The Ceaseless Lies of Eva Bartlett; or, The Partisan Scrubbing of Western Consciousness.

Uncle Volodya says, “The question is whether privileged elites should dominate mass-communication, and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely, to impose necessary illusions, manipulate and deceive the stupid majority, and remove them from the public arena.”

“Popular culture is a place where pity is called compassion, flattery is called love, propaganda is called knowledge, tension is called peace, gossip is called news, and auto-tune is called singing.”

Criss Jami, from “Killosophy”

“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”

Noam Chomsky, from “Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda”

I don’t think you would get anywhere by arguing that living in a democracy means your leaders always tell you the truth – and let you and your fellow voters decide, based on that truth, whether you want to go further down the road under their leadership or come to a parting of the ways, and go forward without them. There is no written promise that leaders will not lie, just as there is no statement of ethics which forbids a free press from lying to its readers, whether deliberately or because it was itself deceived by liars.

Nonetheless, the obvious repugnance and disgust expressed by generations of western journalists for the manipulative propaganda of Nazi poster-boy Goebbels and the overly-motivational exhortations of the Communist Soviet Union’s five-year planners strongly suggested the west at all levels disapproves of lying in order to manipulate public perception.

Can we agree, then, that western philosophy – by which I mean the propounded creed of NATO and various western temporary and semi-permanent alliances over the years since the Second World War – encourages a belief that the creation and dissemination of propaganda is wrong? That western journalism strives for an impression that propagandists are also liars, and that an informed populace can handle the truth?

That’s pretty much what I thought.

I was reminded of the western appetite for being hoodwinked recently in a comment by regular reader Julius Skoolafish, celebrating the bring-the-mountain-to Mohammed journalism of Eva Bartlett. Like a few other courageous women in the profession – Abby Martin, Lizzie Phelan, Vanessa Beely – Bartlett frequently goes to trouble spots for lengthy periods and reports on events there. There’s no particular reason to assume everything she says is true, any more than you would believe total honesty of everyone you don’t know. However, her interpretation is often very different from mainstream narratives. And the curious thing is,  the mainstream narrative hardly varies at all; cruel dictator, killing his own people, who are crying out for freedom from his crushing oppression, western obligation to bring freedom and democracy. Check, check, and check. And that narrative has been verifiably demonstrated to be utter horseshit, time and time again. Iraq is only the best example, because the events are fairly fresh in the collective consciousness, the barefaced lying by western leaders – chiefly those of the United States and the UK – was so over the top, and the reckoning was paid solely by the victims of the operation. Not one western leader was penalized in any way, and British leader Tony Blair was elevated to a jet-about-the-world envoy, smiling his bland assurances of western benevolence for generous paychecks. The neoconservative manipulators caught red-handed lying and lying and lying some more were just folded into future governments, where there is no reason to imagine their story-spinning did not continue.

But if you google up the Wikipedia entry on Eva Bartlett, you get this:

Eva Karene Bartlett is a Canadian activist and blogger who is known for promoting conspiracy theories about Syria. She writes op-eds for the television network RT. Bartlett describes herself as an “independent writer and rights activist.” Critics contend that her advocacy amounts to support for the Assad regime, and she has promoted the falsehood that the White Helmets stage rescues and “recycle” children in its videos.

So much calculated venom in such a short bio. Known for promoting conspiracy theories. Writes for RT, which is a common synonym these days for ‘known liar’. Supports the ‘Assad regime’. Tells porkie-pie lies about those nice White Helmets, almost always pictured digging groaning, barely-alive victims out of shattered concrete rubble, their honest, broad features sombre with anguish and sorrow at the ceaseless inhumanity of man toward his fellows.

What a wicked, wicked woman.

Another curiosity of propaganda and its marketing is that certain people and agencies can seemingly get away with it forever, based on the principle that people believe statements which make them feel good about themselves when good things are done in their names. Taking the White Helmets as an example, those conspiracy-theorist liars at the state-funded British Broadcasting Corporation themselves remarked upon a supposed rescue operation conducted in Syria in November of 2016 by the famous White Helmets, in which they appeared in a selfie with their supposed rescued victim in what was apparently a subsequent shot; far from crushed by the jagged rubble, he appeared in perfect health.

The video itself is quite a clumsy effort, but it is a feature of propaganda that when you are telling people that their tax dollars and donations are supporting magnificent examples of selfless courage in far-off lands where the leader of the fuzzie-wuzzies is murdering his own, they don’t require much convincing. We see the two brave White Helmets – not a speck of dust blemishing their spotless uniforms – pausing to get everything just right before the actual extrication process begins. The victim, covered with concrete dust, remains passive until some unseen director apparently says, “aaaannnd…Action!”, at which moment he begins to thrash and shout with pain and panic. The noble White Helmets work away silently as if unmoved by the danger of their situation and the pitiful struggles of the victim. Which appears to be the case, in fact, as he appears in a photo with them taken apparently moments later – since he is wearing the same clothes and is still covered with concrete dust (give you silicosis, that) – but miraculously whole and apparently relaxed.

@RussiaConnects twitter comment

That’ll be one for his actor portfolio. It’s eerie, the way rubble-pinned victims calm down immediately after rescue by the White Helmets. Perhaps they’re magic.

On that occasion, even the doyen of western citizen-journalist fakery, Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins, was moved to comment that this was just not on, chaps, not on at all, and it only lent credibility to western useful-idiot conspiracy theorists (like Bartlett, presumably) when such distressingly clumsy fakes were exposed. For their part, the White Helmets were quick to apologize – sorry, Guv, we don’t know what we wuz thinking. The leadership of the White Helmets was definitely not involved, and in fact didn’t even know about it, we was just carryin’ on, like.

This might be a good place to comment on that White Helmets leader and co-founder; former British Army intelligence officer James le Mesurier. Because he was found dead in the street outside his home in Istanbul, apparently having fallen from his balcony in the wee small hours of the morning. If so, he must have made a mighty effort to fly to the opposite rooftop, because his body was discovered across the street from his balcony. But British investigators assure us everything was on the level; he died due to bursting of a blood vessel in his aorta, possibly due to stress because he owed rather a large amount of money – they even have video of him falling, thanks to a conveniently-placed security camera.

Anyway, back to Eva Bartlett and her mendacious lies about the honest White Helmets ‘recycling’ child actors and using them over and over in fabricated ‘rescues’ or for post-disaster clips that move western potential donors to bitter tears and getting out their wallets. This was conclusively and decisively debunked by that western paragon to truth in journalism, The Guardian.

Why, anyone can see these three images do not depict the same child – she’s…she’s wearing different clothes, for one thing! And this, this is the clincher, so embarrassing for Bartlett, really: she’s wearing the same bracelet…but it’s on the opposite arm!! Yes, she apparently missed that, the silly cow. And her hair is different! In one picture, it’s all messed up and sticking everywhere, but in the photo of her lying on a bed or cot, it’s smoothed down and curly! And pictures show her nearly buried by heavy rubble! That’d be almost impossible to stage!

“Someone would have had to have buried a screaming child up to their chest in rubble and carefully assembled a large amount of heavy wreckage around and on top of her – an extraordinary logistical challenge and an extraordinary collective act of child abuse.”

Perhaps in Britain assembling a large amount of wreckage around and on top of a person so they appear to be in mortal danger but are in fact not hurt at all is an extraordinary logistical challenge; air strikes on British cities are sort of rare. But many Syrian cities have been almost razed to the ground, and great chunks of concrete are lying around in the most ubiquitous fashion.

Similar and classic is the fake of the ‘chemical attack’ at Douma in the spring of 2018. An actor at the center of the production, 11-year-old Hassan Diab, claimed he was hustled into the hospital and sprayed with water in an apparent fabricated ‘decontamination’, but there had never been anything wrong with him. His father claimed the same – that radicals in Douma had staged the video and that there had not been any chemical attack. Hospital staff, ditto. No symptoms of chemical attack displayed by any of the ‘victims’, and the props still in place at the hospital for anyone who wanted to look. The western response? A ‘despicable’ put-up job by the Russians, to attempt to justify their presence in Syria where they were invited by its democratically-elected leader, whereas the western forces just invited themselves in and worked under the radar as much as they could to support the fundamentalist radical ‘rebels’. Where the ‘last hospital in Aleppo’ was bombed by the Russians so many times, but always raised itself from the ashes so it could be bombed again.

Even the ridiculous filming of the man first shown roaring in agony only to be seen in a selfie with his ‘rescuers’ moments later was excused by the western press; France 24 claimed the depiction was never meant to portray an actual rescue. No, it was just the White Helmets doing their version of the popular ‘Mannequin Challenge’, to raise awareness about the horrific conditions in Syria. The White Helmets were sorry to have given propagandists the opportunity to portray their genuine and selfless efforts as fake, but you just can’t predict what low-lifes some people can be.

“Some people have alleged that this footage shows a rescue being staged. But here’s the truth of the matter: Yes, it was made by the White Helmets. Yes, it was staged. However, the White Helmets were transparent about their intentions because this is a rather awkward example of the Mannequin Challenge.

The idea behind the challenge, which was started by high schoolers in the United States, is to show a scene frozen for several seconds before leaping into action again.”

Well, that’s believable, surely? Much more believable than the actual victims of chemical attacks in Douma being flown to the Hague to testify they had never been involved in any chemical attack, and the whole show a fabrication by radical ‘rebels’, in another despicable head-fake by the Russians. God only knows what those poor people were promised in exchange for their lies – maybe a lakeside palace next to Putin’s.

The absurdity of the excuses offered boggles the mind. The fact that allegedly-fake videos by the White Helmets are ‘widely shared’ is proof that they are harmless, and that certain people are just determined to beat up on the White Helmets. Video of an alleged former White Helmet confessing that their disaster rescues are staged is a fake because you can tell from the way his eyes move that he is reading from a script. The testimony of the President of France’s Emergency Firefighters and First Responders International that rescued children often bear no trace of dust or dirt after having been ‘rescued’ from rubble is batted aside in favour of the word of some anonymous yob who is nevertheless credited as an ‘expert’ in urban search and rescue, who claims;

“The fact that the children aren’t covered with dust doesn’t prove that this video has been staged. It’s possible that the children were in a pocket of air, which wasn’t filled with dust or smoke.”

Fucking incredible. The fact that children rescued from an environment swirling with dust and dirt emerge clean as if they just stepped out of J.C. Penney’s display window might also indicate they had just been beamed in from the holodeck of the Starship ENTERPRISE. It’s just as believable as their having been trapped in a pocket in which there was plenty of air but no dust, as if explosions and building collapses miraculously preserve occupants of such pockets from dirt. And the word of the president of a renowned urban-extraction organization is summarily dismissed as twaddle, Not because it is,  but because it did not support the desired conclusion. Children who appear in other respects identical must be different children because they are wearing different clothes, and the fact that they are pictured carried by different men just means they were being handed down a human chain, like a bucket brigade. I can describe the whole environment in which the knee-jerk exculpatory western media operates in just two words, and the first is ‘Wilful’ and the second is ‘Ignorance’.

The same media which pours scorn on any suggestion that the White Helmets are a bunch of PR fakes employed for the dual purposes of raising money for the Syrian opposition and justifying a western intervention is perfectly willing to accept that Russia altered the results of the 2016 Presidential Election in the United States by way of less than $100,000.00 in Facebook ads and social-media posts while the candidates’ expenditure of Billions was to no avail, even after documentary evidence proved the FBI conspired to suborn testimony and entrap witnesses. It really, unfortunately, portrays westerners as beyond gullible – almost childlike – in their apparent willing ingestion of crude propaganda. Meanwhile, the reference material we rely upon to make our respective cases is ideologically purged on a daily basis so that its narrative reflects a western society which is honest and good, and in which elements among the people who shout “No – this is wrong! It’s all a lie!” are lunatics and droolers and mendacious fabricators who want to subvert the west in its ongoing do-gooding. Disgraceful, and only the more so because we willingly participate in the ridiculous charade with our hearts and conversation and wallets.

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

B. W. Powe, from “Towards a Canada of Light”

1,647 thoughts on “The Ceaseless Lies of Eva Bartlett; or, The Partisan Scrubbing of Western Consciousness.

  1. German twit Heiko Maas is at the Kremlin, and singing from the Russian song sheet – Putin must have threatened his kids.

    “Upon a question on US sanctions on Nord Stream II, a network of gas pipelines from Russia to Germany, Maas said: “We must state that sanctions against allies indeed set a wrong precedent.”

    What, you mean like the ones Germany levied against Russia under American pressure? The ones that are still in effect? Maybe Washington is merely following your example – after all, a precedent generally comes first, doesn’t it?

    Maas’s tough talk is nice to hear, but I have little confidence he will not squeak a different tune when Pompeo bellies him into a corner. Still, it is encouraging to hear Germany declare – or at least not contradict – that the two countries will complete the pipeline. It is also encouraging to see Nord Stream II only mentioned in off-the-beaten-path alternative media; the USA only talks about Nord Stream II in major media networks when it thinks it is stopping it. When it gets told to go fuck itself, either by Russia or by allies, it tends to say nothing much. In case it loses; you know, best not to have too many reminders lying around of when it was told to go pound sand.


  2. Even in a carefully staged event, Biden’s severe cognitive decline can not be masked:

    My gosh! He had to have talking point notes in his call to his VP pick AND he was, apparently unaware, holding his cell phone upside down. Perhaps he wanted her to see something on his cell phone but, if so, he would have had the image on screen before positioning it that way. One would think his handlers would be better at event staging. On the other hand, perhaps they are deliberating signaling – I really don’t know.

    I wonder what is going through Harris’s mind? How about “This idiot is MY boss?” or “I wonder when I will be moving into the White House?”.


    1. According to our defender of ‘western values’ from ‘Venezuela’, that has been – you guessed it – debunked. In case you had forgotten the word, it means, ‘someone whose ‘values’ I like better says differently. That authority says he was playing her something on his phone, and turned it around so the tiny speaker would be nearer to the laptop.

      A short digression here – remember when Sarah Palin and her reactionary Republican friends at her PAC published a map of ‘Democratic’ states which were ‘targeted’ for Republican takeover? The screen featured photos of the current Democratic senators with their faces surrounded by crosshairs. This, as she should have forecast, was too much, and people were outraged at the militant image. So Palin and Co. came up with the explanation that the graphic was from a survey instrument, not a weapon.

      It was fairly plain at the time that rather than admit to having gone too far, Team Palin had put on its thinking-cap, and brainstormed “If they’re not rifle-scope crosshairs…what else COULD THEY have been?” Palin had a carefully-cultivated image as a gun nut and hunter, and would not recognize a survey instrument if it was in the way of her toast at the breakfast table.

      It looks to me as if the same process is at work here; what COULD Biden have been doing? If he was playing an audio file to Harris, or recording something she said, why is his phone displaying the background screen? All obscuring the larger point that Biden can barely hold a non-controversial conversation without resorting to abstracts like “That THING, YOU know!”, seeming to not notice that if everyone could intuit what Biden is trying to say, there would be no need for speeches.

      But this, according to The Venezuelan, is ‘just one of the little lies at RT that make up the big lie’.


      1. It appears that Biden was using the same type of laptop and Iphone that I use so I have familiarity with the features of both devices. An image showed the icon activated for the speaker option which can be very loud so need to point it at the laptop to be heard. In addition, it may be possible that he was attempting to share a telephone call via the speaker option as it would be unlikely that he was sharing an audio file as thats would be a different app with a different screen.


  3. Moon of Alabama: ‘Western’ Media Falsely Claim That Russia’s Covid-19 Vaccine Is Ready To Go

    After President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate had gained an approval from its regulator, ‘western’ media went into a anti-Russian frenzy to sow fear and doubt about it…

    Easily exposed at the link.

    It’s not wilful misreporting, Hybrid Warfare(TM), plain ignorance or justdon’tgiveaf/kism when it comes to journalists who are supposed to be professionals. One rule for us, and another for them. As usual. Scum.


    1. Give $/money to b.

      I usually send him some money in desember if i have any left.

      Since i am poor, it is not much, but it will help him.


    2. Belarus was offered an IMF bailout if they agreed to lock the entire population in their homes. This is insane because new COVID cases and deaths were already on the wane in that country. A vaccine not controlled by the West could threaten its control in other areas.


  4. Vis my earlier Reverse MH17 Lebanon post:

    Asia Times: Planes heard, seen in skies of Beirut before blast

    Senior Western sources said Western reconnaissance craft were in the skies around the time of the blast, but did not carry out any attack

    …“We ran to the balcony and we saw two aircraft, black planes flying. I screamed to my husband it must be Israel. And then the big explosion happened.”

    Although the couple’s residence is located in the hills just above the city, she says she went into wartime mode, ordering her daughter to get dressed so they could evacuate to an open space. …

    …“US forces in Lebanon were not flying any aircraft in the sky above Beirut at the time of the blast; however, we routinely utilize unmanned aerial platforms as a force protection tool for our teams on the ground,” Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for US Central Command, told Asia Times….


    It looks like the west and allies are trying to get in front of any claims…

    I suspect Mark is right and it will be mostly dismissed by the PPNN, though that maybe irrelevant if i-Srael overreacts or does something stupid. Which is quite possible as the walls are crumbling around Nut&Yahoo.


    1. Yes, I saw that. It seems odd that there would have been western surveillance planes flying around at just that moment – there was a world-changing hot war going on in Ukraine when MH-17 was shot down, but nobody will admit to having seen a thing, certainly no western surveillance planes flying around, Chumley. There weren’t even any primary radars operating, ‘cept for the Russians’, and you can’t believe anything THEY say.


  5. «Северный поток-2» не достроят. Партнер «Газпрома» рассказал почему
    11 Августа 2020

    Nord Stream 2 will not be completed. Gazprom’s partner has said why
    11 August 2020

    The likelihood that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will still fall victim to the US sanctions and will not be completed has been recognized by the Uniper compan. The German partner of Gazprom indicated in its financial report that the only risk it faces is by continuing to participate in the Russian gas pipeline project. Judging by the document, Uniper is already preparing for the failure of Nord Stream 2 – shareholders were warned that the loan to Nord Stream 2 AG would have to be written off and to accept the loss of interest from the project in the future.

    Капитал страны — a liberal rag, I suspect, relishing news of apparent setbacks to the project, which are ongoing and nothing new as US Congress freaks thrash around in order to defend the world community against the onslaught of the merciless Orcs.

    The headline says that Uniper has said the project will end. However, in the body of the article, it is reported that Uniper has stated that there is a likelihood, a possibility, that the pipeline might not be completed. In other words, Uniper is expressing due caution: it’s not all over until the fat lady sings!

    There is, in my opinion, a big difference in meaning between the statements that “something will happen” and “there is a likelihood of something happening”.

    Meanwhile, Izvestia reports:

    Russia appreciates Berlin’s constructive position on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference following talks with his German counterpart Heiko Maas on August 11.

    How I yearn for that day when the fat lady sings and the US Congress howls in anguish!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nord Stream II will be finished, meaning completed; I am not worried about that. Of course media sources will take sides, and some will want to encourage America. But the Ukrainian line is acknowledged to be in such poor repair that it will be surprising if it lasts out its contracted period, and, if Ukraine had been tipped that Washington holds a winning hand, there would be some evidence of a plan to upgrade the line. Europe would not want to be told that, after grudgingly falling in line with American plans, its gas which crosses Ukraine was going to have to be paid for on the basis of what entered the line, not what was left at the border after pissing out of a billion leaks across Ukraine.

      “The worst case would be, of course, if (Nord Stream 2) would never be finished and then, of course, the question is can we get our money back or not,” he said, adding he expected the pipeline to go ahead as planned.

      Just kind of left that part out, dinchoo? Oh, say – I noticed why there might be equivocation by Uniper: it’s majority-owned by Finland. Beside ‘equivocation’ in the dictionary, it says “See Finland”.

      Shares in Uniper, which is majority-owned by Finland’s Fortum, were down 1.7%. The group also said first-half operating profits more than doubled, citing its gas business as well as capacity market payments.

      So let me tell you what will happen if the USA tightens its squeeze by threatening to extend sanctions to Uniper, which it looks very much to me like the Finns are inviting it to do. Lawks ‘a mussy, Uncle Sam; I don’ know what I’s gonna do if you brings dem sankshuns! Uniper will drop out, and the consortium will find another partner, or the remaining partners will increase their own shares to absorb Uniper’s absence. They are not going to drop it now, and if all the partners quail in fear and back out, Gazprom will fund it alone. That’s what it was originally going to do anyway, except Europe’s institutions got their panties in a knot and insisted on being partners, because Gazprom could not own the whole shebang. So what’s the alternative? Uncle Sam will stomp and scream, and huff and puff, and companies around the world will drop their projects and line up to buy American LNG at much higher prices? Oooo – what a fascinating fairytale!


  6. Been busy – and thanks for keeping me informed and enlightened on the Nord Stream project. I had some things in mind to share that I think you will appreciate.

    In the meantime, I just finished listening to the latest Episode 8 of the following in the context of the coronahoax and the events in Victoria (Aus).

    Part 1 (6:24) of the playlist gives a great overview.
    • Invisible Eugenics – Mark M. Rich (Audio book reading)

    Here is an excellent companion timeline
    • Eugenics Timeline


    1. Flu and pneumonia have killed more people than Covid-19 in England and Wales for seven weeks in a row
      12 Aug, 2020 10:44

      But try telling them this and they won’t believe you!

