Look Out the Left, the Captain Said: the Capture of Roman Protasevich

Wink
Uncle Volodya says, “He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.”

Star bright, star bright, you got the lovin’ that I like;
Turn this crazy bird around…
Should not have got on this flight tonight

From “This Flight Tonight“, by Nazareth

For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.

Noam Chomsky, from ” Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World 

When news happens, there is a rush on the part of the press to get it out there, hopefully so that their paper or reporter is the one to bring it to you first. This race to be your headline eye-candy king is greatly simplified by having a preformed narrative bias – if we did it, or one of our close allies did it, it was either good or it was an honest mistake; you have to laugh, really, our intentions were so good and look how it turned out. If our enemies did it, or even those who are in arrears on their friendship dues, it’s because they are rotten to the marrow of their wicked bones, and of course there was the basest of evil intent behind it. The story almost writes itself, you just need to plug in a few assumed facts here and there, wind up with a bit of soulful off-the-cuff analysis, maybe a reasonably-safe prediction (“there will be consequences”, said a government source who cannot be named…), et voila!

I usually don’t like to do that. Well, partly it’s because I am often too busy to sit down and write the moment I hear something; I just don’t have the time. But also, I like to give it a couple of days – often, there are major changes in the original storyline, which I often heard entirely one side of anyway, and sometimes there is a complete and embarrassing reversal, in which I would have been complicit had I jumped on the bandwagon.

This story is not like that. There have been some major revelations and mitigations, but we are still left with a lot of questions. Let’s start out with what we know, or think we know. The description of events lifted straight from TASS seems to me to describe the ‘known knowns’ – to borrow from legendary cold warrior Donald Rumsfeld – as well as any I have seen, or at least it more or less encapsulates what I know;

Protasevich was detained on May 23. On that day, a Vilnius-bound Ryanair plane that took off from Athens made an emergency landing at Minsk International Airport after a reported bomb threat. After the landing, the plane was inspected and no bomb was found on board. Among the passengers on that flight was Protasevich who was wanted by Belarusian authorities. Protasevich was detained by law enforcement agents once the plane had landed in the Belarusian capital. Russian national Sofia Sapega was also detained together with him.

However, there is a great deal more to the story than that, and you can usually make a fairly safe bet that when an immediate western pile-on ensues – given its typically lackadaisical organization where domestic and international affairs are concerned – there is something about it that plays directly to its interests, rather than the non-partisan by-Jove-we-will-have-fair-play-wot-wot that it pretends.

And there was a lot of that; a lot of fist-shaking and blustering about ‘air piracy’ and ‘hijacking’, a lot of hyperbole by sources who would pretty much be living on government assistance programs if hyperbole was not allowed. Serial fabricator and English gasbag Luke Harding, for instance. He has more or less abandoned journalism altogether in favour of waiting for major events to fall in his lap, and simply stringing together a series of comments on them. Here’s a fine example:

Friends have wryly noted that the thunderous and very public manner of his arrest is in keeping with his outsized career and personality. “Everything he does is loud,” Nicolai Khalezin, who has known him for a decade, said. “The riot police came and arrested me. Roma got a fighter jet.”

Anyone with an ounce of journalistic integrity, and a brain that exceeded roughly the same deadweight, would know a couple of things which would have precluded putting one’s real name to such tosh. One, the riot police do not patrol or execute offsite arrests; they provide security at events which have the potential to turn into riots, and when they do, arrest people who showed up; therefore, Khalezin has attributed ‘came’ to the wrong authority. If he ‘came’ to a protest and it got out of hand, perhaps the riot police arrested him there. If he was arrested somewhere other than at such an event, it probably was not by the riot police. But that’s semantics. What I particularly wanted to point out is that escort of civil aviation which is making an emergency landing, owing to a potentially dangerous situation onboard, by a military aircraft is standard procedure since the momentous events of 9-11. The polite and peaceful Canadians go so far as to suggest sending two fighter planes is ‘an appropriate response’.

Maj. Holly Apostoliuk said NORAD officials don’t have time to verify a threat is genuine before responding. “Considering the time available when information is received about a potential threat to an aircraft, one does not have time for a full investigation, and neither would anyone want us to do so,” Apostoliuk told The Canadian Press. “The point is, based on the information, to do all we can to ensure a safe landing of the aircraft.”

Quite. This would seem to be affirmed by Air Traffic Organization policy guidance in the event of a bomb threat received while the aircraft is airborne.

  • When information is received from any source that a bomb has been placed on, in, or near an aircraft for the purpose of damaging or destroying such aircraft, notify the supervisor or facility manager. If the threat is general in nature, handle it as a suspicious activity. When the threat is targeted against a specific aircraft and you are in contact with that aircraft, take the following actions as appropriate:
    1. Advise the pilot of the threat.
    2. Report the threat to the Domestic Events Network (DEN) Air Traffic Security Coordinator (ATSC) via (202) 493-4170. If unable to contact the DEN ATSC notify the Transportation Security Administration/Transportation Security Operation Center (TSA/TSOC) directly at 703-563-3400.
    3. Ask if the pilot desires to climb or descend to an altitude that would equalize or reduce the outside air pressure/existing cabin air pressure differential. Obtain and relay an appropriate clearance considering minimum en route altitude (MEA), minimum obstruction clearance altitude (MOCA), minimum reception altitude (MRA), and weather.

NOTE − Equalizing existing cabin air pressure with outside air pressure is a key step which the pilot may wish to take to minimize the damage potential of a bomb.

    1. Handle the aircraft as an emergency, and/or provide the most expeditious handling possible with respect to the safety of other aircraft, weather conditions, ground facilities, and personnel.

NOTE − Emergency handling is discretionary and should be based on the situation. With certain types of threats, plans may call for a low-key action or response.

  1. Obtain and relay clearance to a new destination, if requested.
  2. When a pilot requests technical assistance or if it is apparent that such assistance is needed, do NOT suggest what actions the pilot should take concerning a bomb, but obtain the following information and notify the supervisor who will contact the DEN ATSC or TSA/TSOC as explained in a2 above.

Going back for a moment to Harding’s gasbaggery, there was nothing ‘thunderous’ about the manner of his arrest; it is even possible the Belarusian authorities did not know Protasevich was aboard. He managed to get off the plane without any extra attention at all; it was when the passengers were invited to re-board the aircraft after it had been searched for the bomb that, unsurprisingly, was not discovered that passengers had to present their passports. And it was at this point that Protasevich and his Russian squeeze were arrested. But Protasevich is Belarusian, and has frequently claimed he intends to return – presumably when Guaido-Tikhanouskaya has made a wealthy democratic freedom paradise of it. There was theoretically nothing to prevent him from simply walking away from the holding area, and disappearing in the country of which he is a native, exiting at some later point when security might be expected to be a little less alert.

Much attention has focused on the message received which warned of a bomb aboard. As soon as I saw the map of the air track, I asked, “Why didn’t they simply go on to Vilnius? It’s much closer, and obviously the airport is equipped to handle aircraft of that size”. But apparently the crew of the aircraft were specifically threatened that if they tried to land at Vilnius, disaster would ensue. That left Minsk – conveniently, some say – the closest airport able to handle large international aircraft and having all the necessary emergency organization and equipment, such as crash wagons and so forth.

Some quickly suggested Minsk sent the email itself, so as to concoct an excuse to grab Protasevich, and that the whole thing was a setup established with the goal of getting him.

However, questions quickly arise around that as well, and an excellent resource for resolving some is the material posted by Bernhard Horstmann at the comprehensive newsblog Moon of Alabama. As some have commented, Moon of Alabama has far more about it of investigative journalism than the assembled bobblehead ‘journalists’ of the western press, and this effort is no exception.

As detailed therein, the email was sent to the address of the Minsk International Airport from a protonmail address. The message read as follows:

“We, Hamas soldiers, demand that Israel cease fire in the Gaza Strip. We demand that the European Union abandon its support for Israel in this war. We know that the participants of Delphi Economic Forum are returning home on May 23 via flight FR4978. A bomb has been planted onto this aircraft. If you don’t meet our demands the bomb will explode on May 23 over Vilnius. Allahu Akbar.”

Again, convenient, many will smirk. But I submit it is believable. So far as I am aware nobody has denied that participants in the Delphi Forum were aboard, although their list of supporters raises no particular red flags of corporate sponsorship of Israel (except, perhaps, for Lockheed-Martin, but they tend to spread donor cash with a generous hand). A particularly atrocious series of airstrikes against the Palestinians by Israel had indeed just taken place. The specific flight is identified by number. It might indeed have been a fake, but…who’s going to be brave enough to dismiss it as a fake and do nothing, when every international procedure demanded that Minsk behave exactly as it did?

Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Dossier Center quickly pumped out a mocking accusation that the email had actually been received by Minsk, according to its metadata, after Minsk had already announced the threat to the flight and recommended it divert to Minsk. I think you will agree it is unlikely anyone who could dream up such an elegant trap would have stumbled owing to such a stupid mistake. According to the official statement by the Belarusian government, they were not aware Protasevich was on board.

“According to the Belarusian top diplomat, the country’s authorities did not know that Roman Protasevich, one of the co-founders of the Nexta Telegram channel, which was recognized as extremist in Belarus, and his Russian girlfriend Sofia Sapega were among the passengers. “These two persons were detained after they had passed through customs and border control to board the plane after it had been checked. So, there are no links between these events. I think that we see deliberate attempts to link these things to the plane’s landing after a bomb threat,” he stressed.

He rejected allegations that the plane’s landing had been organized by the Belarusian authorities to detain Protasevich. “I learned about the plane’s landing and the detention of these persons from the news,” the minister noted. “Many officials, those who are in a position to know about such things, knew about the bomb threats but the detention was reported in the evening. Initially, we had no information about it.”

Confusion has arisen over the apparent transmission of two emails, one of which was the original and upon whichHow to draw a prisoner Minsk claims to have acted immediately as international procedures mandate, and a ‘copy’, which was received somewhat later. I recommend readers read all of MOA’s post. As he also points out, the version in which Minsk came up with a phony email after it had already contacted the plane is the one currently assumed to be accurate in the west, appealing as it does to confirmation bias – that’s just what they would do, so they probably did, because they are not freedom-lovers like us.

This might be a good place to discuss – if the Belarusian government actually did make the whole thing up just to snare Protasevich…what of it? Absolutely it flies in the face of international aviation procedures to deliberately do such a thing. But has that ever stopped those who are shouting the loudest over what a crime it is? Let’s review, again using Moon of Alabama’s excellent resources; mmm…in 1954, Israel forced down a Syrian plane so it could use the captured passengers as hostages to exchange for Israeli soldiers. Illegally detaining civilians to exchange them for soldiers presumably captured on combat operations: what was that about The Most Moral Army In The World? France diverted a Morocco-Spain civil air flight to French-owned Algiers in order to arrest an Algerian Independence leader in 1957. In 2010 the USA closed its airspace to an Aeromexico flight from Paris to Mexico City, and the flight was diverted to Canada, where a passenger was arrested and extradited to the United States; we’re quite a reliable partner for that sort of thing, and international travelers should keep it in mind – just avoiding the United States is probably not enough. More recently, and much better known, all of Europe collaborated with the United States to force down the official presidential aircraft of the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, on a flight from Moscow because furious US government officials became convinced that famous domestic-surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden was hiding onboard. Totally and completely against diplomatic and common-international procedures, but I didn’t even see an official apology, never mind an acknowledgment that it was illegal. In 2016, in a case of mistaken identity, Kiev sent military aircraft after a flight which had departed Kiev and forced it to return, on suspicion a passenger it wished to arrest was aboard. And only last year, Kiev concocted an elaborate ruse to capture Russian mercenaries it had contracted itself through advertising, by diverting their flight from Minsk to Turkey and forcing it to land in Kiev. It should be pretty clear by now that the west and its allies do not give a tin weasel about obeying the law or following procedure when the possibility of a dramatic arrest is in the offing. What’s that old parable? When the law is in your favour, pound on the law. When the law is against you, pound on the table.

Did Minsk have any reason to detain Protasevich, other than his efforts as a minor irritant at the helm of NEXTA, another of those “stand up for freedom of the oppressed” outlets which endeavor to foster the belief that expat candidates who performed dismally in an election actually won it, but were just faked out by the ‘authorities’? I’ll say they did. By his own admission in this interview – in Russian, selected English translation by Moscow Exile – he was an active-service combatant, in Eastern Ukraine, of Azov Battalion.

“When the war broke out in eastern Ukraine, I couldn’t stay away…I tried to join the “Donbass” battalion, but it didn’t work out: I couldn’t get through to the phone numbers listed on the social network. Then I learnt that the Belarusian squad “Pagonia” was recruiting volunteers to take part in the fighting in the ATO. I wrote to them…After some time, I was invited to an interview. I had no military education and no experience in combat. I’m a journalist.

“Pagonia” is not an independent combat unit. It is rather a popular organization, an association of warring Belarusians. After the volunteers have been selected, they are sent to the Ukrainian volunteer battalions…The selection process consists of questionnaires, interviews, and psychological tests. The questions are designed in such a way that sooner or later a person will be exposed by some trifling matter if he is lying.

Then the volunteers go through combined-arms training, but without weapons…I had the opportunity to get into “Azov”, “Aidar” or “Donbass”. I was in the very first set, so I ended up in Azov . I arrived in the Ukraine in July. We received tactical and medical training in the battalion. Then there was a training course for a new recruit and then his deployment in the ATO. Now recruits train according to the latest methods: they take the “Azov-Spartan” course. This is based on the United States Navy SEAL training course . This is a serious test. People who have problems with psychological endurance are eliminated at this stage.”

Plenty of photographs have emerged of Protasevich in military fatigues, armed and festooned with extra ammunition magazines, and on parade with combat units at a national ceremony with military participation. It’s perfectly true that you can do anything with PhotoShop these days, and I encourage the unconvinced to thoroughly explore any possibility the photos are faked, but I suggest it is an unlikely prospect given his own proud admission of having served with Azov.

Is Azov a terrorist organization? Agencies in the United States and Ukraine have pretzelated themselves in attempts to argue it is not, using comically-specious arguments such as the ideological Atlantic Council’s deflections that since it is now a regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it cannot correctly be called a ‘paramilitary unit’.

“What the authors call a “Ukrainian Azov Battalion,” where they add a description of it as “a paramilitary unit,” is, in fact, a Special Operations Detachment “Azov”—a regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard that is part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This means that Azov is neither a paramilitary unit nor has any independence from the state, but that it is an integral part of official structures and that it follows orders given by the Interior Ministry…But the authors produce no clear proof of ongoing links between American right-wing terrorists and a unit within Ukraine’s Interior Ministry. To label that unit “a foreign terrorist organization under federal law” would be a grave mistake and a gift to the Kremlin. “

My, yes; if you do this, you’re only doing what Putin wants, I swear that is getting competitive for The Oldest Trick In The Book. I ask you to note also that while the article appears under the auspices of The Atlantic Council – which is already nutty enough on the subject of everything evil in the world having its roots in Russia – it is by a Ukrainian author who has a more specific genre; all the Nazi extremists are in Russia. Not in Ukraine. There are no Nazis there, especially not in Azov…whatever they are. Certainly not a paramilitary organization.

Similarly, the Counter-Extremism Project argued loudly that Azov must not be designated a terrorist organization. Kind of makes you wonder why, although their regimental symbol is the Wolfsangel or ‘Wolf’s Hook’ of Nazi distinction – never, to the very best of my knowledge, worn by an military unit other than German SS infantry and armored divisions, until now – western organizations argue strenuously that they are not white supremacists or Nazi aficionados.

Anyway, the Counter-Extremism Project presents a similar argument – originally, they might have been Nazi fans, but that’s not the same organization at all as the one which currently exists, and isn’t even called Azov Battalion anymore.

It is not my intention to go into semantics here as “Azov Battalion” no longer exists. I recognize Rep. Slotkin’s effort and will assume she meant the Azov Regiment or to be more precise—the Azov Movement, a much broader and amorphous entity. The intention to designate such a social movement, however, is challenging.”

Also includes the jaw-dropping avowal, Ukraine has nothing to gain from hosting any entity that could be deemed by the United States as terrorist as Ukraine seeks U.S. security assistance.Ukraine had already burned dozens and perhaps hundreds of unarmed protesters alive in the Trade Union Building in Odessa; onsite video recorded armed Ukrainians shooting at people huddled on ledges outside flame-belching windows although the official Ukrainian account swore devoutly they were there to help with rescue efforts. Fascist organizers set the building afire although it was afterward blamed on the protesters inside trying to throw firebombs out the windows, despite the existence of videos showing young girls filling beverage bottles with gas outside in the courtyard after the protesters had already fled inside and could not escape.

The collective action of the western media was to pretend it never happened or to accept the official Ukrainian version that it was all a tragic accident perpetrated by anti-Ukrainian protesters.

Anyway, we were talking about Belarus, not Ukraine. The point I was trying to make is that Protasevich is linked, by his own admission, to an extremist military unit in Ukraine which 40 members of the US Congress petitioned to have designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Predictably, it went nowhere, as doing anything to tie the hands of anti-Russian allies is a non-starter in the United States. For Minsk, simply letting him go unchallenged would be like the United States letting a known al Qaeda footsoldier fly into Maine, enjoy a lobster dinner and buy some souvenir miniature lighthouse carvings, and fly out again. Not very likely. Once Minsk knew Protasevich was among the passengers, it was inevitable that he would be arrested, as he was a wanted man in Minsk – to do otherwise would be inexplicable for any country or authority under the same circumstances.

But when did they know – and how? Aaahh…now that’s a question, isn’t it? Few buy that it was merely coincidence that brought the KGB and Protasevich to the same point in space and time, and most believe it was a setup – note I did not imply that the cover story was true, merely that it is believable. Some have speculated that it was a western operation, and that Potato-head was sacrificed to the cause of ratcheting up sanctions against Belarus. If so, that was a pretty spectacular failure, if I must say so – although it greatly served the cause of convincing Lukashenko that he has no real friends in the west, and that his best chance of dodging the regime-change bandwagon lies in an alliance with Russia. But Protasevich has been singing like a canary. Among his disclosures is his accusation that he was indeed set up, but by his own side. According to him, the mastermind behind his denouement is one Daniel Bogdanovich, a ‘member of Svetlana Tihanovskaya’s entourage‘. In Russian, again translated to English by Moscow Exile:

“Former head of the Belarusian opposition resource NEXTA, Roman Protasevich, has named the man whom he suspects of being behind the aeroplane provocation. He spoke about this on Thursday, June 3, in a film, presented by the ONT TV channel.

“This person is Daniel Bogdanovich from Svetlana Tihanovskaya’s entourage. It was with him that there were conflicting relations. He also knew that I would be returning by a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius”, Protasevich told a journalist of the TV channel.”

Although airline passenger manifests are notoriously difficult to access unless you are the US Department of State, or an organization with similarly large ones to swing, I daresay quite a few people knew Protasevich would be on that flight; like most young liberal leaners, he is a prolific tweeter, and imagines his personal doings are of absorbing interest to the world. So simply knowing he would be on that plane is hardly evidence of culpability.

On the other hand, the Guaido-Tikhanouskaya opposition movement is faltering and rudderless; in February she wept for an international audience that the opposition had ‘lost the streets‘. The Belarusian government-in-exile badly needs a timely ‘incident’ to focus international attention once again on Belarus, and renew pressure on Lukashenko to step down. A tightening of sanctions against Minsk would be a Godsend.

Sometimes, the ‘largeness’ of one’s personality marks one down for the role of martyr rather than messiah. Sometimes, Roma…it’s just business.

856 thoughts on “Look Out the Left, the Captain Said: the Capture of Roman Protasevich

  1. Terrific article, Mark. Thanks for your great work. Your conclusion seems accurate. My minor quibble would be to note that the most vicious struggles are usually internecine and disposal of enemies preemptively is just business as usual. Tie that in with getting access to shrinking sources of funding and there’s more chance of fraternal considerations in a pond full of cannibal piranhas than in a failing group of political exiles.

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    1. “My minor quibble” is awful – apologies. I should have tried to express myself better. If I had a “retake” – like in primary school playground games – I’d say something like “My tuppenceworth…”

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    2. Yes, it occurred to me this morning that if there is anyone who loathes Protasevich, it’s Navalny. After his tremendous surge in recognition, if not popularity, now he is just another zek whiling away the hours and counting the days until his penance is done. Protasevich has sucked all the air out of the room, getting arrested by a fighter plane and fighting for his life in a crowded airport full of jackbooted KGB thugs, where Navalny just exclaimed peevishly, “Either I’m arrested or I’m not arrested – if I’m not arrested, I’m going.” I haven’t seen a single mention of him for weeks in the press, it’s like he never existed. Kind of like he was before Novichok made him an overnight star.

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      1. He was 45 the other day an’ all and sweet FA about him amongst his former panting, Western press fanboys.

        There are quite a few Russian bloggers commenting about him, though, saying he’s dead in the water.

        His Instagrams are still pumping out shite, especially on his recent birthday, with pictures of him and the Statuesque Blonde and his sprogs, all well posed, for it is not he, who is creating these Instagram posts, not in a concentration camp he is not.

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  2. And now we read that Protasevich himself forecast back in 2015 that Lukashenko would easily win reelection, and that the opposition was a bunch of distracted wet ends.

    https://anti-empire.com/protasevich-told-radio-free-europe-that-majority-of-belarusians-will-reelect-lukashenko/

    Looking at the photograph included, let’s recall that Protasevich also claimed, after the fact, that yes; Azov had allowed him to carry a ‘light machine gun’, but he was essentially a non-combatant who spent most of his time at ‘the base’. What he is carrying in the photo appears to be an RPK-74, which is not your grandmother’s fetish machine gun, and if it was just a posey shot for the girls back home, stuffing three extra magazines in his vest was a nice authentic touch. Fully loaded, he is carrying at least 180 rounds of 5.45x39mm ammunition, which seems a little surplus to requirements for hanging around at the base.

    Protasevich moaned that the elections were rigged, as you would expect from any good dissident, and that the proles would vote their stomachs as they always do – but his contempt for the opposition was palpable.

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  3. For the western agencies & media, all roads lead to Russia/Byelorussia/our enemies Rome, regardless of any facts that come to light after the the initial narrative setting claims.

    A great roundup Mark!

    The Pork Pie News Networks are still engaging in lies of omission though their words have become more careful over this story, particularly that the plane was ‘forced down.’ They no longer claim that a Byleorussian Mig-29 forced it down but say that one was sent up, but do not provide any other information that might elucidate so we are left with the impression that it was a military threat without the PPNN having expressly said so.

    Why is this bit interesting (for me at least)? According to procedure as you have pointed to above that happens in other countries, in the case of an interception and an escort the intercepting aircrat should be to the left and ahead of the airliner, so in the pilot’s (captain in the left seat) line of vision. From all the ‘witness’ reporting, not a single one saw the Mig-29! if they had it would have been all over the media but instead silence… This was most likely because the Mig was trailing the airliner out of sight, quite possibly because it didn’t get there in time and possibly the flight was already close to the border. This in turn would risk a ‘diplomatic incident’ of a Byelorussian military aircraft penetrating Lithuanian air space ‘without authorization’ even if the airliner ultimately didn’t. Hanging back and observing in that case makes sense.

    What other silence do we have from the PPNN who should be asking questions? Lithuania has been very tight lipped about the emails. Not even a confirmation or a denial. Now that’s very strange indeed. But normal. All this stuff has to be made public to the ICAO for a proper investigation if it is to have any credibility.

    The biggest red flag of all for me? The EU’s ultimate sanction to ban Belavia from flying in to the EU! For ‘air piracy.’ For threatening the lives of 160 passengers. For ‘hijacking’ etc. etc. The action(s) nowhere near matches the claimed crime. It’s almost as if they are embarassed and this is the minimal Do Something! move. Maybe they’re quite slow in realizing that they have snookered themselves vis-a-vis Byelorus. Just never admit you are wrong…

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    1. The strongest case for it having been a sacrificial setup in which the opposition gave them Protasevich in order to make a big stink about his capture would be if a concerted effort to impose crippling sanctions came from Europe. But that’s if the effort was successful. It’s possible the EU senses the voters are tired of endless sanctions that never seem to accomplish anything and have become a substitute for real diplomacy. It looks, however, most likely that it was indeed a setup by somebody – why would ‘Hamas’ wait until the aircraft was three-quarters through its journey to generate its warning? Remember, an aim of terrorism is to panic the population into bringing about some action without necessarily doing more than threatening – imposing conditions where they would probably have to blow up the plane without realizing any of their aims argues against the Hamas link being real. Did they think all of Europe would agree to abandon its support for Israel in the short time left before the plane was over Vilnius? I don’t know how much longer the flight had to go, it might be worth checking, but it was a hell of a lot less than the time it took to fly to Minsk instead.

      Ideally, a threat would be leveled after the plane took off but before it reached the halfway point; far enough out that it makes no sense to turn back, but leaving enough time for the politicians to deliberate. It certainly seems as if the message was timed to ensure Minsk would be the only sensible destination.

      You’re right, though, that the official EU response was extremely wimpy. It will do absolutely nothing toward overthrowing Lukashenko, while it has inspired a lot of questions over what Minsk could have been expected to do differently, while Protasevich’s apparently candid and unforced confessions might even strengthen Lukashenko’s position. Imagine the flap if he gave Protasevich a cabinet position or some minor ministry!

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      1. “… I don’t know how much longer the flight had to go, it might be worth checking, but it was a hell of a lot less than the time it took to fly to Minsk instead …”

        Seeing this remark prompted me to look up the fastest, non-stop flight time between Athens and Vilnius, and that happens to be 2 hours 50 minutes if you fly Ryanair, the only major airline that undertakes such flights. This makes you wonder why and what business it is of an Irish-based airline to fly from Athens to Vilnius and back when most other major European airlines and a Turkish airline include connecting stops in other European capitals like Frankfurt or Copenhagen.

        So let’s say the flight time that Protasevich and Sapega would have flown (if the bomb hoax threat hadn’t been made) is rounded up to 3 hours to allow for weather and other factors slowing down the plane. Looking at this map, we can guess that the plane is in Ukrainian airspace halfway through the trip and is flying over Belarus in its last 45 minutes. The flight could have been about 10 – 15 minutes away from Vilnius before diverting to Minsk.

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        1. Ryanair management directed the flight to Minsk – no involvement by Belarus in that decision. Wonder of wonders why Ryanair management has not been implicated in the plot. It is between likely and highly likely there was collaboration with Putin. Probably part of Germany’s abject surrender as evidenced by completion of Putin’s pipeline It is highly likely Putin is smirking like crazy.

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  4. al-Beeb s’Allah: US to stop seizing reporters’ records in leak investigations
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-57371402

    The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has said it is ending a long-standing practice of secretly obtaining reporters’ records during investigations into the leaking of classified information.

    It happened under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

    But the use of subpoenas and court orders to obtain journalists’ records came under growing scrutiny this year….
    ####

    Noooo! Not O-Bomber! He’s so cool, even if he launched a war against whistleblowers and switched from overt war to covert war and massively increased the uses of drone killings. He’s so cool! 😦

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    1. My guess is that under the present circumstances journalists who might attract the ire of the establishment have learned to not to store information in their official records which might be of interest to intelligence agencies looking to milk them for contacts/associations/tipoffs. Consequently their records no longer yield much useful intelligence. Might as well makes some lemonade by declaring ostentatiously that such nefarious hijinks will be off-limits in future. You know as well as I that the practice would covertly resume in a New York minute if it was expected to pay any dividends. If the US government is anything when it pretends to take the high road, it is amusing. Surveillance once established is seldom abandoned, and then only when the snooper is certain that actionable information will not reappear.

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      1. What’s the difference again?

        The Hill via Antiwar.com: WaPo publisher slams ‘unprecedented assault’ on media by Biden DOJ
        https://thehill.com/homenews/media/557084-washington-post-publisher-slams-unprecedented-assault-on-american-media-by

        …However, on Friday, David McCraw, a lawyer representing journalists for the Times, said that the Biden administration had imposed a gag order on the reporters in order to prevent the probes from becoming public and unsuccessfully attempted to obtain their email logs.

        “This escalation, on Biden’s watch, represents an unprecedented assault on American news organizations and their efforts to inform the public about government wrongdoing,” Ryan wrote…
        ###

        Me thinks he doth protest too much.

        The behavior of corporate media laundering and peddling unverified propaganda straight from the horse’s mouth over the last few years, serving as an uncritical arm of US foreign policy should at least tell us that they are not the White Knights they like to portray themselves as. They’re happy to dish it out, but when it comes to criticizing their behavior and outright lies, that’s a different story entirely, because they’re precious.

        Like

        1. And after they were so nice to Biden, helping him steal…er, win the election. What is the world coming to, when you can’t even trust your own fellow elitists?

          It’s like that ride at the fair, the one that swings in lazy parabolas higher and higher, filled with screaming people. It swings in an arc aided by its own weight, higher, higher…and then that weight becomes too much to sustain, and it swings back. That’s where America is right now – at the top of that arc, struggling to go on rising but handicapped by its own deadweight, and finally falling. The decline has been evident through a decade of out-of-control money-printing, but we’re getting near the top of the arc now and it’s just too heavy to keep climbing. When the fall comes it will be swift and deep.

          In the meantime, Biden did the people a favour – those who were depending on WaPo to ‘keep themselves informed’ could hardly do worse. Cheaper than hiring someone to lie to you live in the comfort of your own home, I suppose, but about the same result.

          Like

  5. Yeah, I jumped the gun assuming it as a clever, if extreme, trap by Belarus to catch Protasevich. It was a trap, that part is likely true. However, the trap-setter is still an open question (the probability of a Hamas email is close to zero). Mark called it.

    As noted by other commentators, the tepid European response suggests that they were not the organizers leaving the culprit as an insider either settling a score or seeking advancement in the ranks.

    The failing effort and possibility of being “fired” for non-performance can trigger all sorts of infighting. The perpetrator can go to his master and smirk at his cleverness of turning a near-worthless asset (Protasevich) into a short term gain. Too bad Protasevich is telling all and with hardly any prodding. Goes to show that there is NOTHING noble about their work – its just about money, power and pleasing their masters.

