP.

      Like

  38. The great thing about cliches uttered thoughtlessly is when someone takes them at face value. One sublime example was the Mueller inquiry when a party casually named decided that “the rule of law” meant that they were entitled to discovery. And strangely enough in the finest piece of prestidigitation and a whispered Abracadabra the charges disappeared into the ether.

    The MH17 trial could be just as wonderful to behold on 3 July (in time for the holiday) as a ruling on a call by defending counsel for evidence from General Konashenkov is delivered by the judges. Full details at the usual site:

    http://johnhelmer.net/major-general-igor-konashenkov-to-be-called-to-testify-in-mh17-trial-judge-steenhuis-will-rule-next-week-to-accept-or-refuse-evidence-of-ukrainian-fingerprints-on-the-weapon-of-the-crime/

    Like

    1. The defense is horrible, as might be expected from Dutch lawyers called upon to defend the enemy, and seems to be proceeding with a tone of apology for introducing complications which prevent the judge from just ruling ‘Guilty!’ right now so everyone can take an early dinner. Still, in spite of themselves, a lot of inconvenient facts have been introduced – there is no slam-dunk American satellite evidence, nor will there be. There is no chain of custody for nearly all the evidence, nearly all of which comes from the SBU and some of which was extracted from prisoners in the custody of the SBU. All of this is introduced to the court record in an apologetic fashion, but is nonetheless on the record, including the parts which suggest the defense at least is well aware that you cannot use such material as evidence under Dutch law in circumstances where the defendants do not have to prove their innocence, while their guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

      I still cannot believe nobody will ask how the missile parts came to be in the wreckage. That would have been my first question, as the defense.

      Like

      1. I am persistently asking this question and informing the “it’s the Russians wot done it!” types, whom I unfortunately come across online (almost invariably fellow countrymen), that the MH-17 wreckage wasn’t like a bloody great, dead whale washed up on a shore with a bloody harpoon stuck in its back.

        Like

  39. Gosh! Something is stirring up shit in Europe, and it’s not a manure-spreader; no, it’s GERMANY!! (play heroic theme, something by Wagner).

    Germany is preparing its pitch to the rest of Europe for a response to the American threat of further sanctions against European companies – some 670 companies from 25 nations could potentially be affected – which are in any way associated with the Nord Stream II pipeline.

    Why, there might even be counter-sanctions against American companies in Europe! Germany is pissed.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/germany-weighs-measures-against-us-over-nord-stream-sanctions/ar-BB15Ye1I

    I don’t realistically expect anything like that to happen; Europe has a hard time agreeing on anything, although Trumpish unpopularity might just be the icebreaker in this instance. But pallid, flabby Yurrup is actually moving beyond peevish, and that’s entertaining in and of itself. Putin is probably kicked back in his Executive-Size La-Z-Boy upholstered in the hide of some timid and helpless last survivor of its species, with a big mug of pilsner, watching this values-based bloc tear itself apart and laughing, laughing…

    Like

    1. De Germans take over the EU Presidency from July 1st.

      Euractiv: German EU Presidency: Government sets priorities as ‘motor and moderator of Europe’
      https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/german-eu-presidency-government-sets-priorities-as-motor-and-moderator-of-europe/

      One week before Germany takes over the EU Council presidency on 1 July, its highly anticipated programme went through the cabinet, with priorities focused on managing the coronavirus crisis and its economic and social fallout. However, that was not enough to placate critics in the green and left-wing opposition. EURACTIV Germany reports.

      …The government is calling the US the “closest foreign and security policy partner outside the EU,” with whom active cooperation is to be established. However, whether the US takes a similar view will probably depend on the presidential elections in November…
      ####

      Steady as she goes, even if it is not reciprocal.

      Like

  40. Former President of the Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, live on air at the Trizub radio station, has said that Kiev had a chance of “getting back” the Crimea.

    According to RIA Novosti, Poroshenko believes that this “unique opportunity” for the Ukraine lies in the fact that amidst falling oil prices and a “deep crisis” in Russia, the Russians, allegedly, will not be able to finance the peninsula.

    This, as well as international solidarity with the Ukraine, according to Poroshenko, will allow the “return” of the Crimea.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stressed that the issue of the Crimea is closed in Moscow. The head of the Russian state has noted that the referendum in the Crimea was held in strict accordance with international law.

    Does anyone still pay attention to this criminal, apart from Svidomite wankers, who live in their fantasy world of Ukrainian nationalism and historiography, a nationalism created for the Western Ukrainian, Uniate Church half-wits, who now rule the roost in Kiev and whose forebears until the end of WWI were Hapsburg Empire subjects?

    Poroshenko is not a Svidomite, however: he is in Ukrainian “politics” for
    one thing only — money.

    Prior to the “Revolution of Dignity”, he had been a member of every Ukrainian political party, always looking for the main chance and switching “loyalties” accordingly.

    Making such inane statements on air as reported above, the loathsome hypocrite is just singing for his supper — better said, squealing to Washington that he is still there in that failed US project “Independent” Ukraine, where he remains at the beck and call of the USA and dearly wishes to keep his trotters firmly planted in the Washington feeding trough.

    https://russian-rt-com.turbopages.org/s/russian.rt.com/ussr/news/758793-poroshenko-krym-rossiya?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=m

    Like

    1. For anyone who has been paying attention to the situation in Ukraine since 2013, it must seem a long, strange trip from where Kuh-yiv was going to celebrate the very next Independence Day, following Poroshenko’s inauguration, in Sevastopol – to where Ukrainians now hope Russia will cast it aside through poverty. I guess when you are a country living from hand to mouth on tranches of IMF ‘loans’, you acquire a disproportionate respect for poverty as a weapon.

      The United States is expected to experience an economic contraction in 2020 equal to between 6% and 8% of GDP. If work begins this year on completion of the Nord Stream II pipeline, I can see Washington’s interest in Ukraine fading considerably.

      Like

  41. Dear Maidan patriots, are you watching the parade on Red Square? You can see all those missile and advanced systems, can’t you?

    And how do you know for sure that we are at war against this army in the Donbass? Are you sure you have seen in the Donbass all these types of weapons that are presented at the parade?

    And if you haven’t seen them, then why? Perhaps hybrid war is in our heads and not on the frontlines? Perhaps we are fighting against our compatriots in the Donbass, and not the second strongest army in the world?

    Source: Are We Really Fighting This Army in the Donbass?” — Ukrainian Public Figure After Watching the Red Square Parade
    Stalker Zone
    June 25, 2020

    This is what Mirotvorets says of the writer of the above Tweet:

    Скубченко Александр Владимирович – Myrotvorets.center › criminal › skubchenko-aleksa…

    Aug 18, 2019 – Сотрудничество с антиукраинскими пропагандистскими СМИ россии (страна-агрессор). Распространение неправдивой информации …

    Collaborator with anti-Ukrainian propaganda media in Russia (aggressor country). Dissemination of untruthful information …

    Clearly, he’s a real bad ‘un!

    Like

    1. Yes, of course he’s peddling untruthful information. There’s nothing hard to believe about the suggestion that an army comprised of street hooligans and nationalist ideologues, supplemented by seven waves of drafts in which a bus simply pulls up to the university parking lot and soldiers – oops! I meant ‘recruiters’ – cull out a few dozen of the likeliest-looking lads from among the students and trundle them off to basic training and serving their country, has held a professional army more than twice its size with no shortage of money and a strictly-local logistics chain from advancing for six years. An invading army that cooperatively obeys cease-fire orders and withdraws its heavy weapons upon command from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) so it can all be done over again a week or so later, when the Ukrainians interpret it as a sign they can advance and consolidate their gains.

      But maybe it’s just that the members of the SMM have received no training before their deployment, and aren’t sure what a tank actually looks like. God knows they stood not 20 feet away from a pair of Ukrainian Army tanks in Avdeevka and appeared to not see them.

      Avdeevka (spelt ‘Avdiivka’ on the map) is right on the contact line, opposite Donetsk and in Ukrainian-held territory. There are not supposed to be any heavy weapons there. Or perhaps it was a used-tank lot, and they were only there for commercial purposes.

      https://i2.wp.com/globalriskinsights.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/11-01-2019-eng.jpg?w=800&ssl=1

      Like

    1. His pal Volkov has been convicted for spreading disinformation. He published a load of shite about polling booths not operating on July 1st for the change in constitution referendum.

      He said they did not have enough staff because of this shamdemic.

      He immediately got revealed as a lying twat. There are now laws about spreading fake news, so he got done.

      As Stalker Zone commented the other day, the closer July 1st approaches, the more desperate the liberal traitorous shite start pulling out all the stops so as to fuck up the referendum.

      But they only have the best interests of Russia in their noble hearts.

      Like

      1. Always the same – get-out-the-vote drives for their own initiatives over the oh-so-clever social media (everyone knows Putin can’t even turn on a computer or program a VCR), and vote-suppression techniques to keep the government vote low. That’s democracy, in a nutshell.

        Like

    2. The article is indeed thought provoking and its recommendations resonant well but it misses an essential element in Russia’s revival and long term prospects – the reinvigoration of Orthodoxy. Does anyone serious think Putin is a simple-mined “believer”? The role of Orthodoxy in Russia is to provided the intergenerational glue that transcends material wealth and the seeking of pleasure above all else. Putin, the military and other patriotic elements in Russia knows this. The West has no answer to this challenge other than to drag the global population into the bog of narcissism. Too late, assholes.

      Like

      1. Is Orthodoxy popular among Russian youth?

        There seemed to be a trend towards it in 2010;

        http://www.asianews.it/news-en/A-new-army-of-young-people-for-the-Russian-Orthodox-Church–19089.html

        and I was amused to see the west regard it with a chary eye, as everyone knows anything Russia does is ominous and spells trouble for someone. The stated purpose of Orthodoxy in youth groups was to “distance young people from drugs, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity” – my God: doesn’t Russia realize that pretty much encapsulates Spring Break in Florida? No wonder they’re so weird; Putin and Kirill always step in as soon as there’s any possibility of having fun! It’s not as if drugs and alcohol and sexual promiscuity have any potential to, like, ruin your life or anything; Jeez, lighten up, Putin.

        But that was 10 years ago – what’s the climate like now?

        Like

        1. I suppose that youth will have less interest in religion, being youth. However, the default societal values are religious based rather than, say, Hollywood/media values concocted by scheming SOBs out to rape the population and lobotomize their brains.

          Like

          1. There are some very devout young ROC faithful here.

            I recall how, in 1996, when visiting the monastery of Trinity Lavra St. Sergius in Sergiev Posad, which establishment is the epicentre of the Russian Orthodox Church, I witnessed a photo shoot of some 50 or so soon to graduate seminarians accompanied by young women, whose average seemed to be 16/17 years old and who were to become the seminarians’ wives following the young men’s receiving of Holy Orders.

            I should add that all those young folk who were about to be wed were clearly very happy.

            In fact, I know quite a few young Russians who are believers.

            My children, however, are devout atheists, and were happy as Larry when I moved them from a church school to a state school, because in the latter they no longer had to suffer the ranting of an ROC sky pilot once a week and stand in church for about 4 hours every Wednesday morning.

            Like

    3. Ischenko in his Stalker Zone article makes no mention of the fact (though I’m sure KS commenters and readers are aware) that Lenin and Stalin were of mixed background ethnically, and in Lenin’s case, possibly in religion. Lenin’s father Ilya Ulyanov probably had mixed Chuvash-Mordvin ancestry. A grandmother of Ulyanov’s (I’m not sure which side of his family) was a Kalmyk who might well have been a child survivor of the Qing empire massacre of Dzungar Mongols in NW China back in the 1750s, forcing the survivors to trek all the way to Astrakhan. So there was a history of upheaval and constant change in Lenin’s family history, and this no doubt may have influenced the desire of particular members like Ilya Ulyanov to become a teacher and then an education administrator where he could be in a position of leading change. Lenin’s mother was of German descent and Germans in the Russian empire would have had their particular culture and values that emphasised constant individual improvement and advancement. These are not necessarily bad qualities but in certain contexts, if the subconscious desire for change and improvement, along with the belief that one is destined to be a change agent, is blocked or repressed or punished harshly in any way, that desire will find more subversive means of fulfillment.

      The lesson to learn is how to make use of the adolescent desire to be independent agents with ideas and thoughts that are worth considering and teenagers’ need to be acknowledged as useful citizens and influence agents as they are now as opposed to what they might be in the future. (Young people are not too good at looking ahead in the future.) This is why civics need to be taught to kids in primary school and junior high, and this subject should be taught by a mix of teachers at school and by state or local government administrators trained to explain how governments operate to the general public. Other institutions that used to exist in Western countries which exposed young people to authority figures other than immediate relatives, religious organisations and teachers were police clubs and scouting organisations.

      Incidentally the Qing empire replaced the Dzungar Mongols in NW China (the area that is now northern Xinjiang) with Uyghurs and Han Chinese. Many of the Uyghurs settled in the region were soldiers who participated in the massacre of the Dzungars.

      Like

      1. Very informative and thoughtful as usual, Jen, and I completely agree with the timeliness of civics taught in school, provided it did not simply turn into another early political grooming by special interests.

