Violence Once Removed: War Through the Languid Filter of Bored Academia

Uncle Volodya says, "We measure everything by ourselves with almost a necessary conceit.”

Uncle Volodya says, “We measure everything by ourselves with almost a necessary conceit.”

Mark Galeotti is Professor of Global Affairs at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.  Touted as a “Russia Expert”, he is also a regular feature of Brian Whitmore’s podcasts for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), as well as the author of many books on Transnational Crime and Russian Security affairs. He also maintains the blog, “In Moscow’s Shadows“, which is usually a very good reference for  new legislation and legislative amendments under consideration in the Russian Federation. He comes educationally well-credentialed – sufficiently so to put PHD after his name – and generally stands in welcome contrast to “Russia Experts” like Edward Lucas, who is actually an expert on licking all the Baltic States from one end to the other in delirious adoration, and who has a head like a roasted nut. For overall density and useful application, I mean; not for appearance.

However, since he began guesting as an expert on RFE/RL’s podcasts, Mr. Galeotti has become…somewhat full of himself. Perhaps this owes its manifestations to the sycophantic gobbling of host Brian Whitmore, but whatever the reason, it is encouraging Mr. Galeotti to branch out into areas he formerly stayed mostly away from, and it would be difficult to reach any conclusion but that he now considers himself an authority on everything to do with Russia.

Consider, for example, the recent downing of a Russia Federation Air Force SU-24 fighter-bomber by F-16’s of the Turkish Air Force, in the vicinity of Turkey’s border with Syria. To the rhetorical question as to whether this is a big deal or not, his self response is – yawn – probably not. A certain amount of “sound and fury” can be expected – because we all know autocratic governments have to posture and show off on the world stage to convince their cowed subjects that they are doing something – but in the long run it is a fairly meaningless incident, and World War Three is not about to break out. In that last prediction, I am in complete agreement.

What I have a problem with is the Solomonesque assumption that Russia quite probably did violate Turkish airspace, or at least “it certainly wouldn’t surprise him” . He appears to base this on “Moscow’s willingness to cross into NATO airspace in the past”.

I suspect we can blame that on the lurid wordsmithing of the popular press – especially in his native country, where you can apparently be a journalist with the least number of measurable vital signs in the Free World – which has become admirably expert at implying Russian aircraft have violated NATO airspace when they have instead “approached” it  or “passed close to it”. Occasionally they resort to comedic lengths above and beyond the call of fantastic invention, like the report – personally cited by the NATO Secretary-General – that a Russian Ilyushin 20 aircraft passed within 300 meters of a Scandinavian Airlines aircraft taking off from Copenhagen airport. Checking reveals the actual position given is 50 miles southeast of Malmo, and more than 70 miles away from Copenhagen. But that’s how nutty memes get started. Russia’s international air safety record is considerably better than that of either the UK or USA, if measured by number of aircraft accidents.

Well, never mind – perhaps the stricken fighter-bomber blundered into Turkish airspace because it was “setting up an attack run on a rebel convoy or facility on the Turkish border.” At 6000 meters, more than halfway to the limit of its service ceiling? Ha, ha.

“Moscow may well have been assuming the Turks would be as restrained as other NATO members, which was an undoubted mistake”. Uh huh; other NATO members like the USA, whose Senators, Presidential hopefuls and all-purpose lunatics have been arguing for more than a month that somebody needs to be shooting down some Russian aircraft – the very model, if I may say so, of restraint. Apparently there is some kind of communication jamming barrier between Washington and New York that no media reports can pass.

“…[G]enerally the Kremlin has shown little signs of seeing in Ankara a serious ally, partner or player, even in the days when Putin and Erdogan were getting along.” Mmm hmm; except for offering to make it the gas hub for European deliveries and give it a generous national discount, resulting in annual revenues topping $2 Billion from transit fees alone plus the profit realized from selling gas received at a discount. The EU seemed to think that was quite a significant – not to say serious – favour to bestow, when it was the EU’s ideaSu-24-Russia

Mr. Galeotti suggests that some NATO powers are a little leery of Turkey’s social-hand-grenade personality, and that Moscow will be unwilling to let this escalate – if Turkey offers even a pretense of remorse, this will be blared to the Russian press as success in forcing them to back down, and offered to the public as a sop in exchange for not escalating this situation further. This is a very sensible analysis, or would be under ordinary circumstances – but it fails to take into account the underlying reason for Russian grimness over this incident. The Turkmen on the Syrian side of the border, who enjoy Erdogan’s protection and intervention, machine-gunned the Russian fighter’s pilot and navigator while they were hanging in their parachutes, falling from the sky. Is that a war crime? You bet it is.

Article 42 of Additional Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions (1977), ‘Occupants of aircraft’, states the following:

1. No person parachuting from an aircraft in distress shall be made the object of attack during his descent.
2. Upon reaching the ground in territory controlled by an adverse Party, a person who has parachuted from an aircraft in distress shall be given an opportunity to surrender before being made the object of attack, unless it is apparent that he is engaging in a hostile act.
3. Airborne troops are not protected by this Article.

Now let’s turn to the matter of warnings, which the Turks say they passed to the aircraft not less than 10 times in 5 minutes before engaging it with a Mk-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air To Air Missile). The Turks have since stipulated the aircraft was inside Turkish airspace for 17 seconds.

First, you do not pass warnings to an aircraft that is not doing anything wrong. Except – allegedly – for those 17 seconds, the Russian fighter was in Syrian airspace by invitation of the Syrian government. Second, Turkey has assumed for itself 5 additional miles of airspace, extending into Syria, and aircraft flying within 5 miles of the Turkish border are considered by Turkey to be in its airspace. This has been so since 2012, when Syria shot down a Turkish F-4 in its airspace; there is no legal precedent for it, no basis in law and Turkey has no legal right to enforce it.

Third: this is a typical aircraft warning. “Unknown aircraft in position xxx degrees range xx from xxx (you give the aircraft its range and bearing from a known navigational reference point here, because if you tell him his range and bearing from you, you have just greatly simplified his targeting); you are closing my position and your intentions are unclear. You are standing into danger and may be subject to defensive measures. Alter course immediately to XXX degrees”. That, as it happens, is the warning passed by USS VINCENNES to the Iranian airliner it shot down in 1988, according to the transcript. This warning must be read in English, the international language of air traffic control, on a common international distress frequency which all aircraft monitor. I want you to try, right now, to say it 10 times in 17 seconds. Now, to make it fair, say it 10 times in 17 seconds in a language which is not your mother tongue, because the Turks speak Turkish. Now, the second time you say it, and every subsequent time that you can squeeze it into 17 seconds in a language which is not your own, say it with different numbers; aircraft move fast, and neither you or the plane you are warning are in the same position for more than a second or two – you will have to get the new readings from your instruments. You won’t have to pretend you are flying a fighter at the same time plus gaining a weapon firing solution, because I can’t think of any way you could simulate that.

How did you do? Guess what? Turkey is lying its swarthy face off. Naturally the parameters of what constitutes a short incursion into defended airspace change depending on what country is doing it, because a very angry Prime Minister Erdogan grated in 2012, on the occasion of one of his aircraft getting shot down for being in Syrian airspace, “A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack.”

Fourth; the AM-120 AMRAAM has a maximum range of 30 miles. By the time they fired at the Russian plane, the Turks were still claiming its identity was “unknown”, and even as it went down they claimed not to know to whom it belonged. Does that sound like anyone you want for a military ally? Somebody who shoots at an aircraft he can’t see or identify when it is not attacking him? How did they even know it was a military aircraft?

In spite of that, although all those things could have been known in about as much time as it would take to say them out loud, if anyone asked…the official response from Washington was that Turkey has a right to defend its territory and its air space, and President Obama blamed the incident on “an ongoing problem with Russian operations near the Turkish border.” This knee-jerk defense of a lying shitbag like Erdogan is why Russians are grim and filled with resolve.

“I would expect some uptick in ‘mischief’ – perhaps some support for the Kurds or other violent extreme movements, for example – as well as a more assiduous campaign to push back and stymie Turkish regional ambitions.

To say nothing of the fact that you can’t get too much more violent or extreme than a group which will shoot a helpless pilot in a parachute, I would expect quite a bit more than that. Every bombing mission will now be escorted by a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) of some of the best air-superiority fighters in the world. A Russian heavy cruiser with an extremely capable air-defense system is moving into station near the coast; this vessel can also function as a secondary air command center. And Russia has announced it will deploy the S-400 ground-based air defense missile system to the vicinity of Latakia. With a range of 250 miles and excellent multi-target capabilities, a pair of Turkish aircraft that pulled the stunt they just did could be smashed out of the sky while they were on final approach at Incirlik. The ante done been upped.

But the part that disappointed me most was the final paragraph.

It’s often said, with good reason, that Putin really wants a return to 19th century geopolitics, when might made right and realpolitik was all. Let’s not forget that one of the defining 19th century conflicts was that between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, which were sometimes openly at war, sometimes ostensibly at peace, but never anything than enemies. Here we go again.

Got that? It’s Putin who is destabilizing the world, who wants a return to might makes right. Not the NATO alliance, which backed the regional actor who openly supports ISIS. The guy who stoutly declares his right to come to the aid of fellow Turks in the neighbouring country, although when Putin mentioned defending fellow ethnic Russians in Ukraine from a government which referred to them as sub-humans and announced its intention to wipe them out, it brought a scream of rage from NATO. Mark Galeotti came down on the side of the United States, a country in which the last President who did not start a war was Gerald Ford. Who believes in might makes right? I’ll tell you. The country that made famous the quote, What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” The same speaker who also thought that a half-million dead Iraqi children as a result of American sanctions was “worth it“. The greatest and bloodiest warmonger of our age.

I see that Mr. Galeotti – prolific writer that he is – has since come out with another post which walks back his condemnation of Russia somewhat, or at least is a little more suspicious of Turkey’s impossible allegations, albeit he does stoop to the shooting-fish-in-a-barrel ease of using chronic simpleton Pavel Felgenhauer as a foil to make his point. All those considered, he does stipulate that Lavrov likely does have a valid argument, and the Turks were probably lying in ambush for a Russian plane.

Too late for me, though.

*As always, I am indebted to my readers and commenters for links and references which support this post.

This entry was posted in Europe, Government, Law and Order, Middle East, Military, Russia, Strategy, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,417 Responses to Violence Once Removed: War Through the Languid Filter of Bored Academia

  1. et Al says:

    EU Observer: Cyprus enforces Russian mafia law
    https://euobserver.com/justice/131327

    Andrew Rettman

    Cyprus is helping Russian officials to hush up a mafia scam and to hunt down the people who exposed it.

    Its justice ministry, last week, invited Russian sleuths to conduct a joint raid with Cypriot police on the offices, in Nicosia, of lawyers acting on behalf of Bill Browder.

    Browder is the former employer of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian auditor who, in 2007, uncovered a huge tax scam by Russian officials acting in league with an organised crime syndicate, the Kluyev Group.

    When Magnitsky went public, his office was raided, he was jailed, and later killed in prison. The stolen money was never recovered.

    Browder has campaigned for EU sanctions against the killers and for member states to seize the loot, which was, in part, laundered in European banks. ..

    …This website understands Cyprus granted the request for legal assistance in relation to Russia’s prosecution of Magnitsky, posthumously, and Browder, in absentia, for fraud.

    The case has been ridiculed, not least by EU institutions, as an attempt to conceal the original tax scam.

    The EU foreign service, in 2013, spoke of “unconvicing evidence” and called it “a disturbing message to those who fight corruption in Russia.”

    The UK, by contrast, denied similar requests for legal assistance. Other EU states, such as Luxembourg, also froze stolen funds. ..

    …The BND intelligence service compiled a report, leaked to German media, showing that Russian oligarchs and organised crime groups held deposits worth $26 billion (€25 billion) in Cypriot banks. …
    ####

    So says winner of the 2015 Sergei Magnitsky prize and prize useful idiot. Browder, Khordokhovsky and other scum have been fully laundered in to caring, sharing chaps.

    https://euobserver.com/news/131145

    …The event was attended by Magnitsky’s son and widow, as well as by Nemtsov’s daughter, Zhanna, who collected the prize in her late father’s name.

    Other guests included Vladimir Kara-Murza, one of Nemtsov’s associates, who is recovering after being poisoned in July, and Mikheil Khodorkovsky, an oligarch-turned-reformer, who spent 10 years in prison in Russia before moving to London. …

    • marknesop says:

      Andrew Rettman is among those on the stage while Zhanna Nemtsova receives the Magnitsky Award for Human Rights on behalf of her murdered father, Boris Nemtsov; Rettman is the dude on the far left, the intense-looking young chap with the red power tie. He is a longtime admirer of both Bill Browder and Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

      Interestingly, especially in light of the recent allegations of Erdogan & Son’s clandestine oil business, Rettman was also the author – back in 2013 – of this piece.

      EU Admits Oil-Aid to Syria Rebels Will Do Little to Help

      Brussels: EU countries have agreed to start buying oil from Syrian rebels in a largely symbolic move designed to give moral support. The decision, which entered into force Tuesday ( 23 April 2013), allows EU governments to buy crude oil and petrol and to supply the equipment and financial assistance needed to get it out of the country. Under a control mechanism, governments must consult the rebellion’s political wing, the Syrian National Coalition, before going ahead and must ensure transactions do not benefit any of the 179 regime peopleor 53 regime-linked companies on an EU blacklist.

      I would be surprised if Erdogan is the only one shitting his pants right now. The article was published under the rubric of USGAM Center For International Strategy and Security Studies…”E-Think Tank of New Turkey”. No mention of these oil sales not benefiting extremist groups – just don’t let Assad or his goons get their hands on any of the lolly. Curiously, Jhabat al-Nusra is specifically mentioned as off the EU’s Christmas-card list – “considered by the west as too dangerous to support”. By 2015, al-Nusra had morphed into almost-moderate rebels playing in the common band which was going to march straight over Assad, and God Bless America, although I feel comfortable saying the gigantic circle-jerk of western analysis does not know one rebel from another and would let ISIS into the house as the Maytag Repairman if he was wearing the right uniform.

      Where was the Syrian National Coalition – the go-to authority for EU governments looking to buy oil from Syrian rebels – based? I’m glad you asked. In Turkey. It’s President is Khaled Khoja, who is quite chummy with Erdogan.

