Tumbleweed Town: Kiev Post-Gas Transit

Uncle Volodya says, "When every little bit of hope is gone, sad songs say so much."

Uncle Volodya says, “When every little bit of hope is gone, sad songs say so much.”

Life could do nothing for her, beyond giving time for a better preparation for death.

Jane Austen, from “Sense and Sensibility

Anyone who has not sleepwalked through the gas-price squabble between Russia and Ukraine since the Great Freedom Jubilee known as EuroMaidan is aware that Russia has grown fed up with Ukraine’s posturing and loose grip on reality – neither being a quality that is endearing or inspirational of confidence in its reliability as a gas-transit country for Europe. Russia has had projects underway for some time to gradually reduce its reliance on Ukraine as a gas-transit corridor for Russian gas since the stand-off in 2009, in which Ukraine was siphoning off gas intended for Europe for its own use free of charge, while Russia was expected to just make up the difference – Ukraine was confident Russia was without alternatives, since it would not dare shut off Europe’s gas. Which it did, of course, initiating a panic and a lasting reputation for Russia as an unreliable energy partner. Nothing much was ever said about Ukraine stealing gas; Europe made a few comments to the effect that there was wrong on both sides, and left it at that, and ever afterward the narrative was that they knew Russia accused Ukraine of stealing gas, but where was the evidence?

Russia constructed the Nord Stream pipeline, and partially completed South Stream, the two of which together would handle the entirety of gas shipped to Europe, without going through Ukraine. The EU dug in its heels, and went on about how everyone needs rules and Russia would have to abide by the Third Energy Package which said the same company cannot own both the gas and the pipeline, and lots of other twaddle although it simply hands out exemptions to its own suppliers, and Russia canceled South Stream. The EU was jubilant – it had put those Russkies in their place, by God!

Which brings us, skipping over many other details which are of great import but not germane to the gas situation, to where we are now. Russia has announced it will construct Turkish Stream instead, delivering the same amount forecast for South Stream – 63 BCm – to the Turkish/Greek border. If Europe wants gas, it can build pipeline infrastructure to take it from that point. If not, fine – start busting up Granny’s piano for firewood. And none – as of 2019 at the latest but probably around 2017 – will go through Ukraine.

Just before we get started on what the future might look like for Ukraine if (when, actually) it loses its status as a gas-transit hub for Europe, not to mention if the current civil war drags on – there was a practical reason of some immediacy for the construction of South Stream, and it makes Europe’s behavior look even stupider and more short-sighted in the short to medium term. Ukraine’s Gas Transit System (GTS) was constructed between the 1960’s and 1980’s, and has had no serious overhauls or maintenance in more than 25 years.  Gazprom estimated the cost of upgrading and conducting maintenance on the GTS at $19.5 Billion. Where would that come from? Has Ukraine got $19.5 Billion lying around, collecting dust? Ha, ha. Has Europe? Hardly. Where would these funds come from? I suspect you know.

Ukraine earns around $3 Billion a year from gas transit fees. How is the loss of this income going to impact Ukraine, in view of its medium-term economic forecast?14631095023_9bda957322_k

As a starting point, it would be hard to envision a more dramatically effective program of economic ruin than what has been done to Ukraine by its western friends.  The currency has fallen off a cliff, averaging 7.29 to the U.S. dollar between 2002 and 2015, spiking to a record low value of 33.5 to the dollar in February of 2015 and currently at a ruinous 20.44. Whoever wrote the summary apparently wanted to camouflage the moment of disaster by averaging the value of the hryvnia from 2002 to 2015, because the value declined steadily throughout 2014 and can be traced almost to the minute to the Euromaidan demonstrations, accelerating to a screaming power dive after they turned violent and cratering with the collapse of the Debaltseve cauldron.  The stock market has fallen to a quarter of its value in 2008. The most recent GDP Growth Rate is a contraction of 3.8% in the final quarter of 2014 – certainly worsening since then – and annually is a jaw-dropping contraction of 17.6%. Helpfully – I meant that sarcastically – the official unemployment rate has soared to 9.7% over 2013’s low of 7.6%, and has been over 9% since the beginning of 2014, while inflation has bulleted its way up to 60.9%. All these are figures the state statistics service will admit to. Meanwhile, its hapless government merrily enacts a debt moratorium, authorizing itself to put a hold on payments to its creditors, even as it doubles “defense spending”.

Anyway, on to the sometimes comical dynamics of the European gas business. I think my favourite is the smirking strut executed by various countries as they claim to be “weaning themselves off of Russian gas” by importing gas from some other European country that is a net importer of Russian gas. Like Poland, for example. Kiev was quite proud of itself when, in 2012, it reduced its imports of Russian gas by taking delivery of gas from RWE in Poland on a trial basis. These imports continued into 2013 – a year in which Poland (which is also “weaning itself off of Russian gas”) took 60% of its gas from Russia. They’ve wised up now, though, and plan to import significantly more gas from Germany…which gets 38% of its gas from Russia.  Oh, and they’re building an LNG terminal into which they plan to import LNG from Qatar via tankers. More expensive than pipeline gas, of course, which is just good economics by European standards, but at least they can fly a Polish flag on the LNG terminal. You just can’t put a price on national pride, can you? And they’ll be able – in their dreams – to say goodbye to gas imports someday from that evil undemocratic Stalin dictatorship of Russia in favour of freedom gas from the smiling Qataris, ruled through a constitutional monarchy in which the Emir exercises absolute power and whose heirs come from the male branch of the al-Thani family.

Meanwhile, Ukraine itself remains the fifth-heaviest consumer of natural gas in Europe, at some 55 BCm annually. Mind you, it should realize significant savings in consumption by the almost-complete loss of its heavy industry sector, most of which is in the east – every cloud has a silver lining, what? But Ukraine’s domestic production peaked at 68 BCm forty years back, has been in decline since then and now amounts to about 20 BCm – less than half its current consumption. So in order for Ukraine to wean itself off of Russian gas, it is going to have to either cut its consumption in half or buy reverse-flowed gas from other European countries – using mostly handout money, since it is going to lose $3 Billion off the top of its GDP which is currently contracting at a rate of more than 17% per year. Put that way, it doesn’t sound too hopeful, does it? Mind you, the EU is doing its bit to help by insisting on reforms which have doubled the price of gas for household use, even as the currency has shrunk to about a third of its previous value.

In 2014, Gazprom sent 146.6 BCm of gas to Europe, 62 BCm of it through Ukraine. Through existing pipelines Nord Stream, Blue Stream and Yamal Europe, Gazprom is capable of delivering 104 BCm of gas to Europe without a whiff of it going through Ukraine. South Stream would have upped that by 62 BCm. Its replacement, Turkish Stream, will deliver the same amount to the Turkish border with Greece, some 47 BCm of which could be available to Europe. The way I see it, Ukraine has – at the outside – four years to get its house in order and get the economy on some kind of solvent basis, before the gas through Ukraine is shut off and $3 Billion in transit fees disappear from the GDP. At the same time the country will be left with a transit system that, even if it is used only to move gas around the country for domestic use, has not been upgraded or maintained in 25 years and needs almost $20 Billion spent on it. That’s not even figuring in the Billions upon Billions in war damages, the loss of nearly a third of its tax base through secession and the almost complete depletion of its currency and gold reserves.

Europe made it clear recently that admission to the European Union is not in the cards for Ukraine, which is reassuring, in a way, because it means at least a few people in Europe are still capable of thinking beyond the weekend. Ukraine’s economy is being preserved on life support to save the dirty, messy embarrassment of a public default, because the west is entirely and totally to blame for Ukraine’s economic disaster. The west hand-picked the government, and then encouraged it to re-take its eastern regions by military force. Ukraine faces a future in which it will be broke and friendless, drifting aimlessly at the whim of whoever will lend it money. And when you think about it, the Maidanite zealots and the fascist strutters are a minority, coming mostly from the west of Ukraine and Kiev. That still leaves a lot – millions – of Ukrainians who did nothing to bring this calamity upon themselves, but who will nonetheless suffer the consequences of their leaders’ idiocy and greed and the meddling of western interventionists who will accept ruining Ukraine so Russia can’t have it if they cannot win it.

 

 

 

 

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1,212 Responses to Tumbleweed Town: Kiev Post-Gas Transit

  1. kirill says:

    Good article. It is peculiar how the 17.6% year on year GDP drop in Ukraine is mentioned as a ho-hum statistic without any context. The US GDP contracted 25% during the Great Depression. In any given year of that depression it did not drop almost 18%. Also, in the case of Ukraine, it has already underwent a Great Depression worse than the original during the 1990s and has *not* fully recovered. So we are looking at an epic economic contraction since 1990. This is a big story and yet there is no spotlight on it whatsoever. Instead we have those retarded “forecasts” from Moody’s, the World Bank, the IMF, and other western agencies which are pure political fluff.

    On another forum a well informed poster was confused by what year on year meant. As you correctly note in your article it is basically a measure of the relative change in the GDP after one year. The only way Ukraine’s GDP could hit those western “forecasts” in 2015 would be if it had a surge of growth in the second half of the year. This ain’t gonna happen. In fact the decline will continue into the second quarter and the rate of decline will decline in the second half due to the fact that it is compared to the second half of 2014 which was already in full bore recession. The first quarter of 2015 dropped almost 7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2014. I expect there to be quarter to quarter drops in Ukraine’s GDP during all of 2015. This translates into a GDP drop in 2015 of between 20% and 30% depending on how rapidly the collapse slows later this year.

    As for the EU and its racist, delusional hate aimed at Russia. It will reap what it has sown. For some reason some analysts think that if Iran is allowed to ship gas to the EU this will undermine Russia. They are missing the mark. Russia will be happy to have the EU supplied with its gas from the Middle East. Everyone with a clue will see the implications. Russia’s own production will decline in the long run as is inevitable and Russia has now the access to the huge Chinese market at a reasonable price. The stooges in Brussels will be remembering the good old days of Russian supply.

  2. Max says:

    Reading reports that Russia is “abandoning” Syria. Anyone here know more?

  3. Tim Owen says:

    Cracking piece. The reminder of the – safe-to-assume – decency of the majority of Ukrainians who are pawns is welcome… All too easy to tar them based on the appalling characters we’ve pushed to the podiums of their town squares.

    There must be a category of actors in ethics who are particularly odious as they don’t pay the price for their own actions and so are particularly “free” – in a pejorative sense – to pursue self-aggrandising projects like regime change in foreign countries.

    If not, there should be. Such a term would be all too handy.

    • Cass says:

      The Kiev International Institute of Sociology has recently published a comprehensive (+30-page) survey of Ukrainian opinion by region and finds that a strong majority of Ukrainians want a negotiated end to the war with whatever concessions to the Donbass republics are required to be made, including retaining their armed forces. The figures change from northwest to southeast, but less than one might expect.

      Perhaps we’ll see Zakharchenko win the Presidency of Ukraine.

      • marknesop says:

        Now, there’s one from out of left field – but it would solve almost everything from the regional point of view! It might be the convincer that would get Russia to help Ukraine get back on its feet, although it would infuriate the west and they would leave no dirty trick untried to prevent it happening. But it would not resolve the deeply Russophobic hate in the west of Ukraine, and it would be better to push that lot of goose-steppers off on Poland.

        Have you a link to that survey, by any chance?

      • Erebus says:

        I’ve been (semi) convinced for quite a while that this, or something very close to it, is “The Kremlin’s Clever Plan”. Reminds me of the joke about the young bull and the old bull…

        Lugansk seems to have gone off the rails a bit, but Donetsk under Z is developing nicely into a model democracy that the rest of Ukraine will envy soon. Their Victory Day parade cemented the idea in my head.
        Ukes will be watching them with their cold faces pressed against the window while Donbas joins BRICS, EEU, etc and Russian & Chinese money pours in. They’ll be hammering that window in no time.

  4. Pingback: surprise supplies - Occurrences

    • marknesop says:

      There are some great links here for all to check out, including the recent coronation of a Goldman lawyer as head of the SEC (!!!!) and the sacking of the recently-appointed TSA chief after agents were able to get explosives and other weapons through security in several airports. Another treat is alleged hacked emails and letters exchanged between the reprehensible George Soros and Poroshenko/Yatsenyuk. There is a video describing an atrocity which allegedly occurred at Gorlivka, but I couldn’t get it to open, it just went into endless loading.

      • kat kan says:


        the Gorlovka video; works for me; house and story of the family where the father and 11 year old girl dies, baby and toddler survived, mother lost her arm.,

        • marknesop says:

          I can see it now; thanks. Wretched pigs. They have so much to answer for when this is over. At least now that the animal is known by name and face, someone will probably get him.

  5. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    I would suggest another way of looking at Ukraine’s apparently melancholy fate.

    For most of history, the land that was not Ukraine until the 19th century was just another stretch of Eurasia’s own Fury Road. A Mad Max highway traversed by horse-faring brutes in search of better pastures and fresh scalps. Fought over by fiends, heroes, slavers, cannibals, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs and Baptists. Her black earth was not meant to be tilled – here only a fool has more than a wain to lose. Send this message to Asia, to thine Argive husbandmen, that they be not fearful; never will I leave these wintry rocks, these fields of Mars, where we have hardened our infants and young sons in such ruthless streams, where for men is such abundance of carnage. ‘Tis thus we delight in our frozen land to wage war and to despoil, and such a right hand do thou now welcome!

    All of which is to say, perhaps Ukraine’s two centuries of (relative) peace and prosperity under the Emperors and under the communists were best understood as an aberration. A distortion of the natural order that the war god (whose name we do not speak aloud, and whose face we glimpse in the naked sword) could no longer abide.

    Should we mourn what the war god has willed?

    • Tim Owen says:

      Wow. I’ll have what he’s having.

      That paints a picture.

    • marknesop says:

      Very nice writing.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Blasphemy and quotations pilfered from Blazing Saddles and Valerius Flaccus aside, I mean it in all seriousness. Ukraine has been wild field for most of history, and it has taken disturbingly little to set her back along that road. Even now, she has only taken the first steps; the worst is yet to come.

      Perhaps this really is ‘normal’ for Ukraine. It’s fascinating sometimes to look at this or that region and note how it keeps much the same socio-political character over centuries or even millennia, and does so even through radical cultural and ethnic changes. Spain, for example, has always been split between the southern coasts were her urban civilisation was to be found, and the wild and dangerous north which despised the south and jealously guarded its own traditions. It was from the north that native Iberians resisted the colonists from Carthage who settled the southern coasts. It was the north that defied Rome well into the reign of Augustus. The north took up the Cross, and fought tooth and nail to keep the newly-Islamicised south away from their lonely mountains. And it was the north, once pagan, once Arian, now Catholic, that flocked to the banners of the generals who had sworn to bring down the republic of the southern Marxists. The north and against the south – it was ever thus, whether the northerners were Arevaci Gauls, Visigoths or even ‘Spaniards’. It was ever thus, and we may expect it to continue.

      And so with Ukraine. Throughout the ages, a wild and savage field whether those that dwelt upon her were Scyths, Sarmatians, Alans, Roxalans, Goths, Slavs, Huns, Avars, Pechenegs, Cumans, Tatars or Cossacks. The veneer of civilisation that the Emperors laid down has been torn away, and the real Ukraine is flooding to the surface.

    • Max says:

      Been a while since I peeked into my Homer, but weren’t the Argives Greek?

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        That they were. The passage is from the Latin Argonautica where Jason and his companions are obliged to do battle against a crazy assortment of Scythians, Sarmatians and other steppe-dwellers.

  6. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, this youtube video is a continuation of the story from last week about the Ukrainian diaspora Nazi, Katriuk. Apparently, Katriuk has died. I would urge everybody to watch this video. It is really important. It is not about Katriuk so much as about the American/Canadian policy of sheltering WWII Nazis.
    Unfortunately, there are no English-language captions. Somebody should do a proper English-language version of this video (with subtitles). For now, I have now just translated a few sentences as best I can, with notation of the time in the video:

    The title of the video is: “Konstantin Somin: Agitprop from 30 May 2015”
    The presenter Konstatin Somin, starts with the news that in Canada (Quebec) has died the beekeeper Vladimir Katriuk, age 93. Before he died, Katriuk was wanted for extradition to Russia. Due to his activities in the 118th Battalion. Katriuk was the last surviving member of this battalion, which committed the atrocity in the Belorussian town of Khatyn during WWII. In which they burned civilians alive in the barn, including women, children and old men.

    1:35 minute in
    Quote from Clarissa Lamb, press secretary of the Minister of Justice of Ottawa government. When asked to comment on Katriuk’s extradition, she changed the subject to Crimea. [yalensis note: I can’t find the original English or French quote from Lamb, the video has dubbed her voice into Russia and provided Russian-language translation of her quote. Here is the translation back into English, which may not necessarily match her original English, if that was her language of choice:]

    “Although I am not at liberty to comment on the concrete issue of [Katriuk’s] extradition, I want to stress, that we do not accept and will never recognize, Russia’s annexation of Crimea nor illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory.”

    1:46 minutes in – the Minister of Justice of Canada, Mark Kelly is shown having his photograph taken with “veterans”, including the war criminal Katriuk.

    At 2:00 minutes in, Somin turns to the issue of how Katriuk obtained Canadian citizenship in the first place, namely by falsifying his refugee papers and using a phony name. He hid his real papers, which showed that he was a member of the SS, and “deceived” the Canadian government. [yalensis: personally I don’t think they were deceived that much, I am pretty sure they knew who he was when they took him in; however, technically, his deceit was still grounds for deportation]

    Starting at 2:30 minutes in, Somin does an interesting comparison of 2 works of sculpture.
    The first work is the famous “Khatyn Victims” monument, crafted by Soviet sculptor Sergei Selikhanov. Selikhanov had fought in the war, as a decorated artillery soldier.

    The second sculpture is the statue of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, which stands in the center of Washington, D.C. This statue was erected during the height of the Cold War, at the request of the Ukrainian diaspora (American Ukrainian Committee). This Ukrainian committee was the meeting ground and safe haven for literally thousands of Hitlerite collaborationists. (3:00 minutes in)

    3:14 minutes in:
    Translation into Russian of the inscription on the Shevchenko statue. Which I was able to find here in wiki:

    BEDI-RASSY ART FDRY. N.Y. (statue, lower north side)
    TARAS / SHEVCHENKO / 1814-1861 / BARD OF UKRAINE (base, south side)
    DEDICATED TO / THE LIBERATION, FREEDOM AND / INDEPENDENCE OF ALL CAPTIVE NATIONS / THIS MONUMENT OF TARAS SHEVCHENKO, 19TH / CENTURY UKRAINIAN POET AND FIGHTER FOR / INDEPENDENCE OF UKRAINE AND THE FREEDOM / OF ALL MANKIND, WHO UNDER FOREIGN RUSSIAN / IMPERIALIST TYRANNY AND COLONIAL RULE / APPEALED FOR “THE NEW AND RIGHTEOUS LAW OF / WASHINGTON,” WAS UNVEILED ON JUNE 27, 1964. / THIS HISTORIC EVENT COMMEMORATED THE / 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF SHEVCHENKO’S BIRTH. / THE MEMORIAL WAS AUTHORIZED BY THE 86TH / CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / ON AUGUST 31, 1960, AND SIGNED INTO PUBLIC / LAW 86-749 BY DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, THE 34TH / PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, / ON SEPTEMBER 13, 1960. THE STATUE WAS ERECTED / BY AMERICANS OF UKRAINIAN ANCESTRY AND FRIENDS. (base, north side)
    LEO MOL – SCULPTOR / RADOSLAV ZUK – ARCHITECT (base, lower north side)
    WHEN WILL UKRAINE / HAVE ITS WASHINGTON / WITH FAIR AND JUST LAWS? / SOMEDAY WE WILL! (base, west side)[2]
    …OUR SOUL SHALL NEVER PERISH, / FREEDOM KNOWS NO DYING, / AND THE GREEDY CANNOT HARVEST / FIELDS WHERE SEAS ARE LYING. // CANNOT BIND THE LIVING SPIRIT / NOR THE LIVING WORD / CANNOT SMIRCH THE SACRED GLORY / OF TH’ALMIGHTY LORD. // TARAS SHEVCHENKO ‘THE CAUCASUS.’ 1845. (wall, north side)

    [yalensis: in other words, just the usual blah blah blah about enslaved peoples, etc., with the extra twist that even in this Cold War era, the focus was on “Russian imperialism” rather than Soviet badness per se…]

    3:35 minutes in –
    Somin underscores that phrase about “The new and righteous law of Washington”, as pronounced by the Shevchenko statue.

