It Is What It Isn’t: Fake News Comes of Age as Ideology Trumps Evidence

Uncle Volodya says, “When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”

Our deeds still travel with us from afar; and what we have been makes us what we are.

George Eliot, Middlemarch

We have arrived, in my opinion, upon the moment in the course of human history which marks the nadir of the journalistic profession. I cannot conceive of a situation in which the occupation could become more debased, more wretched than it has become already, and what we refer to as the ‘mainstream media’ no longer makes any effort to tell the truth, to substantiate what it purports to be true with hard evidence or even any evidence, or to disguise its service in the cut and thrust of political bias and character assassination.

Shaun Walker, The Guardian‘s corpulent correspondent in Russia, and his sidekick Roland Oliphant claimed to have seen with their own eyes a convoy of regular Russian Army vehicles and soldiers crossing the border from  Russia into Ukraine…but neither of them got a photo or a video clip despite their both supposedly being journalists by profession, who understand the maxim, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. But his dinky little cell-phone camera is ever ready to do yeoman service in the pursuit of mocking Russian food on Aeroflot flights, and he has lots of time to arse about on his Facebook group dedicated to what he feels is a Russian obsession with dill. All of his complaining is backed up, it goes nearly without saying, with photographs. Yet he didn’t get a picture of the stealth-invading Russian battalions even though he knew the subject was hotly debated, and proof would have made his name a household word. Well, he is a household word, although it’s not “Shaun Walker”. But you know what I mean.

Or peruse this piece of rubbish. Among yearning for a repeat of the 1917 revolution on its hundredth anniversary and quoting the Moscow Times’ tiresome demand for Russia to  ‘condemn its Soviet past’

It is at this moment that Russia and its president must address the legacy of 1917—the throngs in the streets waving red banners, dragging the emperor from his throne and pumping slugs into him and his kids. “The upcoming centennial of the 1917 revolution that toppled the czar and paved the way for Bolshevik rule promises to put the Kremlin in a tight spot,” predicts the (still-) independent Moscow Times. “At the same time, the Kremlin is unwilling to unequivocally condemn the events the revolution set in motion or its Soviet past.”

and selectively quoting Putin without context or background,

And it is Yeltsin whose deconstruction of the USSR itself is what Olga from the Volga is thankful her red-eyed grandmother did not live to see. (Putin has called it “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”)

so as to imply yet one more time that Putin seeks to recreate the Soviet Union, the author persists with the simpleminded meme that Putin rigged the American presidential election to prevent Hillary Clinton from winning.

He and his fellow western journalists are aided in this bizarre allegation by the USA’s intelligence agencies, who claim to have evidence that points to Russian interference.  They can’t show anyone, of course – everything the CIA deals with has important national security implications, and if they told the world how Putin hacked American elections, well….well, he might do it again. Or something.

Consider. What actually happened? Information was released which reported that Mrs. Clinton was using a private email server to conduct government business, as Secretary of State for the Obama government, so as to avoid the law which required all official email traffic to be archived as government property.

Was this true? While I can’t speak to her motivation, her unauthorized use of a private server is a matter of public record, as are testimonials from State Department staff members that they mentioned repeatedly the behavior was not permitted, to which Mrs. Clinton allegedly replied that she had permission. If she said that, it was a lie.

Then information was released which said the Democratic Party establishment was conspiring to rig the Democratic nomination for Mrs. Clinton by manipulating the process against Bernie Sanders, who enjoyed a significant following and who was assessed by polling results to have the best chance of beating Trump. Was that true? Sure was; the DNC chair, Debbie Wassserman-Shultz, resigned in disgrace – Mrs Clinton promptly promoted her to honorary chair of her presidential campaign, and President Obama rushed out a supportive statement as well, demonstrating that political heavyweights don’t really care if you rig elections as long as you’re not Russian.

So what sabotaged the win Hillary Clinton thought she had in the bag was the release of damaging information about her which was true and accurate. It was not a pack of lies, and the suggestion that the truth about such activities should have been kept from voters until after they had cast their ballots would be monstrous. There was absolutely no proof that Russia was responsible for releasing that information, if they even knew it, and they were pretty far down the chain of people in a position to know.

What are the rigging methods in Russian elections of which the Kremlin is always accused by the morally-superior beacon of democracy? Ballot-stuffing. Carousel voting, a term US State Department spokeshole Jen Psaki was quite comfortable using in the most accusatory fashion, although she had to admit when questioned that she had no idea what it meant. Suppression of opposition candidates and advertising time which disproportionately favours the ruling party. If Vladimir Putin can actually tip elections in foreign countries with such confounding precision without access to any of those tools, why would he rely on such quaint and archaic blunt-instrument methods to rig elections in Russia?

Fake news stories in the western media abound, although the west rarely if ever acknowledges them; when FOX News, mouthpiece of the Washington regime-changers, broadcast a story ostensibly about protests in Russia, but featuring footage of rioting in Athens, The Daily Telegraph set a new standard for crawling by positing that the channel had just made an innocent mistake, like Athens is a lot like Moscow and people make that mistake all the time. It then proceeded to excoriate the paranoid Russians for imagining that it was done with intent.  Al Jazeera broadcast a fake report of the fall of Tripoli in the west’s successful regime-change war against Gaddafi; the supposed capture of the city by ‘opposition forces’ was actually put together in a studio in Doha, Qatar. I’ve lost track of the number of accounts of Putin’s fabulous stolen wealth which he has squirreled away in secret bank accounts somewhere which nobody can find or prove to exist, yet his status as one of the world’s wealthiest men remains part of the argot of common wisdom.

Well, I spent a lot longer on that than I meant to do; but, damn it, that ‘Putin stole our election’ nonsense just turns my teeth sideways. How could he have done that? Voting machines are not connected to the internet, and there is no realistic suggestion that Russia actually manipulated the vote count. Somebody released true information regarding unlawful and undemocratic behavior by Mrs. Clinton, but not a shred of evidence supporting Russian involvement has been produced, although the CIA maintains that it knows.

Anyway, I wanted to take you through what is described as a step-by-step analysis of a fake news story, an example of Russian trickery, or manipulation by Putin’s international minions. The author is eminently well-qualified to discuss fake news, or at least as well-qualified as one can become in the short interval since caution was thrown to the winds, and fakery in the news went from a hobby to mainstream default mode; he worked for more than three years in Pheme, a multinational online project funded by the European Commission to define, evaluate and model fake news.

Let’s take a look. The story used as an example is a clip about Russian soldiers using the Uran 6 robotic mine-clearance vehicle to demine sites in Aleppo following the victory of Syrian government forces’ retaking of the city. I want you to note at the outset that the author claims the story is completely false.

This post shows a story originating in the Middle East, about Russian soldiers clearing up bombs left in Syria by Obama’s troops. The story was related using first-hand video and personal accounts, and was picked up by major outlets. However, the truth was that this story was completely false — fabricated and framed in such a way that it looked like real news. We’ll pull on threads behind this fake news, and find just one small part of what may well be a large, international network that is feeding our Western media.

Please note also the odd choice of words; “…bombs left in Syria by Obama’s troops”. We’ll see if anyone actually claims that.

Mr. Derczynski acknowledges at the starting line that there is nothing untoward with the original clip – it probably does show Russian soldiers in the performance of their duties in Syria, and the vehicle featured probably is the Uran 6.

Then the token jackass Ukrainian enters the fray, announcing that the item is a fake and the vehicle is actually of Croatian origin. He is quickly shot down by Marcel Sardo. I think most of us know Marcel’s work, and I have found him usually pretty accurate; always, where military hardware is concerned, and he seems to be a bit of an aficionado. The author points out that while there is no reason at this point to believe anything is other than what it seems, in fact this is a common tactic, and the good-cop-bad-cop are often on the same side or are even the same person.

Then the story is picked up by RT, a source Mr. Derczynski tells us many of the Russians he talks with don’t really trust. I think you can probably imagine the Russian circles he moves in. He tells us RT claims the Uran 6 is the same robot the Russian military used to help clear Palmyra of explosives left behind by Islamic State (IS). Still possible this is a real story, he says, although he seems to believe RT is setting the stage for something.

As an aside, Islamic State did in fact take Palmyra, and remained in control of it for long enough to do tremendous damage – some of which appeared to have been wrought just for the sheer deviltry of it and for the grief it would cause, rather than the achievement of a strategic objective. It is difficult to imagine, I think, that the inhabitants of Palmyra left explosive booby-traps for the soldiers who drove out Islamic State – since their rule was unpopular – so it does not seem too much of a stretch that the explosives and mines left behind (a matter of public record) were left by Islamic State. There is apparently nothing thus far to suggest the story is ‘fake news’, although the author is suspicious about the direction it is heading.

And then, BAM! The fake hits us like a runaway locomotive.

Sarah Abdallah joins in on Twitter, attributing the explosives left behind to ‘Obama’s moderate rebels’. Oh no, you don’t, Sarah, you delicious-looking young female trading on your looks and flirting with the camera. This has now just become fake-news propaganda, framing the story so that it reflects badly on the Greatest Democracy That Ever Lived.

Let’s take another pause to reflect. I have no idea if Sarah Abdallah is the real thing, or a Putin shill – I’m not familiar with her and have not seen her before this. But how realistic is her attribution to ‘Obama’s moderate rebels’ of the explosives left behind in Aleppo? Well, the Obama government was fairly well known to be arming the Syrian rebels both overtly (which it admitted) and covertly (which it did not). The U.S. government also admitted, at various points in the conflict, that it had less and less of an idea who was who and who was al Qaeda as things went along. Oftentimes the side the USA supported was blanket-referred to as ‘moderate rebels’ for the sake of optics, but it is well-established that the USA provided not only arms, but satellite radios which would allow rebel commanders to call in air strikes by US military aircraft. The USA wriggled and squirmed and called for endless ceasefires in Aleppo whenever the Syria government forces appeared about to exploit a vulnerability. It seems pretty clear that Washington supported anyone it thought might get the job of ousting Assad done. It is therefore quite conceivable that explosives left behind in Aleppo with the intent of killing or injuring incoming enemy forces were left behind by ‘moderate rebels’ . It is also quite conceivable that some, perhaps many of these ‘rebels’ were supported by the U.S. government.

Other sources go on to say that departing extremist rebels placed explosives even in children’s toys. I have no idea if that is accurate, but considered in the frame of the deliberate murder of many children from the buses leaving Aleppo, lured out with the promise of snacks and then blown up by a suicide bomber, I would have to say it does not seem that far-fetched.

In summary, I see little in this story to support the author’s contention that it is ‘fake news’, and it was not conclusively labeled as such until sources began to attribute the explosives left behind in Aleppo to rebels trained, armed and supported by the USA and its allies. Russian soldiers were acknowledged to be demining the streets and districts of Aleppo, which they need not do if there were no bombs. If we stipulate there were bombs, who left them? The residents of Aleppo? Putin? It seems pretty clear who left them. So the remaining issue is whether they were supported in their endeavors by the USA. And I think the answer must be yes.

I’m sure Russia’s military does public relations, the same as the United States military does public relations – US military forces on deployment regularly turn up cleaning a local monument or painting classrooms in a school, and are duly photographed for a feelgood story back home which creates the impression they are welcomed and fitting in wherever they are, which is not always the case. You can call it propaganda if you like, but not only when Russia does it. I have said for a long time that Russia needs to get serious about image management, and it looks like they are taking it to heart. Refusing to adopt the tools of modern influence-leveraging because they are demeaning and you believe your performance should not need amplification is a little like announcing your national army will continue to use the longbow 100 years after the invention of the musket.

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1,328 Responses to It Is What It Isn’t: Fake News Comes of Age as Ideology Trumps Evidence

  1. et Al says:

    Globe and Mail: Brazil roiled as President Temer reportedly taped arranging bribe
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/brazil-political-crisis-deepens-as-president-temer-reportedly-taped-arranging-bribe/article35039223/

    …Late on Wednesday, the newspaper O Globo reported that President Michel Temer was caught in a secret audio recording authorizing the head of meatpacking giant JBS SA to pay bribes to buy the silence of disgraced political leader Eduardo Cunha, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for corruption….

    ####

    Well that didn’t take so long.

    In other news, it seems that Petrobras has turned the corner!