      And about that refugee crisis. Remember those huge refugee camps in Turkey? Well, check this out – “So why has Erdoğan and the AK Party, under no legal obligation, gone out of their way to provide such assistance to the incoming refugees? Sedat, a Syrian who has been working for the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres in the border town of Kilis for the past two-and-a-half-years argues that ‘they wanted to influence Syrians so that when they go home they will be good ambassadors for Turkey.’ Whilst most refugee camps are organised and run by the UNHCR Agency across the world, the camps in Turkey differ in that they are run by Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, giving the AKP government complete control over the running of the camps. Many fear Turkey is doing so for their own agenda. ‘The Turkish government’s policy towards refugees stems from their desire to control everything,’ Sedat concluded.”

    • kirill says:

      Tin foil hat drivel from the NATO MSM. Funny how they accuse any source that does not goosestep to the narratives of being “conspiracy theorists”. The above is pure piece is pure fiction including the alleged murder of Magnitsky. There is no evidence of murder other than the sweet sound of self affirming western hate masturbation. Lots of key witnesses have died in NATO jails but I don’t recall them all being blamed on whatever regime was in power when they happened.

      Google up James McDougal and Clinton.

      As for the “j’accuse” BS, it was Browder’s company that was corrupt and Magnitsky was the corrupt accountant. When the law came calling they accuse the law of the crime.

      • astabada says:

        When the law came calling they accuse the law of the crime.

        From cases like Browder’s and Khodorkovsky, one learns the meaning of “fighting corruption” in the Western Free Press. It is fighting cops taking bribes, sellers without licenses – all forms of petty corruption.

        Fighting corruption is never meant as fighting state-wide or international corporations. On the contrary! Giant & private enterprises should be encouraged to flourish and to infiltrate the ganglia of political power, because they speak the same language the West speaks: money & power.

        • rymlianin says:

          Browder is the scion of the Earl Browder family. Earl was the Secretary General of the Communist Party USA during the later Depression and WWII years and was removed for revisionism and corruption. The family have been hangers-on and leeches of the Soviet state since then. No reason exists to trust them.

  2. et Al says:

    EU Observer: What they didn’t tell you at the EU-Turkey summit
    https://euobserver.com/opinion/131330

    …As long as the Cyprus issue remains unresolved, hailing the summit as a breakthrough would be stretching it too far. Talk about opening a new accession chapter – most likely on monetary policy – has been in the air since mid-2014, while efforts to open far more relevant chapters such as justice, human rights, and energy continue to be blocked by Cyprus.

    Just like the opening of the last chapter two years ago – on regional policy – made virtually no impact on the dynamic of EU-Turkey relations, opening one more now will likely go unnoticed. With 14 chapters opened, 21 to go and a negotiation that has been dragging on for a decade, it will take far more than a single chapter to revitalize the moribund process.

    Moreover, the general political climate in Turkey does not suggest a growing convergence with EU norms and standards. ..

    …If a settlement is reached in the coming months in Cyprus, the ensuing unfreezing of most EU accession chapters could neatly dovetail with the new political climate in Europe, in which Turkey’s strategic value is finally appreciated.

    And at that point there could really be a genuine revitalization of EU-Turkey relations and Turkey’s reform momentum.

    Not all things are done for the rights reasons. But maybe, just maybe, the outcome in this case could still end up being positive.

  3. et Al says:

    EU Obserer: Turkey arrests 1,300 migrants and smugglers after EU deal
    https://euobserver.com/migration/131321

    Turkish coast guards arrested around 1,300 migrants and three suspected smugglers Monday (30 November) in a crackdown operation just a day after the EU and Turkey reached a political deal to stem the flow of migrants to Europe…
    ####

    It’s magic!

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    At the Paris climate summit:

    Порошенко в Европе выставили на посмешище
    Poroshenko made a mockery of in Europe

    The President of the Ukraine pictured appealing in vain for Barack Obama’s attention
    Everything began delightfully, however: the Paris climate summit, glittering presidents, prime ministers, royals … and amongst them is everyone’s favorite, the handshakeable Petro Poroshenko.

    A triumph – almost – for the new Ukraine in its aspirations to become a member of the society of civilized Nations.

    In the video, the leaders have arrived at the summit and lined up for a group photo. They wait for U.S. President Barack Obama to take his place. Poroshenko is also waiting for Obama, but he is not lined up with the rest of them: no, he has placed his imposing figure where Barack will walk by and waits for him to pass.

    And Obama avoids him: he goes to one and then another leader but passes by Poroshenko without noticing him!

    But that’s just impossible! No way!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Methinks the damned dog is dead – politically at least!

      Such a shame.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Damn! Bum link!

        Try again:

        Порошенко в Европе выставили на посмешище
        Poroshenko made a mockery of in Europe

        Ha!

        Perhaps he will soon be swinging off a Maidan lamp post?

        • marknesop says:

          As I mentioned earlier, a bridge. I don’t think there’s a lamppost in Kiev that would hold him, although he does look to have dropped a suit size or two in recent months. Anxiety, I daresay. I’d like to put it down to a guilty conscience, and I might in someone a little less self-absorbed.

          Speaking of Ukraine, I know its exports to Russia have gone way, way down – but kiss what remains of that trade goodbye, as the EU insists on implementing its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) on January 1st. From that moment, Ukraine’s qualification for preferential trading status with Russia ends, and its products entering Russia are subject to the same tariffs and inspections as if they originated in the EU. You can get a feel for how much the EU cares about how that will affect ordinary Ukrainians by the statement of the EU’s Trade Commissioner, Cecelia Malmstrom, that “…the trade dispute [is] part of a broader political confrontation between Moscow and Western powers.” The Ukrainian producers are just cannon fodder in the front lines. Remember, you heard it here first; Ukraine has never run a trade surplus in its trade with the EU, and I’m betting it never will – Ukrainians will still see trade, but when you look at the balance sheet at the end of the year, Ukraine will have spent more on buying goods and services from the EU than the EU will have spent in buying goods and services from Ukraine. As I have said on more than one occasion when discussing Ukraine, experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn at no other.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Porky was snubbed in France immediately on his arrival at the airport: no official welcome, just two porters, an unidentified “official” and a policeman, who checked the pockets of the guarantor of the Ukrainian nation for contraband. Moreover, the “red carpet” was more like a red rug:

          In social networks Porky’s reception in France has been contrasted with the first of Yanukovych’s visits to Paris in 2010: President Sarkozy met the then Ukrainian President with all due honours:

          Dead man walking?

          • marknesop says:

            That’s pretty funny. Kiev knows its only chance to survive lies in keeping its crisis on the front page, but it can now be more frequently found in the obituaries. But the EU hangs on like grim death and continues to implement agreements that will bring incalculable hardship on Ukraine; although of course Russia will get all the blame because it refuses to be a patsy, and finance Ukraine’s prosperity as an enemy of Russia.

    • Warren says:

      Poroshenko is in distinguished company – iraqi PM also knows what it likes to be ignored by the leader of the free world.

  5. marknesop says:

    Getting back to Crimea for a moment, it appears the power outage is Kiev’s cunning plan to get the peninsula back while Russia is busy with Turkey. I know; I wish I were kidding, but I’m not. So Russia is ceasing coal supplies to Ukraine, and they can’t get any from Donbas, and so now Ukrainians will begin to experience blackouts. And the stupid game of Chicken between Kiev and Moscow goes on. In the first quarter of 2015, Russia supplied nearly half of Ukraine’s thermal coal requirements.

    You might not get a sense, from this, of the true dimensions of the mess Ukraine faces, because coal as a fuel evokes images of Dickensian London, an era long past. Not so.

    “An updated energy strategy to 2030 assumed the nation would produce 115 million tpa of coal in 2030; it would be self-sufficient in metallurgical coal; and it would continuously replace Russian natural gas with thermal coal as the major fuel for Ukraine’s thermal power plants. Reaching 115 million tpa of production assumed at least 135 million t of annual capacity by 2030. In 2013, Ukraine’s 402 coal mines had a total capacity of 103 million tpa. It was therefore a task to somehow launch new capacity for at least 32 million t between 2014 and 2030. Such a task required at least US$3.2 – 3.5 billion of investments – potentially from China.

    From 2004, Ukraine was a net importer of metallurgical coal with Russian suppliers filling the annual gap of 6 – 10 million tpa. The strategy of coal export growth was available only with metallurgical coal but it required huge investments in expansion of the capacity at the Ukrainian Black Sea ports. The rise in domestic coal demand looked, at the time, to be a more reliable source of the growth in the industry. Due to the political instability in 2000 – 2010, Ukraine started the transition from gas-fired power plants to coal only in 2011, planning to reduce gas consumption by 30 – 32 billion m3/y by 2018 – 2019 (that might boost demand for thermal coal by 18 million tpa). This meant that it could reduce gas consumption by about 6 billion m3/y by 4Q13 (in other words, to increase the demand in coal by 3 million tpa).

    Generally speaking, the Chinese government and companies were perceived to become the major future investors in the Ukrainian coal mining industry, including seaport expansion projects, new launches of coal mines and further transition of power plants from gas to coal. Thus in July 2012, the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine signed an agreement with the China Development Bank for a US$3.6 billion loan for the financing of gas-to-coal conversions and the construction of coal gasification plants. China is among the major contenders for the privatisation of the few state-run coal mines and even thermal power plants in the country.”

    Get it? Ukraine converted even more of its thermal plants from gas to coal in an attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. It began that effort around 2011, before the Glorious Maidan, Geroyim Slava, but then lost control of the Donbas. So now it has undertaken the laborious process of converting all its thermal plants to burn the mostly lignite and bituminous coal of Europe. Its power plants are currently maximized for anthracite, which it once got in abundance from Russia and Donbas, and it is clear its future energy strategy relied heavily – suicidally – on increasing its anthracite output. Once it has completed conversion of its power plants to European standards, it will not be able to go back to anthracite and will be tied to European supplies at a far greater cost, and will be completely dependent on Europe for its supply.

    If that is not fucked enough for you, it relied heavily on Chinese investment to complete its future development of its coalfields. I would say that is now prettty unlikely. But who’s paying for Ukraine to convert its power plants to burn European coal? Not China. That’s an enormous undertaking, and the EU has been pretty parsimonious thus far about doling out the money. And it has to sit down and give this a real good think – does it make sense for Europe to make Ukraine an energy dependency? It would secure its loyalty that way, no question. But if Ukraine is going to be poor as a churchmouse for the foreseeable future, can the EU afford to keep Ukrainians warm every winter just for the joy it gets from giving? Think hard, Europe – you’re making decisions your people might not forgive you for later.

  6. et Al says:

    What would it take for China to move in Syria? I don’t see how it could be in their immediate strategic interest unless they could extract a pound of flesh from the Kremlin if things go Pete Tong.

    So far, they are Observers, but it certainly cannot be lost on them that Syria is the nexus where the West’s regime change plans are foundering. Maybe they don’t need to do anything, but what if there is something to be gained to their advantage (above). Maybe another outlet for the Silk Route? The Chinese certainly try to build in redundancy to minimize the risk of regional blackmail so an outlet to the Med would be sensible via Syria…

  7. marknesop says:

    Just a little more than a year ago now, too, that Lebanese-American reporter Serena Shim was killed in Turkey, days after being threatened by Turkish Intelligence as a spy. She reported that IS militants were being driven into Syria in the backs of World Food Organization trucks and those of other NGO’s. Press TV, for whom she reported, found her death in a car crash – in which the Turkish authorities reported her rental car had been run over by a cement mixer – highly suspicious. Although she was an American citizen, to the best of my knowledge no American news media reported it.

    Did you know Turkey was the World’s Biggest Prison for Journalists, according to Reporters Without Borders? That certainly bodes well for its accession to the EU. Everyone loves a prison. Oh, no; wait. That’s a parade.

  8. et Al says:

    The Groaning Man: Syrian airstrikes vote creates heated confrontations within Labour ranks
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/dec/01/airstrikes-vote-bullying-ntimidation-within-labour-ranks

    …One Labour aide in the pro-airstrike camp was furious about the atmosphere and worried that some MPs previously supportive of that position were getting the jitters, with lobbying of new MPs and those in London.

    “It’s widely known that a lot of MPs are very, very upset by the level of abuse and and hostility by a small, vocal and nasty bunch of individuals online and we’ve heard reports of offline material being sent to MPs as well. This is being done to reduce the number of MPs voting in favour. At the moment, the estimates are about 60 MPs but the bullying could bring down the numbers to around 30 to 40,” he said….
    ####

    I should bloody well hope so. MPs casually agreeing to bomb foreign countries should not be a moral free walk over. F/k well they should. They will be held to account. It’s called ‘democracy’.

    It says a lot about the sense of impunity MPs still have when their own citizens are under very real and direct threat of killed by terrorists. It’s not a game.

    • et Al says:

      Financial Crimes: David Cameron attacks Jeremy Corbyn ahead of Syria vote
      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4ffa261a-9819-11e5-95c7-d47aa298f769.html

      Labour accused David Cameron of a “desperate slur” after the prime minister urged Tory MPs not to vote alongside “Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers” in Wednesday’s debate on Syria….

      …“You should not be walking through the lobbies with Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers,” the prime minister said…
      ####

      The only reason this has been leaked to the press is because, Dave ‘Powder Puff Pig Fancier’ Cameron is nervous about the vote tomorrow. He’s afraid he will loose. Quite befitting of a non-entity who comes from the world of Porcine Relations.

    • Jen says:

      Erm, didn’t the pro-airstrike camp within the British Labour Party force Jeremy Corbyn to back down on getting all Labour MPs to vote against the airstrikes by threatening to walk out on the party? And now it complains about being bullied?

  9. marknesop says:

    Nice. The “U.S.-led coalition” (usually means “the U.S.”) has bombed the water plant in Aleppo. It would never do for the terrorists to negotiate a peaceful withdrawal and give up the city to the Syrian government – send in the Dambusters!! How much longer will it be now before the citizens who fled Aleppo can return?

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      But we couldn’t strike IS oil convoys because the drivers are civilians.