      They must like being frightened and doing this “We’re all in this together”, “Dunkirk Spirit” crap, performing virtue signaling such as clapping in the street for UK National Health Service employees staff at the “Front” and to show how socially responsible and obedient they are by wearing a totally useless muzzle as ordered by a shower of Westminster wankers.

      They don’t think; they don’t try to objectively judge what they see and hear and are told by “experts”, one of whom, an academic at Imperial College, London, broke his isolation rules, which the UK government accepted and imposed, so as to go off and shag his woman friend. If he broke his rules, then, logically, he didn’t believe in them: they were false.


      Liked by 1 person

  7. More UK “newspaper” shite:

    Bubonic plague: Russia forced to vaccinate THOUSANDS as China outbreak spreads
    RUSSIA’s bubonic plague panic has grown with the country vaccinating thousands of citizens against the disease amid fears it will spread.

    03:06, Thu, Aug 13, 2020 | UPDATED: 04:58, Thu, Aug 13, 2020

    PANIC, we tell you!!!

    The Orcs are in panic!!!!

    They changed the sub-heading about 10 minutes ago. When I first noticed the article, the sub-heading read:

    RUSSIA’s bubonic plague panic has grown with Vladimir Putin vaccinating thousands of citizens against the disease amid fears it will spread.

    That’s why I wanted to post the article, but they must have realized for once what stupid cuts they are.

    I mean, I know full well that Vladimir Vladimirovich is a very capable person, but vaccinating thousands of his enslaved subjects is a pretty tall order — even for the Evil One.


    1. Bloody spellchecker!

      I did not write “cuts” above.

      I did not write “cunts” either, because I was well brung up: I wrote “cnuts”.


  8. Lizzie Phelan and Vanessa Beeley were mentioned, and not to detract from Eva Bartlett’s extraordinary work, we cannot give her ALL the credit. Lizzie and Vanessa deserve acknowledgement. Here is a sample from each.

    • Lizzie Phelan

    • LIBYA. NATO protects you , NATO Crimes In Libya (very distressing)
    The monster featured in this video is former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

    • Vanessa Beeley

    Multiple investigative articles on 21st Century Wire exposing the White Helmets.
    Including this one

    Someone might like to contribute a sample of Abby Martin’s work – there is so much.


  9. Mintpress: The Politics of War: What is Israel’s Endgame in Lebanon and Syria?

    Israel’s strategic interests in the Syria conflict go beyond Netanyahu’s need for a cheap victory. The outcome of the Syria war has the potential of yielding a nightmare scenario for Israel.

    by Ramzy Baroud

    …In politics and in war, truth is the first casualty. We may never know precisely what transpired in the moments preceding the Beirut blast. Somehow, it may not matter at all, because the narrative regarding Lebanon’s many tragedies is as splintered as the country’s political landscape…

    It’s a good piece.

    and this:

    MiddleEastEye via US preparing sanctions against Hezbollah’s allies in Lebanon: Report

    US officials see unrest in country as opportunity to drive wedge between Hezbollah and its allies, Wall Street Journal reports

    They can publicly try and sell it like they did ‘Smart Sanctions’, but to everyone else it is kicking them (the whole of Lebanon) when they are down. If it leads to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, then that consequence is merely ‘accidental’ and yet again will be glossed over by the PPNN as they did with i-Rack and elsewhere. It’s hardly new that aid has been used as a weapons leverage in the past but his is naked. Not even a fig leaf.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. US Threatens to Shut Down UN Peacekeepers In Lebanon

    Demands UN accept Israel-proposed reforms

    …The reforms include reducing the size of UNIFIL, allowing them to move their forces around with few restrictions, in hopes of getting into more confrontations with Hezbollah. Israel says Hezbollah’s co-existence with UNIFIL is “unacceptable.”..


    One should note that pulling out peacekeepers is usually a prelude to starting a war.

    This has more than shades of the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) in 1998 who drove around in orange humvees collecting GPS co-ordinates for the planned ‘few days of bombing.’


  11. US, NATO Boost Presence Near Russia

    US sees Black Sea as growing hotspot

    US military officials are discussing an intention to shift military forces out of Central Europe, and into the Black Sea, which they believe is a growing hotspot in NATO tensions with Russia. European Command says this will increase operational capabilities in the area….

    Yet again, ‘who is going to pay for this?’ Romania? Bulgaria? The two most corrupt countries in the EU? Romania is more hostile, Bulgaria is still trying to balance its relations with Russia (despite buying F-16s) as a significant portion of citizens don’t buy in to ‘Russia the enemy’ meme and currently Borissov is in serious trouble. Even the rabid nationalist PiS in Poland refused to stump up the ~$4b that was asked for Fort Trump.

    So what’s the alternative, more US troops and equipment there, on the other side of u-Rope, putting themselves and those countries in harm’s way? It doesn’t add up. None Black Sea states are limited by what they can send so what if the US ‘donated’ some serious hardware? Well who would run it with any efficiency and reliability? Why would any of those state prove to be any more reliable than Georgia where its soldiers failed to become model soldier boys when things got hot in 2007? Even with ‘advisors’ (private military contractors or wotnot) they folded like a paper house.

    The US requires the bodies of others (the medium) as the medium with which to transmit their force. No medium, use of force severely restricted and thus mission goals unachieveable unless very limited. The fundamentals remain the same despite the ability to spend huge amounts of money. US military options with a goal of achieving some sort of political advantage continue to shrink (they can of course still blow up a huge amount of stuff – aka S/tTheBed) in even the short term and certainly in the medium and long term. All those countries there are joined by geography. They have no choice and cannot walk away unlike the US which has happened serially.

    When it gets too hot and the consequences threaten to cause far more damage than the supposed gains, the US walks away and has an ally organize an agreement, sic Sarkozy in Georgia. The US thus avoids admitting defeat and goes on to repeat the pattern. One way or another u-Rope will have to chose. This is nothing new but in the last few years it has become increasingly spoken in public and the media. Even with Biden, you will read, u-Rope shouldn’t expect much difference in substance, only form: The old transatlantic relationship ain’t coming back

    Even if Joe Biden replaces Donald Trump as US president, Europe will have to learn to carry its share of the burden.

    Unfortuately thispiece already frames the binary choice. At the bottom of it is who pays and is it worth it when everything is going to hell at home? Guns or butter if you will. The Balts and Poland cannot make Germany spend more on weapons, nor anyone else, but German infrastructure (and free passage of NATO equipment) is still required to get most of the relevant (heavy) stuff there. NATO’s biggest strength has become its biggest weakness because it is no longer relevant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The USA’s relationship with everyone, even its oldest traditional allies, is shifting like sand.

      Canada’s economic damage is half the UK’s, and far less than the USA’s, although of course it depends on who’s measuring and what metrics they are using. But its future is uncertain if it cannot begin to decouple from the United States. British Columbia and the traditional ‘western Canada’ has an excellent opportunity to diversify away and expand its Pacific Rim trade, and I would have ordered that more than a decade ago had I been in charge. But eastern Canada, the traditional ‘have-nots’ (where I grew up, although I was born here) remain in thrall to the United States and are in a much weaker geographic position to transition away.


    2. I saw a couple of weeks ago a report that some US admiral. — forget his name, he’s the Imperial Admiral for the Mediterranean and all points north, south, east and west — mouthing it off somewhere about a possible revision of Montreux Convention

      What a surprise, because as is often the case with such agreements, the United States is not a signatory to the Convention, although until now, it has played along it with its provisions.


      1. The United States only bleats about the inviolability and sanctity of international law when it enshrines the United States’ freedom to do what it wants to do, or when it impedes an enemy from doing the same.

        I can tell you who it wasn’t – Vice Admiral Eugene ‘Gene’ Black, Commander of the nearest major USN formation; the Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples. In fact, I would have to say that in my judgment he held up his end of the subject interview (regarding this year’s ‘Sea Breeze’ cooperative exercise) very professionally, passing on questions that did not pertain to his area of responsibility and underlining Russia’s right as a Black Sea state to train and exercise as it sees fit to maintain the appropriate balance of operational forces. I doubt the Russian liberals will find much encouragement in his responses for the sweet zephyrs of American freedom to caress their fevered brows.

        Question: My question is related to the Russian readiness check, which, as we know, including Black Sea fleet. So the question was for both of the admirals, but in this situation I ask only one. So how do you see the possible problems or effects of this readiness check, which will be include, as Russia says, more than 100 ships and vessels on Sea Breeze exercise? Thank you very much.

        Vice Admiral Black: I don’t foresee any impact. The Russians have every right to exercise their forces and train, as we do. And I doubt that we will have any interaction at all, and if we do, I’m sure it’ll be professional and in accordance with the laws and norms of maritime operations at sea.


          1. Retiring Admiral James G. Foggo III? He was complaining that Russia was ‘abusing’ it’s rights under the Montreux Convention as a Black Sea state to send its submarines so regularly through the Bosphorus that is was the equivalent of a permanent presence in the Mediterranean.

            But hold your horses seaboy! Haven’t we seen something similar like this for years already? Why, Yes! We Have! Under the Conventional Forces Europe Treaty (CFE) NATO is strictly limited in the number of troops it can stage in certain geographic areas of u-Rope. So what did they do a few years ago? Rotation of temporary troops every six months, continuously, so that in effect there is a permanent presence of NATO troops that break the spirit, but not the letter of the CFE treaty!

            So there you have it. NATO expaned and decided that the old rules, even modified ones are up for liberal interpretation. Then it was surprised that the other side plays the same game, sic pre-delivery combat deployments of kilo subs that spent quite a lot of time in the Med! It’s quite a kung-fu move. Whereas the continuous rotation of NATO troops in u-Rope imposes significant costs on NATO etc., for Russia the deployment of its subs is only a bonus as that is what they are designed to do.

            Foggo: Russia Seeking More Control of Black Sea, Mediterranean, Arctic

            Russian Black Sea Sub Deployments to Mediterranean Could Violate Treaty


  12. US Commander: ISIS Rebuilding in Western Syria

    Says current conditions are ‘as bad or worse’ than rise of ISIS

    With playing up the “threat” of ISIS remaining a top priority, commander Frank McKenzie warned on Wednesday that ISIS remnants are rebuilding in Western Syria with little the US can do to move against them…

    Looks to me that the US is saying Turkey cannot expect help either way.


  13. Defense News via Congress has secretly blocked US arms sales to Turkey for nearly two years


    What ‘secret’?

    This should be inverted, i.e. what has the US not done? Turkey has continued to take part in NATO exercises in the region. The US has not cut of parts/equiment for maintenance of Turkish military equipment so the AF still flies, the Navy still floats and the Army still moves. There have been absolutely no headlines of the Turkish military being hampered.

    Like elsewhere, former subservient allies are no longer happy with the status quo, particularly Turkey which has grown significantly since the 1990s. The US chafes at this, but the fomer is clearly leveraging its position, geographical, military and political in its own favor even if it is to the detriment of its neighbors, though I read Turkey continues to buy oil from certain northern Iraki Kurds including the stuff ISIS has been siphoning off in Syria.


    1. Yup. Having limited, attainable and sustainable goals is much prefered to the all-you-can-eat-buffet ‘strategy’ of the west. Plus when you eat too much, you get indigestion!


    1. Not profound?

      “When you trust your television
      what you get is what you got;
      ‘Cause when they own the information, oh
      they can bend it all they want.”

      Certainly profound enough to have made it to a lead-in to a post here, if I had remembered it. That’s a great tune, and John Mayer is actually a pretty good musician.

      Like a lot of celebrities, though, he occasionally gets a little full of himself, and makes statements he thinks are off-the-cuff exchanges but which come straight back to bite him in the ass. Like when he said…well, see for yourself.

      I disagreed with the dominant interpretation – that Mayer does not like black women. He cited several he did find attractive. But his reduction of all of them – all women, I mean – to some kind of Tapa bar for his cock made him sound like a complete asshole. And that’s a risk all of us run any time someone shoves a microphone in our face and invites us to sound off on a controversial subject.

      Here’s the response I recommend. Stick to what you you know and can prove, and any time someone invites you to step outside that zone, say, “I don’t have enough experience in that area to have an informed opinion”.


      1. Oh dear … he could have said something along the lines of “No comment” or spouted “What the fuck are you on about?!” with about ten different expletives attached to the reply so as to drive the reporter on to another question.


        1. Or he could have said that there are lovely women in every culture and colour, and that any man lucky enough to attract their attention is a lucky man indeed. It could be in the rulebook under ‘generalities’, and could not possibly offend anyone except that he did not specifically mention transsexuals. In that event, if it were me and the question was followed up, I would have said those individuals refer to themselves as women, and consequently they were included. I might have said that in today’s litigious climate, to ‘throw yourself at someone’ is by far the part of the question which is the most open to interpretation rather than what colour the woman is, and that it is generally wiser to admire from a distance.

          And then people would remember that I was pretty good at playing the guitar, singing and songwriting rather than that I was a racist prick. But it is always easier to be wise in hindsight, and I daresay Mayer himself has thought of a dozen alternative replies he could have made. Being a celebrity is little different from being a politician, in that your words are always parsed for hidden meaning. At the same time, if you are a single, young and apparently-straight successful musician, sooner or later you are going to be asked your opinion on girls in any number of different ways. Unless he really feels the way he came off, he could have said nearly anything and handled it better, and he should have known he would be asked.

          I don’t honestly believe any straight man finds all women of a certain ethnicity unattractive based only on their colour – it usually has to do with features and characteristics he finds attractive in women, such as long or short hair, eyes, and physical characteristics. There are women in every ethnic group I would not give a second look, and women in every ethnic group that I find it difficult not to make it obvious I am looking. It has far more to do with the way they look as an individual, their bearing and the way they move, than with their colour or ethnicity, which are inconsequential unless you are talking to them. In that event, sometimes their accent plays a part, although I can’t recall it ever being a detrimental one.


      2. I tried to moderate my endorsement in case other comments/actions by Mayer were contradictory. Celebrities seem hard-wired to comment on anything controversial as part of an imperative of maintaining public visibility. That tapa analogy was a knee-slapper.


  14. Oh, dear!! Someone is floating the idea that China is going to be cut off from the US dollar! And that mean ol’ Uncle Sam is going to ‘freeze or confiscate a portion of China’s huge U.S. debt holdings.’ I wonder who came up with that scenario? I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say…China.

    Who does the threat – which I have not seen framed by the United States, nor would it dare – benefit? Just look.

    “Some economists even float the idea of settling exports of China-made COVID-19 vaccines in yuan, and are looking to bypass dollar settlement with a digital version of the currency.

    “Yuan internationalisation was a good-to-have. It’s now becoming a must-have,” said Shuang Ding, head of Greater China economic research at Standard Chartered and a former economist at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). “

    Smart move, Beijing. Don’t wait for the fight to come to you. The last thing in the economic world the United States actually wants is for its biggest growth market to stop using the dollar. Box clever, though; smaller nations have been attacked and flattened on a less-realistic monetary threat.


    1. I can’t comprehend how a full scale economic attack against China can possibly yield a benefit to the US and will more likely result in an empire-shattering outcome for the US.

      In a wartime scenario (economic or military), the economy that makes things will prevail over an economy based on financial instruments and puffed-up imagery. The only thing that would makes any sense is that the West believes that it can rattle the Chinese wealthy class to the point of capitulation to protect their dollar-denominated international wealth. Fat chance.


      1. That’s absolutely correct, and so a powerful motive for China to play the victim and weep that Uncle Sam is rubbing its face in the dirt is to gain global sympathy, and increase use of the yuan in trade with China as well as promoting large currency swaps in denominations other than the greenback. In this instance, it is easy for China to portray the United States as a lurching, one-armed Grendel, crashing about and cutting a wide swath of economic damage in its agonies, because that is exactly how it is behaving – type casting if ever it existed. The American GDP was down a jaw-dropping 30%+ in the second quarter…and what did the market do? You know, of course – it climbed to ever-dizzier heights. Imagine you are an international investor with a sizable sack of boodle you are looking to increase: does the Dow sound like a good place to put it? Put another way, does anything denominated in the greenback sound like a good place to put it?


      2. My impression is that it is resetting the balance to zero. But you can do that with a few taps of the fingers on a keyboard at any time. If that is reasonably the case, why the Kabuki theater? I would guess that as hamfisted and crude as the t-Rump administration has been they have been consistent in one thing, provoking all and sundry to overreact so that that Washington can claim that it is responding and acting to something that has been done by someone/thing else. It’s the proverbial figleaf.

        That plays directly to the domestic audience which is exactly the playbook of MAGA. Not a sliver for outsiders unless they are onboard because one way or another they are freeloading on American magnanimity (sic $$$). However ridiculous this looks to us, they are writing their own (his)tory and ultimately will not accept true or not that they are responsible for their own misfortune. In short:

        Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Trump is not a miracle-worker – far from it. And there is no way he can sell to the American people the consequences of America’s profligate borrowing as some kind of nefarious plot against honest Americans. George W. Bush racked up a massive debt to the Chinese by borrowing from China to finance the Iraq war off the books, which at its height was costing America about $12 Billion unbudgeted-for dollars per month. America asked to borrow – China lent. America was consequently obligated. Where’s the diabolical enslavement? We all remember that George W. Bush was left a budget surplus by Bill Clinton, who for all the fact that he often let his dick-head drive instead of his real head, was fairly parsimonious with America’s wealth. Bush promptly blew the entire surplus and went into borrowing overdrive, chiefly from the Japanese and the Chinese.

          America’s trouble – well, one of its troubles – is that it actually believes that clever saw, “Borrow a dollar, and the bank owns you. Borrow a million dollars, and you own the bank”. They consequently think it is clever to threaten to default on your debt. And it is – once. It’s amazing how quickly potential lenders learn not to lend you money, and that applies whether you cheat a country out of millions, or an individual out of a twenty.

          Japan has, as MSN candidly puts it, ‘by far the biggest problem’ where debt is concerned, owing more than double its GDP at 238%.

          Japan, therefore, is pretty obviously not in a position to be lending anyone money; it’s lucky not to be in jail since debtor’s prisons went out of fashion in the mid-nineteenth century. Washington, then, is either blowing off its most-likely sugar-daddy for lending it further funds, or else the Chinese are sending a signal themselves that further borrowing requests will not be entertained. Whichever is the case, China is simultaneously and fairly publicly moving away from the dollar – while this does not change the debt they are owed very much, it does signal a determined effort to limit liability in future by dramatically decreased exposure. That leaves Washington with only its favourite method of extending its credit – printing more money. And that only works as long as other countries are eager to accept it.

          MSN cleverly cut off its chart of most-indebted countries at Portugal, 114% of GDP. Because the USA would have had to appear sooner or later, at an estimated 109 to 130%; nobody has a really solid grasp of it considering the global practice of throwing bushels of money into the streets to deal with the COVID ‘pandemic’. But the high-side figure of 130% of GDP comes from Fitch, and that IS their business. That would be more than triple the American debt vulnerability in the 70’s and 80’s.

          So if the United States can’t borrow money because nobody will lend it, and can’t print its way out of a crisis because demand for its dollars is significantly decreased…what’s it going to do?

          Start a war, is the answer most people arrive upon with no prompting. But I think most would agree that the American people are (a) tired of war, and (b) usually only brought on board if a situation can be created where America is a victim that is being challenged or bullied, and has to reluctantly get out The Big Stick to show the world it will not be trifled with. How are you going to present such a scenario when you have defaulted on your debt to your chosen enemy?


          1. Yes, the ‘Notional Security’ get out of jail free card, something that the US has been increasingly using that is upending the western designed World Trad Organization and all its favorable rules. And from the rubble, who will be in a position to write and impose the new rules? Not the old skool for sure.

            Curiously the US has not chosen to increased tariffs on the the EU goods vis-a-vist Boing-Arbus subsidy rulings, rather keep them at 15%. Is this the flipside to all the huff, puff and threats coming out of Washington over the completion of NSII and particularly as the US heads in to the last few months before elections, i.e. pausing stuff (with supposed allies) that could blow up in its face at any time?


  15. На помощь «Северному потоку — 2» спешит «Умка»
    13 августа 2020

    ”Umka” hastens to help “North Stream-2”
    13 August 2020

    A second Marine Rescue Service support vessel is going to arrive in Kaliningrad. It has also already participated in Nord Stream 2 and can help in its completion now.

    According to the navigation portal “Marinetraffic”, the support vessel “Umka”, which is part of the Northern Branch of the Marine Rescue Service, is approaching Kaliningrad. She has sailed from Murmansk and should arrive at the Baltic port before midnight today.

    “Umka” may become part of an auxiliary fleet that will help pipelayers complete the construction of Nord Stream 2 in the Baltic Sea. There are already three potential participants in Kaliningrad. In July, “Ostap Sheremeta” and “Ivan Sidorenko” came there from Vladivostok, which vessels in the same month Gazprom transferred to “AO Nobility” to avoid their being included in the US sanctions lists. In August, the “Baltic Researcher” of the Marine Rescue Service moored in Kaliningrad. She arrived from Murmansk.

    Both “Baltic Researcher” and “Umka” have already taken part in the construction of the Baltic gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. “At the end of 2017, we engaged the Baltic Researcher to study the laying of the underwater route of Nord Stream 2 in cooperation with “Fertoing”. Another of the acquisitions of 2017 is the multifunctional anchor handling vessel “Umka“. We bought the vessel for the task of using her for offshore operations, in particular, for anchoring drilling platforms, maintaining readiness at drilling platforms and performing work with “Technical normative legal acts”. She also carried out work on the Nord Stream 2 project together with “Fertoing” for four months”, said Andrey Khaustov, head of Federal Safety Directory “Marine Rescue Service of the Russian Sea and River Fleet”.

