Oh Lord, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Uncle Volodya says, "The liar was the hottest to defend his veracity, the coward his courage, the ill-bred his gentlemanliness, and the cad his honor."

Uncle Volodya says, “The liar was the hottest to defend his veracity, the coward his courage, the ill-bred his gentlemanliness, and the cad his honor.”

Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But don’t you know that no one alive can always be an angel
When things go wrong I feel so bad.

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

Nina Simone

Michael McFaul wants you to know that he is hurt. The Russian outlook has not been so anti-American (and anti-EU) since before 1990 – perhaps since never (thanks for the graphic, Kirill). The United States of America is hated – hated – in Russia in a way it probably was not even during the cold war. And why? Well, because of Putin, of course. Putin the paranoid nutjob, who believes the United States government is trying to overthrow his government and replace it with some supplicant liberal who will allow America a free hand to dabble and meddle to its heart’s content. Which America could not be less interested in doing – that’s all in Putin’s head. Quoth McFaul; “But the more I listen to him directly and the more I saw the activities of his government – they have a paranoid view about American intentions. They believe that President Obama and the CIA want to overthrow Putin’s regime and want to weaken Russia and some would even say, dismember Russia. It’s totally crazy. I want to emphasize that. There is no policy of regime change in Russia. Unfortunately, however, I think that is Putin’s view.” (Thanks for the link, Peter)

A paranoid view about American intentions. There is no policy of regime change in Russia. Hmmm. Forgive me if I find that a little hard to believe.

Probably because it’s…what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yeah – horseshit.

Michael McFaul is an educated man, and the educated man has a weakness – he can seldom resist being seduced into showing off his worldly education, the payback for those years with his nose in the books instead of going fishing, chasing skirt or hanging out down at the pool hall. Michael McFaul is not made of wood, and when he is asked to give the folks back home in Teaneck, New Jersey or Boring, Oregon or Cranky Corner, Louisiana the benefit of his worldly experience and that fine Oxford schoolin’, why, he sings like a canary.

Such as: “And, as before, the current regime must be isolated. The strategy of seeking to change Kremlin behavior through engagement, integration and rhetoric is over for now. No more membership in the Group of 8, accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development or missile defense talks. Instead there must be sanctions, including against those people and entities — propagandists, state-owned enterprises, Kremlin-tied bankers — that act as instruments of Mr. Putin’s coercive power. Conversely, individuals and companies not connected to the government must be supported, including those seeking to take assets out of Russia or emigrate…Mr. Putin’s Russia has no real allies. We must keep it that way. Nurturing Chinese distance from a revisionist Russia is especially important, as is fostering the independence of states in Central Asia and the Caucasus.”

Even, some would say, dismember Russia. Wasn’t that what you just said, above, in tones of “do you believe anyone could think something so crazy?” No sanctions on individuals and companies not connected to the government, including those “seeking to take assets out of Russia, or emigrate”. Those must be supported. Meanwhile, “fostering the independence of states in Central Asia and the Caucasus” is “especially important”. Who says so? Michael McFaul, in whose innocent mouth butter would not melt, said so, not even a year ago.

The United States, Mr. McFaul will have you know, is just misunderstood. The more it tries to help people – well, certain people, anyway, such as those receptive to American global leadership – the more it is accused of low-down, sneakin’, backstabbing regime change. The injustice of it!! Why can’t the world just accept that American motives are guileless and straightforward, and that America means Russia no harm?

Gee, I don’t know…maybe because of stuff like this: “American Efforts at Promoting Regime Change in the Soviet Union and then Russia: Lessons Learned“, by Michael A. McFaul. How ’bout that, Michael? Cat got your tongue? Want to take a look inside? Oh, let’s do.

Well, we’re off to a great start. “For much longer and with much greater capacity than Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Soviet regime threatened the United States. The destruction of the Soviet regime and the construction of a pro-Western, democratic regime in its place, therefore, was a major objective of America foreign policy. Some presidents pursued this goal more vigorously than others: Nixon cared less, Reagan more. Yet, even during the height of Nixonian realism, Senator Jackson and Congressman Vanik made sure that the human rights of Soviet citizens were not ignored.

Mmmm…interesting. The Jackson-Vanik Amendment – which was actually signed into law by President Ford, after President Nixon was taillights, so that it was never in effect during “the height of Nixonian realism” unless we presume it outlived his presidency and carried on after he was gone – pertained only to Soviet Jews. In that context, “making sure the rights of Soviet citizens were not ignored” is painting with a little bit of a broad brush, it seems to me.

At the time the whole argument – replete as usual with sound and fury – was going on about repealing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment so that Russia could join the WTO and maintain the same trading relationship with the USA it would maintain with other members, it escalated into a bitter partisan battle by groups who did not know the first thing about it, only that the honour of Old Glory was at stake. In fact the amendment was inserted into the Soviet-American Comprehensive Trade Agreement, and basically gutted it unless the Soviet Union allowed free emigration to its Jews. Among that group were many who had received a free superior education at a state school of higher learning, and who wished to take it with them to America or Israel to make a pile of money. The Soviet Union said sure, you can go – just as soon as you pay back the state for your education, which is only free if you are going to use it to benefit the state that gave it to you. Unreasonable? You tell me.

The Soviet Union sent a delegation to the USA, to explain its position to the business community; implementing the amendment, it said, would elevate anti-semitism in the Soviet Union, and the 90% of Soviet Jews who did not want to leave would suffer for American meddling, as the rest of the Soviet Union’s citizens perceived American favouritism. And it almost worked. Enter Soviet Jewish activists, like the kreakly of today, the group America has never been able to resist – they’re just so smart. And they swayed opinion back the other way, and the amendment passed. And stayed in effect until Obama repealed it in 2012, long after it had outlived its usefulness and just in time for it to be replaced by the Magnitsky Act so the United States could go on treating Russia differently than it treated every other nation on the planet, and have a law that said it could.

For the record, Nixon preferred to take the path of “quiet diplomacy” where the Jackson-Vanik Amendment was concerned, and was satisfied with Moscow’s concession that it would not implement the “diploma tax”. You could call that “Nixonian realism”, if you want, but it sounds like “we got what we asked for – why be jerks?” So more or less everything McFaul tells you there about the Jackson-Vanik Amendment is self-serving blather, bullshit and boilerplate.

As to the “capacity with which the Soviet Union threatened the United States”, a study prepared by George Washington University’s National Security Archive and released in 2009 revealed that the Pentagon and others deliberately exaggerated the Soviet threat out of all proportion, departing on wild flights of fancy to justify ever-larger defense budgets and ever-more-costly weapons systems; “as recently as 1986, the CIA reported that the per capita income of East Germany was ahead of West Germany and that the national income per capita was higher in the Soviet Union than in Italy. Several years later, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact collapsed, and former CIA director Stansfield Turner wrote that the “corporate view” at the CIA “missed by a mile.” So, less writing and more reading for you, Mr. McFaul, if you don’t mind a bit of free advice.

Although the United States is the most powerful hegemon in recent history and maybe ever, the U.S. government has seemed ineffective, weak, and unable to foster democratic development in Russia. This apparent impotence is especially striking when one remembers the strategic importance of democratic development in this country still armed with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. It was democratic regime change inside the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War and made the United States more secure. It will be autocratic regime change that will once again animate a more confrontational relationship between the United States and Russia. And yet, the United States government has not developed an effective strategy either to foster Russian democracy or to help it survive.”

It sure sounds to me like you are advocating regime change there, Mr. McFaul.

What should come first, founding elections or a constitution? Which is better for Russia, presidentialism or parliamentary system? What should be the strategy for dealing with communists and their NGOs—engagement or destruction?”

Uhhhh…were you planning to ask the Russian government about any of this? Or was it just going to be between you and the excited business and cultural elitny who always thought the running of the country should have fallen to them? The elitny who, not to put too fine a point on it, would throw their shoulders against the great wheel of American global hegemony?

At times, however, officials representing the U.S. government and representatives from the non-governmental organizations clashed regarding appropriate engagement with Russia’s “revolutionaries.” These American NGOs vigorously defended their independence from the U.S. government and occasionally engaged in domestic“meddling” inside the U.S.S.R. that contradicted Bush’s pledge of noninterference. Most of the time, under the steady stewardship of Ambassador Matlock, these nongovernmental worked closely with local U.S. officials. Matlock himself was an active promoter of engagement with Russia’s revolutionaries. He hosted dinners and discussion groups with these anti-Soviet leaders and groups at Spaso House, the ambassador’s residence in Moscow, including a luncheon with human rights activists with Ronald Reagan in May 1988. These events gave symbolic but important recognition to these new political leaders.”

Certainly must have been inspirational, because Ambassador McFaul did just the same thing as soon as he arrived in Russia in 2012 – he had barely presented his credentials before he was hobnobbing with opposition leaders, many of whom had well-documented ties to the U.S. State Department, including Evgeniya Chirikova (NED -funded “Strategy 31”), Lilia Shevtsova (NED-funded GOLOS) and Lev Ponomaryov (NED-funded Moscow-Helsinki Group). Mr McFaul was incensed at the criticism he received from the Russian government and Russian social media for it – regime change? Perish the thought – this is just a meeting of friends, and meeting with the opposition is routine, harmless. Just keep eye contact and continue talking in a soothing, low voice, and the rubes will fall for it, every time. Given the opinions expressed in the referenced text, can there be any doubt that the objective was to pave the way for revolution?

Michael McFaul is as two-faced as a halibut; when he shakes your hand, check to see if you still have your wristwatch when you get your hand back, and it might not be a bad idea to count your fingers. When he says the government he represents is not interested in regime change in your country, a wise man would inspect all the riot-control equipment and get it laid out so it is ready to hand.

The USA never speaks in a conciliatory fashion when it is winning – ever notice that? It’s too busy waving the flag and trumpeting about exceptionalism and feats of can-do. Therefore, when it does speak in a conciliatory fashion, it is possible it has realized it is losing. And it doesn’t do losing well. A word to the wise is sufficient.

 

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1,868 Responses to Oh Lord, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

  1. kirill says:

    http://www.russia-direct.org/analysis/russia-now-monitoring-world%E2%80%99s-mass-media-bias

    An index that has credibility. Unlike transparently nonsensical ones such as TI’s “corruption perceptions index”.

  2. davidt says:

    Given that there has been considerable discussion of the divining abilities of George Friedman of Stratfor I’ll draw attention to this article:
    https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/can-putin-survive
    Briefly, George is concerned that things are not going too brilliantly for VVP- of course, he cannot yet say that that the Russian president is about to lose his job but look what happened to Kruschev and Yeltsin. According to George the following is the crux of the matter:
    “Putin miscalculated in Ukraine, failing to anticipate the fall of an ally, failing to respond effectively and then stumbling badly in trying to recoup. His management of the economy has not been exemplary of late either, to say the least. He has colleagues who believe they could do a better job, and now there are important people in Europe who would be glad to see him go. He must reverse this tide rapidly, or he may be replaced.”
    For my part, though I am often perplexed as to why anyone would want to be the President of Russia, I think that Russia has been lucky that Putin wanted the job. When people criticize Putin harshly I think of a very minor episode in Australian history. At a election rally in the 50’s a heckler exclaimed to Menzies, the Prime Minister of the day, “I wouldn’t vote for you if you were the Archangel Gabriel.” Menzies had the wit to respond “If I were the Archangel Gabriel then you wouldn’t be in my electorate.”

    • marknesop says:

      I am going to have an embolism if the western media does not stop treating the economic problems in Russia as if they just naturally happened, largely due to Russian governmental incompetence. I don’t think much of an off-the-rack “intelligence agency” that cannot mark the difference. Russia is the target of a western economic action designed to wreck its economy, and it is not confined only to the low price of oil. An inability to note that suggests Stratfor is either too stupid to know what is really going on, or cooperating with the U.S. government by pretending not to notice. Throwaway lines like “His management of the economy has not been exemplary of late either, to say the least” are pure Washington lockstep. Of course the USA wants Russians – and everyone else – to believe the Russian economy is having a tough time because Putin is a fuckup and someone else would do a better job. Someone else would do a better job only so long as they played kissy-arse with Washington, at which point they might be allowed to do a better job in exchange for handing the shop over to new management, and apparently that cannot be said too often because people are still – stubbornly – not getting it.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Kreakly apart, everyone with any sense here knows full well that the USA and the EU is hell bent on ruining Russia and they know why: they know that the oh-so-kind and bounteous USA and its arselicker EU toe-rags are trying to impoverish the nation.

        Kreakly, on the other hand, believe that “this country” (as they like to refer to what most Russians call “our country”) is being rightfully punished for its misdemeanours.They think the sun shines out of the USA’s arse and everything that US governments do is right and fitting.

        I remember how only a few days after the Crimea seceded a Kreakl said to me: “This is unbelievable! Russia is acting as though it were still the 19th century”.

        Now I wonder where he had heard that expression before?

        • kirill says:

          Real independent thinkers those kreakls. Just like their masters in NATO, they only pay lip service to concepts such as individualism, freedom of thought and self-determination. At the end of the day they are all totalitarian drones.

        • Warren says:

          Kreaklies repeat Western media and State Department talking points verbatim. After Crimea reunited with Russia; Western journos and analyst peddled the meme that Crimea was an economic basket case, a wasteland, an economic liability and burden for Russia. Navalny regurgitated the exact same talking points to argue against the reunification of Crimea!!

  3. et al says:

    Here’s some proof to show how the traditional NATO countries are serious about defense:

    Flight Global: NATO stresses C2 role of AWACS fleet
    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/nato-stresses-c2-role-of-awacs-fleet-410114/

    Too much demand is being placed on NATO’s Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) to provide information, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data to the alliance, despite its primary roles of command and control and battle management, a leading figure on the programme has revealed….

    …Financial restraints on the AWACS provision are also affecting the programme. As it stands, only 14 of the 17 aircraft that are in service are expected to be upgraded to take the aircraft out to 2025; one of the 17 is due to retire in June 2015, while it is assumed that the other two that are not touted for upgrade will also retire before 2018.

    Canada, which was the third-largest contributor, has withdrawn from the NATO AWACS effort, which led to the decision to only upgrade 14 of the aircraft….

    …Sentry receives some €250 million ($263 million) a year in operational and support costs, which only allows for 65% of the required flying hours for the aircraft.

    “There is a lot we’d love to do with this aeroplane, but the money is just not there,” Teakle notes. “The decision [on programme extension] will have to be made next year, and the 16 nations will have to decide what they are willing to spend.”…
    ####

    So you see, there’s a lot of braying (Here’s looking at you Canada) but no cold, hard cash down on the table. AWACS are pooled within NATO so if the funds arrive in the near future, then someone is actually paying something up…

    • marknesop says:

      I’ll let Samantha Hossack explain Canada’s position; she can do it far better than I can.

      http://natocouncil.ca/canadas-contribution-to-nato/

      It’s essentially a numbers game – while Canada does indeed spend less than 2% of GDP on NATO, most other NATO countries also spend less than 2% of GDP and some far less. “Strictly speaking, Paris is correct in saying that Canada does spend less than 2% of its overall GDP on defense expenditures, the 6th lowest of NATO member countries. The numbers also show, however, that Canada is responsible for 5.9% of the overall contribution to NATO Common-Funded Budgets and Programmes. Assuming that the US continued to maintain its 21.7% of the overall contribution to these projects, an equal distribution by the remaining 27 members states would be 2.9%. With Canada contributing 5.9%, evidently there are other countries in the Alliance that are contributing less than equal amounts to NATO. Perhaps in answer to Paris’ question, Canada is, after all, “pulling at least its own weight” in the Alliance in comparison to these other countries, providing the 6th highest overall contribution to these projects.” The United States contributes a massive amount to NATO, but it also thinks of NATO as its personal army in Europe and most of its equipment – including the AWACS – is bought from the USA.

      Canada commanded ISAF in Afghanistan, that money-sucking mess that was essentially an American vanity project to get bin Laden that America could not afford to keep up while it simultaneously invaded Iraq. Without counting the 158 Canadians who died there, and sticking strictly to finances, we spent $22 Billion on Afghanistan that I, personally, think would have been far, far better spent elsewhere. At a unit cost of around $300 million, that would replace NATO’s AWACS fleet with brand-new aircraft and then some. Additionally, Canada has been part of every NATO mission since its inception.

      Also, AWACS are funded from the NATO Security Investment Program (NSIP), which “covers major construction and command and control system investments, which are beyond the national defence requirements of individual member countries. It supports the roles of the NATO strategic commands by providing installations and facilities such as air defence communication and information systems, military headquarters for the integrated structure and for deployed operations, and critical airfield, fuel systems and harbour facilities needed in support of deployed forces.”

      http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_67655.htm

      AWACS have probably been used in Canada before – perhaps for G8 Summits and possibly the 2010 Olympics – but such occasions are rare and it would not make much sense to bring over a NATO AWACS from Geilenkirchen when we could just borrow one from next door. Canada’s usage of NATO AWACS must be just about nil. I would hazard a guess that European use of them constitutes the bulk of their operations; as well, they probably provide air support every time Obama “The Travelin’ President” visits. The UK’s share of NATO is not twice Canada’s although it has approximately double the population, while the UK with its big mouth has certainly gotten NATO in far more fights than Canada.

      That’s not a defense of Canada per se, because our Prime Minister certainly does talk as though he had an army of millions at his command while the total strength of all three branches of the Canadian Forces (regulars) is only 68,000, the greatest percentage of those in the army. But numbers almost never tell the full story, and can be selectively quoted to support several narratives.

      • PaulR says:

        I think that I may have linked to Robert Higgs’ explanation of the absurdity of linking defence spending to GDP before, but in case not here it is, as I cannot better it: http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2143

        The key lines are these:

        ‘GDP purports to be the value at market prices of all currently produced final goods and services the U.S. economy brings forth in a year. It includes everything from hamburgers to computer software to H-bombs. Why, we might ask, should military spending bear any particular proportion to this figure?

        Does it not make much more sense to assess the actual threats the country faces, to determine the optimal means of meeting or deterring these threats with a sufficient degree of confidence, and then to add up the costs of obtaining the stipulated means? Whether this total amount happens to be 1 percent or 20 percent of GDP is entirely beside the point, which is to protect the American people from potential, likely, external attackers. Once an adequate defense program has been designed and its components priced, the military leadership can present the total bill to Congress and defend it by showing, item by item, why each of its elements is necessary to achieve the desired degree of national security.

        If the national economy produces more hamburgers and computer software next year, these economic developments in no way imply that more money should then be spent for defense. If the threats remain the same and the costs of acquiring defense goods and services remain the same, then the defense budget can remain fixed in amount and still serve its proper purpose. Notice, however, that if the GDP continues to grow, this adequate, fixed-amount, military budget will constitute a smaller fraction of GDP.’

        • marknesop says:

          Indeed, that makes a great deal of sense. I guess I never thought about it before, but the idea that defense spending should automatically rise each year just because the country is making and spending more money certainly does not mean the threat to the country has increased as well.

          There are a couple of things it does not take into account, though, chief among them the role forecasting must play in threat assessment because of the lead time required to bring military hardware from design to production. For instance, design of the M1 Abrams main battle tank began in the early 1970’s, but the first tank was not produced until 1980. Also, military equipment is nearly as costly to maintain and upgrade as it is to produce, owing to the pounding it takes even in routine exercises.

