We All Live on Savushkina Street Now.

Uncle Volodya says, “It is not a shame to be deceived. But it is to stay in the deception”

“A lie’s true power cannot be accurately measured by the number of people who believe its deception when it is told, it must be measured by the number of people who will go out after hearing it trying to convince others of its truth.”

– Dennis Sharpe


The blog seems to have attracted a troll. I suppose I should be surprised it took so long, but that always seemed to me to be a bit arrogant – we are, after all, quite a small niche blog, just coming up on two million hits.

Oh, we had a fellow some time back who called himself A.J. He liked to start arguments and progressively turn them ruder and ruder. But he had no political grasp at all, and preferred social topics – specifically those which centered on race. His technique was to claim to live in a city where there was a large X demographic (his favourite targets were blacks and Mexicans), so as to give himself irrefutable local knowledge and gravitas. He stepped on his dick, eventually, when I found one of his comments on another blog and in which he claimed to live an hour outside Chicago. But he had just fired off a comment here in which he claimed to live in a majority-Mexican town.

What majority-Mexican town lies within an hour’s drive circle of Chicago? Correct: none.

And we have Karl Haushofer, a contrarian Finn with a deeply-repressed grudge against Russia which compels him to post comments whenever something terrible happens in or to Russia. But Karl’s not really a troll. You can reason with him, and if you rebut his criticism with a solid reference, he will either reconsider or drop the issue; as well, he’s rarely gratuitously rude. And he’s frequently a good source of breaking news.

I’m hesitant to apply the label “troll” at all, frankly, as I detest it when I offer a rebuttal on any other news site – such as The Guardian, for example – complete with current and pertinent references whose substance contradicts a particularly pigheaded falsehood, only to receive, “How are things at Savushkina Street these days, comrade? Go away, Russian troll” by way of a reply. It speaks to intellectual bankruptcy and the utter lack of a convincing argument, yes; but it is frustrating all the same because it refuses to recognize that the opponent has a convincing argument.

Still. Let’s see what the readers think. I already know what the regulars here think, but I’m appealing here to a wider audience. Allow me to introduce ‘Matt’.

That’s not his real name, something he stipulated to up front. On Reddit he goes by the moniker “DownwithAssad”, and some entire blocks of his commentary are copied and pasted from there. There’s certainly no requirement to use your real name here, although some of us do. But a refusal to do so coupled with every sign of immovable ideology and deliberate evasion adds up to a suspicious profile, I’d have to say.

‘Matt’s’ background story is that he is a college student majoring in computer sciences at a Canadian university or college, and that he is a Venezuelan from a middle-class family. I suppose that’s technically possible; although applicants from China dominate the foreign-student demographic in Canada by a wide margin – constituting fully a third of the entire group – Venezuela is on the board, way down, with a little over 2000 students in 2014. That would likely make Spanish his mother tongue, and he confirms this is so, and English as a second language for him.

However, a scan of his comments suggests he has a command of English, both colloquial and standard, far in excess of what could be expected of a foreign student. When he first showed up here – I’m a little fuzzy on exactly when, although I could look it up, but let’s say a month or two ago – he was a little tentative, and favoured changing his address slightly, using random letter groups, each time he commented, as you would do if you expected to have your identity tagged and blocked. When that didn’t happen, he became more confident and dropped that practice.

I note from a recent comment ‘Matt’ left – in rebuttal to a suggestion by a commenter that his far-too-frequent comments are cluttering up the blog and ruining it for readers – that one of his opponents’ comments are far more frequent than his own. Let’s just put paid to that erroneous statement right now; that’s what the stats page is for. And it says that of the 1000 most-recent comments, more than a quarter of them have come from ‘Matt’ – 227, far ahead of his closest competitor, Moscow Exile, with 113. And since protests seem only to encourage his extreme behavior rather than curb it, I must deduce that ruining the blog is his aim. Does that sound like a troll to you?

Equally so is his slipperiness. You can’t pin him down on anything – although he has no problem citing blog news or fringe authors as a reference to back up his credo (pure American exceptionalism and intervention, complete with targeted assassinations for world leaders who will not roll over and show their belly to the global master) he casually dismisses any such references used by opponents as ‘well-known sources of disinformation”. If you cite an above-reproach reference by a usually reliable source, he will claim that he wasn’t really talking about that at all, accuse you of ‘twisting his words’, and send you off on another round of chasing your own tail.

Or admonish you, “You’re being dishonest”. One of his favourite hobby-horses is RT, which he claims is an all-propaganda-all-the-time network controlled directly and exclusively by the Kremlin. But all to no avail, I’m afraid – it is steadily declining in viewership, and the only people who really watch it are Putin and his dog. That’s exaggerating, of course, but the picture he paints is of a dictators-R-us paean to state suppression of alternative thought. Is that true?

You tell me. the American media would certainly have you believe it is, claiming that no one really watches RT just a paragraph or so after acknowledging that its YouTube videos far surpass the reach achieved by all other outlets. It claims the Nielsen ratings demonstrate that RT’s numbers equate to numbers of people who can receive it, not those who watch it.

Is there any reason to take Nielsen ratings’ claim seriously? Again, you tell me.

Nielsen measures national linear TV audiences using a sample, a panel that is recruited to represent all US TV households and continuously updated to maintain its relevance. The current sample size is 35,000 homes containing about 100,000 persons.

Or how about this, Mr. Computer-Science? The mocking western media executives who claim nobody really watches RT only sample those who watch it on television. How many people watch YouTube videos on television? Show of hands?

And that’s just an example. Other favourites are the contention – straight-faced, I must assume – that benevolent America only wants to free the hapless North Korean people from slavery. Have we ever heard that rationale before from Washington’s distribution networks? We need to do regime change to free the enslaved people from the grip of an awful dictator? We sure have – in Libya, for one, and one of the biggest cheerleaders for The Awful Dictator’s forcible removal was none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton, the poor bride left at the Presidential altar by the evil Russians, who somehow engineered the rise of Donald Trump while ensuring Clinton won the popular vote, just to camouflage their sinister hand. In fact Mrs. Clinton made Libyan regime change such a pet project, some insiders joked “ to hear her aides tell it, she had practically called in the airstrikes herself.”

How did that work out? Mmmmmm….

But there were plenty of signs that the triumph would be short-lived, that the vacuum left by Colonel Qaddafi’s death invited violence and division.

In fact, on the same August day that Mr. Sullivan had compiled his laudatory memo, the State Department’s top Middle East hand, Jeffrey D. Feltman, had sent a lengthy email with an utterly different tone about what he had seen on his own visit to Libya.

The country’s interim leaders seemed shockingly disengaged, he wrote. Mahmoud Jibril, the acting prime minister, who had helped persuade Mrs. Clinton to back the opposition, was commuting from Qatar, making only “cameo” appearances. A leading rebel general had been assassinated, underscoring the hazard of “revenge killings.” Islamists were moving aggressively to seize power, and members of the anti-Qaddafi coalition, notably Qatar, were financing them.

The Boston Globe was considerably more blunt; the US ruined Libya.

The speed with which we have been proven disastrously wrong, however, is breathtaking. So is the sweeping scope of unintended consequences that have flowed from this intervention. Not even those who opposed it imagined how far-reaching its effects would be. This is likely to go down in history as the most ill-conceived intervention of the Obama era.

Recent reports from Libya, issued to coincide with the third anniversary of Khadafy’s overthrow and murder, suggest that the state has ceased to exist. There is no central government. According to Amnesty International, “Armed groups and militias are running amok, launching indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas and committing widespread abuses, including war crimes, with complete impunity.” Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, al Qaeda, and the Islamic State back guerrilla factions. The unfortunate United Nations envoy, Bernardino Leon, says he can hardly begin to mediate “because the protagonists are hundreds of militias.” Full-scale civil war is a real possibility, so the worst may be yet to come.

This could and should have been predicted. Removing a long-established regime is dangerous unless a clear alternative is ready. It produces a power vacuum. Rivals fight for places in the new order. By suddenly decapitating Libya, the United States and its NATO allies made conflict, anarchy, and terror all but inevitable.

We can deduce two possible realities from this debacle; one, the USA sucks at regime change, but can’t stop trying it because it’s so much fun – nothing else gives the same giddy air of ‘doing something’. Or two, ruining Libya under the auspices of regime change was the aim all along, and all the freeing-the-people-from-slavery bullshit was just that – window-dressing, to bring the rubes along and create the impression of massive popular support. Who doesn’t like to play Whack The Dictator?

But a key plank of ‘Matt’s’ platform can be seen in the second sentence of the excerpt: “unintended consequences”.  When the west breaks somebody else’s toys, it didn’t mean to. It was an accident. When the western media says something that flat-out isn’t true, it was such a charmingly well-intentioned mistake that you just have to love them the more for their essential humanity -to err is human. When Russia says something that isn’t true, it is both an evil and deliberate lie meant to advance its malignant influence, and eye-popping propaganda.

