Having Failed to Achieve Any of Its Goals in Crimea, the West Resorts to Lying

Uncle Volodya says, "Sometimes you can learn things from the way a person denies something. The choice of lies can be almost as helpful as the truth.”

Uncle Volodya says, “Sometimes you can learn things from the way a person denies something. The choice of lies can be almost as helpful as the truth.”

NATO once had such plans for Crimea. It was all going to come together so beautifully. Once Ukraine had been wrenched from Russia’s orbit into that of Europe, Sevastopol would make a dandy NATO naval base on the Black Sea, while Russia was left scrambling for an alternative port. However, after polling public opinion in Crimea and finding a very healthy majority of Crimeans supported a return to Russian control and membership in the Russian Federation, a lightning referendum was held and Russia took back its gift to Ukraine. Disaster; Crimea had been the biggest prize the west was after in Ukraine. Just like that, it was snatched away, out of its reach and gone.

So the west – led, as usual, by Washington, which is a damning indictment of the spoiled dilettantism which currently passes for leadership in Europe – announced that it did not recognize the results of the referendum: it was like it never happened, as so frequently occurs when people make a choice Washington does not care for. The whole business was just completely, entirely illegal under international law, although no specific violation was ever cited. And the west prepared a slate of punishing economic sanctions, which was supposed to inspire massive demonstrations of public anger at Vladimir Putin, resulting in the return of Crimea to Ukrainian control and perhaps even a death-blow to Putin’s rule. It is important to note here that this was completely deliberate – Washington intended to impose economic hardship upon the Russian people so as to force the only solution it knows to resistance: regime change. I mention it here because a malady of forgetfulness appears to have seized Washington. President Obama, especially, seems to have forgotten his initial restrained jubilation – expressed as regretful determination – that the United States was tanking the Russian economy,  triggered by the wild runaway of the ruble. For a couple of days, long enough for Washington to scent panic, it looked like it was working. But then attempts to prop up the currency were abandoned, and it was allowed to float, and Russia recovered its balance.  And Washington forgot it had ever been excited about wrecking the Russian economy, and pretended that had never been a goal at all. Washington is pretty good at pretending – it has had a hell of a lot of practice.

So sanctions failed to force Russia to hand back Crimea. And the west looked the other way and occupied itself with something distracting (reading international law, perhaps; ha, ha; I was just kidding) so that it did not have to see Ukraine cutting Crimea off from water, food and electricity in an attempt to force its surrender. Ukraine gated off the canal which supplied water. Ukraine imposed a blockade which prevented trucks from entering via the land route – which Ukraine exclusively controls – and food spoiled in the tractor-trailers as they idled at the roadside. Members of Ukraine’s ‘patriotic’ militia units, often thin cover for Nazi sympathies, blew up the pylons which carried the power cables to Crimea, and the west smirked behind its hand as Kiev called them ‘persons unknown’ although they had posed for pictures, and had used an anti-tank weapon – surely not all that common in private hands – to destroy the metal pylons.

And that didn’t work, either. Polls in Crimea revealed that the people were willing to accept severe hardship rather than return to Ukrainian rule. Russia moved quickly to provide alternate water and electricity supplies, and accelerated work on a massive bridge – 19 km long – across the Kerch Strait which will join Crimea and the Russian homeland and remove the last lingering dependence on Ukraine. Kiev’s attempts to bully Crimea into capitulation served only to harden hearts against its temporary and entirely unsatisfactory former master.

Which brings us to now. Having been batted aside in every one of its attempts to recover momentum, what is left to the west? Well, if it cannot string Crimea on its rosary, at least it can tell a wild tale of the misery, degradation and squalor the Russian return has brought to Crimea. The folks back home would probably be satisfied to know the Crimeans deeply regret their choice, and would get right down on their scabby bare knees and beg Kiev to take them back – if only that vile imp of Satan, Vladimir Putin, would quit standing on their necks.

Cue Newsweek‘s terrible, awful, disgraceful tapestry of lies and fabrications, “The Misery and Terror of Life Under Putin in Crimea”.

