When I Fight Reality, Reality Always Wins.

Uncle Volodya says, "A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”

Uncle Volodya says, “A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”

When I hear the phrase, “American rocker”, I frequently think of John Mellencamp. He started out in the 1970’s, professionally, as ‘John Cougar’ because his manager said nobody would ever buy a record by someone named John Mellencamp. Eventually, when he was well established in the music business, he went back to his birth name, after a brief transition period as ‘John Cougar Mellencamp’.

He seemed to me the quintessential American performer in the few interviews in which I saw him; although he does not come across as particularly well-educated, he is always honest, modest and direct, and…real, I guess. He still lives in the same Midwestern state where he was born, and dedicated much of his musical career to mild activism in support of American farmers, small-town life and the environment. If you were looking for an American star who is not a pretentious prick full of himself, but who reflects quiet dignity, self-awareness and what Americana beyond the delusional world of the Beltway is all about, I don’t think you could do much better than John Mellencamp.

I’ve never seen him play, although we were actually in the same city at the same time once; Norfolk, Virginia, in the early 80’s. I was only there for a couple of days, and by the time I heard about the show it was sold out.

But this post isn’t about John Mellencamp; we just want to borrow the lead-in from his “Authority Song”. When I fight authority, authority always wins, baby. In discussion of the situation in Ukraine, long-time commenter Yalensis proposed a slight rewrite to encompass the yawning chasm between Kiev’s happy talk of visa-free travel and Eurosnuggling, and the miserable penury that is the daily lot of Ukrainians who do not own a candy company, a TV station and assorted other business ventures. The new version would be, when I fight reality, reality always wins. And so it will, because you can only keep it at bay for so long.

The story that inspired his witticism was this one: “Natural Gas Shortage Will Cause Ukraine to Look to Russia”, in The Observer. That’s how it’s listed by search item, but for some unaccountable reason the headline on the actual story reads, “Russia is Hoping to Freeze Ukraine Into Submission”.

That so? Well, their hopes of doing that must have been temporarily dashed back in November, when Poroshenko assured the country that Ukraine had enough gas and coal to last through the winter. Bragged about it as just another of Ukraine-under-Poroshenko’s miraculous achievements, in fact. But who knew winter would still be going on in January, am I right? Must be climate change, or something.

I can’t speak to what the Russian state plans or thinks, but it seems to me if Russia wanted to freeze Ukraine into submission, it would refuse to sell it gas. It has demonstrably not done that, although it has insisted Ukraine pay up front for the gas it takes, since Ukraine has a habit of taking gas at an agreed price and then complaining that the cost is too high, and stiffed Russia on a $3 Billion loan that even western courts agreed was a sovereign debt for which Ukraine was liable. Kiev’s alternative plan was to buy gas from France, at about 20% higher costs than what it was offered by Gazprom. Who wouldn’t want a president with those economic chops at the wheel, right? Mind you, Yurrup keeps writing Poroshenko cheques to pay for gas, so what does he care how much it costs? European chances of ever recovering that money are somewhere between zero and nil decimal squat. And a major supplier of natural gas to France is Russia, whose sales to La Republique rose more than 27% in 2016 over 2015.

But let’s go back to the original article for a moment, because it said some alarming things. Chief among them is that Ukraine produces just a bit more than half the gas it uses each year, even though its consumption has dropped by three-quarters over what it was when Ukraine was the industrial heartland of the Soviet Union. Next is that that saving has come at a cost of the near-total collapse of Ukrainian industry.

So even with its remaining industry gasping for breath, Ukraine cannot supply anything like its own natural gas needs, and it must import significant volumes. It has a fat, jolly idiot at the helm who does not mind paying a 20% markup on gas just so he can say he didn’t get it from Russia. On that basis, Ukraine should achieve financial independence at just about the time Poroshenko’s great-great grandchildren corner the chocolate business on the moon.

On January 19, CEO of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom Alexei Miller made an assumption that Ukraine had no more than 10.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas in her hubs. “There are still two and a half months of heating season ahead, and the demands on natural gas by Ukraine during this cold period causes our serious concern,” Mr. Miller said.

Yes, that does sound like the kind of comment someone might make who is hoping to freeze Ukraine into submission. Into submission to what, if I may ask? Does anyone think Russia, having taken the steps to bypass Ukraine as a transit country for its gas and successfully tested the capability, wants to take it on as a starving dependency with billions in damage from its years-long civil war?

Ukraine has about $15 Billion left in its treasury, reports The Observer, including aid money funneled in by the IMF. And that works out to be just about exactly what the country will have to come up with in 2017 to service its debt, according to The Economist.

Gosh: what to do? Well, Jérôme Ferrier and Florent Parmentier have a suggestion: it is astonishingly similar to Gazprom’s plan for the Turkish Stream interface with Europe – Russia would deliver gas to the border, and Europe would invest in Naftogaz’s Gas Transit System (GTS) (read, own it in everything but name) and “leave it up to the European Union to choose its preferred delivery points and volumes, rather than have delivery points imposed upon it, at the expense of Ukrainian interests.”

On the face of it, it sounds like a win/win, right? Russia would not have to pay transit fees – since its delivery point of responsibility would be the Ukraine border – and Ukraine would no longer be able to posture and prance and threaten using energy as…ummm….a weapon. Some sort of transit through Ukraine would prevail, only it would be the EU that had to deal with its hissy fits and drama, not Russia.

But there are a couple of flies in the ointment which make that solution impractical. One – the one nobody seems to want to talk about, which leads me to suppose few really grasp the true state of affairs – is the physical state of Ukraine’s GTS. I referenced an independent report on this blog some time ago, and although I can’t put my hand on it just now, it was horrifying in its description of how unsafe the pipeline network is and how much work would be required to bring it up to European standards. Two, according to the first commenter on the subject article, Russia plans to decommission the service to the Ukrainian GTS;

The Ukrainian route is also highly dependent on the Russian GTS connected to it, something the Russians are busy to decommission, and if the Russian GTS is no longer connected to the Ukrainian GTS then no matter how much you invest in the Ukrainian GTS it will become worthless.

I have to say, though, that the latter seems unlikely, especially as Russia will want to transit some gas through the network for Ukraine’s domestic use.

It would be precipitate to dismiss Ferrier’s musings out of hand, though; he is the former director of Total, the present President of l’Association Française du Gaz (AFG) and the honorary President of l’Union Internationale de l’Industrie du Gaz (IGU). With more than thirty years’ experience in the gas business, there’s probably not much about it he doesn’t know.

Which is why I found a couple of the points he made, in an interview in May 2015, of particular interest. Point one – and as we go through these, I’d like you to think of it in the framework of its implications for Ukraine – was that scenarios from the IEA show growth in the gas industry until 2035. You and I know forecasts that far out are just pie in the sky, as they depend on present conditions prevailing, but nonetheless, the gas industry is likely to remain dominant in the energy picture. Two, he assesses that “At the end of the day a captive buyer and captive seller will develop a strong relationship.” As an aside, but illustrative of the topic, he described Russia as a reliable supplier to Europe, with very few exceptions. Three, Ferrier is convinced that over 50% of commercial relations will continue to be vested in long-term contracts, and that the gas business is incompatible with a full spot market. Recall that Brussels (especially) and Washington have dedicated considerable effort toward forcing Russia into a full spot market using European hubs, which would greatly hamper its ability to set prices.

The Ferrier picture is not totally one-sided, of course; he also believes Europe should build more pipelines to Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and that ‘this is not the time for a 65 BCm pipeline’ (referring, at the time, to South Stream), and parrots the line that European gas consumption is decreasing. As I have frequently rebutted – yes, it is, but not as fast as European domestic supply is.

We’ll have to wait and see if Ukraine approaches Russia with a view to resuming gas purchases. If that happens, it might teach Kiev a lesson if Russia made up some reason why they couldn’t do it – sorry, I’d like to, but I’ve got a bone in my leg, something like that. Of course, it won’t, and it will simply strike an agreement as if all the prancing and face-pulling and insults never happened, because the Russian government is nothing if not pragmatic. The alternative is that Poroshenko has so tightly painted himself into a corner that he dares not pursue even the most businesslike and distant rapprochement, and will continue borrowing money Ukraine cannot ever afford to pay back to buy Russian gas from someone else at a higher price.

 

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1,466 Responses to When I Fight Reality, Reality Always Wins.

  1. et Al says:

    And for all those disciples of the New Church of Fake News (NCFN), been there, done that you f/ktards. Shame on you!

    Antiwar.com:Our ‘Fake News,’ and Theirs
    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/02/12/our-fake-news-and-theirs/

    It’s not a new thing

    by Justin Raimondo, February 13, 2017

    I had to laugh when the “mainstream” media began making a fuss about the alleged epidemic of “fake news.” My immediate and uncontrollable reaction was: “Are we to be spared nothing?!”

    After all, as Antiwar.com’s longtime readers know, these are the very same people who were spreading the Bush administration’s “talking points” as if they were facts in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. They know this because we spent years debunking them. Here are just a few samples:…
    ####

    More at the link.

    I discovered Antiwar.com com not long after it came online and have been dropping in regularly ever since. It’s been fighting the good fight and has progressed from a fringe ‘whatever’ website to what it is today without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I find no relief in finding very late confirmation that my beliefs were right all along, only wearyness.

    Ever since I read such a long time ago (when main stream journalism still did fairly decent reporting) that Kuwait had called in its $8b loan to I-rack for fighting I-ran and had started slant drilling across its border in to the oil field that straddles the two states and the US gave the (apparent) green light to Saddam via April Glaspie to ‘sort it out’ (something that has been repeated over and over again all the way through to Georgia & Ukraine), I knew I was on the wrong side of The Establishment. The whole Yugo bollox only reinforced it – a never ending sinking feeling that it was not going to end well and the chickens would come home to roost, our own state sponsored terrorists.

    The thing is, you can get used to that, like a dripping tap. But now that everything is so rotten and the screeching at all levels of the supposed Free World have reached epic ear shattering levels, its even harder to imagine anything normal ever returning. I know it will, but the dying screams and the tantrums of the Empiricists are unavoidable. Even reasonable people have lost their minds and the apparently educated people I know are convinced Hillary lost because she is a woman & that Trump is essentially the devil (he’s lots of things, but the ‘Devil’?). The last eight years of constant war don’t seem to have made the slightest dent on their opinion of O-Bomber fans, nor the epic blow back in London, Paris, Nice, Brussels & Berlin, not to mention a much much larger wholesale slaughter in the Middle East and elsewhere. It’s over there, so it’s different.