    The quote was taken out of context from a Shevchenko poem about the Caucasuses.

    3:57 minutes in –
    The most interesting aspect of the statue is mostly hidden from view.
    It is the name of the sculptor: Leo Mol.
    Somin reveals that this Leo Mol was actually a man named Leonid Molozhanyn.
    Leonid was a citizen of the Soviet Union, who graduated from the Leningrad School of Art.
    [yalensis: And you can tell just by looking at the statue, that he was a talented artist]

    Somin compares the biographies of the 2 artists, Selikhanov and Molozhanyn.
    Like Selikhanov, Molozhanyn also went to fight at the front after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. In 1942 he was captured and became a POW.
    4:35 minutes in – Somin points out sardonically how even wikipedia cannot bring itself to tell the truth about “Leo Mol” – hiding behind formulations like “Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union he moved to Germany where he was influenced by Arno Breker…
    Photo shows Breker and Hitler together. Somehow, as a POW, Mol got hooked up with Breker, and that was his ticket out of the war. Mol became an apprentice in Breker’s art studio. Breker was known for his “monumentalist” Nazi sculptures.

    When Nazis lost the war, Mol fled to Canada. Winnipeg.
    5:00 minutes in – where Mol won the bid to do the Shevchenko statue for Washington.
    American/Canadian Banderites love them some Shevchenko statue.
    5:13 minutes in shows Orange Banderites from 2005 gathering around the statue, it’s the favorite meeting place of all Banderites.
    5:17 minutes in – Yushchenko’s wife Kateryna Chumachenko was herself the spawn of a Banderite diaspora family. Shows them and also Klitchko gathering at the statue in 2005.

    5:28 minutes in – Somin turns to the question of how all these people could have possible “deceived” the Canadian government as to their true origins. All of their documents were forged, and their citizenships obtained illegally. How could this be?

    5:38 minutes in – The importation of Nazi refugees to America/Canada was carried out by a special commission for refugees, formed by American government.

    5:46 minutes in: Quote about the statistics involved. From 1948 through 1952 approx. 400,000 people were re-settled from Europe into America/Canada. Initially, the resettlement act forbade the immigration of anybody who had been a member of a Nazi organization. However, in 1950 this rule was repealed. The Baltic Legion of the Waffen SS was declared an organization “not hostile to America” and was allowed entry into the country.

    [yalensis: from reading other materials about the post-war situation, the relaxation of rules about admitting Nazi war criminals happened around the same time as the formation of the CIA, because the Americans needed the Nazis to help them fight the Russians again]

    6:15 minutes in – so, these 400,000 people were allowed in, under the aegis of religious and “humanitarian” NGO’s which dealt with refugees. [yalensis: and he doesn’t even mention the role of the Catholic Church in rescuing so many Nazis!] The refugees with dodgy pasts were given new names and fake papers.

    6:30 minutes in – the famous visit of President Ronald Reagan to the Nazi cemetery in Bitburg, Germany. in 1985. Among the protesters against this, was a young, unknown American named Michael Moore, who went on to become a famous film director.

    And ends the piece by returning to Katriuk, who was allowed to live out his long and peaceful life in beautiful Canadian village, thanks to generosity of American and Canadian governments, who honor all of these Nazi people for their past service to the great cause or murdering millions of undesirable humans.

    • kat kan says:

      The CIA connection is worse than that — the Gehlen Organization was set up in the US zone in Germany and had a LOT to do with Nazis, who being the locals knew most about what was going on. They needed to get their useful people back to the US. By then it was accepted that atrocities if any had been done by rogue elements, and officers were military people who had nothing to do with it (of course they were the new advisers, so what would they say?).

      • Northern Star says:

        http://www.operationpaperclip.info/

        “Wernher von Braun’s post-war involvement in the American space programme provided an excuse to glorify Peenemünde as the place where the technology for the Moon landings was developed,” Dr Johannes Erichesen, the German historian behind the new £4.6 million museum project said. “The fact that the Nazis used the place to build missiles (NS:with slave labor )to win the war was regarded as an unfortunate aberration.”
        http://gehlen.greyfalcon.us/peenemunde.html

        “unfortunate aberration”….LOL!!!!

        • yalensis says:

          I kind of “get” why American government would want to spirit out important Nazis like von Braun. The genius rocket scientists and the like. Because they were USEFUL.

          But what is really insidious to me is that Americans rescued thousands of ordinary schmucks and losers who didn’t know how to do anything, and were just nasty brainless thugs and concentration camp guards.

          I dunno, maybe this sounds elitist, but I think that was the greater crime. Because they rescued these people not even for any practical reason, but just to, sort of, pat them on the back and say, “Good job!” Know what I mean??

          • marknesop says:

            Is that true? I believed Operation Paperclip to have been purely to deny the capture of valuable scientists, inventors and researchers of the Third Reich by the Red Army. I never read anything about the Americans snatching Nazis en masse, including guards and other such cannon fodder. It has always been excused by saying these men were the greatest minds of their day, and that if the Russians captured them they would have been executed. As they likely would have.

  7. et Al says:

    The Kremlin Stooge – Laying the pipe for beating Russophobes!

    I’ll just repeat a few salient details for the lurkers that were posted in the last thread or possibly earlier

    1: Russia is set to double the capacity of Nord Stream which has apparently only been running around 30-50% capacity;

    2: EU roolz that would have applied to South Stream are not applied to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline as well as others that have been classified as field pipes;

    3: Arch russophobes and three-legged poodle the UK, is on the one hand forcing Mikhail Fridman to sell the North Sea oil fields he recently bought from the Germans on NatSec grounds, yet British energy provider Centrica has just signed a huge deal with Gazprom.

    Beware the ides! Any bets that the next major crisis will be yet again in August when the Commission is usually on holiday? Since Saakashiti’s war crimes in 2008, the Commission keeps a few key staff around just in case and the European diplomatic service (EEAS) has been stood up since.

    As for Kiev, it looks like its allies are following the no pain, no gain brutal love strategy to force fundamental reforms through even the most gritted of teeth. Is there anyone in the Ukraine who can be seen as a unifying figure???

  8. Cortes says:

    Culture shock has still not really hit Ukrainians. A few years back a couple from Cherkasy were visiting mutual friends in Glasgow and laughing about dish washing being done in a basin in the sink. Despite patient explanation about gas metering they just could not get their heads round the idea that energy supply has costs. Now that indiviidual meters have been installed in every flat current squeals of protest will turn to outrage, I think, once the bills come in…

    • marknesop says:

      The Russian half of my family used to behave similarly in Vladivostok; there was no plug in the sink, and they just turned on the hot water and let ‘er run when they were doing the washing-up, squirting a drop of dish soap when necessary because dish soap cost money but hot water was cheap and limitless. I was horrified, and made a temporary plug from a crushed-up plastic bag to hold water in the sink. They were polite about it but it was plain they thought that method was quite unsanitary, washing your dishes in dirty water.

      • yalensis says:

        I read a lot of accounts of quite normal Ukrainian families (Russian households do this too) of turning the heat up to maximum during the winter, but then keeping a window open to get a continuous supply of fresh, cold air.

        They were able to do this, because gas was practically free.

        • kat kan says:

          Sadly, this is not their choice. The system only has one temperature, ie the Soviets saved by not putting regulating mechanisms into every flat. So communal central heating gets too hot, and opening windows is the only way to regulate it. Maybe they’ve gotten so used to this method that they also do it if they have heating with a thermostat.

          Many places in Ukraine are not metered, just charged an estimate,m a good excuse for everyone to argue it’s wrong and not want to pay it. While they install meters, they could also install taps to cut down usage, without anyone being hurt by it. Now they’ve ruin out of money for either, but that’s ok, as next year they won’t have money for the heating, either, so taps would be superfluous.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            A fortochka – a ventilation window.

            The heat is constant from October until May.

            The fortochka is how one controls the room temperature. In winter, clouds of condensed water vapour rolls into the room from an opened fortochka as the heavy, sub-zero air from outside tumbles into the room.

            Old:


            and new:

            Note the double glazing and the thickness of the walls.

            As in our flat:

            And as it was in our old flat:

            When I met and wed Mrs. Exile, she had two furry feline friends – who hated me, typically Russian xenophobes that they were.

    • kirill says:

      I find this mentality to be bizarre. It is some post-1991 syndrome that reflects a generation born after 1980 that has swallowed the western easy-life utopia BS hook, line and sinker. Their parents were much more sober.

      The brain damage in this generation likely has no cure. These people will believe anything to keep their bubble of delusion inflated.

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    And it’s a big “Howdy!’ to the US Navy from Mordor Air Force:

    USS Ross greeted in the Black Sea.

    Clearly a provocation by the Russians.

    • kirill says:

      Russia needs to set up a SDIZ or sea defense identification zone and cry about any US warship approaching within 300 nm from its coasts. The US staged these stunts back in the 1980s when they were scraping the USSR’s 12 nm limit in the Black Sea.

  10. Russia’s Space Program suffered a major hit as $1,8 billion has been stolen from the funds allocated for the Space Program: http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/25/technology/russia-space-corruption/index.html

    Russia’s Space Program is not doing very well right now with many recent launch failures and with huge sums of money stolen by corrupt officials.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Bearer of glad tidings again!

      • dany8538 says:

        ME, while I agree constant pessimism is annoying and not helpful it is still right to admit that Russia has major corruption problems although of course compared to Ukraine they are angels. It is important to see that corruption is slowing and yet it is still a major problem. I wonder, is corruption in Russia a systematic problem that cant be cured by any reforms and it should just be priced into any transaction or the approach to fight it has been wrong?
        I am a massive believer in Russia’s future economic might but i think they have to work harder on these corruption issues that can easily derail future growth.

        • “while I agree constant pessimism is annoying”

          I like to think myself as a realist rather than a pessimist, although with Russia I have learned that pessimism is often more warranted than optimism. This is a country that has NEVER lived up to its potential, because of either external or internal reasons, or both.
          There always seems to be something that prevents Russia’s rise. Soviet Union had potential, but the commies ruined it with their idiotic policies (placing ideology over pragmatism). Now Russia is rather weak, and it acts even weaker than it’s actual strength.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Now Russia is rather weak, and it acts even weaker than it’s actual strength” – you don’t say!

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Russian weakness is clearly displayed not only by its reluctance to admit that Russian military personnel are active in the separatist areas of Ukraine but also by the fact that Russia dare not install training camps for Eastern Ukraine terrorists, who would be trained by the Russian military just as the US military is openly training Ukrainian “National Guardsmen” in the far West of the Ukraine, to say nothing of Russian temerity as regards the launching of an all out attack by the Russian armed forces against the Ukrainian armed forces and assorted “natiionalist” battalions engaged in anti-terrorist operations in Donetsk and Lugansk provinces. These facts, together with repeated directives from Moscow that have resulted in the separatists being “thrown under a bus” are clear evidence of Russian political and military weakness as compared with the might of the West, which always wins.

              • kat kan says:

                What makes you think they didn’t have a training camp for “refugees” ? the return of whom is partly covered by the “big mobilisation drive” which was no way getting 30,000 men at around 200 a day.

          • astabada says:

            I like to think myself as a realist rather than a pessimist

            You’re being overly optimistic here.

        • Jen says:

          The fact that Dmitri Rogozin admits that corruption exists in Russia’s space industry at least indicates an attitude and point of view that might be open to improvement and reform in the institutions, networks and cultures in that industry. Can the same be said for NASA or other countries’ space agencies and industries, and allied industries that supply them with electronics and other “raw materials”? Isn’t possible that NASA’s connections with its suppliers, the way the agency is organised and its management and organisational culture might expose it to corrupt practices?

          It would also help to know if the current level of corruption (as measured perhaps in the amounts of money lost, the number of criminal cases currently in the court system or the people involved and their respective levels in the organisations that employ them) in Russia’s space industry is more or less than what it used to be, say, 10 years ago, 20 years ago or 30 years ago.

          Additionally CNN.com seems to be the source of the news about corruption in Russia’s space industry for most other news websites so we can’t discount the possibility that this news has more background context (that CNN.com might have ignored or been unaware of) which would cast the level of corruption in a different light.

          • kirill says:

            As they say, the fish rots from the head. But thanks to Putin there is no longer any head rot like there was during the 1990s. There has a been a progression of exposure and diminution of corruption in Russia over the last 15 years. The damage done by Yeltsin’s regime cannot be undone in a couple of years and it will take decades. But these stories never have any context that lets the media consumer get a sense of the magnitude of this problem today and its trend.

            Big construction projects have the common problem of failure to meet deadlines. The Toronto subway expansion project was supposed to have been completed before the Pan Am games this year. It is behind schedule by a year. That one year translates into lost money and quite a lot. I am quite sure the cost of the two year delay at the Vostochny construction site is part of that money figure being quoted. So the question to CNN and the rest of the western propaganda chorus is why is the same thing OK in Canada but proof of terminal rot in Russia?

            • Tim Owen says:

              “There has a been a progression of exposure and diminution of corruption in Russia over the last 15 years. The damage done by Yeltsin’s regime cannot be undone in a couple of years and it will take decades. But these stories never have any context that lets the media consumer get a sense of the magnitude of this problem today and its trend.”

              That’s close to the nub of it in my view and why I faded MSM close to a decade ago. I can handle bad news and generally ignore it as the noise of life. It’s only bad trends that get my attention. If you can’t tell the difference you are wasting my time.

              Put another way, the bias is exposed by the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever seen the good trends that are the hallmark of Putin’s popularity reported in the west. What is it, an eightfold increase in GDP over the course of his administrations? I’ve literally only ever seen that cited in posted twitter comments. Or maybe Adomanis.

              Anyway, the bias is rife and a complete rebuttal of the claims of superiority – moral, political, economic, “civilizational” … you name it.

              Has bad conscience written all over it.

          • yalensis says:

            CNN has the usual agenda. “Corruption” is one of the key issues in the Gene Sharpe colour-revolution handbook. Of all the possible things that can be wrong with a given society, the Americans decided that “corruption” should be the main issue in all of these revolutions. At their Yale course in revolution, which Navalny studied, they teach how to use corruption as a battle-cry to overthrow the government.

            Saakashvili is considered the very model of a pro-American colour revolutionary who comes to power spouting anti-corruption slogans. (Once in power, he did get rid of some rival mob bosses and then concentrated all the corruption in his own greedy hands!)

            In conclusion, when pointing out corruption in Russian aerospace industry, CNN is probably trying, not so much to be a helpful friend to Russia (in pointing out some problems), but more likely providing fuel to the colour revolutionaries, who still have not given up hope of overthrowing Putin.

          • kat kan says:

            Most of the losses seem connected to construction of the new space center, and construction is notoriously full of corruption in every country. And the quote is about “financial violations” which is not necessarily a loss, just bad accounting.

      • ucgsblog says:

        ME – Russia’s rising on the World’s stage, no doubt about that, but when a country is rising, it’s going to mess up, like a kid riding a bike for the first time. It’s mistakes should be studied and analyzed, rather than ignored. $1.8 billion stolen from RSPA today could be $18 billion stolen from RSPA in a decade. I’d rather have it addressed today, so that the problem doesn’t repeat itself. Russia’s hockey team needed several doses of cold showers in Sochi to perform at their level in Minsk. Why should RSPA be treated any differently?

        I like Karl as a commentator. If he’s proven wrong in his predictions, we cheer; if he’s proven right, we need to work on improvements. Either way, we benefit from them, even if there’s a lot more cheering than working 😛

        • “I like Karl as a commentator. If he’s proven wrong in his predictions, we cheer”

          So do I. I am probably one of those rare cases who want his own predictions to be false (when they are negative and include Russia).

    • davidt says:

      I am skeptical that $1.8 billion was stolen. More than one person would have to be very brave or stupid if the figure is correct. I am pretty sure that I have seen much smaller figures suggested, and even then Rogozin was inclined to explain much of this as due to incompetence.

      • yalensis says:

        Incompetence is often indistinguishable from actual corruption.

        From what I have read, the best cure for both is strict auditing and proven methods of quality control.

        • davidt says:

          Perhaps the figure is 1.8 billion rubles (or $31.7 million) See
          sputniknews.com/russia/20150405/1020496791.html
          Hope that helps Karl a bit.

          • kirill says:

            That is likely the source of the $1.8 billion figure. A deliberate mistranslation. The real missing sum is $281.6 million but it seems to me to include the construction delay costs as oppose to outright theft.

            The big story here is how quickly this offending firm was fired and a case opened against it. The routine for “corrupt regimes” is to hide the corruption since it typically reaches all the way to the top. I think NATO hates Putin so much due to the fact that he cannot be bought.

  11. et Al says:

    The European Commission has found the Energy Holy Grail (EHG)! Gas from Algeria! Woo hoo! And LNG from the US & Australia:

    euractiv: EU plans major offensive to diversify gas supplies
    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/energy/eu-plans-major-offensive-diversify-gas-supplies-315019

    The European Commission is preparing a ‘diplomatic energy action plan’ to diversify the EU’s natural gas supply sources, with plans for tapping Algeria’s huge unexploited reserves, and a comprehensive LNG strategy due next year.

    Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, has agreed on a “coherent approach” with the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, in dealing with gas supply countries such as Norway and Russia.

    “For the time being, we have been concentrating a lot of efforts on the Mediterranean,” Cañete told a small group of Brussels-based journalists last week, underlining Algeria’s “enormous possibilities”…

    …The Commission will convey a business forum “early next year” to analyse the reasons behind Algeria’s chronic under-investment in natural gas extraction capacity, and the possibilities for tapping unexploited reserves – both conventional and non-conventional…

    ….At issue is Algeria’s preference for long-term contracts while the markets are more driven by spot prices, Cañete said.

    EU officials also say investors are often deterred by Algeria’s strict ownership rules, which forces foreign companies to engage in a minority joint-venture with the country’s state-owned oil and gas company, Sonatrach.

    “We Europeans are not investing much in Algeria for the moment and the pipelines are either underused or not being used at all. This could be a secure supply source for the EU so we should have a closer relationship,” Cañete said…

    …But the wisdom of building large pipelines was called into question by environmental groups, who point out that demand for gas has fallen by 9% over the last decade due to savings efforts…

    ####

    It’s quite simple. a) Algeira has to give up any security of long term contracts because spot gas prices as is practiced in Western Europe are supposed to lead to lower gas prices for European consumers; b) sell its energy infrastructure to European companies who will look after and develop it properly in Algeria’s best interests; c) the hippies are right, gas pipelines are “really bad man for like nature and stuff…“.

    Good grief! Facepalm Charlie Brown… This is the New Colonialism, dressed up as European values.

    How’s Algeria’s political stability going these days by the way Brussels? Now with all the weapons set free from NATO’s bombing of Libya, it is surely a surefire bet!

    Any comment on how Europe helped develop democracy over there in Africa’s first ‘Arab Spring’ in 1991 when the FIS beat the incumbent FLN so handsomely that Europe didn’t blink when the results were annulled and Algeria descended in to brutal civil war?

    • marknesop says:

      We Europeans are not investing much in Algeria for the moment and the pipelines are either underused or not being used at all. This could be a secure supply source for the EU so we should have a closer relationship,” Cañete said…”

      Mmm hmmm. With a source that insists on long-term contracts over spot prices which favour the consumer rather than the vendor, and rules which will not let the EU own the pipeline. Gosh, that reminds me of the situation between the EU and another gas source. But in that case those conditions inspire horror, while here they spell C.O.N.F.I.D.E.N.C.E.

      Oh, oh. I see a problem.

      In North Africa, new political leadership and vast reserves mean some countries like Algeria, Libya and Egypt have the potential to become some of the largest European suppliers. The three countries together could provide about 44 percent of what Russia does today, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).”