It’s not entirely fair that Newsweek should absorb the whole of the blame; it was originally published on The Atlantic Council’s site, and the co-author – Melinda Haring – is the Editor of UkraineAlert at The Atlantic Council. The other author – Alina Polyakova – is Deputy Director at The Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.  The Atlantic Council, for those not familiar with it, is another neoconservative Washington think tank, actually a hub of think tanks, you can hardly swing a dead cat by the tail in Washington without hitting one of them. Suffice it to say that it includes Anders Aslund, Evelyn Farkas and the balloon-faced CEO of Bellingcat, Eliot Higgins as ‘experts‘, among its membership. A word to the wise is sufficient. It was, however, a low-water mark in journalistic integrity to publish such a collection of fabrications and selective metrics without checking to see if any of them were accurate.

Let me tell you something for nothing, just as an aside – there will be a price to be paid, down the road, for lying to people the way these neoconservative circle-jerk clubs for preservation of American global dominance are doing. All I and others can do is tell you the truth as best we can determine it to be, and it will have to be up to you what you believe.  But just like when you get pulled over for talking on your cellphone while driving, and pretend like this is the first you ever knew that was against the law; ignorance is not an excuse.

A commenter on this blog, UCG (I can reveal that this stands for “University of California Graduate” – because I guessed it on my own – and that he is an ethnic Russian living in the Golden State, but that’s all I know) whipped this article like a redheaded stepchild, dribbling it up and down the court until it was just a wrinkly skin with all the bullshit squeezed out; listen.

——————————————————————————————-

“On March 16, 2014, Crimeans voted in a sham referendum for Russia to annex Crimea. Has life improved for the approximately 2 million people who live there?”

Yes, yes it has according to the people living there. But I’m sure Eurasia Center will blatantly lie about it.

“Not at all. On every measure, from the economy to its treatment of minorities, the beautiful peninsula has become a shell of what it once was. The economic situation in Crimea is desperate. Tourism, one of the peninsula’s main economic engines, took a serious nosedive in 2014, when Crimea received fewer than 3 million visitors—half the number who vacationed there in 2013. That is because Ukrainians made up the largest portion of tourists in Crimea prior to annexation. But for political and economic reasons, many now choose not to go. The Russian tourists who were supposed to flood into Crimea never came.”

First, the treatment of minorities actually improved, as is documented by the UNHCR. Second, because of the coup in Ukraine, fewer Ukrainians would’ve been going to Crimea. Third, the majority of tourists were Russians, not Ukrainians.

“Crimeans have experienced a sharp decline in their standard of living. Western sanctions prevent European and American companies from operating on the peninsula, cutting into potential revenue and jobs from foreign investment. The Ukrainian government has imposed restrictions on trade with Crimea as well. Since switching to the Russian ruble, Crimeans have been subject to that currency’s massive depreciation, from an exchange rate of about 35 rubles per dollar in 2014 to 70 rubles per dollar today. While Crimeans’ pensions under Russian occupation may be nominally higher, their rubles have lost more than half of their purchasing power.”

Would it have been better with Ukraine’s currency? In 2014, it was at 8.23. In 2016, it’s at roughly 26.23. Hmm; that’s substantially worse than the Ruble’s performance, and yet the article implies that Crimeans wouldn’t have been subject to such a depreciation. The lies continue.

“The situation for the peninsula’s minorities is even worse. Russian authorities have forced Crimean Tatars to become Russian citizens and curtailed their freedoms of speech, language, education and residence—as well as their right to a fair trial. The new authorities have shut down Tatar language media, and Tatar leaders face harassment, detention and threats to their lives. Now, Russia appears ready to outlaw the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, the representative body of the largest indigenous people of the peninsula. “They’re stepping up repressive measures against Crimean Tatars,” Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group analyst Halya Coynash said in a March 15 interview.”

Odd, because according to the UNHCR, the linguistic freedoms have actually increased, and according to Ukraine’s very own electoral data, the support for Mejlis was decreasing. But please, don’t let facts get in the way of bullshitting.

