Guilty Until Proven Guilty

Uncle Volodya says, "For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.”

Uncle Volodya says, “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.”

“Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”

– William Penn

“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.”

Ernesto Che Guevera

I can’t claim the social conscience of a Che Guevera, but it’s absolutely true that I feel more motivated to write when I am furious about something, and few things so infuriate me like smug pig-ignorance. And no smug pig-ignorance is so infuriating as that displayed by one’s own countrymen, as they happily allow themselves to be played like violins by an outside authority and exhibit their naked buttocks before the world. I really thought you were better than that, Canada.

According to the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a Crown corporation and the official voice of the nation – Russian athletes are “emerging as the villains of the Rio Olympics“. And maybe it’s just me, but the tone seems approving, self-righteous…judgy. As if the official mouthpiece of Canada is delighted to sign on to the Get Russia program offered by its southern neighbour and business partner to all its toadies and would-be chambermaids.

In a word, this is disappointing. I used that word because I didn’t want to start swearing so early, although I’m sure we’ll get to it.

Just so we’re clear – whose interests does it serve for Canada to enthusiastically sign on to booing and hooting like howler monkeys whenever Russian athletes step up to compete, like we were English football hooligans? Canada’s? How?

In fact, as everyone who is not thick as a BC pine knows, it serves Washington’s interests, because the USA wants Russia isolated and alone and friendless because it is pissed off at it for other things, and the more disrespect and ignorance and rudeness it gets from the former politeness capital of the world, the better Uncle Sam likes it. WADA is going after every medal Russia ever won, and it is not even looking at anyone else. And that entire effort rests on the credibility of two people; one who was convicted of doping herself and barred from competition for two years for it, and her husband who knew and did nothing about it while he worked for the national anti-doping agency.

We’ll get to that.

“It’s something not usually heard at the Olympic Games. Booing. Loud, sustained booing. The rain of fury is directed at a common enemy: Russian athletes. The contingent, clouded and shrouded by drug scandal, has quickly emerged as the villains of these Rio 2016 Games. Like Cold War days of old, the Russians are once again the global bad guys.

After avoiding a full Olympic ban, some wondered how fans and fellow athletes would treat Russian athletes. That answer came quickly. At the opening ceremony, even athletes from pariah nations were given polite applause. But fans interrupted the global Kumbya moment to let the Russians know their presence wasn’t welcome.”

Disappointing. Disappointing to see how easy it is to get people who probably are reasonably nice under ordinary circumstances to get on board with the mob mentality, because it’s kind of fun. Why is the western audience (because that’s who it is, mostly – the North Americans, the Australians and the English) booing the Russians? Because the whole nation is implicated in a doping scandal.

Is that all it takes to make otherwise-sensible people make one-syllable sounds of disapproval simultaneously, in a deliberately-insulting fashion? Good. Let’s hear a long, sustained ‘boooooo…..” for the cheatingest nation on the planet – the United States of America.

Worldly-wise 19-year-old American 100-meter backstroke champion Lilly King unloaded on silver-medalist Russian Yulia Efimova, calling her a drug cheat and sounding off to reporters that the ‘twice-banned’ Russian athlete should not be allowed at the games; Efimova was booed by the crowd every time she appeared on the pool deck. World-class jackass Michael Phelps, American team leader, went further as he applauded King’s rudeness; It’s kind of sad that today in sports in general, not just in swimming, there are people who are testing positive and are allowed back in the sport, and multiple times. I think it just breaks what sport is meant to be and that pisses me off.”

That so, Michael? All about self-discipline, are you? Did you learn that in rehab? “I honestly didn’t care about my training” leading up to the 2012 London Olympics; wasn’t that you? Is that what sport is meant to be? Isn’t this you, with a bong in your face? What’s up with that, voice of clean sports?

While we’re having this heart-to-heart, Michael, let me tell you what pisses me off. Hypocrisy.

Before the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney even started, Dr. Wade Exum – former director of the US Olympic Committee’s (USCOC) drug-testing program – announced that more than half of all US athletes caught doping prior to the Atlanta games (1996) suffered no penalty whatever and were permitted to compete at those games, where some of them won medals. At the time, ally Australia’s opinion of America’s drug-testing efforts was decidedly negative.

“We in Australia have been less than impressed with the efforts in America, and if you were to do a survey of the athletes, they’ll tell you the country that’s the major problem.”

And let me tell you this – that same country is still the major problem. It has hit upon the novel approach that rather than control the athletes and what they are taking, you control the testing process and develop performance enhancements which are ever harder to detect. Within months of Exum’s joining USOC in 1991, the organization came to him with a proposal to trial a new injection ‘just to see if it enhances performance’.

“They came to me and asked me to participate in a project in which they wanted to give athletes what they called ATP injections – that’s aginicent triphosphate. That’s the fuel that muscle cells actually operate on and I refused on the basis that i thought it was unethical to give people things in a non-medical fashion for non-treatment, but just to see if it would help performance. I also thought that even if that substance wasn’t directly named or on the IOC list, that it was at least aimed in the direction of doping.”

Other Australians were less circumspect in their criticism. Sean Murphy, chair of the Australian Olympic Committee at the time, said, “They’ve got the facilities, they’ve got the research, they’ve got the motivation to be using drugs across the board in many different sports.”

There was no World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) then; it was founded by Dick Pound in 1999 and he served as president until 2007. But WADA and Dick Pound were certainly around in 2003, when Exum released more than 30,000 pages of documents to Sports Illustrated and The Orange County Register, documents which proved beyond doubt that American athletes and champions such as Carl Lewis and Mary Jo Fernandez tested positive for banned substances in American screening but were allowed to compete anyway. USOC called Exum’s accusations ‘baseless’. Were they? Evidently not – here’s Carl Lewis’s reaction: So I was doping, who cares?

That’s the accused, ladies and gentleman. It sounds awfully like a confession to me. What does that mean? That the United States Olympic Committee was comprised of and headed by liars, whose word on anything to do with the clean performance of American athletes was not and is not to be trusted. It also screams “State-sponsored doping program” in chrome letters 18 feet high; USOC is the national authority for Olympic sport, and of the top ten doping scandals of all time in Track and Field, six are Americans.

Can anybody tell me the last time the United States did not send a team to the Olympics because it was awarded a blanket ban for doping? That’s right – never. Nor has any identifiable component of its team, such as Track and Field, been banned from competition, despite ample evidence of doping which was covered up by American sports organizations and its Olympic Commission. But Mr. Clean, Dick Pound, was adamant that Russia be banned completely from competition at Rio, and was vocal in his disappointment that only the Track and Field team was denied the opportunity to compete, including world champion gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva, who has never, ever failed a drug test conducted by any authority. What a disgrace. But Dick Pound was one of the three members of the ‘Independent Commission’ appointed to investigate Russia’s alleged state-sponsored doping program.

Let’s go back to the Sydney Games, 2000. That event was dogged by allegations that American athletes had used performance-enhancing drugs to win medals. Rubbish, said USOC. An investigation was ordered. Enter Professor Richard McLaren, who headed the probe

Boom. The BALCO Scandal hit, three years later. The Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative, headed by Victor Conte, whipped up performance cocktails for American athletes. He admitted to it, and implicated dozens of athletes. Perhaps the most well-known was Marion Jones, who won 5 medals at the Sydney Olympics, 3 of them gold. Marion Jones vehemently denied any involvement with drugs, and sued Conte for defamation. Not until 2007 did she finally admit tearfully that it was all true, and was awarded 6 months in jail for lying to federal investigators, as well as being stripped of her medals. Regina Jacobs was also netted, and awarded a 4-year suspension from competition; the same year the BALCO scandal broke, she set a world record in the indoor 1500 meter. Alvin Harrison, who won a gold and a silver for the USA at the Sydney Olympics; he was not stripped of any medals until 2008, when a teammate admitted he had used performance-enhancing drugs. Michelle Collins, the 2003 world-record holder for the 200-meter indoor sprint. She was banned from competition for 8 years, threatened to take the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to court, and they backed down and cut her suspension to 4 years. The current head of USADA is the alliteratively-named Travis T. Tygart, who bayed like a hound for a Russian national ban at Rio. ‘Cause, you know, enough is enough.

Kevin Toth, a US shot-putter who was United States Track and Field (USATF) Athlete of the Week in April that same year; he got a 2-year suspension. John McEwen, 2-year suspension. Dwain Chambers, a British sprinter – think word got around about the USA’s new line of undetectable performance enhancers? He was the top European performer at his Olympic debut at – you guessed it – the Sydney Olympics; 2-year suspension. Calvin Harrison, identical twin brother of the previously-named Alvin Harrison, gold medalist at Sydney in the 4oo-meter relay – 2-year suspension. We could go on with this for quite a while, but I think you get the point.

Here’s what I bet you didn’t get, though. Professor McLaren’s investigation did not catch any of those people. They were all exposed by the BALCO scandal and press releases like those generated by Exum. McLaren’s investigation wrapped up in 2001, and a year after that USATF was still suppressing the case files and refusing to reveal the name of an American athlete who had been cleared to compete at the Sydney Olympics and had won a medal for the USA.  USATF defied an order and threats of de-registration from IOC president Dr. Jacques Rogge. What was done about it? Fuck all, as you probably knew.

Professor McLaren was the public voice of the ‘Independent Commission’ that recommended a complete national ban for Russia at Rio. The third member was Gunter Younger, a former head of a Bavarian cybercrime division, who was just appointed as WADA’s new head of Intelligence and Investigations this past June. Younger headed the actual investigation into Russian doping, and was ‘given a free hand’ by Dick Pound to use the covert recordings from  the German television ARD documentary which initially broke the story of Russian doping.

Well, sort of. Actually ARD was steered onto the story by WADA, who had acquired the services of the whistle-blowing Stepaonovs, Yulia (nee Rusanova), a doper athlete and her urine-testing husband with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). WADA told Valery Stepanov that it did not have the power to investigate inside Russia. So WADA steered the Stepanovs to ARD with their story, which was released as a documentary and which WADA then pounced on as evidence of  ‘a culture of cheating’.

“The World Anti-Doping Agency steered the Stepanovs to a reporter at the German television network ARD. Their tapes became the centerpiece of this documentary which aired in December 2014 and sent shockwaves through the world of sports.”

WADA does not mention this elsewhere, and the rest of the world is led to believe that the ARD documentary was the clarion call which inspired WADA’s investigation.

“The report released Monday was the result of a 10-month investigation by an independent commission of WADA. Its inquiry stemmed from a December 2014 documentary by the German public broadcaster ARD, which drew on accounts from Russian athletes, coaches and antidoping officials, who said that the Russian government had helped procure drugs for athletes and cover up positive test results.”

But WADA considers the Stepanovs 100% credible. It has to – that’s the only evidence it has. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the Moscow laboratory, was not always on board, and as recently as November 2015 described the Independent Commission as ‘three fools’.

“Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the director of the Moscow lab whom Monday’s report accused of having solicited and accepted bribes, dismissed the suggestions. “This is an independent commission which only issues recommendations,” he said. “There are three fools sitting there who don’t understand the laboratory.”

Yet only months later he was in the WADA camp and singing like a canary. Perhaps the revelation that Vitaly Stepanov recorded 15 hours of their conversations without his knowledge inspired a conversion. Oddly enough, that is generally illegal in Canada, and cannot be used as evidence except in exceptional circumstances. There is a blanket exemption, though, for consent, and this is implied if the person making the recording is a party to the conversation. Still, it kind of makes Rodchenkov sound like the kind of guy who will say anything. Just to give you an idea how ridiculous that is, Victor Conte – the executive in charge of BALCO – offered after the scandal broke to act as an expert assistant to WADA (probably as an effort to plea-bargain; he served four months in prison).

“Conte, who spent four months in prison for his role in the affair, said he has offered to provide expert insights to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), only to be turned down. “I’ve made myself available, put forward names, addresses, websites, protocols… but you know what they told me? That we can’t trust someone who’s been sentenced,” he added.”

But they can trust someone who just got through saying the Investigative Commissioners were three fools who don’t have any power to do anything and don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about, when he suddenly says, Yesiree, boss, it was exactly like you said. I’m a crook. And you know who else is a crook? The whole Russian government. Uh huh.

Which brings me to my favourite part – the legal implications. The McLaren Report is careful not to name names for public consumption, because WADA fears getting sued by individuals. As well it might. So McLaren prefers to leave the oomph of his report to a statement that it proves there is a state sponsored doping program in Russia which is known and countenanced by the highest levels of government. And he’s said that, on a number of occasions, and the press has dutifully repeated it. It’s basically the most damaging finding of the McLaren Report.

Which is why it would be odd for him to say that WADA has no evidence of a state-sponsored doping program. Like he did here, after the report came out. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin, said Tuesday that “as long as there is no evidence [of state-sponsored doping in Russia], it is difficult to consider the accusations, which appear rather unfounded.” How do you respond to that?