      Algeria together with Libya and Egypt might – might – supply Europe with 44% of what Russia does today. Well, we know Egypt and Libya are models of political stability – how about Algeria? Ha, ha!! You couldn’t make this up. Just a couple of months ago the corruption trial of the former CEO of Sonatrach – an energy firm that was specifically mentioned as a potential lifeline to Europe – and his two sons, among other company executives, was scuppered on day one when the witnesses didn’t show. You don’t say. The defendants are accused of inflating the price of contracts with a state company, embezzlement of public funds, and money laundering. “Algeria, an OPEC member, received only four bids last year for 31 oil field blocks put up for auction”.

      What could go wrong? In its turning-itself-inside-out-to-avoid-doing-business-with-Russia comic efforts, the EU is prepared to sign on with a slate of embezzlers and crooks that will make Uganda look like Zurich. Seriously, this is soooo European – propose a host of airy-fairy solutions that depend on liberal applications of powdered unicorn to make them reality, ignore the glaring realities in favour of playing let’s-pretend until it is too late to do anything, and then blame Russia for weaponizing energy. Obviously the inbreeding in Brussels has far exceeded manageable recreational levels.

  12. So they (US) yet managed to oust Blatter after all. Next we can expect a big campaign to move the World Cup of 2018 away from Russia. Hopefully it will not come to that, but the Empire is on the offensive.

      • Blatter just resigned.

        • marknesop says:

          Here’s his resignation statement. No indication that he was forced out by Washington – although you’d hardly expect him to say so – and close confidante Domenico Scala is in charge of overseeing his replacement. Here’s Mr. Scala’s statement from earlier this year on candidacy for the election just concluded, which Blatter won.

          Amongst others, in order to be eligible, a candidate must have had an active role in association football for two of the last five years before being proposed as a candidate. Equally, a candidate must be backed by at least five member associations. All submissions must be made in writing to the FIFA general secretariat within the deadline. The general secretariat will then forward them to the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee for examination and for a decision to be made on the admission of the candidate to the FIFA presidential elections. Before such a decision is made, however, the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee will, upon receipt of the proposed candidatures, forward them to the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee to carry out the integrity check within the ten-day deadline specified in the Electoral Regulations. Upon receipt of the integrity check, the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee will reconvene in order to review all of the submissions made and to take a decision on the admission and declaration of the proposed candidatures. Therefore, only once the integrity checks have been completed by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee and the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee has validated the compliance of any potential candidate with the applicable FIFA regulatory provisions will the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee be able to formally admit and declare candidatures. It goes without saying that we aim to do this as soon as possible.”

          I can’t remember who the Jordanian was that Washington favoured. Does he meet these requirements?

          • That Jordanian guy is backed by the US and Britain. If he replaces Blatter we can expect an attack against Russia’s World Cup tournament. But if the successor is someone else (maybe someone from Blatter’s circles) then the attack is less likely.

            • marknesop says:

              He must be backed by 5 member associations, although if the USA and UK – legendary arm-twisters both – back him they should have no trouble mustering the requisite support. But has he “had an active role” in association football for two of the last five years? I’d look it up, but I can’t remember who he was.

              • et Al says:

                I’m not entirely sure why the Pork Pie News Networks are squealing so loudly about Russia hosting the 2018 world cup. The Official US response to Russia when Putin complained was that their investigation had nothing on Russia or to do with Russia.

                On the plus side, it really, really shows who the out and out Russophobic biogots are, right out there in public. I hope Russia’s list on banned euro&yankowankers is expanded forthwith.

                • marknesop says:

                  The great majority of foreigners who attended the Sochi Olympics in 2014 were wowed, and the Russophobic nations do not want that positive experience repeated. It might lead to embarrassing questions of the Western Narrative. It’s hard to tell people who went there and had a great time that Russia is a savage and backward cesspool presided over by a brutal dictator.

              • et Al says:

                Someone (Tim?!) posted this on the last thread and I think it is worth reposting considering the news, especially as even Jon Snow accuses the Jordanian Prince Ali of coming from a corrupt country:

                Go to 6:15.

                • et Al says:

                  No! Jon Stewart, and it was somewhere else that someone wrote in an article that Jordan was hardly a paragon of transparency. Oooh, that goes to show I cannot rely on memory!

                • Terje says:

                  Prince Ali son of Hussein. CIrcassian heritage, did a horseback trip to CIrcassia, active in remembering the Circassian genocide and expulsion (1860’s). No slant against Russia in choosing him then.
                  From https://circassianworld.wordpress.com/
                  “The Circassians are an ancient race, compsed of twelve tribes, who have been dwelling in the mountains if the North Caucasus and along the Black Sea coast since time immemorial. Many would be invaders had found them a terrible foe.”
                  “The Circassian question, practically dormant before Russia won the Olympic bid in 2007, has actively reemerged in recent years”

                • et Al says:

                  I did not know Ali was Circassian Terje. Thanks!

              • ucgsblog says:

                http://grantland.com/the-triangle/fifa-elections-blatter-platini/

                “Platini wants to change that. He’s been quietly jockeying for power against Blatter for years; if he’s not necessarily a preferable alternative — he’s widely seen as more responsible for the Qatar debacle than Blatter is — he’s at least an alternative, and he has played a shrewd and unflappable long game. When he decided not to run against Blatter this year, it briefly looked as though Sepp would enjoy a second straight unopposed reelection.

                Not so fast! Platini decided not to run himself. But behind the scenes, he started arranging election bids for other candidates: Michael van Praag, the former Ajax chairman and current head of the Dutch FA, and a longtime critic of Blatter. Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, a FIFA vice-president who is the son of the late king of Jordan. Most spectacularly, Luís Figo, the retired Portuguese winger who won the Ballon d’Or in 2000; Figo announced his entry into the campaign just 24 hours before the deadline, ensuring max press coverage due to the surprise.

                Platini didn’t openly acknowledge that he was pulling these candidates’ strings. But the signs were everywhere. To enter a FIFA presidential race, you have to have the backing of five member FAs. Someone invisibly arranged for each of the three candidates to have non-overlapping support. Someone got them to coordinate their messages: reform, credibility, how FIFA is perceived around the world. Would-be FIFA presidents who hadn’t made the five-vote cut started complaining in the press about a mysterious someone running “proxy candidates” to fight their battles for them. (This was from the former French diplomat Jerome Champagne, who I really wish had made it into the election so I could write “Jerome Champagne” as often as possible.)”

                Thing is, the Blatter Coalition is bigger than the Platini Coalition, so any truly democratic vote, (like the one Blatter’s resignation triggered,) is going to be won by Team Blatter.

                • Cortes says:

                  If Greg Dyke gets it, at least the LGBTs should be happy. (I’ll get me coat…)

                • Jen says:

                  Interesting about the Platini coalition versus the Blatter coalition … sounds just like politics as practised by the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party. And people say FIFA is corrupt!

                • ucgsblog says:

                  Two party politics are so boring. They’re too easy to predict. We need multiparty politics. Otherwise guys like me end up performing more complex analysis on simulations for fun, then the things we do to get paid.

    • ucgsblog says:

      Blatter quit beautifully. He won the election, ousted the democratically unelected prince, and then resigned, after calling for a vote, where he knows that his candidate is going to win, because FIFA has something that Ukraine doesn’t: a silent and fair democratic vote, where the majority of the vote belongs to the developing countries.

      • ucgsblog says:

        Quick count for those who doubt: (Votes, Team Blatter vs Team Platini)

        Africa: TB – 52, TP – 2
        Europe: TB – 7, TP – 46
        Asia: TB – 38, TP – 8
        North America: TB – 25, TP – 10
        Oceania: TB – 9, TP – 2
        South America: TB – 3, TP – 7

        TB – 134, TP – 75

        Previous vote was TB 133, TP – 73, with 3 ballots spoiled, all three probably from South America.

        • Hunter says:

          Yes, I was curious as to why there was so much triumphalism in the Western MSM over this, because at first they made it sound like he was going to resign and be gone tomorrow, but later it emerged that he would stick around until the extraordinary congress in late 2015 or early 2016. Which is plenty time for him to arrange things for:

          1. a clean up at FIFA if he so wants

          2. to shore up support for his preferred successor who will continue his policies if he so wants.

          Except for the fact that he resigned four days after being re-elected, this story in fact has some striking similarities to the circumstances that surrounded Blatter’s first election as FIFA president in 1998. At that time João Havelange (a Brazilian) was FIFA President and announced his resignation in 1998 after 24 years in charge (ahead of the upcoming FIFA Congress and I think shortly before his term was due to end). Blatter wished to stand and was opposed by the UEFA President Lennart Johansson who demanded that Blatter resign from his position as FIFA General Secretary first if he planned to run as President of FIFA. Havelange rejected that demand and ended the meeting in which it was made before the issue could be put to a vote, with Johansson calling it a “defeat for democracy”. Johansson also promised to launch an investigation by an independent accountant into FIFA’s business practices under Havelange if he was elected as FIFA president.

          In the actual election Johansson lost 80-111 to Sepp Blatter and there were claims of bribery in the vote.

          So it wouldn’t surprise me if something similar happens in late 2015/early 2016 where Platini’s man (either Ali bin Hussein or someone else) gets beaten by Blatter’s man (whoever that may be) and we here allegations of corruption etc. And the thing is that even in this recent election Europe was not united in opposition to Blatter despite appearing so before the vote. Between 10 and 18 UEFA members (somewhere between a quarter and a third of the membership) apparently voted for Blatter include Spain, France (despite Platini’s opposition to Blatter) and Russia and possibly Cyprus and Turkey. If up to 18 UEFA members could be persuaded to vote for Blatter (more than double the estimated 7 UEFA nations in Team Blatter’s camp by ucgsblog), then what are the chances really that Platini’s preferred candidate will win at the extraordinary congress? I would think they would be fairly low as Africa and Asia (even with Platini’s candidate being an Asian candidate) have been fairly solidly behind Blatter and will likely be solidly behind any candidate that he seems to prefer and/or who promises to continue with Blatter’s policies of spreading the game outside of Europe and South America and providing much needed funding to do this. At which point Russia’s 2018 world cup hosting rights and Qatar’s 2022 hosting rights will probably be pretty solidly locked up and we can expect more talks of boycotts by the US and some Western European nations.

          If they do go ahead with a boycott though, I wouldn’t be surprised if:

          1. UEFA loses spots for the World Cup. CONCACAF might lose a spot or a half spot too.

          2. it doesn’t amount to much as Spain and Germany seem unlikely to boycott for Russia 2018 at least and the nature of the tournament means that the boycotters will likely be replaced by good teams (maybe not of the same calibre, but good nonetheless) and there will be some good football, quite possibly with the boycotting teams all being forgotten about by the time the semi-finals roll around (just as how the various issues with Brazil hosting the world cup were all forgotten about once the tournament really got underway…nobody cared anymore about unfinished construction etc).

          • ucgsblog says:

            They cannot boycott Russia. Soccer is rising in Asia, and if Russia is boycotted, Russia will leave UEFA. Yes, it’ll be damaging in the short term, but in the long term, it’ll make Asia superior to Europe in soccer, and that’s not something UEFA wants. It’ll also cost UEFA at least 150 million fans.

            Calls for boycott have a rich history. Remember Bettman’s call for the NHL to boycott Turin? I’m guessing not, since it’s been almost a decade. By 2024, the Sochi boycott will also be a joke, and by 2028, the boycott of World Cup in Russia will be derided to joke status, because the WC in 2018 will be amazing. (More amazing if I can get seats to the games I want.)

            The reason for triumphalism was because Obama and the press are desperate for any victory, and were actually foolish enough to think that Blatter was going to hand it to them on a silver platter.

            • marknesop says:

              Every time the USA does this, it alienates a new group that says, what the fuck? The group that bays its approval is always the same people – the same group for whom the U.S. government can do no wrong so long as it is forcing obedience on somebody. But every time it starts throwing its weight around, it makes a different group of people angry and resentful.

              • ucgsblog says:

                Yep, which is a shame, because US’ attack on FIFA might’ve cost the US the World Cup in 2026. Not because US investigated corruption, but because of how it was done, i.e. cockily, flamboyantly, with the “you’re either with us or against us!” attitude, and massive hypocrisy. And if the alienation continues, soon US will have no friends left, meaning that China could do something truly drastic: assault the dollar.

                • marknesop says:

                  I think they are – but cautiously, in the knowledge that they hold Billions in U.S. debt. That can either be a hammer, or a noose. They are treading lightly to ensure it is not the latter.

                • ucgsblog says:

                  So, are they waiting for China to challenge the dollar? Or for austerity relief? Or both?

                • marknesop says:

                  China is challenging the dollar – China supported Russia with currency swaps during the western sanctions to minimize economic damage, stated publicly that it was ready to assist financially if Russia were driven to the wall, and is visibly allied with Russia in trading in local currencies that deliberately do not use the dollar. If they develop a SWIFT alternative and use it, the dollar is done as a global reserve currency. Perhaps not immediately, and it will always be an important currency for so long as the USA remains a wealthy country, but you can see the cracks already.

      • et Al says:

        I second that. There’s a reason he was elected five times – he has serious political nous. By choosing to resign at his own timing he a) takes control of the narrative; b) stymies the propaganda campaign orchestrated to force him out one way or another; c) get’s kudos and proves his love for FIFA. Yes, one clever f/ker indeed.

        You know, $150 million is really not very much compared to the billions that have passed though FIFA (not that I’m excusing corruption here). See, you can be corrupt yet still deliver the goods (popularlizing football in the USA, seriously boosting it in the developing world), but then it is like other shifts in western values. In the old days, being called ‘racist’ was considered a career death sentence, now if you say or do something racist/bigoted etc. and then throw yourself upon the mercy of the media twatterarti, and – this is very, very important – are a) good looking; b) popular already etc., then you will return to heaven after six months or so in self-imposed limbo.

        • et Al says:

          On the point of who is going to replace Blatter, what are the odds of it not being an older, caucasian gentleman from the west? More and more women I say. Right now!

        • Fern says:

          I don’t think so, et Al. His resignation speech has been shown several times now and it seems clear from his body language, his demeanour and his refusal to take questions that here was not an empowered man taking control of the timing of his resignation but a rather defeated one forced into a corner. The press conference that followed his re-election was pretty brutal and in answer to one question demanding why he didn’t step down in the light of the corruption allegations, he said something along the lines of doing that would be tantamount to admitting he’d done something wrong so why would he? So it seems very odd indeed that a few days later, he does just that. Something has clearly happened between then and now.

          My money would be on his and, more significantly, his family being threatened. I think he’s been told by either the Swiss authorities or a US representative that unless he steps down, the US will just keep coming and will leave no stone unturned in an investigation that will affect not just him but members of his family that will go on for years and bring no respite to them even if he dies – threats of confiscation of property, frozen bank accounts etc etc.

          The US has invested enormous resources in this – and this is the same Department of Justice that has ignored admitted money laundering by American banks from Mexican drug cartels and shows no interest in investigating corruption in sport in the US so go figure. And they sure as hell didn’t do all of this to take the 2022 World Cup from Qatar, a major US ally and nor did they do it to allow anyone other than the chosen Prince, son a man on the CIA payroll for a quarter of a century, become head of FIFA. And yeah, Russia is the target.

          • et Al says:

            Yes, you are of course right Fern! I wasn’t paying attention! I briefly heard that he would resign but hadn’t noted any other news around FIFA. It turns out that at least two senior FIFA officials had already resigned.

      • marknesop says:

        Just the speculation of idlers with nothing better to do, although western governments probably encourage it. Nigel Phillip Morely comments,

        Much as I would love to see the World Cup come here I think it would be unwise to take it from Russia. That is what Putin wants. he is in a massive hole financially over Ukraine because the sanctions are crippling so he would love to be rid of the huge expense of preparing for the World Cup. Remember Russias infrastructure is lamentable, not remotely of first world standards and the cost to the russian purse of the world cup is massive. Let Putin off and he has more money to wage war with Ukraine.”

        Which earned him the immediate rebuke from Gary Orrell,

        All that propaganda worked wonders on you didn’t it! Another clueless idiot who gets all his information from Crimson Tide and Rocky 4. Have you ever been to Russia? There infrastructure pisses all over ours and no they are not at war with Ukraine and sanctions havn’t really done anything except put Russia in a stronger position with China, India and many other countries who don’t brown nose the US. Rossiya 2018… На здоровье!”

        • Hunter says:

          Well the thing is that even IF the 2018 tournament was to be moved and the bidding re-opened, England would seem very odd favourites given that in the original bid they came dead last in the first round of voting with just 2 votes. Spain and Portugal would be far more likely favourites given that they came second.

          English football seems to have lost perspective on how important it really is in world football (aside from the Premier League). It almost makes me wish that they would initiate a secession from FIFA, because once out the door they will not be able to re-enter on the same terms as they have now (being members of the IFAB which determines the laws of football alongside the scottish, welsh and northern irish football associations and FIFA; having a vice presidency spot in FIFA shared among the scottish, welsh and northern irish football associations). In fact they might have to re-enter as a single UK body (assuming the scottish, welsh and northern irish FAs left with them) or at least a Great Britain body (if the scottish and welsh FAs left but the northern irish FA didn’t).

    • Cortes says:

      On the offensive, yes, but squeaky clean? Here’s Tom Engeldardt (at tomdispatch.com on 2 June 2015) on how things are done in US elections…
      Now, jump across the political aisle and consider Hillary Clinton.  As the Washington Post reported recently, she received a payment from eBay of $315,000 for a 20-minute talk at a “summit” that tech company sponsored on women in the workplace.  Over the last 16 months, in fact, she and her husband have raked in more than $25 million for such talks.  Hillary’s speeches pulled in $3.2 million from the tech sector alone, which she’s now pursuing for more direct contributions to her presidential campaign.  “Less than two months [after the eBay summit],” the Post added, “Clinton was feted at the San Francisco Bay-area home of eBay chief executive John Donahoe and his wife, Eileen, for one of the first fundraisers supporting Clinton’s newly announced presidential campaign.”

      Say no more, right?  I mean, it’s obvious that no one pays such sums for words (of all things!), not without ulterior motives.  No deal has to have been made.  No direct or even indirect exchange of promises is necessary.  On the face of it, there is a word for such fees, as for Rubio’s relationship with Braman, as for the investor primaries of the new election season, as for so much else that involves “dark money” and goes to the heart of the present political process.  It’s just not a word normally used about our politicians or our system, not by polite pundits and journalists.  If we were in Kabul or Baghdad, not Washington or Los Angeles, we would know just what that word was and we wouldn’t hesitate to use it: “corruption”

  13. et Al says:

    A bit more on the US government’s favorite channel of subsidy for its exporter, the US Import-Export Bank:

    Antiwar.com – Ron Paul: Ex-Im Bank Is Welfare for the One Percent
    http://original.antiwar.com/paul/2015/05/31/ex-im-bank-is-welfare-for-the-one-percent/

    This month Congress will consider whether to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-IM Bank). Ex-IM Bank is a New Deal-era federal program that uses taxpayer funds to subsidize the exports of American businesses. Foreign businesses, including state-owned corporations, also benefit from Ex-IM Bank. One country that has benefited from $1.5 billion of Ex-IM Bank loans is Russia. Venezuela, Pakistan, and China have also benefited from Ex-IM Bank loans…

    …Ex-IM Bank apologists claim that the bank primarily benefits small business. A look at the facts tells a different story. For example, in fiscal year 2014, 70 percent of the loans guaranteed by Ex-IM Bank’s largest program went to Caterpillar, which is hardly a small business.

    Boeing, which is also no one’s idea of a small business, is the leading recipient of Ex-IM Bank aid. In fiscal year 2014 alone, Ex-IM Bank devoted 40 percent of its budget – $8.1 billion – to projects aiding Boeing. No wonder Ex-IM Bank is often called “Boeing’s bank.”..
    ###

    The rest at the link if you like the smell of roast pork!

    And here’s the Golden Boy (TM) who is trailing a new techblaze for America, all by himself, or not as it appears:

    LA Crimes: Elon Musk’s growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hy-musk-subsidies-20150531-story.html

    …Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times. The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.

    “He definitely goes where there is government money,” said Dan Dolev, an analyst at Jefferies Equity Research. “That’s a great strategy, but the government will cut you off one day.”…
    ####

    But the US h8ts subsidies!

