Flirting With Disaster

Uncle Volodya says, “It’s like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you’ve made, and there’s this panic because you don’t know yet the scale of disaster you’ve left yourself open to.”

…Speeding down the fast lane, honey
Playin’ from town to town;
The boys and I have been burnin’ it up, can’t seem to slow it down.
I’ve got the pedal to the floor, our lives are runnin’ faster,
Got our sights set straight ahead,
But ain’t sure what we’re after…

Molly Hatchet, from Flirting With Disaster

Any Darwin Awards fans out there? For those few who have never heard of them, the Darwin Awards celebrate those individuals who have rendered a significant service to mankind by taking themselves out of the global gene pool. In preparing to discuss today’s subject, I am reminded of unfortunate 1999 award-winner ‘James’ from Missouri, who became so fixated upon his love interest that he tried to lop off his own head with a chainsaw to demonstrate his commitment to an outcome on his terms. Although he was ultimately unsuccessful on both counts, he did fatally injure himself, and died in hospital. Ashes to ashes; dust to dust.

My intent today is to demonstrate clear destructive similarities between the above emotional decision and the equally simpleminded decision of the US Senate to impose further economic sanctions on Russia, this time explicitly tying them to penalizing of European companies which do business with Russia – moreover, in a clear attempt to stop the latter from proceeding with the Nord Stream II gas pipeline project. This, in turn, is clearly an attempt by the USA to make Europe a captive market for its own energy products, in the form of shipborne LNG. Significantly, that goal is also finally becoming clear to Europe; or at least to the parts of it that matter, such as Germany (thanks for the tip, James!)

Try to put aside, for the moment, the insufferable arrogance of American meddling in Europe’s energy market, with a view to restricting its choice while – laughably – pretending it is broadening European energy options.

The readers and commenters of this blog will be well aware, since it has been a topic of discussion for years here, that a critical underpinning of the western plan to seize Ukraine and wrest it into the western orbit was the premise that Russia would be forced by simple momentum to go along with it. As long as events continued to unfold too quickly to get ahead of, Russia would have to help supply the sinews of its own destruction. And a big part of that was the assumption that Russia would help to finance Ukraine’s transition to a powerful western fulcrum upon which to apply leverage against it, through continued trade with Ukraine and continued transit of Europe’s energy supply through Ukraine’s pipeline system.

But Russia slapped a trade embargo on most Ukrainian goods, and rescinded its tariff-free status as it became clear Brussels planned to use it to stovepipe European trade goods into the Russian market, through Ukraine – thus crushing domestic industries which would not be able to compete on economically-favourable terms. The armchair strategists nearly shit a brick when construction of the South Stream pipeline commenced, bypassing Ukraine and depriving it of about $2 billion annually in transit fees. But pressure ultimately forced Bulgaria to throw a wrench into the works, and the pipeline plans were shelved, to much victory dancing in the west. There was not quite as much happy-dancing in Bulgaria, but they were only ever a pawn anyway.

Sidebar for a moment, here; while the $2 Billion annually in transit fees is extremely important, Ukraine’s pre-crisis GDP was $163 Billion. The funds realized for transit fees are important because (a) Russia has to pay them and (b) the west will have to come up with the equivalent in aid if Ukraine loses out on them. But the real value intrinsic to Ukraine as a transit country is its physical reality as an interface for Russian gas transit to Europe – what is a bridge can be easily turned into a wall. Any time Washington thinks Russia needs some more shit on its face, Ukraine can be prodded to announce a doubling of its transit fees, or to kick off some other dispute which the popular press will adroitly spin to make Russia appear to be an unreliable supplier. Therefore, it is essential to western strategy that significant amounts of Russian gas continue to transit Ukraine. Sufficiently so that Europe continues to evolve ever-more-desperate contingency plans in order to keep receiving gas through the country which was known to have provoked the previous shutoff of European supplies by siphoning Europe-bound gas for its own use. That’s despite the assurances of Germany and western partners of Gazprom in the Nord Stream line that it will mean cheaper gas prices for Europe.

But we knew this was coming, didn’t we? Yes, we did, because as recently as last month, Democratic senator Jean Shaheen, who sits on the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on European Affairs, announced that the United States was considering involving itself in the Nord Stream II pipeline project, with a view to killing it stone dead. The purpose, as already mentioned, is to make way for LNG cargoes to Europe, cutting Russia out of the business, on the assumption that without energy sales the Russian economy will crumble and the country will collapse. Destroying Russia remains Washington’s overriding strategic objective.

So the stakes are high; high enough to provide context for Washington’s bizarre and aggressive behavior, and for its continued ridiculous insistence that Russia tampered with the 2016 US presidential election. What are the chances Washington will succeed with its latest adventure in global bullying?

Not good, according to multiple sources. Let’s take a look at how Platts views the prospects; Platts, a division of S&P Global, is headquartered in London and employs over 1,000 people in more than 15 offices worldwide. These include global business centers such as New York, Shanghai and Sao Paulo, and major energy centers such as Houston, Singapore and London, where Platts is based. Having hopefully established the firm’s credentials as someone who knows what they are talking about in the energy business, let’s see what Platts has to say about the potential American LNG market in Europe.

Mmmm….the review is mixed. At the outset, Platts is admiring of Cheniere Energy’s go-to-hell expansion. But a couple of things about that are cause to curb enthusiasm. One, only 8 American LNG cargoes had gone to Europe so far; that was as of April this year, when the report was released. Of those, 4 went to Spain, 3 to Portugal and 1 to Italy. Two, the Iberian Peninsula is acknowledged by Platts as not particularly significant in terms of gauging Europe’s welcome of American LNG.

“Indeed, the fact that Portugal and Spain were the first European countries to import LNG from the US is telling…The Iberian Peninsula is considered an “island market” with poor interconnection to the rest of Europe, so the delivery of US LNG into the region is not likely to be seen as a sign that it will take hold in the wider European market.”

The same passage points out that Russia does not supply the Iberian Peninsula with pipeline gas, and so is unlikely to be very concerned about the impact of US LNG on that market.

Three, Cheniere’s rapid expansion has come at a terrifying cost, and the company is currently – as of fall 2016 – overleveraged with approximately $20 Billion in long-term debt. It is unprofitable, with interest payments representing 60% of revenues, the living embodiment of ‘bicycle economics’; the second you stop pedaling, you crash.

For what it’s worth, few great business breakthroughs have occurred without risk, and while Cheniere is plunging ahead with what seems like recklessness, it could just as easily pay off with complete domination of the North American export market. That’s a hell of a debt load, though; not much margin for bad news. That does expose a flaw in the American strategy, as well – wrestling control of the European supply market from Russia would be frighteningly expensive.

Consider; apart from the ruinous expense of constructing LNG terminals and processing facilities and getting planning and development permission (which I imagine could be shortcut pretty quickly if such a juicy prospect as seizing control of the European market seemed an achievable possibility), you need tankers to ship your product. The average LNG tanker which can dock at most terminals (remember, the tanker has to be able to get to the terminal as well as berth alongside it, so you may need to dredge a channel all the way through a shallow harbour) can hold a little better than 3 Billion Cubic Feet (BcF) of natural gas, which is mostly methane. That equates to about .85 Billion Cubic Meters (BcM). But Europe uses about 400 BcM per year. That would be more than a full tanker cargo every day, assuming LNG could supply the whole European market, which is of course unrealistic. Especially considering the entire global LNG shipping fleet consists of about 410 vessels. No LNG carriers are currently registered under the US flag, and if the USA plans to be a serious exporter it is going to need about 100 new LNG carriers over the next 30 years, something which is frankly not practically achievable considering it takes about 2 years to build one, at a cost of about $200 Million apiece. Of course, miracles can be made to happen if you pour enough money into them. But we’ve already somewhat nervously mentioned how much all this is costing – how does the likely return on investment shape up?

Well, what the fuck? Platts comes right out and says that Russia has the option of cutting its prices to ensure it undercuts LNG costs in order to keep its share of the European market!

“Russia clearly does have the option to undercut the US LNG price to ensure it keeps its share of its key European markets and could flood the market with cheap gas, maximizing revenues and cash flow at a time when producers worldwide are suffering from the impact of such low prices.”

So, let me get this straight. All the attempts by the west, led as usual by Washington, to force energy prices down and keep them low…actually benefit Russia by putting the USA in an unacceptable profit/loss loop so that it cannot afford to sell its LNG to Europe and still make money? That appears to be pretty much how it shakes out.

“Russia, thanks to the bearish oil price environment and an enhanced export strategy from Gazprom, increased its exports to Europe by 15% (through the Nord Stream, Yamal, and Brotherhood pipelines) to 118 Bcm, taking back its place as Europe’s largest gas supplier in the process.”

Wait! I think I see a solution. All the USA needs to do is apply its global leverage to make energy costs rise!

“But US LNG could face problems of its own – the current low prices are forcing ever growing numbers of US producers into bankruptcy. According to a recent report by Haynes and Boone, 90 gas and oil producers in the US and Canada have filed for bankruptcy between January 2015 and the start of August 2016.”

Oh, hey; I just realized – if forcing energy prices back up were an option, how is that  going to hamstring an opponent who was already able to undercut you at the lower price, and still turn a profit?

Platts closes out this dismal synopsis with the consolation prize that, while US LNG is less competitive with pipeline gas given narrow Henry Hub-NBP spreads, it is coming to Europe regardless. More of that old American can-do. It will have to be, though, on what is described as a short-run marginal cost basis. Would you feel comfortable with that forecast if you were carrying, say, $20 Billion in debt?

And it’s not just Platts who sounds a warning; Forbes has a similar, if slightly more mocking outlook of the situation.

“Most of this is just political posturing and noise. The U.S. is not now and nor will it be in the near future a key resource for Europe’s energy needs…According to EIAs Annual Energy Outlook, published in April, the United States remains a net importer of fuels through 2040 in a low oil price scenario. In a high oil and gas price scenario, the United States becomes a net exporter of liquid fuels due to increased production by 2021. A lot can happen in seven years. By then, Exxon will likely be back to its deal with Rosneft in Russia’s Arctic Circle.”

As well, Forbes adds the interesting perspective that foreign sales of American gas will be a tough sell domestically if the pressure remains on the American leadership to achieve greater energy self-sufficiency and reduced dependence on foreign sources. This situation can only be exacerbated by a rise in anti-American sentiment around the world, and is likely to spike if energy prices rise. But if they stay low, American LNG exports won’t make any money. If they go up, pipeline gas will undercut LNG prices and make it noncompetitive. Jeez, we just seem to be going around in circles. Say, did you notice that little item in there, in which the author mentions the only possible way the USA could compete with Russia in the natural gas market in Europe would be if it had national rights to substantial supplies of gas abroad? Did that give your memory a little tickle, and make you think of Burisma Holdings, and Hunter Biden?

The Brookings Institute, for God’s sake, warned that US LNG could not compete price-wise before the first LNG cargo ever left the USA. Given its sympathies, it seems probable it was intended as a sobering restraint meant to keep the United States from doing something stupid that might expose it to failure and even ruin; it is much less likely to have been an endorsement of Russia’s global business practices.

As so often happens, an unhealthy fixation on taking down a largely imagined enemy results in increased risk-taking and a totally unrealistic appraisal of the likelihood of success – it becomes worth doing simply to be doing something. The costs in this instance have included the alienation and infuriating of Germany, the European Union’s anchor economy, and angry murmurs from the Gulf States that Washington negotiated production cuts simply to make its own product more competitive. All for nothing, as it happens, because a nation with surplus swing production can always undercut your price, and the nation with the world’s lowest production costs should be last on your list of “People I Want To Start A Price War With”.

If you were opposed to official Washington’s swaggering, bullying modus operandi, this whole unfolding of events probably seems pretty delicious to you. But I’ve saved the most delicious for last – Trump dares not make any effort to overrule the Senate vote, or get it reframed, because of the successful media campaign to portray him as Putin’s secret agent. Any effort to mollify Germany’s fury will be seized upon by the reality-challenged Democrats as an opportunity to further discredit the Trump government, by making it appear to be negotiating in Russia’s behalf.