        Like

  42. Соратника блогера Алексея Навального уличили в очередном фейке о голосовании
    Все опубликованные Волковым документы оказались поддельными.
    Роман Имполитов, 25 июня 2020

    Alexei Navalny’s blogger sidekick has been caught in the lates fake about the voting.

    All documents published by Volkov have turned out to be fake.
    Roman Impolitov, June 25, 2020

    An associate of blogger Alexei Navalny, Leonid Volkov, has been convicted of distributing fakes concerning the voting on constitutional amendments. The network found out that the documents published by him about the work of several polling stations in the capital are fake.

    Volkov claimed that several polling stations in Moscow had allegedly refused to work, citing the dangerous epidemiological situation. At the same time, he wrote that the polling stations had still been opened, but instead of their employees, people who were not members of Precinct Election Commissions had come to work in them.

    Blogger Andrei Vyshinsky found out that all the polling stations listed by Volkov are working normally. In particular, about six metropolitan areas were mentioned: No. 34, No. 312, No. 476, No. 854, No. 1580, No. 1751, the documents of three of which were allegedly held by a public figure. It turned out that all three documents have fake signatures, moreover, they do not even resemble the signatures of the persons who have these documents. In addition, not a single employee had refused to work and had not submitted an applications for resignation.

    https://life-ru.turbopages.org/s/life.ru/p/1331237

    Like

  43. VTsIOM has forecast a 73% “Yes” to constitutional amendments.

    Cue Navalny with the usual whine that if they can forecast the result a week before the votes are counted, then the vote has been fixed.

    I well remember when some Italian in the EU said that in a real democracy, nobody can tell who the winner of a real election will be.

    Yeah, right — dickhead!

    Like

  44. SUGS!!! America has taken up the challenge to go big or go home, and is pressing ahead with its Protecting Europe’s Energy Security By Making Them Buy American Act ‘Clarification Amendments’, which threaten – as we previously discussed, that the US Treasury will fine any company which aids and abets the construction of Nord Stream II in any capacity.

    Of course, they are boogieing with giddy delight in Kuh-yiv, already imagining how they will spend those massive transit fees that they can exact at their pleasure when the time comes to renew the gas transit contract, and Russia comes hat in hand and stinking of chagrin to get the best deal its Ukrainian masters are willing to cut them. Better get those pipes back in place that you’ve been removing, boys! Ukraine’s not out of the picture yet!

    Well, it is, of course, but that’s not the way Kuh-yiv sees it, watching with rapture as America makes the earth shake with its mighty fist.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2020/06/26/russias-gazprom-nord-stream-ii-handed-a-potential-death-knell/#2fdeaea87f6c

    Your move, Yurrup – it’s put-up-or-shut-up time. And just as Germany takes over the presidency of the EU, excellent timing, Donald. I hesitate to mention it, because it’s almost as if the US neocons are actually in league with Putin and I don’t want to jinx it if that’s the case, but America is putting Yurrup in an impossible position. If it rolls over for this one, it will never be able to say its soul is its own afterward, and Washington will give it its marching orders at its pleasure. Relations between the EU and USA are at an all-time low, even George Bush was more popular in Europe. Europe may stall, hoping Biden will get in and reverse it, but that’s unlikely on both counts and I think there will be an immediate reaction. But the best part, as Rapoza astutely points out, is that the EU may be left with no choice but to let Russia do it all, even to inspecting and certifying its own pipeline, because everyone else is in too much terror of America fining them when it has NO LEGAL RIGHT TO DO SO!! Grow a pair, you fucking custard-pants sissies!!!! Tell Uncle Sam to bore it and stroke it and shove it up the Hershey Highway as far as it will go, and that YURRUP DOES NOT BOW TO TERRORISTS! Because what is this, if it isn’t terrorism? What is it, if it isn’t weaponizing energy?? Jeebus! I already had pretty much zero respect for those twittering inbreeders, but the very last grease-spot of it will be gone if they bend over for this one.

    Take a letter, Jens. Make it a telegram – do they still do those? Okay, never mind – just listen, and type this into your Word-Processor program. Helvetica Bold, size 20 font. I’ll give you the email address. Ready?

    GO FUCK YOURSELF!!

    I like it. But put another couple of exclamation points on it.

    GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!!

    Better. Now copy and paste it here;

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

    Don’t forget to sign it.

    Like

  45. Just a rhetorical question – is there a more revolting government on the face of the earth than that of the United States of America? Turkey, maybe – Erdogan is a real piece of work. But I’m not talking about Trump here, although he is a ring all his own in the three-ring circus; no, I’m talking about the soulless cretins in the US State Department, and other organizations and ‘special envoys’ and so forth, who spend all their time plotting how to make ordinary people miserable in hopes of achieving American foreign-policy goals which mostly boil down to the world letting America rule it and make all its decisions.

    One-of-a-kind journalist Max Blumenthal walks us through the latest American government effort to topple Assad, the ‘Caesar’ sanctions.

    https://thegrayzone.com/2020/06/25/us-qatari-intelligence-deception-produced-the-caesar-sanctions-syria-famine/

    Long, but well worth reading in its entirety, many details will be familiar to long-time watchers of American charades around the world – the completely-phony pathos as cynical operatives in partnership with Qatari bigwigs and the ubiquitous ‘Syrian activists’ claim to have received smuggled photos which reveal revolting torture in Syrian prisons. I’m sure Syrian prisons are no picnic – the cruelty of the Syrian investigative services is one of the factors which made them such prized US allies when the Americans were doing ‘extraordinary rendition’ to extract confessions from hapless nobodies grabbed off the street; one was Maher Arar, a Syrian-Canadian who was grabbed by the Americans while changing planes in the USA on his way home from visiting his wife’s parents in Tunisia. After an excruciating ordeal – totally brought on by zealots in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who fed false and incriminating information to the Americans – the Prime Minister of Canada had to issue a formal apology to Mr. Arar and he was paid $11.5 Million.

    https://www.amnesty.ca/legal-brief/case-maher-arar

    Human Rights Watch inadvertently admitted that nearly half the horrific photos were of dead government soldiers killed by the Syrian opposition. Didn’t seem to matter as America steamrollers ahead in its latest attempt to ruin Syria, using its new favourite weapon – sanctions.

    It is past time for the whole world to announce a united policy of ignoring American extraterritorial sanctions and telling the Federal Treasury to stick its fines up its ass.

    Like

    1. Deutsche Welle regularly features stories on horrific Syrian “regime” crimes against human rights. It seems that there is a sizable Syrian “opposition” community in Germany that regularly beats the “Assad Must Go!” drum and which is allowed much publicity by DW — sort of a much larger version than the UK one-man-show that is directed from a council house in the English Midlands by a Syrian “human rights” observer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And does nobody ever publish a review of the results achieved by allowing oneself to be drawn in by the “X Must Go!!” imperatives? Libya? Iraq? Egypt? Or the ‘works in progress’, like Venezuela? How many times does the world have to be shown the regime-change process from start to finish before certain patterns begin to emerge?

        Like

  46. From my regular update on events that I have just received from HM Govt:

    Daily update from GOV.​UK.

    Russia

    Joint statement on Pride Month 2020

    Page summary
    ‘Five Eyes’ partnership calls upon the Russian government to adhere to its commitment to protect the rights of all citizens, including the LGBTI community

    Change made
    Added translation

    Time updated
    7:56am, 27 June 2020

    On behalf of the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, May I say, because she is a lady:

    Thank you so much for your reminder — now fuck off, will ya?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I guess everybody has the right to a public parade to celebrate their own particular predilection. I otherwise do not see gay rights being trampled upon in Russia. You have the right to be gay. So I guess Russia’s failure to toe the mark in this case amounts to they are not willing to be sufficiently celebratory. You notice it’s a major liberal milestone in a country whose management has been taken over by Washington when it holds its first Gay Pride Parade; it’s a signal of acquiescence to the liberal world order. They’re still trying in Ukraine; so far it isn’t working out very well. Probably too Slavic.

      I don’t see what the fuss is about – the US Embassy is allowed to fly its “We’re Gay – All the Way” banner from the building it uses in Moscow. Nobody seems upset by it. Maybe that’s the problem – American diplomatic offices in various countries seem unhappy unless they are stirring up a ferment of trouble.

      Like

      1. In fact, recently (last week, I am sure: I just read a snippet of news about this, but didn’t read the full article because I’m not interested in homosexual “issues”) a woman in St. Petersburg was given a large award in court for unfair dismissal because of her homosexuality.

        Like

  47. The New York Times is reporting from an ‘anonymous source’ (as usual) that the GRU paid mercenaries to kill US troops in Afghanistan. The Afghan sources are ‘completely trusted’ (ha ha) and it is rock solid.
    ####

    WTF? This looks like someone/thing is growing increasingly desperate to either change the news agenda or screw stuff up further.

    Even weirder, this was well covered by gugl nudes UK news about an hour ago and now it has dropped off the main page.

    Anyways, a potentially epic week next week. Will i-Srael annex the whole of the left bank whilst this is divided support in the US? Hezbollah has said any such action is a ‘declaration of war’.

    In the meantime yet another UK leftie has been fired from her shadow cabinet post for by retweeting an interview with an actor (‘Maxine Peake’) in the Independent who in one part promoted an an ‘anti-semitic conspiracy theory’, namely that US police have recieved training from i-Sreal that includes kneeling on people’s necks, even though Amnesty international wrote about such links and training back in 2016. Criticizm of i-Sreal is no synonymous with antisemitism. I guess we’ll see next week. Or maybe nothing will happen. There’s plenty more in store for 2020. Oh, and fired Covid aircraft carrier captain Crosier will not be reinstated…

    Like

    1. Just a few quick thoughts:
      – was it Hamas who pledged war against Israel if they annex the West Bank?
      – as mentioned before, a state trooper, while conducting training on how to respond to an active shooter at the workplace, was quite happy to tell us of his Israeli training on dealing with terrorists. Since it is quite unlikely that he has ever encountered a terrorist, I suspect that he is itching to use it for terror activities such as a broken taillight or a DUI.

      Like

      1. – was it Hamas who pledged war against Israel if they annex the West Bank?

        Yes, sorry. That was reported in the i-Sreali press a couple of days ago, i.e. it ‘constitutes a declaration of war’

        If anything, there seems to be much more equivocaction from the i-Sraeli side in the last few days but who knows?

        Like

        1. A warning coming from Hezbollah would induce quite a panic. Likely, there is much back channel discussion going on with Israel like “What the Fuck were you thinking?!!”

          Like

        2. Well, it sure doesn’t look like anyone in the west is prepared to stop them. There are the usual milquetoast ‘expressions of concern’, but I haven’t seen anyone saying “Look. you fuckers, enough is enough. Make a move in that direction, and I’ll break your fingers”. The world powers are now so accustomed to doing everything through intrigues and proxies that nobody has what it takes to draw a line in the sand. What’s to understand? It’s not Israeli territory. Israel says it needs more land, and its security depends on completely repressing the people who currently live in the area it means to seize. The west nearly shit itself over Crimea being ‘annexed’, although a return to Russia was plainly and indisputably the will of the population by a wide majority. Could such a case be made out here? The land Israel means to seize was never Israeli, although the Zionists very much wanted it during the creation of the Israeli state, and made their pitch for ‘everything between the Jordan and the Litani Rivers’. And now I guess they’re just going to casually amble over and take it, because Bibi needs something to distract attention from his trial for corruption.

          Like

    2. Still nothing on main gugl nudes uk page nor even al-Beeb s’allah about the GRU paying Afghans to ‘target’ US troops, but the Guardian, NYT, WP etc, the whole fake left is frothing. Clearly they think this story will damage t-Rump as he invited Russia to rejoining the G7 when this report allegedly came out. (Outrage mounts over report Russia offered bounties to Afghanistan militants for killing US soldiers – The Guardian/ Russia ‘offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill US and British troops’ The operation was reportedly led by the GRU unit blamed for the chemical attack in Britain that nearly killed Sergei Skripal. – The Telegraph/ Russia paid the Taliban BOUNTIES for killing American troops in Afghanistan – Daily Telegraph/ Russia reportedly paid Taliban-linked militants bounty money to kill American troops – Business Insider/ Russian operation targeted coalition troops in Afghanistan, intelligence finds – The Washington Post/ Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says – The New York Times)

      And this:
      Business Insider: Evidence of Russia’s ‘likely hold’ over Trump was covered up by the UK government, according to a former British spy
      https://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-russia-report-putin-christopher-steele-uk-boris-johnson-2020-6?r=US&IR=T

      The former MI6 agent Christopher Steele said the UK government covered up evidence about US President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, The Guardian reported on Monday.

      Steele reportedly told a UK parliamentary investigation in 2018 that “a blanket appeared to be thrown over” the information he provided Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.

      Steele said that he had handed over a dossier on Trump’s links to Russia in 2016 but that “no inquiries were made or actions taken thereafter.”

      UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson suppressed the publication of the parliamentary committee’s report before the UK general election in December.
      ####

      The rest at the link. If you can bear it.