      • Tim Owen says:

        But we support Ukraine’s forces (a private-public partnership: all the rage!) shelling civilian infrastructure for, what, almost two years, cutting off water and power to Crimea. No wonder they go through spokesholes like popcorn. So confusing!

    • yalensis says:

      It’s what they do.
      They bombed the water plant, because the Syrian government is on the verge of re-taking Aleppo. God forbid the city should be habitable when it returns to government jurisdiction.

      • Fern says:

        It would be both a major, major embarassment for and a serious challenge to the US/NATO position if internally-displaced Syrians returned to territories that are now under the control of the Syrian Arab Army. Hard to spin that particular fact on the ground. So, to prevent that happening, villages, towns and cities must be made uninhabitable for a long time to come. It’s no longer bog-standard geopolitics – it’s just pure evil.

    • Fern says:

      The same tactics as used by the US/NATO alliance in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. Attacking targets ‘essential to civilian life’ such as water and sewage plants, electricity infrastructure and the like is actually a war crime but those carrying such attacks out, ususally in the name of advancing western ‘values’ seem unbothered.

      • marknesop says:

        A day late and a dollar short, as usual – they wouldn’t think of bombing it while the “nice rebels:” were in control of the city. Rebels might not have water to drink, to strengthen them in their holy duty to overthrow the leader the west is stubbornly determined to get rid of. Just as the city is about to fall to the government – figuratively speaking, since it looked as if it was going to be a relatively peaceful handover – in comes the west to make its bid for glory.

        • patient observer says:

          They bombed the power plant a few weeks earlier as well. No water, no electricity – same as done to Crimea.

  10. et Al says:

    The Groaning Man :Second transgender prisoner found dead in male jail
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/dec/01/second-trans-prisoner-joanne-latham-apparently-takes-own-life-in-male-jail

    ####

    If only the savage barbarians of Russia could elevate themselves to the heightened enlightenment of the UK. Then everything would be peachy. Political correctness meets reality.

    • marknesop says:

      What a surprise – someone in an American newspaper advocating the purchase of loads of new submarines!

      The LA’s are getting on a bit, but they are still a very quiet boat and their greatest enemy is indeed the diesel sub. On exercises with surface ships they frequently use an augmenter to make themselves louder, otherwise the surface sonar operators would not get any tracking practice at all.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I should have thought in a society apparently obsessed with not offending people the name of the “sunk” USN boat would have been unacceptable.

        Don’t they say “Happy Holidays” now in the USA instead of “Merry Christmas” lest the word “Christ” offend?

  11. astabada says:

    From Awful Avalanche:

    The navigator of the downed Su 24 declared in an interview:

    The rocket hitting us in the tail came as a complete surprise. We didn’t even see it coming, visually. Therefore we had no time to undertake evasive maneuvers.

    So I asked whether the SU 24 can detect incoming missiles?

    The fact that they didn’t “see” the missile coming seems to disprove the Turkish claim that an AMRAAM was used.

    Does anyone know the answer? Northern Star suggested it might depend on the exact model of Su 24 being employed in Syria. To me it seems odd not to detect an AMRAAM, which has an active guide – it would be harder to detect a Sidewinder, because of its passive guide system.

    • marknesop says:

      In beyond-visual-range engagements the AMRAAM is silent, homing by intertial guidance from the launching aircraft’s data link, until the target is within range of its own monopulse radar. The SU-24 does not have a full EW suite, and probably only has a warner system which sounds a shrill tone when it detects a continuous-wave illuminator (CWI) signal. If it is any comfort, the AMRAAM is assessed as extremely difficult to defeat once it’s in close, and they probably would not have been able to throw it off even if they knew it was coming. More than likely they were just complacent – as complacent as you can be in a bomber which is in an active theatre, that is – and simply never expected the Turks would do anything like that; the one attack they were not expecting was air-to-air. They didn’t see it because they weren’t looking for it.

      You can be sure things are different now, and not only will the Turks be keeping the lowest of low profiles, you will not see the allied aircraft playing any testosterone games, either. Russia took in the lesson, and now bomber flights are escorted by CAP that is looking for trouble and maybe hoping for it. The chances of a misunderstanding rapidly becoming a funeral are very high, and everyone knows it. I would not be at all surprised to see some advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) aircraft in the incoming mix as well, with equipment that will know who is out there and where plus advanced jammers.

  12. Moscow Exile says:

    Almost 2 years ago:

    In the chair – the Vice President of the United States of America.

    To his right – the U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine.

    And the President of the Ukraine …. where is he?

    Looking on obediently.

    Thereafter following orders:

    I don’t want to pay for gas,
    I want to bomb Donbas …

    Almost 2 years later …

    Oh shit!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And I’m sure that to the left of Biden and only just visible is Assistant Secretary of State Nudelmann.

      The Ukraine, free of the Moskal yoke, of Muscovy, that malign state that has waged endless war against the Yukies since time immemorial, being guided by the tender hands to the green pastures of freedom and democracy and corporate thralldom.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        It’s not almost 2 years ago though, is it?

        It was in November 2014, wasn’t it, just 1 year ago?

        Biden arrived in Kiev to celebrate the first anniversary of the gathering of the crowds (there were millions of them, you know!) on Independence Square – the Maidan – Kiev.

        And that is Nudelmann to Biden’s right.

        And that is the Ukraine president’s chair that he is sitting in.

        Ukrainian hackers immediately took advantage of the above picture:


        Joseph Biden – master of the fascists

        Joe and Porky were highly amused at this:

        • Moscow Exile says:

          That bastard should be served up on a plate come New year – with an apple stuck in his mouth:

          Or they could send him over to the UK as a New Year present for Cameron, and then he might have something else stuck into his dirty, lying gob.

        • marknesop says:

          Joe was likely there to award an “attaboy” to Porky, as described in Noodles’ sniped conversation with Pyatt. They like to have Joe parachute in to help them “glue this thing” from time to time.

          • Jen says:

            He may need plenty more parachutes and a lot more superglue and duct tape to help glue the Ukraine thing together. Maybe Biden should become a permanent fixture like Jaresko and Abromavicius.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Does that idiot (the one on the right) look a little like Yeltsin?

  13. marknesop says:

    Gosh!! Mykola Martynenko, an ally of the 18%-or-so-popularity-rating Prime Minister of Ukraine, finds the heat too much and decides to get out of the kitchen – he’s resigning from the Rada. Too corrupt for the Ukrainian Rada…I mean, what’s left? I suppose he could go and be governor of the Democratic Republic of the Congo or something.

    You will be surprised to learn that when the Swiss sought the assistance of Ukrainian prosecutors, they might as well have been talking to the bathroom mirror for all the assistance they got. You will be further surprised to learn Ukrainian authorities showed “no interest” in investigating Martynenko themselves. I mean, given their zeal for investigating the Maidan shootings, the Odesssa fire and the possibility that Ukraine might have been directly involved in the destruction of MH17.

    Instead, Martynenko will resign and that’ll be that. Problem solved, Ukrainian style.

  14. Lyttenburgh says:

    Everybody knows ™ that evil, evil Russia employs KGB FSB hired hackers to launch cyber-attacks against plucky young post-soviet democracies, when they try to exercise their right to be complete assholes. This practice, naturally, is condemned in the Culturally Superior West.

    Okay, then. Just click the link below.

    http://russian-front.com/

    Can you notice something… odd?

  15. Lyttenburgh says:

    I’d like to remind everyone today about this goldie oldie, a true masterpieve of paractical Kremlinology by the all-time favorite incoherent feces-flinging baboon of a person Paul Roderick Gregory, namely:

    Is A Slow Putsch Against Putin Under Way?

    posted: Aug 20, 2015:

    And now, seeing as Mr. Gregory yet again predicts the soon downfall of the regime (this time – due to “dalnoboyshik’s” blokade of Moscow), let’s recall some of his erlier prophesies:
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    “A quarter century after the fall of the USSR, Kremlinologists sense a putsch in the air, despite Vladimir Putin’s overwhelming approval ratings. The tea leaves say that the Kremlin elite, dubbed by some as Politburo 2.0, is currently deciding whether Putin should go before he makes a bad situation worse. The founder of the respected daily Kommersant predicts that a dramatic change is about to take place and advises Russians who have the means to leave the country for a month or so and take their children with them.”

    And I remind you – once again – that it was written in August 20. Now it is December 2. This “putsch” is not just “slow”. It’s practically “Estonian”.

    _____________________________________________________________________________

    “Struck by a perfect storm of falling oil prices, international sanctions and self-imposed embargoes, the Russian economy is in its sixth quarter of recession with only miserly growth in sight. Living standards are falling despite Putin’s promises of stability and prosperity. The investment collapse has served to mortgage Russia’s economic future. Only Putin’s bureaucracy seems to be surviving unscathed. The vaunted reserve funds are close to being depleted. Little is left for a rainy day, and Putin’s handouts are ceasing even to his friends.”

    […]

    “Many predict the eventual end of the Putin regime, but it remains unclear how this could come about. As the nominally elected president, Putin would have to either resign or cease to exist. Indicators suggest that the process would begin with an assault on Putin’s closest associates, which appears underway.”

    […]

    “We have had false alarms before. This may be another one, but at least we can now see a path to the end of the Putin regime. We should note that Putin spent the anniversary of the August 19 coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in Crimea. It is also worthy of note that he took with him the four key members of his government who would likely choose his successor. Remember: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

    How handshakable! And coming from a person who spearheaded the distribution of the false calim about “2000 dead Russian soldiers in Ukraine”!

    • marknesop says:

      It’s fun to rub their noses in it after the fact, but as we have discussed before on numerous occasions, he always gets a free pass and comes back making more predictions, and there’s always a wide-eyed audience that forgot how wrong he was last time. Just like Brian Whitmore, and Edward Lucas, and Luke Harding, and so on and so on.

      Was there ever a stupider statement than ““Many predict the eventual end of the Putin regime, but it remains unclear how this could come about”? If you like, I can predict the eventual end of the next American presidency, and nobody even knows who it’s going to be yet. But it remains unclear how that could come about. See? And Gregory gets paid for his foolishness.

      Of course there will be an eventual end to the Putin “regime”. I’d say right after his next term, God willing and if his health holds up. And things being what they are, and idiots living to a ripe old age despite all the air and food they waste in their lifetimes, Gregory will probably still be around to dance and point and say “I told you so!”

      • Nat says:

        Khodorkovsky found the best way to make predictions about the end of Putin’s regime: Cite a date so far in the future that it looks like he’s guessing when in fact he can only be correct.
        “If you are asking whether Russia will survive in its current borders when Putin goes, then I would say the chances of it surviving if he goes in the next five to eight years are bigger than if he goes in the next say 15 years,” Khodorkovsky said. “I am talking about the survival of Russia in its current borders,” he said. (link: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/breaking-news/putins-russia-is-stagnating-khodorkovsky/news-story/8eed686bc72681f0fbe0ff55fe3db479?= )

        IF Putin runs again and wins a fourth (and by law last) term, then he won’t be president in 9 years. Khodorkovsky can then say: He left right when I told you he would otherwise Russia would have inevitably collapsed, when in fact he just calculated the maximum time Putin can remain president.

        • marknesop says:

          I know, but his little round glasses are so cute! You just want to believe him, he’s like a little Ashkenazi John Lennon who can’t sing, and you just can’t help believing everything he says.

          For the record, economists – especially that cluster of librul inbreeders at the Moscow Higher School of Economics – do that all the time: make a prediction so far out that some major event nobody could predict is bound, irregardless of its unpredictability, to occur. Then they can say, well, what I predicted would have happened, except for the earthquake/tsunami/plague of locusts/global financial meltdown that interfered with the course of events.

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            I saw a BBC doco on Khodorkovsky back in 2005. I can’t believe they expected anybody to be convinced by it, because his only supporter seemed to be this obnoxious American character who looked like Jeff Goldblum’s fatter, less charismatic cousin. Interviewer spoke to basically nobody else except Khodorkovsky’s parents.

            Concluded with what was presumably supposed to be the impressive revelation that according to some poll or other one in every ten Russians would vote for Khodorkovsky as President.

            I don’t know how the BBC thinks elections work.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            When he was cute, “like a little Ashkenazi John Lennon who can’t sing”.

            The best things in life are free,
            But you can keep them for the birds and bees,
            Give me money, that’s what I want!
            Now give me money, that’s what I want,
            That’s what I want, that’s what I want,
            That’s what I want, that’s what I want, yeah
            That’s what I want!

            Lennon & McCartney

            Lord Brown of BP didn’t think he was quite that cute though:

            After being introduced by Jacob Rothschild and some initial conversations in my office, I invited Khodorkovsky to spend the day with me at my house in Cambridge. Several large black armoured cars pulled up outside the house, and numerous burly bodyguards emerged. Khodorkovsky, like many of the oligarchs, lived in a gated compound with high walls and security lights, outside Moscow, and was paranoid about security.

            My house was much less grand, less protected, but nevertheless secure. We had a pleasant lunch and discussed the possibility of BP buying a 25 per cent, plus one share, in Yukos. I did not feel that was enough.

            When I challenged him, he said: “You can have 25 per cent, no more and no control. If you come along with me you will be taken care of”.

            Bespectacled, soft-spoken Khodorkovsky could at first glance be mistaken as unassuming. But as the conversation progressed, I felt increasingly nervous. He began to talk about getting people elected to the Duma, about how he could make sure oil companies did not pay much tax, and about how he had many influential people under his control. For me, he seemed too powerful. It is easy to say this with hindsight, but there was something untoward about his approach.

            See: Lord Browne details the difficulties of doing business in Russia during TNK-BP creation

            • Special_sauce says:

              Barret Strong wrote “Money, that’s what I want”

            • marknesop says:

              “I tried to push for 51 per cent of TNK but Putin and Fridman both told me we could not have it. I knew if we had 49 per cent we would have no power whatsoever. So in the end the only option was to go for a 50:50 deal. Putin said: “It’s up to you. An equal split never works.”

              And as nice as this gentleman sounded, what could Russia have expected from a Russian oil company which was 51% British-owned, and in which the Russian state had “no power”? Would the British have pursued a purely business relationship for mutual profit? Or would they have used their majority stake for leverage? I feel pretty confident that if Lord Browne would not agree to put the Russian government’s nuts in a vise to the extent the company’s business interests allowed, somebody else would have been running BP in short order.