You couldn’t make it up.

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954 Responses to Flirting With Disaster

  1. yalensis says:

    Just posted latest installment on my series of posts about the International Ballet Competition at the Bolshoi which concluded last week.
    I think the story is starting to get good now.
    I’ll do some more with the Womak-Filin feud, then finish with some opinions about the current state of Russian theater.

  2. J.T. says:

    WaPo’s “big scoop” on alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, brought to you with the help of everyone’s favorite Anonymous Sources:

    • yalensis says:

      My favorite comment from a poster called “Libertarian39” dated 6/23 7:45 AM:
      “Obama was just feckless. And it infected his entire administration.”

      There is a certain poetry and alliteration there, plus it’s just funny, although I don’t know if it was meant to be.

      • Special_sauce says:

        I guess that makes The Donald feckful.

      • Jen says:

        “Obama was just feckless. And it infected his entire administration”.

        How the feck did the feck that left Obama (thus rendering him feckless) manage to fill his government with the in-feck-tion? That surely must be one very ef-feck-tive contagion.

        • yalensis says:

          I don’t even know what “feck” means!
          Can somebody be feckFUL?

          • marknesop says:

            It’s a good thing I am finally learning to look things up before replying, especially where they have to do with language, rather than assuming there’s no such word just because I’ve never heard it. Lo and amazedly behold, there is actually a construct called “feckful”, although it was never used much and has fallen completely off the map. Something can even be said to ‘have feck’, which is so cringingly awkward that it destroyed the whole word for me, and I will never use it again. But in my own experience, limited though it obviously is, “feckless” means something that is done more for show than for any real purpose, and suggests the author of it did not do any real planning.

    • marknesop says:

      What ridiculous bullshit – all, as usual, without any attribution whatsoever, so that nobody can pin them down and say, “Did you actually say that?” “A source deep inside the Russian government” is usually code for somebody like Stas Belkovsky or Gleb Pavlovsky, fair-weather dissidents who will say anything for attention and perhaps a few bucks. American intelligence services are sufficiently good at coding that they can make anything look like it came from anywhere, and this is just another cheap attempt to make it look like Hillary really won the election, from the Democrats’ tame rag.

      Are they actually telling us that in a climate in which Russian hackers can roam at will through government networks, Hillary Clinton did official government business up to and including Top Secret on a private email server which was not even password-protected, despite warnings from State Department staffers, and the senior member of the American domestic intelligence servers recommended no charges against her after volumes of her emails surfaced in a massive leak? Emails whose content was demonstrated to be largely an accurate reflection of nefarious and unethical goings-on by the Democratic party?

      If Russia is so brilliant at ferreting out data in a foreign language which is explosive enough that it can throw the election to the candidate of Russia’s choice, well….what’s the American government to do? It’s amazing to think the world’s sole surviving superpower is so feeble in the cyberworld that it is utterly helpless before Russia’s evil skilz. Why can’t American hackers subvert and overthrow the Russian government by releasing explosive bombshells of unethical behaviour in its ranks? Because they’re just too innately good to stoop to that?n Spare me. It surely can’t be that there isn’t any.

      Nobody disputes that the information which was released regarding Team Clinton’s disgusting manipulations was true and accurate – there were no attempts by Wasserman-Shultz to pretend that she was framed, and she stepped down before she could be fired and was immediately given a position on Clinton’s campaign team. The entire effort is dedicated to making America believe it should have crowned Hillary Clinton President of the United States just to spite Vladimir Putin.

      • et Al says:

        Washington Examiner: Trump-Russia collusion fades from the media headlines

        …David Brooks, another columnist for the Times who spends his days Googling mental disorders to diagnose Trump with, admitted this week that it’s “striking how little evidence there is that any underlying crime occurred — that there was any actual collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russians.”

        Axios journalist Mike Allen writes a daily newsletter widely read in Washington and on Friday he wrote that “No evidence of collusion has emerged,” which several leading Democrats have also publicly stated….

        …That comment came after Comey said that an entire New York Times report alleging “repeated contacts” between Trump and his associates with “senior Russian intelligence officials” was false.

        “In the main, it was not true,” Comey said of the Times report….

        …Liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews said the theory held by Trump’s opponents that his campaign colluded with Russia “came apart” with Comey’s testimony…

        This is just the latest evolution of the Russia wot did it meme. Evidence that Trump is Putin’s puppet/blackmail etc. has run out of steam (and is now admitted) but the Russia angle is just too good to let go.

        • marknesop says:

          And so they just amp it up a couple of more notches, which is what you do when you have no evidence. Oh, everywhere except in court, of course. Maybe that’s the next step for Russia – take the west to court for defamation. At least Washington would have to admit it doesn’t have any proof, and that its supposed tracings of Russian links to hackings could very possibly have originated elsewhere. Not least of all, Russia would be able to introduce the angle that Hillary’s server was wide-open; a child could have hacked it, and the email disclosures all reported true information. How it looked on Clinton is not Russia’s problem, and if Americans and westerners in general prefer being lied to as long as they like what they hear, maybe it’s time to get that on the table.

  3. ucgsblog says:

    Putin Weaponized Sophistication!

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    МРАЧНЫЕ ТЕНИ ИСТОРИИ. Запад приготовил для России План «БАРБАРОССА-2»

    THE DARK SHADOWS OF HISTORY. The West has made a “BARBAROSSA-2” plan for Russia

    The previous, almost forgotten, threat of a third world war has become a topic of public discussion. Several times, especially in recent years, the U.S. and Russia have been on the verge of a military confrontation in Syria. Long before the events in the Ukraine, NATO has persistently and consistently been increasing its military potential at our border. What are the possible scenarios of a military conflict? It is necessary to think about this in order to prevent the inappropriate actions of our “Western partners”, who have never denied that Russia is “the main likely enemy”.

    The situation is so serious that the leadership of the United States has published a letter from our former compatriots, who now live and work in the United States: “We observe with growing alarm that the policy of the current leadership of the US and NATO has brought them to an extremely dangerous collision course with Russia and China. Distinguished, patriotic Americans, such as Paul Craig Roberts, Steven Cohen, Philip Giraldi, Ray McGovern and many others have issued warnings about an impending third world war. However, their voices have been almost completely drowned out by the noise of the media, full of unreliable and reality-distorting stories, according to which, and with complete lack of evidence, the Russian economy is supposedly falling apart and the Russian armed forces are allegedly weak. But we, aware of both Russian history and the current state of Russian society and the Russian armed forces, cannot swallow this lie. Now we feel that it is our duty, as Russians living in the United States, to warn the American people that they are being lied to and to tell them the truth. And the truth is this: If there is a war with Russia, then the United States will certainly be destroyed, and most of us shall perish …”

    “A direct military conflict between Russia and NATO can last no more than 10-20 days and will end with the capitulation of Moscow because of the impossibility of further resistance to the forces of the Alliance.” This is not the nonsense of a madhouse patient: this is from an interview in the Ukrainian magazine “Kraina” with the senior analyst of the US Defence Ministry in Russia, Lieutenant Colonel David Juberg. [For more on Juberg, see: TIMESHIGHEREDUCATION.ORG — ME] And this is far from the only opinion published in the media by quite informed experts.

    Military analyst V.Vasilecu from Romania, a country right in the front line of the NATO anti-Russian front, in the pages of the English-language analytical cente “Catechon” argues that the aggression of the US and its allies against Russia is not a delusional scenario. The US must at any cost stop Russia, which has been changing the American-centric status quo by its actions in Syria, and before that, in the Crimea and the Ukraine. In order to preserve its hegemony, the Americans are deliberately heading for a major war.

    In the opinion of Vasilescu, the main direction where the US will strike is in the he West. “The US does not plan to disembark in the Russian Far East: instead, as did Napoleon and Hitler, the US will seek to occupy Moscow, the strategically important capital of the country”, he sums up. According to him, the aim of Euromaidan was initially to create a convenient springboard for aggression against Russia. Lugansk, said the analyst, is only 600 kilometres from Moscow. However, the plan for American aggression was preventively foiled after the reunification of the Crimea with Russia and the creation of people’s republics in the East of the Ukraine…

    There’s much, much more at the blog linked at the very top.

    And these bastards below (and many others) are all for the liberation of Russia by the forces of all that is good in this world …

    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, unfortunately, I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen just like that. I have been saying for a while (predicting) that NATO will invade Russia by land. And probably just like that — from the West, in a straight line to Moscow. Following in the footsteps of Napoleon and Hitler.
      There is no other logical explanation for the ring of NATO bases around Russia, and the radar installations and the rabid propaganda war, and all that jazz.

      I predict, though, that NATO will receive a nasty surprise and be rudely rebuffed.
      And those Fifth Columnist compradores, which you show above, will be sorely disappointed and will not be appointed NATO Gauleters, despite their intimate dreams.
      Remember that America has not won a real war against a real foe, in decades. And there is a reason for that.

    • kirill says:

      Looks like the propaganda koolaid drinkers forgot about tactical nuclear weapons. No ground force can defend against them. Any massing of NATzO for an invasion will not get far. And I doubt that some sort of diffuse deployment would succeed since Russia could contain such a trick at its borders. In other words, to break through Russia’s borders NATzO will have to mass its forces and hence will be open to tactical nuclear strikes.

      Another possibility is that the stellar intellects in NATzO are trying to organize some sort of insurrection in Russia. This is their best chance at regime change. But I just don’t see it happening. Russia is into Banderastan and there are no UNA-UNSO type nutjobs infesting it. They can try and train some liberasts in the camps they have in the Baltics, but these militants will be mopped up faster than they can be deployed. Thanks to Putin, there FSB and other security agencies are not compromised and paralyzed. They will handle any NATzO proxies quite well. Ultimately, it would have to be the Russian people that would want regime change for any such ploy to work. And it just ain’t happening, no matter how much koolaid NATzO leaders drink.

      • marknesop says:

        NATO is in a terrible position to attack by any other means than an unalerted pre-emptive nuclear strike, and there is just too great a chance that a counterstrike would be launched even if Russia was pasted flat. As you say, large concentrations of troops and armor are easy targets for tactical nuclear strikes, and Russia has left nobody under any illusions as to whether it would use them to repel an invasion – of course it would. But NATO has never balked at sacrificing troops or equipment so that it can appear the victim, or so that a strawman democracy-is-the-victim meme can be raised, which compels the guardians of democracy to act.

        I would say that although the west appears to badly want a major war, it is just too unlikely they would be victorious without cost for them to try it. The USA has gotten itself so deeply in debt, plus the degradation its international reputation has suffered, that a vision of a catastrophic global war all fought on someone else’s turf must offer tempting memories of how the American homeland escaped two previous such wears unscathed, and was left in the de facto position of world leader. But that would be unlikely to happen again, and even the craziest Americans must know the country would pay a terrible price.

  5. et Al says:

    The Groaning Man: Cyber-attack on UK parliament: Russia is suspected culprit

    Fewer than 90 email accounts with weak passwords are believed to have been hacked in ‘sustained’ attack

    Ewen MacAskill and Rajeev Syal

    The Russian government is suspected of being behind a cyber-attack on parliament that breached dozens of email accounts belonging to MPs and peers.

    Although the investigation is at an early stage and the identity of those responsible may prove impossible to establish with absolute certainty, Moscow is deemed the most likely culprit….

    …A security source said: “It was a brute force attack. It appears to have been state-sponsored.”

    “The nature of cyber-attacks means it is notoriously difficult to attribute an incident to a specific actor.”

    MPs contacted by the Guardian said the immediate suspicion had fallen upon foreign governments such as Russia and North Korea, both of which have been accused of being behind hacking attempts in the UK before.

    In May, Russia was linked to the hacking of France’s computer systems during the presidential campaign, taking data from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign and leaking it to the public…

    Yes kids, it’s the Jews Russians again, like, coz, it had to be state sponsored as no-one else can do it (!) and some MP’s think so. What’s that about France? The head of France’s security services said that there was no evidence of Russian interference*, but why would the Guardian let pesky contradictory facts get in the way of a good smear job?