    It must all bring a smile to Putin and Lukashenko as the fearsome color revolution machine seizes up and grinds to a halt.

    Like

    1. While in Athens, Protasevich was the photographer in Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s entourage. He took photos of her posing against various particular background scenes, like the Parthenon and the Acropolis.

      If, as Protasevich says, the person who outed him is Daniil Bogdanovich who is also supposed to be close to Tikhanovskaya, that probably suggests there are people behind Tikhanovskaya jostling for influence over her agenda and policies, and she is just the front (as we all suspect anyway) for that program.

      Like

    2. Well, steady on – let’s not be hasty. It still could have been Belarus. But if so, this was a dazzling op that deserves applause; they covered their tracks beautifully and had all their ducks in a row so that squeals of fury are easily refuted with, “Sorry; internationally-accepted and enforced procedures demanded that we act exactly as we did”. When you receive a bomb threat, you act. That’s doctrine. Look, though, at who received it – Athens, the airport from which the aircraft departed. Vilnius, its destination. And Minsk, where it was obviously intended by whoever sent the email that it should land. Any other airports on or near the route addressees? Not that I’m aware.

      Belarus, also as far as I’m aware, has next to no intelligence-gathering presence in Europe and the Balkans. It would have been extremely difficult for them to put that end of it together, if I am not underestimating them. Passenger manifests, as I mentioned before, are hard to get, and Minsk would look extremely stupid if they went through that whole plan and he was not aboard, although on the other hand, nobody need ever have known that was the objective if that were the case, It would just be an international rescue effort, a quick search and they’d be on their way. But it seems pretty apparent Minsk was deliberately included.

      As you say, the sluggish response from Europe suggests it was not them, although the usual yappers were fairly quick to jump on the accusations bandwagon. But that is largely reflex now – if the aim was an excuse to impose more sanctions, Europe would have reacted much more decisively. So that leaves the Belarusian opposition, as Protasevich himself suspects.

      But we should cast our net wider, and ask ourselves, Cui Bono? Survey says…Russia. A decisive and completely-unjustified spanking by Europe would infuriate Lukashenko, and curtail his flirting with the west, while making him view stronger ties with Russia in a more imperative manner. Russia has a far-flung international intelligence network which keeps a weather eye on everyone’s dissidents and their movements – remember, it was the Russian intelligence services who warned the Americans about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a warning they failed to take seriously, getting the Boston Marathon bombing for their laxity. Russia would have been most likely to know where Protasevich was and where he was going and when, thanks to his Twitter feed; I don’t think he realizes how much information he gives away on social media. If it was Russia who pulled it off – realizing the dual benefits of allowing Minsk to bag an irritating liberal dissident and criminal, and driving Lukashenko closer to Moscow – then that makes the notion that Minsk had no idea Protasevich was onboard extremely believable. They might not have known, but his passport would have put up an immediate red flag.

      The other potential suspect is the usual one – the Americans. They have a compelling motive to kick Europe in the pants and get them moving on sanctions and backing Tikhanouskaya, because they are still highly motivated to regime-change Lukashenko out of existence and hand-pick a western-friendly government which will tighten the encirclement of Russia. Obviously, they have the assets and resources to have known of Protasevich’s movements – that’s likely where a lot of his paychecks come from – plus the law-enforcement muscle to get passenger manifests anytime, anywhere just by growling ‘national security’ and reminding the airline employees to keep their stupid pieholes closed afterward.

      Hamas would not have preselected their diversion airport for them, even if they could have come up with a device which would cause the plane to explode over Vilnius. They would have either let it blow up (most likely) and claimed responsibility afterward – although they are still walking a fine line of hoping for some international sympathy, and such an action would only harden support for Israel – or simply told them it would explode over Vilnius, you figure it out. But whoever sent the email pretending to be Hamas sent it to Athens, Vilnius…and Minsk. Nowhere else.

      I would say Europe is probably out, with the possible exception of the UK – it does little trade with Belarus itself, was one of the first to start shouting in indignation, and could not care less now about irritating the EU. I think the most likely suspects are Minsk, Moscow and Washington, with the possibility it was the Belarusian opposition as Protasevich complained. But that’d be a lot of fast-moving and organization for just a couple of guys with no intelligence network (unless they approached someone else’s), and Tikhanouskaya herself comes across as a delusional self-entitled tit who believes her own absurd hype.

      Lots of possibilities.

      Like

      1. Lots of possibilities.

        …including that Prostate, Roman was a double agent or volunteered his services at some point. If he wanted to get out (‘done my time’), get out as a ‘victim’ would be genius. But a double agent for whom? I could certainly see Russia covering for Byelorus for reasons as you point out above.

        Either way, it is a damp squib. u-Rope flip-flopped. If it was to bounce Brussels/whatever in to decisive action, it failed. If it was to energized the Byelorussian opposition movement, it failed. If it was to undermine Lukyshenko, it failed. American sanctions, fail.

        The opps have been demanding sanctions on Byelorussian potash exports, a significant earner for it but that is cutting your nose off to spite your face, just how the Americans like it. If we can’t have it, nobody can. Burn it to the ground. To me clearly u-Rope – whatever they believe – have decided to tread carefully and not deliberately tank the Byleorussian economy that might send ‘waves’ of refugees across the EU border.

        Just coming out of this self-inflicted COVID bollox, u-Rope is at its weakest and most vulnerable. If we consider it from that perspective, then it woz the American wot did it. Divide and Rule. A more split u-Rope can never come to an basic security agreement with Russia, something the US fears almost as much as Russia+China, let alone a u-Rope ‘Lisbon to Vladivostok.’

        Like

  6. https://www.rt.com/usa/525803-musk-anonymous-bitcoin-threat/

    A group claiming to be part of the Anonymous movement has called for war with Elon Musk, accusing the Tesla founder of manipulating cryptocurrencies, among other alleged sins, and suggesting that he faces a battle ahead. …
    [Anonymous say] “But recently, your carefully created public image is being exposed, and people are beginning to see you as nothing more than another narcissistic rich dude who is desperate for attention.”

    First, Musk did not found Tesla nor design the Model 3 which was the breakout vehicle in the EV world. He gained control on an existing company (named Tesla) and drove the founders and the actual designers out). He then began rewriting history to cast him as the founder of Tesla and the originator of all all ideas cool.

    Musk fulfills the need for a messiah to guide us to nirvana in an atheistic age. Perhaps that is his true, sociopathic, insight. Colonies on Mars, hyperloop travel, endless solar energy,. You name the problem and Musk has a seductive solution and a river of fan boys and fawning MSM media to spread his gospel. It is all BS and I mean ALL.

    This bubble will pop soon and here is one of the pins:

    Like

  7. Wow; as provocative a couple of paragraphs as I have ever heard from Putin. Courtesy of Club Orlov;

    “We are hearing threats coming out of US Congress and elsewhere. This is happening in the course of internal political processes within the USA. The people who make these threats are assuming, it would seem, that the power of the USA, its economic, military and political power, is such that this isn’t serious, that they will survive this. That’s what they think. We are hearing threats coming out of US Congress and elsewhere. This is happening in the course of internal political processes within the USA. The people who make these threats are assuming, it would seem, that the power of the USA, its economic, military and political power, is such that this isn’t serious, that they will survive this. That’s what they think.

    But I’ll tell you what the problem is, as a former citizen of the Soviet Union. The problem of empires is that they imagine themselves to be so powerful that they can allow themselves small miscalculations and errors. Some they’ll bribe, some they’ll scare, some they’ll make a deal with, some they’ll give glass beads, some they’ll frighten with warships—and this will fix problems. But the number of problems continues to grow. There comes a moment when they can no longer cope with them. The United States are making sure-footed strides directly along the path of the Soviet Union.”

    https://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2021/06/putin-fully-agrees-with-me.html

    Scary accurate, and this time he actually said it. Putin is rarely deliberately insulting, but this reminds me of when Call-Me-Dave Cameron claimed Putin had referred to the UK as a tiny insignificant island – a provocation he used to get misty about the greatness of Albion, and paint himself in great swatches of patriotism, the fid. Of course Putin did not say that or anything like it, Cameron completely made it up so he could make an immortal speech about it and suck up to the voters. But this Putin actually said. Although it comes across more as warning than an insult, although a warning he seems to know will be disregarded. Which makes it kind of an insult.

    Is there really any point to a Putin-Biden summit? Really? It looks to me like a lot of avgas burnt for nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As we often say, ‘Not Agreement Capable‘ which doesn’t necessarily mean they cannot sign on the dotted line, but there are many others with their knives out who have the power and the means to kill any agreement by a thousand cuts, or less.

      For me, Putin going public like this and calling out the United States is firmly placing any blame on Washington’s shoulders in advance for any failure. The fact that both sides have not talked up the chances of any reasonable measure of success show what little faith they have but I also assume from the US side not to provide any ammunition more than necessary to the ‘Never Russia’ crowd. If Bi-Dumb cannot even get some positive PR out of this then we know how truly f/ked things are.

      The only thing we could then hope for is certain people in the military and intelligence services serving it up straight to Bi-Dumb and cockblocking any proposed retarded actions. The irony of that is that it was the military for a long time that wanted to nuke everyone else from 1945 onwards while civilians running the country didn’t. Now it is civilians running the country that have few qualms about building up to a disasterous war and the military and others going, ‘No. We’ll come out of this really badly.’

      Moi, cynique? 😉

      Like

    2. Putin did not say it and Orlov did not say it but I will. Gorbachev introduced the “Cancel Culture” in the SU. He would not enforce law and order, IIRC, he would not intervene in a major dispute between the Armenians and Azerbaijanis as one of many examples. He let the forces of chaos run free.

      Among his biggest cancellations was when he told the Soviet military: Sorry we were wrong and your sacrifices were in vain as it turns out the West was right all along and we are the deficient ones. Sound familiar?

      He opened the portals of greed with cancellation of socialist idealism. The true sin of Gorbachev was his attempts to cancel Russian sacrifice and traditions to adopt Western values. Orlov and Putin need to come up to speed on this.

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      1. Agreed; Putin seems impervious to this because he does not appear to court or value western praise. He’s polite, of course, but not supercilious. Gorbachev reveled in western praise, seemingly unable to see that Russia is imperial America’s natural enemy, and when the US government and media heap praise and adulation on you because you’re doing such a great job for your country, it’s really because you’re doing such a great job for America.

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          1. Figures. The question about Gorby was he a naive fool or an agent representing Western interests. I favor the later. Perhaps he rationalized the betrayal of his country to gain some peace of mind but a traitor by any definition he was.

            Once, I wondered why Gorby was despised in Russia. Now, I wonder why he was not charged and convicted for treason. I guess it would be for the same reason that Yeltsin is not vilified as he richly deserves – a need to move on and stop the self-loathing as a nation.

            Like

            1. Indifference is perhaps the best form of vilification either Yeltsin or Gorbachev can receive. Anger and abuse would show that people still care about them.

              Like

              1. Remember the putsch that led to the end of the USSR? Gorbachev was put under house arrest whilst in the Crimea on holiday. Fortunately, the military wanted nothing to do with the putschists. Result, they were arrested and that bastard Yeltsin did his usual demagoguery and ended up being the USA’s favourite ex-Communist and President of Russia.

                All but one of those putschists died of natural causes in their own beds. Anywhere else, they would have been executed or imprisoned for a very long time, namely they would have died in prison.

                The one who died prematurely happened to be the youngest of the lot. He topped himself —Jumped off a balcony, they say.

                Yeah, I know: read “the KGB killed him”, as the know-nothings like to say.

                I reckon he did a death jump because he feared spending the rest of his life inside.

                Wrong decision pal!

                Like

            2. When I was a student in the USSR, my compatriots here could not understand why everyone hated the bastard, whereas they thought the sun shone out of his arse. Likewise, the Soviet students couldn’t understand why the British loved that traitor so.

              Fortunately, I only had to tolerate my fellow countrymen students here for a couple of weeks before I was packed off to Voronezh on me tod.

              Like

            3. I would have gone for the naive option. I always saw a bit of Gorby in Medvedev – he wanted so badly to be accepted by the Americans and to laugh and joke with them. He never saw that they were committed to his country’s downfall and subjugation, and believed all that bushwah about wanting to help Russia be free and prosperous. Not that Americans have never done any good in Russia and for Russia – they have, and continue to do; there are lots of NGO’s that are not in any way political and concentrate on helping the handicapped or teaching how to start a small business. Russia did a pretty good job of ferreting out the political ones and showing them the door, but many remain. They must always be watched, though, for signs like a new director and a change of message, because Washington never stops hoping and probing for weakness.

              Gorbachev believed all the hype about being the savior of his country, and never noticed or chose not to notice that it all came from a foreign country and not his own.

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              1. After all was said and done, Gorby rejected the values and traditions of his own country in favor of the glitzy and profoundly banal Western facade of a civilization. Perhaps he was only naive thus allowing the West to play him as a fool.

                Does anyone know (assuming anyone cares) what Gorbachev thinks of present day Russia and Putin?

                Like

                1. You don’t hear much of him these days; I remember doing a post on Ukraine’s European dreams a couple of years ago, and referencing something Gorbachev said once about the transformation of Russia being planned as somewhat like what happened with Ukraine, only it was supposed to take – according to him – 20 to 30 years instead of roughly that period in months like the Hah-vad Boyz tried to do it. The overall tone was unrepentant, and I got the sense he thought that if they had done it his way, it would’ve worked. Certainly there was no acknowledgment that the USA and Russia are incompatible and the former will always seek to dominate and control the latter.

                  I don’t think the USA actually wants to destroy Russia, if I can be candid for a moment – it’s too useful as an enemy and bogeyman. But Washington definitely wants to control and manipulate it.

                  Like

                2. He is sometimes critical, and rightly so: nobody is above criticism. However, in general I think Gorbachev thinks Putin by and large has done well as president. I was only reading the other day about his opinion concerning Putin. He certainly does not consider Putin a tyrant, an oppressor of the people and the Dark Lord of Mordor.

                  I’m pretty sure Gorbachev thinks Putin and his advisors have been right about the Ukraine and the re-unification of the Crimea with Russia. Gorbachev also thought that Putin dealt with Khodorkovsky correctly and with the rest of the thieves oligarchs who had got too big for their boots.

                  Like

  8. Small battle, big consquences.

    Strategic Culture: Abby Martin Beats the Israel Lobby: Attack on Free Speech and Association Fails Court Test
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/06/03/abby-martin-beats-israel-lobby-attack-free-speech-and-association-fails-court-test/

    …Last Monday, Judge Mark Cohen of the Federal District Court in Atlanta ruled in her favor ( https://www.cair.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/MartinDecision.pdf ), declaring that the University System of Georgia had violated Martin’s constitutional rights when it cancelled her speaking engagement over her refused to sign the state-mandated oath pledging not to engage in boycotts of Israel, which the court determined to be protected by the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution…
    ####

    The next step would be for simultaneous lawsuits against the other states of America that are fundamentally violating the First Amendment and inviting the legislature to withdraw the offending law first. The ground has been shifting for a long time in the US but anyone in a position of power or influence only has one way to go, lest of all to get a foot on the ladder.

    Why is this important? It’s a step in rebalancing the US towards reality rather than their own reality (Dick Cheney) that has warped all sorts of things far out of shape. Upholding the law and being seen to do justice is fundamental for the credibility of the system for the common voting folk. If the US can’t or is unable to re-right itself, then everything is lost.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well well well:

    The Times: Qatar ‘funnelled millions of dollars to Nusra Front terrorists in Syria’
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/qatar-funnelled-millions-of-dollars-to-nusra-front-terrorists-in-syria-x5rnbsr3l

    …A claim issued this week at the High Court in London alleges that a private office of the Gulf state’s monarch was at the heart of clandestine routes by which money was transferred to an al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front.

    Two Qatari banks, several charities, wealthy businessmen, leading politicians and civil servants are among the defendants in a claim for damages lodged by nine Syrians….
    ####

    One silent open secret is finally broached. Keeping silent when our allies Western proxies directly sponsor terrorists is nothing new. Making it public is. Of course this is ‘alleged’ until the case is ruled, but British courts are notoriously obliging when it comes to fingering our ‘friends.’ The American phrase ‘follow the money’ springs to mind, something which the corporate western media rarely do if it causes conflict with their nation states foreign policy. Does anyone recall any of these outlets reporting on the money/weapons/human trail? No.

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    1. Remarkably remarkable. The Qataris are snakes; they advertise themselves as ‘America’s best friend in the Gulf’, and actively help it in its looniest regime-change attempts.

      Like

  10. Craig Murray has been sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment at High Court of Edinburgh for contempt of court in his coverage of former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond’s trial over Salmond’s alleged sexual harassment of two female civil servants, in particular over information supposedly given by Murray on several posts at his blog that would have enabled readers of those posts to identify protected witnesses (the so-called “jigsaw identification” process) in that case.

    I’m sure Murray has been in the British authorities’ target sights for a long time for supporting Julian Assange during his trial (and covering it on his blog) and for supporting Scottish independence, among other things.

    Like

    1. That’s sad news indeed, although I think he expected they were going to jail him to make an example of him and discourage others from speaking their minds. The British state has pretty much no shame, as it allows its peers and politicians to say whatever they like about others without censure, and if they get caught in falsehoods they are allowed to say they misspoke.

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    2. If they want to get you, they’ll get you (aka anyone). Even in ‘our’ democracies. What seems to be new is that a) they’ll get you because you have embarassed them, not because you have done anything illegal or a ‘threat to the state; b) they really don’t care what the media says (coz most of it is silently subservient). I have little doubt it will be overturned at the European Court of Human Rights but that is not the point.

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    1. Yes, I read his “The Lie That Shot Down MH-17”, which is basically a collection of pertinent posts on the subject. Throughout, he details how the Dutch court basically made things up as it went along, and wherever the law proved an impediment to things going the way they wanted, they changed it. It quickly became apparent why the Americans were more than content at the time for the Dutch to handle it, because they did things that would not have been allowed in an American court. And that’s saying something.

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      1. Just more of Western democracy’s Show Trials of the late 20th and early 21st century.

        If you want, it could be seen as another feather from the ad hoc International Tribunal for Yugoslavia in the Hague which made up (Joint Criminal Enterprise) and also reinterpreted decades worth of jurisprudence to mean whatever it wants (sic ‘Genocide’ in its own favor to find whomever it wants guilty one way or another.

        The common denominator is that ‘They’ (TM) do not deserve the same level of justice as ‘We.’ This of course includes Assange & Murray as we posted about above.

        Like

  11. Here’s a new(ish) website for the Blogroll if you’re interested: Kawsachun News, a Bolivian-based English-language news media service of Radio Kawsachun Coca. The website also covers events in nearby countries (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela).
    https://kawsachunnews.com/

    Like

  12. Al’s Jizz Error: Russia imposes tit-for-tat sanctions on Canadians
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/7/russia-imposes-tit-for-tat-sanctions-on-canadians

    Moscow says entry bans on nine Canadians are ‘reprisal measures’ for sanctions slapped on Russian officials in March.

    The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday that the nine Canadians had been banned from entering Russia “for an undetermined period”.

    The banned Canadians include Justice Minister David Lametti, prisons chief Anne Kelly, and Scott Bishop, commander of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command.

    Deputy Defence Minister Jody Thomas was also targeted along with Brenda Lucki, head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and her deputy Brian Brennan.

    Senior army official Mike Rouleau, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc and Marci Surkes, a senior official in the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are also on the list…
    ####

    The EU has of course ‘rolled over’ sanctions on ‘Crimea & Sevastopol’ for another year.

    And here is Brussels that claims Rule of Law is its core tenet:

    Euractiv avec AFP: EU keeps sanctions on ex-Ukraine leader, despite court loss
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/eu-keeps-sanctions-on-ex-ukraine-leader-despite-court-loss/

    The EU said Wednesday (9 June) that Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovych and his son remain subject to asset freezes despite a court annulling an earlier decision to renew the sanctions.

    …But a spokesman for the bloc said that the pair “remain subject of EU restrictive measures” because the sanctions were extended again earlier this year using a different legal justification.

    “The Ukrainian misappropriation sanctions regime is in place until March 6, 2022 and subject to review every year,” EU spokesman Peter Stano said…
    ####

    So yet again, ‘the law does not apply to us. Corruption at the heart of u-Rope.

    Like

    1. All part of the many reasons society can just go fuck itself as far as I am concerned. Was Minister Freeland, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister for Canada, included in an earlier sanctions slate? I can think of nobody in Canada more deserving of a ban on entering Russia.

      Never mind; I just looked it up, and yes, she is – more than four years now. I guess they have nobody in Russia who is ‘feisty, smart and/or Ukrainian’ because that’s the reason she is banned, according to idiot opinion columnist Lawrence Martin.

      https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/chrystia-freelands-kremlin-ban-is-a-badge-of-honour/article34100701/

      Apparently her ‘super-brightness’ has the Russians ‘spooked’.

      “The Russians are spooked because the feisty and super-bright former journalist is of Ukrainian descent. They suspect she’ll take a harder line than Mr. Dion. Indeed, she might – and with good reason. Her Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, took to the podium last week, and in a show of remarkable imperiousness and conceit, announced the beginnings of a “post-West world order.”

      Only the Russians are arrogant and imperious when they announce a ‘post-west world order’. The Canadian Deputy Prime Minister for Ukraine scares the shit out of them. It is perfectly permissible for Americans to announce the dawn of The New American Century, and nobody should laugh or point rudely, or suggest that such pomposity is ‘imperious’.

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        1. That’s actually pretty funny, given that every time an EU country is in the kind of trouble that it takes money to fix – which pretty much encompasses the list of troubles – the EU is tapping at Germany’s door and squeaking, “You gib moneys, pliss”. Germany and France are all that holds the EU together, and don’t even get me started on the French economy. The Yurrupean pundits love to come up with clever country names featuring the nation and ‘exit’ appended to it, but if Germany ever went there would be no way of holding the EU together. I think you’re probably entitled to a certain degree of ‘arrogance’ when you bankroll everyone else’s flutters at the track and fiscal fuckery.

          Like

  13. More on Craig.

    Official: Lady Dorrian Rules Courts Should Apply Different Standards to Bloggers and Mainstream Media 95
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2021/06/official-lady-dorrian-rules-courts-should-apply-different-standards-to-bloggers-and-mainstream-media/

    This is an extraordinary passage of the Opinion:

    “(4) The applicant describes himself as a “journalist in new media”. Whatever that may involve, it is relevant to distinguish his position from that of the mainstream press, which is regulated, and subject to codes of practice and ethics in a way in which those writing as the applicant does are not. To the extent that the submissions for the applicant make comparisons with other press contempts, and the role of mainstream journalists, this is a factor which should be recognised”….
    ####

    F/M!

    That’s right kids. Craig can be banged up for doing less than ‘mainstream journalists’ because he’s a ‘blogger’ and not a ‘journalist.’ I though the old ‘journalist v. blogger’ argument was settled a long time ago in that if the blogger shows the character of being a journalist and following its codes (i.e. is the equivalent) then they must be treated as such. Or maybe that was only in the US? Either way Craig has a very long body of public work that is certainly at and often above ‘journalist’ standards. But again, that’s not the point.

    Like

    1. Ah ha ha ha!! Her Worship used ‘ethics’ and ‘mainstream press’ in the same sentence!! Amazing how when Navalny was just a blogger, he was the Second Coming Of Christ Himself – there could be no nobler example of shining purity in the hurly-burly of dissent – did I say noble? Nay – a pearl, a pearl of morality! Navalny would as soon wear a turd on his head for a hat as he would knowingly tell a lie or otherwise misrepresent facts in his selfless pursuit of justice for all – God bless us, every one!

      But Murray is just another scamp, a scurrilous pretender to integrity. No wonder there is no longer any real respect for the law outside the bobblehead public that enthusiastically cheers its own emasculation and subjugation.

      Like

  14. Strategic Culture: Blinken Props Up Biden in European Charade for New Cold War
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/06/08/blinken-props-up-biden-in-european-charade-for-new-cold-war/

    Blinken is staying close to his boss during the whirlwind tour, because Biden is liable to spin out of control and reap an embarrassing collapse.

    It’s a big ask for a frail 78-year-old U.S. president to rally the world around a series of myths and falsehoods. Biden flies to Europe this week to galvanize allies under strong American leadership of supposed shared “democratic values” in a “historic confrontation” with the “autocracies” of China and Russia.

    President Joe Biden’s worldview is so disconnected from reality that it is going to prove difficult mentally for him to consistently and coherently make the case over a series of summits in the next week…
    ####

    Lord Gaga has touched down in London.

    Like

    1. Ha, ha! Lord Gaga; that’s pretty good. The Leader of the Free World – why not, indeed, since there demonstrably is no ‘free world’ left? Good thing William Wallace isn’t around to see the debacle the world has become, otherwise Mel Gibson would be yelling “BULLSHIIIIITTT!!” in the remake of his life.

      My wife showed me a photograph on her phone today, taken from a BC Government website and detailing some of the ‘restored freedoms’ we could look forward to starting June 15th, if we have all been good children. The one she had circled read “Walk in any direction in the grocery-store aisles”. I swear I am not making that up. Many of you, to our eternal shame, will have seen the arrows on the floor at the grocery store which direct you to only walk one way, either up or down the aisle, sometimes even with a big red warning sign at the end in case you are too stupid to figure out which end of an arrow is the directional pointer. This, to me, was the very eye of dictatorial authoritarianism. Just as if you, walking in the ‘correct’ direction, were to pass a slower shopper also going in the ‘correct’ direction, you would somehow not be just as close to them as if you were going in the opposite direction. Or perhaps the virus is easily confused, and cannot infect people who have their faces turned away.

      https://www.grocerydive.com/news/shoppers-are-flouting-grocers-one-way-aisle-rules/577089/

      Jesus wept – if anyone told you to your face that he thought you were that stupid, you’d have to fight him. But that comes from the government that insists it’s important to come out and vote every couple of years.

      Your government thinks you are an idiot; a simpleminded peasant easily pacified with talismans and great-white-father magic and busywork routines that you are told are ‘doing your part’ to ‘help protect your community’. And the government is, apparently, mostly right, as the simpleminded line up to get vaccinated with an experimental vaccine which had three months of clinical trials before being approved for emergency use – although the technology has never before been used on humans and if there is a runaway genetic side effect it is likely irreversible. All in patently unachievable pursuit of ‘herd immunity’ which cannot be reached with a vaccine that does not make you immune from contracting and spreading the virus. But each day they jack the percentage that must be inoculated a little higher, in order to reach ‘herd immunity’; already something like 71% of British Columbians have had their ‘first jabs’. The public-health witch-doctors blithely pull numbers out of their asses – if you get vaccinated, your capacity for transmission drops by 90%!! How could they possibly know that before our next bout with coronavirus season? It’s summer, for Christ’s sake, when respiratory viruses are at their nadir. We have reached a point where they will promise you almost anything to overcome your ‘vaccine hesitancy’. Because 71% just isn’t enough. He wants you, too, Malachi: he wants you, too.

      All of this is a roundabout way of expressing that Canada, too, is just another nation of stupid sheep that will follow the United States into the dark that awaits it. Biden might just as well lead us there as anyone else.

      Like

      1. I may have mentioned before that it’s become apparent that the virus cannot be transmitted for the first few moments, judging by the lackadaisical approach now in use on public transport here. It started with the elderly fumbling around in their bags and pockets for the mask and being encouraged to look for it when seated so the bus can resume its journey on schedule. Now younger people casually mask up as slowly as they can and nobody cares.

        As for the international situation, I think we can all relax once we appreciate that we’re in the safe hands of Dr Jill. See

        https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2021/06/09/you-decide/

        Like

        1. Since when is the First Lady of the United States a “United States government official”? Is Dr Jill now on the White House payroll?

          Like

  15. Mali military coup supporters call for Russian military support
    Jun 8, 2021

    Al Jazeera English

    Supporters of Mali’s military rulers are calling for help from Russia after France suspended joint operations with the army.
    They say it is time for a new partner on the battlefield to combat the persistent threat from armed groups in the Sahel.
    Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from the capital Bamako.

    Like

  16. The Ukraine project is winding down. Some dissatisfied customers left with promises that will never be fulfilled:

    https://www.rt.com/russia/526070-biden-ukraine-support-nordstream2/

    Since 2014, the US has encouraged Kiev’s leaders to believe that it has their back, come what may. Now, as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline nears completion, the Ukrainian president is screaming betrayal as he realizes he was misled.

    A while back, it used to be popular in some circles to play up talk of the “Putinsliv” – the impending sell-out in which Russian President Vladimir Putin was apparently destined to throw the rebels of Donbass under the bus and surrender them to the tender mercies of the Ukrainian government. The irony is that, while Putinsliv never happened, the fury coming out of Kiev this week suggests that Ukraine itself has suffered a dramatic and unexpected “Bidensliv,” being sold out by US President Joe Biden.

    The final gambit was a threatened attack on the Donbass apparently thwarted by a massive and rapid build up on Russian forces (within Russia of course). Russia won without firing a shot in anger nor violating any laws and norms. Ukraine has been tossed aside like a used condom by the US. Given the foregoing, this gambit may have been a “Boss, give me one more chance!” move by Zelensky.

    NS II will be functional soon, the US and EU are shutting down the Ukrainian project. Their focus may be in harvesting organs from the Ukrainian corpse – perhaps a breakup of the country and certainly a final and complete looting of whatever is left.

    As a Ukrainian hatched scheme, there never was a real danger of a NATO war against Russia. Putin and the cool heads around him knew it. Just a hunch.

    Like

    1. Poor Ukraine! What a pity nobody warned them. Oh, wait…they did.

      Poor Ukraine! What a pity the USA would not give them the Javelin missile, which Ukie expat armchair warriors like Alexander Motyl, and Halifax Ukrainian Taras Bulbhead told them would speedily turn the tide of war in the Donbass and have those Moskal weasels scurrying through the sunflowers like their asses were on fire.

      Oh, wait…they did.