McLaren: That doesn’t surprise me. He and others have said that before. But I would expect that won’t be the same refrain by the end of the week once they have a chance to study the report. When you draw the connections across the board about what’s going on, you can’t just say this is just a few isolated people or some of the old coaches dictating out of the Soviet era and nobody else.

Dmitry’s correct. We don’t have any evidence of a systematic, state-wide doping mechanism. If we did, we would have published it and so we have to go on the inference. But across a vast country [with] all sorts of different training camps, it has to be somehow state supported but we can’t actually describe for you how that operates. We can only draw the inference. We’ve given them a chance to reform, so why don’t you reform and join the rest of the world instead of fighting it.

The ‘Independent Commission’ did not question or interview any Russian athletes or officials except for the Stepanovs and Grigory Rodchenkov. The IP did not seek to interview persons living in the Russian Federation …. I did not seek to meet with Russian government officials and did not think it necessary…”

And, you see, that’s a problem. Because athletes on the Track and Field team who have never failed a drug test were banned, by association, from competing, on no grounds but their nationality. Others were banned in highly ambiguous circumstances, just because their names appeared in McLaren’s testimony. Like Russian rower Ivan Balandin, whose appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is featured here. The whole case is worth reading, as there are many juicy bits, but the upshot was his appeal was rejected on the grounds that he had made out he was unfairly denied the chance to compete because the McLaren Report fingered him for doping, which was not the case – he was fingered as ‘ineligible’ because one of his samples had allegedly tested positive, except McLaren did not even know when the test was allegedly administered, that information helpfully being provided by the UK, the second-most-Russophobic of the western countries. I’m damned if I can see the difference, but I’m not a lawyer. Anyway, I’d just like to draw your attention to page 7, where we read,

“Additionally, no reliance can be made on the McLaren Report as evidence, as it is not complete, it has secret parts that were not shared with or available to the Athlete and there was no date of the sample taking in the information provided by Mr. McLaren.”

But on the same page, it reports, “FISA applied the criterion and was satisfied that the Athlete was ‘clearly implicated’ by the McLaren Report and was therefore excluded from the Rio Games.” Wha…wha…what??? The reference which did not meet evidentiary standards was relied upon in the decision?

Oh, dear; on Page 11…“Additionally, Mr. McLaren, in his amicus curiae, while not providing the emails on grounds of confidentiality, revealed to the Panel the exact date and times of the message from the Moscow laboratory that the screen of the Athlete’s A sample revealed positive for the prohibited substance GW 1516 and the response from the Deputy Minister to change the positive into a negative, following the DPM. While these additional details were not before FISA (primarily due to the lack of time) they have been considered by the Panel in this de novo procedure”.

FISA and the Panel both made decisions based on evidence furnished by McLaren that they never examined or even saw. There just wasn’t time. McLaren’s report provides the evidence of a state-run doping program, except he doesn’t have any evidence of that and says so, although he does and it’s secret and he hasn’t shown it to anyone.

Bullshit. From start to finish. No western athlete would have to put up with a ban on competition just because he or she was American or Canadian or Dutch, and he or she would damned sure not be told to accept a ban where he or she had not even seen the evidence against him or her because it was secret.

Which brings us back to the hooting and booing like the audience at a taping of the Arsenio Hall Show. On the occasion of Ms. King flipping out on Ms. Efimova, some reports of the incident recount the rest of the conversation – in which the reporter asked Ms. King if she thought American doper athletes like Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay should be allowed to compete. To her credit, she didn’t flinch, and said absolutely not.

“I have to respect (the track authorities’) decision even if it is something I don’t necessarily agree with,” King said. “No, do I think people who have been caught doping should be on the team? They shouldn’t. It is unfortunate we have to see that.

You could almost smell the controlled fury in the response rushed out by USATF:

“In the United States, it is a matter of law. If you are not under a ban, regardless of what you may have served in the past, you are fully eligible to be on the team.”

Which describes Ms. Efimova’s circumstances to a ‘T’. What would be the American response to an Olympics audience which booed loudly every time Gay or Gatlin took the field? Low-class? You bet.

And that brings us back to the beginning, to the article which started the whole post. An associated article on the same page offers, “Analysis: Why a Full Olympic Ban on Russia Never Had a Chance“. Why not? Because it would have been illegal.

“For one, a blanket ban on Russian athletes would likely have been derailed by numerous legal hurdles. The Court of Arbitration for Sport, among others, would likely overturn a universal ban that included athletes who haven’t been implicated in doping.

“We were mindful of the need for justice for clean athletes,” IOC vice-president John Coates told reporters. “We did not want to penalize athletes who are clean with a collective ban and, therefore, keeping them out of the Games.”

Totally oblivious to fairness, apparently, are the Olympic crowds booing like a bunch of fourth-graders, and getting across the message so helpful to Washington that ‘you Russian cheaters are not welcome here’, fattened on non-stop propaganda from the world’s biggest cheater and seasoned by the McLaren Report which proves Russia has a state culture of cheating, except it doesn’t.

WADA argued for a total ban. Travis Tygart of USADA argued for a total ban, because it would likely mean more medals for Americans. Neither of them gives a tin weasel whether it would be legal or not. Because that’s the way things are done now – you just smash ahead by brute force and momentum, and hope that everyone mistakes action for justification.

And that’s what you’re cheering for when you boo the Russians. I’m ashamed of you.

There will be a price exacted for this later. I will be surprised if Russia does not take WADA to court, and even if it does not, the angry split between WADA and the IOC is evident. The McLaren Report does not prove anything it purports to prove, and it will not stand up to a challenge. At a minimum, WADA should be moved out of Canada to the USA, whose policies and interests it serves, depriving that country of an opportunity to internationalize its own initiatives.

God speed the plough.




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755 Responses to Guilty Until Proven Guilty

  1. marknesop says:

    In retrospect, it appears that Poland’s spiteful anti-competition ruling against Nord stream II has managed the dissolution of the consortium, so that Gazprom is now pursuing the project alone. That’s quite a victory, as it will now be easy to portray it as an all-Russian project; although Germany still retains a major interest, it is less public. This source hints that the EU Commission is toying with the idea of bringing offshore pipelines under third energy package regulation as well, which would allow them to kill the project stone dead, forever and ever. Unless Russia agreed to be just the supplier and leave all other regulatory details to Europe, so that Europe decided how much gas would go here and go there, and what they thought was a fair price based on abundant supply and holding a stick over Russia’s head. I can’t see any way that would work out favourably, at least for Russia.

    Poland, of course, is doing yeoman service to preserve Ukraine’s transit fees as well as its own. I’m afraid I can’t see much in the way of persuasion that Russia could exercise except (1) capitulation and an agreement to allow Europe complete control over gas supplies, just pumping what Europe tells it to pump, and accepting whatever price Europe offers, or (2), a complete shutoff of Europe’s gas supply. Of course, that would be just what Washington wants, as it would convince Europeans forever and a day that Putin uses energy as a weapon.

    I suppose there is a third way – Russia could simply discontinue pumping gas through Ukraine, as it promised it would, in 2019 when the contract expires. Europe would still receive Russian gas, but all of it would be through pipelines other than those belonging to Naftogaz. Europe’s supply would be markedly curtailed, and it would have the added burden of supplying a gas-wasting Ukraine as well. They could not say they weren’t warned.

    All of these highlight the emerging importance of Turkish Stream. Because it looks like Nord Stream II cannot succeed, as Europe will simply keep dreaming up new rules to forestall it. For now Gazprom is keeping on, but everything depends on Germany being able to prevent the EUC from enacting regulations that extend its control to offshore pipelines, and perhaps even pipelines in foreign countries that do not supply Europe – who knows? They’re simply making it up as they go along. And the Germans, forgive me, seem to be somewhat jelly-spined.

    If Russia has a clever card, now’s the time to play it. But at all costs to Russia, Ukraine must be eliminated as a transit country. Otherwise it has negotiating leverage over Russia forever, and will use it and use it and use it.

    • et Al says:

      Well if the European Commission wants to retroactively apply its own rules when they did not expressly did not exclude off-shore pipelines, then the joke is on the Commission, as they will also either have accept that all other ones and ‘field pipes’ (that have so far been exempted) are subject or let it stand that they apply their ‘rules’ subjectively, i.e. a total joke for any business that wants to invest.

      If I were Gazprom, I would file a case at the WTO the moment the Commission makes its ‘decision’, not that I would expect it to change its mind (and any WTO ruling would take years), but simply to drag the Commission’s reputation though the mud thoroughly. I could imagine that if Nordstream II is cancelled, the Commission would change its mind again.

      Let’s see how dumb the Commission really is. So far they have relied on Washington or member states to kill projects (Borissov’s expically corrupt Bulgaria), but have yet to ban something themselves directly. They’ve been so coy.

      I suspect that this is just a FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) strategy, but more European countries are looking to renew proper relations with Russia including the UK. If the UK is serious, it, like other member states would tell the Commission to stop f/king about. After all, the Commission is Dr. Frankenstein’s monster and generally does what it is told.

      This story is long from over.

    • Cortes says:

      RF ought to discontinue supplies through NSI for foreseeable technical reasons this Autumn and await developments.

    • kirill says:

      Russia should stop appeasing these retarded EU f*cks. Have the Duma pass legislation to stop transit of gas via Ukraine on human rights abuse grounds and let the EU flail in the wind.

  2. marknesop says:

    If you like your analysis of Russian affairs exclusively from Ukrainians and western analysts, this piece may be for you.

    The western media keeps coming up with new and clever ways to say that Russia shot down MH-17.

    “Ukrainian intelligence agencies say a Russian air defence regiment has been embedded with the separatists in Donbass. Launchers of the type that fired the Buk missile that downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014, killing all 298 people aboard, are again being deployed.

    Once again, I am envious of ‘Ukrainian Intelligence’ – they seem to be allowed an unlimited number of errors without incurring any disbelief whatsoever, and can plainly say whatever they like and get instant stenography from the western press.

    Putin won’t try it, though; not for real. He’s just bluffing, because he knows that if he actually attacked Ukraine, the mountains of casualties inflicted by the heroic Ukrainian Army would soon bring such a public outcry that he would have to concede defeat.

    “I do not expect a full-scale military invasion at the moment as the losses on Putin’s side would be big and a victory would be far from certain,” says Lieutenant-General Ihor Romanenko, former deputy head of the Ukrainian general staff. “He is [trying] to force international leaders into concessions, starting with easing of sanctions and forcing Ukraine to adopt the Minsk agreements according to his interpretation.”

    I see, General; so, the message we should take away is that the world absolutely must stand united on keeping the sanctions in place, because to do otherwise would be to play into Putin’s hands, is that about it? And Ukraine should not incur any international pressure in the meantime to fulfill any of its Minsk obligations, because to do so would be to…well….to play into Putin’s hands, is that right?

    • et Al says:

      Mark, please give credit where credit is due, namely:

      Sam Jones in London and Roman Olearchyk in Kiev

      The former appears to be Groaning Man hack:

      The latter is the FT’s cheap ‘Ukraine guy’

      ‘551 articles since February 2008 with an average of 597 words’

      • marknesop says:

        It’s very much in Ukraine’s interests to squeal that it is about to be invaded for the umptieth time, since that encourages western governments to keep the sanctions on and not press Ukraine too hard to carry out its Minsk responsibilities. They always squawk that Russia must return control of the border to Ukraine, but they only want that so they can surround Donbas and cut it off from resupply, and it was always crystal clear that that was not going to happen until elections had been held in the DNR and LPR, and provisions for their federalization enshrined in the constitution. Ukraine has flatly refused to do either, and Washington just lets it get away with it while the rest of the world does as Washington tells it.

        • et Al says:

          I would label the United States a ‘State Facilitator of Terrorism‘. Note that I’m not going the whole hog and saying that they are a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism‘ even though they are, but the difference makes it much harder to be dismissed because you can easily point out that the United States simply does sod all when ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever is doing things that works in its favor.

          I’m surprised that the western PPNN haven’t made more hay of Russia being the founder of the Islamic State (except for people like MIchael Scheiss) as a Caucasian Emirate was actually declared (is there an actual difference between ’emirate’ & ‘state’?) in Chechnya, but the West had absolutely no problem with it. Maybe that is why the PPNN didn’t run with a ‘Russia created it’ meme.

          • marknesop says:

            I will go that far – the USA is a state sponsor of terrorism. You ever notice how, when a rebel splinter appears someplace where they don’t like the government, they never send them lawyers and an offer to sponsor their case to the ECHR and the UN? Noooooo – they send them weapons and mercenaries, and enable the violent overthrow of the government and no end of anarchy and violence, when they could have much more easily gotten an international cease and desist order which would direct the government to lay off them and let them be, or else. The USA only encourages diplomacy when it has no proxy forces in the area or when it does not suit American objectives that the government be overthrown. Like Ukraine – you know and I know that if the USA wanted the Ukrainian government overthrown, it would be funneling weapons to the east of Ukraine like there was a fire sale or something, and demonizing the Ukrainian government to a fare-thee-well in all media. It is doing the opposite because that is in its interests, and so much for nobility of purpose.