    The United States of Denial (aka F/ktardia – ‘The West’) still hasn’t caught up with reality. The biggest threat by far to the West is its own internal convulsions, but it looks like just about ever single institution, fair or foul, thinks baiting the one country that can kill us all in an effort to distract us from the god awful clusterfuck at home is a good idea and has no consequences, which makes me think of this, though it is too generous:

    I really do hope that we are not all properly buggered. Not enough to make me religious though. Still, the fight will continue and the tide will turn. There will be no apologies, no acceptance of guilt or responsibilities apart from the odd historian with a career to make. The self-enforced errors of the last twenty five years will be left to slink in to history and left to be savaged in future as another prime example of the human condition, f/ktardism. Those responsible, rather than roasting in hell for eternity, will get to die in peace and get fat in old age as their bloody footprints slowly disappear behind them, finally elevated to ‘great people’, to join the ranks of epic war criminals like Henry Kissinger. There is no justice, just bullshit.

  2. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/319367-national-security-adviser-michael-flynn-resigns

    Flynn resigns:

    ‘The embattled Flynn blamed his resignation late Monday on the “fast pace of events” that led him to “inadvertently” give Vice President Mike Pence and others “incomplete information” about his phone conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

    “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology,” Flynn wrote in his resignation letter.’

    Because Russia is weak presumably. Tillerson will be next.

    • POA says:

      Not necessarily and IMO not likely.

      Flynn should take some of the blame. He could’ve made the case that talking to the Russian ambassador isn’t a crime, even if the subject of sanctions had come up.

    • shargash says:

      IMO, this is a big mistake on Trump’s part. He is in a power struggle with the DC establishment, and he just flinched. Washington is a hyena’s den, and if you show any sign of weakness, it will just encourage more attacks.

      • Northern Star says:

        Good point….
        But as usual it’s the lies and coverup that bring em’ down more than the original alleged transgression….which in many cases may NOT warrant rebuke or condemnation
        Apparently Flynn told mutually incompatible differing accounts of what was or was not discussed with the Russian ambassador…BIG mistake

      • marknesop says:

        I agree. His enemies will be dancing with glee that their tactics worked, and it will certainly not encourage them to back off. Quite the contrary. Mind, you, it won’t be so easy next time.

  3. Lyttenburgh says:

    Heartless Russian vatniks and trolls from Olgino are having a field day with Limpopo electoral crisis!

    #JeSuisLimpopo

    Now, this is clearly some fake news! Lev Nathanovich Sharansky, Solomon Haykin and Pavel Shahtman will never military support the Kremlenite puppet. Speaking of him:

    “Vladimir Vladimirovich, I report – Limpopo is ours!”
    “Thank you, comrade Aybolit, keep woring in accordance with previously designed plan!”

    Illegitimate president of Limpopo adressing still shocked nation. He announces the upcoming referendum on Limpopo’s annexation by Russia. Notice Russian polite bears on this photo.

    ^Russian puppet Aybolit playing Roldugin’s infamous cello.

    In order to prevent the glorious 6th fleet (commanded by the senator John McCain personally) from arriving to Limpopo’s shores pro-Russian saboteurs have set the ocean on fire.

    Local White Hemlets are trying to put out fires by using baked goods.

    Stay tuned for further developments in Limpopo’s crisis!

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Trump Expects Russia to ‘Return’ Crimea. Come and Take It, Genius

    Latest:

    Her Majesty’s Government also expects the United States to return to the UK the former 13 British North American colonies whose inhabitants declared their independence from British rule.

    The rest of the united states they can keep.

    • Special_sauce says:

      The Donald is turning into a blonde Obama.

    • Warren says:

      The people of Crimea’s message to Trump or anyone else who wants to hand Crimea to the Ukrops, will be simple.

    • But Trump was supposed to like Russia.

      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Look at me

        I’m Karl now

        • Just like I said before. One man does not make a difference. The establishment is always stronger. This is why Flynn was forced out and Trump is speaking about Crimea in this tone.

          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            Joking apart, nobody except morons like Keith Olbermann actually believed Trump was a GRU-controlled robot. The best that was seriously expected of him was that he would halt the drive toward war that the Clinton campaign represented, and so far that’s what has happened.

            • Northern Star says:

              “The best that was seriously expected of him was that he would halt the drive toward war that the Clinton campaign represented, and so far that’s what has happened.”
              …Or so you thought:
              http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-ukraine-idUSKBN15T2IY?utm_source=applenews

              If true..this calls into question Trump’s intelligence…
              It’s a hands down dumb shit expectation…..period

              While we’re at it why don’t we expect Israel to declare that the Holocaust was a
              ‘big misunderstanding’ and that the krauts were understandably flummoxed by the whole thing….

              • marknesop says:

                Oh, boo hoo!! Is the USA going to go to war with Russia over Crimea? I doubt it very much. And there is zero interest on Europe’s part in a war that might escalate to nuclear, over Crimea. That train has sailed, as Austin Powers was wont to say. So Trump will ‘expect’ Russia to return Crimea, and the only ones who will take it seriously will be Ukraine. And Russia and America will not go on picnics together after all; I’m so sad.

                Russia is not going to ‘return Crimea’. And, having taken that position (foolishly, as you suggest, although he was hounded into it), Trump will not be able to lift sanctions. I don’t really think anyone realistically expected that to happen anyway. So they will persist, and it’s not really hurting America and it’s not hurting Russia enough to make it change its mind, so the only ones really being hurt by it are the Europeans.

                • Northern Star says:

                  I simply don’t see the point of Trump’s ‘return Crimea’ remark….
                  Unless engaged in carefully crafted machiavellian polemics…which clearly he was not…
                  He should have kept his mouth shut on the topic….

                • marknesop says:

                  The whole point of pile-on tactics is to make the subject react. If he had not made the knee-jerk remark that Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine, the Democrats and the Clinton noise machine would have kept screaming that he was a Russian agent until he did. The kicker is that by capitulating, he allowed himself to be maneuvered, and now his enemies have the initiative, and momentum. They will keep up the screaming, and frankly his defense is not very good considering he’s only been president, what, a couple of weeks?

      • marknesop says:

        Oh, who cares whether he does or doesn’t? The euphoria over Trump’s win was mostly because he would be less likely to start a world war than Hillary, and would likely be more focused on problems at home. I don’t see any indication so far that that was a misread, and everything he has said so far about Russia is what he has to say if he wants to stay in office. I could care less if America wants to be friends with Russia, and I don’t think that would be possible now even if Trump wanted it.

        • shargash says:

          Exactly. We may wind up with a war anyway, but defeating Hillary was the world’s best hope for peace.

          As for the sanctions, they are the best thing that could happen to Russia (assuming they are dealing with them appropriately, which they seem to be). Russia is a sovereign state, with a sovereign currency, lots of well-educated people, a food exporter, and with a big percentage of the entire world’s natural resources.

          I don’t think there is any country that is better positioned for the future. Russia just needs to develop its native industries (well, and make more progress against corruption and figure out who is going to replace Putin that won’t sell the country down the river). That won’t happen under a free trade regimen. The sanctions give it space to do that.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Diplomat on US statements about Crimea: Russia does not give its land away
      February 15, 12:06 UTC+3
      Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has commented on White House spokesman’s remark Donald Trump “has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to return Crimea”

      We do not give our territories away. Crimea is a territory of the Russian Federation” — Zakharova.

      The authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol on March 16, 2014 held referendums on the issue of reunification with Russia. More than 80% of those eligible to vote cast their ballots. An overwhelming majority of 96.75% and 95.6% respectively voted for reunification. On March 18, 2014 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a treaty on readmission of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation. The Federal Assembly ratified it on March 21. In defiance of the convincing returns from the referendum Kiev has refused to recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

      Because it was a “sham and illegal referendum” in the Crimea, which “has taken place at the barrel of a Kalashnikov”, according to Call-Me-Dave Dave (remember him?) in the British House of Commons.

      He went on: “Russia has sought to annex Crimea. This is a flagrant breach of international law and something we will not recognise. This behaviour belongs to the Europe of the last century not this one. It cannot be ignored or we risk more serious problems in the future”.

      You tell ’em Dave!

      See: Ukraine crisis: David Cameron attacks Crimea vote ‘under barrel of a Kalashnikov’

      Though you will have to tell them from the backbench now, you prat!

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      UkrNet is full of cries of “PEREMOGA” and “zdobuli!”, as if the USA already promised to annex the whole territory of them and then pay $1000 daily to any racially pure Ukrainian.

      Oh, and magickal “Javelins” to Cyborgs in the ATO. Want another proof that Trump is supporting Ukraine now? Here you go –

      “First Lady Melania Trump gave as gift to Japan’s PM spouse a rose made by the Ukrainian emigrant”. Check-mate, vatniks!

      You know how did they achieve that? All thanks to the tireless work of the Ukrainian diaspora:

      Now, take a note – when the First Law of the Ukraine (“every peremoga turns into zrada”) will come back with the vengance.

  5. Warren says:

    Donald Trump vs Justin Trudeau: The political handshake

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has met President Donald Trump for the first time and discussed issues including trade and refugees.

    President Trump has become known for his rather dominant handshake – but it seems Mr Trudeau found a way of dealing with it, as this video demonstrates.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38971859

  6. Northern Star says:

    http://www.eaec.org/cults/sikh.htm
    “Sikhs have rejected the caste system of the Hindu religion. They believe that everyone has equal status in the eyes of God. This is a very important principle that permeates all Sikh beliefs, behaviors, and rituals.”
    So how does Sikh Nikki square the above with her support of the murdering nazi vermin in Kiev???
    Oh..that’s right ..when it comes to religion..she swings both ways:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikki_Haley#Personal_life

    But even so, the little whor…oops..sorry..I mean UN ambassador does seem to be a bit of a
    piece of talking trash whose values are of the typical Western double standard variety:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punjab_insurgency.
    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalistan_movement
    HER people want out from under the yoke of Rapestan (India) oppression……obviously no relation whatsoever to Crimea…right??
    Yup…..UN soup’s on….Double double…toil and trouble….brewing…..
    http://yumtoyikes.com/2016/09/26/sikh-leader-seeks-pakistans-help-against-india/

    Now exactly how will Trump’s Sikh mouthpiece handle THAT shit if it goes ‘nuclear’…which might be taken literally since Pakistan is a nuke power….

    LOL!!!!!

  7. Northern Star says:

    Her entire professional life has been about exploiting a handful of wrestlers and the insatiable American appetite for violence and exhibitionism..what the fuck has that got to do with the small business world…..specifically creating and sustaining them??