      Yes, complete moron Christopher Steele has surfaced again.

      Like

      1. TheHill.com: Russian intel unit offered bounties for killing coalition troops in Afghanistan: report
        https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/504770-russian-intelligence-unit-offered-bounties-for-killing-coalition

        …The officials described the intelligence to the Times as a “closely held secret,” but the small group with knowledge of the covert attack expanded this week after the British government, which was also targeted, was briefed on the matter….
        ####

        So it lookd like the thing that has changed is that the UK was brought in to the loop and thus the NYT published it’s piece. It’s all rather like the Steele Dossier which no-one touched for months until it was the intelligence friendly branch of now defunct BuzzFeed UK published. Is this the Brits doing the US (Dems) a solid or just a follow up of al-Beeb s’Allahs recent Skripal TV fantasy? Very strange things are afoot.

        Like

      2. It must be time for the Two Minutes Hate. “The operation was reportedly led by the GRU unit blamed for the chemical attack in Britain that nearly killed Sergei Skripal”; they missed out on a chance to tie them in with MH-17. Sanctions do not seem to be doing anything to curtail Russia from making mischief all around the world.

        Tomorrow’s headlines? “Moscow fuming at being thwarted from rejoining G7 after Afghanistan operation exposed!” The west is Rome in its dying days, circuses and corruption and the kitchen sink for distraction. This ‘Afghanistan bounty’ thing is something you could never prove, but never disprove either, so it’ll be another “Moscow denies any involvement” macro. I daresay the western party planners have slipped some mook twenty bucks to say with a straight face, “Oh, yeah, definitely – this guy, I think his name was Pavel Ooozelypoozely, gave me one hundred afghani to kill an American soldier”, followed by a Bellingcat still of the nametag “Oozelypoozely” on a uniform tunic with Rostov-on-Don in the background: Bellingcat, of course, will have already found him because it moves about in the Russian intelligence community with ease and confidence, and there is nothing secretive GRU agents enjoy more than taking selfies and open-source photographs to reveal their identity. Just another act in the neverending sideshow.

        I’m surprised to see them refer to Steele as a ‘former British spy’; that was definitely a slip. Only the baddies have ‘spies’, while the Good Guyz have ‘intelligence operatives’. Bad guys, ‘oligarchs’; good guys, ‘tycoons’.

        Like

        1. BBC headline 4 hours ago:

          Afghanistan: Russia denies paying militants to kill US troops

          And then, in the body of the article:

          Russia has rejected as “baseless” accusations that it offered Taliban-linked militants rewards to kill US and other Nato troops in Afghanistan.

          From a denial In the eye-grabbing headline (What lying bastards those Evil Russians are!) to a “rejection” of an accusation as having no foundation.

          For me, at least, in context there is a supple semantic differences between the two words: a denial means a clear, negative response to an accusation; a flat “No, we did not do this!” in response to the accusation: “You did this!” whereas a rejection of an accusation means that the accused party refuses to accept the proposition put forward by its accuser.

          “Did you perform this abominable action?” — “No, we didn’t!”

          “Did you perform this abominable action?” — “What a ludicrous thing to suggest! There is no foundation for your proposition!”

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-53204747

          Like

          1. But it is precisely the sort of accusation which is impossible to prove or disprove. Where’s the money now? Long gone, if it ever existed. Statistics on American dead, showing a rising-fatality trend timed to the Russian payoff? Who knows when it was if it was just made up? You know the west can find people who will claim to have been part of the scheme, and Russia will not be allowed to question them to expose falsehoods because they are valuable witnesses who fear for their lives. And so on and so on. In the end, the west would be forced to admit it cannot prove it, but then it would call for a judgment based on Russia’s track record of dirty tricks. And you know where that would end. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

            It’s fortunate Russia does not really rely on the west for anything, and can just remain detached while it gets on with its endless games and intrigues.

            Like

          2. I was just about to pos al-Beeb s’Allah’s article. It’s original publication time was about 2am CET 28 June (this morning), so well after everyone else. I guess that being the official spokesmedia of the government, it didn’t want to be too closely associated just in case t-Rump wins, even though the polls apparently say that Biden is ahead and particularly in those swing states that went t-Rump last time.

            On reflection, I think this is more about the Dem counter to the r-Rump strategy painting Biden as soft on China. Yet again more s/t termism.

            Like

  48. Euractiv: The Brief – Oops, he did it again…
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/all/opinion/the-brief-oops-he-did-it-again/

    Yes, French President Emmanuel Macron appears to have an idée fixe concerning the medical condition of NATO.

    In late 2019, Macron’s comments on the “brain death” of the alliance came as a shock, and possibly a welcome wake-up call.

    But on Monday (22 June), he repeated his claim, following the latest incident, involving NATO members France and Turkey, that took place several weeks ago.

    Last week Paris accused Turkey of harassing a French ship off the coast of Libya as it was carrying out checks on a Turkish ship that it suspected of breaking a UN arms embargo on Libya.

    A French defence ministry account of the encounter said the French ship had wanted to check if the Turkish vessel Cirkin was smuggling arms to Libya. In response, French officials said, the Cirkin switched off its tracking system, masked its ID number, and refused to say where it was going.

    Meanwhile, Turkey denied it ever happened….
    ####

    More at the link.

    Like

    1. That sort of thing happens all the time; that’s what the boarding operations book was written for. If the vessel is not forthcoming about its purpose, voyage, cargo, last port of call, destination and so forth, you announce your intention to send over a boarding team to satisfy your curiosity, and direct them to stop their vessel and prepare to be boarded. Their part in this, other than stopping and maneuvering so the ship’s boat can approach on the leeward side, is to get out the ship’s papers and documentation for inspection, lower a boarding ladder, and muster all off-duty crew on the foredeck where they can be seen. If you don’t see satisfactory signs of those things being done, announce that you will fire a warning shot ahead of the ship’s bow at 500 yards with your main or secondary armament. Then gradually walk it in closer, until your announcement is “I will engage your vessel with disabling fire; clear all personnel from your machinery spaces”. Last move is to fire into the bridge. I have never seen it go any further than clearing away the gun; usually as soon as they see it move, they stop.

      Turkey is a bit of a maverick, but surely NATO must see that so long as all they do is wring their hands in distress, it will keep on doing just as it pleases. Does NATO not remember Russia’s response to having one of its aircraft shot down by Turks? It seemed to bring about the desired result fairly quickly. It doesn’t hurt, either, if when you threaten military reprisal, they know you could and would. Every time you threaten it and don’t do it, the other side gets a little cockier. And France is not going to attack Turkey – France specializes in airdropping weapons to rebel movements and supplying military aircraft to US-led-coalition efforts. It’s not noted for much else.

      Like

  49. AINOnline: Red Wings’ transformation into platform for operating Russian-made aircraft launched
    http://www.rusaviainsider.com/red-wings-transformation-into-platform-for-operating-russian-made-aircraft-launched/

    Russia’s Red Wings appears to be on track to becoming state-controlled platform for operating Russian-made aircraft. The initiative that emerged just over a month ago is now becoming reality with two Superjet 100 (SSJ100) aircraft having received their fresh Red Wings livery, whilst the delivery schedule of these aircraft is still being negotiated.

    The decision to turn the airline, which is formally controlled by state-owned Rostec Corp. through its subsidiary United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), into a large customer for UAC-produced aircraft was first announced on May 13. Ahead of 2024, Red Wings is required to purchase up to 60 SSJ100 regional jets and 16 the yet-to-be serially-built MC-21 medium-haul aircraft…
    ####

    More at the link.

    &

    BMPD: Четвертый самолет МС-21-300 получил окраску и пассажирский салон/ 4th MS-21-300 receives paint job & passenger cabin
    https://bmpd.livejournal.com/4069619.html

    Как сообщило АО «Объединенная авиастроительная корпорация», 25 июня 2020 года четвертый опытный самолет МС-21-300 (серийный номер 21006/МС.0006, регистрационный номер 73056), окрашенный на ульяновском предприятии «Спектр-Авиа», вернулся на аэродром «Раменское» (Жуковский, Московской области), где продолжит полеты в рамках программы сертификационных испытаний….
    ####

    Pics at link.

    Like

  50. КП:

    Картинки дня

    Picture of the day

    https://www.kp.ru/photo/gallery/77097/

    вчера 18:20 Москву накрыла жара. Столбики термометров держаться в районе 32 градусов

    Yesterday 18:20: Moscow heat wave. Thermometer columns showing around 32 degrees Celsius

    Masks? Gloves? Social distancing?

    More bewildered Muscovites for Carroll of the Independent to report — bewildered because the quarantine rules were lifted for last Wednesday’s rescheduled Victory Day parade, which only took place, the pandemic notwithstanding, so that the
    Evil One could cynically appeal to Russian nationalism in order to gain support for the proposed changes in the constitution, which changes will make him head of state for the rest of his living days.

    And following the constitutional changes, the tyrant will resurrect the Soviet Union.

    It’s so plain to see! There are already Soviet symbols everywhere, I tell you!!!

    Like

    1. The papers here report Air Canada, WestJet and American Airlines all are abandoning their social-distancing rules as of July 1st and carrying full loads. They will rely on enhanced cleaning and sanitation rules to keep passengers safe. Commerce cannot work with the new ‘Fear The Plague!’ rules unless the fare for services goes through the roof. I suspect the ‘second wave’ rhetoric in some US states is calculated to portray chaos so as to unseat Trump for his poor leadership and judgment, similar to the bogus reporting of a sudden rise in Sweden’s cases which the country angrily rebuked.

      Like

  51. 21 million million votes cast in the Russian Constitutional referendum after only 2 days is a very impressive figure! Vote lasts until the 1st July (the first being the main day and designated as a holiday) – I had assumed that the Russians would barely vote for the rest of June and then flood in to do do on 1st, but this isn’t the case. 500000 observers of the vote also, which is completely excessive but a good sign in the importance of it.

    Like

    1. The most rigged vote yet , according to one pundit, whose condemnation I read a few days ago in some online Western rag. It’s because of the online voting see — wide open to rigging, with the Evil One pulling levers and throwing switches and turning knobs in the Kremlin so as to make the vote go the way he wants it to go.

      Like

      1. Every vote in Russia is the most rigged vote yet, except this time they will not need to trot out their ballot-stuffing and carousel voting narrative, albeit most of those who confidently reported it appeared to not even know what it meant.

        https://www.rt.com/usa/162608-jen-psaki-fails-grilling/

        Regardless, charges of rigging are largely automatic and reflexive, and you would see them from the United States even if Jimmy Carter personally observed the casting of each individual ballot. Russian elections are always dirty and American elections are always the gold standard of democracy, no matter how untidy freedom gets. Online voting is an invitation to fraud, but mail-in ballots are awesome.

        https://www.maciverinstitute.com/2020/05/the-disastrous-consequences-of-mail-in-elections/

        Like

  52. Tweet from Stefan Beck reporting on an apparent tapped conversation between Igor Girkin and Sergei Dubinsky, two of the suspects fingered in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on 17 July 2014, revealed by a Dutch prosecutor in the MH17 trial:

    At last the Dutch are prepared to admit that Su-25 fighter jets were active around Flight MH17 before the plane went down.

    Like

    1. I don’t think that was ever in dispute, except from the Ukrainians, in whose case it is a reflex defense – “Impossible; no Ukrainian aircraft were flying that day. Impossible; no Ukrainian radars were active that day, all down for maintenance” and so on. We couldn’t have done it, no Ukrainians were active that day, we were all at home in our beds. But an SU-25 is a ground-attack fighter. It would not even carry AAM’s unless it was on an AA mission, and there would be little purpose to that because the rebels had no aircraft, and nobody even suggested there were Russian aircraft about, and if there were the SU-25 would be about the last aircraft chosen to fight them. Just because an SU-25 was somewhere near the airliner would not mean it was trying to shoot it down and it would be a poor choice for such a mission. However, they were known – not just suspected – for using airliner shadow as cover to let them get close to East Ukrainian towns for bombing runs, secure that no AA weapons would be deployed against them for fear of them being captured by the airliner, but giving away the position of the firer. There was no real risk of a MANPADS hitting an airliner at cruising altitide, it doesn’t go that high, although they are a menace when taking off and landing. But putting AAM’s on an SU-25 gives up valuable weapons-pylon space for no useful purpose unless an AA mission is planned before takeoff.

      It is possible a Ukrainian Buk unit was using an SU-25 for tracking purposes, for practice, and accidentally fired, with the missile acquiring the airliner, but they would need to be be very close together and it would imply an almost unbelievable level of incompetence in those manning the Buk system. It sounds more like just another attempt to muddy the waters, sow confusion, and establish the conditions for intent.

      It’s funny how ‘intercepted’ conversations attributed to the rebels, going on voice alone, are given the most serious consideration, as if they are the gold standard for evidence even after independent organizations assess they are fabricated and edited…yet the clip of Motorola’s missus (I believe it was she) describing how Ukrainian ground-attack aircraft used civilian aircraft to prevent firing against them while they maneuvered into an attack position, when you can see her and know that it is her speaking and that the behavior she describes is reported prior to the destruction of MH-17. One account is useful to the Dutch prosecution, while the other is not.