      What a pity their American benefactors took such a hard line with Ukrainian corruption, insisting on honest policies and accountability – what a pity that they would not simply let past practices abide and flourish,so that the benevolent oligarchs could work their magic on the economy!

      Oh, wait. They did.

      Kazuo Ishiguro sums up the situation well:

      “It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you’ve made, and there’s this panic because you don’t know yet the scale of disaster you’ve left yourself open to.”

      Let me help you with that – it’s huge. Like you probably can’t imagine. Here’s my advice: spend at least an hour a day practicing lip exercises that simulate the position of kissing someone’s ass. When you think you’ve got it down and you’re ready to try it out…stop looking west. And look east.

      Anytime you’re looking for an example of how Ukraine was warned, I’d be happy to help.

      https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/tumbleweed-town-kiev-post-gas-transit/

      Like

  17. In Back to the Future news:

    Euractiv: Belarus opposition leader calls for regime to be prosecuted during Czech visit
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/belarus-opposition-leader-calls-for-regime-to-be-prosecuted-during-czech-visit/

    Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya called for the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute representatives of Alexander Lukashenko’s regime in a speech before the Czech Senate on Wednesday.

    Such a tribunal would investigate the crimes committed by the regime during the 2020 presidential elections, as well as those committed before that, she said, adding that Lukashenko’s regime had presided over a reign of terror not seen since the days of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, Tsikhanouskaya said…
    ####

    I would say that she’s lost the plot but that would mean that she had one in the first place. She’s like an undemented Bi-Dumb, both puppets filled with word salads.

    Yay! So u-Rope should create another Ad Hoc Tribunal (with some international friend to fill it out and make it ‘non-biased’).

    You have to admit it is a clever idea. Tsikhanouskaya ‘s ‘free’ Belarus wouldn’t have to pay for it as we could assume maybe the Hague in the Netherlands would be more than happy to take it up as it is quite a business for the state and helps plump NL’s international preening feathers.

    Like

    1. What an airhead. The western regime-change apparatus loves earnest airheads like her, flitting here and there, no job so she’s always available to travel and wring her hands about the Place Of Badness. And of course another tribunal to hand down pronouncements from the lofty heights is just what Yurrup needs. Oooo…I see a little problem with jurisdiction. Well, never mind; we are the center of the universe, after all. Lukashenko will pay their deliberations no mind, but whenever he needs a reminder that the west will never stop trying to leverage him out of office – guaranteed in advance his son will never sit in his place, as Lukashenko has been grooming him for since he lost his milk teeth – and replacing him with some pliant drone, well…there it is. Carry on drawing up edicts that will be ignored except perhaps for a finger-wave, and further cementing Russian-Belarusian ties. You’re doing a great job.

      Like

      1. How Tikhanovskaya worries about Belarusians during free trips to Europe
        2 days ago

        Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has arrived for a free tour of Prague. She has recently travelled all over Europe on such trips. She enjoyed the beauty of everything, saw the sights, and gave interviews. So in Prague, she decided to speak about how during her trips she had slept well in hotels paid for by someone else, eaten delicious food in restaurants, also free, and worried about the unfortunate Belarusians deprived of all this by the willfully cruel “Little Father” [Lukashenko]


        Oh, how difficult it is being President Sveta, and I have not even started yet!

        I feel like I’m not living my life. It’s different. I live under great pressure every day, worrying about myself, my children, but most importantly, about the people in Belarusian prisons.

        You see? She doesn’t live her own life. Previously, she fried rissoles every day, but nowadays they prepare delicious food for her. How much pressure she feels! She eats lobster and is full of such thoughts as: “How do Belarusians eat in prisons? Have they fed Protasevich, or have they just hit him in the teeth with a club?” Full of thoughts about Belarus.

        I know very well what’s going on there. My husband has been sitting in gaol for a year now. I think about him every day. What he’s doing, whether he’s freezing or starving. But this indignation gives me strength, moves me forward. Belarusians do the same. Their anger and anger at the regime does not allow them to stop. It’s hard, yes, but we can’t go back to the life we used to live.

        See? At last someone clever has advised her to remember her husband’s existence for once. She forgot about her husband when she became president in exile. She could at least have enquired how he was.

        It’s easy to go back to your old life, Sveta: take a flight back home to Belarus and you’ll be able to fight the regime from behind bars, together with your supporters who are sitting there. Otherwise, it’s strange, how they are sitting there, suffering deprivation, while you are busy with tourism, looking around European places of beauty.

        Of course, it’s easier to feel like a winner if you have money, power and strength. I mean the regime. They retained power only because of cruelty and violence, and not because they were supported by people.

        And Sveta thought that it would be like the Polish curators had said? That damned Lukashenko would run away to Russia like Yanukovich did, and you, Sveta, would create democracy and do good things for people? Can you really have been so naive!

        But people found themselves to be in a very difficult situation. They don’t know if they will be abducted, arrested, or whether any of their friends and family will be. This is everyday stress. So it’s not just a question of whether we still have a chance to win. Maybe it will take longer than we should like it to.

        That’s because you’re the computer game generation. You believe that everything that’s happening won’t affect you in any way. At the very least, you’ll be able to download a saved game, and then, lo and behold! A riot policeman with a baton! And the download button has disappeared somewhere!

        Belarus has long since calmed down and come to order. Only all kinds of Tikhanovskies are still convincing everyone that they are about to win — only three or four billion euros have not been enough so far for this to be achieved.

        She herself realizes that she is in danger in Russia. In agreement with Lukashenka, she was put on the wanted list in Russia. Nevertheless, her team continues to try to contact the Kremlin and at least through intermediaries to communicate with it.

        “Of course, I will not talk to dictators of other countries, but your country is democratic. Our visit is not political: it concerns the victims of the Belarusian regime

        Tikhanovskaya assured Czech journalists.

        I wonder why make contact with Putin but not talk with him? Is this a new prank from Tikhanovskaya’s team? Is this a signal of protest against Russian support of Lukashenko? There is no other way to explain the idiocy in her words. And anyway, who told you that Putin would talk to you? You have already lost and there is nothing to talk to you about!


        Well, you “won” girls! And life has become so much more fun, hasn’t it?

        Regular interviews with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya are increasingly causing a sense of bewilderment. There’s nothing left to talk about. It is already clear to everyone that Svetlana failed in everything that she could, and the Protasevich helped her to fail. But Tikhanovskaya continues to travel around Europe according to her programme, asking for help. Could she be a failed Polish terminator with a faulty program? Then it’s time for her to say, “I’ll be back!” and disappear pathologically into the fog.

        Like

        1. That little heart thing with the fingers has become such an absurd cliche that I don’t get why people still do it – it’s the “Do you come here often?” of hand gestures. Or maybe the “We’re all in this together”.

          It was to be expected that aspirants to the traveling-ambassador portfolio would surface after the example of Navalny, feted like a celebrity wherever he went outside Russia, free accommodation, free food, free medical care, free education for his kids. And all you have to do is find a dissident expat oligarch multimillionaire or billionaire with a grudge against the country’s leadership, and convince him or her that the people back you. They’ll bankroll your debut until you attract the attention of the US Department of State, and after that you’re on the gravy train for as long as you can keep up appearances. Just remember, as soon as it starts to become apparent that you really don’t have any significant support at all among the electorate, scream with alarm about fraud and flee the country under threat of execution. I suspect the reason we don’t hear it more often is that those whose bids for attention fail never make it into the public consciousness.

          Well, as long as the ‘Tsikhanouskaya Phenomenon’ keeps up, Lukashenko is about as likely to court western partnership as he is to shave his head, paint eyes on it and walk backwards. Not very. But he is a man who understands the value of alliances, and he will continue to pursue closer ties with those allies he is confident have his back and can be trusted. But the west is not a total loser in the game. It gets to keep Tsikhanouskaya.

          Like

  18. BBC

    The alliance between the US and the UK should be known as the “indestructible relationship”, Boris Johnson has told the BBC after meeting US President Joe Biden for the first time.

    He said he had “terrific” talks with Mr Biden, who has travelled to Cornwall for the G7 summit of world leaders.

    What a tosser!

    Like

    1. He wasn’t so pleased with this relationship, though, when the USA demanded back tax off him when he was a US citizen and Prime Minister of the UK.

      Like

    2. What’s he going to say? Joe Biden barely knows what country he is in, and thinks it’s run by somebody called ‘King George’? Of course any talks in which Boris The Johnson gets to do most of the talking are going to appear to him to have been ‘terrific’.

      Like

  19. Bykov poisoned!!!

    Russian Poet Dmitry Bykov Targeted by Navalny Poisoners
    June 9, 2021

    Bellingcat and its investigative partners have identified a cluster of plane and train trips by members of these two FSB units that coincided in time and place with the travels of Dmitry Bykov, a leading Russian intellectual and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin. The poison squad’s trips took place in the period between May 2018 and April 2019, and culminated in a flight to Novosibirsk on 12 April 2019 that preceded Bykov’s arrival on a lecture tour in Siberia by just a few hours. Two members of the FSB squad – one from the Second Service, and one from the Criminalistics institute, traveling under cover identities – stayed in Novosibirsk alongside Bykov on 13 April 2019, and on the next morning left back to Moscow on tickets they booked at the last minute.

    Dmitry Bykov then flew to Ekaterinburg the next day and on to Ufa the following morning. He fell severely ill during the flight to Ufa, began vomiting uncontrollably and ultimately lost consciousness just after the plane landed. He remained in a coma for five days, suffering from what doctors initially diagnosed as cerebral edema and critical blood glucose levels. He was placed on artificial ventilation and treated symptomatically as well through broad-action antibiotics against an unknown source of “bacterial poisoning”.

    Following persistent intervention from his Novaya Gazeta colleagues, and despite initial obstruction by authorities, Bykov was ultimately transported to a Moscow neurological institute where he regained consciousness on 20 April 2019. Over the next week his condition improved and he was discharged on 26 April, despite the cause of his sudden neurological failure remaining unidentified. Initially doctors believed he may have suffered a stroke, but later changed their diagnosis to “unspecified brain damage” linked to a type-2 diabetes condition. Bykov’s hospital release document attributes the medical emergency to an unidentified bacterial food poisoning. Bykov says his emergency doctors privately advised him they could not find the source of the poisoning. Chemical weapons experts consulted by Bellingcat confirmed that Bykov’s severe medical symptoms could be reasonably explained with the neurological effects of organo-phosphate poisoning.

    The case of Dmitry Bykov’s presumed poisoning bears a striking resemblance to that of Alexey Navalny, including an extended FSB tailing period, presence of the same FSB officers near the victim shortly before the poisoning, an onset of symptoms and collapse into a coma during a flight, and an initial obstruction by authorities to the victim’s relocation to a more sophisticated medical establishment.

    Like

    1. Guardian:

      FSB agents who tracked Navalny before poisoning also tailed author – Bellingcat
      Open-source investigations report that the agents shadowed Dmitry Bykov, who fell severely ill with similar symptoms in 2019


      Bykov [Dmitry Lvovich Zilbertrud] at a March Moscow book fair

      Russian agents who had tailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny before his poisoning also shadowed a journalist who had earlier fallen severely ill with similar symptoms, according to the investigative organisation Bellingcat.

      Dmitry Bykov, an author and journalist who is an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, spent five days in a coma after he became sick aboard an aeroplane while on a lecture tour in 2019.

      Doctors attributed the illness to bacterial food poisoning. But the illness and circumstances bore strong resemblance to the case of Navalny, who last year fell sick aboard a domestic flight and was hospitalised in a coma before being transferred to Germany for treatment, where doctors said he had been poisoned with a Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok.

      Bellingcat, an Amsterdam-based international organisation that focuses on open-source investigations, identified what it said were several alleged agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service who had trailed Navalny directly before his poisoning. In a report Wednesday, it said cellular phone records and airline ticket purchases showed that two of these agents had travelled to the same cities as Bykov and at the same time.


      Bellingcat sleuths draw their damning conclusions from the above: FSB killers on the same flights that the fat twat took!

      More similar shite from RFE/Radio Liberty:

      Investigative Groups Link Poisoning Of Russian Writer Bykov With FSB Agents Suspected In Navalny Case
      June 10, 2021 11:54 GMT

      In a report released on June 9, the groups said they had identified “significant correlations” between the travels of members of a Federal Security Service (FSB) squad and the previously unexplained poisonings or deaths of several other public figures, including the twice near-fatal poisoning of outspoken the opposition politician Kara-Murza.

      Other likely targets, they said, included two human rights activists in the Caucasus as well as an anti-corruption activist.

      And Carroll of the Independent sticks his oar in:

      Another Putin critic reportedly targeted in Kremlin 2019 poisoning operation
      Investigation suggests hit teams who poisoned Navalny also tailed the Putin critic

      A new investigation has suggested the same hit teams that poisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny with Novichok also tailed another Putin critic, the poet and writer Dmitry Bykov, before he suffered a near fatal illness in April 2019.

      Mr Bykov, now 53, went into a coma after falling ill aboard a flight from Yekaterinburg to Ufa, cities in Russia’s Urals rust belt. He was transferred to Moscow at the insistence of friends and colleagues, regaining consciousness five days later.

      At the time, he said emergency doctors had told him he was poisoned, without ever explaining the nature of what may have caused it.

      The joint report by Bellingcat and Insider triangulated passenger data obtained during their probes into other apparent poisonings.

      It suggests employees of the FSB, Russia’s security agency, followed Mr Bykov for at least a year before he was poisoned. It links the public intellectual’s movements with plane and train trips made by members of clandestine FSB units. And it identifies two alleged assassins, Vladimir Panyayev, who flew under his own name, and Valery Sukharev, under the cover identity Nikolai Gorokhov.

      Both men flew to the Siberian capital Novosibirsk on 12 April, a few hours before the arrival of Mr Bykov, who was travelling to give a lecture. The investigation surmises they applied poison to his clothes on 13 April, with the writer travelling to Yekaterinburg early the next morning.

      Dmitry Bykov is a prominent public intellectual and outspoken Putin critic perhaps best known for a cycle of acerbic satirical ditties produced over 2010-2012 under the banner of “Citizen Poet”.

      These poems regularly poked fun at Russia’s leaders — but they stopped short of anything more aggressive. Mr Bykov is not an opposition politician in any serious sense.

      In a conversation relayed in the Bellingcat-Insider investigation, the poet says he did not understand the motives of those who might have poisoned him.

      “The motives of the Kremlin are not knowable,” he said. “[Perhaps] I was next on the list.”

      The Kremlin have strenuously denied any allegations that it has assassinated critics, and dismissed claims about its involvement in the poisoning of Navalny as provocation.

      What fiends those FSB swine are!

      Like

      1. Bum link above to picture of Zilbertrud at a Moscow book fair!

        Here it is again:


        “Prominent intellectual” according to Carroll.

        Like

        1. Why is Bykov following those Russians?

          I mean, like, who took the first flight of that bunch on each day? The absence of that timing information for most of the flights is interesting. And how did Bellingcat get cell phone and airline ticket information? And would Russian agents use Iphones or whatever traceable to them?

          However, ironclad proof is presented in Bellingcat’s report. Their guilt is clear as they are members of the “poison squad”, apparently a branch of the KGB. Why would they be in that squad unless they poison dissidents? It is an open and shut case! The logic irrefutable!

          Was it Novichok? Well per the Bellingcat report:

          Dmitry Bykov then flew to Ekaterinburg the next day and on to Ufa the following morning. He fell severely ill during the flight to Ufa, began vomiting uncontrollably and ultimately lost consciousness just after the plane landed.

          The reduction in air pressure during the flight must cause time-release capsules of Novichok to explode. No chance of food poisoning nor overindulgence in drugs, of course. Bykov is the picture of health and clean living!

          I can’t take it anymore! Putin, stop poisoning virtuous and righteous people! Just stop!

          Like

          1. Yes, I wondered about that, too: the commercial sector and industry seem astonishingly forthcoming with their records where Bellingcat’s ‘citizen journalists’ are concerned. It would be extremely interesting if they were being granted national-security documents from governments, which authorized them to demand information they normally tell you to go get a warrant if you want.

            Like

            1. I wonder how much in Bitcoin or Ethereum Bellingcrap paid their informants to hack into the database of the commercial airline whose plane ferried Bykov from Ufa to Ekaterinburg.

              Like

      2. Goodness! The FSB Poison Squad has grown by three members! I guess the famous duo has become too well-known and can no longer rely on anonymous travel. This might be a growth opportunity for ambitious and unscrupulous young Russians, although personally I think it’s appalling that the Poison Squad is all white men and includes no obvious ethnic minorities, women or transitioning genders. But I should have expected no less of racist, misogynistic Russia.

        Like

        1. The Poison Squad has a nice comic book ring to it. Lots of potential to work into the next Marvel mega blockbuster movie release. Coming soon for a dissident near you!

          Like

    2. I was going to say, “Oh, thank God it wasn’t Novichok!” But then there was that little line in there, “Chemical weapons experts consulted by Bellingcat confirmed that Bykov’s severe medical symptoms could be reasonably explained with the neurological effects of organo-phosphate poisoning”. Yes, of course. What’s the chances that it was Bellingcat’s resident Chemical Weapons Expert, Dan Kaszeta?

      https://www.bellingcat.com/author/dankaszeta/

      The one who’s so full of shit he squeaks on the high side of a tight turn?

      https://thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com/2018/07/19/when-your-story-implodes-call-me-im-an-american-weapons-expert/

      I hope the photo was not meant to represent an actual piece of evidence in the ‘Bykov poisoning’; there look to be Christmas lights hanging outside the restaurant windows and the people in the streets are dressed a little warmly for June. As is Bykov, considering he has as much fat as a trophy beluga to keep him warm.

      Like

  20. Euractiv: NATO to stay a regional alliance, but could increasingly look towards Indo-Pacific
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/defence-and-security/news/nato-to-stay-a-regional-alliance-but-could-increasingly-look-towards-indo-pacific/

    NATO to stay a regional alliance, but could increasingly look towards Indo-Pacific

    …Diplomatic sources, however, stressed to EURACTIV that NATO cannot appear ‘out of the blue’ in the Indo-Pacific…

    …“For the EU, the most important strategic instruments that we have of relevance for the Indo-Pacific region are not military ones, they are the ones related to our capacity to partner with countries like India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and others in the region,” he said…

    …According to the draft summit communiqué seen by EURACTIV, NATO leaders are set to confirm that they are “enhancing political dialogue and practical cooperation” with those regional partners, “to promote cooperative security and support the international rules-based order”…
    ####

    A lot more BS at the link.

    WTF does this mean? NATO doesn’t want to be a World Police but it will partner with any country that is a potential enemy of either China or Russia and supply them with weapons, train with them, have air bases on their territory… but it is not containment?

    NATO has long gone down the rabbit hole but this justification is a whole new level of deluded. But why so soft, careful and contorted? Could it be that some NATO countries still want to sell stuff to China and declaring it a ‘threat’ to the west might cause problems.

    How f/king stupid does NATO think China is? Or is this yet again another ‘re-pivot’ of NATO to sell to a domestic audience that it is still relevant, something that NATO seems to be doing increasingly as an organization in search of a mission?

    I suppose the biggest question is who is going to pay for all of this? I know NATO can find and bomb a Chinese embassy by ‘accident’ all by itself but to have western assets reguarly travelling to the other side of the world, that’s going to make a dent in the 2% recommended NATO defense budget when the world is just starting to face the consequences of coming out of Covid and inflation will probably finally out of the bag. It’s just nuts.

    Like

    1. If NATO is not going to appear ‘out of the blue’ in the Indo-Pacific, it is going to have to build a relationship with those countries – in China’s region of influence – which offers competitive terms to those offered by China. And that relationship is going to have to be spearheaded by trade, because the military is not going to just show up and say, “Mind if we camp here for a few years?” C an NATO countries undercut China in trade relationships in the Indo-Pacific, given the ‘knowns’ about how beholden NATO is to the United States and American interests, and its perfect willingness to damage itself in pursuit of those interests? Not a hope.

      NATO loves to announce big shiny plans and initiatives, but they increasingly come to naught. NATO’s heyday was in the 60’s and 70’s, when it was proportionally quite powerful, did not have the dismal reputation it has now due to more circumspect operations in those days, and even as recently as the 90’s, when it was adding former-Soviet satellite nation-states like beads to its rosary.

      I’m not entirely sure why NATO seems to feel compelled to announce its plans with great fanfare. Russia and China don’t do that; they assemble an industry or trade delegation and send it over and get down to dealing. Agreements reached are announced in due course. NATO seems to announce its plans in advance purely to gauge reaction, and if there is pushback they all giggle and shove each other and say, “You see how they fear us”.

      Like

      1. It all looks to be timed with Bi-Dumb’s visit to u-Rope & the UK (the latter not ‘being in’ u-Rope). I’m sure there is a visit to NATO headquarters. Stolenberg is justifying his salary and the whole bureaucratic NATO ecosystem that would otherwise have to look for jobs elsewhere. What’s the best job? The one you’ve got. Even if it is useless.

        Like

  21. In other news, there’s a gathering international news story breaking that Russia will give i-Ran (access to?) a spy satellite. Apparently that’s not allowed and a potential ‘threat.’

    Like

    1. Mmm…yes. Except when the USA does it for its allies. I suspect Iran is only going to be cut in on satellite intel, rather than ‘getting access’ to the satellite itself, as they have none of the equipment. But the USA does that all the time; it’s very useful for showing reluctant allies how its enemies are moving against it, and convincing them to throw in their lot with Big Brother.

      Like

  22. Пентагон объявил о новой помощи Украине в размере $150 млн
    11 июня 2021, 22:45

    The Pentagon has announced new aid to the Ukraine to the amount of $ 150 million
    June 11, 2021, 22:45

    The Pentagon has announced a new $ 150 million aid package to the Ukraine, said US military spokesman John Kirby.

    “Today, the ministry is announcing a new $ 150 million aid package as part of an initiative to promote Ukraine security in order to help Ukrainian forces maintain the territorial integrity of their country and improve interaction with NATO”, RIA Novosti quoted him as saying.

    The package includes two anti-artillery radars, several drones and secure communications, Kirby added.

    He recalled that the United States will continue to help the Ukraine in ensuring its security, including providing the country with lethal weapons.

    As US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said earlier, the United States is exploring the possibility of increasing security assistance to the Ukrainian side.

    According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, the Ukraine has asked the United States to expand its training mission for the armed forces.

    That’s Kirby, the retard rear admiral (retd.), of course, the pride of Annapolis, now Pentagon Press Secretary and Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. He previously worked as a military and diplomatic analyst for CNN from 2017 to 2021. Prior to that, he served as the spokesperson for the United States Department of State from 2015 to 2017, where he was a laugh a minute. In 2021, Kirby joined the Pentagon as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and concurrently as Spokesperson for the Department of Defense.

    Like

    1. I realize $150 million might be a serious amount of money for you and me. But for a country in the shape Ukraine is in, it’s not even gas money to drive it to the store. Let’s take a look, for comparison purposes.

      For $150 million, you could buy almost half an F-22 Raptor fighter, at about $334 million per plane.

      https://militarymachine.com/f-22-raptor-vs-f-35-lightning-ii/

      It’s somewhat less than a third of the $500 million the USA gave to Israel this year for ‘missile defense cooperation’.

      “H.R. 7617—The Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2021(which passed the House in July 2020) would provide $500 million in joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation (of which $73 million for Iron Dome, $177 million for David’s Sling, $77 million for Arrow III,and $173 million for Arrow II).”

      I’ll just point out, if I may, that when you write a piece of legislation which includes everything from defense to water development, it’s probably pretty easy to slip a couple of hundred million in pork here and there, given that the eyes of Representatives and Congressmen and women start to glaze over after a few paragraphs of dense accountancy text.

      Click to access RL33222.pdf

      It’s about an sixth of the amount the BC government has awarded in contracts to replace the Patullo Bridge which connects the Greater Vancouver communities of Surrey and New Westminster.

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-pattullo-contract-announcement-1.5458991

      That’s not the total cost, of course; ha, ha, as if. That’s just what has been awarded so far in contracts. The total cost will be more like a Billion, with a big B, and a half.

      The USA made 20 times that amount this year from sales of clothing and shoes for women, girls and infants. I’m not sure if that’s a projection of what they expect to make, because this year obviously isn’t over, but it’s almost identical to the amount realized for last year. Note that’s about half what the industry raked in in 2012.

      https://www.statista.com/statistics/242226/revenue-of-the-us-female-apparel-manufacturing-industry-2012-2017/

      This is all by way of illustrating that $150 million, large as it sounds, is actually peanuts for the USA, especially when that country was the ringleader in cajoling Ukrainian nationalists and troublemakers into kicking over the applecart and starting a revolution which bankrupted the country. Ukraine would collapse in weeks without regular infusions of cash from the IMF and other ‘donor’ countries – which, surprise! makes corrupt countries more corrupt.

      https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/11/04/foreign-aid-makes-corrupt-countries-more-corrupt/

      Like using whiskey to cure alcoholism, as Mr. Bovard phrases it, obviously a man who has a way with words. I recall that Ukraine was begging for more than $70 billion to reconstruct the country just from the damage which had resulted from its enthusiastic cooperation with western countries who encouraged it to raze many of its eastern towns and small cities to the ground. Would $150 million rebuild the Donetsk Airport, bombed and strafed and shot to rubble? Not even close. And Ukraine has gotten indescribably worse since then; they can hardly cover the cost of sticks for torchlight parades on Bandera’s birthday.

      https://www.statista.com/statistics/242226/revenue-of-the-us-female-apparel-manufacturing-industry-2012-2017/

      Like

    2. All of that money will flow back to US military contractors and the Pentagon. It’s a form of money laundering.

      Like

  23. The BBC never lets up!

    How Putin became a spy and married Lyudmila
    In this extract from the BBC Select documentary ‘A Russian Spy Story’, we look into Vladimir Putin’s childhood and teenage years. From a ‘schoolyard thug’, to joining the KGB and meeting his wife Lyudmila.

    The first speaker in the clip is Alex Goldfarb.

    Alexander Davidovich Goldfarb is a Russian-American microbiologist, activist, and author. He emigrated from the USSR in 1975 and studied in Israel and Germany before settling permanently in New York in 1982. Goldfarb is a naturalized American citizenWiki

    Goldfarb worked with that nice Mr. Berezovskiy in London.

    Goldfarb was unofficial spokesman during the two last weeks of Litvinenko’s life. Journalists gathered around him outside University College Hospital, London, as he made a statement each day about Litvinenko’s condition.

    On the day of Litvinenko’s death, Goldfarb read out his deathbed statement accusing Vladimir Putin of ordering the poisoning.

    It is likely that Goldfarb wrote the statement: Litvinenko almost certainly did not. He spoke crap English, for one thing.

    It was Goldfarb who put the baffled doctors straight as regards what had caused Litvinenko’s death.

    Goldfarb studied biochemistry at Moscow State University and graduated in 1969. After graduation, he worked at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy in Moscow.

    In USA, Goldfarb has sued two Russian TV channels for libel. The case is pending in US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

    On March 4, 2020, U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni denied a motion to dismiss the case, ruling that New York had personal jurisdiction over the matter because “Channel One Russia”, which Goldfarb has sued, maintains a Manhattan studio where correspondent Zhanna Agalakova interviewed Goldfarb in relation to the allegedly defamatory story.

    Goldfarb is a busy bee as regards his scribblings about the “regime”.

    He helped Litvinenko to prepare his book “The Lubyanka Criminal Group” for publication.

    With Marina Litvinenko, widow of the “murdered-by-Putin” waste of space Litvinenko, he later co-authored the book “Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB”, published in Russian as “Sasha, Volodya, Boris….The Story of a Murder”.

    Oh look!

    Published in Russia, the land where there is no freedom of speech!

    Needless to say, Goldfarb is one that tribe of emigrés that loathes Russia to distraction, notwithstanding the fact that he received an education in the USSR at the most prestigious of institutes of learning before emigrating to his ancestral homeland and thence to the USA.

    The next speaker, Alex Rahr, “a German journalist and political scientist considered as an agent of influence of the Putin regime in the West”.

    [Warning! The above link is possibly a security threat.]

    According to Rahr, his maternal grandfather, Vasily Orekhov, served as an adjutant to Wrangel and after the defeat of the Whites, he fled tpo Paris.

    Rahr’s father, Gleb Rahr was born in Moscow in 1922. Alexander Rahr claims his family has Swedish roots.

    Source: Russian Wiki Рар, Александр Глебович

    Next: Arkady Ostrovsky, “a Russian-born journalist whose articles for the Financial Times were the first to warn of the resurgence of the security state under Putin”.

    Source

    Say no more!

    Next, Vladimir Yakunin, whom the BBC describes as being a “KGB Foreign Operations Officer”.

    According to Wiki, Yakunun is “a Russian public figure, businessman and former president of Russian Railways (June 2005 – August 2015). In 2012, he was elected chairman of the Union of Railways (UIC) a position he held until 2015. In March 2014, he was placed on the US State Department’s list of Russian officials and businessmen sanctioned in the wake the annexation of Crimea.”

    In the Russian Wiki, however, there is information about Yakunin’s past that is not given in the English language Wiki:

    According to published unofficial data, which Yakunin himself confirmed in his book in 2018, he was an officer of the KGB of the USSR and served in scientific and technical intelligence-The First Main Directorate of the KGB of the USSR (PSU). In total, Yakunin, according to his own words, worked in intelligence for 22 years. In a letter to the British Economist magazine published in August 2013, Yakunin denied claims that he held high positions in the KGB or FSB. According to Yakunin, his military rank is “captain-engineer”.

    From 1985 to February 1991, he worked in the diplomatic service (second, then First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the USSR to the UN). In the permanent mission, he was engaged in social and legal reference work.

    A thorough acquaintance [with Putin] began after Yakunin had returned from the United States in 1991. On November 10, 1996, he became one of the founders of the dacha cooperative “Lake”, along with Putin, entrepreneur Yuri Kovalchuk, co-owner of the St. Petersburg bank “Russia” Nikolai Shamalov and others. During Putin’s presidency, all of the co-founders have held high positions in government and business. In 2013, the French publication Le Monde described Yakunin as “the closest person to Putin”.

