A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

Uncle Volodya says, “It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable.”

…I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall….

A Hard Rain’s a’Gonna Fall; Bob Dylan

Josh Rogin is always magic.

In his clever hands, facts become…fluid; nebulous things that support the truth he wants you to internalize, often inserted deftly in an otherwise-true statement in such a way that they borrow from its truth.

And Josh Rogin reports that Washington is about to involve itself in the Ukraine peace process in a big way.

Like just about every political marker Trump has thrown down since he began his feckless turn as head of American decision-making, he has reversed himself as if his previous statements were never made.  As recently as this past July, when he was still just a candidate rather than the waking nightmare he is now, Trump said the Ukraine mess was “Europe’s problem”, and the USA should only step in if other countries ask for its help. Considering what a dog’s breakfast Washington has made of past nation-building efforts, and its slobbering devotion for Israel in endless ‘negotiations’ with the Palestinians in its own parody of a peace process, you would think that is about as likely to happen as a tiny angel appearing to sit on your shoulder and help you make good decisions.

Well, Germany at least – not to mention Josh Rogin – affects to be delighted that Washington is considering inviting itself to form the Normandy Five, and inject its bouncy, effervescent presence into Ukrainian reconciliation. What could go wrong? It’s only putting the world’s two biggest nuclear powers into direct confrontation.

European officials, for their part, are cheering. “We very much appreciate that the new administration will be more engaged in the Ukraine issue. In the beginning they seemed not to be so interested in this issue. That’s changed a lot,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told The Post after meeting with Tillerson on May 17.

Let’s take another look at Ukraine’s negotiating position, just to refresh our memories. Russia must withdraw its legions of regular troops from Eastern Ukraine (this will be considered to have happened only when the Ukrainian Army is able to roll through Donbas unopposed), return control of the Russian/Ukrainian border to Ukrainian authorities…and hand back Crimea.

Initially, Trump suggested he would look seriously at America recognizing Crimea officially as Russian territory. But in true attention-deficit style, his Secretary of State now expects Putin to return Crimea to Kiev’s control, and there will be no consideration of relaxing sanctions until that happens.

Think that’ll ever happen? Me either. Donald Trump’s latest game of poke-chest ignores the clear warnings that Russia is all through backing up. Moscow considers Crimea Russian territory again, and it is not going to walk back on that before things turn bloody.

Germany and France have been involved in what’s called the Normandy Format, an effort to implement the 2015 Minsk agreement, which is stalled due to cease-fire violations on the ground primarily by Russian-backed forces and a lack of Ukrainian political progress. Their hope is that the United States can break the impasse.

Mmm hmmm. The ceasefire violations are primarily by Russian-backed forces – see how slickly he slipped that in? Let me ask you something: what are they shooting at? I mean, they never seem to take any territory – the lines on the map which demarcate the negotiated border never move in the federalists’ favour. But they’re always shooting at somebody.  Is it maybe the Ukrainian Army, hunkered down on their doorstep and waiting for them to slip up, drop their guard? And if the waiting Ukrainian Army never pressures them, why are they shooting?

In fact, the Ukrainian Army shells the eastern regions all the time, apparently randomly and with little or no regard for tactical objectives or the suspected presence of enemy forces.  But most of the reports of these violations come from local news in Donbas and Russian sources such as TASS and Sputnik. The west sneers at the latter as “state-controlled”, and implies they are non-stop liars. Is there any possibility for good-faith negotiation there? No, there’s not.

But Rogin is giddy at the thought that Putin is now trapped:

If the Trump team does its best to strike a deal with Moscow and fails, at least Putin’s true intentions will be laid bare. Then the administration will have little choice but to pursue a path of actively pushing back on Russian aggression, increasing support for Ukraine’s government and military, and abandoning the idea of yet another Russian reset.

So it’s a win/win for the war party – if Trump manages to broker a deal, it cannot happen without Russian capitulation and, according to Tillerson, the return of Crimea to Ukrainian control. If it doesn’t happen, Trump will have to get tough with the Russians instead of sucking up to them.

That’s how wars get started – by one side demanding what it knows the other side will not, cannot concede, in many cases because what is demanded is not in its power to grant. Russia cannot make the eastern Ukrainians stop resisting Kiev, because they know the Ukrainian Army will roll over them if they stop resisting, and the nationalist elements will kill as many as they can. They have promised as much. The only hope for Eastern Ukraine is a change of government in Kiev, and the west keeps propping up the openly corrupt Poroshenko government and shows every intention of continuing to do so, as it has supported despots in the past so long as it suited its interests.

Washington’s fresh-faced exceptionalist entry into the Ukrainian mess is not going to ‘break the impasse’, as Rogin attributes to European hopes. What recent history suggests is far more likely is that it will touch off a conflagration which will result in no peaceful place left on earth, and the world’s populations forced to choose sides.

This entry was posted in Europe, Government, Military, Politics, Russia, Strategy, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,114 Responses to A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

  1. Warren says:

    Published on 30 May 2017
    History’s most unlikely friendship. Watch the exclusive trailer for #VictoriaAndAbdul, starring Academy Award winner Judi Dench 👑

    The extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria’s (Academy Award winner Judi Dench) remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young clerk, travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favor with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity.

  2. Northern Star says:


    I realize that the real beginning of the end was Stalingrad…but some good men-scared young kids-were killed here:

    • Northern Star says:

      • Ilya says:

        The less-than-heroic reality is that the West was fighting second- and third-tier troops in Normandy.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Which third-tier troops included Ost-Bataillone made up of various nationalities/ethnic groups and raised mostly amongst POWs captured in Eastern Europe.

          During 1944, a number of Ost-Bataillone were stationed in northern France, in anticipation of a western Allied invasion. Units that fought in the Battle of Normandy were part of the German static infantry divisions 243 and 709, positioned in the vicinity of the Utah, Juno and Sword invasion beaches. Ost-Bataillone were also present in southern France, during the Allied landings codenamed Operation Dragoon (August 1944) — Wiki

          I used to work with one of them. He told me that during WWII he had driven an army truck in 3 different armies: the Red Army and the German and British armies. He had been captured first by the Germans on the East Front and become a HiWi — a Hilfswiliige or “willing/voluntary helper”. He was then captured in Normandy by the British.

          I reckon he was shipped off back to the USSR because he must have been only about 16 when he first became a POW of the Germans, so they felt sorry for him. He was only little wiry bloke as well. A hard worker, but I guess he only looked like a kid during the war.

          Well, he was only a kid then, for sure!

          57% of all Soviet POWs died in German captivity. I knew of this when my former workmate told me of his experiences and I asked myself what I would have done if I had been in his situation.

          He was a rum old bugger, though. After he had retired and after the Soviet Union had collapsed, he got himself a mail-order Ukrainian bride. She was a really nice person. About 20 years younger than he was when I last saw them in the very early ’90s in Manchester in the Orthodox church there. In her mid-50s she was then. A widow. However, if he started talking about what he had been up to 1941-45, you could see she was none too pleased. Oh, and I’m pretty sure she was from the East Ukraine. I never heard her speaking Ukrainian.