Ditto his descriptions of the ‘internet research center’ on Savushkina Street, which he maintains is a ‘troll factory’ dedicated to eradicating benevolent western influence from the planet. I did a post on this back in the spring of 2015, and the fingering of this building as the cave of an army of paid trolls originated in a story by Novaya Gazeta, the spunky little Russian newspaper that always tells the truth even when nobody in Russia tells the truth because honest journalists have all been murdered or imprisoned. The photographs which were supposedly ‘smuggled out’, featuring actual operatives working at the Savushkina Street troll factory, depict zombie-like figures sitting in front of outsize CRT-type screens which went out in the early 80’s. Apparently the Russian state does not rate the importance of its troll army highly enough to buy it modern flatscreen computers, which abound in Russia just as they do everywhere else.

Even if it were true that the Kremlin is running a state-sponsored campaign to discredit western philosophy, what of it? It could hardly prevail against the counter-operation to spread American propaganda western values manned by the US military, could it?

And what is left to say about the ridiculous tale, staunchly adhered to by US Democrats and their fans everywhere, that Russia used Wikileaks to hack the American election? Well, just as an aside, it reminds me of another exchange with ‘Matt’, in which I inquired why he would take the alleged word of ‘American intelligence professionals’ when the veteran intelligence professionals who probably taught them everything they know say it is a crock and the data transfer rate precludes it having been a hack via the internet. He somewhat primly replied that he would trust the word of current intelligence professionals, thank you very much. No doubts entertained here.

Current intelligence professionals who never contacted Wikileaks at all, in any capacity, in the course of Mueller’s investigation, from its humble beginnings to its bombshell revelations.

I would just note, in closing, that ‘Matt’ seems to have unlimited time to reply to anybody and everybody on the blog; he seems to be quite a night owl, and perhaps a native-Spanish speaker who speaks English like a well-educated native is just so clever that he can pick up a computer science major while simultaneously blogging pretty much any time. A natural multitasker.

Anyway, that’s pretty much all the time I have. At present, ‘Matt’ is having a field day on the blog, using his monopoly on commenting to hammer home his ideological talking points. Complaints are starting to come in about his irritating presence, and I suppose that’s all good, too; all part of the effort.

So this could go one of two ways. I could switch the blog to an entirely-moderated comment forum, in which you might not see your comment appear for a whole day or so, since I typically work 8 hours a day. I could then go through the laborious process of filtering out his comments one by one, plus any replies to them so that those replies are not left orphaned and hanging out in the wind with no apparent context.

Or you could all stop replying.

The conversation, in more or less real time, unmoderated, could continue to flow around ‘Matt’ like water flows around a rock, until he gets tired of talking to himself and goes away. Because any and all influence he has relies on opponents replying to him, being dragged into unrelated argument and letting him control the narrative. We’ve seen this before, and it didn’t work. Why is it working now? Because you’re letting it. Moreover, you’re abetting it.

Try resisting, no matter how juicy and provocative the bait. Because that’s what he’s doing – provoking you. For some, he appeals to their confidence that they know the subject inside out, then dances away with mockery that you don’t know what you’re talking about and the whole thing is just too ridiculous and boring for him to pursue further; ‘pure comedy gold’, as he’s fond of saying. In other cases he dangles enticing subjects by taking a position he knows is unsupportable and easily refuted – he can always modify his position later, and will – the important thing is to get you into the conversation.

Before anyone proposes it, I can’t just ban or block him. Even relative simpletons are quite capable of using an anonymizer which mutates their address slightly each time they comment, and evades a block. There probably are more sophisticated ways, but I’m not a computer-science major and don’t know them, and frankly, I do not have the time for that kind of effort, the same as I don’t have time for comment-by-comment policing.

Up to you.


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331 Responses to We All Live on Savushkina Street Now.

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    Empire strikes back!

    The comment section is just adorable! Unsuprisingly, among the first volunteers was the Great and Terrible Louise Mensch!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      I am pretty sure Mensch (born Louise Daphne Bagshawe in Westminster, London) does not speak Russian. She studied English Language and Literature at Christ Church, Oxford.

      From her Wiki entry:

      Mensch is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which made her realise she was “self medicating” with wine for stress, and she has now almost completely given up alcohol. She has also commented, on BBC Question Time during a debate on calls to decriminalise hard drugs, about taking hard drugs in her 20s; she subsequently told the press “It is something that I regret incredibly, that, in my youth, I messed with my brain. I said ‘we all do stupid things when we are young’. It’s had long-term mental health effects on me. It’s caused me to be more anxious than I need to be.”

      Louise Mensch reveals her battle with attention deficit disorder

      Louise Mensch’s class-A drug regrets

      Note: The Daily Telegraph is not “Kremlin controlled”.

      Well, I think it isn’t, but you never know …!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Forgot link again!!!!

        Louise Mensch reveals her battle with attention deficit disorder

        When I was young, people with “attention disorder” were called “thick pricks”.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “I am pretty sure Mensch (born Louise Daphne Bagshawe in Westminster, London) does not speak Russian. “

        And yet here she is:

        Also from the comment section:

        ^This how you conduct Russian language testes for all would be CIA keyboard warriors!

        • kirill says:


          But maybe I am not seeing a cleaner choice.

        • yalensis says:

          Now, your Stirlitz was the type of Russian spy who knew how to hide in plain sight.

          One day, in the Reich Security Building, Müller, Himmler, and Bormann are all standing in the cafeteria line, patiently waiting their turn. Stirlitz enters and passes everyone as he strides directly to the head of the queue. He is served immediately. Müller, Himmler and Bormann are baffled.
          What they didn’t know is that a Hero of the Soviet Union has the right to receive service without having to stand in line.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Stirlitz opens a door, and the lights go on.

            Stirlitz closes the door, and the lights go out.

            Sterlitz opens the door again; the light goes back on.

            Sterlitz closes the door; the light goes out again.

            Sterlitz deduces, “It’s a refrigerator”.

            Upon exiting the bar, Stirlitz received a strong blow in the back of the head.

            Turning around, he saw that it was the pavement.

          • yalensis says:

            Bormann and Muller are having a coffee in Muller’s office. They notice Stirlitz sneaking in and stealing a lot of secret documents from the vault.
            Who is this guy? asks the stunned Bormann.
            This one? The Red Army’s best agent in Berlin, replies Muller.
            And why don’t you catch him ??? asks Bormann.
            Muller frowns. Eh, I keep trying for years now, General Bormann, but he always slips out of my hands..

        • marknesop says:

          I’m an expert on Russia. Could someone translate the image for me?

          Perfect. Pure poetry.

  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    Meanwhile in Nizhny Novgorod. March of the millions! Supporters of Navalny won’t stand ildly while their Guru and Sensei is suffering from the Regime!

    ^About 150 hamsters (press included). For camparison – the meeting of the popular video blogger Evgeny “BadComedia” Bazhenov (you know – the one dissing “5 days in August”, “Viking” and other crappy movies) which with no free entry (and you had to buy the tickets beforehand) gathered in Nizhny Novgorod 1500.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Clearly they responded to Navalny’s repeated Tweets and Instagram transmitted from the deepest KGB dungeons in the heart of Mordor:

      Thank you all for the support. The plan to disrupt regional rallies won’t work. Tomorrow Orenburg; the day after tomorrow — Arkhangelsk.

      • yalensis says:

        Und ze day after ze day after tomorrow: Ze Vorld!

      • marknesop says:

        And he was right. The authorities failed to disrupt the rally for his release. It’s just that hardly anyone showed up.

        As I keep saying, it’s the best thing possible for the current Russian government if the western regime-change specialists vest their hopes and dreams in Navalny, who is demonstrably not popular and has zero ability to fire the people’s imagination with sugarplum daydreams of a future with loads of money and benefits but hardly any work, and democracy so you just have to snap your fingers and your wishes come true. The Anglosphere has come to internalize its own hype to the extent it believes saying Navalny is a great but frustrated statesman is enough to invest him with those qualities.

  3. Warren says:

    Catalan News
    Published on 28 Sep 2017
    UN human rights experts have warned the Spanish government to respect fundamental rights “at a critical moment for Spain’s democracy,” and two political groups in the European Parliament have asked for international mediation on the October 1 referendum. Meanwhile, here in Catalonia, more police operations to stop the referendum are underway, as peaceful protests continue in defense of the right to freedom of expression. These are the latest developments.

    • marknesop says:

      Quite a remove from Mutti Merkel’s squawking that they must have a warm room in cold weather from which to plan their future logistics. This is just “Don’t hurt anybody”.

  4. Hoffnungstirbtzuletzt says:

    Thank you Gordon for bringing this up. I’d stopped reading this blog for the very reason that people felt compelled to reply to him. It ruined the blog in my opinion and I gave it a wide berth.

    Debate or discussion however is something different.

    “I believe it is still possible — and all the more necessary — for journalism to perform these functions, especially as the other institutions that were meant to do so have fallen short. But that requires proprietors and publishers who understand that their role ought not to be to push a party line, or be a slave to Google hits and Facebook ads, or provide a titillating kind of news entertainment, or help out a president or prime minister who they favor or who’s in trouble.

    Their role is to clarify the terms of debate by championing aggressive and objective news reporting, and improve the quality of debate with commentary that opens minds and challenges assumptions rather than merely confirming them.