“There’s “huge pressure on religious communities,” Taras Berezovets, founder of Free Crimea, said in a May 2015 interview. After Crimea’s annexation, the FSB raided homes, mosques, schools and churches, forcing religious leaders to flee. Russia extended its stricter laws regulating religious activity to the peninsula. The new authorities have issued a legal order putting all mosques under the control of the Mufti Office of Crimea, while establishing the Mufti Office of Tavriya, reportedly a political organization with close ties to Russia. Crimean Tatars aren’t the only ones facing persecution. After annexation, the first wave of repression targeted mainly pro-Ukrainian activists and Crimean Tatars, while Ukrainians and Russians were the Kremlin’s victims in 2015.”

And the Mejlis aren’t a political organization? Is that why they ran for office? Also, they’re saying that Russia’s oppressing religious minorities, but that Russia’s also oppressing religious majorities? Perhaps atheists too? Much like Russia weaponizing everything, Russia’s oppressing everyone. What’s next?

“Between the 2001 and the 2014 census, the number of people identifying as ethnic Ukrainian in Crimea declined from 24 to 15 percent. Many moved to the mainland, while others feared identifying themselves as ethnic Ukrainian in occupied Crimea. In March 2015, Russia’s FSB charged Crimean journalist Andrii Klymenko with challenging the annexation’s legitimacy and threatening Russian sovereignty by writing a report that was published by the Atlantic Council and Freedom House. The report showed how Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea has unleashed an ongoing chain of human rights violations across the peninsula.”

Between 1989 and 2001 the number of people identifying themselves as Russians in Ukraine fell by three million. Where’s the outrage, Newsweek? Where’s the outrage? Oh, and the number of Crimean Tatars rose from 11 percent to 12 percent, whereas the number of Mejlis supporters declined. Why don’t you mention that, Newsweek?

“Under Article 280 of Russia’s criminal code, Klymenko faces up to five years in jail. As a result, Klymenko cannot visit Crimea, where his parents are buried. Nor can he enter Russia or any territory the Russian Federation controls without risking immediate arrest. Klymenko’s case is emblematic of a broader pattern of human rights abuses and freedom of speech violations that take place in Crimea on a daily basis. The Russian authorities have clamped down on all independent media. In 2015, numerous journalists and activists were arrested and harassed. All voices of dissent—journalists, academics and artists—face harassment, trumped up criminal allegations and accusations of being “undesirables” under Russia’s foreign-agent law, which stipulates that all media (including Internet sites) register as foreign agents if they receive any non-Russian support. This effectively opens all independent media up to expulsion.”

No, it doesn’t. It prevents a whopping zero percent of organically grown protests from being banned. A whopping zero percent.

“Any actions “violating Russia’s territorial integrity,” such as peaceful protests or social media posts challenging the annexation, are subject to criminal prosecution. Consequently, Crimea has become an information vacuum. Human rights and freedom of expression in Crimea today are more tightly restricted than in Russia, where the Kremlin cannot exert the same level of control. For Russian President Vladimir Putin, Crimea is nothing more than a domestic propaganda tool, a military asset for exerting influence in the Black Sea, and a potential bargaining chip for his geopolitical chess game with the West. The Crimean people are the main victims of this game. Melinda Haring is the editor of UkraineAlert at the Atlantic Council, and Alina Polyakova is the deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.”

Crimea is such an information vacuum, that over half of the Crimeans can access that article. And there goes my respect for Newsweek for running that crap. No one can obliterate its own soft power like the US Department of Hopeless Causes.

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You can’t see me, of course, but I’m clapping from the sidelines. Bravo, UCG; well done. I just have a couple of things to add. First, the contention of the Atlanticists that the referendum in Crimea was a ‘sham referendum for Russia to annex Crimea’.  It was nothing of the kind, and ample precedent exists for using a Facultative Referendum to measure the electorate’s will on major questions, including secession from or accession to a union. The west did not even blink when Ukraine announced it would decide by national referendum whether or not to join NATO, and the west knows full well that it is not a question to be decided by referendum – there’s no ‘opt in’ for NATO, you have to be invited, and satisfy a lengthy list of criteria, although it’s true the west mostly just waves a magic wand when gaining turf is to its strategic and tactical advantage. After all, it agreed with a straight face that acceptance of Lithuanian membership would materially contribute to the security of the alliance, and the Lithuanian Air force has one ‘fighter’. Actually, it is a jet trainer optimistically classified as a ‘light attack aircraft’, although the preferred method of attack must be to crash onto the target, since it…uhhh…does not appear to carry any weapons.