    * Independent: World heading towards ‘permanent cyber war’, France warns

    Head of cyber security agency says threat comes from other countries, criminals and extremists.

    Enjoy the linked story that says the Americans think they invented the sausage roll!

    • marknesop says:

      Let me ask you something – what is the immediate evidence of a ‘state-sponsored attack’? A bunch of ‘likes’ from Kremlin accounts? Seriously, what tells investigators that not only did the ‘hack’ – as westerners persist in calling the assault against email accounts with weak passwords – originate in Russia, it had the approval and support of the state government? There is absolutely no information which could be gleaned from available evidence which would tell you that. Moreover, what would be the immediate reaction of the British government to an accusation from Russia that its email accounts had been hacked and the metadata included a ‘please forward results to Downing Street”? That’s right; they would scream that it was a transparent fake and any clues which are too obvious are almost guaranteed to be planted. Western investigators insist on finding Cyrillic clues in metadata although Russians, like everyone else, code in English because English is the international language of programming and many file extensions will not work in any other language.

      What kind of ‘brute force attack’ do you need to compromise an email account with a weak password? I could do it, for fuck’s sake – when the login prompt comes up, try “Password”.

      The west is just fucking embarrassing, there’s no other way to say it, and I am extremely disappointed in the British because I thought they were a little smarter than the Americans.

    • Lyttenburgh says:


      Level of sophistication – rock bottom Ukraine.


      I’m so fucking tired of this bullshit by now, so – here you go:

  6. et Al says:

    Independent: Saudi Arabia donates $67 million to tackle cholera epidemic in Yemen

    More than 200,000 cases of cholera have broken out as Saudi Arabia wages war against Houthi rebels

    Ahhh! How sweet! Teh Saudis are drizzling some of their bum fluff over Yemen! We’ll that’ll protect them from war crimes investigations… I mean their Western allies will protect them. That the West covers for the KSA & Friends over their mass crimes against humanity really goes to show how totally morally, ethically corrupt the West has become. Not a shred of shame, but that is to be expected from money grubbing politicians who are the same the world over. What is inexcusable is the role of the media that is supposed to be a fundamental check on the power, perversion and corruption of the elected. Mostly absent. Got bills to pay, backs to scratch. It should all be a massive scandal, but…

  7. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    ‘Ukrainian media starts propaganda for the dictatorship of Poroshenko on the model of the Roman Empire’

    There’s a certain physical likeness.

    • marknesop says:

      Makes you wonder why Eastern Ukrainians would pray for Putin to annex the region to the Russian Federation, dunnit? But apparently they do, at least according to NPR. I’m not sure how solid a source that is, though; the reporter’s naivete is actually a little touching.

      It’s my first time in the self-proclaimed republic in nearly three years because American journalists are rarely allowed inside. Just how normal everything looks here is striking.

      Mmmm. If it’s your second time here, how do you know what ‘normal’ looks like? What’s your frame of reference? And let’s just drop that ‘self-proclaimed republic’ shit, too, how about? Just to show you how stupid it sounds, show me a single republic anywhere in the world, now or in the past, which was designated an independent entity by some authority other than its own first. All republics are self-proclaimed, and continuing to refer to the DPR in that manner is a little like constantly saying ‘two-legged human’. Yes, humans with less than two legs exist, but I think you would have to agree that humans with two legs is the norm. Just as ‘self-proclaimed’ republics are the norm.

      The United States is a constitutional republic. It has a Declaration of Independence – alert, alert!! But nobody refers to it as a ‘self-proclaimed republic’, although it demonstrably is; what, did Mother England announce “You’re a republic – get thee gone, say I”? Hardly – England tried quite hard to hold onto it, in fact, and although my knowledge of the period is incomplete, I feel pretty safe wagering a modest sum that no American broadsheets of the day proclaimed the King’s right to kill Americans to ‘protect his country’. In fact, as I best remember it, Americans of the day and since were inordinately proud of disobeying the law and of breaking with the monarchy.

  8. As I predicted:

    The Spectator Index‏ @spectatorindex

    BREAKING: US-led coalition official says air incident prevention hotline between the US and Russia in Syria has been reactivated

    • marknesop says:

      Is there any indication that they are receiving current operational information from Russia? It is pretty old news that the USA continues to maintain their end of the line, and to ‘work toward getting it restored’. I’ve heard nothing to suggest they have had any success with that effort, and talking into one end of a telephone line is not accomplishing much of value.

  9. PaulR says:

    I’ve just published my own thoughts on the Washington Post’s latest ‘scoop’ discussed above. Read here:

  10. Pingback: RUSSIA & UKRAINE – Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: JRL 2017-114 :: Monday, 19 June 2017 – Johnson's Russia List

  11. et Al says:

    Die Welt via Trump‘s Red Line

    Seymour M. Hersh

    On April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.

    The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region…….

    …One reason for the Russian message to Washington about the intended target was to ensure that any CIA asset or informant who had managed to work his way into the jihadist leadership was forewarned not to attend the meeting. I was told that the Russians passed the warning directly to the CIA. “They were playing the game right,” the senior adviser said. ….

    …made it clear that the planned strike on Khan Sheikhoun was special because of the high-value target. “It was a red-hot change. The mission was out of the ordinary – scrub the sked,” the senior adviser told me. “Every operations officer in the region” – in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, CIA and NSA – “had to know there was something going on. The Russians gave the Syrian Air Force a guided bomb and that was a rarity. They’re skimpy with their guided bombs and rarely share them with the Syrian Air Force. And the Syrians assigned their best pilot to the mission, with the best wingman.” The advance intelligence on the target, as supplied by the Russians, was given the highest possible score inside the American community…

    Much more at the link.

  12. et Al says:

    The HIll via CNN retracts story linking Trump ally Scaramucci to Russian fund

    “On June 22, 2017, published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund,” the news organization said in a statement.

    “That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.”

    Scaramucci responded to the retraction in a tweet Saturday morning, saying the network did the right thing and he was “moving on.”

    I suspect Mr. Scaramucci’s lawyers were on CNN’s back almost immediately and gave them an ultimatum and they backed down. I’d love to see CNN buried, along with all the other scum who think that serious journalism is about ‘opinion’.

    • marknesop says:

      As would I. I note there was no apology to Russia. The same circumstances prevailed when Radek Sikorski was no longer able to maintain the fiction that he had been party to a conversation in which Vladimir Putin proposed to Donald Tusk that their two nations divide up Ukraine. He apologized to Tusk, but never a word to Putin although he was every bit as slanderously mis-attributed.

    • yalensis says:

      Scaramucci was a noted Vegas gangster. In this secretly taped video, Scamamucci (=the guy in the purple suit) was caught in the act of soliciting a mob hit on a notorious government official:

  13. et Al says:

    The Hill via Dems push leaders to talk less about Russia

    …But rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare.

    In the wake of a string of special-election defeats, an increasing number of Democrats are calling for an adjustment in party messaging, one that swings the focus from Russia to the economy. The outcome of the 2018 elections, they say, hinges on how well the Democrats manage that shift.

    “We can’t just talk about Russia because people back in Ohio aren’t really talking that much about Russia, about Putin, about Michael Flynn,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) told MSNBC Thursday. “They’re trying to figure out how they’re going to make the mortgage payment, how they’re going to pay for their kids to go to college, what their energy bill looks like….

    Reality bites? There are only a finite amount of resources available and the more spend on Russia bashing means less on domestic issues that people actually vote on, not foreign policy. We’ll see, but even seguing to blaming Obama for ‘not doing anything about Russian hacking’ doesn’t seem to cut it, though it does allow the Democrats to lightly step back without having to admit that they are full of bs all along. It’s the usual ‘never admit you are wrong/lying’, just change the conversation and forget all that has gone before.

    • marknesop says:

      “They’re trying to figure out how they’re going to make the mortgage payment, how they’re going to pay for their kids to go to college, what their energy bill looks like….”

      America has never been so well-off that there was not a significant demographic which was absorbed with those worries. But the Democrats always act as if they had just discovered it through careful research and lots of listening to the voters. Bullshit. And the Republicans are no different – both go through these periods of soul-searching, resulting in great enlightenment and epiphany, when it’s really nothing more than “Our message is not resonating with voters. They’re pissed off with us. We must be doing something wrong. Until we find out what it is, let’s go with ‘You talked – we listened. We hear you, and we feel your pain'”

  14. Moscow Exile says:

    Kremlin School Leavers’ Ball 2017

    This is the show they put on in the State Kremlin Hall:

    And on Red Square there was an open-air concert as well:

    My son is there somewhere.

    What a Third-World shit-hole Russia really is!


  15. Moscow Exile says:

    Putler addresses the Putlerjugend at the opening of the annual Putlerjugend Summer Camp, 24 June, 2017, where he preaches hatred against other nations and the need to resurrect the USSR in order to place the Soviet Empire in its rightful place — master of the world for one thousand years …


    SECRET FSB LECTURE: Why Putin doesn’t drink alcohol

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    Самым выдающимся человеком всех времен россияне назвали Сталина
    Вторую-третью строчку разделили Путин и Пушкин [опрос КП]

    The Russians have named Stalin as the most outstanding person of all time
    The second and third place was shared by Putin and Pushkin
    [survey KP]

    Get ready for pronged and orchestrated outrage from the Western media.liberal chattering classes.

    • yalensis says:

      My guy, Lenin,went from #1 to #4.
      But still #4 ain’t bad.
      In figure skating world, that’s a pewter medal!

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “The Russians have named Stalin as the most outstanding person of all time
      The second and third place was shared by Putin and Pushkin [survey KP]”

      Actually, it was living not by a lie foreign agent Levada CENTer which conducted the survey – not some “Kremlin controlled” minions of the Dark One.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        So it says in the article, but the headline has following it in brackets “survey [by] KP“:

        A survey conducted by the Levada Centre has shown, just as one did five years ago, that Joseph Stalin was still in the lead, although the number of those who put him at first place has fallen by 4 percent when compared with 2012. On the other hand, the number of our fellow countrymen who reckon our all, our everything, Aleksander Sergeevich [Pushkin] , is our “number one man” has risen by 5 per cent. The sharpest breakthrough in the five-year period has been made by the Russian president. The number of respondents who put Putin at №1 amongst the top ten of the “best of the best” has grown threefold.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Not “pronged”: prolonged!

  17. et Al says:

    Strange things are afoot at the CircleK Dudes & Dudesses:

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Chicago gay pride parade expels Star of David flags

    Organisers of an LGBT-rights festival in Chicago are being accused of anti-Semitism after they expelled marchers carrying the Star of David.

    …Laurel Grauer said she was told to leave the so-called Dyke March “because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive”.

    The organisers later hit back, saying Israel hides behind LGBT-rights….


    Jewish group cancels Netanyahu dinner over Western Wall decision

    A leading Israeli Jewish group has cancelled a gala dinner with Israel’s PM after his government froze plans to upgrade a mixed-gender area for prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

    Well it looks like the surface tension might be finally breaking with Israel. Nut & Yahoo’s full throttle delinquency is breaking people’s patience all over the place (except in American, British and a few other political circles) and I wonder how much longer Nut & Yahoo he can keep it up before fundamental shit hits the fan. I also have the impression that a lot of Israeli supporters who are deeply unhappy with Tel Aviv’s refusal to give the Palestinan’s their fair shakes and have so far kept silent are no longer likely to do so. Maybe I’m just cherry picking from these two stories, but a) it’s already clear that this year is already funkier than last year; b) new cracks have opened up in the supposedly permanent state of affairs.

    • marknesop says:

      I doubt the organizers of the first event would accept the explanation that their flag is a trigger which I find offensive. I think I have made my position clear, and I have nothing against gays. I simply refuse to celebrate it, and I see a fundamental disconnect between just wanting ‘to be treated like everybody else’ and the over-the-top flamboyance of Pride events.