    Neuters: Petrobras turnaround could yield first dividend in years in 2017
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-petrobras-idUSKCN18D2Y6

    Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA) will pay its first shareholder dividend in three years if the company turns a profit in 2017, Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente said on Wednesday.

    Parente took the helm of the world’s most indebted energy company a year ago and said he is ahead of schedule with an aggressive restructuring plan to cut its $95 billion debt, reduce costs and sell assets.

    Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, made a record operating profit in the first quarter and if that continues throughout the year, chances are good that the firm will pay a dividend, Parente told Reuters in an interview in New York….

  2. Moscow Exile says:

    The hysteria continues unabated …


    May 29, 2017 Vol 189 No 20
    Inside Russia’s Social Media War on America

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I wonder why it is dated May 29?

      Is it issued fortnightly?

    • Warren says:

      US media is humiliating itself in front of the world. Serious can the United States a country that incessantly boasts that it is “the greatest country on Earth” and a “shining city on the hill” elect a “Russian agent” as its head of state? Are the US’s 17 or more intelligence agencies and services that incompetent and compromised as to allow that to happen? The entire US media and political class are in the grip of mass hysteria and paranoia.

    • Drutten says:

      Yes, the Greek orthodox christian Saint Basil the Great and his 500-year old classic Bulgarian-Tatar-inspired cathedral-turned-museum is taking over the White House.

      Meanwhile the actual Kremlin enviously looks on.

  3. Warren says:

    Published on 16 May 2017
    Radical anthropologist David Graeber analyzes how Trump fits into US history who represents real estate interests above all else

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Морпехи США перемерзли у границы с Россией
    Американские вояки повторили бесславный «эксперимент» немцев под Москвой в 1941-м

    US Marines frozen at the Russian border
    American soldiers repeated the inglorious “experiment” of the Germans near Moscow in 1941

    The American newspaper “Defense News” has written about a case following which the Pentagon, which day and night praises its “best army in the world”, ought to have been filled with shame. What happened was as follows: 200 selected US Marines took part in the joint “Viking 2017” exercise near the Norwegian-Russian border. But their equipment could not stand the temperature, which was below minus 45 degrees Celsius [minus 49°F]. These “elite”, who were garbed in stupid clothing, became so numb with the cold that they refused to perform combat training and just so as to get a little warmer, they lit a fire out in the open, which is a gross violation of military regulations: after all, the Russians on the other side of the border would have probably seen this fire in couple of ticks! On top of that, the marines were forced to warm themselves with parachute fabric, although this proved to be of no help.

    It seems that having got closer to Russia, the American marines felt the same way that the Germans did near Moscow in 1941, or the French in 1812. And yes, they apparently looked the same — comical and pitiful — all wrapped up and with frostbitten noses and ears …

    Here is how Norwegian expert Jonas Raidem commented on the US Marines’ shame:

    “In their voluminous clothing, they looked like Michelin men. They thought that they would be warm, but the poor devils were frozen solid. The manufacturers of uniforms for the US military did not consider that at such low temperatures, moisture emanating from the body would freeze within the layers of clothing. In addition, when deploying “Bravo” company units into their positions, it turned out that the special forces’ equipment could not withstand the frosts and needed major repairs. The zippers of the suits did not unzip, the clothing was bursting at the seams, and plastic backpacks, boots and ski bindings cracked and burst open …

    And such are the American fighting men that are going “to defend US interests” in the Arctic. How are they going to go about doing that under such conditions that are there? After all, at the top of the world, minus 45 is still far from the temperature extreme: it is often minus 60 there.

  5. et Al says:

    How convenient.

    WallStreetonParade.com: Dutch Documentary May Have Contributed to Abrupt Dismissal of FBI Director Comey
    http://wallstreetonparade.com/2017/05/dutch-documentary-may-have-contributed-to-abrupt-dismissal-of-fbi-director-comey/

    Six days after Zembla, a Dutch public broadcasting program, aired an investigation of U.S. President Donald Trump’s business ties to Russian oligarchs and mobsters, Trump fired the man in possession of a great many more details on that matter: FBI Director James Comey. Next, Trump announced that his law firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, was providing a “certified” letter stating that he had no business interests in Russia. (That law firm, as ABC News was quick to point out, was itself named “Russia Law Firm of the Year” in 2016 by Chambers & Partners.)…
    ####

    More at the link.

    It’s a big MoFo ‘IF‘. If there was anything, then the US intelligence services certainly already know about it as they track all sorts of dodgy money flows around the world, which then leads to the question ‘If there is evidence, why didn’t they bring it up early on in the election campaign or leak it already?’. All smoke and still no fire.

  6. Northern Star says:

    “In its place, the Justice Department has provisions for the appointment of special prosecutors, who operate with greater independence than a US attorney, but can still be removed by a president willing to pay the political price. The selection of Mueller makes it more difficult for Trump to take such action.

    *****Moreover, coming only a week after Trump fired Comey because he would not shut down the Russia investigation, the selection of Comey’s predecessor at the FBI is a clear slap in the face to the White House.*****
    (The words corrupt, arrogant, morons..don’t quite capture the situation)

    Wednesday’s events underscore the depth of the crisis gripping official political circles in the United States, the heart of world capitalism. The bitter conflicts that have erupted to the surface express the interests of rival factions of the US financial oligarchy that are both totally corrupt and reactionary.

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/18/trum-m18.html

  7. Moscow Exile says:

    Правозащитники заявили, что вывезли из Чечни более 40 геев
    По словам представителей, “Российской ЛГБТ-сети”, эти люди подвергались преследованиям

    Human rights activists have said that they have brought out of Chechnya more than 40 gays
    According to representatives of “Russian LGBT Network”, these people had been persecuted

    Human rights activists have said that they have taken out of Chechnya more than 40 gays who had been allegedly persecuted in that country.

    “At the moment we have taken 43 gays from Chechnya to other regions of Russia. In the interests of the safety of these people, we shall not name the regions where they are now”, reported the press service of the organization “Russian LGBT Network”. “We are seeking visas from European countries to help the Chechen gays go abroad. Nine of the 43 are already in other countries.

    The human rights activists’ organization is not stating which country the Chechen gays have been taken to.

    “These are a few different states. We are in the process of talks with their governments about the issuance of visas to the gays. The issue is about opening humanitarian corridors for Chechen gays”, said the organization. “Gays began to be detained in Chechnya from the end of December 2016. We received complaints about this before the appearance of this information in the media.”

    Earlier in the press, there appeared information about the fact that in Chechnya gays are allegedly persecuted. In the republic this accusation has been flatly rejected: “It is impossible to prosecute these people in Chechnya because there are not any there”. In the interior Ministry of the republic they said that they had not received statements on the fact of harassment and murder of gays on Chechen Republic territory.

    Meanwhile, the Lithuania Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, told the media that on 17 May there had arrived in the republic two gays from Chechnya who had declared that they had been persecuted at home. French gays have filed a lawsuit against Ramzan Kadyrov. The European Parliament has adopted a resolution in support of gays that are allegedly persecuted in Chechnya.

    What a gay day it has been!

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Excellent. Stupid peons who donated literally hundreds of thousand Euros to various handshakable “civil rightists” organizations ofr “evacuation of Chechen gays” must be shown some “results” and asked for more donations.

      Sooo… We have:

      1) A claim that Chechen gays are persecuted but without mention of real names or places (in the name of security, of course!)

      2) Unnamed and “unshown ” escapees who give interviews by the drop of a shekel – who also cannot be shown.

      3) A bunch of trusting idiots who is going to belive another bunch of either idiots or connivers who claim (without showing any proof, again!) that they are “saving gays”.

      I mean – it’s been nearly 20 years since “Wag the Dog” hit the screens. Didn’t you, “smart people,” learn a thing or two after that?

  8. Northern Star says:

    Calls for Trump impeachment start to bellow from stupid mfs who don’t see that that may spiral the nation into an ungovernable state..except by martial law.
    I wouldn’t put it past them to try to reinvigorate that GD warmonger whore as POTUS!!!!
    Hmmm..let’s see..Trump is given some type of retroactive impeachment…so he never was POTUS to begin with..hence the whore-by some obscure interpretation of the Constitution -becomes POTUS!

      • yalensis says:

        So, these are the steps that would have to happen, like a Mission Impossible complicated op, with no margin of error:
        (1) House of Representatives votes for a new speaker, and Nancy Pelosi wins.
        (2) Trump and Pence are impeached, and removed from office.
        (3) Leaving Pelosi as the Prez.
        (4) Pelosi appoints Hillary as her Vice Prez.
        (5) Pelos resigns, leaving Hillary as Prez.

        Yeah, it could all happen that way…

        • et Al says:

          What if Trump fires Pence and makes Ryan his VP, is that doable?

          • yalensis says:

            Would that facilitate (1)?
            Because it seems to me that (1) is the toughest nut to crack, how on Earth can they get a Republican-controlled House to vote in Nancy as the Speaker??

            • et Al says:

              I don’t know but I assume that the Democrats are hoping the Republicans are dumb enough to dump Trump over endless smoke and mirrors. It’s not gonna happen. My solution allows the Republicans to have Ryan as Prez if Trump goes down, and of course they’d need a no.2 for Ryan too. That’s what I would do. It shows assertive action and you remain in control.

  9. Ilya says:

    Our boy Tolya K. on CrossTalk:

    Yalensis on suicide watch.

    • yalensis says:

      I don’t get it, why would I commit suicide just because Tolya is on TV?
      Which reminds me, it’s almost time for another fan fiction episode of Tolya’s adventures.
      Any suggestions from the peanut gallery?

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. – Tolya’s English is very difficult to understand because of his strong Yiddish accent.
        Just sayin…

        • marknesop says:

          He does have a noticeable accent – I’ve never been good at pinning them down further than that, and can’t tell the difference between a Russian and a Czech speaking English. There was a Czech named Tomas who used to work for Campbell Construction, and I tried speaking to him in Russian only to get a baffled look. Then I tried French – ditto. He turned out to be from the Czech Republic, and could speak Polish (which I can’t, not a word) as well as his native tongue. He has since moved on, sadly, because he was a really good guy. Obviously he also spoke English, although his grammar was a little rough and he had a noticeable – but unidentifiable by me – accent.

          Al Jazeera once invited me to appear on one of their broadcasts, which I thought would probably be unethical for me at the time as I was still a member of the Canadian Forces and supposed to be apolitical on issues where my government might have taken a different position. So I declined, but I recommended either Anatoly or Eugene Ivanov instead, and Anatoly accepted. That broadcast is still linked on here somewhere, although it was a long time ago and might be hard to find now. Anyway, I thought his accent was more noticeable then than it is now, or perhaps I was just not prepared for it as his written English gives no hint of it and I had never heard him speak before.

          I found his delivery no more difficult to understand than that of Dmitry Babich, who also has a noticeable accent.

          • yalensis says:

            I was joking a bit about the Yiddish accent. But Tolya has a noticeable quirk in his pronunciation of the /R/ sound. Instead of the rolling Russian /R/ or even the normal American /R/ he delivers the laryngean “GH” type sound. Which sounds like somebody is gargling.
            Sometimes described as a Yiddish accent, but it’s actually genetic. Some people simply can’t flap their tongues. Lenin, for example, has the same accent, if you listen to recordings of his voice, Lenin has that same laryngeal /R/ sound.
            I can’t help but wonder what Kirill would make of these quirks. Given his innovative theories of “Trotskyist” phonology.

    • marknesop says:

      I thought he did quite well.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I did as well, considering the fact that Lavelle is always butting in with long discourses. I sometimes wonder why he invites guests: he seems to want to do all the talking.

      • yalensis says:

        If Anatoly hopes to be on TV more, then needs to hire himself a media coach.
        Or at the very least to heed Hamlet’s advice not to “wave his hands about” so much.
        And his hand gestures are quite odd — that flailing palms outward thing is quite disconcerting.

        • marknesop says:

          It may be unconscious nervous behavior. When I took a course in Classroom Instruction (in the military), the staff made us give 5-minute presentations which had to start exactly on time and be within 30 seconds of exactly 5 minutes long, and then got us to watch the video afterward. Most people have an unconscious habit, like pushing their glasses up their nose every few seconds, playing with change in their pocket (which looks mildly disturbing) or frequently clearing their throat, which they are completely unaware of doing. Some of the army guys who would probably just shrug their shoulders upon hearing they were going to re-tour in Afghanistan were petrified of speaking in public – I remember a sergeant who gave a presentation on stamp collecting, during which he sweated so much I thought he would pass out.