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    The Enemy Within

    On the day when the Turkish air force attacked and destroyed in Syria a Russian SU-24 aircraft and the ejected pilot, Oleg Peshkov, was shot dead from the ground below by terrorists, this man was in a holiday mood. He fiercely celebrated the “victory” of the terrorists against an unarmed Russian fighter pilot and the “victory” of the Turks over a Russian aircraft SU-24 hit by completely unexpected Turkish missiles.

    This creature’s name is Nicholas E. Khramov, born 1963, single. He is registered as a Russian citizen, lives quietly in Moscow and is a fierce oppositionist. He is counted as one of the companions of the deceased Valeria Novodvorskaya and Boris Nemtsov and the still living Navalny, Kara-Murza, Bukovsky, Podrabinek and many others. Khramov vigorously jumped up and down on the Kiev Maidan and urges the legalization of drugs in Russia.


    Here he is again – the very same Khramov.

    In 2004 he founded the Liberal and libertarian movement “Russian Radicals”. In January 2004, at the constituent assembly of that movement he was elected its Secretary and re-elected Secretary at its first Congress in December 2004. He loves to pose in Nazi uniforms.


    And here he is.

    Khramov also regularlys celebrates the anniversaries of ROA (Русская освободительная армия – Russkaya osvoboditel’naya armiya), the Russian Liberation Army that fought on the side of the Nazis during the Second World war, raising his glass before a portrait of a traitor: the former Soviet General Andrey Vlasov, who swore his allegiance to Hitler.


    Khramov drinks to the traitor Vlasov

    In addition, Nicholas Khramov is the chief editor of the Internet portal “Contours”. And this is where the fun starts.

    As can be deduced from the publications portal and the works of Nikolay Kramov, this creature is a strong supporter of the legalization of pedophilia. In many articles and videos posted on “Contours” runs a chief theme of pedophiles, namely there is nothing wrong with it and it is a good thing if sex with a child happens without violence and because of “love”. Here’s one such video from the website “Outlines”, where the self-same Khramov labours away as its editor. (I have to remind you that this material is only for “18+”).

    Warning!!!

    Below is a link to the site from which the above text partly comes. The site includes the above mentioned offensive video

    «Браво, Турция!». Восторги оппозиционного педофила?

    Definitely in need of a “wet job”.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Anyway, they’ve got that foul bastard’s number now, haven’t they, both literally and metaphorically speaking?

    • yalensis says:

      Dear Moscow Exile:
      This guy Khramov apparently has connections in high places, namely Silvio Berlusconi, who apparently helped spring him out of a Laotian jail, replacing 3 years in the slammer with “immediate expulsion”:

      <bПосле двух недель, проведенных в лаосской тюрьме, и вмешательства тогдашнего премьер-министра Италии Сильвио Берлускони (Silvio Berlusconi) суд приговорил всех пятерых к трем годам тюремного заключения за покушение «на безопасность государства» и к немедленной высылке из страны.

      Berlusconi, in case you didn’t know, is also a pederast: He has a fondness for teenaged girls.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And what gets me about Khramov and his ilk is that they never end bemoaning the absence of “free speech” in Russia and the presence there of a “Kremlin controlled” mass media. Yet here is this piece of shit Khramov publishing extremely objectionable opinions concerning paederasty on the Russian web. If he did that in the UK, he would be arrested in short order.

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    And here, in Lipetsk, is the funeral of the man whose murder Khramov was so joyful over.

    Despite the cold and the wind and a heavy snowfall, at a public memorial service for Oleg Peshkov, the murderd pilot of the su-24, there gathered almost the entire population Lipetsk.

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    Click above photo to enlarge.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Very slick! Very professional – for a state-run mouthpiece that is!

      🙂

      • yalensis says:

        Ha ha! President Edward Snowden – that’s my personal fantasy!
        Or maybe President Tulsi Gabbard and Vice President Edward Snowden?
        Could the world ever haul its ass into such a good place?

    • Jen says:

      Of course this is just after they’ve been released from a long, looong stint in jail and they’ve had microchips implanted into their shoulders so that their movements can be monitored in case they try to escape the country.

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    Burial of Oleg Peshkov in Lipetsk today, Wednesday, 2nd December, 2015.

    More than 10,000 attended the funeral, according to reports.

    • marknesop says:

      Nice to see the honours rendered, but a sad day for his family. Hopefully Erdogan will not be far behind; although he will be going in the opposite direction, so there won’t be any awkwardness.

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Obama: John, now is the very time to start preparing a speech about how we were victorious in the war against ISIS.

    Kerry: But Mr. President, we haven’t really done anything to achieve this victory.

    Obama: So? We didn’t exactly over exert ourselves in the Second World war either.

  21. Moscow Exile says:

    ‘Great partners’: Pentagon rejects Russian evidence of Turkey aiding ISIS

    Let me be very clear that we flatly reject any notion that the Turks are somehow working with ISIL”, said Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). “That is preposterous and kind of ridiculous. We absolutely, flatly reject that notion.”

    • marknesop says:

      Here’s the evidence that the USA rejects. I particularly enjoyed the satellite imagery of the “ISIS oil hub”, at which were parked 3,000 oil trucks. Apparently it escaped detection by the USA and its eagle-eyed coalition. Does it seem realistic that a country which was offered a major and legitimate pipeline deal would rather move its oil around in thousands of tanker trucks? If the oil trucking business were benefiting Assad’s regime, don’t you think ISIS would have blown it sky-high by now? It’s in a region they control and apparently in the middle of open ground, completely unguarded.

      The battle lines have been drawn in yet another field of conflict – Russia aims to take down Erdogan, and Washington aims to keep him in his position. It remains to be seen just how embarrassing that will become.

  22. marknesop says:

    Moscow is not backing away at all from accusations that Erdogan’s family is personally involved in receiving and trafficking in ISIS oil. In a phenomenon pointed out by others of late, Yahoo comments are now overwhelmingly supportive of Russia on these issues. Not only that, mainstream news are picking up the accusation rapidly. The USA may reject Russia’s evidence, but we knew they would do that anyway – the USA would reject a signed confession by Erdogan if they got it from Russia. I don’t know why Moscow even bothers to show evidence to the Americans, it would do far better to approach Europeans – especially Germany and France – with its proof. If it could convince Germany, the USA would look a lot more foolish if it said it was all more Russian propaganda and lies.

    The USA will shield Erdogan for so long as it can, because his country is in a tremendous strategic position and is studded with NATO military installations. Washington certainly does not want to be confronted with a leadership transition it cannot micromanage. It might throw Erdogan under the bus, but not until it has identified and groomed a successor.

    It is also significant that rather than groveling for mercy, Russia continues to attack the alliance’s credibility, and it is scoring hits.

    • Patient Observer says:

      That, to me, is the biggest indicator yet that Russia is ready to dismantle the West’s edifice of moral superiority. The resulting stench will reach heaven.

      • marknesop says:

        Okay, wait, everybody – we’re going to have to change our thinking completely on the USA’s handling of the anti-ISIS campaign. I’m convinced now that they were actually just doing the best they could, but their hands were tied. If they had bombed that giant ISIS truck park, they might have done environmental damage.

        I can’t believe my fucking ears. Well, eyes, actually; I read it. No less than the former Deputy Director of the CIA actually said that out loud, in an interview on Charlie Rose. “Prior to Paris, there seemed to be a judgment that … look, we don’t want to destroy these oil tankers because that’s infrastructure that’s going to be necessary to support the people when ISIS isn’t there anymore, and it’s going to create environmental damage. And we didn’t go after oil wells – actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls because we didn’t want to do environmental damage and we didn’t want to destroy that infrastructure, right.”

        The USA ignored targets like the ISIS oil hub because blowing it up would create environmental damage, and the people of Syria would need those oil trucks when ISIS was not there any more. They would presumably not need water plants or apartment buildings or any of the other infrastructure U.S. aircraft blew up, but by God and sonny Jesus, they would need those oil trucks, and on the great day of Jubilee, they would say, Thank You, Uncle Sam, for not blowing up our oil trucks. I’m….I’m speechless.

        Presumably if Washington had been successful in its plan to partition Syria and give Islamic State its own…well, state, they would not just take all their captured oil trucks with them. Assuming the plan was not just to let them have land they had already conquered, in which case they would not need to bother.

        • yalensis says:

          The possible environmental damage kind of bothered me too (like, blowing up trucks and oil tankers, etc.), but I guess I’m not a strategic thinker, and I’m a very tidy person, horrified by dirt and mess.
          Somehow I am dubious bt that U.S. government worries about such things.

    • bree says:

      At some point (now-ish, actually) all that covering for Erdogan and rejecting evidence will start looking ridiculous and downright childish. Kind of like covering one’s ears and yelling “la la la I can’t hear you”… Which may be what the next State Department briefing will consist of, come to think of it.

      I believe it was Christopher Hitchens (?) who said something like “a claim made without evidence can be rejected without evidence.” Well, a good corollary to this principle would be “a claim made with lots of supporting evidence can only be rejected after successfully disproving that evidence.”

      • marknesop says:

        I completely agree that that is where we are now. Quite a few western news sites openly acknowledge that Erdogan’s stand against ISIS is iffy, and do not hesitate to print the accusation that he flogs oil for ISIS for fun and profit. Usually media discipline is lockstep, like that silly denial from General so-and-so just a few comments back which said that because Turkey is such a great NATO partner, it is ludicrous to believe it is supporting ISIS, selling stolen oil or doing anything underhanded whatsoever. He was authorized to speak on Erdogan’s behalf, because Erdogan himself was not available; he was at the library, helping old ladies to cross the street.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      They lie until they’re blue in the face when evidence against their deceit piles up around their ears.

      And when it becomes patently clear that they lied through their teeth – nothing is done about it.

      Witness the “Weapons of Mass Destruction Lie” and the presentation of fabricated evidence concerning such “weapons” before a congressional committee. No censure whatsoever. It is just shrugged off and down the black memory hole all such performances go, such as that of President Eisenhower, who categorically denied that there had been a US spy-plane downed over the Urals.

      Yet nobody dare shout “Liar!”, because to do so would be deemed contrary to diplomatic protocol when addressing one’s repeatedly lying bastard “partners”.

  23. Another supposedly “pro-Russian” country, Montenegro, is set to join NATO. I suppose Serbia is the next.

    • Cortes says:

      NATO may invite Montenegro to apply to join, but might not Nero Wolfe’s homeland just say “Nah, not interested”?

      • At least here in Finland the narrative goes so that Montenegro is the one that is seeking the NATO membership, and it is up to NATO’s to accept them.

      • marknesop says:

        I think any country might be interested if they think it will bring benefits to their country. Would it? Some NATO countries are rich, true, but they are mostly the charter members, and countries geographically close to Russia might want to think about that Article 5 obligation. If they are NATO members they will join the ranks of Russia’s enemies. How many countries since the first wave of expansion joined NATO and got rich because of it? Then there’s security to consider – would joining NATO enhance, or imperil it?

        • Patient Observer says:

          The Montenegrin government wants NATO (specifically its perfectly corrupt leadership) but the population does not.

          • Why do Serbian and Montenegro people continue to vote pro-Western politicians to power?

            • Patient Observer says:

              I will get back with you on that one. But, suppression of the opposition, control of the media and vote rigging all come to mind.

              • Sounds like the people need to throw out their leaders like Ukrainians threw out Yanukovich.

                • marknesop says:

                  Well, yes, except for the part where the Ukrainians threw out Yanukovich.

                • Technically it was done by the Ukrainians since those who threw out Yanukovich with violence were Ukrainian citizens. It does not matter if they represented the majority or not, because they succeeded in what they were doing.

                • marknesop says:

                  Illogical. If it does not matter if was the majority or not, it is at least a little disingenuous to say “the Ukrainians threw out Yanukovich”, thereby implying it was a popular decision which had majority support when the very great majority of the population did not even know it was happening until the deed was done and the action itself resulted from foreign intervention. Did the Libyans get rid of Gaddafi? A few Libyans were involved, probably.

                • I don’t see it as illogical since I did not say that Yanukovich was thrown out by a popular revolt supported by the majority. It was rather a coup done by well-organized and motivated people who outwilled and outsmarted the rest of the country, with support from the Western governments and intelligence organizations. Quite similar actually to the Bolshevik revolution. The Bolsheviks were not the majority or a popular movement, but they knew how to act when the time was right. And since the Bolsheviks were Russian citizens we can say that “Russians got rid of the Tsar” like we can say that “Ukrainians got rid of Yanukovych”.

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s pretty good – I’ll take it; “Yanukovich was thrown out in a coup by well-organized and motivated people who outwilled and outsmarted the rest of the country, with support from the Western governments and intelligence organizations.” Now, doesn’t that sound a lot more accurate than “Yanukovich was thrown out by Ukrainians”? If Montenegro is stupid enough to allow western NGO’s and intelligence organizations free rein in the country, it’s certainly possible it could happen there, too. But I don’t think it would get them into NATO. You can’t have a coup and wake up in NATO; it’s a fairly lengthy and measured process.

                • patient observer says:

                  Mark, very funny!

                • yalensis says:

                  Between Bolsheviks (workers) and SR’s (peasants), they had a majority of the Russian people behind them.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Technically it was done by the Ukrainians ….

                  And, “technically”, Lenin was a German agent.

              • yalensis says:

                And technically Bedelia killed the dinner guest.

            • cartman says:

              Every part of the economy is linked to Đukanović and his family. It’s not very democratic.

        • Jen says:

          Who would be the biggest non-government employer in Kosovo at present? Would that not be the US army with Camp Bondsteel? Maybe Montenegro wants a piece of the action.

          • This is not a good comparison since Kosovo Albanians are mostly russophobes while Montenegro people, like the Serbs, are mostly pro-Russian. Kosovo is a natural NATO state while Montenegro and Serbia aren’t.

            • Jen says:

              Perhaps I should have said that the Montenegro government rather than Montenegro (the people) wants a piece of the action for economic reasons. Building the base would provide jobs, even if limited to very menial jobs, and stimulate investment in road construction, building, even schools and colleges for US army families and other spin-off industries (like cyber-security and surveillance). A large airport to accommodate large planes carrying heavy equipment might get built if Montenegro doesn’t have one already.