            • Hoffnungstirbtzuletzt says:

              No, no, no. They are just being Global Policemen!


              “I would ask the next president of the United States to exercise determined American global leadership. In that respect, I do believe that Mr Obama has been too reluctant to use American force to prevent and solve conflicts around the world. It’s no coincidence that autocrats, terrorists and rogue states have been more influential at the same time that he has been more reluctant to use military force. Again, I repeat myself, when the United States retreats and retrenches, it will leave behind a vacuum, and that vacuum is filled by bad guys. My criticism is not only a criticism of Trump. It also covers the current administration’s reluctance to exercise global leadership.

              I see Mr Trump and Mr Obama as representatives not of an isolationist trend, but certainly of a less interventionist movement. My appeal to the next president is that we need a global policeman, and that policeman should be the United States. We don’t have any other.”

              • marknesop says:

                And there you have it, as clearly put as it can be – Donald Trump is unsatisfactory to NATO bigwigs because he would not present the kind of mean-dog-on-a-weak-leash threat that Hillary would. The problem with America over the last decade is that it was too reluctant to use force, and not interventionist enough. If it had been interventionist enough to suit Fogh-Rasmussen – and why does anyone care what he thinks any more, anyway – one wonders how many more countries would have been destroyed, because nowhere that America intervened in the last two decades did it leave that place happier and more prosperous than it found it. Fogh-Rasmussen is an advocate for global destruction and mayhem, and he is a sick man who wants locking up. Either that, or he just received a big fat cheque from Uncle Sam for putting across the message the USA wants the world to hear and repeat. Washington would like nothing better than America being the world’s policeman, because the cop on the beat is entitled to take a little bit for himself to compensate him for the risks he must bear.

          • Patient Observer says:

            The tens of thousands murdered in Central America by terrorists trained at the School of Americas located in Georgia, USA, would qualify the US, just by body count, as a major sponsor of state terrorism.


            And that is only one of many outlets for US state sponsored terrorism. No two ways about it.

            Noam Chomsky went further by stating the US was numero uno in state sponsored terrorism:


            9 out of 10 terrorists would agree:)

      • Jen says:

        Oh, you mean the Sam Jones who wrote a Guardian article about a hermit in the Canary Islands who started a forest fire by lighting his toilet paper and not this Sam Jones?

        What a disappointment!

    • rymlianin says:

      Ukrainian intelligence is an oxymoron.

  3. TruthSeeker says:

    Excellent. For me personally, Olympics are dead. I am not watching the games now, and will never watch in the future. That’s a promise. And neither will I be buying any products from its sponsors, if I can help it. That’s all I can do, I guess. If enough people did the same, none of the outrages described in this article would have happened.

  4. Warren says:

    James Bond delusion: Britain’s military power an illusion made from myth, says scholar

    Britain ignores its dependence on stronger allies and the dilapidated state of its “clapped out” armed forces in favor of a deluded 007 self-image, which came to the fore during the Brexit referendum, according to a leading scholar.

    Writing for the Democratic Audit UK website on Tuesday, University of Warwick academic Dr. Mike Finn gave a savage critique of the James Bond self-delusion which helped fuel the EU referendum ‘Leave’ campaign.

    • kirill says:

      It is a strange linkage. Bond represents the use of irregulars and spies to do the dirty work and has very little to do with the armed forces. I don’t think I have ever seen Bond be portrayed as a substitute for the military.

      • Jen says:

        Bond was chosen as an analogy to emphasise British “specialness”, at least in the academic’s view and Dr Finn may have had in mind the films rather than the novels. Although even in the novels where Bond’s successes depend more on luck and sheer endurance rather than on skill or being smarter than everyone else, MI6 ends up being more successful than the CIA whose agents (Felix Leiter comes to mind) tend to come off as less bright and sophisticated than MI6 spies.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Quoting myself:
        One takeaway is the use of entertainment media to instill a belief in the innate superiority of the Brits and the Yanks in terms of bravery, guile, technology and gosh darn wonderfulness. James Bond, Rambo, Marvel Superheros, etc. create a cultural haze of feel-good moral superiority and invincible power. Its no wonder that Americans and to a lesser degree, Brits, are so gullible.

        The article say the Brits are Special and we all know that American are Exceptional. Between Specialness and Exceptionalness, its not surprising why Anglos think that they rule the world.

        Oh, almost forgot, that is one reason why we Americans smile all the time

        Yes, the smile is a must to be PC! Medication is highly advised starting in the 4th grade to quash the desire to question that can lead to unhappiness. The perfect society will be achieved through big pharma.

    • Fern says:

      I’d suggest Dr Mike Finn actually talks to some of the people who voted to leave the UK. He’d find out pretty quickly that the overwhelming majority of them have a very accurate understanding of how bad things are in the UK for the simple reason that their lives have been blighted by the economic and social policies of the last 30 years. Jeez-us, why is this so difficult for the supposedly smart to grasp?

  5. marknesop says:

    Russia’s appeal of the Paralymics ban is in. If the ban is allowed to stand it will become a notorious decision. I personally think they will relax it as they did for the Olympics team, since none of those banned has been given any opportunity to challenge the accusations and McLaren has not revealed his evidence.

    The west being what it is, though, it will delay a decision as long as possible, so that if they rule as I believe they will it gives the Russian Paralympians minimum time to prepare for competition. Meanness is the new black.

      • marknesop says:

        “The poor performance of British athletes was considered by John Major as a comment on his government. He demanded medals, and lots of them. The subsidy to “elite” sport was increased tenfold, from £5m to £54m, while popular sports facilities were closing. Money was directed specifically at disciplines where individuals could win multiple medals rather than just one, away from field athletics to cycling and gymnastics. It worked. The medals tally at Sydney 2000 rose from 15 to 28.

        A UK Sport graph tracks the precise link between government grant (dressed up as lottery money) and Olympic medals. By 2012, this had risen to £264m, delivering 65 medals (just over £4m a medal). For Rio it has been £350m for the Olympics and Paralympics, with the target that Britain become “the first host nation to eclipse our London 2012 medal haul.”

        This medals-over-morality mentality disgusts me. Fuck your hat, Sir Philip, you indignant pudding.

        Nobody seems to think Britain winning a lot of medals when it was host country in 2012 was unusual. But the Russians’ wins in Sochi are evidence of criminal behavior – they couldn’t have won so many unless they were cheating.

        • Cortes says:

          The muted criticism relates to cycling.

          How odd!

          If only there were anything to look into, when competitors exclaim: “Well Gee whizz! Never saw THAT coming!”

          Free press. Of course.

  6. Special_sauce says:

    OT: Yandex users here? Many youtubes not opening. Just a black screen with a link in Russian to also in Russian which seems to say it can’t help. Do I have to go back to Firefox?

  7. marknesop says:

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will hear Russia’s appeal of the Paralympics ban August 22nd, and a decision is expected to be handed down by close of business the following day.

  8. Caspian report: Russia is in a decline and Russia is the “sick man of Europe”:

    • Special_sauce says:

      Right off the bat the voice over informs us that the MSM is not telling the sheeple this important news then continues in lock step with the same MSM bilge: Russia is doomed, Putin is isolated, a tyrant yadida yadida.

      • kirill says:

        Indeed. The “sick man” of Europe is undergoing an explosion of diversification and uprooting the banana republic system foisted on it by the Yeltsin regime during the 1990s. So Russia is in full swing structural economic development and not in a debt Ponzi toilet like most of NATzO.

      • Patient Observer says:

        “the level of violence Putin used [in Syria and Ukraine]” I gagged at that point but the video had some nice shots of the Russian capital.

        • kirill says:

          Yeah, the Russian army invaded Ukraine no known as Banderastan every Friday for two years in a row. And in Syria the bombing of oil tanker convoys was a war crime worse than Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      • Patient Observer says:

        My reflexes must be slowing – of course Karl would post such rubbish; its what he does.

    • Jen says:

      Caspian Report is a blog founded by Shirvan Neftchi who is based in Azerbaijan. His Youtube channel is SeaSnakeX and his videos on Armenian-Azerbaijan relations have an anti-Armenian (and anti-Russian) slant. His Caspian Report blog appears to be crowdfunded through Patreon and at least one of his supporters (Adam Aluzri) lives in the US. I found one comments forum that mentioned Neftchi works for the Heydar Aliyev Foundation but that was all there was about him and I didn’t find anything else that backs up that statement about where he works.

      SeaSnakeX’s Youtube channel:

      Caspian Report’s supporters include Cartouche Media, a media company based in Montreal and linked to McGill University there.

      Karl, may I ask how and where you found Caspian Report on the Internet?

    • Warren says:

      This is ridiculous, I got to 3:17 when the retarded narrator was bemoaning “Putin’s use of violence”. What a load of nonsense.

    • Moscow Exile says:


      August 10, 2016
      Blessed Are Russia’s Cheesemakers

      August 11, 2016
      Stealing a Peek at Russian Economic Uptick Before It Happens

      As business sentiment perks up, leading indicators from demand for electricity to rail cargoes and container transport show the pulse of the economy is starting to beat faster.

      Well, yes: this was a week ago and a week can be a long time. So Russia, despite Forbes foolish observations and prognostications, is doomed — although I hope it is not, because I feel for Russia.

      I do, I do!

      • marknesop says:

        And that’s during a concerted effort by ‘the civilized world’ to bring it to economic ruin. Make no mistake – the USA’s reluctance to sanction various sectors is entirely driven by self-interest and wariness rather than compassion, and it restricts itself as it does because it dares not go further for fear of provoking a revolt. Russia is demonstrating that the effort has been unsuccessful, but Washington does not give up easily and will probably endeavor to keep the sanctions on indefinitely. Because, you know, it might not be doing any good, but it can’t hurt.

        • rymlianin says:

          Not only can’t hurt , it has had positive results , functioning as a reverse-protectionism. Russian industry has been doing very nicely since Foreign imports were curtailed.

  9. et Al says:

    euractiv: US moves nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania

    EXCLUSIVE/ Two independent sources told that the US has started transferring nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania, against the background of worsening relations between Washington and Ankara .

    According to one of the sources, the transfer has been very challenging in technical and political terms.

    “It’s not easy to move 20+ nukes,” said the source, on conditions of anonymity.

    According to a recent report by the Simson Center, since the Cold War, some 50 US tactical nuclear weapons have been stationed at Turkey’s Incirlik air base, approximately 100 kilometres from the Syrian border….

    Russia should withdraw its ambassador from Romania. If it turns out to be true, diplomatic relations need to be cut. It is the thin end of the wedge.

    Or they are just ‘transiting’ Romania back to the US to be upgrade, Russia should still withdraw most of its diplomatic staff and protest in the strongest possible terms short of cutting off relations.

    • marknesop says:

      Agreed; Russia should demand guarantees that the USA is not merely taking advantage of the situation to move its weapons closer or to a position of greater strategic advantage. Romania should be told in no uncertain terms that it is playing with fire. Perhaps they need reminding that they get a quarter of their gas from Russia and their own production is headed in the wrong direction for adopting a challenging pose.

    • Hoffnungstirbtzuletzt says:

      From Sleboda’s facebook feed: Mark Sleboda shared Andrew Korybko’s post.
      5 hrs ·
      Fake. There is no evidence this story from “EurActive website” citing “anonymous officials” is true. Shame on Sputnik for spreading it w/out credible corroboration. Shame on those who repost & trumpet it uncritically. Verify. Verify. Verify….

      • marknesop says:

        Yeah, RFE/RL even has a short article on it. It did seem like a pretty crazy move for the USA, considering it would indeed violate the NPT. Sputnik didn’t have it first, though – it looks like Breitbart did, by about an hour. There’s so much pressure to get the story out fast, that often outlets do not check if they think they have a reliable source. If anything, the discredit will go to Euractiv, and their scoops will be less likely to be believed in future.

        • et Al says:

          Maybe the US is testing the waters, hence the anonymity? euractiv is an odd source to reach out to rather than the usual handshakable politically appropriate outlets. Maybe it was chosen to give it credibility. euractiv is basically the European Union’s unofficial press service. It is generally uncritical, mostly neutral, carries stories straight and does no investigative or shit stirring stories.

          • marknesop says:

            That’s entirely possible, but far too many people were able to make the connection immediately between the supposed transfer of the weapons and a violation of the NPT; the response was almost immediate. Could they really believe everyone was going to cut them some slack, or something? It’s absolutely true that there was speculation that the nukes were no longer safe at Incirlik, but in fact nobody but an idiot or a terrorist would want custody of a nuke if it did not belong to them. It’s hard to imagine that Turkey suddenly became so unstable that the USA’s weapons were not safe, and in fact it was a lot more unstable late last year than it is now from that point of view. They couldn’t have intended it as a veiled warning that there are American nukes in Turkey, because everybody knew that, although come to think of it, that, too is a violation of the NPT.