          The drawback is that if you focus on controlling your unconscious movements, you have a hard time focusing on the conversation and tend to lose the thread of the discussion. If you spend more time speaking in the public eye, the nervous habits gradually disappear. Anatoly does not have a lot of experience in a public format. He did all right, and he’ll get better.

          • yalensis says:

            Anatoly may get better and smoother with time and practice.
            But one must not lose sight of the message he proposes to deliver.
            He made it pretty clear on his blog that one of his goals in returning to Russia, is to promote the theory of so-called “scientific racism” to Russian (and now presumably international) audiences.

            Lavelle didn’t really give him a chance to get into all that racist stuff just yet, but it’s bound to come up eventually.

        • et Al says:

          I saw a sea lion doing the Macarena. Not very well.

          Methinks I need new glasses.

  10. Moscow Exile says:

    March 17, 2017, Gdansk, Poland:

    A presentation by a certain Professor Selim Chazbijewicz, who is hardly widely known in the peninsula, but who reckons he knows a lot about the Crimea:.

    THE CRIMEA.
    Three years of occupation.
    Three testimonies about the killings, abductions and detentions under Russian occupation


    The professor above walking with a person who is carrying the flag of the “Majlis”.

    Well hush my mouth!

    Why, the professor is a Polish Tatar!

    And he has this idea of making the Crimea a Polish protectorate.

    You know the score: Poland shall live again and stretch from (the Baltic) sea to (the Black) sea…

    Source: Польска – дружба…
    Polish – friendship…

    • Drutten says:

      Yeah, those poor Crimean Tatars. Free to do whatever, with their national holidays officially recognized, their language officially recognized as an official language, with full-on state support after having been rehabilitated as victims of Stalinist crimes (rehabilitation includes pensions, paid bills, even housing in many cases, especially when it comes to properties they used to own pre-deportation and that Ukraine just kept evicting them from for some 20 odd years, check out Mr. Yatsenyuks famous speech on squatting Tatar “vermin”)

      Oh, the Crimean Tatars celebrated hidirlez last week, by the way. In Crimea. This is what that looked like:

      Note Crimean Tatar flags all over the place, Crimean Tatar singing, hell, I’ll be damned – Crimean Tatars! Everywhere! Must be some kind of Putinist concentration camp where they’re all being lined up for extermination, that’s the only reasonable explanation, innit.

      • Drutten says:

        Salty sarcasm aside… Russia has indeed cracked down on two distinct Crimean Tatar-related phenomena. Namely:
        1. Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist movement with the outspoken goal to jihad the shit out of the entire planet in the name of Islam and and impose Sharia law on everyone. Already banned in Germany and Russia among others, and a subject of constant controversy in many other Western countries.
        2. Chubarov and Dzhemilev, two Mejlis-related Kievan stooges with close connections to the aforementioned extremists, that few actual Crimean Tatars actually give a flying fuck about but who have been artificially elevated to “leaders of the Crimean Tatars” or some such in Western propaganda.

        These things don’t concern 99.99% of them.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And Jamala’s folks are still running their boarding house down in the occupied peninsula, which establishment, I should imagine, mostly has filthy Moskals as its guests.

        But those swinish Mongol-Tatar-Finno-Ugric oppressors from the east, I believe, closed down her folks’ beach-bar after the occupation, as well as many other similar drinking dens, because of public health regulations etc.

        I mean, what gives the so-called Crimea authorities the right to act in such a repressive way with the “native” population of the peninsula?

  11. Drutten says:

    Crimean bridge photo-update, everyone!

    The motor bridge is rapidly making its way across the waters, well ahead of schedule:

    The first “elevated” supports have finally shown up too, they’re meant to gradually increase in height all the way up to the main span and its projected 35-meter clearance:

    All in all, 80% of the motor bridge supports are done already, so it’s just the last fifth that they’re working on now, the taller ones.

    The humongous supports for the main span are also beginning to take shape (they have their massive foundations done, and now it’s the pillars next):

    And the main span itself is well underway:

    And the specialized barges that will move it into place have been finished and are just about to depart Sevastopol:

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks for these postings, Drutten. These are awesome vids and pics showing what is going on in Crimea. Especially liked the holiday fair vid, that was awesome.

    • Jen says:

      I like the first photo especially, it all looks so very clean.

      Thanks for the updates, Drutten – you could make a separate post just out of the photos themselves, they only need captions and dates.

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks for the excellent and informative update!

  12. Once again the US Air Force bombs the Syrian military while Russian S-400 remains silent: http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/us-coalition-bombs-pro-government-forces-southern-syria/ri19878

    • I thought Russia was supposed to “strengthen” Syria’s air defense capabilities after Trump bombed Syrian troops for the first time?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yeah, supposed to do…

        Clear evidence, if any more were needed, of Russia’s weakness and the fact that, despite all its bluster, the place is just a Third World shithole compared with the mighty West under the avuncular leadership of “Uncle Sam”.

        Thanks for the timely reminder of the reality of the situation as regards Russian capabilities!

    • Jen says:

      Karl, please read that article properly. The US hit a combination of Syrian / Iraqi Shi’a forces, not the SAA alone. The fact is that Syria and Iraq are attempting to re-establish road contacts with another in southern Syria territory. We should be glad that the SAA has got this far in the war that it can plan for and carry out this particular project to secure Syria’s southeastern borders. Russian help was absent because the Syrians did not ask for it, they believed they and the Iraqis could do it themselves. They would have prepared for the possibility of being attacked. Please give the Syrians and Iraqis some credit for having got this far despite being under US-coalition attack. (But of course you won’t because Ay-rabs are brown people of low IQ in your estimation.)

  13. Drutten says:

    Be realistic for once, Russia isn’t going to shoot down US (or Israeli, for that matter) aircraft unless Russia’s own personnel on site are being threatened. The Russian air defense assets are there to protect Russian troops, not to cover Assads ass everywhere in every way.

    In practice, this means that they’re basically never going to be used because both Israel and the US are actively discussing things with Russia and when they strike Syrian regime targets on occasion they pretty much do so with tacit Russian approval, and it means little to the Russian plan.

    Russia isn’t there to provide some kind of unconditional full-on support for Assad, again, they’re there to kill jihadis from the Caucasus and the Central Asian republics, help the Syrian armed forces just enough so that they do not succumb, and provide Syria with a lot of international diplomatic support in the UNSC and so on, all this in order to get some kind of political solution rolling. Russia has done Assad an incredible favor in this regard, and continue to do so despite increasingly venomous attacks from the West and the other jihadi backers. But Russia can’t be expected to do everything for Assad, and they have explicitly said so.

    • Drutten says:

      …In short, helping Syria stay afloat in the midst of this jihadi-Western onslaught is all good but Russia has its own interests to consider as well, and they have made this abundantly clear from the very beginning. The support is not unconditional and it’s not something Russia’s going to spend everything it has on, but the fact that they’re keeping up the present level of support despite the aforementioned political/diplomatic/economical attacks that grow more vicious by the day shows that they’re taking that commitment seriously.

      Now, what follows is some wishful thinking on my part… Barring some kind of international agreement on a political solution soon (sounds unlikely even though there’s been progress), considering the sheer amount of Chinese Uyghur jihadists in the Idlib region (some say they number in the tens of thousands!) and that China’s already taken a lot of steps to stop them from returning, perhaps China could get involved and “relieve” Russia ahead. China’s already been helpful in the UNSC on Syria, and their other activities seem to suggest they’re somewhat interested in some kind of foreign adventure. Russia can’t go on forever on its own fighting the good fight trying to stop or at least slow down the Western wrecking ball… It has other issues that require a lot of attention.

      • et Al says:

        It’s a lesson that the West has taken a long time learning. Again: Aircraft don’t take and hold territory, soldiers do.

        It is the special foreskins who are in a weak position here so attacking the Syrian/I-racki guys is a sign of this weakness. If the sf’s were heavily manned and supported they wouldn’t be bothered. Instead they have to rely on the ever reliable kurds. No wonder they are skittish.

  14. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, on the gay front: This piece from VZGLIAD confirms the Scarlet Pimpernel type rescue of 43 gays from Chechnya.
    In the final tally:

    34 gays were whisked out of Chechnya to other, more tolerant, parts of Russia.
    2 Chechen gays were smuggled into Lithuania.
    An additional 7 gays were smuggled into other unnamed EU countries.

    The final tally adds up to 43 homosexuals on the lam.
    As one commenter noted, 43 is an odd number. Which means that one of the gays did not have a partner, and is probably lonely.
    Any volunteers? Ilya?

    • et Al says:

      But does that fill several concentration camps for gays that the Fake News hating established media has widely reported? The Independent also quote someone calling it ‘genocide’. How can the United States resist direct and immediate military Humanitarian Intervention?

      • yalensis says:

        Well, in theory these 43 gays could be the only lucky ones who managed to escape from a much larger pool of incarcerated or incarceratable people.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Meanwhile, on the gay front: This piece from VZGLIAD confirms the Scarlet “

      It confirms no such thing, It only retranslates (“propagates” if you like) the reports by the professional humanrightists. That provide no proof whatsoever.

      2 Chechen gays getting as far as Lithuania is the object demonstartion of… nothing. Nothing at all.

      • yalensis says:

        That’s true. But I was assuming (perhaps optimistically) that VZGLIAD, unlike Westie rags, double-checks its sources before promulgating some gossip.

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha!!! That was pretty clever.

  15. Warren says:

    Published on 17 May 2017
    Journalist, author, and Democracy Now! co-host Juan González says the Puerto Rican debt crisis, now entering a critical bankruptcy phase, results from a legacy of U.S. colonial domination and predatory Wall Street debt

    Former Ukraine Minister Named To Manage Puerto Rico’s Financial Crisis

    A U.S. board overseeing the finances of the bankrupt territory of Puerto Rico announced that it is hiring Ukraine’s former finance minister to steer the Caribbean island out of crisis.

    Natalie Jaresko served at a critical time in Ukraine’s history from 2014 to 2016 as it faced a deep recession and insolvency.

    “Ukraine’s situation three years ago — like Puerto Rico’s today — was near catastrophic, but she worked with stakeholders to bring needed reforms that restored confidence, economic vitality, and reinvestment in the country and its citizens. That’s exactly what Puerto Rico needs today,” said board chairman Jose Carrion.

    Jaresko was born in Chicago to Ukrainian immigrants and previously worked for the U.S. State Department and the Horizon Capital fund.

    https://www.rferl.org/a/former-ukraine-finance-minister-jaresko-to-manage-puerto-rico-financial-crisis/28387912.html

  16. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    http://varjag2007su.livejournal.com/1055653.html

    I applaud the Ukrainian students’ efforts to instruct the Tatar-Mongolian Lyakhs in European values, and let me add that Poland will never be a normal country until every statue of John III Sobieski has been replaced with one of Dmitry Klyachkivsky.

  17. Warren says:

    Even Kreaklies are aghast at the ignorance and absurdity of the US media.

    • Warren says:

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Note the term “minarets” used above to describe “St.Basil’s”.

        St. Basil’s Cathedral

        Although it is known to everyone as St. Basil’s, this legendary building is officially called “The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat”. The popular alternative refers to Basil the Blessed, a Muscovite “holy fool” who was buried on the site (in the Trinity Cathedral that once stood here) a few years before the present building was erected.

        The Cathedral was ordered by Ivan the Terrible to mark the 1552 capture of Kazan from Mongol forces. [This bugs me! Kazan was the capital city of the “Golden Horde”. They were Tatars who lived there then and still live there now. They had “occupied” the place for about 300 years when Ivan IV decided to annex what has become known now as Tatarstan and its capital, Kazan. I have many good Tatar acquaintances here and work with a couple of them who are doctors doing clinical research. My dacha neighbours are Tatars and are very good, cultured and well educated professionals. Their little great granddaughter is my little girl’s friend. This term “Mongol” always conjures up for me images of John Wayne in his abysmal Hollywood movie “Genghis Khan” — ME] It was completed in 1560. That is pretty much all the genuine history that is known about this celebrated landmark. There are, however, scores of legends. Nothing is known about the builders, Barma and Postnik Yakovlev, except their names and the dubious legend that Ivan had them blinded so that they could not create anything [else with which the cathedral could be compared]. Historians unanimously state that this is nothing but urban folklore.