          • Moscow Exile says:


            I reckon he was shipped off back to the USSR because he must have been only about 16 when he first became a POW of the Germans, so they felt sorry for him should have, of course, been :

            I reckon he was NOT shipped off back to the USSR because he must have been only about 16 when he first became a POW of the Germans, so they felt sorry for him.

  3. Warren says:

    • shargash says:

      They’re really going off the deep end. I’ve been following the Qatari-Saudi spat for the past week or so, and the “hacked” web site is pretty consistent with the other back-and-forth accusations between the two. And who is going to sever diplomatic relations over a hacked web site? Utter BS.

      I’m beginning to believe that war with Russia is more likely than not. At least it will be interesting.

  4. Warren says:

    Published on 7 Jun 2017
    The Blues​ have made history as the first New Zealand Super Rugby team to defeat the British & Irish Lions in a stirring encounter at Eden Park.

  5. et Al says:

    James Clapper, former Director of the CIA who lied directly to Congress about whether it was spying on American citizens has very recently said to the Australian Press Club that “I think you compare the two, that Watergate pales, really, in my view, compared to what we’re confronting now.”… and “Is there a smoking gun with all the smoke? I don’t know the answer to that. I think it’s vital, though, we find that out.”.


    You really cannot make this up and be believed.

    • marknesop says:

      As has become textbook with modern press roll-overs, they are trying to substitute momentum for evidence, and achieve critical mass without having to cite any real facts you could hang your hat on later. Everyone involved will shake their heads as if coming out of a dream, and say, “Well, we all thought…”

      • J.T. says:

        Hence the reason why I’m barely following the ‘Russiagate’ coverage anymore. I realized I was being played, so I left.

      • et Al says:

        If I want momentum, I take a book with me to the bathroom. The result is the same. Rattling pipes and satisfaction. Please excuse me for being so crude.

  6. Lyttenburgh says:

    On tomorrow’s elections in the UK… It doesn’t matter. Really.

    Look, as Russian I have no moral right to go and judge other countries electoral prospects and, surely, I have no dog in this fight. So – just one big IMHO here.

    I think that the Establishment, after Brexit and Trump’s election, got its shit together (more or less) and is not on counter offensive. They won’t allow such things to happen in the future and spare no small amount of money and effort to brainwash the masses to ensure that. The masses are predictably complainant in that, epitomizing Russian expression “Хоть ссы в глаза – скажет «Божья роса»” (Transl: “Even if you piss him in the eyes he’s gonna call it «God’s dew»”).

    I see three possible outcomes:

    1) Conservatives retain the majority (60-70% probability). Yeah, sure, there might be some hiccups and concessions on their part – like a new coalition with handshakable nobodies (LibDems) or the sacrificial ditching of Theresa May (who has the charisma value of the trashbag). It doesn’t really matter who’s gonna be the Face, when the Gang remains at the helm.

    There is everything indicating that this gonna happen. May (suddenly!) tried to play tough, daring to astroturf some UKIP points (but in the most handshakable way) and is clearly capitalizing on the aftermath of the terror attack. All “unhandshakable” data and leaks are thoroughly suppressed or dismissed out of hand. And people are generally content with that.

    2) Labour pyrrhic victory (20-30% probability). In the unlikely event that the people are secretly so pissed off Tories that they would decide to channel the “protest” vote in one torrent of votes for Labour, well… Establishment has damage control for that. Corbyn might be devoured by blairites from inside. Or they will be forced into ramshackle coalition with unreliable partners. Or the Establishment and bureaucracy will actively sabotage him every single day after he takes the office. The aim here to keep the policy basically the same.

    That’s my ignorant, biased opinion.

    Best regards from Sir Humphrey Appleby

    P.S. Where is Colliemum when you need her?

    • et Al says:

      I think it does matter. Free healthcare, subsidized or free education is essential to get the best out of your population. The NHS can’t last much longer, Britain will quit the EU and block immigration but it cannot produce or incentivize anywhere near enough British or long term resident workers to become nurses, GPs or other whose skills are essential simply to keep the country running. Either those jobs will remain unfilled, with disastrous consequences, or immigrants will be brought in. The Tories are stuck back in the early 1950s with their ‘make do’ politics and the ‘I’m all right jack & f/k the rest of you’. That’s their interpretation of civilization. No development, no will to evolve beyond the basics.

      The weird thing is, the stuff Labor is proposing (investment in training/vocation/with industry-infrastructure funds ets.) is standard in quite a few other European countries that do not have left wing governments. Germany is the perfect example (save their refusal to upgrade much of their 1960s infrastructure). Business & Unions sit down together with each other and hammer out a deal with some assistance from government if necessary. Investing in trainees is standard in many medium to large German businesses because they recognize that they need skilled labor, etc. etc. Apparently common sense is socialist/marxist according to the Tories. Better to be Dick-ensian in their pov.

      Musical accompaniment:

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Et Al, it does not matter because the whole system is rigged. Yes, there are long term concerns which, if not adressed, gonna fuck all right in the arse generations of Britons to come. But they won’t be adressed. The system is such that it precludes from that.

        Take the terror situation. There is one half-bad (others and “do nothing” approach are worse) solution for it – the so-called “Israelisation” of the UK. No one’s gonna implement it. NO. ONE. No one, as well, won’t go and bust illegal arms trafficers, suppliers of the IED components, liquidate “no-go” borroughs, and, most of all – go after suppliers of the ideological component for the jihad which assures shit like in attacks in Manchester and London keep happening – and will happen in the future.

        No one wants to go and say that the capitalist system adopted by the hopefuls in the past-war era is not sustainable for Europe anymore. There are two possible exits – either its total dismantling, or new war and plunder. But the system itself is beyond redeeming. You can’t “reform it from within”, because it’s designed such way to prevent just such a thing.

        • et Al says:

          The King is dead, long live the King?

          Probably. But these are not normal times. They are extraordinary times. Yes, the Establishment corrals its wagons in a circle and squeals about Indians on the horizon, but there are fissures all over the place. Whether something will bust or not, I do not know, but what I do know is that some things are beyond control and we are passengers.

          History is its own master and time and time again when we proclaim that everything is ‘OK’, the carpet is swept away from under our feet and the serious s/t hits the fan. If that happens, I hope we survive. I’ve got a cat to feed.

    • marknesop says:

      If by some miracle Corbyn actually won, he would get the Trump treatment. Some magical scandal would be invented and the press would hammer on that one note day in, day out so that he could not get anything done. Instead, he would be in damage-control mode all the time.

      • Jen says:

        The centre-right Blairite faction of the British Labour Party will either plot to boot out Jeremy Corbyn (by dredging up and hammering on some past comment he made about terrorism perhaps) should he become PM or defect en masse and form a new party. Defection could prove fatal if it affects the number of seats Labour holds in the new Parliament. Corbyn could find himself presiding over a hung Parliament.

        But I heard that in the weeks leading up to Thursday’s election, Corbyn was really pulling in the crowds at football stadiums, no less.

        • et Al says:

          It’s funny to read Guardian columnists write about how they have ‘come round to appreciating Corbyn’ after two years of heaping scorn and ridicule. It was always quite the outside chance that so much damage done by supposed Labor supporters could be over turned in a few weeks. Yes, they’ll try and boot him out for losing despite sabotaging him from the beginning. I don’t expect a shred of shame. Either way, there’s bigger crises coming and the Tories will have no-one but themselves to blame. RIP, NHS, for starters.