There was also considerable guff about the referendum question being confusing. Here’s what it asked:

  1. Do you support reunifying Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation? or;
  2. Do you support the restoration of the 1992 Crimean constitution and the status of Crimea as a part of Ukraine?

The Beeb says the latter option is confusing because “The wording “restoring the 1992 constitution” does not make it clear whether this refers to the original version of the constitution, declaring Crimea an independent state, or the later amended version, in which Crimea was an autonomous republic within Ukraine”. The question clearly spells out that success of the option would result in Crimea remaining a part of Ukraine, and anyone who did not understand that had no business voting – presumably even members of an autonomous republic within Ukraine know their own constitution.

The ballots were printed in Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar. That reminds me – a referendum is fast approaching for the British electorate to decide if the country wishes to remain within the European Union. Will the ballots be in English, Punjabi and Polish? Why not? The British electorate contains more than 600,000 ethnic Poles, and Indians are more numerous than that in the UK. What if they’re confused? Physician, heal thyself.

Moving on, the contention that tourism has collapsed in Crimea is comically hypocritical. Ukraine controls all the land access to Crimea, and NATO has sanctioned the piss out of it to make sure westerners are forbidden by law from investing any money in it, while no tourist groups are allowed to sell excursions to it as a destination. There is more than a thread of self-fulfilling prophesy there, as the west hopes devoutly to be able to strangle Crimea’s tourist trade, because it has no other way of punishing it: despite all the squalling that its secession was illegal under international law, nobody wants to cite a specific piece of legislation, lest the Kosovo precedent rear its ugly head.

Deliberately sanctioning the tourist trade can be effective – although the west does not rush to trumpet it, Russia’s sanctions against Turkey have cut its tourist trade in half. Some of the terrific losses are due to an unstable security environment, but if NATO really cares about helping its ally, it will encourage its citizens to visit anyway, won’t it?

Is that what happened in Crimea? Well, no, actually; it’s not. As Jon Hellevig highlights, the outlook is actually fairly bright, and Jon’s economic chops make Anders Aslund look like he is in a deep vegetative state. Oh..wait. Well, never mind that now. Although inflation shot up in Crimea as the economy transitioned away from the truly horrid Ukrainian model, salaries shot up still further, resulting in a net gain of about 40%. Unemployment in Sevastopol was cut in half.

Industrial production grew by 12% in 2015, with a 25% gain year-on-year in December, and was up still further going into the first quarter of 2016. But we were talking about tourism, and for that particular bullet, I want to quote Jon verbatim:

“The tourism industry is coming along very nicely, indeed, with a 21% growth of visitors in 2015 bringing the total to 4.6 million. This is often contrasted with the 6 million tourists, of which 4 million Ukrainians, that used to come before the liberation. The comparison is however quite misleading as the purchasing power and habits of that segment of Ukrainian visitors was quite different. They did not require a high standard of service in accommodation and catering and so did not bring in a profitable business and thus did not stimulate investments. Already in the difficult transition year of 2014, the proceeds from the tourist industry doubled to a value of about $1.5 billion from the level of the Ukrainian years of $700 million.

This year promises to be even better with an expected 20% growth of both amount of visitors and prices (net increase about 10% considering inflation). What is interesting is that Russians have taken to visit Crimea all-year round and not only in the hot summer months.”

Got that, Melinda? Did that rattle your Atlanticist cage any, Alina? Revenue from tourism in Crimea doubled in 2014, and 2015 saw a gain in visitors of 21%. When the bridge is complete, and alternate access to Crimea is restored for cars, you are going to see it do even better, and I would venture to guess Crimea will reap a lot of the Russian tourist trade that used to go to Turkey.