    In fact, the Russian Wiki article on Yakunin is far, far larger than is the English Wiki article about him.

    I wonder why?

    I mean, there is strict censorship in Putin’s Regime — isn’t there?

    Like

    1. It’s a big job – more than even a man of Yeltsin’s vast ability could do.

      https://www.rt.com/russia/526345-yeltsin-cia-connection-claim/

      The first Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, was surrounded by “hundreds” of CIA agents who told him what to do throughout his tenure as leader. That’s according to Ruslan Khasbulatov, the former chairman of Russia’s parliament.

      Speaking to radio station Govorit Moskva, Khasbulatov claimed Yeltsin’s entourage was full of Americans. In 1991, he was elected to his leadership post with Washington’s help, it has been alleged, and it is still not yet known to what extent the US remained the voice in his ear throughout his presidency.

      “There must have been a hundred [CIA employees],” Khasbulatov said. “They determined everything.” He also added that, after winning the presidential election, Yeltsin would send security officials and heads of departments to the US so the Americans could “examine them” and “give conclusions.”

      Like

      1. Khasbulatov, a Chechen who held one of the highest posts in the Russian SFSR (deported from Grozny aged 2 in 1944) v. Dudayev, ex-Tartu, Estonia based nuclear bomber commander and Chechen nationalist (also deported in 1944)..

        Like

  24. What a load of bollocks!

    My hospitalization scheduled for June 14th has been cancelled.

    This morning, I received a notification from the clinic, where on Friday 10th I had to take a Covid test before my admittance to hospital this Monday, informed me that Moscow Hospital No. 24, where I was supposed to be hospitalized on June 14th, is now unable to admit new patients owing to the fact that it is now overloaded with new patients with coronavirus.

    Right! Back to the sticks I go!

    I only came back here to the black, beating heart of Mordor so as to go to hospital.

    I’ve been waiting for treatment since May 2018!

    Clearly, I am in no mortal danger healthwise.

    Like

    1. Take care, ME, and enjoy the life of a country squire *. Hope you’re not in too much discomfort.

      * Diocletian was supposed to have refused to come out of retirement as he had cabbages to tend…

      Like

      1. Thanks, Cortes!

        I’m busy now informing all and sundry that I am not going to hospital: I had to cancel all my forthcoming appointments indefinitely, not knowing for sure when I should be discharged.

        So I’ll kick off again on Tuesday with my online lessons beamed out from my country estate.

        Monday is non-working day in lieu for today, which is a state holiday: Russia Day.

        Like

    2. 4 hours ago
      Sobyanin has signed a decree on non-working days in Moscow from June 15 to 19
      “Long weekend” in the capital will last nine days

      Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin signed a decree on the introduction of non-working days in the capital from June 15 to 19 with the preservation of wages for employees due to the deterioration of the situation with the coronavirus. He announced this in his personal blog.

      The mayor of Moscow reiterated that the seasonal spring peak of the pandemic has shifted from May to June and the epidemiological situation in the city has sharply worsened. The number of new cases of coronavirus has jumped to the peak values of last year, and the authorities are forced to repurpose thousands of beds in urban hospitals again.

      “In order to stop the increase in the incidence of diseases and save people’s lives, today I signed a decree providing for non-working days from June 15 to 19, 2021, while maintaining wages for employees,” he said.

      As a result, the “long weekend” in the capital will last from June 12 to 20.

      Hence the cancellation of my admittance to hosptal on 14th.

      Like

      1. Is the summit just a coincidence, or are decks being cleared, hospital beds and theatres being freed up from routine procedures in case “something” happens as the summit takes place?

        Like

        1. I suspect that the very catchy Indian Modi/Delta variant of Covid has also been picked up in Russia. There are already a handful of outbreaks here in u-Rope and it is inevitable that it will become the dominant variant which if there is already widspread vaccination shouldn’t be bigge, but if not you need to plan for the capacity contingency.

          Like

          1. Now that I’ve actually read ME’s post properly. Duh! Still, the Delta/Modi variant is worrying because is it much more transmissable.

            Like

            1. Is it? You have only the word of the public-health community that lied to you about the efficacy of masking.

              “Biologist James McCaw, a member of a key advisory board to the federal government on Covid, has said the ‘beast’ line was false. ‘There is no epidemiological evidence that this virus spreads faster’, said McCaw, before adding that ‘there is no clear reason to think this virus is spreading in different ways’.

              And now Sutton has come clean. He has admitted he used the phrase ‘beast’ to ‘warn against complacency’ and ‘motivate’ people to ‘follow the rules’.”

              https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/06/08/australias-forever-lockdown/

              I would not trust the quacks in the public-health system to tell me how many pumpkins there are in a pair.

              Like

            2. It’s my understanding that govts are worried about the Delta variant because the “vaccines” currently being used in the West may not be as effective against it as they are against the original Alpha strain.

              We also need to take care with news coming out of India about the numbers of people affected. Most cases of infection seem.to be coming from Delhi and from Mumbai, Poona (city near Mumbai) and elsewhere in Maharashtra state: these are wealthy areas compared to most other parts of India and also areas with high levels of air pollution. The median age of death in India from COVID-19 is in the late 60s which is higher than the average life expectancy in the country. I hear also that most people dying from COVID-19 in India have underlying conditions like diabetes and obesity.

              Like

              1. The western public-health officials must be getting an understanding of what it is like to be a journalist. Journalists are – nearly without exception – stenographers for politicians, and now public-health officials and doctors are stenographers for the pharmaceutical companies, citing ‘studies’ that could not have enough data to form any reasonable conclusions and quoting sky-high efficacy rates because that’s what the manufacturer says in their literature. If a vaccine is 98% effective, why do you need to quarantine when entering another country after you’ve had both shots?

                Like

  25. Apparently Lord Gaga has refused a joint press conference with Putin after the summit in Switzerland. No doubt it is much safter to read from a pre-prepared script on autoprompt than risk looking like a severly degraded robot/AI.

    Like

    1. While they like to giggle and poke each other over Putin’s marathon annual question-and-answer events, and smirk that of course he knows all the questions in advance and they’re all lazy softballs so he can hit ’em out of the park, they know full well they could not conduct such events themselves because a no-holds-barred question period with such unpopular leaders would leave them looking foolish and vulnerable. They know better than to take on Putin one-on-one.

      Like

  26. Reminiscence of the Future: About The Eggs, I Mean Balls….
    https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2021/06/about-eggs-i-mean-balls.html

    In Russian language words “eggs” and “balls” are interchangeable….

    ####

    I think that in a lot of languages, ‘eggs’ are interchangable with ‘balls’.

    Borrell is of course only a spokehole for the EU and does not make policy, but I have to admit that I am enjoying much more Russia’s switch to gloves off than turn the other cheek. Russia tried playing nice and diplomatic for years so it is on record. The timing is of course deliberate for the new Bi-Dumb (and whomever follows) Administration.

    Like

    1. It’s the same in Spanish.

      I was that idiotic foreigner causing hilarity in the local corner shop in Santander back in 1977, asking

      “Do you have eggs?”

      After four generations of females had had their belly laughs with assorted regular customers, the paterfamilias took me aside and explained, as though to a fairly retarded child that you have to express it thus:

      “Are there any eggs?”

      Borrell, therefore, is well aware of the jibe aimed at him.

      Like

  27. On the main topic, obstacles and strategies to hinder the free movement of individuals aboard civil aviation, the predicament of Alex Saab, special envoy of President Maduro of Venezuela, is covered in

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/526406-venezuelan-arrested-alex-saab/

    Saab has been stuck in Cabo Verde for months, alleged to be engaged in money laundering. The real “crime” appears to be having success in enabling trade between Venezuela and Iran to continue in the teeth of sanctions by the USA.

    Like

  28. Russia has kicked off construction of a 4th generation nuclear power reactor (300 megawatt electrical) to be colocated at a fuel reprocessing and fuel fabrication site. Thus, the fuel cycle is fully closed – all power generation and reprocessing accomplished at one site. Here is one of several articles on the project:

    https://www.powermag.com/nuclear-first-work-starts-on-russian-fast-neutron-reactor/

    The reactor is passive safe – no active means required to shutdown and cool the reactor in the event of an accident or other event. The coolant is molten lead with desirable properties such as allowing operation at ambient pressure, not becoming radioactive and has a high working temperature. The thermal efficiency is 42% compared with the 33% average for NPPs (i.e. producing 27% more electricity for a given thermal output).

    The reactor design will be fueled by thousands of tons of spent fuel (currently called “waste”) sitting in storage at hundreds of nuclear power plants plus new uranium. This form of nuclear power can take over global electrical power generation while emitting no CO2 and generating zero waste of any kind. There would be enough fuel for many thousands of years and it takes care of the existing nuclear waste. Would the US and Western Europe hold on to its waste rather than sell to Russia? I think they would just to be a-holes.

    As interesting as nuclear fusion is from a science and engineering perspective, this type of fission reactor and fuel cycle is a near-perfect solution and should receive maximum investment. I would imagine that Russia, with its abundant natural gas and oil reserves, is not in a hurry so it may take several decades for this technology to become the leading supplier of electrical energy.

    The West is banking on windmills and solar panels.

    Like

    1. Promising if true.
      Passive safe as in ” fire a missile into the control room and it will shut down and cool off any residual no further intervention”?
      If so, we should be ordering some in NZ if we’re gonna go EVs in a big way.

      Like

      1. There is little doubt that the technical descriptions and capabilities are accurate. The reactor runs at atmospheric pressure thus little potential for a breach in the vessel, if molten lead somehow found a crack the lead cools and solidifies sealing the leak, the vessel is reinforced concrete with layers of thermal insulation, the vessel has air channels that are sufficient to remove heat via convective flow (i.e. hot air rises), lead does not become radioactive, a new fuel formula is used that is more chemically inert that standard uranium dioxide and on and on,

        I can only assume that if the control room was destroyed or otherwise cut off from the reactor building, the passive safety features would come into play. It is common practice in industrial processes that a loss of control signals result in an automatic shutdown in equipment.

        This project is the culmination of various related projects to develop a a closed fuel cycle system that is economical and safe. This system is so efficient that it could take centuries to consume all of the spent fuel presently existing even if the system is used on a global scale. Still, that is only a good thing.

        Such a system sharply reduces uranium and coal mining, ends massively intrusive wind and solar farms and their high costs and unpredictable power output and achieves potential for unlimited power electrical power generation for all those EVs, high speed rail, etc.

        Fusion research should be continued but this form of fission power seems ideal. The West will not be able to stop it and China will likely come on board which would likelyl mean widespread global adoption. This forecast is extrapolation of trends but it is a reasonable one.

        Like

        1. Orlov agrees with me per his current post:

          Russia excels at building and operating huge energy, transportation and materials production systems which China needs and has the vast natural resources to continue operating them for centuries. Its fossil fuels will hold up for another half a century; after that, if all goes according to plan, it will switch to burning depleted uranium using its closed nuclear cycle technology, and there are a few thousand years’ worth of it already stockpiled.

          http://cluborlov.com/

          There is a lot of talk about economic collapse with Orlov being a strong proponent along with John Michael Greer (https://www.ecosophia.net/toward-the-breaking-point/). However, there is no reason why the collapse, if it happens, must be global. Russia seems best prepared in part due to western sanctions, its vast natural resources, extremely well-educated and motivated population and visionary leadership.

          Like

  29. RIA Novosti

    Putin has explained to the West why Russia won’t buy the Ukraine
    12:38 10.06.2021

    Putin’s interview yesterday was completely unexpected. It is not just his unannounced, ostentatiously informal and, it seems, even spontaneous nature — the president communicated with a journalist at a hockey training session. Much more important was the topic of conversation.

    The Ukraine was chosen for the landmark interview that precedes the meeting with Biden, points out the key points of the Russian position and outlines the notorious red lines.

    And this really, at first glance, may seem strange and unexpected. In recent years Putin has not talked much or often about Russia’s southwestern neighbour. And what is there to talk about? All attempts by Moscow in the mid-2010s to reach out to the Ukraine itself, which chose a suicidal path to the West, which diligently pushed it to do so, were unsuccessful. And since then, everything has been going on strictly according to the logic of the choice made. Reserves for surprise and violent indignation have long been exhausted: it remains only to watch the programmed sliding of an entire country into the abyss.

    And the West is frankly tired of the Ukraine, which is directly stated not only by experts, but also by officials on both sides. And recently, irritation has clearly been added to fatigue — too often the Kiev authorities behave inappropriately and stupidly, sometimes indecently humiliating themselves, categorically putting forward absurd demands, then officially blurting out something completely scandalous and unacceptable. As a result, the Ukraine is regularly and rudely rebuked and refuted without ceremony.

    Most likely, this was the reason why it was chosen as the topic of the president’s interview, since the Ukraine has become the most vivid illustration of the differences that divide Russia and the West.
    The President spoke about the blatant policy of the Kiev authorities, in particular about a bill with an openly Nazi flavour — about indigenous peoples. But at the same time, this is a completely natural step for a regime that has been indulging neo-Nazi groups for years. Yesterday Kiev turned a blind eye to their torchlight processions, today it leaves murderers with appropriate views unpunished, and tomorrow the measuring of skull dimensions to determine race will become an everyday reality.

    And it no longer makes sense to be surprised by the indifference of the United States and Europe, who are studiously oblivious to what is happening. If a few years ago their position could have been attributed to political cynicism from the “our son of a bitch” line, now it is obvious that this is rather an ideological agreement with what is happening. In any case, in the advanced world of the victorious BLM, Russians (in the broadest sense of the word[ meaning rossiyane: Russian citizens and not just ethnic Russians — ME]) are the only group that is not subject to any rules of political correctness and the most ugly manifestations of racism are permissible.

    Putin touched upon the issue of settlement in the Donbass. He spoke about the fundamental inability of Kiev to negotiate and its unwillingness to fulfill its obligations. But this is again a question primarily for the West, which acts as a guarantor of the implementation of agreements by the Ukrainian side — and and this has been the case for more than six years now. And this is just one of many issues that has been discussed over the years, but unsolvable owing to the inaction of the other side. What will it be possible to negotiate in Geneva under such conditions?

    However, the main, most important thought that ran through the entire interview was the president’s admission of disbelief in the West. Russia does not trust the West. Personally, Putin does not believe the West.

    In this sense, the part of the conversation devoted to the prospects of Ukraine accession to NATO is truly fundamental.

    This idea has been regularly discussed in recent years at all levels — from the the official level to the armchair politician level. And almost always this has been happening in a categorically negative way, which is natural, since the Ukraine simply does not meet the most important formal parameters required for candidates to join the North Atlantic Alliance. It simply cannot be, because it can never be. The recent incident when Washington quickly refuted Kiev’s claims that Biden had promised Zelensky some kind of support in this direction, would seem to confirm this point of view.

    But it has turned out that the Russian president sees things differently. For him, in a world of rules that have stopped working, it is useless and dangerous to rely on their reliability.

    Putin repeated the idea that the United States and Europe have been creating an anti-Russia out of the Ukraine. But this process has also affected the West itself, launching what can be called “Ukrainization” there. And indeed, there is a frightening similarity of many of the transformational processes experienced on this and the other side of the Atlantic with Ukrainian ones.

    In recent years, the correctness of the decision taken in the early 1990s, when the Ukraine lost its nuclear arsenal, has been repeatedly commented upon. It is scary to imagine nuclear weapons in the hands of the current Kiev regime , which is irresponsible, unprofessional, uncooperative, scandalous and aggressive.

    But further west are countries that are following the same path, and they have orders of magnitude more resources and capabilities at their disposal, including nuclear weapons.

    This means that the president is right — Russia must calculate and be ready for any further events, including the most seemingly unthinkable ones.

    Like

    1. Wow! On some many levels – Wow! Yes, the Ukraine was manufactured by the West to be the anti-Russia. Hence, the Ukraine is eerily similar to Bizarro world. Per Wikipedia:

      In the Bizarro world of “Htrae”, society is ruled by the Bizarro Code which states “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!”[2] In one episode, for example, a salesman is doing a brisk trade selling Bizarro bonds: “Guaranteed to lose money for you”. Later, the mayor appoints Bizarro No. 1 to investigate a crime, “Because you are stupider than the entire Bizarro police force put together”. This is intended and taken as a great compliment.

      The creators of Bizarro Ukraine are subject to the same mentality Putin seems to be saying. The madness of the cancel culture is an example. However, it there may be a method to the madness:

      https://www.rt.com/op-ed/526235-zizek-woke-cancel-culture-awakening/

      The supposedly liberal ‘wokeness’ and cancel culture have little to do with awakening to what’s going on in the world and trying to change it – it’s just noise for the sake of noise, while the status-quo is carefully preserved.

      Like

    1. I am sure he is shaking in his pointy slippers. Tally ho, chaps! Russkiy satellite at ten o’clock high! Let me just jump in my Super-F-35 complete with rocket pods, and I’ll circle up and engage the bastard. Get Professor Ferguson to build me a computer model for hit dispersion.

      Britain is ready to dominate space like Spongebob Squarepants is ready to dominate neuroscience. But they always kick major arse in their own newspapers.

      Like

    1. I couldn’t think of a better candidate if I tried. She’s like a living bowl of elbows in her capacity to fuck up everything she touches, and she dances a treat during slack times when NATO intervention is mercifully not required.

      Like

  30. The Gray Zone: How Washington is positioning Syrian Al-Qaeda’s founder as its ‘asset’
    https://thegrayzone.com/2021/06/09/washington-positioning-syrian-al-qaeda-mohammad-jolani-asset/

    A PBS Frontline special is the latest vehicle in a PR campaign to legitimize rebranded Syrian al-Qaeda, HTS, and market its leader Mohammad Jolani as a competent American “asset.”

    …This June, PBS Frontline aired a special, “The Jihadist,” featuring a sit-down interview with Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, de facto president of the “Syrian Salvation Government” and founder of the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda originally called Jabhat al-Nusra, today re-branded as Hay-at Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS…
    ####

    How is it that the International Crisis Group has not been labled and ‘extremist organization’ by Russia yet? This is the perfect opportunity to do so highlighting the ICG’s own words that it wants to normalize islamic terrorists because they are useful against America’s enemies.

    Like

  31. Ben Aris of bneintelinews comes up with sanction ideas! I wonder why he would do this

    “… So I did a deep dive into what looks like a geeky topic – tools – but is actually I think extremely signf & total lack of tool industry one rus biggest probs

    And if you want sanctions on #russia that would actually work it’s easy: ban tool exports. It would cripple the economy”

    Quote Tweet

    Like

          1. Fucking arsehole Aris!

            So Russians can’t make machine tools, eh?

            Russian for “machine tool/lathe” is. станок [stanok].

            It says at the top of that linked above catalogue page:

            NO TO SANCTIONS!

            BBUY OURS!

            Go and get fucked, Aris!

            Like

            1. Is this going to be another case of an industry in Russia praying for sanctions? I believe Russian agriculture dreads the end of sanctions.

              Like

    1. The fact that supposedly seasoned journalists are still using phrases like ‘soft underbelly’ (sic Churchill?) shows how out of touch and desperate they are to find a silver bullet. The American’s like silver bullets. Very expensive ones that often don’t work if at all. Not that Aris is an ex-Editor of the Daily Telegraph and that tells you plenty already.

      As others here have pointed out here over the years, quite a few western manufacturers have set up servicing centers in Russia essentially making them immune from sanctions. GE has localized (I also assume to take advantage of low cost wages like others), a new heavy aircraft maintenance center has opened in St. Petersberg to service C Check Boing 777, a PW127 servicing is also being set up in Russia etc. etc. The evidence is there if you bother to look and has been for quite some time, not to mention huge companies like IBM, Microsoft and others telling the White House to keep their noses out, but not publicly.

      Aris can keep his phantom sausage which he can play with to his hart’s desire. He’s only pleasuring himself and other russophobes.

      Like

      1. I think it’s probably Japan, which is completely under America’s thumb. But if it is a sufficiently-large market I don’t see the manufacturers going along with a ban for political purposes.

        Like

  32. No, it would not cripple the economy. Even a total ban on Western imports would delay some projects but since machine tool life is around 10 years or so, the existing inventory would maintain capacity. Here is a web site on Russian machine tools. It looks mostly to be 3-axis CNC mills, boring mills, lathes with the typical ranges in size and rigidity. Also, they offer 5-axis machine tools considered to be the top end of machining capability:

    http://fort-russia.com/en/catalog/milling-machining-centers/
    http://fort-russia.com/en/catalog/?q=5-axis&how=r

    Our company has two (2) 5-axis machining centers and they are quite productive. Both are Japanese. I was surprised at the alleged size of the US machine tool industry. Other than Fadal (medium duty) and a few other smaller operations, there is not much available (perhaps specialized machines for defense being an exception).

    The article said a sign of Russia’s inability is that it took a long time to ramp up Sputnik V vaccine production. Meanwhile the US is foundering over not enough masks, not enough ventilators, etc. The US would be lucky to have Russia’s problem. The article also said that Russia is only good at rockets and fighters. Having just posted several lengthy pieces about their generation-4 closed cycle nuclear power technology, I will say that is a typical Western propaganda meme. I usually stop reading an article when I see that crap.

    Remember when the Ukraine would not sell Soviet era gas turbine to Russia for maritime applications? It was going to cripple the Russian navy. 2-3 years later, Russian maritime gas turbines are available and likely better than the Ukrainian product. Remember when Russia was banned from importing US oil field equipment and natural gas liquidfication equipment? 2-3 years later, Russia is making its own equipment.

    This silliness that there is some technical vulnerable that the West can exploit to “destroy Russia” just won’t go away. It’s only a matter of redirecting resources to the problem assuming that there is the engineering talent available which, in the case of Russia, is never in short supply.

    Like

    1. Pindosi cannot make balalaikas and decent vodka!

      That’s why they use bloody awful electric guitars and use their so-called vodka as a mixer.

      And they can’t dance with bears either.

      Like

    2. I should mention that once a particular brand of machine tool is standardized in an enterprise and operators trained and parts/maintenance set up accordingly, that brand will continue to be purchased for many years. It is difficult to introduce a new supplier until the new supplier can demonstrate a huge advantage in cost or productivity or reliability,

      Sanctions would be a huge bonus for the Russian machine tool industry to force a fast change that otherwise would take many years based on normal competitive factors. The West is doing a great service to the Russian economy in that regard.

      Like

        1. I suppose the same could be said of all US media calling for sanctions against Russia which seem to invariably fail. Not a perfect analogy but It’s like being forced off the Titanic by jealous 1st class ticket holders. May they enjoy the remainder of their voyage.

          Like

    1. But perhaps the weirdest incident in their [Yeltsin and Clinton] professional relationship was when Yeltsin got drunk and wandered into the street in his underwear, trying to get a pizza.

      The incident happened during Yeltsin and Clinton’s first meeting in Washington in September 1994. Although there were glancing media reports about it over the years, it wasn’t widely reported on until 2009, when author Taylor Branch published his book The Clinton Tapes, based on his interviews with the president.

      “Secret Service agents discovered Yeltsin alone on Pennsylvania Avenue, dead drunk, clad in his underwear, yelling for a taxi,” Branch wrote in his book. “Yeltsin slurred his words in a loud argument with the baffled agents. He did not want to go back into Blair House, where he was staying. He wanted a taxi to go out for pizza.”

      When Branch asked Clinton how the situation ended, the president shrugged and said, “Well, he got his pizza.” But the next night, Clinton recalled, Yeltsin tried to do it again.

      “Eluding security, he made his way down the back stairs into the Blair House basement, where a building guard mistook him for a drunken intruder,” Branch wrote. “Yeltsin was briefly endangered until converging Russian and American agents sorted out everyone’s affiliation.” Because the guards mistook him for an intruder, “Clinton thought this incident, although contained within Blair House, exposed even greater risk than the pizza quest.”

      https://www.history.com/news/bill-clinton-boris-yeltsin-drunk-1994-russian-state-visit

      Like

      1. Did Boris Yeltsin ever acknowledge the damage he did as president ?

        He lived for quite a few years after he left the presidency – so he can’t have been that sick /oblivious to what he did.

        This story is just sickening that Bill Clinton took full advantage of this situation.

        Like

        1. He died 7 years ater the Evil One had become president.

          One of the drunken criminal’s conditions for his relinquishing his presidency was that he shall always be referred to as “First President of Russia”, which accolade should really be “First United States Appointed Lickspittle President of Russia”.

          Like

            1. ‘Faith’ in the American election process has been steadily degrading without Russia’s help. It has been acknowledged publicly for many years that whichever candidate spends the most money is usually the winner. The real campaigning is only dedicated to convincing the electorate to donate enough money for that candidate to buy it.

              Like

              1. whichever candidate spends the most money is usually the winner

                Well, probably true at the primary stage but don’t discount the amazing amount of voter suppression and gerrymandering that goes on.

                The USA has probably the weirdest and most corrupt election system outside of a total dictatorship like Egypt’s.

                Like

                1. It’s quite true that all manner of skullduggery and trickery take place in American elections; I wrote about it more than 10 years ago on the old blog.

                  https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/democracy-for-dummies/

                  Some of those links are dead now; most unfortunately, one of them is the Georgia International Media Center. It used to be a rich source of complaint by ordinary Georgians, until Saakashvili finally noticed and, realizing there should be no discontent in the deliriously happy country he kept describing to his western pals, took it down and turned it into what is basically a tourist-information level site purged of all rebellion except that which plays to western aims. In that instance – back then, at least – I was able to demonstrate that Saakashvili had outspent his closest electoral rival by a factor of 20-to-1.

                  Voter suppression and gerrymandering are examples of how to get people to not vote. At all, or to cancel out their vote so it will not be effective. In districts and states where your candidate is not expected to do well, they are favoured methods of preventing voters from voting against him or her. But for getting voters to vote for your candidate, money spent on ad buys and robocalls remains the magic ingredient. Some money spent by a political campaign in the USA goes on candidates’ travel and outright bribery, but the majority goes on advertising – a blitz of ads both glorifying your candidate and excoriating his/her opposition, signs, buttons, banners and similar paraphernalia.

                  Like

          1. Hi there ME.

            Just wondering , are you able to explain to me this whole m/n thing in Russian and Ukrainian, please?.

            The dialectical difference are fairly obvious with the “o” and “a” sounds, the “g” and “h” difference, but how can there be dialectical differences over a consonant like M and N?

            Either parents are naming their own children “Mykola” or they are naming them “Nikola”, it cant be both or something interchangeable like Oleksandr/Aleksander.

            How can it be Mykolaiv oblast if it was actually named Nikolaiv? Gogol’s parents had to have named him one or the other ? What’s going on?

            Like

            1. I don’t think it’s uncommon for such consonant changes in other languages: the change does not come about because of pronunciation differences between “Muscovite” Russian and “Ukrainian”.

              One could ask, for example, where the “B” in “Bill” comes from when a man’s name is William, or the “P” in “Polly” for “Mary”: “Molly”, yes, but why “Polly”.

              Like

            2. In the case of name contrasts (Russian “Nikolai” versus Ukrainian “Mykola” and Russian “Nikolayev” versus Ukrainian “Mykolaiv”), the influence may be partly cultural. Western Ukraine was under Polish-Lithuanian / Polish Commonwealth rule until the late 18th century and the Polish and Lithuanian equivalents of Nikolai are Mikołaj and Mikolajus.

              Czechs have both Nikolas and Mikuláš, Slovaks have Mikuláš, Nikolas and Mikoláš, and Slovenes have Miklavž, Niko and Nikolaj. Hungarians use Miklós.
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas

              The city of Nikolayev / Mykolaiv in Ukraine was named after Saint Nicholas of Bari, the patron saint of seafarers and the same Saint Nicholas who inspired the Santa Claus legend. The insistence on calling the city Mykolaiv is of course political on the Banderastanis’ part.

              Gogol came from a family that was bilingual in Ukrainian and Russian so depending on the context (conversing at home with him, close relatives and servants versus talking to Gogol’s teachers at school; speech favouring the use of Mykola versus writing favouring Nikolai) his parents could have called him both Mykola and Nikolai.
              http://www.saint-petersburg.com/famous-people/nikolay-gogol/

              Sometimes culture and politics really do trump natural tendencies and trends in language and dialect development.

              Like

      2. I’ve read accounts from Yeltsin’s defenders which claimed he suffered from a complex neurological disorder, and it was a common myth that he was a drunk – the symptoms caused him to slur his words and appear drunk, but he wasn’t. I don’t think any but the true Yeltsin zealots ever bought it – it would seem difficult to explain that this complex neurological disorder usually manifested itself when he was partying with his western friends, who probably were told to give him all the booze he wanted.

        Like

        1. I remember when he was too pissed to get off the Presidential Flight at Shannon Airport, where Irish diplomats waited in vain for him to step onto the airport apron, to shake hands and fuck off.

          His flight had stopped for refueling or a quick courtesy call in Ireland or whatever whilst en-route from the USA to Russia.

          Like

  33. Biden wants the US to inspect the Wuhan lab to determine if Covid was developed there and then escaped.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/526467-biden-wuhan-lab-covid/

    China should demand to inspect the US bio weapons lab and explore the possibility it was released by US military during a “good will” trip to the Wuhan area that matched the likely first infections in Wuhan.

    https://www.unz.com/article/was-coronavirus-a-biowarfare-attack-against-china/

    My feeling is that it was a US bio-weapons attack against China. Given the amorality of the US when it comes to civilian slaughter (nuclear weapons against the civilian population of a defeated nation and plague bombs used against China and Korea during the Korean for example), this is plausible from that regard.

    China may have been setup with the Faucci gain-of-function work at the Wuhan lab to create a red herring while the real work was done at a US bio-weapons lab. No evidence against this theory and some supporting it. If China comes to a similar conclusion, then they would beleive that the US conducted a first strike with a bio-weapon against the entire population of China. China could play dumb as it unwinds its relationship with the US or it could take the gloves off for real battle Sun Tze has relevant wisdom here.

    All warfare is based on deception
    .
    The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
    Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

    Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

    Like

    1. They could also take a peek into Porton Down, where some “guy” told that bloviating buffoon Johnson that it was definitely Russkie “Novichok” that poisoned the Skripals.