    When are those dumb, boneheaded Orcs gonna give up?

    Don’t they know that the Empire NEVER loses?


    1. These vessels could also be used to construct the much delayed pipeline to Japan once Tokyo gives up the absurd belief that is has an upper hand in talks with Russia. This is one to keep an eye on in the near to mid-future I think. It would be an easy win-win so it is simply down to politiks.


    1. Moreover, the statements made on Tuesday in Moscow by Lavrov and Maas were, of course, a big blow for Washington: it is not possible to frighten Berlin, but it is very much possible to push Germany into the arms of Russia.

      I would remind the optimistic that all this means is that the current level of American threats is not sufficient to intimidate German and other European partners. It is obviously already enough to scare Uniper, or more likely its Finnish owners, although not enough to scare them into dropping the project. But my naturally-suspicious mind suggests to me the Finns’ role in this is to encourage Washington to increase the pressure, on indications that it is ALMOST there, and as the popular adage has it, one more kick will bring the whole rotten structure down.

      For my part – admittedly as a detached observer with nothing much to lose either way – I welcome Washington’s increasingly-aggressive bullying of Europe. It clearly sees that continued threatening of Russia will avail it nothing, so it is threatening the other end of the line. But that will be unproductive as well, at least at its current levels, and from here on out it will be increasingly difficult to further pressure Europe while concealing its real motive to sell American LNG instead of Russian gas, while at the same time acknowledging it cannot win a fair contest because of price. Washington could win approval from Europe for significant replacement of Russian output – by simply pricing its own gas much lower than Russia is willing to go. But then it would lose money hand over fist. So it is left with no recourse but to bluster and threaten, because persuasion is out. The longer the pressure campaign goes on, the clearer it will be to Europeans that America is attempting to dictate to them in order to profit and increase its influence and control over them. Most will be able to quickly extrapolate where capitulation would lead them – to a future in which American pressure was commonplace in their economy, and where Washington would increasingly not hesitate to use it, because it worked.


  16. Moscow is back to normal, no masks, no social distancing, people using public transportation.

    Mr. ME is the above accurate?

    The article goes on to say that the Moscow region has achieved or will soon achieve herd immunity and that a 2nd wave of Covid-19 infections is impossible. New cases are under 1,000 per day. With a fatality rate of a few percent, the associated deaths are 20-30 per day which is basically background noise other than for those directly affected.

    Meanwhile back in the US, various restrictions are being reimposed such as mandatory remote working and other restrictions here in Michigan. I suppose Gretchen (our beloved governor) needs to keep on posturing in hopes of a major appointment should Biden win

    In other news, new weekly jobless claims fell below 1 million for the first time since the lock-down began back in March. My take is that the end of PUA assistance (totaling to nearly $1,00/week for most recipients) has ended forcing people to take any shitty job they can. The fact that the new claims rate was still historically high suggests the economic collapse continues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most folk here do not wear masks apart from shop assistants, supermarket cashiers etc. I do quick head counts when travelling on the metro and local trains: from my observations, about 4 out of ten wear a muzzle, and many are not really wearing them — they have them pulled down below their noses or just even slung around their neck.


      1. Interesting info, thank. If the MSM version of “science” were true, Moscow should be much worse than NYC during its highest rates of (alleged) infections and fatalities.


        1. I was at a big, flash shopping mall, “Atrium”, with my elder daughter last Saturday. We travelled to the place by metro — only 2 stations after our local one — and that’s when I did my last metro head count. Neither she nor I were wearing masks. On approaching the “Atrium” entrance, my daughter asked me if I had a mask. I hadn’t, of course, and she gave me a spare new one from her handbag. She put one on herself as I started off into a rant about what a waste of time masks were, when she said that I might not be let into the mall without one. And sure enough, at the main entrance there were signs saying that the wearing of masks was obligatory. So I donned my muzzle and went in and lo and behold! — most shoppers inside the place had taken their masks off, and most of them who hadn’t done so had them pulled down just to clover their mouths, or even further down so that the masks looked like bandanas.

          I promptly pulled off my mask and the whole time while I was there was i not once apprehended by a security man — and there are very many of them there, all in black and looking like OMOH. However, all the shop staff were masked.


            1. In fact, as I was writing the above in my dacha kitchen, Mrs. Exile was engaged in one of her numerous endless chinwags with her pal on her smartphone and they were discussing the wearing of face masks and both were saying that doing so was a load of bollocks — only they said it in Russian :

              ИТ ЛОАД ОФ БОЛЛОКС!


              1. Just had a random thought. Would wearing face masks be a way to keep one’s face warmer during those cold Russian winters; especially the nose? Less effective than a ski mask but more practical, the face mask could live on long after the Covid-19 brouhaha has ended.


                1. No use whatsoever here in winter. You have to wrap a scarf around your face.

                  My moustache is my best thermometer: my condensed breath freezes on it at minus 10 Celsius. When it gets to minus 20, my eyes start watering.


  17. More commentary on the Big Beirut Blast:

    The article does not assert that the explosives were placed at the port as part of a plan but does argue that Israel may have had a role in setting it off either deliberately or accidentally as part of a sabotage effort to destroy munitions stored in a nearby warehouse.


  18. The US has seized some 1.116 mn barrels of Iranian fuel aboard 4 ships headed for Venezuela, the Justice Department has confirmed, hinting at “assistance” from “foreign partners” and declining to reveal where the grab took place.

    The agency hailed what it called the largest-ever US seizure of Iranian fuel in a statement on Friday, revealing Washington had nabbed the sanctions-skirting cargo en route to Venezuela with the assistance of unspecified “foreign partners.”

    Previous shipments were escorted by the Venezuelan navy as the ships approached Venezuela. Nice how the above story whitewash an illegal blockade and seizure of ships as an attempt to skirt unilateral and entirely illegal “sanctions”.

    I wonder where this story is going.


    1. If the previous tit-for-tat retaliations are any standard of measure, it will result in an American or allied cargo being intercepted and detained by Iran, probably but not necessarily as it transits the Strait of Hormuz.

      It’s difficult to say, however, at this point because – as the article suggests – Iran denies this even happening, saying the ships were not Iranian. That might be true, but they might still have been carrying Iranian oil, in which case the USA will have pissed off both Iran and the country which owns the ships. We don’t know where the interception actually took place, but that could have a significant bearing depending upon if it took place within national or international waters. The article also reports the US says it was achieved ‘without military force’, and mentions the USA offers millions in bribes for Iranian ship captains to deliver their cargoes into American hands.

      I daresay we will learn more in the days to come. But if the current conditions on the global oil market have not changed significantly, the last thing the United States needs is another 1 million barrels plus of oil. Its storage facilities were supposed to be chockers with oil it was storing until the price goes up due to increased demand.


      1. This is what happened:

        Washington has forced Greece-based shipowners to surrender their cargo of Iranian fuel to the US government or face sanctions from the Trump administration, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the confiscation.

        The ships in question, reportedly owned by Greek Vienna LTD and Palermo SA, were said to be loaded with Iranian oil, despite the sanctions imposed on Tehran. According to the report, their owners “grew frightened” due to the threat of US sanctions that could target the shippers and their crews, potentially depriving them from access to US banks and dollar depositions.

        I wonder if it were more of a matter of a pay-off to the shipping company to divert the cargo mixed with a threat that if they do that again then they will be “investigated” as a sponsor of terrorism. Or, it could have been a setup by the US government from the beginning like the Ukraine setup of those Russians.

        At some point, the continued use of the dollar as a weapon of economic war against its own people (i.e. allies) will trigger an anti-dollar counterattack.


  19. The BBC has a feature called “Reality Check”.

    Today, the “reality” that the BBC checks is:

    Coronavirus: Putin memes flood social media
    4 hours ago

    The reality of piss takers and trolls objectively analyzed by the BBC.

    And no, the BBC is not mocking the Orcs and their tyrant: it’s simply telling you the “reality” of what’s happening in the “social media” and how the experts on everything there view the Russian coronavirus vaccine.


  20. Well I never! All those 33 arrested in Belarus “Wagnerites” sent there by the Evil One to sow discord have been released and returned to Mordor:

    Минск отпустил: 32 задержанных россиянина вернулись на родину

    Minsk has released them: the 32 detained Russians have returned to their mother country
    14th August 2020

    Having been detained in Minsk for allegedly participating in the preparation of the riots, 32 Russians have returned to Russia. The return took place in response to a petition from the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation under the Minsk Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Cases. Kiev reacted to the incident, having previously asked that several detainees be handed over to the Ukraine for allegedly participating in hostilities in the Donbass.

    Yeah, Russia will do nothing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yukietards have got a mard lip on:

      Deputy Foreign Minister of the Ukraine Yevgeniy Yenin has commented on the transfer of 32 Russian citizens to their mother country, reports “Ukraine-24”.

      This decision of the Belarusian authorities means that “the subject of further dialogue” of the parties “disappears by itself”.

      “If this information corresponds to reality and the citizens have left for the territory of the Russian Federation, then, of course, the subject of further dialogue disappears by itself”, Yenin stressed.

      So we’re not gonna talk to you no more — so ner!


  21. КП

    Митингующие у дома правительства в
    Минске девушки устроили «обнимашки» со спецназом

    Girls rallying near the government house in Minsk staged “hugs” with special forces

    A PR exercise planned by their advisors.

    Notice the age of the majority of the protestors shown in the KP photos and video clips.

    Meanwhile, over at the “Independent“, here is Carroll’s take on events in Minsk:

    Wavering soldiers and striking workers pile pressure on Lukashenko as Belarus protests take revolutionary turn | The Independent

    In central Minsk, a group of soldiers even appeared to side with the protesters. The soldiers, who were protecting government buildings on Independence Square, gestured to lower shields at the request of the crowds shortly before 6pm local time. As they did so, people rushed to embrace them in gratitude.

    Spontaneous expression of gratitude?

    And the soldiers then buggered off?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. appeared to? FFS!

      Along side ‘linked to’ ‘believed to’ ‘said to’ ‘heard to’ etc.

      But I ask this, why is o’Carrol so careful when he has witnessed this with his own eyes?

      Isn’t his training as a professional journalist and years of experience good enough for us to trust him at his word (he did after all see the Russian military cross over the border in to the Ukraine a few years ago)?

      Could he be wrong? Is he worried that he may be found out to be wrong? Why so shy?


      1. …, an independent local publication,..

        But we are told that Lukashenko is u-Rope’s last dictator and therefore has an iron grip on the country. How on earth can there be any independent media that is free of his control? If you look at the site you can see that it quite well established, comprehensive and successful portal.

        Ah, I get it. Journalistic artistic license! The ‘Last Dictator’ is figurative. So not like ‘other’ dictators elsewhere or in the past but a special case dictator, in this case ‘in u-Rope.’ How does the PPNN have all that cake and eat it without becoming so mentally obese? It doesn’t. No wonder it is dying of diabetes and now mostly funded by a handful of mega-rich ****.


      2. Nay, that was Shawn the Dill Hater who saw Russian soldiers crossing the border and entering the Ukraine. Funny thing is, he had no smartphone at the time, so he couldn’t send any shots.


        1. Yes, of course. So on the one hand we have a set of journalists who categorically state that they saw a ‘fact’ but have no way of proving it except for their word, and on the other we have a journalist who categorically sees something but cannot say for sure what it is.


  22. Алексиевич обвинила российских силовиков в подавлении белорусских протестов
    13 августа 2020

    Aleksievich accused Russian security officials of suppressing Belarusian protests
    13 August 2020

    Belarusian writer and Nobel Prize laureate in literature Svetlana Aleksievich has accused Russian security officials of suppressing protests in the republic. She stated this in an interview with Radio Liberty.

    The writer is sure that the Belarusian riot police could not act so harshly, because “Belarusians are peaceful people and do not want to beat or kill anyone”.

    “I find it hard to believe that this is the Belarusian OMON. It seems to me that the Belarusian guys could not beat their mothers and sisters like that. This is somehow unrealistic”, she said.

    Aleksievich said that she had no evidence of the participation of the Russian security forces in the suppression of the protests, but she was sure of their existence.

    It seems to her and she is sure!

    What a surprise!


    1. I haven’t noticed any large constricting snakes. Vancouver Island is separated from mainland British Columbia by the Salish Sea, so it would be quite an heroic swim for a snake. This particular one was already here; it was a pet kept by one of those people who feel a fascination for large reptiles, and it escaped from his backpack. They say it traveled about 4 km from where it went missing, which the cops reckoned was in itself quite a journey, and one the snake was unlikely to have managed unassisted – they think it probably hitched a ride on a car, into whose undercarriage it may have crawled to keep warm.


  23. Russia 1st Channel:

    Евросоюз запрещает США вмешиваться в строительство «Северного потока — 2»
    14 августа 2020

    The European Union has forbidden the United States from interfering in the construction of Nord Stream 2
    14 August 2020

    24 EU states have suddenly protested to Washington against the new sanctions, writes the German newspaper “Die Welt”.

    According to the newspaper. during a videoconference with the US State Department, a demarche was voiced, in which an overwhelming majority of European countries directly accused the American government of violating international law.

    The United States, in an effort to promote its liquefied gas, has been increasing pressure on European contractors and suppliers to Nord Stream 2.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has extended the sanctions law against them. A day earlier, he said that Russian energy resources in Europe threaten the interests of the United States. Some American senators have echoed this, calling for a financial blockade of European companies. In December, when the gas pipeline along the bottom of the Baltic was almost ready, because of US sanctions, a Swiss pipelayer had already left the project.


  24. Lukashenko Says Agreed With Putin That Russia Will Help Maintain Security in Belarus If Needed
    8/15/20. 20:29

    Earlier in the day, the two presidents held a phone conversation, during which they agreed that the problems in Belarus should not be exploited by destructive forces seeking to harm the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.

    Lukashenko also said that he was concerned about the NATO military drills taking place in neighbouring Poland and Lithuania, describing them as a military build-up.

    Russia will do nothing?


    1. You’ve got to ask yourselves one question, Pindosi, Polacks and Lithuanians; ‘Do we feel lucky?’

      Well, do you, punks?


        1. It appears that Chuck Norris had absolutely no idea what he was saying.

          $300 for a personalized message? My, my , he must be hard up.


        2. Uhhhhh….Chuck Norris is 80 years old this year. There are probably still a few things he could do to make someone cry, but I doubt any of them involve physical force. Perhaps he meant he would hit Lukashenko with his car. But Mother Teresa could do that. If she was alive.

          I will give you such a thrashing! Make you cry, I will!


          1. Oh well that’s easy, Chuck Norris (aged 80 years) just turns up at Lukashenko’s residence in his wheelchair or on his Zimmer frame – because after all those action / martial arts movies, he’s gotta be a bit arthritic in his joints and his right shoulder joint might keep popping after being hit by all the recoil for the machine guns he’s had to fire all those years ago – and while going up the steps Norris falls over and stubs Lukashenko’s toe. Now that pathetic sight really would make the dictator sob.


        1. It will be a matter of time before the above movie and and the like are scrubbed from the internet. Such racist and misogynistic beliefs and casting white heterosexuals in a positive light must be ended, and ended now!

          If George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are to be deleted as important US historical figures, what chance does Dirty Harry have?

          On a different note, I was having a little fun mapping the above scene to the current world political situation.


      1. Independent:

        Linas Linkevicius, Lithuania’s minister of foreign affairs, questioned the motivation for the call between the two leaders.

        “Former president of Belarus now asks Putin for help. Against whom? Against [his] own people carrying flowers on the streets?” Mr Linkevicius wrote on Twitter.


        1. Based on the population chart below, it can be factually stated that Lithuania has declare war on its own people:


        2. Yes, it’s always about the peaceful demonstrations, isn’t it? You notice those are pretty limp affairs in Russia these days since the government kicked out the western civil-society institutions which are simply staging areas for political NGO’s. Now they have to depend on Navalny and his ophthalmologist and his lawyer, and whatever high-school kids he can fire up for a day out on the picket lines.

          For how long would Obama put up with peaceful demonstrations outside the White House, marching up and down and demanding he resign and hand power to his next-closest election opponent? Not for very long, because it’s bad optics, and he was reckoned to be a pretty live-and-let-live president. What it basically boils down to is, are you going to let a foreign country stage a show right in front of your seat of legislative power, without a permit to make a motivational film? Because that’s what it is. If Lukashenko says let the people have their say, tomorrow the crowd will be bigger, and the media will so report. And every day there will be a few more, because the Washington regime-changers have deep pockets. And if you start out letting them say whatever they want, pretty soon they have moved on to Lukashenko stole the election from Svetlana Whatsername, and the press duly reports that is the prevailing attitude whether it is or not, and now you can’t stop them from having their say because it would look like you are afraid of the truth. So you have to let them go on building up their ranks and running their mouths, because you started it. And eventually they will make a run for the gates.


            1. Cheer us all up, ME, and post the first headline you find with the Russian version of “crackdown”.

              We can add it to our glossary.


              1. подавление протестов

                podavlyeniye protestov

                It just literally means “suppression of protests”,

                I’ll keep a lookout for the term in the Russian news media.


                1. And no, RFE/RL, so far there appears to have been no suppression of or crackdown on the protests in Khabarovsk.


    2. Well we only have Lukashenko’s word for it and nothing public from Putin. V. clever from the latter. It telegraphs to the west, ‘are you dumb enough?’ but also leaves Lukashenko holding a good length of rope that he may, or may not end up (politically) hanging himself with. Russia’ behavior is much more interesting. Speaking of which Lubov Sobol has been giving newspaper interviews here in u-Rope. As others here have already concluded, it’s a change of guard for the Russian ‘opposition’ (not the Communist Party, obvs). Lubov in, Navanly retires to the sidelines.


      1. Navalny might well now do some time. — and about bloody time too!

        He’s facing charges of slandering a GPW vet, calling him a “traitor” for stating on a video that he supported the recent constitutional changes.


      2. The western press is quoting a RIA-Novosti report that says Lukashenko only received 2% of the vote…

        In other news via Ria, Nazerbayev’s nephew is dead at 30 and the USA is categorically blocking the sale of Motor-Sich to China which I’m sure doesn’t make any difference as China has probably employed already key people and most likely has all the blueprints etc.


      1. Quelle surprise. Not.

        I would guess that this is not new information to those that should know and have contingency plans, i.e. that this is widely publicised. Timing as usual will be key.

        The information (key, media/population friendly – digestable – and easy to understand bullet-points) would be dropped full spectrum when Tikhanovskaya or whomever is gaining maximum publicity.

        She will either have to deny it or distance herself from the policies (some lone employee) but I assume there will be a series of other revelations waiting to drop, drip drip or full stream depending on what bs she and her team comes out with. It shouldn’t be hard to be several steps ahead of this. We know that Pootie-Poot & co. plan well ahead for all eventualities so from that side subtlety and low-profile are key.

        A return to the Russian Federation has to be organi, but more importantly look natural. This means it cannot be forced at speed, in particular as this is exactly what the west will be expecting, i.e. a Crimea redux. As any fule ‘no, you don’t fight your battle/war as you did the last one. I assume that most of the key players and support can be/have been enticed to either help things along, or maybe better, not provide backup when required. Again it is timing.

        The west is hoping that Putin will be hamfisted thus justifying more sanctions/whatever, tarnish his legacy and make him look bad to supporters – i.e. boost the freshly headed Lyubov opposition back home.

        I assume that the west also has some Byelorussian hamsters who are willing to put their lives on the line ‘for the greater good’ or to create a massacre of some kind, fake or not. I really do not think there are any depths low enough that they are willing to go as this is the west’s last opportunity to stick it to Russia, preferably as part of a poison pill strategy that can be used to distract & undermine it so that its political actions abroad are affected to the point that it offers less resistance to whatever crazy s/t the west is up to.

        Looking down the track, Belarus in the Russian Federation one way or another also fundamentally changes the u-Ropean strategic outlook as the Russian military will be looking in to the eyes of the Polish/NATO military.

        It’s in u-Rope’s interest to have a comprehensive security treaty with Russia. NATO in its current form makes that impossible so choices will have to be made. It may come down to keeping the EU or NATO. I assume the former as the US is falling apart and will also have to chose between trying to fix itself and its ‘international commitments.’ They can’t afford both.

        The irony is that this is what t-Rump has been trying to do the last four years and I could imagine that a Biden/Harris team will still try to do both because they think its a question of good management as opposed to the fundamental shifting of power, economics and history out of their favor. The Dems are still in denial.


        1. I assume that the west also has some Byelorussian hamsters who are willing to put their lives on the line ‘for the greater good’ or to create a massacre of some kind, fake or not. I really do not think there are any depths low enough that they are willing to go as this is the west’s last opportunity to stick it to Russia, preferably as part of a poison pill strategy that can be used to distract & undermine it so that its political actions abroad are affected to the point that it offers less resistance to whatever crazy s/t the west is up to.

          On that note, yesterday’s local paper carried a wire story from AP, in which jailed ‘protesters’ – somewhere between a third and half of the 7000 reportedly arrested – told lurid tales upon their release of having been beaten by guards with truncheons until they could not stand. The usual, in other words. So far the response has mostly been a collective yawn as far as I could make out, but it is apparent the west is going to at least go through the motions of a full-on formulaic regime-change operation. I can’t see any possibility at all of its succeeding, although some analysts give Lukashenko no better than even chances of staying on owing to his supposedly having ‘done everything wrong’. That position, though, is not entirely accurate as what Lukashenko does and how what Lukashenko does is REPORTED are two quite different things. The whole Wagner episode was extremely awkward, true, but in the end it did serve to point up the SBU’s involvement in a not-very-good light that sort of cast them as the American surrogates they actually are.