          • Jen says:

            The idea of linking defence spending to rises or falls in GDP might have originally arisen because historically many if not most civilian technologies originated in a military context and in some countries (including probably the US), most scientists, engineers and inventors got their first jobs in defence industries. These days the military is the major employer in many counties in the US and keeps a lot of communities alive, else they would die out for lack of jobs and money. So in that context, linking defence spending to GDP makes sense as a lot of the money allocated would go into hiring people who would otherwise end up on social security or in jail. Also defence helps support other industries like IT and iron and steel manufacturing by being a client / supplier of materials / consultant / source of employees.

            To sum up, defence spending can provide a stimulus to employment in defence itself and in other areas. Of course this means you would also increase defence spending if GDP started falling: this doesn’t mean that external threats automatically increase when a country becomes poor, it might mean the govt is trying to kick-start new jobs or projects through the armed forces (as in teams digging ditches one day, then the next day other teams fill them up and then the third day the ditches are re-opened) as this would be acceptable to the public which would otherwise resist govt hand-outs to the unemployed.

          • Jen says:

            The real issue behind Robert Higgs’ article is that the linkage of US defence spending to the country’s GDP has zero to do with actual defence needs but is used to cover up feather-bedding by the Pentagon. Higgs mentions a few of these: over 700 military bases around the world, executive jets for senior officers and golf courses.

            Then there is DARPA and the projects it works on:
            http://www.cracked.com/article_19331_5-projects-you-wont-believe-us-government-working-on.html

            and of course the Pentagon also advises Hollywood on what war films to make through its Film Liaison Office. It even vets movie scripts and provides technical advice and hardware. Video and computer games are another avenue for Pentagon spending.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America%27s_Army

            • PaulR says:

              There is little to no evidence that defence spending stimulates the economy. For that to be the case, the multiplier effect of investing the money in defence would have to be higher than the multiplier effect associated with investing it in something else (or leaving it in taxpayers’ hands), but this is unlikely to be the case, if only because a lot of defence spending is a dead end – when you build a tank, the tank doesn’t then generate new income and so circulate the money around more, while the number of people employed devising and building the tank is probably fairly low compared to the number employed in alternative uses of the money. The few studies I have seen on the matter suggest that at the levels of spending most Western countries have (1-4% of GDP), there is no notable positive or negative impact on GDP. Therefore, one cannot legitimately justify defence spending on the grounds that it is good for the economy: the only justification should be that it is needed for defence. If it isn’t, then the money should towards something which is needed – education, health, whatever – or left in the hands of taxpayers to use as they wish.

              • Jen says:

                With all due respect for your reply, my comments weren’t about defence spending stimulating economies, they were about defence spending keeping people in jobs, shoring up towns and communities that have lost business or employers (because of outsourcing to foreign countries) or supporting industries or certain kinds of work that would otherwise disappear.

                We can argue that this kind of “defence spending” should be the focus of other government departments and agencies but we have a socioeconomic climate where the public in most Western countries is brainwashed to believe that welfare hand-outs are bad and lead to laziness but spending on defence is “necessary” for national security. If social welfare masquerading as defence spending helps to keep people employed, families fed and housed, and young people away from crime and out of jail, and other (better) options are considered beyond the pale for ideological reasons, you have to accept that as the best of a bad situation and focus on making better use of that money to help vets with issues like PTSD and supporting their families rather than spend it on private jets or golf courses for senior generals, or making films that glamorise war.

                • Jen says:

                  @ Paul: Yeah, I know what I said is ethically hollow but we are dealing with a situation where communities have become dependent on the military to provide jobs, money for college scholarships, housing and probably more besides, because the only alternatives would be applying for social welfare, which many people find either demeaning or humiliating (and usually both – a lot of people on social welfare end up being bullied by bureaucrats) or a life of crime which means spending a good part of your years in prison. Changing this context, especially if a lot of people might be affected, might mean changing aspects of the existing structure so you start siphoning money away from its more destructive uses to helping vets by re-training them for other work, medical treatment for PTSD and other health conditions caused by military actions and other areas that help vets and their families. If you overthrew the structure, you’re leaving people without an alternative structure and you have to start all over again from scratch.

              • colliemum says:

                It should be left in the hands of the tax payers!
                The amount of taxes most people have to hand over to government is simply staggering – but since so many people are unaware of the stealth taxes on the one hand, and full of human kindness on the other while having swallowed whole the idea that government knows best and is the only agency competent to guarantee ‘equality’ to all, be it in health or education, there’s no actual revolt on the horizon such as the original Boston Tea Party.
                Someone a few years ago made up a lovely catalogue of what Government needs to pay for, for the common good, such as defense of the country, external (military) and internal (police), judiciary, some oversight agencies (education, health), and a small amount of social security – for a net, not a hammock as it is today.
                That means that a whole host of bureaucrats would be for the chop.
                There’s one feature in all our societies, also on an international level, which is woefully under-researched, but which has had a baleful influence on us all since the end of WWII – and that is the rise and rise of the bureaucrats: unelected, unaccountable, unknown except to those of their own ilk, paid for generously by al of us.
                Just look at the EU ….

                • PaulR says:

                  I don’t accept that ‘If social welfare masquerading as defence spending helps to keep people employed,… you have to accept that as the best of a bad situation’ because the result is an unnecessary and dangerous military infrastructure which then ends up being used in unnecessary and counterproductive wars.

                • colliemum says:

                  Nor do I – but that’s not what I said in my post.

                • PaulR says:

                  You didn’t say that Colliemum, Jen did.

            • marknesop says:

              “Video and computer games are another avenue for Pentagon spending.”

              That’s because they are among the most successful recruiting techniques used by the military.

      • et Al says:

        Thanks for that! It is though a high profile program and I can well believe that Canada’s air defense is far more efficiently handled by ground based facilities that are tied in to NORAD (which once, many years ago, I went past).

        One for all and all for one? Not in this case!

        But it goes to show how that for all the noise, there is a deeply economic rationale at work behind defense expenditure which I suspect (noting to PaulR & your comments) is related to capability, sustainability and need projected or otherwise rather than the nebulous 2%GDP hard baked into NATO or American military religion.

        • james says:

          norad – that worked really well in 9-11, lol.. if that is any indication where gov’ts spend their money, we’re in more trouble then i thought previously possible!

  4. marknesop says:

    Most here will be aware that Russia withdrew from the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, effective about a week ago. But I wonder how many were aware of the lopsided balance of forces Russia was expected to accept in order to ratify the treaty.

    When Russia ratified the adapted CFE Treaty, the agreement’s weapons limit for NATO was three times that established for the Russian army. However, NATO required the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdnistria as a condition for the ratification of the treaty.

    “NATO countries were not in a hurry to ratify the adapted treaty,” Alexei Arbatov said. “Although Russia had withdrawn almost all its troops, there remained some absolutely insignificant contingents and objects. The West sought to pursue its line. On the part of NATO, I think it was extremely short-sighted, it was a big mistake.”

    In Arbatov’s view, this decision by NATO was what “finished off” conventional arms control in Europe.”

    So for Russia, it now no longer recognizes a balance of forces or limit on conventional arms it may deploy in reaction to what it considers NATO provocations. The temperature looks to be steadily rising.

    • et Al says:

      I advocated this as an option quite some time ago. The time is judged right by the Kremlin to do so. But, even the US has foreseen this:

      There was a very interesting article (which of course I cannot now find) from a day or two ago outlining the US military’s response to the end of the CFE treaty. The underlining point was that the US could do quite a number of things that could make it more militarily threatening to Russia without breaching any CFE commitmets.

      Here’s a few mil related stuff that is intersting:

      New Radars, IRST Strengthen Stealth-Detection Claims

      http://aviationweek.com/defense/new-radars-irst-strengthen-stealth-detection-claims

      Counterstealth technologies near service worldwide

      Counterstealth technologies, intended to reduce the effectiveness of radar cross-section (RCS) reduction measures, are proliferating worldwide. Since 2013, multiple new programs have been revealed, producers of radar and infrared search and track (IRST) systems have been more ready to claim counterstealth capability, and some operators—notably the U.S. Navy—have openly conceded that stealth technology is being challenged.

      These new systems are designed from the outset for sensor fusion—when different sensors detect and track the same target, the track and identification data are merged automatically. This is intended to overcome a critical problem in engaging stealth targets: Even if the target is detected, the “kill chain” by which a target is tracked, identified and engaged by a weapon can still be broken if any sensor in the chain cannot pick the target up….
      ####

      I think the point is that stealth has its place, but given the nature of 30 operational lives of aircraft, they are not going to keep their advantage for long. If you follow the tech news, the world is going through a sensor revolution. Price has massively dropped, capabilities have grown hugely, efficiency has significantly increase, its just the case of tying all the data together to make use of it ‘data fusion’ as they say in the article above. My camera has gps. In the pet shop I’ve seen gps cat collars not to mention video collars that can record all day or be set by sensor motion. It’s only going to get better, cheaper and smaller and continue to reach the consumer in ever more imaginative ways.

      Another ‘gift’ from the Ukraine, except this time to I-ran (the other I mentioned in a previous post of Su-33 naval prototype sold to China that ended up as the J-11B copy no to mention the copies Su-27SKs):

      AW&ST: Iran Produces First Long-Range Missile
      http://aviationweek.com/defense/iran-produces-first-long-range-missile

      TEL-AVIV—Iran has unveiled a domestically produced long-range land attack cruise missile, dubbed Soumar.

      Based on the Russian Kh-55, the Soumar is believed to have a range of at least 2,000 km. “This missile represents a significant leap in the Middle East arms race,” says Col. Aviram Hasson of Israel’s Missile Defense Organization.

      “It positions Iran among the world’s leaders in missile technology,” a Western intelligence source adds….

      …Iran secretly received the missiles in the first half of 2001 and began reverse engineering work. But unlike its publicly displayed ballistic missile program, Iran did not admit to having a cruise missile program until 2012. …
      ###

      It’s old, subsonic tech, but adds another arrow to the quiver that needs to be countered. Nor does it have a nuke warhead.

      Defense Update: France to invest €330 million upgrading 218 Leclerc Main Battle Tanks
      http://defense-update.com/20150312_leclerc-2.html

      The planned modernization work will enable Leclerc MBTs to employ its heavy, direct firepower and mobility as part of the future “SCORPION” joint tactical groups (GTIA). The contract provides for the delivery of 200 “upgraded Leclerc” tanks and 18 “Renovated DCL” recovery vehicles from 2020….
      ####

      Yup, from 2020. That’s a lot of money for an extra reverse gear! 😉

      • kirill says:

        “Even if the target is detected, the “kill chain” by which a target is tracked, identified and engaged by a weapon can still be broken if any sensor in the chain cannot pick the target up”

        Total rubbish claim. It perhaps could be true if the “sensor fusion” system consisted of a couple of obsolete radars, but it would not be true for a system consisting of three or more obsolete radars. American idiots ripped off the stealth concept and mathematics from the Soviets and now prance around like they dictate physical reality. American idiots will not see what hit them when people with actual appreciation and skill in physics and mathematics will face their toys.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          We have had a glimpse of how that would go. Their lacklustre performance against Serbia bodes ill for them indeed.

        • davidt says:

          Come on Kirill. Calm down.

          • kirill says:

            Hard to do that when US-led NATO sponsors butchers in Ukraine. The USA is looking like it wants to start a major war on Russia. So that puts the USA right down there with the Reich.

            • davidt says:

              I try to think long term. The odds are, I hope, high that in 10 years time we’ll look back and see 2014 as some sort of bifurcation point. If not “we’ll all be rooned.”

            • Erika says:

              Kirill,

              I agree the US want war, and that is why I think Putin made the right choice to wait, even as they slaughter people in East Ukraine, to just wait and get his forces ready.

              There is this good video that looks at Russian capabilities. It was presented to Putin in December. What is interesting about the video, is that he has had all the forces from East to West ready for combat as one fighting unit and as two separate fighting units.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Пентагон призвал готовиться к войне с Россией

                The Pentagon urges preparation for war against Russia

                The US Secretary of Defense is unhappy that we want to regain great power status.

                New US Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, made a sensational statement yesterday: for the first time since the end of the “Cold War”, he announced that the US military should be ready for war with Russia.

                Speaking at a congressional hearing on the 2008 budget, Gates fiercely defended an increase in military spending and an increase in the number of troops.

                And that “Komsomolskaya Pravda” article, dear readers, was published on 9 February 2007!

                • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                  I wouldn’t take that to mean ‘we must go to war with Russia’ or even ‘we might go to war with Russia’.

                  No, I would read it as ‘we must SPEND like we’re preparing for war with Russia’.

                • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

                  That’s old Rome.

                  In the New Rome, Si vis opes, para bellum.

                • Jen says:

                  “… ‘we must SPEND like we’re preparing for war with Russia’ …”

                  It’s not necessarily what and how Gates intended the money to be spent, it’s the amount of money Congress was pressured to throw at the Pentagon and the alacrity with which Congress was expected to hurl it. I’d say most of the money the Pentagon gets is for feather-bedding for each senior officer who thinks because he has a rank he ought to have his own little empire of staff and troops with its own budget, all of which have to keep on growing.

                • colliemum says:

                  Yes – and that same mentality infects other bureaucracies as well.
                  The main thing however is that there are too many pen-pushing chiefs, in most Armed forces nowadays, and not enough indians with actual equipment. The Report on the state of the Bundeswehr last year was staggering: money for flat screen TV in barracks, but tanks – German tanks, at that! – unready, unusable and being cannibalised. The same for Marine helicopters (two in working order) and less than half of the luftwaffe’s planes airworthy. I don’t think the status of the rest of the EU national armies is any better, and the UK plans to cut back even more on serving personnel after the elections.
                  Add to this that the welfare budgets in practically all NATO states is outstripping the defense budget to staggering amounts – and one cannot help but ask if all those pundits actually have ever done any maths in school. Because – where is the money coming from? Taxpayers are already handing over nearly 50% of their income (see ‘Tax Freedom Day’: it’s now moving into June …).
                  But of course no politician will speak about the stark choice: you can have more armaments, or you can have more welfare recipients, not both.
                  One dark thought is making the rounds here in the UK: Dave is happy to promote a EU “Army”, so that ours can be incorporated in that, under the command of Brussels, erm, Germany … or France, the mind boggles ….

      • marknesop says:

        I maintain that it is always cheaper to develop a countermeasure to a new capability than it was to develop the capability.

        • kirill says:

          Especially when the capability is supposed to achieve the impossible.

          • Ilya says:

            Could it be that even the immutable laws of the natural world are subordinate to American “exceptionalism”?

          • marknesop says:

            Well, stealth technology was a valid concept, because the idea of getting close to your opponent – perhaps close enough to loose off a weapon – before he knows you’re there is probably the foundation of every military strategy; surprise and the value thereof. It was quite effective against older radars when it was introduced, because operators of those systems had a good idea what a target looked like and something that did not register like one was often thought to be some kind of harmless anomaly. Also, even modern radars have algorithms that dictate whether or not the system will generate an automatic track; if it sees the same object in the same space (range/bearing/altitude) through 3 sweeps, let’s say, it will generate a track for it. If it misses it on the middle sweep, it won’t. Otherwise every time the system detected something it would generate a track, and your display would be flooded with spurious junk.

            There are really only 3 ways of achieving a degree of stealth, and some platforms combine them all – bouncing the radar pulse off an angle so most of the energy is reflected in a direction other than back at the receiver, absorbing the radar pulse with a coating so the return echo is attenuated, or capturing the energy inside the structure by piercing structural members with holes. But at some point even older radars will be blasting out so much power – as you get closer – that they will generate a return and then you will be seen. Although complete invisibility cannot be achieved, getting closer before you are seen is a worthy goal.

            But improving the ability of radar to see stealthy objects is not only easier to do than engineer new stealth techniques, it offers much more potential for getting even better because stealth has more or less hit a wall. There’s not much more that can be done with current technology unless there is an amazing breakthrough. A plane is probably better off traveling with a group that includes a powerful jammer rather than depending on not being seen.

        • PaulR says:

          Not always true, as seen by the multi-million dollar counter-measures the US Army has dreamed up to deal with IEDs in Iraq, Afghanistan etc. According to Wired, in 2009 the average cost of an IED was $265. Against this threat, the USA spent $19 billion between 2004 and 2009 alone. The crazy economics of modern war… http://www.wired.com/2011/09/ied-cost/

          • marknesop says:

            All right – I should have said “is always easier unless you are determined to be an idiot”. I have a favourite analogy which is appropriate, which I discussed here. China and the USA both decided, at about the same time, to build ships designed for Littoral Combat, sometimes called the “brown water navy”. Over approximately the same period, they both built ships. China built 83 400-ton trimarans at a cost of about $40 million each. The USA built 2 3000-ton ships at a cost of more than $600 million each. As a footnote, one of those designs was selected by the USN (USS INDEPENDENCE) and is reported to be suffering from the kind of corrosion which results when two dissimilar metals lie up against one another, although the Pentagon downplays it.

      • et al says:

        I made an error above. The article I could not find about US possible countermeasures vis-a-vis a withdrawal by Russia from the CFE Treaty should have referred instead to the INF Treaty. I’ll post that stuff a bit later.

  5. Warren says:

    France and Germany join UK in Asia bank membership

    France and Germany are to join the UK in becoming members of a Chinese-led Asian development bank.

    The finance ministries of both countries confirmed on Tuesday that they would be applying for membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

    Last week, the US issued a rare rebuke to the UK over its decision to become a member of the AIIB.

    The US considers the AIIB a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank.

    The UK was the first Western economy to apply for membership of the bank.

    But German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble confirmed on Tuesday that his country would also be applying for membership.

    France’s finance ministry confirmed it would be joining the bank. It is believed Italy also intends to join.

    The US has questioned the governance standards at the new institution, which is seen as spreading Chinese “soft power”.

    The AIIB, which was created in October by 21 countries, led by China, will fund Asian energy, transport and infrastructure projects.

    When asked about the US rebuke last week, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said: “There will be times when we take a different approach.”

    The UK insisted it would insist on the bank’s adherence to strict banking and oversight procedures.

    “We think that it’s in the UK’s national interest,” Mr Cameron’s spokesperson added.

    ‘Not normal’

    Last week, Pippa Malmgren, a former economic adviser to US President George W Bush, told the BBC that the public chastisement from the US indicates the move might have come as a surprise.

    “It’s not normal for the United States to be publicly scolding the British,” she said, adding that the US’s focus on domestic affairs at the moment could have led to the oversight.

    However, Mr Cameron’s spokesperson said UK Chancellor George Osborne did discuss the measure with his US counterpart before announcing the move.

    Some 21 nations came together last year to sign a memorandum for the bank’s establishment, including Singapore, India and Thailand.

    But in November last year, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott offered lukewarm support to the AIIB and said its actions must be transparent.

    US President Barack Obama, who met Mr Abbott on the sidelines of a Beijing summit last year, agreed the bank had to be transparent, accountable and truly multilateral.

    “Those are the same rules by which the World Bank or IMF [International Monetary Fund] or Asian Development Bank or any other international institution needs to abide by,” Mr Obama said at the time.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31921011

    • marknesop says:

      The USA’s grip on Europe, against all odds, is loosening. Who would have thought it would be over money, considering it went meekly along hand-in-hand with Washington in imposing sanctions which had an immediate and deleterious effect on its bottom line? I mean, isn’t that money, too?