      Like

      1. From the article:

        I believe the Chinese response was exactly what a country would do if they were attacked with a bioweapon which explains a lot of their actions. I do not believe it was an accidental release from the BSL-4 labs in Wuhan. In fact, this may have been an irresistible opportunity similar to the alleged Novichuk release just 8 k away from Porton Down laboratories (the UK Fort Detrich). Interestingly, the potential release from PDL was never put forward as a logical explanation. Anyway, it sticks me that the CIA seems to have developed a pattern over time. As long as I am pushing my gut feelings I will throw out there the potential for a bioengineered adenovirus with c-fos and c-jun over expression which would cause sarcomas. That work was all published at the National Cancer Institute located where? Fort Detrich. I am certain it is just a coincidence. I can imagine the cackling going on at the CIA when planning this operation and again the coronavirus operation(s). I believe there were at least two attacks with Iran being the second and perhaps North Korea as well. However, evidence against it being a bioweapon is Russia, Venezuela, and Cuba are minimally affected. This could mean effective countermeasures or botched attacks. It is inconsistent though with the way the CIA operates.

        The guy makes interesting conjectures that seem to become stronger as more data becomes available.

        Like

        1. Again, anything is possible. But if coronavirus was engineered as a bioweapon intended to kill humans, you’d think they would have tested it on humans and realized it simply does not kill enough people to be an effective weapon. Most people do not even know they have it.

          Like

      2. From an article by Israel Shamir appearing in Unz:

        https://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-can-of-worms/

        Per an advisor to Putin, Sergei Glazyev,:

        …The virus was synthesized in a well-known US laboratory by order of a scientific foundation closely associated with certain structures of the American financial oligarchy, then moved by ethnic Chinese to a Wuhan laboratory and released into the environment there. The purpose of this operation was to destabilize the socio-political situation in the PRC in order to create the prerequisites for a revolutionary situation. It fully fits into the logic of the global hybrid war, unleashed by the American financial oligarchy in order to maintain world domination in the confrontation with the rapidly growing China.

        The Wuhan institute, says Glazyev, worked closely with a more advanced American laboratory. The Chinese scientists who worked in Wuhan had previously trained and conducted research in the United States. The United States is the only country in the world that has the necessary competencies to create such a virus. The United States is the only major country that has not signed the international convention on bioweapons. The Chinese specialists who worked at the time in the Wuhan laboratory came from the United States, where they conducted experiments on the synthesis of coronavirus using quasi-secret American funds.

        A bio-weapon developed under US auspices directed against China to create economic calamity and to foster a Western lead color-revolution? If the shoe fits…

        Like

    2. The whole COVID debacle has been one long propaganda struggle, with governments vying with one another to see who can tell the most lies to the world in their pursuit of unchallenged power over their populations, shift blame, account for irreconcilable statistics and run up debt. The main casualty has been credibility of the medical profession, at least half of which are now regarded as talking-head charlatans who will say anything in exchange for a government stamp of approval for public-health lawmaking. The WHO, along with being all over the map on every policy position, has been on this as well – they already said categorically that there was no evidence whatsoever to suggest COVID was engineered in a Chinese lab as a weapon, or that it accidentally escaped a Chinese lab which was doing gain-of-function research.

      Here’s a fine example; British Columbia’s medical matron of honour, the revered Saint Bonnie Henry – whose mantra (“Be kind, be calm, be safe”) is quoted everywhere as if it were holy writ and even embroidered on souvenirs – on masks.

      Obviously she has not ‘always supported wearing masks’, although to be completely fair to her, she did add the qualifier ‘where appropriate’. But Bonnie Henry is the authority – along with her amigo Health Minister Adrian Dix; a more appropriately-named individual would be difficult to imagine, unless it might be ‘Adrian Dick’ although he is actually too much of a dick to be just one – who mandated mask-wearing indoors and on public transit, which resulted in BC Ferries’ directive that masks are mandatory wear at all times while on a vessel or in a terminal. Which has resulted in my wearing a facemask for more than 8 hours a day every workday, which is exactly what Saint Bonnie claimed ‘everyone’ is against.

      Several Canadian provinces have now joined states of the USA in offering million-dollar lottery cash prizes to persuade the reluctant to ‘get their jab’, and as I mentioned before, the percentage we need to hit to achieve mythical and actually-unachievable ‘herd immunity’ by vaccination keeps going up. I believe now they are shooting for a minimum 75%, where once it was postulated that, allowing for natural T-cell immunity in many, we might not even need to vaccinate 50%.

      P.S. I would point out the possibility that COVID is an engineered bioweapon would have to incorporate almost unearthly prescience. Whoever developed it would have to know the world was going to overreact and throw money away like crazy while trampling on the rights – nurtured for decades – of its citizens, over a disease which has a comical death rate for a bioweapon. Such a person would likely know how to spell ‘Detrick’, especially if they had worked there.

      Like

  34. Обнаружена документальная съемка, в которой высадку на Луне снимают в американской пустыне
    Пятница, 11 Июня 2021 11:12

    Documentary footage discovered that shows the filming of the moon landing in an American desert
    Friday, 11 June 2021 11:12

    WikiLeaks experts have decided to respond to the arrest of Julian Assange by declassifying a very interesting piece archive footage. This is a video (see below) that shows how the Americans filmed the famous “landing on the moon” in the desert of Nevada.

    The American flight to the moon in 1969 was a key victory for the United States in the space race. During the American lunar programme, a dozen American astronauts visited the surface of the earth’s natural satellite — and not a single astronaut from other countries has done this, which has led to some suspicion. Conspiracy theories, according to which the Americans have never been on the moon, and the landing was filmed on Earth, have existed for more than a dozen years.

    NASA and US officials have not become tired of insisting on the reality of the Apollo 11 mission. However, according to opinion polls, Americans themselves now believe in the “lunar conspiracy”. Now conspiracy theorists have a new argument — a video published by the WikiLeaks portal.

    The footage in question was filmed in Nevada. The video contains not only “astronauts”, but also members of the film crew who were involved in a grandiose hoax. The film may have been of astronauts preparing for the lunar mission, but it looks more like evidence that Apollo 11 was a fake.

    https://planet-today.ru/novosti/obshchestvo/vne-politiki/item/134723-obnaruzhena-dokumentalnaya-s-emka-v-kotoroj-vysadku-na-lune-snimayut-v-amerikanskoj-pustyne?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=mobile

    Like

    1. Just a dry run?

      “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless the testimony be of such a kind, that it’s falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish” — David Hume.

      Hume, in his treatise intended to “debunk” the whole concept of miracles, lists ways in which witnesses to alleged miracles and people in general are unreliable. One such argument as one against witness reliability that Hume gives is that people are very prone to accept the unusual and incredible, which alleged events excite their passions of surprise and wonder.

      Wow! Awesome!

      We can do it!

      We just did!

      Like

    2. Of course YouTube was almost instantaneous in jumping upon it and ‘terminating the account’, so we will have to wait until it appears on BitChute or some other non-partisan platform. YouTube is owned by Google, and if anyone is more partisan in removing ‘fake news’ that The Cabal doesn’t want you to see, I’ve never heard about it.

      Like

  35. According to the Financial Crimes newspaper, the Ukraine is threatening to take Gazprom/Russia to court because it has been ‘denied access to central asian gas for 15 years’ Just when you think the Ukraine cannot do anything more stupid, they continue to surprise. Unlike gas from Russia, they would have to pay more for gas from central asia because it would include the transit fee for using Russian pipelines, therefore quite a bit more more expensive. Duh! The claim that Russia might cut of Ukraine from gas is bogus as the real problem is that the Ukraine will not sign a contract unless it is on its own terms and will thus have to pay the LNG mark up, with the help of the lo-land of Po-land of course…

    In other news (Neuters), Hungary has signed a 15 year deal with Gazprom, Russia’s Baltic sea gas processing plant is under construction and gas exports to non-CIS countries is up by 27%

    Like

    1. According to Mr. Putin, all pipelaying on Nord Stream II is complete, and there remain only a few connections to be made on the Russian side. Gazprom is ready to start supplying gas, the compressor stations are on line, and they are just about ready to start pumping gas through it. A perfect backdrop to Ukraine’s “I been done down” wailing.

      Bring it on, Ukraine! No limit to the money they can spend on legal fees as long as the west is paying the bills out of its bottomless pockets. But it’s simply chucking money away, be my guest, who cares if it’s someone else’s money? Zelensky is encouraged to act like a loose cannon, and he’s not statesman enough to not do it. It’s amazing to think any Ukrainian leader could go down in history as more inept even than Poroshenko, but Zelensky is on course. He has accomplished exactly none of what he supposedly set out to do – corruption flourishes unabated, Crimea remains Russian, there is no peace in Donbass and the standard of living continues to tank. Although salaries have doubled on paper since the Glorious Maidan, Revolution Of Dignity, actual value of the Hryvna fell by three times. At the same time, prices for utilities and basic staples have skyrocketed.

      Like

  36. Al Beeb s’Allah: What Putin really wants from Biden
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57427055

    The Geneva summit between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden on 16 June will not be a friendly encounter.

    ####

    It looks like Rainsford has given up. This whole article is weak sauce. Really poor. As usual, cherry pick your sauces (like Aris article above) and you gets what you wants.

    The picture in the article above of the 1985 Regan Gorbachev meeting is provoking but probably not for the reasons it was included. It’s the USA that is four years away from collapse/implosion/whatever and will face an existential series of domestic crises. I’m not alone in the belief.

    Like

    1. Laughable in its assumed arrogance; I only read the first couple of paragraphs. Russia recently designated the United States an ‘unfriendly country’ – imagine! – after the United States ranked Russia as its greatest geopolitical enemy and fired accusations at it non-stop for the last ten years or so. The summit is much sought-after by the preening Russians, because to be in the room with The Great Biden brings the pagan savages greatness by association. Don’t forget to bring a big sack of glass beads, Joe! The pickaninnies loves those.

      Carry on with your mawkish worship of America, Sarah. You and your fellow cheerleaders are riding for a fall. Of course, it will be all Trump’s fault.

      https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/06/02/another-american-first-a-self-collapsing-empire/

      Like

  37. Russian Aviation: Aeroflot, S7 received permits for flights to Germany
    https://tass.com/russia/1297501

    Previously, Russian and German airlines experienced difficulties in obtaining permits to fly between countries. The carriers even had to cancel flights

    …”Everything is fine, we got the permits,” Poluboyarinov told TASS adding that it concerns about 28 flights per week as part of the summer timetable.

    Meanwhile the press service of the S7 airline told TASS that the second largest carrier in Russia also received all the necessary permits.

    “S7 Airlines has received a permit from the German authorities to operate flights. Flights to Germany will be operated as planned,” S7 told TASS…
    ####

    A bit old but…

    Like

  38. Politico: Belarus opposition leader calls for more sanctions on Lukashenko regime
    https://www.politico.eu/article/belarusian-opposition-leader-calls-for-more-sophisticated-package-of-sanctions-opposition-leader-svetlana-tikhanovskaya/

    ‘The only leverage now is to put pressure on the regime: sanctions and political isolation,’ says Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

    …international community should impose sanctions on business leaders and oligarchs supporting the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko, as well as state-owned enterprises in sectors including oil, steel and wood.

    The lifting of sanctions should be conditional on the release of all political prisoners, the end of violence in the country and new elections, she added.

    “The only leverage now is to put pressure on the regime: sanctions and political isolation,” she said. “The diplomatic mechanisms don’t work, and we really don’t see another way out.”..
    ####

    Headline should be changed to ‘Stupid Says. Why not go the whole hog if ‘diplomatic mechanisms don’t work’ and bomb Byeloruss in to the Stone Age (TM). Then the glorious new leaders can rebuild it from the ground up!

    Like

    1. Same old regime-change song and dance – Dear NATO; please make arrangements for my countrymen to be miserable and hopeless. so that they will come into the streets in their millions of snotty-faced desperate, and cry out for me to be Queen! Whatever misery you have to inflict on them, do as you must, but Lukashenko has to go because we will never be able to vote him out, and then there’s his son ready to step into Daddy’s bootprints.

      I just hope the Belarusians are taking note, and I would be very surprised if Lukashenko were not ensuring her begging for them to be punished receives wide distribution – I certainly would, if I were in his place. People have a right to know that Tikhanouskaya is agitating to take the food out of their children’s mouths in order that she can be the new ruler, swept in on a river of discontent. She should be regarded as nothing less than a traitor to the nation, perhaps have her citizenship revoked.

      Like

  39. The Common Sense Skeptic takes apart the Space Force study of using point-to-point rockets to deliver cargo and/or troops anywhere within an hour. Silliness does not come close in describing the sheer stupidity of this scheme. Musk can make nonsense claims and we can smile but when the US military joins the delusion….

    Like

    1. Musk can barely get the rocket off the ground empty without it buckling and blowing itself to shit. You can only imagine the likelihood of it taking off with 16 levels of shifting cargo, and landing safely at destination. It would be a cast-iron bitch to load, and the very same in reverse to unload, but don’t let common sense and the existence of a purpose-built aircraft deter you. Why do people persists in being so stupid? It only encourages boy-geniuses like Musk to make even zanier promises.

      Like

      1. Just trying to visualise what 100 troops would look like after going for a ride on a point-2-point rocket from one side of the planet to its polar opposite in half an hour with all the weapons and portable equipment they need just to patrol their base. I suspect chicken schnitzels would look better and firmer.

        Like

        1. Oh, nonsense; it’s perfectly safe. That’s all you have to say these days, to assuage the fears and trepidation of the proles. And besides, Musk will not likely ever have to prove it, as he does not have to substantiate many of his crazy claims. Why, by this time two years from now, you’ll be able to take an intergalactic trip on a skateboard.

          Like

          1. Well, they will not be return to base by that rocket – an express elevator to hell – going down!

            The rocket lands in Peru and … it sits there for eternity. The rocket is fueled by liquid methane and liquid oxygen. And where is that to be found? And the highly specialized pumps, connections, fittings, safety equipment, highly trained personnel, etc. Where? It’s an express elevator to hell with out an up button.

            Oh, it also needs a superheavy booster to somehow fly to the landing site and land close by (but not too close) and then a crane to transport and lift the Starship (or whatever they call it) to mount on top of the booster.

            The stupidity of the concept can not be overstated. Yet, as the video points out, it is repeated endless by the legions of sycophant channels and fan boys and now the US Space Force.

            Like

            1. I was hoping someone would note the “express elevator the hell” phrase. It’s from “Aliens” uttered during the landing on the planet infested by xenomorphs. Could not find a short YouTube clip of that portion of the movie.

              Like

              1. I did note it, I just saw no reason to point it out. I remember it well; the actor seemed typecast to portray male soldiers as whiny and unable to focus, while his female counterpart (Vasquez) was tough and resolute. The ‘express elevator to hell – going down!’ combat drop was just about his only line where he seemed comfortable with his environment and relatively fearless. The rest of the time he was practically crying in fear for his life.

                Like

                1. The military portrayal seemed based on the US Vietnam war experience. Youthful American soldiers loaded down with military gear fighting an enemy in a jungle against a largely unseen and inhuman enemy and prohibited from using its full fire power. Throw in an inexperienced commander who panics during combat and you have the plot of many US war movies about Vietnam.

                  Full Metal Jacket avoided some of the stereotypes, The story of the drill instructor was interesting – hired as a consultant to the movie, he ended up becoming playing the drill instructor (having never before acted). He was brilliant in that role. This video is longish but captures his character.

                  Like

                2. Many film critics have noted that “Aliens” was James Cameron’s critique of the Vietnam War and that “Avatar” was his critique of the US war in Iraq. His career as bigshot film director of blockbusters in Hollywood went down the tubes shortly after and his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow ended up covered in glory with a Best Director Oscar for “The Hurt Locker” or “Zero Dark Thirty”. I have heard rumour that Bigelow and her scriptwriter worked with the CIA on the second film.

                  Like

                3. Thanks for that Jen. I completely missed it. More fool me. As for Bigelow, I refer to my previous comment (and as the rest of the world who has pointed it out) that the US makes its ‘own reality.’ Virtual of course, but that is the writ of dying powers who sprial towards the power center at the expense of the whole.

                  I may sound like a (drunk) old fart at the moment. I am drunk posting, tho. But, history really does repeat itself as farce or what not, and there is no escape.

                  We are currently between two worlds and it is primarily the US that is struggling by far the most with reality (sic Cheney/2002 Bush unnamed ‘advisor’ as I posted earlier). Dangerous times. At heart I’m an optimist, but otherwise a pessimist. Danger! Will Robinson! ‘Ai!

                  Like

                4. Avatar has been compared to the US expropriation of Native American lands and attempts to crush their beliefs. Canada has been in the news in that regard with the forced re-education (and often murder) of children of the indigenous populations.

                  Are you saying that the Pentagon and CIA help script movies that automatically win awards? Gosh, that would be wrong.

                  Like

                5. Come around here in ten years and there won’t be anyone in politics who is not gay, female or indigenous – the most hated demographic in Canada is straight white men, who are collectively responsible for everything that is wrong with the country and the world. The Pride Parade has already made the jump to Pride Week because we did not have enough time to properly celebrate gay sex before that, MeToo has done for dozens of straight white male politicians and several of the highest-ranking military officers, and the First Nations are elbowing one another out of the way to get their turn with ground-penetrating radar so they can unearth the bodies of their murdered ancestors. There is no such thing as mourning and moving on any more – now it’s mourning and you will pay and pay and pay, never mind that you personally had nothing to do with it.

                  Like

                6. Nations built on genocide (or the profits thereof), if we accept the ICTY’s rather liberal ruling (sic, lack of evidence) and intent is inferred. O’ Canada! The supposedly unf/ked version of its souther neighbor.

                  It really is as simple as being the biggest beast in the jungle. Now that’s a depressing though that humankind for all its soft words has ultimately not advanced much from its inception.

                  I’m moving to Neptune. I hear it is quiet. 😉 Or maybe a nightflite to Venus?

                  Like

  40. BBC Nudes is interviewing a former US Ambassador to Russia James F. Collins and the anchor just said “is there anything to show that Russia will stop expanding in its own backyard” or something like that. The questions were little more than bulletpoints. In response to a question about the Ukraine that Putin said it wasn’t holding agreements, the former Ambassador said that “there are problems implementing the agreement.”

    Like

    1. The al-Beeb s’Allah anchor is Mark Lowe who is still pushing the line of ‘Russian adventurism’ with Rainsford agreeing. Of course.

      Like

      1. Yes, NYT hiring ads suggest that if you do not hate Russia and everything Russian, no need to apply. It’s that open.

        Like

  41. Bi-Dumb’s prologue to the Q&A at Geneva was ok. The journalist questions are all “What are you going to do [fill in blank].’ In response to some of the questions it’s clear Bi-Dumb is on a different planet. He said election meddling in the US elections make Putin look small and affects his ‘credibility around the world.’ Bi-Dumb then went on to say that ‘Imagine how it would look if the United States was interfering in other states elections and everybody knew about it. It would look bad.’ OMFG! Yes, he’s preaching to his own audience in the USA, but the rest of the world, well…

    Like

    1. As Bi-Dumb was leaving the stage a lady journalist shouted at him “How can you trust Putin. What about Navalny etc. etc.” Bi-Dumb turned around walked towards her and pointed his finger saying “I never said I trusted Putin. I already said it’s what is done that counts.” (more or less). The journalist continued to shout and demand answers and Bi-dumb said “You don’t know what you are talking about.” and walked off.

      It’s worth watching. The US media class baying for blood and asking the same questions they had planned even though Bi-Dumb had already stated stuff in his prologue and then personally hassling him because they didn’t like his answers.

      It just tells us yet again what we already know. There is widespread and uncheked Russophobia that has been stoke for years (also by the US government) and this is the result. Bi-Dumb was part of it and now he is part hostage of it and of those back home who will do anything to pull the rug on any reasonable relationship with Russia. The US created the situation and now it is stuck with it.

      Like

      1. Yes, it is quite a bit like the Coronavirus ‘pandemic’, when you think about it. Governments cultivated an atmosphere of oppressive fear, but now many of them want to turn it off and get back to making money. And can’t.

        Like

    2. The United States groped for an explanation of how Trump was elected, and came up with Russian election-meddling. It played so well for the Democrats that they stuck with it. But really it was voter anger and the perception of being shamelessly manipulated; that’s why I always say, if the American voter finally got fighting mad and decided to overturn the cozy establishment event of ‘electing’ the candidate the lobbyists and corporations want to see in the big chair…why did it have to be Trump? The ‘Russian meddling’ story is just a countermeasure against that ever happening again. It’s not even very realistic – the United States is an enemy of Russia no matter who the president is, Obama proved that – but it had to be framed as an attack on American democracy so they could play victim.

      The President of the USA will consistently be the establishment candidate for the remainder of our lifetimes, if the United States even sticks together that long, because as bad as Trump was, the Democrats made him appear so much worse that the maverick candidate will never be ‘elected’ again. As far as the “How would you like it if WE did that?” argument goes, it is too precious for a response.

      Like

      1. Hillary Clinton says those casting doubt on 2020 election results are ‘doing Putin’s work’
        “We never thought we had to worry about domestic enemies,” Hillary Clinton says

        1 hour ago
        [wall]

        Speaking in an appearance on MSNBC’S Morning Joe, Ms Clinton said those who continue to spread conspiracy theories and question the results of the election that saw President Joe Biden elected are sowing “distrust” and “divisiveness” in the US.

        “We never thought we had to worry about domestic enemies. We never thought we had to worry about people who didn’t believe in our democracy,” Ms Clinton said.

        “And sadly, what we’ve seen over the last four years and particularly since the election is that we have people in our own country who are doing Putin’s work,” she said.

        “They are doing his work to sow distrust, to sow divisiveness, to give aid and comfort to those in our country who, for whatever reason, are being not only disruptive but very dangerous.”

        Tough shit, you lying slag!

        Like

        1. Quite a lot of modern fiction, almost what I would call a genre, focuses on a dystopian America of the future in which the citizens are under constant surveillance and monitoring, subject to exile if any hint of resistance or rebellion is detected. How fictional is it, really? The world is definitely headed in that direction, with surveillance cameras everywhere – ostensibly to deter crime – and the public asked to yield ever-greater volumes of personal information in the name of ‘protecting the community’.

          Marko had a nice piece up on the issue the other day, at Anti-Empire: “The War Over Genetic Privacy is Just Beginning”, detailing how much information countries like the United States already control on their citizens, their opinions and their political affiliations and their movements.

          https://anti-empire.com/the-war-over-genetic-privacy-is-just-beginning/

          “You’re doing the bad guy’s work” is all of a piece with this 1984-style push-campaigning, just as it was with COVID sloganeering like ‘We’re all in this together” and appeals for citizens to overcome their hesitancy over vaccination ‘for their community’. Labeling like Clinton’s also serves to stifle dissent and argument – if you don’t go along with the narrative, you might be a traitor.

          Indeed we live in interesting times, when the themes writers once played upon to give us a voyeuristic thrill of oppression far removed are coming to life before our eyes, and those who have proven over and over again that they cannot be trusted with power demand that you trust them with…everything.

          Like

      2. From 2007:

        …As a Bush aide once boasted to Ron Suskind: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”..

        https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/01/dick-cheney-vs-reality/

        Like

  42. Editorial of a newspaper owned by the naturalized son of a Russian criminal “oligarch”, a former officer in the First Chief Directorate (Foreign Intelligence) of the Soviet Union′s KGB and later one of the KGB’s successor-agencies, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) who made a mint as a “banker” following the demise of the USSR:

    The US-Russia relationship is out of the freezer – but there is no big thaw
    [wall]

    As Joe Biden said before he went into the Villa La Grange in Geneva to hold talks with Vladimir Putin: “It’s always better to meet face to face.” In the era of Covid-19, this has a double meaning, in that it is better to talk in person rather than by phone or video link; but it has always been true in diplomacy in any case. Dialogue is better than the hurling of insults from a distance, and face-to-face dialogue is best of all.

    It helped, too, that expectations of the talks between the presidents of the United States and Russia were so low. President Putin said there was “no hostility” and that their conversations were conducted in a “constructive spirit”, but there was clearly little meeting of minds.

    The Russian leader restated his familiar defences of his positions in his news conference, deflecting every attack on Russian aggression or abuses of human rights by accusing the US of similar transgressions.

    “I did what I came to do,” President Biden said after the meeting, adding that it was “important to meet in person so there could be no mistake about” his intentions.

    The relationship between the United States and Russia has been frozen since the ambiguous link between Donald Trump and Mr Putin was broken by last year’s election. There is a personal element to their rivalry because of the Russian’s evident preference for Mr Biden’s predecessor and the suggestions of Russian interference in US elections.

    This personal rivalry was heightened when President Biden called Mr Putin a “killer”. The Russian leader had plainly been stung by that and responded at his news conference, saying that if you “look at American streets people are getting killed there”, and US drones in Afghanistan are killing civilians – by accident, “but who is the killer there?”

    He repeated his often-used deflection that Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader – whom he named only as “a citizen” and “this person” – “knows full well that he has violated the law in Russia; he is a repeat offender; he deliberately wanted to be arrested”. He tried to turn questions about repression of his opponents by saying that people had been arrested in the US because they “rioted and went into Congress”, and said: “We do not want the same thing here.”

    Asked at his own press conference what would happen if Mr Navalny died in prison, Mr Biden said that he “made it clear to [Mr Putin] the consequences would be devastating for Russia” – as he said that he had raised human rights concerns with this opposite number.

    Mr Putin himself hardly engaged with press questions about Russia’s attempts to destabilise Ukraine, but talked fluently about the talks with his opposite number about the Arctic Circle. The Russian president even used some friendly diplomatic language, saying: “This was a productive meeting, it was fruitful and to the point.” He said he didn’t want to “imply that we looked into each other’s eyes and found a soul or swore eternal friendship – we didn’t talk about souls, but national interests”. But he added that there were “the glimpses of confidence and hope”. Mr Biden also called the tone of the talks “good” and “positive”.

    So there was some bite mixed in with the warm words – with the talks also shorter than expected. But the substance of their disagreement over national interests might have been softened a little.

    Beyond the two leaders, ambassadors are set to return to their posts and normal diplomatic relations restored, which is a step in the right direction. And, as Mr Biden said, it is always better that rivalrous world leaders talk to each other – and best of all, face to face.

    Sue me for breach of copyright, Lebedev!

    You know where I live!


    Evgeny lebedev, owner of the Independent and London resident since the age of 8, when his papa Alexander began working at the KGB
    rezidentura in the then Soviet Embassy.

    In July 2020, Lebedev was nominated for peerage by British prime minister Boris the Buffoon.

    Lebedev has sat in the House of Lords as a life peer since 19 November 2020 with the title “Baron Lebedev, of Hampton in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and of Siberia in the Russian Federation”.

    How the fuck can he be a “baron” in Siberia, the stupid pompous British establishment twats? Siberia is in Russia, a republic!

    Lebedev made his maiden speech during the Queen’s speech debate on 12 May 2021.

    Rumour has it, though I am not one to gossip, that Lebedev is an arse bandit.

    How unwoke of me to mention this.


    Boris, I think I am madly in love with you!

    Like

  43. Italicized text from the Lebedev rag should have its italics closed after “. . . and best of all, face to face”.

    Like

  44. Only in Russia!

    Its true, I tell ya!!

    В Новокузнецке 100-килограммовая жена задушила мужа ягодицами, перебрав с алкоголем

    In Novokuznetsk, a 100-kilogram wife strangled her husband with her buttocks, having had too much alcohol
    The woman, who could not stand insults from her husband, has already appeared in court.
    May 18, 12:28 pm

    According to investigators, in October last year, a couple from Novokuznetsk decided to spend time drinking alcohol. At some point, a quarrel broke out between the lovers. The altercation so angered the 45-year-old wife that she did not want to let her chosen one get away with it.

    When the man lay down on the bed and buried his face in the mattress, the woman took advantage of the moment and sat on his neck, and began to hold his head with her legs. At the same time, as noted on the website of the Investigatory Committee of the Russian Federation for the Kemerovo region, Kuzbass, in a release dated May 17, the woman “with a height below average had a weight of more than 100 kilograms”. “My husband couldn’t get out. Soon, he stopped showing signs of life”, she confessed.

    The woman admitted her guilt in part, saying that she only wanted to calm down her chosen one.

    As has become known to “Life”, the woman was sentenced on March 23, 2021. She was found guilty under part 1 of Article 109 (“Causing death by negligence”) and sentenced to one year and six months of correctional labour withholding five percent of her salary to the state income.

    Such is life in “Putin’s Mafia State”.

    Like

  45. Surely the man was suffocated, not “strangled”. Either that, or she has extremely dexterous buttocks.

    Like

    1. This story was even funnier:

      Had to be amputated: A villager suffered an intimate injury while in contact with 3 women near Voronezh

      A 50-year-old resident of the village of Babyakovo, in the Novousman district of Voronezh region, had to undergo a difficult operation.

      The man, apparently, was so good-looking that he won the hearts of three women at once. At the same time, all of them agreed to participate with him in love joys. However, Kazan’s love affair turned against him. In a fit of passion, one of the chosen women bit the partner for his dignity.

      The man did not observe hygiene enough, and the sexual organ became inflamed and increased in size, writes “The Voronezh Notebook”. However, at first the loelas [???] was not frightened at all, even on the contrary: he was pleased with the new volumes of dignity.

      Nevertheless, the villager could not be hospitalized. But when he went to the doctors, it was too late. Due to the neglected process, part of the reproductive organ had to be amputated. In addition, medics noticed traces of teeth on him and reported it to the police, suggesting that some kind of violence might have happened. Now law enforcement officers have to understand the intricacies of what happened and find a woman who could not at the right moment to pacify his passion.

      Like

  46. Biden has commented on the situation with Navalny
    June 16, 2021, 21: 59

    US President Joe Biden commented on the situation with Aleksey Navalny, who is in a penal colony. In his opinion, in the event of Navalny’s death, Russia could face “devastating consequences”.