        Architectural specialists are to this day unable to agree about the governing idea behind the structure. Either the creators were paying homage to the churches of Jerusalem, or, by building eight churches around a central ninth, they were representing the medieval symbol of the eight-pointed star. The original concept of the Cathedral of the Intercession has been hidden from us beneath layers of stylistic additions and new churches added to the main building. In fact, when built, the Cathedral was all white to match the white-stone Kremlin, and the onion domes were gold[en] rather than multi-coloured and patterned as they are today.

        In the 17th century, a hip-roofed bell tower was added, the gallery and staircases were covered with vaulted roofing, and the helmeted domes were replaced with decorated ones. In 1860, during rebuilding, the Cathedral was painted with a more complex and integrated design, and has remained unchanged [ever] since.

        For a time in the Soviet Union there was talk of demolishing St. Basil’s — mainly because it hindered Stalin’s plans for massed parades on Red Square. It was only saved thanks to the courage of the architect Pyotr Baranovsky. When ordered to prepare the building for demolition, he refused categorically, and sent the Kremlin an extremely blunt telegram. The Cathedral remained standing, and Baranovsky’s conservation efforts earned him five years in prison.

        The Cathedral is now a museum. During restoration work in the seventies a wooden spiral staircase was discovered within one of the walls. Visitors now take this route into the central church, with its extraordinary, soaring tented roof and a fine 16th Century iconostasis. You can also walk along the narrow, winding gallery, covered in beautiful patterned paintwork.

        One service a year is held in the Cathedral, on the Day of Intercession in October.

        Opening hours: Daily from 11.00 to 17.00, closed on Tuesdays.

        [edited by ME]

        So the building has always been a Christian church and still has a church (or a “devotional chapel”, as we would probably say in English) within its walls. So why is the term “minarets” used in the Tweet above?

        Interestingly, that Corsican bandit and erstwhile atheist revolutionary leader, Buonaparte, always referred to St. Basil’s as “the mosque” when he and his Grande Armeé, together with its Polish, Italian, Austrian, Italian, Prussian, Saxon, Bavarian etc., etc. allies were uninvited guests in Moscow.

        Seriously peeved at his having to withdraw his forces from Moscow and Mother Russia, the “Emperor of the French” ordered that “the mosque” be razed. Fortunately, his order was never carried out. I do not know why: either his sappers could not be arsed (too busy looting) or his engineer officers refused to do this on cultural grounds, or (more likely, I guess), they did not have much time left in order to do this.

        They left, and the cathedral still stands.

        They left on October 19, 1812, by the way. It was not snowing and it was not cold. October can be quite a pleasant month here, Goldener Oktober style.

        “The Russian winter set in with all its severity on the 6th of November” wrote one of Buonaparte’s officers, Captain Jean-Roch Coignet, in a diary that he kept of the retreat.

        No doubt the weather was “severe” for the French captain, but records show that by Russian standards, the winter of 1812-1813 was not a particularly hard one.

        Now don’t all you folks forget now: the Russian winter defeated the French and German invaders!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The parenthetical statement:

          [This bugs me! Kazan was the capital city of the “Golden Horde”. They were Tatars who lived there then and still live there now. They had “occupied” the place for about 300 years when Ivan IV decided to annex what has become known now as Tatarstan and its capital, Kazan. I have many good Tatar acquaintances here and work with a couple of them who are doctors doing clinical research. My dacha neighbours are Tatars and are very good, cultured and well educated professionals. Their little great granddaughter is my little girl’s friend. This term “Mongol” always conjures up for me images of John Wayne in his abysmal Hollywood movie “Genghis Khan” — ME]

          should not have been italicized, of course!

          😦

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            ” Kazan was the capital city of the “Golden Horde””

            Nah, Kazan was never a capital of the “Golden Horde”. They were bloody “separs” who wanted independance from th Horde, in fact. The old caputal of Sarai (“Palace”) was near modern Astrakhan. Kazanians and Russian tatars are very touchy on the subject. They like to remind everyone that they are not some filthy Mongols, but descendants of the Volga Bulgars – who converted to Islam long beofre steppe roaming infidel Mongols! They also pride themselves of being a keepers of urbanite civilization as opposed to “barbaric” Mongols.

            “This term “Mongol” always conjures up for me images of John Wayne in his abysmal Hollywood movie “Genghis Khan” — ME]”

            Plox – no!!! I still shudder at the review of that film! Horror, horror…

            • yalensis says:

              “Those who oppose me shall be destroyed. Those who submit to me shall be spared.”

            • Jen says:

              That film “Genghis Khan” which starred John Wayne and Susan Hayward was partly made in exterior locations that were apparently downwind of nuclear test sites in Nevada. Over the following decades most people who had worked on that film, including the two leads, died of cancer. Not sure if we’d call that justice …

              • Moscow Exile says:

                It was the will of Allah.

                • Jen says:

                  The will of Tengri (the Mongols’ shaman god), not Allah.

                  Genghis Khan and his followers weren’t Muslim though some of their descendants in Central Asia and the Middle East did adopt Islam. The Mongol empire was actually famous for its religious tolerance. Some time after the Mongol empire fell, the Mongols back in the homeland adopted Tibetan-style Buddhism and that is still their main religion.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  That’s right. In fact, that’s why, I think, the Volga Tatars think they are a cut above the Central Asian ones because the latter adopted Islam after they had.

                  As regards the term “Volga Tatar”, they used to be called “Volga Bulgars” and a Volga Tatar once told me that they switched to using the term “Tatar” because “the Russians were scared of Tatars”!

                  A very nice Tatar lady acquaintance of mine from Ufa, Bashkortostan, a believer (though certainly not a fundamentalist: she dresses in Western clothes and does not cover her head) once told me, by the way, that she did not consider Crimea Tatars to be the real deal: she said they were really Turks, albeit that all Tatars are Turkic peoples. They all speak Turkic languages, of course, but she told me that Volga Tatars cannot understand Crimean Tatar.

                  As regards the pagan Tatars, that is why there are Polish “Lipka Tatars”. The Lipka Tatars are descendants of pagan Tatars who migrated to what is now Lithuania, then the last pagan outpost in Europe, because they were under pressure to convert to Islam.

                  This man below had Tartar forebears:

                  Charles Bronson (Karolis Dionyzas Bučinskis). His father was a Lipka Tatar Lithuanian. There are Lipka Tatar Poles as well. There are Muslim Lipka Tatars in Poland and Lithuania, but I think most now are RC. Bronson was a Roman Catholic.

        • Jen says:

          CNN probably thinks St Basil’s Cathedral looks exactly the same as this building in Agra, in India:

          The four towers at each corner of the Taj Mahal building complex are minarets, and their presence indicates there is a mosque within the complex whose centrepiece is actually a mausoleum for a former Mughal sultan (Shah Jahan) and his wife.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Another thing:

            Clearly the dimwits at CNN do not know that the Kremlin and not the museum (and chapel within) that is St. Basil’s is the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation, just as the White House, Washington is the official residence of the President of the USA, and that the term “The Kremlin” is used to refer to the government of the Russian Federation in a similar sense as to how “White House” is used to refer to the Executive Office of the President of the United States.

            From Russia insider:

            Here’s a helpful guide for TIME. The Kremlin:

            Not the Kremlin:

            • marknesop says:

              I always used to think the Kremlin was the red-brick structure, but that must be just a wall, and the Kremlin the white building with the green roofs, behind; right?

              • Moscow Exile says:

                The Kremlin walls used to be white until quite modern times:

                Reconstruction: White Moscow Kremlin and Red Square in 1800

                The word “Kremlin” just means “citadel”, “fastness”. There are many Kremlins in Russia: at Kazan, at Tula etc.

                Below, Tula Kremlin:

                The buildings within the Moscow Kremlin are armouries, palaces and administrative buildings. The most modern building is a completely out-of-place Soviet glass and concrete monstrosity built in the 1960s, the State Kremlin Palace, which was finished in 1962:

                There are also on Cathedral Square within the Kremlinthree cathedrals and the Ivan III Great Bell Tower. Until the 20th century, this was the tallest building in Moscow and nothing was allowed to be built taller than it. You see, those Moskals always had to keep a watch out for those pesky Mongol-Tartars, who had a habit of dropping by when least expected and creating havoc, the rotters!

          • marknesop says:

            The design of a domed ceiling and roof, fairly common in hot climates, is said to naturally promote ventilation and cooling. It’s known as the ‘Stack Effect’, and is usually accompanied by ‘trickle vents’ in the arched windows immediately below. So the original motivation likely has little to do with religion, but in cooling a building which would by its purpose hold a large crowd.

            Although Moscow doubtless has some hot days, this obviously was not the motivation behind its design, and it was likely just cultural aesthetics.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Moscow certainly does have some hot days. It was too bloody hot for me in summer here when I first moved from Misty Albion. The low 40s Celsius (104°F and higher) are not uncommon here in midsummer, and droughts and forest fires often do occur in summer.

              The worst thing that sometimes happens is when the peat bogs dry out and then there occurs spontaneous combustion of the dry turf or forest fires caused by drunken prats not dousing their campfires or shashlyk charcoals properly and the smoke that thus ensues can last for weeks.

              Latynina blames Putin when this happens or puts it down to Russia being a third world shithole, unlike Southern California or Spain or New South Wales, of course, where forest/bush fires are acts of god — or maybe Putin. You never know!

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Free Democratic Russia on the left and Totalitarian Mordor (“country downshifter with the economy in tatters” tm) on the right.

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    And there are very many who believe that this insane piece of shit should have become President of the USA:

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    Ukrainian retards strike again!

    Crimean officials call the Ukraine lawsuit against Stalin and Beria a mockery
    May 19, 2:16 UTC+3
    Reports said on Thursday that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office had gathered evidence for charges against Stalin and Beria over the deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944

    SIMFEROPOL, May 19. /TASS/. Claims by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office about the evidence gathered for charging Joseph Stalin and Lavrenty Beria over the deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 do not entail any practical consequences and are little more than a mockery of the tragedy the Crimean Tatars went through in the middle of the 20th century, an official told TASS on Thursday.

    “All these decisions don’t entail any practical effects for the Crimean Tatars and only add a painful imprint (…) as a mockery over their tragedy”, said Zaur Smirnov, the chief of the State Committee of the Republic of the Crimea.

    By putting forward charges against Stalin and Beria over the deportation, the Ukraine is seeking to avoid responsibility for its total inaction on the Crimean Tatars’ problem over the 23 years from 1991 to 2014, he said.

    “The Ukraine is trying to bypass responsibility for the fact that not a single president, not a single government, not a single convocation of parliament adopted legislative acts on the political rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatars”, Smirnov said.

    He recalled that a decree on the rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatars and other peoples that suffered from Stalin’s repressions in the Crimea was signed by President Vladimir Putin on April 21, 2014, after the Crimea and the city of Sevastopol had reunited with Russia.

    “The Ukraine has shown once again that it is trying to squeeze the maximum profit from the history of the Crimean Tatar people and its deportation”, Zaur Smirnov said. “This was so in previous years (when the Crimea was still part of the Ukraine – TASS) and this is still so today.”

    “The criminal cases that the Prosecutor’s Office is instituting today is for people who have long ago already passed away to the other world and is a clumsy continuation of the policy of populism”, he said.

    Reports said on Thursday that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office had gathered evidence for charges against Stalin and Beria over the deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944.
    Investigation of the case was resumed back in December 2015 by the so-called Prosecutor’s Office for the Crimea in Kiev.

    [edited by ME]

  20. et Al says:

    Neuters doing its bit for investigative journalism of the right kind…

    Neuters: Exclusive – Putin’s ex-wife linked to multi-million-dollar property business
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-russia-putin-foundation-exclusive-idUKKCN18F0QL?

    By Svetlana Reiter | MOSCOW

    …The former wife of Russian president Vladimir Putin helped create and now supports a foundation that owns a historic Moscow property generating millions of dollars from tenants, a Reuters examination of property records has found.