But Melinda and Alina prefer to listen to their sources, which include Halya Coynash, Ukrainian activist and frequent columnist for The Kyiv Post. Here’s Halya, referring to the rise of Naziism in Ukraine as “honest historical debate”, while yelling, “Look!! Over there!! Russia has neo-Nazis in eastern Ukraine to do its dirty work!!”. She also describes a conversation which was ‘intercepted’ (Ukraine is getting nearly as expert as Israel at coming up with these miraculously incriminating telephone intercepts), and very conveniently features ‘local militant’ Dmitry Boitsov saying that he won’t be able to hold the [Lugansk] referendum without Russian support – including troops – and that he might have to cancel it, only to be told by the head of the neo-Nazi Russian National unity Movement that the referendum cannot be cancelled: he is then provided with instructions on how to rig the referendum question. Two things need hardly be said; one, the ‘intercept’ came from the SBU, Ukraine’s legendary Security Service, and two, this recorded conversation was never broadcast as evidence by any serious news outlet. Coynash is at pains to point out that it ‘might be a fake’, but is happy to use her platform as a launch vehicle to get it out there in circulation nonetheless.

The report that Russia is forcing the poor Tatars to accept Russian citizenship is likewise nonsense, and another lie in a seemingly-unending parade of lies; Russia ruled that Crimeans could not hold dual citizenship. You must make a choice.  Russia does not order that the choice be Russian.

Once upon a time, a great while ago and for a brief window, the United States really was exceptional, and had only to wave its stick to make much of the rest of the world flinch. As we have often discussed, much of the world at that time was ravaged by war, weak and sick, and the United States was young, strong and mostly untouched; additionally, it had just negotiated a currency agreement that would make its dollar dominant for the foreseeable future. This was a tremendous opportunity.

And slowly at first, piecemeal, but steadily gathering speed, this opportunity was wasted, cast aside, spurned. Foreign policy in Washington is now completely in the hands of civilian ideologues like the authors of the subject piece, who consider America’s massive military as simply a blunt instrument; used to force compliance with its directives, which are only spoken politely once and couched as suggestions. The country’s ideals have become suborned to a neoconservative entity which pulls the levers and emits blasts of steam from behind a curtain, like Oz The Great And Terrible. Its press releases do not reflect reality so much as they do satire; Washington has become The Onion. Never a truer word was spoken than that offered by the anonymous White House staffer to whom is attributed, “You see, when we act, we create our own reality”. Through a series of weak, self-centered and egotistical leaders, America slowly came around to a new course, where the compass needle points to crazy.

It could have been different, but now the die is cast. Let the record so reflect.

 

 

 

 

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2,374 Responses to Having Failed to Achieve Any of Its Goals in Crimea, the West Resorts to Lying

  1. Moscow Exile says:

    Achievements of the Government of Traitors

    Gas: +600%
    Light: +48%
    Water: +35 – 58%
    Heat:+71%
    Defence against communism 🙂
    Pensions, student grants, minimal wage: +13%

    What price dignity?

    And still no EU visa!

    All Putin’s doing!!!

  2. Moscow Exile says:

    Link: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/663787/Ukrainian-fighter-jet-shot-Russian-crash-MH17-BBC-documentary

    Luring Russian Foreign Ministry comment, after which the claim will be proven false, thereby leaving Russia with egg on its face?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Some shock claim!

      It was first made 2 years ago.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The article ends by trashing this claim with:

      However, the documentary tells how British investigative blogging site, Bellingcat, supports the official version that a Buk missile was fired at the aircraft by Russian-backed rebels.

      So that’s it then! Claim dismissed, laughed out of court thanks to the sterling efforts of a Leicester layabout with no qualifications whatsoever as regards his alleged field of work.

      • Jen says:

        Well, seeing that it’s a BBC-made documentary, I am guessing that the alternative explanations of how MH17 was brought down will be presented and then shot down by Bellingcrap, one by one, in a way that presents Bellingcrap as some outsider hero of the story, working with its own limited resources and nothing other than grim determination to get to the truth. The Sunday Express article serves as PR trailer.