          1. The ‘Wagner Episode’ has been deep sixed until further notice.

            As for abuses, it went from ‘women raped’ and ‘protesters tortured’ to ‘threats of rape’ and ‘sounds of people being tortured.’ I don’t doubt that the police meted out some beatings and various threats, but it’s a long way from the initial claims.

            Yet again looking at the tv images of the protest, most are taken from a ground level, but even then it is clearly not packed. The shot from above shows quite a few people (‘thousands’ as al-Beeb s’Allah writes) but again not packed and certainly not filling the area, least of all as far as the eye can see (comparing to other supposed mass protests).

            We’ve seen no images of the counter-demonstrations that are reported in the media.


    1. The above is all rather old hat it seems: published July 30th this year.

      How come I missed it?

      It mustn’t have been in the Western mass media.

      I wonder why?


      1. Dear me; and the final paragraph discloses that our friend, Max Seddon – normally such a chatterbox on all things Russian – has gone stum!

        Western governments must hate Helmer. I know Chrystia Freeland does; all that stuff about Gramps the Nazi might easily have been waved aside as ‘Russian disinformation’ – and indeed they tried – if not for Helmer and his fact-checking.


      2. Helmer has been targeting the new “regime” at the FT for a few months now. The profile of the new editor linked to in the latest article is illuminating.


  25. According to Moon of Alabama, the supposedly siezed i-ranian fuel ships were already sold FOB (Free On Board), so didn’t actually belong to i-Ran. I knew there was something very odd as the reporting was strangely lacking detail and more so video/images/whatever. It is entirely unlike the US not to rub other people’s noses, but then it turns out that it was probably an ally that took control of the ships, which are greek owned…


    1. I was wondering about that – was Iran already paid for the fuel. So, who got shafted – Venezuela or a 3rd party who had to make good on the delivery to be paid? If Venezuela was able to insure the cargo, they should be compensated for the failure to deliver.

      I would imagine that the US would cover the cost if it were a 3rd party on the hook, As you indicated, the lack of crowing by the US suggests a less-than-optimal outcome.

      Presumably, Venezuela still needs the fuel so Iran may provide the transport with suitable precautions as done before.


      1. According to a Reuters report, all four ships are registered in Liberia and are owned and managed by two firms Vienna LTD and Palermo SA which are based in Greece.

        The fuel cargo was seized and the Greek-owned ships agreed to a ship-to-ship transfer of the cargo as the US seizure warrant only covered the cargo.


        1. And so the United States ends up with another million barrels or so of oil it doesn’t really need, but it’s not even the oil it does need, which would be Venezuelan heavy crude that it could use to keep its refineries going. It has instead been buying that from Russia. It can’t really just use the confiscated oil itself, as that would be kind of stealing; instead it is supposed to store it until its ownership can be adjudicated. And all this policy encourages is warship escort of oil cargoes, or further subterfuges to avoid America’s heavy hand. And all the while it must portray the desperate plight of the Venezuelan people in an awkward fashion which plays up their misery, but does not ackowledge that it is deliberately and completely caused by those who would ‘liberate’ it. Don’t use the phrase. ‘starve them into submission’, please, western press.

          During the embargo of Haiti, in which I participated, ships used to fill up in the Dominican Republic and then transfer their cargo – which was ostensibly their own fuel – in Port-au-Prince, coming in nearly with the gunnels awash (these were usually small ships, the kind of coastal freighters romantically referred to as ‘tramp steamers’) and leaving with barely enough fuel to get them to the next port.


  26. One of the legal linchpins of Team Mueller has apparently agreed to a plea deal which will see him testify against his co-conspirators, according to SST.

    Fly, little pigeons, and destroy your notes as you will – the cat is well and truly out of the bag, and the existence in office of a president who is unlikely to just let it all blow over ‘for the good of politics’ suggests that lashings are in the offing.

    Kevin Clinesmith has evidently been caught red-handed in a lie, and rolled over quickly in the hope of avoiding prison.


  27. The Venezuelan court has handed the two captured former Green Berets – how are the mighty fallen! – who were captured in a Keystone-Cops-style coup attempt against Maduro 20-year prison sentences. That will not look good on a résumé.

    Luke Denman and Airan Berry – who look in their photos as if planning to knock over a 7-11 store might tax their strategic capabilities – are going to be spending quite a bit longer in Venezuela than they planned. Meanwhile their fearless leader is still sought as well, and if Venezuela ever manages to get its hands on him, he is going down the river with his subordinates.

    Two of Juan Guano’s aides/advisors confessed to having hired clown company Silvercorp, thereby falling on their swords to protect the leader, who of course knew nothing.


  28. A very well-written piece from Patrick, on how America sucks at war but can’t stay away from it. It reminds me of that scene in ‘A League Of Their Own’ – Penny Marshall’s beautiful film about women’s baseball during the war years – when big sister (Geena Davis) is counseling tactics against little sister (Lori Petty, who plays on the opposing team); “Throw her high balls. Can’t hit ’em – can’t leave ’em alone.”

    The quote from Fred Reed that kicks it off sort of says it all.

    “Nothing short of genius can account for losing so consistently given the enormous resources available to American forces. In light of this very low level of military competence, maybe wars are not our best choice of hobby.”

    The piece from which it is excerpted is also a first-class piece of writing, and I think I will add the site to the blogroll; lots of good stuff there – did you know the Woodstock Rock Festival (the real one, not the stupid commercial imitation) was held during a pandemic? But now you can’t hold a social event for more than 50 people, as if that is the magic number that puzzles the virus (although, to be fair, the real purpose is probably so that contact tracing remains just within the realm of the possible).


    1. You could call this tendency the Wiley Coyote syndrome after the animal in those old Warner Bros cartoons that was always obsessed with capturing the roadrunner and made elaborate plans to get it – and those plans always ending in failure.


    1. That’s what a former British ambassador thinks.

      However, a Twitter Twat says Lukashenko is finished, so it must be true.


      1. Yes, clearly Russia had no idea of what was happening on its own doorstop and is obviously too impotent to do anything about this.


        1. Yes, Russia sucks at soft power and seems not to be able to respond to color revolutions in its own sphere of influence.

          The big thing is that the West is able to win over young people in ethnic Russian countries (Ukraine, Belarus) with its propaganda and promises is freedom, better life etc. The older folks may still support Russia, but it is the young people who have the energy and desire to go to the streets and protest, and even start violent revolutions such happened in Ukraine. The West knows how to handle and control these people, while Russia has zero soft power and appeal to them.


          1. The only way Russia knows if to prop up an unpopular and untrustworthy governments (Lukashenko, Yanukovich) with easy money, and hope that this is enough to keep these countries at least neutral to Russia.

            Russia does not have NGO’s and ground level organizations in foreign countries that work to improve Russia’s image and defend Russia’s interests in these countries.

            Where the West still beats Russia quite comfortably is the projection of soft power and propaganda. The western regime changers are the West’s trump card. So far Russia has no answer to this.


            1. Uhhh…once again…what are you talking about, Karl? Can you identify some of this ‘easy money’ that Russia is throwing at Lukashenko? And Russia and the United States have about the same number of political NGO’s in each other’s countries. Russia has one in the USA, and the USA has none in Russia except those that have had to register as foreign agents, after the rest were kicked out. Is American ‘culture’ very popular in Russia? Does America have a good ‘image’ in Russia? America’s relationship with other countries is no concern of Russia’s.


        2. Yes, clearly. Because it did not launch an immediate military strike with overwhelming firepower. Which is how you make people aware that you know what kind of shit they are up to. Therefore, if you don’t take bold and aggressive action, it is because you are a sleepy dolt who did not notice what was happening right under his own nose.

          No danger of that happening in Finland, where you have always known Russia is the enemy. And Finland’s army is aching to kick their ass, although it has not fought a major combat action since World War II.

          Are you by chance a military reserve yourself, Karl? If so, I wonder if they realize what a go-getter young leader they have right…well, right under their nose. Because you’re kind of not like your countrymen at all. That’s if the author has the true pulse of Finland under his fingers. If it’s a ‘him’ – ‘Robin’ is kind of an asexual name. Anyway, he/she claims that a Finnish trait is ‘a deep respect for law and order’.

          “The film proper then starts with a depiction of large-scale cyberattacks on financial infrastructure and the power grid, as well as sabotage of local water supplies. This is the first key point. Traditional Finnish thinking, based in no small part on the crisis leading up to the Winter War, envisioned a “gray period” in which temperature was slowly rising. During this time, the reserve would be mobilized and preparations for an enemy attack would be made. One of the Finnish traits, however, is a deep respect for laws and regulations. On the positive side, this translates into some of the highest trust in authorities and lowest levels of corruption measured in the world, but on the flip side the system is extremely inflexible if faced with a development that it is not designed to meet.”

          But that’s kind of bullshit, isn’t it? People who dither around with law and order are weak, and are just begging for the strong to come in and tear their playhouse down, aren’t they? Room by room, baby.

          Law and order – pshaw! That’s for sissies and candy-ass diplomats. Only the strong survive, and if Russia is not going to be dismembered, it needs to start nuking people to let them know it means business. And that includes noticing when some dipshit housewife is growing a revolution of…well, who knows? It could be hundreds, maybe even thousands, in a country right next door! Wake the fuck up, Russia!


      2. Yes, I expect you do. But I wouldn’t let it get my hopes up, if I were you. Because none of that is going to happen. Tikhanovskaya is not going to ride back into town on a white charger at the head of a battalion of NATO shock troops, She is probably not going to come back to Belarus at all. The narrative is all like Lukashenko is weaker now than he has ever been, but that’s just the usual western trying to make things so by wishing them. Nobody should have any doubts that Lukashenko won the election, and I doubt he had to suppress the Tikhanovskaya vote very much; she is kind of the Belarusian Boris Nemtsov.

        Lukashenko is not a very good leader, although he is a cagey politician with good instincts for self-preservation. But the sloppy attempt by the SBU to overthrow him will have made him careful and suspicious again, and there will be little doubt in his mind that it was done at the west’s behest and that he does not really have any friends there. So I think you can look for much more pro-Russian rhetoric from him, as he attempts to send reassurances of his loyalty. Because the west has no plans for a cosy relationship with Belarus led by Lukashenko – it is interested in wresting the country into the western orbit, but not with Lukashenko in charge. And I think he sees that now.


  29. Wrong article!

    Already linked above by Cortes.

    This is what I wanted to post above in reply to a question posed by a concerned, infrequent commenter to this site:

    Why Belarus Isn’t Ukraine
    by Anatoly Karlin – The Unz Review

    So even though the Russian (Great Russian) component in Belarus is lower than in Ukraine, the Belorussian identity as a whole is “in sync” with an All-Russian one to a much greater extent than is the Ukrainian one.


      1. Russia didn’t learn anything from Ukraine. Russia backs a lousy leader Lukashenko for years, threw billions worth of cash at his regime, and when the regime collapses Russia has no backup plan and no representation in the opposition, while the western-backed opposition seizes power.

        What influence did all the money that Russia poured to Belarus buy Russia in Belarus? It seems none.


        1. Right! Russia didn’t learn anything from what was happening in the Ukraine, that’s why the West was Wrong footed when the Crimea rejoined Russia and the United States failed to make the Hero City Sevastopol a USN base.


          1. When’s the Yukie army going to have its victory parades in Donetsk, Lugansk and Sevastopol? It’s a long time in arriving in those cities.


            1. And I’m really looking forward to that day when Babchenko graces us all by riding atop a US tank down Tverskskaya Street Moscow!


              1. Not a tank, rather, he will be astride a Tesla Model Y flying LGBT? flags followed by legions of gay transgender soldiers.


        2. Uhhhh…what are you talking about, Karl?

          Belarus imported $38.4 Billion worth of goods in 2018, 58.6% of which came from Russia, and exported $33.7 Billion worth of goods. Where I learned to do math, that’s a $4.7 Billion deficit, although Belarus was able to realize a 1.1% trade surplus through exporting more services than it imported.

          And going back to 2014, that looks like pretty standard performance – Belarus has every year bought more goods from its trade partners, of which Russia is by far the biggest, than it sold to its trading partners. The difference in 2014 was $4.5 Billion, in 2015, $3.7 Billion, in 2016, $4.2 Billion, in 2017, $5 Billion. In each case it sold a bit more in services than it bought, enabling it to post small trade surpluses overall in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

          But where are the Billions Russia poured into Belarus? Where was Lukashenko stealing Russia blind? When did the opposition in Belarus ‘seize power’? Do you have any actual examples? Or is this just more western-style wishery?


  30. Ah, ha, ha, hahahahaha!!

    “You can always tell an Eastern European colour revolution, because Shaun Walker emerges from his burrow, dragging with him 3000 words of total speculation, unsourced anecdotal evidence and some partisan quotes from Western-backed NGOs. You know, like this.”

    Shaun ‘the Dill’ Walker is getting quite a reputation as an Advanced Bullshitter.


    1. He must live in a very large burrow then. I’m surprised we haven’t heard of buildings suddenly disappearing underground whenever Shaun of the Dill is in the vicinity.


      1. So now they, the “opposition”, are setting up their “coordination council” with a view to setting up a new government in Belarus:

        В Белоруссии оппозиция представила состав координационного совета

        In Belarus, the opposition has put forward the composition of a coordination council

        MOSCOW, August 17 – RIA Novosti. Olga Kovalkova, a confidant of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has published a list of members of a Coordination Council on Facebook.

        Earlier, the former presidential candidate announced the creation of a council to ensure the transfer of power. She also noted that the opposition is ready for dialogue with the current authorities. [the “current authorities” being the government! —ME]

        Kovalkova said that the list was selected in such a way “to represent the Belarusian people in the best way”.

        She added that everyone who expressed a desire to work will be able to join the expanded council and participate in meetings of working and expert groups. In addition, applications from delegates from the largest factories in the country are also being considered.

        The council consists of 35 people:
        Kovalkova said that the regulations of the council will be published in the near future, the first meeting will take place on another day.

        Just as “the opposition” once did in Russia. One of its members, Udaltsov, then promptly labelled it “a council of wankers” and left. Thereafter, the members proceeded to argue with each other and did sweet FA — because they couldn’t. do FA.

        They met in a café — and not so often.

        Bulllshitter-in-Chief was a leading light on the council. Another council member who soon quit the charade was Sobchak.


        1. Now get this!

          The EU is to impose sanctions against Belarus because of alleged falsification of election results there AND told Russia not to interfere in Belarus politics!

          Germany is also coordinating with Tikhonovskaya, who now says she is willing to be “national leader” of a provisional Belarus, albeit she is not living in Belarus.

          So it’s goodbye to frying “cutlets” for Svetlana the housewife.

          And don’t forget, Russia: keep your nose out of this business!


            1. In the above linked Stalker Zone article, I think the writer (apparently a Russian) means sprats, not shrimps — Lithuanian and Latvian sprats.


          1. It would be best for both Russia and Belarus to just ignore these maneuvers and not grant Tikka and her group any legitimacy by recognizing them as such, in much the way Russia for a long time never even mentioned the Ukrainian kangaroo government that appointed itself after Yanukovych was driven out. So far that’s Syria, Venezuela and now Belarus where Washington and its European toadies have tried to muscle their own yes-men in, and failed. They must be getting stretched a bit thin with all these special envoys and funding all these governments-in-exile. Especially now that the USA cannot borrow from China any more.


    1. You can’t blame people for thinking it is going a lot better than it actually is for the regime-changers, as the papers are full of reports of massive demonstrations and Lukashenko stuttering with terror as he tries to come up with sops to placate the angry masses. Just like in Venezuela, Washington is trying to do it by momentum alone.


  31. Motherboard: A ‘Violent Clash of Opposing Wills’: How the U.S. Is Defining Space Warfare

    ‘Spacepower: Doctrine for Space Forces’ is our clearest window into the Space Force’s mission yet, and it’s not pretty.

    On Monday, the U.S. Space Force published Spacepower: Doctrine for Space Forces. The 40 page document outlines what the Space Force will actually do, defines the nature of war in space, and is our clearest window into how the budding Space Force thinks of itself.

    More than just custodians of the cosmos, Space Force foresees war moving into the skies. “Just like warfare in any other domain, space warfare is a violent clash of opposing wills,” the document said…

    The rest at the link.

    As we all recall, a few weeks ago the US and the UK became very dramatic when announcing what they claimed was a (potential) weapons test in space by Russia and that it violated blah blah blah blah. As normal people know and is very easy to find out if you look for it, it is in fact the US that is seeking to dominate space, use weapons and claim other celestial bodies as theirs. Even Netflix has a comedy series called ‘Space Force’ about such an organization, i.e. the one I linked to above. So, for the record…


    1. Space War: Coalition Partners, US and UK agree to share technical foundation for space operations

      … The U.K. was the first international partner to join U.S. Space Command’s Operation OLYMPIC DEFENDER and is the first to receive access to the SAAL, though USSF is currently working with other partner nations to expand that list.

      Operation OLYMPIC DEFENDER is a key multinational effort intended to optimize space operations, improve mission assurance, enhance resilience, and synchronize U.S. efforts with its allies…

      So a Space NATO. Completely defensive of course until it has no other option to practice ‘active defense’ i.e. attack.


  32. Sputnik live feed:

    Belarusian Opposition Politician Dmitriev in Talks With EU, US Diplomats

    MINSK (Sputnik) – Belarusian opposition politician Andrey Dmitriev, who ran for the presidency, said on Tuesday that he had held talks with US and EU diplomats, and also pointed to the need confirm commitment to Belarus’ independence.

    “Yesterday, I held a meeting with US charge d’affaires ad interim in Belarus, and today I met with the head of the EU mission. Tomorrow, EU leaders will hold talks on Belarus,” Dmitriev wrote on his Telegram channel.

    The politician also expressed the belief it was “necessary to issue a declaration on the commitment to and support for Belarus independence.”

    Live Updates: Merkel and Putin Discuss Protests in Belarus in Phone Conversation

    Independence from whom or what?

    Belarus has been an independent sovereign state since 1991.


    1. And the “opposition politician” Dmitriev ?

      Andrey Dmitriyeu (Belarusian: Андрэй Уладзіміравіч Дзмітрыеў, also known either as Andrey Dzmitryew or Andrey Dmitriev Russian: Андрей Владимирович Дмитриев; born 12 May 1981) is a Belarusian social activist, politician and candidate in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election. He is the current co-chairman of the Tell the Truth, a political movement which is known for raising its voice and vocal criticism of Alexander Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule.

      A “social activist”.

      Enough said!


  33. The Hill: Manafort shared campaign info with Russian intelligence officer, Senate panel finds


    Nowhere in the article does it point out that he also has Ukranian citizenship and provided intel to the US embassy in Kiev, as reported previously in the HIll

    …He interacted with the chief political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, sometimes meeting several times a week to provide information on the Ukraine government. He relayed messages back to Ukraine’s leaders and delivered written reports to U.S. officials via emails that stretched on for thousands of words, the memos show.

    The FBI knew all of this, well before the Mueller investigation concluded.

    Alan Purcell, the chief political officer at the Kiev embassy from 2014 to 2017, told FBI agents that State officials, including senior embassy officials Alexander Kasanof and Eric Schultz, deemed Kilimnik to be such a valuable asset that they kept his name out of cables for fear he would be compromised by leaks to WikiLeaks….

    …Three sources with direct knowledge of the inner workings of Mueller’s office confirmed to me that the special prosecutor’s team had all of the FBI interviews with State officials, as well as Kilimnik’s intelligence reports to the U.S. Embassy, well before they portrayed him as a Russian sympathizer tied to Moscow intelligence or charged Kilimnik with participating with Manafort in a scheme to obstruct the Russia investigation…

    …Those emails raise further doubt about the Mueller report’s portrayal of Kilimnik as a Russian agent. They show Kilimnik was allowed to visit the United States twice in 2016 to meet with State officials, a clear sign he wasn’t flagged in visa databases as a foreign intelligence threat.

    The emails also show how misleading, by omission, the Mueller report’s public portrayal of Kilimnik turns out to be….


  34. Neuters via Lithuania says Russian military help in Belarus would mean ‘an invasion’

    …“There are no reasons for military support from Russia, and no legal or other grounds for it. It would constitute an invasion into the country and would destroy the last traces of its independence”, Linkevicius told reporters in Vilnius.

    “Russia would risk a lot if it did it, in the face of what is going on in Belarus, in the face of the popular support. It should figure out that an invasion would not be justified, neither legally, nor morally, nor politically”, he added. ..

    Ha ha ha ha ha. Like a chihuahua barking.


    1. There were no reasons for American military support in Syria, and in fact the Americans invited themselves in, and then turned out to be the most useless ever at ‘fighting ISIS’. There were zero legal grounds for its invasion of Syria and its ongoing military presence in the country as it struggles to carve out independent territories for its helpers. Didn’t seem to deter it at all, and Trump continues to speak of the American military presence in Syria as if it was so legitimate as to be above question.


      1. Linkevicius must believe that when a country invites itself into another country’s territory without that other country’s agreement, that’s not an invasion; whereas when a country is invited by the second country as support, then that’s an invasion. That probably tells you something about the thinking of some Lithuanian politicians like Linkevicius.