      It looks as if you’re right that people are getting fed up with Israel’s own brand of exceptionalism.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “…Laurel Grauer said she was told to leave the so-called Dyke March “because my flag was a *trigger* to people that they found offensive”.”

      A trigger – azokhen vey! Gevalt, gevalt… What else these meshugers will come up next?

      But the USA with its shizhoid approach to Freedoom and Mockracy causes the cognitive dissonance in me for so long time already, that I’m not surprised anymore. Especially – after that:

      A black woman’s journey to the rabbinate in North Carolina

      ” When Alysa Stanton officially becomes a rabbi in June, she’ll be walking into history.

      She’ll become the first African-American woman ever to be ordained as a rabbi and the first African-American rabbi to lead a majority white congregation, according to the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

      Stanton, 45, will be ordained June 6 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she received her master’s degree from the HUC-JIR, which is the rabbinical school of the Reform movement. Then in August, she will begin her new job at Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, North Carolina — long a Conservative synagogue and now affiliated with both the Reform and Conservative movements.

      She describes her new position with great enthusiasm, saying the congregation — while small — has a lot of children, a sign of a bright future. And she says the congregation is vibrant and the region, where East Carolina University and a major medical center are located, is dynamic as well.

      “My goals as a rabbi are to break down barriers, build bridges and provide hope,” Stanton told CNN. “I look forward to being the spiritual leader of an inclusive sacred community that welcomes and engages all.”

      The HUC says the milestone reflects the diversity that permeates Jewish life.

      Citing numbers from the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, the HUC-JIR says at least 20 percent of American Jews — about 300,000 to 400,000 people — “are racially and ethnically diverse by birth … conversion and adoption. Approximately 20,000-30,000 marriages between Jews and African-Americans grew out of the civil rights movement. ”


      Stanton worked as a student rabbi, served as a chaplain, had clinical pastoral training and promoted interfaith dialogue at Reform communities in the United States. She studied at the HUC-JIR campus in Jerusalem and then at Cincinnati, Ohio.

      She said her daughter experienced racial bigotry in Israel, but that reality toughened her and did not deter her from her goals or her love for Israel and its people.”

      Besides the fact that this reminds me of an old Odessan anekdote, when two emigrant Jews in Brighton Beach see a black man on a bus stop near their synagogue reading a newspaper in Yiddish… Aaaanyway! I guess – that’s all an outrageus cause of anti-semitism. Or not. Or Something. Anyway – the bigger the fracas – the better!

      At the same time – we all know how these “let’s have female rabbis” initiative ends. And which ties in perfectly with the original comment:

      Maria Alexandrovna “Masha” Gessen: First Russian female Rabbi to wed 2 women. After that Chief Russian Rabbi Berl Lazar called for a total boycott of dem Reformed shlemazls!

      BTW – the Jewish State of Islarael recognizes only religious marriages. “Civil Unions”, or just going to the city hall or ЗАГС to registry your matrimony does not exist there. And they do not like Reformist bunch either. So – gay marriages are for goyim, not them!

      As for me. I might not speak beutiful, but I’ll try to speak “meaty”! Pickles, herring salad and cold milk are individually pleasant and tasty. By try too eat them all at once – and you finnish water-closet will immediately suffer the fate worse then the heads of the vast majority of Net-active Russophobic Finns!

      • et Al says:

        It’s interesting to see these clashes happen. When it (of either) comes to the Russians, they are clearly evil, but when it comes to faith schools or other communities the media is a lot more careful in its reporting, doubly more so if it is the Caribbean or British overseas territories, let alone former colonies. The Anglican church in Africa is treated with kid gloves too. One wouldn’t want a schism between the head and home of the Anglican church (UK) & the others! So much for calling out everyone equally. I guess favorites and national interests still count! Politics. Politics. Politics.

        Apparently in the UK faith schools are being marked down by the government schools inspectors for ‘not adequately covering LGBT/gender reassignment issues’ that comes under the ‘British values’ section of the inspection even though those schools do teach their pupils to respect and treat everyone equal. If you are not totally with us, then you are against us?

        Independent: Private Jewish school fails third Ofsted inspection for not teaching LGBT issues

        …Private schools which do not meet Ofsted requirements – which include consideration of “spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils” – must improve or face closure.

        Gill Robins from the Christians in Education campaign group criticised the decision, writing in a blog post: “It’s now been made crystal clear by Ofsted that the Equality Act is actually hierarchical, with sexual orientation and gender reassignment at the apex of the Act.

        “All equalities are equal but some equalities are more equal than others….

        The irony is that the British government has been strongly promoting faith schools for quite some years, elevating their privilege and now having them complaining about another minority for apparently having privilege over them. What a tangled web! How about, we are all special?!

        Kids should know about this stuff, coz that is how life is, but it is only one part of a much larger whole of preparing them for all the mountains of shit that will be coming their way as they get older.

  18. Moscow Exile says:

    HMS Queen Elizabeth sets sail for the first time for trials

    The 65,000 ton HMS Queen Elizabeth slowly emerged from its dockyard into the Firth of Forth, bringing traffic to a halt on the road bridge, as car loads of ship enthusiasts tried to get a glimpse.

    The largest warship Britain has ever possessed will now next use low tide to glide under the bridges shortly before midnight on Monday, before anchoring in Kirkcaldy Bay ahead of sailing into the North Sea…

    The Navy is also prepared for the warship’s first appearance to attract a concerted Russian spying effort, with submarines, ships and planes expected to try to get a good look at the UK’s new flagship.

    A Royal Navy warship escorted HMS Queen Elizabeth, while shore-based helicopters look out for submarines as commanders try out the warship in the North Sea and Moray Firth.

    Cdr Fiona Percival, head of logistics on the ship said: “[The Russians] will come and look, but they look at everything.”

    Something that Fiona would probably assert with as straight a face as possible that Her Majesty’s Royal Navy and the United States Navy absolutely never ever do!

    And the USAF U2 “spy plane” was a weather plane that got lost!

    Oh look! Black smoke belching from Queen Elizabeth’s funnel!

    • marknesop says:

      Why will the Russians rush to look at it when there’s not that much you can tell from looking and there will be a bajillion pictures of it?

      And yes, the first place the press should go for educated commentary on naval intelligence efforts is to the Supply Bob. A little like visiting the CIA, and asking the person who orders the supplies for the cafeteria what’s hot in spying.

    • Jen says:

      There’ve been reports in the British media that HMS Queen Elizabeth and future ships of her class will be running on Windows XP software but it seems those had their source in a BBC News clip dated December 2015 which showed a screensaver shot of the Windows XP image on a naval technician’s computer screen.

  19. et Al says:

    Neuters: Clogged oil arteries slow U.S. shale rush to record output

    A gallon of gasoline that allows a driver on the U.S. East Coast to travel about 25 miles has already navigated thousands of miles from an oil field to one of the world’s largest fuel markets.

    If its last stop is one of the region’s struggling refineries – an increasingly unlikely prospect – the crude used to produce the gas would have probably arrived by tanker from West Africa. That’s because the region’s five plants have no pipeline access to U.S. shale fields or Canada’s oil sands….

    Logistics, innit? Without it you can only go so far.

  20. et Al says:

    SkyNudes: Royal Navy’s largest ever warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, sets sail

    HMS Queen Eizabeth took three hours to get out of the Rosyth dockyard where she was built.

    Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! This aircraft carrier is reversing! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

    And yes, it will have to have USMC F-35Bs, not British ones. So completely independent. The irony is that after two and a half decades of blowing up other countries because they can, pendulum of dishing it out has now started to swing the other way. That means a lot of very expensive kit ordered when the world was being (badly) made in its own image will be used rather judiciously, if much at all. Lots of chest beating still to come, but????

    • Jen says:

      Three hours to leave the dockyard? That’s a three-hour period during which HMS Queen Elizabeth was possibily vulnerable to a missile strike or a barricade.

  21. Northern Star says:

    Some of you were-yet again- discussing “winnable ‘ nuclear war scenarios as propounded by the psychos in the ranks of American PTB….’Murican losses would be enormous..BUT a first strike against the Russkies would result in a tolerable American death toll and a survivable aftermath for the American state..

    Once again..people need to understand that America went berserk ,verging on psychological collapse after the loss of two buildings and 3000 dead in Manhattan back in 2001.
    It is NOT that Americans are comparatively psychologically weak wrt other nations or peoples on this planet.
    NO nation on this island earth can withstand dozens of H bombs detonated on its metropoli.
    The Russkies do not need to land hundreds of individual H bombs…a few dozen -coast to coast-would devastate America. Recovery..wahtever the fuck THAT would entail… would take 100 years or more.
    ****Only imbecilic motherfuckers and/or psychos fail to see this.****

    And as for Juberg’s ** bullshit…is he asserting that **each and every** Russkie sub currently positioned off both coasts would be preemptively taken out?? Apparently the SLBMs on Russian subs are MIRVED…so just on the strength of SLBMs alone…from ONE sub….it would be game over for America.
    End of Story. (Start at 30:23 for a glimpse of what would occur in a nuke attack)

    ** There is something fish about Colonel Juberg….

    • Northern Star says:

      I Googled this Juberg…Nothing!!!!!

    • et Al says:

      Once again..people need to understand that America went berserk ,verging on psychological collapse after the loss of two buildings and 3000 dead in Manhattan back in 2001.

      I beg to differ NS! I think it was extremely cold and calculated, i.e. how to maximize the advantage for the United States by Cheney & Co. The US was untouchable back in 2001 and they knew it. It is not the case now. China is much, much stronger, Russia has rebuilt itself, the US still carry lots of legacy baggage that makes it look super mighty on paper, but a lot of its military gear is pushing between 20-50 years. The US is also looking to extend the service lives of F-16s & F-15, aircraft designed in the 1970s.

      That tells us that someone in the US is actually counting the cost and someone is actually listening, not to mention their boomers (SSBNs) are pushing it, they are spread around the world committed to all sorts of bs (death by a thousand cuts) and the UK voting for BREXIT has taken the brakes of EU military unification (if only Germany & France) – which is a significant step towards more EU independence from the USA.

      The world has changed and whatever the crazy words coming through the media are, the facts on the ground tell a different story.

      But… unfortunately that does not make the USA any less dangerous. When they cannot achieve their goals, they always have their fall back position of the Shit-The-Bed “If we can’t have it, neither can you” strategy. Are they that nuts? Certainly not. Is it unlikely? Unfortunately not ,as we have seen that regardless of the military intelligence or potential for blowback over the last quarter of a century, the pols have deliberately manipulated intelligence and outright lied to to their own citizens to get what they want.

      There are also still enough people in the system who will follow ze orders regardless of how insane those orders may be. The level of restraint practiced by Russia, China and others is epic, yet essential. Or it is basic Kung Fu – use the opponents force against itself. As the US thrashes about expending huge amounts of money, time and energy, it weakens itself much more quickly. It’s easy to get angry and win a battle and loose a war, but patience in face of this dying empire may loose the odd battle, but it will win the war.

    • Cortes says:

      There’s a hair-raising essay on the effects of a nuclear bomb going off in NYC in one of the issues of the fabulous “Lapham’s Quarterly.” No idea (as a layman) if all the claims are accurate – if memory serves, the author had a technical background – but for sure in the event that one were to strike I’d rather hope to be well out of town for the duration.

    • marknesop says:

      American defense planning is predicated on the enemy doing what he is expected to do. Does an enemy ever?

    • et Al says:

      Uh, why are you surprised? Does the West ever admit its mistakes? That’s what historians are for!

      On the other hand, Macron has said that there needs to be less interventions abroad, though I rather doubt that has anything to do with will or imperial ambition, but rather that France’s domestic positions is pretty bad and needs to be address, especially as Le Pen came second in the Presidential election and has significantly increased influence. France is still a junior partner to Germany, but it does have a nuclear triad (unlike the mighty UK). Apart from that… Any bets that Macron will have a lower approval rating than Hollande within 18 months? The French always like to vote for the idea of fixing problems and making changes, but the moment any President says “Look. We can’t go on like this. We’ve got to cut some stuff.”, they’re out on the streets day in day out to protect their ‘way of life’ that no-one wants to pay for. Take a pill dudes… that’s one of their problems! 😉

    • marknesop says:

      What else is he going to say on a state visit to Ukraine? He wants to leave without having to dodge rock-throwers while weaving in and out of the smoke from burning tires.