    This is journalism in defense of liberalism, not liberal in the left-wing American or right-wing Australian sense, but liberal in its belief that the individual is more than just an identity, and that free men and women do not need to be protected from discomfiting ideas and unpopular arguments. More than ever, they need to be exposed to them, so that we may revive the arts of disagreement that are the best foundation of intelligent democratic life.

    The honor the Lowy Institute does tonight’s nominees is an important step in that direction. What they have uncovered, for the rest of you to debate, is the only way by which our democracies can remain rational, reasonable, and free.”

    • marknesop says:

      I completely agree – debate and discussion is the standard to which blogs aspire. But our recent experience contained none of the benefits of either, and the blog was instead being used as a platform to project an ideology.

    • Lyttenburgh says:


      “But to say, I disagree; I refuse; you’re wrong; etiam si omnes — ego non — these are the words that define our individuality, give us our freedom, enjoin our tolerance, enlarge our perspectives, seize our attention, energize our progress, make our democracies real, and give hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere. Galileo and Darwin; Mandela, Havel, and Liu Xiaobo; Rosa Parks and Natan Sharansky — such are the ranks of those who disagree”

      Dissidents of all countries – handshake yourself! For Yours and Ours Freedom! Bonner in the Heaven, 6th Fleet in the Med, Pavel Shekhtman in Kiev. ТакЪ победимЪ!

      Joking aside – this is the NYT article. You can practically see the author throttling his urges to say something less “handshakable” and mewly sounding, as is the norm for this paper. Cheap pathos is cheap.

      I’ve said it previously on several occasions – this is nothing new. Humanity is still stuck culturally and mentally in the Dark Ages (this is optimistic evaluation – personally, I think most people are still stuck in the Stone Age). The technological progress made it more comfortable, i.e. it made it more comfortable to be stuck in the Dark Ages. Just pretending to be your typical conscientious member of intelligantzia and saying “can we just get along, m’kay?” won’t solve such systemic problem. And that’s what this lecturer just did with his:

      “[T]hat requires proprietors and publishers who understand that their role ought not to be to push a party line, or be a slave to Google hits and Facebook ads, or provide a titillating kind of news entertainment, or help out a president or prime minister who they favor or who’s in trouble…

      …This is journalism in defense of liberalism… in its belief that the individual is more than just an identity, and that free men and women do not need to be protected from discomfiting ideas and unpopular arguments. More than ever, they need to be exposed to them, so that we may revive the arts of disagreement that are the best foundation of intelligent democratic life.”

      Please! How can anyone live to such age in the Blessed West without any knowledge of the capitalism and the modern (i.e. the only current and relevant) understanding of the “liberalism”? Why should anyone in the system that denies the existence of the objective moral support such silly (and harmful for the income) notion?

    • Lyttenburgh says:


      “As I think about it, I’m not sure we were taught anything at all. What we did was read books that raised serious questions about the human condition, and which invited us to attempt to ask serious questions of our own. Education, in this sense, wasn’t a “teaching” with any fixed lesson. It was an exercise in interrogation.

      To listen and understand; to question and disagree; to treat no proposition as sacred and no objection as impious; to be willing to entertain unpopular ideas and cultivate the habits of an open mind — this is what I was encouraged to do by my teachers at the University of Chicago.

      It’s what used to be called a liberal education.”

      The author is A-grade patented idiot.

      Newsflash! There is no such thing as “liberal education”. There is though “capitalist system education”. Under it the students are treated as clients paying to acquire the product (education in question). Capitalism being itself, the maxim “client is always right” is still sacrosanct. That’s why the unprecedented level of tolerance to this or that bullshit perpetuated by the students there. He said it himself:

      “Middlebury is one of the most prestigious liberal-arts colleges in the United States, with an acceptance rate of just 16 percent and tuition fees of nearly $50,000 a year.”

      In Russia, this would be unthinkable. Students should not and are not in position to dictate their will to their Higher Education Institution. All sorts of disorderly conduct are put down harshly. Want to acquire Higher Education? Fine – go and study! Want to disrupt the lecture of some invited person you don’t like? Get the boot – good luck finding a job then (plus your exemption from the draft during the study period evaporates).

      Not in the West, where the mere fact that these students pay this or that Uni basically turns the whole professor corps into their bitches. And you can’t reason and persuade these people to be more “tolerant” to the different opinion, if you lack the means of enforcing that and set of strict morals. Paradoxically, but the Western professors have become members of the proletariat beholden to the will of the declassified element (students) who pay their wages ;). Till they, the professors, develop the class conscience and understand that you can’t sweet talk the oppressor to whip you slightly less frequently, they are bound to suffer from this dumbfuckery which is, indeed, a totalitarian dictatorship of the capital.

      “Socrates quarrels with Homer.”

      Another confirmation that the author is an idiot who, indeed, “not sure we were taught anything at all” (c). Socrates absolutely loved Homer and liked to quote him (“Iliad” especially). It’s what he quoted which landed him in the trouble with the “democratic” Regime of the post-Peloponesian War Athens. In particular – these verses:

      Whenever he met a king or chieftain, he stood by him and spoke him
      fairly. “Sir,” said he, “this flight is cowardly and unworthy. Stand
      to your post, and bid your people also keep their places. You do not
      yet know the full mind of Agamemnon; he was sounding us, and ere long
      will visit the Achaeans with his displeasure. We were not all of us
      at the council to hear what he then said; see to it lest he be angry
      and do us a mischief; for the pride of kings is great, and the hand
      of Jove is with them.”

      But when he came across any common man who was making a noise, he
      struck him with his staff and rebuked him, saying, “Sirrah, hold your
      peace, and listen to better men than yourself. You are a coward and
      no soldier; you are nobody either in fight or council; we cannot all
      be kings; it is not well that there should be many masters; one man
      must be supreme- one king
      to whom the son of scheming Saturn has given
      the sceptre of sovereignty over you all.”

      “One of the more dismaying features of last year’s election was the extent to which “white working class” became a catchall identity for people whose travails we were supposed to pity but whose habits or beliefs we were not supposed to criticize. The result was to give the Trump base a moral pass it did little to earn.”


      Snobbish kreakls are the same no matter what country they are from.

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    Thursday 28 Sep 2017 @ 16:15
    Ministry of Defence

    Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, said:

    Britain has made a major contribution to the campaign that has crippled Daesh since 2014, forcing this miserable cult from the gates of Baghdad to the brink of defeat in Raqqa. By air, land and sea UK personnel have played a tireless role in striking targets and training allies.

    As the second largest contributor to the Global Coalition’s military campaign, the UK has flown more than 8,000 sorties with Tornado and Typhoon jets and Reaper drones, providing strikes, surveillance and reconnaissance, refuelling and transport.

    Since 2014 the UK has hit Daesh with over 1,500 strikes, bombarding targets including heavy machine-gun positions, truck-bombs, mortar teams, snipers and weapons stores.

    RAF Typhoons, Tornados and Reapers have hounded Daesh day and night, striking from Raqqa and Dayr az Zawr in Syria to Qayyarah and Al Qaim in Iraq.

    Air Chief Marshal, Sir Stephen Hillier, said:

    This has been an immense effort by RAF airmen and airwomen over the last three years of continued operations, countering Da’esh in Iraq and Syria. However, the tempo continues with RAF aircraft destroying 17 targets in Syria in a single day last week.

    Three years ago Daesh was barely an hour from the gates of Baghdad, but today it has lost more than 73 per cent of the territory it occupied in Iraq and 65 per cent of its former territory in Syria.

    The Royal Air Force has played an essential role to allies, helping Syrian Democratic Forces engaged in ground close combat and the Iraqi Security Forces who continue their advance having liberated Mosul and Ninewah province.

    So now you know!

    Just as in WWII in Europe, a major role in achieving victory was played by the UK …

    The Russian MoD has rubbished the above:

    Russian MoD Doubts UK’s Major Role in Defeating Daesh in Syria, Iraq

    “As the defeat of the Daesh in Syria by the Syrian forces assisted by the Russian Aerospace Forces is getting closer, it turned out suddenly that for all these years somewhere behind our back UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon has been most of all helping to destroy terrorists. According to Fallon, the United Kingdom has made a major contribution to the campaign to disrupt the capabilities of the ‘miserable cult’ of Daesh since 2014… This raises the question: where were all these ‘forces of good’ in mid-2015 when IS captured a third of Iraq and the wholeof Syria,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

    Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

    Note: “Sputnik News” is Kremlin controlled.

    • marknesop says:

      Couldn’t have said it better; the public record reflects that for the entirety of the US-led coalition’s ‘hounding Daesh day and night’, the aforementioned hounding did not deter it from constantly advancing and seizing more territory. Lest we forget, sorties do not equal strikes, and American military pilots themselves complained that they returned to their bases 75% of the time without having dropped any ordnance because they could not get permission to engage. The bureaucracy’s defense is that ‘this is a different kind of air war, and ISIS has blended in with the population’. But there were times, weren’t there, when the bureaucracy adopted a ‘shit happens’ attitude to civilians being ‘accidentally and reluctantly’ killed by their forces? My, yes; there were. In fact, it sounds to me as if most of the caution was directed against accidentally and reluctantly killing ISIS fighters who were doing such a great job against Assad.