            • kirill says:

              If it isn’t official then the US has not violated the NNPT. Who says that lie, lie, and deny does not work for Uncle Scam. His media minions will turn lies into truth and truth into lies.

      • kirill says:

        Sleboda is in no position to question the reports. The Romania leader danced around the question when asked. That indicates that Putin’s previous point about ABM rockets being hosts to nuclear warheads on the push of a software button are dead on.

        Sleboda shame on you for being such a stupid Pollyanna.

        • Hoffnungstirbtzuletzt says:

          On facebook I keep seeing “according to Israeli press the US nuclear weapons stored in Turkey’s Incirlik airbase, have been secretly removed and are now somewhere in Romania.” so I really have no idea if true or not and have not found any other sources.

          • yalensis says:

            There are several stories about this in the Russian press, for example, this one.
            Apparently the original source of the scoop was a Bulgarian journalist. He claimed that his source informed him of the Americans sneaking their nukes out of Turkey in the aftermath of the coup.
            If the story is true, then the Americans were worried about Turkey’s sudden tilt to Russia, and wanted to secure their nukes in a friendlier environment.
            Only problem with the story is that Romania has no actual facilities to contain nukes. So there are some technical details which don’t jive.

            • et Al says:

              Oh, a Bulgarian journalist. That explains it. I have a very low regard for journos (except my friends!) but even journalism in the Balkans swings quite some way below the rest of Europe’s rather poor standards, quite happily penning absolutely any old rubbish however insane, an not just the practice of fringe journalists.

              It looks like the guy thought he had a scoop and whipped it out as quickly as possible without checking it out further fearing he would be scooped and it being August, winged its way to credibility. If we were told it came from a Bulgarian in the first place, I don’t think it would have got much traction.

              Once it gained traction, then the Romanians, Americans and others saw this as an free opportunity to ‘Tweak Pootie Poot’s nose’ or ‘bend it out of joint’. They simply couldn’t resist. I guess that clears it all up now.

              Though, this ‘story’ does serve a useful purpose in highlighting the movement of America’s nukes and who exactly checks these kinds of things, not to mention (and excuse me for banging on about it again), that these nukes will have to be returned to the US to be ‘upgraded’ to the B61-12 (stand-off) standard and then reintroduced to Europe, and this needs to be somehow sold to the public of those countries, particularly by their politicians and political parties.

              Oh, and many thanks to cartman for pointing out it would be a egregious NNPT violation. It hadn’t occurred to me!

          • marknesop says:

            I believe they did actually have nukes at Incirlik, which is already a violation of the NPT without thinking about moving them anywhere.

  10. Jeremn says:

    Ukraine should diversify its energy supply (move away from wicked Russia)!

    By buying uranium from the UK’s URENCO, and thus sending profit westwards rather than to the east.

    That’s what it all boils down to. Yearn for freedom (Buy our stuff)!

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, that’ll be cheaper than buying it from Russia, I’m sure. Mind you, it’s all relative, really, because Ukraine hasn’t any money except what it borrows and doesn’t like to pay for anything, so good luck to that partnership. It’s essentially just a transfer of EU taxpayers’ money to England, minus whatever the Ukrainian government skims for itself.

  11. Jeremn says:

    Something is up in Turkey, and Romania. US seems to be moving its nukes to Romania. Romania, any complaints?

  12. Hoffnungstirbtzuletzt says: Push has come to shove for Putin in Moscow. In the last half of the interview.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s a great piece, and as usual I did not see the larger implications of Putin’s withdrawal from the Normandy format. This means the Minsk Accords are essentially dead in the water and without a new agreement, Kiev is under no obligation to fulfill its part of the accords. Which it never did anyway, it was a vain hope unless its western enablers did otherwise than smile beatifically and pat it on the head. But now, as the article mentions, there can be no resolution of the eastern rebellion save by war. Unless Russia cedes border control to Ukraine – unlikely under the present circumstances – Russia can continue indefinitely to provide the east with aid and administrative support, while Ukraine would not last a month without western money being pumped into it. It remains to be seen if Ukraine’s western sponsors will continue to fund it in its attempt to crush the east by military force. I don’t think Ukraine has enough left for a big push, but they might try it anyway.

  13. Drutten says:

    It’s pretty fascinating to see what impact the propaganda’s actually had on peoples’ perceptions.

    I followed a few reports by the Swedish journalist Anna-Lena Laurén who works for Dagens Nyheter (The Daily News), a formerly respected evening paper, now it’s just about as tabloid-y as the rest of them. Anyway, she’s in Crimea right now and she’s releasing little reports on what she’s seeing there.

    The other day she said “on the beaches people are packed like sardines”. Honest, surely unwitting comments to this were akin to “how many soldiers are there around?” and “what’s the soldier/tourist ratio on the beaches?” and so on and so forth.

    People have been told for two years now that Crimea is experiencing a violent occupation with gazillions of Russian soldiers poking their rifles in peoples’ faces everywhere you go and that there’s some kind of general media blackout over the region. Of course, if you actually cared then you would know this to not be true.

    The West has turned into some kind of North Korea in reverse. It’s insane.

  14. marknesop says:

    Poland wants to watch its own ass. Its western partners are rapidly getting fed up with its posturing and defiance, and are contemplating an Article 7 procedure which would strip it of its EU voting rights. After that comes Plexit. Poland has already been served with notice that if a pretty dramatic change is not observed in three months, no more voting for you. Poland is being targeted for regime change, and it should make no mistake about that.

  15. marknesop says:

    Here’s a sobering paragraph from RI (quoting from ZeroHedge) which should help put things in perspective for anyone who thinks of the conflict in Syria as just a sideline, backwater war.

    “Which means that as of this moment, every major world superpower is officially involved in the Syrian war, which has on various occasions been aptly called a powderkeg for what may be the next global military conflict – to be sure, all required players are now officially involved.”

    It looks as if we will all have to step nimbly to avoid a major war, simply because some people cannot mind their own business.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Syria could be the real Armageddon:

      [Armageddon] will be the prophesied location of a gathering of armies for a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or a symbolic location.

      I do not discount the possibility.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Interestingly, a Muslim friend told me that Islamic prophecy indicates Russia will defeat the forces of evil in an epic battle. Again, I do not discount the possibility.

  16. et Al says:

    RT via via Moon of Alabma: Russia bans John McCain NGO in Russia

    Russian prosecutors have recognized the International Republican Institute NGO headed by US Senator John McCain as an undesirable organization, banning the group’s operations in the country and forbidding Russian organizations and citizens from cooperating with it.

    “After studying the received files [describing the activities of the International Republican Institute], the Prosecutor General’s Office has made the decision to recognize it as an undesirable group on the territory of the Russian Federation,” reads an official statement from prosecutors, released on Thursday.

    Another US organization, the Media Development Investment Fund, was also recognized as undesirable.

    Prosecutors added that they had established that the work of the two groups posed a threat to the foundations of Russia’s constitutional order and state security, but gave no further details….

    • marknesop says:

      Excellent. The IRI is as like NED as two peas in a pod, and the two frequently invest in the same projects. Both mean nothing but destabilization for Russia.

  17. et Al says:

    So, on the recent ‘Open Thread’ over at Moon of Alabama ‘kafkananda’ highlighted a rather long comment by a certain ‘bianca’ in response to a post by ‘M K Bhadrakumar has a good post up at Asia Times. ‘ that gave a quite interesting take on InSultin’ Erdogan’s actions.


    Bianca’s comment link to the piece:


    For me, if find it all rather too pat. InSultin’ Erd is not some kind of genius, but a wiley operator always looking out for himself. His early reign was all about building the foundation, i.e. a good economy on which to base his political strategy and future for Turkey. All this talk about moving towards China & Russia is nothing more than trying to play one side off against the other. Russia is happy to play along but will never trust him, and it also seems to be causing paroxysms in the West which I’m sure Russia is enjoying, even if the West may be hamming it up. Still, what think you all of her comment? It’s certainly an interesting take on events.

  18. Patient Observer says:

    Serbian women’s volleyball team rains on the US parade:

    The US had excuses galore for losing and scant acknowledgement of the winning team.

    • yalensis says:

      Yay Serbia!
      I am so happy!

      • Jen says:

        Serbia plays either China or Netherlands in the women’s volleyball final this Saturday so whether the team wins or loses, it gets another medal for the country.

    • Jen says:

      In the meantime the Swedish women’s soccer team has advanced to the final (to be played 20 August against Germany) which means it is assured of at least a silver medal. Where’s that comment by Hope Solo about the Swedes being cowards for playing defensively and strategically?

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      • Patient Observer says:

        Lovin’ it!

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          As an aside, did nobody ever think about the optics of using that damned machine?

          The F-117 looked like something you’d get if you asked an aeronautical engineer to design you a real life TIE fighter.

          • kirill says:

            The F-117 was a nightmare design that sacrificed aerodynamic stability for stealth. It was an application of the 1960 Soviet manual on stealth and was obsessed with angular surfaces to allegedly scatter EM perfectly away from the radar receivers. The thing crashed so many times during flight testing that it was not funny.

            “Early stealth aircraft were designed with a focus on minimal radar cross-section (RCS) rather than aerodynamic performance. Highly-stealth aircraft like the F-117 Nighthawk are aerodynamically unstable in all three Aircraft principal axes and require constant flight corrections from a fly-by-wire (FBW) flight system to maintain controlled flight.[36]”


            The problem is that this design is obsolete since:

            1) It was based on classical EM thinking. In the real world quantum effects are important and EM photons will scatter in a hemisphere from the surface and not purely like a classical ray away from the source.

            2) Modern radars have evolved into a much larger spectrum space and use detectors that are vastly more sensitive than those available during the 1960 and 1970s. For example gallium nitride allows very high gain amplifier elements to be constructed.

            • marknesop says:

              That’s all true, but the Serbs shot it down with a 1960’s system, and they said they could see it clearly. If I’m not mistaken, they whacked it in a going-away shot after it had already passed overhead, and it is least ‘stealthy’ from that aspect. The whole no-right-angles stealth thing is way overblown anyway – I’ve never seen anything that was so designed for stealth which was actually invisible to radar. All it can do is reduce your detection range somewhat, and that advantage is quickly lost to radar improvements. They would be better off designing an aircraft conventionally and making it so fast that nothing could keep up with it, but with excellent control surfaces for maneuverability.

              • Patient Observer says:

                The story I heard was that three F-117’s were hit; one crashed in Serb territory, another crashed in non-Serb territory and the third managed to land but the battle damage was too severe for repairs. The F-117 was then pulled from the lineup.

                I heard stories that the Serbs were able to cobble together a radar network that caught enough radar glimpse of the plane to track (but I don’t know how that could be used to guide the missile). Another story was that the radar detected condensation in wing-tip vortices.

                An F-117 apologist claimed that the missile was able to hit when the bomb bay door was open for about 10-20 seconds or so. That seems unlikely as it would be highly improbable that a radar fix could be obtained, a missile launched and then hit all within that time.

                I did not know that the plane(s) were hit as they flew away from the target. This gives more credence to the story of the two other hits in which the aircraft managed to reach non-Serb territory.

                In any event, the Serbs made the F-117 history.

                Here is the wiki story:


                • marknesop says:

                  If it was on a bombing run, it is about as stealthy as Motorhead with the bomb doors open. The ships are the same when they open the hangar door. It’s not as improbable as it sounds; 10 seconds is a long time in anti-air warfare, and an active homing missile will build up a very complete picture of the target’s movements (course and speed) in much less than that and fly to where it expects the plane to be if it did not turn away or change speed.

                  The Serb missile unit claimed to have used long wavelengths on their acquisition radar, and I suppose that is a possibility (some frequencies will inevitably generate a better return than others, this is the essence of frequency-agile radar, and also makes it hard to jam), but it is more likely they were experienced in the terrain and knew the probable flightpaths of the aircraft, and guessed where it was going to be. If you have foreknowledge, what might at first seem like little unrelated hits on nothing take on a new significance. The missile apparently passed close enough to set off its proximity fuse, and the pilot abandoned his aircraft.

                  The site’s author theorizes that the Serbs allowed the Russians to examine the wreckage, “inevitably compromising the US stealth technology.” I would be surprised if the Russians were not interested in having a look, but you didn’t see them building anything like that flying dog’s water dish, and their own stealth technology was well-advanced by then.The Russians seem to have a healthy attitude toward stealth and realize it is not going to make you invisible, that you still need to fly and fight as if the enemy knows exactly where you are. I could buy that they used the F-117 wreckage to develop anti-stealth technology, but I’m pretty sure that’s why the USA and UK buy Russian missile systems through third parties – so they can develop a countermeasure against them. That’s just the rules of the game. It’s also why export versions of both sides’ weapons are usually less capable than the domestic version.

  19. Patient Observer says:

    This shows the disgusting values of US athletes in Rio:

    Lochte should serve time in Brazil but of course he will not – just a youthful indiscretion.