      Like

      1. Key to the whole issue is what “Lick My Hairy Balls” thinks. After all, he is the accepted authority on this issue.

        Like

        1. Yes; NATO’s required standard for ‘expert’ has come down a lot over the years. Now you can be a self-taught ‘weapons expert’ just from looking at pictures on the internet, and form a club of like-minded ‘experts’ who all compliment each others’ work and attract western funding. Even actual professional weapons experts who spurn sloppy fakers like ‘Dr. Phillip Karber’, the shameless liar who headed up the ‘Ukrainian delegation – which included Semen Semenchenko and tried to sell the senate Armed Services Committee on fake shots of Russian armor ‘entering Ukraine’ defer to Bellingcat.

          https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/02/19/say-it-aint-so-phil-ukraine-russia-open-source-analysis/

          Please note that Lewis considers himself among ‘intelligence professionals who fact-check their work’ – and he obviously considers Karber to fall far short of that standard – but in the next breath speaks of ‘his friends at Bellingcat’.

          Like

      2. …yet the clip of Motorola’s missus..

        Militia Soldier – Elena, from Sloviansk – 6/18/14 1 month before MH17 – Motorola’s future wife

        Published on Jul 24, 2014

        Like

  53. And in the thread there is still talk about Buk [sic] fragments around the MH-17 wreckage!

    When is it going to be pointed out that if the airliner had been downed by a missile fired from a Buk launched missile, the missile fragments would have been miles away from where the wreckage was found?

    Like

    1. Unless they are talking about shrapnel from the warhead, yes, that’s true. Pieces of the exploded warhead would have hit the plane, but the missile itself would not have touched it.

      Surface-to-Surface missiles (SSM) have delayed contact exploders, and some even a backup in the form of crush sensors, because they are designed to hit the target and penetrate its outer hull before detonating, causing immediate damage with the warhead explosion and starting a fire with any remaining unexpended fuel. But SAMs use a proximity fuse because you want a sizeable cloud of fragments to maximize the possibility of hitting or cutting off an essential control system or surface, or killing the cockpit crew. Air targets move a lot faster than surface targets, and considering military targets will also deploy deception and jamming to avoid being hit, it is usually just not practical to use a contact exploder because the missile may miss. With a proximity fuse, even if it passes close to the target, that’s usually good enough. You can get the same or similar fusing in naval gun ammunition; it used to be called Non-Fragmentation Variable Timed (NFVT) or Pre-Fragmented High Explosive (PFHE). NFVT was sometimes used when firing at a training target, because a Target-Triggered Burst (TTB) caused by the round passing close enough to the target to make the round explode contributed to your score – you did not have to score a direct hit. Current ammunition is often multi-functional, and selectable before firing.

      Like

  54. The Afghanistan story is getting bigger.
    I was wondering why this is being pushed, in the usual outlets Ben Norton provides this insight. Taken from his Twitter:

    ‪‪Ben Norton‬‬
    ‪‪@BenjaminNorton‬‬

    ‪‪We’re seeing in real time how Western intelligence agencies are derailing peace talks aimed at ending the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan.‬‬

    First anonymous US spies spread this rumor. Now anonymous European spies are doing the same. And the corporate media eats it up like candy

    Ana Cabrera
    @AnaCabrera
    · 16h
    ‪#BREAKING: A European intelligence official tells CNN that Russian intelligence officers for the military intelligence GRU had recently offered Taliban militants in Afghanistan money as rewards if they killed US or UK troops there.‬

    /////the deep state want continuous war – shows how really powerless Trump is against these hidden people

    Like

    1. My concern is that the DNC and their masters may have concluded Trump can be beaten so this Afakeistan story is simply driving another nail in the coffin.

      As much as the MSM was anti-Trump in 2016, that was nothing to what is going on today. They are working the fake pandemic and BLM and the Russian BS story is just another attack.

      They may succeed if Biden can be kept in the basement or CGI can fake remote appearances or drugs can keep him functional. Or, he is replaced during the DNC convention. By that point, it does not matter who the DNC runs, as the vote is driven by a “anyone but Trump” mentality. In fact, if Sleepy Joe were to step aside, I think it further strengthen the DNC’s hand.

      The above, plus possible wide scale mail-in voter fraud, makes Trump a sure-fire loser. And if Trump challenges the legitimacy of the election, he would be hauled out and figurative hung from a tree to the delight of the smirking class.

      Like

  55. Why was this non-story about something Russia may have been responsible for, albeit deep in the article Russia is exculpated?

    From the Independent UK, of course:

    Radiation level increase in northern Europe may ‘indicate damage’ to nuclear power plant in Russia

    Russian authorities deny any leakage or fault with power plants in St Petersburg and Murmansk

    Note the “deny” in the subheading.

    Low levels of radiation spotted in northern Europe may have come from a malfunctioning nuclear power plant in western Russia.

    Nuclear safety officials from Finland, Norway and Sweden have all announced earlier this week they have detected increased radioactive isotopes across Scandinavia and in some Arctic regions.

    While the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority said on Tuesday it was not possible to confirm the source of radiation, Dutch authorities have analysed data from their Nordic neighbours and concluded it originated in western Russia.

    I wonder why the Dutch blame Russia when the following statement has been given by them?

    “The radionuclides are artificial, that is to say they are man-made,” the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands said on Friday.

    “The composition of the nuclides may indicate damage to a fuel element in a nuclear power plant [but] a specific source location cannot be identified due to the limited number of measurements.”

    However, the Russian nuclear power operator Rosenergoatom has denied there are any problems with its two power plants in the country’s northwest.

    Aha! The lying bastards deny responsibility; that means they must have caused it!

    The Russian news agency Tass quoted an unnamed spokesperson from Rosenergoatom who said both a plant near St Petersburg and another near Murmansk were operating “normally, with radiation levels being within the norm”.

    Radiation levels at the two plants had not changed for the whole month of June, the spokesperson added.

    Yeah, sure! Go and pull the other one, you lying Russian toe-rags!

    “Both stations are working in normal regime. There have been no complaints about the equipment’s work. No incidents related to release of radionuclide outside containment structures have been reported.”

    The low levels and particular isotopes detected in Scandinavia are not harmful either to humans or the environment.

    Other groups have also spotted the slight rise, however. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation said on Friday their radiation-monitoring sensors in Sweden had also detected a slight increase of several harmless isotopes in northwestern European airspace.

    Russia is one of the largest producers of nuclear power in the world, with 10 currently operational plants and several more under construction.

    The country’s nuclear power operator has also signed billions of dollars-worth of contracts to build nuclear power plants using Russian technology in other countries, such as India, Turkey and Iran.

    Additional reporting by Associated Press.

    As I asked above — why this non-story then?

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/radiation-scandinavia-nuclear-power-plant-russia-a9589301.html

    Like

    1. Obviously The Independent relies on readers skimming the headline and not reading the actual article itself. In addition if readers hit a paywall, all they will get is the headline and maybe the first couple of paragraphs.

      The article does not say what the prevailing wind directions over Scandinavia were at the time the slight rise in the low levels of radiation was detected. It would have been helpful for The Independent to have given some background context on what the usual air currents are over this part of Europe at this time of year. But of course if the prevailing air currents over Scandinavia in June – July turn out to be from the North Atlantic Ocean or the North Sea, then readers might have guessed what the true aim of the article is.

      Like

    2. Perhaps because Russia is doing a fairly brisk business manufacturing small modular reactors which are ideal for powering small to medium communities, and which can be added to as demand increases, and the prissy Dutch and Scandahoovians would like to scare away potential customers with fears of radiation leakage.

      Like

    3. Eight hours later ….

      BBC:

      Russia denies its nuclear plants are source of radiation leak

      Golly!

      Same insinuations, same style, but with the following right at the end of the article:

      Lassina Zerbo, executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) tweeted on Friday that its Stockholm monitoring station had detected three isotopes – Cs-134, Cs-137 and Ru-103 – at higher than usual levels but not harmful to human health.

      The particles were detected on 22-23 June, he said.

      The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands said on Friday that the composition of the nuclear material “may indicate damage to a fuel element in a nuclear power plant”.

      Clearly, Russia is responsible.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53214259

      Like

      1. What’s higher than usual levels? Where’s the data? Why don’t they publish it? Is it secret somewhere? I find this kind of obfuscation (lazy reporting or both) quite annoying. Or is the public considered too stupid to understand a few numbers and graphs?

        Like

        1. This is the age of belief in the mass media – what use is it as a push-tool if people doubt and question it? They say it, so it must be so, despite all the wailing apologies for not having fact-checked their work before publishing.

          Like

    1. What happened to the mammoth slayers who created the Black Sea just by digging a huge hole and allowing the water from the Mediterranean Sea to enter?

      Like

      1. I guess they have no more use for new seas. And wasn’t that part of that tongue-in-cheek presentation which attributed every modern discovery and ancient accomplishment to Ukrainians? Not the mammoths part – I remember that clearly attributed to one of the Nazi minor leaders. The Black Sea part. They didn’t ever seriously claim to have dug the Black Sea, did they?

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        1. There is a discussion of the story about Ancient Ukrainians creating the Black Sea in the comments thread at this link:
          https://en.topwar.ru/157511-leonardo-da-vinchi-universalnyj-genij-jepohi-vozrozhdenija.html

          A rumour was flying around and picked up by some Russian-language online media in the recent past about a textbook on the history of Ancient Ukrainians and their “achievements” written by one Edmund Kvasiva and published by Prosvita in Kiev in 2006. Prosvita denies every publishing such a tome.

          Like

    2. Why ask NATO for help?

      NATO is obliged to assist other NATO member states that are under threat by a non-NATO aggressor state.

      Oh right!

      Those evil Moskali must have caused the flooding in the region that only became part of the UkSSR after the end of WWII.

      The flooding there must be part and parcel of the Aggressor State’s hybrid war against the Ukraine!

      But hang on, though: the Ukraine is not a NATO member state.

      Like

      1. Obviously because they want to be recognized as a NATO state and a dependent part of the EU. Equally obviously, because it is beyond their ability to handle and they cannot ask Russia for help.

        Like

    1. You sound like a smart man ME – so please tell me you have not actually subscribed and paid money to read that Independent “Premium” drivel by Carrol!

      “It is spread over an unprecedented seven days – a reflection of the public’s lack of enthusiasm to vote.” – he writes in the free part of the article ……………….I’m unsure how he can even think to make that idiotic connection. Obviously the vote is spread out precisely because of the coronavirus and a desire not to crowd election stations. At 41 million votes after 4 days, I am not sure “lack of enthusiasm” is much of an issue.

      But these clowns do have a series of “catch – all” phrases to go with their lying punditry. Such as “last remaining independent media” for the 1000s of different ones in Russia. One rent-a-quote idiot pundit in the Moscow Times said that less than 55-60% turnout would be a disaster for the authorities, over 70% would be a disaster because it proves mass falsifications, and anything in between would be a disaster because it shows how the authorities were “desperate to get the vote out of the way as soon as possible”

      Like

      1. Nah, I don’t pay for the dubious privilege off getting access to such shite as Carroll and others of his ilk write: the Independent “Premium” allows access to two such articles a month free of charge, so I pick and choose what drivel to read, especially that which Carroll writes.

        You see, he and others like him who are Moscow correspondents claim to speak from authority because they live here, if only temporarily, and, being from the “free world” and a journalist for the “free press”, he claims to give an honest and impartial view as events here as he sees them. And he can get away with his lies and distortions that he writes about Russia simply because the vast majority of his readership do not live in Russia and know sweet FA about the place, apart from that which he tells them as gospel.

        Harding likes to use the line, when someone disagrees with what he says, “But you don’t know what it’s like in Russia! I do! I have lived there!”

        And so he has. And so have I — for more than 25 years! But I’m not a hired hack for the “free press”. And if I point this out to such people as Carrol, their response is “Kremlin Stooge!”

        Harding once even responded to one of my comments several years ago on the laughable Guardian feature “Comment is Free” that I probably work for the FSB, and another arsehole commenting in that feature once wrote that for a Russian my English was “quite good”.

        Like

        1. By the way, only a few weeks ago an old workmate of mine told me that a fellow townsman of mine has lived in Moscow for much longer than I have. He told me this fellow exile’s name and I faintly remember him. He was a member of the supporters’ club for the rugby club for which I played for 4 seasons in the 1970s. He worked for a travel agency in my home town and settled here in Moscow some 20 years before I dropped anchor here. I have been trying to locate his whereabouts in Moscow, but so far in vain. As far as I know, he does not comment on the web about his miserable life here with all the terror and depredations that living here entails. Maybe he likes it here, living in such a tyrannical regime?

          Like

        2. And that’s despite the fact that the first 25 years or so of his exile were spent in the Soviet Union. I only lived in the USSR during the last year of its existence.

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        1. What — meeting up with someone from my hometown who has lived in Moscow for over 45 years?

          I barely remember the man, but of one thing about him I am certain: he is much wiser than I am, as he left the dump where we come from and settled here some 20 years before I did.