              Also hosting a huge military base for the US could serve to terrify the Montenegrins themselves and keep them quiet.

              Japan and South Korea host plenty of US military bases but not everyone who lives in those countries support having the bases.

              Public attitudes to Russia alone don’t make “natural” NATO states or I’m sure Finland and Sweden would have joined NATO by now.

              • patient observer says:

                Suitcases of money may also help. Interesting comments:
                https://www.rt.com/op-edge/324312-west-russia-nato-montenegro/
                You see Karl, governments do not always reflect the will of the people. In years past, most of Latin American, for example, would be a good example.

              • marknesop says:

                Certainly looks like it was an overture from NATO rather than an expression of yearning from Montenegrins – none of that “What were we supposed to do? They were scratching at the door” stuff here.

                “The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg said the decision to invite Montenegro to become a full NATO member “is not about Russia” and “is not directed against anyone.”

                Is Jens Stoltenberg actually the world’s biggest fucking Pinocchio? Seriously, I read when I was a child that Pinocchio turned into a real boy, but who ever thought he would grow up to be Secretary-General of NATO? Nobody believes that shit, Jens – it’s the same line they tried when they wanted to site a big missile-defense radar in Poland with the excuse that it was meant to knock down rogue missiles launched from Iran. The U.S. government was all wide-eyed innocence, but nobody bought it.

                Least of all Russia, which is well aware that the neocon lunatics have seized control of NATO and are busily building provocations on all fronts in the hope Russia will react, scaring the Europeans’ money right out of their wallets and into the pockets of the big defense contractors. Russia knows NATO is the enemy and always will be.

    • yalensis says:

      I’ve been reading stuff about this.
      If Montenegro does join NATO, then this truly is a big solar-plexus blow to Russia.
      Because of the pipeline situation.
      Russia needs to try to avert this blow.
      If they can’t, then they need to gird their loins.
      Russia will survive, but this will hurt bigtime.

  24. Patient Observer says:

    The comment with the most “likes” on a yahoo article on Russian claiming that Turkey is buying ISIS oil (lost the link):
    ” 542 – likes
    First it does not require a high school education to understand in order for ISIS to sell any oil from captured oil fields and or refineries it must have buyers of said oil. Our govt claims to watch everyone and know everything yet with all their tax payer space observations, massive fleet of drones to track ants in the sand they cannot figure out where all the oil goes to fund ISIS?
    Our govt is intentionally not stopping this oil from being sold and our leaders aware of this need to be exposed then put on trial then executed. In fact political figures in our country need to be facing firing squads monthly until they tell the truth and serve just our citizens. This in turn makes for a huge employment opportunity both in firing squads and new politicians.”

    • marknesop says:

      The European Union voted to give itself permission to buy oil from “Syrian rebels” to help them overthrow Assad. The only stipulations of who could not benefit from it were “regime-associated” individuals and companies. The agency that must be consulted – the Syrian National Coalition – is based in Turkey and its president is chummy with Erdogan. Come on. Washington is ready to indict and convict Moscow on a hell of a lot less evidence than this on any day you care to name.

      • astabada says:

        Funny that you mention that. Because I thought the “Syrian rebels” do not control any oil infrastructure. No wells, no refineries, no pipelines.

        Perhaps they are talking about olive oil?

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        The thing is – both ISIS, al-Nusra, Muslim Brotherhood offshoots and the so-called “moderate” islamists use the same middlemen when they want to smuggle things via Turkey border. No one is going to ride right in front of Turkish checkpoint ISIL flag wavin’, “Ma shal Allah!” screamin’ and heads choppin’! No – they will hire some people with connections probably dating as back as 1990-91, when the UN imposed oil sanctions on Saddam Hussein, which, naturally resulted in burgeoning oil contraband along his countrie’s borders.

        Knowing all this – how can we (well, bleedin’-hearts American airforces, to be precise) have any doubt that all those smugglers are assessories to the terrorists and should be bombed into tiny bits? Or that Turkey – as a mininmum – must sentence all those corrupt customs officers to life?

      • patient observer says:

        Simply stunning. They are all accomplices of terrorists and don’t even use a fig leaf to hide it.

        • yalensis says:

          We are at that point in the “masked ball”, where all the masks are thrown off.
          The truth is so obvious, that even Americans who read their news on Yahoo know what’s really going on!

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Last time I glanced at Yahoo was the first time that I glanced at it and it was a putrid sump of the most base Russophobia, second only to that penned by she whose name dare not be uttered in polite circles.

            What happened?

          • marknesop says:

            That’s dangerous, because if there is no longer any need to pretend about dirty tricks, there is no longer any need to pretend about intentions. Is Washington ready to start swinging? We’ll see. They’re burning through international goodwill like water, and don’t seem to care what anyone thinks of them and their alliances now. Not a good sign.

  25. et Al says:

    Financial Crimes Nato prepares to revive Russia contacts
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/874b5bd8-9923-11e5-9228-87e603d47bdc.html

    …The move, driven by Germany, has unsettled allies more cautious about any rapprochement with Moscow.

    Partly in recognition of Russia’s “constructive” political efforts over Syria, Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he had pushed Nato to reopen channels with Moscow that “reduce risks and exchange information”.

    “We still have very different experiences with Russia. There is a difficult situation in eastern Ukraine, again breaches of the ceasefire,” he said. “But we also see that Russia is acting definitely in a constructive way in the efforts to find a solution for Syria.” …

    …The unease among some Nato allies was voiced by Linas Linkevičius, Lithuania’s foreign minister, who noted Nato had promised last year to resume serious co-operation once Moscow had shown a clear shift in approach. “We do not see either a clear or a constructive change in policy,” he said…

    …US officials are adamant there will be no easing of demands for Russia to support the implementation of the Minsk ceasefire accords in Ukraine in order to secure Moscow’s support in advancing political and military goals in Syria…
    ####

    Russia should make it easy for the Russophobes and tell NATO to f/koff. There is nothing to be gained by talking to NATO. It’s just PR fluff.

    • marknesop says:

      I completely agree, and if Russia falls for it, it will just get sandbagged again. But it’s worth it to feign interest, just to see how many cracks will appear in the European alliance. Germany is plainly getting pissed off, and might be getting close to ignoring its NATO and European partners – which, as the driver of the entire European collective economy, it can do with impunity. A Russo-German pact, even if not openly acknowledged, gives Russia influence in Europe that Washington can never hope to equal. And it looks like it’s close. Russia cannot say, NATO, go fuck yourself – except for you, Germany, you big lug; come on over here. But it can make covert overtures in that direction without having to talk with the entire alliance, especially those East-European and Baltic twats. Washington is welcome to them. Shut your mouth and just play the piano, Linus.

  26. et Al says:

    Neuters: Russia says it has proof Turkey involved in Islamic State oil trade
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/12/02/mideast-crisis-russia-turkey-idUKL8N13R2KV2015120

    …U.S. officials say coalition air strikes have destroyed hundreds of IS oil trucks while the Russian campaign has mainly targeted opponents of the Syrian government who are not from Islamic State, which is also known as ISIL.

    “The irony of the Russians raising this concern is that there’s plenty of evidence to indicate that the largest consumer of ISIL oil is actually Bashar al-Assad and his regime, a regime that only remains in place because it is being propped up by the Russians,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

    The State Department’s Toner said U.S. information was that Islamic State was selling oil at the wellheads to middlemen who were involved in smuggling it across the frontier into Turkey…

    …The ministry said the Western route took oil produced at fields near the Syrian city of Raqqa to the settlement of Azaz on the border with Turkey.

    From there the columns of tanker trucks pass through the Turkish town of Reyhanli, the ministry said, citing what it said were satellite pictures of hundreds of such trucks moving through the border crossing without obstruction.

    “There is no inspection of the vehicles carried out … on the Turkish side,” said Rudskoy.

    Some of the smuggled cargoes go to the Turkish domestic market, while some is exported via the Turkish Mediterranean ports of Iskenderun and Dortyol, the ministry said.

    Another main route for smuggled oil, according to the ministry, runs from Deir Ez-zour in Syria to the Syrian border crossing at Al-Qamishli. It said the trucks then took the crude for refining at the Turkish city of Batman….

    …The defence ministry officials said the information they released on Wednesday was only part of the evidence they have in their possession, and that they would be releasing further intelligence in the next days and weeks.
    ####

    I can’t wait for that twitter evidence from the State Department and the Pentagon. It should be devastating.

    • marknesop says:

      Oh, dear God. Does “ISIL oil” come from ISILland? No, it comes from Syria. Is it at all, in any way surprising that Bashar al-Assad is the largest consumer of Syrian oil? He is, after all, the leader of Syria. And how many convoys of tanker trucks have we seen headed for Damascus? Please, I implore you, if you’re going to make excuses, think a little so you don’t tie yourself in knots, Washington. This is just embarrassing. Their whole story is unraveling – in fact, it’s the war-of-narratives equivalent of when Russia took an active hand against ISIS. Instant reversal. Washington would be well-advised just to take the Fifth, it’s making a fool of itself.

  27. Northern Star says:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-25/meet-man-who-funds-isis-bilal-erdogan-son-turkeys-president
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-19/most-important-question-about-isis-nobody-asking
    I thought the material (supra) had already been covered…
    In an ideal world….i.e. non fascist manipulated MSM…Excerpts from Biden’s original Harvard talk would be played round the clock…

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/05/politics/isis-biden-erdogan-apology/

  28. Cortes says:

    Dan Sanchez article dealing with recent events, how the chihuahuas’ actions could lead to catastrophe.

    http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2015/december/01/turkey-russia-and-the-fallacy-of-collective-security/

  29. Northern Star says:

    Interesting woman….as are her comments on ISIS elan and esprit de corps..or lack thereof

    http://www.businessinsider.com/canadian-model-about-fighting-isis-2015-12

    • Jen says:

      ‘ … “[ISIS are] not some giant, holy juggernaut of ultimate damnation for unbelievers,” she said. “They’re just a bunch of filthy, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging pigs who run away at the first sign of resistance. Really nothing more than a thorn in the side.” …’

      No wonder David Cameron wants to rush the RAF over to save ISIS … he needs all those mouth-breathing pigs.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Jesus wept, what a f***ing blowhole.

      This is the sort of rubbish you’d hear from one of the Azov Regiment apes.

      • marknesop says:

        Hard to say; Business Insider is owned by Axel Springer, which is headquartered in Berlin and is a European company. But right off the top of my head, it sounds like an attempt to discredit the “Erdogan is a power-crazy dictator who is laundering oil money for ISIS” by making it appear that people who believe such tosh are airhead lightweights.

    • yalensis says:

      Good for her! She sounds like a brave person.

  30. patient observer says:

    The story is gone from Yahoo, washed away by the tidal wave of stories on the California mass shooting. The story included several topics one of which was that the shoot-down of the Russian jet by an “agile” F-16 will prove to be a devastating blow to the Russian arms industry. American weapons again prove their superiority over Russian weapons. Odd, I thought that the superb performance of Russian planes and missiles were all the rage. Glad Yahoo set the record straight.

    • marknesop says:

      Hmmm…an engagement in which the target had no air-to-air missiles of its own and claims to have been shot in the back with no warning proves the superiority of American weapons. Good to know.

  31. patient observer says:

    This story is on the US Navy’s aerobatics team “Blue Angels”. But I think that he plane shown in is a European fighter.
    http://holyhorsepower.com/the-blue-angels/?utm_source=Yahoo&utm_medium=Ad&utm_campaign=YHBlueAngels929

  32. yalensis says:

    This is quite interesting.
    Putin flew to Simferopol, along with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.
    The video shows them discussing the energy situation, the “Energy Bridge” between Russian mainland and Crimea. Novak pledges to finish the “Bridge” ahead of schedule, which will make Crimea completely energy-independent of the Ukraine.

    Shows how seriously they are taking this situation, at the highest levels of the Russian government.
    Both Putin and Novak show a certain nervous energy in their speech and body language.
    They are treating this like a war, which it is!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yesterday they switched on one power supply line that crosses the Kerch strait.

      It was reported in the “Kremlin controlled” press here: couldn’t find anything on it in Porky Pie Press yesterday though.

      Путин запустил первую нитку энергомоста в Крым

      Putin has launched the first link of power bridge to the Crimea

      The President of Russia Vladimir Putin has taken part in a launching ceremony for the first leg of the power bridge to the Crimea.

      “Now we are launching the first circuit. There is a lot of new equipment that is being used, so we need to adjust. And we should warn the consumers — the residents of the Crimea – that there are still some failures. But in General, the first circuit should work steadily: it is 200 megawatts”, said Putin before electricity started to flow.

      Wonder why Karl hasn’t mentioned this?

      • marknesop says:

        According to the Euromaidan monkeys, that simply will not happen – the temptation for Putin to steal the money for himself, perhaps to build himself another massive Italianate palace, will prove too strong. But the article contains a lot of interesting information, depending of course on how accurate it is. Say, did you know walnut-face Mustafa Dzhemilev has been made a Ukrainian MP? I didn’t, although perhaps someone mentioned it here and I missed it. Anyway, check out the statement he made about releasing “political prisoners”, and that if Crimea would not bend on it, “why the hell should we turn them the light back on?” I hope he wasn’t planning to visit Crimea for Christmas; I suspect the wizened old self-important prick would not be too welcome. He does not seem to have noticed that he just admitted Ukraine is perfectly capable of turning the power back on, but chooses not to for political leverage.

        Anyway, lots of interesting figures to play with. They say Crimea’s average daily usage is 1,100MW. Of that, they can supply maybe 20% themselves. Now they have 200MW more, although it may be a week or so before it settles out to the load and they will have to be careful not to overload it. Ukraine is again breaking international humanitarian law by continuing to deny electricity – which it is clearly and unashamedly doing deliberately – to Crimea.

        I loved the blithe declaration, “Still, they need to be supplied with Ukrainian energy to function.” Where does Ukrainian energy come from? Coal-fired plants which are dependent on Russia since they lost the coal supply from the Donbas. You’ll see, salo-eaters. You’ll see. When your own lights go out and your own houses are cold, you’ll be squealing that it is a violation of…international humanitarian law.