      “The UK insisted it would insist on the bank’s adherence to strict banking and oversight procedures. ‘We think that it’s in the UK’s national interest,’ Mr Cameron’s spokesperson added.” Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah…Oh, ‘pon my word, yes, m’lud. The UK would be everyone’s first choice to monitor strict adherence to banking and oversight procedures, after the £2.7 Billion in fines handed the Bank of England for currency rigging – which also resulted in the dismissal of its senior foreign exchange dealer – just a few months ago. Or the Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) scam, in which banks greedy for more profit conspired to rig the deck so that insurance which cost more and more stood less and less chance of ever having a successful claim levied against it. And let’s not even mention Libor.

      I don’t think there’s too much about crooked banking the Chinese will be able to teach the British.

    • kat kan says:

      All these have applied or are thinking about it. Doesn’t mean they’ll be allowed in, or at a level where they get to say how it’s run. They already have theirs that’s run the way they want. The whole point of a different one is that is will be… well… how can I say this… different?

  6. davidt says:

    My favorite Czech, Vlad Sobell, has an new article “The opportunity cost of America’s disastrous foreign policy”, which most of us here would agree with:
    http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/17/4594
    He reminds us what could have been if Putin’s vision for creating a huge harmonized economic area stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok had been realized. (George Friedman has already explained why this could not be allowed.)
    I don’t think that anyone has mentioned an earlier article by Sobell that appeared as his contribution on the experts’ panel on us-russia.org, His is the last contribution.
    http://us-russia.org/2982-why-the-minsk-2-settlement-of-the-ukrainian-crisis-will-hold.html
    If there were an award for clear thinking then Sobell would have to be a prime candidate.

    • kat kan says:

      Only problem is, this was written in February. And without regard for Poroshenko.

      The weapons withdrawals were more or less done. Nothing else was. The Special Status law proposal was based on September lines and not discussed with the Republics so is unacceptable to them. Not only was there no improvement of humanitarian access, but it has been tightened up, to the extent that virtually no medicines are getting through, and no food at all. Travel to and from the Republics involves permits that take 3 weeks to get. The gas got cut off once. No social payments have been made and no wages back-paid. All this is in Minsk2 and Kiev’s actually gone backwards on these clauses.

      The reality is, Minsk2 will not succeed, because Kiev (and their masters) don’t want it to. Poroshenko is carrying on like he can set conditions, as if HE HAD WON when in fact HE LOST.

      • davidt says:

        From memory, I think that Sobell would agree with your penultimate sentence- I don’t think that he was very optimistic about Minsk2. (On the positive side, the gap between Europe and the US seems to have hardened.)

    • et Al says:

      “…It means they were psychologically dragging onto the streets people who really have nothing to do with it.

      They created a kind of mass tuning fork.
      ####

      It’s also interesting that he says Navalny was afraid of it happening to him (the US creating martyrs out of supporters) and wanted nothing to do with anything planned so deliberately went out to agitate with a handful of militants to get himself arrested so he would be banged up and have an alibi. Of course, the truth could be much more prosaic, i.e. it was all about Nemtsov and Navalny wanted his 5 minutes that would always have his name associated though his auto-arrest with the Nemtsov march.

      I wouldn’t disagree that the US is working overtime to undermine Russia (far too little, far, far too late) but if you want to see conspiracies, then you will see them everywhere, not to mention lots of holes in this theory. The good news is that active and passive measures are in place to manages such attempts. His technical description of how it would all be done is quite interesting too.

      Edward Litwak: ‘Coup d’État. A Practical Handbook’ from the 1960s (@20:46).

      @28:30+ He references a letter by Khordokovsky saying that Putin would be ousted quickly and that millions would be killed across town of Russia. Can anyone find it and post a link?

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    Russian PR is improving – at least as regards the speed of translation work. There is now a version with English subtitles of the documentary “The Crimea – The Way Back to the Motherland”.

    The first video below is a “how they made it” teaser-type of introduction to the first screening of the film on Russian TV that took place on March 15th, 2015.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the Russian translators have taken heed of the now resident in Kiev Banderite English prescriptive grammarians as regards the use of definite articles in English: Крым and Украина are “The Crimea” and “The Ukraine” in English respectively, as indeed they are in German (Die Krim und Die Ukraine); it seems, however, that the (Canadian?) Banderites know better, albeit that there are no articles, neither definitive nor indefinitive,in Ukrainian.

    In the title, Russian translators are also mistaken in using the indefinite article thus “a way home”. The indefinite article classifies one of many, whereas the definite article defines which one, e.g. “She is a woman”, “A woman is waiting for you”, “She is a Russian woman”, “She is the woman whom you love”. The documentary is not about one particular way home, but about the way that was chosen.

    As I have mentioned in an earlier posting, in the translation the word родина is given as “home”. However, родина means the land of one’s birth, one’s “home country”, ones “Motherland”. I therefore prefer to translate the documentary title as: “”The Crimea – The Way Back to the Motherland”.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Looking at the shots of the Crimea in the above clips, makes me yearn to go back there this summer. Unfortunately, though, it looks like I shall have to go back to my “Motherland” with my gang this year as my children keep telling me they want to visit London.

      I can’t complain, I suppose: if I go back there this year, it will be my first visit there since 2010.

      Previous to that visit, we were in the UK in 2007 (only 2 children then), 2000 (only one child then), 1998 (only her indoors with me then) and 1997 (when I showed off my new bride to the folks back home). I like to keep my Motherland at arm’s length!

      🙂

    • Moscow Exile says:

      What a load of bollocks!

      The second of the two clips above is only a trailer.

      I was led to believe it was a shorter version of the original documentary that I posted a couple of days ago and which consists of 3 episodes.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Just seen this:

        СКАЧАТЬ В ТОРРЕНТЕ http://vk.com/doc179937274_374326335?hash=03cb279f4fb91d372e&dl=ef228b9d2043205a7f
        СМОТРИТЕ – ВКонтакте ПО ЭТОЙ ССЫЛКЕ :))) !!! http://vk.com/video213099569_171137731
        http://vk.com/aleksandr_aivenengo_tv
        ЮТУБ ПИНДОВСКИЙ УДАЛЯЕТ И БЛОКИРУЕТ ФИЛЬМ !!! – БОЯТСЯ ПРАВДЫ !!! :)))

        ЧТОБ ЛЮДИ НЕ УЗНАЛИ ИХ ПРЕСТУПЛЕНИЙ … :)))

        It says;
        ——————————————————————————————————————————
        Download as a torrent http://vk.com/doc179937274_374326335?hash=03cb279f4fb91d372e&dl=ef228b9d2043205a7f

        Watch it on VKontakte using this link :))) !!!
        http://vk.com/video213099569_171137731
        http://vk.com/aleksandr_aivenengo_tv

        Pindosa YouTube is deleting and blocking the film !!! – they are afraid of the truth !!!
        :)))

        So that folk don’t find out about their crimes … :)))

        ——————————————————————————————————————————

        I have no idea what :))) means.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          18.03.2015, 07:18 MSK
          Обаме рассказали о фильме “Крым. Путь на Родину”

          Obama speaks about the film “The Crimea – The Way to the Motherland”

          Chief Adviser on Russia’s White House staff to the President of the United States, Celeste Wallander, is not sure whether Barack Obama is going to see the documentary about the reunification of the Crimea with Russia. Meanwhile, the US leader has been informed about the contents of the film.

          On Tuesday in Washington, under the auspices of the OSCE, a conference was held, one of the topics of which being the situation in the Ukraine, whilst exactly one year go there took place the reunification of the Crimea with Russia. Responding to an enquiry from “RG” over the question whether President Obama plans to get acquainted with the documentary aired last weekend on Russian television, Wallander said, “I do not know whether the president is going to see the film. However, he has been informed about its content and the point of view of the President of Russia”. In particular, she drew attention to the participation of the Russian military in the events in the Crimea, which, she said, “had previously been denied.”

          Recall that in the movie “The Crimea. The Way to the Motherland”, Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time spoke about details concerning the events of March last year on the peninsula. In particular, commenting on the issue of the presence on the peninsula of Russian military, he pointed out that according to the relevant international treaties, Russia had the right to place up to 20,000 soldiers at a military base in the Crimea, and this limit had not been not exceeded. Therefore, the question of sending troops to Ukraine apply, and the head of state had not used an appropriate resolution of the Federation Council that gives him the authority to do so.

          Ye gods!!!

          How dumb are these people in Washington????

          How many times must they be told that the Crimea was not invaded by Russian troops: the troops were already there – legally and according to treaty.

          Well, I’m sure they know the facts of the matter: they just following the policy of repeating a lie over and over again.

          It’s the well known Goebbels technique.

          If Dr. Goebbels hadn’t topped himself, they would have employed him in the US, I’m sure: they wouldn’t have sent him for the drop at Nuremburg.

          Cynical Germans themselves said that Goebbels was a survivor and that he would end up working for Stalin after the Red Army had arrived in Berlin – sort of like that other two-faced bastard, Pozner, did here after working for years as a Soviet propagandist.

          Witness that lying bitch Psaki the other day when she said that the USA has never promoted regime change.

          She kept her dead pan face fixed all the time when saying this, but sometimes I think I can see an occasional partly suppressed smirk flitting across her lying mug.

          What a bare-faced lying cow she is!

          • davidt says:

            I seem to remember Russian troops firing warning shots above the heads of unarmed Ukrainian troops, and then threatening to shoot the Ukrainians in the legs if they advanced further. Fortunately, no one was shot. In the overall scheme of things I thought that this response by the Russian side was understandable. However, you seem unwilling to acknowledge what really happened. “Lying bitch”, “bare-faced lying cow”- I cannot imagine the disciplined Mr Putin speaking like this. The US is pissed off because they got a bit of their own back- doesn’t that give you satisfaction enough.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              However, you seem unwilling to acknowledge what really happened“.

              So tell me what really happened and where and when I have refused to acknowledge this.

              • davidt says:

                What to say? Let’s not waste one another’s time by pretending that you have told the whole truth.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The Russian “invasion” of the Crimea is portrayed in the West as though there took place the arrival on Crimean territory of Russian armed forces whose purpose was to annex said territory, which annexation is part and parcel of Putin’s plan to expand Russia, resurrect the Soviet Union and make Russia a world power again.

                  I say again, the Russian troops that “annexed” the Crimea were already there – legally.

                  That said troops left their barracks and, therefore, set foot upon Ukrainian territory, could be, and indeed is, presented by some as an “invasion”. However, that “invasion” was a bloodless one (as far as I know, only two persons died: a Ukrainian serviceman and a Crimean “pro-secession” militiaman who were standing near to each other at a Ukrainian army barracks and who were shot dead from a distance by a person or persons unknown), whose purpose was to prevent Ukrainian forces being used to prevent the secession of the Crimea, which secession had previously been ascertained by the Russian government to be a foregone conclusion, namely would be voted for by Ukrainian citizens in a referendum (held at the point of a Kalashnikov, as Call-Me-Dave said).

                  This “invasion” took place when Right Sector in “mainland” Ukraine was organizing a punitive expedition that was to head for the peninsula in order to teach the Moskali there a lesson and to clamp down on any secessionists, which is what happened in Donetsk and Lugansk provinces later, when attempts at secession started off there.

                  The number of dead during the “Russian Invasion” of the Crimea – 2 persons.

                  The number of dead during the “anti-terrorist” operations in East Ukraine – who really knows?

                  Nuland puts them all down to the actions of the Russians in the East Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk.

                • davidt says:

                  I agree with you. (By the way, I wouldn’t pretend for an instant that I know more about Ukraine than you but I have noticed your emotional side.)
                  On the matter of Psaki, she is too minor a player to make me angry. I thought a Russian analyst got her about right last year when he said, in my words, that her comments were generally stupid and uninformed. (To be fair to her, she is given an impossible brief.) He said that the US side knows this and knows the Russian side considers them insulting. But, he went on, the US couldn’t care less because of their control over the MSM.
                  There are other women in the US administration towards whom I don’t have such a sanguine attitude.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              I take it back: she is not a “lying bitch” if, as Pavlo Svolochenko has pointed out, she believes what she says is the truth.

              • marknesop says:

                And does anyone believe that is the case? That she really believes what she’s saying?

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I, for one, do not: her body language apart, unaware that her microphone was still “hot”, she was once heard muttering after the end of one briefing: “That Egypt one was ridiculous”. This was following a statement she had made about the acquittal of Mubarak that was as apparently as mendacious as her recent one that the USA has never implemented a policy of regime change anywhere:

  8. yalensis says:

    I don’t know if this is significant or not, but Porky has declared a DEMOBILIZATION of the army.
    Recall that there were 4 mobes in all, in Ukie army, in their war against Donbass.
    Now a de-mobe.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      You mean…you mean… Porky think’s there’s no longer a threat of Russia making a 42nd consecutive attempt at invading Banderastan????

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I wonder what the poles, Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians think of Porky’s decision?

        Maybe they think he’s a dirty rat fink?

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          It’s entirely possible that a great many of them don’t care, know that their happiness doesn’t depend on whose flag flies over Donetsk, and realise that they’ll have no trouble with Russia unless they deliberately seek it out.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            That ratbag of a Lithuanian president seems to care a lot: she’s almost as bad as Porky in her voicing of her fears over Russian aggression.

            Wonder what the Banderite scume would have thought of her father, he being a former NKVD employee? Or of her, for that matter, a former CPSU member?

            • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

              Ah, they’re flexible.

              Look at Vasyl Kuk.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I would rather not, thank you!

                🙂

                Yeah, flexibility is apparent in their attitude towards to former CP deputy Irina Farion, she who congratulated the murderers of those who died in the Trades Union House, Odessa, last May by posting on her Facebook page:

                Браво, Одеса. Перлина українського Духу. Батьківщина великих націоналістів Івана та Юрія Лип. Нехай горять чорти у пеклі. Найкращі повстанці це футбольні фани. Браво.

                Bravo, Odessa. The Pearl of the Ukrainian Spirit. Birthplace of the great nationalists Ivan and Yuri Lip. Let the devils burn in hell. Football fans are the top rebels. Bravo.

                I wonder if she’s still sick – in the mind, as reported several months ago?

          • marknesop says:

            Whatever anyone thinks, it’s kind of hard to portray it as a demonstration of victory, and it is a long, long way off of the parade through Donetsk that Porky promised his cheering fellows.

      • marknesop says:

        I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw his weight in suet. Oh, wait; the transposition is unnecessary, he is suet. It’s probably a trick to lure back all the military-age males who fled the country so they wouldn’t be sent to the meat grinder.

  9. yalensis says:

    American army planning a show of force in Baltic states.
    Currently based in Estonia, 150 men and 40 units of technology, comprising one company (“rota”) of motorized infantry of the 3rd squadron (“eskadron”) of the 2nd cavalry regiment (“polk”) of the United States of America, will start its “march” on Saturday.

    In a show of force against Russia, this company will “march” through Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and finish in occupied Germany, at the American army base in Wilseck.

    As they proceed on their route, other soldiers and units and units will join them, to bulk up the procession until is stretches to 1700 km in length.

    Stopping at each country on the route, they will perform a show for the locals, demonstrating their military prowess.

    The source for this info was the Estonian newspaper “Eesti Päevaleht”.

    [yalensis:
    Sidebar on Estonia. Remember that fascist march last year, with Estonian fascists chanting “Estonia for Estonians”?
    The correct reply to that chant should have been: “Estonia for how many Estonians?”
    Official demographics conceal the the fact that the population of Estonia is on downward trend and has most likely dipped to below one million souls, barely enough to justify having one’s own titular state, especially with such great real estate on the Baltic Sea.

    Estonia is just a U.S. colony, anyhow.
    I wonder if this march will show Estonians that they are considered just a U.S. army base?
    Probably not. The locals will probably be, like, all, “Rah rah rah, go America!”

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      A grand, ceremonial retreat back to the Danube (or near enough to it).

      How fitting.

      • yalensis says:

        I heard that at each stop on the way, they will perform a Punch and Judy show for the locals. In which General Punch beats up Judy, then tosses the baby out the window:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Wonder what the NATO whingers would say if the Russian army sent regiments parading right along the length of its western frontiers, starting in the north with the Norwegian one, then down through Russian Karelia alongside the Finnish Karelian frontier, then along the length of the Ukrainian frontier?

      They could also have a little parade arranged to take place along the Crimea/Ukraine frontier.

      Likewise, they could have the wind put the Poles and the Lithuanians by having a parade along the Kaliningrad Oblast land frontiers with those two trembling from fear of Russian aggression peoples of NATO member states.

      Plenty of bugles and clashing of cymbals should be the order of the day.

      And the Baltic Fleet could have a squadron sent to cruise in the vicinity of of the Baltic Sea frontiers of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Norway.

      The Black Sea Fleet could cruise along the maritime frontiers of the Ukraine,Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria.

      The Russian Northern Fleet could send out a squadron to cruise along the Norwegian Arctic and North Sea frontiers as well.

      Oh what a lark that all would be!

      But why bother?

      Why imitate the childish tantrums of the Bully on the Block?

    • Jen says:

      Is it possible that someone, maybe CyberBerkut, can find the route that massed army will take in advance so that local people can line up along the route ready with the rotten tomatoes and cabbages?

    • et Al says:

      Can we call it something like The Potomac’s Rolling Village (PRV)? Unlike the Potemkin villages (yes, ok, I know that whole story has been exaggerated), the American version is more like a military circus that goes from town to town awing the locals with their magic, smoke and mirrors.

      Or maybe Obama’s Military Circus (OMC)?

    • Fern says:

      I’ve been thinking for some time that soon there will be more NATO soldiers in the Baltics than there are Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians.

  10. yalensis says:

    Just catching up a couple of days comments on the Ukraine thread over at militaryphotos.
    Looks like our old pal AP (=”Dr. Preobrazhensky”) is up to his old tricks – this time using his “scholarly” wiles to justify the murder, at the hands of UPA, of Soviet General Vatutin.

    The item under discussion is that Kiev junta is planning to tear down Vatutin’s monument in Kiev, and destroy Vatutin’s remains, which are buried underneath the statue. This is all part of the process of de-Sovietization and re-Nazification of Ukraine.

    As the commenter “void” points out:
    For those who dont know, Vatutin commanded the 1st Ukranian front in WW2 to liberate Kiev, fought at Stalingrad and Kursk, and posthumously made Hero of the Soviet Union. He died in 1944 when he was ambushed by Ukrainian Nationalists (UPA).

    To which the good professor replies with a lie, that Vatutin hated Ukrainians and used them as cannon fodder against the Germans.

    For those who don’t know AP’s methodology: He attempts to come off as the most exquisitely scholarly professor imaginable, always with his graphs and charts. You can almost see him with glasses on his nose, lecturing at the front of the class. And in the end, everything that he says is just a twisting of the truth, to justify the actions of Banderites and the current Kiev junta.

  11. Warren says:

    Cultural struggle to define Russia’s identity

    At the start of this year, BBC Radio Four devoted a whole day to a radio adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

    On New Year’s Day, listeners were invited to binge on it all day long, with only brief interruptions.

    Now filming has begun on a new television version, in an adaptation by award-winning screen writer Andrew Davies.

    So the current chill in relations with Russia, it seems, has not affected the British love affair with Tolstoy.

    In fact, perhaps War and Peace can help us understand why Russians tend to view their nation as always under attack from outsiders.