        Linkevicius’ remarks may have come in response to news that Belarus has started military drills along its border with Lithuania and Poland.


      2. The USA invaded the UK in 1942 and built army camps, depots and airbases there.

        There is still a USA armed forces presence in the UK.


  35. Al-Jizz Error via Russia summons Dutch diplomat over ‘spying equipment’ in car

    Russia protests the discovery of ‘spy equipment’ in the official car of the Russian military attache in the Netherlands.

    …Russia “strongly protested” to the Dutch diplomat after the discovery of “spy equipment” in the official car of the Russian military attache in the Netherlands, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

    “These unfriendly actions further complicate the already difficult relations between the two countries,” the statement said.

    Moscow called for immediate measures to prevent similar incidents in the future, according to the ministry.

    According to Dutch public television, Prime Minister Mark Rutte declined to comment…

    That’s the first I’ve heard of it. It seems the PPNN is not interested so much.


    1. I imagine the Dutch story will be that the Russians put it there themselves so they could ‘discover’ it and make a big stink. You’re on pretty safe ground blaming Russia for anything you care to.


  36. BBC grilled for interviewing ‘Polish neo-Nazi’ about Belarus protests

    In its coverage of the Belarus protests, the BBC spoke to a Polish photojournalist who was detained and allegedly tortured by police. However, it didn’t mention that he is a notable extreme right figure, with links to neo-Nazis.

    As protests in the Belarusian capital of Minsk after the controversial re-election of Alexander Lukashenko were marked with violence last week, Witold Dobrowolski was one of several thousand arrested. Detained for three days, Dobrowolski was released on Thursday after being brutally beaten and “tortured” by his captors in what he called a “gulag.”…

    …As Dobrowolski told the story of his capture to Poland’s WP news site, he was asked about his links to Azov, and whether he could have been watched by Belarusian authorities. Dobrowolski said his work in Ukraine was “purely journalistic,” and his capture in Minsk was part of a broader “round-up.”

    It turns out, Dobrowolski’s connections with the European far right go deeper than embedding with the Azovs. He’s been photographed armed and in paramilitary uniform, and spoke at a conference of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists in 2017. Furthermore, he contributed articles to ‘Szturm’, a Polish extreme-right magazine that features interviews with prominent nationalists, reviews of white power music, and articles on Nazi history and “the Jewish question.”..

    The BBC love a ‘diversity of views.’ Particularly those of any scum who are hostile to the UK’s enemies… Islamic state? Bad. Caucasian Emirate? Their problem.

    Make sure you look at Oz Katerji’s twitter thread from the article link for more (He literally ran for European Parliament on a far right platform against “homopropaganda”. / That’s Witold Dobrowolski, an editor of the virulently antisemitic, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant neo-Nazi “Szturm” magazine, whose stated goal is to create a pan-European alliance far-right extremists, given a platform on BBC News without any context..


  37. If we’re encouraged to just submit what someone else said and consider it a blueprint for Belarus’s future development, then here’s what Andrew Korybko thinks.

    “That piece painted a bleak picture of Russian-Belarusian relations, one in which Russia’s hosting of Belarusian opposition leader Tsepkalo could have potentially been instrumentalized to protect its national security interests. That’s no longer the case, however, since recent events have changed that calculation. Some observers are nowadays a bit more optimistic about their ties, even believing that they might soon return to their formerly fraternal level, though the fact of the matter is that Minsk simply doesn’t have any realistic option other than to re-engage Moscow (albeit on the latter’s terms) after the dramatic failure of the former’s “balancing” act and is thus destined to be Russia’s “little brother” instead of its “equal brother”.

    Not a lot of ‘Lukashenko is finished’ posturing contained therein.


    1. I see a lot of this ”let the people decide” talk from Western commentators, followed by comments along the line “looking East towards Smolensk and West towards Warsaw, it is clear what their choice will be”.

      Because Russia is a shithole, right?

      And the “people” who are going to do the deciding and will clearly decide for the “West” are those who are demonstrating in Minsk and others of a like mind, namely the rest of the population, all 9 million or so of them, is of the same mind as the protesters, right?

      Wrong on both counts, in my opinion.

      For one thing, Belorussians also have another border, a southern one with an “independent state”, the Ukraine, in which state Belorussians can clearly recognize the benefits of joining the bounteous and munificent West.


      1. For some considerable time now, “Let the people decide” has been understood to mean “so long as they arrive upon the correct decision”. When that does not apply, the unspoken rule has been “Let the people shut up, and not disturb the corporations while they are busy sorting out the mess.” Americans were once rebels themselves, with a vehement dislike of governments which were imposed upon them, but that faded almost as quickly as tea in salt water, and they quickly grew to love the leaders they received as if they had chosen them themselves. But the arrival on-scene of the first corporation (there seems to be consensus among historians that it was the Boston Manufacturing Company, 1813) marked the beginning of the end of that inefficient process; business is too important to be left to the people, just the same as war is too important to leave to the military.

        America is still largely stuck in that “When we act, we create our own reality” delusion. But its ability to create its own reality actually had quite a short lifespan, and the only people it fools now are Americans. And not even all of them.


    2. Either Korybko is completely behind the curve on the Wagner incident or ignores it. Either way, it doesn’t credit his analyses. I don’t see how the Tsepkalo events ‘Quid pro quo’ saved face for both Lukashenko & Putin. The former certainly, but the latter? Come on! There’s not much in his analysis that is not obvious.

      For me, it is not about Lukashenko, but Pootie-Poot and how Russia plays this. There is an essentially an information blackout from Russia. That is not to say that Russia does not issue statements etc., but that this is an intentional blackhole to deny the enemy any insight in to how Russia will play this, particularly tactically as we know what Russia’s perfect strategic conclusion would be and what it would probably settle for (limited, certainly achievable goal).

      The ‘enemies’ are not just the west, but their on the ground hamsters and puppet masters. Rather than loud and big words, a western favorite, Russia acts, hence the reporting of a ‘Russian convoy.’ The priority is to show NATO the lo-land of Po-land that no-one is f/king around, rather than mollifying the rabid anti-Russian press that cannot be mollified. It’s very Sun Tzu ‘chose your battles.’

      I can imagine that Warsaw may like the idea (tres a la t-Rump) of poking the border to distract from it locking up LGBT activists and other public embarassments so we’ll see. It’s only going to get harder for it once the big money taps from Brussels are turned off at the end of this year. Without that gigantic cushion of cash to float everything else, there will be ripple effects elsewhere in the economy, especially all the financial promises PiS has been making but not costed coming home to roost. That’s not to say that the economy is going well, much better over the last 30 years than most of the rest of u-Rope (save Hungary possibly), but all good things come to an end eventually.

      If we get to the end of 2020 without another big war, I’ll be pleased, but the wheels will continue to come off in u-Rope and the west for quite some time. There’s a lot of broken stuff still going on.


      1. It should be borne in mind that like most of the east-European new ‘western’ states, Poland was forgiven its debts upon declaring its independence, and started off with a clean slate.


        1. Don’t you be quoting alternative history Mark!

          Which reminds me (?), there was a highly disturbing insider account of how O-Bomber delt with Biden. O-Bomber and his crew would be discussing an issue and more or less on the same page but at some point O-Bomber would note Biden had a look in his eye and would pause to allow him to speak his piece, which was completely left-field and unrelated to everything discussed before. Biden would go on for about ten minutes and then O-Bomber would thank him for his input and wrap up the meeting. This rings because the famous intel meeting at which No-One discussed fixing t-Rump was the one where Biden brought up the Logan Act, attempted briefly once but went no-where. Thus, I’m putting Biden in the Regan camp of ‘To Be Managed.’ I singularly hope that anyone with any nuclear authority will ignore him because I see the Democrats still not understanding that the Party is Over (TM) and only that it is the method that is at fault. Muy muy dangerous for all of us.


  38. Quelle surprise.

    “An American man with ties to Amnesty International and key Hong Kong separatist figures has been posing online as a Hong Kong native named Kong Tsung-gan. Routinely cited as a grassroots activist and writer by major media organizations and published in English-language media, the fictitious character Kong appears to have been concocted to disseminate anti-China propaganda behind the cover of yellowface.”

    You could do it honestly, and admit that your portrayal is the way you see it and that Chinese people from Hong Kong may see it differently. But where would be the fun in that? How would you ever feel that you were more clever than everyone else with your faking, and hug yourself with delight at your secret knowledge, if you just put it all out there transparently?


    1. There have been photos published online of Brian Kern (the fellow behind Kong Tsung-gan) participating in the HK protests last year, clashing with police, giving tips to protesters and spraying graffiti.

      Note also that Kern has used a second Chinese pen name (Xun Yuezang) to publish a novel “Liberationists” about a social activist and her family.


      1. Not as misleading as that middle-aged Scottish dude posing as a tormented Syrian lesbian surviving under the tyrannical rule of Animal Assad, IIRC


  39. Ivan Katchanovski (political scientist at School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa) on Twitter: Ukrainian anti-corruption bureau official states that SBU had planned to arrest former Donbass fighters in Ukraine by drawing them into a fake security employment scheme in Venezuela that would mean flying the fighters from Russia to Turkey through Belarus, and then suddenly diverting the plane to Ukraine from Belarus.

    Buried in the Tweet thread is a comment that Ukrainian news media report US intel involvement in the operation.


    1. Ukraine should be thankful that their plan did not succeed. I would imagine that Russia would have dished out severe and creative retribution to those involved. A US role is plausible as it fits in our aren’t-we-so clever self-image.


  40. Shanghai Zhizhen’s $1.4 Billion lawsuit against Apple over a patent on a voice assistant similar to Siri could see Apple prevented from selling any devices in China which use Siri, for the duration of the trial. Which means….ummm…pretty much all of them.

    I have long thought – and suggested – that Apple is the most likely target of Chinese retaliation for the American attempts to ruin Huawei. The US government plainly hopes at best to destroy the company, and at worst to restrict its sales to Asia only, but at the same time America hopes to dominate the globe with its iPhones, and needs to sell them in China, its largest market outside the US itself. While the US government howls that China is spying on it through Huawei, the USA is the spyingest country on the planet, and Apple is just one of the companies the NSA expects to open up to it through its ‘golden master-keys’.

    You can expect a similar ‘deal’ with whatever company the US government selects (probably Nokia or Ericsson) to build the western 5G network – they can hardly expect the USA to clear the field for their product for free. Just the other day, Trump dropped the ‘I’ bomb, threatening publicly to cut off intelligence-sharing with any country that uses Huawei components in its 5G network, so that will ensure Canada’s capitulation if it was not already in the bag.

    But Huawei is not just giving up, of course. It sold 39 million 5G-enabled smartphones in China in just the second quarter.


    1. ZTE, already banned by the US, is hyping the first smartphone with its selfie-camera under the display and not in a ‘notch’ (ZTE Axon 20 5G from 1st september). If I recall correctly Huawei was one of the first to introduce an under the display fingerprint sensor in to mass production, something that was expected to come first from the likes of Apple or Samsung. They are now touting tech that makes the whole screen a fingerprint sensor.

      The point yet again being to refute those who continue to say that China can only make bad copies, cannot innovate or have the skills to (Fleetwood Mac) Go Their Own Way, those are two concrete examples. As we’ve said before on this blog, in the 1980s it was Taiwan that was known for poor quality copies, but in the 1990s it moved on up (TMSC silicon chip fabrication plants for example) and now the same is true of China. It’s not opinion, it’s fact.


      1. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention, and it is going to be the United States and its coterie of Quislings who will get stuck with a second-rate network at a far higher cost, and then the job will be to suppress how good the Asian network is. The Chinese will either get into chipmaking themselves, or more likely cultivate a new supplier who is reliable and will not sway to politics and is unreachable by American sanctions, which is apparently the only tool in Trump’s toolbox. Apple will only be able to sell so many phones to its new market, since that market is now mostly saturated. The growth market will be out of reach.


  41. As we often remark on here – how are the mighty fallen! Doctor (quack, quack!) Fauci has fallen from favour faster than liver-and-corn ice cream. While the headline describes him as ‘out’, I would not let that inspire an outburst of joyful singing; it either means he has decided to make his homosexuality public, or, if we are not talking that kind of ‘out’, he is in the doghouse for a while. It does not mean he has lost his job as sheriff of the WHO. However, the USA has pulled out of that organization (coincidentally leaving Bill Gates as its biggest supporter), and Trump has appointed a former Stanford University Medical Center chief of neuroradiology, Scott Atlas, to run his ‘coronavirus task force’. Dr. Atlas’s views are…refreshing.

    “On April 22, Dr. Atlas wrote an op-ed in The Hill titled, “The data is in — stop the panic and end the total isolation.” In the article he made five main points that are as true today as when he wrote them: an overwhelming majority of people are at no risk of dying from Covid; protecting older people prevents hospital overcrowding; locking down a population actually prevents the herd immunity necessary to defeat the virus; people are dying because they are not being treated for non-Covid illnesses; we know what part of the population is at risk and we can protect them.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Bill Morneau unexpectedly resigned, although it was maybe a little expected – considering the opposition was howling that he must resign – after his being caught up in the scandal surrounding We charity, which involved more than a bit of nepotism in the Trudeau house. Nonetheless, I remain suspicious that she will be the liberal nominee for Prime Minister, and her being sent in to clean up after Morneau is merely padding her qualifications; former Foreign Minister, and now Finance Minister – who could claim she does not have a comprehensive political education?

      At least she will be kept busy trying to maintain economic balance after the treasury absolutely vomiting money for coronavirus. But on the negative side, she is completely a political creature and will be responsive to the imperatives of one-world government, which cannot be good for Canada. But nothing she did was going to be good for Canada anyway, as her admiration is reserved for the United States.


  42. Латвия не признает Тихановскую победителем выборов в Белоруссии
    Газета.RU, 19 августа 2020

    Latvia does not recognize Tikhanovskaya as the winner of the elections in Belarus
    Gazeta.RU, 19 August 2020

    The Latvian government cannot recognize the former candidate for the presidency of Belarus Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as the winner of the elections, since their real results are unknown. This was stated by the head of the Latvian Foreign Ministry Edgars Rinkevich, LETA reports.

    He recalled that at present, there is nothing apart from information about election fraud.

    The minister also expressed concern that “many world leaders preferred to discuss the Belarusian dossier with Russia rather than with Minsk”.

    According to him, Riga has repeatedly stressed that the solution to the problems of Belarus is concentrated in the republic itself, and not anywhere else.


    1. How To Sit On The Fence, by Edgars Rinkevich. It seems the Balts are getting cold feet, and perhaps reconsidering their earlier shoulder-to-shoulder ecstasy over Belarusian liberation. I think it need not be said that Latvia likely came under considerable pressure to not make this announcement, and be assumed in its silence to be going along – or that it decided to go ahead out of economic concerns. Baltic shipping has already taken a kick in the sack without Russian business.

      Although, of course, in true Baltic fashion, diversion of Russian cargoes to the country’s own ports instead of shipping them through the neighbours is part of Russia’s mean-spirited ‘strategy’. Don’t be such a prick, Russia! You’re siupposed to endure endless shit-chucking from the Baltics and just keep smiling and doing business with them as if you were all good friends.


    1. Hey, did you hear the one about the opposition politician who said one thing, and then did something completely different once she got in power?

      That’s pretty much what you would expect opposition figures to say while they are still opposition – it is part of the playbook to appear reasonable and considering all viewpoints. But then, once in power, it would be “Russia must stop (insert whatever Russia is supposed to be doing here) or risk a breakdown in relations”, and there would be no looking back after that. The west is committed to wrecking and replacing all Russia’s trading relationships and progressively isolating it, and no behavior differing from that should be expected from any alliance with the west.


  43. DW

    Is Belarus closer to the West or to Russia?

    Anti-government protesters have rallied in Minsk and other cities for more than a week — but they haven’t been waving EU flags. Experts point out that Belarus is a pro-Russia country, even without President Lukashenko.


    1. The problem for Russia is that leaders and organizers of these protests are most likely backed by the West and hostile to Russia. If Lukashenko is removed then they will end up in power.

      The good news is that Russia has apparently sent some of its own intel to Belarus to make sure this doesn’t happen.


      1. It merely suggests the west is reassessing its chances of success using the preferred method – smashing ahead on a rolling barrage of public relations and fond assumptions – and is putting out feelers for trying another way, using soothing and placatory language to mask its intentions. Nobody in Russia will fall for such a clumsy subterfuge, but Washington has fallen into the habit of playing to a western audience. All that audience can do is offer encouragement. The ‘revolution’ has already failed, but it will take a little while for the opposition to grasp it. Meanwhile, Lukashenko will have re-learned a useful lesson, and will be that much harder to take out next time. He means to bequeath the leadership to his son.


  44. Moscow, 19 August 2020, 13:46 – REGNUM oRussian Navy vessels were deployed in guarding pipe-laying vessels involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2. This has been done announced by the Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Mikhail Popov.

    As Popov explained in an interview with Interfax, the the pipelayer “Akademik Chersky” and the supply vessels “Ostap Sheremet” and “Ivan Osipenko” were accompanied by a fleet during their transferal from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad.

    Боевые корабли ВМФ РФ обеспечили охрану судов для «Северного потока — 2»

    Russian Navy warships provided protection for “Nord Stream – 2” vessels

    Back off, Pindosi!


  45. A shot across the bow:

    The UK’s Daily Mail published exclusive pictures on Tuesday showing Clinton receiving a massage in 2002 from 22-year-old Chauntae Davies, who was allegedly raped by billionaire Epstein repeatedly over a period of four years. The massage occurred while Clinton, along with actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker, flew with Epstein on the pedophile’s infamous private jet, nicknamed the Lolita Express, on a humanitarian trip to Africa.

    Someone wants to make the Clinton’s squirm a little but reserving the video tapes in the unlikely event that the Clinton’s deviate from the script.

    But but, it was , a “humanitarian trip”!


  46. Extry, extry!!!!

    Right now I’m on the Moscow-Smolensk-Minsk-Warsaw-Berlin mainline, heading back to my dacha and I’ve just passed a whole trainload of Russian army trucks!!!

    Oh, hang on!

    They’re heading towards Moscow.



    1. Did you get a picture? Well, where the hell is your cell phone? Anyone can say they’ve just seen a trainload of Russian army trucks, and only the thousands of Guardian readers will believe it without evidence. Be sure to get a recognizable bit of the countryside in the shot, so that location and direction of travel can be established, and we can get the date from your phone.


  47. DW:

    Opinion: EU must pressure Putin to stop backing Lukashenko

    Condemning state violence and threatening sanctions against Belarus will not deter Alexander Lukashenko. The EU must force Vladimir Putin to stop backing his authoritarian neighbor, DW’s Katsiaryna Kryzhanouskaya writes.

    EU officials should seek talks with the only leader in the world who has any influence over Lukashenko: Russian President Vladimir Putin. The European Union must make it clear to Putin that military intervention in Belarus on behalf of Lukashenko would have catastrophic political and economic consequences and would lead to further EU sanctions on Russia.

    Yes, they really, really must tell him this.

    Arrogant, waste of time, appointed EU bureaucrat blowhard wankers really must do that!


  48. RT

    Alexey Navalny ‘in coma’ after falling ill on flight from Siberia, spokeswoman suspects Moscow protest leader’s tea was ‘poisoned’
    August 20; 05:38 GMT

    And Sobol is the leading light in the bullshitter’s fund now, so is this attention seeking, such as when he had to go to Barcelona to have a consultation with a “leading European eye-specialist” after having had an antiseptic tincture thrown into his lying mug?


    1. Thursday morning. Anatoly Kalinichenko, deputy chief physician of the hospital where he was taken, cautioned that “there is no certainty that the cause of Navalny’s condition is poisoning.”

      Navalny’s spokesperson has “claimed that one of Navalny’s doctors, who at 9am had promised to provide test results, now refuses to talk to the activist’s personal physician, campaigner Anastasia Vasilyeva. She is en route to Omsk herself..

      Now why on earth should a hospital physician not wish to consult an ophthalmologist about her patron being in an alleged coma after an alleged poisoning?


        1. Or shall we soon hear: “The King is dead! Long live the Queen!”

          And everything will be all shipshape and Bristol fashion because Putin killed Navalny and the bullshitter’s protégée, that awfully nice Sobol, will smoothly move into the driver’s seat.

          The phrase “past sell by date” comes to mind.


    2. There just might actually be a threat to his continued existence. Remember it has been proposed on here several times that his ability to compel audiences has sunk to the point he is probably worth more dead than alive. His tragic death would be an excellent springboard for the ‘fiery’ Sobol. But he doesn’t have to actually die, either. He could just disappear, and have a quiet retirement in the west as a return on services rendered. He would simply be reported as having died in terrible agony. It’s not hard to disappear when hardly anyone knows who you are; he would not even have to be in disguise to pass right in front of most of the world unrecognized.


  49. And Carroll of the Independent grabs hold of the tale in his own inimitable way:

    Putin critic and opposition leader Alexei Navalny in intensive care after drinking ‘poisoned’ tea
    Plane carrying opposition leader is forced to make emergency landing after he falls sick mid-flight

    Oliver Carroll Moscow Correspondent @olliecarroll
    39 minutes ago

    No arsing around with Carroll, no “alleged” poisoning from that cnut!


    1. Not in the headline, anyway. And that’s what the punters see and then move on to the back page for the football results.


  50. Opposing the Russian regime — or the men around it — can be a dangerous business. Opposition politicians, activists, whistle-blowers, journalists and defectors have frequently found themselves jailed, injured, poisoned, or worse.