      • et Al says:

        If I recall correctly, the ‘full’ (or should I say ‘most complete’) British stats were published (parliament?), they were similarly appalling and only briefly covered when they came out. Meanwhile, Foreign Bonker Boris was in Myanmar and started to recount Kipling’s ‘Mandalay’ when he was interrupted by the British Ambassador to tell him to stop:


        **&^ing ‘ell!

        BY THE old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea,
        There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;
        For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
        “Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay! ”
        Come you back to Mandalay,
        Where the old Flotilla lay:
        Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay ?
        On the road to Mandalay,
        Where the flyin’-fishes play,
        An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!

        ‘Er petticoat was yaller an’ ‘er little cap was green,
        An’ ‘er name was Supi-yaw-lat – jes’ the same as Theebaw’s Queen,
        An’ I seed her first a-smokin’ of a whackin’ white cheroot,
        An’ a-wastin’ Christian kisses on an ‘eathen idol’s foot:
        Bloomin’ idol made o’ mud
        Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd
        Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed ‘er where she stud!
        On the road to Mandalay…

        When the mist was on the rice-fields an’ the sun was droppin’ slow,
        She’d git ‘er little banjo an’ she’d sing “Kulla-lo-lo!
        With ‘er arm upon my shoulder an’ ‘er cheek agin my cheek
        We useter watch the steamers an’ the hathis pilin’ teak.
        Elephints a-pilin’ teak
        In the sludgy, squdgy creek,
        Where the silence ‘ung that ‘eavy you was ‘arf afraid to speak!
        On the road to Mandalay…

        But that’s all shove be’ind me – long ago an’ fur away
        An’ there ain’t no ‘busses runnin’ from the Bank to Mandalay;
        An’ I’m learnin’ ‘ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:
        “If you’ve ‘eard the East a-callin’, you won’t never ‘eed naught else.”
        No! you won’t ‘eed nothin’ else
        But them spicy garlic smells,
        An’ the sunshine an’ the palm-trees an’ the tinkly temple-bells;
        On the road to Mandalay…

        I am sick o’ wastin’ leather on these gritty pavin’-stones,
        An’ the blasted English drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;
        Tho’ I walks with fifty ‘ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,
        An’ they talks a lot o’ lovin’, but wot do they understand?
        Beefy face an’ grubby ‘and –
        Law! wot do they understand?
        I’ve a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!
        On the road to Mandalay…

        Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
        Where there aren’t no Ten Commandments an’ a man can raise a thirst;
        For the temple-bells are callin’, an’ it’s there that I would be
        By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;
        On the road to Mandalay,
        Where the old Flotilla lay,
        With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
        O the road to Mandalay,
        Where the flyin’-fishes play,
        An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay !

        Not that I have a problem with Kipling, but you wonder which century the Conservatives are stuck in. I would firmly say the twentieth, with designs on the nineteenth.

        • marknesop says:

          Here he is, the wally. Tiresome. I suppose eventually we will have to endure a bid for Prime Minister from him, the tit.

          I’m not surprised he remembers snatches of verse from when he was a schoolboy – he’s learned fuck-all else since.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Not half as bad as when in 1952, whilst attending a dinner in honour of an Indian cricket touring side, England fast bowler Freddie Truman nudged some high-ranking Indian official and said to him: “Pass the salt, Gunga Din!”

          Truman always denied that he said these words.

        • et Al says:

          It’s been a while since I’ve posted this picture (via whoresofyore twitter) that bears a remarkable resemblance to Boris.

    • yalensis says:

      The English as a race are notorious for trying to take the credit for the accomplishments of others. It is no accident that the Order of the British Empire (OBE) has been dubbed “Other Buggers Efforts”.

  6. Moscow Exile says:

    Well waddya know!

    Украина обвинила Россию в размещении войск в Белоруссии

    The Ukraine has accused Russia of deploying troops in Belarus
    03:08, 30.09.2017 (updated: 10:33, 30.09.2017)

    MOSCOW, 30 Sep — RIA Novosti. Russia has left some of its troops in Belarus after the exercises “West-2017”. Such a statement in an interview with Reuters has been made by the Ukraine Chief of the General staff, Army General Viktor Muzhenko.

    According to him, at the end of the manoeuvres, Russia withdrew only a small part of its soldiers and officers.

    “We have information that they withdrew only a few units of their claimed 12,500 soldiers, of which 3,000 were Russians”, said the Chief of the General staff, expressing confidence that in fact there had been many more of them.

    The “West-2017” exercises took place on Belarus and Russian territory from 14 to 20 September. The manoeuvres were observed by about 100 foreign military attachés.

    On 28 September, there appeared on the official website of the exercise an announcement stating that the last echelon with personnel and equipment of the Russian Armed Forces had left Belarus.

    Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry spoke about the groundlessness of accusations concerning “West-2017” that NATO had made against Moscow. For his part, Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of the Russian president, rejected the reproaches concerning the lack of openness of the exercises, and said that this “arousing of the passions” that surrounded such reproaches were provocations.

    Nikolai Lakhonin, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in the United States, later noted that the catastrophic scenarios that spread in the West in connection with the manoeuvres were not justified and that the exercises had been as open as possible.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Russian Defense Ministry refutes claims about troops left in Belarus after Zapad-2017
      Military & Defense September 30, 13:13 UTC+3

      The ministry’s spokesman said Viktor Muzhenko’s claims about the Russian troops “hidden” in Belarus, “demonstrate the scale of degradation of the Ukrainian General Staff and incompetence of its chief”.

      Either that or they are simply telling lies, perish the thought, whilst at the same time being a bunch of degenerate incompetents.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, I saw that. From the same strategic wizard who begged Canada to start sending Ukraine satellite data again so it could monitor what is going on on its own border. Which kind of begs the question how he knows with such precision what is going on in Belarus. I’m leaning toward he doesn’t, and is just reading from the script.

  7. Lyttenburgh says:

    The strategic mistake of Navalny’s rally planners in Orenburg:

    Cuz some schools and Unis have a 6-day long study week!

    • marknesop says:

      Excellent, Ron, and thank you very much! Who knew?? It seems that manipulation of comment forums is a real science, with the most advanced techniques introduced by the nations which worship free speech. On paper, anyway.

      Good to see you again, although I also enjoy your email postings.

  8. Lyttenburgh says:

    The interview [6:14] with the local citizen of Kalinovka, who was living there his whole life and who served at the base 10 years ago. So far – only Shariy published it on his site, despite the fact that virtually all major Ukrainian TV channel journos were also present. Maybe it was due to the following revelations:

    1) The chief engineer of the ammo depot #48 Lt. Col Rool’ was the ATO veteran with heavy drinking problems. Well, you know, like in that old joke: “I don’t suffer from alcoholism – I enjoy it!”.

    2) Since the “Revolution of Dignity” in 2014 the base changed 4 (four) commanders. The 3rd one is currently standing accused on the charges of the criminal negligence.

    3) Despite that – the whole military base and its top brass were regularly awarded as the “top performing ones” both by the Ministry of Defense and Vynnitsa oblast civilian administration. The last time bout of feel-goodism happened on 19 November 2016, when the aforementioned 3rd commander also received commendations and various goodies as award.

    4) Something really bizarre happens to the tree zone near Kalinovka. On the one hand – nothing is done on the territory of the military base. On the other – all trees planted in the Soviet times at the moment of the base creation (1950s) which were planted with the explicit purpose to serve as potential natural shield for a town in the case of the depot going boom, had been routinely cut down. Often this was down with the “volunteer assistance” of the conscript soldiers serving at this very military base. The questions “on whose order?” and “which logging company?” remain unanswered.

    5) The base was due for inspection on 12 October.

  9. et Al says:

    Al Beeb s’Allah GONAD (God’s Own News Agency Direct): Double agent Kim Philby honoured with Moscow exhibition

    A new exhibition celebrating the life and work of the late MI6 officer and Soviet agent Kim Philby has opened in Moscow.

    As a member of the infamous Cambridge Five group of spies, Philby fed secrets to the Kremlin throughout the 1940s and 50s before he defected to the USSR in 1963.

    Video journalist: Elizaveta Vereykina

  10. Patient Observer says:

    Interesting story on the positive effects of sanctions on the fishing industry and fish marketing in Russia. No mention of fish heads so the veracity is questionable but otherwise the article seems accurate:)


    The best fish is a pig line attributed to Serbia made me laugh.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Well, there is Russan expression “the best fish is a sausage (kolbasa)”. And even a song by the 90s band “Mango-Mango”:

      Frankly – I totally in agreement with the notion!

  11. et Al says:

    Euractiv: Central-Eastern European pipeline gets go-ahead

    An ambitious gas pipeline project connecting Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria received a shot in the arm on Thursday (28 September), when all of the involved parties signed a memorandum of understanding for the project, a vital part of Europe’s efforts to wean itself off Russian gas…

    …“We are at a very advanced stage with the BRUA project. We issued the building permit, we are conducting procedures for assigning the construction works, and contracts have already been signed for the design part and for the part concerning equipment for stations,” Romanian Energy Minister Toma Petcu revealed.

    “In December, the contracts for the execution part are going to be signed and pipe procurement is going to be finalised,” Petcu added…

    Plenty more at the link.