  7. et Al says:

    Terrorist attack in I-ran. ISI/ISIL/IS/DAESH/Whatever claim responsibility. It looks like Saudi Arabia’s declaration of war to me.

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Iran attacks leave 12 dead at parliament and Khomeini mausoleum

    It’s certainly a provocation designed to get I-ran all hot and bothered to which ‘The West’ (USA/Gulfies) would have to react to, i.e. the mythical ‘I-ranian threat’

  8. et Al says:

    Vis the Reality Winner leaking ‘proof’ of Russian hacking of US elections, PavewayIV’s comment on Moon of Alabama says it all:



    He’s one of a handful of good commenters there among the nutbags, antisemites, conspiracy theorists etc. It’s one of the things that really bugs me about great (supposedly) alternative news/opinion/blogs. They always get immediately contaminated by all sorts of narcissistic ‘tards who just want to s/t the bed for everyone else, particularly the flyby trolls. Lots of people out there (Hello lurkers!) know that the Pork Pie News Networks are either feeding them unadulterated bs or lying by omission so actually make a real effort to find out more – whether they agree with it or not – but are faced with having to wade through rivers of f/ktard commenters. It is dispiriting to say the least. That may well be the idea, particularly those organizations that want to hose a and discredit alternative media sites (sic the JTRIG program and the likes of Brigade 77 and digilogues that have been running for years). If you can hack it, you probably think a) does this make sense? b) who is bono? c) timing, timing, timing.. d) is anything logically missing from the picture/story? e) if so, what conclusions can we draw from that? etc. It’s not easy. Once upon a time we had newspaper columnists to do our thinking for us who we would religiously read. Now it is each one for themselves. What a pain in the ass. Fortunately we have the Kremlin Stooge and a bunch of other sites to help! 😉

    • et Al says:

      ‘Ghostship’ elucidates how Reality Winner would have access to top class info;



      My only thoughts are, wouldn’t such info be compartmentalized (standard operating procedure, innit?), i.e. a ‘translator’ would not have free and unlimited access, but rather have access to only very specific highly secret info? If there are that many translators out there, then compartmentalization would work very well. It is totally counter intuitive, nay stupid, to allow free range to anyone but the top of the top. More people, more chance of leaks, accidents or incomptence.

      • et Al says:

        Ah, I should have read on. PavewayIV again:



        Don’t miss the link to TTG’s comment on leaks at Sic Semper Tyrannis!

        Yet again, you do not get this kind of information from the Pork Pie News Networks, the same ones who cosy up to the security services in return for juicy tidbits and also rubbish ‘alternative news/websites/blogs’.

      • marknesop says:

        Indeed it is; Secret and Top secret information is made available to those who (1) are cleared to the appropriate level, and (2) have the need to know. It’s “and”. Not “or”. Top Secret information may not be viewed by anyone with a Top Secret security clearance – only by those who need to know that information to carry out their duties related to it. Information may actually specify, “Top Secret – Eyes Only” in which the personnel holding a Top Secret clearance who may view the material are either listed, or it is restricted only to the addressee.

        • yalensis says:

          I dunno, because that whole Snowden thing revealed a lot of holes in the American security apparatus. Snowden himself was surprised just how much stuff he was able to access, and he was just a contractor at the time, not even a permanent employee.

          • marknesop says:

            Well, yes, because the notion of compartmentalized operational security and broad state electronic surveillance of the population are mutually exclusive. But to the very best of my knowledge Snowden did not reveal any secrets of America’s defense systems, its operational structure, its past military operations or its future plans in that area, if he knew them. The damaging information he disclosed all related to American spying on foreign leaders and the American electorate.

            • yalensis says:

              I know, but my point wasn’t what Snowden revealed, but just the fact that he himself was surprised by how much access he got.

              • marknesop says:

                Then compartmentalization was not working the way it was designed to, and anyone with a Top Secret security clearance could shop the Top Secret catalogue. It’s supposed to be you only see it if you have the clearance and need to know the information for your job.

                • Jen says:

                  That might say something about the work culture prevailing at the NSA, how loyal or disloyal its employees are and how prepared they were (or not) to enforce standards.

  9. et Al says:

    From the same Moon of Alabama thread, courtesy of commenter karlof1, particularly for links to the Megan Kelly – Putin interview transcript and full video which is certainly worth reposting:


    It’s becoming more difficult daily to find something that doesn’t stink. I see it as an attempt to further bury the censored NBC interview with Putin where he explained several hard truths, one of which I alluded to yesterday. Compare vid here, http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/06/nbc-edited-out-putins-hard-truths-heres.html with uncensored one here, which includes transcript, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54688

    I strongly urge bar patrons to read transcript or watch uncensored vid and cease wasting time on all the related “nonsense.”

  10. et Al says:

    Patrick Armstrong’s latest Sitrep from 3 June, first published over at Sic Semper Tyrannis:

    Russia Observer: When Intelligence Isn’t

  11. Moscow Exile says:

    An appeal to the youngsters from Dyadya Lyosha:

    Heavy on the sarcasm.

    The Kremlin trembles anew!!!!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And one day, I deceived a little girl. I promised her an ice-cream if she carried my flag…

      Anti-Putin Children’s Crusade: Activist Bribes 20K Teens to Flood Moscow
      Alexei Navalny intentionally misled inexperienced youth, tacitly promising money for rally participation

      After 15 days in prison, 40-year-old Russian opposition icon Alexei Navalny was set free last Monday. Upon his release, a prison official took him to the nearest subway station and paid for his ride.

      Navalny later admitted that, during his first moments of freedom, he felt like a bum—without money or a cell phone.

      Little did he know, being whisked out of prison in a police car, that he was about to be greeted by a less-than friendly crowd of supporters.

      Schoolboys held placards that read “Where is the dough, Alexei?”, “When will we receive our 10,000 Euros?” and even “You promised—you cheated!”

      It was not immediately clear that these were Vladimir Putin’s young stooges there to embarrass the anti-corruption activist.

      Russian Opposition Leader Offers European Court Shield to Thousands

      Meet RosEvroSud” (Russian Euro Court), Navalny’s latest project, designed to facilitate appeals to the European Court of Human Rights. In a blog post on Wednesday, he announced that he’s making the service available to anyone detained at this Sunday’s anti-corruption protests, which he insists are lawful assemblies, where local officials refused to offer demonstrators alternatives when rejecting permits.

      “If we have to file a hundred appeals, we’ll file a hundred. If we have to file thousands, then we’ll enlist the Anti-Corruption Foundation’s lawyers and attorneys at human rights organizations, and we’ll write up and file thousands of appeals”, Navalny wrote on Wednesday.

      The service is available to anyone who’s detained, taken to court, and fined. Individuals are first required to appeal the fine in a Russian court (a process Navalny says is relatively perfunctory), and RosEvroSud handles the rest.

      In the past, the group says it has filed 55 appeals with the EHCR, winning 12 cases, with another 29 still in progress. Navalny has personally won several of these appeals, receiving thousands of euros from the Russian government in compensation for moral damages and legal expenses.