  22. et Al says:

    Meduza reports taht Russia is softening up the public before it bans the Pavel Durov (of VKontakte fame) Telegram app. The British tech website points out that whereas other tech companies have shared source code for market access, Telegram has said ‘No’. Also note that Theresa ‘Arbeit Macht’ Mei has consistently thoughout her political career pushed for more government regulation, oversight, control etc. of the Internet. But, “It’s not Russia!“. Wooo! Look over there, not here!

    Meanwhile, they have a piece on Viktor Tsoi!

    How Viktor Tsoi’s most famous song became the post-Soviet world’s protest anthem, against the rock legend’s own wishes


    There’s a whole bunch of articles on Кино on the Russian language version of the site too!

  23. kirill says:

    And CNN et al. have the gall to bitch about Russian “state run” media. Russian media are vastly more objective than the presstitutes are the CNN who look like they would fit in quite well in Banderastan.

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    They never let up, do they?

    Do they not think folk are getting clued up to their endless hype and warmongering?

    Or do they think folk are stupid.

    Or are they stupid at NATO?

    Or are they both stupid?

    Nah, that’s the Russians who are stupid, cruel, heartless, moronic slave-like sheeple led by the “Kremlin”, which is not a stupid organization, but concentrated evil, I tell ya: evil, and set on world domination ….!

    В НАТО заявили о растущей «по всем фронтам» угрозе со стороны России
    04:12 27-06-17

    NATO has spoken about a growing threat from Russia “on all fronts”

    The Chairman of the NATO military Committee, General Petr Pavel, has said that the Alliance was faced with Russian attempts to increase its military potential on almost all fronts. Politico reports.

    His words “men in uniform” was used to define the threat based on two components — (military) capabilities and intentions.

    “When it comes to potential, there is no doubt that Russia is developing its capabilities in both conventional and nuclear components”, said Pavel.

    He noted that the alliance “is unable to say clearly that Russia has aggressive intentions towards NATO”.

    “We can see a large-scale modernization of the entire Russian army”, the chairman of the military committee of the alliance said.

    Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with film director Oliver Stone, said that the country was ready to respond to all NATO actions in order to maintain a strategic balance.

    In addition, the US has called the conflict between Russia and NATO the main threat of 2017.

    General Petr Pavel — he’s a Czech, mates.

    Pavel has stated that the alliance “is unable to say clearly that Russia has aggressive intentions towards NATO”.

    Well whom are those vile Russians targeting then?

    And there’s more where that came from, namely the “Free World”, the “International Community” etc….

    U.S. says it appears Syria planning another chemical weapons attack
    Mon Jun 26, 2017 | 10:39pm EDT

    The White House said on Monday it appears the Syrian government is preparing for another chemical weapons attack and it warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad he and his military would “pay a heavy price” if it conducts such an attack.

    Another attack using chemical weapons?

    And it “appears” that this is going to happen?


    Someone with a laptop on his knee siting in the front room of a house in a Birmingham suburb, UK?

    And “another chemical weapons attack”?

    But I thought that the previous chemical attacks by Syria had either been disproven or their alleged perpetrators still remain unproven.

    Silly me!

    Ah well, better be ready in any case.

    You know it makes sense.

    Armageddon is well worth it!

    As a former slaveholder once said: “Give me liberty or give me death!”

    • et Al says:


      BBQ (I think it is this one)

      I’m always impressed how rabidly pro-American and lapdoggish the Czech establishment is, save a few notable exceptions (President Zeman). Doctor Al (me) diagnoses teh Czech Republic with split personality disorder. Many in the political/media/business establishment experienced their formative years in 1989+ and are eternally grateful to the US, whatever they might do, though there is another much less vocal strain who despair about this (like the rest of us) but keep their counsel as they will probably be smeared. It is also a center of all sorts of pro-American/orgs/foundations & thinktanks so it is like a self-jerking circle. To get the opportunities you need to play the role an to further benefit from the system you need to go along with it. Dissension is not encouraged.

  25. Moscow Exile says:

    Just up on Russia Insider:

    BREAKING: White House Threatens to Murder More Syrians Over Imaginary ‘Chemical Weapons Attacks’
    Is this Trump’s insane way of reacting to Seymour Hersh’s story?

  26. Moscow Exile says:

    Trump’s cheer leader giving rah-rah calls:

    She makes me Sikh!


    • Moscow Exile says:

      Americans read the thoughts of the treacherous Assad
      On 27 Jun, 2017 at 8:54 AM

      Washington believes that the Syrian authorities are preparing for an attack using chemical weapons which could cause civilian casualties. This was stated late in the evening of June 26 in an announcement by the press Secretary of the White house, Sean Spicer.

      Moreover, the Americans have learnt where the chemical attack will take place, the names of the people who will conduct it and the amount in US dollars that they will receive for this chemical attack. We have learnt what type and exactly how the chemical device will be set up and much more …

      It is worth mentioning the great success of the American special services in drawing up an accurate list of victims, including women, children and the elderly, as well as the names of TV reporters who by chance were able to shoot pictures of the results of the chemical attack.

      It is expected that in the coming days, the United States will know about the intention of Assad to set fire to the Reichstag and to attack the radio station in Gleiwitz.

      Source: Американцы прочитали мысли коварного Асада

  27. Moscow Exile says:

    In this house lives a Donetsk bastard. Get away from the Ukrainian land!

  28. et Al says:

    Follow up & more detail to the non-Anthony Scaramucci-Russia-Trump story:

    SNH: Three CNN employees resign over retracted story on Trump Russia ties

    …Now for the consequences. CNN announced on Monday afternoon that three network officials are leaving their jobs over the incident: Frank, the reporter on the story; Eric Lichtblau, a recent CNN addition from The New York Times who edited the piece; and Lex Haris, the executive editor of CNN Investigates.

    The moves follow an investigation carried out by CNN executives over the weekend, with the conclusion that longstanding network procedures for publishing stories weren’t properly followed. “There was a significant breakdown in process,” says a CNN source. “There were editorial checks and balances within the organisation that weren’t met.”

    The official CNN statement said: “In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story’s publication.”

    A compelling wrinkle in the saga of the story springs from the careful language in the editor’s note. “That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologises to Mr Scaramucci,” it reads….

    …In advance of former FBI director James Comey’s Senate testimony, CNN used four bylines – Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper and Brian Rokus – to report that Comey would contradict Trump’s claims that the fired FBI chief had told him that he wasn’t a target of an investigation.
    Instead, the opposite turned out to be the case:…


    Oh, look, its Eric Lichblau of the NYT that seems to be the common denominator! Nothing to see here of course. It looks to me that endless, happy mudslinging by partisan journalists has taken a hit. The question is, what effect will all this have on other newsrooms and media organizations? Are they going to dial down on the bs permanently or just temporarily? You can see that they won’t go down without a fight, but considering that they have gone balls to the wall against Trump from the start, how on earth could they keep the intensity up for another four years? Sure, it creates ‘column inches’, but pumping out all that material requires resources and has to be paid for, not to mention that more you pump out the more likely you are going to be caught short/out and get a public spanking.

  29. et Al says:

    Vis Temer being fingered for corruption,

    Neuters via CNBC: Brazil’s top prosecutor charges President Michel Temer with corruption
    …Under Brazilian law, the lower house of Congress must now vote on whether to allow the tribunal to try the conservative leader, who replaced impeached leftist President Dilma Rousseff just last year.

    Lawmakers within Temer’s coalition are confident they have the votes to block the two-third majority required to proceed with a trial. But they warn that support may wane if congressmen are forced to vote several times to protect Temer – whose popularity is languishing in single-digits – from trial….

    Would they really be that stupid to block it? The Brazilian population is already furious so I can readily believe that the protest will be epic and may well lead to martial law if not run by the military. I don’t see how this get better.

    On the other hand, major schadenfreude! They so celebrated at impeaching Dilma Roussef for doing something though technically impeachable (padding government accounts by moving money around for political expediency), was freely done by just about every Brazilian government in the past. Ah, pendulums!

    • marknesop says:

      Sometimes there’s nothing like having your plans blow up in your face to teach you a lesson, and that is certainly the case with Brazilians’ election of Temer. Granted, not everyone was behind him, but his supporters were publicly delirious with excitement, waving their stupid “Adios, Querida!” giant foam fingers around and grinning like monkeys. Who’s the monkey now? Washington was plainly delighted with Temer because changing the government in Brazil was all about punishing Roussef for daring to challenge Washington – as usual, it cares nothing for the continued viability of the state and believes the mysterious forces of the market will ensure the right people are rewarded. Too bad for Brazil, and the cost of putting Temer in charge has still to be fully absorbed. But what’s the price of a good lesson these days? Sometimes the answer is ‘all you have’.

  30. et Al says:

    Why didn’t Labour win?

    Ed Straw 27 June 2017

    Bad governance has resulted in a steady diminution of voter credit, which has progressively accumulated into a loss of confidence in that the party can govern.

    Given the dire display of their government opponents, some have asked the legitimate question: why did Labour not win? Much has been written on the surprise and elation at Jeremy Corbyn’s performance. But given that the alternative has been variously characterised as the ‘Maybot’ and our ‘supreme’ leader, and has demonstrated how poor a negotiator she would be by being unable to debate in public and being uncomfortable with people, why then didn’t Labour walk it into government?…

    Much more at the link.

    A very interesting set of opinions and valid criticisms. I would take the picture wider, and as I have said before many times, the West has sat on it laurels since 1989 while the world around it has (been forced to) changed. The West ‘won’ the Cold War! What better justification of doing more of the same is there? Convenient and lazy.. Tinkering around the edges and throwing its weight around as if there would never be any repercussions of being caught asleep on the job or face the consequences of its disastrous policies towards other countries.

    Going back the article, he may give the Conservative party some credit, but its ethos is still decidedly 20th century and obsolete, ‘low taxes = staying in power’ – the concept that the pocket is the only thing that matters in politics and that only a small state and low taxes can deliver a better and equal life for everyone, contrary to the assumed ‘nanny’ politics of Labor.

    The thing is, it has been proven that ‘the market’ simply doesn’t function as it should or intended with regards to fundamental issues. It has consistently come up short, but its supporters always argue that it is hamstrung and ‘the system’ is holding it back from its full strength, i.e “Gwan, give it another go! The last catastrophic crisis wasn’t really so bad and once you are all raking it in, it will become a distant memory.” Until the next crisis of course. Part of the problem is that people now live much longer, retire later, have information at their finger tips, and wonder whether doing stuff exactly the same just because that is how it has been done for a long time is even justifiable, let alone desirable any more. There is one benefit of the British f/kups like privatizing their rail services and others, it shows everyone else how not to do it!

  31. et Al says: Top Senator Blocks Gulf Arms Sales Over Qatar Crisis

    …Corker complained that the GCC nations “did not take advantage” of Trump urging them to act against ISIS at his recent visit, and “instead chose to devolve into conflict,” adding that the US needs to withhold all sales to GCC member nations until there is more clarification about how this dispute will be resolved….

    …It does not appear Corker’s move will impact US arms sales to Egypt, despite Egypt being heavily involved in the blockade effort.

  32. Moscow Exile says:

    Porky Poroshenko on his knees yet again!

    In France Poroshenko honours a memorial to the victims of holodomor

    • marknesop says:

      Well, one knee – he has to keep one trotter firmly on the earth to give him the leverage he needs to move a couple of hundred pounds of pork back to the vertical axis. Say, that’s quite a memorial; I bet the contractor who took a year or so to build it pocketed a tidy sum.

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    Higgins blows ’em!


    • marknesop says:

      “This is the darkness democracy dies in???” Dear God.