    It was fascinating to watch this story unfold – the shock and outrage of the attack, the bravery and coolness of the AMERICAN ATHLETES, and the feeble denials of the Brazilians. The recanting of the original claims of the Olympic organizations (how dare they doubt AMERICANS), and then the slow unfolding of the truth. The truth being that these Americans were spoiled rotten, had zero sense of responsibility and grabbed the limelight to portray themselves as victim-heroes.

    Medals versus morals, indeed.

    • yalensis says:

      Ryan’s wiki page says he is 32 years old.
      So why does he have white hair? Did he dye it?
      Or was it the chlorine?

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Probably neither. Some people go white very early in life.

        • Jen says:

          A Newsweek headline begs to differ.

          It seems that Lochte and friends went to a petrol station and trashed a bathroom there, and an employee called the police. The Americans offered money to the petrol station attendants to shut up and somehow or other a gun was produced at the scene pointing at someone.

          • kirill says:

            I wonder why they did not do that at the Olympic village. It is a apparently a tradition for Americans to go crazy and destroy doors, toilets, etc during the Olympics. Perhaps we should have a new sport called “trash that house” for Americans and their best friends, like Canadians, Brits and whatnot.

            • Patient Observer says:

              Its already a collegiate sport:


              Frat bros at the University of Michigan turned a ski resort into their own personal animal house, doing an estimated $50,000 worth of damage to 45 rooms, police said.

              Members of Sigma Alpha Mu allegedly broke windows, smashed light fixtures, damaged furniture and threw food and beer bottles around the Treetops Resort in Dover Township, Mich., while partying there over the weekend.

              Evading responsibility like all privileged jerks do:

              U-M fraternity ‘hid behind parents and attorneys’ after resort vandalism, Sigma Alpha Mu official says

              …Manders said the chapter has held similar ski trips in the past during the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend where the group would book an entire wing of a resort. During some of those trips, he said, the group has caused property damage, but never in excess of $15,000, and it always immediately reimbursed the hotel for the damages.

              Drunken parties and vandalism are just fine as long as money can fix the problem. Truly the values of the 1% I would say.

              • marknesop says:

                And I would absolutely agree. The resort is at least somewhat complicit for renting to them again after $15,000.00 damage – is that not a lot of money any more? they should have been told their custom was no longer welcome.

            • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

              Like most idiotic traditions, it began with the Micks:


              ‘Let Bacchus’ sons be not dismayed
              But join with me each jovial blade
              Come booze and sing and lend your aid
              To help me with the chorus

              Instead of spa we’ll drink brown ale
              And pay the reckoning on the nail
              For debt no man shall go to gaol (jail)
              From Garryowen in glory

              We are the boys that take delight in
              Smashing the Limerick lamps when lighting
              Through the street like sportsters fighting
              And tearing all before us

              We’ll break the windows, we’ll break the doors
              The watch knock down by threes and fours
              Then let the doctors work their cures
              And tinker with our bruises

              We’ll beat the bailiffs out of fun
              We’ll make the mayor and sheriffs run
              We are the boys no man dares dun
              If he regards a whole skin

              Our hearts so stout have got us fame
              For soon ’tis known from whence we came
              Where’er we go they dread the name
              Of Garryowen in glory

              Johnny Connell’s tall and straight
              And in his limbs he is complete
              He’ll pitch a bar of any weight
              From Garryowen to Thomondgate

              Garryowen is gone to rack
              Since Johnny Connell went to Cork
              Though Darby O’Brien leapt over the dock
              In spite of judge and jury’

          • Moscow Exile says:

            That’s how the Kremlin-controlled Russian TV Channel 1 reported the events yesterday evening..

            Lying commie bastards!

        • marknesop says:

          Uh huh. Tiger Woods did.

    • marknesop says:

      But….but….look at all the medals the United States has won!!!

      • Cortes says:

        The comments by Chuck Weigus about distraction from the achievements of Team USA are hilarious:

        • marknesop says:

          “Incredible accomplishments in the water…” Pffftt!! They swam fast. Let’s get this in perspective. They didn’t find a cure for male pattern baldness or save an orphan home from collapse. All the sources keep referring to them as ‘the athletes’ as if they were some sort of higher beings. You have to do that in a CAS proceeding (The Athlete, rather than by name) because it is as an athlete you are bringing the legal action, but The Graun is just doing it to set them above reproach. And lest we forget, The Graun did at least as much as any other outlet to pile on and ridicule and take Rio to task for crime, violence, squalor, lack of preparedness and every other charge it could think of to level. That coverage encouraged ‘the athletes’ to think and behave as if they were in some swamp of a third-world country and to treat everyone and everything with lofty contempt.

  20. et Al says:

    I laughed so hard at this that I almost did a little poo! US: Russia’s Use of Iran Bases Could Violate UN Resolution

    Russia Points Out That’s Obviously Not the Case

    …Russian officials are pointing out that’s obviously not the case, and that no aircraft or supplies are being transferred to Iran, they’re just using an Iranian base. The language of the resolution does not suggest any ban on Iran allowing the use of their air bases…

    • kirill says:

      But transferring nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania violates the NNPT and that’s OK. Uncle Scam: FUCK YOU.

    • marknesop says:

      Me, too! American news is often hard on the sphincter. And yet the USA and the British share a secret base in Syria (not a very well-kept secret, apparently, as the Russians know where it is) – where they are neither invited nor welcome – and everyone is just supposed to accept that as inevitability and not a contravention of…well…anything.

      By the way, the picture that leads off the article is Latakia – it is not the secret US base, so nobody should get excited thinking they know America’s secrets.

  21. et Al says: Experts Agree: Leaked NSA Code Is Authentic

    Leaks Mark Major Blow to NSA’s Veneer of Invulnerability

    ….Experts in the field increasingly agree that the NSA code is absolutely authentic, with top cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab confirming 347 instances of encryption within the leaked files using a technique heretofore only seen in NSA code.

    Former NSA employees are also confirming the authenticity of the documents, terming them “the keys to the kingdom,” and warning that their release would dramatically undermine the security of major government and corporate networks the world over…


    So of course the Dems are heading beyond the curve: Dems: Future Leaks Might Be ‘Russian Lies’

    After hacker Guccifer 2.0 twice hacked significant Democratic Party targets, first releasing considerable information during the DNC and then hacking the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, party leadership appears to be getting a bit gunshy about future leaks embarrassing their presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. They’re also trying to get in front of such leaks by speculating that whatever they say might be “Russian lies” designed to make Hillary look bad….

    …Still, it’s a huge stretch to support that this is all a Russian plot, and stretched further still in speculating that there will be future leaks, let alone that they may be lies. What it is, however, is a tacit admission that there is more leak-able information which party officials believe could be hugely deleterious to the campaign.

    The Dems should lauch their own comedy channel, call it ‘Dems on ‘caine‘ or Do’C for short. Everyone loves comedy and surely more people will vote for Killary if they do this.

    • marknesop says:

      Perhaps the USA should attempt to position pediatrics NGO’s now for children yet unborn who are repressed by Putin whilst still in gestation. I was going to say that I wonder if Americans realize what fools their leaders are making them look, but it occurred to me that that would not stop them from doing it. The frenzy to get elected and grab the brass ring has already reached such a crescendo that one wonders what can possibly come after to amaze us. Hillary seems already at the point of sending the FBI over to arrest Trump for high treason, and the campaign has not even started yet. I mean, what’s left? Is she going to do a drive-by with the ever-loyal Abedin at the wheel, as she leans out the window and blows Trump out of his Ermenegildo Zegnas with her Remington pump? Seriously, how much more fucking crazed can it get?

      Speaking of the faithful Abedin, I don’t know if I ever saw it pointed out that she is the wife of Anthony Wiener, the disgraced Democrat who had to resign after it emerged that he had been distributing pictures of the…umm.. Honourable member via Twitter to ladies who had caught his eye.

      No wonder she always looks so tight-lipped and borderline homicidal. If you needed me to remind you, that’s your political elite, America.

  22. et Al says:

    Unz Review via Nuclear Blackmail and America’s Fantasy War with China

    Peter Lee

    Another day, another piece of US think-tankery poo-pooing the prospects for a nuclear confrontation with the PRC.

    RAND came up with a new report on the economic costs of war with China,Thinking the Unthinkable. In RAND’s view the war won’t escalate beyond a limited conventional war fought in the West Pacific and over Chinese territory, China gets devastated beyond its ability to resist and keep military forces in the field, we win, the world economy staggers but carries on, The End.

    I beg to differ, for reasons given in my current piece for Asia Times, RAND’s ‘Unthinkable’ War with China.

    It’s always possible that I’m out of line here, but I think RAND’s public confidence is borderline delusional…

    Much more at the link.

    • et Al says:

      Now having read it, if Japan makes its own nukes, it has to deliver them. China is already preparing itself to keep United States military forces as far away from its shores as possible, so it is also set up for Japan, which does not have the US missile expertise. Still, I agree that the US will most likely loose its grip. A smart person would use it as an opportunity to disengage and cut significant military resources from the budget, but smat has nothing to do with politics….

    • yalensis says:

      Mark! Mark! et al spelled it “poo poo” instead of “pooh pooh” !
      You need to reprimand him toot sweet.

      • marknesop says:

        I did not even see your reply until I had already thrown a wobbler. And Al is only copying and pasting from the original article – this heresy originates with a relatively experienced journalist.

      • et Al says:

        I maybe on holiday in the south of France yalensis, but my reach is long…. 😉

    • marknesop says:

      Jesus Christ, Peter – it’s pooh-pooh, you illiterate doorstop. What’s the matter with people? There’s only one ‘o’ in ‘loser’ and ‘losing’, ‘snuck’ is not a word except in backwoods villages where the most confusing day of the year is Father’s Day and there are more shotguns in town than teeth, and ‘poo-poo’ is what children less than 3 years old say when they need to use the big button on the toilet flush. Get a grip.

      Sorry you had to hear that. He’s right, however, that if the implication ever gets out there that only newk-yoo-lar powers are safe from too-overt meddling by The Bigs, everyone is going to want a few nukes of their own. Nice going, Uncle Sam.

      • Jen says:

        Yeah and the most confusing (and come to think of it, the only) poem that the poor little kiddies have to know off by heart is the Lord’s Prayer because it begins with “Our Father which art in Heaven …” and the mites don’t know if that’s to be taken literally ‘cuz for all they know, Dad really could be in Heaven, if the man they call Dad who killed hisself while out hunting Godzilla-sized feral pigs and swigging homemade moonshine (50% high-fructose corn syrup and 50% stolen jet fuel) and mistook his torn red jacket for the target really is their Dad, or maybe Gramps muttering in the dog-house is really Dad or Uncle Joe who spends all his time in the shed cooking ice is Dad or …

  23. et Al says:

    The intercept via NPR Host Demands That Assange Do Something Its Own Reporters Are Told Never to Do

    In a ten-minute interview aired Wednesday morning, NPR’s David Greene asked Wikileaks founder Julian Assange five times to reveal the sources of the leaked information he has published on the internet.

    A major tenet of American journalism is that reporters protect their sources. Wikileaks is certainly not a traditional news organization, but Greene’s persistent attempts to get Assange to violate confidentiality was alarming, especially considering that there has been no challenge to the authenticity of the material in question…

    More at the link.

  24. et Al says:

    Neuters via Russian special forces kill four militants in St Petersburg

    Russian special forces troops killed four militants in St. Petersburg on Wednesday in a counter-terrorism operation, Russian Investigating Committee said.

    The militants were on a wanted list of suspected members of a militant group in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region, the Committee said in a statement on its website.

    The police stormed an apartment in a residential house where the militants were hiding. There were no casualties among civilians.

    Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake! Obviously. Neuters missed a trick there.

    • kirill says:

      So Banderastan is coordinating with Daesh? The timing of the two events is just too coincidental and Banderastan was going to pain the Crimean terror attacks as the work of Muslims. Daesh/ISIS must be a US creation for sure.

  25. Northern Star says:

    Lily…Ohhhhhhhhhh Lily…will thou be wagging thy finger whilst brimming with scorn and disgust at these crass and vile sinner swimmers who have brought disgrace to the American Olympic ideal?????

  26. Northern Star says:

    “Snyder wrote open letters to Vice President Joe Biden and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in hopes of prompting an official policy.”

    Ummmm…I’m certain that Killary will dispatch Weiner and Bubba to check out this most distressing situation….

  27. J.T. says:

    In case anyone’s interested:
    PokeMaidan, or how to start a moral panic in Russia
    I’ve created a discussion page on my blog here.

  28. Jeremn says:

    Funny how russophobes come as husband and wife. We have Sikorski and Applebaum, of course. But we also have Carl Bildt and the MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt. She sits in the European Parliament and comes up with questions like this:

    ” What concrete measures will the VP/HR take to counter the airing of propaganda and misinformation-based criticism of the European Union in EU languages (for example on the Russia Today network) by EU-based and hugely state-financed Russian media, creating a platform for far-right or far-left politicians or escalating anti-American conspiracy theories, with the aim of undermining EU unity and the authority of European politics, politicians and media?”