  14. Drutten says:

    That “Sochi’s gonna be a derelict ghost town once the Olympics are done” thing seems to be working out just fine.



    • Tim Owen says:

      Ha! Looks like they designed a fountain to look like the Montreal stadium but, you know, actually finished it in time.

      • Drutten says:

        And dare I say that the venues of Sochi have seen much more proper use since the Olympics.

        Literally, it went like this:
        * Oh, nothing’s gonna be finished on time, the organization will be terrible, there’s not gonna be any snow since it’s suuuuuuubtrooooopiiiiicaaaaal (one of the most recurring memes), everything will be blown up by terrorists, oh…
        * OK, everything was finished on time, the organization was top notch, there was snow and nothing was blown up… But it’s going to become a ghost town as soon as the games are concluded, and everything’s just going to fall apart!
        * OK, in order to save face we decided to pay a visit the winter resort in the summer in order to conclude that there were no skiers there! Haha! And then we went to the Sochi beach in January, to make sure that nobody was swimming or sunbathing there! Hahaha! Silly Russians, ghost town, ghost town, ghost town!

        I guess that’s just how it goes.

        I’ve kept tabs on it myself, out of curiosity, and even prior to the Olympics the penny dropped (the gap between what media reported and actual reality was a mile wide even in the early lead-up to the games). The Sochi Olympics really made me realize what Western propaganda is and how it works. It all became so bloody apparent as obvious falsehoods spread like wildfire and none of our esteemed journalists and editors gave a damn about fact-checking.

        • Tim Owen says:

          FWIW there were some similar stories about the Vancouver games. I suppose there’s a baseline of mendacity just produced from needing to provide some drama to justify a reporter’s existence in the realm of pixels. Not that that explains the ferocity of the BS in the case of Russia. Far from it of course as more amply and pointedly demonstrated regarding the apparently unimportant civilian deaths in Donbass, or Syria or Iraq. But at least a portion of it can be shrugged off.

          • Jen says:

            Here’s a link to various abandoned Summer and Winter Olympic Games venues around the world, including an abandoned stadium in … oh, Munich … as in Munich, capital of the state of Bavaria in Germany!!!
            http://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/abandoned-olympic-venues-you-can-still-visit-these-forgotten-sites-in-decay-thrillist-nation
            What’s that about the pot calling the kettle black?

            • Drutten says:

              It’s funny. Ironically (with the slander tsunami in mind), the Sochi thing may well turn out to be the most justifiable Olympic investment in the last couple of decades. Seriously, it’s hilarious.

              Glancing through it all, I can without doubt conclude that all arenas but one in the “coastal cluster” has seen near non-stop usage (both sporting events and other things) over the year that has now passed since the Olympics (the one exception being the opening/closing ceremony stadium, which is undergoing some reconstruction efforts now to prepare it for FIFA 2018), and that the mountain venues have been absolutely flooded over the seasons (so much that they actually yanked up the prices for ski passes and hotels by a whole lot to stifle the flow).

              This photo says it all, really:

              And yet, it’s the Sochi one that they insist on bringing up the “ghost town” meme about. Because yeah, they went to the slopes in the summer and to the beach in winter.

    • Drutten says:

      And look – nobody’s taken down and burned the Ukrainian flag yet, even though it’s been flying there for more than a year.

      Where’s all this primal hate I keep hearing about?

  15. et Al says:

    Maybe the Pork Pie News Networks employ the journalists they deserve. Clearly they are incompetent at a) translating Russian; b) comprehending anything coming out of Russia.

    First up:

    Sydney’s Modern Herod: MH17 plane was shot down by a Buk missile, Russian weapons manufacturer says
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/mh17-plane-was-shot-down-by-a-buk-missile-russian-weapons-manufacturer-says-20150602-ghfdco.html

    Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was brought down by a ‘Buk’ ground-to-air missile, which exploded near the Boeing’s cockpit then peppered the plane with shrapnel, a state-run Russian weapons manufacturer says.

    The claim confounds previous Kremlin claims that the flight was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet….
    #####

    The article then proceeds with a massive wankoff with Brown Noses of Bellend Cat, the digital dicktectives.

    Noooooo, you stupid, ignorant twat. the Russian government never claimed MH17 was downed by a fighter aircraft. It said that Ukrainian aircraft were nearby. As for the satellite picture, that was publicized by an American who found it on the interweb, not from the Russian government ffs! To get so much wrong at the beginning of an article just goes to show how f/king bad these people are. Bring on the monkeys with typewriters I say.

    Meanwhile, the FT is slightly better:

    Financial Crimes: Russia missile maker blames Ukraine for MH17 plane attack
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c50e4c1e-0936-11e5-8534-00144feabdc0.html

    Russian weapons manufacturer Almaz-Antey has confirmed that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Buk missile system as suggested by the west, but said the rocket came from Ukrainian military stocks….

    …At a rare press conference on Tuesday, company officials said if the Boeing was shot down by an air defence system, it could only have been a Buk-M1. “We have irrefutable proof that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have missiles of this type,” said Yan Novikov, the company’s director-general.

    He added that Almaz-Antey could not be linked to the downing of the aircraft because production of this version of the air defence system ended in 1999, three years before the company was established….

    …Mikhail Malyshevsky, an engineering adviser at the company, said examination of the damage to the aircraft and the typical impact profile and trajectory of a Buk-M1 missile suggested that the rocket could only have been fired from Zaroshchenske, a village southwest of the crash site.

    This echoes claims publicised by Russia’s Ministry of Defence last year, but is at odds with western governments’ claims that the aircraft was shot down from the Snizhne area. Other military experts have dismissed satellite pictures presented by Moscow to back up its Zaroshchenske claim.

    Russia’s defence ministry also said last year it believed a Ukrainian military aircraft might have been involved in the attack, but Almaz-Antey did not mention this claim at all….
    ###

    Tryhards never give up.

    This is by far the best, Almaz-Antei has offered blow up a similar Boeng 777 to

    Daily Fail: Missile manufacturer offers to blow up a Boeing similar to the MH17 plane destroyed over Ukraine to prove the jet was not shot down by modern Russian weapons
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3108041/Missile-manufacturer-offers-blow-Boeing-similar-MH17-plane-destroyed-Ukraine-prove-jet-not-shot-modern-Russian-weapons.html

    Maker of missile which shot down MH17 offers to blow up similar plane
    It said it would do so to prove modern Russian weapons were not used to shoot down the jet over Ukraine in July last year, killing 298 people
    State-run Almaz-Antey said rocket used was no longer in service with Russian military but was held in Ukrainian arsenals
    The company said it would explode a missile beneath a decommissioned Boeing to prove its conclusion that an old one had been used..

    …Shrapnel holes in the plane were consistent with a BUK 9M38M1 surface-to-air missile armed with a 9H314M warhead, it said in a report issued today….

    …Such missiles have not been produced in Russia since 1999 and the last ones were delivered to foreign customers, it said, adding that the Russian armed forces now mainly use a 9M317M warhead with the BUK system…

    …After a company presentation translated simultaneously into three languages, Mr Novikov said Ukraine’s armed forces still had nearly 1,000 such missiles in its arsenal in 2005, when it held talks with Almaz-Antey on prolonging their lifespan.

    He said the company was ready to explode a missile beneath a decommissioned Boeing to prove its conclusion that an old one had been used, even though it would be expensive…
    ####

    The daily fail of course also repeats the lie that the Russian government said a fighter shot MH17 down.

    Anyway, what is interesting is that Almaz-Antey has basically called the experts out, to put up or shut up.

    • Drutten says:

      Everybody’s raving about how Russia is now apparently “backtracking” on its “previously maintained version” that a “Su-25 shot it down” etc.

      As you point out, that particular MoD presentation made no such allegations whatsoever and likewise the Russian government or any of its representatives have never said anything about an Ukrainian jet “definitely” shooting the plane down.

      Furthermore, the alleged “satellite photo” of a Su-27 firing a missile at a Boeing was not claimed to be “official”, nor was it “officially” endorsed.

      Of course, Russian media has floated loads and loads of theories and speculations, opinions and questionable material pertaining to the disaster, with all kinds of rumors and “testimony” from alleged UA personnel (typically indicating either a Su-25 or a Ukrainian Buk launcher being the culprit, though sometimes a rebel-operated Buk, all of this in no way consistently) and so on, but yeah… None of it has ever been any kind of “official stance” and the MoD presentation from last year never said anything of the kind.

      In fact, most of the attention was given to the SIGINT data of Ukrainian Buk radars being active, with only a few mentions of what appeared to be an out-of-place aircraft in the vicinity of MH17 (presumably from the Ukrainian Air Force, and presumably a Su-25 though by no means certainly), with the required follow-up elaboration on it (i.e. could it have been shot down by another plane? Maybe, we don’t know, but it is not impossible).

      Oh well. Regardless of who shot it down and with what, it occured in an active warzone with dense military aerial activity and numerous prior shootdowns. That fact alone should put things into perspective.

      Speaking of that – today’s the one year anniversary of the senseless Ukrainian aerial attack on central Lugansk that left dozens of civilians (mostly women) dead and/or permanently disfigured. You know, the infamous “it was clearly a MANPADS missile fired by the Russian terrorists in Lugansk, that did a U-turn in mid-air because it locked onto an air conditioning console, and then exploded with force eighteen times in succession as it skipped across the ground towards the administration building”.

    • marknesop says:

      All this does is muddy the waters, and there are now enough competing theories that nobody has any idea what went on and it will be dead easy for the official investigators to say the results are inconclusive.

      “At a rare press conference on Tuesday, company officials said IF the Boeing was shot down by an air defence system, it could only have been a Buk-M1″. Where in that statement is the foundation for claiming that the weapons manufacturer said MH-17 was shot down by a Buk System? He said IF it was shot down by an air-defense system, then it could only have been a Buk. Why would he say that? Ukraine has the S-300, which is more than capable of shooting down an airliner, although it was not known to be in the area. It would be right on the edge of the altitude envelope for a Tor, and probably they would not risk it. It would be out of range for the Osa system.

      More importantly, is Almaz-Antey privy to the results of the investigation? How do they know what the damage indicates?

      The PPNN is just groping, seizing upon every statement made as proof of its own version of events. Zero eyewitnesses saw or heard an SA-11 launch, and the one clip that was alleged to show a smoke trail from such a launch was demonstrated to have been faked. Several eyeqwitnesses claimed to have seen smal fighter-size aircraft near the Boeing, and the Russians maintained from the day after the incident that a Ukrainian fighter was in close proximity to the Boeing when it disappeared from radar.

      All this controvery is in the service of the investigators saying that they don’t know what the hell happened. After which all the English-speaking world will assume the Russians or “Russian separatists” did it but there isn’t enough proof.

      • et Al says:

        More importantly, is Almaz-Antey privy to the results of the investigation? How do they know what the damage indicates?

        If you recall, someone took illicit photographs of the double inverted diamond warhead shrapnel gathered from the scene from within the dutch investigation hangar with the MH17 collected items, but claimed it could only come from more modern BUKs as the old missiles don’t make the same shrapnel shapes.

        Almaz-Antei is saying the exact opposite, that this double inverted diamond could only have come from the old, widely exported warheads. Someone posted about this in the previous thread I think.

        • et Al says:

          I forgot to add, that in one of the articles posted above, Almaz-Antei said from warhead fragments recovered from the scene. Whether these are the same as recovered by the Dutch is not clear at all, but it could well be likely that some of the evidence didn’t go to the Dutchies… There are a lot of these warhead fragments after all so it is unlikely that they were all gathered up.

          • marknesop says:

            The scene was actually more than 30,000 feet above the surface of the earth. Below the scene was one of the most heavily-shelled areas in Ukraine. Fragments found on the ground in the vicinity of where wreckage fell are not necessarily associated with the wreckage in any way. Fragments found in the wreckage or in the bodies of people whio were in the aircraft, I would buy. My money remains on the investigators knowing full well Ukraine was responsible – by whatever method – and doing their level best to cover it up. What other explanation could there be for entrance into a non-disclosure agreement with one of the suspects? If there were serious proof of Russian involvement, it would have leaked out by now, because it’s a story the west is eager to tell. So eager that they do not need any proof.

            The break-apart fragments in an SA-11 warhead are not round; they are square or diamond-shaped and intended to cause massive rip damage to whatever they hit. There is no realistic way to pack a missile warhead with round balls without the danger they will shift with the launch thrust and destabilize the missile. But many, not just a few of the holes look round.

            I’m sure this discussion was posted before, I can’t remember from whom, but it’s a useful review.

            • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

              It’s hardly conceivable that the bodies of the flight crew were not riddled with pieces of whatever projectile killed them.

              • Jen says:

                Watch the funeral of MH17 Captain Eugene Choo Jin Leong and check out the size of his coffin – it’s the size of an infant’s coffin. Between being hit by shrapnel or cannonfire, and being subjected to decompression and falling 10,000 metres, for his body to remain intact would have been a miracle. I’m amazed his remains could even have been identified.

                Photos of funerals of both the captain and the co-pilot from the Daily Mail:
                http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2740783/Malaysia-pays-respects-pilots-shot-MH17-repatriated-buried-military-style-ceremonies.html
                Note that the other pilot is buried in an adult-sized coffin. Seems a bit odd that one would be buried in a small coffin and the other in a big coffin if one assumes they were both in the cockpit at the time it was hit by shrapnel from a BUK missile exploding beneath the plane – but if one pilot was hit by cannonfire from a jet fighter or from shrapnel from a BUK missile exploding to the side of the plane, that might make more sense (?)

                • kat kan says:

                  They probably identified them by DNA but they’d have found at least some bits in the pilot seats as a clue. The Captain sits on the left side, which is the one that copped the full blast. There were 25 shrapnel pieces recovered from the 2 bodies and that of a passenger, so they’d have identified those by now.

                  Meanwhile Russia is again hinting that it KNOWS about MH17.
                  http://rt.com/news/264545-mh17-investigators-key-witness/

                  Nothing new from him, just releasing his name. Why? why now? Just a little reminder.

                • marknesop says:

                  It says Captain Choo was cremated, and the photo shows his son accepting the ashes from the soldier who carried them in the small casket. I don’t know how much of him was left to cremate; his body might even have been whole before they reduced it to ashes. However, there must have been fragments in the cockpit area that did not penetrate right through the plane, but lodged between the skin and the structural members, for example, or inside cockpit instrumentation, rather than just lying on the ground, in which case they could have come from anywhere. B ut we hear nothing about that. Given the western agenda to make Russia carry the can for it, I conclude the evidence they have found is exculpatory, else they would have happily released it since it led where they wanted to go. If it doesn’t, that probably means Ukraine. Which says a lot about the character of those involved in the investigation – I couldn’t keep that quiet. The first I heard some Ukrainian political figure yapping about Russia having done it if I knew that he knew his own people did it, I would be going to the press.

                • Jen says:

                  Yes the Daily Mail refers to “ashes” of Captain Choo but that seems odd because Chinese people, even if they are Buddhist (and the funeral ceremony for Choo looks Chinese Buddhist: there are food offerings and Choo’s eldest son is given the lead role during the funeral ceremony), don’t usually cremate their dead if they can avoid doing so.

              • Erebus says:

                This photo of the pilot still strapped to his seat, shows his bullet(?) riddled torso quite clearly.
                ic.pics.livejournal.com/evanesce_girl/8305736/105718/105718_original.jpg

                • marknesop says:

                  That link does not work for me. I copied and pasted it and it sent me to an Asian-language site with lots of pictures, some of which I had not seen before. They in turn seem to have come from a Global research piece which is a translation of a Colonel Cassad piece. But I did not see any photos of bodies and none of the flight crew. The Colonel Cassad piece makes a pretty solid case that there never was a Buk attack and that the plane was shot down by an SU-25. But no single explanation is perfect, and every theory inspires a “Yeah, but what about…?” There are holes in each theory that need filling in, but I don’t expect the investigation to tell us anything. Russia seems to know enough that the Ukie investigation will probably back away from accusing Russia directly in case the Russians make a strong counterclaim, but they will likely zero in on the “separatists” (who are actually “federalists” who wanted to remain within Ukraine until it attacked them and began murdering them) operating with Russian backing. And i imagine the west will back them up on that accusation, because it could not become common knowledge that Ukraine deliberately shot it down in order to make bad PR for Russia. At least that’s what I think happened. I don’t see any way an SU-25 pilot could accidentally shoot it down, and I think an SU-25 was involved.

                • kirill says:

                  Mark, it sends me directly to the photo. The body is covered by a translucent plastic bag and you can see three 30 mm bullet holes. The image does not look doctored to me. The exit wounds are not visible in this photo so I cannot confirm that they are indeed bullet holes, but random shrapnel is not going to produce circular holes like this.

    • et Al says:

      Compare and contrast this piece from the Times of India:

      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Russian-missile-maker-MH17-shot-down-by-Ukrainian-missile/articleshow/47520817.cms

      Now which of the articles that I have posted strike you as the most balanced and professional? It’s like old skool vs. new skool journalism. Quite the contrast and show how tabloid and down hill the supposedly great ladies of the press have plummeted.

  16. ucgsblog says:

    “Europe made it clear recently that admission to the European Union is not in the cards for Ukraine, which is reassuring, in a way, because it means at least a few people in Europe are still capable of thinking beyond the weekend. Ukraine’s economy is being preserved on life support to save the dirty, messy embarrassment of a public default, because the west is entirely and totally to blame for Ukraine’s economic disaster. The west hand-picked the government, and then encouraged it to re-take its eastern regions by military force. Ukraine faces a future in which it will be broke and friendless, drifting aimlessly at the whim of whoever will lend it money. And when you think about it, the Maidanite zealots and the fascist strutters are a minority, coming mostly from the west of Ukraine and Kiev. That still leaves a lot – millions – of Ukrainians who did nothing to bring this calamity upon themselves, but who will nonetheless suffer the consequences of their leaders’ idiocy and greed and the meddling of western interventionists who will accept ruining Ukraine so Russia can’t have it if they cannot win it.”

    Beautiful conclusion! Mark, this is your best conclusion yet, and one of the best articles. Also, if you want even more “comedy” – remember that US is a control freak, meaning that one can veto IMF and WB decisions if they can get 15%, which is the stake that US holds. The SCO Coalition and its allies are at 16%. So the IMF and WB funds to Ukraine can be blocked by the SCO.

    The EU funds are going to be blocked by the PIGS’ countries and the US funds are tied in the Healthcare and Immigration fight, along with that of the TPP. The only organization that can help Ukraine financially is the SCO, where Russia is a de facto veto wielding nation. As they say in Ukraine to the demonstrators of Maidan: heroyam slava, no zachem slave takoi bolshoi her ot maidantsev?

    • marknesop says:

      You don’t have to go that far to find prisoners sweated to fatten corporate coffers – in this case, Martori Farms; a principal supplier to that iconic American success story, Wal Mart. Suck on that, New York Times. Once again, penal labour is specifically allowed in the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

      • Northern Star says:

        My point was that the conditions for the Qatar immigrant workers sound to be absolutely horrific..whereas the Russian convict workers situation sounds rather like “Gulag Lite”..

        Well maybe ….

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, I got that, deaths at a rate of one a day. It just infuriates me that it is the American media, so holier-than-thou, that always brings this stuff up.

    • Drutten says:

      A random Duma deputy comes up with some idea, and it’s immediately “Russia plans to”

      I sometimes like to imagine the headlines if they treated Sweden the very same way.

      BREAKING!!! Sweden plans to install wind generators on cars to drive down energy consumption, in violation of the laws of thermodynamics:

      Yes really, that’s a leftist parliamentarian, i.e. lawmaker, who is seriously suggesting a perpetuum mobile scheme for electric cars.

      Or…

      BREAKING!!! Sweden plans to replace machinery with horses.
      http://www.riksdagen.se/sv/Dokument-Lagar/Forslag/Motioner/Hastens-roll-i-samhallet_GY02MJ216/?text=true
      Yes, this is a motion from a deputy of the legislative assembly, where it is suggested that since oil crises and what not will inevitably come, it’s high time to replace forestry machinery, lawnmowers, and snowplows with horse-drawn contraptions. Along with this it is said that serious efforts toward a more horse-friendly society are imperative.