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          1. No, the referendum on the Constitution which allegedly will let Putin serve for life as President. The British press has taken out options on every proportion of the vote – if it’s low, people don’t care. If it’s high, it’s rigged. If it’s in the middle, the government just wants to get it done as quickly as possible.

            Like

      2. The western pundits will chatter and observe, and in the end Putin will be in for another term, because he is the most trusted by the Russian people to keep them safe from the westerners who regard them with such suspicion, alarm and hate. And the wheel will go around for another turn, with the western pundits blathering endlessly about street protests and no alternative to Putin and the restlessness of the elite and bla bla bla. And the west will go on stoking fear and hatred of Russia, and it is precisely that which keeps Putin in office for so long as he can continue. I believe that call that ‘self-fulfilling prophesy’.

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  56. The last change to the British constitution — albeit that there is no such codified constitution, which is a hodgepodge of all laws, customs and practices that have been passed or practised over several hundred years; since “time immemorial”, in fact, which is legally defined as since 1237 — was when it was decided that the first born of the monarch need not be male in order to become heir to the throne.

    In 1275, by the first Statute of Westminster, the time of memory was limited to the reign of King Richard I, beginning 6 July 1189, the date of the king’s accession. Since that date, proof of unbroken possession or use of any right made it unnecessary to establish the original grant under certain circumstances.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_immemorial?wprov=sfti1

    That last change in the British “constitution” was made by members of parliament, not by British citizens in a referendum.

    That’s real democracy for you!

    Like

  57. Could be interesting and entertaining:

    Iran has identified 36 people involved in the US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani and will seek their arrest through Interpol channels, media reports said. The list of suspects is topped by President Donald Trump.

    The names of the suspects in the high-profile murder of Iran’s elite Quds Force commander have been relayed to Interpol by Tehran’s chief prosecutor Ali Alghasi-Mehr, Iranian media said on Monday. The official called the killing a “murder” and a “terrorist act.”

    https://www.rt.com/news/493226-iran-trum-arrest-warrant/

    They got Trump as he has yet to reveal evidence of an imminent attack. Wonder how the Dems and MSM will play it.

    Like

  58. INterpol already wimped out:

    https://www.rt.com/news/493245-interpol-iran-arrest-trump/

    Interpol’s own rules would not allow it to act on an Iranian request to arrest US President Donald Trump for the murder of Qassem Soleimani, the international police cooperation body said.

    The Lyon-based organization told RIA Novosti if it receives a request to arrest Trump, its own rules will not allow it to act on it. Interpol acts as a liaison between law enforcement organizations in member states, helping them to collaborate with each other in solving crimes and arresting suspects trying to flee justice in a different jurisdiction.

    Interpol maintains political neutrality and is barred by its charter from getting involved in activities of a political, military, religious, or racial nature, a spokesperson for the organization said.
    The Lyon-based organization told RIA Novosti if it receives a request to arrest Trump, its own rules will not allow it to act on it. Interpol acts as a liaison between law enforcement organizations in member states, helping them to collaborate with each other in solving crimes and arresting suspects trying to flee justice in a different jurisdiction.

    So, if a government murders a foreign citizen, Interpol refuses to be involved? Perhaps Iran will need to do what the US does. – simply abduct the suspect.

    Like

    1. “So, if a government murders a foreign citizen, Interpol refuses to be involved? Perhaps Iran will need to do what the US does. – simply abduct the suspect.”

      Exactly. The mighty New York Times does not think much of INTERPOL:

      Though Hollywood has cast it as a global version of the F.B.I. or Scotland Yard, real-life Interpol has no authority to investigate crimes or make arrests. Based in the picturesque French city of Lyon, Interpol is instead a clearinghouse for police information, a digital bulletin board for police officers to share what they know.

      No authority, as in zero, to investigate crimes or make arrests. And this seems to be borne out – in the case of Alexey Kharis, who was jailed in California on a Russian ‘red notice’ from INTERPOL, his lawyer simply found a judge who was satisfied his detention was politically motivated, and presto! he was free.

      Uh oh; I see a problem:

      As a traditional champion of human rights and the largest financial backer of Interpol, the United States was in a position to demand changes.

      Don’t pay any attention to that ‘traditional champion of human rights’ bullshit, it’s just something they attached to the real information so you would believe the whole statement is true. The United States is the biggest financial backer of INTERPOL, and Washington traditionally wants real value for its money. It is used to ordering around organizations it funds generously, such as NATO and the World Bank.

      Not that anyone seriously thought they were going to arrest Trump anyway. Since 2016, INTERPOL’s council is from the US Justice Department.

      Like

      1. “… Since 2016, INTERPOL’s council is from the US Justice Department.”

        Should “council” read “counsel” instead?

        Like

          1. Yes, that’s the same thing, “lawyer guy” means the same as “counsel” in the context of that sentence. Though maybe “lawyer guy” is a more accurate description since few lawyer dudes these days merit the respect that the term “legal counsel” might confer.

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  59. Interesting article from Daily Maverick, even though it is dated September 2019:
    “How the UK Security Services neutralised the country’s leading liberal newspaper”

    “The Guardian, Britain’s leading liberal newspaper with a global reputation for independent and critical journalism, has been successfully targeted by security agencies to neutralise its adversarial reporting of the ‘security state’, according to newly released documents and evidence from former and current Guardian journalists …”

    Like

    1. It was bloody obvious that the Guardian had been nobbled. I had been reading that newspaper from my teens, partly through local patriotism, as it used to be the “Manchester Guardian” and was still refererred to as such in my old neck of the woods. It changed its name in 1959, I think. And then it moved to London, where the rot then set in.

      I used to have “The Guardian” delivered and then, in the ‘80s slowly but surely, changes started to occur. The first thing I noticed was that it started dealing more and more with “issues” and not news and the analysis thereof: “gender issues“, women’s issues”, racism etc. The paper clearly started concerning itself with “US issues” as well, targeting a US readership. I got the feeling that the “Guardian” was becoming more and more detached from reality. I’m talking about the late ‘80s now. There seemed to be less news in it and more and more comment about “social issues”.

      When George W. Bush was standing for re-election as president, some bright spark at the Guardian launched a project whereby readers having friends, relative or acquaintances in the USA should write to them, urging them not to vote for that idiot. Many did that, and got the response they deserved. I recall the readers’ comments feature being full of missives from irate US citizens telling those who had advised them how to vote to mind their own business.

      And more and more to the fore appeared “Guardian Comment” features and the shit floated to the surface as shit is wont to do: Simon Tisdall, who regularly commented on Tuesdays, very frequently ranting against Russia, and chief shit Harding (who, by the way, has written yet another fantasy about Mordor and the Evil Orcs called “Collusion”, I believe), and chief “social issues” commenter Polly Toynbee, a champagne socialist, hypocritically bleating daughter of a literary critic, educated at a private school, a former “Social Democrat”, now a faux-socialist Labour Party supporter, critic of Corbin etc., etc. if Toynbee were Russian, she surely would be a member of the Kreakl clan and a sycophant of Navalny et al.

      I stopped reading that rag a few years ago and seldom if ever open its web site. As far as I am concerned, it is an organ for the CIA and British State Security. In fact, I am sure it is, as is the rest of the “free press” in the UK.

      Like

  60. The thin edge of the wedge. University of Tennessee students to get mandatory flu shots, and COVID-19 vaccination when it becomes available. The more hoaxy and foolish this gets, the more desperate the authorities become for everyone to continue believing in The Great Plague for long enough that they will accept mandatory vaccination.

    https://www.wjhl.com/coronavirus/new-rule-requires-tennessee-students-to-get-flu-vaccines/

    Precedent having been established that authority can use a public-health emergency to force needless and often counter-productive measures on a sullen but cooperative public, the next steps must be taken quickly.

    I saw an estimate somewhere – Fort Russ, I believe – that the lockdown policies have cost the global economy $126 Billion. That’s just a speculative figure, of course, and I didn’t even read the article so I’m not sure how the number was arrived at, but obviously it would be extremely complicated. But the figure does not seem outlandish to me, especially when you figure in the costs of all the extra money printed to pay people to not work.

    Like

    1. These measures plus others the university plans on instituting are sure to send future enrolments on a downward-spiralling trend. Especially if students discover they’re expected to foot part of the bill for being vaccinated against flu and COVID-19, and whatever other future respiratory lurgy looms on the horizon that pharmaceutical firms can make a buck off. The University of Tennessee must be very sure that other public universities and colleges in Tennessee are likely to follow suit in insisting on mandatory flu vaccinations for all students attending its campuses, otherwise this move risks driving young people to enrol at other state-funded places that don’t have this requirement.

      Like

      1. I hadn’t really thought about it, but it is possible it might even drive Tennessee college aspirants to apply out of state. Of course, it depends on how hysterical the US reaction is going to continue to be. There are undeniable signs of a new totalitarianism riding in on the wings of public safety, such as Florida’s mask law.

        https://nypost.com/2020/06/25/florida-residents-furious-over-devils-law-requiring-masks/

        Note the medical officer spokesman’s explanation:

        “It’s really unfortunate the response that we got for such a common-sense mandate that happened in Palm Beach County,” he said. “We know scientifically that masks are proven to prevent infection, and transmission from one person who is sick to another. And the fact that people are fighting this hard against wearing masks is disheartening. Wearing a mask doesn’t only protect you — it protects those around you.”

        We know no such thing – viral particles are much too small to be stopped by any of the makeshift masks people are encouraged to make for themselves, or any of the non-N-95 cheapo paper masks. But wearing a mask is an immediately-visible signal that you are a conformist, and will probably go along with progressive legislation written to ‘protect the public’.

        Both the CDC and the WHO initially counseled Americans against wearing masks, suggesting that most people do not wear them properly, all the stocks of masks needed to be reserved for healthcare workers, and they would not stop you from getting sick although they might have a limited value in preventing you from sneezing or coughing all over everyone else.

        https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-cdc-says-americans-dont-have-to-wear-facemasks-because-of-coronavirus-2020-01-30

        Like the CDC, the World Health Organization advises people to wear a mask only if they are displaying symptoms of coronavirus or “taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.”

        In a separate update last month, the WHO gave instructions for how to appropriately wear and dispose of face masks. WHO also noted, “However, the use of a mask alone is insufficient to provide the adequate level of protection and other equally relevant measures should be adopted.”

        But USA Today claims to have ‘fact-checked’ its story, and maintains that loonies are frightening people that masks will not protect one from catching coronavirus (which is accurate, they will not). The science is solid, they say – masks work.

        https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/06/27/fact-check-ohsa-didnt-say-cloth-masks-offer-no-covid-19-protection/3266817001/

        This represents not some slight equivocation, but a complete reversal of advice. Which suggests there is some other quality about masks which is sufficiently valuable to authorities that they really, really want you to wear one even though they are of extremely limited and perhaps no value at all in protecting you from catching a viral respiratory illness. I suggest it is their visibility and their silent signal that the wearer is obedient to authority. Doesn’t matter why – they don’t care.

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        1. With your skepticism towards COVID 19 Mark, I suspect that you are in the same position as me – literally not knowing anybody who has had the virus, or even thought they had it, or even knowing anybody who knows somebody who has had it!

          Now of course I am not saying it doesn’t exist or promoting some ridiculous theory about it being fake – nor discrediting the serious work being done in hospitals, but it’s impossible to get worked up about something like this that is being compared to WW2

          The scale of this is that I know more people who claim to have been in the World Trade Centre on 9/11, then I do of anybody who has had coronavirus. With zero cases in my circle of friends or acquaintances versus quite afew people who I have seen directly negatively effected by the measures done to prevent the coronavirus

          The one big positive thing apart from some glorious walks in the park or bicycle trips with the kids – has been a family member getting seen to and tested ( X-ray and blood) and evaluated within 90 minutes in Accident and Emergency ward – something that before this would be considered an impossibly quick time

          Like

          1. I actually think I may have had it myself, only it would have been back in November/December of last year, before anyone in Canada had ever heard of it. It’s possible; France now stipulates to having had it as early as November, on back-checking pneumonia-like illnesses that they were not particularly looking out for at the time. I am in the marine transport business, and we see a lot of people from all over; Vancouver is a busy air hub with people from the Island returning from vacation all year round, and while it need not necessarily have been carried by Chinese, it first appeared there in infectious numbers to the best of our knowledge, and British Columbia has a large Chinese population.

            Anyway, in the November/December timeframe, I had the worst chest cold I have ever had. I’ve never had pneumonia, so I don’t know what it’s like. This was the kind of respiratory illness that makes you take tiny, shallow breaths, because if you inhale too deeply you get the irresistible urge to cough, and coughing feels like shovelfuls of broken glass are being turned over in your chest. The Mate on the same ship had it at the same time, and I either caught it from him, or he from me, or both of us at around the same time from someone else. There were no precautions in place against it at the time, just people making the usual remonstrations – “Don’t give that hack to me!” – and the usual hand-washing and not coughing on people, but covering up. No masks or any of that rubbish, although it was and is our usual practice during flu season to regularly sanitize the guardrails and surfaces people often touch with Virox wipes. To the very best of my knowledge, nobody else in the crew got it. BC Ferries had one diagnosed case of COVID-19, a deckhand on a Tsawwassen ship, which is the opposite run to mine on that route.