    For although Tolstoy’s epic novel is about love, it is also the dramatic story of Napoleon’s advance on Moscow and what it felt like to be part of a Russian family, packing up and fleeing the burning capital.

    In 1812, it was the French bearing down on Moscow, a century and a half later it was Hitler’s Nazi army.

    These pivotal moments in the nation’s history are etched into the memory of every Russian and help underscore President Putin’s claim that Russia is once again under threat from Western hostile forces.

    This time, he argues, the enemy is the US, spearheading an onslaught by Nato allies who have used the conflict over Ukraine to impose sanctions, as part of a decades-old desire to keep Russia weak and fragmented, so the West can stay dominant and strong.

    This is why, Mr Putin argues, Russians must remain united behind his presidency, and why Russian writers, artists and film-makers should use culture to help reinforce patriotism and loyalty.

    Other voices

    But not all contemporary Russian culture fits this Kremlin narrative.

    Leviathan, the latest film from the distinguished director Andrei Zvyagintsev, has been making waves since it was premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-31584221

    • Moscow Exile says:

      It was not only the French: they had their allies with them, reluctant though many may have been; some, however, were not reluctant.

      Something that always bugs me about what Tolstoy wrote in “War and Peace” was that the whole of Europe attacked Russia in 1812.

      Almost the whole of Europe participated in Buonaparte’s 1812 Russian campaign; the notable exception from this motley (and not so motley) crew was the UK, which was in 1812 busy with its ally Portugal in the Iberian peninsula against the French occupiers there.

      And Sweden kept out of it all, albeit that the Swedes had to accept a French general as their king as part of the deal as regards their being allowed to remain neutral.

      • colliemum says:

        Yep – it was all of Yurrup, Spain included, i.e. every country either governed by a family member of Bonaparte, or his ‘ally’ Austria, in addition to the unwilling-but forced, like Prussia.
        It kicked off because Tsar Alexander was tired of the Napoleonic continental blockade which Napoleon used and enforced to bring Great Britain to her knees.
        Napoleon’s mistake, then and three years later, was to underestimate Wellington, as mere ‘Sepoy General’ who didn’t know anything about Napoleonic warfare. So Napoleon first lost Portugal, then Spain, and then all the rest of it at Waterloo, to that unknown ‘Sepoy General’.
        Pride goeth before the fall …

      • Warren says:

        Napoleon overstretch himself by invading Russia, Russia’s vast expanses and winter once again came to Russia’s aid. Hitler made the same errors as Napoleon.

        Yes, many European fought for Napoleon in his Russian expedition, notable among them were the Polish legion.

        Wellington’s Iberian Peninsula campaign was best dramatised in England through the TV Series Sharpe.

        Napoleon’s invasion and conquest of Spain and Portugal precipitated the end of both Empires and the independence of their South and Central American colonies.

  12. yalensis says:

    This is interesting. I also saw the link to this on militaryphotos, it links to a pro-Ukrainian site, which is bitching about the fact, that Vasilieva was not allowed into Israel.

    Vasilieva is one of the flagrant Moscow kreakly types, “human rights activist”, etc., assistant to Boris Nemtsov; her latest project was to (try to) arouse anti-war sentiment in Russia, by publishing (fake) statistics on dead Russian soldiers (who supposedly died while invading Ukraine).

    Anyhow, Vasilieva flew to Israel, apparently to meet with some guy named Avraham Shmulevich , who is said to be an ultra-Zionist, and whose specialist (anti-Russian) project is the Circassian issue and the Caucuses in general.
    Who knows what these two (Vasilieva and Shmulevich) were plotting next against Russia! – but in any case, the scheme was thwarted when Vasilieva was detained at Ben Gurion airport. The Israelis did not allow her in, and plan to deport her back to Moscow.
    She is complaining, that Putin applied pressure to Israeli government, and that she will be oppressed (beaten up and/or arrested), if they deport her back to Russia.

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. – one of the commenters (“doll4rs”) on militarphotos made a connection with this story that I didn’t see initially.

      Nemtsovites claim that their hero got whacked because of this very report (about dead Russian soldiers), which apparently Vasilieva drafted for him (=Nemtsov), and which he was about to unveil to the world, in all its glory.
      A report which was debunked thoroughly before it was even “published”.
      Therefore, it is possibly significant, that Vasilieva decided she had to flee Russia and seek asylum in Israel.
      Possibly also significant that her Israeli contact, Shmulevich, is a “Caucasus” expert, and that there is a Caucasian “trace” in Nemtsov’s murder?
      Maybe their little scheme is falling apart quicker than we know…

    • marknesop says:

      You don’t remember Shmooly? We discussed him at length back in March 2011.

  13. yalensis says:

    Pro-Ukrainian source misquotes Chinese government , making it sound like the Chinese take the Ukrainian side on Crimea (=that Crimea must be returned to Ukraine).

    I can’t read Chinese, but the English-language article about this in Reuters says no such thing:

    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that his government respected the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, but would not be drawn on whether China considers Crimea to be Ukraine’s or Russia’s.

    I am not familiar with the expression “would not be drawn” – is that an anglicism?
    In context, it sounds like it means “would not take a position”.
    In other words, Chinese are parsing their words extremely carefully.

    On the one hand: “China has adopted an objective and just position. We respect Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity…”.
    But on the other hand: “As for Crimea, there are complicated contributing factors. We also hope that it can be resolved politically via dialogue and hope that neighbours can peacefully coexist,” he said, when asked about China’s position on who owns Crimea.”

    • et Al says:

      would not be drawn

      Usually means would not answer any questions on the subject, i.e. either ignored them totally or said ‘no comment’, but the former is more likely as ‘no comment’ is in fact a comment! Best stay schtum and don’t feed the lawyers.

      Maybe China does not want to set a precedent by not saying ‘This is not a precedent’ as did the West when it instigated a terrorist war in Kosovo and then illegally ripped it away from Serbia in total violation of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act.

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    Russia Insider:

    Why Putin Did Not Send the Army into Donbass

    Or as some would like to ask: “Why did Putin throw Novorossiya under the bus?”

    Putin says in the Crimea reunification documentary that potential support amongst the population of the peninsula for secession had already been estimated at 75% before Russia started the ball rolling as regards the breakaway from the Ukraine, and he points out that care was chosen in the wording used in estimating this support: people were not asked about their desire to reunify with Russia but of their desire to secede from the Ukraine. Putin says that he is sure that if the population had been surveyed as regards reunification, the percentage in favour of this would have been higher than 75%.

    I have always thought that the Russian government had kept its ear very close to the ground as regards a similar secession of “Novorossiya” from the Ukraine, and the feedback in this respect advised against the undertaking of a similar Russian venture in the eastern provinces as had taken place in the Crimea. And then there were the logistics to consider – as pointed out in the above linked article: if the eastern provinces had been invaded by Russia, the stop line would have had to be the Dnieper, with all the problems that an unwelcome occupying army would have had to face. Remember, both Yarosh and Tymoshenko, both native speakers of Russian and both ethnic Russians, are from the Dnipropetrovsk province of the Ukraine: Yarosh hails from the city of Dniprodzerzhynsk and Tymoshenko is from the city of Dnipropetrovsk. Russian speaking, ethnic Russian Ukrainian citizens having the same opinions as have Yarosh and Tymoshenko are not uncommon the further west one progresses from Donetsk (Dnipropetrovsk is situated a mere 130 miles WNW of Donetsk): they are still not too uncommon in “Novorossiya” either.

    Strelkov and chums, on their own admission, played off their own bat and left the Crimea in order to trigger off that which I firmly believe the Russian government most firmly did not want: an attempt to bring about the secession of at least the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces of Eastern Ukraine.

  15. et Al says:

    The US is kicking up a storm (again) over a supposed INF Treaty violation by Russia years ago. This is following up from an earlier comment I made above how the US said it could make life more militarily difficult for Russia without violating any agreement.

    Washington’s Free Bacon*: Defense Nominee Says US Set to Build INF Missile
    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/defense-nominee-says-us-set-to-build-inf-missile/

    Illegal Russian Cruise Missile Can Be ‘Two-Way Street’

    Defense Secretary-designate Ashton B. Carter said this week he is prepared to counter Moscow’s violation of a nuclear missile treaty by building U.S. nuclear cruise missiles…

    …“To the question of what we’re going to do about it, I think you have to remind Russia that this was a two-way street, that we signed a treaty that says you’re not going to do this, and we’re not going to do it either,” he said.

    “And if you don’t want to have that treaty, why then you’re absolved from your restrictions under that treaty, while we are too,” Carter said.

    The comments are likely to upset Moscow, which so far has refused to discuss the new cruise missile violation with U.S. officials. Instead, Russian officials have countered with charges that U.S. target missiles and drones violate the 1987 INF treaty. The United States has rejected the Russian charges noting that the treaty does not cover those systems…

    …Thus a military response will include three options if Moscow fails to return to compliance in a verifiable way, he said.

    “And I think that there are defensive steps that we can take, there are deterrent steps that we can take, and there are counterforce steps that we can take,” Carter said.

    “So we have military options too, if they really want to get into this kind of game.”…

    …Carter’s comments contrast sharply with those of Rose Gottemoeller, the State Department’s chief arms control policymaker, who this week suggested there are no immediate plans to implement military or other countermeasures to the INF treaty breach.

    “We are in constant diplomatic touch with them about this matter,” said Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security said. “The good and positive thing is that the Russians continue to say they are committed to this treaty.”…

    …Gottemoeller was referring to a joint House committee hearing in December when Brian P. McKeon, deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, first disclosed that new intermediate-range U.S. cruise missile deployments are among the options being considered if the INF treaty is abandoned.

    McKeon, like Carter, outlined the military options as ranging from “reactive defense, to counterforce, to counter value defense measures.”

    Carter’s written answers also spelled out clearly the options being considered. They include “active defenses to counter intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missiles; counterforce capabilities to prevent intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missile attacks; and countervailing strike capabilities to enhance U.S. or allied forces.”…

    …Gottemoeller told Russia’s state-run Sputnik news outlet in December that “the Russians have not acknowledged our concern at all and I think and important first step is to acknowledge our concerns and get to work.”

    “There’s no willingness to talk about our [U.S.] concerns. And that’s the crux of the issue,” she added….
    ####

    Stupid bloody idiots. It’s funny that they expect the Russians to sit down and talk with them after all the s/t that the US has been flinging at Russia for all this time. Passive/aggressive or what.

    Though, at a deeper level, escalation by the US will only drive an even bigger wedge between it and Europe. Regardless of the US warhawks, euros are simply a) not interested in war with Russia; b) not interested in remilitarization.

    It is bad enough that the US has an estimated 200 B-61 free-fall nuclear weapons sprinkled around Europe that most europeans want gone but their governments haven’t figured out how to do this (quite easy actually – the US announced that these weapons would be upgraded in to stand-off nukes – which Russia considers to be a violation of various treaties at least in spirit – which would have to go to the US to have this work done. Simply do not allow them to return to European soil), but adding american nuclear tipped cruise missiles to Europe would be totally no-go, though the long-range versions can be deployed (in fact are on submarines – TLAM) and off aircraft carriers which would get neatly around this problem.

    So, all in all, the blowback from US threats and behavior is much larger to US interests in Europe.

    I could also imagine that the MCTR (Missile Control Technology Regime) which limits the export of weapons and know-how of missiles with a range of more than 370km could be called in to question by Russia and that would open the flood gates of states who might like to acquire such technology as a counterbalance to the US, thus actually making the US strategic military position weaker and more complicated

    * WTF is wrong with you (commenters) all? We had a good thing going on about bacon and now you’ve already forgotten about it!

    When looking up the INF hoo-ha, I came across this too:

    The Moscow Crimes: The Curious Incident of the Cat and the Missile
    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/the-curious-incident-of-the-cat-and-the-missile/517564.html

    Twenty-five years ago last week a nondescript railcar rolled away from the Votkinsk Machine Building Factory in the Ural Mountains. Inside was one of the Soviet Union’s finest intercontinental ballistic missiles, heading off to be armed with a warhead, join its mobile unit and most likely be targeted at the United States.

    And yet that weapon of mass destruction and the attention it received epitomized the cooperative spirit of the superpowers and could serve as a reminder to today’s leaders of what the two countries can achieve together.

    The missile’s departure from the portal monitoring facility run by American inspectors working under the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty marked a rare low point in the implementation of that agreement.

    The so-called “Votkinsk missile crisis” of March 1990 stemmed from a disagreement between the two sides as to the readiness of a U.S.-made oversized X-ray machine called CargoScan. This machine was supposed to scan every departing railcar containing a missile to ensure it was an ICBM and not an intermediate range SS-20 that had been banned by the treaty…

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha, ha!!!! Oh, thank you – I needed a good laugh with my morning cocoa. “You’re not going to do this, and we won’t do it either”. Dear God. Like we’re not going to support the use of state military against civilians, without even a shred of cover that there might be military targets among them, just line up the artillery in the fields around the town and pound it to rubble. We sure as hell wouldn’t allow it if it were Russia doing it. Or assist passively in the cover-up of military aircraft shooting up the middle of downtown on civilian-filled streets using anti-tank ammunition, ripping people to pieces who had done nothing. We sure as hell wouldn’t allow it if it were Russia doing it. Or sitting by without a word while a state that had received our most enthusiastic endorsement as the last word in nascent democracies cut off water and electricity to its regions so as to force the population through shared misery to come around to our way of thinking. We sure as hell wouldn’t allow it if it were Russia doing it. Please go and do your gathering-my-shattered-dignity-around-me act someplace else, Ashton Carter, because not a lot of people outside the United States are buying it, and not even quite a few people within it. The USA has so soiled itself with its knee-kerk support of Ukraine (and I do not spare its allies here, who have voices of their own but choose not to use them to speak up) that the disgrace is unprecedented except by its equally knee-jerk support for Israel no matter what it does. And a lot of people, due to religious zeal, were prepared to let that pass without censure. But there is no such excuse here, and international law has been used as asswipe time and again throughout a conflict in which the interest of the USA and its allies is pure geopolitics at the expense of humanity and dignity. Don’t pretend it matters now.

    • et Al says:

      Correction: MTCR & 300km limit with 500kg warhead. So much for relying on memory!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missile_Technology_Control_Regime

      …In October 2012 the United States and South Korea announced that the US would assist South Korea in fielding 800 km range missiles, and long range UAVs with payloads up to 2,500 kg;[8][9] though this may technically be MTCR compliant if indigenously built.[10] Due to its non-member MTCR status Israel is unable to export its Shavit space launch system to foreign customers though in 1994 the US Clinton administration did allow an import waiver for US companies to buy the Shavit.[11]..

  16. et Al says:

    Don’t read either of these if you have recently eaten (or been to Eton):

    Deutsche Wellington Boot: How Crimea changed Germany’s international role
    http://www.dw.de/how-crimea-changed-germanys-international-role/a-18322004

    Russia’s annexation of Crimea a year ago caught Berlin completely by surprise. Today, Germany has taken on a greater international role, and the country’s relations with Russia have changed…

    …At the same time, Berlin has been careful to only embark on mediation initiatives alongside its traditional partner France, and to keep other European countries in the loop. “We surprised Putin,” says Roderich Kiesewetter, foreign policy expert for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. “He didn’t think the West would stick together so long.”

    Up until the Ukraine crisis, Germany’s relations with Putin’s Russia were based on how much criticism of the human rights situation it could afford without endangering its good economic ties with the country. Or, to put it another way, how closely can Europe cooperate economically with Russia without discrediting its values? Suddenly, though, the main thing isn’t values and the economy. “Our foreign policy was always based around cooperation,” says Franz Thönnes, director of the Social Democrats’ Russia/CIS discussion forum. “Suddenly the question of security is back higher up the agenda.”…

    …ermany’s international significance has certainly grown as a result of the Ukraine crisis, but the praise for Berlin’s crisis management can’t hide the fact that a long-term strategy towards Russia is still a long way off. “We basically still don’t know what Moscow wants exactly,” said Thönnes. And for Kiesewetter, of the CDU, only one thing is certain: “Putin won’t tie himself to the European order again.”

    ####

    It reads like a CDU puff piece that Germany can be trusted too with foreign policy as well as economic policy. The last two times they tried that it ended badly.

    And now for an atrocious piece of poo masquerading as journalism.

    Peter Leonard of AP via Denver Post: Crimea exiles fight to keep Ukraine unity message alive
    http://www.denverpost.com/nationalpolitics/ci_27734432/crimea-exiles-fight-keep-ukraine-unity-message-alive

    The tormentors stuck scotch tape to his eyes and locked him in a dank room. For 11 days, Andrei Schekun said, they beat him, shocked him with electrodes and scalded him with burning metallic plates.

    He said the torture took place as Crimea voted in a referendum to secede from Ukraine a year ago Wednesday. Schekun’s crime: campaigning to persuade his fellow Crimeans to reject absorption by Russia.

    Schekun’s crusade for Ukrainian unity, which he continues today in exile, began as pro-Moscow sentiment among the majority ethnic Russian population reached fever pitch on the peninsula. Demands for a split from Ukraine spiked within days of the February ouster of Moscow-friendly Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Although most Ukrainians resented the president with feverish intensity for his predatory rule, people in regions such as Crimea and eastern Ukraine, with dominant ethnic Russian populations, viewed him with more sympathy…

    …Schekun’s activism in drumming up support in Crimea for the anti-government protests that toppled Yanukovych was enough to make him suspect. Soon flyers appeared in the courtyard outside Schekun’s home in the Crimean town of Bakhchysarai describing him as a traitor.

    “Everywhere in the district where we lived, they stuck up leaflets with his face, calling him a bloodthirsty traitor and a fascist, and all kinds of other things,” said Schekun’s wife, Lyudmila, speaking from their new home outside Kiev….

    …The peninsula’s Tatar minority, whose leadership resisted Russian annexation, says it too has been subjected to intimidation that has ranged from petty official harassment to beatings, kidnappings and murder.

    Speaking at a United Nations conference in Geneva on Monday, the human rights envoy for Ukraine’s parliament, Valeriya Lutkovskaya, described Crimea as a “peninsula of terror.”

    “People are afraid to express their opinion,” Lutkovskaya said. “They feel fear for their life and future, fear to espouse their faith and speak in their native language.”

    According to the most recent census, carried out in 2001, ethnic Ukrainians make up one-quarter of Crimea’s population. From a distance, exiles feel at a loss to help and say they are disappointed with the Ukrainian government’s failure to keep Crimea near the top of its agenda.

    “Unfortunately, there is at the moment no single government executive body that deals with Crimean matters,” said Eskender Bariyev, a member of the Mejlis, a self-governing body of Crimean Tatars….
    ####

    Every cliché, verbatim quotes straight from Ukraine & lying by omission. Check! It gives the totally false impression that all Crimean Tartars are against joining Crimea with Russia. A poor chap who also believes that he has the right to do whatever he wants regardless of the time or environment without any consequences or responsibility of himself (like the Charlie Hebdo morons). Exceptionalism personified.

    • et Al says:

      And just for comparison, to show how diverse the western media is and different from state propaganda outlets, here is RFE/RL’s take:

      Radio Fascists for Europe/Radio Lebensraum: One Year After Annexation, Remembering The Crimea That Fought Back
      http://www.rferl.org/content/crimea-russia-annexation-fighting-back-tatars/26905890.html

      ####
      Anyone spot the difference? I wonder if Leonard wrote the piece for RFE/RL or vice-versa. All roads lead to Rome…

    • marknesop says:

      The first story is a transparent effort at self-fulfilling prophesy; if I say how united the west is against Russia, it will be more united against Russia. The power of positive thinking. If I say Germany’s foreign policy has changed, and Russia is never coming back as a European business partner anyway, those in Germany who grumble about the foolhardiness of the present machinations will fall silent and create the appearance of broad support for pro-U.S. policy.