      Oh, I feel like partying like it’s 1850!

      Anyway… Back to the prison labor… Doesn’t sound THAT implausible, after all the United States UNICOR is a positively huge industry successfully providing products and services in all imaginable market segments generating billions in revenues, so yeah… Oh, we were talking about Russia? My bad.

      • yalensis says:

        How about foot-powered cars?

      • Jen says:

        Good luck Sweden with horse power: you can look forward to daily peak hour with streets piled with horse manure, pedestrians slipping on shit and urine or being kicked by startled animals (and risking severe bone fractures and tetanus infection) and highly stressed animals unable to cope with overcrowding and loud noises from hoofbeats, and dying from overwork and poor nutrition and health.

        Figure out how many horses are needed to replace forest machinery, cars, trucks, ships and snowplows and then work out how much each horse needs to eat every year to work at full capacity each day, every day, and multiply the amount (and the land required to grow all that food) by the number of animals needed to maintain the current level of economic activity in Sweden that petroleum-powered vehicles provide.
        http://www.banhdc.org/archives/ch-hist-19711000.html

  17. et Al says:

    Here’s one for the nuclear nerds:

    Bulletin of Atomic Scientist: Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator
    http://thebulletin.org/nuclear-fuel-cycle-cost-calculator/model
    ####

    What thinx you?

  18. yalensis says:

    Saakashvili interview reveals a bitter, bitter man, who dreams of revenge:

    Saak was interviewed by Gruzian TV station “Rustavi 2” and said the following mean things about his successor, and by the way this is a SCOOP, because Gruzian viewers won’t get to see this interview until tomorrow!


    “К моменту, когда я вернусь в Грузию, и я убежден, что это произойдет гораздо раньше, чем думают некоторые, народ заставит их и уголовное дело закрыть, и вернуть мне гражданство.

    (….)

    “У меня была эта грузинская мечта, и у меня украл ее Квачи Квачантирадзе (литературный персонаж)… когда придет нормальное правительство, в Грузии не должно возбуждаться уголовное дело против кого-либо. Единственный, кто должен солидно ответить за все, это Иванишвили. Я получил здесь такую мощную практику возврата денег Януковича, что изыму деньги Иванишвили, даже если спрячет их в Зимбабве. (….)”

    TRANSLATION
    “The moment I return to Gruzia (and I am convinced that this will happen sooner than certain people think, the people will force them to close the criminal case against me and return my citizenship to me.

    “I was the one who had this Gruzian Dream, and it was stolen from me by Kvachi Kvachantiradze [a character in Gruzian literature, under whom Saakashvili is referring to Ivanishvili]….
    “Once we have a normal government, then it won’t be be necessary to open criminal cases against people. The only person who needs to answer (for his crimes) is Ivanishvili. Here (in Ukraine) I gained some solid experience in returning Yanukovych’s (stolen) money, (and I will use that experience) to return Ivanishvili’s stolen money, even if he tries to hide it in Zimbabwe.”

  19. Tim Owen says:

    Dismal science update…. You know that fear mongering that basically comes down to saying: “if we don’t beat all the other guys in the race to the bottom we’ll be errr… the last to the bottom. Who’s in?!”*

    Well here’s kind of a nice piece suggesting that the world as it is isn’t quite as “meene, nastie and shorte”** as the econo-priests would have you believe:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/06/the-notion-of-the-competitiveness-of-countries-is-nonsense.html

    * Thair waint no dixionairies bick than sow aye cun maike up iny spallink I loike. (Fooke spallchick. Awoo. Aye jist brack me thums.)

  20. marknesop says:

    Mmmm… a Russian bought The Moscow Times from Sanoma – Demyan Kudryavtsev: internet entrepreneur, former CEO of Kommersant and former business partner of the late Boris Berezovsky.

    Their circulation was even more pathetic than I thought – only 35,000 copies in Moscow.

    Kuryavtsev “denied he was pressured into leaving Kommersant” in 2012 – naturally, Miriam Elder saw it differently. According to her, Kudryavtsev was fired by owner Alisher Usmanov, in a climate of increasing Kremlin desperation as Putin’s popularity tanked and the streets of the capital echoed to the tramp of protesters’ feet.

    • kirill says:

      I guess the circulation trend is set to continue. It takes some sort of demented chutzpah to expect the Russian public to read a paper that pours excrement over them and their country. Nice to see reality produce the proper outcome. No creation of reality through force of will and US money,

      • marknesop says:

        It’s hard to say what kind of editorial slant it will take now that it is free of Sanoma’s influence, and hard to say if it will remain just another liberal kreakl outlet. Kommersant typically is not, but the article did say Kudryavtsev does not plan to make any immediate management changes. That suggests it will retain its American editor under Russian ownership, which satisfies the rules. The article also said their online views had grown significantly, but that was while they allowed commentary – since stopped – and the circulation is still too low to make any difference whatever in the overall Russian political outlook. I only found the article in a Google search for something else, and I never read The Moscow Times any more since they shut down commentary.

  21. kirill says:

    • yalensis says:

      They are probably talking about Transnistria.
      In my view, there is almost 100% certainty that NATO/Ukraine will start a war in Transnistria before the end of the summer. I think the Saker has it exactly right (on this issue at least): NATO believes that it holds all the chess pieces here and can force Russia into Zugzwang, thus reconquering both Donbass and Transnistria all in one glorious campaign. (With Saakashvili prancing through Tiraspol and Donetsk on his white horse.)

      I am reading lots of pieces in the Russian press, how Moscow will respond, etc.
      Russia will most certainly NOT take it on the chin in Transnistria, there is too much at stake geo-politically. And no, it’s not about Putin being a superhero or saving the world, it’s about Russia’s most banal geo-political interests.
      Thus, the risk of actual nuclear war, if the Americans don’t back down.

      I will post some of those analytical pieces later, but right now I don’t have time to do extensive translation projects.

  22. Moscow Exile says:

    Published on 2 Jun 2015
    The developer the SAM BUK, air defence corp.”Almaz-Antey”, has published a report made by its technicians, which sheds light on the circumstances of the downing of the Malaysian Boeing that crashed on 17 July 2014 in the South-East of the Ukraine.

    The manufacturer of the BUK Missile System “Almaz-Antey” reveals a report authored by its technical expert team, which sheds light on the circumstances surrounding the destruction of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing. MH 17 that crashed on June 17, 2014 in the south eastern part of the Ukraine with no survivors.

    • marknesop says:

      Eyewitnesses said – in addition to those who said they saw fighter aircraft in close proximity – that the stricken aircraft attempted to reverse course before it broke up. How does that square with massive damage to the cockpit from a missile strike?

      • davidt says:

        Perhaps there are some things in life that you are not meant to understand. In the meantime Vladimir Markin has named the “Ukrainian defector” as Yevgeny Agapov and has cordially invited the Almaz-Antey people to explain their conclusions to the Russian Investigative Committee. I’m sure that we would all- with the exception of A Mercouris- love to ask them some questions. Let’s hope that these folk are a little sharper than Ivan Andrievskii of the Russian Union of Engineers- he was one authority who said publish the Su-27 photograph. (On the one hand, Almaz-Antey seems to have many wonderful engineers so you have to grant them some real authority. On the other hand, I keep thinking that Uri Geller found it easier to trick scientists than lay people- wish I could get that out of my head.)
        http://tass.ru/en/russia/798411

        • ThatJ says:

          In the meantime Vladimir Markin has named the “Ukrainian defector” as Yevgeny Agapov […]

          Defector? Did I miss something?

          • ThatJ says:

            Nevermind, I recall this story but I didn’t believe in it back then because no names were named and no photos were shown, and, knowing that psyops are being waged by both sides, I didn’t take it seriously. This changed now.

      • davidt says:

        OK, I should have watched the video first. Here are just two questions. Russian authorities such as Maj Gen Mikhail Krush and (ret) Colonel Mikhail Khodarenok said that the Buk attacks from above and that the pattern of damage on the Boeing didn’t look like that from a Buk. (I mention Khodarenok because he is well respected in the West.) What do they say? If the trajectory of the missile is not necessarily a geodesic and not necessarily planar why can they be so confident of its launch location?
        Probably they can explain this. But then comes the clincher.
        Why do they speak so quickly? What do they have to hide?
        (A year or so ago I read an account of the test of one of AA’s rockets. From memory they were firing at supersonic targets and they destroyed each target. Again, from memory, from 6 or so firings, they scored 4 direct hits and destroyed the other 2 targets by their proximity fuses. Their engineers seemed to be genuinely excited by their successes.)

      • kat kan says:

        The port engine stopped, being damaged (ingesting its own shrapnel-broken fan blades) while the starboard engine kept going, enough to start turning it. Then it went into a flat spin, shedding roof sections into Petropavlivka, completing the turn to dump the cockpit over Roszpyne before continuing on to crash at Grabovo.

        As the avionics bay under the cockpit was also shot to pieces, no autopilot was trying to keep it flying in the new configuration of one engine out and a wingtip missing.

        I don’t think the BUK manufacturer is saying it WAS a Ukie BUK. They are saying the Ukies had some with the kind of shrapnel they think they can see (from the images: they never got one to look at in their hands, as far as I can tell). Basically they’re saying it was not one of ours.

        As the “witness” who named the pilot has just been named, it looks like Russia is saying, nice report but not necessary, it wasn’t a BUK at all.

        • marknesop says:

          According to every report I saw, regardless of the headline, A-A said IF the plane was shot down by a SAM, it was not a Russian SA-11. Yes, that’s a plausible explanation for the turn. However, if an SA-11 hit the port engine, it is a tremendous mystery how it could also have riddled the cockpit with such precision, leaving most of the remainder of the fuselage between relatively undamaged. We’ve seen huge pieces of wreckage that are bent and crumpled but have no visible holes in them at all. The wing must be 60 to 70 feet from the cockpit (that’s a guess, don’t have time to look it up right now).

          • davidt says:

            I was thinking a few weeks ago about what “evidence” I would need to be relaxed that we had the reality regarding the demise of MH17. Well I would want at least 3 Russian experts to inspect the wreckage and to publish their report. If, for example, they say “Buk”, and “Buk” alone then fine. The problem for A-A begins with the integrity and provenance of the evidence given to them.
            With A-A’s analysis even such simple things as the exact time of detonation of the Buk must be critical when trying to calculate the supposed launch location. I suspect that their estimate of the location of the launch might not be as accurate as they think. Is it possible that there might have been a launch without the target acquisition radar vehicle? If so, what effect does this have on their calculations, and so forth.
            I daresay the A-A people have done their best but before offering their services they might have done better to trade off their involvement with more general involvement from the Russian side.
            As an outsider there remains the problem of visual identification of the Buk launch. I accept that the 2 photographs being pushed by Bellingcat are fraudulent. I had a little email contact with Max Vanderwerff last week. To quote from him:
            “Ukraine denies having even made any sortie July 17. That would mean hundreds of people in the crash area are lying about just that simple fact. But why even lie about that?”
            As it is, the A-A report makes it much harder to raise these issues.

    • yalensis says:

      This is very interesting data from the engineers.
      But WHERE ARE THE AUTOPSIES of the pilot and co-pilot?

  23. Gordonsson says:

    @Mark 11:40am:
    I had 4 weeks skiing near Sochi at Rosa Khutor and Gornaya Karusel earlier this this year mid Jan to mid Feb.
    I was wowed. Big verticals, steep burly terrain, lots of side-country, a “french” attitude from the ski patrols and plenty of snow (albeit a bit soggy on the lower third at times-similar climatic situation to Whistler/Blackcomb).
    Locals were pretty tolerant of my ultra-crap Russian language skills (can read signs and order a beer). No rip-offs, never felt threatened, no hassle from official-dom.
    Expensive getting there from NZ, but very reasonable lift passes, food and booze prices.
    If not for the 30 day tourist visa limit and the somewhat hassle-ly process of obtaining said visa, I’d happily do 2-3 months there. If circumstances permit, I may well do another session there this coming Northern Winter.

    • yalensis says:

      Dear Gordonsson:
      That sounds like a FANTASTIC ski vacation!

      2 questions:
      (1) Do they have moguls slopes at Rosa Khutor?
      (2) What do you mean by “french” attitude of ski patrol?

    • marknesop says:

      There’s another visa – if they still offer them – that does have a maximum of 3 months, called a homestay visa. You have to stay in someone’s residence (a friend, usually), and you go through a different agency for it.

      Whoops; never mind, I looked it up and it is a maximum of 6 months, and you go through Travisa; I think that’s the default agency now, things have changed a bit since I last went to Russia. That’s for U.S. citizens, you would have to check the requirements for New Zealand, but I know the homestay visa was an option for Canada as well. Thanks for the info – my downhill skiing is obviously on a much lower level than yours, but it sounds like a great time regardless of skill. Were there a lot of people? How about foreigners; did you notice many of them?

      • Gordonsson says:

        French attitude: They do the avalanche control put up the warning signs, but if you want to get into hair-ball terrain, that’s your call. It’s a mountain, not an amusement park, you can do what you want, but you don’t get to sue anybody if you screw yourself up.
        Moguls: Not a whole lot of classic forms. The off-piste could get pretty cut up and rough going, which was ok with fat skis (100mm+ under foot) and a combo of brute force and ignorance.
        Foreigners: Prior to going, I thought there would be a an expat crew of the usual Western ski-field trash (Australasians, North Americans, Scandos), but it turned out that I was it that I knew of. Skied a couple of days with a German who was his way to Georgia.
        Foreign contingent there would have mainly been ex SU, and probably some Turks and Iranians.
        Crowds: Rosa Khutor was reasonably busy most days, but I didn’t have to wait much in long queues. Apparently very crowded ver Christmas / New Year. Gornaya Karusel was pretty quiet.

  24. yalensis says:

    Gruzian politician Nino Burjanadze accuses Washington of placing Misha Saakashvili in Odessa, in order to spark war in Transnistria.

    Burjanadze, ex-Speaker of Gruzian Parliament and the leader of her own political party, was long known for her own pro-American and anti-Russian views. But Americans betrayed her (and her family) several times, threw her under the bus, showed excessive favoritism to her rival, Misha Saakashvili. As a result, Burjanadze finally woke up to the realities, that the Americans are up to no good, in this region of the world. Here is the money quote from this piece:

    «В Вашингтоне есть подстрекатели, это те же круги, которые подстрекали нынешнего одесского губернатора в 2008-м. Кому-то в США нужно продление санкций против России, и эти люди готовы с помощью Саакашвили провоцировать в Одессе и Приднестровье. И как в 2008-м эти круги пожертвовали Грузией, так сейчас в угоду собственным интересам они готовы пожертвовать Украиной и Молдовой»,

    TRANSLATION
    “In Washington there are instigators, it is those same circle of people who instigated our current Odessa Governor in 2008. Somebody in the U.S. thinks it is necessary to prolong the sanctions against Russia, and these people are prepared, with the help of Saakashvili, to provoke (conflict) both in Odessa and in Transnistria. And just like in 2008, when these circles sacrificed Gruzia on the altar, so today as well, they are prepared to sacrifice both Ukraine and Moldova, for their own purposes.”

  25. yalensis says:

    And here is a different version of the Boeing MH-17 crash – different from the Almaz-Altay engineers version, that is.

    This is basically a continuation of the Voloshin story from December.
    Voloshin (second photo down) is accused of being the actual guy who shot down the Boeing. As a fighter pilot.

    The accusation was made by an anonymous informant, a Ukrainian defector who worked as a mechanic at the air field, from which Voloshin took off on his flight.

    The continuation of the story in today’s KP is that the Investigative Committee (Vladimir Markin) has released the name of this anonymous witness: His name is Evgeny Vladimirovich Agapov. Agapov is a Ukrainian citizen who worked as a mechanic of the tactical aviation of Ukrainian air force. Agapov fled to Russia and is currently under witness protection program. Where, according to Markin, his story is still being investigated.

    Here, once again, is Agapov’s story:

    On 17 July 2014 Agapov was in the town of Aviatorskoe, where the Dnipropetrovsk airport is located. At that time, destroyers and helicopters of the Ukrainian army were based there.

    According to Agapov, of the 8 planes that were there, two had been fitted with air-to-air missiles.
    Agapov:
    “In the second half of the day, approximately one hour before the crash of the Boeing, 2 fighters went up into the air. I don’t remember the exact time. Of these two, one was equipped with such [air-to-air] missiles. It was a SU-25.”

    Then, after a certain amount of time had gone by, one of the two planes returned to base. It was the one that had been equipped with air-to-air. But the missiles themselves were gone. Agapov knew the pilot, his name was Voloshin, he looked scared.
    Voloshin was helped out of the plane, and he (Voloshin) uttered the words: “It was the wrong plane.”

    So, that is Agapov’s story.
    Admittedly, it doesn’t weigh much, against all the mathematical and engineering data provided by Almaz-Altay. But such as it is….

    • yalensis says:

      And here is an actual video of Agapov’s interrogation, so you can watch him for yourself.
      Agapov is the young man sitting in the foreground, with his hands crossed in his lap and nervously answering the questions.

      For some bizarre reason, the investigator (sitting behind the desk) is the one who has his face and blurred and his voice disguised! Whereas Agapov is completely undisguised.

      http://lifenews.ru/news/155025

  26. Jeremn says:

    One more detail on the latest Russian evidence that the BUK which might have brought down MH17. It could tally, as back in July 2014 a Ukrainian defence official leaked that a training mission had gone wrong:

    “On Jul 17, the commanding officer of 156th Anti-Aircraft Regiment was instructed to conduct a training exercise of ground troops stationed near Donetsk, which involved deploying the troops, and carrying out a routine tracking and destroying of targets with the Buk-M1 missile.

    The goal was monitoring of the ground groups in Donetsk in the suburbs. His next task was to train the entire process from search-type ground surveillance till firing the target in the training mode with the 9M38M1, a type of Buk-M1. The actual launch of the 9M38M1 was supposed to be only in the training mode. The cause of a possible unintended missile launch could not be explained yet. This is the question, which the employees of the Security Service of Ukraine, who picked up the crew of the battery, including the commander about half past nine in the evening, are going to find out.”

    article from 25 July 2014:
    https://niqnaq.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/novorossiya-evening-roundup/

    • Jeremn says:

      Just to say that the BUK makers noted that the missile was almost certainly a 9M38M1.

      • yalensis says:

        There might be a way to reconcile all these competing stories, using a variant of “improbability theory”.
        Suppose everybody is telling the truth, and nobody intended to harm the Boeing?

        -The Boeing was directed off its usual course for some completely extraneous reason (almost random coincidence)
        -Simultaneously Ukrainian planes were strafing rebel positions
        -Simultaneously rebel MANPAD’s were bringing down several Ukie fighters
        -Simultaneously Voloshin flew out on some mission, saw something, unleashed his air-to-airs against the Boeing, thinking it was a Russian plane – but MISSED!
        -Simultaneously Ukies mistakenly launched BUK as part of some training exercise gone wrong and just by horrible chance hit the Boeing.

        (My thinking is being influenced by a book I am currently reading, it is called “The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences Happen”, by David J. Hand. Hand shows how seemingly improbable coincidences do happen, on almost a daily basis, without any need for supernatural explanations.)

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          International crisis as a Laurel and Hardy act.

        • Jeremn says:

          I think that Ukie planes were in the air, either as part of the exercise or using airliners as cover. The planes could certainly have taken a shot at MH17 in addition to a BUK launch. If there was a BUK launch then it is 20 times more likely to have been a UA launch than a rebel/Russian one.

          In a sense, the lack of any reporting on UA BUK activity by the West makes it pretty likely that they know the UA were deploying BUKs around Donetsk and that they were in service.

          Next step, I think we need to find out what radar activity there was on that day.

          • Jen says:

            Didn’t the US have a satellite crossing over the very area at almost the exact time the passenger jet was shot down?

            Also the flight crew of the Air India jet who were asked to establish radio contact with the MH17 crew while that jet was crossing over Ukraine on its way to Birmingham might have some information about that call that would be useful.

            • Jeremn says:

              Yes, and there was a fleet in the Black Sea also monitoring the situation. I don’t think Robert Parry is the gospel, but this was his assessment right after the event:

              “What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.