            When I went home, I slept in the same bed with my wife as usual. I did not social-distance with family members or wear a mask. Hand-washing and not sneezing on people is common practice, and it was not a head cold anyway – it was all chest. I had a couple of miserable nights, and the one day I might have had to call in sick because I felt too rough, I had off anyway. So I did not lose any work time, I recovered quickly once on the mend, and although it was no fun, it was only marginally worse than a bad chest cold. In my experience, anyway.

            According to the WHO’s COVID dashboard, as of today Canada has a spike in both new cases and deaths, just to put us in our place because it was all but gone yesterday, with only 262 cases in the whole country. Now today, Surprise! there are 668, so it has tripled overnight, and 44 deaths. We have had 8,566 deaths since the ‘pandemic’ began, and if we lost that many in a military confrontation we would freak out, of course, but it does not seem an outsize number for a population of more than 33 million over four months. I’m not sure if Canada is as eager to declare every death a COVID death as the USA does, but our numbers are fairly low and until just today they were on a steady and very predictable decline.

            Of course it is just nuts in the United States, with half the country screaming for the lockdown to be reimposed, and tighter this time. The borders of the country are supposed to be shut, but just the other night on the Victoria-Vancouver run I saw cars from California, Indiana and Oregon. There’s a loophole for Americans to get in to British Columbia – they say they are traveling to Alaska. There’s no other way to get there except by sea. My mom told me she had seen on the news where some Americans had been caught in Alberta, and had admitted they lied when they entered the country and said they were going to Alaska. Apparently it’s a thing now. The lady at the grocery checkout told me several American families had been caught staying overnight (I think the restriction is that you have to drive straight through and go straight to Alaska) in Alberta and had all been fined $1,200.00. I have not verified either story myself…well, I be go to hell; look at that. It IS true.

            “Healthy, non-symptomatic foreign nationals, traveling through Canada for non-discretionary purposes, such as to return home to Alaska, may transit through Canada,” says a statement from Judith Gadbois St-Cyr, Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson. But travelers to Alaska are supposed to go directly there. They aren’t supposed to make any unnecessary stops and they’re to avoid restaurants, hotels and contact with others while in transit.”

            https://www.thedailybeast.com/americans-are-using-this-loophole-to-vacation-in-canada

            In any case, there is no way cars with American plates should be onboard a ferry going to or coming from Vancouver Island – it is not a waypoint on the route to Alaska.

            You’re right, though – the net effect of the lockdown has been to make us pathetically grateful for any service that comes available, although it was our right just a couple of months ago and we didn’t think about it. I’m certainly not suggesting any flower-child reasoning like we should take this opportunity to consider how we treat others, maybe be more appreciative for the wonderful things we have, our freedoms, bla, bla, bla. I think it is fucking bullshit, we earned every right we have and the government has zero mandate to take any rights away without consultation. The assumption that Canadians would not cooperate if asked is insulting, and the level of cooperation which has proved necessary to limit infection suggests there was never any need for a ‘lockdown’ in the first place, I even despise the term because it comes from prison. There is zero science supporting the 6-foot rule, and no conclusive science proving wearing a mask prevents infection. And I hope the government pays for it at election time with as close to zero turnout as possible. But I suspect I am in the minority there, as grateful Canadians are poised to rush to the polls and thank the government for head-faking them with a greatly-hyped public-health emergency that was actually just a global exercise in population control, with some resulting very useful data for governments.

            Like

    2. I saw that number and thought it grossly in error. If one were to count the money printing along and increase in Fed debt and Federal deficits, we are already talking multi-trillions of dollars of new losses.

      Perhaps it can be successfully argued that Covid-19 did not cost trillions but merely accelerated the existing need for massive money printing and purchases of trillions of dollars or junk bonds.

      This guy has an interesting take and it is grim.

      https://www.rt.com/op-ed/493225-financial-markets-recovery-credit-defaults/

      It is simply surreal how quickly it all seems to be unraveling. For brief moments, I think that a civil war (not so much a shooting match but rather people just stop paying taxes or other forms of passive resistance) is in the cards.

      Like

      1. Indeed it is – Grim with a capital ‘G’. And it mirrors the forecasts I have seen from other realists. But the insanity that is the market just keeps jigging higher and higher. There’s no doubt major employers have mused about continuing ‘work-from-home’ policies even after the virus has been abandoned as a personnel-control device, currently thought to arrive just about the time the Democrats get voted in. Those major employers have said so; it’s not a secret. There are advantages that we have discussed here – don’t need an office building, don’t need a harassment policy, who cares about drug problems or alcoholism so long as the employee’s productivity continues to meet the standard? But I was not even thinking about all the money there is sunk in commercial real estate, and as the article you linked highlights, that is a dee-saster in the making. Probably no end of other knock-on effects which have not occurred to me, either. Meanwhile, every attempt Trump makes to try and rein in policies which make him and the USA look like a prick that no other country wants to associate with are intercepted and scuppered by the deep state. The Democrats are banking on a crisis which is big enough to sink Trump, but not so big they can’t reverse it. And I submit anyone who thinks this is that kind of situation needs therapy.

        Like

        1. I think I shall continue working from home until my dying days. There were signs before this pandemic hysteria that my firm was implementing a policy of of offering an online training service only and this quarantine here only speeded its policy implementation up. I am not bothered, apart from the fact that the bastards also reduced my hourly rate by almost 50% when the “lockdown” began and it is I who has to pay for Internet connection, in that I have to use my iPhone as a modem at my dacha. The only good thing that has happened to me in this regard of late is that the tax authorities have granted me a “subsidy” for April/May, whereby I shall receive 25 000 rubles for lost earnings in those months because of the “lockdown” hysterics. And it is hysteria in my opinion! Yesterday I had to go to Moscow as regards receipt of this subsidy, and whilst walking along a path early yesterday morning through a forest to the railway station, situated about half-a-mile from my dacha territory, I saw individuals, who were also intending to catch the same train as I caught, walking along the same path, their faces masked. What the fuck were they afraid of? Being infected by COVID whilst walking alone in the gloriously fresh air here?

          Like

  61. Interestingly, one of the Iranian ships which recently arrived in Venezuela was carrying food supplies for the first Iranian supermarket in Venezuela.

    https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14920

    The little I know of both diets suggests to me that they are not culturally similar – Iranians prize sour flavours, although that’s a generalization, not in everything – but an Iranian-owned market could begin to supply some of the Venezuelan staples such as corn flour that the western-elite importers have denied them, pleading unavailability, in a cynical plan to break the will of the people through hunger and despair.

    Chavez made some attempts to get the population to be more self-sufficient, but they never really took off because the country was relatively rich from energy exports and it was cheaper to import most of its food. But a few wealthy liberals – Guaido supporters to a man, I should imagine – gained almost exclusive control over food imports.

    Like

  62. Oh, dear: Europe could face an oil shortage as early as next decade, according to The Grauniad and Rystad Energy, the latter usually quite reliable on energy issues.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jun/23/europe-could-face-oil-shortage-in-a-decade-study-warns

    This is mostly to put pressure on – and at the same time showcase – Europe’s renewables drive, which includes a Danish ‘energy island’ project to build an offshore power hub on a manufactured island. Its purpose is certainly not to encourage energy dependence on Russia. However, Rystad Energy claims within that Russia’s energy supply “has already entered a systematic decline” which would outstrip the rate at which the EU has curbed its use of oil over the last 10 years.”

    Gee, I’m…pretty sure that’s not true. I mean, I’m not an expert or anything, but I can read as well as anyone, and Russian production figures show a steady gain since October of 2019 in spite of restrictions agreed to in an attempt to ease the current glut of global oil supply.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/crude-oil-production

    Expanding our range of review to 25 years, using the tools in the toolbar, does not show the slightest sign of faltering production. It rose most steeply between about 1998 and 2008, but after that the gain is marked and constant. And that is not including any production from a field discovered in the Kara Sea which might hold anything between a billion and 9 billion barrels.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-27/russia-discovers-massive-arctic-oil-field-which-may-be-larger-gulf-mexico

    Like

  63. The WHO – whose analysis and recommendations on global health crises are always to be trusted and obeyed…well. except when they completely reverse themselves, claiming the mandate of science both times, as they did on masks – now helpfully explains that all your hopes of going back to a normal life are for naught. No, the Pandemic is ‘not even close to over’.

    https://asiatimes.com/2020/06/who-says-the-pandemic-is-not-even-close-to-over/

    If I had to guess, I would forecast that the Pandemic will last until November of this year, which would be just about long enough for its effects to install Joe Biden in the White House and put the Democrats back in power. Within the next week, the Pandemic would be declared as dead as Abraham Lincoln. As if to underline its partisanship, the WHO remarks sniffily that it would really, really help if Donald Trump would wear a mask. Thus signifying his subservience and fealty to the cabal which is foisting this ridiculous public-health scare on us for its own ends – the mask is the new badge of willing compliance with authority, your pledge to do as you are told.

    Boy, you never see ol’ Sleepy Joe out in public any more without his sporty black mask, and he is quite forthright that if elected President, he would get right on the plan of making them mandatory wear. Makes it so much easier to identify the rebels. Nobody gives a fuck about criminals, who are handed a license to obscure their faces – it’s more important to identify and isolate the unbelievers.

    https://myfox8.com/news/joe-biden-says-he-would-make-masks-required-in-public-if-president/

    Notice how that article systematically ticks off all the talking points;

    * “The one thing we do know, these masks make a gigantic difference,” Biden said.” Not just a difference, a gigantic difference; the difference between living and dying. Although as recently as early March, both the WHO and CDC claimed there was no evidence at all to show that wearing a mask helped protect its wearer from infection by the coronavirus. Apparently such a body of evidence has since emerged that we now know it makes a ‘gigantic’ difference. Mmmmm…anyway, the point of that exchange was to send the signal that Uncle Joe is onboard. Not like that fucking rebel Trump, who doesn’t care about people’s lives, black or otherwise.

    * “I try to wear a mask as much as I can,” said Akeem McDonald, of High Point. It’s becoming a common sight to see people out with a face covering. Get it? Everyone is complying. Stop being a dork, and wear a mask, outlier.

    * “I keep myself safe, and I also want to keep others safe,” said Brenda Dorsett, who also lives in High Point. If you won’t wear a mask, it means you don’t care about anyone but yourself, and your judgment is suspect. Oh, and masks totally work.

    * “I think it’s an easy thing everyone can do and do their part in helping prevent the spread,” said Noman Iqbal, of Burlington. Once again, it’s not much of a thing. Just wear a fucking mask, dickhead. Do you want to be seen as not doing your part?

    * “I think that if you’re not wearing a mask, you’re endangering all lives,” Dorsett said. If you still have not gotten the message in this relentless propaganda, it’s that everyone who sees you not wearing a mask is encouraged to believe it is because you are either a shitheel who cares nothing for the safety of others, or so abysmally stupid that you just cannot grasp what is required of you.

    * “I see a lot of places still where people are going out and not wearing a mask,” McDonald said. Many Triad businesses posted signs at the door asking customers to not enter without a face covering. “Everyone else is doing it, so I think that’s really why people are starting to pay attention,” said Elaina Kauzlarich, of Burlington. I emphasize once more, by slapping my palm with the closed fingers of the other hand, everyone is doing it, and you will not be allowed the privileges everyone else is afforded if you do not comply. Get with the fucking program, prisoner.

    * State health officials say using a mask helps protect others by reducing the chance of the virus spreading from someone who may be asymptomatic. Don’t be thinking you can get out of wearing a mask just because you have no sniffles or sneezes – people who have no symptoms at all must be especially vigilant, to show how much they care for others. You do, don’t you? Care for others? Well, showing is proving. You know what? This entire article is nothing but a bunch of narrative-shaping talking points. And everywhere sprinkled throughout the Asia Times article linked at the top are references to ‘strong recovery funds’ which can only be realized by printing more money, to get society through this difficult time of social engineering and tinkering which will reshape our world so that the rich bloodsuckers can go on leeching off us.

    Like

    1. whereby they could once again be part of the F-35 program

      I have always had the sneaking suspicion that one, minor, reason for buying the S-400s was to get out of the F-35 deal.

      Maybe we can release Meng Wanzhou to avoid getting pressured into going with the F-35.

      Like

      1. Ha, ha!! Excellent idea. The USA knows better than to propose the F-35 as long as Trudledoo is in the house; the obvious hard-on the Conservatives had for it was enough to make the Liberals cancel it for spite, although it was and is an expensive piece of crap. But then Boeing fucked over Bombardier, and there went the Super Hornet contract Trudledoo was almost poised to sign.

        Military procurement in Canada seems to follow an excruciating pattern – cancel each others’ pet projects until the existing model is held together with duct-tape, then decide finally on a replacement, then dither over the options until the model is block obsolescent. Then buy some new bolt-ons to bring it up to speed. Start process over.