    Anti-American conspiracy theories! Undermining the authority of European poitics! Undermining the authority of European media!

    Orwell, are you awake?

    • marknesop says:

      All they have to do is demonstrate that the accusations are unfounded. “Denying it” is not the same thing. The EU’s news sources happily announce “Moscow denies it” after every accusation against Russia as if saying the phrase was an admission of guilt. Prove there are no nukes at Incirlik, for example. Release an official US government statement which says categorically that there are no nuclear weapons at the Incirlik base or inside Turkey’s territorial boundaries which belong in any capacity to the United States Government or its Armed forces. That would soon be exposed as a lie, whereas “Washington denies it” is just a throwaway. Oh, you meant those nukes. I totally thought you meant something else.

      Demonstrating so there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that ‘Russian state propaganda’ is without and substance would kill it quicker than anything. You only need a maximum of two of those before people avoid you as a source as if you were a leper. Look at Sorcha Fail and Debka. Nobody takes them seriously.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Today, 19 AUGUST, 12:56:

    Канадский пловец возмутился, что в комиссию спортсменов МОК избрали «принимавшую допинг» Исинбаеву

    Canadian swimmer outraged that “dope TAKING” Isinbaeva has been elected to the IOC

    Canadian swimmer Mark Tewksbury, who was a 1992 Olympic champion, was outraged that the IOC has elected “dope taking” Isinbaeva.

    “Dope taking Russian Isinbayeva has been elected to the IOC athletes’ Commission, whose head, Thomas Bach, has said that “athletes are the heart of the Olympics”. Are these people sportsmen? Seriously?” — Tewkesbury wrote in his microblog on Twitter.

    He added that the presence in the IOC of athletes who have used doping is disgusting.

    The links to Tewksbury’s Tweet given in various Russian media sources all draw blanks.

    Has he taken it down, I wonder, or has it been kindly taken down for him so as to avoid giving him any embarrassment?

    • Jeremn says:

      Seems to have deleted it, but you can see some of the outrage in this thread:

      and the original comment here

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yeah! Mistranslated from the Russian newspaper article his question as given in Russian thus: Это вот эти спортсмены? Серьезно?” as “Are these people sportsmen? Seriously?”

        However, since I first saw that story a few hours ago (it is 16:20 now in Moscow), MK has found the deleted Tweet, as shown above in Jeremn’s comment, and has now published it in the article

    • Patient Observer says:

      Just to be clear, Olympic athletes elected Isinbayeva. I can not find the article but IIRC 20-30 athletes were seeking four seats and she was one of the four elected. It was a strong repudiation of the ban on Russia in the Rio Olympics I would say.

    • marknesop says:

      Mark Tewksbury is a fucking idiot and a national embarrassment, and I have so tweeted him. Stupid fucker. One of his mewling fans informed him that she had also said homophobic things, so you can see how the meme is growing. And that fucking asshat McLaren wants locking up – because of his stupid lying unsubstantiated report, the entire track team of the RF was banned, and so Tewksbury just ‘naturally assumed’ they are all dopers who have been caught.

  30. yalensis says:

    My latest post on the highly amusing topic of female circumcision in Dagestan. (Allegedly.)

  31. Warren says:

  32. Patient Observer says:

    And another one bites the dust:

    This time an A-4 Skyhawk jet crashes near Las Vegas. The high crash rate of US military aircraft within the US as alarming.

    Perhaps Karl can explain why the US is having so much trouble given the inherent superiority of the Western genome and technology. It is sooo confusing.

    • marknesop says:

      The Skyhawk is old, though; it had a production run of 25 years, the longest of any American fighter aircraft, but it first flew in the early 50’s. Top Gun instructors flew it because it was one of the best fighter aircraft ever built.

    • et Al says:

      It’s a private company. The US has taken ‘outsourcing’ so religiously that they pay for ancient jets to fly, rather like the private fleet of ancient firefighting aircraft that are employed to fight California’s wild fires, those planes every now and then falling apart in the sky.

      On the one hand, using a cheap to run, tough and very reliable aircraft for basic dissimilar air combat makes sense (i.e. no need for the electronics when a pod will do), but on the other when the USAF chooses a private contractor and also proves itself incapable of cutting back its massive overseas number of bases (or is not even allowed to by Congress) and pulling mothballed F/a-18s from desert storage, then it is clear that they only go for the low-hanging fruit. Less than useless.

  33. Patient Observer says:

    Oh, about the boy sitting perfectly still in shock over the inhumanity of it all. ABC news devoted 1-2 minutes on this story with the video and a standup by Martha Raddazt(?) attributing the alleged atrocity to the Russian and/or Syrian air force. To me at the time, the video looked contrived. MoA takes it apart:

    A boy, seemingly wounded, sits quietly in a brand new, very well equipped ambulance. At a point he touches what looks like a wound on his left temple. He shows no reaction to that touch.

    The two minute video (also here), from which the pic is taken, shows the boy being handed from the dark above to some person in a rescue jacket and carried into the ambulance. There he sits quietly, unattended, while several people take videos and pictures of him. One other kids, not obviously wounded, is then carried to the ambulance…….There are about 15 men standing around the scene and doing nothing. (Next to a “just bombed” site in a warzone? No fear of a double-tap strike?) At least two more men, besides the videographer, are taking pictures or videos.

    Another kid is carried into the ambulance. In the background there is someone with a white helmet wearing a shirt of the U.S./UK financed “White Helmets” propaganda group.

    An animated wounded man is walked towards the ambulance.

    Like the boy, the man seems to have a wound at the upper head. But like the boy he is not bleeding at all. There is some red colored substance on his face but no blood is flowing. That is astonishing. When I rode ambulances as a first-responder, people with head wounds always bled like stuck pigs (they often messed up the car which I then had to clean)….

    The entire MoA story is worth reading.

    • Fern says:

      PO, I tend to agree – it looks very much like another staged White Helmets gig. As well as MoA’s excellent analysis (and several of the comments to the article are very good as well), a Russian Ministry of Defence spokesman today pointed out that in one of the longer shots, buildings with intact panes of glass can be seen close to where it is claimed the boy was dug out of rubble and that seems unlikely if the area had been bombed.

      The bright, brand-new, ultra-clean shiny ambulance, the kit inside helpfully labelled in English, the boy himself showing no distress and seemingly responding to instructions given him off-camera, the way he’s being carried suggesting no-one gave a thought to possible crush injuries, no adult checking him over etc – none of this rings any warning bells with western media. Credulous to the point of brain-death.

      Clearly, things aren’t going well for the ‘rebels’ in Aleppo and so a propaganda push is no doubt essential to gather unstoppable demands for a ‘truce’ during which they can be re-equipped with weapons and fighters in order to hold on until January when it’s hoped Hilary will ride to the rescue.

    • Jen says:

      The folks over at discovered that the video of the small boy being placed in the ambulance was made by the so-called Aleppo Media Centre which is all but embedded with Al Nusra.

      One of the commenters (known as “M”) then drew attention to the photojournalist Mahmoud Rslan (or Raslan, or Arslan) who claimed to have pulled the child out of rubble. The photojournalist is apparently pals with a group of Nour al Din al Zinki “moderates” who beheaded a 12-year-old Palestinian boy.

  34. Northern Star says:

    Interesting analysis from a Reagan man!!!!!!!!
    The comments are also instructive…..

    • marknesop says:

      “Moreover, Europe is much freer and a far more attractive society. There is a reason Mideast refugees head for Europe, not Russia.”

      Bzzzzt!!!! Error, Doug Bandow!! Russia has the second-highest rate of immigration, after the USA. The reason Mideast refugees head to Europe is that the latter will pamper them and offer them juicy welfare benefits, while Russia likely will not, and Russia has made it clear it is not interested in taking on a huge load of Muslim refugees. Just because they would not be welcome does not mean the country that declines to wave them in is not free, nor an attractive society.

      • Northern Star says:

        Yeah…I noted his error on that…but the way he went after Rassmusen and some of the other demented russophobic lunacy was spot on…

      • cartman says:

        Well, Mideast refugees are going to Sweden, Germany, Norway, and the UK where they were promised generous amounts of money to resettle. None of them want to wind up in Poland or any of “New” Europe.

        • et Al says:

          There was a story recently that some refugees head to Europe via Russia and that Russia refused to ‘take back’ some of them as demanded by Norway:

          Moscow does not want to take back refugees who crossed into Norway from Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday in a dispute over 5,400 migrants that Oslo wants to deport.

          Norway’s right-wing government toughened policies for asylum seekers in December and wants to send back those who crossed the Arctic border from Russia, saying Russia is safe for them…

  35. Patient Observer says:

    Can these guys get any more deranged?

    By any measure, the August 1991 revolt was a classic, great revolution — consider its results, impact on Russia’s future, and, most of all, objectives. Its core aims were moral. Like the American Revolution, the French, and even the uprisings of the Arab Spring, the overthrow of the Soviet system was about human dignity. Those who began the liberalization that ignited the revolution (Mikhail Gorbachev and his top aide, Alexander Yakovlev, the “Godfather of Glasnost”), as well as those who took it over, propelled by the upswell and radicalization from below (Boris Yeltsin and Yegor Gaidar), sought to end the complete subjugation of society to the state and the daily insults of shortages, fear, repression, lies, lawlessness, and moral degradation that resulted from this subjugation

    I am in awe by the last part: propelled by the upswell and radicalization from below (Boris Yeltsin and Yegor Gaidar), sought to end the complete subjugation of society to the state and the daily insults of shortages, fear, repression, lies, lawlessness, and moral degradation that resulted from this subjugation.

    But, the shortages, fear, repression, lies, lawlessness, and moral degradation occurred AFTER the revolution. Arrggghhh!

    • et Al says:

      Leon Aron

      Credit, where credit is due! 😉

      • et Al says:

        And if you look at his work, this one from 2012 is a classic:

        Putin Is Already Dead


        As is usual in ‘Dickinzipperland, utter failure and incompetence is worn as a mark of success. Just another projecting fantasist doing the grind to keep the checks coming in to pay the mortgage.

        • marknesop says:

          Hee hee; Dickinzipperland, that’s funny. Yes, Aron is a clod. Did you know Kevin Rothrock, who formerly blogged at A Good Treaty and – last I heard – is an editor at Global Post, used to work for Aron at the American Enterprise Institute? True story; he said so when he ‘came out’. At first he struggled with pro-Russian feelings, and so he blogged under an assumed identity so his Russophobic friends wouldn’t find out, but just about the time he decided to reveal his identity, he discovered he was a ‘realist’ about Russia after all, so it was all for naught. I did a post on another of Aron’s fantasy-land blabberings back in 2011, here. He did not improve much in a year, did he? He actually showed up at that one, to protest my misspelling of his surname. You could probably figure it out for yourself, but he had the second comment, and called himself Aaron Aron on that occasion.

  36. Northern Star says:
    OK…how about some video footage of her huggin’ the corpses/bodybags of all the third world children of color whose murders she greenlighted….

  37. Patient Observer says:

    This has been simmering for sometime:

    “The upgraded Soyuz will be able to carry out a short flight to the Moon, which will allow it to circle the Earth’s satellite. We are considering eight potential candidates which are ready to pay for such an expedition. There is a Japanese family among them, for instance…Once we have a critical mass of confirmed applications for a trip around the Moon, we will be able to begin large-scale work,” Solntsev told the Russian Izvestia newspaper. The renowned filmmaker James Cameron was among the first to express interest in the trip, Solntsev added.

    The trip would involve two (2) tourists at $150 million each and a cosmonaut pilot. The Soyuz has an “orbital module” separate from the capsule so there would be some privacy for the happy couple.

    I would imagine that two or three trips would be needed to cover development costs and to turn a profit. Prices could then drop to a more reasonable $60-70 million per person:)

  38. Warren says:

    UK surveillance powers have gone ‘further than any other Western democracy’ – MP

    Britain has gone “further than any other Western democracy” in its expansion of surveillance powers and its ability to collect bulk data without justifiable reason, a British MP has said.

    Joanna Cherry, a Scottish National Party (SNP) MP, made the comments in reference to the Investigatory Powers (IP) Bill, which has been introduced to extend surveillance and data-gathering laws. It will allow UK intelligence agencies to collect, store and access information about internet users.

  39. Northern Star says:

    @Yalensis…it’s in the context of some comments supra from yesterday

  40. Northern Star says:

    If you’re still with Her..(extended barking and coughing..)
    seek help

  41. Warren says:

    World exclusive: All Blacks bugged in hotel ahead of Wallabies Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney

    A sophisticated listening device was discovered in the All Blacks’ team room in their hotel ahead of tonight’s test against the Wallabies.