    • Patient Observer says:

      BRUA will be able to transport gas from the Black Sea and, when supply comes online at the end of the decade, from the Caspian too.

      It is intended to cut Eastern and Central Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, an important part of the European Commission’s third energy package and the CESEC group’s objectives.

      Black Sea gas? Where again? Crimea does apparently have significant off-shore deposits of undeveloped gas. It is difficult to find an article via Google on the subject that does not have an anti-Russian slant (you know, something like just facts) but here is something on the topic:


      I don’t know if there are other sources of Black Sea gas directly accessible to the EU.

      Caspian sea gas seems a looong way off, if ever it were to happen.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Thinking more about the BRUA pipe line, It could be a make work project for the region with PC overtones (e.g. Crimea’s little escapade will soon end bringing Black Sea gas back to Europe). The usual graft and corruption will also keep Brussels bureaucrats and local counterparts fat and happy.

        • et Al says:

          It fits in to the Energy Union progapanda that Brussels is spreading. There at least it makes some sense that where ever you are in the EU, member states will have access to energy resources from wherever else in the EU. Of course, the real question is of price and is something completely different. Does anyone else think it is insane to ship LNG to Krk off Croatia to be pipelined to the rest of the Balkans? Is this a bribe to Qatar or something? Or American LNG to say Antwerp or through the Med?

          Still, the EU pipeline projects are small change compared to the amount spend on the Common Agricultural Policy and other stuff. I guess its just another ‘Do Something’ schtick to make Brussels seem relevant to EU citizens like me. Speaking of which, I enjoyed data and telecoms free roaming this summer when I went to the g/f’s folk’s place this summer. It was.. surreal. And normal. The fact that national EU telecomms operators have been shafting their own customers so hard and for so long and it took f($*ing Brussels to force it through shows which side their own states are on. A sorry state indeed!

          • marknesop says:

            It must be said again – Russia does not intend to sit idle in the LNG business either. And if the planned Kaliningrad terminal comes online by the end of this year as planned, it will not only position Russia attractively in the LNG market (does it cost more to bring European gas cargoes from Kaliningrad, or across the Atlantic?), it will bring increased energy independence to Kaliningrad itself. A cruise terminal is planned as well.

      • kirill says:

        These clowns are a combination of corrupt and delusional. The only non-Russian gas coming via the Black Sea would be hypothetical sources via Turkey from Qatar/Iran and the Caspian basin. There is no source of natural gas in the Black Sea that, for example, Bulgaria could develop to feed this pipe.

    • marknesop says:

      Europe is forever bragging about weaning itself off of Russian gas, when what it is mostly doing is taking Russian gas and moving it around through connectors, and then reselling it to each other. A prime example – although not European – is Ukraine, which claims to have taken no Russian gas throughout 2015 and 2016…during which time it sourced most of its gas from Slovakia, supplied at 90% and above levels by Russia.

      Ukraine claims to be getting gas from Yurrup at cheaper prices than Gazprom offered for direct supplies. If that’s true, Slovakia is selling gas to Ukraine for less than it paid for it. And there’s a word for people like that.

  12. Northern Star says:

    Profoundly illuminating analysis of the Catalonia situation….the observation that national balkanization is very problematic in the context of bringing substantially enhanced economic rights and opportunities to a broad spectrum of the oppressed in a nation’s population is consistent with recent history elsewhere ,e.g the former Yugoslavia.

    “Behind the assault on the working class in Spain is a European and indeed global crisis of capitalism. After a quarter century of social cuts and escalating imperialist wars across the Middle East since the Stalinist bureaucracy dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991, European capitalism is in an advanced state of collapse. Particularly since the 2008 Wall Street crash and global economic crisis, the ruling elites in Europe and America all sought to strengthen the military and police agencies, while imposing devastating austerity on the workers.
    This left Spain—like Greece, Portugal, Italy, and much of Eastern Europe—in ruins. Spanish capitalism is economically moribund. Spain’s unemployment rate stands at a massive 17.8 percent and at 38.6 percent for the under-25s. One in four unemployed have not had a job for at least four years. 2.5 million workers came off the unemployment rolls not because they found jobs in Spain, but because they emigrated to find work elsewhere.”


    • Evgeny says:

      Just read Anatoly Wasserman’s take (in Russian):


      He makes a point that by banning the referendum, the Spanish Government unwittingly promotes the cause for independence of Catalonia. Since the referendum is deemed to be illegal, the only ones to attend it would be pro-independence-minded people, which would result in the high percentage of vote for the independence. Consequently, pro-independence leaders would be able to capitalize on that result by claiming that it reflects the will of the people (despite the low voter turnout).

  13. Patient Observer says:

    Harsh punishment for financial crimes in Vietnam including the death penalty:


    One could think that financial crimes would be treated with harsh punishment in a capitalist economy where the rules of fair competition would be the 11th commandment. However, and no need to cite references, the most egregious economic crimes (think 2008) go unpunished. Yet, microscopic economic crimes (e.g. shoplifting) often involve jail time in harsh facilities. I suspect that Vietnam is the exact opposite in that regard.

    No great revelation here but the difference between the two countries is that the US has a class based system whereas Vietnam does not.

    The combination of a communist party and capitalism could be a practical way to obtain the benefits of capitalism/competition with the party enforcing the law and guiding the overall direction of the economy. Perhaps that is a major reason for China’s stunning economic growth. If China’s success continues, that model could take root (under a different name and modified for local circumstances) in developing countries that do not have the baggage of the Western class system. Hope so.

    • Northern Star says:

      “The combination of a communist party and capitalism could be a practical way to obtain the benefits of capitalism/competition with the party enforcing the law and guiding the overall direction of the economy.”

      Ummm.. I thought that capitalism and communism are operationally fundamentally incompatible:

      Some of the Quora comments are well thought out and instructive…..

      For Stooge Quants or Logicians:

      OTOH…you can just cut to the chase and read this with plenty of Vodka

      • Patient Observer says:

        The communists (or people or wise and sage rulers or religious leadership) set the stage, the laws and enforce compliance. The capitalists act within the confines of those laws without opportunity to evade or subvert. No family accumulation of capital would be permitted (no dynasties) and corporation ownership would be distributed on a broad base. It would be a utopian world that may not be achievable but still possible. China has found a formula that seems to work and it could work for other countries with a similar cultural experience.

      • Jen says:

        Whether capitalism and Communism can co-exist or be made to co-exist would depend very much on how the society in question defines private property and private property ownership, and how its laws regulate and police ownership and transfers of ownership. Would individuals and companies be allowed to own land or only be able to lease it from governments or communities? If someone dies or if a company is liquidated or bought by another company, should any land that person or company was holding at the time be returned to the government or the community? Can any decision to return the land be challenged? These are some questions that would have to be addressed and resolved for the two ideologies to co-exist.

        • Patient Observer says:

          By any realistic definition, China is ruled by the Communist party yet China has large numbers of billionaire and huge numbers of millionaires so one can say that communism, when it is in charge of the country, can tolerate a capitalistic element. I doubt that the reverse would be possible given the mandate of capitalism to endless expand, acquire and control.

          Land can only be leased I believe. I do not know about inheritance laws but I would suppose creation of capitalistic dynasties would be frowned upon.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Good to see. Judging by the high percentage of military personnel involved with aviation, Syria provided a great training opportunity,

      Considering the relatively small air contingent, the number and effectiveness of the air strikes was incredibly high suggesting well-trained maintenance personnel, good logistics, reliable equipment, competent pilots and well-coordinated intelligence and targeting. NATO is sure to take notice.

      I believe that no aircraft were lost to accidents or human error. A few aircraft were lost in carrier operations suggesting a need for improvement in that area.

  14. et Al says:

    Butt Insider: Julian Assange is rallying behind Catalan separatists ahead of a historic referendum — and Russia has taken notice

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has seized on a historic independence referendum set for Sunday in the Spanish region of Catalonia, using his Twitter account to pump out a pro-separatist narrative aimed at villainizing the Spanish central government and celebrating Catalan nationalism.

    Assange, for all intents and purposes, has become the independence movement’s chief international spokesman. The vast majority of his tweets this month, in many cases written in Spanish and Catalan, have centered around promoting Catalan secessionism and “self-determination” as a bulwark against Madrid’s “repression.”

    Russian news agency Sputnik has helped, too — and has taken notice of Assange’s tweets. ..

    More complete shite at the link.

    Curious though. I’ve heard absolutely nothing though Google News until this article about Assange supporting Catalan Independence, nor through the other dodgy sites I follow.

    She’s a busy little bee, Natasha, one of many willing corporate shitslingers. No crap is too low or too stinky to be touched. Just have a look at ‘work‘:


    A normal person would be at least a little bit embarrassed about the level innuendo, ‘proof’, conjecture, projection, speculation and general weak piss, but not this seasoned journalist. There’s no barrel left unscraped. You have to hand it to the empire, they do have plenty of willing footsoldiers. I do wonder what would happen if the money tap was turned off though.

    • marknesop says:

      I would be willing to go out on a limb and speculate those who back the western regime do so partly out of a perception that it best coincides with their values, and partly because they are betting on its eventual economic triumph. The former judgment is based largely on their own propaganda and dissembling, and the latter remains open to question.