        This blog is an excellent broad reference for what kind of fighter capability Canada needs, and how each contender rates in each category.

        https://bestfighter4canada.blogspot.com/2019/07/is-it-going-to-be-fair-competition.html

        Personally, if we can’t get the SU-35 – and we can’t, it’s a twin engine but a single-seater, and we really need a twin-seater for Northern patrols – I’d like to see the Saab Gripen win. But Saab must be discouraged by the endless dithering. The Eurofighter pulled out and the F-35 is politically untenable as well as too expensive. As well as, if I forgot to mention it, a piece of crap. We will most likely end up with some derivative of the Hornet, but I think Saab is still in there with a chance if they are even still competing. I haven’t checked on the status of the project in awhile.

        Like

  64. Rainsford of the BBC goes on and on this morning about the proposed constitutional changes:

    Russia’s Putin appeals to patriotism as key vote reaches climax
    4 hours ago.

    [Why “Russia’s Putin”? Is it too much to ask her to write “President of Russian”?]

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53233386

    Opposition figures have dismissed the whole process as a farce, stretched over seven days with no proper monitoring or independent scrutiny.

    But for the Kremlin, the amendments are vital. The vote will clear the way for Vladimir Putin to stay in power up to 2036, if he chooses….

    “Putin can’t just say to himself, ‘I need to do everything possible to stay in power!’“, argues Tatiana Stanovaya, the head of R.Politik, a political think-tank….

    [Not another bloody Moscow think tank used as a source by the BBC!!! Who the fuck are “R.Politik”? What are their credentials? Who pays them???? — ME]

    Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, has published a stream of posts on social media mocking the makeshift nature of the vote and highlighting irregularities.

    Always, always Navalny, the great Washington hopeless hope!

    From a Russian blogger:

    Накипело: о либералах современной России…
    19 June

    This has been boiling up inside of me: on the liberals of modern Russia …

    Let’s see what modern Russian liberalism is, who modern liberals are in Russia, what they want and what they do. The people of Russia, having seen enough of their schizophrenic behaviour, having listened to their delusional, hateful slogans and calls, have begun to call them demshiza

    What do you think of that, Rainsford?

    Russian Wiki:

    Демшиза
    Демшиза́ — неологизм, политическое клише, носящее оскорбительно-иронический характер; оно построено путём сложения частей слов «демократия» и «шизофрения» и указывает на то, что взгляды радикальной части российских демократов с точки зрения их политических оппонентов похожи на психическое расстройство. Иногда употребляется также некоторыми либералами по отношению к оппонентам. Распространённость термина и его потенциально оскорбительный характер отражаются в лингвистических экспертизах.

    Demshiza
    Demshiza – neologism, a political cliché that is insulting and ironic in nature; made by adding together the parts of the words “democracy” and “schizophrenia” and indicates that the views of the radical part of the Russian democrats from the point of view of their political opponents are similar to a mental disorder. Sometimes it is also used by some liberals in relation to their opponents. The prevalence of the term and its potentially offensive nature are reflected in linguistic expertise.

    Lengthy blog. Can’t be arsed translating it all. Use a mechanical translator if you wish to catch the gist.

    https://zen.yandex.ru/media/id/5d2a1465e854a900ac3decd5/nakipelo-o-liberalah-sovremennoi-rossii-5eec7d62058020546c679705

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They could use the term дермошиза [dermoshiza] as well — “shitschitzo”.

      In the “Glorious Yeltsin Time” they used to say дермократия [dermokratiya] — “shitcracy” — instead of демократия [demokratiya] — “democracy”.

      Like

      1. Well, whatever term they settle on, you can bet it will not be relentlessly hyped as a ‘brand’ by the west the way ‘The Party of Crooks and Thieves’ was. Or, ‘The Slipper Revolution’ or ‘The Umbrella Revolution’ or any of the other causes the west tries to jam into the social consciousness by making them seem hip and cool.

        Like

    2. [Why “Russia’s Putin”? Is it too much to ask her to write “President of Russian”?]

      It is obviously to differentiate him from all the other Putins who are constantly in the news cycle, causing legitimate confusion.

      It is inconceivable to Rainsford and others like her that a leader could actually be popular with the electorate because he provided overall good and accountable leadership for no noticeable reward. They are used to politicians who are suck-asses the day before the election and entitled tyrants the day after; consequently, they must make up palaces and hidden embezzled fortunes to cheapen what any objective measure would – and does – accord to Russia as remarkable progress under Putin’s guidance. Washington fumes and splutters about Russia’s dangerous ambitions on the world stage, but such ambitions would have been out of the question for the smoking ruin the country was under the leadership of The Last President Of Whom Washington Approved. Yeltsin was so busy – when he was sober – racing around making penny-ante ‘reforms’ to please his American audience that he did not notice he was being funneled down the rainbow tube toward western-liberal permissiveness to the exclusion of morality, and the popularity of wedge issues to keep the population distracted.

      The USA is pathologically opposed to the existence of Russia as it is, and one or the other of them is going to have to go in its present incarnation, sooner or later. The planet is not big enough for both. Britain is just a toady that jumps about encouragingly and holds Washington’s coat while it fixes to give Russia some whup-ass.

      Like

  65. Here it is:

    R.Politik

    https://www.rpolitik.com/

    Looks like a one-woman show.

    Tatiana Stanovaya
    Founder / CEO at R.Politik
    R.Politik. Reality of Russian PoliticsLomonosov State University
    Région de Paris, France

    https://fr.linkedin.com/in/tatiana-stanovaya-10712133

    A Frog connection!

    Well look at this:

    Tatiana Stanovaya
    NONRESIDENT SCHOLAR
    CARNEGIE MOSCOW CENTER
    Tatiana Stanovaya is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

    https://carnegie.ru/experts/1103

    Rainsford’s go-to for an insight into Russian reality.

    Russian Wiki:

    Становая, Татьяна Анатольевна

    Tatyana Anatolievna Stanova (born 1978, Moscow) is a Russian political scientist, journalist and publicist, former head of the analytical department of the Centre for Political Technologies (TSC).
    In 2000, she graduated from the International Independent Ecological and Political University with a degree in Political Science, in 2005, the Department of State and Municipal Administration of M V Lomonosov Moscow State University with a degree in Public Administration.
    In 1998, she began working at the Severstal metallurgical company as an analyst, then she joined the Tels Media Media Agency, which collaborated with Severstal, and in 2003 she began working at the Centre for Political Technologies (TSC), one of the largest analytical centres of Russia, where for 15 years she headed the analytical department.

    In 2018 she moved to France and created her own company – R.Politik. Reality of Russian Politics, which deals with analysis of the political process in Russia.

    She is a visiting expert at the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions programme at the Carnegie Moscow Centre and is a member of the scientific council of the L’Osservatore analytical centre under the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce.

    The author of more than 2 thousand publications on issues of Russian foreign and domestic policy, the problems of political parties, elections, the struggle of influence groups in the Kremlin, and “gas wars” in the post-Soviet era. Author of articles and comments in Vedomosti, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Le Figaro, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy.
    Columnist of The Moscow Times and Republic.ru publications.

    https://yandex.ru/turbo/s/ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B2%D0%B0?parent-reqid=1593586932109216-186931858612729265400299-production-app-host-man-web-yp-74&utm_source=turbo_turbo

    And she doesn’t even live in Russia!

    Rainsford’s source for an insight into Russian reality.

    Like

      1. It’s funny, in a way, that those people entertain liberal fantasies because they yearn for easy money and driving around in a Cadillac with your elbow cocked out the window in the always-sunshine. Funny because they always accuse their opponents of being dirty oligarchs always on the take. What sort of society would they make for Russia, if they could? Simple people living simple lives? Or towers of glass and steel and executive offices with sweeping vistas, and money for doing nothing? Meetingmeetingmeetinggayprideparadedrinkswiththetrendyhometobed?

        Like

    1. Vedomosti? Isn’t that Evgeny Lebedev’s other paper (i.e. not the Independent)?

      Raisencrantz has to earn her keep, much like al-Beeb s’Allah’s Chief Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus who rather than saying ‘I don’t know’, publishes this:

      al-Beeb s’Allah: What’s going on between Russia, US and Afghanistan?
      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-53220163?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/ce1qrvlegnyt/russia&link_location=live-reporting-correspondent

      What are we to make of the reports that have surfaced in the past few days that Russian military intelligence agents were offering money to Taliban fighters to kill US and possibly other Western service personnel? How true are these reports? Can they be substantiated? And what is their real significance?
      ####

      Of course he fails to answer any of these questions because he does not have the information, rather cherry picking what in his ‘estimation’ seems to be likely. Yet again, as a state sponsored broadcaster, the BBC deliberately reports a bit later than others which is odd considering its key role on propagating Russophobia in the UK.

      Like

      1. “Vedomosti? Isn’t that Evgeny Lebedev’s other paper (i.e. not the Independent)?”

        It certainly is!

        Like

    2. 57% voted ( 62 million) BEFORE the main day of voting. It would be funny ( further humiliation for these morons like Rosenburg and Rainsford) if it ends up being an 80,80,80 vote- 80 million people, 80% “For” vote and 80% turnout. That said it will definitely be a 70,70,70 type of vote at least – which is still very successful ” in the middle of a pandemic” as these creeps have been promoting ( not that they would then make any concessions in reports of voters that would have voted, but for the virus)

      By the way did you see the beautiful imagery yesterday? Putin making a speech to Russians, camera looking up ,with the newly opened monument to the Soviet Soldier in Tver, behind him. An incredibly striking, iconic image, as he does a motivating speech about the importance of the vote for the future of the country. I at first thought it was fake , like the weather reports with a screen for projection behind him! Great image.

      Like

      1. My wife voted against.

        Not because of the “Putin for life” issue, but because according to one amendment, one has to be a Russia born Russian citizen to stand for high office and not have dual nationality.

        I used to say that my son could be prez, but he won’t be able to now because of the amended constitution.

        In fact, according to the previous constitution, I could have stood for president;

        • 25 years residency in Russia

        • over 35 years old

        • no convictions for serious crime

        • Russian citizen

        Only the last condition I do not have, which could be easily remedied.

        But now — nowt doin’!

        And Vova has dual nationality, so Mrs. Exile’s got a mard lip on because her boy can’t be president.

        Like

          1. Ha, ha! Whenever I hear something like that I am reminded of a lunch we were having at a restaurant with a friend and his wife. This was just prior to Stephen Harper’s second try at the Prime Minister’s chair, and my friend’s wife shyly confided to me that she intended to vote for him because he ‘has a nice smile, and he looks honest’.

            I became very interested in my food, so as not to laugh and hurt her feelings, because she is really very nice and I like her a lot. But it’s perfectly true that different people tick the box for different political figures based on reasons that sometimes seem completely absurd. Political campaigns count on it, and do diligent research to find out what those foibles might be.

            Like

            1. I remember reading in one of the biographies of Hitler that I have read that the women’s vote in Germany was instrumental in his early success at the polls. (When he was invited to be Chancellor by President Hindenburg, the Nazis were falling in popularity, but Hitler bided his time until the president had died and that was when he “seized power”. as they like to say, taking on the office of President as well and having “enabling acts“ passed in the Reichstag, using the fire caused there by a communist arsonist to enable him to to take on dictatorial powers.)

              Apparently, German women found his piercing eyes attractive and he truly was a war hero, a former corporal who, truth be told, had been courageous at the front and had been justifiably awarded the Iron Cross on his commanding officer’s strong recommendation, which officer, ironically, was a Jew.

              Like

        1. You could always tell Mrs Exile that any of your children can still be Russian President on the condition that he or she gives up British citizenship. Then she can ponder on how much of a price that would be to pay for future political ambition. At the very least, if one of your children wants to enter politics later on, then he or she would probably have to give up British citizenship anyway, even if being President is not the ultimate ambition.

          Like

      2. Appealing to the vile nationalism that is deeply ingrained in the Russian soul, he was.

        That’s what Rainsford and the rest say.

        I wonder when that snidey little twat, her colleague Rosenberg, will give his two penn’orth on this matter?

        Like

        1. I mean Putler’s standing in front of a war memorial to a war that “Russia” started, because “Russia” was Hitler’s ally.

          And they raped millions — millions, I tell you! — of German women as well!

          Cos they are not like us.

          Like

        2. I’m wondering when they will be bussed to the airport, handed their luggage and invited to not return. I would not be long doing it if I were in charge in Russia.

          Like

          1. BBC
            5 hours ago

            With about 87% of ballots counted, more than 77% of voters backed the measures, the electoral commission said …

            Top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny dismissed the announced results as a “big lie” which did not reflect real public opinion in the country.

            When are they going to stop inflating that clown’s role in Russian politics?

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53255964

            RT
            (Kremlin controlled!)
            July 2nd, 2020, 00:53 GMT

            The outcome of Russia’s ‘national vote’ on a series of amendments to the constitution serves to reaffirm that most Russians want the country to plow its own furrow, regardless of what outsiders think.

            In the end, the margin was huge. Exit polls suggested around 70 percent of voters said ‘yes’ to 206 amendments to their constitution, and close to 30 percent rejected the changes. Official results put the ‘yes’ vote to above 78 percent, with 99 percent of ballots counted.