        • marknesop says:

          Probably that is pretty much how it will play out – the Beeb lobbing softballs which Bellingcat will easily hit out of the park. It will have the added advantage of introducing the real dominant alternative theory, in a way which will allow it to be so thoroughly shredded that nobody will ever dare bring it up again. This might be the final nail in the MH17 coffin, after which so many will believe Russia was somehow responsible – even if only indirectly – that it will be useless to struggle against ‘common wisdom’.

          But there are still so many uncertainties which have never been addressed.

    • marknesop says:

      Looks like it; I notice the final lines announce that ‘British investigative site Bellingcat’ sticks to the Russian-missile version. There are a couple of inconsistencies in there which will be blown out of the water in the opening salvo – a Ukrainian fighter could not have ‘fired from behind to kill the crew’ unless it was other than an SU-25, because an SU-25 is not fast enough to chase a Boeing at cruise speed; it would have had to shape a course for intercept and would have had only one chance at it. The air-to-air missile possibility is more believable, but such a shot would in all probability have attacked the engines and most of the AA missiles in the Ukrainian inventory are too small to take down something the size of a 777. Then, too, how to explain the damage to the cockpit? That could not have been a heat-seeker, but as I just said, a proximity-fused AA missile which blew up in front of the cockpit would not have been enough on its own to make the plane disintegrate in the air. You would never be able to see an AA missile launch by a fighter against an airliner at 300,000 ft + from the ground, so that witness statement can be filed under “garbage” here and now.

      I am absolutely convinced it was Ukraine’s doing, but it would be the very devil to prove now that Ukraine has had more than a year to bury and destroy the evidence.

      Sergey Sokolov is the deputy editor of Novaya Gazeta; not only is the claim that he ‘put 100 of his agents on the case’ ludicrous for a paper with a circulation of less than 200,000 copies – I doubt the paper has a staff of more than 20 – he would happily participate in a scheme to discredit the Russian government as he works for a liberal opposition newspaper. It sounds like just trolling to get some official Russian endorsement, after which the whole thing would fall apart. They need the occasional bit of sensationalism to discredit rising doubt that Russia was actually responsible. You can sort of tell from the ‘related stories’ list at the bottom of the article, one of which is entitled “Russian shrapnel found in MH17 victims is further proof plane was downed by separatists”. That’s the caliber of reporting this source provides – nearly everyone who isn’t completely clueless knows that the SA-11 missile is in the inventory of both Ukraine and Russia, and western ‘analyst’ Wesley Clark urged other eastern European countries holding substantial quantities of Soviet-era ordnance to rush it to Ukraine before the war even got going. It was always a western objective to muddy the identity of the instigators of any atrocity to the degree that it was possible.

      Is this alleged ‘CIA intercept’ supposedly owned by Sokolov that one of the two eastern Europeans talking in hokey fake American accents, a piece of ‘evidence’ which was obviously meant to be mocked and discredited even by amateurs?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Perhaps that’s why they are letting this claim surface in the Western press: they’ve wiped the scene of the crime clean and can just say “Prove it!” over and over again.

        However, the liars’ biggest weakness is that of the liar Secretary of State, who only 3 days after the downing of the airliner categorically and unequivocally stated that the USA had proof of when and where and by whom the missile that brought down MH-17 was fired. And he has repeated this claim several times since then.

        The US ambassador to Russia has also publicly stated that the US has proof that the Ukraine state or its agents are not the guilty party. But the USA will not present this “proof” that it claims it has. And that clearly signals, for me at least, that the Ukraine and/or its agents is/are responsible, for if the USA indeed had such proof as Kerry said he had 3 days after the destruction of MH-17, it would have been made public there and then.