              The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers. There also was the suggestion that the soldiers involved were undisciplined and possibly drunk, since the imagery showed what looked like beer bottles scattered around the site, the source said.”

              https://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/20/what-did-us-spy-satellites-see-in-ukraine/

            • Max says:

              NATO has had AWACS, qv, circulating the area since spring a year ago.

        • et Al says:

          Quite reasonable. The simplest explanations are usually the most accurate.

          There was plenty going on at the time. There is video of Motorola’s girlfriend Elena on youtube complaining that the Uke airforce use civilian airliners for cover, not to mention others who have similarly complained. The other jets would have been on mission.

          As to witnesses, none of them have seen an airliner hit or crash before so there is a lot of guessing going on. It makes perfect sense that the port engine was taken out, the pilot shredded and co-pilot dead or almost dead, with the starboard engine providing asymmetric thrust the plane would turn of its own accord until it fell out of the sky.

          The most remarkable part of this whole story that the Pork Pie News Networks have covered is that they have given pitiful coverage (except for child digital dicketecktiv Brown Noses) of the almost total silence from the West (who as others have pointed out), have had SIGNIT/AWACS assets covering the area – and the confiscated ATC tapes – but nothing, nada, zilch has come from them apart from the usual unnamed sources. That, for me is the most damning and shameful of all. It was an accident, but the Ukes and the West have spent all their time milking it as a source for russophobe black propaganda.

          It just goes to show how far the West will go in scraping the barrel to throw any possible mud at Russia in the hope that it will stick and that they can somehow leverage an advantage out it. It also shows great weakness from the West, though it is not as if they are going to be hauled over the coals by the PPNNs, who will just forget and move on to the next atrocity porn.

  27. Terje says:

    Did someone mention the wrong plane? What does that mean exactly? I just had an cursory search on the Indian plane that was nearby,and I would say this is relevant.

    Just an hour behind, [Indian] PM Narendra Modi’s flight was on same route as MH17!

    http://daily.bhaskar.com/news/NAT-TOP-pm-narendra-modis-flight-was-on-same-route-as-mh17-just-an-hour-behind-4684155-NOR.html

    http://www.ibtimes.co.in/how-close-was-modi-ill-fated-malaysian-airlines-mh17-604801
    “While Modi is said to have not been in danger, his plane was scheduled to fly over the Ukraine Flight Information Region just an hour after the ill-fated MH-17, reported The Hindu. The report suggests that if Modi’s plane had continued to fly on its path, it would have flown over the crash zone just an hour later, but is said to have been diverted following information from officials.

    However, a Times of India report suggests that Modi had flown out of Ukraine just minutes before MH17 exploded mid-air and came crashing down, and that the Air India plane was on the farthest flight path from it.
    Modi was returning to the country after attending the BRICS Summit in Brazil earlier in the week.”

    ——
    Rather speculative from my side , and I don’t know if these reports have been modified since ( I can’t find any), but if it was a premeditated operation, who would be the target? A random airline or a plane with someone as important as the Indian PM?
    Additional speculation: The plane that carries the PM of India can withstand some incoming missiles, since it has missile deflecting systems in place. It could explain an ‘”overkill”with multiple missiles….

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Didn’t Kolomoisky also speak about the “wrong plane” in a leaked telephone call made in a series of calls between him and a Moskal who had kidded him in a typically underhanded Asiatic Katsap way into believing he was anti-Russia?

      • kat kan says:

        Russian does not have a word for THE.
        Do we have the original Russian quote of what was allegedly said?

        “I made the wrong turn” = I meant to turn off somewhere else
        :”I made a wrong turn” = I turned wrongly, ie by mistake, when I should not have turned

        Ukies claimed in preceding days that 2 of their planes had been shot down by Russian aircraft. So there are 3 of them strafing or bombing the rebels. They have to turn quickly after doing so, as they are only 10-12 miles from the border. The one at the rear turns and sees a plane coming at him, KNOWS it is not his brothers as they are ahead of him, so assumes/fears it is a Russian one. Zooms up and fires before working out it’s not a military plane. “It was a wrong plane” ie “not one I should have shot”.

        It is not impossible he thought the plane was military because he became aware of being PAINTED BY RADAR (his own side doing BUK exercises). Is he going to fly alongside politely asking them? NO, he’s going to let off both missiles the moment he thinks he’s close enough to hit it. The BUK people then may have tried to actually get him thinking he’s a Russian.

        ============
        Engine damage. The cowling rim has 5 or 6 holes in it. If just 3 of those went through to the fan, that is enough to break some blades. The engines are designed for sucked-in gunk to go THROUGH the engine, ie to stop it bursting sideways and damaging the fuselage. (the expected items being birds). It was damaged enough to stop, but remained attached to the wing. A cone of fragments that mostly hit the cockjpit would have enough “strays” for a few to hit the engine, and a few the wing tip (although cowling pieces might be involved there too).

        The witness on the ground (the guy with the monoculars) said he HEARD this. To me, that one statement is enough to authenticate what he says. People making up an air crash story are going to go on what they’ve seen in movies — broken wings, nose-dives, flames. :”Heartbreaking howl from one of the turbines” ??? he HEARD that.

        • marknesop says:

          When he was reported to have said “It was the wrong plane”, he probably just said “It was wrong plane”, if he said that at all. I wouldn’t be thrown too much by the presence of an article – that was likely just added in translation because “It was wrong plane” sounds like a cliche of how east-Europeans talk, like Boris and Natasha. The Russian side seems to think his testimony is valuable, and probably keeping him hidden does have some value because the Ukrainians will wonder what else he knows and what else he has told them.

          I still don’t think he would have seen the other aircraft accidentally at more than 30,000 feet, and if he did it is hard to imagine he regarded it as an immediate threat – that area is an air corridor, and they know airliners fly over all the time, they were using them as cover. Ground attack is nap-of-the-earth stuff, and he would have been substantially under 10,000 feet, perhaps only a few hundred. The airliner would have been more than 20,000 feet above him. His air-to-air missiles are pretty short-range, and if he fired them at or near the same altitude as the airliner he would have had to see what he was shooting at. Ditto guns – point-blank range kind of stuff.

          The SU-25 doesn’t have an ESM set, so unless he had some sort of rudimentary warner system, he would never have known he was being painted by acquisition radars. Even warners are designed to emit a warning signal only upon detecting the missile seeker itself.

          Not much is known about the blast frag warhead on the SA-11 – although you’d never know that from the plethora of experts in the media – but a blast which covered that much distance would have a hard time being as concentrated as the damage to the cockpit suggests; it’s only a 70 kg warhead, and you can only pack so much in it. Not impossible, but it’s hard to imagine it.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            He would have literally said in Russian “It was not that plane” – Это был не тот самолет [eto byl nye tot samalyot].

            nye tot” [tot is for a masculine noun] means “the wrong” in English.

            • yalensis says:

              Kolomoisky’s exact words:

              Шмаляли по одному, попали по другому
              “They went after one (plane), and landed (in another).”

              [yalensis: I don’t even know the verb “шмальнуть”, I never heard it before this Kolomoisky quote, maybe it something yiddischer. In context, it obviously means “to throw at” or “attack” or something like that…]

              More extended quote from Kolomoisky’s tapped phone call:

              — А с «боингом» — ну, случайно так получилось, никто не хотел его завалить. Шмальнули по одному, а попали по другому. «Боинг» жалко, людей, конечно, жалко, но это все ерунда. Ты знаешь, так бывает, когда серьезные вещи попадают не в те руки, в результате получилась ерунда.

              “About the Boeing – well, it happened just by chance, nobody intended to bring it down. They went after one (plane), but got (another). I feel bad for the Boeing, I feel bad for the people, of course, but this is all bullshit. You know yourself what happens, when serious objects fall into the wrong hands, and as a result, something ludicrous occurred.”

    • Jen says:

      Intriguing theory though I should think Kyiv and Dnepropetrovsk ATC would have no trouble distinguishing between Air India and Malaysia Airlines jets unless they’re absolutely colour-blind or just plain blind:

      • Terje says:

        I wonder why this path isn’t explored more. Has it an obvious flaw to it?

        I see your point, the Indian plane is not easy to confuse with other planes.
        The confusion could be at an earlier stage between the two Indian airplanes, the Air India Dreamliner and Air India One. The ones giving the advanced warning from Dniepro or Kiev doesn’t know which Indian plane he is supposed to look out for, and tells the fighters/Buk that the Indian is approaching, you will be able to see it shortly.
        The Air India flight was trailing the MH17. just a few minutes before the crash, both flights received permission for deviating from the planned route.

      • marknesop says:

        They would be handed over to Dnepro ATC at altitude, and he would never have seen them. Besides, he would know them by their transponder codes and could easily tell them apart. However, both aircraft were/are Boeing 777’s, and if that’s what the Ukrainian pilot was told to look for, that’s what he would have seen. The SU-25 isn’t fast enough for an identification pass, and depending on the angle he might not have seen the tailplane. If he got into a tail-chase situation he would not have had the speed to keep up.

  28. Terje says:

    It is an intriguing train of thought.
    A possible motive and reason for why Ukrainie/CIA stuffed up:
    http://indiafacts.co.in/narendra-modi-real-target-mh-17-shooters/
    “According to reports in the media, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to take off at 1 PM from Frankfurt on his way back to India from Brazil where he had gone for a meeting of the leaders of the BRICS countries. His flight eventually took off at 1:22 PM. Had Modi’s flight taken off at 1 PM as the earlier reports had indicated, it would have been in the vicinity of the shooting within six minutes of the Malaysian Airlines flight being shot down.

    Modi’s election in May as the Indian Prime Minister caused a huge geopolitical earthquake, and any harm to him will have great ramifications around the world. India and Russia have a good relationship, and had Modi’s plane been brought down, it could have made Indians permanently resent Russia. “

    • marknesop says:

      Interesting – I have not seen this theory developed to this point. It is inaccurate to say, however, that Ukraine did not stand to gain anything. Washington was getting a lot of pushback from Europe on its sanctions proposal, and some European countries were noticeably reluctant. MH-17 was shot down, Ukraine quickly blamed Russia, and presto! European resistance to implementing sanctions disappeared.

      • Terje says:

        If it was no accidental shoot down but premeditated ,say a few days in advance, then Modi would be great target. It is not endless with other planes they could have meant to shoot down, it has to be a worthwhile target. The theory of shooting down Putins plane is similar. If they shot down Putin’s plane there is always the chance that Ukraine could end up a nuclear desert, whilst Modi is a less risky option if found out.
        Modi is on the American hate list anyway, and sowing discord in the BRICS would have meant serious trouble for Russia.

    • kat kan says:

      Makes no sense. If that plane is shot, it looks like an attempt on the INDIAN PM, which neither Russia nor the rebels have any reason to do. So that immediately exonerates them. Plus it would only make India mad, when what was needed was EUROPE to be mad enough to put on sanctions.

      All these similar colours almost-same-time-within-an-hour stories are BS.

      Let’s give the shooters a LITTLE credit. If you are after a specific plane (Putin’s or Modi’s) you do NOT check the schedule and work out on your fingers roughly when it should be over your BUK system. NOR do you have someone with binoculars that can see 30,000 feet away, to look at every passing plane until you see one with colours that “look like it” (which being on the side you probably won’t see from below anyway).

      Even if you are not co-ordinating with your local ATC, you can pinpoint the right aircraft through Flightradar24. Same as if you want to assassinate someone by bombing his house, you’d make sure he was HOME when you did it.

  29. Jeremn says:

    Bulgaria seems to have been selling armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine, whilst calling them emergency vehicles.

    This is a blow. Bulgaria refused to send troops against the Soviets in WWII because they were still grateful for Russian support against the Turks in the 1870s.

    And now this.

    • et Al says:

      3rd hand kit to the Ukraine? Are they any better than those British Scimitar coffins sold (of course) by a private company to the Ukraine and then immediately put up for sale again? Kiev will need some luck maintaining them too.

    • kat kan says:

      The are “neutralised”. The gun turrets are removed or guns removed and other control gear removed. So Ukraine has to work on them to make them into fighting machines again (as long as the removed stuff doesn’t somehow end up there as scrap or some other designation),. By one account I saw the gear is from GERMANY just being sold through Bulgaria to get Merkel off the hook.

  30. et Al says:

    euractiv: European Parliament retaliates over Russia entry ban
    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/europes-east/european-parliament-retaliates-over-russia-entry-ban-315080

    The European Parliament retaliated against a Russian entry ban on European politicians and military leaders on Tuesday (2 June), saying Moscow’s envoy to Brussels was no longer welcome at the assembly and Russian lawmakers would be vetted before being allowed in….

    …Those measures include blocking free access to Vladimir Chizhov, the Russian ambassador to the European Union, meaning he would only be allowed into the parliament under special circumstances.

    Members of the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, and the Federation Council, the upper house, will only be granted access on a case-by-case basis, Schulz’s office said.

    Schulz has also suspended a committee made up of Russian and EU lawmakers that meets several times a year to improve ties….
    ####

    The European Pooliament is much easier to troll because they are so precious!

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Russia doesn’t make anything.

    Today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters…

    Обама хуило!

  32. et Al says:

    Kiev is at it again. Bosnia redux, i.e. one side can flagrantly breach the cease-fire an not face any consequences while the other side is held responsible for everything, even when they are responding to an attack:

    Thomson Neuter’s Foundation Makeup: Ukraine forces, separatists fight first serious battles in month
    http://www.trust.org/item/20150603144102-nxtf9/

    * Kiev says rebels tried to make advance west of Donetsk

    * Says its forces managed to halt separatists

    * Rebels deny report, say government artillery claims lives (Adds additional casualty figure, evacuation of miners)…

    …The Ukrainian military said the Russian-backed rebels had tried to advance using tanks and up to 1,000 fighters west of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk, in the most significant escalation of the conflict in about three months and in defiance of a ceasefire deal.

    The separatists denied their forces had launched an assault on government-held Maryinka, a town which had a pre-conflict population of about 9,900 and lies 15 km (9 miles) west of Donetsk.

    They accused government troops of firing artillery at rebel territory around Donetsk, killing 15 people. Electricity supplies have been cut off, trapping hundreds of miners underground in two mines, they said….

    …”We are not carrying out offensive actions,” separatist press service DAN quoted him as saying.

    He said 15 fighters and civilians had been killed as a result of shelling on rebel territory and more than 900 miners had been trapped underground after the clashes caused a power failure at two larges mines, Skochinsky and Zasyadko, in Donetsk. They were later evacuated, the separatist emergency services said.

    Ninety people, wounded in shelling on Wednesday, had to be evacuated along with other patients from a hospital in Donetsk’s Petrovsky district, after the building was also cut off from power, head doctor Igor Rutchenko was quoted as saying by DAN.
    ####

    I’m fairly amazed that this piece actually has some semblance of balance within it! No comment on casualties from Kiev but plenty on the NAF side – what does that tell you?

    It looks like we’re in for a hot August.

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    Russia is a backward country.
    Russia has something to strive for as in many respects we have significantly lagged behind the West.

    That’s the result of Russsia being weak!

    • Northern Star says:

      Hilarious…..!!!!!!

      USA..USA!!!!!!

    • Tim Owen says:

      Apart from being world class rapists apparently and scoffers of Micky D’s Cannucks are also in the premier league in terms of CO2 emissions per capita:

      So we got that too.

    • Ilya says:

      At some point in the not-too-distant future, when eating shit is considered a virtue, Americans will boast that, indeed, they eat more of it than anyone else.

    • davidt says:

      Sorry, love to believe this is a fair representation of crime in Russia, but I don’t think it is. For example, from memory, homicide rate in Russia is currently between 8 and 9 per 100000 whilst US is about 5, and the US is still very high for a Western country. (On the other hand, Russia’s homicide rate has been continually dropping from a high of about 31.) Also, Russia’s prison population is not dropping as quickly as one would hope. Some years ago the incarceration rates of the US and Russia were similar. Today the Russian rate is still about 60% of the US rate but the US rate is an outlier. Unfortunately, the number of McDonalds doesn’t give a good indication of life expectancy. Perhaps the main criticism that I would make of Putin is that he should have taken a stand much earlier against smoking. (By the way, at least in Oz one can get a decent coffee and quite healthy salads from McDonalds.) None of this is meant as a defense of the West, and I am not wanting to be difficult.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        In all fairness, the American crime rate would be a lot higher if so many criminals didn’t spend so much of their criminal prime in the lockup.

      • kirill says:

        The cops have killed 400 people already this year in the USA. How many people did Russian police kill in the same period? I haven’t heard of a single case.

        You can’t use the gangster’s paradise legacy of the Yeltsin regime that was foisted on Russia by the USA to defend the USA. The USA did not undergo any shock therapy and 50% GDP decline in the last 25 years. Russia did and there is a dissipating transient associated with this disaster. So comparisons like this is are apples and oranges.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I am surprised that one statistic is not included in the above table: the number of legal executions that have taken place in these states. The USA is top of the league here together with China. Already this year the number of executions in Texas and Oklahoma are mind boggling.

      And in the Empire of Evil?

      There’s been a moratorium on capital punishment for several years now and it will soon be phased out.

      The last execution I recall here was of a serial killer during the Yeltsin nightmare years. The killer was a rapist and murderer of little girls and women. A Ukrainian by birth, (UkSSR, that is) he left his home town as word got round that he had erection problems. So he moved to Shakhty, just across the Donbas border in Russia near Rostov. The placename means “Pits” as in coalmines, shafts. I’ve passed through the place a few times: it’s a dump. It reminds me of my home town. Anyway, this sadistic fiend set about raping and killing little girls and women in the Shakhty area. He was a teacher, by the way. He could only do the business after he’d butchered them.

      In the end they got him. Soon after Yeltsin had turned down his appeal against the death sentence, he was marched out of his holding cell by two guards, each holding him by the arm, and into a death chamber, behind the door of which an executioner was waiting. As the killer was marched in, the executioner put a bullet into the bastard’s brain from a point behind his right ear – the old and well tried system.

      I wonder if those who remember him in deepest Banderistan would think his actions praiseworthy? After ali, he had only been butchering and raping post mortem Moskali.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Chikatilo? I imagine they’d claim he was driven mad by the holodomor.

        And speaking of him:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evilenko

        Malcolm McDowell takes the strangest movie roles.

        • Jen says:

          I’d say he’s been a victim of typecasting since he appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” way back in the early 1970s. But I’d rather that McDowell takes a few memorable roles, even if they are bizarre, than generic lead actor roles that no-one remembers.

      • Jen says:

        That’s Andrei Chikatilo. His reputation spread outside Russia and he’s been the subject of a few books and three movies.

  34. yalensis says:

    Ukraine has declared water blockade on Luhansk Province.
    Earlier today (3 June), Sergei Makhurenko, Director of the company LuganskWater, reported, that water supply into Luhansk has stopped completely.
    Luhansk is supplied by water primarily from 3 canals; and all of the main water sources are in areas controlled by the occupying Ukrainian army.
    According to Makhurenko, yesterday there was a “secret” meeting of the Luhansk (official Kiev-sponsored) government authorities. Even though the meeting was secret, Makhurenko found out what was said in it. He learned that Kiev’s appointed “Governor” of Luhansk, the inappropriately-named Gennady Moskal, had declared at the secret meeting, that henceforth the people of Luhansk were to be completely deprived of water.

    And thus it happened; the water just stopped, right after that meeting.
    As a result of the water blockade, a crisis situation has been declared in the cities of Artemovsk, Bryanka, Stakhanov, Kirovsk, and Pervomaisk.
    The Emergency Management Agency (МЧС — this would be like Ukrainian version of America’s FEMA) is getting water from wherever they can, there are some wells, obviously, but they do not supply nearly enough H2O to meet the needs of the population.
    Makhurenko is concerned about the dangers of unsanitary conditions and the possible outbreaks of epidemics.

    [yalensis: I recommend Russia send convoys of trucks carrying bottled water. It’s about the only idea I can think of at this time…]

    • cartman says:

      Russia can put out a warrant on Interpol for these people, since they are considered war criminals under the Geneva Conventions.

      • kat kan says:

        And they will claim, as they did when they turned off the gas, that it was a temporary closure for emergency repairs… of damage allegedly caused by the rebels themselves.

        When OSCE turns up the water will be running again, while they’re there.