    The building was renovated with help from associates of Putin, and the rental income is paid to a private company owned by a person whose name is the same as the maiden name of Putin’s former wife, corporate records show…

    …A source involved in the renovation said Lyudmila Putina, then still the president’s wife, visited Volkonsky House to inspect the work. “We all knew that the (Kremlin property) department was constantly overseeing the process,” said the source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. “When Mrs Putin made an inspection visit, they immediately closed down the whole of Vozdvizhenka Street.” …

    …The arrangements appear to fit a pattern in Putin’s Russia,…

    …Reuters was unable to establish on what terms the language centre acquired the building. ..

    …The CDIC’s most recent available accounts show that in 2015 its income from all sources was 343,350,000 roubles ($5.93 million). It was not clear what all those sources were…
    ####

    It could be truish, but Neuters appears to be unable to disclose its anonymous sources but is able to tie it all together to make a jolly good story for bedtime!

    I’ll give them credit for trying, but null points (either eurovision or diving) for the very low quality of such an investigation. I wonder if Navalny helped them out? After all, the best trick is to feed your information to other sources so that there appear to be ‘multiple corroborative reports’ smoke = fire, in short.

    • Drutten says:

      It’s probably trueish, like you say. Dom Volkonskovo was built in 1774 (and significantly altered in the late 1897s, and in 2013 again, see below) and it’s had quite a rich history involving people all the way from Prince Volkonsky to Lev Tolstoy himself.

      It was left in a state of moderate disrepair after the fall of the USSR (it had been used by various Soviet authorities and organizations prior) but was officially listed as a significant object of cultural heritage with state protection. Parts of the building eventually started to crumble, and large-scale repair and renovation efforts subsequently began in 2013, which caused some uproar in Moscow at the time as they altered a part of the building quite significantly while they were at it (increased the floor count in the south and west wings, respectively). Here it is on Google Street View:
      https://www.google.com/maps/@55.7530015,37.6055676,3a,75y,210.28h,95.69t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1smth1ekH0RviRgXm6GFqlDA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=ru

      The “income from all sources” probably include renovation money, some of which probably came from state funds considering the historical significance of the building, apart from rental money from whichever tenants settled since.

      All in all, I don’t think it’s too interesting to be frank. But sure, if anyone can show that there’s ever been anything illicit going on then by all means, go ahead and tell Russian authorities about it while you’re at it. It doesn’t seem like they can here, though.

      • Drutten says:

        Yeah, apparently VTB bank occupies the ground floor, at least.

      • Jen says:

        How common would a surname like Skrebnev or Shkrebnev be in Moscow? If it’s a fairly common surname in that part of Russia then Reuters should show proof that the Skrebnev / Shkrebnev person who owns or runs the real estate agency that collects the rent from the building’s various corporate tenants is indeed related to Ludmila Shkrebneva if not actually the person herself. As for the amounts the agency collects, I’d be surprised if a renovated historic building doesn’t generate a huge amount of rental income compared to what it did before its renewal. Especially as the building suffered long-term neglect during the 1990s and probably needed substantial repairs and rebuilding.

        While Googling Shkrebneva’s name, I discovered that the former Mrs Putin married again in 2015, to an Artur Ocheretny.

    • marknesop says:

      Quite possibly their source is Navalny – after all, isn’t he Moscow’s leading corruption-fighter? Alternatively, they could have fed it to him and then printed it upon his breathless ‘disclosure’. Recall WADA and its steering of the Stepanovs to ARD TV and then using that network’s documentary on Russian doping to set events in motion for the doping scandal; the western media and the CIA are old hands at inventing their own storylines while seeming to be necessarily responding to citizen investigations by the press.

      There might be something to it, but there is no particular reason to assume Putin is involved; he and Lyudmila Putina lived essentially separate lives for the last few years of their marriage.

  21. Northern Star says:

    “trueish”..LOL!!
    Is that kinda like the FACTS..LITE

  22. Northern Star says:

    FYI..
    Some of you Russkies who CLAIM to actually live in Russia appear to be a bit confused about some aspects of history..maybe this can help:
    http://www.systemaspetsnaz.com/the-golden-horde-battle-of-kulikovo

    • Northern Star says:

      If you have any questions..feel free to ask me
      http://factsanddetails.com/asian/cat65/sub423/entry-5253.html

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I have never claimed to be Russian.

      I do claim to have lived in Russia for almost 25 years and before that for almost one year in the USSR.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Was it a jab aimed for me? Okay – I reiterate. Kazan was not the capitol of the Golden Horde – Sarai was.

      What you have linked is nice “101” type of article good for schoolchildren. Unfortunately, it omits several important facts. First of all – Mamai was not a member of Chenghizid dynasty and therefore his grasp on power has always been shaky. In fact, the reason we ws not raiding Rus as much as he wanted was due to constant revolts of the local murzas and the looming threat from a legitimate member of Chenghizid dynasty who therefore, had much more rights to the throne – Timur the Lame.

      Second – at first, neither princes of Moscow nor their fellow rulers ever hoped to “revolt” against the Horde. But Mamai had been put in absolutely desperate situation so he had to crank up the tribute often ignoring past customs and treaties. That was what broke the proverbial camel’s back.

      Third – about 1378 invasion. Prince of Moscow Dmitry (soon to be Donskoy) was son in law of Nizhny Novgorod prince nerdy bookish prince Dmitry Konstantinovich (thanks to whom, btw, one of the copies of the “Primal Chronicle” survived to our time). Contrary to the jokes, he was on good terms with his father-in-law. So good, that when the two and their armies met before planning a campaign against Mongols, they got royally drunk (on a beer of all things – there were no vodka yet). Ironically enough, it all happened on the small river Pyana. They had worst hangover ever mainly due to several tumens of Horde riders attacking their still plastered camp

      Fourth – the number of the combatants. Despite some outlandish claims still propagated to this day, it was not as epic as one might imagine. Tatars had only 50-60 000 of warriors, while Moscow could have mustered hardly more than 10 000. Also important fact – the battle was all cavalry. No infantry. As for the “hidden regiment”. which turned the tide of the battle – it’s important to remember that in that time there were no means to successfully communicate in the heat of the battle. Prince Dmitry could not “call” the reserves should he wish for that – so the decision was delegated to the immediate commanders of the “hidden regiment” – prince of Serpukhov Andrei the Brave and much more experienced and even-tempered Bobrok of Volhynia.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I must add that I have passed by the alleged site of Kulikovo Field. It is in Tula Province, the one immediately to the south of Moscow Province. I have travelled around Tula province quite a bit, not least because Count Tolstoy’s estate is there, about 10 miles southwest of Tula city, which city is on exactly the same latitude as my home town, as it happens.

        Another reason for my traipsing around Tula Province is because when my children were younger, my wife used to get freebie stays at state sanitoria off Moscow City Health Authority because my elder daughter used to suffer from asthma. So my wife used to take the other two of my children with her as well and at a discount price and also get a special rate for me to shack up with them at the weekend.

        Such is life in a third-world shithole!

  23. Northern Star says:

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/05/19/swedish-prosecutor-drops-rape-investigation-wikileaks-assange.html

    BUT:

  24. Northern Star says:

    OMG..the mother of all dilemmas..He’s daily morphing into a way bigger POS than Killary..but wait .THAT’S impossible…what to do..what to do???????

    “For months, progressives have worried about a “Reichstag fire” moment: about the possibility that Trump, Bannon, Miller, and the other fanatics who people this administration could gin up an emergency scenario that would allow them to clamp down on dissenters, muzzle the press, and neutralize the courts and domestic political opponents. We have worried about emergency decrees that would be used to justify enemies lists, databases that would monitor people by their religion, and so on. And yet, for all of his bluster, for all of his middle-of-the-night, id-revealing tweets, for all of his childish, semiliterate boasting about his unprecedented popularity, speaking skills, and understanding of complex policy issues, Trump has not yet unleashed his mob quite as fully as he might.”

    https://www.thenation.com/article/trump-is-a-cornered-megalomaniac-and-thats-a-grave-danger-to-the-country/

    • kirill says:

      At this stage it would be quite appropriate for Trump to crackdown on the sabateurs who think that the democratic process is a fig leaf for dictatorship. In fact, that is the job that Trump was elected to do. He should full purge the CIA, State Department and all the other neocon nests. There must be some sort of national security action he can take against the Washington Post for possessing top secret information. If it turns out that it just made the story up, then that would be mission accomplished and they could be let off with a slap on the wrist. These unelected MSM fuckers need to feel some pain.

  25. Northern Star says:

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/19/pers-m19.html

    “At the time of the theft of the 2000 election, the WSWS noted that the absence of any serious opposition to a constitutional coup carried out by five members of the Supreme Court to stop the recounting of ballots made clear that there does not exist a significant constituency for democratic rights in the ruling class. Matters have far advanced over the past 17 years.
    ***Trump is one manifestation of a deeper disease. His opponents within the ruling class
    (CIA,FBI,Killarybots, partisan so-called moderates,entirety of MSM, neocons, et cetera)
    are another.”***

    I think this is the Lantier piece referred to in the comments:
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/04/22/pers-a22.html
    NO!!..it’s this:
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/19/fran-m19.html

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    Напавший 26 марта на полицейского Юрий Кулий получил 8 месяцев колонии
    Yuri Kuliya sentenced to 8 months in a colony for attacking a policeman on 26 March.


    We are the authorities here! Arrrrrgh! — Please forgive me. I won’t do it again.</b.

    MOSCOW, May 18, 2017, 20:04 – REGNUM The Moscow Tver court has sentenced Yuri Kuliya, who attacked a law enforcement officer during an unauthorized rally in Moscow on March 26, to eight months in a penal colony, informs the court press service. Kuliya’s guilt was confirmed by a combination of evidence collected by the investigation, testimony of witnesses, testimony of the accused, and video recordings. Kuliya himself claims that “he only wanted to help his grandfather”.

    The policeman whom he attacked was knocked unconscious.

    The assailant would have got a similar sentence in the UK, but you can bet if this case is reported in the Western arse-wipes no mention will be made of this as Yuri is a victim of Putin’s tyrannical regime.

    • Ilya says:

      He should be tonsured.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I think he must be one of Yulia Carpet-Chewer Latynina’s “love children”.


        That’s my boy!!!!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Best thing is, the dickhead might still be dreaming of receiving huge compensation ordered by ECHR for his “unlawful arrest”, which compensation Navalny unequivocally and repeatedly promised numbskulls such as he would be granted if any of them should be arrested at the unsanctioned rally?

          I wonder if he managed to chuck any old sneakers of his over the wires before he got nabbed?

  27. Lyttenburgh says:

    If you didn’t know – yesterday was “vyshivanka day” in the Ukraine. And vyshvianka (Heaven forgive me) is the “genetic code of the nation” (c) since the glorious Euromaidan’s victory.

    Wabbit Senya Yatsenyuk celebrated this glorious date far from his homeland:

    ^Parliament of Canada.
    The joke goes “there are more ethnic Ukrainian in Canadian Parliament than in Verkhovna Rada”. A joke, yet…

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Springtime for Banderites and Canada!
      Sad time for Moskals worldwide …

      Don’t be cwazy, be a smarty, come and join the Wabbit’s party!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Or …

        Don’t be stupid, be a smarty!
        Come and join the vyshyvanka party!

        Porky’s youngest son, Mykhailo, though, seems to be a little rebellious over this issue when at his elite school in Merry England and far, far away from the likes of such evil filth as Farion:

        Poroshenko’s son spotted wearing patriotic Russian sweatshirt

        Radio Svoboda journalist Levko Stek said in a Facebook post that the younger Poroshenko would probably “get a scolding” from his father. But some Facebook users also suggest that since the photograph was posted on Nov. 6, it could have been a part of Poroshenko’s Halloween costume or a costume for a theatrical play. Two of Poroshenko’s friends, who are also present in the photograph, appear to be wearing skeleton make up and a skeleton face scarf.

        Sort of like Prince harry of the UK wearing Nazi regalia at a Halloween party?

        One comment to the above Kiev Post article:

        I won’t comment on Poroshenko Jr’s prudence and judgment, but – at least – the symbolism of Russia alongside ghouls and skeletons is appropriate.