      • yalensis says:

        It starts out as a good rap poem, but then he loses the beat.
        My suggestion:

        I have Russia trying to hack me,
        Their media attack me,
        Rosneft say they frack me,
        Send their people to my families homes,
        Leave nothin’ but the bones,
        You too scared to turn on yo cameras,
        While I goin’ bananas,
        My homies go, Yo Eliot!
        You be singing a capelliot?
        So this is the darkness of democracy?
        Then screw the aristocracy,
        And this is where we die here,
        Just like Golda Meir…
        Peace and word up!

        • Jen says:

          Wow that’s great rapping – if someone asked me to rap, I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything like that at all.

          • yalensis says:

            Thanks, Jen!
            I got lots more, by the way.
            In fact, there is so much inside me that needs to come out… oops! just realized I need to run to the bathroom….

  34. Moscow Exile says:
  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Warning: State controlled lying Russian propaganda!

  36. et Al says:

    Neuters via Special Report: How the Federal Reserve serves U.S. foreign intelligence

    ….In one relatively recent case, data from these foreign accounts offered U.S. authorities a sense of the mood in Moscow in March 2014, after Russia’s invasion of Crimea prompted the United States to respond with economic sanctions.

    When foreign holdings at the New York Fed plunged about $115 billion, U.S. officials confirmed what others could only suspect, according to two former Fed officials: Russia’s central bank had pulled its funds.

    While the Kremlin’s public response was defiant, Fed and Treasury officials concluded Moscow feared the United States would freeze Russia’s assets even though the account was not included in the narrow scope of the sanctions, according to one former official.

    After about two weeks, Russia’s central bank returned most of the money to its Fed account, but the incident made officials monitor the account more closely for signs the sanctions had forced Moscow to draw down its reserves, the same source said. It was unclear what effect the sanctions had…

    A lot more stuff at the link. Hardly surprising.

    • marknesop says:

      Every department of the US government which must report to the US government eventually ends up serving the foreign policy aims of the US government – it’s just a matter of a decision that their resources would make useful leverage to force someone into making a choice which is against their best interests, but is in the best interests of Washington.

    • kirill says:

      So ethnic Russians invaded Crime in 2014 and voted for restoration of their rights, eh, according to Reuters. NATzO will never be on good terms with the Russian people as long as it treats them like dirt and spits in their face. Make no mistake, NATzO is not just bitching at Putin, it is clearly attacking the Russian people. This brain rotting disease of the west has been bringing war from the west to Russia for 1000 years. I think it is time for Russians to seek a final solution to the western problem.

  37. et Al says: House Spending Bill Threatens to Suspend Nuclear Treaty With Russia

    Bill Also Funds Missiles Banned by the Treaty

    Tensions between the US and Russia touch a lot of fronts, including the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. The treaty forbids the development of intermediate range conventional and nuclear missiles, and there have been allegations one of the missiles tested by Russia is in violation of this treaty….nearly $700 billion military spending bill that was advanced in committee today, threatening to withdraw the US from the treaty, and funding US development of missiles that would deliberately violate it….

    The US pulling out of the INF would work against it and I would assume it would have knock on effects to the international agreements such as the Missile Control Technical Regime for example.

    It is also the United States that has bases all over the world in foreign countries that could be targeted by at short notice and put those ‘allies’ under direct threat. I’m sure Europe would not be happy with the US yet again risking European security for some minor US ball swinging and chest beating. The US would have to spend even more and get their allies to spend even more to defend themselves… which won’t happen, but it might be part of a campaign to scare Europe in to accepting the ‘upgraded’ but essentially new B-61 mod 12 tactical nuclear weapons now with stand-off and dial-a-yield capability which makes them much more dangerous and tempting to be used. I think this threat is yet another of the pathetic ‘threaten them and see if they squeak’ efforts. Europe will freak before long before Russia does, not to mention the divisions in NATO will probably spread.

    • kirill says:

      The only chance of the vaunted US ABM system has of working is if it uses nuclear warheads. This relaxes the tolerances needed to take out a target which is fast and likely maneuvering. Point on point kinetic kills are for idiot fanbois. This means that the US would be grossly violating the INF with its ABM systems. So you can clearly see the motivation for the USA to wiggle its way out of the INF. This includes shifting the blame on Russia by accusing it of “violating” the treaty. It is the US that has the prime motive to violate the treaty.

      • marknesop says:

        In the end the USA always does what it wants, and what it wants is always guided by its own interests although it frequently is against the interests of other countries involved. Rather than allow this to become obvious, the USA spins a story in which it had to act, to defend democracy or freedom or simply itself. It’s funny how often the self-described greatest military power the world has ever seen keeps getting pushed around by other countries, so that it has to act in its own defense because other countries want to hurt it and do not seem to be afraid of it.

    • et Al says:

      Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) one of the sponsors of the above bill is also pushing for explicit regime change in I-ran. Yes, the lunatics want to run the asylum. On the plus side, they are so over the top a la McCaine, that everyone else sounds reasonable and they frighten off all the quiet reasonable people, i.e. the mass.

      • marknesop says:

        “I don’t see how anyone can say America can be safe as long as you have in power a theocratic despotism,” continued Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services committee.

        Phew! I’m glad somebody finally said it. Thank you, Tom Cotton. Because the Holy See is the biggest fucking example of a Theocracy in the world, so I’m sure you’ll want to get busy taking them out. Or maybe we should start smaller – that’s a pretty ambitious target. How about Israel, before its transformation to a theocracy is complete? It’s already a regional despot, so now might be a good time to jerk it up short before it can threaten the safety of Americans, which seems to be such a self-evident requirement that every other interest in the world is subordinated to it.

        “We are facing a major assault on Israel’s democratic-secular identity. The attack on secularism is by necessity an attack on democracy. The ultimate source of authority is no longer the state and its institutions. The sources of inspiration are not liberal humanism, human rights, the enlightenment movement and science. They are supplanted by a higher power, holy men, the metaphysics of an Eternal Israel, holy scriptures, rituals and prayer. As part of road safety lessons, children of Israel are learning the Traveler’s Prayer.

        This assault has a clear political context, of course. At its core is an alliance between nationalism and religion. Its goal is to ensure a vision of a Greater Land of Israel and the perpetuation of ignorance – on the road to a theocracy.”

        The Israeli Education Ministry transfers hundreds of millions to ultra-Orthodox education centers.

        “But the problem in Israel is that religion is not separate from government, and over the years it has also become less and less separate from right-wing West Bank settler politics.

        Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg, a settler who wears a skullcap, determined that counterterrorism laws should not apply to Jewish terrorists in the territories, since there is no need to deter that particular group. That’s no longer a legal-security concept, but rather a theory of the chosen people.”

        They’ll want Maine next, Tom. The Settlers are coming, coming to take American land and property and threaten the safety of Americans, because they’re the forces of a theocratic despot which just can’t help itself.

        Do your duty.

        • Cortes says:

          One of John D. MacDonald’s non Travis McGee novels described very convincingly the bizarre and macabre environment of the US televangelist world. You think the RC church is wacky? Try the world of the Bakkers and Grahams… and then consider: those wackjobs have the ear of people in power in DC.

  38. et Al says:

    Jonathan Cook Blog via Hersh’s new Syria revelations buried from view

    …Hersh’s new investigation was paid for by the London Review of Books, which declined to publish it. This is almost as disturbing as the events in question.

    What is emerging is a media blackout so strong that even the London Review of Books is running scared. Instead, Hersh’s story appeared yesterday in a German publication, Welt am Sonntag. Welt is an award-winning newspaper, no less serious than the New Yorker or the LRB. But significantly Hersh is being forced to publish ever further from the centres of power whose misinformation his investigations are challenging….

    Plenty more at the link.

    I do wonder if the new ‘threat’ about Syria, chemical weapons & Assad is designed more as a domestic option, i.e. freak out those pushing for more intervention to face the actual consequences of such a plan. So far, we have only words and a rather poor cruise missile strike from before. We know Trump says a lot, but action? It seems to me that this is also part of building up his ‘unpredictability’ credibility as a main plank of domestic and more so foreign policy. We’ll see.

  39. et Al says: via General: US Pilots Made the Call to Shoot Down Syrian Aircraft

    …”We’re trying to de-escalate,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles Corcoran, commander of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, told “We’re here to fight ISIS, but we’re going to protect our forces from Syrian pro-regime entities.”

    It’s called having your cake and eating it. US leaders injected US forces in to Al-Tanaf to have some sort of influence or control in the region but only a relatively small number not to look suspicious or too ingenuous, the flip-side being that they are extremely vulnerable and so even more trigger happy than they normally are. They have to defend themselves from their own contradictory, dickish and half-assed military planning. They’d be much safer if they weren’t there in the first place or now just GTFO, but gluttony is an addiction.

    • marknesop says:

      That actually has nothing to do with it – supposing they had a massive base there like Camp Bondsteel, with greater military might than the host country could ever hope to muster, they would still declare an absolute right to shoot down aircraft of the host country which came too close to their territory. And they would claim it was because they had a right to protect their forces.

      Maybe so, but how defensible is that right when you put them in harm’s way in a manner which was not even legal? The United States has no right at all to be in Syria, and I submit your forces will be absolutely safe from Syrian military forces when they are back at their base in the USA where they are supposed to be. It is an enormous horselaugh that the United States is trying to de-escalate by imposing its military presence in a country where it is not welcome, and to fall back on the defense that they are there ‘to fight ISIS’ when the record shows they are the worst and least effective country in the world at fighting ISIS is not even funny any more. While only the United States and Syria were ‘fighting ISIS’, for a period of nearly two years, ISIS steadily grew more powerful and capable, and gobbled up more and more territory until they were in the suburbs of Damascus itself. Russia had them on the run in two weeks of ’round the clock air sorties – now that’s ‘fighting ISIS’. The USA sucks at it, if that’s not too blunt, and persists with the charade that it is fighting ISIS while providing material support to ‘moderate rebels’ when the US government has admitted it does not know who is who and which is which, while Tulsi Gabbard’s assessment following an actual visit to Syria was that there is no moderate opposition.

  40. et Al says:

    Independent: ‘Petya’ cyber attack spreads to US pharma giant Merck after ransomware infects Ukrainian national bank

    The cyber attack has hit major companies in countries across the world

    …Meanwhile, the Petya attack had already hit at least five other countries. Russia’s top oil producer, Britain’s biggest advertising agency, and a major Danish shipping company were all affected….

    Russia will get the blame in 5….4….3….2….1….

  41. Northern Star says:

    I’ve not much to say for either arabs or muslims…BUt this type of fascist shit bodes ominously for *any* American who is not sympatico with the corrupt racist psycho Americans currently in power

    “The participation of justices appointed by Democrats in this decision, including Obama appointees Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, explodes the pretenses of the Democratic Party to be interested in defending immigrants or democratic rights. Despite popular protests against the anti-Muslim ban, the Democratic Party has refused to mount any significant public campaign against Trump on this issue over the past six months. Instead, the party has focused all of its attention on denouncing Trump as insufficiently hostile to Russia, concentrating on forging alliances with the military and intelligence agencies as well as arch-reactionaries like John McCain.
    The silence of the Democrats while the Trump administration attacks Muslims as part of a ruthless assault on democratic and social rights across the board exposes the party’s election-year posturing as worn-out lies worthy only of contempt. The Democratic Party represents war, inequality, reaction and repression.
    Every election year, the American population is told that it must elect Democrats to prevent further shifts to the right on the Supreme Court. Whatever the ultimate fate of the anti-Muslim ban, yesterday’s decision should once and for all put such claims to rest.

    Nor is this the only recent Supreme Court case in which the authoritarian and anti-democratic conclusion was reached by a unanimous vote. In 2014, at the request of the Obama administration, the Supreme Court decided by a vote of 9-0 to grant immunity to police officers who killed a fleeing motorist and his passenger with a hail of 15 bullets.