      The other just makes me laugh. In May 1992 Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine. The response of the Ukrainian parliament was to rule the declaration unconstitutional (I’m sure the right to self-determination was in the constitution then, too, although I haven’t checked), give Crimea 2 weeks to rescind it, and authorized the Ukrainian president “to use all necessary means to halt Crimean independence”. There is truly nothing new under the sun. Crimea folded, and rescinded the declaration, in exchange for a promise of autonomy, although the independence referendum was only suspended.

      Oh, my; lookie here – June 1st, 1992: “Crimean and Ukrainian parliaments agree to a compromise in which Crimea is granted greater autonomy and special economic status. Crimean Tatars condemn the agreement as they were not a party to the negotiations.” Uh huh: newly-independent Ukraine certainly made every effort to secure the cooperation of its minorities – which catches more flies; honey, or shut the fuck up and do as you’re told, don’t make me get the swatter?

      January 18-20, 1993: “Anti-Ukrainian demonstrations again take place in Sevastopol and Simferopol. This time they are organized by the All Crimean Movement of Electors for a Crimean Republic, the Republican Movement of Crimea, Yedinstvo, and the Union of Communists. Demands include the transfer of Crimea back to Russian jurisdiction and early elections be held for all government bodies. The Simferopol demonstration, numbering about 1,000 and led by Meshkov, goes past the parliament building and is unauthorized. The demonstration of the 17th attracted about 5,000 people. In all, the series of demonstrations attracted less than 10,000 people.”

      Should have got little Navalny to organize it – at least 500,000 would have shown up.

      May 24th, 1993: “115 ships of the Black Sea Fleet raise the Russian flag to protest discrepancies between the pay Russian and Ukrainian sailors receive.”

      May 31st, 1993: “The Defense Council meets over the situation with the fleet. The Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists declares that all ships flying the Russian flag be withdrawn from Ukrainian waters and the Yalta and Dagomys agreements be voided.”

      June 1st, 1993: “Over 200 ships of the fleet raise the Russian naval ensign. The following day, Ukrainian Defense Minister states that the crews of ships flying the Russian flag would not be paid by Kiev.”

      Let’s see….we’re all out of honey…where did I put the shut the fuck up and do as you’re told? Look, we could go on and on with this, but it is as clear as Porky’s belly in an Armani suit that Crimea has a long history of discontent with its inclusion in Ukraine, Ukraine for its part has never listened to its concerns or attempted to address them, but has met discontent with threats of overwhelming force and coercion, and the notion that Kiev and the Tatars were like Siegfried and Roy is bullshit of the purest ray serene.

      • colliemum says:

        Thanks for that outstanding historical tour-de-force!
        I’m just trying to recall who tried to eat whom: Roy -> Siegfried, or vice versa

        • marknesop says:

          Actually, it was a tiger who tried to eat Roy. But there might have been a bit of mutual nibbling go on between the duo you mentioned. I hasten to add I am basing that assumption solely on their choice of clothing and hairstyles. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  17. et Al says:

    Neuters: Exclusive: Russia could postpone gas pipe to China touted by Putin – sources
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/03/18/uk-russia-gas-china-exclusive-idUKKBN0ME1BF20150318

    …The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the “Power of Siberia” project may be put off until Moscow completes a separate, less ambitious project to send gas from existing fields to China through a pipeline thousands of kilometres further west.

    Russia has denied that it has any plans to postpone the $55 billion “Power of Siberia” pipeline, despite a fall in global energy prices that has hurt the case for the investment required to develop the new fields it would serve.

    Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Reuters last week that Gazprom was sticking to its plan to bring first gas under “Power of Siberia” by 2019. Gazprom is already clearing the route, and five Russian pipe producers have won contracts to supply around a third of all large-diameter pipes needed for the project.

    Gazprom declined to comment….

    …”Yamal gas needs new markets – that’s why Gazprom is pushing for the Altai route. That’s why neither Vladivostok nor the Power of Siberia are a priority – the last one even has no source to be connected to,” a banker close to Gazprom said.

    A Gazprom source agreed with the assessment, saying that Altai “is a priority”….

    …CHEAPER FOR MOSCOW, WORSE FOR BEIJING

    The western alternative Altai route would provide China with gas from Yamal, which is now pumped south from the Arctic to Russia’s domestic system and westwards to Europe. But the route is considerably less attractive to China, which already has gas in its far west, and needs it in the industrial east….The Altai pipeline is much cheaper to build for Russia than the “Power of Siberia” project, and would soak up existing spare capacity rather than require the development of new fields.

    But Altai gas would reach China at its remote far western border, requiring a huge new pipeline system within China to take it to cities mainly in the centre and east….
    ####

    I’m not entirely sure why Neuters thinks this is such a big deal. I was never under the impression that the Chinese were so desperate for Russian gas that they couldn’t handle a delay of a year or two to completion comfortably. Just more of the Pork Pie News Networks looking for anything that might resemble a crack or weakness of Russia’s position.

  18. et Al says:

    I’m just posting this for the 1st picture, though a couple of the others are good too.

    I would caption the pic as: ‘Mama duck calls in her little ones.’

    КГБ Lebyedev’s Independent: Vladimir Putin orders Russia’s entire Northern Fleet to mobilise in huge military exercises
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/vladimir-putin-orders-russias-entire-northern-fleet-to-mobilise-in-huge-military-exercises-10110874.html
    ####

  19. et Al says:

    EU Observer: Two options on Russia sanctions at EU summit
    https://euobserver.com/foreign/128037

    …The first is to announce already this week that the measures, which expire in July, will be rolled over until the end of the year and to implement the move by a legal act shortly after the summit.

    The second is to state, also this week, the intention to do so, but to put off a final decision until an 11th hour summit in June. ..

    …A second EU source said: “One camp wants to send a strong signal to Russia already in March about the need to implement Minsk 2. The second camp is saying: ‘If we extend the sanctions now, it might provoke further escalation on the ground’.”…

    …Its arms industry authority said it expects France to decide in May if it will deliver its “Mistral” warships before it decides whether to seek compensation…

    …The summit takes place amid concern that Russia will attack the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

    There is also concern it will use soft power to derail Georgia and Moldova’s EU integration.

    Speaking to the Russian parliament on Monday, Russia’s EU ambassador, Vladimir Chizhov, noted: “Of crucial importance in the development of relations between Russia and the EU will be the future of countries of the ‘common neighbourhood’.”

    He said Russia wants EU “co-operation in making Ukraine as well as Moldova and Georgia, booming, politically stable, friendly countries, which enjoy all benefits of a legally binding off-bloc status”…
    ####

    It will be most likely Option two.

    If I were warming a large chair in the Kremlin, I’d play the game too. I’d say that I’d hold the EU responsible for Kiev’s implementation of M2A and that lifting of any counter-sanctions or their extension would be dependent on this. It’s fun!

  20. et Al says:

    A lovely eurosplatter:

    euractiv: West cries foul as Russia strengthens ties with South Ossetia
    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/europes-east/west-cries-foul-russia-strengthens-ties-south-ossetia-313022

    Russia signed a wide-ranging alliance with Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia on Wednesday (18 March), which will further cement its control over the territory, despite fierce condemnation from the West.

    President Vladimir Putin inked a deal in Moscow with South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov, which makes Russia responsible for defending the republic, where the Kremlin has stationed thousands of troops since a war with Georgia in 2008…

    …Putin hailed the “landmark” agreement after the signing ceremony in the Kremlin, saying it would bind Russia and South Ossetia even closer together.

    “A joint defence and security zone will be created between our two countries. Our customs agencies will be integrated and border crossings for our citizens will become open,” Putin said.

    Officials in pro-Western Georgia have blasted the pact — similar to one sealed between Moscow and a second separatist enclave Abkhazia last year — as a “de facto annexation” of its territory.

    “This step made against the territorial integrity of a sovereign state further worsens the situation created as a result of the occupation and brings it to the level of an annexation,” Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili said in a statement…
    ####

    Perfect timing.

  21. et Al says:

    euractiv: Diplomat: EU is losing the propaganda battle
    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/global-europe/diplomat-eu-losing-propaganda-battle-313020

    Two EU diplomats told EurActiv today (18 March) that they believe that the European Union should take measures to react to Russia’s propaganda targeting member states, but that they find it stupid that the bloc should make public its plans in the text of the conclusions of the two-day EU summit that begins tomorrow….

    …European Union leaders are expected to adopt summit conclusions saying that the Union needs to challenge Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns. According to a draft obtained by EurActiv, they would also task EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini to prepare an action plan by June on strategic communication in support of media freedom. They will also decide on the establishment of a communication team, as a first step.

    An EU diplomat who asked not to be named said: “Russian propaganda in Europe is a problem everywhere, because it is efficient. They are masters of it. My problem is that we have put it on the agenda. We need to deal with it. But I question whether this is the best way.”

    Another diplomat from a different EU country said that the Union needed to do something “because everybody knows we are losing the battle”.

    “I don’t understand why we are putting on the paper this tasking. If I was Russian, I would absolutely be pleased, because we are providing evidence for Russians how successful they are. I don’t think we should discuss that too much, we should deliver, and Federica doesn’t need any tasking, because she knows we have to do something,” the diplomat said.

    Asked by EurActiv if the EU has a problem, because its culture of transparency prevents it from being more effective by being more discrete, the diplomat strongly agreed….
    ####

    First up, it goes to show how totally in the bubble these diplomats are.

    Second, they speak of the EU’s transparency but refuse to be named!

    Third, if Russia is broadcasting/re-broadcasting Ukrainian’s dressing up as nazi-sympathizers and volunteers with all the nazi related regalia, then what exactly does the EU propose to do about this ‘propaganda’? Force subtitling on RT reports saying ‘These are not nazis and this is not nazi regalia.’?

    As we have all discussed here before, the reason that the ‘EU is loosing the propaganda war’ is because its lies are simply no longer believed. They have effectively discredited themselves, regardless of Russian media efforts. There is a classic British phrase that sums this up: You cannot polish a turd.

    On reflection, that could be answered with this: But turds can be polished by Poles! Not to discredit Poles in general, rather their political class and hawks.

    euractiv: Steinmeier: A political solution in Ukraine could take decades
    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/europes-east/steinmeier-political-solution-ukraine-could-take-decades-312955

    Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said that even if the efforts to stop the conflict in eastern Ukraine prove successful, finding a political solution would take decades, “or even longer”…

    …EurActiv asked Steinmeier to comment on reports that the US had decided to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons. According to media reports, both Democratic and Republican legislators have achieved consensus on arming Kyiv.

    Steinmeier said that following his recent visit to the US, he would take such reports with a grain of salt.

    “I just returned from my visit to the USA on Saturday (14 March), I spent three days in America, I had intense talks on the one hand side with the administration, but also I met with Republicans and Democrats alike. The attitudes are not as those described,” Steinmeier said…

    …The German minister did not criticise NATO, but his answer appeared to suggest that he put more stock in the OSCE findings.

    “We are not talking about opinions here, we are talking about facts. We asked twice NATO, the reason being that our personnel on the ground, (the) OSCE, have provided us with rather different figures than the figures we have received from NATO, and this raised the issue how those diverging figures came about. Ten days after the Minsk agreement was signed, we had the impression, and it was confirmed by the OSCE figures, that violent acts have decreased, whereas the figures we received by Breedlove have given reason to believe that violence has increased significantly,” Steinmeier said.
    ####

    Germany yet again telling the blowhards to put up or STFU. Is it just me or is there quite a clear shift of German politicians now openly calling bs on the hawks?

  22. et Al says:

    euractiv: Commission to review competition from Gulf-based airlines
    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/transport/eu-look-unfair-competition-gulf-based-airlines-312941

    Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said she will seek a new mandate from EU countries to reopen talks with Persian Gulf states over ‘unfair’ subsidies to airlines following a request from France and Germany last Friday (13 March)…

    …Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates airlines have received €39 billion in state aid from their governments since 2004, according to a study compiled for the big three US airlines: American, Delta, and United….

    …“European airlines are losing market share against the Gulf companies, because of their unfair competitive practices, and in particular because of the significant public subsidies and guarantees they enjoy,” the two ministers said in a joint statement after the meeting.

    Paris and Berlin called on the European Commission to end such practices by adopting a common strategy on controlling foreign airlines’ operations with traffic rights in the EU.

    The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Austria supported the initiative, the two ministers said…

    …Previous negotiations with the Gulf countries under the former Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas have failed, Bulc said in a public debate with the EU’s 28 Transport ministers last Friday.

    The Commission will now seek a new mandate from EU governments to curb market-distorting state aid to airlines, not only from Persian Gulf states, but also from countries like China, Brazil, and Turkey, Bulc said.

    “We have a good internal aviation market in the EU, but we are losing the share on intercontinental flights. We need to address how to be competitive in other markets, and social dumping is part of it,” stated Anrijs Matiss, the Latvian Minister for Transport, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating Presidency….
    ####

    This is quite interesting. OTOH, the US likes to preach no holds barred capitalism, but engages regularly in protectionism particularly in aerospace (foreigners are still not allowed to own more than 25% of a US airline for example), whist the Commission is more in to regulation and ensuring the rights of consumers.

    What this case does show is that The West (TM) is becoming less patient with their Gulf sugar daddies who have bought hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons systems from them over the decades. Is this a portend of things to come?

    It looks like it and it looks as if it will be messy too as the Gulf states will surely be tempted to leverage their civil (they’ve bought most of Airbus’ gigantic A380s for example and are big spenders on Boeing too) military purchasing power to remind The West who holds the kitty (cash, not cat).

    Either way, there is a fundamental shift away from the Gulf states being untouchable..

    • et Al says:

      It’s not a gibbon that the European Commission will find merit if it is agreed the subsidies case should be referred.

      It’s about politics too.

      A good example I can give is that China had been producing solar panels below cost and flooding the European market, i.e. dumping. EU member states were split on this as a) yes, it is anti-competitive, but b) if the EU had any hope of reaching its renewables goals, slapping huge tariffs on these imports would hit that. A compromise was reached. In 2013, there were provisional anti-dumping measures enacted http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=909 , and maybe 3 more soon: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/03/13/eu-china-trade-solar-idUKL5N0WF2JA20150313

      “…The European Commission’s inquiry into Chinese solar import panels in 2012-2013 was its biggest to date in terms of value. Imports of Chinese solar panels and related components into the European Union were some 21 billion euros ($22 billion) in 2011.

      The case stemmed from a complaint lodged by a group of European companies led by Germany’s SolarWorld, which said Chinese competitors were dumping product on EU markets, propped up by hefty illegal subsidies.

      Responding to the EU’s initial move to impose tariffs, China hit European wine producers with retaliatory duties and the trade dispute threatened to widen into other sectors, including steel.

      China and the European Union eventually resolved the dispute in July 2013, with a deal allowing China to meet about half of Europe’s solar panel demand.”

      The EU is also looking at subsides for Boeing from Washington State:
      http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/19/us-eu-usa-boeing-idUSKBN0JX1T120141219

  23. et Al says:

    Hold on to your hats for this one:

    I don’t usual post full articles, but I make this one an exception. My emphasis

    euractiv: Polish MEP: Russians have no respect for human life
    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/global-europe/polish-mep-russians-have-no-respect-human-life-312996

    During a public event Tuesday (17 March), Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, a Polish MEP from the centre-right EPP, said and repeated that the Russians belong to a different culture, and that they have no respect for human life.

    Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein spoke as a panelist during the presentation of a booklet published by the Martens Centre, the EPP think-tank, The Renaissance of the West ( http://carnegieeurope.eu/2015/02/25/renaissance-of-west ).

    “Those who didn’t have contact with Russians didn’t realise what an extremely different culture it is,” she said, adding that Russians had no respect for the value of life and respect for the dignity of human beings.

    EurActiv asked her to clarify and perhaps explain that she was critical of the Russian governing elite, and not the Russian people in general.

    But the Polish MEP insisted that she was referring to the Russians in general.

    “We have different cultures”, she said, and continued: “if you read literature, if you listen to the speakers today, if you see even the organisation of the armies during the war, the attitude to human life or the price of human life in the West and in Eastern Europe, it’s different.”

    As she prepared to further elaborate, the moderator jumped in to prevent that, helpfully saying “you refer to the governing system”.

    But the panelist didn’t avail herself. She continued:

    “Of course this is an authoritarian regime, and in an authoritarian regime, there is no respect for the individual, this is very characteristic. But […] practice of the religion is very different, there is a different attitude and different values about human life. Without offending anyone, we are different cultures”.

    Although most of the assessments in the book may appear as hawkish, and in a way neoconservative, one of the authors, Roland Freudenstein, also jumped in to make sure he doesn’t associate himself with the statements of the Polish MEP.

    “Let me come to this cultural question. Is there something in the Russian DNA that makes them incapable for democracy? No, that’s not what Róża wanted to say,” Freudenstein said, speaking on her behalf, in a brave attempt to defuse the situation.

    The presentation of the booklet was also marked by the elegant criticism of another panelist, Fraser Cameron, the Director of the EU-Russia Centre, who won massive applause of an audience largely dominated by people close to the EPP.

    Cameron, who is a former Commission official, said that the paper, which tells the EU to prepare for a long cold war, doesn’t set the scene in terms of the wider picture, and doesn’t recognise that the West has proven wrong in some important areas.

    “There is no mention of the impact of the war in Iraq, which was in my view a complete disaster for the West and the West’s image in the world, I would say Afghanistan was pretty bad as well, and I would add [the West’s] response to the Arab Spring was pretty bad”, Cameron said.

    “In short, there’s no analysis of some of these big events of recent years, while the rest of the world views us as hypocritical”, he said.

    “We may put sanctions on Myanmar, but we don’t put sanctions on Saudi Arabia”, he said, adding “If we cannot resolve the name of Macedonia over the last 20 years, if we can’t resolve Piran bay [a territorial water conflict between Croatia and Slovenia], or Cyprus, how on earth are we going to resolve some of the wider problems of the world? Let’s be more modest about what the EU can and cannot achieve”, said Cameron, who largely stole the show.

    “Let’s also be a little bit more self-critical about problems in our member states. […] Let’s be a bit tough on Orbán, lets’ be a bit tough on Saakashvili,” Cameron also said, referring to the anti-democratic tendencies in Hungary and to the mistakes by the former Georgian President which led to the 2008 Georgia war. Both leaders are EPP-affiliated.
    ###

    You may not be able to polish a turd, but this turd is Polish.

    The lady forgot to call Russians untermenschen, but that is clear from her comments. Seig Fail!

    Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%B3%C5%BCa_Thun

    “…Thun was a leading supporter of the European Parliament’s Spinelli Group, formed in 2010 to reinvigorate the strive for federalisation of the European Union (EU). Other prominent supporters were: Jacques Delors, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Guy Verhofstadt, Andrew Duff, Elmar Brok…”

    Well done for Fraser Cameron (who featured on a recent Cross Talk where he was rubbish) for pointing out the obvious and pricking the bubble from the inside.