        And EU, if I could interrupt you for a moment from your doubtless-very-important ruminations – have you noticed what a reliable energy partner Ukraine is? I’m talking to you especially, Sefcovic, you Slovakian turnip. They would turn your power off quicker than you could say “Stephen Bandera” if you crossed them, because that’s the way they have learned to behave without the EU providing any restraint or even mentioning that it notices what they are doing, because if it owned up to noticing it might have to object. Gutless rabbits.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Reported in this morning’s KP:

          Путин подключил Крым к энергосистеме России
          Putin has connected the Crimea to the Russian power grid

          [Well, to give the workers their due, Putin threw a switch: the workers did the job! – ME]

          Поздно вечером в среду в обесточенный Крым начала поступать электроэнергия из России. После взрыва украинскими националистами линий электропередач полуостров оказался отключен от внешних источников электричества. Чтобы решить проблему, российским энергетикам пришлось максимально ускорить работы по прокладке первой нитки энергомоста из Краснодарского края по дну Керченского пролива. В результате этого почти на три недели раньше графика “мост” был построен. Запускать его в Крым прилетел лично Владимир Путин. Причем прилетел несмотря на то, что наутро ему предстояло выступать с важнейшей речью – посланием к Федеральному собранию.

          Late on Wednesday [2 December, 2015] evening, electricity began to flow from Russia into the devoid of electrical power Crimea. After the blowing-up by Ukrainian nationalists of power lines, the peninsula had been cut off from external sources of electricity. To solve the problem, Russian engineers had to accelerate their work on laying the first string of a power bridge from the Krasnodar region and which runs along the bed of the Kerch Strait. As a result, almost three weeks ahead of schedule, the bridge has been built. President Vladimir Putin flew in so as to switch on this power supply to the Crimea, and he came despite the fact that the next morning he had to make an important speech: an address to the Federal Assembly.

          So far (13:00 Moscow time, 3 December) sweet FA in the Western press about this story.

          Wonder if it’s covered in the Finnish press?

          • yalensis says:

            Delivering adequate Megawatts from the mainland is only half the problem, as Novak points out. Simultaneously Russians must renovate the entire electrical grid and infrastructure of Crimea. Which is 100 years old. And has not seen any repairs or meaningful maintenance since the 1970’s.

            This is a huge project. It should have been kicked off a year ago.
            But better late than never!

            • marknesop says:

              I believe the Crimeans’ confidence will rebound quickly once they have their electricity back. Once the peninsula is entirely independent of Ukraine for water, food, energy, travel, you name it – Ukraine will have lost pretty much its only leverage with Russia, and can no longer threaten it with anything except actual war. That’d be funny.

              • yalensis says:

                In the future, Crimeans might even say that this crisis was a blessing in disguise, if it truly stimulated the technological renovations that are needed; and put Crimea in a place of total independence from Ukrainian willfulness.
                I know that’s easy for me to say, sitting here with heat and electricity. And suffering Crimeans might curse me for saying it.
                But I actually DO know what they are going through. Four years ago, the town I live in was blacked out of electricity by a freak October ice storm that knocked down all the trees. My neighborhood went without heat and lights for 9 days. The gas stations were closed, and the local grocery store was only partially open. My neighbors had to help each other out and just try to survive. Ordinary people, as always, stepped up to the plate and helped each other out.

                The good news is that the local muckety-mucks learned a valuable lesson: Namely, one should not try to scrimp the town budgets by NOT trimming trees.
                Now they trim the trees religiously.
                (Underground cables would be even better, but we are not advanced enough for that!)

                Anyhow, the point I want to make is that I KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE!
                Being without heat and electricity is excruciating!
                But it does get better, eventually, so people shouldn’t despair.

                • marknesop says:

                  I agree, and I also agree that it’s easy to be academic about it when you’re not living through it. But I think the Crimeans already knew they were going to pay for their decision as soon as they saw the vindictive series of officials who were “elected” in Kiev. And it’s better to have a little pain now (please, God, that those who must have electricity for, say, medical equipment without which they will die have survived it and nobody has actually died from having the power cut off) if the gain is a clear and dispassionate look at what the Ukrainian state is really like, without the messiness of nostalgic emotion. It is a state which will not hesitate to cause great suffering or even death to the people in order to get back the land they live on, and it plainly never cared anything for them. So long as some supplies from Ukraine were necessary for a certain standard of living in Crimea, Ukraine had a bargaining chip. Now it will have none. Once the electricity and water are completely independent from Ukraine, they can blow up as many pylons as they like on their own land – I encourage it. I suppose they will try it on Donetsk and Lugansk next – they don’t seem to be a very imaginative lot, and you could tell from that shot of them surrounding the downed pylon that they were pleased as punch with themselves.

          • Moscow Exile says:


            ENERGY BRIDGE TO THE CRIMEA

            The switching on of the first phase of the energy bridge will reduce the electrical power deficit in the Crimea and following the introduction of the second phase, the power supply to the peninsula will be totally guaranteed./i>

            • Moscow Exile says:

              The symbols at the bottom (reading left to right) are: substations under construction; existing substations; existing substations to undergo enlargement; (top) Taman’ crossover point; (bottom) Crimea crossover pont

              • marknesop says:

                The funny part is that through the actions of its mouth-breathing “activists” determined to force Crimea back into the arms of Ukraine, Crimea is moving further and further away and once it is completely independent of Ukraine for all its needs, it will be forever a part of Russia no matter how the international community stubbornly refuses to acknowledge it. I’m sure there’s a parallel for the pathetic pretense that something is not real just by refusing to recognize it, but I can’t think of one right now.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  How about the refusal to believe that when people die, they remain dead for ever and cease to exist; that there is no “life after death”, yet people refuse to recognize the reality of this

                  Bet that’s cheered you all up!

                  🙂

                • Jen says:

                  ” … I’m sure there’s a parallel for the pathetic pretense that something is not real just by refusing to recognize it …”

                  I think the parallel is “creating facts on the ground”: this is where (to use a hypothetical example) I tell you “your aunt is dead”, you say “no, she’s not, I just saw her half an hour ago” but I say “well she’s dead now” so you go back to see her and of course she is very dead because while you were going back to see her, I phoned someone to go shoot her during the half-hour you need to travel.

                • marknesop says:

                  Well, yes; both those examples fit, although ME’s is kind of a downer, I must say. I was counting on an afterlife in which I would be an emperor somewhere. But I was thinking more along the lines of how Washington broadcasts the notion that The American Dream is still somehow attainable for Joe Six-Pack, when the dice are so loaded against him now that the odds are about the same that he will win the Miss America title. A broad-based article of faith for which there is practically no substantiation whatsoever.

                  I guess in a way that is kind of like when you’re dead, you’re dead. Except it’s more like you’re dead now, but you probably won’t stop breathing and eating and eliminating and bullshitting yourself for another thirty years or so.

                • yalensis says:

                  Jen, that wasn’t very nice of you to have Mark’s aunt killed, just to prove a philosophical point.

                • marknesop says:

                  She has always been an aggressive woman of action. I bet she likes to ride horses while not wearing a shirt, too.

                • Jen says:

                  So that means Moscow Exile can’t look forward to an afterlife of hunting and fighting by day and carousing, getting blind drunk and chasing Valkyries in the halls of Valhalla by night?

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  So that means Moscow Exile can’t look forward to an afterlife of hunting and fighting by day and carousing, getting blind drunk and chasing Valkyries in the halls of Valhalla by night?

                  Nah…truth is I have never believed that will happen to me because you’ve got to fall in battle in order to be winged off to Valhalla slung over the shoulders of a Valkyrie’s steed.

                  I’ve no immediate intention of dying a heroic death in battle whilst wielding my trusty war-axe and smiting down my enemies: I’m a lover, not a fighter and prefer to make hay whilst the sun shines and not during some hopeful after-life!

                  🙂

      • Patient Observer says:

        Channeling Karl:
        So, this means that Russia will start selling coal again to Ukraine?
        (Actually that is an interesting question, thanks Karl)

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Mejlis finally understands that their “peremoga” with blown pylons slowly turns into “zrada” and already promised a “water blokade” of Crimea. We think it will look like this:

  33. et Al says:

    Neuters: Estonian PM says Russian attack unlikely despite ‘worrying’ signs
    https://news.yahoo.com/estonian-pm-says-russian-attack-unlikely-despite-worrying-205226103.html

    …Playing down the direct security threat posed by Russia in an interview with Reuters, Prime Minister Taavi Roivas also distanced himself from a call by Latvia and Lithuania for a permanent NATO troop presence in the Baltics….

    … “The scenario of green men is not more likely here than it is in Great Britain,” Roivas said in the Estonian capital Tallinn. “Estonia is a NATO country and I consider it unlikely that Russia is thinking it will attack NATO.”

    Roivas who, now 36, became the European Union’s youngest head of government when he took over as prime minister last year, added: “NATO countries should not be worried about direct intervention.”…

    … But Roivas made clear he did not consider the calls by Lithuania and Latvia for a permanent presence of NATO troops in the region to be the most pressing issue.

    “I don’t think that the most important choice is whether it is rotational or permanent,” Roivas said. “I believe that the real deterrence effect is what counts. And today we are seeing that we are moving in the right direction.”…

    …Lithuania said this week that Kaliningrad, which borders Poland and Lithuania and is home to Russia’s Baltic military fleet, remained a tense area…

    … But Roivas said the diplomatic resolve was still there.

    “The fact we are not always talking as loud as we should does not mean that our opinions have changed,” he said.
    ####

    A pragmatist? How long can this last or is it the first chink in the armor?

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Russians in the Baltic republics overwhelmingly supported independence – you’d think living with the evil primitives for forty years would have given them an inkling of what to expect, but apparently it did not.

      The beautiful part is that if the Latvian and Estonian savages hadn’t gone Balkan on their Russian subjects, their American masters would have won for themselves a pool of reliable fifth columnists, hundreds of thousands strong, suitable for use anywhere in the Russian-speaking world.

      Thank Bog for the enemy’s cruelty – it is a rod for their own backs and a hammer for their own testicles.

  34. et Al says:

    Neuters: Turkey gets ready for much less Russian LPG transport gas
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/12/02/us-turkey-russia-lpg-idUSKBN0TL1QH20151202

    …It is preparing to cut imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Russia by a quarter next year, two sources told Reuters. Turkey has the most gas-powered motor transport in the world with 40 percent of its vehicles running on LPG.

    U.S. LPG exporters were likely to benefit by making up the shortfall to Turkey, as would producers in Algeria and Nigeria, traders said.

    One major Turkish importer said the United States could raise its share in Turkish LPG imports to 12-14 percent in 2016 from 6 percent currently…

    …Some players said negotiations were getting tough and did not rule out that Russia may stop LPG sales to Turkey altogether.

    “We have agreed (with a Turkish customer) on shipments, we are ready to sign the papers. But we are going to have to put off talks about prices and volumes,” one Russian exporter said.

    “I haven’t heard (about a halt in LPG shipments) yet, but it’s a possibility,” said the source with a major international trading company. …
    ####

    I’m sure others will sell gas to Turkey… for a price. Turkey can forget about haggling for any decent discounts though.

    You would think that after losing tens of billions of dollars worth of income from trade lost with Iraq between 1991 & 2003 and Turkey’s subsequent refusal to allow the US to invade from Turkish territory for the second gulf war, that they would have learned the US literally expects its allies to pay a great price just to be friends.

    What is it they say about history repeating itself? ‘Farce’ is a term to weak in this case…

    • marknesop says:

      All of the happy talk about the US becoming the world’s leading exporter of LPG, LNG and whatever is tied to the “shale boom”. Such talk persists because investment is critical for the shale industry; without it, it will wither. People have to be kept excite, on the edge of their seats. Let’s wait until the US has tried it for awhile, and gets a feel for what it’s like to supply fuel via ocean-going tankers. That’s a long trip, and a tanker-load disappears pretty fast. An increase in maritime tanker traffic is going to be n ot in the least welcome. But before any of that happens, energy has to move out of the doldrums, because at today’s prices it is simply not viable and America will not do exports if it is losing money thereby, especially if it is losing money and still not getting down to Russia’s price. We’ll see.

      I see no possibility of Turkey becoming a major gas hub while it is being supplied by tanker. It would not likely have the reserve capacity. But you have to let people try, because if you tell them it won’t work they won’t believe you, and if they try it themselves and can’t make it work they can’t blame you.

    • et Al says:

      Or, as I reply to myself here, the whole point about buying terrorist oil was because the US refused to pony up for the losses since it decided regime change in Syria was in order. Turkey want to have it cake and eat it. There isn’t so much the US can do if it wants Turkey onside which is probably why Washington went silent about the imports a few months back.

  35. et Al says:

    So, how does Erdogan square his rhetoric that he is the protector of all Turks when his own government actions have resulted in exactly the opposite for such groups? The answer? By both ignoring and not answering the question. It’s not as if there are dozens of Turkish journalists asking…

    • marknesop says:

      That’s especially comical because Zhevago is a stalwart of Tymoshenko Bloc. A few years ago he was the youngest billionaire in Europe, and although he was a Rada deputy, he missed every meeting for an entire year – too busy making money. Yulichka will not be best pleased by this development, although I daresay Porky is rubbing his hands together with delight. It also ought to be a reassuring signal to investors…not. I wonder how Curly Doodle’s Lviv software startup is doing?

    • kirill says:

      That is one hilarious graph. The predict a one year turnaround of 20% in the GDP. Why would this happen? The Banderastan GDP has suffered actual physical shrinkage due to ruptured trade ties with Russia and the loss of important territories with a big chunk of GDP and resources. How can there by a rebound in one year? We are not talking about some sort of recession revolving around Banderastani consumer confidence.

      Also, the figures in this graph are BS. The collapse in 2015 is likely over 20% and if it comes in at 12% officially then it has been fudged by the Kiev regime.

      • astabada says:

        Add to that these facts:

        1) if you decrease by 20% and then increase by 20%, you are not back to where you started (equally so if you increase by 20% and then decrease by 20%, but this is not relevant here). Example:
        If your gdp is 100$, and you decrease it by 20%, you now have 80$. Since 20% of 80 is 16, a 20% growth brings you at 96$.