    Thanks for the reminder.


    1. More incompetent work by the GRU one commenter has posted.

      But in many the comments to the Carroll article indicate that the Russophobes are in a frothing-at-the-mouth frenzy.


        1. Already talk of treating Navalny abroad.

          What a surprise!

          No diagnosis, but Russian doctors are crap and Russian hospitals are shitholes — ain’t that the truth?


  51. One commenter writes:

    Hmmm Navalny the Western/CIA backed Russian ’Guaido’ has fallen out of the limelight of late. Three things could have happened.

    1 Putin could have indeed had him poisoned.

    2 He could have administered a substance that will make him unconscious but will not harm him so he’ll be released from hospital soon healthy enough to “tell his tale”, and by so doing try to climb back into the limelight.

    3 The US/UK poisoned him just as they did the Skripal’s because he no longer has the anti-Putin support and celebrity that he previously had and at least this way their asset is useful to the end, being the latest Skripal/Sturgess.

    Take your pick.

    I shall add a fourth possibility:

    4 Yukie SBU at work.

    Anything that denigrates Putin and Russia is to the benefit of Banderastan.

    Like shooting down an airliner after having had its route diverted over a war zone.

    Like having a nobody of a traitorous former Russian Intelligence officer poisoned in the UK by a “weapons grade” poison that is “only made in Russia”.


    1. A fifth possibility is that, like Arkady Babchenko’s murder stunt, Navalny’s sudden illness or poisoning was faked as part of a scheme, perhaps together with the SBU or the CIA, to discredit Moscow and at the same time achieve something else. What was he doing in Tomsk in the first place anyway?


      1. CBC is reporting with its usual impartiality. The news at 1000 EDST reports that Navalny has been poisoned. They seem sure.


        1. I cut and paste this from Twitter – not sure where the information is factual

          Enrico Kremlin-affiliated 🙂 Orthodox cross
          #Navalny is affected by a gastroenteritis caused by food poisoning (a virus or bacteria was inside something he ate) according to doctors in Omsk, he will be OK in matter of 48 hours.
          100.000 Russians get exactly this same illness every year.
          Case closed.


          1. Funny how these KGB FSB killers never quite seem to get their man.

            That must be because they are total incompetents, of course, or pissed up to the eyeballs on vodka.

            In fact, one of the seemingly few successful hits these dullards made was against Bandera — and even stranger is that the bastard was living in Munich at the time.

            That’s right — Munich in the American Zone of the former West Germany.

            Without any shadow of doubt, that piece of shit was under the watchful eye of security agents of the most powerful and smartest state in the world, not to mention the West German Federal Intelligence Service [BND], that bastard offspring of the CIA and former Nazi Sicherheitsdienst [SD] goons, the SS and the Gestapo, because those swine, former Nazis that they were, were also most definitely anti-commie.

            Now just how did those Russian retards manage that 1959 Munich wet job?

            Just got lucky for once?


          2. News is that Navalny has been allowed to go abroad for treatment, something which his doctor has been pushing for.

            He needs permission to leave the country as at present he is being investigated by the IC as regards his alleged criminal offence of slandering a veteran of the GPW.

            If he is charged with this offence and found guilty, he may go to prison. He is also on a suspended sentence — isn’t he always?

            Perhaps this is why he has suddenly been stricken with a sickness that apparently necessitates his leaving the country.

            And Sobol is apparently the boss of his “fund” now.

            Past his sell-by date, facing a custodial sentence, time to get out!


            1. If he is sick in a coma – how can he travel. Doctors surely can’t let a sick person out of hospital

              Just seems like such unnecessary drama. Health should be priority not all this seeking to make political capital.



                Навальный впал в кому. Он мог отравиться деревенским самогоном

                Navalny has gone into a coma. He could have been poisoned by village moonshine

                According to some reports, he was drinking moonshine in the village of Kaftanchikovo until 2 am

                “It’s a small dose of alcohol. Perhaps he had knocked back a couple of glasses of moonshine the day before. But we do not know anything about its quality”, political analyst Alexander Solukov told KP.

                “Probably there were some impurities. Or the product was poorly made. One more factor overlies this situation: Navalny has been depressed lately. He has dropped out of the agenda; nobody is interested in him; everyone has turned their attention to Belarus. One cannot travel abroad either. Covid has ruined vacation plans. Therefore, Navalny could have been taking antidepressants or sleeping pills. Combined with low-quality village alcohol, they could have given rise to such a reaction.”




                1. Oh, the poor dear! He’s depressed! Well, we mustn’t be hasty like the British pundits, who confidently proclaim he was poisoned – probably ‘the guy’ from Porton Down told them there was ‘absolutely no doubt’. We don’t want to fall into the same habit of reckless attribution. So, Navalny ‘may have been’ taking anti-depressants.

                  WHAT THE FUCK FOR??? He doesn’t have a job, but has a steady income which allows him to jet off to the USA at the snap of fingers, take exotic vacations and drive a nice car – with a driver, yet – and even when whatever he touches turns to shit the western press keeps making him out to be an amalgamation of King Solomon and Martin Luther King. He has, in short, a dream situation – he can say whatever he likes against his own government and it simply adds another suspended sentence to the strata accumulated, which seems to bother him not a whit, while the western media broadcasts it as a badge of honour. What could possibly be depressing him? If he just felt like going on a bender, so what? Nobody’s going to hold it against him! Jesus Christ on a crutch. Vote for Lyosha, the permanent victim.

                  I hope Sobol can do better than this. Otherwise we’re going to be told she was attacked with a state-sponsored anti-coagulant agent every 21 days.


                2. In that context, even water, if it hasn’t been properly purified, or improperly cooked food could have given Navalny gastroenteritis. Drinking moonshine with alcohol of dubious provenance and anti-depressants wouldn’t have helped either. Where was Navalny’s personal doctor when he needed her?


                3. The following comment appeared in a thread on the latest Russian Federation SitRep by Patrick Armstrong at Colonel Lang’ turcopolier site:

                  “From RT today on mr 5th column liberast named navalny.
                  “Independent Moscow daily Kommersant, citing Telegram channel Pod’yem, claimed doctors suspected the use of drugs along with alcohol, the night before, may be a factor in Navalny’s illness. However, his spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, rubbished these claims, saying the activist didn’t drink alcohol on Wednesday.”
                  I almost choked on my coffe when i read that denial from his handler😂

                  Posted by: Per | 20 August 2020 at 04:06 PM”


              2. “… Just seems like such unnecessary drama. Health should be priority not all this seeking to make political capital.”

                The people seeking to create political capital out of Navalny’s illness are the people around him who are supposed to protect him, if not Navalny himself.

                Perhaps if Navalny knows what’s good for him, he should be watching his back. As his usefulness to the West declines, his background with links to extremist nationalist and racist politics and political groups and his past history of lawsuits against him (especially the one involving Yves Rocher and his brother) might start coming to the fore. His frequent jaunts overseas to Spain and Switzerland and – horror or horrors – his sources of income, with the implication that some of his money might have been obtained by illegal means, will come under public as well as government scrutiny. He might need more than anti-depressants and stiff drinks in which to drown his sorrows. His “supporters” might turn against him and they could turn out to be more dangerous than the authorities he fears.


            2. There might be something to that, too; he himself may have intuited that he is not the ‘rising star’ he once was, and that eventually the state will decline to give him that one more suspended sentence, and just jug him for the duration. But it could also all be nothing, as James has suggested. Anything that impacts Navalny’s health is instantly deemed suspicious. You could fling open the bathroom door and catch him with a porn mag in one hand and his dick in the other, and somehow Putin and the FSB would get the blame.


              1. The Playboy Russia magazine would certainly be suspicious evidence of Kremlin-style trolling. On the other hand, if it were a Playboy USA edition, that might be evidence of Putin-Trump collusion.


                1. I should have added that if Navalny had been caught with the Playboy United Kingdom edition, why, that would be the fault of that horrid Jeremy Corbyn secretly scheming with Putin to regain the British Labour Party leadership.


  52. «Это была война. Это было кровопролитие»: Тихановская заявила о «войне» в Крыму. ВИДЕО
    20 часов назад Глеб Жуков

    “It was a war. It was bloodshed “: Tikhanovskaya has spoken about a” war” in the Crimea. VIDEO
    20 hours ago Gleb Zhukov

    She knows fuck all!

    She should stick to frying “cutlets”.


    1. “This was war. There was bloodshed” is a better translation.

      Two killed, as a matter of fact, both protagonists; both had their funerals on the same day in the same Russian Orthodox church.


  53. News from our favorite Crimean shipyard.

    BMPD: Спущено на воду кабельное судно «Вятка» проекта 15310 /Cable laying ship Project 15310 floated

    …Видимо, оба судна выводятся из сухого строительного дока завода «Залив» с целью освобождения дока для строительства двух универсальных десантных кораблей «Иван Рогов» и «Митрофан Москаленко» проекта 23900 (заводские номера 01901 и 01902), официально заложенных на предприятии 20 июля 2020 года…

    In short, floated a bit early to make space in the Zaliv shipyard dry dock for the construction of two universal landing craft. The second cable laying ship is also expected to be floated too in the coming few days. Plenty of work then.


  54. Neuters via Syria agrees to let Russia expand Hmeimim air base

    …The territory will be used for a “medical treatment and rehabilitation centre” for Russian air force staff, the document said.

    The territory, comprising eight hectares of land and a further eight hectares of coastal waters, will be granted to Russia on a temporary basis and at no cost, the document said. ..

    The naval base at Tartus next?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DW

      Alexei Navalny to be flown to Germany after suspected poisoning

      A German NGO is sending an air-ambulance with a coma-specialist team to pick up Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny. He was taken seriously ill while on a domestic flight.

      The same NGO flew out another “poisoned”, attention seeking bullshitting arsehole: Verzilov, former husband of bullshitting philosopher/performance artiste/feminist Tolokonnikova.

      Verzilov made a full recovery in Germany from his “poisoning “.

      Vorsprung durch Technik!


      1. And on and on it goes:

        Blogger Alexei Navalny’s press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, has said on Twitter that doctors had not given permission for his transportation. Navalny is now in a coma in a hospital in Omsk.

        “The aeroplane we organized for the evacuation of Alexei should land in an hour. The ban on the transportation of Navalny is an attempt on his life, which doctors are doing right now, and the lying government that has sanctioned this”, Yarmysh wrote.

        Yes, you read correctly!

        She wrote in Russian:

        «… это покушение на его жизнь, которое прямо сейчас совершают врачи, и лживая власть, которая это санкционировала».

        “… this an attempt on his life, which doctors are doing right now, and the lying government that has sanctioned this”.

        Murderous Russian doctors!

        Lying, murderous government!

        Get him to Germany before they kill him!!!!


          1. Can’t do that: once a Russian citizen, always a Russian citizen.

            For Christ’s sake, even that freak Maria Gessen was issued a new Russian passport back when she came back here from the USA to earn a fast buck.

            She couldn’t even earn a fast fuck, in my opinion: she’s got a face that would stop a train.

            And then, having received her Russian Federation passport, she whined that Еврейка [Jewess] was no longer in it, as there had been in her Soviet passport when she and her family buggered off to the USA when she was 14 years old — because of “Russian antisemitism”.

            And I refuse to call her “Masha”, which is a friendly diminutive of “Mary” and is the equivalent of “Molly” in English.

            Liked by 1 person

      2. How much more evidence is needed that he is a toady of the west? He’s barely even a Russian at all, and nobody should be in any doubt that if he ever achieved any measure of influence over policymaking in Russia, the place would be sold lock, stock and barrel to the west as quickly as he could bring it about. How do people not burst out laughing when he runs for office in Russia? He’s as western as Goldman Sachs and Doctor Pepper.


  55. The BBC, however, is careful enough not to state that Russian doctors are trying to kill Navalny:

    But the chief doctor at the hospital where he is being treated says the critic is not well enough to be moved.

    Navalny’s spokeswoman should be charged with slander after what the stupid cnut has Tweeted. about the malign intentions of Omsk hospital doctors.

    If I were the chief physician at that hospital, I certainly would.


    1. I mean if I were a doctor at that Omsk hospital, I would sue her for slander, not charge her with slander.

      And I tell you Stooges again: I have been hospitalized here 3 times in a state health service hospital and lived to tell the tale: no complaints whatsoever and I didn’t have to pay a penny for my treatment.

      Furthermore, my 3 children were all born in state maternity hospitals and they and their mother all survived the experience.


      1. It looks fairly simple to me. If Navalny cannot give his consent, then it is up to his wife who may or may not have the equivalent of ‘power of attorney’ to make the decision and be wholly responsible.

        What this looks like to me is the Navanly gang effectively saying that they a) have no say (a like); b) are not responsible for their own actions (another like); and c) are victims (yet another like). It’s their whole PR schtick. The western media is more than happy to parrot it, just like P*ssy Riot who can in no way be responsible for their actions because ‘Artists are immune from the law’ because of freedumb of expression. I wonder how far I’ll get the next time I’m in Cologne cathedral and attempt to take a dump on the altar…


        1. But it is a qualified success from the neverending campaign’s point of view – once again, everybody is talking about Lyosha. Including you and I. We and others in our camp think he is a dink who is whoring for attention, and I am prepared to defend that opinion, but Team Navalny does not care. It’s all about Get Noticed. Just like Khodorkovsky and his cynical lie about his dying mother so he could get sprung from jail and flee to Germany, there to immediately resume his agitating against the Russian government and indeed against the country itself. He didn’t care if people thought he was a skunk, as long as enough people sympathized with his liberal plans for Russia enough to allow him to get back to building his fortune.

          Navalny finally learned that there is no such thing as bad attention, and now whenever his fortunes are on the wane, you can count on something terrible happening to poor Lyosha at the hands of the Thug State. Unless his backers finally decide he has altogether outlived his usefulness, and let him be rubbed out.


          1. In Carroll’s of the Independent latest article on Navalny:

            In comments to the press on Friday morning, Dr Murakhovsky also said that “no benefit” would be gained from speaking to foreign experts. Moscow specialists were “no worse”, he claimed. Test results, available in two days, would give “complete information”.

            Mr Navalny’s colleagues say the chief doctor’s behaviour has been suspicious.

            “Two days,” said Mr Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh. “That is presumably the exact answer to the question of how much time is needed for the toxin to disappear from his body without trace.”

            So Yarmysh is toxicologist as well as spokeswoman for Navalny?


            Alexei Navalny: Aides accuse Russian officials of cover-up as doctor says ‘no trace’ of poison in Putin critic’s blood | The Independent



  56. Russia Observer: RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 20 AUGUST 2020

    RUSSIA AND COVID. Latest numbers: total cases 942K; total deaths 16,099; tests per 1 million 229K. Russia has done 33.5 million tests (third after China and USA); among countries with populations over 10M it’s done the most tests per million.

    SPUTNIK VACCINE. Bernhard covers the meretricious headlines in the Western media….

    The rest at the link.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw a funny picture yesterday; the accompanying text says “The Russian COVID vaccine has no side effects”. The picture is the iconic shirtless Putin, but he has a large pair of boobs. Nice ones, actually – I would never get any work done if I had them.

      I suppose we have to allow for good-natured mockery. But that seems to be the direction the press is going in as well, with the Russian vaccine; it would be willing to accept all manner of corner-cutting from a western country, but this – this is unsafe and dangerous, and we should make fun of it. The Russians are obviously eager to flog whatever snake-oil they have come up with because they are so jealous of the west (its freedoms, probably, or something) that they cannot bear for it to be first.

      Speaking of the west and its freedoms, BC Ferries is mandatory-masks-for-all starting August 24th. So in a couple of days, I shall have to don that stupid face-diaper in all but crew-only areas, and then can only remove it when we can properly ‘socially distance’. Wal-Mart went masks-mandatory a week or two ago, and it’s starting to gain momentum instead of easing off. So I can see pretty clearly ahead to a future in which all British Columbians will have to be masked whenever they leave their homes, and it looks like the masks crowd is digging in for the long haul, probably ‘until we have a vaccine’. That ought to make all the blue-hair busybodies happy. The impersonality of it is breathtaking; you can no longer tell if someone smiles at you, all you see is a pair of eyes and a cloth rectangle. And they have anticipated any insurrection in the form of sporting one of those ‘COVID 1984’ masks – any that are not company-issued (a black mask with an unobtrusive ‘BC Ferries’ logo on it in green) must be ‘approved’. And obviously any that suggest the wearer is contemptuous of all the impressive research which proves masks prevent the spread of The Virus will not be permitted.

      So forget Canadians’ near-legendary ‘niceness’, because it is melting away like spring snow. By the time we are allowed to proceed tentatively outside, blinking in the light of a mandatory-vaccinations dawn, we will be same bunch of surly pricks you find anywhere. Experiment successful, WHO and Bill Gates.


      1. No.1 showed me the meme a couple of days ago as it is also doing the rounds amongst the lo-land-po-lands here in u-Rope. I thought it was quite funny, but why did they give him substantial boobs rather than a pair of smaller cute ones? Yes, I’m over thinking this but if I slip on my freudian pipe and slippers I conclude that it is a) likely created by a man from eastern u-Rope+; b) quite subconcious – men like boobs, obvs; c) thus actually a compliment!; d) alternatively mocking men with boobs aka ‘moobs’ which is not very neo-liberal touchy-feely/woke and thus regressive and therefore supporting my supposition that the creator hails from the regressive east of u-Rope+.


  57. Patrick Armstrong Russia SITREP:

    PRISONS. Russia has a large prison population, but has been gradually reducing it. It has fallen below 500K which is about half what it was twenty years ago. But still high by European standards.

    And three times higher than that of the European country that has the highest prison population per capita, which is:

    England and Wales have the highest per capita prison population in Western Europe – 143 people per 100,000.


    1. The land of the free is no slouch either:

      The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,134 local jails, 218 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.

      The on-so-accurate BBC data is self-contradictory on the Russian incarceration rate and apparently based on old data showing much higher rates for Russia than the current rates. Note that the Russian prison “occupancy” rate is relatively low at 79.5% reflecting the declining incarceration rate while the US is over 100% occupancy suggesting a booming prison business.


      1. Per Wikipedia:

        Prison, parole, and probation operations generate an $81 billion annual cost to U.S. taxpayers, while police and court costs, bail bond fees, and prison phone fees generate another $100 billion in costs that are paid by individuals.[8]

        A $100 billion dollar annual shakedown! Impressive! Makes the mafia look like Friday Night Bingo.


    1. Navalny shits still playing it for all it’s worth despite the fact that a doctor at the Omsk hospital where Navalny is a patient has said:

      “We don’t mind his being transferred to another medical facility —one that relatives have chosen, and, of course, one that agrees to take the patient. However, we don’t think that Navalny actually needs the transfer. He can receive the required treatment and all the necessary care at this facility”.

      From RT:

      Russian doctors have already consulted with their German colleagues, who they say have agreed with their diagnosis and treatment. No toxins have been discovered in samples taken from the activist, they said.

      See :

      Russian doctors say Moscow protest leader Navalny’s condition has stabilized —he CAN be flown to Germany at family’s request


      1. “We have received numerous requests from relatives to allow the patient’s transportation despite the existing risks. These relatives, his wife and brother, who are fully aware of his diagnosis and condition, are ready to take the risks on themselves. Hence we decided at that moment not to object to the patient’s transfer to another hospital.”

        Deputy Chief Doctor Anatoly Kalinchenko.


        Siberian Medics Give Green Light to Transporting Alexei Navalny Abroad

        Save Navalny from certain death!

        Navalny must be taken out of Russia to Germany.!

        Putin wants him dead!!!!


        1. In Germany, he could suffer a “relapse” and, despite heroic efforts by the German medical staff, fall victim of Putin’s poisonous Novichok with a new and improved delayed action time release formula. His farewell note is probably already written.


          1. Why don’t they fly him to America and make him governor of some randomly-chosen state, if they’re so blown away by his leadership chops? It’d be good practice for him as future President of the Russian Federation, and Washington could proudly say that he is American-trained.


      2. All for show, then. As usual. What a pageant Russians could look forward to with Navalny as leader; it’d be like Home Box Office ‘Encore Avenue’, showing constant reruns of assassination attempts.


    1. The real dart in the heart there was “Why did people vote Trump? Because of you motherfuckers”. Amen, sister. The overhyped and sadly optimistic presidency of Barrack Obama, coupled with the revolving fucking disaster it turned out to be, added to the open avarice with which Hillary licked her chops in anticipation of unbridled power, is exactly what made people come out for the Republicans – without much thought about the vegetable representing them.

      Every election, the American people are sold on a package of “We’ve learned from our mistakes, and we’re going to straighten up and fly right”. And every time it is the same old thing all over again, corporatism out of control under a different banner. Because there were never any mistakes in the first place. It was deliberate.


      1. This is interesting:

        While the mainstream media have sought to downplay the impact of 2020 party conventions, polls showing President Donald Trump surging ahead as the Democrats held their virtual rally have them both stumped and spinning.

        So, Trump’s approval rating increased by 4 points with the increase apparently linked to the DNC convention (if the poll in question was truly representative). Interesting. Specifically, his approval grew from 47% to 51% of those likely to vote. However, the mail-in voting effort can change the fraction of “those likely to vote” so this will be interesting. BTW, we received a mail-in ballot for someone who apparently used our address. We can fill in the ballot with whom ever we want and mail back. Its not carousel voting or bused in voting but rather a new and innovative way to cheat the polls. USA USA USA!