  15. Cortes says:

    Entertaining stuff from John Helmer:


    On the Mongolian slant(¡!) on VI Lenin, the first time I saw a reference to it was in RJ Sender’s great “Crónica del alba” – “Dawn Chronicle.”

    • marknesop says:

      I became a fan of “Upstairs Downstairs” through the enthusiasm of my English then-wife, as well as – of course – “Coronation Street”, “Heartbeat” and “All Creatures Great and Small”. All were available in syndicated form on Canadian television.

      It seems Teffi based judgment of the divide between the classes in Russia on a single incident, which may or may not have been symptomatic. But I will not attempt to defend that possibility as I simply don’t know enough about Russian social mores during that period.

    • yalensis says:

      “Lenin “kept a keen watch, with his narrow, Mongolian eyes.”
      That IS racist!
      Well, Lenin hailed from the Volga region, and who knows what kind of race-mixing was going on all the time…
      My own dad claimed to be pure ethnic Russian, but as he grew older his eyes got more and more slanted and Asiatic-looking. We, his loving children, cruelly teased him, calling him “Genghis Khan”, or “The King of Siam”.

      Lookiing in the mirror, I don’t have much in the way of eyelids, myself. My eyes are not exactly slanted, but my lids are not much to write home about, beyond hooded folds.
      Obviously, some Khans or Khanlets back in the family woodpile, there….

      • Laninya says:


        I find this comment of yours fascinating:
        “Lenin ‘kept a keen watch, with his narrow, Mongolian eyes.’ That IS racist!”

        …Trying to understand what makes it ‘racist.’ Tho’, I can guess it might be considered so if one considers ‘Asian’ or ‘Asiatic’ something to be ashamed of. (?)

        To me, though, narrow, Mongolian eyes are super attractive. Something of beauty. In fact, back in my youth, I dated a Croat who was the spittin’ image of Genghis Khan. His nickname was ‘China’ or ‘Chinese’ (they used both). And, when one considers that the Slavonic tribes of Rus ‘paid tribute’ to the Golden Horde (including swapping DNA with them) for about 200 years … one result is going to be some of that ‘Mongolian slant’ in the gene pool. And why not? (You may not realize it yet, but that Mongolian DNA is exactly what’s giving Russians the edge in the cliff-edge battle that’s going on now, and it’s probably what’s going to save us all in the end.)

        Where I live, the native tribes ‘paid tribute’ to and swapped DNA with a different conquering horde for … well, it’s been a bit longer than 2 centuries now, but it’s resulted in a lot of Mi’kmaw families carrying surnames like Johnson, Marshall, and Muise; and we’ve also seen quite a few instances of French Acadians applying for (and getting) “Métis” status. Those guys aren’t ashamed to be considered Métis (so long as there are some sort of privileges that accrue)!

        I know you’re an articulate, humorous and fair-minded guy ’cause I read (and love) your blog (The Awful Avalanche), so I’d like to draw you out on this subject a bit, if you care to respond to the challenge.

        And now that I’m writing this, another instance of what I’m talking about comes to mind. There’s a guy running for mayor in one of the cities or towns in Russia…one of his parents was African (I forget which) and the other Russian. He’s lived all his life in Russia. He’s Russian. But he’s also black. And audacious. And, one of his campaign slogans translates into English as something like “Elect me, and I’ll work like a N-double-gg-r for you.” Which draws gasps. I mean, I can’t even type the word he used because…racist! So, how about when Putin answers a question saying, “We’ve been pulling like galley slaves.” Kind of amounts to the same thing: gonna work like a slave….galley slave / field slave.

        Where did the English word ‘slave’ even come from? What’s the root of it?

        And how about that word that cannot be spoken, the N-word…what’s the root of that one?

        Is racism an integral part of each, or both, or is it incidental to the whimsy of what’s considered to be beautiful, or ugly, or to qualities that confer privileges, or that take them away…?

        ~ Nyna

  16. Special_sauce says:

    from twitterer Vladimir Suchan.
    claims RussMoD shipped Ukr weaponry back once Crimea was secure. Why would Russia do that?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      So they could use it to kill each other?

    • yalensis says:

      The Ukrainians abandoned the weaponry when they fled from Crimea.
      If there was an actual war, then it would be considered trophey, and Russia could keep it in good conscience.
      I am guessing, Russia doesn’t want to imply there was a war, or that the weapons are tropheys of war. Therefore, they will give the stuff back to its owners, the Ukrainians.
      Does that sound plausible?
      Or maybe, it’s just old junk and Russia doesn’t want it, nor want to spend the money to dispose of it(?)
      Just guessing…

      • marknesop says:

        I think Russia wanted to do the whole thing by the book, as closely as possible considering Ukraine would never have given it up if they were asked nicely if Russia could have it back. It has to be shown as Russia being merely a safeguard and trustee of the will of the people, and returning weaponry which could no longer contribute to resistance to the decision is part and parcel of that policy. There was also at that time no real indication that Ukraine would try to take it back by force, as there was later in the east. In those cases, enemy forces were still allowed to walk out of cauldrons, but without their weapons, and those were not returned because it was obvious they would promptly be used in another effort. Also, the latter actions represented the decision of the DNR/LPR and not of the Russian Federation.

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    Back to square one!

    Новый украинский закон «Об образовании» может привести к окончательному развалу страны

    The new Ukrainian law “On Education” may lead to the final collapse of the country

    Poroshenko has unleashed a new war: this time it is a language war, and it is countrywide. From 28 September, there has come into effect in the Ukraine a new law “On Education”, which officially forbids Russian and other languages of national minorities to be taught in schools and universities (and millions of Russian are considered by the Kiev government to be a national minority). All lessons shall now only be in the “National Tongue”, that is to say: Ukrainian.

    From all sides of “Independent [of Russia] Ukraine” has come the warning: do not repeal the law: what seems such a to be such a small matter can blow up in your faces. In fact, this law means that all the people of the Ukraine are being forcibly made to speak a “foreign” language! Yes, that’s right, because Ukrainian, as shown by all the studies and surveys, is spoken by an absolute minority of this country.

    Which language do they speak in the Independent Ukraine?
    The language spoken at home in the Ukraine according to data from the Ukrainian National Linguistic University

    yellow — Ukrainian; brown — Surzhik (Ukr/Ru mixture); red — Russian

    “Poroshenko can forget about Europe”

    This linguistic genocide — and it cannot be called anything else — as carried out by Poroshenko looks like this: from next year, teaching in a “minority language” shall only remain in elementary school classes, but not for long: from September 1, 2020, all education shall be exclusively in Ukrainian. This law has given rise to a flurry of protests.

    This is where it all began, isn’t it?

    This is why the Lugansk and Donetsk provinces said “enough is enough” with those Galitsian shitwits, who then did a hasty about-turn in their illegal rada assembly, having realized that they had dropped an enormous bollock. And this turn-round is what people are now saying must not be undone, or there’ll be big trouble.

    So ignoring all the warnings, these Svidomite shitwits apparently now feel that they are in such a stronger position than before and that they can, therefore, go full speed ahead with eradicating Russian and, no doubt, Russian speaking Ukrainians from the “Independent Ukraine”.

    Up to now, Poroshenko has spoken about a European Ukraine, but he can forget about that starting right now, given that Hungary is going to block all the projects that will be of benefit to the Ukraine in all international organizations, especially the EU. Speaking for the more than 150,000 Hungarians who live in the “Independent Ukraine”, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Siyarto has said: “We can guarantee that this will damage the future of the Ukraine.”

    Looks like the borders of a soon to come rump Ukraine might very well soon encompass only that western yellow area shown in the map above.

    • Cortes says:

      And before you can say “Bob’s your uncle ” the yellow area will be mostly speaking Polish…

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Bob jest twoim wujkiem, Fanny to ciotka!


        • Moscow Exile says:

          Don’t know if the Polish that I wrote is right: I think not.

          In Russian:

          Боб — твой дядя, а Фэнни — твоя тётка!

          I wonder where that expression came from? Nobody seems to know.

          • yalensis says:

            wiki to the rescue:

            In 1887, British Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil appointed his nephew Arthur James Balfour as Minister for Ireland. The phrase ‘Bob’s your uncle’ was coined when Arthur referred to the Prime Minister as ‘Uncle Bob’. Apparently, it’s very simple to become a minister when Bob’s your uncle.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              But who was Aunt Fanny?

              “All my aunt Fanny” means “all a load of nonsense. Furthermore, “fanny” does not mean in British English what it means in US English.

              • yalensis says:

                Believe it or not, in my time I have actually heard actual Americans utter the words “Bob’s your uncle.” Example: “You just push this here button, and Bob’s your uncle.”

                Yet I have never heard any American nor anyone else mention a word about poor Aunt Fanny. That must be an English thing.

              • Cortes says:

                Fanny was a regular affectionate diminutive of “Frances” until recently, when confusion with the slang “fanny” < Irish "faine" – "ring" led to its demise.

    • marknesop says:

      Looks like the borders of a soon to come rump Ukraine might very well soon encompass only that western yellow area shown in the map above.

      But that’s the only region that matters in Ukraine now, and that’s the region that is making all the decisions.