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

  8. Northern Star says:

    Well since it’s Valentine’s Day…this is for all the stunning women worldwide that stooges remark on every now and then:

    • Northern Star says:

      Ahhhh…wrong (duplicate) link…sorry

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Drat! I thought at midnight last night that I had gone through the day without hearing mention of that faux festival, of of that “holiday” which the Russian media each year announces is celebrated by lovers all over the world”!

      Unfortunatel, it is still February 14th on the far side of the world from here.

      “Happty Valentine’s Day” — my arse!

      “Spend, spend, spend” more like!

      I have some colleagues who look surprised when I tell them I never wish Mrs Exile “Happy St. Valentine’s Day”, send her a St. Valentine’s Day card, buy her a St. Valentine’s Day presen etc., etc.

      I tell them they are being kidded by marketers if they believe one has to perform this rigmorole every February 14th.

      It’s the same with that Halloween crap.

      “Happy halloween” — what a load of dogs’ bollocks!

      I sent a Valentine message yesterday to someone in my office whom I am fond of though.

      🙂

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I shall have to get a new keyboard!

        Bloody letters missing even when I type them.

      • marknesop says:

        I’m taking the Missus here for a romantic dinner on Thursday.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Mrs. Exile was here yesterday (Feb. 14) evening:

          Our kitchen. She was cooking my dinner there.

          She gave me this:

          It’s called plov.

          It was very tasty.

          🙂

          • marknesop says:

            I love plov; my mother-in-law makes a delicious dish of it. I often wondered if the word evolved from ‘pilaf’.

            • Jen says:

              From the Wikipedia article on pilaf:

              “… The English term pilaf is borrowed directly from the Turkish pilav, which in turn comes from Persian polow (پلو), Hindi pulāo, from Sanskrit pulāka (meaning “a ball of rice”), which in turn, is probably of Dravidian origin.[7] The English spelling is influenced by the Modern Greek pilafi (πιλάφι), which comes from the Turkish pilav.[8] …”
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilaf

              The numbered references marked [7] and [8] link to the English Oxford Living Dictionaries and Online Etymology Dictionary respectively.

              “… Early 17th century: Persian pulaw, pilāv, Hindi pulāv, from Sanskrit pulāka ball of rice, probably from Dravidian. Compare with pilaf …”
              https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/pilau

              “… oriental dish of rice boiled with meat, 1610s, from Turkish pilav, from Persian pilaw. Spelling influenced by Modern Greek pilafi, from the Turkish word …”
              http://etymonline.com/?term=pilaf

              So the terms “pilaf” and “plov” look like cognates descended from the Persian word.

  9. et Al says:

    Antiwar.com: US Change in Designation of Russian Missile Hyped as New Russian ‘Violation
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/02/14/us-change-in-designation-of-russian-missile-hyped-as-new-russian-violation/

    Hawks Still Trumpeting Missile Test From 2008

    In 2008, Russia began testing a new missile, which in 2014 the Obama Administration said might have violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Today, eager to hype “new” Russian efforts, even if they’re almost a decade old, the New York Times declared these same 2008 missiles a violation of the “landmark arms control treaty.”

    The “new” violation appears entirely speculative, and based on the fact that the Pentagon, which had previously designated the missiles the SSC-X-8, had removed the X in some recent reports, changing the name to SSC-8. The removal of the X would mean that from the US perspective, they no longer consider the missile to be an experimental model…
    ####

    It doesn’t matter how stale or pointless the accusations are, just keep slinging them. It’s easier than coming up with new ones as it is much easier to build on what you’ve already invested in.

    • kirill says:

      The INF has less value than used toilet paper since it allows US cruise missiles based on ships to have basically unlimited range. Meanwhile it restricts land based cruise missiles. This is a clear advantage for the USA since it will fire off its nuclear cruise missile attack on Russia from ships and aircraft and not from its home turf. It does not need any of its NATzO minions to serve as launching points. It makes more sense for Russia to launch any cruise missiles at NATzO targets during WWIII from it soil and not from ships.

      Gorbie was selling Russia (and the USSR) down the river as a full time job.

  10. et Al says:

    In ‘ME TOO!’ news…

    Antiwar.com: Human Rights Watch: Syria Used Chlorine Gas in Capture of Aleppo
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/02/13/human-rights-watch-syria-used-chlorine-gas-in-capture-of-aleppo/

    A new study from Human Rights Watch is claiming a “systematic” use of chlorine gas as an offensive weapon during the final few weeks of the Aleppo offensive, determining at least eight incidents in which military helicopters dropped such canisters into residential areas.

    Over the course of that fighting there were a number of allegations of chlorine gas use by both sides. Though such allegations are not unusual whenever there is heavy fighting, particularly in populated areas where incidental leaks happen in the course of fighting.

    Human Rights Watch, however, said that the eight allegations they believe to have been credible suggest they were not isolated incidents but part of a coordinated policy by the military, noting hat each of the drops happened in the immediate prelude to a significant military advance into the same area….
    ####

    HRW & AI bs tagteam. They could save on costs by sharing the same bed and contraception.. Dickheads!!

    • kirill says:

      HRW uses verbal excrement as “evidence” yet again. I bet its “credible witnesses” will never have their identities produced. On this basis alone the HRW has no case. Anyone and his dog can pull out any number of anonymous “witnesses” from their anus.

      Here is a little challenge for HRW and its sap believers. If these chemical attacks took place then we can go to these locations today and demonstrate the presence of chlorine based chemicals (no they will not all evapourate in a few minutes, some compounds have very low volatility and others will chemically bond with surrounding materials). So let’s go there and reconstruct these attacks like proper investigation would do. Until then, fuck off.

    • shargash says:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4221030/Harrowing-video-shows-Assad-forces-using-chemical-attacks.html.

      Funny how chlorine gas, which is heavier than air, rises like green smoke when Assad uses it.

      Oh, and this clinches it: “Further evidence offered by the rights group is a black object hurtling from the sky, likely to be a toxic gas bomb.”

  11. et Al says:

    WaPo via Antiwar.com: Ukraine’s Military Continues to Work With Far-Right Militias
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/02/13/ukraines-military-continues-to-work-with-far-right-militias/

    They’ve been eager to fight ethnic Russians in the east of Ukraine from the very start, but the Ukrainian government has had a love-hate relationship with the Right Sector factions, a group of militias that embrace overtly fascist rhetoric and see crushing the rebels as just the first step.

    “Officially, we are not here,” one such militia fighter was quoted as telling the Washington Post, as he and his forces, deployed along the frontlines, pass easily through military checkpoints. Unofficially, they are still part of the battle, and working closely with the military….
    ####

    That’s cutting edge investigative journalism for you folks! Purshitzer please!

  12. et Al says:

    Neuters via Antiwar.com: Turkmen leader Berdymukhamedov wins election, securing third term
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkmenistan-election-result-idUSKBN15S0FZ

    Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has secured a third term in office by winning a widely-expected landslide in Sunday’s election, preliminary results showed on Monday.

    Berdymukhamedov has won 97.69 percent of the vote with a turnout of 97.27 percent, the Central Election Commission said…

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    Latest from former KGB-spy, multi-millionaire Lebedev’s London Independent:

    Russia accused of launching hacking campaign during UK general election
    Political parties have approached security agencies for assistance following the hacking of the Democratic Party’s emails during the US election

    • marknesop says:

      This is evolving into a ready-made excuse whenever the favourite of the political class does not win.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        It’s been going on for a while. it started, in my opinion, when liberals started spouting that the quality of a democracy is reflected by its treatment of minorities.

        This all sounds well and good, but has developed in losers demanding the right to be treated as winners, namely that they have the right to be winners.

        I have seen this happen with increasing frequency over many years.

        In 1985, following a year long strike, the state-owned coal mine where I worked was given a closure order.

        Under long held procedure, the miners were allowed to appeal against this closure order. (Such appeals, by the way, over a period of 50 years, had never been succesful.)

        The National Union of Mineworkers (until 1984, all workers in state-owned mines had to be members of that union) at the colliery called for and organized an extraordinary meeting of the workforce in order to decide whether to appeal. Most of the miners of that colliery lived in the vicinity of the pit, in a “pit village”; others lived further away, and others lived far away, a result of the very many closures in the coalfield during the ’60s and ’70s. All the men at my pit were NUM members. The local NUM organized the bussing in to the meeting of members who lived far away from the colliery. Announcements that such a meeting was to be held were posted in the villages.

        A meeting was held and a vote taken. The men voted to appeal. That meant that the pit would continue working until the appeal had been decided. That meant that those who hoped that the pit would close immediately would be denied access to redundancy payments and very sizable ones at that for many.

        At the meeting about 60% of the worforce attended. Those that did not attend had mostly been “blacklegs” during the last 3 months of strike and during the strike had to be escorted by the police in a police convoy to the pit, where,in any case, they could not do any work as there were too few of them to be deployed at the faces. Nevertheless, such organized strikebreaking carried out under the watchful eye of masses of police slowly eroded the solidarity of the workforce.

        Those who did not attend the meeting said that the vote to appeal was invalid because all NUM branch members had not been there and demanded another vote.

        They had really thought that the despondent members who had returned to work after striking for one year would have done with their employment down the pit and vote for closure and redundancy payouts. They didn’t. And the blacklegs started howling — for another vote.

        The vote taken, in fact was valid. It had a 65% majority for an appeal, and 60% of the membership took part in the vote. But the blacklegs, together with the press, howled about “democracy”.

        And so under great pressure and very reluctantly the local NUM branch gave in and called for another meeting where a vote over whether to appeal would again take place. And the blacklegs arrived, but again, not all of them, and the vote resulted once more that an appeal be made.

        So the followig week, the management put all the blacklegs in one underground district of the pit. And guess what: they, the blacklegs, went on strike in protest over the undemocratic nature of the vote for an appeal!

        In fact, they went on a “canny strike”, a work to rule. Basically, they did sweet FA underground and the management let them get away with it.

        For a couple of weeks not a nut of coal came off two of the faces; the tonnage bonuses plummeted; men were up to their eyeballs in debt after the strike. More and more, including the most stalwart of the strikers, began to demand that the appeal be cancelled.

        Yet another meeting was held, and a majority voted for closure.

        The coal board (the state-run coal industry management) and the shitty press then gleefully declared that the closure had been the workers’ decision.

        They always did that. They always said the men had chosen to close the pits during the ’60s and ’70s.

        That farce that took place in 1985 was when I at long last thought it was about time for Merry England to kiss my arse goodbye.