        Yes, quite.

        Thank you.

        Now fuck off, arse-hole!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          That should have been “younger son”. He only has two of them.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          Russia surrounded by ghouls (Poles, Latvians and other evolutionary dead-ends)?

          Appropriate indeed.

          BTW, is Kiev Post a good trolling venue or do they come down hard on people winding them up? Just curious.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I think mine host Mark used to bug them, but they discovered he wasn’t a Yukie Canuk and showed him the door.

            • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

              Must be both a Commonwealther and an Orc huh? Noted.

            • cartman says:

              Like Kommentar Macht Frie. I broke no rules, nor spammed the btc area, nor called anyone names or threatened them, but they still banned me. I remember you used to post there too.

            • marknesop says:

              No, I was still allowed to comment there, but the forum seemed completely unmoderated at times and often descended into gross profanity which was the debate equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and screaming “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!!”. Then the Kyiv Post went to a subscription format, so I stopped going there – last I checked they were like the Wall Street Journal, and you could only see the first paragraph or so before the text faded out.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Not like Ksenia to let the side down, though, is it …?

      Шлюха!

    • marknesop says:

      There sure are a lot of cute girls who claim Ukrainian ancestry, or maybe this is just a show of support. No Wabbit Senya to be seen, and I couldn’t find any photos of this year’s Glorious Vyshivanka Day which included him, either.

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    Как доказать, что СССР был союзником Германии.

    How to prove that the USSR was an ally of Germany.


    Why is 1st September, 1939, the date of the attack on Poland, associated with the date of the start of the Second World War and not 15th March, 1939, the date of the occupation of Czechoslovakia?

    1. Never remember the war in Spain, when Germany and the USSR were supporting opposite sides and fighting each other.

    2. Never remember the partition of Czechoslovakia and prior to that, the desperate attempts of the USSR to prevent German aggression.

    3. Never remember the role of Poland in the aggression against Czechoslovakia.

    4. Never remember that absolutely all the major European countries had treaties and pacts with Germany and that the Soviet-German Pact concluded by the Soviet Union was the last of such pacts in Europe.

    5. Never remember who continued to trade with Germany after June 1941.

    6. Never remember that there was no joint parade during the ceremony of transferring Brest from Germany to the USSR.

    7. Never remember that representatives of foreign countries always attended the May 1 parade.

    8. Never remember that England [sic] and France refused to conclude anti-German agreements with the USSR in August 1939.

    9. Never remember that nothing has ever begun on two dates: in terms of geometry, logic and common sense it is impossible to talk of two start points and yet at the same time boldly speak of the “two dates when World War II broke out”.

    10. Never remember that after the German attack on Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany, but certainly not on the Soviet Union.

    11. Never remember that after having declared war on Germany, England [sic] and France, did not raise a finger for Poland.

    12. Never remember what kind of shape Poland was in by September 17, 1939.

    13. Never remember how the territory occupied by Soviet troops in 1939 became part of Poland.

    14. Never remember that the Soviet Union had its own interests to pursue, that it had no friends, and that it owed nothing to no one.

    15. Never take into account the views of Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, Hitler and the League of Nations as regards international relations, 1938-1941.

    16. Never give specifics, figures, dates and real documents. Use phrases such as “Everybody knows that …” and add emotional colouring to the characteristics of the USSR.

    17. Never consider events as a whole and consistently, but pull out of them exactly one piece of information, separating from it everything that happened before it, at the same time and after it.

    18. Never, under any circumstances, specify who exactly and at what time the Soviet Union was training in its tank and flying schools, but always refer to it.

    19. The most important thing. Never say such things amongst people who read and know anything apart from those documents found personally by Vyatrovich* or personally belong to Vyatrovich and copies of which are non-existent.

    But there is one sad nuance.

    Even this will not work …

    *Volodymyr Vyatrovych is a Ukrainian “historian” researching the Ukrainian independence movement. He has been Director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance since 25 March 2014

    • kirill says:

      The non-aggression pact proves fuck all any alliance. But the fact that Nazi Germany built up its invasion forces and did invade the USSR proves that there was no alliance. These revisionists, like climate change deniers, use the ignorance of the average sap to peddle plausible-sounding theories that are ultimately total rubbish. The preparation for the invasion of the USSR (operation Barbarossa) was not some trivial activity that could be conducted in a few days. So the Germans were planning and assembling their invasion since before 1940.

      The non-aggression pact with the Reich gave the USSR precious preparation time for its own forces to prepare for the invasion. This is yet more proof that there was no alliance. It is crystal clear that Stalin knew that the Reich would attack. It was the raison d’etre of the Reich to attack the USSR. The USSR did not exist to attack Germany. But revisionists would have you believe either that Hitler and Stalin were best pals or that the USSR was responsible for Hitler, or that the USSR invaded Europe (the most recent demented Ukr excrement).

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And if anyone has the patience to slog through Hitler’s mind-numbing dictated rant “Mein Kampf”, then one shall plainly see that the layabout, pig-ignorant, partly educated, never-had-a-real-job-in-his-life dreamer Hitler made no bones about expanding his Aryan “race” into Slavic lands to the East.

        “Mein Kampf” was first published in 1925.

      • Special_sauce says:

        Not to mention Stalingrad or any attempt to join forces and take over the world.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          It always amazes me how these revisionists get away with promoting this idea that Hitler and Stalin were partners in a joint venture to slice up and devour chunks of Eastern Europe.

          Hitler used to shriek out that the only way for the Herrenvolk to survive was to expand, to “win soil for the German plough by means of the German sword” (Mein Kampf) and he made it abundantly clear where that Lebensraum (living space) would be:

          …We Nationalist Socialists consequently draw a line beneath beneath the foreign policy tendency of our pre-war period. We take up where we broke off 600 years ago. We stop the endless German movement to the south and west, and turn our gaze toward the land of the east…” (Mein Kampf)

          He had in mind, of course, the territory of the former Russian Empire, now run by Jews, he always stressed, which was (partly) true, of course, as indeed was the German Empire 1871-1918, and he had in mind principally the rich black earth of the Ukraine, which therefore allowed Hitler to present his eastward expansion as a crusade against Jewry. And in a can-we-do-it-yes-we-can way he used to shout at the crowds that if the “English” (he was rather fond of the British because they had the capability of being best-buddy Aryan nation) could with only a few thousand civil service pen-pushers and a pathetically small colonial army hold the masses of India in abeyance, then so too could the “Deutsches Volk” the “untermenschliche Sklaven” (subhuman Slavs).

          I remember reading years ago (when I was at school, as a matter of fact) an essay by Eric Blair (George Orwell), written in 1940. It was a review of the republished in that year Mein Kampf, which, Blair noted, had been suitably edited following the first English edition so as to show that Hitler, despite his checking the socialists and reducing mass unemployment in Germany, was not really such a nice chap after all:

          … at that date Hitler was still respectable. He had crushed the German labour
          movement, and for that the property-owning classes were willing to forgive him almost anything. Both Left and Right concurred in the very shallow notion that National Socialism was merely a version of Conservatism.

          Then suddenly it turned out that Hitler was not respectable after all. As one result of this, Hurst and Blackett’s edition was reissued in a new jacket explaining that all profits would be devoted to the Red Cross.

          Nevertheless, simply on the internal evidence of Mein Kampf, it is difficult to believe that any real change has taken place in Hitler’s aims and opinions. When one compares his utterances of a year or so ago with those made fifteen years earlier, a thing that strikes one is the rigidity of his mind, the way in which his world-view doesn’t develop. It is the fixed vision of a monomaniac and not likely to be much affected by the temporary manoeuvres of power politics. Probably, in Hitler’s own mind, the Russo-German Pact represents no more than an alteration of time-table. The plan laid down in Mein Kampf was to smash Russia first, with the implied intention of smashing England afterwards. Now, as it has turned out, England has got to be dealt with first, because Russia was the more easily bribed of the two. But Russia’s turn will come when England is out of the picture-that, no doubt, is how Hitler sees it. Whether it will turn out that way is of course a different question.

          Suppose that Hitler’s programme could be put into effect. What he envisages, a hundred years hence, is a continuous state of 250 million Germans with plenty of “living room” (i.e. stretching to Afghanistan or thereabouts), a horrible brainless empire in which, essentially, nothing ever happens except the training of young men for war and the endless breeding of fresh cannon-fodder…

          [my stress — ME]

          What Blair observed then was true then and is still true now, but do not dare tell any WWII revisionists this!

          Blair was wrong, however, in believing that Hitler had bribed Stalin into making the non-aggression pact: Stalin, after the Czechoslovakia sell-out by the West and the isolation of the USSR following its fruitless appeals to create a joint front with the West against the Nazis, must have jumped at the opportunity at signing the pact. Stalin also very likely did not expect the pact to be a long lasting one, certainly not as long lasting as the German-Polish Non-Aggression pact of 1934-1939 had been, though he was probably surprised by the Nazi attack on the USSR that was launched at 04:00, June 22, 1941.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Eat your heart out, Conchita!

  30. et Al says:

    The regime is afraid.

    First the US attacks SAAF advancing towards their own border with Jordan (the base at Al-Tanaf apparently has a few British, US whatever Special Foreskins) which they claim were a ‘threat’. It wasn’t an attack against the base at all, the same one the RuAF bombed when they were out for pizza a few months ago, but as has been excellently pointed out on the current Moon of Alabama piece*, the West want to keep control of that border for their own purposes (division, supplying their New Syrian Army NSA who are basically mercenaries).

    Secondly, the UN recognized and appointed Libyan government GNA attacked General Haftar’s LNA (actually voted for) controlled Brak al-Shati airbase**, but it was no ordinary attack by by the GNA’s ‘army’ – they executed unarmed LNA soldiers who were apparently returning from parade. That’s an out an out war crime and something that the Islamic State itself regularly carries out.

    The GNA claims it did not order such action and will ‘launch an investigation’ but considering that the modus operandi is identical to IS, maybe it was done by them under the GNA flag, one of those masks of convenience that suits both sides. But why? Haftar’s army is actually an effective fighting force and he has openly hobnobbed with Russia. Could the GNA really orgnanize such and effective attack when it cannot manage a cock up in a brothel? If not, who did? The obvious suspects are the Americans, it’s exactly the kind of dirty crap they like to pull because they are really clever and no-one could possibly know that they did it. But why do it?

    Both recent events in Syria & Libya look to me as somewhat desperate actions by frightened people who feel that they are under pressure, not the usual ball swinging ‘we’ve got everything under control’ swagger. In conclusion, it looks like a clear recognition of Russia’s real and spreading influence and panicked not very well thought out reaction.

    * http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/05/us-attacks-syrian-government-forces-it-now-has-to-make-its-choice.htm

    ** http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/at-least-141-including-civilians-killed-in-south-libya-airbase-attack-20170520

    • et Al says:

      Sic Semper Tyrannis: “Hezbollah, Iraqi forces poised to help Syrian Army capture Baghdad-Damascus Highway” AMN
      http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/05/httpswwwalmasdarnewscomarticlehezbollah-iraqi-forces-poised-help-syrian-army-capture-baghdad-dam.html

      “Over the course of ten days, hundreds of Hezbollah and Iraqi paramilitary fighters have poured into the southeastern countryside of Damascus, taking up positions alongside the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies….

      …Yesterday a group of 60 Norwegian soldiers, present in Iraq to conduct training were moved to the al-tanf border crossing from Syria into Jordan. ..
      ####

      If it were me, I would run civilian convoys of goods etc. from Syria to/from Baghdad along the non-existent highway and reestablish trade links. It’s predictable and out of the way and even better with RuAF support to look out for ISIS. The US would have very little justification for attacking it and would also risk killing I-rackis. The more complicated the better, the less easy to game or pass off an attack with an easy story/excuse.

      • et Al says:

        Vinyard the Saker: Naval Brief 11/17 May 2017
        http://thesaker.is/naval-brief-1117-may-19-2017/

        …An aviation NOTAM warns Russian warships are planning live rocket tests off the coast of eastern Libya next week. (Alwasat 17 May 17) from 24 May until 27 May 2017, connected to the “Krasnodar” no doubt. Some speculation, (not to be taken too seriously), “Russia may be planning a cruise missile barrage on Libyan targets.” (The Drive 18 May 17).