      Citing a successful appeal by RosEvroSud on activist Igor Tarasov’s behalf, Navalny implies that coming out this Sunday to demonstrate against corruption could net as much as 10,000 euros for each person wrongly detained and fined.

      “If you’re detained, then you’re also going to make some money”, he promised bluntly in a message to supporters.

      “There’s no need to be scared”, he added. “Cowards get scared.”

      Peskov alleged that Navalny had promised that he would facilitate financial compensation to any arrested “illegally”.

      Of course, the Western press guffaws at the very idea that protesters against the Tyrant sometimes receive handouts for their efforts, whereas it simply stands to reason that those who rally in support of the “regime” are always paid handsomely to do so.

      Stands to reason, dunnit?

    • marknesop says:

      He forgot to squint.

  12. et Al says:

    EUObserver: Crimeans seek stable life under Russian control

    …For them, the increase in prices that happened after the annexation of Crimea and the various sanctions imposed by the EU and the US are less important than being part of Russia.

    For years, while being Ukrainians, many watched Russian channels and refused to speak Ukrainian in their daily lives.

    Now it’s the turn of Ukrainians to try to keep their culture and language.

    “Russia is trying to perform a cultural assimilation”, Leonid Kouzmine, the head of Simferopol’s Ukrainian cultural centre, told EUobserver.

    Kouzmine, who demonstrated against Russia’s annexation in 2014, has already been arrested several times by Simferopol’s local authorities….

    I find it curious that neither journalist considers that Kiev imposing Ukrainian

    From the mouth of the devil itself

    RFE/RL: Ukraine: Kyiv Imposes Controversial Ban On Russian-Language Broadcasts

    April 16, 2004 16:40 GMT


    So Zviad Gamsakhurida can start a civil war in Georgia and attack the minorities, but Russia protecting them is wrong. Ukraine can impose language rules in areas where a large majority speak Russian, but that is ok, or in the EU Observer piece, simply ignored, let alone that Kiev violently suppressed Crimea voting in a referendum on its own future during the break up of the Soviet Union and it was left between Ukraine and Russia to agree to disagree. This continual strategy of reporting a story but having an artificial historical cutoff point to which the journalists ignore what has preceded recent events is just dishonest to everyone. It’s not an excuse, but if you treat someone else as s/t, then it is highly likely that when the boot is on the other foot that you’ll get some to. If not, count yourself lucky. Still, where would the Human Rights industry and sympathetic reports be if they didn’t have something to squeal about? It’s not like discrimination happens at home…

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    Taking a selfie of himself and his statuesque wife on a beach in Spain last week:

    Election headquarters have been opened somewhere or other in the Mediterranean area. Keep sending more and more contributions. Only by doing so will Russia be saved.

    You jammy bastard, Lyosha!

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Bykov? Good! I’m in mood for some poetry:

      Кто в “Жан-Жаке” ест гусей?
      Брат Навальный Алексей!
      Кто в Сибири чистит снег?
      Брат Навального – Олег!

  14. Northern Star says:

    Can someone explain to me exactly what is the difference between a Reinhard Heydrich and
    monsters who originate systematic ongoing cold blooded murder ??

    “Signature drone strikes, you may remember, are the ridiculous idea-put-into-practice that we Americans know so much about the hearts and minds of Afghani farmers and shepherds that we can tell—from a computer screen thousands of miles away—what they are up to. We can, according to this theory, tease out the difference between a group of tribal leaders coming together to discuss land use, or village education, or whatever it is tribal leaders discuss, and a group of terrorists coming together to discuss what to blow up next.
    Of course, we can’t. Classified documents that came to light in 2013 listed 114 drone strikes that killed as many as 613 people over a 14-month period beginning in September 2010. About one out of every four of those killed by drones during that time where blithely labeled “other militants,” by the CIA. In other words, the CIA had no idea whom they were killing.”

    Even Newsweek reams this evil incompetent POS:
    “When the Shawal Valley strike occurred, D’Andrea was already was a controversial figure in intelligence circles. He was one of the agency’s officials who failed to keep track of Nawaf Al-Hamzi, one of the 9/11 hijackers, after he entered the United States. As The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer wrote in her book The Dark Side, the CIA knew Al-Hamzi was in the United States. An FBI officer named Doug Miller who was attached to the agency’s Osama bin Laden–tracking unit typed up a memo about Hamzi, hoping to share the tip with the FBI so they could locate the suspected terrorist. “But his boss, a CIA desk officer in the Bin Laden unit of the Counterterrorist Center who is identified by the 9/11 commission only as ‘Mike’ told Miller to hold off on sending the memo,” Mayer wrote. “After the second try, Miller dropped the matter.” Three hours after “Mike” gave that order, he inexplicably told his CIA superiors that the tip had, in fact, been passed to the FBI. “The CIA assumed from then on that it was,” adds Mayer. “But it wasn’t.”
    “Mike” was Michael D’Andrea. While researching her book, Mayer spoke with a 9/11 Commission investigator, who told her that under questioning, D’Andrea couldn’t remember anything about the Al-Hamzi episode. “Astonishingly,” Mayer wrote, “the 9/11 investigator later learned [that D’Andrea] was given a promotion by the agency after September 11.”
    There is much more at the link:

    BTW..It was the NYT that ‘outed’ him..LOL!!!

  15. et Al says:

    Circa.com via Antiwar.com: Did the FBI have evidence of a breach larger than Snowden? A lawsuit says yes.

    by John Solomon and Sara A. Carter

    A former U.S. intelligence contractor tells Circa he walked away with more than 600 million classified documents on 47 hard drives from the National Security Agency and the CIA, a haul potentially larger than Edward Snowden’s now infamous breach.

    And now he is suing former FBI Director James Comey and other government figures, alleging the bureau has covered up evidence he provided them showing widespread spying on Americans that violated civil liberties…

    More at the link.

    Quantity, maybe. Quality? Ehhhhh.

  16. Northern Star says:

    NATCA..AFL-CIO…quietly and covertly licking the crack(s) of the system to feather their nests and line their pockets…organizations like this work to serve as a ‘moat’ around the castles of the super elite of the deep state..they’re neither ready nor acceptable as alpa status members..just good stalwart beta/gamma types….forever fawning fellators of the elite hegemony status quo …

    “A critical component of the privatization deal is the support of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), the union formed to replace the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) after the Reagan administration smashed the 1981 air traffic controllers strike.
    Reagan broke the PATCO strike using a plan drafted under his predecessor, Democrat Jimmy Carter, who had pushed through deregulation of the airlines, the brainchild of the leading liberal Democrat in the US Senate, Edward Kennedy. Former aides to Kennedy devised the strikebreaking plan, using military controllers, that was later put into practice by the Reagan administration.
    None of this would have been possible without the backing of the AFL-CIO, which regarded the smashing of the PATCO strike and the destruction of PATCO as a necessary step in suppressing working class opposition to the ultra-right program of the Reagan administration. PATCO became the template for a decade-long effort to strangle strikes and crush militancy within the union rank-and-file, which led ultimately to the transformation of the unions into organizations completely committed to the defense of corporate profit, with the union officials serving as an industrial police force, a second line of management.”