        • marknesop says:

          Here’s a list by country of the articles to which Ukraine is a signatory. Rule 54 is germane in this instance, but someday it might be fun to go through them and see if there are any Kiev did not break, and not a word of censure from any international body – particularly the UN. For instance, there is frequently a notation if the practice which is forbidden has a parallel in national law. For Rule 1, “The Principle of Distinction Between Civilians and Combatants”, there is such a notation – it reads, “Ukraine’s Criminal Code (2001) provides that “violence … committed against the civilian population in an area of military action under the pretext of military necessity” is a war crime.”

          Do tell. How many times have we heard that the easterners are “all terrorists and separatists”? Sub-human? Is it only me who sees the Ukrainian Army firing artillery from far beyond visual range into cities without discrimination between militia and civilians? Firing on vehicles passing checkpoints and thereby killing civilians? That was common practice on the part of Kiev’s forces when the conflict was just warming up.

          Porky, his cabinet and the entire Rada should be strung up in a mass public hanging.

      • But the rules do not apply to Kiev side. They can do whatever they want. It is a waste of time to point out their crimes against humanity since they are protected by the West and thus can do whatever they want.

        Unless Russia can force Kiev to back down with brute force Donbass is in a hopeless situation.

  35. Tim Owen says:

  36. Jen says:

    Ah, looks like Moon of Alabama has done his own assassination of Brown Noses here:
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/06/medias-beloved-expert-higgins-wrong-again-and-again-and-again.html#comments
    Some good comments about the fellow and his (ahem) “first-hand Middle Eastern” connections as well.

    • yalensis says:

      Hm… this is interesting to me for a particular reason, and I even feel slightly vindicated.

      Moon links to the debate about that “phony” satellite (actually drone-taken) image of the alleged MH-17 shoot-down.

      Moon debunks Brown Moses’ debunk by pointing out that Eliot does not understand how JPEG compression works.

      This is interesting to me because I had a vigorous debate (on this blog) with “peter”, who called me an idiot for giving this image any credence whatsoever. Something to do with optics and angle of view blah blah blah (of which I do not understand the math or the optics, to be sure… but peter in his usual arrogant manner would not submit his own mathematical equations for peer review of those who DO understand such matters).

      It’s not that I am a religious believer in this particular image, I just wanted people to give it a fair hearing. Everybody, even on Russophile blogs, got used to dismissing this particular image as a “photoshop fake” just because that’s what everybody and their grandmother was repeating, like parrots.

      And P.S. – every single one of Bell-on-Cat’s debating points against this image, was successfully refuted by Evgeny Shultz on his blog. Every single one EXCEPT for the google map debating point, that is to say… As I mentioned before, Shultz, in order for his argument to work, has to posit the hypothesis that google FALSIFIED a tiny quadrant of map in their archive (that tiny bit that contains the corkscrew cloud), backfilling a bit of map from July 17, 2014 back into an earlier archive from a couple of years earlier.

      This assumes a conspiracy theory that Google would have to be working hand in hand with Eliot and the others. I know: pretty farfetched …. NOT…

  37. Tim Owen says:

    This looks significant:

    “When the Chief of the Syrian General Staff appears at the front, something big always happens in the aftermath. We can confirm to our readers that 20,000 members of Iran’s elite Republican Guards (Quds Force) have disembarked at Latakia as of 2 days ago. General Solaymaani, its commander, has been arguing for exactly that for months. Turkey’s open aggression against Syria was the reason that finally swayed the Supreme Religious Leader, Ayatollah Khaamen`iy, to approve the measure. Syria and Iran have a mutual defense pact which can be triggered only by an invasion from another nation state. Turkey’s injection of army regulars in support of the Alqaeda terrorists at Idlib was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was a reckless act by Erdoghan indicating frustration and failure.

    The IRGC forces will be augmented gradually as the first wave is integrated directly into strategy, tactics and communication with the Syrian Army’s field commanders. The first target is Jisr Al-Shughoor whose liberation will augur the retreat of all rats from Areehaa. This is a signal moment in the history of this conflict. It answers many of our readers’ questions as to why Iran has not intervened directly much earlier. Moreover, the intervention had to have been done with the approval of the Russian Federation.”

    Read more at http://www.syrianperspective.com/2015/06/general-ayyoob-inspects-troops-ahead-of-massive-assault-on-jisr-al-shughoor-iran-ups-the-ante-with-20000-quds-force-troops.html#t2J2vETLMUMIF1AP.99

  38. et Al says:

    Independent: Nato and EU face collapse if they fail to stop Russian aggression, warn experts
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/nato-and-eu-face-collapse-if-they-fail-to-stop-russian-aggression-experts-warn-10295927.html

    A major study by Chatham House found the conflict in Ukraine – where Moscow is backing separatist rebels – represented a “defining” moment for the future of Europe. It called for the West to increase the strength of its conventional military forces.

    It also warned that Russia was prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons in certain circumstances and Nato should make clear that a so-called “limited war” was “impossible”.

    “The conflict in Ukraine is a defining factor for the future of European security,” the report said. “Ukraine’s failure would deepen instability in Eastern Europe, increase the risk of further Kremlin adventures and diminish the prospects for eventual beneficial change in Russia.

    “Russia may have the greater interest in Ukraine. But the West has an even bigger interest in preserving the post-Cold War environment.

    “If that is dismantled, it is conceivable that Nato and the EU could collapse too.”

    The report, whose authors include two former ambassadors to Moscow, Sir Roderic Lyne and Sir Andrew Wood, said Russian President Vladimir Putin had been encouraged by the “weak and unconvincing responses” from the West to events such as Russia’s seizure of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia in 2008….
    ####

    Q: Where do old British dinosaurs from the military-industrial-complex go when they retire?
    A: Cowpig House!

    Quite a passive aggressive analysis by the old farts. By deliberately and falsely upping the stakes, i.e. NATO & EU may collapse, they can conveniently justify just about anything. considering NATO has gone to war without UNSC resolutions before, then this paper seems like a pre-defense of NATO doing it again and even using nukes.

    It’s a sign of desperation though. As a piece of counter-Russia propganda, it is weak on several fronts, rather than going for subtlety, it goes all tabloid. Not a shred of mea culpa of course. As others have posted on this Blog, “How dare Russia move its borders next to NATO?!!!”

    • marknesop says:

      It relies on the same tired old premise – show the Russkies the stick, and they will snarl but they will back down. I doubt those two old fools have been 20 miles from The Club in the last 5 years, and their views are informed by the Cold War days they would love to see come again. Europe has already shit its own bed and will be lying in it for many years to come. It is interesting, though, how the old Cold Warriors come out in favour of correcting a series of stupid and completely avoidable mistakes by making more mistakes. Especially since we now know the western military-industrialists and their lobbyists deliberately and routinely exaggerated the Soviet threat and misattributed Soviet intentions in order to justify huge defense budgets and unrestricted investment in development of weapons systems.

    • Erebus says:

      “Russia may have the greater interest in Ukraine. But the West has an even bigger interest in preserving the post-Cold War environment….If that is dismantled, it is conceivable that Nato and the EU could collapse too.”

      They got this right, and this is the core message. The rest is fluff. The “post-Cold War environment” is a Western construct founded on a vision of Western supremacy. A crash ‘n burn in Ukraine would signal that the vision is a crumbling delusion, with the loss of diktat power to their membership as well as the rest of the world. Without that veneer of “supremacy”, the West’s ability to get its way on myriads of other issues disappears.
      Its members would naturally start questioning what they’re members of and why. If NATO can’t guarantee defacto military supremacy, and the EU can’t guarantee at least economic well-being, the membership will drift apart.
      A year and a half ago, I was saying to any who would listen (not many!) that Ukraine will mark where the West’s wave broke and receded. If the West can’t deal with issues in its own backyard, its voice elsewhere will be increasingly ignored.

  39. Jeremn says:

    Harf having trouble at the press briefing yesterday:

    QUESTION: Yes, thank you. Ukraine. Last week, your colleague here at the briefing said that Ukraine’s rebel forces are responsible for, quote, “the overwhelming number of violations of the Minsk agreements.” I’m looking at the OSCE daily reports for the last two months – daily reports of violations – and here’s what they show: Ceasefire violations – in nine of their reports, it appears that Donetsk and Lugansk forces were – have violated the ceasefire. In eight of their reports, it appears that the Ukrainian Government has violated the ceasefire. In nine of the reports, it was not clear who violated that ceasefire. Now, withdrawal of heavy weapons: rebel forces, 33 reports of violations; government forces, 35 reports of violations. This is hardly a vast majority behind —

    MS HARF: I haven’t seen —

    QUESTION: A question.

    MS HARF: Go ahead.

    QUESTION: Where do you – and I mean the State Department – get the information that the rebel forces are responsible for the vast majority of violations?

    MS HARF: From a variety of sources, including the OSCE. So I’m happy to take a look at what you’ve quoted specifically and look at the numbers underlying that.

    QUESTION: I’m looking at all their daily —

    MS HARF: But there’re a lot of numbers here, and a lot of people can use numbers in different ways, and I want to take a look at them myself. But what we know from the OSCE – again, I can take a look at what numbers you’re quoting, and I’m happy to get into them specifically and see what more we can say.

    QUESTION: The daily reports – their daily reports do not show an overwhelming majority.

    MS HARF: I think our experts who look at them say something different, so let me go back to our team. But everything we’re getting from the OSCE and other sources of information indicates that a vast majority, as my colleague said, are from the Russian separatist combined forces. So we can go through the numbers, and I’m happy to do that, but again – I would also mention that the Russian separatist forces are preventing OSCE access in many places and they’re not letting them in to see what’s actually going on.

    QUESTION: A simple question: Do you acknowledge that the Ukrainian Government too is violating the Minsk agreements?

    MS HARF: Well, I think by saying a vast majority are the Russian separatist forces, that would then indicate —

    QUESTION: But —

    MS HARF: — that a small, a very small minority are on the other side. But let’s also remember here —

    QUESTION: That is not clear from the OSCE daily report.

    MS HARF: I just told you I would look at them, and we can get into a numbers game here and see what numbers you’re using and what other experts, including our team, says. Broadly speaking, though, this is Ukrainian territory. The Ukrainians have a right to defend themselves when Russia sends into their territory heavy weapons, tanks, fighters, across that – just today across the ceasefire line into Ukrainian territory.

    QUESTION: But that was not my question. Can I – it’s a simple yes or no question.

    MS HARF: I think I just answered your question.

    QUESTION: Do you acknowledge that the Ukrainian Government too is violating the Minsk agreements? Yes or no.

    MS HARF: I think I just – I think I – we don’t do yes or no’s here. I think I just answered your question when I said if a large majority is the Russian separatist forces, then there’s a very small minority that is on the other side. I think I answered your question.

    QUESTION: Is that a yes?

    MS HARF: I’m not going to play that game with you.

    QUESTION: It is not a game.

    MS HARF: Justin, let’s move on.

    QUESTION: OSCE reports —

    MS HARF: I said I —

    QUESTION: — show violations on both sides.

    MS HARF: I said I would look into these reports, and I don’t have anything else for you until I’ve seen them myself.

    QUESTION: Why do you feel so uncomfortable to acknowledge —

    MS HARF: I don’t.

    QUESTION: — that the Ukrainian Government too is violating the Minsk agreements?

    MS HARF: I don’t feel uncomfortable about – I just answered your question.

    QUESTION: Then why – you did not answer it. Yes or no. Did you answer question —

    MS HARF: I’m not going to say yes or no.

    QUESTION: — do you acknowledge that the Ukrainian Government —

    MS HARF: I’m going to answer the question in the way I think is appropriate, and I just did. And I’m going to move on now.

    QUESTION: Which is not answering.

    MS HARF: Justin.

    QUESTION: Wait, wait. Just on this, Marie.

    MS HARF: Yeah. Or Matt, go ahead.

    QUESTION: Do you – as far as I can tell, you are acknowledging that there are some violations. You say —

    MS HARF: We’ve said that publicly.

    QUESTION: Exactly.

    MS HARF: Correct.

    QUESTION: But why did it take so long to get to the point where you would acknowledge them? I mean, two weeks ago there was no answer to the question at all, not even what you said —

    MS HARF: I think often information is just conflicting and we don’t have all the information we need to answer that question.

    QUESTION: And —

    MS HARF: In part, again, because OSCE monitors can’t get into a lot of these places.

    QUESTION: Given – if we accept what you say is happening is happening, and there are certainly independent reports of —

    MS HARF: Absolutely.

    • Fern says:

      The questioner is, I think, RT’s Gayanne Chicakhan (probably not the right spelling) who does sterling work at these State Department briefings. Another question that could be asked is how many of the violations on the rebel/separatist/federalist side result in civilian deaths versus those on Kiev’s side.

  40. et Al says:

    RIght, conspiracy time. This one is my own and I am not a conspiracy theorist (which is exactly what a canny conspiracy theorist would say!).;)

    The FIFA corruption probe – why now? (OK, Jon Steward did ask this one already).

    The conspiracy: The US knew Almaz-Antei’s MH17 report was coming out, so to bump it down the news pecking order and diminish its coverage, the set the public arrests of FIFA officials before the report was released. It gets even better as this is only just the start of the FIFA probe and will provide a regular drip drip drip of allegations. BTW, the FBI has announced it will now start formal investigations in to Russia being awarded the 2018 World Cup!

    The benefit of that is that the PPNN doesn’t have to actively censor or ignore the AA report. It can legitimately claim that there are other vitally important stories to cover. Freedumb of Speech is protected to boot!

    On another note, and bringing up other concerns already posted about others, what of the supposed optimism of the State Department junket to Sochi that was supposed to have sorted out some sort of return to normalish relations with the Russians? Ever since, we’ve only seen bad news – A new threat to Transnistria, Russia accused of corruption over WC2018, personal sanctions lists etc. Even if some deal was worked out with the US, there is nothing but bad faith and certainly no trust to speak of at all. It doesn’t augur well at all. Oh, the Ides of May!!!

    • yalensis says:

      To say that conspiracies DON’T exist, is like saying that the CFO/CIO/CEO of a major company never get together behind closed doors to plan the next major project and how they are going to roll it out…

      No, please. People in high places DO get together and plan things in advance.
      The American government DOES get together with major media figures and lay out the “arc” of the next big story.

    • Fern says:

      Damn it, Al, you beat me to it. I was about to post on the latest from the United States of Amnesia who said as far back as, oh let me see, it’s all so long ago it’s a struggle to remember, ah yes, that’s right, last Thursday, that the FBI’s eruption into FIFA’a affairs had nothing to do with Russia. Now, after an eon of 7 days has passed, the Feds have announced they’ll be conducting a probe into the awarding to the World Cup to Russia and Qatar – the latter, of course, is an irrelevance. That’s an interesting definition of ‘Federal’ they’re working to.

      The US/NATO/EU is acknowledging there’s no point in trying to repeat the hate-fest that accompanied the Sochi Olympics because it didn’t derail them – in spite of all the spoiler actions, they were a tremendous success. Many, many more people would want to travel to attend World Cup matches giving Russia both an economic boost and, more importantly, a huge increase in soft power. Millions of fans having a great time – well, it just cannot (and that’s ‘cannot’ as in CANNOT) be permitted.

      I’ve also been wondering whether these actions are tied to MH17 and Tradnistra. I can see the purpose of Kerry’s visit to Sochi being to ‘offer’ (the sort of ‘offer’ the Mob makes) a trade – co-operate with us or things aren’t looking good for 2018.

      • et Al says:

        Sorry Fern! For some reason I’ve gone hypo these last few days and posted about half a billion comments. Maybe it is the weather…

  41. yalensis says:

    Radio interview with Valentina Lisitsa.
    Val is planning to travel to Donbass and hold a big concert on June 22.
    One can safely predict that Donbass residents will be extremely excited to enjoy such a concert.

  42. et Al says:

    Neuters: Germany says fighting in eastern Ukraine “worrying”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/04/ukraine-crisis-germany-idUSB4N0VQ00220150604

    Germany is worried about an upsurge in fighting in eastern Ukraine but it is not clear whether there is any link between the violence and an upcoming G7 summit to which Russia is not invited, a senior German official said on Thursday.

    Asked at a briefing whether Russia might be stoking trouble in Ukraine ahead of the summit, the official, who requested anonymity, cited “heavy violations” of a ceasefire, calling the exchanges “worrying”.
    ####

    Neuters – masters of omission, obfuscation and bs! And I’m saying that anonymously too! Was it a Neuter’s journalist who asked the question? We simply don’t know.

    The question itself is interesting though (which is why I want to know who asked it), what is the possible benefit to Russia of it ‘stoking trouble in Ukraine ahead of the summit‘? Is it just because they are Russian, i.e. the usual anti-Russian bigotry or is there some other mysterious and very very clever reason the Russians might be doing this? No, we are left to assume that it is a reasonable question, otherwise it wouldn’t have been asked.

    We are told that people are now starting to fear their jobs being taken over by robots and software. Why pay proper money for so-called journalists to spin their flights of fancy when you can have a piece of software provide the bs much more cheaply? The mind boggles.

  43. yalensis says:

    In addition to water blockade of Donbass, Kiev is introducing food blockade.

    Yury Lutsenko, who is the head of Poroshenko’s political party announced today, that Kiev has decided on a “food blockade” of Donbass. Lutsenko said the following: “Until the terrorists release their hostages and cease their shelling, they will not receive any food from our side. All of our citizens, who understand the situation, need to leave [Donbass] and resettle on the free territory of Ukraine.
    “Currently the rebels have all their supplies from Ukraine – beverages, tinned foods, meat, etc. Their prices are higher, naturally. (But) the products are brought to them by Ukrainian citizens who bribe the men at our checkpoints; the checkpoints in turn bribe officials in Kiev, we know this, because the permits to pass the checkpoints are issued not by locals, but in Kiev.”

    Lutsenko says he is goint to stop this illegal smuggling of products to “occupied” Donetsk/Luhansk.

    Two days earlier, this same Lutsenko [yalensis: who talks like a crazy man] proposed to rename the Donbass. His idea for a new name: “Polovetsian Land”. This is because (he says) he does not regard the inhabitats of Donbass as actual Ukrainians (nor even Slavs):
    They are Polovetskian people!

    (yalensis: well, that would explain why Donbass residents are such good dancers!)

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      He should have avoided that allusion – the record of Kiev against the Cumans is not encouraging for his side.

      • yalensis says:

        Exactly. Prince Igor lived to rue his foolhardy campaign against the Cumans.
        Although, in the process he did obtain a very nice daughter-in-law. Great singer, too!

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. – interesting wiki entry on the Cumans aka the “Polovtsy”.

      Apparently the name “Polovtsy” was a Russian/Ukrainian term, from the Old Russian word “polovo” meaning “straw”. Referring to the strikingly BLONDE hair of the Cumans!

      • marknesop says:

        That’s a good site – I should add it to the blogroll. From the same site, Cyberberkut release more hacked emails, this time one from an official in the United States Embassy to Ukraine named Tetyana Podobinska-Shtyk, who is exposed as apparently having warned the Kiev junta of satellite photos that show their artillery violating the Minsk Agreement and counseling them to start preparing an explanation for “how to justify them or present them as fake”.

        If this is a scam, it’s a pretty good one – Ms. Podobinska-Shtyk is indeed a staffer at the U.S. Embassy – an “Expert on the Democracy Commission“, no less, and an administrator of “small grants” from the USA to democracy-lovers in Ukraine. The grants come from the U.S. State Department, and are intended to meet your usual garden-variety NED-type goals; note the emphasis on “quick-impact activities”:

        We fund projects that foster the development and education of civil society in Ukraine. These grants are implemented by members of civil society, including nongovernmental organizations, civic groups, reform networks, and academic institutions that are committed to supporting democratic values and the active participation of all individuals in social, political, and economic life. Small grants are typically awarded only to local, not international organizations, and are intended to support quick-impact activities. Proposed activities should be implemented and make an impact within one-year of the start of the grant. The grants cannot be used for startups or to support small and medium entrepreneurs, international organizations or individuals.

  44. Jeremn says:

    Gas politics, now Slovakia wants Turkish Stream to go through Bulgaria. Why couldn’t they just have had South Stream!?