        The article erroneously states that the Russian navy has 2 “Admiral Gorshkov” class ships, making it seem that they are both operational, (which they’re not). Likewise, the article makes reference to NOTAMs as a precursor to military ops, which isn’t necessarily the case. It missed the last Russian Navy NOTAM, for the “Admiral Kuznetsov”, back in January, (no strikes then)…
        ####

        2+2=4, but is this a ‘5’ here? Is there a American (obviously) plan to take large chunks out General Halifa’Haftar military capability to the point that Russian support wouldn’t make sense, as it does in Syria where they have effective ground force partners? The West has been trying all sorts of tricks to get Haftar to switch back to the non-elected UN backed GNA which can’t even tie its own shoe laces and all those plans look like they have failed. Is this attack Stage Two – stop Hafar whatever the consequences, even if it allows IS to spread further and Libya remains in chaos (aka the ‘Shit the Bed’ strategy)?

        What is interesting is the reporting of the attack at Al-Tanf.* It has been generally succinct (read ‘absent’) of speculation as to why it happened and absolutely no comment on the IS style mass executions. Nada, nothing, zilch. When the Pork Pie News Networks cannot find and excuse to poke their finger in a wound and wiggle it about a bit (about Russia – rarely – also for example), it’s like a new stringer report. Yes, they put in a couple of quotes, but apart from that, nobody saw anything and nothing from Western official political or military sources apart from going through the motions of condemning it and the GNA covering its ass ‘to find out what happened’. It’s all deeply suspicious.

        * No relation.

      • marknesop says:

        That’s why Washington loves freebies like gratuitous information on the movements of various troops and forces and units, such as it got from Russia under previous deconfliction agreements. It likely hopes this flow of free information will continue; it helps targeting.

  31. Moscow Exile says:


    WHAT WE IN ACTUAL FACT WERE STANDING ON THE MAIDAN FOR

    — You get 28 hrivna for a dollar!

    — I want a $45 pension!

    — So that all social networks be closed!

    — To raise community services tenfold!

    Why am I laughing …?

    • kirill says:

      Because such retardation is hilarious. The worst thing that can be done to these clowns is to leave them alone. They will keep on digging the hole deeper and deeper.

  32. Warren says:

    Alisher Usmanov is the MAN of the moment! Usmanov is my hero!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      You do know he is a reformed and repentant criminal turned philanthropist, don’t you?

      Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan described him as a gangster and racketeer who thoroughly deserved getting sent down for 8 years in his home country. He only did 6 because the Uzbekistan Supreme Court decided he had been unfairly convicted. Her Britannic Majesty’s ambassador did not think so.

      Ironically (or maybe not) his father was Prosecutor General of Uzbekistan SSR.

      I am surprised he was not more interested in getting involved with Spurs considering his wife’s background:

      That’s Mrs Usmanov neé Viner, the dark piece to the right of cuddly Dima.

      • Warren says:

        You do know he is a reformed and repentant criminal turned philanthropist, don’t you?

        Everyone deserves a second chance. Besides Usmanov has always protested his innocence, he said he was unjustly convicted by the Communist regime in Uzbekistan. I believe him.

      • Jen says:

        Alisher Usmanov’s emailed responses (published with no editing at his request) to questions put to him by The Guardian in November 2007:
        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/nov/19/russia.football

        The link suggests the questioning in the main relates to his ownership of Liverpool Arsenal but in fact the vast majority of questions go over the charges of fraud, corruption and theft of state property again and again on which Usmanov was convicted and imprisoned for 8 years (of which he served 6 years) and his supposed connections to Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov and Karimov’s daughter Gulnara. The crimes, if they had been committed, were done when Usmanov must have been in his mid-to-late 20s (his year of birth is 1953).

        Craig Murray (former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan) has also alleged that Usmanov is in charge of a giant “slush fund” masquerading as Gazprominvest Holdings among other things (including heroin trafficking and rape) for which he supplies no evidence. Murray predicts (back in 2007, ten years ago) that Usmanov is preparing to take over the presidency of Uzbekistan after Karimov. Anyone know if that prediction came with a use-by date? Islam Karimov died last September.
        https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2007/09/alisher_usmanov/

        • Jen says:

          Answering my own rhetorical question: the use-by date was in December 2016 when Shavkat Mirziyoyev was elected President of Uzbekistan after serving as interim President after Karimov’s death:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shavkat_Mirziyoyev

        • marknesop says:

          Thanks for that – it gives me a whole different take on Usmanov. His answers, except for the “I have been fortunate to be successful in business” were not evasive, and I would have to say dignified. Far more so than the British gutter press deserves. It’s hard to imagine him ever as a competitive fencer – sabre, no less – but then it’s hard to imagine many people as young when we have never known them that way.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Ololyosha Navalny did almost impossible thing – he made Russians (!) sympathize with the oligarch…

      I do hope for the case against “Putin’s Nemesis” (c) to be resolved in the most humiliating way for West’s new darling – with a colossal fine which jobless “lowyer” Navalny will have no money to pay… and his handlers would haveto come out from the woodwork to inject him with needed funds.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        If the twice convicted embezzler Navalny had said publicly and published in the UK what he has said and done in Russia about Usmanov, the Green-Eyed Monster would have very likely been taken to the cleaners by now under English libel law, which is rather ironic if one considers that the UK is without doubt one of Navalny’s favourite “free” and incorruptible states, a very a paragon of virtue, second only to that state in whose employ he has long found himself.

  33. Special_sauce says:

    awesome collection of links to alternate media – http://mondbasis.com/altermedia.html “compiled by the twitter community” h/t @mkj1951 MoA makes the cut but not mark. Sad.

  34. Warren says:

    Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations

    WASHINGTON — The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward.

    Current and former American officials described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades. It set off a scramble in Washington’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to contain the fallout, but investigators were bitterly divided over the cause. Some were convinced that a mole within the C.I.A. had betrayed the United States. Others believed that the Chinese had hacked the covert system the C.I.A. used to communicate with its foreign sources. Years later, that debate remains unresolved.

    But there was no disagreement about the damage. From the final weeks of 2010 through the end of 2012, according to former American officials, the Chinese killed at least a dozen of the C.I.A.’s sources. According to three of the officials, one was shot in front of his colleagues in the courtyard of a government building — a message to others who might have been working for the C.I.A.
    Still others were put in jail. All told, the Chinese killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 of the C.I.A.’s sources in China, according to two former senior American officials, effectively unraveling a network that had taken years to build.

    Kudos to Chinese counterintelligence.

  35. Northern Star says:

    Well folks..this is what humanity is up against as far as the western elite are concerned and their agenda for us…
    BTW..it’s also what ought befall them ASAP!!!!!

  36. Cortes says:

    Production of re- and reverse-engineered versions of signature RF arms as possible precursor to a set of false flag operations?

    http://journal-neo.org/2017/05/20/how-come/

  37. Warren says:

    Published on 19 May 2017
    Moscow based journalist Jeffrey Taylor and Paul Jay challenge the underlying assumption of the furor in Washington, that Russia is the enemy of the American people

  38. Jen says:

    At long last … a study by neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart into the mental resilience of journalists reveals that the highest functions of journalists’ brains operate at a lower level than average for the population as a whole due to journalists’ propensity for drinking too much alcohol and consuming too much caffeine and high-sugar foods, self-medicating and dehydration. In particular, journalists’ brains show a lower level of executive functioning which includes among other things the ability to regulate emotions, suppress bias, switch between tasks, solve problems and think flexibly and creatively.
    http://www.taraswart.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Results-of-study-into-journalists-mental-resilience.pdf

    A more detailed explanation of what was involved in the study including the selection of journalists themselves as guinea pigs and what they during the 7-month period the study took place:
    http://www.taraswart.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Report-Study-into-the-mental-resilience-of-journalists-Dr-Tara-Swart.pdf

    One assumes that the journalists who took part were British although neither link mentions their nationality or nationalities, or who they work for.

  39. Moscow Exile says:

    Nigel Farage halts interview after questions about Julian Assange and Russia links

    The former UKip (UK independence Party) leader was interviewed by Steffen Dobbert, political, economics and society editor at the German highbrow weekly “Die Zeit”

    Reminding Mr Farage that he has said in the past he admires Russian President Vladimir Putin, Zeit Online asked the politician if — given that “one of Russia’s foreign policy goals is dividing and weakening the EU” — he could have been “used for this Russian goal”?

    Mr Farage responded: “I want the EU to be destroyed and it doesn’t matter if God or the Dalai Lama wants it as well”.

    He added a personal attack on Mr Dobbert, saying: “You know, you are the first person who has asked me if Russia supported me. Maybe you have a special German mindset. No other journalist in the world has asked these questions”.

    Mr Farage stated that Ukip has no links to Russia, and denied meeting with the Russian Embassy’s deputy chief-of-mission in London.

    “Not in 2013, before the Brexit campaign was conceived?” Zeit Online asked. Mr Farage replied: “Ah, hang on. He came to the EP [European Parliament] office. Or I met with him in London. So what?

    “I think you are a nutcase! You are really a nutcase!

    “Brexit is the best thing to happen”. he added, “for Russia, for America, for Germany and for democracy. And that’s the key point”.

  40. Warren says:

    Mexican mob attacks Russian over insults in Cancun


    A crowd of people stormed Mr Makeev’s apartment

    A Russian man has been put into protective custody in hospital after he was attacked by a crowd of angry Mexicans in Cancun, authorities say.

    Police rescued Aleksei Makeev, 42, on Friday night after the crowd stormed his apartment in the Caribbean resort.

    The man had allegedly posted disparaging and insulting remarks about local people in videos on social media.

    He was accused of fatally stabbing someone during the affray, the authorities said.

    A crowd of locals tried to confront Mr Makeev over his comments, and managed to gain entry into his apartment after the encounter turned violent.

    According to local official Guillermo Brahms, a young man who was injured later died in hospital.

    Mr Brahms said police managed to rescue Mr Makeev and take him to hospital for treatment.

    Although he was bloodied in the attack, he is reported to be in a stable condition.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-39989597

    • Warren says:

      Mr Makeev in action.

    • Warren says:

      The Cancun ‘Lynching’ of #LordNaziRuso: Russian YouTube Nazi Who Pushed Mexicans Too Far


      Makeev enjoyed shouting at locals in a heavily-accented mixture of broken Spanish, English and Russian in various locales throughout Quintana Roo. | Photo: EFE-YouTube/Alextime-Facebook

      http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/The-Cancun-Lynching-of-LordNaziRuso-Russian-YouTube-Nazi-Who-Pushed-Mexicans-Too-Far-20170520-0021.html

      • Moscow Exile says:

        He is up the pole. He lives in asylum in Mexico but is a Russian citizen, works as a diving instructor and his fellow countrymen there have also been complaining about his ant-social behaviour.

        Мексиканцы потребовали депортировать из страны избитого ими россиянина Макеева
        Петицию с этим призывом к властям подписали тысячи человек [видео]

        Mexicans demand that the beaten up Russian Makeyev be deported
        A petition with this appeal to the government signed by thousands of people

        Residents of the Mexican city of Cancun have requested the deportation of a Russian citizen, Aleksei Makeyev, who has been beaten up and is now in a coma. Citizens posted on the site Change.org the petition at five in the morning Moscow time on 21 May and which had been signed by more than 7,200 people.

        “The behaviour and threats made by this person require the urgent intervention of the authorities so that he is unable to continue attacking children, the elderly and people in general just because they’re Mexicans”, the statement read.

        According to Interfax, on Saturday, about 200 local residents came to Makeyev’s house to tell him in person about everything that had made them become sick of him. The town residence of the infamous “Russian neo-Nazi”, as they called him, was found by the local TV station using a drone with a video camera.

        Makeyev at first insulted them, and then came down and threw a knife at the nearest man. A Mexican man later died from his wounds. It was then that the locals ran out of patience and they beat Makeyev, after having smashing in his head in the dust..

        Cancun residents had become unhappy with the insults which he showered everyone with whom he met on the street and in public places. And this Russian citizen made video recordings of his boorishness and uploaded them into his You Tube site. The last video was published six months ago. Nationalist publications also appeared on his Facebook page.