    The device – the sort used by law enforcement and spying agencies – had been planted in a chair in the Sydney hotel where the team have been staying since Sunday, the Herald has learned.

    Bloody conniving Aussies…….

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Their next trick will be giving our lot food poisoning, like the bleeding yarpies did in 1995.

      Brotherhood of English-speaking nations my arse.

      • Jen says:

        Why, don’t the All Blacks work out their haka choreography all night long in their hotel meeting room?

        • yalensis says:

          Q to James Bond:
          “We MUST learn the secret of their choreography! The fate of the British Empire depends on it. It’s all up to you, James. You and your secret bugging devices.”

      • Warren says:

        All espionage and subterfuge didn’t do the Aussies any good at the end…………Mind you the Wallabies were whitewashed 3-0 by England a few months back.

        Published on 20 Aug 2016
        A breathtaking performance by All Blacks saw them demolish the Wallabies 42-8 in a one-sided Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.

    • marknesop says:

      Certainly sounds like a medals-over-mortality mentality to me. Disgusting; what say you, Sir Philip?

  42. Warren says:

  43. Warren says:

    Pentagon can’t account for $6.5 trillion of taxpayer money – IG report

    The Pentagon failed to account for $6.5 trillion in its financial statement, a recently-recovered Inspector General’s report on the 2015 fiscal year said. It reveals the audit of the Department of Defense was “materially misstated.”

    The army failed to provide “accurate, complete, timely and well-supported” documents that could have explained the use of trillions of dollars in quarterly and yearend adjustments.

    The US military made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year, but could not provide anything that would detail what it spent the money on.

    There were a total of 64,321 journal voucher (JV) adjustments made in the third quarter and 142,355 by the yearend, but only 7,083 of them were supported with detailed documentation of transactions.

    Corruption, incompetence, inefficiency……….? Heaven forbid!

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    • Patient Observer says:

      If a US company had that many material audit deficiencies (relative to the size of the business), the banks would call in any loans in about two seconds putting that company in bankruptcy. The fact that the vast majority of the material deficiencies could not be resolve with further research would be a clear sign of massive fraud. Given that these unresolvable deficiencies amounted to trillions of dollars, it would be safe to say that the fraud is right up there with the trillions of fraud perpetrated by Wall Street. These frauds are funded by the US taxpayer and the growing mountain of Federal debt.

      It is a real LOL moment when the West accuses Russia of massive corruption.

  44. Waited until the games wrapped up to say “Thank You” for this post. Meanwhile I’ve reposted at my facebook page and left this observation:

    “With the games wrapped up, Russia took home 56 medals; includes 19 Gold, 18 Silver and 19 Bronze .. and that is with their entire track and field team banished (clean athletes included) in what amounted to a world class geopolitical smear engineered by my country. The incredible hypocrisy is laid out brilliantly by the self described ‘Kremlin Stooge’ (the name is an ironic tribute to truthful reporting on Russia.) Well worth a read:”

  45. kickingtoes says:

    Hi, I can’t find where I left the original comment – this is first attempt to compile everything into a wiki – there doesn’t appear to be a public link setting so don’t know if you can see it but not edit without logging in ? ( can invite editors/admin with an email address). I may have inadvertently attributed comments to the wrong people and have not publlished full blog links without permission.

  46. pinkystrikesagain says:

    It’s so heartwarming to see everyone so worked up about a little political kidney shot like the campaign to ban Russia from Rio. Why so serious? It’s not a land grab like Crimea, isn’t it? Just a few less athletes competing. Russia’s fanboys should be laughing at USA for having to resort to humiliating Russia in sports and not in some serious matter. And Mark, for love’s sake, if you’re so fond of legal side of things, riddle me this: how come Russia is not an aggressor in Crimea if it clearly broke the treaty with the Ukraine about stationing Russian troops there? Putin admitted that Russian troops went out of their bases, with arms and vehicles and conducted operations which included blocking of Ukrainian military bases and setting up road blocks in crucial areas of Crimea. That was clearly a violation of an international treaty and an aggression, isn’t it, Mark? So why can’t Americans do something illegal in return? Where’s justice in this?

    • Evgeny says:

      I firmly believe there’s nothing wrong with a bit of tribalism. For a good caveman, that is.

    • Patient Observer says:

      I will defer to the experts to take fully take apart your assertion that Russian troops were illegally in the Crimea but, I will simply state here that, by treaty with Ukraine, Russia was allowed to maintain a substantial naval base as well as troops in Crimea – all legal and all conforming to a treaty with Kiev. Per wikepedia:

      [Kharkiv Pact was] a treaty between Ukraine and Russia whereby the Russian lease on naval facilities in Crimea was extended beyond 2017 until 2042, with an additional five-year renewal option in exchange for a multiyear discounted contract to provide Ukraine with Russian natural gas. The agreement, signed on 21 April 2010 in Kharkiv, Ukraine, by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev and ratified by the parliaments of the two countries on 27 April 2010… The treaty was a continuation of a treaty signed in 1997 between the two nations.

      I did chuckle at your pejorative “Putin admitted”. In fact, Putin simply stated what everyone who knew anything about the Crimea should have known – the treaty allowing the aforementioned stationing of the Russian military in Crimea. Riddle solved?

      • pinkystrikesagain says:

        By the treaty Russian troops were restricted to their bases just like any troops on foreign ground. The list of bases and other military objects run by Russian armed forces in Crimea is clearly stated in the end of the treaty. Going out of the bases with guns and vehicles is a violation of the treaty already and an act of aggression also since having your troops roll on foreign soil without permission is the definition of aggression whether or not they do anything else. But Russians did more then just moving around – they blocked Ukranean bases and made up checkpoints on foreign soil. If this is not aggression I don’t know what is. And yes, there is a difference between a black op and an operation a goverment admits to. Putin publicly admitted to aggression in Ukraine and you guys are perfectly cool with that.

        • Evgeny says:

          The part of the argument I like the most is how Russia’s conduct in Crimea justifies the ban of Russia’s paralympic team.

        • marknesop says:

          The treaty said no movement outside their bases without government permission. There was no government of whom to request permission.

          • pinkystrikesagain says:

            Yet without an expressed permission the troops had no right to move. It won’t work however you twist it.

            • marknesop says:

              It’s not twisting anything. Surely you can read as well as anyone else; the troops were not permitted to move outside their bases in strength (of course they had complete freedom of movement as individuals on personal business) without the permission of the Ukrainian government. The junta government was not recognized by the Russian Federation because it was not elected in a democratic vote, and this is a perfectly correct and legal position, supported after the fact by western recognition that Yanukovych had never been properly impeached in accordance with the country’s constitution. There was no legal authority from whom to obtain permission. Meanwhile, R2P doctrine permits a foreign government to intervene to prevent mass casualties among the civilian population. Ukraine has admitted since that it considered moving against Crimea militarily to force compliance.

              If there was really a breach of national or international law involved, it would have been in the courts long since, and likely would have received a sympathetic ear considering the whole of the west would very much like to see Crimea returned to Ukraine. Have there been any such lawsuits? If so, what specific international law did they cite?

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, that’s a good point; what was supposed to turn out such a spectacular triumph for Washington has kind of gone south, and while it did not result in the satisfaction of a national ban, the hype caused some American athletes to run with the ball and behave extremely badly. This has reflected badly on international sport in general and on the United States in particular, although Canada is a close second for mouthing off and making the country look like a nation of hillbillies.

      Russia was allowed to maintain a force of 20,000 troops in Sevastopol, as I’m sure you well know. This was more than adequate to the purpose of securing trouble spots to guard against a force-on-force firefight in a built-up civilian area. They were indeed restricted to Sevastopol and its immediate environs unless Russia had the permission of the Ukrainian government.

      So, who should they have asked for permission? Was there a legal and democratically-elected government in place in Kiev at the time? I don’t think so – it seems to me there was a self-appointed junta in power which had seized said power by armed insurrection, which was and is specifically illegal under the Ukrainian constitution. But perhaps you can clarify.

      • yalensis says:

        Technically, Yanukovych was still the elected President of the Ukraine at the time.
        The Kiev junta had no legal right to order Right Sektor paramilitaries even into Crimea proper, let alone Sebastopol, which has always been a free and autonomous city.

      • pinkystrikesagain says:

        You cannot secure anything on foreign soil. Whatever the status of current government, the state in question still has its sovereignity, borders and treaties. To justify the actions of your armed forces on foreign soil with internal strife in the state in question is the height of hypocrisy. By the way, same thing happened in Russia in 1920’s when a few regions were occupied by foreign forces. Countries like Britain and US justified that by the fact that bolshevics were illegitimate government etc, yet Russians call that occupation. Those sneaky hypocritical Russians.

        • Evgeny says:

          Please, continue your argument, pinkystrikesagain. I’d love to see how does that lead you to the conclusion that the Russian paralympic team should be banned.

        • yalensis says:

          (1) Crimea was always an autonomous republic with the right to referendum and self-determination,
          (2) Lots of stuff happened since 1920, and Kosovo set new precedent.
          (3) I hope you are not the same commenter as the former PinkiePie (?) ’cause that guy was pretty cool…

          • pinkystrikesagain says:

            You are steering the subject away from what I’m actually saying. I say Russia broke an international treaty with Ukraine when Russian troops started to conduct operations in Crimea and that also was an act of aggression by definition. All the referndum shenanigans were later, after Russian troops illegally seized control over the whole peninsula. And yes, I’m the same guy hence the nickname.

            • Patient Observer says:

              The US subverted the legal Ukrainian government by orchestrating a coup to install a puppet government whose first actions included persecution of Russian speakers in Ukraine. They were also preparing to abrogate the treaty with Russia concerning the military bases in Crimea and then turning those bases over to NATO. Illegal on every front. Kiev was in no position to allow or deny Russian troop movement as there was no legal government in Ukraine.

              A vote was held regarding the possible independence of Crimea with the results showing an overwhelming preference to break away from the illegal government installed by the US. Interestingly, Kosovo was removed from Serbia without the benefit of a popular vote, removed against the will of an internationally recognized government (not a government created by coup) and with a whole lot of NATO bombings and killings. The difference could not be more obvious.

              The US, of course, breaks international law without even a fig leaf of excuses. The US invades, blockades and subverts without restraint by law and conducts killings on an industrial scale.

              So what is your point? Is is that Russia is no better than the US?</b? Frankly, that is the only possible point you can have yet it would still be wrong.

            • yalensis says:

              Come on, Pinky, you can’t really expect the citizens of Crimea to have submitted to the ludicrous yoke of the Banderites. They’re better than that, and so are you.

        • marknesop says:

          The Crimean Parliament refused to recognize the junta government in Kiev, and publicly announced it considered Yanukovych the legitimate authority in Ukraine, which was in fact correct. Nothing like the 20,000 troops permitted was used.

          The USA agitated to get Responsibility to Protect on the UN’s books for the express purpose of doing end-runs around state governments of sovereign nations and the United Nations itself, so that it could act in its own interests without all that bothersome voting. It says “Sovereignty no longer exclusively protects States from foreign interference; it is a charge of responsibility where States are accountable for the welfare of their people.” I don’t see anywhere in the text where it says only the United States may act in such a capacity, or that Washington must grant its permission. Crimea indicated its plan to dissolve the Crimean government, to hold a referendum and potentially dissociate itself from Ukraine based upon its results. Yatsenyuk’s response was that anyone on the streets with guns would be prosecuted by law. Of course he did not include Ukraine’s army. It seems pretty clear those who had seized control of the Ukrainian government intended to prevent the exercise of free will with military force.

          • pinkystrikesagain says:

            Actions of Crimean Parliament have nothing to do with actions of Russian Armed Forces since they are (heh) totally independent actors (heh-heh). So whatever Crimeans proclaimed the treaty was still in effect, it wasn’t denounced in any legal way and thus remained effective and the Russians clearly violated it.

            Nice one from the UN but totally not applicable since quote “If a State is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community must be prepared to take collective action to protect populations, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.” Manifestly failing. And there was nothing like that in Crimea. No one got killed by the murderous junta, no villages were burnt by crazy Ukrainian nazis and so on. That’s what the Americans said about this argument right after Crimea happened – not working cause there was no actual genocide or anything even close to that at the moment of Russian interference. Even in Kosovo there were clear and multiple cases of ethnic cleansing on both sides and in Crimea that just didin’t happen.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              No one got killed by the murderous junta, no villages were burnt by crazy Ukrainian nazis and so on.

              Bandera-fascists attack Crimean bus convoy – 20/02/2014

              20/02/2014. Cherkassy region, the Ukraine. Euro-maidan activists stopped the buses of Crimean pro-government supporters on their way back to Simferopol.

              Korsun massacre anniversary – what really pushed Crimea away from Ukraine

              Remembering those tragic events, well-known political analyst Vladimir Kornilov noted that despite [the horrors that had been happening in Kiev], this massacre was destined to become the impetus that roused the Crimea for [its] following complete liberation from the aggressive Ukrainian banderovshina, sinister shadows of which had been] already hanging over the peninsula.