        2) As kirill correctly points out the predicition is quite far fetched. I can understand (or pretend to understand) why reforms will overturn the GDP growth rate. But why there would be a sudden change next year, to a 1% growth? A possibility is that nobody on this planet would believe such a plot. This whole predicition reminds me of this famous comic:
        https://www.quora.com/Skepticism/There-was-a-Gary-Larson-Comic-in-which-a-mathematical-formula-is-written-on-a-blackboard-In-the-middle-are-the-words-this-is-where-magic-happens-Or-something-similar-I-cant-find-it-Can-you-help

        3) What does “formalizing the shadow economy” mean? Do they want to exact taxes from prostitution and drugs?
        (I should probably shut up given that Italy started to count them in the GDP).

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Do they want to exact taxes from prostitution and drugs?

          I am pretty sure they wish to legalize the former: they’ve been going on about it for a while now; not surprising, in view of the fact that the Ukraine is the whore-centre of Europe, or so they say.

          On 23.09.2015 Ukrainian MP Andriy Nemirovsky registered a draft law that would make prostitution legal in Ukraine and consider prostitutes to be entrepreneurs who provide sexual services for money. These services can be provided by individuals as well as organizations (e.g. brothels). The draft law requires for regulation of these services and introduces legal entry barriers (e.g. age limits and medical checks).

          See: Legalizing Prostitution in Ukraine: to Be or Not to Be

          … That is the question:
          Whether ’tis nobler to pay for a shag and have done with it?

          I notice that one of the authors of the above linked article, Dr Oleksandr Talavera, is another Yorkshire-Yukie.

          Wonder if he’s one of Taras Kuntz’ pals?

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    Just announced:

    Too Late for Apologies: Russia Halts Turk Stream Gas Pipeline

    Earlier, during his address to the nation, the Evil One questioned the sanity of the Turkish political leadership, stressing that Russia is nor criticising the Turkish nation for the recent downturn in Russo-Turksh relationships.

    • marknesop says:

      Washington will be delighted, as it was one of the hoped-for consequences of the major downturn in relations. Hoped for by Washington and Brussels, I mean. Brussels will now ramp up its rhetoric against Nord Stream II, and if the coalition building it have not got all their ducks in a row the EC will be all too ready to put a stop to it. The objective will be leaving Russia no option but to continue transit through Ukraine, because the transit fees are vital to its solvency. The EU can’t afford to give it $2 Billion a year for nothing for as far as the eye can see.

      • kirill says:

        As I posted elsewhere, Russia needs to make a formal announcement that the transit of gas via Ukraine will stop at the end of 2016 regardless of the state of alternative routes. Brussels can then go and eat shit.

    • cartman says:

      Bulgaria did not sign the letter denouncing Nord Stream 2. Perhaps they are changing their tune when it starts construction.

      • marknesop says:

        Early stories on it simply included Bulgaria as if they had signed on, and to the best of my understanding there was no later attempt to correct the record, so I don’t imagine their “principled stand” now gained them anything at all. Russia knows there is no real moral courage in Bulgaria’s leadership, and it is only voting its interests; all that would be necessary for Europe to win their vocal loyalty again would be to promise them something. Far better not to trust someone like that and get the pipeline nearly built, only to have them go squishy at the last minute when Russia might have no option but to go along with Brussels’ plan and let them run it.

  37. Moscow Exile says:

    Navalny’s “Fund for the Struggle Against Corruption” is going to prosecute the Russian Prosecutor General (Yuri Chaika), so the gobshite reckons, following a “documentary” film that has investigated alleged corrupt practices amongst the prosecutor’s family members and friends.

    The leader of the Communist party reckons the whole exposure is a CIA set-up.

    Чайка – жертва ЦРУ

    Chaika is a victim of the CIA

    The CPRF leader has called the investigation undertaken by the Fund for the Struggle Against Corruption on the family business of the Prosecutor General of Russia, Yuri Chaika, a made to order operation of the Central intelligence Agency, reports TASS.

    “I don’t want to comment on what the CIA has released and everything that the CIA has done, in so far as this is of no benefit to us”, said Zyuganov. “To prepare such an expensive film, you need a whole team of people”, reasoned the politician, and therefore he has “not one iota of doubt” that in the creation of the investigation the CIA was involved.

    Of course it bloody was!

    Navalny works for the bastards!

    Interestingly, as regards the above picture, I am reminded of what I have often commented on here, namely it is years since I saw anybody reading Pravda.

    I cannot say that any longer: last Saturday, as I was travelling to our country dwelling, along the commuter train carriages came an old man (and he was old – he was much older than I am!) selling copies of Pravda. And he was calling out: “Dear passengers! Read what the Communists have to say!”

    And you know what? Folk were buying copies off him. Young folk as well.

    I bought a copy for old time’s sake ….

    I’m back in the U.S.S.R
    You don’t know how lucky you are boy,
    Back in the U.S…, back in the U.S…, back in the U.S.S.R!

    🙂

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Forgot to post the picture, which is in the above link of course:

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I wonder if that pillock McCain will write another letter to Pravda? Judging by what I witnessed last Saturday on board a Moscow-Mozhaisk elektrichka, if he does so, then that dangerous and geriatric old fool should have a much wider readership of his missive than he had for his last Pravda letter.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          See: Алексей Навальный подаст в суд на Юрия Чайку

          Navalny is going to sue Yuri Chaika

          The head of the Fund for the Fight Against Corruption (FAC – and “fak you too, Navalny! 🙂 ME), Alexei Navalny, has said that he plans to sue Prosecutor General Yury Chaika. “FAC and the authors of the investigation will sue the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Y. Y. Chaika, in the name of honour, dignity and business reputation”, wrote Mr Navalny in his blog.

          Fuck you Navalny!

          Honour?

          Dignity?

          Business reputation?

          The bastard’s been twice found guilty on fraud charges.

          I’m sure his little scam with the Russian Post Office and a Frog perfume company is still grinding slowly through the Russian legal system.

          And his brother’s doing bird for him!

    • marknesop says:

      Isn’t it curious that Navalny is always managing some fund for this or that, yet he hasn’t had a real job in years? He has become what he once claimed to loathe – a political parasite. He is doomed to be forever in the sandbox, playing games, and one day he will wake to find, like in the Pink Floyd tune, that ten years have got behind him and he has wasted his life in delightful intrigues that only ever amounted to anything in his mind and in the fevered whisperings of his hamsters.

  38. Lyttenburgh says:

    And now for something completely different… but still Trurkey related:

    PiPiSi: Turkish court ‘orders Gollum study’ in Erdogan case

    “A Turkish court has asked experts to assess the character Gollum from The Lord of the Rings in the case of a man on trial for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish media report.
    Bilgin Ciftci is accused of insulting the president for sharing images comparing Mr Erdogan and Gollum.
    The experts will reportedly decide whether or not this was an insult.
    It is not known precisely what criteria the experts will use to arrive at their decision.
    The character of Gollum appears in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien and the film versions directed by Peter Jackson.
    He was first introduced in the Hobbit as “a small, slimy creature”. In the Lord of the Rings his longing for the ring distorted his body and mind.
    The experts will be a group composed of two academics, two behavioural scientists or psychologists and an expert on cinema and television productions, the Today’s Zaman newspaper reports.
    The judge took the decision after admitting he had not seen the whole of the Lord of the Rings series in which Gollum features.
    The images shared by Mr Ciftci showed Mr Erdogan and Gollum in similar poses eating, expressing surprise and amazement.
    The case has now been adjourned until February.”

    Plus – the article porvides us (the Enlightened Western Public, ™ that’s it) with the list of Erdogan-pasha’s “achievements”:

    – Between August 2014 and March 2015, 236 people investigated for “insulting the head of state”; 105 indicted; eight formally arrested

    – Between July and December 2014, Turkey filed 477 requests to Twitter for removal of content, over five times more than any other country and an increase of 156% on the first half of the year

    – Reporters Without Borders places Turkey 149th of 180 countries in the press freedom index

    – During Mr Erdogan’s time in office (Prime Minister 2003-14, President from 2014), 63 journalists have been sentenced to a total of 32 years in prison, with collective fines of $128,000

    But, hey – we still know where the real Mordor is, right?

    P.S. Has the greatest civil-rights activist John McCain already said that “Today – we are all Turks!”?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Well that’s a turn up for the books!

      When Gollum first appeared as above in the massive cinema recreation of Tolkien’s tomes, many in the West were giggling like soft kids, maintaining that the creation had been purposely made to resemble the Evil One in Moscow..

      The person to check out on all of this, the expert, so to speak, on the real Mordor and those that inhabit it is, of course, Lucas.

      See: A Gem (or rather, a Ring) from Lucas

      Lucas claims that “[Tolkien’s] books were hugely popular in eastern Europe during the years of communist captivity“.

      I suppose their popularity in the U.S.S.R. had little to do with the fact that his works were not proscribed by the Communists, in that they were, at first sight, apolitical – and probably were.

      I’ve always maintained that “The Hobbit” and the Ring Trilogy are just one big kid’s story. They certainly started off with the intention that they be so: beginning with “The Hobbit”, Tolkien started writing them for his young son. Thing was, though, he was still writing them long after his son had reached maturity.

      Othe non-proscribed English works of literature achieved that status in the Soviet Union because they reflected the standard version of a capitalist society as preached by the CP. hence Frederick Foryte’s “Saga” was available in the U.S.S.R. because it is full off bourgeois snobbery and class distinctions, and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn described the ante-bellum, African slave-owning U.S.A.

      Agatha Christie works also passed muster in the Workers’ and Peasants’Paradise because it was bourgeois tosh. Also, Christie’s work now published in the West with the PC title “And then there were none ..” is still called in Russia “Десять негритят”.

      When I was carousing in the U.S.S.R., I used to knock around with a few Soviet citizens who were totally gobsmacked to learn that I had never ever read a Christie story. They sometimes even used to use Agatha Christie 1920s and ’30s style bourgeois slang, such as “chin-chin” when downing alcohol, believing that that was what one said in the U.K. It sometimes really was jolly funny to hear them talk in this way.

      Toodle-pip, old things!

      • marknesop says:

        I loved the Tolkien series, and I thought Peter Jackson was a cinematic genius for making the entire trilogy at once (because you know once the actors see the success of the first film, they will all want a big raise, plus it is better if they are all the same age throughout the trilogy) as well as for the brilliance of the special effects and overall production. I read The Hobbit in the 70’s, because everyone was reading it, it was part of the whole hippy-dippy free love and peace movement. I liked it a lot, even though it was a kid’s story. Harry Potter is much the same – started out as a kid’s book, but the films are much too developed for just kids. I don’t know if Tolkien ever made the kind of lolly Rowling did, and I rather suspect not, but good on her – I like to see the good guys win one every once in awhile, and she started with nothing.

        I must get around to adding that “Ordinary Russians”, by Barry Broadfoot, to the library page. Edward Lucas would kiss his feet; I don’t think I ever read a more insulting book. The talk of western authors approved for Soviet consumption reminded me of it – he tells a story about how upwardly-mobile young Russians during his vist pressed him for western novels by bestselling authors, saying they would pay him fantastic prices for a paperback…which they would then take apart and reproduce on this amazing new machine called a photocopier. The company had gotten it free on trial from a Japanese company, and they would use it to produce black-market books until it keeled over, and then give it back to the Japanese and tell them it was no good, they didn’t want it, and laugh all the way to the bank. Duplicitous and sneaky, but refreshingly unabashed about it – that’s the Russians.

        Remember, this was just at the time Gorbachev was taking over. And they had never seen a photocopier before.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          They had samizdat – literally “self-publishing” – on full go when I landed in the USSR: western publications were clandestinely copied and printed out on achaic printing machines and distributed hand-to-hand. In the USSR people read far more than they do now: the Moscow metro used to be full of folk with their nosed buried deep in books, which often had an anonymity cover around them – you can still such covers on sale these days. However, nowadays most on the metro arse around with iPads and iPhones or eBook readers.

          Anyway, as I recall, the best-seller “samizdat” publications that I used to see in Voronezh in the late ’80s were “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “1984” and “Gulag Archipelago” – all proscribed, of course, by the powers that be. But Party strictures notwithstanding, they were passed around in the students’ obshchezhitiye where I lived on Friedrich Engels Street.

        • Special_sauce says:

          I thought the movies were inane and puerile. Gollum was a bad ass; he crawled naked through dense brush; jumped into freezing mountain streams to catch fish with his bare hands. He could have killed the hobbits right off the bat and taken the damn ring. And everyone knew that’s what he wanted. But the hobbits agreed to his suggestion that he lead them to the Fiery Pit of Doom, or whatever it was? During the long trek Gollum had every opportunity to poison the hobbits, throw t hem off a cliff, lead them into quicksand. I mean, he the knew the terrain better than anyone. Why did he put up with those smug little shits? So the movies were just one long non-sequiter until the end.

          And no sex? No lady dwarves. You best believe the elves would have been tugging at Eearwin’s girdle after a long interlude of thrashing Orcs. The choreagraped battles were silly and unbelievable. The good guys kill with every shot; the bad, don’t hit anything. The ferocious beasts howl at their intended victim but wait patiently while he draws his bow…

          • yalensis says:

            Dear special_sauce:

            I totally agree.
            I am one of the rare contrarians who thinks the entire Tolkien oeuvre is just a pile of fascist horse-shit.

            • marknesop says:

              Both of you are Trotskyite Philistines who do not appreciate the value of good escapist entertainment. You are the types who smirk that a war movie was unrealistic because the Germans spoke English with a German accent instead of German. As the great western philosopher Lisa Simpson once said, “Oh, Bart: cartoons don’t have to be 100% realistic”.

              • yalensis says:

                This is what a real Philistine looks like:

                To make him a Trotskyite too, just photoshop in round reading glasses and holding an ear-marked copy of “Das Kapital”.

                • marknesop says:

                  I just said “Trotskyite” for the sake of nostalgia, because I know it irritates you when uneducated people who would not know Trotsky from Louisa May Alcott (like me) say it.

                • yalensis says:

                  Louisa May Alcott was actually a Trotskyite. Quite a fanatical one too.
                  Her character “Jo” represented the model of a “permanent revolutionary”, whose goal was to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat at any cost.

                • marknesop says:

                  Either you are totally making that up, or it was just beginner’s luck, because I would not know a real Trotskyite from a dessert spoon.