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/96776/ROZA+GRAFIN+VON_THUN+UND+HOHENSTEIN_cv.html

    • Moscow Exile says:


      Slavyansk, Donetsk Province, the Ukraine, following bombardment by Ukrainian artillery

      Note: Ukrainians are NOT Russian.

    • Tim Owen says:

      Oh Polandball. Sigh.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Well indeed, Poles can’t imagine people not willingly offering up their children to be sodomised by Vatican paedophiles.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Russian Orthodox priests get married as well, unlike the RC “celibates”, unless they opt to be monks, and have loads of kids. That’s why there are so many Popovs in Russia.

        The village priest or “Pop” who christened my elder daughter (my other two children were christened in Moscow at the nearby Novospassky Monastery) had a shedful of children and his wife was clearly expecting yet another. I think they were trying to raise a football team for the village.

        That’s not him above who christened one of my daughters, but the picture gives you an idea of how Russian priests follow the words of the bible:

        “And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein”.
        Genesis 9:7

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          That’s exactly how it should be.

          If you have a profession where members enjoy high trust in the community, and to whom people trust their children, making celibacy a requirement of that profession guarantees that your intake will skew heavily toward paedophilia.

        • et Al says:

          But do they take off their hats when they play? It is a distinct and unfair sporting advantage!

      • Patient Observer says:

        As repugnant as it may seem, I believe that many “good” Catholic parents know full well (if barely consciously acknowledged to themselves) that their sons will be raped by Catholic priests – a right of passage that they themselves went through. Otherwise, child rape by Catholic priests would not be so widespread nor the practice aggressivley protected by Catholic institutions.

        What better and more fervent believe could there be than a young child brutalized by a man of god, marked for life with the only apparent recourse is to flee deeper into Catholic fanaticism. And that is one way how the Catholic church maintains its cadre of true believers through the centuries.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          Catholicism loses many the same way now that it doesn’t have the temporal power it used to. Have you ever met an Irish ex-Catholic? Nobody hates the Vatican like a pricked Mick.

      • colliemum says:

        May I gently and without prejudice point out that ‘Vatican paedophiles’ are rank amateurs when it comes to organised paedophily. A perusal of BreitbartLondon’s various reports – and I don’t mean those on the alleged transgressions of the Westminster elite – will give chapter and verse.

        Also, I wish someone would explain to me why society finds paedophile sodomites apparently so much more heinous than those abusing female children.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Both of your points are profoundly valid. I certainly did not intend to suggest a special status for the Vatican and its victims in that regard. Child rape and other abuses are used by empires of every sort to maintain their grip on humanity.

          The abuse in the US includes carefully crafted assaults on children intended to render them little better off than Pavlov’s dog. I believe that girls are the specifically targeted as they, as they mature to women, traditionally represent the center of the family. The family represents one of the last bastion of resistance to the downloaded idiocy of the empire.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, if only other countries revered human dignity the way Poland does. What? What do you mean, they don’t? Oh. I see.

      In 2008, Donald Tusk promised Israel that he would get a law passed which would pay compensation to Polish Jews whose private property was seized during the Holocaust, but who survived or whose ancestors are able to make a rightful claim. In the ringing tones of the Righteous Politician he declared “There is nothing worse than saying I’ll give it back, and then not doing so”. In 2011 things had changed, and Tusk’s government suspended work on the law, suddenly clueing in that the state was going to have to pay out Billions.

      In retrospect, Poland was lucky the people who don’t give a tin weasel for human life were around in 1945, when the First and Second Belorussian and First and Fourth Ukrainian fronts of the Red Army liberated their country from the Nazis. No less a worthy than Winston Churchill – the statesman after whom so many modern-day American politicians style themselves – remarked in the aftermath, “Without the Russian armies Poland would have been destroyed or enslaved, and the Polish nation itself would have been wiped from the face of the earth. But the valiant Russian armies are liberating Poland, and no other forces in the world could have done so“. Quite a few of you would not have been around to snivel about who is going to buy your apples now, you ungrateful fucks. Your army was still using horsemen with lances against tanks.

      Quick to lick America’s boots and do whatever it requires, though, which I suppose goes far to explaining your immunity from censure. I must say, hosting a CIA rendition prison is a powerful argument for human rights and respect for human life. Stick it up your ass sideways, Roza. You deserve the Galician morons with their straight-arm salutes and their jackboots. Fits you like a glove. Well, for a boot it does.

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    Rally and concert held today in central Moscow on the Vasileevsky Slope in commemoration of the reunification of the Crimea with Russia one year ago.

    The people in the photograph immediately above are standing on the Big Moskvoretsky Bridge. Irony indeed, for roughly where the third lamp-post to the left stands in the middle distance is where Nemtsov was murdered.

    I should imagine that if Nemtsov were alive, he would not be in agreement with the sentiments of those who had gathered on the bridge and the slope in order to celebrate the reunification; more than likely he would have been in Kiev today, condemning the actions of the Evil One.

    Speaking of whom, here he is photographed on stage this afternoon:

    Wasn’t he supposed to be dead/ousted by a palace coup/with Kabaeva in Switzerland?

    Stunning silence now from the Western MSM about their conjectures now, I see.

    All that they blathered and wrote about has already gone down the black memory hole, I suppose.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      100,000 assembled there, they reckon.

      All paid of course! Goes without saying.

      and around the corner as well:

      And hardly a murmur of this in the UK Telegraph and Independent.

      But hush! What is this I see?

      Why it’s Walker of the Grauniad, who reports the rally thus:

      Russia celebrates anniversary of Crimea takeover – and eyes second annexation

      Meanwhile, as Russia celebrated one annexation, it appeared to pave the way for another. South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov signed an “alliance and integration” treaty with Russian in the Kremlin on Wednesday. The treaty integrates the security services, the military, the economy and border guards of South Ossetia with those of Russia.

      • Jen says:

        Of course Lord Sauron (or one of his clones) personally organised these slave marches disguised as parades and tucked in a quick side-trip to South Ossetia to browbeat Tibilov into agreeing to “alliance and integration”.

    • marknesop says:

      Yeah, I don’t expect you are going to hear “We were wrong, sorry, we’re idiots” from too many directions at once.

  25. et Al says:

    Alert colliemum! DNA study! Breakout the champagne and prepare to invade London!

    The Daily Fail: Are the WELSH the truest Brits? English genomes share German and French DNA – while Romans and Vikings left no trace
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3000998/Are-Welsh-truest-Brits-English-genomes-contain-German-French-DNA-Romans-left-no-trace.html

    Scientists find modern Britain can be divided into 17 distinct genetic ‘clans’
    The Welsh have the most DNA from the original settlers of the British Isles
    English genomes are a quarter German and 45 per cent French in origin
    French DNA dates from before the Norman conquests of Britain in 1066
    Despite their reputation for raping the Vikings left little trace of their DNA
    The ancient Romans also left little of their DNA behind after their conquest
    People in Cornwall and Devon form two distinct groups that rarely mixed

    ####
    So I recon the Devonish (?) and Cornish have quite a good argument to secede along with having great weather, good surfing and dolphins.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      That’s not what the Fail reported 4 years ago:

      As it is revealed half of Britons have German blood… Time to embrace your inner Jerry!

      Nor has Der Spiegel reported that the English are more “French” than “German”:

      The Anglo-Saxon Invasion: Britain Is More Germanic than It Thinks

      Note how the German journal more accurately uses the term “Germanic” and not “German” as does the shitwit Fail journalist.

      The following is devoted to colliemum:

      The source of the above is, I should imagine, this: Y Chromosome Evidence for Anglo-Saxon Mass Migration

      All together now!

      Twll din pob sais!

      🙂

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I must say, though, that what is presented above as a great new revelation, namely that the the forebears of the English were Germanic tribes, is what I was taught at school over 50 years ago.

        Waes hael!

        Drinc hael!

      • colliemum says:

        Thass rude, that is!
        (But very true …)

        🙂

      • Jen says:

        Another possibility is that 8,000 – 10,000 years ago, the North Sea was solid land connecting Britain to Denmark and northern Germany, and people had settlements there. About 6,000 BCE this area became flooded and then was destroyed by an underwater landslide, and refugees from this land fled to Britain, Scandinavia and northern Germany. So some Y-chromsome DNA groups associated with Germanic peoples might been present in Britain even before the Anglo-Saxon migrations of 400 – 500 CE and that Germanic peoples could have been living in north-eastern or eastern England during Roman rule.
        http://pol-check.blogspot.com.au/2008/12/origins-of-english.html

    • colliemum says:

      Heh. That’s what we’ve been saying forever, like!
      Cymru am byth!

      🙂

    • Jen says:

      ” … French DNA dates from before the Norman conquests of Britain in 1066 …”

      Well that’s no big surprise because before France became France, it was known as Gaul and during the period of Roman rule, the people on both sides of the English Channel / La Manche were similar in culture and language. It is possible that even before Roman rule the Celts on both sides of the Channel were in close contact and there would have been intermarriage. The Bretons themselves are descendants of refugees from the Anglo-Saxon / Jute / Friesian conquests of Britain 1,500 years ago.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretons

      Also these DNA tests are based on Y-chromosome DNA, passed from fathers to sons. Why is that The Daily Mail and other populist news media ignore DNA tests based on mitochondrial DNA (which is passed from mother to children, but never passed from father to children)? A different genetic history of Britain might come out of those whereby most Brits might have female Celtic ancestors …

    • yalensis says:

      “Despite their reputation for raping the Vikings left little trace of their DNA.”
      Vikings were shooting blanks?

      • Tim Owen says:

        Aggressive marauders are sterile while those defending their homes and families are not.

        Good to know.

      • Jen says:

        That depends on the sample populations used in the study quoted. We know historically that the Vikings didn’t swarm all over England but concentrated their raiding and settlement efforts in northern Scotland and north-east and eastern England (the area of the Danelaw). So you need to sample modern populations in these areas.

        Also with Viking Y-chromosome DNA, you have to know what you are looking for, what Y-chromosome DNA types exist (or existed) in Denmark and Norway and see if those are represented to any significant degree in those parts of England where Viking settlement was strong.

        There may have been a very good reason why Vikings did not leave much genetic evidence of their raping behind: Anglo-Saxon and other women who were raped may have been put to death rather than be allowed to live and remind their families of their shame. Another possibility is that Vikings took young women as their slaves, concubines or wives and sailed off back home or to Iceland with them.

        From Decode.com:

        “The majority of Icelandic female settlers came from the British Isles”

        ‘ … According to the study, which was based on analysis of mitochondrial DNA, only 37% of the female settlers of Iceland orginated from the Nordic countries but 62% from the British Isles. Mitochondrial DNA is only inherited from mother to child and therefor most Icelanders can trace the genotypes of their mitochondria the females, back to the settlers who came to Iceland in the ninth and tenth century. the genotypes of 467 Icelanders was compared to genotypes of 1019 people from Scotland and Ireland. The study was also aimed at retrieving knowledge on the origin of populations of other North Atlantic islands. The main results are that genotypes of Nordic origins have a frequency of 35% at Orkney islands but only 11% on Southern island and 12% on the Scottish island of Skye … The genotypes of male Y chromosomes were compared in Icelanders, Skandinavians and inhabitants of the British Isles. The Y chromosome only exists in males and therefor most Icelandic males can trace the ancestry of their Y chromosome genotypes back to the male founders. Those results showed that 80% of the male settlers originated from Norway and other Scandinavian countries, but only 19% to the British Isles … Taken together these results suggest that the settlers of Iceland were by and largly Nordic males and [British] women …’
        http://www.decode.com/the-majority-of-icelandic-female-settlers-came-from-the-british-isles/

        The other thing too is that over time, male lineages (and the Y-chromosome DNA associated with them) can die out or families with those lineages migrate to the Americas and the Antipodes, or to Russia even. 🙂

        • Moscow Exile says:

          My home patch was settled by Norsemen, many of whom came from the Irish-Viking kingdom after the defeat of the Vikings in Ireland at the Battle of Clontarf (1014) by King Brian Boru,

          High King of the Irish Brian Boru and other Irish sub-kings together with some Viking traitors fought at Clontarf against the Irish-Vikings based around Dublin, who were also allied with other Irish sub-kings and the Viking king of the of the Isle of Man and the Viking King of the Orkney Islands.

          Very many place names on my old patch are Viking. The English universities of Nottingham and Leicester have done research into the genetic make-up of men of my region who have long established family names and there was evidence of “Viking” genes in all of them. One of the family names checked was my own.

          See: Excavating Past Population Structures by Surname-Based Sampling: The Genetic Legacy of the Vikings in Northwest England

          Genetic Survey of Wirral and West Lancashire

          Looking for Vikings in North-West England

          The men whose DNA was tested had family names that are on the parish registers of 1545. According to genealogists, those who have my family name originate from one place of the same name in South Lancashire. That place is 6 miles from where I was born.

          A well travelled lot were my forebears! Six bloody miles in over a thousand years! That’s some going! And one of my maternal grandmothers had the same family name as my paternal grandfather.

        • yalensis says:

          So, if a British girl got raped and pregnant from a Viking, she would move to Iceland with him. Rather than stay in Britain and be put to death by her Saxon relatives.

          Speaking of Saxons, they were named after the “saxophone”, of which they were very good players, and here is an approximate image of what they looked like:

          • yalensis says:

            P.S.
            Etymological note:
            The Russian word “vit’az” витязь “knight, warrior”, is a borrowing from the old Norse word “Viking” .
            Through a series of sound changes, which turned the “k” into a “t”, the “g” into a “z”, and the nasal diphthong “in” into a nasal vowel and then into “a”.
            Lithuanian has a similar word.

          • marknesop says:

            Huh. I thought Saxons were all named Athalric and Egbert and Theobald and like that. Where does “Buster” fit into that dithematic block?

  26. dany8538 says:

    (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));Post by Olga Kalinovska.
    This is how the residents of Konstatinovka greet the ukranian “journalists”

    • yalensis says:

      The residents of Konstantinovka are speaking in code!

      • Tim Owen says:

        Can you explain?

        • dany8538 says:

          They are basically telling the journalists to screw off. They say they prefer the DNR to come in and occupy the town because things would be better. They say they believe Russian Media unlike the ukranian one. And the last part is a guy saying to the journalists that they better leave before he kicks their behinds really hard.

          • yalensis says:

            Yeah, and the other guy adds that, when DNR was in charge of the town, there was law and order, now it’s just a mess.

        • yalensis says:

          Hi, Tim,
          It was an attempt at a joke, but maybe your browser is not rendering the same way as mine?

          Dany’s comment above (Dany8538, time 1:46 PM), the text just before the link, appears to me, on the screen, as follows:
          “(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));”

          which appears to be C# computer code, must have gotten mixed in along with the HTML.
          Do you see something different on your screen?
          I assumed it was some kind of WordPress error in the way the comment was rendered; hence my attempt at a joke (computer programmer humor), sorry for the confusion!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The man who at the end is the most vociferous is asking the journalist to go away.

          He repeats to her: “Иди на хуй отсюда, блять!” – “Get the fuck out of here!”

  27. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    http://fortruss.blogspot.co.nz/2015/03/ukrainians-for-cleaning-gardening.html

    I have never felt such exquisite Schadenfreude.

    Slavery is what you were made for, Ukrainitsi! The Lyakhs should put chains around your necks and teach you to sing ‘Mammy’ to complete the picture.

    • yalensis says:

      Oi, history is repeating itself!
      The Polish Pans always treated the Ukrainians like serfs.
      Why do people treat each other badly? it never ends well.

      • Tim Owen says:

        Colour me mystified. How is it that Polish landlords got slaughtered en-masse by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists in the second world war and their progeny are now making common cause with the current generation of Ukrainian ultra-nats in a vendetta with Russia.

        I’ve kind of puzzled idly over this for awhile without voicing it. Is it kind of inverted shame of some kind. It strikes me as pathological.

        • yalensis says:

          Nobody understands Poles.
          Why they think the way they do, and why they hate the way they do.

        • Jen says:

          The progeny fled overseas after WW2, stayed away and imbibed conservative politics and neoliberal economics in their host countries until Communism fell in 1989, and then went back to Poland to make common cause with “reformist” economists in a government led by Lech Wałęsa who was elected President in 1991.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The ones that wouldn’t accept Polish overlordship buggered off east across the Dnieper rapids and became the Zaporozhian Cossacks – Taras Bulba and all that jazz!

      And as old Taras says to his Polish arse-licking son: “I begat you and I will kill you!” – and he did.

      So shall it happen again.

      I’ve said time and again: West of the Dnieper – Polish Greek-Uniate slaves; east of the Dnieper – Eastern Orthodox freemen.

      When US generals say “Kill the Russians!” and Galitsian retards chant “Moskali to the knife!” they are including my wife and children.

    • marknesop says:

      I devoutly hope they are all west-Ukrainian Galitsi who cheered the murder of their countrymen in the east and called them “Colorados”. They deserve only misery and suffering for the rest of their days. For others, no matter where they are from, who did not support the Turchynov and Porky Artillery Show – even if they did not speak out against it – I can still be stirred to pity. Nobody who is not a shitty Galitsian goosestepper deserves that.

  28. Tim Owen says:

    Here’s an opportunity to psychologically diagnose at our leisure the self-styled “elite wonkery” of the west:

    Hard going for sure. I kind of vascillate between thinking they are true believers and that they don’t believe a word of it.

    How can you take note of the fact that – along with France and Germany – Putin was against the Iraq war (with this assumed to be evidence of his untrustworthiness and unwillingness to come over to “the winning team”) then criticizing Putin for Crimea. How their neurons don’t short themselves out I do not know.

  29. yalensis says:

    According to this , the Ukrainian National Bank technically defaulted during the month of February.
    I don’t understand banking terminology, but the translation goes something like this:

    The norm of adequacy of regulatory capital (N2) within the banking system of Ukraine crashed from 13.8% down to 7.37%, whereas the National Bank had estabalished a minimum barrier of 10%.

    This fall was connected with the lessening of the regulative capital of the banks from 166.88 billion hryvnas (beginning of February) to 117.65 billion by the beginning of March.

    Two other measures also passed their boundaries in February: (1) the normative of the maximum measure of credit risk for one counter-agent (?) – N7 ceiling is 25%, number went down to 23.73%; and (2) normative of large credit risks – N8, ceiling is 8 times the amount of regulative capital.

    And so on….

    • Jen says:

      Basically the UNB has to keep some bank assets in a liquid form (that is, actual notes and coins) in the event that depositors of those assets want all that back all at once. That form is expressed as a minimum % of their total deposits. In the UNB’s case, that absolute minimum is 10%. In normal circumstances the actual minimum might be a bit higher. The UNB cannot lend those assets out.

      A more detailed explanation of why the UNB keeps some assets as reserves is in this Wikipedia article on statutory reserve requirements:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reserve_requirement#Other_countries

      Australia used to do this before 1988 and then dropped the requirements. Since then, the stability of the Australian financial industry has been … hardly stable.

  30. yalensis says:

    Here is another good post from Thick Toast , this one a polemic against BNE news, which cannot understand why “deluded” Debaltsevo residents blame the Ukrainian army for their plight.

    Meanwhile, BNE itself is apparently deluded, when they write that the Ukrainian government is attempting to win the “hearts and minds” of the people in Donbass.