    ***As of this writing, no prominent Democrat has breathed a word about yesterday’s decision. The Twitter feeds of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are conspicuously silent about the Supreme Court’s attack on Muslims,**** as are many of the opinion columns of America’s major newspapers, which remain fixated on the Democratic Party’s anti-Russia campaign and the internecine strife roiling Washington.”

    Sanders..Warren…black Dems….Obongo…..Feminists…nearly all the so-called (prominent) progressives…
    Gutless POS sellouts…..worthless beyond words…

  42. Moscow Exile says:

    Petya cyber attack: Ransomware spreads across Europe with firms in Ukraine, Britain and Spain shut down

    Huge cyber attack cripples firms, airports, banks and government departments in Ukraine

    Hack may have spread to Britain, with the advertising firm WPP affected

    Danish and Spanish multinationals also paralysed by attack</b

    Michael Fallon warns UK could respond to cyber attacks with military force
    The Defence Secretary has said the UK would be prepared to retaliate against future cyber attacks using military force such as missile strikes.

    He warned cyber attacks against UK systems “could invite a response from any domain – air, land, sea or cyberspace”.

    Tough guy, huh?

    What a tosser!

    Blah, blah, fucking-blah.

    And the firm where I was working this afternoon, MSD Pharmaceuticals, has been down all day.

    That’s in Moscow.

    In Russia.

    Anyone said “Putin done it!” yet?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Comment to same story in the Independent:

      This story was being reported as an attack on Ukraine alone by this a— wipe earlier today (and Russia were being put in the frame for it)

      The attack was always a global one and indeed many Russian companies have been hit – but of course the 1% want the world to believe it is all down to the Russian government.

      Add to that bit of knowledge – the extra bits of knowledge that the 1% are all buying up properties in New Zealand all of a sudden – and the US are suddenly pushing hard against the Syrian government, notwithstanding the fact that Russia are allied to Syria and Iran in their fight against terrorism (i.e. the US)

      Can you all now see what is going on in the minds of those that would rule the world?

    • marknesop says:

      Actually, they blame North Korea for it, although that seems pretty unlikely to me and is more likely just capitalizing on an event to do a little bashing.

      Why is Fallon only prepared to respond militarily to the next attack? Why not this one? Come on, Mikey, get your finger out! What’re they paying you for?

    • kirill says:

      Trash talking chihuahua.

    • Jen says:

      How does Fallon propose to discern the identity of the hackers and their places of residence or countries of origin so he can launch missile attacks against them? The hacks could be indirect – they could be coming through a third party organisation or country – and their provenance hard to track. In addition hackers could be pasting other parties’ metadata onto their hacking activities to cover up their identities and deceive investigators into blaming innocent parties. (The CIA is said to be stealing foreign malware to paste to their own hacks so that Russian and Chinese hackers get the blame for what the CIA does.) Suppose also the hackers involved live in different countries including the UK (and maybe next door to Michael Fallon himself) and are co-ordinating their activities together?

      • marknesop says:

        The CIA’s entire raison d’etre is misdirection and manipulation so as to allow the US government as complete freedom as is practically imaginable to meddle, all while preserving its mantle of benevolence and trustworthiness.

        Most programmers code in English, and it seems incredibly stupid to code in Cyrillic when you know your product is going to be applied in the United States, wouldn’t you think? Again, all of this overlooks that there was not really any activity which could be described as ‘hacking’ – information was stolen, yes, from DNC computers in the form of emails which were not particularly well-protected in the first place; people just will not learn, and they say the darndest things in emails. But this information revealed evidence of grotesque corruption and rigging in the American electoral process by one of its two major parties – it’s like your doctor’s secretary ‘hacking your medical files and discovering you have a cancerous tumor your doctor is not telling you about. There is just no way in a reasonable world that the Democrats should be allowed to play the victim, and be rewarded for having their cheating revealed.

  43. Northern Star says:

    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
    ― Vladimir Lenin

    “There are events in world history that lead to a fundamental change in consciousness and create the basis for developing a socialist political orientation among broad masses of workers. The June 14 Grenfell Tower inferno is such an event.
    In years to come it will be necessary to refer to the political life of Britain in terms of “before” and “after” Grenfell. This is because the tragedy has so cruelly exposed the underlying reality of social relations between the classes—and it did so in London, one of the richest cities in the world, and in London’s richest constituency.
    Grenfell is a national disaster. Thirteen days after Britain’s deadliest fire for over 100 years, there is still no official acknowledgement of the numbers killed—either because the powers-that-be dare not admit to the death toll or they are so indifferent to the lives of Grenfell’s residents that they simply do not know.”

    “This weekend, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke before 200,000 people at Glastonbury. In his speech he asked, “Is it right that so many people are frightened of where they live at the moment, having seen the horrors of what happened at Grenfell Tower?”
    Corbyn cited Shelley’s famous injunction to workers, made in response to the 1819 Peterloo Massacre: “Rise like lions after slumber.”
    But he wants the working class to lie down like lambs.

    *****His aim is to stifle popular outrage and restore social peace, as epitomised by his priestly call for the “unity” of “intelligent human beings.” ****

    (Sound familiar???…just imagine a Corbyn ,Warren and Sanders menage a trois!!)

    That is why he supports the efforts of Prime Minister Theresa May to direct anger over Grenfell into the safe channels of a public inquiry—out of which, he maintains, several years from now some carefully costed and insignificant reforms will emerge.”

    Meanwhile for the residents of Camden…the nightmare continues:

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t see Corbyn as a great messiah, but I feel I must point out he has to parse his words very carefully. If the public rioted in response, causing billions in property damage in its fury, Auntie Theresa and her cronies would be only too happy to say Corbyn caused it. He needs to play to their anger, but not to let them get too angry without a concrete focus for it.

    • Fern says:

      I don’t think this is an entirely fair comment:-

      “Thirteen days after Britain’s deadliest fire for over 100 years, there is still no official acknowledgement of the numbers killed—either because the powers-that-be dare not admit to the death toll or they are so indifferent to the lives of Grenfell’s residents that they simply do not know.”

      There are two main problems in establishing a final death toll – the ferocity of the blaze and the thorny issue of sub-letting. Forensic specialists are having to go from flat to flat and work their way through the burnt-out contents to find human remains which will then have to be collated and identified, if at all, by DNA, if available. It’s inevitably slow work and there is concern about how safe the structure actually is.

      Then there’s subletting. The tenant management organisation will have a rent roll showing who the tenants of each apartment should be but if properties have been sub-let, there could have been many more people actuially living in the block than is shown by official records. To be recorded as ‘missing’ someone has to miss you and report it. If flats were sublet to illegal immigrants, those who notice they are missing are also likely to be illegal immigrants themselves and will not want to contact the authorities no matter how much reassurance is given that their immigrant status won’t be used against them. Trying to track down recorded tenants to find out about sub-letting s also difficult if they have moved abroad to live.

      The local council and, to a lesser extent, centrail government proved useless in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. But I think the problems faced in trying to recover and identify bodies in these circumstances would challenge even really effective governments.

      • marknesop says:

        I mostly agree; it has been extremely difficult for the authorities to establish a death toll, although it is acknowledged to be at least three times what initial estimates suggested, at more than 79 people. The government is ultra-sensitive to the issue now and would rather cut off its hand than deliberately draw any more negative attention to itself.

        But I think it’s also fair to say that this shows up as crocodile tears more than it ever has, and the government looks uncaring because as a whole it is uncaring, and the citizens can go hang unless the government needs to suck their toes to get their vote, after which they can go back to hanging again. Government figures come overwhelmingly from the upper class, and it is easier to see now that that implied class system has never disappeared entirely; nor will it, in all likelihood. It’s different in that the poor are no longer also ignorant by extension.

        But, still being fair, the British government is little worse than any western government you care to name in that respect. And any time I feel a stirring of pity for how the British government is being pilloried in this, I have only to review how the Sberbank fire in Vladivostok in 2006 was treated by the English-speaking press. It was a Russian-government cover-up, the numbers killed were all lies and the firefighters were bringing out the dead all night long, firefighters who arrived on-scene were ordered to enter from the side of the building which was not on fire, to safely evacuate the bank’s top management, and so on – absolutely vicious fabrications that capitalized on a tragedy to portray the state and the people in the worst possible light.

        As I’ve mentioned before, I knew that building well; the Canadian Consulate used to be on the fifth or sixth floor, right below the bank. It’s true that some of the stairwells were gated off, probably for security, and that very probably did hinder evacuation and probably did contribute to the death toll. It’s not true that nobody was punished and it all just went away. The reports that the fire services first evacuated management and that there were lies about the death toll are based on rumors from onlookers who are not necessarily qualified to make such assessments, but who are always listened to by western reporters.

        • Northern Star says:

          @Mark and Fern

          “Not only are the authorities concealing the death toll in Grenfell Tower, they have not bothered to estimate the numbers of people ordinarily living in the block, much less ascertain if family and friends were staying with them, or if they had guests that evening.
          This is not accidental. It expresses the ruling class’ visceral hatred and contempt for the working class.
          It has long been the case that the imperialist powers do not release figures on the numbers slaughtered in their wars of aggression overseas. As with the victims of their policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere, those killed in the Grenfell Tower fire are looked upon by the ruling class as “collateral damage.”

          Per the above, I don’t think there has been a plausible death toll estimate based on the **registered** tenants who to this day are unaccounted for.
          If Ms. X was a KNOWN registered tenant and no one has seen hide nor hair of her since the fire, think one can safely conclude that she perished in the fire. That the authorities announce that there are 18 identified corpses and 61 unidentified doesn”t establish jack shit wrt to the relatively straightforward foregoing estimate. (An estimate that sets aside the admittedly thorny issue of somehow counting those who perished in the building but who were NOT registered tenants). However they would only serve to increase the death toll-probably undercounted- due only to registered tenants.

          • marknesop says:

            Well, they have advised that the death toll is ‘at least’ 79 people, which matches your figures.

            • Northern Star says:

              Ummm…Mark ..are you gettin’ some ‘under the pond’ payments from May and Corbie??


              • yalensis says:

                That’s not fair, unless it’s a joke.

              • marknesop says:

                Ha, ha!! No, of course not. But I wouldn’t want to just pile on without pointing out that getting a handle on a disaster of this magnitude is not easy, and the government had its fingers burned hard on its initial response. It is now very wary of making itself look worse, and sort of feeling its way carefully. I think most organizations who stumbled into such a shitstorm as they did would proceed the same way. That has nothing to do with the carelessness that allowed the tragedy to happen, but that leads to two further speculations – one, I daresay hazardous situations like that prevail every day, we just never know because a disaster has not occurred to expose that faulty cladding, that huge sinkhole under the street, that neglected gas main that was supposed to be repaired two years ago. We only notice – and become outraged – when disasters ensue. Otherwise, we remark, “that’s an accident waiting to happen”, and turn up the radio.

                Two, Corbyn did not do anything to prevent the fire from happening, either. Nor did he, to the very best of my knowledge, agitate against the use of the cheaper and more flammable cladding. The only real advantage he had, maybe, was a little bit more sympathetic view of the plight of the working poor. Yet he was able to adroitly position himself – by the simple expedient of going open-handed to the residents and making the gestures May should have thought of – as a compassionate leader who would never have allowed a Grenfell Tower to happen, while May looks like a ghoul with dripping fangs.

                It occurs to me that he might have much better political instincts than his foes imagine.

                Here’s a helpful link I just ran across, which seems to more or less echo what Jen and I are saying. The British government knows full well it dare not cover up the number of casualties, because people are watching this one carefully for exactly that kind of hoodwinkery. They’re just being careful not to exaggerate, as they have done in the past. One factor both Jen and I failed to pick up on is that there are no working elevators in the building, so floor-by-floor searches have to be done by climbing stairs. It’s quite a tall building.


  44. et Al says:

    Finallly some good news!

    Neuters: Colombia’s FARC rebels turn in weapons, end armed war with government

    Colombia’s Marxist FARC rebels concluded their disarmament on Tuesday, handing in all but a few of their individual weapons to the United Nations and ending their role in a half-century war that killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions.