  17. et Al says:

    Moon of Alabama: The Saudis Demand Total Surrender But Qatar Will Not Fold

    Many people believe that Qatar will soon give in to recent Saudi demands and threats. I first though so too but have changed my opinion. Qatar will likely hold out way longer than anyone assumes and fight more intensive and much longer than foreseen.

    The Saudi “young leader” has now given Qatar 24 hours to submit to 10 demands. These include (unconfirmed) the dismantling of Al Jazeera, breaking off of all diplomatic relations with Iran and (the Israeli demand of) ending all support for the Muslim Brotherhood and especially Hamas. The Saudis threaten with a military invasion…

    Plenty more at the link and don’t forget to hit the comments.

    Turkey has voted to allow to send military support to Qatar. I-ran says it can have food in Qatar in 12 hours. Russia backs Qatar. Salman of KSA demands total surrender in one day.

    I’m not as sure as ‘b’, but Qatar clearly has options. I guess some sort of ‘face saving’ measure may be in order to allow KSA to back down. In fact, it looks like the USA has already provided it:

    Groaning Man: Russian hackers to blame for sparking Qatar crisis, FBI inquiry finds

    • kirill says:

      Inquiry makes it sound like an actual investigation. WTF could the FBI do in a couple of days. Just look at the IPs recorded in the computer logs. Well, fuckwads and assorted sheeple, those IP numbers prove FUCK ALL.

    • marknesop says:

      Busy, busy Russian hackers; they’re everywhere. Maybe they will hack my bank and make me a wealthy, wealthy man. I promise it wouldn’t change me.

  18. Evgeny says:

    Hello Stooges!

    Have you heard of “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin” by Kovalik Dan?

    So far I have had a cursory look on it — a few minutes of turning the pages. It doesn’t look like a serious professional study, more like a light writing (albeit with numerous booknotes), and the author’s focus seems to be on exposing the cases where the U.S. misbehaved in the world — so it shouldn’t be critical of countries like Russia. The author cites journalists like Max Blumenthal, Robert Perry, even Paul Craig Roberts, so I guess it might be an interesting read. Perhaps I will read the book; not sure.

    • Warren says:

      Published on 4 Jun 2017
      As Hillary Clinton blames the Kremlin for her election loss, author and attorney Dan Kovalik argues that anti-Russia sentiment is deeply embedded in the U.S. political establishment. Kovalik’s new book is “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia.”

    • J.T. says:

      Heard of it, but I’ll pass.
      For something more serious, see Russophobia: Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy by Andrei Tsygankov.

      • Evgeny says:

        Thanks for the link, J.T.! It’s a very good book and I promise to utilize it for my nefarious needs.

      • likbez says:

        It was reviewed by nobody else but great friend of Russia Andreas Umland who gave it three stars (the book undermines his main source of income — blaming Russia for everything for fun and profit ;-).

        *** Andreas Umland on June 11, 2010

        Stretching “Russophobia”

        An analysis like Andrei P. Tsygankov’s book was sorely needed. However, I am not sure that Tsygankov will fully reach with this text what he seemingly wanted to attain – namely, an effective, noted and, above all, consequential critique of US attitudes towards Russia during the last decade.

        Tsygankov has, to be sure, done a great deal of investigative work. He details many episodes that illustrate well where US policy or opinion makers have gone wrong. The book’s chapters deal with, among other topics, the Chechen wars, democracy promotion, and energy policies. It is also important that this interpretation comes from a Russia-born political scientist who lives in the US and knows American discourse and politics well.

        Tsygankov’s deep knowledge of both, Russian affairs as well as camps and trends in US politics, adds considerable value to this analysis.

        Yet, already the title of the book indicates where Tsygankov may be defeating his purpose. By way of classifying most of US-American critique of Russia as “Russophobia”, Tsygankov goes, at least in terms of the concepts and words that he uses to interpret these phenomena, a bit too far. Tsygankov asserts that Russophobia is a major intellectual and political trend in US international thought and behaviour. He also tries to make the reader believe that there exists a broad coalition of political commentators and actors that form an anti-Russian lobby in Washington.

        It is true that there is a lot to be criticised and improved in Western approaches towards post-Soviet Russia – and towards the non-Western world, in general. US behaviour vis-à-vis, and American comments on, Russia, for the last 20 years, have all too often been characterized by incompetence and insensitivity regarding the daunting challenges and far-reaching consequences of the peculiarly post-Soviet political, cultural and economic transformation. Often, Russian-American relations have been hampered by plain inattention among US decision and opinion makers – a stunning phenomenon in view of the fact that Russia has kept being and will remain a nuclear superpower, for decades to come.

        The hundreds of stupidities that have been uttered on, and dozens of mistakes in US policies towards, Russia needed to be chronicled and deconstructed. Partly, Tsygankov has done that here with due effort, interesting results and some interpretative success.
        Yet, Tsygankov does not only talk about failures and omissions regarding Russia. He also speaks of enemies of the Russian state in the US, and their supposed alliances as well various dealings.

        Certainly, there is the occasional Russophobe in Washington and elsewhere, in the Western world. Among such personage, there are even some who are indeed engaged in an anti-Russian political lobbying of sorts.

        • marknesop says:

          Tsygankov asserts that Russophobia is a major intellectual and political trend in US international thought and behaviour. He also tries to make the reader believe that there exists a broad coalition of political commentators and actors that form an anti-Russian lobby in Washington.

          Yes, yes; that’s going too far – what’s the matter with him? Nothing like that is going on.

          Ha, ha. Sorry; I tried.

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          Umland circa 1938:

          The hundreds of stupidities that have been uttered on, and dozens of mistakes in German policies towards Jewry needed to be chronicled and deconstructed. Partly, Orwell has done that here with due effort, interesting results and some interpretative success.

          Yet, Orwell does not only talk about failures and omissions regarding Jewry. He also speaks of enemies of the Jewish people in the Reich, and their supposed alliances as well various dealings.

          Certainly, there is the occasional anti-Semite in Berlin and elsewhere, in central Europe. Among such personage, there are even some who are indeed engaged in an anti-Semitic political lobbying of sorts.

  19. Warren says:

    JUNE 6, 2017
    Mike Fox – Episode 88

    This week Eric chats with Brazil-based journalist Mike Fox about the ongoing protests against the right wing government, the volatile politics of the country, Brazil’s significance to the region, and much more. The conversation begins with an in-depth analysis of the recent scandals that continue to plague the Temer government, and what this means in the near- and long-term. Eric and Mike discuss the manufactured nature of the protests against the left wing government of Dilma Rousseff, and the role of big capital both in Brazil and the US in bankrolling them. The second half of the show highlights the broader implications for Latin America, and places Brazil in its proper regional and international context. From urban and rural protests to the role of Wall Street, from endemic corruption to the dangerous Trump Administration, Eric and Mike tackle this complex topic this week on CounterPunch Radio!
    Music: Max Romeo – “Socialism Is Love”


    • Warren says:

      Published on 7 Jun 2017
      Brazil’s labor reform is set to pass the legislature and workers fear a dramatic worsening of their living conditions as a result. A special report from Brazil by Mike Fox

  20. Warren says:

    Canada to increase its military spending by 73%

    Canada is gearing up to expand its “hard power” overseas with major plans for new defence spending.