        • marknesop says:

          But what of the Russian evidence? It’s never been made public, to the very best of my knowledge, but the government would never have been so dimwitted as to hand over the only copies. It must tell some sort of reconstruct-able story, and when matched against the refusal of the Ukrainian and U.S. governments to make any of their evidence available, then that certainly does not come out to look like “Russia is guilty”. In fact, Ukraine has never explained its abrupt confiscation of the ATC records from Boryspil airport. The act was in itself not disturbing, and it is to be expected the government would move quickly to secure the evidence and establish a transparent chain of custody. But it has never done the latter, and so far as I am aware it has kept those records secret from everyone. That tells its own tale, and as you have suggested, if the US government could prove Russian culpability it would have long since done so. It appears to be just stalling and hoping Kiev can come up with something. Meanwhile, it is knowingly shielding the murderers.

      • Jen says:

        The photos of the cockpit that I have seen on the Internet show lots of small round-ish holes which were explained by retired Lufthansa pilot Peter Haisenko and the Union of Russian Engineers in separate analyses as projectiles coming from aircraft machine guns. The Russian Engineers’ report went on to say that by themselves the bullets can’t have exploded the cabin; but then that was not the purpose of using machine guns on MH17. The real purpose was probably to kill the aircraft crew and leave a big enough hole that decompression could do the rest. (This would be consistent with the early reports from the separatists themselves when they first reached the crash site and said that the cockpit was awash with blood; and also with one finding, I forget who said it, that most of the bullet holes were on the left-hand side of the cockpit where the pilot sits.) AA missiles would have been deployed as insurance in case the decompression was not enough.

        As for a bomb being on board, that seems pretty far-fetched, but MH17 did take off from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, and that airport is the same airport where the Underpants bomber boarded a flight bound for Detroit several years ago, in circumstances that remain suspicious (the guy was allowed to board with no papers) and which AFAIK still haven’t been investigated.

        • marknesop says:

          For me, and proceeding on the assumption the Ukrainian aircraft – if one was present – was an SU-25, the strongest argument against it was speed. The SU-25 could not chase a 777, it’s not fast enough. Originally there were arguments that it could not reach that altitude, either, but we know that is in fact possible for a short time. But because of the speed disadvantage there would have been only time for one pass, made from ahead or off-axis but forward of the beam. But the initial Russian data was firm that there was at least one SU-25 near to the Boeing just before it disappeared. I have to assume they had solid data, probably from IFF, considering they built the aircraft. They must have known, like everyone else, that it would have been much easier to explain if it had been the MiG, with both the altitude capability and the speed.

          But if aircraft were present, it was very unlikely to have been an accident, but the result of a carefully-laid plan. And I have not seen one of the Ukies’ stupidly-cunning plans yet which did not eventually leak out, especially given the petty rivalries and nepotistic hatreds which prevail in Ukrainian politics. It is curious that, if this was a deliberate provocation designed to overcome Europe’s resistance to sanctions, that some mook has not leaked it out of resentment, drunkenness, shame or carelessness. It is being kept as close as a secret ever has been, considering the number of people who must have known at least a part of the plan; pilots (if they were involved), ATC’s, armament technicians, ground crew, senior officers, politicians and so on. Which leaves the possibility that it was a surface-to-air missile launched by accident, covered up. And the speed and alacrity with which the facts were made use of in order to ram through sanctions suggests a level of quick thinking which is so far not in evidence in Ukraine. Which leads us back once again to a planned event.

          I likewise agree a bomb is pretty far-fetched, and to imagine it was known in advance that a Dnipropetrovsk controller was going to route the plane off its planned course and directly over Donbas – at just the time the bomb would go off – implies a scope of planning which is just too huge to be credible, while such a coincidence would be impossible to imagine. There is far too great a possibility the plane would have blown up too far from eastern Ukraine for it to be blamed on them.

          • Cass says:

            I take the referendum in the Netherlands as an indication that the Dutch Safety Board may be leaking.

            • marknesop says:

              That’s certainly a possibility, although I haven’t seen any leaked information which was widely publicized so that it would affect opinion. As I posted on here at the time, the opposition to the ratification of the agreement had a really good presentation which detailed how the Ukrainians would be enslaved by corporatism and lose control of their country if the agreement went through unchallenged.