    The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, turned in the remaining 40 percent of their firearms in Mesetas, a mountainous area in southeastern Colombia. The roughly 7,000 former fighters have pledged to continue their struggle as a political movement….

    • Northern Star says:

      Exactly how is FARC capitulation to a USA lapdog regime ‘good news’???

      “Although the government promises to provide protection, the FARC is concerned about security. Thousands of former guerrillas were assassinated by paramilitaries after joining a political party during a peace attempt in the 1980s.”

      Will the paramilitary forces disarm and sit at a round table of reason,debate and compromise?? Good luck with that…..

      • marknesop says:

        Similarly, good luck with changing your focus to a peaceful political movement. The west simply doesn’t bother to print anything you think or say if it does not suit western objectives. People cannot make up their minds about your aspirations or beliefs if they don’t know you exist.

  45. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    One notices that they’ve adopted the Syrian habit of wearing trainers instead of boots.

    • marknesop says:

      Oh, come on! You can’t be a real soldier without boots. What a ridiculous notion – nobody says “We can’t be sure we’ve won until we have trainers on the ground”.

    • kirill says:

      It must be practical. I am not aware of boots that don’t leave your feet swimming in sweat in desert conditions. Trainers allow much more moisture to get out and are also much less heavy which does reduce fatigue. Basically, they are the correct footwear for the conditions. Boots won’t save you if step on a landmine anyway.

      • marknesop says:

        Not so much, really. As the link points out, boots offer ankle support on unstable terrain, and protect your feet from rough surfaces. You cannot assume the weather in the desert will always be hot and dry – although it usually is – and sneakers offer little to no protection from chemical spills and the like. Good boots are comfortable and it is possible to get the right boot for any weather.

        Desert boots are specifically designed for wear in hot weather, while still protecting your feet in ways that sneakers could not. There are lots of threats to your feet besides stepping on a land mine.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          My dad, former “Desert Rat”, told me only British officers had desert boots: other ranks had standard hob-nails.

          He also told me that the thing they first lifted off German POWs in North Africa was Nivea cream, with which they were all issued. The Tommies got sweet FA in that line.

        • kirill says:

          Clearly the soldiers in the photo are not wearing sneakers but a type of running shoe/hiking shoe hybrid. These offer vastly more ankle support than sneakers, breathe better than any boot, including the pseudo-mythical desert boots, and are lighter. The properties touted for boots are mutually contradictory to the specifications for a desert boot. They can’t be rugged and fast breathing at the same time. Either the material is stiff and solid (thus offering optimal ankle support), or it is a woven fabric that can breath but at the expense of having little stiffness. Various hybrid options are possible but no option will clear moisture as fast as sport hiking shoes since it takes longer for moisture to exit from any boot by comparison if made with similar fabrics. (Even fabrics don’t breath fast enough; so athlete’s foot develops even for the latest light sports shoes).

          Anyway, there is too much smarmy snickering at the SAA soldiers by arm chair, internet warriors. Don’t expect the SAA to be supplied with the latest gear. Thanks to Russia the SAA has been brought back from the brink of death and the legitimate Syrian government is restoring control over the country. It does not appear to me that Russia has taken on the burden of supplier to the SAA in every aspect.

          • marknesop says:

            I agree they don’t look like sneakers, and the fact that both pairs are the same suggests they are a uniform item. As to the sneaker-boot controversy, I will just leave it at professionals who have lots of opportunity to steer footwear procurement prefer boots.

            Regardless what their footwear is, the remainder of their kit looks extremely businesslike.

  46. Moscow Exile says:

    Last weekend in new York there was held the largest gay pride parade in the United States.

    For six hours a continuous procession of members of the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) was broadcast live by many TV channels of the USA and in other countries.

    The parade was attended by a team of Russian-speaking LGBT people from post-Soviet countries (RUSA LGBT) with their slogans…


    • Lyttenburgh says:

      An anecdote.

      English lord is having a breakfast in his London residence. Suddenly, he hears a loud commotion on the street. He rings a bell and tells his butler to find out what’s this all noise about.

      10 minutes later his butler returns.

      – It’s a gay pride parade, sir.
      – Tell me, James – are the gay parades allowed in our country?
      – Yes, sir.
      – Do we discriminate against gays in our laws?
      – No, sir.
      – Maybe, we prohibit them from marrying each other?
      – Not anymore, sir.
      – People can now loose their jobs for expressing “homophobic” views, right?
      – True, sir.
      – Aren’t there some new quotas in Media and on TV, to “form a positive picture of the LGBT community”?
      – Indeed there is, sir.
      – Well… what else do they want then?!
      – Faggots, sir!

      • yalensis says:

        And at this moment Roderick Spode strode angrily into the room demanding to know where is Fink-Nottle.
        “Any message should he turn up?” asks the English Lord.
        Spode: “Tell him I’m going to break his neck.”
        “Er…. why?”
        “He knows why! Because he’s a butterfly who toys with women’s hearts and throws them aside like soiled gloves.”
        “Do butterflies do that?”
        “Yes, butterflies do that. And a heck of a lot more, and even worse….”

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Later, Lady Snootychops, wife of the above Lord, summons said butler, James, to her chamber:

        — Yes, my Lady.
        — James, I should like you to take off my shoes.
        — Yes, my Lady.
        — I should now like you to take off my dress, James.
        — Yes, my Lady.
        — Now take off my bra, James.
        — Yes. my Lady.
        — Now take off my suspender belt and silk stockings, James.
        — Certainly, my Lady.
        — Now kindly remove my lace panties.
        — At once, my Lady!
        — Now don’t let me catch you wearing my clothes again!

        I’ll get me coat!

        • yalensis says:

          And at this very moment, Lord Snootychops entered the room and found his wife alone with the naked butler.
          “Aha!” quoth he. “How long has this been going on?!”
          “Oh please, Quentin, this isn’t…”
          “Not another word!” bellowed Lord Snootychops. “I feel such an all-consuming rage! I have turned all green from jealousy… Just like that Othello chap….”
          [to be continued…]

    • marknesop says:

      Wave those little rainbow flags, kiddies. Bread and circuses.

    • Cortes says:

      Good to see Marouanne Fellaini on the streets of NYC.

    • Jen says:

      That drag queen must have a really huge candy floss machine to pump out all that fluff for hair. Or else his poodles are shivering at home after their haircuts.

  47. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    Head of Ukrainian military intelligence’s special reserve killed, evidently by an explosive device planted on his car.

    Bloody good work by whomever.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Paging Mongolo-Suommi Nostradamus of ours! Didn’t he predict that “Russia/DNR will do nothing” about Givi and Motorola’s deaths?

    • marknesop says:

      Whatever they used didn’t leave much to chance, did it? It certainly shredded the car. I’d like to think it was payback for the assassinations of Givi and Motorola, which were certainly supported by if not actually carried out by the SBU, but it was far more likely to have been internal.

      • kirill says:

        According to the link the Banderastan military intelligence was responsible for the killing of FSB agents in Crimea and various commanders in the Donbas rebel republics. So this looks like payback. And I applaud it. Tit for tat is the only way to disabuse clowns of the notion that they can win whatever game they concoct.

        • marknesop says:

          I’m certainly not sorry to see him go down for a dirtnap. But I still think the attribution to the FSB or the DNR is just Kiev taking advantage of the event to spin it. I would be willing to bet some of his own outfit offed him.

          • Jen says:

            It’s possible that the bombing was deliberately staged by the military intelligence head’s own enemies within his organisation or the Kiev government so that the FSB or the DNR could be blamed and that in itself would justify further Kiev aggression against Donetsk.

            • marknesop says:

              Adam Garrie did a nice piece on it at The Duran, in which he blamed it on the far-right battallions and dissatisfaction with the progress of the civil war. Maybe.

              Meanwhile, check their “Breaking News” section – Israel (acting as a proxy for Washington) has again attacked the Syrian Arab Army, even as Lavrov promised a proportional response to American aggression in Syria. That unhappy state has become the proverbial powder-keg for global war.

  48. Special_sauce says:

    Stephen Colbert, liberal darling, has returned from Russia. He shot a video which he hasn’t released yet but he did talk ominously of “tattooed thugs” loitering in the hotel corridor.

    • kirill says:

      Yeah, if only he had been ass-raped he would have a worthy tale to tell.

    • marknesop says:

      What does a tattooed amiable progressive look like? Good thing he wasn’t staying at this hotel. Girlie-pants.

      • Jen says:

        I must say, he should go back to his tattooist and get those three figure 9s on top of his head reoriented 180 degrees. Otherwise people will get a strange idea of his “amiability” and “progressive” views.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      What I’ve seen so far on his official “Late Night Show” and on “Вечер с Иваном Ургантом” (our Russian rip-off of such talk shows) – only mental degradants can watch shytte like this. I mean – Colber have become a broken record, a one trick pony that can only diss Trump and pretend to be funny… But the audience, oh, the audience is the worst. A mob. A proverbial hive-mind, which “boos” and “yays!” at all handshakable places.

      Fuck Colbert, John Olliver and other “comedians”, who supplant the news services, already bad at their jobs. Colbert’s pasrt remarks about Russia, his interviews with Pussy Riot, Michaek McFaul and other “Russia exerts”, his obsession with “Russia hacks” makes him the scum of the Earth.

      • yalensis says:

        I agree. Those comedians are playing the role of the court jester who reinforces the very system he pretends to subvert. Plus, they have all been bought off by the Russia-haters.

        • J.T. says:

          Good. I’m not the only one who doesn’t find these late-night comedy shows funny.

          • Northern Star says:

            I never thought that the Colbert shtick was anything other than inane horseshit….same for Stewart…
            …and lest we forget:

            • marknesop says:

              I’m not familiar with this complaint; what, exactly, did he do or say? I would point out that they should learn to spell if they want to be taken seriously.

              I liked Jon Stewart during the Bush years, and was a regular watcher of “The Daily Show” because it held Bush up to ridicule in a way few other outlets would; at the time, Colbert did as well. It was not until tensions began to rise with Russia, and Stewart hyped the American position to get cheap laughs at Russia’s expense that I began to feel a vague foreboding, and around that time I stopped watching television altogether anyway. But I guess I mistook being a funnyman for being a man of principles. It has become evident that is not true in either case.

      • J.T. says:

        We also have “The President Show”, a similarly tired, one-note Trump satire. And yes, there’s been an episode about “Russiagate”.

      • marknesop says:

        You know, maybe that does mark the period when things began to slip, and it was no longer possible to conceal the west’s grand game – the Bush presidency. Because that’s when I grew to like and enjoy Stephen Colbert, and Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show”. They made open mockery of Bush non-stop, and I continued to think the Democrats were innately good and the message that they would save the world from the evil, grasping Republicans was an easy one to sell. When Obama scored his breakthrough victory, I was exultant – I actually though he was going to reverse American imperialism. But he didn’t, obviously, and during that time a concept crystalized for me – the Democrats not only are not better than the Republicans, they’re actually all the same party, with the same goals and policies, and one side just trolls the other the way a sock-puppet does, in which the second ID is not real, just the same person pretending to argue with himself so as to provide the appearance of controversy, and lend weight to his original argument.

        Many will argue it began long, long before that, under Reagan and then Bill Clinton, or even before, but I never saw it. Reagan was a popular President, generally speaking, because he was an American tough-guy who wouldn’t let America be pushed around (I guess I didn’t realize that extended to pushing others around and that was okay), and I didn’t notice Clinton adding new NATO countries in perfidious betrayal of NATO’s promises because back then the Soviet Union was the enemy for me, and I studied their weapons and systems and tactics religiously. At some point around the mid-80’s, a quiet evolution saw the Soviet Union drop out as the regular enemy we exercised against, and our exercise threat became Indian and Chinese, while the Russians sort of faded into the background. I know now, although I didn’t then, that this reflected the running-down of the Soviet Union’s military machine and NATO’s interest in keeping itself alive with a new threat, before the Soviet Union collapsed and they were left shuffling their feet and mumbling, “So…what do we do now?”

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