      Cries that they have overstepped have come before, and nothing much has happened – it remains to be seen how much feeling it will arouse in the country itself, and I will reserve judgment for now. I personally would not be sorry to see the rest of the country rise up in rage and declare sub-independence, leaving the Nazi-lovers to their own devices. But I know Brussels will work hard to blunt Hungary’s criticisms and nullify its effect, while what Russia thinks has no part in it at all. It’s up to Ukrainians to carry the ball alone, this try. Let’s see if it happens.

      Reliably, the Latvian Education Minister stepped up to back Ukraine’s initiative, like a good toady. Not much of a controversial position, considering that according to statistics, no bastard in The Ukraine speaks Latvian, and there are no more than 2 million speakers of Latvian worldwide, putting it on the edge of extinction.

      Just as an aside, did Siyarto really say “the Ukraine”? Is he crazy? Doesn’t he know how that infuriates the western-Ukrainians and all their compatriots in The Canada?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Siyarto is Hungarian and I have no idea whether the Hungarian language uses articles. In any case, I translated the above from a KP article, and the journalist who quoted Siyarto quoted him in Russian, which has no articles.

        However, I use articles as I have always done as a native English speaker and I refuse to have proscriptions imposed on the usage of my mother tongue by those non-native speakers of English whose language possesses no grammatical articles and whose proscription follows a political agenda.

        Furthermore, if the KP quote of what Siyarto said has also been published in the German language press, then the quotation would have “die Ukraine” for “the Ukraine” (and also “der Ukraine” according to the rules for the declination of the German feminine singular definite article), as would the French press have “l’Ukraine”, yet I doubt that if this is the case, then there will be some sort of protest from the Ukraine or the EU authorities about this.

        [Just checked: Hungarian has articles and checking on Google translate, that language seems not to use the definite article with names of countries, including the Ukraine.]

        As regards Galitsia being a nest of Svidomites who seem to despise all other “linguistic minorities” that have somehow ended up squatting on the sacred soil of ancient “Kievan Rus'” (that “somehow” being the policies of the USSR and of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev in particular), Poroshenko himself has publicly stated that Galitsia and the Galitsians are the “essence” of the Ukraine.

        Poroshenko, whose father, born Waltzman, was a convicted in the USSR criminal, hails from the far southwestern corner of the map shown above, an area originally called “Little Bessarabia” in the Russian Empire. I have been there: not once did I hear Ukrainian spoken when I spent 3 weeks there with my family in the summer of 2011. I stated this fact once on a Yukie-Canadian blog and a woman commentator on it thereupon screamed LIAR! at me. And then I got the usual “You wouldn’t say ‘the Canada’, so why say ‘the Ukraine’ claptrap.

        Little Bessarabia was ceded by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire after his forces had their collective arses kicked at the end of the 18th century by the imperial Russian army under the generalship of Prince Potemkin.. Together with “Little Bessarabia” were also ceded the whole of the Black Sea littoral shown in the map above as well as the Crimea Peninsula, the whole lot of ceded territory then being labelled “New Russia” by the Russian Empire. Prior to the ceding of this territory by the Ottomans to the Russian Empire, its hinterland had been for more than 3 centuries the happy hunting grounds for Crimea Tatar slavers, whose peninsula khanate had been a Satrap of the the Ottoman Sultan.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I only transliterated the Hungarian politician’s name from the Cyrillic: his name in Hungarian, which uses an extended Latin alphabet with diacritics, is written thus: Péter Szijjártó.

          In the English language press, his name is usually rendered thus: Siarto.

          Hungary has appealed to the OSCE and the UN with the complaint against the new law on education in Ukraine, which prohibits national minorities of this country to learn the native language. On Monday, September 11, reports Index

          The Minister of foreign Affairs of Hungary Peter Siarto said that the complaint was communicated to the Secretary General of the OSCE, the assignee organization on national minorities and the current Chairman of the OSCE, the UN high Commissioner for human rights and the EU Commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy. He said that Budapest is asking to take measures that will not allow the law to take effect.

          Source: Hungary complained to the Ukrainian law on education in the OSCE and the UN

          That source is, I suspect, Ukrainian; in any case, whoever wrote it is not a native speaker of English.

          The give-away is the wrong article usage before the words “complaint” and “new law” in the first sentence: it should be “a complaint” and “a new law” — the reader does not know which complaint is being written about.

          Furthermore, the relative clause that refers to this new law is a defining one: there should, therefore, be no comma following “law” and the relative pronoun should be “that”, not “which”.

          Also, the names of the organizations as given in the text should have their nouns and adjectives beginning with capital letters: not “the UN high Commissioner for human rights and the EU Commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy” but rather: “the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy”.

          Writing such organization titles with only their head-word having a capital letter is the Russian and Ukrainian way of doing things: in Russian, “the/a [no articles in Russian!] EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy” is Комиссар ЕС по вопросам расширения и европейской политики добрососедства.

          These are typical errors made in English by Russian and Ukrainian speakers of English. They are no big deal, however: to a native speaker of English, such errors cause no misunderstanding.

          Interestingly, in the above quoted text, “neighbourhood” is spelt after the British English fashion.

          I often see British English spelling used by Russians, and I daresay Ukrainians do the same. It all depends, I suspect, on the preferences of their teachers of English when at school.

          When riding around MKAD, the Moscow “Beltway”, the Russian sign ЦЕНТР ГОРОД either has below it CITY CENTRE or CITY CENTER and some buildings are equipped with “lifts” whilst others have “elevators”.

        • Special_sauce says:

          Yeah, but don’t the French say La France? Vive la France. Long live…er…the France?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Bien sûr! Pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, on a dit “Vive la France! Vive l’Angleterre! Vive les États-Unis! Vive l’URSS!

            “Vive la France” literally means “Long live the France”, but that is not English, it is Frenglish.

            Latinate languages use an article before names of countries, Germanic languages usually do not:

            J’aime la France.

            Ich liebe Frankreich.

            I love France.

          • yalensis says:

            While we’re at it, Vive l’Angleterre!”
            OH, and Long Live THE British Isles!

            (Ukrainian idiotes….)

            • Moscow Exile says:

              But they nearly always say “England” and “the English” in foreign tongues when they should really say “Britain” and “the British”, just as in the the English-speaking world they usually say “Russia” and “Russians” for the Russian Federation (Российская Федерация) and all its citizens (россияне).

              In my experience, those damned foreign types never say “the British Isles” in whatever language they speak, though: “British Isles” is a geographical term.

              The French do say “Grande Bretagne”, however, which is the short French expression for the full political name of the state in which I was born, namely “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, “Great Britain” in this case being the largest of the British isles that consists of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland and the Principality of Wales.

              The French also say “le Royaume Uni” (the United Kingdom) as an abbreviated form of “le Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne et d’Irlande du Nord”, the United Kingdom being another abbreviated form of of the full political name of what many foreigners call “England”.

              When I first took Mrs. Exile to Edinburgh (which she still calls “ed-an-byrg”, Frog fashion), on the first morning of our stay in a hotel there, our table waitress very politely asked her what kind of breakfast she should like, whereupon my spouse replied. “I should like a full English breakfast, please”, which is how I had trained her to respond in London the week before, telling her to refuse at all costs to partake in a “continental breakfast” that consists of an old, cold croissant and crappy English coffee.

              The waitress responded, “Well, I don’t know about a full English breakfast, madam, but i can serve you with a full Scottish one”.

              I sometimes suspect that Mrs. Exile still believes that Scotland is part of England.

              When we were in England in 2010, after a man with whom she had been conversing had asked her whereabouts in Wales she came from, my wife said to me “Where is Wales?”

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Another thing: despite all the howls against the separatists in the east, it seems to have gone down the memory hole that those lovable Galitsians declared very early in this ongoing Ukrainian tragedy that they intended to leave the Ukraine if they didn’t have their own way.

      • yalensis says:

        Both Volker and the American Ambassador to the Ukraine (Yovanovitch) gave their blessing to the Ukrainization language law. Hence it’s a goer.

        • marknesop says:

          Oh, of course. What I mean is that it remains to be seen if the population and outside objectors will just grumble a little and get on with it, or whether there will be an actual rebellion. We’re talking about something like half the population speaks Russian in their daily social transactions, and the Ukrainian aim is obviously to capture future generations in its effort to eradicate Russian from Ukraine, because those who are adults at present are not going to start all over again and learn Ukrainian.

          It may well have a more low-profile effect of increased immigration to Russia, reducing the Ukrainian population still further. The Galitsian zealots will not care, so long as those who remain are pure Ukrainians.

  18. Lyttenburgh says:

    ^ Russian hackers did it!

    Catalan ATO – when? Spain понад усе!

    • kirill says:

      Nice to see so much love for freedom of choice and human rights in NATzO. NATzO lectures the globe day in and day out how few live up to its “standards”. Unlike the fake 5th column colour revolution demonstrations in Russia, that is real blood and not red paint that you see in the above photos.

    • Special_sauce says:

      So, how do we know this isn’t Maidan, Spanish Style?

      • kirill says:

        The Catalans are hardly staging regime change. There is zero similarity. Including the absence of UNA-UNSO thugs and the fact that the regime and its mass media are blaming Russia. So this is pure NATzO state thuggery in action. NATzO is all about independence of minorities when it serves it interests but will not tolerate any such “freedom of choice” on its turf.