        Although I did not watch any convention coverage, I understand that the message was that the Dems can help us deal with whatever problems we may have, unlike Trump who doesn’t given a damn about the little guy. This is where they may have erred. A lot of Americans DON’T WANT THE F’ING MEDIA AND WASHINGTON TELLING US WHAT TO DO AND WHEN TO DO IT. Just get out of our face!

        The Dems may be screwing it up again as before – playing the victimhood card while ignoring Americans who just want to work, raise a family and have a reasonably stable life free of the social change BS promoted by the Dems and the media.

        I had written off Trump but now I think he has a chance. The debates could be the deciding factor.


        1. Y’know, social media can create a market place for buying and selling mail-in ballots. $100 would entice a lot of poor youth or the old barely getting by or the hungry to sell their ballots. Easy money!


        2. Like I said, I am done with voting. It merely legitimizes a process whereby another ignorant fool is ‘chosen’ to lead us. The whole COVID debacle drew a line through voting for me forever, and it’s far from over – for some reason nobody can explain, health authorities around the world have united in their belief that the best way to eradicate a viral infection which is not even that dangerous is to suppress it until every last case on earth is recovered. In so doing, we all have to band together like brothers and sisters and wear our cloth masks that don’t do diddly to protect against an airborne virus, and don’t forget to be kind because We’re All In This Together. The latest I have heard is that it is supposed to encompass all of 2021, so we have at least another full year of masks and social distancing to look forward to. Don’t forget to clap and bang on a pot for the frontline workers.


    2. What is significant also is that as the article says, McGowan was the original #MeToo poster girl who outed Harvey Weinstein as a serial predator. No wonder people are up in arms against her on Twitter. The movement is starting to eat its own stars.


  58. The Week via The anti-war wing of both parties is dead

    Elect Joe Biden, former (Republican) Secretary of State Colin Powell said in his Democratic National Convention appearance Tuesday night, and he’ll “restore America’s leadership in the world.”

    Powell’s comments were followed by a video touting Biden’s friendship with the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), another heavyweight GOP hawk. Meanwhile, there’s a pro-Biden super PAC of George W. Bush administration alumni, and Biden has racked up support from a who’s who of neoconservatives (Bill Kristol, Max Boot, David Frum, Jennifer Rubin), as commentators left and right have observed….

    More at the link.

    This is not ‘news.’ Most of the are genocidal f/ks who are never responsible for their actions. Move on.

    t-Rump will announce ‘substantial troop cuts’ from i-Rack which he could have done at any time before an erection year…

    I think I briefly saw the headline ‘Where’s Tulsi Gabbard’ somewhere…

    And before I forget, I’d like to ask my fellow stooges what they think a potential Biden as president will blow up (abroad) first, i.e. their an orchestrated crisis? They certainly won’t renounce or back peddle on much of what the t-Rump administration has done (sic ‘China’) and will quite likely continue to support efforts to re-shore key industries by certain means or other. Russia bia Byelorussia, Ukraine or somewhere completely different. I expect a crisis with Russia at some point but they might just intelligently just leave that alone…


  59. BMPD: США оказывают давление на Индию по вопросам военно-технического сотрудничества с Россией/US pressures India over defense ties with Russia

    Как сообщает газета «Коммерсантъ», США ведут работу, чтобы Индия отказывалась в будущем от подписания крупных контрактов в сфере военно-технического сотрудничества с Россией, сообщил помощник государственного секретаря США по военно-политическим делам Кларк Купер. В качестве примера крупных покупок он привел зенитные ракетные системы С-400 и истребители Су-35…

    …Помощник госсекретаря утверждает, что США не стремятся нанести ущерб обороноспособности Индии и ее нацбезопасности. По его мнению, Индия может отказаться от российского оружия и техники в одночасье. Как передает агентство, господин Купер уклонился от прямого ответа на вопрос о том, рассматривают ли США возможность поставок Индии передвижных комплексов ПРО, зенитно-ракетных комплексов Patriot и истребителей F-35….

    Is Washington stupid or is this just the usual propaganda? I would guess that India sees it as the latter and are being told elsewhere not to worry. New Delhi has spent serious cash on US systems such as the P8A Anti-sub/recon/whatever, 10 or so very expensive C-17 Globemasters, Apaches and stuff. It’s not as if the USA is saying that they’ll stop providing parts or support if India continues to buy Russian.

    Are they really that paranoid about the S-400 or advertizing it?


  60. BBC one hour ago:

    Disturbing video appeared to show a stricken Mr Navalny howling in agony on the flight. Passenger Pavel Lebedev said he heard the activist “screaming in pain”.

    Give that man an Oscar!


    Alexei Navalny: Putin critic taken to airport for flight to Germany

    And the show goes on.

    I wonder why Russian libtards like to criticize members of the “regime” for undergoing treatment at foreign clinics or having their children educated abroad?

    Navalny’s daughter is at university in the USA.


    1. How strange of the murderous Orcs to use a poison that causes their victim to scream and howl in agony in mid-flight long after it had been administered before he had boarded his aeroplane and not to slay him silently and immediately so that all around him could witness the terrible vengeance of the Dark Lord.

      What is more, they failed: their victim did not die, just as the traitor Skripal did not die as a result of his having been poisoned by a “weapons grade” nerve agent, the most deadly incurable poison known to mankind and manufactured only in Russia.

      Navalny and his liberast acolytes piling it on thick — and childishly.

      Who the fuck do they think they are kidding?

      Dumb question!

      They are kidding those gullible, psyched-up Russophobic dullards of the “Free World”, those who believe that they live in the best of worlds that must ever be on guard against those malevolent dark forces that wish to deprive them of their “freedom and democracy”.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. They ought to have seen me jacknife across the bathroom floor like an out-of-control tractor-trailer while I was spewing my guts out during a legendary hangover years ago. And I wasn’t acting. I daresay I would have howled, too, if I thought it would do any good. A highly deceptive drink called the Velvet Hammer. Stay away from it. I don’t know what makes them think Navalny howling and Navalny suffering some ill effect from pissing it up all night long are mutually exclusive.

      Just die already, Navalny. Stop dragging it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  61. Cnut Carroll in today’s Independent:

    Will we ever know what happened to Putin critic Navalny
    1 hour ago

    Moscow has been blamed for a series of high-profile attacks that have often involved poison. But, Oliver Carroll writes, we’re unlikely to ever uncover the truth

    Authorities have offered limited, and often contradictory information. Their latest explanation for the Kremlin critic’s unconscious state borders on the absurd: metabolic imbalances caused by low blood sugar.

    How the fuck can Moscow offer an explanation yet? Surely that is the task of doctors, who have already stated that no evidence of poisoning exists.

    Nevertheless, according to the script, Navalny had to be and has indeed now been flown out of Mordor for Western treatment and away from that given by the murderous Orc doctors, who all follow the Dark Lord’s orders.

    Apparently Carroll is unaware that the present comatose state of the latest Putin “victim” was induced at the Omsk hospital where the bullshitter had been admitted for treatment after he had been screaming and howling whilst on board an aeroplane bound for Moscow and after his spokeswoman had been telling all and sundry that he had been poisoned.

    And get this off Carroll:

    What they aren’t doing is behaving like they have any interest in proving their innocence.

    The wanker is clearly also unaware of the concept “burden of proof”, albeit he clearly thinks that Moscow surely should suffer a burden of guilt as regards Navalny’s alleged poisoning.

    This so-called journalist obviously believes in proof by assertion, a fallacy whereby a proposition is repeatedly restated as being an irrefutable fact.


    1. Further shite from Carroll’s above article:

      Given past history and the nervousness of doctors, it does not seem too unreasonable an inference to assume Mr Navalny was poisoned — and that foul play was involved.

      The president’s twenty years in office is not an era associated with longevity of critics. Opposition politicians, journalists, businessmen and activists have all met their ends prematurely. There are several unproven, but mostly persuasive stories of poison being used against them.

      Mr Navalny meanwhile is a political heavyweight, with a huge following, and currently represents the most serious challenge to Mr Putin’s rule.

      He was attacked in the heart of Russia and in a place where federal hierarchies are hardly under question. It is hard to believe a systemic actor would carry out an operation without sign-off from above.

      He then backs off a little from pointing his finger at the president as having been responsible for the alleged poisoning of Navalny, quoting an “expert”:

      Against this is a contrary position: Mr Navalny was such an obvious enemy that Mr Putin stood to gain less from his death than he would lose by being associated with the crime.

      The contrast between the two positions distils down to an age-old question among Kremlin watchers: Just how much is Mr Putin actually in charge? Might sub-state actors, especially those who often fulfil outsourced security tasks for the Kremlin, have taken on another freelance task?

      These are mostly unanswerable questions.

      Certainly, much of Mr Navalny’s most sic work has been directed not at Mr Putin, but the strongmen oligarchs around him.

      “Navalny is a much bigger problem for the entourage than he is for Putin,” says Tatyana Stanovaya, director of the consultancy firm R.Politik, and an expert of the Russian political system. Ms Stanovaya says that she does not believe there could have been a presidential order: “My understanding is that Mr Putin does not see him as a serious threat. His entourage on the other hand frequently mistakes their own interest state for that of the state.”

      For R.Politic, see:

      For Tatyana Stanovaya, see:

      Carnegie Moscow Center — how surprising!

      Here is a sample of Stanovaya’s work:

      The Putin Regime Cracks
      May 7, 2020


      1. Carroll:

        The president’s twenty years in office is not an era associated with longevity of critics.

        Vladimir Vladimirovich has not been President of Russia for 20 years;


        1. Ah, but he didn’t say that, did he? Very clever of him. He said “President”. and “in office”. By which he probably meant ‘in office in politics, in different positions’, but which the reader would assume meant Putin has been president for twenty years – a long-term hanger-on, like Lukashenko! Time to sweep away the deadwood, by God, and get some fresh liberal thinking in politics!


    2. Carroll is just a sensationalist twat who writes snarky pieces which stoke the Russophobia of ignorant Britons. They deserve each other. Moscow should ‘prove’ its innocence to British journalists who do not believe a word that comes out of the mouth of any representative of ‘the Kremlin’. Just revoke their press passes and kick them all out of the country, and don’t let any back in. They could do that kind of crap reporting from anywhere.


  62. “The Putin Regime Cracks” — written very early on at the beginning of the shamdemic, when Stanovaya was clearly wetting her lips in anticipation of the “Regime” displaying incompetence in its handling of the epidemic, thereby causing the Orcs to rise in rebellion against the tyranny as the cadavers piled high in the streets.

    Almost 4 months after the “expert” had penned her article on May 7, I wonder what she will now say in the light of what has happened in the “Land of the Free” and in the UK, where cities in Northern England are once again undergoing “lockdown”?

    Liked by 1 person

  63. For easy reference and reminder sake.

    Vinyard the Saker: These are the real goals of the “Belarusian” opposition


    (Translated from Belarusian by Engländer)

    Reform of the National Security Sector

    Short description

    The situation both inside the country and around it is developing in an unfavourable way for the national interests of Belarus. The main threats to national security are caused by the growth of the Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy, Belarus’ participation in post-Soviet integrationist projects under the auspices of Russia, the domination of Russian media in the information space, and a low level of national consciousness among Belarusians.

    The fundamental vectors of reform of the existing state policy are the following: exit from integrationist unions that have Russia as a member; preservation and development of national cultural heritage and the Belarusian language; stable economic growth; a high level and quality of life for citizens; democratic system of leadership.

    As a result of this reform the dangers of outside interference and of a destabilisation of the situation in the country will decrease, as will attempts to split apart the society and the territorial integrity of Belarus….


    1. I see; they just want to go on their ownest own, wiv no allies. And the west so deeply values the Belarusian culture – that’s why they are pushing the opposition’s views. Not that the west would be in there in a second, ‘developing’ and tweaking and making the world safe for international investors. And of course there would be loads of bennies for the Belarusian pipples – they could go from being poor as Belarusians to being poor as Ukrainians, which would actually be a step up because they wouldn’t have to work to be poor.

      Washington is plainly not satisfied with keeping Ukraine out of the EAU; it wants to dismantle the alliance of all remaining members, leaving Russia alone. It is not allowed even to be a regional power. But of course it is expected to remain the main trading partner of an independent Belarus, supporting its independent ambitions with commerce, so that the west doesn’t have to and can simply seed it with American companies which will grow fat and rich on their cross-border investments. You know…I’m pretty sure I have heard this plan before.


  64. Viktor Tsoi: How a 33-year-old song became an anthem for change in Belarus

    For anyone watching the protests in Belarus, there is one song that keeps being heard in the crowds.

    Its name is Khochu Peremen. It’s a song about waiting for change, and it has deep resonance for millions of people across Eastern Europe. To understand its significance, you need to go back to a young boiler engineer in St Petersburg, who died 30 years ago.

    The boiler room where Viktor Tsoi worked in the 1980s is now something of a rock shrine. Tsoi’s day job was, however, not what made him famous.

    A 1987 film called Assa, which became a cult classic in the Soviet Union, highlights his importance. The film ends with a scene in which a young singer arrives at a restaurant and is read out all of the rules of being an official performer.

    Rather than standing and listening, he announces that he is a poet and leaves and joins his waiting band. As the song develops, the camera swings round to reveal Viktor and the band are playing to a huge crowd. The song is Khochu Peremen (Changes, or We Are Awaiting Changes).

    Caroline Ridler from Nottingham University has written about Tsoi and says this was the moment that brought him to a mass audience and made him a “symbol of change”.

    Tourists often take photos in front of a mural of Tsoi in Moscow

    Here are three of Vktor Tsoi and Kino’s classic hits:


    1. al-Beeb s’Allah: Viktor Tsoi: How a 33-year-old song became an anthem for change in Belarus

      ….Caroline Ridler says: “It has now become an anthem of political opposition.” But she adds that the image of Tsoi as a revolutionary is also inaccurate. From what he said, he had no intention for it to become a political anthem, or for him to be a revolutionary figure.

      “He was making the most of Glasnost and Perestroika. He was on state television. He benefited from what was going on. He said it was a song about inner change,” Ms Ridler says.

      Indeed, in many ways, this was far from subversive.

      “They were not banned, Assa was an official Soviet film and this was expressing official Soviet policy at the time,” says Ms Ridler…

      I’ve seen other articles that quote Ridler, but leave out this bit. For once no reason to s/t on the BBC. I guess that is their lot for the year.

      I saw the biopic ‘Leto’ recently (on frano/frog ARTE, I think). It’s director Kiril Serebrennikov (as has already been covered on this blog) became a cause celebre for the western hamsters because artists ‘cannot be found guilty of anything,’ particularly if they are Russian. Anyways, the film was not bad at all.


      1. Yes, Tsoi and his band, Kino, were fantastically popular in Russia, and not because he was a dissident. It was thinking-person’s music rather than mindless rock-and-roll (although there’s really nothing wrong with that, and it is enjoyable when you’re in the mood). But suggesting Tsoi was a tormented poet whose ambitions transcended his experience, and who penned songs as political statements intended to inspire struggles for western democracy make as much sense as suggesting Heart wrote “Barracuda” for Sarah Palin.


  65. The Hill: Gabbard says she ‘was not invited to participate in any way’ in Democratic convention

    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) confirmed Thursday evening that she was not invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention after she did not appear in any programming for the event this week.

    “You’re correct – I was not invited to participate in any way,” Gabbard tweeted in response to a post noting her absence from the four-day confab…

    War whores convention.


  66. DW on You-Know-Who:

    Alexei Navalny: A Russian dissident battles Kremlin, Putin

    Alexei Navalny is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent. The dissident blogger has increasingly used videos in his fight against the Kremlin and is seeking support for his movement in rural areas.

    Navalny was repeatedly arrested and charged with trumped-up financial crimes; he has twice been convicted of embezzlement — though the European Court of Human Rights has ruled the trials against him unlawful. He said the convictions were an attempt to sideline him politically: In 2018, authorities cited his criminal record whent [sic]they disqualified him from running for president. The Justice Ministry still has not formally registered Russia of the Future, the party he co-founded in 2012.

    I don’t think that’s quite true — rather the opposite in fact.

    The ECHR said that his human rights had been violated — for example, his having had to piss in a bucket whilst in a detention cell at the courts was an infringement of his human rights, poor thing — but said that there were grounds for the criminal charges laid against him.


    1. Lyosha’s Vladimir Putin’s ‘most prominent opponent’; gee, that’s good, considering his abysmal levels of support. I can only guess ‘most prominent’ is gauged by ‘mentioned most often in western newspapers’. By votes, which everyone knows are unimportant, it’s the Communist Party.


  67. Neuters via No. 2 U.S. diplomat to visit Russia, Lithuania to discuss Belarus

    The number two U.S. diplomat will visit Russia and Lithuania soon for talks on Belarus, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, as Washington seeks a peaceful resolution to that country’s election crisis that averts Russian intervention…

    …“I would guess the administration is trying to dissuade Moscow from either intervening on its own or using its influence with Lukashenko to encourage him to have a (more) violent crackdown,” said this source, also on condition of anonymity…

    …Experts say Washington seeks a larger role in a search for a negotiated resolution to the crisis…

    Oh dear god! Has the US mentioned this to Russia even? Probably not. There is absolutely nothing the US can bring except the next installment of a long line of disasters following American ‘help.’


    1. Who knows? As is the style today, it is attributed to ‘two sources familiar with the matter’. You don’t know who or how credible they are, or even if the venue simply made them up. Everything in the media now except the most basic material is done through leaks, and is unattributed.


  68. Via Moon of Alabama’s twatter:

    CCTV video shows that #Navalny got his beverage at the airport from his own personal secretary. Navalny sits down at the table and then his assistant brings him the cup. That was the only thing the Russian opposition figure had before the suspected poisoning.

    You see Navalny’s assistant getting him tea from a machine…

    Exfiltrated from Russia, infiltrated to Byelorussia as chosen president? If they can make s/t up, so can I.


    1. If Bernhard (MoA) turns out to be right and Navalny did indeed go into a diabetic coma (though I have also read in other online news that the coma was medically induced) then that is partly his fault and the fault of the people around him. He apparently knew that he had diabetes previously. That means he is still at a high risk for having the condition and even a small change in his routine or moderate stress could set it off again. Either he or his doctor should know that he needs to eat fairly regularly to maintain a stable blood sugar level and not go for long periods without food, especially if he has to travel by air and his flight might be delayed.


      1. It is entirely possible that the medical crisis was deliberate; without or without Navalny’s prior knowledge. Celebrities desperate to recapture fame may fake a kidnapping or have themselves shot under circumstances that make them look heroic or a helpless victim (obviously in such a manner as to be non-life threatening nor with permanent bodily damage). This may be an unlikely scenario but can not be ruled out.


        1. Among the various side-effects of taking cocaine, depression, lack of desire to eat, long-term kidney damage and risky behaviour (of the sort Patient Observer describes just above) are just some of the more alarming consequences.

          I note from the Stalkerzone article that the Navalny family seems highly dysfunctional: Navalny and his wife had a fight over his coke use and their daughter Daria is also experimenting with drugs. I have to pity the younger child Zakhar, being in such a family.


  69. Омский минздрав сообщил об алкоголе и кофеине в моче Навального
    22 августа 2020

    Omsk Ministry of Health reported about alcohol and caffeine in Navalny’s urine
    22 August 2020

    An analysis of the urine opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has been in a coma since August 20, has revealed alcohol and caffeine, according to the Omsk Regional Ministry of Health. However, oxybutyrates, barbiturates, strychnine, convulsive or synthetic poisons were not found in the body of the politician.

    Note that after the hospitalization of Mr. Navalny, a version appeared in a number of anonymous Telegram channels that the politician’s condition was caused by a combination of psychodysleptics and alcohol, which he allegedly took on the eve of the incident. In particular, “Life Shot” wrote that Mr. Navalny had been drinking in the village of Kaftanchikovo in the Tomsk region until about 2 am. However, Navalny’s press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, said the oppositionist did not drink or take any pills.

    “One of the versions of the patient’s condition was poisoning with an unidentified toxin. Therefore, tests were immediately taken for the presence of toxic substances in the body. Already today we can say for sure that oxybutyrates, barbiturates, strychnine, convulsive or synthetic poisons have not been found. Alcohol and caffeine were found in the urine (a more detailed report has been presented to those accompanying the patient)”, the regional Ministry of Health has said in a statement on VKontakte.

    The department confirmed the information that 2-ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate was found in surface washes from Mr. Navalny’s clothes and hands. However, this substance is non-toxic and had not been found in the patient’s biomaterials.

    The ministry added that they had the results of all examinations, samples of biological fluids, the results of anamnesis, as well as a description of the course of the treatment. Omsk doctors are ready to provide all this information to colleagues from the German clinic “Charité”, where Mr. Navalny is now.

    What, no faeces analysis?

    Surprising, because he’s full of shit.


        1. The statement made in the above vKontakte posting is mostly mocked by social networking libtards.

          Typical example:

          Did the FSB tell you that it was alcohol and caffeine? I think these are your modern methods. You should be ashamed of yourselves!

          Written by a hamster.


  70. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered the Russian government to provide the opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s wife Yulia with his medical card from the Omsk hospital, as well as to allow his doctor to see the politician and inform the judges about his treatment in Germany. A corresponding decision was published on the court’s website.

    It is noted that measures should be taken by noon on August 22, based on rule 39 of the rules of the court.

    What the hell does the ECHR think it is, ordering theRussian government to do this and do that for that arsehole Navalny?