      • PaulR says:

        I would suspect that the overwhelming majority of the damage in Debaltsevo was caused by the rebels, for the very simple reason that they were the ones attacking it. But it is interesting nonetheless that the locals don’t blame for them for it. Months of being under Ukrainian control haven’t endeared them to the Ukrainian government. The same seems to be the case in many other towns. There was a report I linked to a few weeks back from a Ukrainian newspaper remarking that the great majority of the population of nearby Artyomovsk supported the rebels, and the protests the other night in Konstaninovka speak of strong anti-government sentiment there. As I say, interesting.

        • Tim Owen says:

          I kind of side with Paul on this. In fact I think I read reportage of a journalist asking an NAF fighter who had done the shelling and he said something like: “Us. It’s war innit.” And I don’t mean that as a condemnation. FWIW I think the NAF went to great lengths to evacuate people at certain points… but there’s a practical limit to how well you can manage the mayhem.

          The question to my mind is: do you care? Squinting a bit I’d say the NAF care and UAF don’t care (with a bullet, so to speak.) The whole point of the UAF action is to pacify, terrorize and suppress. If battlefield actions are too messy to interpret you just need to look at the repressive legislation coming out of Kiev regarding anything countering their line. Speaks volumes.

          But, as Paul said, the interesting point is that, even if the above supposition is right and the damage was mostly from the NAF assault, the local population seems to support the NAF regardless.

          • marknesop says:

            You notice there was no criticism of the Ukie army for billeting itself in public buildings and mingling with the civilian population in such a manner that their property was likely to be destroyed in efforts to get at military targets. None of that “human shields” stuff the press loves to use on groups their side is trying to wipe out.

            • Tim Owen says:

              Understood. In fact I read about a charming bit of battlefield tactics – probably here, ironically – that involved adhering to Minsk 2. Apparently the UAF has been finding a solution to moving their tanks off the line by driving them away, finding a nearby house and then basically driving it through the back wall to “garage” it so to speak so using the house as camouflage.

              Hearts and minds.

        • marknesop says:

          We may well see a Ukraine divided at the Dnepr in our lifetimes.

          • Tim Owen says:

            God that’s depressing. I was hoping for next fall.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              For some of us, unfortunately, our lifetime may come to an end before September.

              Memento mori!

              😦

              • colliemum says:

                Now that really sounds dire!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I prefer being a pessimist: if you are right when everyone says you are wrong, you are pleased; when you are wrong, you are pleased that your pessimistic prediction has not taken place.

                • marknesop says:

                  If you combine that with bursts of unsubstantiated optimism when there is absolutely nothing about which to be so optimistic, a memory like an etch-a-sketch so that if someone bumps you on the train you forget everything, and a refusal to take responsibility for any damage done by your harebrained bullshit, you will have a typical western reporter.

              • Jen says:

                Why, have you reached the age of average life expectancy of an adult male resident in the Land of Mordor? Can’t your god Wotan offer you a lifeline or did he find out you’re really meant to worship Odin because of your Viking ancestry?

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Having been born in April 1949, I started receiving my British state pension last year. The Russians being more humane – despite what Polish Gräfin von Schikelgrüber und Thün or whatever thinks about this – I received a pensioner’s transport pass for Moscow almost 6 years ago. I also started receiving a miner’s pension from Miners’ Pension Fund when I was 65, which pleased me immensely, because few miners receive a pension at 65 because they’ve usually popped their clogs by then. And if I croak, Mrs. Exile will get a miner’s widow’s pension – my pension. Only trouble is, these pensions are paid monthly into our British bank account, and it’s a pain in the arse – to say nothing of expense – to get money transfered here, which will be worsened if Call-Me-Dave has his way as regards SWIFT.

                  In hindsight, Thatcher’s policies were of great benefit to me, for if I had been able to follow my calling in Merry England, I should have probably been pushing up daisies by now.

                  Of course, according to Grauniad journalists and their ilk, only in Mordor do men as a rule die in their 50s.

        • yalensis says:

          I agree that most of the damage to Debaltsevo was likely caused by rebel shelling.

          I think the main point of the Thick Toast piece was that the locals still blamed the Ukie army and didn’t turn on the rebels. People were able to see the larger picture and assign blame as to root cause, not necessarily immediate cause.

          It’s like the old cliche about the dog knowing the difference between somebody who kicked him deliberately, and somebody who accidentally tripped over him.

          Note the difference between that and Konstantinovka. The locals were not at all understanding about, “Oh, he didn’t mean to run over the girl,” even though, technically, it WAS an accident.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            It wasn’t an accident if the driver was drunk, though. Some reports have said he was. If he was drunk, surely the death of the child will have been manslaughter – or maybe not under Banderastan law.

            • yalensis says:

              True, but I meant that the girl was not actually killed deliberately.
              Unlike, say, the Odessa victims, or the child who was crucified in Slavyansk.

            • marknesop says:

              I imagine, given their performance to date, they will pretend to punish him and quietly transfer him somewhere else. Guys who can drive an APC, even drunk, don’t grow on trees in a country starved for soldiers. Even that will probably be to placatory for the western-Ukrainian ghouls, who will want to see some kind of medal ceremony.

        • Jen says:

          May well be that the Debaltsevo people associate the Ukrainian armed forces with particular kinds of damage, such as the destruction of civilian buildings that looks as if it was done for no reason at all other than to terrorise locals or prevent the buildings from being used for their usual purpose, even if in reality some of these buildings had been levelled by the rebels. If the damage looks as if it was the result of a building being in the middle of crossfire, and most of the bullet casings found came from rebel weapons, then locals may agree it was done by the rebels. The immediate physical context surrounding the damage and what the local people remember or think happened in the area are important.

        • et al says:

          That would be logical and ‘eyewitnesses’ are not necessarily that reliable. I would comment that we do know that NAF artillery is far more accurate targeted than Uke artillery. The flipslide to that is when it comes to hitting targets in a built up area, a CEP of 10+ meters almost certainly means blowing up something civilian… MLRS & arty are not exactly laser guided munitions (like the Excalibur round made by Bae).

  31. PaulR says:

    Latest theory – Putin pretended to be sick in order to flush out his opponents!!

    • Warren says:

      No conspiracy theory involving Russia is beyond the pale. “Respectable” Western journos and analysts can accuse Russia of anything, no accusation hurled at Russia is considered too absurd. People like Anders Aslund and Catherine Fitzpatrick can peddle all sorts of nonsense about a “Kremlin palace coup” and Putin murdering Nemtsov – safe in the knowledge that such ridiculous claims will not damage their reputations as “respected/mainstream” commentators on Russia.

      • Max says:

        Conspiracy? Here’s a beaut:

        I think the long term strategy of the Reptilian Order, ie the US and its satraps, whether they even know it(they would never say if they did) is simply to exterminate, whether with fire from the sky or by slow strangulation, the “excess” people of the earth. The unemployable, pooping everywhere, burning precious fuel, clogging the airports and highways all over the world, discarding their trash, crying out for their cut. But there’s no money in compassion; making profits is the only way to get by under the present dispensation. Nothing personal, just business. They really don’t have a choice but to strafe and loot. Someone in the Pentagon must have realized that by now.

    • marknesop says:

      I was wondering how long it would take for that theory to surface.

    • yalensis says:

      There is a “historical” precedent for that old trick. In Eisenstein’s film, “Ivan Grozny Part I”, Ivan pretends to be sick and on his deathbed. His wife Anastasia hovers over him protectively while their baby son, Ivan Jr. sleeps in his crib.

      As Maliuta Skuratova observes suspiciously, the boyars gather around the bedside. The priest (who is in on the boyar plot) reads the last rites, Ivan is so weak his hand trembles as he tries to hold up a candle.

      A dying Ivan begs the boyars to swear fealty to his (Ivan’s) son. The boyars dither.
      Increasingly desperate, Ivan crawls out of bed and appeals to each boyar directly, grabbing by the lapels. Each boyar turns his face away.

      Ivan dies (apparently). The boyars exult, announce a new boyar Tsar, and approach the baby’s crib threateningly. A terrified Anastasia grabs the baby and clutches him to her breast.

      In the next scene, the boyars are clustered in the foyer of the Kremlin, figuring out their next move.
      Suddenly Ivan limps out of his bedchamber, supported by Anastasia.
      The boyars stare at him, aghast.
      Ivan pronounces in a weak voice, “I am feeling better…”

      Couldn’t find that scene on youtube, but here is another even more famous one.
      In a medieval version of Pussy Riot, the boyars and their supporters stage a provocation in St. Basil’s cathedral, with their performance of the “Chaldean Tyrant” mime.
      (These boys sing better than Pussy Riot.)

      • yalensis says:

        Damn, Mosfilm blocked me again, those bastards!
        Good scene too…

        • yalensis says:

          P.S. –
          you can watch the video if you right-click on the title bar of the video, select “copy video URL”, and paste the URL into another browser session.

  32. Warren says:

    Published on 18 Mar 2015
    Ukraine’s delicate balancing act: to the surprise of many the ceasefire designed to de-escalate Ukraine’s civil war is holding. Nonetheless there are many reasons to remain skeptical. Kiev is desperate for more arms, which Washington would like to provide. And the Europeans are wary of an American proxy war against Russia. CrossTalking with Marcus Papadopoulos, James Carden, and Seumas Milne.

  33. james says:

    can anyone tell me how i can get this book off this internet site? http://balka-book.com/goods.php?id=10849
    or more generally where can i buy a hard copy of this book? thanks – james

  34. Warren says:

    Ukraine crisis: British trainers assist Ukrainian military

    British military personnel have begun training members of the Ukrainian army fighting pro-Russian rebels, the BBC has learned.

    The 35 trainers are working in the southern city of Mykolaiv and will spend about two months in the country.

    They will be training forces engaged in battles in eastern Ukraine in medicine and defensive tactics, and supplying non-lethal equipment.

    The deal was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron last month.

    It is the first time a Western nation has conducted a long-term military training programme in Ukraine since its war against pro-Russian rebels began last year.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31956657

  35. Tim Owen says:

    Western Values update:

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has decided to give the Ukrainian banks R&R&R – that’s rest from regulation and refinancing. Inspection of the foreign exchange book, unwinding related-party credits, recovery of non-performing loans, and obligatory recapitalization, which were all conditions of the Fund’s 2014 Ukraine loan, have been relaxed. The new loan terms announced by the IMF last week, postpone reform by the commercial banks until well into 2016. In the meantime, the IMF says it will allow about $4 billion of its loan cash to be diverted to the treasuries of the oligarch-owned banks. That is almost one dollar in four of the IMF loan to Ukraine.

    The biggest beneficiary of last year’s IMF financing is likely to repeat its good fortune, according to sources close to the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). This is PrivatBank, controlled by Igor Kolomoisky (lead image), governor of Dniepropetrovsk region and financier of several units fighting on Kiev’s side in the civil war.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/john-helmer-imf-loan-to-ukraine-props-up-failing-banks-enriches-oligarchs.html

    • Tim Owen says:

      Ok, I’ll go first… ; )

      This strikes me as a bit of a hint that the oligarch problem in post-soviet space is not entirely unrelated to the oligarch problem in the west. (Cough.) When Geitner admitted that Treasury policy was to “foam the runway for the banks” – basically allow them to land (think smear) their jumbo-jet of fraudulent loans on the tax base (read: populace) of the US – was it not basically the same operation as the above?

      Is something not hoving into view?

    • james says:

      informative article. thanks..

    • Tim Owen says:

      IMF Labels Greece “Most Unhelpful Client in its History”

      Jesus. From Bloomberg:

      International Monetary Fund officials told their euro-area colleagues that Greece is the most unhelpful country the organization has dealt with in its 70-year history, according to two people familiar with the talks.

      Marshall Auerbach skewers this:

      Really? Worse than Malaysia when they imposed capital controls? Worse than those corrupt Latin American dictatorships from the 1970s and 1980s? Worse than today’s Ukraine government?

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/imf-labels-greece-unhelpful-client-history.html

      I worry that when the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse arrives we will be unable to recognize it.

    • marknesop says:

      I love your title. Love it.

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    The Empire Hath Spoken!

    Bow Ye Down and Tremble!

    Yesterday, Syrian air defences downed a US drone flying in Syrian airspace.

    US warns Damascus of interfering with its ‘aerial assets’ in Syrian airspace

    Enter Psaki:

    I can confirm, as I’m sure you may have from the Pentagon, and certainly they’d be the lead on this, that yesterday U.S. military controllers lost contact with an unarmed remotely-piloted aircraft operating over northwest Syria. The Department of Defense is looking into the incident, will provide more details when available. We, of course, reiterate our warning to the Assad regime not to interfere with US aerial assets over Syria”.

    • Tim Owen says:

      “… reiterate our warning to the Assad regime not to interfere with US aerial assets over Syria”.

      Hahahahahhaha…

      Impossible to parody or to find a fitting analogy for. Maybe this: the members of Delta Psi whatever-the-fuck warns potential GFs that any suspicion that we are getting you drunk in order to violently gang rape you will be punished with violent gang rape.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I really do believe that lunatics have taken over the USA.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        A fitting analogy?

        Chucking through a neighbour’s window a brick with a label tied to it that reads: “Please return undamaged!”

        • Tim Owen says:

          Or maybe: you have violated my brick with your window. Prepare for invasion.

          • Tim Owen says:

            Better: scratch “invasion” and substitute “regime change.”

            Come to think of it I’m wondering when “regime change” became a “thing.” It is so disgustingly dishonest. Kind of like saying let us give your country’s political system a “makeover.”

            • colliemum says:

              I think ‘regime change’ came into public consciousness at/during the Bush-Blair Iraq war, when the both of them ‘assured’ other governments that it really really wasn’t about ‘regime change’ but only about getting rid of Saddam.
              The other expression used in conjunction – ‘nation building’ – has now become so discredited thanks to the “Arab Spring” that it’s not used any more.
              Note that the point is that Bush and Blair screamed from the rooftops that this (‘regime change’, ‘nation building’) was not what they were doing or going to do at all, while proceeding to try and do just that.

    • Tim Owen says:

      And right on cue:

      It started with an interview Secretary of State Kerry gave to CBS with a question on Syria. Kerry’s answer was (intentionally?) misreported as the U.S. position softening and being ready to negotiate with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But that was not a new position, nor was that the remarkable part of Kerry’s answer. Here is what he really said:

      [T]he fact that there isn’t something visible to the eye every day right now does not mean we haven’t upped what we are doing, because we have, and our allies know that. […] But we’re also increasing our efforts in a very significant way, working with the moderate opposition, but doing much more than that also. We’re also pursuing a diplomatic track.
      […]
      [This] may require that there be increased pressure on [Assad] of various kinds in order to do that. We have made it very clear to people that we are looking at increased steps that can help to bring about that pressure. […] I’m personally engaged in that effort, and President Obama is extremely seized of the issue and focused on it with the intent to see what we can do to change the dynamic.

      Kerry announced that the U.S. will increase the pressure and use more force to pursue its lunatic plan for regime change in Syria. The Syrian government dismissed Kerry’s words as meaningless.

      http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/03/kerry-renews-assault-on-syria.html

      Distilled: American democracy amounts to the same salesman knocking on your door over and over again to pitch you the same shoddy product until they get the pitch right… while maintaining strenuously that this is “responsiveness” to the electorate.

  37. yalensis says:

    In Australian news:
    two koalas engage in Greco-Roman wrestling while a dog referees the match.
    The match ends when one of the animals manages to pin the other in full-nelson.

  38. yalensis says:

    In Ukrainian politics:
    The feud between Lyashko and Mel’nichuk intensifies, , with the former accusing the latter of murder .

    Recall that the 2 men used to be political colleagues in the “Radical” Party.
    Then Mel’nichuk, who used to also be the Commander of Aidar Battalion, was expelled from the Radical Party (I can’t find the reason why, they said he “betrayed” their ideals, whatever that means), and joined up with the “People’s Will” party. At that time, Lyashko had demanded that Mel give up his parliamentary mandate, but Mel refused. Lyashko accused Mel of being a traitor and FSB agent. Mel responded by threatening to shoot Lyashko.

    Next, the two had a boxing match in the Rada.
    The match lasted for two rounds. Lyasho screamed at his opponent: “Get out of the parliament, you rotting little corpse!” (tushka)

    Next, and this happened just today: Lyashko has accused Mel of committing two murders in the Luhansk region. This was reported on Channel 112. Lyashko says he has filed charges with the General Prosecutor. Lyashko says he has proof, and witnesses, and everything.

  39. yalensis says:

    KievPost scores own goal .
    In attempting to debunk Putin’s allusion to the “Korsun pogrom”, as one of his reasons for deciding to intervene in Crimea, KievPost inadvertently confirms that 2 buses were burned by Maidan activists during that event:

    “Such events didn’t take place then,” Cherkasy region police spokesman Dmytro Hryshchenko said. “There was a checkpoint there and we also know about the burning of two buses. But the information about the activists gone missing or killed is not true.”

    One of the commenters, “GG”, continues to hammer this point with the Banderite trolls.

  40. Moscow Exile says:

    The Empire strikes back!

    Russia slaps personal sanctions on 200+ foreign citizens

    Included in the list is McCain – cue McCain: “I take it as a great honour to be barred entry by this regime …” etc.

    And “Ner-ner-ni-ner-ner! Who want’s to go to a Third World shit-hole anyway?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Russia Sends US Invitation to Take Part in WWII Victory Day Parade

      The heads of several states, including Obama have already declined to attend – too busy on the day; Merkel won’t be there (figures – they lost); the Polish president won’t be there (they reckon they lost because they were “occupied” by the Soviets) and the usual shitwits from the Baltic States won’t be there (“occupied” by the Soviets again: “For us, WWII only ended in 1991” etc., etc.)

      But the US has been invited to take part in the parade.

      Will they do this?

      I mean, take part in celebration of one evil totalitarian regime’s victory over another?They killed more than the Nazis, you know. They were two sides of the same coin. Whereas Europe was saved from the Nazis by the US landings in Normandy, 1944.

      Last time I saw US Marines from the US Embassy here doing their party tricks (parading like clockwork soldiers whilst twirling their rifles around and chucking them up into the air and catching them), several of the bystanders shouted “Yankee go home!” And that was way back when Boris the Drunk was president. I think there might well be far more offensive catcalls made if a US contingent marched across Red Square on Victory Day.

      On the other hand, perhaps the US army will be too busy parading around Eastern Europe on May 9th – showing the flag to the terrified Poles and Lithuanians and whoever else that needs Uncle Sam’s tender loving care and protection from those really, really beastly Russians.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        No American participation unless it’s followed up with street-washing trucks.

      • et al says:

        Isn’t it rather fitting that no-one from the big western countries will turn up (will the frogs)? After all, they did not break the back of Wermacht, the Soviet Union did with some material supplies from the West.

        Would it not be a good point that on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Russia says it loud that you would have been all under the jackboot if it wasn’t for us?

        This is an opportunity to bring up Robert Harris’ book Fatherland where Germany won WWII in Europe but was still fighting a Russian resistance, the US had an uneasy peace and on the eve of a visit by JFK to normalise relations with Hitler’s empire, a series of murders of formerly high ranking germans occurs and is then investigated by a conscientious policeman:

        http://www.amazon.com/Fatherland-Novel-Robert-Harris/dp/0812977211/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426806646&sr=8-2&keywords=robert+harris+-+father+and

        After all, the Nazis were pro-business and the commies not. What’s not to like from a US perspective?