            And that bullshitter Navalny claims that the announced results are a “big lie”.

            However, it seems that gobshite Navalny’s liberal chums do not think the result is a “big lie”:

            Even Moscow liberal political organizers conceded that their own exit polls showed the capital had supported Vladimir Putin’s proposals. What’s more, those tallies revealed how a majority of voters in numerous Moscow districts with opposition-controlled local councils had backed the ‘yes’ side …

            RT points out that:

            One thing forgotten in almost all Western speculation about the process (erroneously labeled a ‘referendum’ by some US/UK media) was that it wasn’t strictly necessary at all. The backing Putin obtained in spring from the Duma (parliament), the Constitutional Court, and all 85 federal subjects sufficed. However, the President decided to stage a ‘confirmatory plebiscite’ to obtain broad public legitimacy for his project. Thus, the vote itself was mostly about establishing whether Putin still has a popular mandate to uphold his domination of Russian politics.

            Meanwhile, the usual brutality of the tyrant’s law enforcers was clearly displayed yesterday in Moscow as demonstrators protested in central Moscow against the “referendum” results:

            On Wednesday evening, a protest in downtown Moscow was so poorly attended and halfhearted that police handed out masks to the demonstrators, with Covid-19 in mind. Hardly the rough arm of the state crushing resistance. A handful of dissenters who gathered on Red Square, without permission, were detained and then swiftly released.

            Like

            1. “When are they going to stop inflating that clown’s role in Russian politics?”

              Never, I hope – Putin ought to slip him a few extra rubles for doing such a stellar job of cocking up opposition. As I often say, if Lyosha was gone, he might be replaced by someone charismatic and compelling. Granted, there is nobody like that in Russian liberal circles at the moment, but better the devil you know. Lyosha is whiny and fatuous, and fancies himself playing a clever long-term game by wooing the kiddies. But he is never going to amount to anything. His cocky talk is enough to keep the US checks flowing, but it is not influencing a serious number of people. I’m surprised Washington is so slow to catch on, but then, they really don’t know much of anything about Russia, and Lyosha talks a good game.

              As to the rest of it, it’s like I was saying to the missus during our bike-ride today – if Putin really wanted to come the authoritarian big man, he would just order the changes: no rigging required. Why should he even hold a vote if he’s such a Genghis Khan that he could simply snap his fingers and make it happen? It is crystal clear to anyone that the only way the Kremlin could please and satisfy its resident English reporters would be to hold a public vote on an issue, and lose. If it wins, it’s rigged; no British reporter cares what the advance and exit polls say.

              Like

  66. I am logged in to WordPress on the browser that I am now using, but a few minutes ago I tried to log in using another browser and my password was not recognized. How do I get to my profile on WordPress? How do I change my password?

    I used to get into my profile by clicking on my avatar. Now nothing happens when I do this.

    Like

  67. Alert5.com: Russia to test upgraded Su-57 in 2022
    http://alert5.com/2020/06/28/russia-to-test-upgraded-su-57-in-2022/

    https://iz.ru/1028035/anton-lavrov-roman-kretcul/vyidet-super-sukhim-istrebitel-su-57-ozhidaet-modernizatciia

    Izvestia reports that Russia will test the upgraded SU-57 from summer of 2022 and complete testing in two years.

    The fighter will have new engines and avionics. The hydraulic actuators will be replace by electric ones. The cockpit will get wide-angle heads up display and panoramic display panels.
    ####

    The Izvestia article goes in to much more detail, but the sailent points are that this is the ‘Stage 2’ model, i.e. what was planned in the first place, the current Stage 1 was to get it in to the air with modified older engines that will then be replaced with completely new generation Type-30.

    Stage 1 is essentially a functional testbed, so lots of changes coming including replacing hydraulics with electric actuators (so less bumps/less weight/more reliable) which Airbus has been using for decades already, and all the usual electronic upgrades. The program may have been expensive, but was also a necessary investment to re-build Russia’s aviation technology knowhow and keep it as one of the world’s best in future.

    We’ve seen similar stuff with Russia’s space program with new stuff coming such as the Federatsia crewed spacecraft and new rockets. The fact is that if you want to be in a Big Club, you have to spend some serious money. For Russia it is well spent and certainly better spent than the US military industrial platinum plated fake competition complex.

    Like

    1. Russia is in an even more exclusive club than that; it must make its place without help from the other club, the one that doesn’t want it as a member, matching and perhaps surpassing it in achievements while not being recognized as an associate, and while having its every failure derided to the skies as successes are ignored.

      The SU-57 and the F-35 are not even in the same class, but one is constantly advertised as the last word in aviation perfection by a country for whom bragging comes as naturally as breathing, while the other is ridiculed by that same country as a forever-prototype that will never see series production.

      Mark my words – the west will rue the day it took a conscious decision to exclude Russia to the extent it had to develop all its own industries and specializations and production; a decision that denied it the use of western technology that it was perfectly happy to use, and made it develop its own systems from the ground up. Because it is surprisingly capable of doing that, and the resulting industries surprisingly competitive and competent. Deciding to exclude both Russia and China together was a decision of such monumental stupidity that it seems to have been made by men several evolutionary advances earlier than the present one. I don’t want to say ‘Cave-men” because it hurts their feelings.

      Like

  68. AsiaTimes.com: Balloon-drop porn smears Kim’s wife: Russian envoy
    https://asiatimes.com/2020/07/balloon-drop-porn-smears-kims-wife-russian-envoy/

    Photoshopped DVD jacket pictures first lady, suggesting she has the hots for a former South Korean president

    After tolerating for years the balloon-dropped and bottle-floated propaganda sent from the South Korean side of the border, why did North Korea suddenly go ballistic last month and blow up the North-South liaision office building on its side of the DMZ

    An answer has come from the Russian ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora: Non-governmental balloon propagandists in South Korea, led by a defector from the North, on March 31 sent launched copies of a repurposed pornographic DVD whose photoshopped jacket pictured Kim Jong Un’s wife and appeared to suggest that she (a) has the hots for a former South Korean president (also pictured) and (b) is connected to Japan…
    ####

    Ah, that explains it!

    Like

    1. Kind of funny, when you think about it – the democratic South’s liberal policies prevent it from doing anything to punish the activists, whose schoolboy antics to ‘get a rise’ out of the North Koreans has fucked up relations between the two on an international level when it seemed only months ago they were on the verge of becoming friends again. So they will just get away with it, giggling and giddy with the scale of trouble they caused. In the North they would have been arrested and jailed. In the South at the very least they should be rounded up and brought in, kicked in the balls until they blink, and given to understand in no uncertain terms that diplomacy is the government’s job, and if they thought it should be handed over to Northern defectors with no sense of decorum, they would have likely made an announcement to that effect.

      But nothing will happen to them, and loud-mouthed activists with a personal grudge everywhere will take note.

      Like

  69. FAIR via Antiwar.com: Bombing People Is Not Feminist, No Matter How You Spin It
    https://fair.org/home/bombing-people-is-not-feminist-no-matter-how-you-spin-it/

    Have you heard the good news, ladies? You too can bomb the Middle East!

    Some corporate media have recently been taken with the “inspirational” story of Emily Thompson, the first woman to pilot the super-costly F-35 jet in combat. At an unspecified time earlier this month, Thompson took off from her base in the United Arab Emirates to bomb an unnamed country….
    ####

    More at the link.

    As I posted previously, and like this article, this is not the ‘victory’ as presented. Unlike the article, the point I repeat is that women are not getting a look in because they are considered as good as men(TM), but because there is a shortage of suitable males.

    The great ‘liberal’ west talks the talk, but consistently fails to deliver, hence quotas (in some EU states) and more puff from companies to make them look good on social media and have an ethical, forward facing public image. It was significant events such as WWI & WWII that led to the biggest changes, i.e. when with then men off to war, women were drafted to do men’s jobs and refused to go back in to their pre-war boxes when the men came back. The first time around, they got the right to vote if they were married, over a certain age etc. etc. It’s still been a struggle.

    It’s also one of the things that makes nonsense in the US. Human capital is the most important resouce, but tens of millions are unacceptably stuck at the bottom and left to rot in low-income, low-grade jobs etc. All they have is The American Dream to sup on. And the lottery. How can this be acceptable? It isn’t, but it’s more a look the other way not fixable ‘problem.’ Whatever!

    Like

  70. Fux Nudes via Antiwar.com: Pentagon says ‘no corroborating’ evidence to stand up NYT report on Russian bounties
    https://news.antiwar.com/2020/06/29/intel-official-nyt-russian-bounty-story-uncorroborated/

    The Defense Department said late Monday that there is “no corroborating evidence” to support the explosive New York Times report…

    …“To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports. Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan—and around the world—most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats,” Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement…

    …A senior U.S. official who has been briefed on the matter said that the information the NSC received was based on “several streams of intelligence of concern” with some of it being contradictory and some open to interpretation.

    A military source said there was a raid in Afghanistan early this year that found a large amount of cash, and a fighter said in a subsequent interrogation the money came from Russia — but it was not easily verified. Further, it was not a piece of intelligence that made its way into briefings for senior leaders at the Pentagon….
    ####

    No s/t batman!

    Not even the ‘clever’ people/experts/journalists ask, ‘is this not an absurdly risky thing to do?’ because they know Russia is malign and will cut off its nose to spite the West. You don’t need to apply logic to Russia, which is very much (it’s all to complicated so I don’t bother) Churchill’s quote that ‘Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.’ the classic reductionist privileged old skool vestiges of colonial thinking that opinion makers prefer rather than admitting their own fault or action may have consequences.

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    1. If they found a large sum of money, and a ‘fighter’ (code for a skeevy ISIS militant who currently works for you) claimed they had received it from the CIA, would it be assumed it was meant to build a school for girls, dig a well, or just so the guys could hang out after battle with cokes and pizza? There is a ridiculous template in effect in which everything the USA does is meant for good, and everything Russia does is dark and evil, and after awhile the phenomenon is so marked that nobody with any sense believes it, given the evidence of their own eyes.

      The wretched American press, having planted the message, now wants to back away a little. It will never admit it simply made up the whole thing, or led the conversation with some ISIS shitbag until he said what they wanted and then investigated it no further. The objective was to get it out there where rural Americana could internalize it, and then downgrade it to he-said-she-said gossip. Reprehensible. Every day America sinks a little lower, besmirches itself a little more, looks up with a little more shit in its grinning teeth. Evidently ‘shame’ disappeared from its vocabulary at about the same time ‘regime’ was added.

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  71. Al-Monitor via Antiwar.com: US troops ‘secure’ northeast Syria oil, as contamination from it imperils lives
    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/06/northeast-syria-oil-pollution-kurds-refineries.html

    Dilapidated pipelines and oil waste coat polluted rivers and streams in Kurdish-run northeast Syria.

    …He continued, “The situation in northeast Syria is more complex in that oil pollution is a chronic problem dating from the outbreak of the crisis nearly a decade ago. While in Iraq’s case the oil industry remains intact and under central [government] command,” in northeast Syria there are thousands of “artisanal oil refining clusters that are very difficult to control due to their freestyle and itinerant nature.” Finally, unlike in Iraq, the oil spills are occurring “in the country’s prime agricultural breadbasket. The dense stream network of northeast Syria is acting as a conduit carrying the oil pollution into the Khabur River, a tributary of the Euphrates River, and there is no clear end in sight or game plan on how to deal with this serious problem,” Partow observed…

    …But the Assad regime has little interest in helping to repair the oil infrastructure unless it is allowed to regain control over the oil fields, something Russia, its top ally, literally pushed for when Wagner mercenaries tried to overrun SDF-protected fields in Deir ez-Zor, only to be repelled by US forces. Further sanctions introduced under the Caesar Act means no Western company would risk investing in Syria’s crumbling oil network. And Damascus lacks the means to finance repairs….
    ####

    A LOT more at the link.

    So what we essentially learn is that despite US support, Kurdish ‘autonomy’ is to say the least a bit of a mess and disasterous for their own health and the environment that they control. But of course it is the Assad government’s fault for not fixing it. Cake and eat it!

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    1. “But the Assad regime has little interest in helping to repair the oil infrastructure unless it is allowed to regain control over the oil fields, something Russia, its top ally, literally pushed for when Wagner mercenaries tried to overrun SDF-protected fields in Deir ez-Zor, only to be repelled by US forces. Further sanctions introduced under the Caesar Act means no Western company would risk investing in Syria’s crumbling oil network. And Damascus lacks the means to finance repairs….”

      Uhhh…the Assad regime is actually the elected and legitimate government, and it is the Trump regime which has no business being there. And there should be no need for the Assad regime – okay, I’m just going to drop the word ‘government’ altogether, and substitute ‘regime’, it’s shorter and easier to type – to ‘regain control’ over land that indisputably belongs to it, and what the actual fuck is the US military doing squatting on it? The US military is a representative of the US government regime, and its continued presence on territory which is sovereign and upon which it is uninvited is tantamount to a statement that any country may legitimately occupy choice portions of any other country so long as they have the military power to seize it. Are you really sure that’s the message you want to be sending?

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