        • Cortes says:

          There’d be a great book on that and “Where Are They Now?” follow-up, ME.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Most are surely dead now. I still keep in contact with a few of them. They keep me informed about who is the latest to have gasped his last — here “gasped” being very often used literally. Many who have already died were much younger than I was at the time of the strike.

            Quite a few of them became alkies: they guzzled their redundancy pay. The ones with whom I am still in contact, very few in number now, stuck it out in the industry and got transferred to pits ever further afield. They were all redundant by 1993, when the last pit in the Lancashire coalfield, “my” coalfield, closed.

            All except one, that is, who persistently refused to take redundancy and ended up working down Kellingly pit, North Yorkshire. Stubborn bugger! He even chose to work with Yorkshiremen on a point of principle.

            Kellingley closed last year. It was the last deep coal mine in the UK.

            Good riddance an’ all!

            I would not have said that 40 years ago, but looking back at it all, working down the pit was not the best of ways to earn one’s crust and then look forward to a long, healthy retirement. There were very few men who reached retirement age (65) when I was a miner. There were not all that many who reached 60 even.

            See how wiser one becomes as one ages?

            🙂

            • Fern says:

              As a matter of interest, ME, what’s the mining industry like in Russia? Actually, come to think of it, with oil and gas, has there ever been a mining industry on the scale of those that once existed in many western European countries?

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Oh, it was huge in Soviet times, Fern, but that incuded the Donetsk coalfield (or “basin” in Russian) of the UkSSR, which was the biggest Soviet coalfield. But the Donbass was on its last legs by the end of the USSR. And the, when the gloriously corrupt independent from the USSR Ukraine came into being, it just all came apart, what with scimping. low investment etc. Many of the pits in the Donbass were and still are death traps. There are some very new ones, though, which are now being destroyed by the ATO down there.

                The Russian coal industry which extracts coal from the world’s second largest reserves of coal now has almost 200 companies operating in about 22 coal fields, all of which are transural. Before the Nazi invasion, 60% of Soviet coal was mined in the European part of the RSFSR and the UkSSR. During the Nazi occupation of parts of Russsia, all of Belorussia and the UkSSR, over 1,000 pits were put out of action. The Moscow coalfield and the Donetsk field were rebuilt after the war, but the former was closed down by the ’60s.

                Not all the present Russian points of coal extraction are deep mines, though, down which one decsends in shafts, as I did in the UK. Nowadays, most of the mines (107 out of 169) are hugely efficient open cast affairs — big holes in the ground out of which giant excavators and draglines load mile long coal tains.

                These trains pass my dacha on the way to a Latvian dock, whence it is exported. A lot of it goes to the UK, which I think is bloody ironic for me as I watch them rolling past my country estate. That coal that is transported day and night past the Moscow Exile estate comes from the Kuzbas — the Kuznetsky coalfield in Siberia.

                However, despite these huge reserves of coal, only about 14% of electrical power in Russia is now generated by coal-fired power stations.


                A Kuzbas opencast


                A Kuzbas deep mine

                Russian coal mines are now all privately owned, of course, and employ about 150, 000. Another half – a – million are employed in support industries. These figures are the same as were those for the UK mining indistry in 1984.

                The UK mining industry was once the biggest male employer in the 20th century, employing over a million men in 1920 and reaching its peak output in 1913. Following the Great Depression of the 1930s and changes in energy technology and demand for coal (in the UK the fleet went over to oil fired boilers before WWI and the railways got rid of steam locomotives in the ’60s and various “clean air acts” forbad coal fires in houses, all of which caused a rapid fall in demand for “black diamonds”), the UK coal industry, as well as others in Western Europ, went into decline in the second half of the 20th century.

                France went for nuclear power in the ’60s: the German pits were, like the British ones, almost all gone by the end of the ’80s, but the Soviet pits kept on going. But the Russian coal industry is now experiencing the same contraction as did the Western European one 50 years ago and has ben contracting since 1990.

                This article may be of interest to you:

                Is there a future for the Russian coal industry?

                as well as this:

                The Russian Coal Industry

  14. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

  15. et Al says:

    ‘b’ of Moon of Alabama thinks that Trump is neutered by the Flynn resignation. I disagree. The press is already howling and one headline (the ‘Independent’) goes as far as ‘Donald Trump’s team’s alleged contacts with Russian intelligence would be ‘the very definition of treason’. As usual, the actual facts are somewhat more complicated. Either way, it is clear that there is an all out attempt to put him in the box, but that can only possibly happen with the collusion of the Republicans – which would be self-defeating as it serves the Democrats even more and gives them leverage. The Democrats call ‘Fire’, when there is only the odd wisp of smoke, a baptism of smoke, so it’s not going to fly. This I think is the first real test for Trump so we’ll see how it goes.

    The only interesting comments I’ve seen about the Russians is that it only reconfirms the cynics view that the US is flaky and cannot be relied upon whomever is in charge. But Russia always knew it was a stretch. At worst, little changes as there is continuing dissension in European ranks. More likely is a gradual lifting of sanction and return to normality with little announced. I don’t see how extra sanctions of any note would be added unless you count putting more names on a list.

    • Fern says:

      Not sure I’d entirely agree with that, Al. I think there is a determination on behalf of TPTB/the Deep State/call it what you will/ to get rid of Trump at all costs. He’s simply too unpredictable. A good example is his comment to Bill O’Reilly when being interviewed and O’Reilly accused Putin of being ‘a Killer’, “what, you think our country is so innocent? We’ve a lot of killers too”. I mean, that’s just a revolutionary statement for a US President to make. I can recall nothing like it. I strongly suspect elements of the GOP have made a deal with elements of the Dems – Trump must be gone; we can all live with Pence.

      • Cortes says:

        What kind of people aiming to get into a position fail to do their own research? Do all other aspirants to the Oval Office go in there on Day One without any exploration of the world with which they’re about to interact on a wholly different basis from their previous experience? Flynn, if comments at the Turcopolier site are reliable, was foolish and deserved to be let go. His foolishness was in misleading his superiors about the nature of his conversations, not the conversations per se. Trump may just take a little pause in order to get the chance to skewer the remnant Obamaites and remove them from office.

        b is being melodramatic.

        • Fern says:

          Flynn was certainly both naive and foolish if he didn’t realise a) he was under survelliance and b) he had enough enemies within the intelligence community to guarantee leaks of anything, anything at all that was remotely compromising.

          I see the broadsheets are trumpeting (no pun intended) the possibility of pursuing a ‘treason’ charge against The Donald for the Russian ‘connection’.

      • et Al says:

        You may well be right Fern, but I feel it is still to early to call.

        Speaking of Deep State, a headline via google news caught my eye:

        Foreign Policy: Argument
        Trump Is Showing How the Deep State Really Works

        https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/02/15/trump-is-showing-how-the-deep-state-really-works/

        America’s intelligence agencies aren’t operating outside the law – they’re using the vast power they’ve acquired within it.

        The who, what, where, and why of the Trump administration’s first major scandal — Michael Flynn’s ignominious resignation on Monday as national security advisor — have all been thoroughly discussed. Relatively neglected, and deserving of far more attention, has been the how.

        The fact the nation’s now-departed senior guardian of national security was unmoored by a scandal linked to a conversation picked up on a wire offers a rare insight into how exactly America’s vaunted Deep State works. It is a story not about rogue intelligence agencies running amok outside the law, but rather about the vast domestic power they have managed to acquire within it.

        We know now that the FBI and the NSA, under their Executive Order 12333 authority and using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as statutory cover, were actively monitoring the phone calls and reading text messages sent to and from the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak…..
        ####

        More at the link.

        There are always unintended consequences, though whether they are noticed, let along have a quantitative effect depends on the environment. The only thing I can say for sure is that we live in extraordinary times. Trump may well be neutered, but at what cost and consequence? It does not change the fundamental dynamic that the world had move on from Pax Americana to Pox Americana whereby its soft power and credibility is significantly degraded. It’s still got at rotting stick, but not much else of note.

        I suppose the real question is, what do Trump supporters think? All politics is local, as they say. The divisions will highly likely become more accentuated. None of it good. The ground for a truly nationalistic president and politics could well be being laid here.

        The biggest danger is to the US itself I think. Russia makes a fine marketable brand for all that is evil, but it really is turning in to one of Aesop’s fables.. The Boy Who Cried “Wolf!”.

        So some ‘Deep State’ articles from the last couple of days:

        http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/02/14/a-win-for-the-deep-state/
        http://www.theamericanconservative.com/millman/the-deep-state-gets-a-scalp/
        https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-14/the-political-assassination-of-michael-flynn
        https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/american-deep-state-trump/516780/

        Winning the battle, losing the war? Premature victory? I’m not placing any bets even though this is an early win for the anti-Trumpists.

        • et Al says:

          I forgot to add, that it is only a full win if Flynn’s replacement is his antithesis. That raises an entirely different kettle of fish of how to even get one as a Trump choice. For Trump, it’s back to step 1. He needs to nominate a replacement who will then be even more closely grilled before being accepted or not. He or she may even be a better.

        • marknesop says:

          It cannot have escaped Trump supporters that the US intelligence services soft-pedaled Clinton’s crimes, but are monitoring every information source Trump has and are determinedly trying to help evict him from office. It should be lost on nobody why the CIA would prefer a Clinton presidency. This is a high-stakes game which is playing out without any public input whatsoever, and the big-power players are making their moves without any public consultation except to telegraph what they have already done; public support would be nice to have, but it is not necessary. Is that democracy? Sure is – American style.

      • Northern Star says:

        “we can all live with Pence.”

        Pence is a rabid far right-wing racist nutjob:

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

        Of course bipartisan elite vermin can live with a POTUS Pence..he’s one of their own..

        But there are a few others in America to take into consideration

        • shargash says:

          Of course this is in no way scientific, but a Democrat-leaning person put out a poll on Twitter as to which would be better: President Trump or President Pence, and Pence was winning by 2-1.

          I think the Democrats have actually gaslighted themselves into believing that Trump really is Hitler? You can’t be an effective opposition if you are completely divorced from reality.

          • marknesop says:

            That depends what you mean by ‘effective’. For them it means single-minded pursuit of the short-term goal without any regard for what the long-term implications might be. Consequently they are fixated on getting Trump out of office without due consideration for the precedent it will set, if successful, for future revolts which may make it impossible for any president of the USA to hold office long enough to establish a platform. Anyone think a true bipartisan candidate will emerge who could break the cycle of vengeance as one-half of the country makes the nation ungovernable to repay the sitting president and his/her party for what was done to their candidate?

            Me either. As Cap’n Barbosa would say, “You’re off the edge of the map, mate – here, there be monsters.” Hysteria may well push the USA into something they have never done, but which once done cannot be reversed, and thus precedent will be established.