  21. Warren says:

    Published on 7 Jun 2017
    A political TV show reporter has been threatened over her coverage of anti-government protests in Venezuela last month. Abby Martin, the co-producer of The Empire Files, started to receive death threats, saying she would be lynched. Venezuela has been gripped by protests since the beginning of 2017, resulting in dozens of people being killed.

    • Northern Star says:

      Most anything this rotten whore-IMO- denounces….is something or someone probably somewhat worth defending!!!!

      “The problem with the Venezuelan opposition *****(most of its leaders are part of the wealthy white elite)**** is not it’s denunciation of Maduro’s repressive policies, which should be roundly denounced, but rather that it is designed to achieve regime change in spite of the fact that the Chavistas reached power by legitimate means and continue to enjoy a significant degree of popular support. Furthermore, as Steve Ellner reported in The Nation, “the opposition consistently employs tactics of mass civil disobedience even though these mobilizations are accompanied by the destructive actions of small bands of combatants”. These are the combatants who refused in April 2013 to “recognize Maduro’s democratic victory, despite zero evidence of fraud” (Jimmy Carter once called Venezuela’s electoral system among “the best in the world”) and whose protests targeted government-run health clinics and other public institutions, resulting in at least seven civilian casualties.
      Predictably, opposition’s only goal is not to oust Maduro but also to privatise Venezuela’s public services and to bring the social reforms brought forward by Chavez to an end. For example, as soon as they took over the National Assembly in 2015, they immediately tried to put an end to the successful social housing project.”

      • Northern Star says:

        Let these ‘opposition’ protesters be treated like palestinian demonstrators in Gaza are dealt with by the IDF..live ammo AW and riot gun blasts to the head…they’ll dial it back some….


        • Northern Star says:

          Shaming… huh!!!
          Threatening this guy’s daughter…Really
          Maduro’s people should start whacking some of these mfs…they will get the message….

          • Jen says:

            Uhhh … why do you think the “political opposition” is spoiling for a fight by initiating the violence? Those idiots want Maduro’s government to send out the troops in full force so they can claim they are being “repressed” and the US would be “compelled” to send in its own forces to stop the “repression”. Just as in Dar’aa in Syria back in 2011 when the jihadis hijacked the protest against rising food prices and torched a police station and a Ba’ath Party building, the Syrian government was forced to fight back violently, and its reaction was portrayed in media around the world as repression.

            • Northern Star says:

              “…..and the US would be “compelled” to send in its own forces to stop the “repression” ”

              Uhhh….maybe…maybe not

              “The Union of South American Nations, which speaks for the continent’s 12 independent countries, demanded the U.S. drop the sanctions in a statement issued Saturday, calling them “a threat to sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states.” The foreign ministers of all UNASUR’s member nations signed the declaration at a special meeting in Quito, Ecuador, according to Argentine news site Infobae.”

              South America isn’t the Gulf (Arabian Peninsula)….and-unlike Syria- Venezuela isn’t
              in close proximity to a pack of USA lapdog nations….

              • Jen says:

                Unfortunately South America has changed since that Huffington Post article. Argentina (under Macri), Brazil (under Michel Temer) and Venezuela’s next-door neighbour Colombia are now a pack of US lapdog nations. Guyana (under President David Granger) I do not know much about though he has visited the UK, Europe and the US.

          • marknesop says:

            Great idea! Let’s see people yelling, “You’re not long for this world, May!!” at Theresa May, or ” Take a hike, you Frog bastard!!” at Trudeau. It’s all very edgy when the western press is backing the opposition someplace, and everything they do is all, like, brave and courageous. But when people back home behave that way, they get all icy and sniff, “Thank God we live in a country of laws” as you’re leaving the scene in the paddy-wagon.

            • Jen says:

              Indeed, if the election results are anything to go by, June may be seeing the end of May … Theresa May, that is.

  22. Warren says:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I suppose some would consider “Inessa S”, the maker of this You Tube clip, to be of a similar persuasion to those allegedly numerous paid stooges who are employed at the Petersburg “troll factory” that has recently been referred to on this thread.

      As regards the irrationality of certain arguments put forward here by “stooges”, which matter has been recently brought up on this thread, namely that those who argue the case for Russia, namely “stooges”, “trolls” etc., use irrational, invalid arguments to defend their case.

      2:43 ..this is from intercepts of separatist communications posted on You Tube by the Ukrainian government … [“Ukrainian government”, i.e. Ukraine SBU]

      3:10 …this is what we know now, based on open information, which is, basically, common sense …

      Harfe uses the starting point of her argument that it was the separatists who were the guilty party because of the “bragging” they did about the downing of an aircraft and then their “stepping back” on realizing that they had shot down a passenger airliner.

      Starting from that point and using intelligence that the USA has but will not reveal, she says it is a logical assumption that it was the separatists, backed by the Russians, who were the guilty party.

      Her argument may only be logically valid but her conclusion can most certainly be false if her premises are untrue.

      Valid arguments:

      If all the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true.

      If It is impossible for all the premises to be true but the conclusion false.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      CNN’s Amanpour challenged to go talk to ‘Aleppo boy’

      Amnapour to Lavrov, showing the propaganda picture of the “rescued” by “White Helmets” boy:

      “What do you say to the civilians, who are simply asking for the right to not be bombed? That is a war crime, sir”.

      (Civilians bombed by the USAF are, of course, collateral damage.)

      On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova challenged Amanpour to properly follow up on the story she once put forth.

      “She may have enough courage, journalistic professional ethics and simple human conscience to finish it. To go to Aleppo, to go to Syria, find the family of that boy and do a really honest interview with him, not a staged one, which CNN is so capable of”,Zakharova said.

      “You may ask some possibly difficult questions and produce a true report about this boy. About how the US media have been spinning his photo and his story and for years the fate of Syria as well”, she added.

      Zakharova added that the mainstream media, including the CNN, “have been caught red-handed” with their use of the “Aleppo boy” image, and should take responsibility for it.

      “Кристиан Аманпур, мы вас ждем в Алеппо” — добавила Захарова.

      Zakharova added:

      Christiane Amanpour, we are waiting for you in Aleppo“.

      Who thinks she will go?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Note: this story is not from the Petersburg “Trolll Factory”, but it is from Kremlin-controlled RT.

        So it must be a pack of lies.

        Prove me wrong!


      • marknesop says:

        I love Masha – Russia has needed a plain speaker who swings for the chin the way she does since time out of mind. Russia’s normal official behavior is to ignore insults and let bygones be bygones; why be childish? But, unfortunately, you have to be childish when you’re dealing with an unscrupulous foe with a childish audience. The west’s typical gambit is to spin Russia’s silence as an admission of guilt, and thus reap a double harvest from something it fabricated in the first place, and a mild denial is spun as “Moscow denies it (snicker, snicker).

        Attaching a condition, something the can-do nation must do to prove it is not full of shit, is just the approach. I recommend Russia hammer on it mercilessly, publishing Amanpour’s schedule to show that she is not too busy and constantly heckling her to put up or shut up.