        Makeyev lived in the country, having refugee status, but at the same time he still has Russian citizenship. In social networks it is indicated that he works as a diving instructor in Aquaworld, Cancún.

        By the way, the Russian Consul in Mexico, Dmitry Bolbot, has reported that Makeyev’s compatriots living in Mexico had also complained about him and this man’s habit of attacking grandmothers and children and making videos of this has also taken place in Russia, where he was under the supervision of a psychiatrist and was receiving treatment..

        Bolbot has pointed out that so far the Mexicans have not appealed to Russian diplomats with a request that Makeyev be deported. In addition, it is unclear whether a case will, in fact, be opened. The consulate has convinced the chief of the federal police of the state of Quintana Roo to allocate reinforced protection for the Russian, who is in hospital. Doctors brought him into a state of an artificial coma. According to them, because of a skull trauma, he is paralyzed.

        MEANWHILE

        In Mexico, there opened a criminal case over the death of a man during the attack on Makeyev

        In the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, the prosecutor’s office has opened a criminal case into the death of a young man during a fight with a foreigner. In a statement, the agency stated that a 42-year-old foreign national with the initials A. V. M. had been attacked by a crowd in Cancun.

  41. et Al says:

    Flight Global: PICTURES: Air Baltic deploys CS300 on Moscow route
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/pictures-air-baltic-deploys-cs300-on-moscow-route-437407/

    Latvia’s Air Baltic has started deploying the Bombardier CS300 for flights to Moscow.
    ####

    But but but Russia is the Evil Empire!

  42. yalensis says:

    Just finished posting this 2-parter on the Amber Mafia Wars in Western Ukraine. Interesting story, I think.

  43. Moscow Exile says:

    Символика дивизии СС “Галичина” не подпадает под закон о запрете пропаганды коммунизма и нацизма – Вятрович

    The symbol of the SS Division “Galicia” does not fall under the law banning the promotion of Communism and Nazism – Viatrovych


    Volodymyr Viatrovych with a copy of his sixth book “The second Polish-Ukrainian War, 1942-1947”

    Viatrovych is a Ukrainian so-called historian researching the Ukrainian independence movement. He has been Director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance since 25 March 2014.

    The country has received an official response from the Institute of National Remembrance, headed by Volodymyr Viatrovych, about the of the SS Division “Galicia” symbol.

    We asked to clarify whether the use of the insignia of the SS division “Galicia” (which fought with Nazi German troops during the Second World War) was prohibited in accordance with the requirements under Ukraine law “On the condemnation of the Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in the Ukraine and the prohibition of the propagandist use of their symbols”.

    In his response, Volodymir Viatrovich referred to paragraph 5, part 1, of article 1 of this law, which contains a list of exactly what is meant by Nazi symbols and pointed out that in this list there is no SS Division “Galicia” symbol.

    “In this list, the symbols of the 14th Grenadier Division of the SS troops “Galitsia” (the 1st Ukrainian Division of the Ukrainian National Army) are absent. Taking this into account, the symbols of the 14th Grenadier Division of the SS “Galitsia” (1st Ukrainian Division of the UNA), in accordance with current Ukrainian legislation, are not symbols of the National Socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regime, the distribution or public use of which being prohibited in the Ukraine “, wrote Volodymyr Viatrovich.

    Earlier, the Director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Eduard Dolinsky, had appealed to the Prosecutor of the city of Lvov with a request that the organizers and participants of the event held on 29 April 2017 in honour of the 74th anniversary of the SS Division “Galicia” be prosecuted.

    Volodymyr Viatrovich and others of his ilk have the full support of the EU and leaders of EU member state governments, as well as the US Congress and the Canadian, New Zealand and Australian governments in their struggle for independence and democracy and the casting off of the Mongol-Tatar-Ugric yoke that has oppressed them these past 400 years and more.

    And remember: there are absolutely no Nazis in the Ukraine!

    Below:

    Mein Ehre heißt Treue!My Honour is Loyalty!

    The oath and slogan of the Nazi Waffen-SS

    The symbols of NAZI WAFFEN-SS DIVISIONS!

    Just below the top right corner is the Galician lion, symbol of SS Division “Galicia”.

    Not Nazis, though!

    See: Украина – страна официально разрешенной нацистской символики.

    The Ukraine – land of Nazi symbols.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Oops!

      Should have been:

      The Ukraine – land of officially permitted Nazi symbols

    • yalensis says:

      Well, Viatrovych is just a cheap tinpot Nazi himself.
      The problem is, that he has also been put in charge of the Ukrainian historical archives.
      Who knows how much incriminating stuff he has already shredded?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Take note of the title of that bastard’s book: “The Second Polish-Ukrainian War, 1942-1947 “.

      Which Ukraine does he mean? There was no state called the Ukraine in the period that he says the Polish-Ukrainian War took place. There was a Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, though, a subject state of the USSR, which soviet republic was to a greater or lesser degree, and for a certain period of time totally, occupied by Nazi German forces and their allies from 1941 until 1944.

      Furthermore, the post-1945 UkSSR had territory of pre-war Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania added to it. And during the period of that war which the Ukrainian Nazi historian “historian” describes in his book (the 6th of such trash that he has written, mind you) , the Crimea was most definitely not administered by the UkSSR government in Kiev.

      Also, during the so-called Polish Ukrainian War 1942-1947, from 1942 until 1944 Poland was occupied by Nazi German forces. In fact, from 1939, Poland had ceased to exist and had become partitioned into Reichsgau Danzig-Westpreußen, Reichsgau Warteland, Provinz Oberschlesien, Provinz Ostpreußen andGeneralgouvernement (Reich District Danzig-West Prussia, Reich District of the Warte River Land, Province of Upper-Silesia, Province of East Prussia, General Government) until its liberation by the Red Army in 1944.

      So which “Poland” fought against which “Ukraine” in a war that lasted from 1942 until 1947?

      Now let me guess …

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And I think that piece of festering shit that passes himself off as an historian should peruse the following as regards the legality/illegallity of Waffen-SS Division “Galicia”:

        The Nuremberg Trial
        Materials and documents
        Judgment
        The accused organisations
        The SS
        Criminal Operation

        Conclusion:

        The SS was used for purposes which were criminal under the statutes. They persisted in the persecution and extermination of Jews, brutalities and killings in the concentration camps, abuses in the administration of occupied territories, the execution of the forced labour program, and the ill-treatment and murder of prisoners of war.

        The Defendant Kaltenbrunner was a member of the SS who was involved in all of these acts. In the case against the SS, the Court shall include all persons who were officially members of the SS, including members of the General SS, members of the Waffen-SS, members of the SS-Totenkopfverband, and the members of all the various police forces who were members of the SS. The Court does not include the so-called Reiter-SS. The Security Service of the Reichsführer SS (commonly known as SD) is dealt with in the Court’s judgment on the Gestapo and the SD.

        The court has declared to be criminal, within the meaning of the Statute Regulations, that group composed of persons officially included in the SS, as in the preceding paragraph, who were recruited into the organization and remained as such regardless of the fact that they were aware that they were being used for the undertaking of actions that are declared by article 6 of the Statute as criminal, or were involved as members of the organization in committing such criminal acts, but excluding those enforced by the state into membership, there remaining no choice for them to refuse, and who did not commit such crimes. The basis for this judgment is the participation of that organization in war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the war. This group, declared to be a criminal group, cannot, therefore, include persons who, before 1 September 1939, ceased to belong to one of the organizations listed in the preceding paragraph.

        Source:
        Der Prozeß gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher vor dem Internationalen Gerichtshof Nürnberg. Nürnberg 1947, Bd. 1, S. 307.

        The Legal process against the Chief War Criminals at the Nuremberg International Court. Nuremberg 1947, Vol, 1, Page 307

        Also:

        …Auf Grundlage des Art. 6 des Londoner Statutes erklärte schließlich der Internationale Militärgerichtshof in Nürnberg die Waffen-SS zu einer verbrecherischen Organisation und ebenso ihrer Mitglieder all jene, die ihr freiwillig beigerteten waren [174]…

        …On the basis of Art. 6 the London Statute, it was announced at the conclusion of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg that the Waffen-SS, and also all those members who volunteered for it, to be a criminal organization …

        [my stress — ME]

        Source: Andreas Toppe Militär und Rechtsnorm Kriegsvölkerrecht, Fachdiskurs Kriegspraxis und in Deutschland 1899-1940. Herausgegeben in Verbindung mit dem Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin
        2008. 467 S., gb.
        € 89,80
        ISBN 978-3-486-58206-2

        Andreas Toppe: Military and legal standard of armed conflict: a discourse on martial law and in Germany, 1899-1940. Published in conjunction with the Institute for Contemporary History Munich-Berlin
        2008. 467 pages, hardback.
        € 89.80
        ISBN 978-3-486-58206-2

        See: О преступности добровольных членов Ваффен-СС, исходя из Нюрнбергского трибунала

        On the criminality of volunteer SS members, as declared by the Nuremberg Tribunal

        Yeah, well not according to Viatrovych.

        And also not according to the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian SS “heroes” either.

  44. Warren says:

    Published on 23 Nov 2016
    America grew from a colony to a superpower in 200 years.

  45. et Al says:

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Russia thrilled to get Saint Nicholas relics from Italy
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39960384

    For the first time in nearly 1,000 years bone fragments of Saint Nicholas are being moved from their Italian resting place, to go on loan to Russia.

    …Permission to lend the bones of St Nicholas to Russia came at a historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, in Cuba in 2016. …

    …The Moscow Patriarchate says Russian jewellers have created a special “ark” to transport the bone fragments to Moscow. They have lain undisturbed in Bari since 1087….
    ####

    Plenty more at the link.

    Wow, it’s like bona fide news and no snark either! I wonder what illness has broken out at the BBC? I bet they already have containment measures in place and already have isolated the rare infectees.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      He was only a very little bloke then, wasn’t he?

      • yalensis says:

        Well, it’s not a whole body, just some bones.

      • yalensis says:

        From the life of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker:

        “Saint Nicholas from his infancy began a life of fasting, and on Wednesdays and Fridays he would not accept milk from his mother until after his parents had finished their evening prayers.”

        “Constantly at work and vivacious, in unceasing prayer, the priest Nicholas displayed great kind-heartedness towards the flock, and towards the afflicted who came to him for help, and he distributed all his inheritance to the poor. ”

        Still, Nick had a bit of a temper: “Saint Nicholas, fired with zeal for the Lord, assailed the heretic Arius with his words, and also struck him upon the face.”

        When he died, Nick didn’t stink: “Having reached old age, Saint Nicholas peacefully fell asleep in the Lord. His venerable relics were preserved incorrupt in the local cathedral church and flowed with curative myrrh, from which many received healing. In the year 1087, his relics were transferred to the Italian city of Bari, where they rest even now.”

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I was wondering why church bells were clanging away today. At first, I thought it must be because it is Whit Sunday today, but Whit this year, both here and in the West is on 4 June. Now it is clear why they were jangling and clanging away this morning and at noon and this afternoon and this evening: Old Saint Nick is in town, or what is left of him, allegedly, 1,000 years after he curled his toes up.

        But the BBC is wrong in saying that St. Nicholas is Santa Claus or Father Christmas.

        Santa Claus (Sint Niklaas/Sinterklaas in Dutch) is Saint Nick, who long ago became a Coca-Cola seasonal employee: Father Christmas is Woden and more like Dyed Moroz.

        Woden has the power!

      • marknesop says:

        Duh. How do you think he gets all the way around the world in the single night with only an 8-RP propulsion system? Of course he’s little, like a teeny jockey. I bet he’s optimized against wind drag as well, and not fat and jolly at all like they say. Probably built like a tiny whippet.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          That’s how Clement Clarke Moore (or Henry Livingston, Jr.) in “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”) described St. Nicholas, the person whose popular Yuletide image is now largely credited to him:

          … When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
          But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
          With a little old driver so lively and quick,
          I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.

          … He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
          And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself

          That’s how “Santa Claus” managed to get down chimneys: he was a circus freak!

          Father Christmas (aka Woden: the “Christmas” tag was added by Christians trying to kill off the old religion), on the other hand, was like this:

        • yalensis says:

          “Wonderworker” – that’s my new favorite English word!
          Along with “proboscis”, “hoof”, “emporium”, and so many other great, great words….

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