              “I want to remind you that until then [the] Crimea rather inertly reacted to what was happening in Kiev. Some [Crimeans dear to me] publicly spoke, saying, “this is not our war”. I even argued about this with some Crimean political scientists. Some went to Kiev to protest on Antimaidan, but mostly among the masses there was not a lot of emotion. But when the Crimean survivors of this massacre came home and talked about who [had come] to power in Kiev, [the] Crimea exploded. [Then] it was realized that it [was] time to act and defend yourself! Personally, I count the beginning of the reunification process of [the] Crimea with Russia [as] starting from that day.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                I propose that “No one got killed by the murderous junta, no villages were burnt by crazy Ukrainian nazis and so on” as a result of the very fact that the vast majority of the Crimea population decided at long last to separate from the Ukraine before such atrocities were almost certain to have taken place in the peninsula.

            • Eric says:

              errr….we know you are a cretinous troll….but this is just ridiculous. 100 people had been killed in Kiev, perpatrators still unknown but highly likely someone linked to the illegal government did it. Some people had been killed in or near Crimea. Facists were involved in many violent actions both in the peninsula and other areas. Berkut officers alive at the Maidan were being tortured, the President was in fear of his life, Azarov’s wife had her car shot at. Just as importantly…. there had been an overthrow of power…..something that most of the 2 million Crimeans had not voted for or been consulted on. That alone makes more than sufficient reasons for Russia to have made the sensible and legal decisions that they did….in tandem with the Crimean Parliament.

              All your lies and other nonsense about international law also spectacularly fail to take into account how Slovenia was formed?

            • marknesop says:

              Ahhh….I see. In order to intervene to protect you must be sure to wait until the population has already been killed. That certainly is a farsighted policy. I submit that a violent overthrow of the democratically-elected government, with loss of life by violent means, the proclamation of an unelected government which has appointed itself and the repeal of laws related to ethnicity is warning enough that the situation is about to go pear-shaped. You are getting nowhere trying to make Ukraine look the injured party, as its subsequent treatment of Crimea easily qualifies as a war crime (cutting off the civilian population from food,water and electricity), while the use of the state’s army against the civilian population is specifically forbidden by every iteration of the constitution. The army’s business is killing people, so it seems reasonable to expect that when the full strength of it was loosed against the east, they intended to kill people.

              I would also submit you are on shaky ground if you are supporting the American position, because the USA does not pay any attention to international law unless the subject law constrains its enemies. So confident is the USA in its mandate to ignore inconvenient laws when it suits it that it often writes in pre-objections and a resolution not to consider the law binding on its own operations when it signs the law.

              R2P doctrine did not exist at the time of the NATO ‘liberation’ of Kosovo and consequently has no relevance to it or equivalency with it.

    • Jen says:

      “… how come Russia is not an aggressor in Crimea if it clearly broke the treaty with the Ukraine about stationing Russian troops there? Putin admitted that Russian troops went out of their bases, with arms and vehicles and conducted operations which included blocking of Ukrainian military bases and setting up road blocks in crucial areas of Crimea …”

      My understanding is that before 2014 Russia was allowed to station troops at its base in Sevastopol, which as others have said was under separate administration from the rest of Crimea. It would be very strange if a country had a military base in a foreign country but none of its soldiers there.

      Putin’s admission was made in the context of events leading up to the Crimean referendum on self-determination. It was known at the time that the illegal regime that ousted Yanukovych’s government in Kiev was planning to stop the referendum from going ahead and Ukrainian troops were being sent into Crimea to shut it down. That is why Russian troops blocked Ukrainian military bases and set up road blocks in areas where Ukrainian troops were going to move to harass and intimidate voters.

      And yes, none other than the current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has admitted that the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych was a coup and therefore unconstitutional.

      Such overthrow also paid for by US taxpayers to the tune of US$5 billion as admitted by Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State.

      Insinuating that Americans should do something illegal in return because you believe Russia did something illegal does not say much for your belief in the rule of law.

      • pinkystrikesagain says:

        “It would be very strange if a country had a military base in a foreign country but none of its soldiers there.”

        Indeed it would. But there’s the little detail of Russian troops having no right to move outside their designated positions with arms and vehicles and they did exactly that and thus violated the treaty.

        “Putin’s admission was made in the context of events leading up to the Crimean referendum on self-determination. It was known at the time that the illegal regime that ousted Yanukovych’s government in Kiev was planning to stop the referendum from going ahead and Ukrainian troops were being sent into Crimea to shut it down. That is why Russian troops blocked Ukrainian military bases and set up road blocks in areas where Ukrainian troops were going to move to harass and intimidate voters.”

        Yet again a twist. Russian forces moved in long before the referendum and the timing doesn’t even matter since Russian troops had no right to act on foreign soil no matter what.

        “And yes, none other than the current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has admitted that the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych was a coup and therefore unconstitutional.”

        Has nothing to do with the subject of Russia violating the treaty with Ukraine.

        “Such overthrow also paid for by US taxpayers to the tune of US$5 billion as admitted by Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State.”

        Absolutely ok.

        “Insinuating that Americans should do something illegal in return because you believe Russia did something illegal does not say much for your belief in the rule of law.”

        Seriously referring to the rule of law in the context of international relations doesn’t say much for your understanding of how things are actually done in this world and in international relations in particular.

        • Eric says:

          They had every right to act on “foreign” soil, because the only legal authority, the Crimean Parliament, authorised them to do so. There were several high profile defections from both the head of the Navy and Army of Ukraine to Russia, immediately after the coup. In the absence of a legitimate Supreme Court and President, under those officers authorisation alone, together with the Crimean Parliament, the actions of the Russian Army/Berkut/ armed locals towards willfully surrended Ukrainian bases (under whose command?) were perfectly legitimate.

          Russian Army only moved off the bases after Russia had conducted some preliminary polling to determine how many Crimeans were willing to rejoin Russia…..and it became a formality that a referendum would have to be held. That was the only new thing Putin “admitted” to during his interview. The “admission” you talk garbage about was something they had said from the very beginning.

          I would add that, if you want to get into the legalities and ignore the humanitarian,security and moral reasons of the reunification, like any Nazi troll would…..then according to the “treaties”…..the borders of Ukraine and Russia have never been properly defined…and are void and unenforceable when a state collapses in such a way. The Supreme Court was fired and replaced (illegally), any decision they make on Crimea is thus illegitimate…literally like your arguments

          Your last paragraph is again just stupid trolling….trolling which of course contradicts the slant of your previous nonsense.

          • Jen says:

            Pinky, if he is a US citizen, seems quite comfortable with his taxes being used by Vicky Cookie Monster to overthrow governments she doesn’t like. Which could very well include the government he currently lives under.

        • Jen says:

          The treaty that Pinky is so fond of is a treaty signed by Russia and Ukraine in 1997 which originally allowed the Russian Black Sea Fleet to stay in Crimea to 2017 and which was extended (in 2010) by another 25 years to 2042. The treaty allows Russia to station up to 25,000 troops in Crimea. Articles 6 and 8 allow Russian forces to carry out their activities “and implement protection measures” in accordance with Russian Federation Armed Forces’ procedures and together with the competent Ukrainian government agencies.

          After 22 February 2014, there were no competent Ukrainian “organs” so Russian forces were within their right to act on foreign soil to protect polling stations for the self-determination referendum because the treaty allowed them to do so.

    • TruthSeeker says:

      At least you admit that WADA’s drivel is nonsense and that US athletes are cheaters (since according to you they did something “illegal”).

  47. Moscow Exile says:

    Красноречивые и убедительные новости российского «упадка»
    30 августа 2016

    Eloquent and compelling news of the Russian “decline”
    30 Aug 2016

    I have decided to give a bit of information in the context of the favorite”Svidomite” topic, this time on agriculture: is there meat production in Russia?

    According to Rosstat, in January-July the production of meat in Russia in 2016 increased by 13.3 % compared with the same period last year, says news Agency Finmarket.

    Moreover, this increase has been mainly due to an increase in pork production. Thus, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture, beef production in the first five months of 2016 increased by 3.6% and increased in absolute terms, to 364.2 thousand tonnes; for pork, the increase amounted to 15.4% (to 1.389 million tonness), and poultry by 5.8% (to 2.377 million tonnes). However, according to Rosstat, the number of pigs in the first seven months grew by 6.4% — to 23.4 million.

    According to the head of the the National meat Association (NMA) Executive Committee, Sergey Yushin, the share of domestic pork accounts for almost 90 percent of the consumption of this meat in Russia. This year there will be not less than 3.3 million tonnes in carcass weight – this amount being the sixth highest in the world. However, there is a risk that the optimistic forecasts may have to be adjusted in connection with the spread this summer in several regions of African swine fever (ASF). This situation is reflected in the growth of prices for pork products, according to the latest weekly data from Rosstat.

    The introduction of counter-sanctions, and in fact the embargo on the import of a wide range of food products from EU countries, the USA, Canada, and the participation of countries and, later on, Turkey, had not such a significant effect on the consumption of imported meat and meat products in Russia, as did the devaluation of the ruble, according to Kirill Yakovenko, an analyst at “ALOR Broker”. For example, Argentina and Brazil, the world’s largest suppliers of frozen meat, are not included in the list of countries sanctioning Russia and they continue to supply our market with their products, primarily beef, but their share of imports into the Russian market since mid-2014 has been significantly reduced from 34% to 22%. This has been brought about in the first place by an almost two-fold increase in purchasing prices and the recalculation of the value of the ruble as a result of the falling of the national currency with regards to the dollar.

    Thus, the expert believes, it is possible to say that primarily import substitution has stimulated demand for cheaper Russian products, so the impending lifting of sanctions against Turkey (whose share in the Russian food market does not exceeded 5.5% in the best years) and the possible removal of restrictions on deliveries of European pork at the direction of the WTO would have no impact on the performance of domestic agriculture and meat producers.

    Generally speaking, notes Kirill Yakovenko, for two years, Russian agriculture has been really showing impressive success. For example, the volume of pork production increased in 2014 by 0.6 million tons to 4 million and the production of poultry meat by 1 million tonnes to 6 million. It should be noted that today the production of poultry meat and pork not only almost completely covers the needs of the domestic market, but also offers prospects for the growth of exports, in particular, the development of the export of Russian agriculture products to China. If one speaks about the coverage of the domestic market demand, the supply by domestic producers of poultry meat is 90-95% guaranteed; pork – 85-90%; beef – 70-75%.

    As can be seen, says Kirill Yakovenko, all is not well with beef production – the supply of Russian farmers and agro-holdings remained virtually unchanged since 2014 (3.8 million tons), but it is worth noting that this lack of movement is largely due to changes in the structure of demand for meat products. By the end of 2015, the retail trade turnover in real terms dropped by 10% and in the first half of 2016 by another 5.7 percent. While Russians still live in conditions of austerity, which was reflected in their preferences when buying meat, in that they moved from beef in favour of cheaper poultry, Russians are more often refusing to buy.

    From the point of view of the adequacy of the ratio of nominal volumes of production and consumption, the situation with pork and poultry is good, says practice partner of APK Consulting group “Neo Centre” Vladimir Shaforostov. In a situation of decline in consumption there can now be seen price competition between the Russian producers. The selling price of some large players is already close to the threshold. The threshold is the price that is sufficient to ensure production and service the debt. Competition with imported products in the case of lifting of the embargo will also be mainly in price.

    In the case of the fowl market, the situation was formed before the embargo and Shaforostov is sure it will not change. It is also worth comparing chilled with frozen Pork. The volume of supply of frozen is unlikely to change significantly. The supply of chilled pork, especially from Poland, can be utilized by packers at once for several reasons: quality, stability and price.

    In the case of beef, the determining factor will be the willingness of the consumer to buy it. The importation of chilled meat for 6 months in 2016, compared with the same period in 2015, decreased by 93%. If purchasing power is not restored, as regards chilled meat, the Russian players will retain their current positions in case the borders open, as international prices and exchange rates do not make foreign beef more affordable. According to Vladimir Shaforostov, this fact strengthens the position of foreign investors in the Russian poultry (CP Group, Charoen) and pork (Tönnies Fleischwerk and APK DON) markets and suggests that investors can see opportunities in these sectors and their export orientation.

    Russia is doomed, I tell you!

    As it happens, Mrs. Exile regularly serves up hunks of turkey that she buys already chopped up. We often eat great panfuls of it with spuds or rice or noodles.

    We were eating Russian home reared pork at the weekend in the form of shashlyk and shall be doing so again this weekend.

    Life is hell here!

    • TruthSeeker says:

      This will not help. Ukies are immune to facts. They’ll just keep on living in their own fantasy world, where Russia will be falling apart any minute now, and Ukraine’s living standards – the lowest in Europe by far – will catch up to Germany right after that.

  48. Pingback: Discussion: McLaren Report – Russia Reviewed

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