  3. Moscow Exile says:

    The Russian shithead liberals favourite magazine “Snob” published the picture below in order to take the piss out of Russian railways, which picture is, of course, now doing the rounds on the social networks:

    However, someone did a bit of research into the pictures and discovered their roots.

    Here they are again, but this time no piss-taking out of Russia:

    Source: http://periskop.livejournal.com/1556365.html

    :

    • cartman says:

      The only high speed rail in Eastern Europe is in Russia. The United States does not have any, because public transportation is for the poor and dark-skinned.

    • ucgsblog says:

      Wow, they couldn’t get the copy-paste right. The train for China that they show has the marking of Japanese Rail, JR. It’s correct in the original. And since they got the wrong train for Japan, they also got the wrong train for China. Click here to see “Chinese” train: http://www.gojapango.com/travel/images/Shinkansen_500.jpg Here’s another one, with “West Japan”, labeled, which is the same one they used: http://www.japanstyle.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Shinkansen-Nozomi-500-series.jpg

      I’m laughing. Those idiots couldn’t even get the copy-paste right. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should give them a hard time about it. They deserve it.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Rushka-downshifter, still sitting on its diesel-trains needle:

      Dirty train cars, torn chairs, broken lamps everywhere:

      Prefe$$ional di$$ident$ are already a$hamed of their own country.

      • marknesop says:

        It’s probably perfectly possible to find dirty and outmoded trains if you look hard enough; I remember seeing buses when I was in Vladivostok which made me marvel how they were still running. But that’s true of any country; it doesn’t have its top-of-the-line equipment available on every route. Quite a bit of Amtrak’s rolling stock is in deplorable condition.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Russia, 2012:

        Upper-Volta with steam locos and missiles?

        They roll out the steam locos from the museums on Victory Day:

        Filmed at Rostov-on-Don railway station, situated in a typically Russian third-world city.

        At 11:07 can be read stencilled on the 20-tonne wagon: 40 soldiers, 8 horses.

        Liberasts hate Victory Day.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Obama has called for the cancellation of sanctions against Russia

    He visited Merkel in Hannover.

    KP quotes him as saying: “We are of the opinion that sanctions against Russia should be lifted only when Russia meets its commitments under the Minsk agreements”.

    Don’t know if that’s a “Royal ‘We'”.

    The quote in Russian is: “Мы придерживаемся мнения, что санкции против России должны быть сняты только тогда, когда Россия выполнит свои обязательства в рамках минских договоренностей”.

    Seems as if Obama thinks he speaks for the whole of the “International Community”.

    See: Обама назвал условия отмены санкций против России

    The President of the USA, Barack Obama, speaking at a joint meeting with Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, at a press conference in Hannover, has again called for the cancellation of anti-Russian sanctions. And this time he linked the lifting of the measures with the implementation of the Minsk agreements on Ukraine.

    “We are of the opinion that sanctions against Russia should be lifted only when Russia meets its commitments under the Minsk agreements”, -said the occupant of the White house.

    …the meeting also discussed the issues of collective defence of NATO. It was decided to continue the “military presence on a rotational basis of NATO forces in Eastern Europe”, reports TASS.

    The big thing for me, though, is that there is no mention of the “annexed” Crimea and its “return” to the fake-country of the Ukraine as a precondition for the cessation of the “isolation” of the Empire of Evil and the shredding of its economy.

    Oil today at $44.51.

    Russia is doomed!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Sweet FA about the above in the British press – but they’re all still a-bed there as I now write at 08:30 Mordor Time.

    • marknesop says:

      Whoopty doo. As we have discussed ad infinitum, Russia does not have any commitments under the Minsk agreement. Obama would point gleefully to ‘the withdrawal of all foreign forces’, but that will only be considered to have been effected satisfactorily when the east is militarily defeated by the Ukrainian state and brought back under Kiev’s control by force. So don’t look for sanctions to be lifted any time soon. And that’s good, because it is hurting Europe more than Russia, and the more Europe bleeds, the more it will remember who hurt it. Which is not Russia.

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