    “I made it clear to him (Putin) to understand that I believe that the consequences of this would be devastating for Russia”, Biden said.

    Devastating consequences?

    Such as?

    You’re going to nuke Moscow if your agent croaks?

    Like

      1. “Biden, 78, sat erect and cross-legged in his chair, while the 68-year-old Putin — who is shorter and thick around the middle — sat slumped with his feet planted wide and his hands on his thighs.”

        I should not be surprised, but American media is still fixated on Putin’s height – you don’t have to be smarter than him, you just need to be taller. And ‘thick around the middle’? He has gained a little weight as he ages, but if you want to see some politicians who are thick around the middle, although the press would never dare mention it…

        https://e3.365dm.com/20/02/768×432/skynews-karen-pierce-ambassador_4926427.jpg?20200221105902%20600w

        I’d wager that the latter also sits with her feet planted wide, since she could no more cross her legs than she could pole-vault over a semi-trailer. But she’d have to be from an ‘unpopular country’ before the press would ever mention it, even obliquely.

        Like

        1. Politicians thick around the middle? … I recall reading somewhere that Belgium used to have a Health Minister (Maggie de Block) who was sort of apple-shaped … she used to be a general practitioner as well.

          Starring in her own monster movie: Maggie de Blockzilla

          Like

    1. Thoughts about Navalny and the West
      Yesterday

      An idea has came up. It’s almost crazy, but what other ideas can you get after Zippy Joe’s speeches?

      Well, to the point. If the West is so concerned about the fate of Aleshenka Navalny so that even his Lord and Master (hee-hee) demands his release almost every day, frightening Russia that if Aleshenka suddenly croaks . . . . then the hegemon will really get angry and we will face a terrible-horrible punishment.

      A terrible, terrible punishment like never before. Perhaps they will ban the sale of Coca-Cola in Russia? Or showing Hollywood movies? In short — they will hit the most expensive things…

      But it is possible to avoid this! And also with a profit for themselves.

      Yes, with a profit, since if Losha is so dear to the West, then we need to offer the Berlin Patient for sale . . . and for real dough, not just for some shekels!

      And it wouldn’t be the first time that they have bought people overseas and brought them back with them: they have such a rich experience in this matter.

      And we should start haggling with an astronomical amount. No less than a billion non-shekels. . .

      Like

      1. An excellent idea – and, as the former Chairman for the Federal Reserve of The Most Powerful Country Evah once said, “If we want to buy us some Navalny, we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account”. Or words to that effect.

        The price of anything in U.S. dollars will always be irrelevant to the U.S. government, because it will simply clatter a few keys on the magic laptop, and off goes an order to the printers. You can have as much money as you wish for; as long as the U.S. dollar remains legal tender internationally, it apparently does not have to be backed with anything at all, since the United States already owes more than 100% of its GDP in debt.

        https://dailyreckoning.com/central-bank-can-never-run-money/

        The USA also claims to hold the world’s largest reserves of gold. Ask for Navalny’s bounty to be paid in gold.

        “I’ve got the answers
        to all of your questions,
        if you’ve got the money to
        pay me in gold:
        I will be living
        in old Monte Carlo,
        and you will be reading
        the secrets I sold…”

        Like

      2. Selling Navalny would be a PR disaster for Russia. A prisoner swap would work, however. Russia has backed the US in a corner on that concept by prefacing any swap with an admission that Navalny is a US agent. So, Russia will not sell Navalny and the US can not acknowledge he is a US agent. Navalny will serve his sentence followed by many years of probation. His usefulness will be essentially zero unless he were to die as a (involuntary) martyr. If Navalny has a brain he would figure out his life will end tragically.

        Like

        1. There is the possibility also that if the US does not come to Navalny’s rescue at the proverbial eleventh hour, he may decide to do as Roman Protasevich has done and start singing very loudly.

          Like

        2. Speaking of prisoner swaps, Foreign Policy claims the USA and Russia are cautiously exploring one, although not involving Navalny.

          https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/06/16/biden-putin-summit-takeaways-cybersecurity-nuclear-energy-ambassadors-prisoner-exchange/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

          What’s wrong with this description?

          “Biden also raised the issue of two Americans, Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed, who have separately received lengthy prison sentences in Russia. Putin said the two countries might be able to “find some compromise there” and noted the U.S. State Department and Russian Foreign Ministry would work on the issue. Further talks on prisoner exchanges could prove thorny because of a mismatch in the prisoners each side wants returned. Although Washington regards the charges against Whelan and Reed to be bogus, Russia is likely to seek notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout and convicted drug smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko to be released in return.”

          Yes, that’s right: the two Americans are innocent, didn’t do a thing, were locked up on a whim! The Russians, now; one is a ‘notorious’ arms dealer (whose air-transport services were used by the US government to transport weapons), and the other a ‘convicted’ drug smuggler. Perhaps he is, but he was ‘convicted’ by the United States. So, that’s it, then – because it is a country of laws, being convicted means he’s guilty.

          Not in Russia, though. Reed was, by his own admission, ‘blind drunk’ at a party, and allegedly started a fight. He was arrested and, again allegedly, grabbed the arm of one of the arresting officers in the car, causing it to swerve. Paul Whelan was arrested for espionage, but of course there’s nothing to that, either – Americans only do harmless bad things like jaywalk when they are abroad, and all their spies stay in America and spy from there.

          Take a look at the defense of Reed by the US Ambassador, his lawyer and his girlfriend. The US Ambassador – I guess there still was one in Russia at the time of the arrest – claimed the charges were ‘preposterous’, and claimed there was no ‘swerving’ in the video evidence.

          https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/15275234/meet-us-marine-trevor-reed-detained-in-russia/

          His lawyers claim he was drugged at the party. His girlfriend suggests he looked like the cops beat him up at the station. His father claims the Russians had their eye on him because he was once a Marine guard at Camp David.

          https://nypost.com/2021/06/15/parents-of-former-marine-trevor-reed-held-in-russia-speak-out/

          The recurring theme is innocent-innocent-innocent. Wasn’t doing nuffink, Guv.

          Whelan, of course, was a victim of entrapment. Also a former Marine, one with quadruple citizenship – American, Canadian, Irish and British – he was nonetheless an innocent babe in the woods and just accepted the flash drive containing ‘state secrets’ which was used to entrap him because he didn’t know what else to do. I’m sure that would be believed in a heartbeat if he were a Russian former Spetsnaz member with quadruple citzenship (Russian, Polish, Israeli and Belarusian) in any of the countries where Whelan holds citizenship. I didn’t even know what was on it. Honest. Or the guy who gave it to me. I was set up – he told me it was holiday pictures of his family.

          https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/15/world/paul-whelan-sentenced-russia-intl/

          The rest of the FP article is a platform for our favourite bitter former Ambassador, Michael McFool, to sound off long and loud, he must be a friend of the author.

          Like

    2. If Navalny were in an American prison like Epstein was, I’d say Biden was forecasting his impending death. But the USA can’t quite reach everywhere as it likes to believe, and Navalny is perfectly safe where he is. No doubt he will be gratified to learn his benefactor is only prepared to intervene if he dies.

      Like

  47. CHECK FOLLOWED BY MATE?

    В Кремле назвали условие для передачи Навального США

    The Kremlin has stated its terms for the transfer of Navalny to the United States
    6 hours ago

    Moscow may hand over the founder of FBK (recognized by the Ministry of Justice as a foreign agent and extremist organization, activities in Russia are prohibited) Aleksey Navalny to the United States if Washington officially confirms that he is a citizen of that country and works for its special services, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on the Echo of Moscow radio station.

    “If it suddenly turns out that he is a US citizen and works for the special services, it will be officially confirmed, more accurately said, officially by the Americans”, he said, answering a question from journalists about the possibility of extradition of Navalny as part of a prisoner exchange between the two countries.

    Peskov added that the proposal to extradite the FbK founder to the Americans was not voiced during the private meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden, which took place yesterday in Geneva. At the same time, the question of Navalny was brought up last; the conversation took place in a “routine manner”. Peskov did not reveal any details of the conversation, since the “narrow scope” of such dialogues is never made public.

    Putin and Biden also discussed the exchange of prisoners, but this “this matter shies away from publicity and should be worked through in silence”, Peskov said. He mentioned that no one was engaged in “checking lists” and the conversation was “only in the form of a conceptual framework.

    Last October, Peskov told journalists that Russia and Germany had information that specialists from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were working with Navalny. The founder of FBK refuted this statement and filed a lawsuit to protect his honour, dignity, and business reputation against the presidential press secretary. The suit was returned because of errors. In March, Navalny filed a similar application; it was accepted for processing in May.

    Your move, USA!

    Like

    1. It is, really – the elegance of the conundrum lies in the exchange; in order to spring Navalny and whisk him off to the alleged caring arms of America, America merely has to admit something which would render him completely ineffective to future American regime-change efforts, and thus a ‘useless eater’ who can do nothing for his supper.

      At the same time, any reluctance on the part of the USA to accept the deal – in which you can almost hear Navalny offstage, crying, “Yes!! Yes!! I’ll work so hard for you!!” – looks like confirmation that he IS a U.S. asset, since the only reason for reluctance would be an attempt to salvage his usefulness. If he were simply some dick dissident who meant nothing to American dabbling in Russia, or some athlete imprisoned for his political views, they would jump at it and reap a propaganda bonanza with the folks back home. American strategists know that on the one hand, he will likely be out in a few years and still a relatively young man. On the other, if they admit he is a U.S. intelligence asset to save him, he can never again be used in Russian destabilization efforts. But they must either accept or back away, decision time is now, because they have been yelling for his release for months.

      Like

  48. Ha, ha! This precious world. Now there are – allegedly – many people who glommed onto the idea of being restricted to your home and only leaving it to resupply with food and necessities, to the extent that they are now ‘reluctant to re-enter society’. A helpful Miami psychiatrist has coined a label for it: ‘Cave Syndrome’.

    https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/people-with-cave-syndrome-are-reluctant-to-return-to-normal-life-after-covid/2400730/

    You can almost hear the lawsuits being built, brick by brick – the more the world is forced to acknowledge that lockdowns were damaging rather than beneficial, the more substantiation is offered to the viewpoint that state decision-makers willfully injured their citizens by restricting their freedom of movement and making them dependent on government regulations made up willy-nilly by public-health poseurs.

    Like

  49. On reflection, the Bi-Dumb Pootie-Poot summit isn’t the real news. This is:

    First astronauts arrive at China’s space station
    https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/First_astronauts_arrive_at_Chinas_space_station_999.html

    …The trio blasted off on a Long March-2F rocket from the Jiuquan launch centre in northwest China’s Gobi desert, and their craft docked at the Tiangong station around seven hours later, where they will spend the next three months….
    ####

    The US has expended a lot of energy doing China down as cheaters, copiers and whatever that they can’t really do stuff by themselves, but what more proof do you need than China launching and then inhabiting its very own space station. The rest of the world shares one!

    According to Tass, Russia and China will expand space co-operation including a joint ‘international’ moon base. I’ll believe it when I see it but it’s more likely than others.

    Like

    1. This is indeed a great achievement by China who have only had a space programme since the 1990s.

      USSR and USA achieved a lot when they were in competition.

      Not so much has been done in recent times that has been as ground breaking for USA and Russia as successor to USSR.

      Like

    2. The whole return to the moon scenario is a bit problematic, but at least the China / Russia (and friends, maybe) is vaguely plausible – Robotic exploration(3 Chinese, 3 Russian probes) through 2025, followed by final site selection and installation of a largely robotic infrastructure of power and telecoms, etc. through 2030 – And, I think, here is where that ion drive tug the Russians are fiddling with might come in really handy for LEO-lunar transfers. That seems like a doable schedule without any weird crash programs. After 2030, then we see temporary human presence.

      By contrast, the US Artemis program seems to have some very rushed (and fuzzy) scheduling – a sort of dash back to the moon to touch base with a very unclear development schedule, even without all the funding struggles between SpaceX, Blue Origins and (seriously?) Virgin Galactic – honestly, does anyone believe that latter will *ever* achieve a significant payload to orbit with that cockamamie jet aircraft launch vehicle? The ESA is, unsurprisingly mega keen to ride with the hegemon, but stay tuned.

      Like

      1. Yes, the TEM would be an excellent cargo hauler to lunar orbit. China and Russia are moving at a deliberate rate determined by reasonable engineering schedules rather than political objectives.

        Virgin Galatic is a pretender. Yet, if the US Space Force can publicly consider rocket-men to any point on earth in an hours, then anything is possible.

        IIRC, Trump wanted the “first woman and the next man” to land on the moon during his second term The democrats may have picked up the banner as part of geopolitical messaging that Russia and China can’t keep up with the dynamic West and their once-in-a-millennia wonder boy (aka Rocket Jesus) Elon Musk.

        Like

        1. Yeah, it’s all a bit bewildering on the collective west side. A strange mix of Buck Rogers non-starters like Starship point to point and Virgin Galactic along with a nostalgic attempt to reignite the salad days of the space race (At peak, NASA budget ~3.5% of GDP IIRC, program administrators can be forgiven for doing their best to bring that back). Well, we can be pretty sure Artemis won’t be landing on the moon by the original target date of 2024. When and whether is a bit of an open question, yeah?

          Like

  50. Киев решил сменить Вашингтон на посту мирового гегемона
    08: 00 16.06.2021 (обновлено: 08:03 16.06.2021)

    Kiev has decided to replace Washington in its position as world hegemon

    In recent days, anyone who still did not realize the obvious, namely that the Ukraine is a special and exclusive country, certainly should have been convinced of this by now.

    In just a couple of days, representatives of the Ukrainian authorities and local experts have:

    1) come to the conclusion that the Ukraine is worthy of cooperation with the IMF on special conditions;

    2) threatened the Fund with default on obligations to it;

    3) spoken about the conditions on which the Ukraine can agree to the launch of Nord Stream 2 (SP-2);

    4) separately hinted at the expediency of sharing SP-2 shares with the Ukraine;

    5) threatened Gazprom with new litigation, in addition to previously announced claims of almost $ 20 billion.

    Until recently, only the United States claimed to be exclusive in the modern world, striving to preserve a unipolar world order. But now there is a feeling that in the Ukraine the world is also seen as unipolar, but led by Kiev.

    Recently, the American president, and with him the leaders of France and Germany, have been regularly fed insults from the Ukrainian president. And there is no need to talk about Russia: its fate as proposed by Kiev is to pay and repent. Just take a look at the draft strategy for Ukraine foreign policy, approved by the Ukrainian government last week, according to which the country is going to receive reparations from Russia by 2024.

    The statements of recent days are a logical development of the Ukrainian elites’ rethinking of their role in the world. It remains only to find out to what extent the current hegemon is ready for such a change of roles.

    That the Ukraine is worthy of cooperation with the IMF on special conditions, and the current requirements of the Fund are unfair, was made clear on June 14: “You cannot compare the strategy of IMF behaviour with the Ukraine and with other countries. Our country simply cannot be put on a par with others. Because we have a war that is going on; because money is spent not on priorities from an economic point of view, but from a security point of view: firstly on the military, then on medicine, and then on everything else”, Zelensky said.

    As a reminder: the main requirements of the IMF today are the transfer of the Ukrainian judicial system so that it is under the control of the West and the consolidation of said control over anti-corruption structures. It is clear why this be done: to put all significant Ukrainian officials (and partly businessmen, too) on the hook: steal, yes —but in the case of political disloyalty, be prepared to be brought to justice. Of course, neither Ukrainian officials nor Ukrainian business are happy about this prospect. This is the kind of issue that is now being fought over.

    At the same time, the IMF has long been cooperating with the Ukraine on special conditions. Firstly, the Fund does not lend to belligerent countries, yet it lends to the Ukraine, despite the constant statements of its leaders about the ongoing war. Formally, this is bypassed by the absence of martial law in the Ukraine. However, for the IMF it is not usually the formal side that is important, but the factual. Second, the IMF does not lend to countries that have defaulted on sovereign debt. The Ukraine, refusing to service and pay off Russia’s three billion debt, defaulted back in 2015, but this did not prevent the Ukraine from being given an IMF loan. But such conditions are not enough for the Ukraine: it requires even more special ones.

    Particularly wonderful is Zelensky’s resentment against the unfairness of the IMF against the background of a draft resolution recently registered in the Verkhovna Rada, which should provide “a set of urgent measures for the practical implementation of the restructuring of the Ukraine external public debt to the IMF”. Translated into normal language, they are talking about the refusal of payments and the declaration of a default. Moreover, 35 deputies from different factions and groups have signed up on the initiative. Apparently, according to the authors of the resolution, this decree should push the IMF towards the same even more special relations with Ukraine, about which its president speaks.

    But of course it is not only the West that suffers thus from the Ukraine: Russia is also constantly under attack.

    Last week, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced the conditions under which the Ukraine is ready to give the go-ahead for the launch of NS-2: “The condition for its launch should be the de-occupation of Ukrainian territories and the energy security of the Ukraine. This will be an honest compensation for threats”. Translation: the Ukraine will deign to allow the use of NS-2, if Russia abandons the Crimea, the Donbass will come under the control of Kiev on its terms, plus the Ukraine will be guaranteed gas supplies in the required volumes at an affordable price. Guaranteed by whom is not specified, but implied.

    Ruslan Bortnik, a normally quite adequate Ukrainian political scientist, has suggested an equally original way for the Ukraine to receive dividends from the launch of NS-2. “Dividends” not in a figurative sense, but in a very real sense: “Sell or transfer to Naftogaz Ukraine five or seven or ten percent of SP-2 shares, and we shall be shareholders and shall make money on it.

    What a splendid Idea! Or is it? Well, for a start, it is worth remembering that the Ukraine has always insisted that NS-2 is not an economic but a purely political project. If it is not an economic project, then it cannot bring dividends because it is supposedly unprofitable. What is the sense of the Ukraine having a share in a loss-making project? But more importantly, how and why should it get it? The cost of NS-2 construction is obviously increasing to 11-12 bln. euros instead of the initial 9.5 bln euros, partially because of the actions of the Ukraine. Even if not to hang some of the additional costs onto the Ukraine directly because of its throwing of sticks into the wheels of the project, and even if the co-owners of the project decided to sell some of its share to the Ukraine, that ten percent them would cost 1.2 billion euros, which the Ukraine, of course, does not have. However, no one is going to buy any shares: the expert suggests that the co-owners transfer a share to the Ukraine free of charge, just for the Ukraine to refuse to support the US in preventing the launch of the pipeline!

    Finally, the head of Naftogaz, Yuriy Vitrenko, has said that “the Ukraine is ready to take legal action against Gazprom in order to unblock the supply of natural gas from Central Asia”. They say that gas transportation has been blocked for 15 years, that Naftogaz is initiating negotiations with Gazprom over this matter, and if Gazprom does not allow transit, Vitrenko promises to appeal to the European Commission and international arbitration. The very intention to extend the jurisdiction of the European Commission to Russian gas pipelines is excellent, for which even the Commission itself is hardly ready. Not to mention the fact that Russia, which has not joined the so-called EU energy packages, is not obliged to provide access to its transit capacities.

    To sum up, one may say that the political schizophrenia in the Ukraine under the influence of defeat in the war against NS-2 has moved to a new level — perhaps a clinical one. These statements are apparently intended to support the necessary degree of hysteria in society, and at the same time the increasingly crumbling thesis of the Kiev authorities that “the whole world is with us”. This will only add to the catastrophic “zrada,” which will inevitably follow this flood of “overmotivated” emotions. It is difficult to predict what this will lead to for Ukrainian society and the state, but for sure it will be something bad.

    To sum up, Svidomites are morons.

    Like

    1. Like most, I think, I was heartened when Zelensky won the presidency. It seemed reasonable to believe that if he had such a sense of humor, he might be more of a realist, and his career outside politics was more an endorsement than a condemnation.

      Say; you know who else has a sense of humor? Clowns. And there is much more of the clown about Zelensky than the realist and leader. Apparently humility is not a part of Ukrainian DNA. However, some here would say that Ukraine developing an impression of its own preciousness was simply the inevitable consequence of all the buddy rhetoric from NATO. And I would agree with that.

      Like

        1. He stated last week that his “country” is defending Western democracy in its war against Russia and that the Ukraine’s fight was the free world’s fight.

          His state still begs money off all and sundry, including the IMF of course.

          Slava to Such Tossers!

          Like

          1. Yes, that’s a pretty commonly-employed device by Ukraine to guilt other countries to gib moneys. “We are the front line against the Aggressor Country, spending our blood and youth for you. Sign here”.

            Like

      1. In all fairness, I think we should cut the Kiev regime some slack here. They believed all the happy talk from the US / EU / NATO, and now push has come to shove, they’re in a tight spot with no way out. Their debt is unsustainable, their army is largely deployed to Novorossiya and can neither advance (as the Russians will squash them like bugs) nor retreat (as the svidomtsi will make their life a living hell). Motor sich (Ukraine’s last significant industrial entity)can’t sell to the west, and isn’t allowed to sell to China. What’s a poor clown to do?

        Like

        1. Yes, I did consider that, as well; poor Ukraine, it was led to believe that the path to riches lay with the west, and it fell for it, and was then betrayed.

          There’s something to that, of course, and we – or I, at least – have no knowledge of what was offered to leaders subsequent to Yanukovych. However, thanks to the German papers, we are fairly clear on what was offered to Yanukovych. If memory serves, the EU Enlargement crowd led by Stefan Fule offered Yanukovych something like $600 million in short-term cash to switch sides conclusively. Against that offer, Yanukovych showed him projections modeled by the Berlin economists on data supplied by his own people, which forecast Ukraine would lose somewhere between 35% and 45% of its trade with its principal partner, Russia, in being dropped from the customs union and the EaU. Fule would not look at the figures, and made some sarcastic jokes meant to convey to Yanukovych the miraculous nature of what he was being offered. It was clearly enough for Ukraine to become a special friend to the EU, and asking for money was rude; he should just put his trust in his new friends, close his eyes, and jump.

          At that time, there was relatively little physical damage to Ukraine. It was only later, when Yanukovych blew Europe off, that the Nazi yobs started pulling up the paving stones and starting fires everywhere, and even that was just superficial – the real wreckage came from the ‘Anti-Terrorist Operations’ which reduced whole eastern towns to rubble, like Slavyansk. The butcher’s bill has shot up since then by orders of magnitude.

          Those who came after Yanukovych ought to have known that the west did not intend to purchase Ukraine outright. It meant for Ukraine to grovel and howl for the privilege of being a pal, and offered some crumbs here and there, but it should have been plain to any thinking leader that the west intended for Ukraine to martyr itself first, and then it would give some though to rescue. Since then, it has passed beyond the easy victory the west expected to snap up, and become a daily drain on money and patience. I believe the USA is of half a mind to let Russia have it back, if only because the cost of restoring it would be enormous, but cannot convince Russia to put up a fight for it.

          Like

          1. Your last point – that the US would like Russia to have to try to sort out the mess in Ukraine, I emphatically agree with. The problem is, of course, is to get Russia to occupy Ukraine without showing up the US / EU / NATO as the lame-o cowards that they are. I think VVP is on the page of “Not gonna do it, wouldn’t be prudent”
            I think it’s also worth noticing the (almost) complete absence of knowledgeable people in the Kyiv regime since, at least, Poroshenko, and you’ve pointed out what I believe is they key reason – anyone who can master joined up writing isn’t going anywhere near Ukrainian government, unless they’re people like that Nazi internal ministry guy, who have narrow agendas of their own, or “take the money and run” grifters – so that ensures that no-one in the Kyiv administration has even a vague idea what their real problems are, let alone how to solve them.
            The question of interest, to me, is “What next?” – I think Alexander Mercouris is right on in saying that the path forward is likely for Russia to recognize the Novorossians and let the chips fall where they may. After all, it’s not like Ukraine is ever going to comply with Minsk II.
            My two cents worth, I may well be completely wrong.

            Like

            1. Alexander Mercouris can see further into a brick wall than most, and I have tremendous respect for his opinion. We could all be drastically wrong, and Ukraine could be taking the high road like the US Department of State claims, and Russia could be aggressing against it all over the place. But it seems like every time the pro-Russia – or even just pro-fairness – crowd claims that Ukraine is trying to pull a fast one or trying to take the easy way or cruising on its own preciousness, it turns out to be right and the west’s diversions to try and bury that seem clumsy and dishonest. I’m just calling it like I see it, and I’m always okay with being proved wrong. The key word there being ‘proved’.

              Like

              1. Yeah, copy that.
                The number one problem (to my funny little mind) is knowing what the hell is really going on in Novorissia and especially along the line of contact. As I see it, broadly the decision space is as follows, in approximate order of potential for a happy outcome
                1) The Kiev regime decides to implement its’ Minsk II obligations at least approximately as originally agreed to (Probability slim to none)
                2) Russia recognizes Novorossia, and sooner or later they rejoin the RF (plausible-ish)
                3) The current conditions continue, slow motion war and constant trickle of dead kids, civilians, soldiers along with the usual destruction (the default)
                4) Ukraine tries their luck on a forceful reoccupation. Bad things happen, but the end state is combined Novorissians / Russian forces knock the stuffing out of the UAF. Lot of dead people and blown up stuff. Just like 2, Novorissia ends up in RF, just a lot worse human, economic and diplomatic cost.(imponderable – nations in desperate straits may take desperate/insane measures, but the RF recently scared the shit out of the Ukrainians and the EU/NATO/US, so who knows?)

                Like

  51. al-Beeb s’Allah: TikTok owner ByteDance sees its earnings double in 2020
    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57522368

    …An internal memo released to staff showed that the firm’s total revenue jumped by 111% to $34.3bn (£24.7bn) for 2020…

    …ByteDance also saw its annual gross profit rise by 93% to to $19bn, while it recorded a net loss of $45bn for the same period.

    The net loss was attributed to a one-off accounting adjustment and not related to the company’s operations.

    The memo also showed that ByteDance had around 1.9bn monthly active users across all of its platforms as of December last year….
    ####

    So the US won? 😉

    Like

    1. Microsoft’s overtures to acquire US operations were rejected, and Oracle was supposed to become Bytedance’s ‘trusted partner’ and run American operations of the app. But I’m not too clear on what happened after that, and it looks as if the whole deal fell through with the departure of Trump. So does that mean TikTok is still running in the USA with Chinese owners?

      https://www.wraltechwire.com/2021/06/16/oracle-keeps-on-ticking-stock-surge-shows-tech-giant-with-big-triangle-presence-doesnt-need-tiktok/

      Like

      1. I think the USA has understood from internet economics that its a no go and could have significant blowback for itself.

        What is a go is ‘data sovereignty,’ aka the user data is stored in the country where the user is. The EU pushed this because the EU-US ‘Safe Harbor’ agreement was not respected (not-agreement capable) by the US. So data sovereignty is good. Unless you are China, Russia or anyone we don’t like, in which case it is eeeevil.

        Like

        1. Actually, Russia pushed it much earlier, back when the US Department of State persuaded Mastercard and Visa to stop operations in Russia.

          https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/visa-mastercard-face-restrictions-in-russia-1.2634954

          These American companies now have to post a security deposit equal to two days of transactions (about $3.8 Billion). If they suspend services to Russian clients they can be fined 10% of the deposit for every day that service is suspended. User data must be stored in Russia and the credit-card companies were required to set up processing centres in Russia. Both companies threatened to leave if the state enforced the new rules. Neither did.

          Like

  52. Euractov: Kazakhstan says it has upper hand in multi-billion legal case
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/central-asia/news/kazakhstan-says-it-has-upper-hand-in-multi-billion-legal-case/

    Legal representatives for the government of Kazakhstan have told EURACTIV they believe the Central Asian country has gained the upper hand in a long-running legal battle surrounding what they called “one of the biggest frauds in the history of international arbitration”.

    …“KPMG’s August 2019 withdrawal of all of its audit reports for the falsified Stati financial statements was a turning point in Kazakhstan’s quest for justice. Now, the Statis and their co-conspirators are facing the fact their attempt to commit one of the biggest frauds in the history of international arbitration is being exposed,” Kirtland said.

    Kirtland said the evidence indicates that the Statis conducted their activities by setting up various companies which they presented as third-party entities but which they secretly controlled, using those to artificially inflate the expenses of their Kazakh operations, double-billing for equipment, and billing for non-existent equipment…
    ####

    All too familiar as has occured in Russia too.

    I hope this works out for Khazakhstan.

    Maybe the reason we have not heard of this before is that they are considered good Robber Barons back home (US) like Browder and others who did remarkably well for themselves?

    Like

    1. A wealth of lesson-teaching there for Azerbaijan, too, which is still regularly touted as Europe’s alternative for natural gas imports, was supposed to be the supply endpoint for the never-even-started Nabucco pipeline project, and home to the massive Shah Deniz gas field. So long as the country remains under the control of arch-villain Aliev and his family, it is actually in less danger of western trickery, because Aliev is wise to just about every trick in the book, having used many of them himself.

      Like

    2. The Stati father-n-son tag team was not doing anything different from what other tax-cheating crooks were doing before them in acquiring two companies, stripping them of their assets and turning them into tax shelters to post losses in their financial statements so as to claim tax rebates or offset those losses against profits from other subsidiary companies. Significantly the Statis featured in the Panama Papers so that fact shows they were using offshore tax havens to park their money. They really weren’t doing anything out of the ordinary in the way of tax cheating and most likely it’s the scale of what they were doing plus their auditors KPMG pulling the plug and rescinding past audits they did for the Statis that attracted media attention.

      Like

  53. Euractiv: EU should prepare for ‘further downturn’ of relations with Moscow, says Borrell
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/eu-should-prepare-for-further-downturn-of-relations-with-moscow-says-borrell/

    Close cooperation with Russia is a “distant prospect” and the EU should prepare for a further deterioration of relations with Moscow, the EU’s chief diplomat Joseph Borrell said on Wednesday (16 June) presenting the Commission’s proposal for a new strategy on EU-Russia relations.

    …Brussels’ approach should be to “push back, constrain and engage with” Moscow, Borrell said…

    …At the same time, the EU intends to “engage Russia” on several “key challenges,” including climate change, combating the pandemic and public health…
    ####

    In short, copy the Americans – aka ‘on the same page’ )TM.