    Of what import is this bullshitting foreign agent in Russia? Who gives a flying fuck about him here?

    So he’s ill. So fucking what! Tough shit!


    1. It’s only so that if the Russian government actually does it, as common courtesy would compel, then it looks as if it only grudgingly did it because it was ordered to do so by the European Court. If it gets its back up because it doesn’t like being ordered around by bucktoothed European eejits and refuses to comply, the European busybodies will go wild that Navalny’s family is being bullied and oppressed. Either way, it’s a no-lose scenario for the ECHR.

      Russia is a bit slow, because it could easily play the same game, and order European governments to do something that it is sure they were going to do anyway. A little research into national politics would provide it an advance warning that the Dutch government, say, was planning a new income supplement because of COVID’s effect on the economy, and suggest strongly that the Dutch government take better care of its citizens; maybe a better financial safety net is in order. Then if the Dutch government does it, it looks like it was Russia’s idea. Its only other choice is to scrap its plans, and Russia looks a model of fraternal concern while the Dutch government look like pricks. Anyone could do it – you just need to know what the government is going to do before it announces it to the public, and then slap in a quick order for them to do it. Great fun.

      Once again, Russia would probably benefit in the long run by kicking out foreign journalists. They could do their crap reporting from Prague just as well, since those actually on-scene almost never bother to find out what is actually going on, and just run with the narrative they get from their tame activists. And there’s no penalty for reporting bullshit. So just invite them to clear out their desks and leave.


      1. Yes, that seems to be the game – I order you to do something [that I know you would do anyway]. Good, if transparent, way to puff up perceived power.

        Regarding running the western “journalists” out of Russia, as odious as they are, it may be better to have them inside of Russia where their schemes can be monitored and their continued presence removes several arrows fro the Western propaganda quiver. Besides, it has been said that the best “propaganda” the Russian government has is to simply allow allow the western journalists and their drones (Navalny etc.) to spew their views (Crimea must given to Ukraine being particularly helpful).


        1. Well, it’s certainly good for anti-western sentiment within Russia. The west must be pretty dozy if it cannot grasp that its shrieking about Russian barbarism and corruption is making it much harder for any positive western views to gain any traction at all, while western initiatives are regarded with the deepest suspicion.


  71. I spy HAMSTERS!!!

    Фотография Алексея Навального из автобуса аэропорта Томска. К тому времени он уже побывал в кофейне и только заходит в самолет. Источник: ТГ-канал Baza

    Photo of Alexei Navalny from the Tomsk airport bus. By that time, he had already visited the coffee shop and was just getting on the plane. Source: TG-channel Baza



      1. Better give him a new one of every transplantable organ, just to be safe. We all know how important it is in ‘COVID times’ that everyone feels completely safe. And then keep him in Germany for the rest of his life, where the healthcare system is obviously top-hole.


    1. JHC!

      Speaking of the Committee [that paid for Navalny’s German medical soiree], it includes several well-known faces in Russia –Mikhail Gorbachev as honorary Chairman, Garry Kasparov, and the Klitschko brothers as members of the international committee.

      To think, I bought that Gorbachev shit when he was in power. I wonder if his intention was, from the beginning, to destroy Russia/USSR or he was “recruited” for that purpose at some point.

      Liked by 1 person


    In a study whose key findings were first published by the Independent, the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) surveyed nurses and managers working in 163 care homes across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

    The staff at 70 care homes, 43 percent of those surveyed, said that they received patients discharged from hospitals who were not tested for Covid-19 during March and April, when the outbreak first hit the country and peaked. A fifth of care homes said they received patients who tested positive.

    The study revealed that in some cases, seriously ill patents were brought into care homes from the hospitals even when the homes warned that they were incapable of looking after them. One nurse reported “constant pressure to admit people who were Covid-positive.” Another similarly said that “the acute sector pushed us to take untested admission.”

    The staff reported that hospitals instructed them to change the status of all residents to “do not resuscitate.” One nurse said that such guidelines would “automatically” apply to all suspected or confirmed Covid-19 patients. Some of the surveyed nurses said that they refused to comply and challenged the instructions as “unethical.”

    My take is that the big wigs wanted to maximize the Covid-19 crisis by killing as many people as possible. That jerkoff Cuomo did the same thing in NYC. Needless to say, but I will say it anyway, if something like that happened in Russia, the “civilized” world would be outraged, sanctions would be imposed and the perpetrators would be branded as genocidal sociopaths. Wait, that would be the proper response…

    Speaking of the civilized world:

    Portland police have explained why they chose not to intervene in violent clashes between heavily armed right- and left-wing groups, insisting they “willingly engaged in physical interactions” which “quickly resolved themselves.”

    WTF? If people “willingly” try to hurt/kill each other, then it’s OK? That makes it a victimless crime? Meanwhile the rest of the city cowers in fear and business go out of business. Is that how it works? Freedom Baby! Yeah!

    I think I finally get it. The Bolsheviks tried to diminish if not eradicate the Russian culture by using Russia wealth to promote non-Russian cultures in an effort to create a cultural gray goo that could be molded into a new and shiny socialist culture free of “baggage” such as religion, history, family values, etc. Of course, they failed but did a lot of damage along the way.

    The western Bolsheviks are doing the same in the US, promoting values and beliefs at odds with the mainstream culture (a composite of diluted European values but still a distinct culture) to reach that same gray goo to allow transplants of new values based on gender identify and self-absorption/narcissism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just reading Matthew Raphael Johnson’s “Russian Populist: The Political Thought of Vladimir Putin” – very impressive (both the book and Putin’s political thought).
      He summarises Putin’s principles of state regeneration as.
      1. Nationalism and self sufficiency – eliminate all debt and outlaw the global capitalists, IMF, NGOs and the likes of Soros as well as all corrupt oligarchs – most moved along with their money to either the USA, Britain or Israel.
      2. [Traditional] family as the basis of a cohesive, stable and prosperous society.
      3. Embrace traditionalism – modernisation to be handled carefully – it is a prison that has destroyed all [millions] within it.
      4. The middle class remains the centre of national regeneration – not the state (i.e. exact opposite to the nation-destroying tactics of the treacherous minions SchloMo, Andrews et al in Australia)
      5. Promotion of physical and mental health of the broad population.
      6. Promotion of concept of responsibility – freedom exists only within responsibility and virtue. “Freedom and virtue are two side of the same coin”.
      “Those who advocate war should be held responsible. Those who demanded privatisation of Russia in the 1990 and implemented the practice should be held responsible [think of the likes of Browder, Khodorkovsky] – they have not been held accountable.”

      … which I guess makes him both a traditionalist and a ‘fascist’ (an over-demonised word in the CFR’s lexicon of double speak – they don’t like self-sufficient nationalism – hence why Antifa type group hate Putin so much.)


      1. There’s a lot of discussion at Straight Line Logic on the deliberate torching of the global economy and the accelerated printing of technically-worthless fiat currencies, real science-fiction stuff that you can’t completely believe is real. But maybe it is. Try this to start.

        That same blog predicts an exodus to the East similar to the fleeing to the west of all the oligarchs with their money, to establish robber capitalism that has ultimately burned itself out as there is nothing left worth consuming.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Read a few posts and all seemed consistent with the various analyses on this blog. I was expecting something about lizard people, the Anunnaki and the Pleiadians. The article about the rise and, now, fall of Hollywood and California was enlightening. The role of Thomas Edison in mucking up the movie industry was especially interesting.


      2. It should be said that of all the various socio-economic groupings in society, the middle class most needs state subsidisation (in the form of free or near-free education, healthcare, public transport, financial and legal assistance to small businesses, to suggest a few examples) compared to other groups for its survival. Wealthy people don’t need state assistance and in a society where the middle class should be the largest group, to the extent that it is considered “normal” or is de facto synonymous with “working class”, economic inequalities would be so minimal that the middle class would be the only class or the major class. The poor need some combination of state help and voluntary help to meet basic needs for food, health, shelter, clothing and some education to be able to participate in society to the extent they can afford to have families.

        We have to be very careful about how we define “traditional families” because it may mean something different in Russia and other nations with a Christian Orthodox tradition from what the concept means in nations with a Protestant tradition. In nations with highly individualist religious and/or social traditions, a traditional family consists of two generations (parents and children); in nations with collective traditions, a traditional family may be more fluid in its definition and need not be restricted to three generations (grandparents, parents, children) and might even extend to a clan network. This could form a basis for a new elite to arise.

        In most cultures in the Americas before 1492, and in Australia before the 1770s, family structures and genealogies were extremely varied: some reckoned descent through the male side, some through the female side, and some even used both to determine family and clan networks and membership of certain kinship groups (not necessarily related by blood) to determine who could marry whom (to avoid accidental incest).

        The role of kinship groups in Australian Aboriginal cultures:

        It has to be said that in some North American Plains cultures, homosexual men could take on women’s roles and even marry other men and raise families (by adopting children).

        Berdaches in Plains Indian cultures in North America:

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have a rather simple definition of a “traditional” family and it is all about who raises the children. A traditional family or an extended version of that family raises the children. To be clear, development of a child’s values and world view are not provided by commercial/private organizations (mass media, entertainment industry, Disneyland, Facebook YouTube, etc) nor Alexa nor government institutions except in the case of orphans. Values in family-centric child rearing will tend to be stable and not subject to whipsawed by social fads nor ideologies of the day. Religion’s role, if nothing else, is to provide a social inertia able to resist radical redefinition of values driven by invariably short-term and exploitative social manipulations.

          Or, putting it another way, not having children raised in a totalitarian society of which the US is becoming a textbook example.


        2. Thank you for that most informative post, Jen

          Of course, I don’t have the answers – only perceptions based on one’s own upbringing – which resonates with everything I have read about or heard from Vladimir Putin. I just toss in a few pebbles where I can.

          One word that keeps coming up is *“decency”*.

          I particularly like his impromptu Q&A sessions with children and youths. A few of my favourites:

          *• “I work so that you could be happy” – Putin to a young couple in public Q&A*

          *• The Most Important Thing In “My Orchestra” Is Decency – Putin To Young Russian Conductor*

          “Traditional” – words are so hard to define—maybe “conservative” would be equally appropriate.

          *• Putin on societal values and morals*

          **• “Conservatism is that which does not get in the way of moving forward and upward, but does prevent from sliding backwards and downwards.”**


        3. They hardly ever say the Russian word for “cousin” here: they say “brother” or “sister”. In any case, the Russian for “cousin” sort of translates into “second bother”/“second sister” and there’s none of this “third cousin” stuff and so on.

          And there are no “Great Uncles” and Great Aunts” and so on: they are ALL grandads and grandmas!

          My children speak of my nephews and nieces as their English brothers and sisters. And my great nephew and nieces are to my children their nephews and nieces.

          So my Sasha, who is now 12, on learning that my niece had had a baby last year, cried out in Russian: “Hurrah! I’m an aunty”.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. When I tell my wife that I am my great nephew and niece’s great uncle, she insists (in Russian) that I am their granddad. I tell her that I am their grandma’s brother not her husband Joe, my brother-in-law. My wife just says that both Joe and I are the granddads of my great nephew and great niece.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Basically, Russians call all the elderly “Grandfather” or “Grandmother” out of respect for their older generation. Likewise “Aunt” and “Uncle”, who are your parents’ brothers and sisters. And the same goes for your grandparents’ brothers and sisters and none of this “Great Uncle”/ “Great Aunt” malarkey.

              My wife had two very elderly “Aunts” whom she addressed in the friendly form of “aunt” in Russian. However, they were her “Great-Great Aunts”, her grandfather’s sisters.

              Of course, Russians can and sometimes do address the elderly as as “Grandad” etc. in a mocking way. It’s the same in English — at least it is where I come from, e.g. “What are having to drink, Granddad?” and “Hell’s bells, Granddad, stop bloody moaning!””

              As a matter of fact, the English word “dad” has its roots in Proto-European and has cognates in other European languages, though at times it is sometimes hidden.

              For example, the Russian word for “father” is отец [pronounced something like uh-tyets]. This word has the Russian prefix “от”, which in this case indicates affection/tenderness; the rest of the word evolves from тятя [pronounced tya-tya and which means “daddy”.

              My now 21-year-old son, when speaking to me in English, used to call me until quite recently “daddy” until, that is, much to my regret, I told my wife that if he addressed me as “daddy” in the UK, folk might laugh at him.

              She went and told him and he stopped calling me “daddy”.

              I liked him calling me “daddy”.

              And again, in my old neck of the woods, it was not uncommon to call with affection any elderly man “dad”, so long as he wasn’t a pain-in-the-arse old grump.

              Like what I am!

              Liked by 1 person

      3. “Today it is important to renew the economic and legal foundation of traditional forms of farming. For the native peoples of the north, this is not just a means of production. It is foundation of their spirituality, their very way of life, and the preservation of the unique culture of the native peoples of the north. I was happy to see one of the villages where representatives of these native people live, not far from Salekhard. I must say that it was pleasing so see how people live in these villages. I hope that this is not the only village of this kind in the north. We do not have the right to lose the unique national and cultural richness of these ethnic groups that live here.”

        V. V. Putin 2004 “Address to Representatives of the Northern Territories” Kremlin Archives
        (cited with thanks from Matthew Raphael Johnson – “Russian Populist”)

        (I wanted to highlight the broader sense in which President Putin embraces traditionalism.)


    1. Martyanov should speak his mind more freely about Mr. Axe:) Yes, it was a damn good read. I liked the swipe at Tom Clancy as well – a cheaply manufactured “author” pumping out military pulp fiction. See; its not “government propaganda” but private enterprise propaganda so it must be better/truer and market-tested, by golly!

      The discussion about Russian hypersonic missiles triggered a memory about that DoD guy who got into trouble for giving a talk on the US aircraft carrier having a Coid-19 issue. The captain was relieved of duty and the Dod dude came into rally the troops. What I remember were words to the effect that “you should be worried about Russian hypersonic missies and not this virus”. Very PC not.


      1. I saw Axe’s stuff years ago when he was starting out and it always had a tabloid (popular, easy to read & …simplifed) writing style about it. As much as I appreciate Martynov, he’s giving Axe the oxygen of publicity. For me the question is not really about Axe (of which there are quite a few in this vein), rather it is why monied publications chose to elevate this kind of writing. The most obvious answer is clickbait. Stuff needs to be paid for so if it is easy to read and thus shared more, $$$ towards the bottom line. It’s certainly much easier than paying much more for someone with some real chops.

        But then again, one of the joys of writing for yourself (and everybody else) is ‘the rant.’ No-one of any serious calibre takes anything Axe writes without a very large pinch of salt…


        1. Here, Felgenhauer takes some beating as regards his pontifications on military matters, about which he is considered an “expert” in the Western media.

          Felgenhauer graduated as a biologist. He styles himself as an “independent defence anslyst” and writes columns in “Novaya Gazeta”.

          His daughter is a journalist at “Ekho Moskvy”.

          How unsurprising!


    2. …a single Poseidon, even with conventional warhead, or 2-4 Kinzhals or 3M22 Zircons to guarantee a Pkill=0.99 for any US Navy’s CVN and I mean not a soft kill, but a complete destruction and sinking.

      My ignorance may show here but sinking a CVN could take more hits than 2-4 Kinzhals with 500 kG warheads. True, the warhead can penetrate to any depth desired in the hull and then explode. 1 or 2 hits will disable the ship I would think and 3-4 may render it a burning hulk but to cause massive flooding is another thing,

      Fan boys will point out that lasers will easily handle the attack. That, and cloaking devices to make the CVN invisible, will make the Russians look stupid. If that is not enough, the CVN can engage its warp engines to outrun the missiles or create a temporal rift in the space-time continuum and jump forward about 15 minutes so that the missiles will splash empty ocean.


  73. RT

    Russian doctors say German hospital congratulated them for ‘saving Navalny’s life’, confirm that no poison was found
    August 24, 08:15 GMT

    Misleading headline: nothing in the article about German doctors confirming the Omsk doctors’ statement that no poison was found.

    Note how in Omsk the Navalny hamster arseholes started protesting outside the hospital where their idol lay, demanding an immediate diagnosis, more exactly, a diagnosis stating that the bullshitting lying bastard and US agent had been poisoned.

    Outside the Berlin Charité Hospital, where Navalny now lies, things are somewhat different:

    And immediately, the hysteria of the domestic [in Russia — ME] opposition vanished at once, no one is running around the hospital and demanding a diagnosis “here and now”, especially since the German doctors prudently sent everyone away and said that there will be no diagnosis before Monday.


    Stalker Zone
    August 23, 2020


    1. It’s time to get real – you can no longer instantly believe anything you read or hear or see in the news, because a substantial amount of it is just made up to suit the narrative. Almost nothing is attributed anymore to a verifiable source, for a simple reason; the authors of the piece know critical thinkers will check. So it’s always someone who ‘declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the record’, or some such guff that essentially says they are not going to tell you where they heard it. Because you will check. If you can’t check it, assume it is not accurate.

      Spinners were bewildered when they offered photographic evidence of Russian tanks crossing the border into Ukraine, and within hours someone had mockingly demonstrated the picture was taken years earlier and in a different country (2008 rather than when it was purported to be, and in Georgia rather than Ukraine). American politicians were furious, not at being hoodwinked by the Ukrainian delegation, but at having the deception exposed.

      You have to look at every news item now as if it were evidence offered relative to a crime, and you are the detective. If it’s obviously just hearsay – or even less-obviously, such as in the oft-drawn-upon ‘sources cannot be named for reasons of national security’ – you must weigh it in the traditional fashion; who benefits? What’s the media outlet’s record on truthfulness and fact-checking? Try using the New York Times as a benchmark. Of a news source whose reaction to a news tip is to shout it from the rooftops without verifying anything, UNLESS the story has potential to upset or embarrass the US government, in which case that authority is offered the option of spiking it. As to the allegation itself; means, motive and opportunity. What’s the score on those relative to the highest levels of the Russian government ordering the poisoning of Navalny, after having repeatedly declined to throw him in prison for his near-constant flouting of the law? What would be its motive? He’s a nobody whose repeated provocations draw more amusement than support except outside Russia, where he is some kind of superhero. And once again, why poison when there are so many other ways of knocking him off in a fashion which would be immune from realistic suspicion?

      The news is basically all-entertainment now, and blatant push-pull influence operations. If the author won’t provide a source, or if the source is offered but is unreliable and the information provided cannot be verified, assume it is just more of the same.


      1. US propaganda is like its currency – the more it prints out of thin air the less value it will have.

        The only value US MSM news has to me is to identify those areas important to its agenda and specifically where there may be difficulty in achieving its goals.


        1. Canadian news is no different. We have people who are supposedly doctors claiming that the science shows masks work (to protect against coronavirus) – I saw a clip today featuring some elderly Irish chap. He inquired, wasn’t it funny, when the ‘pandemic’ first hit in March and April, there was no call for mandatory masking. When it was at its peak, in May, there were no calls for mandatory masking. In June, when deaths from coronavirus began to dwindle and ‘cases’ was substituted for ‘deaths’ in order to show that the numbers were still going up, up, up…there was no pressure for mandatory masking. Now, in August, the authorities are hot for masks, and the momentum is on their side as the frightened public increases its cries for the authorities to make everyone mask up whenever they leave their homes – otherwise, without the leverage of law, the ‘maskholes’ and the ‘covidiots’ will go right on imperiling the health of their neighbours.

          Like I said before, I’m going to remember that when it’s time for elections. And when the envelopes come in the mail, soliciting support for this charity or that appeal. Anyway, the Irish chap speculated that the increased cries for mandatory masking are designed to keep the fear factor high. And just incidentally, to get us accustomed to wearing them, because our ministers have already said they expect it to last right through 2021, unless a vaccine floats in on silver wings to save us.

          No scientific study has ever demonstrated that masks and only masks – especially non-medical cloth masks that are made of everything from the same fabric as T-shirts to the same fabric as underwear – are effective in preventing coronavirus. The medical ‘expert’ for CNN – who is in fact a pediatrician – claims the only facility for cloth masks is to prevent the spread of droplets from an ill person so he/she is less likely to transmit the virus to someone else. Against the much-feared ‘asymptomatic carrier’ that shows no symptoms and perhaps does not know he/she is ill, cloth masks are completely ineffective. As I have often offered, people who are spewing snot from their nose and mouth are too sick to be out and about, and should be in quarantine. Most people who are now wearing masks are wearing them for no reason other than that the government and medical authorities urge them to, to display their concern for others. But, as I also said, the authorities are feeling their way cautiously, and the more establishments that specify no-mask-no-service, the more comfortable the public becomes with having to wear a mask everywhere.


  74. Here we go again!


    A German government spokesman said on Monday that it was likely that Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned.

    “The suspicion is… that somebody poisoned Mr Navalny — that somebody seriously poisoned Mr Navalny — which, unfortunately, there are some examples of in recent Russian history, so the world takes this suspicion very seriously,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

    Alexei Navalny ‘likely poisoned,’ German government says

    So Seibert speaks for “the world”?

    Because I was told fairy tales for a number of years, it is likely that there are fairies at the bottom of my garden, or, at least, I am very suspicious that there are.


    1. Ah, it’s ‘likely’, that famous legal term that applies to Russia and has the equivalent of ‘fact.’ Looking at the various headlines (which is always a mistake) there are numerous differences of wording that either make it look ‘more’ likely or ‘less likely’ but still ‘likely.’ Here’s a question though, does the German statement say ‘likely’ or is this a ‘free interpretation’?