  23. Jeremn says:

    Amateur hour in Kiev, but perhaps an indication that not everyone is happy with the extent of western support to Ukraine:

    “No one was hurt when an explosion happened on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv overnight.”


    • Moscow Exile says:

      Putin is obviously behind this.

    • marknesop says:

      Nothing to get excited about; it was probably just a group of friends getting together to sing a harmless little song.

      • Jen says:

        “Kumbaya” by the campfire, wasn’t it? No wonder that explosion occurred – the song title must have been code for something.

        • marknesop says:

          Could be – I was just riffing on the rock-and-egg-throwing extravaganza at the Russian Embassy last year, complete with at least one Rada member joining in the hearty singing of “Putin Huilo” (Putin is a Dickhead). When Russia complained, the official statement was that it was just some friends getting together to sing a popular song.

          Excuses like that will not satisfy the Exceptional Nation, I shouldn’t think, although there is unlikely to be a big official stink about it because the USA fervently supports Ukraine in its drive to separate itself completely from Russia (although that doesn’t extend to paying for it, except for a little emergency aid).

          Speaking of Ukraine and its train-wreck economy, you’ll probably enjoy this part-piece (I say ‘part piece’ because you can’t see the whole thing unless you are a subscriber to the Kyiv Post, and I can’t think of too many people who have that much money and that big an appetite for bullshit).

          Euan Macdonald gets the ball rolling by reiterating that Putin mourns the death of the Soviet Union, and warbles a bit about the differences between the Order of Lenin and the Order of Yaroslav The Wise. He then bestows the former – on Kiev’s behalf – upon Megyn Kelly, for being such a failure as a journalist that Putin went through her like thrown kasha through a picket fence. “Putin walked all over her figuratively in the mismatch as Kelly joined Charlie Rose and Larry King among American journalists who could not hold their own with Putin. Kelly, who quit Fox News, has been praised for her combative interviewing style. But was out of her depth against Putin, who sneered his way through the 11 minutes aired by NBC News”, moans Macdonald.

          But it’s not all gloom; my, no. Macdonald then awards the Order of Yaroslav The Wise – which might better be called the Order of Blowing Sunshine Up People’s Asses, considering in this case it is awarded simply for blathering that things could be about to get great in Ukraine – to Andrius Kubilius, former Prime Minister of Lithuania. All he really did to earn the honour was assure anyone who would listen that unless the Kremlin is kept in check by credible threat of force, it will seek to expand its territory, and tease Ukrainians that annual foreign investment of $5 Billion could turn into growth of 6 to 8 percent. He doesn’t say how. Just says that “As long as such aid is tied to reform benchmarks, ordinary Ukrainians would finally begin to derive major economic benefits from their struggle to shake off Russian dominance.” Oh, yes, ‘pon my soul; reform. The kind of reforms that let the president of the poorest country in Europe remain a wealthy businessman at the same time he runs the country, I suppose.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Putin “sneered?


            He is usually deadpan when making statements or doing interviews. Occasionally he laughs or smiles. But “sneers”?

          • yalensis says:

            Fox News has a reputation for hiring very beautiful and classy women as anchors and personalities (e.g., “Fox and Friends”), and then abusing them via sexual harrassment, to the point that almost a dozen of them have had to quit over the years.

            The disgruntled women then usually go on to get a job at CNN.
            One of the earliest to switch from Fox to CNN was the pleasing and wholesome Kiran Chetry in 2007.
            Although, in her case, she may not have quit over sexual harassment per se, but rather a catfight with another lady, former Miss America Gretchen Carlson.

            Allegedly, Kiran and Gretchen hated each other so much, with such a white-hot fervor, that Kiran demanded a clause in her to-be-renewed contract, whereby Gretchen was to be fired.
            Fox would not agree to fire Gretchen, and Kiran left in a huff, for CNN.
            Meanwhile, Gretchen went on to file a sexual harassment suit against Roger Ailes.

  24. et Al says:

    Ames’s latest Paean: Russia Blog #7: When Mother Jones Was Investigated For Spreading “Kremlin Disinformation”

    Mother Jones recently announced it’s “redoubling our Russia reporting”—in the words of editor Clara Jeffery. Ain’t that rich. What passes for “Russia reporting” at Mother Jones is mostly just glorified InfoWars paranoia for progressive marks — a cataract of xenophobic conspiracy theories about inscrutable Russian barbarians hellbent on subverting our way of life, spreading chaos, destroying freedom & democracy & tolerance wherever they once flourished. . . . because they hate us, because we’re free.

    Western reporting on Russia has always been garbage, But the so-called “Russia reporting” of the last year has taken the usual malpractice to unimagined depths — whether it’s from Mother Jones or MSNBC, or the Washington Post or Resistance hero Louise Mensch…

    More at the link.

  25. et Al says:

    So, “While Trump had done nothing illegal in requesting Comey to drop the investigation, there is still the question of ‘political interference’ and the optics.”.

    29 June 2016

    CNN: Bill Clinton meeting causes headaches for Hillary


    Pot. Kettle. Black. Hilarious.

  26. et Al says:

    There’s been a reported ‘chemical attack’ in Mosul that affected 13 civilians. Where is the West to claim that Assad did it? Distracted by other events maybe?

  27. et Al says:

    A couple of new items from The Register.

    The Register: Senator blows a fuse as US spies continue lying over spying program

    Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) blew a fuse Wednesday morning when his years-long effort to get American intelligence services to say how many US citizens have been sucked into a foreign spying program was dismissed out of hand.

    “You promised that you would provide a ‘relevant metric’ for the number of law-abiding Americans who are swept up in the FISA 702 searches,” Wyden told director of national intelligence Daniel Coats at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning.

    Waving his finger at Coats, Wyden continued: “This morning you went back on that promise. And you said that even putting together a statistical estimate would ‘jeopardize national security.’ I think that is a very, very damaging position to stake out.”…

    More at the link.

    It’s hard living in a country full of exceptional people and organizations!

    % this.

    The Register: Busted Russian casino hackers had an appetite for drugs and chocolate

    US law enforcement agencies on Wednesday unsealed charges against a large-scale Russian criminal syndicate, laying charges against 33 individuals with some pretty startling sidelines.

    It’s hardly surprising that a bunch of mobsters and racketeers would trade in firearms and narcotics. Hacking casino slot machines with smuggled electronics is more exotic; and shipping around 4.5 metric tonnes (10,000 pounds) of chocolate is a genuine surprise.

    The DoJ’s media release about what’s dubbed the “Shuyala Enterprise” cites a “dizzying array or criminal schemes” pursued by the accused.

    The FBI, US Customs and Border Protection, the New York Police Department and Southern New York acting US attorney Joon Kim allege those schemes included “a murder-for-hire conspiracy, a plot to rob victims by seducing and drugging them with chloroform, the theft of cargo shipments containing over 10,000 pounds of chocolate, and a fraud on casino slot machines using electronic hacking devices”.

    The Feds say the syndicate was led by Razhden Shulaya and Zurab Dzhanashvili, and in proper Godfather fashion, Shulaya acted as “vor” (“thief-in-law”, the release says) and promised protection to those working for him…..

    As more than one commenter noted, ‘Shulaya’ & ‘Dzhanashvili’ hare hardly Russian names and and pinned the former to having come from Abkhazia, speculating that he probably got in to the US claiming discrimination. Go see the comments.