    Borrel has faced criticizm for his report because it is vague on what actions ‘Brussels’ can take. Not to give him any credit, but a) he is only a Spokeshole and does not make policy; b) if he made concrete suggestions he would have still been criticized; c) the EU doesn’t have a strategy vis-a-vis Russia so how could any report of his be relevant.

    It also suits him that he cannot be blamed (and held responsible – ha ha ha) for suggesting nasty stuff. The EU itself is divided among 27 member states so it really has nothing to do with Russia, but somebody has to ‘Say Something’ however stupid. At least in that sense u-Rope and the USA are identical.

    Like

    1. Borrell knew better than to say anything even vaguely optimistic where Russia is concerned. That’s not what his critics want to hear, and they kicked his schoolbooks from under his arm and stomped on his lunch last time. At the end of the day, his primary concern is keeping his job and for Josip Borrell to take home a hefty paycheck twice a month. Moscow can look after itself. And it will.

      Look, I think it is pretty clear the EU has tried everything it can to bring Russia to heel. Europe cannot afford to turn off the gas, and it couldn’t beat Russia in war in its wildest dreams. That leaves it with rolling over the sanctions every six months, pretending in six more months it might not. It is stuck in an utterly fruitless groove, and the world will go around it the way flowing water goes around a rock. It is punishing its own merchants and trade structures, and Moscow could not give less of a shit; it has already restructured its markets and supply chains and moved on.

      Perhaps Borrell thinks Europe is being feisty and tough, and drawing a line in the sand for Russia. He can think whatever he likes, and that goes double for the crowned airheads of Europe, stuck in their dusty memories of imperial might. If it tried to remake the situation favourably by bending over backward to accommodate Russia, and if Russia were so foolish as to trust in the longevity of such a turnabout, even that would require months of reorientation, and Europe cannot go five minutes without someone showing his ass. The die is cast, as they say; Europe took its fingers off the chesspiece, and the move is considered complete.

      Like

  54. This is my entirely relevant music vid/comment for the weekend:

    ###

    Why? Bi-dumb/USA Corp/west at large is caught in its own trap and is eating itself.

    Like

  55. Хиллари Клинтон попыталась напомнить о себе критикой Путина. Получилось очень посредственно

    Hillary Clinton has tried to remind herself of herself by criticizing Putin. It turned out very mediocre.
    yesterday

    Old Hillary Clinton, after her resounding defeat by Trump in the election, has been nursing her ego for a long time and has not given many interviews. After Putin’s meeting with Biden, she decided to shake off the mothballs and remind herself of herself as being a hawk politician and spoke harshly about Putin. That’s pretty unfortunate, if you ask me.

    Putin is the great destroyer. He has a clear mission to undermine democracy, primarily in the United States. As President Biden said, we are in a struggle between autocracy and democracy

    said Clinton.

    The old politician’s comic book mentality is hilarious, but it also makes you want to point your finger at your temple and screw it around. Reducing world politics and relations between countries to the undermining of U.S. democracy? Putin doesn’t give a damn about the United States: it’s Hillary’s inflamed mind that dreams of his undermining democracy.

    According to her, Putin’s strategy for the last four years has included “mocking” and “watching” the U.S., and this must stop. She believes that negotiated agreements can’t always mean real achievements. She pointed to the “constant difficulty” in dialogue with Putin.

    Well, yes: with Putin it is difficult. And with the U.S. it’s easy. The U.S. easily tears up strategic treaties, trashes countries, and openly interferes in other countries’ politics and elections. I remember Hillary rejoicing at the assassination of Bin Laden on the territory of a foreign country without the knowledge of that country. And Putin, of course, is bad…


    I am bad! I really, really am!

    Even when you negotiate something that you think is in the interests of the United States, he will continue to undermine and literally try to make our lives harder

    explained Clinton .

    Is Putin supposed to be reverent about U.S. interests?

    Just a moment . . . he is the president of Russia, isn’t he, and not your appointee?

    It seems that Hillary’s senility has reached a critical point. She really believes that everyone prays at the temple of democracy, and in the meanwhile she’s climbing back into big politics.

    Clinton also recalled Putin’s 45-minute delay in talks with former U.S. President Barack Obama at the G-20 summit in Mexico. She believed that the Russian leader was “deliberately trying to dominate the situation”. She emphasized that this time Putin has had no such opportunity.

    That was a couple of U.S. presidents ago. No one remembers what happened and why. But granny Clinton still can’t forgive such disrespect for America’s first non-white president.

    Clinton wrote all this crap about Putin’s meeting with Biden. Biden is not even mentioned in the article. Putin recalls some old sins and vague suspicions. There is not a single word about the outcome of the meeting itself. Apparently Hillary has finally surrendered to her old age. It is unlikely that she will return to politics.

    Like

    1. Well, you know, if you want to keep booking those hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars speaking engagements at various American institutions, ya gotta get yer face out there.

      Like

      1. On the person whom Clinton, apparently, intensely dislikes:

        Путин дал характеристику Псаки

        Putin has given a description of Psaki
        17 June, 17:07

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has described White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki as a beautiful and educated woman. The head of state gave such a characterization of Psaki, adding that he sees nothing unusual in the fact that his American counterpart Joe Biden “mixes things up sometimes”.

        “His press secretary is a young, educated, beautiful woman. She keeps mixing things up all the time”, Putin pointed out at a meeting with graduates of the Personnel Reserve Development Programme at the Higher School of Public Administration of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration[Российская академия народного хозяйства и государственной службы при Президенте Российской Федерации (РАНХиГС): Russian higher educational institution that trains specialists in socio-economic and humanitarian fields — ME], which was broadcast on the Russia 24 channel.

        In his opinion, it is not the case that such a characteristic is not present if one is educated, that an “education doesn’t allow” this to happen or that one’s “memory is bad. “It’s just that, you know, when people think that some things are of secondary importance, they don’t really fix their attention onto it”, he explained. According to the Russian leader, Americans, for example, believe that “no one is more important than themselves”. “That’s their style”, the president added.

        Putin considers Biden himself a collected man and a professional. “You have to work very carefully with him so that you don’t miss anything. He himself does not miss anything, I assure you”, the head of state noted. According to him, the American leader knows what he wants and achieves his goal “skillfully”.

        No, no, no! The Dark Lord is kidding you all with his feigned politeness.

        He is EVIL!!!!!

        By the way, РАНХиГС is where my elder daughter is a student.

        She could become first woman president of Russia!

        Like

        1. I’m sure Joe Biden’s mind is almost at the stage where indeed, Putin is right, it never misses anything. What will be there to miss?

          Like

          1. I don’t think he was being subtle – although that’s certainly possible; I think he was being polite, as he almost unfailingly is, and always when he is himself treated with respect and courtesy rather than, “See here, you Russian savage, we’re not having it because it’s just not on, d’you hear?” I don’t think it’s so much that Biden’s mind ‘misses things’, it’s probably just about as capable as it ever was at receiving information. It just is not capable of recording and retransmitting what he just heard. Come on – Biden’s mind can’t even keep up with his tongue in real time any more – how many times have we seen him bulling ahead in his speeches, hoping that what he wants to say will come to him before he gets there in the sentence, and leaving him verbally flailing or muttering plaintively about ‘the thing?’

            I’m a little surprised that the American side did not go for a joint press conference; they could have used it to imply that Putin was making fun of Biden, and pour a little more poison on the non-relationship.

            Like

  56. Check out Australia’s new special-purpose weapon; the DroneGun Tactical Anti-UAV rifle. Cool.

    https://asiatimes.com/2021/06/dronegun-tactical-the-ultimate-uav-killer/

    Big but not heavy – relatively speaking – it is a straight-up data-link disruptor that yields more than an hour of jamming power from twin lithium battery packs.

    A couple of cautions; 16 pounds is not really all that light when you have to carry it all day. The FNC1 that was the Canadian infantryman’s standard long gun weighed 11.5 pounds fully loaded, and it felt like it was made of cast iron by the end of the day; humping it around in training was one of the reasons I went Navy. Two, a kilometer using direct line-of-sight is not really great range; aerial drones are usually higher than that in anything but an attack role. Three, it doesn’t really ‘down’ drones – as I have mentioned before, many western drones have a built-in feature that if the vehicle loses datalink for more than x seconds (probably programmable) it will land itself to avoid damage, because it is expected that such drones will sometimes fly beyond the range of their control signal. Alternatively, they may climb and fly programmed circles until the control signal is regained.

    It’s still a pretty cool weapon and in scenarios where it could achieve surprise it would probably work on relatively unsophisticated drones.

    Like

    1. Yeah but the soldier needs to vocalize “Peew – peew – peew” each time the trigger is pulled. Also, the solder should wear a tinfoil hat just to be safe.

      Like

      1. And the drone only has to go Meep! Meep! to escape!

        Speaking of which I saw a story about the Customs and Border Patrol helicopter trying to catch a ‘highly modified drone.’ It failed.*

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9613407/FBI-hunts-pilot-drone-confronted-CBP-helicopter-sparked-high-speed-chase-Arizona.html
        ####

        What I would like to see and can imagine in the near future is a one or two manned fast response drone to accidents/emergencies. It would make sense to be automated so the medic doesn’t need to be particularly trained apart from a bit of basic flying training and done by GPS/waypoint avoiding risky routes with proper safety backups such as a parachute system or guided autoland in case of interference.

        * https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9613407/FBI-hunts-pilot-drone-confronted-CBP-helicopter-sparked-high-speed-chase-Arizona.html

        Like

        1. Why can’t they just put an emergency team into a big rocket and fire it at the disaster? You could fit a fully-equipped ambulance in there, too. I’m sure I heard that idea somewhere just recently.

          Like

  57. Vis Space stuff, this comment by ‘Gordog’ from MoA reminds us all of some stuff we have forgotten (sic the center of the ISS was the already completed Mir2 core module) etc. and some stuff we have already mentioned here on Mark’s blog on an off over the years:

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/06/us-excluded-china-from-international-space-projects-it-build-its-own.html?cid=6a00d8341c640e53ef027880313897200d#comment-6a00d8341c640e53ef027880313897200d

    …It is easy to understand why the layman would draw the conclusion you have done—due to massive hype in the US media about SpaceX. But consider this: the current US mars mission with the impressive Perseverance Rover got there with Russian engines on the Atlas V rocket. So did the previous US mars mission in 2011 which carried the Curiosity rover, and also the mars mission before that, plus ALL of the high-profile Nasa missions in the last couple of decades.

    Despite all of Musk’s lip-flapping about Mars, his spacecraft have never been chosen by Nasa for any mars mission. ..
    ####

    Plenty more at the link.

    Like

    1. That comment by ‘Gordog’ was impressive.

      The amerikans can still not make “The Engines That Came In From The Cold”.

      They have a licence to make them and all the blueprints, but they need to invest a lot of money to understand metallurgy (like the russkies did) or else an amerikan version of the engine would just melt and xplode.

      The Engines That Came In From The Cold – And how The NK-33/RD-180 Came To The USA

      Like

      1. Yes, many either don’t know that or have forgotten; the USA that claims American can-do can lick any problem has no realistic excuse for not being able to build the RD-180 for itself. It has a license to do so, and the plans: it cannot pretend it does not know how the miracle was accomplished or that it was done in secret. It simply cannot duplicate the metallurgy.

        Like

  58. The US “maximum pressure on Iran” strategy has yielded its first tangible results:

    https://www.rt.com/news/527022-raisi-presidential-victory-iran-official/

    Conservative judge Ebrahim Raisi has been declared the victor of Iran’s presidential election. As the clear frontrunner, Raisi received congratulations from rival candidates hours before preliminary results were announced.

    Iran’s Interior Ministry announced the final results on Saturday, showing that Raisi had won in a landslide victory.

    The new president is in favor of restoring JCPOA so it should soon be a done deal.

    Like

    1. I don’t know how that could be construed as a victory for American pressure; if he was the clear front-runner, doesn’t that indicate he was the people’s choice? Or am I missing something? Certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

      Like

      1. Just my random sarcasm. The US does everything bass ackwards.

        As I write the above, it reminded me of Putin’s comments about the hubris of empire and how they believe that they can go from blunder to blunder and expect everything to work out to their advantage anyway.

        Like

  59. Antiwar.com: Russia to Exit Open Skies Treaty on December 18th
    https://news.antiwar.com/2021/06/18/russia-to-exit-open-skies-treaty-on-december-18th/

    Trump withdrew from Open Skies in 2020 and Biden chose not to rejoin

    Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday said Moscow would officially exit the mutual surveillance treaty Open Skies on December 18th. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill formalizing Russia’s withdrawal from Open Skies after the Biden administration informed Russia the US would not rejoin the treaty….

    ..When Trump left the treaty in 2020, then-candidate Biden released a statement slamming the move ( https://medium.com/@JoeBiden/statement-by-vice-president-joe-biden-on-president-trumps-decision-to-withdraw-from-the-open-606a9668d489 ). Biden said a US withdrawal from Open Skies would “exacerbate growing tensions between the West and Russia, and increase the risks of miscalculation and conflict.”..
    ####

    So six more months?

    Like

    1. Not even. The official departure will come a couple of months after Russia is out in all but name because there are a lot of arrangements to be made that there will be no easy going back from. By the time the official date rolls around, new rules will be in place and tested.

      Like

  60. Antiwar.com: White House Denies Report That Biden Froze Military Aid to Ukraine
    https://news.antiwar.com/2021/06/18/white-house-denies-report-that-biden-froze-military-aid-to-ukraine/

    Politico reported that the US paused $100 million in military aid for Ukraine

    …“The idea that we have held back security assistance to Ukraine is nonsense. Just last week — in the run-up to the US-Russia Summit — we provided a $150 million package of security assistance, including lethal assistance. We have now provided the entire amount appropriated by Congress through the Ukraine security assistance initiative,” Psaki said in a statement…

    …Psaki acknowledged that additional funds were allocated for Ukraine but said it was contingent on a further “incursion” from Russia. “We have also prepared contingency funds in the event of a further Russian incursion into Ukraine,” she said…
    ####

    Why is the so-called pro-Democrat press being such dicks to Bi-Dumb? Their guy won after all. Or is it he can only do what unelected journalists want?

    Like

  61. The Middle East Eye via Antiwar.com: ‘Sickening’: Rights groups slam Boris Johnson’s meeting with Bahrain crown prince
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/bahrain-boris-johnson-meeting-slammed-human-rights-sickening

    British prime minister criticised for failing to make ‘any mention of human rights’ in public statements about the talks

    …In response to Thursday’s meeting, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird) sent a letter to Johnson and UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab, condemning the failure to raise human rights during his meeting and urging them both “to place human rights at the center of all conversations with the crown prince hereafter and any future relationship between the UK and Bahrain”.

    Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of Bird, told Middle East Eye that Johnson “should be embarrassed to hold meetings with a regime that holds political prisoners as hostages, tortures children and throws critics in jail and not even have the guts to bring up human rights”.

    “It is utterly shameful that 10 Downing Street’s statement made no mention of the many human rights abuses committed by their Bahraini allies,” Alwadaei said…
    ####

    More at the link,

    Of course some Human Rights are more (or less) equal than others, depending on whether such states are friends of the west and buy $$$ worth of weapons.

    There was an article the other day (Guardian?) on ‘white privilege’ in big NGOs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Rescue International. As cynical as I am about such claimed ‘white privilege,’ these organizations often act as an arm of states (sic the US) and as thus have to be reliable which usually entrenches the types of person who inhabit such places rather than take the risk on ‘others’ who may have a modicum of independent though and god forbid, go off message and publicly attack western states behavior on human rights.

    The real problem is that the rules on paper are more often seen as ‘guidelines’ aka ‘soft touch’ regulation. First start by properly enforcing the rules!

    Found the link: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jun/19/david-miliband-charity-international-rescue-committee-white-supremacy-allegations

    Like

    1. Yes, the west’s leaders grow gelid and soulful when they rhapsodize about human rights in places where the enemy lives, like in Russia and China. Wealthy countries who are friends and allies are given a ‘Get out of Accountability Free’ card.

      Like

  62. Neuters via Antiwar.com: Top U.S. Diplomat Blinken to Travel to Germany, France, Italy Next Week
    https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-06-18/top-us-diplomat-blinken-to-travel-to-germany-france-italy-next-week

    …The top U.S. diplomat will attend the Second Berlin Conference on Libya and meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. In Rome, he will co-chair a meeting of Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The trip will close out in Bari and Matera with the G20 foreign ministers meeting, the department said in a statement…
    ####

    Follow up to the recent Bi-Dumb/Pootie Poot meeting?

    Like

    1. Are they going to bomb Libya again?

      The Libyan government that is supported by France and Russia?

      Or the other one that is supported by Turkey and USA?

      Like

  63. Neuters via Antiwar.com: EU Reaches Deal on Belarus Economic Sanctions, According to Austria, Diplomats
    https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-06-18/eu-reaches-technical-deal-on-belarus-economic-sanctions-diplomats-say

    …Restrictions on the Belarusian financial sector, if agreed by EU governments at a political level, will include: a ban on new loans, a ban on EU investors from trading securities or buying short-term bonds and a ban on EU banks from providing investment services. EU export credits will also end.

    Friday’s agreement overcame objections from Austria, whose Raiffeisen Bank International is a big player in Belarus through its Priorbank subsidiary.

    EU leaders meet next Thursday for a scheduled summit. It was not yet clear if they will approve the deal agreed by expert officials…
    ###

    More at the link.

    What took them so long? Clearly there is some strong resistance considering how well things turned out for the Ukraine. Unless of course they want another fascist run failed state on the EU’s borders to distract attention from problems at home…

    Like

    1. They should suit themselves – their actions thus far are driving Belarus to a closer association with Russia, and continued hammering on it will only serve to make the position permanent. Russia has demonstrated that with will and a little help from one’s friends, you can get by, and sanctions need not even be that painful while they are a proven lever for building public hostility against the perpetrators.

      Like

  64. Vote fraud in Georgia has been acknowledged with the fraud possibly swinging the state to Biden:

    https://sputniknews.com/us/202106191083189689-georgia-secretary-of-state-finally-admits-2020-election-foul-play-in-atlanta/

    The audit could have wider implications than undermining Biden’s legitimacy as president. The November elections also saw Democrat candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock newly-elected as the state’s two senators in a controversial run-off against the Republicans. Their election handed the Democrats 50 of the 100 Senate seats — an effective majority, as Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaking vote.

    Along with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Raffensperger publicly denied Trump’s claims of ballot-rigging in the November 2020 election — gaining the approval of liberal mainstream media.

    Not just governors, judges, election officials, various commissions all took the expediency of denying fraud and gaining favor with the MSM and their bosses – a leadership of cowards and opportunists. Who will stop the lie?

    Like

    1. The Democrats circled the wagons after that travesty of an election and swore everything was kosher, and Trump was just a sore loser. There will be a full-court press to bury this now, ‘for the good of the country’.

      Same with Wisconsin; all you have to do in America to make the unbelievable believable is get someone named ‘Fact Checker’ to solemnly announce “Nothing to see here”. Just look at that graph – yeah, that looks like it could have happened.

      https://factcheck.afp.com/wisconsin-vote-surge-was-not-fraud

      https://apnews.com/article/fact-checking-afs:Content:9647421250

      You’d think that people would have had enough of being lied to right to their face, of having bullshit literally rubbed right across their eyeglasses. But, as Paul McCartney told us regretfully, “I look around me, and I see it isn’t so; oh, no”.

      Like

  65. Vis Bi-Dumb loosing his temper after his post Putin summit press conference with the stupid journalist, I was reading Martynov’s recent blog post that great powers are diplomatic and even let idiots a way out after the point has been made, aka noblesse oblige

    Reminiscence of the Future: My Interview With Bonnie Faulkner (NYC WBAI radio-station)
    https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2021/06/my-interview-with-bonnie-faulkner-nyc.html

    …In related news, Lavrov (in Russian) simply ran over UK’s FM Dominic Raab,…

    …But I want to remind you what I wrote more than a year ago about Noblesse Oblige in an exclusive superpowers club. Real superpowers in modern times have a very specific way of interaction because of the enormous stakes for the entire world in such an interaction…
    ####

    Not to mention his earlier post ‘On Average
    https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2021/06/on-average.html
    ####

    Bi-Dumb has been a politician of decades but did not practice ‘noblesse oblige.’ If we play the Reverse Kremlin Watch game, aka Washington Watch and behave like gobshite tv psychologists, we would say that it is Bi-Dumb who is not confident, assured or even balanced leader of a massive nuclear superpower – a clear mismatch between America’s full spectrum propaganda projection and reality.

    Like

  66. Vinyard the Saker: The Geneva summit: nothingburger or watershed?
    https://thesaker.is/the-geneva-summit-nothingburger-or-watershed/

    …But let’s be a little more wise about this: the US and Russian delegations (about 400 people each) included some very high ranking officials, including the Russian Chief of General Staff. Neither side would have bothered with such a massive undertaking only for the purpose of exchanging threats, ultimatums or insults. And such summits are never organized unless the parties have at least a reasonable prospect of some kind of understanding (this is why the return of the ambassadors was announced before the summit!).

    So what really happened here?

    To answer that question, we first need to look at what did not happen….
    ####

    Much more at the link.

    I particularly like observing what didn’t happen. Once you’ve got used to noticing ‘what is missing’, then you see omissions of obvious stuff everywhere. Usually it is word actions not followed by equivalent actions, others just simple silence because the act of mentioning whatever it is embarrassment enough so they don’t.

    Like

    1. My money is on the pessimists, too.

      I don’t agree that the subject of China was just skimmed over; Trudeau didn’t seem to think so, either – he was dog-whistled into getting in front of the cameras and shilling for a ‘united front’ against Russia and China.

      https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/pm-calls-russia-a-rival-wants-nato-unity-in-face-of-authoritarianism-china-1.5469084

      Said ‘united front’, of course, to act in lockstep support of US foreign policy goals, because to do otherwise is to serve Putin. Oh, and Xi. Just look at how his trendy COVID beard gives him the aura of homeless alcoholic Prime Minister!! Anybody want him? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

      Don’t worry, westerners; NATO has ‘never been more united’. That must be why Trudeau is imploring it to be more united. God knows he would not lie, else his nose would grow.

      Like

      1. I have to agree, though I also think that a lot of the ani-China stuff is for domestic consumption / self-legitimacy/credibility/wtf are we for? reasons.

        I’ve read elsewhere that apparently In Sultin’ Erd O’Grand is talking big about having a base in Azerbidjan. Russia has publicly said that a NATO member setting up a new base nearby would lead to consequences. I think that Aliyev is not stupid enough to allow such a base but maybe a small Turkish component and is probably happy for Erd O’Grand to big himself up. The bollox about ‘one nation two states’ is just the kind of meaningless fluff both like to talk up not to mention that there was no great victory over Armenia because Azerbiadjan was particularly competent militarily, rather Armenia didn’t even turn up and stabbed themselves in the back with the help of western advice. But blame Russia!

        What I see is Turkey over-extending itself on multiple fronts, economic, political, military etc. which is something that makes it more vulnerable and gives Russia even more options short of direct conflict if Erd O’Grand really tries to do something very stupid, which he will no doubt do at some point condsidering his history.

        Like

  67. Please delete my above crappily formatted posting.

    Here is the RIA Novosti article again, hopefully correctly formatted:

    “Россия в сложной ситуации”: Байден раскрыл свою слабость
    08: 00 06/19/2021 (обновлено: 08:03 19.06.2021)

    “Russia is in a difficult situation.” Biden has revealed his weakness
    08: 00 06/19/2021 (updated: 08:03 19.06.2021)

    The world’s capitals are still searching for the answer to the question: Why did Biden need a meeting with Putin? What did America really want from Russia? In Japan, for example, they are convinced that the U.S. president really wanted to discuss China with Putin — and this was the main reason for the meeting. And it must be said that our eastern neighbours are close to the truth.

    Yesterday, the main newspaper of China, Renmin Jibao, published the headline: “Biden Is Trying Once Again to Shift Responsibility onto China’s Shoulders for Harm to Russia — That’s a Big Political Illusion”. Huanqiu Shibao was even more blunt: “Biden is trying to divide Russia and China by humiliating Russia”:

    At a press conference after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Joe Biden tried his best to sow confusion in Russia-China relations, saying that “Russia is in a very difficult situation. It is being pressured by China.

    Presumably, Biden was too embarrassed to say such nonsense during his face-to-face meeting with Putin. Had he done so, Putin would probably have refuted his words directly. Because this kind of baseless provocation is designed to demean the logical judgment of the Russians and treats one of the most powerful countries in the world as a foolish state.

    Peking is not exaggerating: Biden really did try to play the China card. The fact that Biden brought up China in his talks with Putin was indirectly confirmed by Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland: “The president has made it clear that Russia needs to think seriously about whether it wants to increase its dependence on China given Beijing’s expectations on the global stage”.

    After the summit, Biden himself did indeed speak twice about Russia and China. Firstly, in response to a question about the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia:

    I think the last thing he (Putin – Ed.) wants now is a cold war. I will not quote him here, I think it is inappropriate, but let me ask a rhetorical question: here you have a border with China of many thousands of kilometres. China is moving forward, obsessed with the goal of becoming the most powerful economy and having the strongest army in the world.

    You are in a situation where your economy is struggling and you have to be more aggressive in getting it to grow. And you … Anyway, I don’t think he wants a cold war with the United States.

    That is to say, Putin does not care about the U.S. — he has a growing China at his side. Then, on the aeroplane, Biden continued with this thought:

    Russia is in a very, very difficult situation right now. China is pressuring her. It desperately wants to remain a world power. You all write, and rightly so, “Biden has already given Putin what he wanted: legitimacy, the ability to stand on the world stage with the president of the United States. They desperately want to … to be relevant.

    They have … They don’t want to be, you know, as some critics point out and say, “Upper Volta with nuclear missiles”. That’s important. As I understand it, it matters to all world leaders, no matter where they’re from. It matters to them how they are perceived, what their place in the world is. It’s important to them in terms of domestic support as well.

    [“Biden has already given Putin what he wanted: legitimacy, the ability to stand on the world stage with the president of the United States.” Oh thank you, thank you Mr. President!— ME]

    Here the construction is a little more complicated: it is important for Putin to be one of the world leaders, because this provides him with support inside the country. But Russia needs to do something with China — and this cannot be done without help from the West?

    This is exactly the kind of “genius” geopolitical analysis that Joe Biden is seriously betting on. He began his political career the year Nixon, with Kissinger’s help, pulled off his China stunt: he flew to Mao (who in fact had initiated contacts between the two countries) and then went to Brezhnev, who was deeply concerned about US-Chinese rapprochement. And now Biden wants to do the opposite: talk to Putin about China in order to scare Xi Jinping. Amazing naivety.

    And not only because the current situation (both on the world stage in general and in the Moscow-Washington-Beijing triangle) is fundamentally different from that of half a century ago, but because before the summit Putin had said straight out what he thought about this:

    — I shall tell you quite frankly – May I be frank?

    — Yes.

    — We can see attempts to destroy relations between Russia and China; we see it in practical policy. And your questions are related to that as well… We don’t think China is a threat to us. She is a friendly country. She has not declaring us as her enemy, as the United States has done.

    This was said in an interview with the American TV channel NBC, during which correspondent Keir Simmons asked the Russian president as many as seven questions about Russian-Chinese relations and China, including questions about “Chinese aircraft carriers threatening Russia”. And after all that, Biden is still trying to play the China card.

    Are Americans so stupid – or so brazen?

    [Clearly both! They are brazen idiots! Or art least, US “politicians” and political analysts are — ME]

    Do they not understand that in Moscow and Peking they are laughing at their attempts to drive a wedge or, as the Americans write, “widen the cracks” in Russian-Chinese relations? Do they not understand that every time the Americans try to scare the Russians with the “Chinese threat”, we once again see that we are right in our policy of strategic partnership with China? And we understand that the United States is not resorting to such “clever tricks” out of good intentions. It is just so naive to bet on a split between Russia and China.

    Nevertheless, in the United States they really believe this. I bet they do, if their local expert community for decades has been convincing their own politicians (and the whole world) that Russia and China cannot have anything “seriously and permanently”, because there are too big and irreconcilable contradictions between them. Evidence of Russian Sinophobia was also cited to prove this: Russia is very much afraid of China and its economic and demographic expansion. And in China, they say, they really want to take revenge on Russia for the years of humiliation and the loss of the Far East — so a bear and a panda will never pair.

    Yes, in recent years the United States has gradually begun to wake up to the nature of Russian-Chinese relations, although its understanding of Russia is still at a very low level. but the old way of thinking is not easily given up in the “Washington swamp” (which is in itself an important sign of the decline of the American global project). If we only want to — if not destroy — then at least we will weaken the Russian-Chinese alliance. We we not able to build a Europe that had been having a great deal of fun with the Celestial Empire?

    This is all too childish: even Europe will not be able to sign on to the anti-China line. Yes, the main goal of Biden’s European trip was to build an anti-Chinese alliance. However, NATO’s agreement to consider China a “problem of a systemic nature” does not mean that EU countries are refusing to undertake joint strategic projects with Peking. That is, even the United States will not be able to convince its allies to sacrifice their relations with the Celestial Empire, which is extremely important to them, let alone Russia, which has joint plans with China on a truly cosmic scale.

    And this is not just about a joint lunar station (which will also happen), but about the transformation of the world order as such. Yes, the Russians and Chinese do not agree about certain small issues, but all the local disagreements, contradictions, disputes, and friction that exist between us pale into insignificance against the background of what unites us. And no attempt at causing a quarrel between two neighbours who really trust each will be successful. On the contrary, such attempts will only convince us that only an enemy can cause us to be scared. A common enemy.

    Footnote
    I shall start writing “Beijing” instead of Peking, as the Microsoft spellchecker continuously strives to make me do, when, in the “Free World” under the guidance of the hegemon, Москва is transliterated into the Latin alphabet as “Moskva”.

    “Peking” in Russian is, by the way, Пекин — Paykeen.