  16. Lyttenburgh says:

    RBTH decided to run the story about Vovan and Lexus’ most recent prank call:

    Russian pranksters bust on U.S. Congresswoman in frantic phone call

    “Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, made ironic comments on Facebook about Waters’s conversation with the pranksters: “President Ai Bolyt from Lim-Po-Po… Russian fairytales are becoming reality. God, please don’t abandon America!” Responding to someone who left a comment, Zakharova wrote, “It’s shocking that people who influence the world’s future have no idea about it.”

    Vovan and Lexus are Russia’s most notorious pranksters, and their past victims have included VIPs, such as Elton John, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Senator John McCain. The pranksters are suspected of links with Russian secret services but they insist they’re acting independently.”

    Of course they are agents of FSB/VChK/GRU/Sport-Loto, reporting directly to Putin! How it can be otherwise?!

    #Limpopo #Limpopo #Limpopo #Limpopo #Limpopo

  17. Northern Star says:

    Exactly what asswipes in the soi-disant USA “Intelligence Brotherhood” are leaking all this stuff to American MSM…WaPo and NYT in particular….is any of it classified???
    The bipartisan camp of warmonger vermin in Congress.-colored boys and white geriatrics- have closed ranks and are in a full assault mode targeting Trump intending to avenge and correct the election stompin’ that the rotten wanna be Warmonger in Chief got in November.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/calls-for-investigation-into-trump-administrations-ties-to-russia/

    “A raging conflict within the US ruling elite has erupted to the surface of American political life. The battle involves the major institutions of the capitalist state—the White House, CIA, NSA, FBI and Pentagon—as well as the leaderships of both the Democratic and Republican parties. At the center of this conflict are divisions over foreign policy and concerns within the military-intelligence apparatus that the Trump administration is not taking a sufficiently aggressive line against Russia.”

    “This situation poses grave dangers. The intelligence agencies, acting primarily through the Democratic Party, are seeking to hijack the mass opposition to Trump and redirect it behind their war plans, whether directed against Russia or China, using supposed external enemies as lightning rods for rising social and economic distress.

    *****Workers and young people must not line up behind either faction of the ruling elite.****

    Both are preparing for new military bloodbaths to safeguard the profits of American corporations. They are fighting over tactics and the sequence of targets, not over whether to send American youth to kill or be killed in imperialist wars.”

    Totally Spot the F on……

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/02/15/pers-f15.html

    • marknesop says:

      I see. They tapped Flynn’s phone and recorded his calls to help force his resignation….but when Clinton said she had been authorized to have a private email server and that there was nothing untoward about it, and when that story conflicted with that of State Department employees who said they had brought to her attention that private email for official business is unauthorized, the intelligence services were all, like, what? what? Nobody had any record of that, and so Hillary’s denial prevailed.

      • Cortes says:

        The leaking members of the IC may find themselves hoist by their own petard. If any inkling as to their identity becomes known to the Administration, the Administration is amply endowed with mechanisms fully endorsed by the neocons (black sites, enhanced interrogation techniques, treason trials) which can be deployed at the whim of the Administration. The best protection they could have has been so eroded by measures they colluded in introducing and applying that one wonders how many people would sympathise if they “fell into a black hole ” invisible to the public at large.
        One man’s courageous whistleblower is another man’s Chelsea Manning…
        High stakes all round.

  18. et Al says:

    Antiwar.com: Let’s Play Journalism, and Make Fake News
    https://antiwar.com/blog/2017/02/14/lets-play-journalism-and-make-fake-news

    Peter Van Buren Posted on February 14, 2017

    This journalism thingie has gotten so easy, anyone can do it. Let’s play make the fake news funtime!

    The elderly may remember the Old Journalism. Back in BT (Before Trump) journalists in mainstream outlets had to gather facts (i.e., true things) from sources (people with names who knew true things) that would withstand fact-checking (looking stuff up, or having a second source confirm stuff.) If you quoted something already established as a fact, you were obligated to link to it.

    There were notably exceptions. For example, in 2003, the New York Times simply “believed” everything it was told about Iraq having massive destructive weapons and typed it into the paper. FYI: The Times assisted in generating enthusiasm for the Iraq invasion, helping kill 5,000 Americans and perhaps one million Iraqis!…
    #####

    More at the link.

  19. et Al says:

    Antiwar.com: Russian Spy Ship Patrolling Off Coast of Delaware
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/02/14/russian-spy-ship-patrolling-off-coast-of-delaware/

    The Russian intelligence ship SSV-175 Viktor Leonov, a small intelligence collection ship, is reportedly some 70 miles off the coast of Delaware this evening, slowly moving north along the American coast, but well out in international waters in the Atlantic Ocean.

    The Viktor Leonov recently docked in Havana, Cuba, the first visit in two years, and CBS News is claiming the ship is expected to head north to New London, CT before turning south and heading back toward Cuba, though it’s unclear where they got this itinerary…
    ####

    The temerity!

  20. et Al says:

    Antiwar.com: Commander: US Troops Have Killed Over 60,000 ISIS
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/02/14/commander-us-troops-have-killed-over-60000-isis/

    This Is 10,000 More Than Was Claimed in December

    Speaking at a defense industry conference today, Gen. Raymond Thomas announced that the United States has killed 60,000 ISIS fighters, insisting this proved US troops had been “pretty darn prolific” in their killing of ISIS people.

    This figure is noteworthy for two reasons. Firstly, the Pentagon had claimed 50,000 ISIS fighters were killed just back in December, meaning that the general is effectively claiming the US has directly killed 10,000 more ISIS fighters in just two months, a staggering figure…
    ####

    Lies, damned lies, and American SPOX.

    • marknesop says:

      Horseshit. Every bit of it. I seem to recall, in Iraq, that Donald Rumsfeld claimed at the outset of the war that the resistance consisted of not more than 10,000 ‘dead-enders’ who would not get on the freedom and democracy bandwagon. After that the US military killed each of them about 10 times. American casualty counts recognize everyone who is dead, with rare exceptions, as an insurgent who deserves to be dead. I think you will find the USA easily killed 60,000 people in Syria, but that few of them if any were ISIS.

  21. et Al says:

    Libertarian Institute via Antiwar.com: New Declassified CIA Memo Presents Blueprint for Syrian Regime Collapse
    https://www.libertarianinstitute.org/2017/02/cia-memo-scenarios-of-syrian-regime-collapse/

    A newly declassified CIA document explored multiple scenarios of Syrian regime collapse at a time when Hafez al-Assad’s government was embroiled in a covert “dirty war” with Israel and the West, and in the midst of a diplomatic crisis which marked an unprecedented level of isolation for Syria.

    The 24-page formerly classified memo entitled Syria: Scenarios of Dramatic Political Change was produced in July 1986, and had high level distribution within the Reagan administration and to agency directors, including presidential advisers, the National Security Council, and the US ambassador to Syria. The memo appears in the CIA’s latest CREST release (CIA Records Search Tool) of over 900,000 recently declassified documents…

    …The intelligence report’s contents contain some striking passages which seem remarkably consistent with events as they unfolded decades later at the start of the Syrian war in 2011:

    Although we judge that fear of reprisals and organizational problems make a second Sunni challenge unlikely, an excessive government reaction to minor outbreaks of Sunni dissidence might trigger large-scale unrest. In most instances the regime would have the resources to crush a Sunni opposition movement, but we believe widespread violence among the populace could stimulate large numbers of Sunni officers and conscripts to desert or munity, setting the stage for civil war. [pg.2]

    The “second Sunni challenge” is a reference to the Syrian government’s prior long running war against a Muslim Brotherhood insurgency which culminated in the 1982 Hama Massacre. While downplaying the nationalist and pluralistic composition of the ruling Ba’ath party, the report envisions a renewal and exploitation of sectarian fault lines pitting Syria’s Sunni population against its Alawite leadership:…
    ####

    Much more at the link. As usual, government try to game and be prepared for most scenarios, so it would be quite likely that this 1986 report was picked up and brushed off and polished up with current information. The United States of America: Responsible for Everything, yet Responsible for Nothing!

  22. et Al says:

    ForeignPolicy.com: The United States Used Depleted Uranium in Syria
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/02/14/the-united-states-used-depleted-uranium-in-syria/

    The airstrikes on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled areas employed the toxic material, which has been accused of causing cancer and birth defects.

    Officials have confirmed that the U.S. military, despite vowing not to use depleted uranium weapons on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria, fired thousands of rounds of the munitions during two high-profile raids on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled Syria in late 2015. The air assaults mark the first confirmed use of this armament since the 2003 Iraq invasion, when it was used hundreds of thousands of times, setting off outrage among local communities, which alleged that its toxic material caused cancer and birth defects.

    .S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques told Airwars and Foreign Policy that 5,265 armor-piercing 30 mm rounds containing depleted uranium (DU) were shot from Air Force A-10 fixed-wing aircraft on Nov. 16 and Nov. 22, 2015, destroying about 350 vehicles* in the country’s eastern desert.

    Earlier in the campaign, both coalition and U.S. officials said the ammunition had not and would not be used in anti-Islamic State operations. In March 2015, coalition spokesman John Moore said, “U.S. and coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” Later that month, a Pentagon representative told War is Boring that A-10s deployed in the region would not have access to armor-piercing ammunition containing DU because the Islamic State didn’t possess the tanks it is designed to penetrate….

    …“The use of DU ammunition against oil tankers seems difficult to justify militarily on the basis of the arguments used by the U.S. to support its use — that it is for destroying armored targets,” said Doug Weir, head of the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons. “Tankers are clearly not armored, and the alternative non-DU HEI [high-explosive incendiary] rounds would likely have been sufficient for the task.”…
    #####

    Nothing learned. The gift that keeps giving, Made in the USA!

    • marknesop says:

      Quite an accomplishment – one complete vehicle destroyed for every 15 30mm rounds expended. Considering the nose-mounted GAU-8 30mm fires 70 rounds per second, that’s pretty impressive fire discipline, wouldn’t you say?

      Unless he, as usual, employed the Pentagon ‘fudge factor’, and when he said ‘about 350 vehicles’, he meant ‘3 vehicles’.

      As I believe I have mentioned before, we are dealing – in American political and senior military figures – with people whose first instinct is to lie, even when telling the truth will serve just as well.

  23. et Al says:

    On the back of closing the I-rack Historic Abuse Tribunal (IHAT) coz British troops don’t commit war crimes, it’s now time to turn the screw and tidy up all the washy touchy feely crap that soldiers have any rights except to die for the glory of the United Kingdom.