  28. J.T. says:

    June booklist is out, in case anyone’s looking for something Russia-related to read:

  29. et Al says:

    BG. Paul Tibbets IV to fly B-29 Doc

    Grandson of Enola Gay commander, Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV, will be at the cockpit of restored B-29 bomber Doc on Jun. 9 when the warbird makes a trip to Whiteman Air Force Base for the Wings Over Whiteman Airshow.

    Alternate reality indeed.

  30. Warren says:

    Against the Grain

    06.06.17 – 12:00PM

    China Miéville on the Russian Revolution

    It was an epoch-making event, buoyed by hopes of human emancipation, that still shapes our notion of revolutionary change today. The Russian Revolution, which took place a hundred years ago, was born out of war and poverty, and profoundly altered the course of the 20th century. The writer China Miéville recreates those days of revolution, in all of their ebullience, chaos, and tragedy, and reflects on the lessons of October, including whether the degradation of the revolution was inevitable.


    China Miéville, October: The Story of the Russian Revolution Verso, 2017


    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Soooo… China Miéville is a Trod of fedora-tipping variety. Because, obviously, any “Regime” that makes Russia not weaker, but stronger, must be evil. “Degradation of the Revolution”, sssssssure!

  31. Northern Star says:

    “In that testimony he had already disclosed that Trump demanded his “loyalty” and directly pushed him to “lift the cloud” of investigation by declaring publicly the president was not the target of the FBI probe into his campaign’s Russia ties.”

    Oh…OK…so Trump MADE the little bitch state that he (Trump) was not the target….Really!!

    “Former FBI Director James Comey says if FBI agents knew the president had asked him to drop an investigation into the former national security adviser, it would have a “real chilling effect” on their work.

    Comey says he decided not to tell agents working on the Russia investigation about what he perceived to be a request from the president to drop the probe into Michael Flynn.

    Comey says even as good as the agents are, hearing that the president asked for this could be detrimental. He says, “that’s why we kept it so tight.”

    Comey testiphony:
    speculative….conclusory…..ad hominem…vague…petitio principii…..et cetera..

  32. Northern Star says:

    As the article says…better look to yourself!!!

    With the exception of the Putin remark..Absolutely ‘Spot the F on’ article:

    “This is the sort of social disintegration that Nietzsche foresaw when he defined the “Last Man”, the coward who will always choose comfort, security, and material affluence over the hard struggle for liberation of the human spirit. With the socio-cultural collapse already well underway, and no left movement to hit the brakes on neoliberal globalization, the material and economic collapse is the next logical step, and nearly inevitable at this point.”

    “Only an engaged and vigilant, united public can combat such barbarism. It must be acknowledged that if the US and UK governments are willing to commit mass atrocities abroad; there is no reason to believe they haven’t and will not try it domestically, to rally support for an ever-expanding police state.

    There isn’t time to wait around to elect a new congress or president: our representatives are controlled by corporations and lobbyists in the current system. Only a mass protest movement, coordinated in all major cities and Washington DC, practicing nonviolence and civil disobedience, and promoting egalitarian democracy, social justice, and ecological wisdom, will be able to smash the power structure.

    The time to act is now, the stakes have never been higher, and there are no superhero saviors waiting in the wings: we are who we’ve been waiting for.”


  33. Warren says:

    Exit poll as a bar chart
    Predicts that no party has the magic 326 seats

    • PaulR says:

      If true, could be difficult for anyone to form a majority. Even with 8 DUP supporting them, the Conservatives still couldn’t do it.

      On the very positive side, it looks like the SNP will get a solid beating.

    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Lady Theresa falls short of a majority, is obliged to enter into a coalition with the liberal democrats, allowing Brexit to be sabotaged and ultimately shelved.

      It’s the scenario that Cameron hoped for – a couple of years late.

  34. Warren says:

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      May to the people: “It’s only a flesh wound”

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Who’s that behind her?

        Back from the dead Ned Kelly?

      • marknesop says:

        What a truly unfortunate choice; she looks like a fat apricot. Her Minister of Fashion must have been on holiday.

        • Jen says:

          The Minister of Fashion advised Theresa May to look less predatory so as to calm down the pensioner voters. So she opted for an orange suit without the leopard spots or the tiger stripes. But she probably put her foot down at having to change her shoes for something more sober.

          She did concede though that maybe these pairs were best consigned to the back of the wardrobe.

  35. Warren says:

  36. Warren says:

  37. Warren says:

  38. Warren says:

  39. Cortes says:

    Third attempt at posting “Auslander” on possibly unhealthy relationship between Ukrainian forces and OSCE monitors regarding new tactics in razing settlements:


  40. Warren says:

    Published on 8 Jun 2017
    Romania might be the first country in the world to legalize corruption. In January 2017, the Romanian parliament passed an ordinance which allowed politicians to accept bribes of almost $50,000 USD. Without any kind of legal repercussions whatsoever.

    How did they get to this point? Well, today we are going to answer this question.

    And don’t forget to visit our friend’s podcast, Reconsider Media:

  41. Jen says:

    Here’s my good (?) deed for the day.

    Some news now trickling into the blogosphere that the Democratic National Convention paid Crowdstrike – that’s the cyber-security firm headed by Dmitri Alperovich with links to the Chalupa sisters and the Ukrainian diaspora in North America – to hack into its own server.

    “DNC Russian Hackers Found!”

    “CONFIRMED: DNC paid the ‘Russian’ founder of CrowdStrike to hack its server so it could be blamed on Russia!”

  42. Jen says:

    Here’s my good (?) deed for the day.

    Some news now trickling into the blogosphere that the Democratic National Convention paid Crowdstrike – that’s the cyber-security firm headed by Dmitri Alperovich with links to the Chalupa sisters and the Ukrainian diaspora in North America – to hack into its own server.

    “DNC Russian Hackers Found!”

    “CONFIRMED: DNC paid the ‘Russian’ founder of CrowdStrike to hack its server so it could be blamed on Russia!”

    • marknesop says:

      Holy shit; coupled with the Hill story in which Comey confirmed he told Trump he was not the target of an investigation, and that the lurid press histrionics about contact with the Russians were almost entirely wrong…is it possible the blame could actually go where it belongs? To the media and the Democrats?

  43. Warren says:

  44. Warren says:

  45. Warren says:

  46. et Al says:


    Theresa May. In the bathroom. With a razorblade.

    Shame on the supposed Labor supporting ‘left media’ who tell their supporters that Corbyn is a wasted vote. More shame on those who say that Labor would have done better with a different leader. It seems that it is not democracy that counts, but winning by any means necessary. Now considered a ‘luxury’ by the same people who proclaim it the most.

    • Cortes says:

      I didn’t vote for them, but was impressed by the reversion to the dark red posters used prior to “New Labour”‘s pinkish apologetic red. Corbyn ought to be building up membership among the poorer areas and shedding some of the noblesse oblige types who infiltrated from the late 1970s onwards.
      Interesting also to see Theresa May going for the short-term fix with the DUP. I’ve heard that the Tories in Scotland have been making a big push to capture support from the most ignorant unionist protestants.

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