        • marknesop says:

          That’s funny, Len Deighton wrote a strikingly similar “alternate history” novel, called SS-GB (Schutzstaffel – Great Britain) in which the Nazis had won the war. I read it donkeys years ago; when I looked it up to find when it was published (1978), I was surprised to learn Robert Wade and Neal Purvis were commissioned last year to write it as a mini-series for BBC TV. I probably read it in the early 80’s, so my recollection of it is a bit foggy, but I remember it as a very tight, well-written plot. I like Deighton’s work, his “Bomber” is a masterpiece, recounting in a fictionalized setting the carpet-bombing of the German market town of Altgarten when a target marker is incorrectly placed, and the bomber force thinks it is bombing a large city. The viewpoint builds sympathy for the German side, at least the non-Nazi part of it that mostly went on with life oblivious to the ideology of what was going on. I highly recommend both.

          • et Al says:

            I forgot about that! I’ve read loads of Deighton books including Bomber, Berlin Game, Funeral in Berlin, Billion Dollar Brain, Fighter, the famous XPD, Hook Line & Sinker trilogy and Game Set and Match, Faith Hope & Charity. That was all before the Internet. F/k, it was last century!

            • Jen says:

              Yes I vaguely recall reading Len Deighton’s “SS-GB” which was a crime mystery novel set in Nazi-controlled Britain. The mystery was linked to a plot to overthrow the government and reinstall King George as king but from dim memory I think the plot backfired and an (ahem) important person in the plot got killed. Also recall reading those nine Bernard Samson novels over several years: I still remember that part where his airhead sister-in-law was killed and her head cut off as part of an MI6 scheme to get his wife out of East Germany by pretending to the East Germans that she (the wife) had died in service to Stasi. (For those who haven’t read the novels – they’re the Berlin Game, Mexico Set, London Match trilogy, the Hook Line & Sinker trilogy, the Faith Hope and Charity trilogy: nine books in all! – Bernard Samson is a spy, his wife is also a spy who pretends to turn traitor and goes to East Germany to work for Stasi to collect information, then has to boot out of there before Stasi finds out she is a double agent.)

              The sci-fi writer Philip K Dick wrote a novel “The Man in the High Castle” set in a world where Germany and Japan won WW2 and divided the US between them.

            • marknesop says:

              Have you read SS-GB? It was good, really imaginative.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          Minor point, but the visiting American President in ‘Fatherland’ is Joseph P Kennedy, not Jack.

          Truthfully the whole thing is an allegory against detente with the post-Stalin USSR. You have the successor (Heydrich) disposing of rivals such as Himmler. You have the endless Eastern war as the Afghanistan stand-in. You even have the Reich preserving captured Gulags as evidence of ‘Stalin’s Holocaust’ with ex-prisoners acting as guides.

          Robert Harris is not very subtle, and seems capable of writing only one kind of story and one kind of character. Xavier March, the Ghostwriter, Marcus Tullius Cicero – from his pen they come out all the same way.

          • et Al says:

            Yes. In my haste…. Dodgy as f/k father of JFK, speaking of which, in the mid 1990s I met JFK’s special advisor Bob Powell, who it recently turned out propositioned young and beautiful whitehouse interns on JFKs behalf…

            I’ve also read Pompeii, Enigma & The Ghost, the last being a bit of a let down.

            • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

              He didn’t even have time to do that himself? That’s our Jack for you. How did you end up meeting the ex-Presidential pimp?

              The Ghost had its good points. The twist (Adam Lang/Tony Blair was a bubblehead whose wife Ruth(rhymes with Booth)/Cherie did all his thinking for him while being a CIA asset) was very obvious, but the idea of Cherie Blair as a femme fatale is funnier than a cat fight. Lang/Blair facing an ICC warrant over extraordinary rendition did push the suspension of disbelief a bit too far.

              Otherwise, it’s just the usual Harris: gloomy (and sexually frustrated) outsider uncovers monstrous conspiracy and struggles against it before being devoured. These Harris protagonists are so consistently similar I can only assume they’re all fictionalised versions of Harris himself.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Deighton wrote an interesting personal history of WWII called “Blood,Tears and Folly – an objective look at World War II”. I picked it up at a second-hand book stall here.

                Unfortnately, I only have Vol. 1, which ends with Mussolini’s North African campaign and the entry into that theatre of the German Afrika Corps and Churchill’s Greek campaign, both of which campaigns he describes as “side-shows”: no mention in Vol. 1 of the start of the real war, of the commencement of the biggest and most bloody military campaign in all recorded history.

                I’ve looked everywhere for Vol 2., but in vain. In fact, I don’t think Vol. II ever saw light of day: all the reviews I’ve seen say the chronology of events ends in 1942 without mention of the start of the Pacific and the German-Soviet wars.

                • marknesop says:

                  Amazon has it as a single volume, but the table of contents plainly includes the latter wars: Part 5 – Barbarossa – the Attack on Russia. Part 6 – Japan Goes to War.

                  Actually, reading this review, it appears the book does not follow a complete chronology and jumps around all over the place – this reviewer has not recommended it as a first book on Willy Twice. It does, however, have a lot of value and is acknowledged to be well-substantiated. This reviewer made a similar complaint: “The section on the War in Russia ends with the December, 1941 battle in front of Moscow, where we are lead to believe the turning point occurred….with nary a mention of Stalingrad or Kursk.” I think you’ve seen it all, and it’s just the curious way it’s written.

                • colliemum says:

                  Wahey! Amazon.co.uk even has a Kindle edition!
                  Yes yes, I know I know, real books and all – but not when the floors groan under the weight of them, when there’s nowhere any more to put them (one’s gotta keep at least one table unencumbered!), and when arthritic hands can’t really hold 600+ pages any longer …

  41. davidt says:

    I thought this posting by Bhadrakumar was worth writing:
    http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2015/03/19/putin-declassifies-crimea-file/
    (I had trouble getting into his blog…)

  42. Warren says:

  43. Moscow Exile says:

    Yats, Nuland’s Rat, thunders on about retaking Donetsk and Lugansk Provinces:
    Ukraine Declares Resumption of War Against Donbass

    From OffGuardian: The western media are fiddling while Minsk2 burns

  44. Drutten says:

    Swedish news are on a big drive today on Viktoriya Ivleva:
    http://www.svt.se/kultur/prisbelont-fotograf-greps-i-ukraina

    She’s a long-time collaborator for Novaya Gazeta, Ekho Moskvy, Radio Svoboda, Hromadske and so on, you get the picture.

    Anyway, supposedly she was arrested at a Lugansk roadblock when “trying to save women and children”, detained for four hours, then released.

    Eagerly requesting more background on this alleged arrest, as nobody talks about it except the usual outlets and a few hundred propaganda bots on Twitter (quite astonishing actually, I found literally hundreds of identical tweets on her, all by accounts created in March 2013 using English-sounding names undoubtedly automatically generated from a wordlist).

    • Moscow Exile says:

      We all know that Putin and the FSB literally have hundreds if not thousands of people that constantly bombard the Internet putting out propaganda …

      Yes, we all know …

      • marknesop says:

        Easy to say, but there is absolutely no evidence of that at all. Some people just pull numbers out of their ass because they know you can get away with that now and the lumpen do not demand any proof.

        Which leads to some interesting consequences. Look at this poll from the BBC, describing level of trust in various media sources in varions countries. It is attributed to the BBC, but I did not see any lavbel for when it was conducted or a description of the sample size or methodology. Breaking it down to save you time;

        Country / Principle Source of Information / Most Trusted Source of Information / Example

        USA / Television / Local Newspaper / FOX News
        UK / Television / National News / BBC News
        Brazil / Television / National News / Rede Globo
        Egypt / Television / Local Newspaper / Al Jazeera
        Germany / Newspaper / Public Broadcast Radio / ARD
        India / Television / National Newspaper / AAJ TAK
        Indonesia / Television / National Television / RCTI
        Nigeria / Television / National Television / NTA
        Russia / Television / National Television / ORT
        South Korea / Television / National Television / KBS

        As with most surveys – and, again, I don’t know when it was conducted – there is much more to the story than this basic breakdown indicates. For example, although FOX News came highest in “most trusted news source mentioned by Americans without prompting”, that was only 11%. While television was the main source from which South Koreans get their news, that country registered the highest appreciation for internet news, 85%. There’s still lots of information the basic breakdown doesn’t reveal.

        The point I wanted to make, though, is that this points to a high level of trust in the media, mostly television – far above what it deserves with its deliberate misleading, fabrications and stubborn pursuit of certain lies even after they have been angrily debunked. The media knows what it is doing, and it is lying on purpose and for a reason.

        We live in a world where there is an index for everything, and trust is no exception. It’s the Edelman Trust Barometer, and it tells a very different story. The report for 2015 reveals, “In 2015, the number of trusting countries fell to the lowest level ever recorded by the Edelman Trust Barometer, with informed publics in only six of 27 countries surveyed expressing trust levels above 60 percent. Once trusting countries, such as Malaysia and Canada, fell into neutral terrain, and the U.K., South Africa, Hong Kong and South Korea slid from neutral to distrusting status. Among the general public, the trust deficit is even more pronounced, with nearly two-thirds of countries falling into the distruster category. While still maintaining their trusting status, the UAE, China, India and Indonesia all registered precipitous drops among the general population (-16, -12, -11 and -11 points, respectively).”

        Still, perversely, government was the only institution to gain in trust. NGO’s remained the most trusted, but saw their level of trust slide sharply; “Government was the only institution to gain trust in 2015, driven by improvements in 16 countries, including India, which recorded a nearly 30 percentage point gain; Russia, with a 27 percent gain; and Indonesia, with a 19 percent gain. Yet despite its overall rise, the fact remains that government is still the least trusted institution globally. Informed publics in 19 of 27 countries distrust government to do what is right. At the other end of the spectrum, NGOs saw the largest decline in trust. NGOs maintained their status as the most trusted institution, but what is clear is that the trust is fading. In 19 of 27 countries, trust in NGOs fell or remained at equal levels to the previous year. Only in the UAE, Indonesia, France, Brazil, the U.S., Italy, Spain and Poland did NGO’s record slight upticks.”

        What are we to make of this? It is easy to see why government trust rose in Russia, for example, because Russians can see plenty of evidence around them that their government is telling them a version of events which more or less corresponds to the truth. But why does trust emain high in the U.S. and UK governments?

        The story for media in 2015 was one not only of waning trust, but also one of the continuing dispersion of influence, from traditional to social and hybrid sources. In 15 countries, media experienced declines, with some as sharp as 18% (Hong Kong), 14% (Argentina) and 11% (Canada and Singapore). While trust in media increased in 12 countries, no countries registered gains as great as these losses. Years of newspaper layoffs and staff buyouts are taking their toll on public trust.”

        Look at that last sentence. Is that the reason for the erosion in public trust, do you think? I certainly don’t. Media has learned a great deal about collecting data, but it is still stumbling on the issue of interpreting it.

        • colliemum says:

          There’s one other stumbling block for the media: more and more people have access to what is called ‘alternative’ media – and find that they’ve been lied to by those who are supposedly scrutinising and checking on government and TPTB. Worse – they’ve found again and again that these self-same ‘defenders of democracy’ are in cahoots with those they’re supposed to investigate and scrutinise.
          It’s not about the laying-off of ‘journalists’ – it’s about the one voice with which they speak.
          Strangely enough, more of us are now checking out independent local papers, most of which are online nowadays.
          Being in bed with the powerful means the MSM are committing suicide. Quite a few of us think it’s taking too long …

          • et al says:

            I’m not sure I would say that they have discovered that they have been lied to, but rather that there are other equally, if not more valid logical explanations for wtf has been going on. Just because one looks at alternative media does not mean you believe it wholesale.

            This last point I am riffing off a comment by PaulR last week or so who quipped that people turned off by the MSM go and watch RT and believe it, i.e. they swing from extremes. That’s not far off calling people ‘sheep’. He may well have not actually meant it as such (I give him the benefit of the doubt) and those stark terms, but that is how it came across.

            I think most people are quite rational beings but of course effected by what they see and equally by what they don’t see, the former being more powerful and apparent than the latter which is more of an acquired skill.

            What depresses me the most is the passivity of the European non/electorate to the massive mistakes their governments are making in foreign policy. Yes, there are the odd big demonstrations, but our politicians are effectively insane and cannot see past their noses. Where are the mass anti-war demonstrations or is it just about jobs and tax? So much for democracy and holding your leaders to account. If this is ‘liberal democracy’, then it is best left to disappear down the sink with all the other crap.

            • colliemum says:

              Good points, but I believe that’s still looking at people in an old-fashioned, superseded way: as plain consumers of what they’re given, only now they’ve found that for example Al Beeb is lying so the watch RT instead.
              I think this misses the point: ever since video cameras became popular, ordinary people noticed how relatively easy it was to manipulate their own material, and started to question what they saw on official news channels.
              Then, instead of a chicken in every pot (Henri Quatre), there was a PC in every home, and faster and faster connections to the outside world.
              Then, with youtube, more and more people had the opportunity to publish their own stuff.
              Then, with blogging, and facilities like wordpress for example, it became easier and less costly to publish one’s own thoughts.
              Yes, a lot of the early sites were – some still are – just like echo chambers, but people have become much more savvy, know where to look and to take nothing for granted. I recall sites, about eight years ago, where the constant question was “link?” – ‘he said – she said’ was simply not accepted unless sourced.
              That’s why people are now no longer the plain, sheep-like consumers of ‘news’, or falling prey to propaganda by the dastardly RT journos when switching over from Al Beeb.
              Hacks and pundits would like to think so, but they are in error.

              • marknesop says:

                The funny part is, I still prefer links – I don’t like to take information at face value from most people unless it has appeared in print somewhere by a source I consider fairly reliable.

                • colliemum says:

                  Couldn’t agree more!
                  I’ve noticed however that there are certain online ‘communities’ which have evolved over the years, where personalities are known, as it were, and where there’s a common foundation of knowledge shared by all.
                  That allows some great writers to flourish again, after years in the wilderness, because everybody knows what is alluded to. My own favourite – and I’m not alone in being a fanboi – and best example for this is of course Gerald Warner over at BreitbartLondon.
                  (His latest is here: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/03/18/public-service-the-first-refuge-of-the-scoundrel/ )

        • Jen says:

          Staff layoffs (disguised as buyouts or redundancy packages) are significant in that the people with the most experience and knowledge – often senior editors – are the ones targeted for removal. The result is that newspapers end up being gutted intellectually and culturally as collective institutional memory and history literally walk out the door. If these editors are replaced at all, they will be replaced by people straight out of university or government agencies who will be nothing more than ideologues for a neocon agenda.

          As we speak, The New York Times is cutting 100 jobs by offering early exit packages to senior editors:
          http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/dec/01/new-york-times-deadline-buyouts

          An old Guardian piece on the demise of The New York Times Book Review via merger into other NYT operations and the hiring of staff with no qualifications or experience to head the literary book review section:
          http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/29/new-york-times-book-review-retirement-plan

          I believe over 2012 – 2013, The Guardian also made drastic cuts in staff: people were pressured to take early “voluntary” redundancy pay-outs. This was just before The Guardian opened offices in the US and Australia; I thought maybe the cutbacks were being made to finance The Guardian’s expansion overseas.

          It can’t be long now before Blake Alcott’s Counterpunch article turns out to be correct: that The NYT and The Guardian are set to merge under Jonathan Freedland’s leadership.
          http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/13/why-jonathan-freedland-isnt-fit-to-be-the-new-editor-in-chief-of-the-guardian/

          • colliemum says:

            This is precisely what we’ve seen develop over the last 18 months or so at the DT. Yes, we poked fun at it, calling it the ‘Torygraph’, but the sad fact is that this paper, online as well as dead tree, has been destroyed thanks to some American ‘directors’ – who’ve been employed because, we believe, the owners want to keep Cameron in 10 Downing Street at all cost.
            Just as there’s no difference between Labour and the Tories any longer, there’s now no difference between the Guardian and the DT on the one hand and the DT and DM on the other.
            Sad, really.

          • marknesop says:

            That’s interesting – I never looked at it that way, and I was prepared to laugh at their ridiculous conclusion that it was budget cuts and staffing changes that caused people to lose faith in print media. But looked at in that context, a deliberate change in ideology or merely the consequence of experienced hands replaced with neophytes, it makes perfect sense!

      • kirill says:

        Standard ploy, accuse your opponent of exactly the dirty tricks you are using.

  45. Warren says:

    Future Russian army could deploy anywhere in the world – in 7 hours

    In the future, a fleet of heavy transport aircraft will reportedly be capable of moving a strategic unit of 400 Armata tanks, with ammunition, to anywhere in the world. And probably at hypersonic speed, enabling Russia to mount a global military response.

    According to a new design specification from the Military-Industrial Commission in Moscow, a transport aircraft, dubbed PAK TA, will fly at supersonic speeds (up to 2,000 km/h) and will boast an impressively high payload of up to 200 tons. It will also have a range of at least 7,000 kilometers.

    The PAK TA program envisages 80 new cargo aircraft to be built by 2024. This means in a decade Russia’s Central Command will be able to place a battle-ready armored army anywhere, Expert Online reports, citing a source in the military who attended the closed meeting.

    http://rt.com/news/242097-pak-ta-russian-army/

    • davidt says:

      The article is a bit of a giggle, don’t you think. (Might be a bit wiser just to get MC-21 flying, and put effort into a wide bodied plane.)

    • Drutten says:

      200 tons of cargo… That’s approximately what an An-124 can carry, and the plane itself then weighs just as much with fuel, so you wind up with a grand total of about 400 tons you want to get airborne.

      Sure, that’s evidently doable, you can even up the game and go An-225 with an additional 50-75 tons of cargo. But to make it go supersonic? That’s a whole other potato. I can’t imagine how it would be even remotely feasible.

      The largest and heaviest supersonic aircraft in the world is the Tupolev Tu-160. It’s extremely sleek and streamlined, powered by four gigantic afterburning jet engines and can carry roughly 40 tons internally. I’m not even sure it can reach it’s maximum speed of around 2.0 Mach with a full load of weapons.

      This alleged “PAK TA” would need to be of ridiculous size to make it aerodynamically suitable for going beyond transsonic, and with ridiculously powerful powerplants to make it happen.

      It’s one thing to make a bulky subsonic airlifter that doesn’t need to worry about the aerodynamic issues with going transsonic and beyond, and that can utilize large, powerful high-bypass engines that don’t need to provide immensely high jet velocities… It’s a whole other thing to make something of that size (in order to have it carry 200 tons!) and to push it beyond transsonic, let alone up to 2.0 Mach! What, they’re gonna fit a Soyuz booster rocket to it or something?

      I’m pretty sure that the “PAK TA” programme will in fact wind up being a modernized An-124 type plane, with roughly the same cargo capacity, high subsonic (like a modern airliner) and with far better fuel economy and lower overall weight due to modern materials and so on. You don’t need to make it more complicated than that, and it’s still complicated enough for Russia at this stage (especially considering the 2024 timeframe, which is a laughable prospect if we’re talking about some supersonic leviathan of the skies, regardless of which country or company that would attempt it).

    • Max says:

      Reminds me of the ekrana plane developed by the Russians(qv you-tubes) which was a passenger-sized jet with wings clipped, that used the pressure of its jets against the water to push back against a sort of skirt and bear it over the sea at hundreds of miles an hour. The vids look insane.

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