    Daily Fail: Father’s outrage at plan to stop families suing the MoD: Proposals will reduce legal protection for troops and leave decisions over compensation to an assessor</b
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4225664/Father-s-outrage-plan-stop-families-suing-MoD.html

    L/Cpl Redpath, 22, of Romford, Essex, died in poorly-armoured Land Rover
    His father Colin Redpath tried to sue the MoD for five years for negligence
    He called plans unfair because 'at the end of the day [the MoD] are an employer'
    ####

    Touchy feely govenment is well and truly over. What it does expose is the UK gov's policy of 'Make Do' – doing everything on a shoe string and operating at the limits just to be Tonto to the Lone Ranger, Robin to Batman etc. etc.

  24. et Al says:

    Euractive.com: EU gets wake-up call as Gazprom eyes rival TAP pipeline
    http://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/eu-gets-wake-up-call-as-gazprom-eyes-rival-tap-pipeline/

    …While the first phase of TAP’s capacity will be filled by the BP-led consortium developing Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II gasfield, TAP says any gas supplier can bid for another 10 bcm of capacity through so-called Open Season auctions.

    Some of TAP’s shareholders – including Italy’s Snam and Belgium’s Fluxys – said they would welcome Gazprom’s entry, and EU sources admitted there may be little they can do to keep Gazprom from bidding when the pipeline is expanded after 2020.

    “We see the Southern Gas Corridor foremost as a major source of diversification: new gas, new route, new supplier,” European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič told Reuters.

    EU sources said Russian gas flows via TAP may jar with the terms set by its financial backers, such as the European Investment Bank. The bank said it is carrying out due diligence.

    At most, officials say they could extend an exemption from EU anti-trust rules to TAP in order to keep Gazprom out, but Brussels would require the firms and governments concerned to initiate the move…

    • kirill says:

      What happened to all the prancing about how they were 100% free of ebil Rusha?

    • Jen says:

      Ha, Banderites are blockading all rail traffic between Donbass and the rest of Ukraine so trains carrying coal can’t get through (because they claim the Donbass fighters are holding the nation to ransom with their demands) and Kiev dares not send the police or other law enforcement agencies to break up the blockades in case they defect to the Banderite side or any fighting shows up how weak the police are.

    • marknesop says:

      The nationalist ideologues will be their undoing in the end. Fitting, really.

  25. Northern Star says:

    A Bridge too Fast???

    http://www.newsweek.com/putin-bridge-crimea-doomed-collapse-541578

    Stooges in Russia: (Or who know Russsian geography and map reading better than I)
    Am I misreading the maps?….Isn’t Txuixk Krasnodar Krai a lot closer to Crimea than the Tamar Russian starting point of the bridge??
    Is that long filament (marked with E97) to Txuixka land..or what?? If so why not start the bridge there since it is a lot closer to Crimea????

    https://www.google.com/maps/@45.209646,36.7005048,10z

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Kerch+Bridge/@45.217346,36.326663,10z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x40ee9961c3db1f05:0x6dda6b81814ffe04!2sKerch+Bridge!8m2!3d45.217346!4d36.6068144!3m4!1s0x40ee9961c3db1f05:0x6dda6b81814ffe04!8m2!3d45.217346!4d36.6068144

    This appears to be a decent article: (worth the brief hassle of signing up)
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/03/view-vladimir-putins-multi-billion-dollar-bridge-crimea/

    • Special_sauce says:

      Oliphant is salivating over the prospect of getting to say “Toldya!”

      • Drutten says:

        What a load of bollocks. In fact, I’ve seen several of these arguments being brought up time and time again by various Ukrainian trolls since the beginning of the construction, and each time their predictions were proven false. First they said, quoting these Ukrainan experts that nothing would ever happen, then they said that OK, stuff seems to be happening but it’s clearly just for show – there won’t be any actual pile driving or anything because of these terrible mud volcanoes and other nasty things. Then they started the pile driving, and these trolls said that no pylons would ever be built because some Ukrainian expert says it’s impossible. Then the pylons started being built, and they said OK, but that’s just the terrestrial pylons, they do that just for show and they won’t ever build any in the water itself. Then they started building pylons in the water, and the trolls quietly left the discussion afterwards.

        Right now the span is moving across the water:

        Apropos the famous mud volcanoes in that region, those are on the mainland on the Taman side, well far from the bridge. And obviously they’re well acquainted with the fact that the earth is muddy and silty, which is why it’s so ridiculously over-engineered with huge 70-80 meter steel-concrete-steel piles arranged in clusters of 15 even for the terrestrial pylons.

        It just sounds to me like they’re grasping at straws to find things to complain about.

        Also, the article’s dead wrong on another point. The fact is that Crimea already gets its electricity and gas from Russia (the brand new Taman-Kerch HVDC line runs at full capacity since about a year, the new gas pipelines reached operating pressure about a month ago), and it’s also connected to Russian communications infrastructure through a submarine fiber-optic cable.

        The freshwater situation is different, there’s a looming shortage on that front that will first and foremost affect crop irrigation on the northern plains, thanks to Ukraine’s criminal decision to block the Dnepr canal. I’m sure they can solve that though.

        • Drutten says:

          And another thing, the notion that the projected clearance height of the main span (35 meters) is inadequate is just silly. The Sea of Azov is incredibly shallow and only permits rather small vessels. In fact shipping through the Kerch strait would have been impossible if they hadn’t dug a canal in the center of it.

          Most traffic goes to Rostov-on-Don and onwards up the Don and the Volga (through the Don-Volga canal), and a lesser amount to Mariupol. These aren’t supertankers or oceanic luxury liners, so to speak, and in order to even get to port in Rostov they first need to cross under a bridge with similar clearance. So that’s a moot point, really.

          I get the feeling that these Ukrainians are just making things up as they go.

          • marknesop says:

            They probably imagine that if it looks like getting finished despite all the gloomy prognostication, they can always slip over in their balaclavas and blow it up with their anti-tank gun like they did the electricity pylons. I hope so, because they would be in for a shock.

        • cartman says:

          Ukrainians have been trolling this bridge for decades. Not even the Kremlin Stooge Yanukovych would allow it to get started.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Строители Крымского моста сооружают пролеты в акватории

      Crimea bridge builders set spans across the waters
      The construction of the bridge across the Kerch Strait

      10:16 15/02/2017

      The Crimea, February 15 – AIF- The Crimea.

      The builders of the Crimea bridge have moved on to the next phase of constructing spans in the area, reported the press service of FKU Highways Directory “Taman”*.

      It has been specified that at the Western tip of the Tuzla spit there is being undertaken the installation of the deck for the sea piles by means of sliding it across from construction bridge No.1. After having collected from the factory a unit of the span-deck, which weighs more than 200 tons, it was transported onto the construction bridge, which has a special system, by which the deck-span will be moved and installed into its designed position.

      “Transverse sliding is used on this site, as all the spans between the spit and the island of Tuzla are mounted on one level of about 4 metres. At the sites from Tuzla island to the fairway, where the bridge begins the ascent up to 35 meters, is used a method of longitudinal sliding”, said the press service.

      According to the contracted engineering company there are now ready 243 of the 595 supports planned for the projected construction and nearly 4 thousand piles have already been shipped. The builders have also managed to integrate and lower onto the supports 28 spans (over 22,3 thousand tons of steel).

      Recall that with a length of 19 kilometres, the bridge across the Kerch Strait linking the Crimea and Krasnodar Krai will be the longest in Russia. The beginning of the movement of vehicles on the bridge is scheduled for December 2018; trains are to start running in December 2019.

      *ФКУ Упрдор “Тамань”: The Federal State Institution ‘Taman’, a Federal Highways Management agency, was established in autumn 2014 pursuant to the Federal targeted programme “The Socio-Economic Development of the Republic of the Crimea and the City Sevastopol until 2020” and approved by decree of the government of the Russian Federation, dated 11.08.2014 No. 790, and in accordance with the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation, dated 30.01.2015, No. 118-R, performs the functions of a state contractee for the design and construction of works that have the object of “Constructing a Traffic Crossing over the Kerch Strait”.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Thou art reading the chart wrongly, me hearty!

      The bridge starts off on the Russian side o’ yon strait at the spit that is the northernmost point of Tuzla isle. The spit points due west towards the Crimea shore, arrr!

      (Gettin’ ready for “Talk Like a Pirate Day” ye swarthy landlubbers, arrr!)

  26. PaulR says:

    ‘Eurovision 2017: Organising team quits en masse’:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38979114

  27. shargash says:

    Interesting poll from Gallup (http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx) showing a collapse in support for the US Democratic party since the election. The drop of 6% represents about 14 million people. Support for the Ds is now at its lowest level in, well, probably forever, and they are now behind the Rs by a significant amount. This is bad news for a party that controls almost nothing in the US at any level.

    I’ve been saying for a while that the Ds have seriously damaged their brand by their batshit insane descent into a foaming pig manure explosion, and it looks like the polls are reflecting that.

    Things are getting very strange here in the US. Someone recently commented that the US now has a Praetorian Guard, and I think that’s about right. Things are only going to get worse.

    • Northern Star says:

      “Someone recently commented that the US now has a Praetorian Guard ”
      I recently used the term….
      Here they are:

      …But somehow I don’t think the USA ‘Praetorian Guard’ will prove to be ultimately a force for anything ‘good’…..

      :O)

  28. marknesop says:

    What’d I say, just yesterday? If you are a complete, blindingly incompetent failure at your job, you now have a go-to excuse for your abysmal performance – “Wahhh!!! The Russians hacked me!!!!”

    Right on cue after Paul’s linked piece on Ukraine’s energy state of emergency, Ukraine announces…what? You guessed it – Russia has hacked Ukraine’s power grid and is playing havoc with its electricity supply, using ingenious ‘Telebots’ which attack industrial processes.

    Well, I have no respect to lose for western governments, so I can’t say “If they believe this, I will have lost all respect for them”. But has Chicken Kiev screamed “The sky is falling!!!” once too often? Who would buy this cockamamie story, really? Just after Ukraine announced it can’t get enough coal to fire its generator plants? Really?? Russia launched another nefarious cyber-attack at us? You poor muffins.

    Obviously Reuters expects to be taken completely seriously. This is just embarrassing.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    WSJ [paywall]:

    Spies Keep Intelligence From Donald Trump on Leak Concerns
    Decision to withhold information underscores deep mistrust between intelligence community and president
    Feb. 16, 2017 12:33 a.m. ET

    U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.

    Withholding information from the Chief Executive?

    Their boss!

    Is that not … somewhat strange?