    Like

    1. “I think the last thing he (Putin – Ed.) wants now is a cold war. I will not quote him here, I think it is inappropriate, but let me ask a rhetorical question: here you have a border with China of many thousands of kilometres. China is moving forward, obsessed with the goal of becoming the most powerful economy and having the strongest army in the world.

      You are in a situation where your economy is struggling and you have to be more aggressive in getting it to grow. And you … Anyway, I don’t think he wants a cold war with the United States. “

      Yes, uh huh, exactly – presented with that situation, only a fool would ally himself with the nation that has the goal of becoming the most powerful economy and having the strongest army in the world. The obvious choice would be to accept the guidance of the nation that claims those labels now, and has formally declared itself your sworn enemy.

      Struggling? Do tell.

      https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/gdp-growth-annual

      Quote: “Looking ahead, the Russian economy is poised to recover in 2021, with the central bank predicting it will rebound to pre-crisis levels by the end of this quarter.”

      https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-growth-annual

      Like

      1. RT

        Prof. Paul Robinson
        18 Jun, 2021 12:06

        First, though, the good news. In a speech on Tuesday, the head of Russia’s central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, announced that the country’s finances had recovered from the losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “The economy has recovered to its pre-crisis level, and in many industries it has exceeded it and continues to grow,” she said.

        This success has been achieved without racking up substantial debts. While Western states plunge deeper into the red with borrowing, Russia’s reserves keep growing. It’s quite an achievement.

        Like

        1. Not exactly. A lot of money has been ‘printed’ with a few keystrokes to finance everything in a financial roundabout between the Bank of England & UK gov. I heard about this a few weeks ago and thought of Weimar Germany’s galloping inflation. Then again this has been going on for a while but at a much lower level…

          Tax Research UK: UK government debt: an explanation
          https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2020/05/15/uk-government-debt-an-explanation/

          …First, it can run an overdraft at the Bank of England on what is called its Ways and Means account. There is no real cost to this.

          Second, it can issue bonds, and then buy them back again.

          The twist is that if you want to get out early you can sell a government bond: there is a second hand market.

          And one of the buyers of second hand bonds is the Bank of England, which has bought £635 billion of government bonds since 2009. It’s created new money, by making loans to a company that it owns, to do that. Importantly though, all that this really means is that this process – which has the fancy name of quantitative easing – is simply a complicated way for the Bank of England to create some pretty big, cost free, overdrafts for the government if and when the need ever arises, which it has in moments of crisis.

          But that also means that the third option that the government has when it comes to funding is to simply sell bonds and leave them out there in the market place…
          ####

          Plenty more at the link.

          Like

    2. Nevertheless, in the United States they really believe this.

      I tihk it is very clear that US foreign affairs advisors exist in some weird world of their own. Little things like facts and reality are not allowed to intrude.

      Who was that US idiot who predicted that the Iraqis would welcome a US-led invasion with cheers? Clearly both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are about to be overthrown by “liberty loving, democratic” oppositions. That is what has happened in Cuba!

      Like

  68. Helmer:

    WHAT PRESIDENT BIDEN AND HIS MEDIA CHORUS REVEALED ABOUT THEIR WAR-FIGHTING CAPABILITIES

    Here’s a sample from the above of some of weirdo Joe’s utterances:

    Asked what he would do if Alexei Navalny dies, Biden said:

    That’s not a satisfying answer: ‘Biden said he’d invade Russia.’ You know, it is not — you know. By the way, that was a joke. That’s not true. But my generic point is, it is — it is more complicated than that.

    Like

  69. What would happen if Russia collapsed?
    Jun 20, 2021

    CaspianReport

    Russia has sustained itself through all manner of political stress, but what would happen if it collapsed in the 21st century?

    Like

    1. I hope the narrator had a big enough box of Kleenex for the breathless climax over the last five minutes. Basically a re-run of “Churchill’s Crusade” of 1919 or thereby crossed with late Manchu period “concessions”, then?

      Gotta love the “Reader’s Digest” approach to history and politics: “most non-fiction is far too long so we’re going to make it easier for you…”

      Like

    2. I’m sure I mentioned The Caspian Report before at this blog or the previous KS blog as being a bit dubious. Narrator Shirvan Neftchi, based in Azerbaijan, cites no sources for his reports. His topics are framed in a way that suggests a pro-Western bias. I watched a Caspian Report micro-documentary on North Korea as an economic failure and at no point in that report was there ever any mention of the devastation of the Korean War (all major cities in North Korea including Pyongyang razed to the ground, 20% of the population killed, evidence of biowarfare) or of the ongoing US-South Korean military exercises (Operation Foal Eagle) near the borders of the two Koreas that force Pyongyang every year to pull its labourers out of the fields during sowing season – due in part to US sanctions against Nth Korea, forcing the country to keep people employed on the land – and into battle readiness. This means Nth Korea is nearly always on the verge of food shortages.

      I found a Reddits forum on The Caspian Report which mentions that the vlog is fed information by Stratfor.

      Like

  70. This is just ridiculous!!!

    ////National security adviser: US preparing more Russia sanctions over Navalny poisoning and imprisonment

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/20/politics/jake-sullivan-russia-sanctions-navalny-cnntv/index.html

    The Biden administration is preparing to impose additional sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday.
    “We are preparing another package of sanctions to apply in this case,” Sullivan told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “We’ve shown all along the way that we are not going to pull our punches, whether it’s on solar winds, or election interference, or Navalny when it comes to responding to Russia’s harmful activities.”
    Sullivan said the sanctions will come once the US can “ensure that we are getting the right targets,” adding, “When we do that, we will impose further sanctions with respect to chemical weapons.”

    Sullivan’s comments come days after President Joe Biden’s three-hour summit in Geneva with Russian President Vladimir Putin that capped off his first foreign tour since taking office. Biden and Putin each described the meeting as generally positive but without any major breakthroughs. And Biden, who has since turned back to his agenda at home, has said proof of progress with Russia will come later, when the results of his diplomacy bear out.
    Biden said last week that he warned Putin during their meeting of the consequences if Navalny were to die in prison, telling reporters: “I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.”

    Like

    1. Russia will not be too bothered by additional American sanctions, nobody on the American side or on the fence will be inspired and say, “by God, the Americans sure stick to their guns, they’re so reliably good’, Navalny will not get out one second sooner but a whole new Russian demographic will despise him. See any positives in there? Me, either.

      It sounds to me as if the USA wants to claim credit for Navalny surviving prison – they wanted to kill him, but they didn’t dare, because AMERICA. You’re welcome.

      Biden is merely Head Spaz of an administration of spaz government. His little cheap shots and constant reminders of all the horrid things Russia has done to America will merely assure that no progress is made and next time America wants to have a summit, they will probably struggle to attract a participant.

      Like

    2. “… We’ve shown all along the way that we are not going to pull our punches, whether it’s on solar winds, or election interference, or Navalny when it comes to responding to Russia’s harmful activities … When we do that, we will impose further sanctions with respect to chemical weapons …”

      Looks very much as if National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has his cue cards all mixed up. Best to believe him when the actual sanctions are announced, and on whom. In the meantime he’ll keep doing what he does best, which is emanating more solar wind.

      Like

    3. The greater the stress on the importance of Navalny, the more likely it is that some grey individuals in some boring but core institutions are the real western agents in the RF, in my view. Navalny is just a distraction.

      Like

      1. Yes, based on recent trends – namely not really hearing very much about him, as if he were a check box on western agendas but mention of him is half-hearted, and pretty much no mention of Protasevich at all – I would tend to agree. It certainly does not mean the west has given up, but it may be reassessing.

        Like

      2. more likely it is that some grey individuals in some boring but core institutions are the real western agents in the RF . . .

        If that be the case, i wonder who they might be?

        9:47, 21 июня 2021
        Генпрокуратура признала нежелательной американскую НПО Bard College

        9:47, June 21, 2021
        General Prosecutor’s Office has declared the American NGO Bard College undesirable

        The Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia has recognized the undesirable activities of the American non-governmental organization Bard College. This is reported on the website of the agency.

        According to the report, the Prosecutor General’s Office had found that the activities of the NGO “threaten the foundations of the constitutional system and security of the Russian Federation”.

        According to Interfax, Bard College is the 35th NGO to have been declared undesirable in Russia. Bard College is a private liberal arts university in the state of New York, which has an educational network in several countries. The institution’s collaboration with St. Petersburg State University has resulted in the formation of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences at St. Petersburg State University, whose dean since 2011 has been Aleksei Kudrin, head of the Accounts Chamber and former Russian Finance Minister.

        Like

        1. Well, I be go to hell; imagine that. Kudrin. Is there any liberal horn that he will not blow?

          It probably amuses Putin to keep Kudrin from amassing any real power. Perhaps he will get angry and quit as Grand Auditor. That would be a shame.

          Like

  71. Gilbert Doctorow: Travel Notes: Russia, June 2021
    https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2021/06/13/1863/

    …Here we see the consequences of the Russian government’s very low level of financial assistance to business generally. Measured as a percentage of GDP, Russia remained fiscally conservative from the start….

    …It was the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who needed help and who did not receive it….

    …In her case, her aversion to the vaccine and to the entire Russian medical establishment is part of a broader refusal to believe anything coming from official sources, whether Russian….or foreign….

    …In the West, media commonly speak of the “authoritarian regime” in Russia as if the populace were cowed and docile. However, as the resistance to Covid prevention measures here indicates, there is a strong undercurrent of what I would call elemental anarchism in this country. It goes back a long way in national traditions. It was best formulated in the last quarter of the 19th century by the theoretician-political activist Prince Piotr Kropotkin.

    So far, this anarchist mind-set has not resulted in any bunt or spontaneous outbreak of violence. Surely it has revealed itself in the outpouring of support for the opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who offered no political program as such, to attract his followers, only a rejection of everything. Commentators in the West refuse to see this side of the pro-Navalny demonstrations of several months ago following his arrest and internment. For them Navalny is but an instrument, a lever to be used in their quest to disrupt Russia and bring about regime change. I see the outpouring of demonstrators in the streets as a generalized expression of frustration over the Covid restrictions and worsening standard of living they engendered….
    ####

    A lot, lot more at the link.

    Vis SMEs, they tend to employ the bulk of people so not supporting them is worrisome. Trouble ‘t mill? I’m not so sure but certainly socio-economics are evolving as a consequence of the Covid crisis.

    On vaccines and western Pork Pie News Networks harping about the ‘low uptake’ of them, they as usual a simple conclusion and cherry pick/shoehorn any information that fits that conclusion and ignore anything else so they can present Russia as a childish parody of potatoes, violence, vodka and a general disregard for human life. The PPNN are not fit for purpose and haven’t been for a long while.

    As for the Russian strand of anarchism, others have it too such as the Serbs and their ‘Inat’ (as I think we’ve mentioned a few times already). At some point f/k you level is reached by people when they have been rubbed up the wrong way too long.

    Like

  72. Bearer of bad tidings as ever . . .

    И опять эта вредная ВШЭ…
    June 21 2021, 07:01

    And again, that pest the HSE…

    The Russian economy is doomed to being a stagnant model with further lagging behind the world owing to the decline in the working-age population, low labour productivity, and insufficient investment in human capital, experts from the Higher School of Economics warn in a report to the XXII April International Conference.

    In the next 10-15 years, the Russian GDP growth rate will not exceed 1.4-1.8% per year, the HSE estimates: the number of people of working age will decrease, which will put pressure on employment, while the share of workers over the age of 40 will increase, and the share of those who are younger will decrease. “Such demographic trends are extremely unfavourable in terms of economic growth and labour productivity”, the study says.

    A separate problem is the low level of qualification of the labour force. “Every tenth employee in the Russian labour market is a migrant. If the productivity of migrants is on average lower than the average productivity of Russian workers, then their total contribution to the GDP produced is still significant. In some sectors of the Russian economy, the share of migrants, according to some estimates, can reach up to a third”, the HSE study says.

    At the same time, a number of Russian regions are particularly dependent on migrant labour, and demographic forecasts suggest that this dependence will not disappear in the foreseeable future, experts warn.

    But even the available human resources are used inefficiently by the economy. For example, Russian companies are several times behind Western ones in terms of investment in training and professional development of employees.

    In the youngest groups, the coverage of such programmes in Russia is about 30% and gradually decreases to a symbolic 3-5% in the oldest age groups. At the same time, for example, in the countries of Northern and Western Europe, the coverage of 50-year-olds with training exceeds 60%, and in younger working ages it is even higher.

    “Human capital has not yet become a significant macroeconomic resource, and its contribution remains insignificant”, the HSE states.

    Russia has been trapped in stagnation since 2009: with an average growth rate of 0.9%, the Russian economy is 3.5 times behind the world economy, which has added 31.2%, according to the World Bank, almost twice as much as the United States, where the economy grew by 16.2%, and 11 times as much as China, whose GDP has grown by 101% in a decade.

    The gap with even the stagnant USSR, which grew by 1.5% per year in the most difficult, terminal period of its existence — 1979-1990 — was twofold.

    At the end of 2020, Russia lost two more positions in the ranking of countries by GDP per capita. Falling back to 65th place with an indicator of 10 thousand dollars, Russia went ahead of China (10,5 thousand dollars) and Malaysia (10,3 thousand), which 7 years ago was ahead by 2.2 and 1.5 times, respectively.

    The same indicator, calculated not at the real exchange rate, but at purchasing power parity, gives Russia 53rd place in the world behind Turkey, Romania and Puerto Rico, against 49th position in 2013.

    The gap between the world’s largest economies increases with any calculation method, economist Yakov Mirkin cites statistics. In 2013, US GDP at face value was 7.3 times larger than Russia’s, and now it is 14.2 times larger. China increased the gap from 4.2 times to 10 times.

    In terms of PPP, US GDP exceeds Russia’s by 5.1 times (although it was 4.5 times), and China overtakes-by 5.9 times (compared to 4.4 seven years ago).

    Russia is doomed!

    And don’t ya’ll forget it!

    Like

  73. In blistering form of late, James Howard Kunstler’s “Thinking Out Loud” article at the Clusterfuck Nation section of

    kunstler.com

    has this gem on the recent summit in Geneva:

    “In a kind of comic reversal of George W. Bush’s first meeting with Vlad Putin — “I was able to get a sense of the man’s soul,” W said — this time, Vlad looked into “Ol’ Joe’s” eyes and probably saw the ghost of Konstantin Chernenko. You may recall Ol’ Konstantin led the foundering Soviet Union for about a year, his final months from Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital, where emphysema, congestive heart failure, and cirrhosis of the liver laid him low. “Joe Biden” did not start smoking cigarettes at age nine, as Chernenko had, but when Vlad P looked into his eyes, he probably saw a 15-watt bulb flickering within, and played him accordingly. After the summit, Vlad sized-up the “POTUS” as “professional” for the press — a witty snark, if ever there was one.”

    Lots more to enjoy there.

    Like

  74. То ли детективный, то ли комедийный сериал – проект об отравлениях от The Insider и Bellingcat
    15 June

    “The Insider” and Bellingcat Project on Poisoning: either a Detective Story or a Comedy Series
    15 June


    Cheerful literary clown and concurrent oppositionist Dmitry Bykov. By the way, in the background Aleksey Navalny with an expression of nausea on his face. Could it be that by chance the poster in Bykov’s hands is about him? Photo from the site “The Insider”

    [The poster reads: Don’t rock the boat — our rat is feeling sick! — ME]

    I remember how in Soviet times in the Baltics, including at the famous Riga Film Studio, a lot of interesting detective or just adventure thriller films were shot. Now the Baltic actors star in Russian or Belarusian films at best, and in the worse cases — in the Ukraine. But in today’s times, when politics is increasingly taking over from the techniques of contemporary art, the Baltic states are increasingly becoming the stage for art-political actions.

    There is a tradition in American show business to squeeze as much as possible out of every topic: once a screened story has been released, it is then expanded with interpretations and sequels, and sometimes even prologues, like the Star Wars or Harry Potter stories. And the same route has been taken by the Bellingcat investigative agency and a kind of Russian Internet publication “The Insider”, the editorial office of which is based in Riga for some reason. Speaking of continuity, Roman Dobrohotov, the founder and owner of “The Insider”, is yet another character who, as the Americans who adore liberals say, was “born with a silver spoon in his mouth”. He is the son of a professor at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, the “preserve” of Westernism and liberalism, and a graduate of another forge not only for the servants of the Fatherland, the famous MGIMO (Moscow State Institute for International Relations). And, again, about continuity. The Higher School of Economics (HSE) is an institution of higher learning established under the RF Government as a forge of personnel for the new economy, capable of advancing economics to the highest level. The Moscow State Institute of International Relations was even one of the most prestigious educational institutions back in the USSR.


    Table of data on the flights of Bykov and “FSB officers” – Bykov flew to Rostov, and the FSB officers flew to some “Rosov”. Photo from “The Insider” website

    So, the Bellingcat investigative agency and a kind of Russian Internet publication “The Insider” from Riga, Latvia (editor-in-chief Andris Jansons under the owner Roman Dobrokhotov), having launched a show about the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny and immediately diluted it with additional episodes about Bulgarian Emilian Gebrev and something about the Caucasus, they decided to move the project on further. Well, now the liberal media is running a series that could be called “The Poisoners from NII-2 of the FSB [2-й центральный научно-исследовательский институт Министерства обороны Российской Федерации: 2nd Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation — ME]. The fact that this gang is capable of much in the information (and not only) war has already been discussed on the channel: “Navalny’s associates, or why he is safer in Russia” and other materials. The proliferation of the theme of poisoners from the FSB (or GRU) could be the envy of many Hollywood projects. And more and more victims of poisoning by the mysterious “Novichok” are being reported on the airwaves.

    How did the famous “investigators” from the gang of Grozev and Co. determine this? The old method tried on Navalny in 2020 — looking at the names of the passengers — if even the right names are not on the lists, it means that the members of the “poisoning team” were acting under false names. What names? What difference does it make? The unfolding plot of this detective-parody “soap opera”, as conceived by the authors of the script, should not be influenced by this in any way. And what a plot it is! And what heroes are at the centre of it — oppositionist and literary scholar Dmitry Bykov (“poisoned” in 2019), another prominent publicist and again an oppositionist and advocate of sanctions against Russia Vladimir Kara-Murza (“poisoned” in 2015), and the strange oppositionist writer Viktor Yerofeyev (“poisoned” in 2018). The latter generally enriched the knowledge base of military poisoning substances with his picturesque but utterly insane story about poison either from a bottle or on a bottle. But an actor has a right to improvisation sometimes, too. And here, too, the methods of show business work: films can also be with a retrospective continuation, that is, about what came before. Naturally, all the “poisoned” are alive and well and have spoken about everything themselves. Otherwise, how would the viewer-reader-listener know about their poisoning?


    Either the Sergey Kara-Murza poisoning was copied from the Aleksey Navalny poisoning, or the Navalny one from Kara-Murza. Photo from the site “The Insider”

    [An amazingly smug look on the face of a man at death’s door, hospitalized as a result of his poisoning by the most deadly nerve agent known to humankind — ME]

    It seems that the solution of this whole chain of “mysterious” poisonings is not so complicated. It is just that those who are trying to poison on a massive scale the consciousness of their fellow citizens have not only , as a result, received all these symptoms of supposedly poisoning, either by a mysterious, or even non-existent “Novichok”: they have poisoned themselves with their own poison, as people say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Other alleged poisoning prequel “victims”: that slimy bastard Verzilov, former husband of “Punk Band” leader and “performance arts” activist Tolokonnikova, and Saint Anna Politovskaya of Novaya Gazeta

      Liked by 1 person

  75. Статья Владимира Путина «Быть открытыми, несмотря на прошлое»
    Статья Президента России опубликована в немецкой еженедельной газете Die Zeit и приурочена к 80-й годовщине начала Великой Отечественной войны.
    22 июня 2021 года10:30

    Article by Vladimir Putin “To be open in spite of the past”

    This article by the Russian president was published in the German weekly “Die Zeit” and is timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.
    22 22 June 2021, 10:30

    To be open in spite of the past

    On June 22, 1941, exactly 80 years ago, the Nazis, having conquered almost all of Europe, attacked the Soviet Union. For the Soviet people, the Great Patriotic War had begun — the bloodiest in the history of our country. Tens of millions of people died; there was a giant loss of economic potential and cultural wealth.

    We are proud of the courage and resilience of the heroes of the Red Army and toilers of the rear, who not only defended the independence and dignity of our homeland, but also saved Europe and the world from enslavement. And whoever tries to rewrite the pages of the past — the truth is that Soviet soldiers came to the land of Germany not to take revenge on the Germans, but with the noble and great mission of a liberator. We hold sacred the memory of the heroes who fought against Nazism. We remember with gratitude our anti-Hitler coalition allies, participants of the Resistance, and German anti-fascists who brought the common victory closer.

    Having survived the horrors of a World War, the peoples of Europe were nevertheless able to overcome alienation and restore mutual trust and respect, and embarked on a course of integration in order to draw a final line under the European tragedies of the first half of the last century. And I want to emphasize that the historical reconciliation of our people and the Germans living both in the east and in the west of a united Germany played an enormous role in the formation of this Europe.

    I recall that in the postwar years, it was German entrepreneurs who pioneered cooperation with our country. In 1970, the USSR and the Federal Republic of Germany concluded the “deal of the century” on long-term supplies of natural gas to Europe, which laid the foundation for constructive interdependence and initiated many subsequent ambitious projects, including the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.

    We hoped that the end of the Cold War would be a common victory for Europe. It seemed that Charles de Gaulle’s dream of a united continent, not even geographically “from the Atlantic to the Urals”, but culturally, from Lisbon to Vladivostok, would come true.

    It is in this logic — the logic of building a Greater Europe united by shared values and interests — that Russia has sought to develop in its relations with Europeans. Both we and the European Union have done a lot on this path.

    But a different approach prevailed. It was based on expanding the North Atlantic Alliance, which was itself a Cold War relic. After all, it was created for the confrontation of that era.

    The bloc’s eastward expansion, which incidentally began when the Soviet leadership was persuaded to accept the membership of united Germany in NATO, was the main reason for the rapid growth of mutual distrust in Europe. They were quick to forget about the verbal promises: that “this is not directed against you,” that “the bloc’s borders will not come any closer to you”. But a precedent had been set.

    And since 1999, five more waves of NATO expansion followed. The organization included 14 new countries, including the republics of the former Soviet Union, which effectively buried hopes for a continent without dividing lines. By the way, one of the SPD leaders, Egon Bar, warned about it in the mid-1980s, who proposed a radical restructuring of the entire European security system after the unification of Germany, with the participation of both the USSR and the United States. But nobody in the USSR, the USA or Europe wanted to listen to him.

    Moreover, many countries were put before an artificial choice – to be either with the collective West or with Russia. In fact, it was an ultimatum. The consequences of this aggressive policy can be seen in the Ukrainian tragedy of 2014. Europe actively supported the anti-constitutional armed coup in Ukraine. That’s where it all started. Why was it necessary to do that? At that time, the incumbent President Yanukovych had already agreed to all the demands of the opposition. Why did the U.S. organize the coup, and why did the European countries unwillingly support it, provoking a split in Ukraine itself and the withdrawal of Crimea from its composition?

    Now the entire European security system has severely degraded. Tensions are rising, and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real. We are missing out on the tremendous opportunities that cooperation gives us, especially now that we are all facing common challenges — a pandemic and its dire socio-economic consequences.

    Why is this happening? And most importantly, what conclusions must we draw together? What are the lessons of history to recall? I think that, first and foremost, the entire post-war history of Greater Europe confirms that the prosperity and security of our common continent is only possible through the joint efforts of all countries, including Russia. Because Russia is one of the largest European states. And we feel our unbreakable cultural and historical ties with Europe.

    We are open to honest, creative cooperation. Our idea of creating a single space of cooperation and security from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean that would include different integration formats, including the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, confirms this.

    Let me repeat: Russia supports the restoration of a comprehensive partnership with Europe. We have many topics of common interest. These include security and strategic stability, healthcare and education, digitalization, energy, culture, science and technology, and solving climate and environmental problems.

    The world is developing dynamically, facing new challenges and threats. And we simply cannot afford to drag the weight of past misunderstandings, resentments, conflicts and mistakes behind us, a burden that will prevent us from concentrating on solving current problems. We are convinced that we all need to acknowledge these mistakes and correct them. Our common and unquestionable goal is continental security without dividing lines, a common space of equal cooperation and common development for the prosperity of Europe and the world as a whole.

    Like

    1. Couldn’t have laid it out much clearer, could he? Coming up on the departure point, Europe, beyond which even a partial mending of former trade patterns will not be possible. And anything that looks like the beginning of a new arms race will be the final nail in the coffin. Thanks for translating that!

      Like

      1. Its a translation of a translation: appeared in the thinking-German’s weekly “Die Zeit”.

        I shouldn’t imagine Putin’s words that were translated into German and then translated back into Russian for the Kremlin website linked above and then into English for here to have appeared in full in those Western arsewipes that pass for newspapers, and if they have, even if only in part, they will also certainly have been garnished by unpalatable “facts” as regards Putin’s assertion that the Red Army “liberated” Europe from the Nazi yoke, such as: “the Red Army raped millions of German women” and “for Poland, the Baltics, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania etc.” WWII only ended in 1991, up to which year, those countries were occupied by the Soviet Union”, the small matter that Hungary and Slovakia and Romania were Nazi allies that participated in the 1941 Nazi invasion of the USSR notwithstanding.

        Like

        1. It is interesting that the Russian President chose to address a German weekly medium as regards the anniversary of the attack against the USSR by Nazi Germany and its allies in 1941 and his thoughts as regards post-USSR developments in Europe.

          This week in Germany, Merkel has come under attack by many Germans as a result of her statement as regards the anniversary of the launch of “Operation Barbarossa”. In brief, she said that Germany’s collective guilt should never be forgotten as regards the waging of a war off aggression against the Soviet Union, nor should the crimes committed by the Wehrmacht in the USSR.

          Many stated that they were born over 40 years after the end of WWII in Europe and were fully aware of their forebears’ and country’s guilt in this matter, but a feeling of guilt they themselves had not, nor should they be expected to nurture such feelings. But what they added was that rather than criticizing the actions of persons long dead, Merkel should be more concerned with present day relationships with Russia, not harping on about the past, but trying to create amicable relations with its eastern neighbour and not dancing to Washington’s hostile NATO tune.

          Like

          1. I used to regularly read “Die Zeit”, but they kept on pestering for fees so as to get behind their wall.

            Here’s the paper edition in which the above mentioned Putin article appeared:

            The headline reads:

            Why is Putin loved so?

            Russians are poor and live in fear. Yet they revere their president as a deity. And in Germany, many people trust him more than Angela Merkel. How can this be?

            Where are all these poor Russians amidst whom I have lived for 27 years and who live in fear, I wonder?

            And Putin is loved by the Russians?

            Surely, “Die Zeit” is confusing the Tyrant with “his most vociferous critic”?

            Like

            1. From a 15 September 2016 “Die Zeit” article about the “Evil One”:

              Wenn Putin das wüsste …
              Missstände überall. Trotzdem stehen die meisten Russen hinter ihrem Präsidenten. Das eigene Leben mag miserabel sein – wichtig ist, dass das Land wieder respektiert wird.

              If only Putin knew …
              A deplorable state of affairs everywhere. Nevertheless, most Russians stand behind their president. Their own lives may be miserable — the important thing is that the country is respected again.

              I should think a better title for the above picture should be:

              How does Vladimir Vladimirovich manage to pull all the pretty girls?

              Like

  76. Heavy rains in Crimea! While flooding has occurred, it would be expected that depleted reservoirs are fully charged and ground water levels increased to some degree,

    https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-06-21/putin-orders-military-to-help-clear-up-floods-in-annexed-crimea

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military to help clear up flooding in annexed Crimea on Monday, the Kremlin said, after heavy rain caused damage in cities on the Black Sea peninsula.

    The region declared a state of emergency last week as hundreds of homes were flooded in areas including the city of Kerch and in Yalta, a tourist destination popular with Russians on Crimea’s southern coast.

    The flooding on June 16-18 caused power cuts and prompted authorities to evacuate almost 2,000 people. One person was reported killed on Friday after being swept away.

    More heavy rain and storms were forecast for later on Monday and on Tuesday, RIA news agency said.

    Putin ordered Russia’s defence minister to bring in “forces and funds” to help the clear-up, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
    Political Cartoons on World Leaders

    “Yalta has been badly affected,” he said.

    Sergei Shoigu, the minister, said more forces would be sent to the area and that 21,000 people from the ministry were already involved, TASS news agency reported.

    Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, drawing western sanctions and driving political ties to post-Cold War lows. Moscow has invested in the region to make it popular with Russian holidaymakers. Ukraine wants the territory back.

    Surprised that the article did not mention the near-certainty that the Kerch bridge would be swept away.

    Like

    1. FYI – every headline from Western MSM stories that I saw on the heavy rains used either “annexed” or “Russian occupied” descriptor in front of “Crimea”. Lockstep reporting.

      Like

      1. Sheep following other sheep around in circles to dog whistle of their masters. It’s above their paygrade to do anything else…

        Like

      1. I would have thought someone like Paul McCartney or Elton John would jump at the chance to write a new national song for kids to sing (if not necessarily for free). Even that Swedish hit-making machine Max Martin might have been persuaded. But no, the UK govt settles for something with lyrics that were put together cut-n-paste style from past worn-out advertising slogans.

        Like

  77. Euractiv avec AFP: Lukashenko blasts ‘Nazi’ Germany after new Western sanctions
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/lukashenko-blasts-nazi-germany-after-new-western-sanctions/

    Lukashenko blasts ‘Nazi’ Germany after new Western sanctions

    …Speaking at a World War II commemoration event, the 66-year-old Belarusian president said the sanctions were part of an ongoing Western “hybrid war” against his country.

    But “we did not expect Germany’s participation in this collective conspiracy,” he said…
    ####

    It is indeed a hybrid war and inveitable from an organization that sees itself as an ever expanding union a core principle. It’s like pigs at the trough. When is enough enough? It’s not asked because they are too busy eating…

    Like