    “The gas pipeline project, which is to be connected to the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, is to cross Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia.

    The new gas pipeline project is to be implemented with the support and participation of the EU, according to Fico.”

    http://www.novinite.com/articles/168997/Slovakia+Proposes+to+Russia+Gas+Pipeline+Involving+Bulgaria,+Romania,+Hungary

    • et Al says:

      Isn’t that the ‘East Ring’ pipeline project that Brussels pulled out of their ass since South Stream was cancelled? Russia isn’t paying for it, so who cares? The gas will be sold at the EU border.

      Serbia & Bulgaria just signed to build Interconnector Bulgaria-Serbia (IBS) two-way pipeline, though this has been planned for a few years already:

      http://inserbia.info/today/2015/06/serbia-bulgaria-gas-interconnection-by-2018/

      http://www.hydrocarbons-technology.com/projects/gas-interconnection-bulgaria-serbia-ibs-pipeline/

      It looks like the Commission’s plan is simply to joint up all pipeline networks and build extra pipes and interconnnectors where necessary and they’ll be paying for it too.

      No doubt they are planning an interconnection with the TESLA pipeline through Macedonia & Serbia if they can’t kill it, though the Greeks are going to Moscow to sign a deal in a couple of weeks. So, it seems that there will be two balkan gas pipelines. Guess which one will provide cheaper gas to the consumer…..

      Nuland is going to Belgrade in July too. That’s bad news.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, he doesn’t actually want Turkish Stream to go through Bulgaria – he’s proposing a jointly-built and operated pipeline which will connect to Turkish Stream at its currently-envisioned terminus. If Russia wants to demonstrate good will it could offer to invest in the pipeline, but it is under no obligation to do so and I don’t see what would be in it for Russia to do so, as it would not get co-ownership; Brussels would make sure of that. However, it is evidence of sense in eastern Europe and a flag that at least some leaders are being pro-active and not putting their hopes in The Pie In The Sky Pipeline to be magically comstructed by the EU which will link to an as-yet-unidentified but boundless source of cheap gas. The closing line is the money shot, in which he acknowledges that gas transit through Ukraine will be stopped, because it is still Brussels’ brainwave to force Russia to continue using Ukraine as a transit country so that there remains risk for Russia in its collapse. If Russia has no interest in Ukraine but a sympathetic one, its collapse is no skin off Russia’s nose, while Europe cannot afford to finance its continued existence. A few years of having it turn into Afghanistan might work a mighty change in Ukrainian attitudes.

  45. davidt says:

    Max van der Werff at 7mei.nl is probably thinking pretty clearly when he emphasises the point that the A-A report provides a strong technical argument that Putin (or Russia) is not responsible for MH17’s demise. That’s certainly true but, for me, this was close to a given. Why? Simply because Putin seems to be a very cautious and conservative individual, who is too intelligent to allow a Buk complex to enter East Ukraine. (I suppose one might just imagine some renegade Russian army officer releasing such a missile but…)
    However, the “arguments” over MH17 are going to play out in the “media” and perhaps the A-A report might be vulnerable to criticism when it identifies Zaroshen’kye as the Buk’s launch location. (I don’t have similar concerns about their argument that the launch could not have been at Snizhne.)
    I remember a few days after the shoot down that one of the main Russian papers claimed that they had been contacted by a source in the FSU who said that MH17 had been shot down by the UAF by mistake. Their source claimed that there was confusion as to how this happened. (I have always wondered why the details of the shoot down were not leaked to the Russian side by some sympathetic Ukrainian.)
    Max VDW has other interesting articles, including one on Bellingcat.
    http://7mei.nl/2015/06/03/mh17-bad-day-for-the-putin-did-it-crowd/

    • marknesop says:

      That’s a great site and a very interesting report – I was particularly captivated by the graphics. The slide which shows the damage expected from an SA-11 proximity-fused detonation experienced close aboard versus the actual damage observed is the best evidence I have seen so far to highlight my question as to how the spray of fragments could simultaneously shred the cockpit with concentrated blast effect, and also damage the wing and port engine some 60 – 70 feet away. That seems to be a reasonable guess for distance as well, perhaps even a little conservative given the distance from the nosewheel to the center wheel of the main load-bearing wheels is 102 feet. Furthermore, some narratives explain the ruptured skin on the outside edges of the cockpit holes by saying the aircraft was actually hit from the opposite side (starboard) and that they are exit holes after the projectiles traversed the flight deck from the opposite side. Were that accurate it is inconceivable the port engine and wing would also show punctures while the starboard assemblies do not.

  46. et Al says:

    Sputnik: German FM Steinmeier: We Need Russia Back in G8
    http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150604/1022927996.html

    …“We need Russia to settle the frozen conflicts in Europe, Syria, Iraq, and Libya and also in dealing with issue of the Iranian nuclear program,” Steinmeier told the German newspaper Neue Ostanbrücker Zeitung…

    …“We realize that the Minsk accords have not been fully implemented yet, but they still allowed keeping the hostilities in check, even though the ceasefire regime remains fragile,” said the minister in the interview titled “Steinmeier wants Russia Back in G8.”…

    …Commenting on Mr. Steinmeier’s interview, Der Spiegel quoted German Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Gerd Mueller, who said he hoped that Russia would join the next G8 summit…
    ###

    The MO looks fairly clear now. Any backing down, a.k.a. compromise, is in the hands of Steinmeyer. Merkel’s hands (and face) remain clean as the Iron Kancellor.

    The real question is, Why would Russia want to return to the G7? What’s in it for them? The naughty school boy allowed back? A free propaganda victory for the Russophobes. Why exactly should Russia sit in the same room as the same nations who have been flinging non-stop monkey poo at Russia? The G7 isn’t even representative of the world’s largest economies either. It’s an obsolete club from the Old World.

    • marknesop says:

      I completely agree. A piece I did a long time back highlighted an article from Russia-obsessed Business New Europe which reported Putin prefers the venue of the G-20 to the G8, finding the former less restrictive and more in line with Russia’s objectives. It looks quite prescient now, if I say so myself. Without Russia, the G8 is bloated with debt, while the G20 countries would probably be better off if they were the G-20 minus 7. Once again – and not for the last time – I will say that the west will rue the day it ever set this chain of events in motion.

  47. et Al says:

    Spot report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), 3 June 2015: Fighting around Marinka
    http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/162116

    Summary

    Fighting erupted around the government-controlled town of Marinka (23km west-south-west of Donetsk city centre) in the morning of 3 June. The SMM observed the movement of a large amount of heavy weapons in “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled areas – generally in a westerly direction towards the contact line – close to Marinka, preceding and during the fighting. Calm was restored by the early evening.

    Detail

    Between 22:30hrs on 2 June and 05:30hrs on 3 June, the SMM – positioned in the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Tekstilshchik area of Donetsk city (14km east-north-east of Marinka) – made a number of observations. It observed, inter alia, eight tracked armoured vehicles moving west, four of which were main battle tanks (MBT) at 22:30hrs; four MBTs at 23:03hrs; a military-type truck moving west, towing a 122mm artillery piece at 23:45hrs; two T-64 MBTs moving west at 04:30hrs; and a column of one infantry fighting vehicle (BMP-2), three military trucks (one carrying an ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun), and two T-72 MBTs, moving west, at 04:50hrs. In addition, the SMM – at the same location – heard approximately 100 outgoing artillery rounds fired from a location 1-5km north-north-west of its position between 04:30 and 04:40hrs; an outgoing salvo of BM-21 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) Grad rockets fired from a location 1-5km west of its position at 04:55hrs; and, 100 outgoing artillery rounds fired from a location 5km north-north-west of its position.

    Between 04:30 and 05:00hrs, the SMM – positioned in Donetsk city-centre – heard several salvos of outgoing MLRS rockets and approximately 100 incoming heavy-artillery rounds.

    Between 07:00 and 08:00hrs, the SMM – mobile in an area 6-9km east of Marinka – observed seven T-64 MBTs facing west. In addition, it heard, on two separate occasions, more than five salvos of outgoing MLRS (BM-21) rockets and heavy-mortar rounds; and 12 outgoing MLRS Grad rockets and mortars.

    At approximately 06:00hrs, an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) observed intense shelling targeting an intersection of the H15 highway 3.5km south-west of Marinka. The UAV spotted four 2S3 Akatsiya 152mm self-propelled howitzers 9km south-west of the town at 15:30hrs.

    The SMM made several attempts between 10:45 and 12:11hrs to contact high-ranking “DPR” personnel – including the “DPR” “prime minister”, “parliamentary speaker”, “minister of defence” and “chief of the general staff” – in order to facilitate a cessation to the fighting around Marinka. Either they were unavailable or did not wish to speak to the SMM.

    At 15:00hrs the SMM received a letter from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, saying Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons would be placed on the contact line in order to deal with the “real threat” posed by the fighting in Marinka, which they said had started at 06:00hrs that morning. Ukrainian officials later publicly acknowledged that the weapons had been used, saying their use was necessary in thwarting a “DPR” attack.

    The Representative of the Russian Federation Armed Forces to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination told the SMM at 15:00hrs that a ceasefire around Marinka would take effect at 17:00hrs. He told the SMM at 21:00hrs that the situation around Marinka was currently calm. At around 19:00hrs a representative of the Anti-Terrorist Operation command in Kramatorsk and the “DPR” “ministry of defence” confirmed to the SMM that Marinka was under government control.

    The SMM will follow up on reports of civilian and military casualties in Marinka.
    #####

    Here’s the earlier report from June 2 with an annexed table of violations:

    http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/162051
    ####

    Well, Porky did publicly say that he would take Donetsk back, so it appears by hook or by crook Kiev still thinks it is in its interests to provoke fighting which can mean several things, but most importantly, they still believe that they have the full backing of the USA. I’m starting to suspect that after Sochi, Kerry was pushed off his bicycle by those who don’t want a rapprochement (how’s that for a conspiracy yalensis?!!).

    It is interesting that political statements from the EU are being very careful too.

    Today’s statement by Kocanic, EEAS spokeshole is not yet up on their site nor on the Commission site:

    Statement by the Spokesperson on the fighting around Mariyinka in Eastern Ukraine
    http://eeas.europa.eu/statements-eeas/2015/150604_02_en.htm

    http://europa.eu/newsroom/index_en.htm

    • et Al says:

      CSM: Renewed fighting in Ukraine – just as West reassesses relations with Russia
      http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2015/0603/Renewed-fighting-in-Ukraine-just-as-West-reassesses-relations-with-Russia-video

      For a laugh, here’s NY Crimes’ Roger Cohen calling the “West’s defeat in Ukraine”
      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/05/opinion/roger-cohen-western-defeat-in-ukraine.html
      ###

      His conclusion, everyone except Putin is weak! May he stand arm in arm with Ukrainian nazis? Mazeltov you schmock!

      I’m kind of hoping that the sanctions are renewed against Russia. I truly worry that once the pressure is off all the necessary basic reforms (such as having your own agricultural center) will be dead in the water and the Kreakly will be happy to go out and spend their monies on superior western products like before.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, Porky is once again beating the war drum on MSN, and exhorting Ukrainians to be ready to repel a full-scale invasion from the entire length of its border with the Russian Federation. He never appears to be embarrassed when no such invasion materializes, because he knows full well it is all made up,and is instead using it as a pretext to crank up the tension so that any trivial incident along the “line of contact” is an excuse for another attempt to crush the east by military force. He claims to have about 50,000 troops in the region, and further claims that Russia has about 9,000 regular army troops in Ukraine in opposition. That will blossom to about 90,000 when the big push fails and the Ukie Army gets anotther bloody nose.

        I wonder what the significance of that number is? It could be just pulled out of his ass, but if he said 90,000, people would say how could there be such a huge number of Russian troops in Ukraine and there are no pictures or other proof. If he said 1,000 people would say so what? Can’t you beat 1,000 Russians with your overwhelming numerical superiority and motivation? So this number must have been pondered over as the best possible compromise.

        The really disgusting thing about it all is that the west has assembled a toady government headed by a billionaire and backed by nationalist extremists who will not be happy unless they are at war with or crushing some group, and it expects the world to help it build a prosperous western-oriented state around this corrupt, vicious core. And it will have no plans to replace this core until it is satisfied it is no longer useful.

      • marknesop says:

        It’s been a long time since I read The Times, so it was a surprise to find Roger Cohen an even bigger idiot than I remembered. “Arming Ukraine to level the playing field (and so bolster the chances of diplomacy) is of course rejected by Merkel; it should not have been.” Arming Ukraine just to level the playing field, of course, make it a fair contest against those poncy easterners and their tanks they took off of memorial plints in city parks – not to help them win or anything underhanded like that, just to make it interesting. It’s a pity Roger Cohen has no more room in his ass for facts, or he would see that Ukraine is not losing because it lacks weapons – it has plenty of weapons. What he means is Ukraine should get weapons that are capable of killing huge amounts of people in a single attack, so as to break the easterners’ will and force their surrender. Because they can apparently last forever against tank, artillery and infantry attack. Furnishing Ukraine with a brand-new air force would likewise be a bit of a waste unless the USA supplies the pilots as well, since Ukraine’s losses to ground fire were severe enough to cause it to lose interest in establishing air superiority.

        Cohen is too busy burbling tropes about mafia government and the upset of seeing the bad guys winning to pay much attention to what he is positing as facts.

    • kat kan says:

      Porky was doing his first “state of the union” address, he needed a military victory to back it up/distract from his off-planet report on his first year in power.

    • et Al says:

      The EEAS link has gone live. It’s bs:

      The heavy fighting around Mariyinka, near Donetsk, yesterday in Eastern Ukraine constitutes the most serious violation of the ceasefire under the Minsk agreements since February. This escalation followed the movement of a large amount of heavy weapons towards the contact line by the Russia-backed separatists, as reported by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. Renewed intense fighting risks unleashing a new spiral of violence and human suffering.

      The ceasefire must be fully respected and all heavy weapons withdrawn and kept in storage sites open to regular verification by OSCE monitors. The implementation of the Minsk agreements, to which all sides have declared their commitment, can only succeed on the basis of such a ceasefire, permanent withdrawal of heavy weapons and regular monitoring and verification.
      ####

      How disappointing!

  48. et Al says:

    Thomson’s Neutered Foundation: EU fears Ukraine violence “spiral”, warns on sanctions
    http://www.trust.org/item/20150604112736-h94g0/

    …Yelisieiev said the Minsk agreements were on the brink of complete breakdown and said what Kiev says was a separatist attack on the eastern town of Maryinka should trigger stronger EU economic sanctions against Moscow.

    In a statement, the ambassador urged the EU “to take immediate steps to support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, in particular by ramping up the sanctions pressure on Moscow”…
    ####

    You would think from his statements that Ukraine has a strong voice in directing EU policy! Kiev is still dreaming of an NATO backed offensive a la Operation Flash/Storm that the pure Croatian race carried out against the unclean Serbs in 1995. All these Yugo parallels are really annoying because there are so many of them and are so easy to reference, yet the current situation in the Ukraine is unique and different, the fundamental difference being that Russia holds all the cards.

    Here’s a second thought (I know, I’m a bit slow), is the Nuland wing trying to undermine the Kerry wing (is there that much of a difference)? It was assumed that Kerry was in the ascendant over Nuland (as Jupiter passes …) but maybe she doesn’t take too kindly to being on the back foot. If this is true, then she’s doling out some serious rope for herself.

    • Jeremn says:

      Minsk was broken by the Ukrainians yesterday. But they told their partners they were breaking Minsk, so it was OK. Poroshenko said so in the Rada

      “Having notified its international partners of its plans, the Ukrainian army “redeployed artillery weapons from the line of contact, where they were stationed in accordance with the Minsk agreements, and repelled the attack staged by pro-Russian soldiers,” Poroshenko said in his annual address to Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday.”

      http://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/269883.html

  49. et Al says:

    I think it is basically this:

    1) Kiev wants anti-Russian sanctions continued – its strategy has been careful to use infantry attacks with lower caliber weapons to provoke a response from the NAF with big artillery – this is what happened in Bosnia where slightly differently the ArBiH also had a major manpower advantage over the Serbs, but not artillery. The infantry attacks are ignored by the West as only heavy artillery counts;

    2) Nuland v. Kerry;

    3) Timing – upcoming G7 & European summits, Transnistria.

    It looks fairly clear. Kiev is quite happy to use its troops as cannonfodder (just like Izetbegovic did) if it means more punishment for the other side. It has at least substantial backing for this plan. This tells us that the neocon Nuland wing that had been on the back foot since Minsk II was signed, is seriously back in the game, the goal to kill Minsk II and force another agreement with the US taking full part and trying to claw something back for Obama and Kiev. The whole Transnistria thing is an attempt to muddy the waters and quite possible a diversionary tactic – it can certainly be turned on or off at a moments notice.

    Germany is yet again key. It has three choices: 1) go along with the plan; 2) sit in the middle & 3) oppose the plan. So far it has been mostly 2, which is a credible position, i.e. don’t add more fuel to the fire and denies critical weight to those pushing 1, so it is not that bad of an option. That leads to the question of what happens at the next EU summit? We can assume that sanctions will continue – i.e. more of the same or an active shift, but we’ve just had FM Steinmeyer saying he’d like to see Russia back with the G7. Is that just bs?

    So far Germany has excelled at not being pushed in to one camp wholly or the other. Maybe the neocon wing is yet again trying to push Germany to make a stand in their favor, but why would they do that when they have already failed once in the past? Do they detect a shift or don’t they care? Yes, they got sanctions against Russia in the first place, but they are luke warm (but still damaging) ones at best. Russia is now prepared to be ejected out of SWIFT etc. and other previously threatened sanctions so what more could possibly be threatened?

    Most of these things have been said before already by others, but events, dear boy, are seriously firming up of late. I’ll just go and start building a bunker. After I find a suitable garden…

    • et Al says:

      How convenient!

      Deutscher’s Willy: Data stolen during hack attack on German parliament, Berlin says
      http://www.dw.de/data-stolen-during-hack-attack-on-german-parliament-berlin-says/a-18486900

      Germany has confirmed data was stolen two weeks ago in a cyberattack on the federal parliament. It’s unclear who was behind the hacking. …

      … Two weeks ago hackers managed to gain access to the Bundestag’s internal server, launching an unprecedented attack reportedly by using so-called Trojan viruses.

      Days prior, news magazine “Spiegel” had reported that government IT experts had noticed previous attempts to hack into servers.

      The magazine also said there was evidence of a foreign spy agency being behind the hacking attack, although it could not cite sources.

      “Spiegel” said the espionage attempts were first discovered in May, when two computers infected with malicious software tried to connect to a server in Eastern Europe….
      ###

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/04/ruskies_are_behind_german_government_cyber_attack/
      ####

      So lets get this straight, German news agencies are afraid to publicly finger Russia but some probable Bundestag tech guys are quite happy to anonymously leak this to a British red top tech site?

      See the comments. Right, I” try not to post anything for a while.

      • kat kan says:

        If it tried to connect to a server in Eastern Europe it can’t have been the Russkis, they are NOT EUROPE remember?

        OTOH there is a NATO/CIA IT post in Estonia that the Ukraine SBU dob-in-a-future-murder-victim hotline was run from.

        Such a hack would be a neat cover for the normal NSA type eavesdropping, and a chance to point suspicion towards others.

    • marknesop says:

      I would agree with that, modifying it only to “Washington wants anti-Russian sanctions continued, and is moving its pawn – Kiev – to step up the action and set the tone for a united front on continuing sanctions for another year”.

      The West is seeking to reaffirm its warnings to Russia over Ukraine even as the renewed violence suggests that Russia wishes to keep Ukraine weak and “unstable.” Is that all it takes to keep Ukraine weak and unstable? A few thousand volunteers, maybe less? When Kiev brags that it has 50,000 troops in the region, and they have the loosest gloves-off rules of engagement ever and are allowed to fire heavy artillery directly into the city without having to pick a military target?

      Bring it on with the sanctions, you big girl’s blouses. It is best that the dividing line remain firm between Russia and Europe, and it will not be Russia that suffers for it in the end. If Europe can’t even muster the brass to say “No, thank you, Sir” to Uncle Sam then it deserves to circle the bowl along with him.

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