    Does it not smack a little of …treason?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And news is out from US intelligence that USS Porter got “buzzed” on 14 Feb. in the Black Sea, whereas in reality this “incident” happened on 10th, if at all.

      Moscow sources in a position to know believe the US military was either exaggerating, or faking, last week’s incidents around the USS Porter – Destroyer Designated Guided, DDG-78 is its fleet number — in order to put pressure on President Trump’s readiness to relax the US policy of all-fronts confrontation with the Kremlin.

      The USS Porter interceptions, if they happened, are the first to be delayed in their public disclosure for several days. They are also the first not to be accompanied by videoclips shot from the decks of the US warships, and released through Pentagon-friendly websites….

      No official press release from either EUCOM or the US Defense Department exists. Instead, the incident claims were leaked to US news outlets.

      From “Dances With Bears”

      Is any further evidence needed to show that the “Deep State” is attempting to manoeuvre Trump?

      Se also: US Intelligence Withholding Sensitive Information From Trump for Fears of Leaks [Warning! Kremlin controlled.]

  30. Moscow Exile says:

    Putin accuses NATO of trying to embroil Russia in confrontation
    February 16, 14:14 UTC+3
    Vladimir Putin points out that “NATO has declared restraining Russia its new official mission”

    Putin: NATO keeps trying to draw Russia into confrontation, meddle in internal affairs
    Published time: 16 Feb, 2017 10:57
    Edited time: 16 Feb, 2017 11:25

    The accusations came as Putin addressed senior members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB on Thursday [16 February, 2017]. The president said that over the past years the global security situation “has not improved, but on the contrary, many existing threats have only become more serious”.

    NATO with its “newly-declared official mission to deter Russia” is one such threat, Putin said.

    This is the goal behind the expansion of this military bloc. It happened before, but now they have found a new justification which they believe to be serious”, Putin said.

    In fact, they are constantly provoking us, trying to drag us into a confrontation”, Putin stated, adding that NATO members “are continuing their efforts to interfere in our domestic affairs with the goal of destabilizing social and political order in Russia proper”.

    Putin added that foreign intelligence agencies continue intensive operations in Russia.

    In the past year 53 foreign intelligence operatives and 386 agents of foreign intelligence services have been busted”, he said.

    The president also expressed regret over Russia and Western nations no longer coordinating efforts to fight against common enemies such as terrorist groups.

    It’s in everyone’s interest to resume dialogue between the intelligence agencies of the United States and other members of NATO”, Putin said.

  31. Cortes says:

    JFK was known as “Jack the Hatless “; a delightful piece on the John Helmer site makes me wonder if VVP will become known as Putin the Peaked:

    http://johnhelmer.net/putin-nixes-notched-picks-peaked-kremlin-lapels-point-to-the-president-for-life/

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I never wear any other but peaked lapels. My wedding suit is just like the one that my father wore in 1948, as Mrs. Exile once pointed out to me, causing me to respond ,”If it was good enough for my father …”

      I told her that the British working class are extremely conservative. at least, they were when I was one of them 40 years ago.

      Mrs. Exile thinks I’m weird.

    • Special_sauce says:

      I hear the useless buttons on men’s jacket cuffs date back to a time when men would wipe their snot off with the cuffs of their jackets and the buttons were meant to discourage that behaviour.

      • marknesop says:

        Hmmm. You’d think they would have gone with fishhooks. Now that would be discouraging.

        I do know, though, the reason that the buttons on a woman’s shirt are on the opposite side to a man’s. When buttons were introduced, they were hand-made and expensive, and as a consequence, only the wealthy could afford them – poor folk made do with ties to hold their clothing together, or wore single-piece garments like shifts and tunics.

        Wealthy women of the day typically did not dress themselves; they were dressed by a maid. So the buttons are located for the convenience of a right-handed person dressing you. Works just as well in reverse, too.

        • Jen says:

          In those days, wealthy women not only did not dress themselves but needed at least an hour to put on all those stockings, petticoats, whalebone corsets, farthingales and crinolines, and that was before they even put on their outer garments. Then they usually changed twice or three times a day. On top of that they had wigs and lots of make-up. It was hard work being a wealthy woman doing nothing but getting dressed.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Nah, they used to button back their cuffs when they had to get their hands dirty or start fencing or whatever. Sleves used to be longer in the old days.

      • Jen says:

        In the days when people wore jackets all the time – because taking your jacket off but leaving your shirt on was like undressing down to your underwear – and still did heavy physical work, leaving the seam on the sleeve from the wrist up to the elbow undone and putting buttons on the edge of the seam to do up if the sleeve had to be closed was the practical solution. So a man could undo the buttons, roll up the sleeves, dig up weeds or shovel earth to clear out a ditch, and then when dinner-time came he could just roll down his sleeves, do up the buttons and presto, he was ready and presentable for polite company.

        This was way back in the days when most clothing was made by hand, clothes were expensive and most people only had one or two sets of clothes in their entire wardrobe.

  32. et Al says:

    In ‘The Russians hacked it’ news:

    The Register: Rasputin whips out large intimidating tool, penetrates uni, city, govt databases – new claim
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/15/rasputin_hacker_sqli_rampage/

    Ra, Ra Rasputin. SQL injection is his thing

    A Russian-speaking miscreant dubbed “Rasputin,” who potentially hacked into the US Election Assistance Commission and sold access to its systems, has struck again, it is claimed.

    Rasputin has allegedly infiltrated database servers within 60 organizations, US government agencies, and international universities. These victims include top universities NYU and Cornell in the US, and Oxford and Cambridge in the UK; the US city governments of Springfield, MA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Alexandria, VA; US state government of Oklahoma; the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development….

    &

    The Register: Kremlin-linked hackers believed to be behind Mac spyware Xagent
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/15/russian_spies_blamed_mac_spyware/

    iPhone backups can be slurped for Mother Russia, say researchers

    Kremlin-linked spies have been blamed for cooking up malware called Xagent, which targets victims running macOS to steal passwords, grab screenshots and exfiltrate iPhone backups stored on the Mac.

    Preliminary analysis by security software firm Bitdefender has uncovered links to the APT28 cyber-espionage group, elsewhere identified as a Russian military intelligence (GRU) unit blamed from last year’s infamous attack on the US Democratic Party, an earlier attack on the German Bundestag, and many more. The latest malware features the same dropper/downloader and similar command and control centre URLs, as well as the same artefacts hardcoded in the binary files as had been seen in previous strains linked to APT28 (AKA Fancy Bear)….
    ####

    That’s really bad. Obvs. This is good!*

    The Register: OK, it’s time to talk mass spying again: America’s Section 702 powers are up for renewal
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/15/section_702_mass_surveillance/

    And tech groups are starting the fightback now

    Analysis While the entire US political machinery has been caught up with one Trump-based scandal after another over the past three weeks, larger underlying issues are starting to re-emerge. And top of the list is mass surveillance.

    Section 702 of America’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expires at the end of the year – December 31, 2017. As such, it will need to be actively renewed by Congress. And the drumbeat has begun on getting Congress to have a full, public debate on the measure before it authorizes any extension….

    * For the USA.

  33. Warren says:

    Published on 15 Feb 2017
    Only 25 years after gaining independence from Russia, Lithuania is fearful of occupation again. The airspace above the Baltic states has seen regular incursions by Russian military aircraft since Russia annexed the Crimea. And the armed conflict that has been raging in eastern Ukraine for nearly three years has left people wondering if Lithuania could be next.

    This documentary tells the story of two young Lithuanians getting ready to defend their country in case the unimaginable happens and Russia invades. But the film is not about the war, it is about peace and the people who are willing to fight to preserve it.

    • marknesop says:

      Does ‘the airspace above the Baltic States’ belong to the Baltic States? I mean, obviously it’s ‘above’ the Baltic States – it would be highly unusual to find airspace under the Baltic States. But not all the airspace above the Baltic States belongs to the Baltic States, and therefore if the airspace referred to is ‘international’ in nature then there would be no such thing as ‘incursions’ into it by Russia, since it would not belong to the Baltic States. Sounds like very careful wordsmithing to me.

  34. Northern Star says:

    https://mapcarta.com/13997800
    As I tried to point out yesterday…it’s clear that the bridge placement is incorrect……..
    Obviously going from Chuska or Kavkaz to Opasnoye is way shorter than the current planned route.
    Please advise the appropriate Russian authorites to prevent any further expenditures of time or money on the current route.

  35. Northern Star says:

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/02/16/pers-f16.html
    “The political situation poses immense dangers. The brutal character of the Trump administration does not make its opponents in the intelligence agencies any less reactionary. They are conspiring to unleash not only bigger and more bloody wars abroad, but also war on the working class at home. The same think tanks that call for war preparations against Russia in order to maintain US domination of Eurasia insist that workers in the United States must be made to “sacrifice”—in the form of massive cuts in social programs and pensions—to pay for a huge increase in military spending.”

    Absolutely spot on analysis by Kishore…again

  36. Warren says:

    The secret world of Russia football hooligans

    16 February 2017 Last updated at 03:39 GMT

    At the 2016 European Championships, violent clashes between Russian and English supporters in Marseille put the spotlight on Russian hooliganism.

    Russian hooligans injured over 100 English supporters, beating two into a coma.

    It has raised serious concerns ahead of Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup.

    In rare interviews with members of the Orel Butchers – who violently attacked English fans in Marseille – a world is revealed where brutal violence has become a mark of honour.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38986206

    • Cortes says:

      Hmm. All those flower arranging, art appreciating, literature loving English fans ought to be protected.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Российские дипломаты отреагировали на фильм «Би-би-си» о футбольных фанатах

        Russian diplomats have responded to the BBC film about football fans
        11:23, 17 February 2017

        The Russian Embassy in London has said that a broadcast by BBC Two of a film about Russian football fans produces a shocking experience. An Embassy review of the was posted on its website on Friday, February 17.

        The Embassy Diplomatic Mission noted that “One gets the feeling that the main purpose of the film is to sow fear in British society for the safety of the fans who have planned to go [in 2018] to Russia and to discourage them from making the trip”.

        It was stressed that the makers of the film had “based it on the football riots in Marseilles, as well as shots of fringe elements amongst the Russian football fans” and had made “maximum efforts and means to discredit Russia and the upcoming World Cup”. “A similar campaign was conducted before the Olympic games in Sochi,” added the Embassy diplomatic mission.

        Diplomats reminded that violent marginal elements exist in every society. “There are no exceptions, as has been experienced in the European Championships. In Russia, security is of paramount importance”, assured the Embassy.