            • Oddlots says:

              Yay! Totally agree and its a real bug-bear of mine. I love the way in Tolkien’s world everyone “looks” the way they “are”: the evil are ugly, the moral, beautiful. Yuck. Aesthetic depravity. The main take away from my experience as a reader much less a human is it’s a little less obvious than that. If not life would be extremely unchallenging and about as boring as… reading Tolkien. It’s f’ing dreck.

              • marknesop says:

                What?? Frodo was as moral as Diogenes, and he had hairy feet!!

                Frodo had hairy feet, I mean. Not Diogenes. At least as far as I know. Everybody wore sandals then, so I think it would have been remarked at the time.

                • yalensis says:

                  Frodo is okay, it’s those freaking elves and fairies whom I despise.

                • marknesop says:

                  I knew your innate Russian homophobia would show up sooner or later. Fairies and elves are in the Bible, I’ll have you know. They’re in that Commandment, where God said, “There may be fairies, there may be elves; but The Lord helps those who help themselves”.

                • yalensis says:

                  Tis true that the Old Testament is full of stories about fairies. Sometimes spelled “faeries”. Faeries were particularly active in the town of Gomorrha (lesser-known Twin City of Sodom), where they invented an extremely convoluted sexual act known as “Gomorrhy”.

                  But later, fairy culture started degenerating. As the Fairy Queen in “Iolanthe” had remarked:
                  “Our Fairy Revels are not what they used to be.”

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I tell you when I finally concluded it was crap: when those tree things appeared. “Ents” I think they are called. And they’re always searching for their wives. I reckon Tolkien had had one too many in some Oxford “Prancing Pony” when he dreamt them up.

                • marknesop says:

                  That was a bit much in the book, but they were done quite well in the film. I didn’t look for deep messages in it, I just wanted to be entertained. For my money, “Firefox” was a thousand times worse, and that had Clint Eastwood in it. I know Soviet aircraft were built tough, but anybody who thinks you could land an air-superiority fighter on an ice floe needs their head examined.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I read the Ring trilogy inthe mid-’70s and it was bloody hard work. I felt I somehow had to read it because of all the talk of how wonderful a work it was. I reckon I made at least four attempts to read it before I finally manage to read it to the end. My failed attempts always ended around where they were in “Prancing Pony”, met up with a team of wierdos and got attacked by scary monsters ….

        • Jen says:

          It helped also that Peter Jackson made the films in New Zealand after years of neoliberal economic policy there since the mid-1980s at least helped depress the costs of making the films nearly all at once and paying the salaries of all the people who worked on them.

  39. Moscow Exile says:

    Big mistake by ISIS terrorists!

    The Russian citizen whom ISIS claimed was a “Russian spy” and who has recently been beheaded by them was a Chechen.

    Kadyrov promises to avenge Russian citizen beheaded by ISIS terrorists

    See how CNN reports this:

    Russians are among the citizens of several nations who are known to have joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Raffaello Pantucci, a senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, noted last year that people from the Russian federal republic of Chechnya “in particular are held in very high veneration”.

    Wednesday’s video isn’t the first time ISIS has accused a Russian of being spy then killed them in front of a camera.

    It’s that old problem of not being able to differentiate in English between russkiy and rossiyanin – and Pantucci is talking bollocks!

    He, an “expert”, surely knows the difference between a “Russian citizen” and an “ethnic Russian”. And if he doesn’t, then he’s no “expert” – or he’s being deceitful by simply stating “Russians are among the citizens of several nations who are known to have joined ISIS”.

    The number of ethnic Russians that have joined the ranks of ISIS must be miniscule, but some citizens of the Russian Federation who are from autonomous republics within the the RF and who are not ethnic Russians and are also Islamic fundamentalists will, no doubt, have joined in the Jihad against Russia.

    Same here from the Daily Fail.

    Same in the telegraph: “Russian spy”.
    :

    • yalensis says:

      You are burying the lede, which is Congressman Ed Royce’s not-so veiled threat against Russia:

      “I think what Vladimir Putin should think on, for a minute, is the fact that Moscow itself IS a target. The attack on the Metro-Liner from Russia over Egypt clearly is another message from ISIS. So, at this point what we would like to see is a recalibration on the part of the Russian military. So that instead of attacking the Free Syrian Army and the more secular Syrian forces, they should begin to attack ISIS. So far we haven’t seen that.”

      Translation from American B.S. into plain talk:
      “Putin: Stop attacking our guys, we know they are ISIS but we have to pretend they’re not. If you keep attacking them, we’ll have them commit ever more terror attacks against the Russian people.”

      • marknesop says:

        The USA is perhaps the worst choice on the planet to ask who is a “moderate rebel” and who is ISIS, as witnessed by their sad-sack training plan for moderate rebels which produced 5 or so whom they say are reliable after spending $500 Million. Obviously they trained many more than 5, but they have no idea where those people or their equipment are now. The real hot button in that article is the mention of General Steven Groves and his operation to “oversee the suppression of assessments showing the war on a perilous trajectory.” That’s what the American intelligence organs do now – blow smoke up people’s asses so they can’t see reality.

  40. Turkish Stream is now officially cancelled. All the eggs are now in the same basket: Nord Stream II. Hopefully the US/UK/Baltics/Poland front will not be able to stop it. Because otherwise Russia is stuck with Ukraine as a transit country.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, I don’t think they want to stop it. They want the gas the same as before – they just want it on their own terms. Brussels wants to exercise control over whose gas goes through the pipeline, so that if they are have a “spat” with Russia, they can stop orders of Russian gas and bring some at-this-moment-unknown supplier’s gas through the same pipeline, probably Azerbaijan.

      Read this 2011 press conference with Gazprom; I found it while looking for a layman’s explanation of what the Third Energy Package actually entails. Because it appears what is most unappealing to it from Gazprom’s point of view is that it limits vital investment in gas futures, considering it would substantially restrict long-term contracts. They could be happy with you today, buying off your competitors tomorrow. According to Brussels, that’s healthy competition which ensures the customer gets the best price, while Gazprom naturally prefers to deal in long-term contracts which lock the customer in, although they are usually willing to talk out a deal if it looks like the customer is really unhappy because unhappy customers are bad for business, even in the gas industry.

      Right away, you notice that Europe accepts long-term contracts, but nonetheless takes the position that long-term capacity supply orders upset the market. As Gazprom correctly points out, these two views cannot reasonably coexist.

      In 2011, Gazprom was still considering a joint venture with NaftoGaz Ukraine, and intended to actually increase gas transit through Ukraine while simultaneously building South Stream. They were also considering a merger, and Miller said if that came about, Ukrainian gas consumers would pay the same prices as Russia. Look how far they are away from that now – funny old world, innit? Here was Miller’s vision, at the time, for a Gazprom-NaftoGaz merger:

      “Firstly, Ukraine is an energy-deficient country and the tendency we observe today will continue and develop: gas production in Ukraine will decline and consumption will grow. We proceed from the assumption that the Ukrainian economy will develop successfully. The present-day level of gas consumption clearly shows that Ukraine has not solved all of its economic problems. In this regard, gas supplies to Ukraine will increase in the medium and long term.
      Secondly, if a merger takes place, we will load Ukraine’s gas transmission system to the extent possible and it surely means additional income that is significant for the Ukrainian budget. At the same time, if the Ukrainian gas transmission system is loaded with some 95 billion cubic meters of gas per year, we know well that it may deliver 120 and even 125 billion cubic meters with a particular level of investments in modernization and reconstruction, of course. And if small investments are made in new compressor stations and pipeline loops, we may probably speak of 140 billion cubic meters of gas. However, we realize that European gas consumption will grow. According to our estimates, gas demand in Europe may grow up to 130-140 billion cubic meters of gas by the turn of 2020.”

      You can see, I’m sure, why Brussels didn’t like it. Under the Third Energy Package, the operator of the gas transit system will be elected by the European Union on a tender basis. You can see, I’m sure, why Gazprom didn’t like that. If the merger between Gazprom and NaftoGaz Ukraine had come about, Ukrainians would have paid Russian domestic prices, in a word, forever.

      What Europe’s position boils down to is it wants a system whereby its suppliers do not own anything of the transit system, and the operator could be anyone depending on who sucks up to Europe the most, so that it can make its suppliers fight with one another and be assured of the cheapest prices. Until that magical sugar-daddy supplier appears that can provide steady and sustained competition to Russia, Europe is not in a very good bargaining position. But you bet that would change fast if the western alliance could get rid of Assad, partition Syria and get a Qatari gas pipeline laid across it.

      Here’s a poignant reminder of what might have been, which serves to point up who are the real troublemakers:

      Remember the story with biogas, wonderful – 20 per cent by 2020, and mass media start writing that it will enable escaping from dependence on Russia. Then we find out that biogas is there, together with food supply problems, etc. Then we observed the European Union’s wonderful program – “20-20-20”. I think, there’s no need of deciphering it – everyone knows about it. And again mass media say that it will enable reducing dependence on Gazprom and Russia. The same thing is with shale gas. First, no one will cope with shale gas transportation, because it is too expensive, add transport – and it is already a business with no prospects. I have a plea for mass media – would you please stop frightening Europe, stop frightening everyone around with Russia and Gazprom. For Europe it is a real blessing that it has such a powerful neighbor with such conventional gas reserves. Exploration of non-conventionals [N.B.: Non-conventional energy resources] may end with no results, as experience of certain countries shows. So let’s live in peace and friendship and contribute to strengthening Russia’s contacts and ties with the European Union and Ukraine.

    • kirill says:

      See above. It is time for Russia to lay down the law. Russia can go without the $25 billion per year of lost revenues. But whole EU economies will crash into epic depressions without this energy supply. In other words, the EU is looking at TRILLIONS of DOLLARS in economic damage. The Brussels Uncle Scam cocksuckers will have to justify their actions. Russia does not have to since it is the vendor. If you are not happy, then shop the fuck elsewhere, idiots.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Karl: “All the eggs are now in the same basket: ” That statement is much more relevant to Europe. They are the fools; taking avoidable risks with their critical energy supplies. Russia has other eggs such as major energy contracts with China.

      Europe/USA is playing the short game of Ukraine. Russia has the big hammer to swing, but, by playing the long game, is not apt to use it to solve an imminently solvable and short term problem. By all appearances, Russia is mostly concerned in protecting Europe from itself.

  41. Moscow Exile says:

    From KP as regard his address to the nationspeech:

    Putin never mentioned theUS, the EU and the Ukraine.

    Putin’s most recent address was unique from the point of view of the words used. Most often, as usual, in his speech was used the word “Russia” (44 times), followed by “the state” (20 times), and “Economics” (15 times). However, he never used the words the US, the EU and the Ukraine. They were replaced by “Syria” and “Turkey”, which were mentioned 7 times.

  42. marknesop says:

    As everyone probably knows by now, Dave the Pig Fancier managed to get his bomb-bomb-bomb Syria initiative through with no trouble at all, and RAF jets are already conducting air strikes on what they say are ISIS targets. Without the permission or invitation of the Syrian government, I need hardly mention, but that seems to be the way it’s done nowadays. You just decide you want to do something, ask your flunkies to approve it regardless what the people think, and then present everybody with a fair-accompli in which, if they bitch about it, they are being unpatriotic and not supporting the pilots whose lives are in deadly danger. Not only that, he warns the English that it will be “a long campaign”. Long enough to ensure the prevalence of Washington’s interests, that is. I can’t see this ending well, and the more combatants they pack into Syria, the more likely a massive war becomes which will involve most of the world.

    • Cortes says:

      A headline in The Metro, freebie paper available on public transport in the UK, read “Cameron Says Air Strikes Needed Against Medieval Foe” which seems excessive. After all, as a member of the Piers Gaveston club and a renowned pig er sticker, he and his fellow knights just have to take to the field themselves to deal with the upstart infidel.

  43. Moscow Exile says:

    According to the Telegraph, the USA’s chief felatist’s “air strikes in Syria could last three years as RAF focus bomb attacks on Isil’s oil fields“.

    Next stop a permanent presence there by the forces of righteousness.

    Wonder what Obama thinks of the pace of British operations, considering what he said in Paris on Tuesday about Russian military operations in Syria:

    The Russians now have been there for several weeks, over a month, and I think fair-minded reporters who have looked at the situation would say that the situation hasn’t changed significantly.

    “In the interim, Russia has lost a commercial passenger jet. You’ve seen another jet shot down. There have been losses in terms of Russian personnel. And I think Mr. Putin understands that with Afghanistan fresh in the memory, for him to simply get bogged down in an inconclusive and paralyzing civil conflict is not the outcome that he’s looking for”.

    Afghanistan fresh in the memory – from 1989, when the USSR withdrew its military from that land?

    Not half as fresh in Russian memory as is US military involvement in Afghanistan: the US is still there, and has been these past 14 years. The USSR sent its military into Afghanistan on its government’s request in 1980.

    Mentioning “government request”, by the way: when did the Syrian government request that the British, French and US governments send units of their air forces into Syrian airspace?

  44. Warren says:

    Vladimir Putin: Russia’s action man president

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, a judo black belt, appears to symbolise two of the martial art’s key qualities – guile and aggression.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15047823

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Funny the BBC never mentions the key qualities of karate symbolised by karate black belt holder Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Lithuania.

    • judo says:

      LOL @ “agression”. Maybe BBC’s idea of judo is based entirely on that old Austin Powers movie where he uses the “judo chop”? Otherwise, I can’t explain their extremely ridiculous statement. Judo is one of the most defense-oriented martial arts, maybe even *the* most defensive one out of all of them. I mean, it’s damn near impossible to actually attack someone using judo, it’s all about countering and using the attacker’s own momentum/force against him. Very physics based, all about angles, leverage, and so on. I suppose to someone who just got slammed hard face-first into the mat, that might appear to be “guile”… but to everyone else, it’s called “skill”.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Well said.

        • marknesop says:

          Very much so, and I meant to remark on it at the time – the photo of Putin lying on the floor, having been thrown by a ten-year-old girl, is meant to convey that his toughness is all an act and the he is really a cream puff who can’t even take a little girl. But as the commenter pointed out, the art uses the attacker’s strength against himself, and if there is no attack there is no role for judo. Putin was plainly playing the attacker in that example. Still, I would never have picked up the blatant inaccuracy of the term “aggressive” in reference to judo, although it plainly is inaccuracte.

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