        In June 2016 before and after the UEFA Euro-2016 match between Russia and England in Marseilles, there were mass riots in which British, French and Russians took part. More than 30 people suffered injuries. Because of the actions of its fans, the Russian team was provisionally suspended from participating until the end of the tournament and the Russian football authority fined 150 thousand euros. In connection with the clashes, some of the participants, including fans from Russia, received custodial sentences.

    • marknesop says:

      Russia has three ‘football hooligan’ groups listed, among which the Orel Butchers are not included. England has more than sixty-five.

  37. et Al says:

    euters: As talks falter, Moscow finds brokering Syria peace trickier than waging war
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-syria-brokering-analys-idUKKBN15V2QQ?

    By Olzhas Auyezov | ASTANA

    With its show of military force, Russia changed the tide of the Syrian civil war. It is finding the next phase — brokering an end to the fighting — a tougher proposition.

    A round of Syria peace talks sponsored by Russia ended on Thursday with no joint communique, usually the minimum outcome of any diplomatic negotiation, and saw opposing Syrian groups exchanging angry tirades at each other and the brokers….

    …Moscow’s peace drive started hopefully, with the first Astana meeting in January. The Syrian rebels and government came together for the first time in 9 months, and agreement was reached to consolidate a shaky ceasefire.

    But by the second round this week, things had gone downhill. The Syrian rebels debated until the eleventh hour about whether to attend at all, finally sending a smaller delegation which arrived in the Kazakh capital a day late…

    …A successful outcome would have handed a PR coup to Russia right before U.N.-led talks on Syria in Geneva on Feb.23. But instead, Lavrentiev, the Russian negotiator, was left trying to explain why the latest round had ended in acrimony….
    ####

    What and odd analysis and conclusion. Surely all the facts laid out in the article point to not only a weak and divided ‘opposition’, but also weak and divided backers – Saudi Arabia & Qatar. The longer they don’t seriously take part, the less say they will have in the ultimate settlement. I don’t understand why the ‘journalist’ writes that Russia somehow expected a clear success with this round of talks. It’s very clear that the whole situation is rather complex and the sands are still shifting. Russia has only proposed outlines and a possible draft constitution. The ‘Opposition’ is throwing its toys out of the pram. Weird.

  38. Northern Star says:

    Hmmm..let’s see..all youse slimy motherFs foamin’ at the mouth about Trump’s people allegedly talkin’ to the Russkies in the months prior to the election… let’ see what it really means to hijack an election with MEGA underhanded manipulative acts that are actually treasonous
    The hostages were USA citizens who could have been killed by their captors at any time:

    • Cortes says:

      Amazing how the “west ” projects its disgusting behaviour onto others… Think Baku 26 etc.

    • marknesop says:

      Here, Ron West makes an interesting case that what we are seeing is a CIA coup attempt against a sitting president, because of the moola invested in having Russia as an enemy.

    • shargash says:

      Don’t forget the Nixon told the South Vietnamese in 1968 that he would get them a better deal if they undermined the peace talks. That led not only to a million or two dead directly in the war after ’68, but also to the rise of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the subsequent slaughter of millions.

      Johnson had recorded the calls, so he knew what Nixon was up to, but he couldn’t go public with it because he would have been impeached for illegal wiretapping. Ah, those naive and innocent times!

  39. marknesop says:

    Next up in the “But Russia” sweepstakes, Russia rigged the Dutch referendum which kept Ukraine from getting the Association Agreement it wanted. Apparently the group who formed the Dutch left’s “Ukrainian Team” and lobbied against the agreement….were all actually Russians in the service of the Kremlin, and not actually Ukrainians at all. Or they were kind of Ukrainians, but the horrible kind, from the east, who speak Russian. Or something. The Times is not sure – they’re only sure something terrible happened and Russia was at the bottom of it.

    Oh – and it is now safe to say that Ukraine’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest last year was completely political, and ‘about the plight of the Tatar minority’, now that the contest is over and the winner established. Back then, though, it was not political at all or even about Russia particularly. Rules were made to be broken, right?

    “Last year’s winner, the Ukrainian singer Jamala, beat a Russian in an upset victory with the song “1944” about the plight of Ukraine’s Tatar minority deported from Crimea under Joseph Stalin.”

    • marknesop says:

      The perfidious Washington Post leads with the headline, “Tillerson, in diplomatic debut, urges Russia to pull back in eastern Ukraine”. Here’s what he actually said.

      “As I made clear in my Senate confirmation hearing, the United States will consider working with Russia when we can find areas of practical cooperation that will benefit the American people,” he said. “Where we do not see eye to eye, the United States will stand up for the interests and values of America and her allies. As we search for new common ground, we expect Russia to honor its commitment to the Minsk agreements and work to de-escalate the violence in Ukraine.”

      He asked Russia to work to de-escalate the violence in Ukraine, and did not – according to his statement – ever mention Russia ‘pulling back’ in eastern Ukraine or otherwise hint that he believed Russia was in Eastern Ukraine at all.

  40. Moscow Exile says:

    Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, known as Vovan and Lexus, making a hoax phone call to dangerous dotard John McCain.

    Kuznetsov and Stolyarov posed as the Ukraine Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, and as the speaker of the Ukraine parliament, Andriy Parubiy.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      This overuse of the word “friend” really bugs me!

      Who is friends with whom?

      Is Trump Putin’s “friend?

      Is the person whom “Songbird” McCain believes to be prime minister of the Ukraine McCain’s “friend”? McCain refers to “Groysman” as “my friend”.

      The fucking idiot even refers to the North Vietnames as his “friends” after chuckling over the spoof allegation that he had been brainwashed by them.

      Interesting point, by the way: what brain has there ever been in that cretin’s head that could have beeen located, never mind washed?

  41. Moscow Exile says:

    ‘You’re JUST like CNN’ Trump LASHES OUT at BBC reporter in fiery ‘fake news’ clash [video]
    DONALD TRUMP belted the BBC during an astonishing press conference as he compared the British broadcaster to CNN.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        So the BBC journalist whom Trump berated ran off home (he lives in Washington D.C.), where he then banged out this copy for Auntie BBC, who lives in London, UK:

        Trump’s most extraordinary news conference
        16 February 2017

        Sopel ends:

        And here’s my one curious takeaway.

        The media that he professes to hate and despise he seems to spend an awful lot of time watching.

        You wonder, when does he find time to govern?

        Yes, Mr. Sopel, one may well ponder over the same question as regards the Dark Lord of Mordor, he being so busy organizing murders, invasions, annnexations, hackings etc.

        And by the way, brush up on your BBC English, would you, old chap?

        The last sentence above should have read:

        You wonder when he finds time to govern.

        Indirect question, see, old boy — and, therefore, no question mark

        You could, however, have asked a direct question if you had changed the punctuation thus:

        You wonder, “When does he find time to govern?”

        Toodle-pip!

        🙂

  42. Moscow Exile says:

    In the photograph — the mama of Ukrainian corruption (in the words of Groysman) getting a hug from some kind of confectioner

  43. et Al says:

    The Independent via Unz Review via Antiwar.com: Mosul Set to be Completely ‘Destroyed’ in Battle to Free It from Isis
    http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/mosul-set-to-be-completely-destroyed-in-battle-to-free-it-from-isis/

    Patrick Cockburn

    The Iraqi armed forces will eventually capture west Mosul, which is still held by Isis fighters, but the city itself will be destroyed in the fighting, a senior Iraqi politician has told The Independent in an interview.

    Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurdish leader who until last year was the Iraqi finance minister and prior to that the country’s long-serving foreign minister, says that Isis will fight to the last man in the densely-packed urban districts it still holds.

    “I think west Mosul will be destroyed,” says Mr Zebari, pointing to the high level of destruction in east Mosul just taken by government forces…
    ####

    Falluja redux? At least it is not the holy of holy’s – East Aleppo – which has entirely dropped off the news along with the western & Gulf funded ‘humanitarian’/media arm of Al-Queda, the Shite Helmets.

  44. et Al says:

    NYT via Antiwar.com: Syrian Rebel Gets Life Sentence for Mass Killing Caught on Video
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiwy-30pJbSAhXBOyYKHa26AKwQFggcMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2017%2F02%2F16%2Fworld%2Feurope%2Fsyrian-rebel-haisam-omar-sakhanh-sentenced.html&usg=AFQjCNGImWYzBEP9EUlCt2XCap5vHBX-vA

    STOCKHOLM — A former Syrian rebel who took part in the mass killing of seven captured Syrian soldiers in 2012 was sentenced to life in prison in Sweden, where he had traveled and applied for asylum, officials announced on Thursday.

    The former rebel, Haisam Omar Sakhanh, 46, was arrested last March in Karlskoga, Sweden, and charged with a crime against international law.

    According to prosecutors, Mr. Sakhanh was among a group of rebels who took part in the killings of the soldiers, in Idlib Province in northwestern Syria, in 2012. A former rebel, horrified by the atrocities, provided a video of the killings to The New York Times, which revealed them in September 2013….
    ####

    Not a word about Al-Queda or the Islamic State as according to the official western history of the war in Syria they only arrived later… But what’s the difference if so-called ‘rebels’ behaved in the same way?

  45. et Al says:

    Neters: New U.N. team aims to bring Syria war crimes to court
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-warcrimes-idUSKBN15V1QU

    A new body is being set up at the United Nations in Geneva to prepare prosecutions of war crimes committed in Syria, U.N. officials and diplomats said on Thursday.

    The General Assembly voted to establish the mechanism in December and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is due to name a judge or prosecutor as its head this month.

    “We expect to start very, very shortly with just a handful of people,” a U.N. human rights official told Reuters.

    The team will “analyze information, organize and prepare files on the worst abuses that amount to international crimes – primarily war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – and identify those responsible”, she said. …
    ####

    Uh-huh. If not guilty, under the suspicion of guilt regardless. It’s the same schtick used by the International Criminal Tribunal for the ex-Yugoslavia. Accuse someone of a crime with anything from hearsay to a witness statement and hold it against them or the state under threat of sanctions until the person/s are handed over. Then Prosecutors will bolster flimsy or non-existent evidence by offering plea-bargaining – a lower sentence in return for providing evidence (fake or real) against others.

    The point is, an indictment can easily be raised and once collared, there’s no checking out. It also gives the West a fig leaf to maintain sanctions on a devastated Syria that has to rebuild itself. The fact that it will punish Syrian citizens en masse is of no-consequence because that is not the proven intent. Syria thus to be treated as Serbia until it also is totally neutered and subservient to the West. At least that is the plan. It certainly won’t succeed as well as Syria will have access to other non-western resources and institutions such as BRICS.

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