        • Special_sauce says:

          I’ll go along with that, not knowing any better.

          • Jen says:

            Catalonia was holding an independence referendum which is apparently illegal under the current Spanish Constitution. The Spanish government and the EU have long known about the referendum yet Madrid chose to deal with it in a stupid way that gives the referendum more importance than it deserves. Had Madrid allowed the referendum to go ahead, the likelihood is that the results would have been very close to 50/50 with the “noes” just ahead of the “yeses”, and Madrid and Barcelona could have agreed that the referendum results were inconclusive. After all, if Catalonia did secede, the new country would have to apply to join the EU and the EU would probably demand strict conditions to be met including the enforcement of an austerity program.

            The possibility is strong that Madrid received encouragement from outside to crack down hard on Catalonia’s independence referendum because it could set a precedent not only for the Basques in Spain (and France) to hold their own independence referendums but elsewhere in the EU.

            • Cortes says:

              The current constitution was probably a good mechanism to ensure a smooth transition away from the baleful legacy of the Franco era. Its provisions against the possibility of secession would seem to be inconsistent with Spain adhering to Article 1 (2) of the UN Charter (on self determination).
              The hamfisted approach by the Moncloa may please the nostalgic and the real reactionaries but longer term there’ll likely be a culling of incomers in the administration of the bigger autonomous areas as well as lack of cooperation with the central authorities. Over the last 18 months or so, there’s been a nasty little campaign against the Mossos (local Catalan police) evident in the press, culminating in a blame game over the Ramblas attack and the other related events. The scope for returning “favours” will be huge, in my opinion.

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    During my recently enforced sojourn in Misty Albion, I for the first time saw and heard on TV the British Prime Minister in action. I was not overly impressed.

    For your entertainment:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      You just couldn’t make this crap up!

      Queen ‘misled’ by broken Theresa May
      Fury in palace and panic at No 10 as premier wept
      Tim Shipman, Political Editor
      October 1 2017, 12:01am,
      The Sunday Times

      Theresa May, who is 61 today, was ‘absolutely beaten, grey-skinned’ after the election result

      Buckingham Palace was left infuriated with Theresa May’s behaviour after her general election disaster plunged the prime minister into a personal “crisis of confidence”.

      Senior courtiers were exasperated that May misled the Queen by saying she had a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), only to take another 17 days to nail it down, and then went on to breach protocol in the way she announced her intention to form a government.

      The delay led to irritation at May’s lack of “courtesy”, as the Queen’s speech was delayed for two days, meaning the state opening of parliament disrupted plans for Royal Ascot.

      So the fact that Elizabeth of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg was pissed off by the fact that her prime minister’s attempts to form a government had buggered up her day watching the nags at Ascot makes a big story in the Times.

      Apparently, May turned on the water-works on learning what a glorious cock-up for her party the election had turned out to be.

      Now piss orff, you grovelling creep, and don’t ruin my day again!

      Meanwhile …

    • marknesop says:

      That’s funny. The ‘new, deep and special partnership with our European allies’ line always cracks me up. Whenever the Conservatives are forced into a coalition or some other exigency, they always call it ‘special’, just as if they had specifically chosen it of their own will.

  20. Warren says:

    Al Jazeera English
    Published on 1 Oct 2017
    Catalan voters shouting, “Occupation forces get out” forced Spanish National Police to retreat from the education ministry building in Barcelona.

    Al Jazeera’s Karl Penhaul reports from Barcelona.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s it for them. As soon as the dissenters get a taste of victory – whether real or merely manufactured by the press – their chance of succeeding goes up astronomically. We must assume that Catalan independence is in the west’s interests, or at least not a matter of great importance to them, or they would stop it. NATO never has a problem justifying abrupt u-turns in policy, and would just say that the Spanish situation is unique and totally different from Eastern Ukraine and Kosovo, and that would be that.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      I half expect the following to happen soon:

      1) The publication of the following letter: “I’m Catalan myself, daughter of the football player, have been livig in Barcelona for 50 years. Believe me – everything is not as clrear cut as it appears. No one wants the unity with Russia Independence”

      2) VADA uddenly finds meldonium in the urine of FC “Barcelona” players.

  21. Moscow Exile says:

    Continuation of the Stirlitz thread (getting too narrow above):

    Штирлиц на Украине
    Stirlitz in the Ukrauine

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Drat! Typo: Ukraine

      I must have been thinking in bloody Russian because that’s how they say “Ukraine” in the expression на Украине, namely u-kra-een-ye, the prepositional case ending tagged onto the noun following the preposition na.

  22. Moscow Exile says:

    News from the Outback:

    Melbourne Storm won their third National Rugby League title by beating North Queensland Cowboys 34-6 in the Grand Final.

    I find this surprising, though:

    US rapper Macklemore performed his pro-gay anthem “Same Love” before kick-off, despite calls in Australia to ban him from doing so

    But then again:

    hugs and kisses all round when the final whistle went.

    Better than that daft football, anyway!


    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

      Rugby is a sport played by men so closeted they don’t realise they’re gay.

    • Jen says:

      I’m relieved that after two days of back-2-back football grand finals (at one of which Australia’s 2016 Eurovision representative Dami Im sang the national anthem AGAIN), football season is finally over.

      Here she goes again!

      The downside is that if football season is over, cricket season must be starting.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Nowt wrong wi’ cricket!

        I watched a lot of it when back in the “old country” last month.

        England were crap, as usual, which sort of made me feel “at home” — plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose sort of thing.

        The Windies, whom the England cricket side were playing in a test match series, were not as great as they had been when I last saw them playing, though.

        I watched a lot of rugby “back home” as well — real rugby, I mean.

        That was crap an’ all.

      • Cortes says:

        Did you manage to watch “The Club” yet?

  23. et Al says:

    Apparently Russia has deployed a second S-400 system to Syria, claims Janes.

    • marknesop says:

      I maintain they should officially sell it to the Syrians and teach them how to use it. You would see no more bold Israeli fighter attacks after the first one. If the Syrians decide they want to see the back of Assad, that’s their own business. The USA never lets Russian concerns inform its arms sales around the globe, and instead yammers how its selling of weapons to various groups will ‘restore balance to the region’.

      • Patient Observer says:

        The Israeli attacks are not in the form of jets flying over the target, dropping bombs, doing a barrel roll and then flying back home. I understand that they fire missiles from low altitude while outside of Syrian airspace. It would be difficult for the S-400 to engage such targets being well below the radar horizon. The Syrians may need to bring missile systems like the Pantsir close to their borders to defend against such attacks.

        • marknesop says:

          That’s a good point. Although the S-400’s engagement envelope will include targets which are about as low as a plane can fly and remain out of the ground effect.

  24. saskydisc says:

    Knife attack on police and hitting civilians in Edmonton; perpetrator’s vehicle contained an ISIS flag. I have always been struck by the number of “ask me about Islam” bumper stickers in Edmonton and Calgary—mainstream Sunnis frown upon uninvited proselytizing, which suggests Salafis—there are not enough Ahmadis around (they do not frown upon proselytizing), and they do not use bumper stickers, at least not in Saskatoon.

    Somali Islamists have attacked nominally governmental forces. It is worth recalling Meles’s support for these same Islamist forces. Another matter is whether or not Eritrea is innocent in this regard. If not, it would suggest that the old members of the Tigrays People’s Liberation Front are not at such loggerheads as the nominal state relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea would suggest. The US accuses Eritrea of supporting these Islamists.

  25. saskydisc says:

    With increasing efforts at financial pressure by the US, the Russian government is warming to blockchain. See also on the Saker’s site. Each weapon the US fires does successively more damage to itself than to its target.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Blockchains are ledgers (like Excel spreadsheets), but they accept inputs from lots of different parties. The ledger can only be changed when there is a consensus among the group. That makes them more secure, and it means there’s no need for a central authority to approve transactions.

      Can this replace SWIFT transactions?

      • saskydisc says:

        I hope so. If so, it should also be able to stop exchange rate arbitrage.

      • saskydisc says:

        More generally, a swift replacing currency not tied to a a central bank may subvert underpayment for resources in poorer countries and ease investment.

  26. Warren says:

    Al Jazeera English
    Published on 1 Oct 2017
    Hundreds of people have been reported injured in Catalonia in clashes with Spanish police over independence vote.

    Al Jazeera’s Karl Penhaul reports from Barcelona.

    • kirill says:

      According to “Special sauce” injuries mean nothing. Looks like we have have a Spanish Ukr variant who thinks Catalans are trash who leech of great Spain.

      Getting smashed in the head with a baton is just peachy and safe.


      “Freedom of expression and opinion” in NATzO.

      • marknesop says:

        It must be considered also if they were breaking the law. The west goes on and on about how in Russia the people are not free to express their disagreement with government policies, and all the while Navalny is inveigling to get his cannon-fodder followers to break the law and hold unauthorized demonstrations. As we know very well, if he is allowed to get away with it he will continue to push the envelope and see what else he can do without being arrested.

        What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and the law is the law. Unauthorized demonstrations are not allowed in any of the western beacons of freedom and democracy. If the Catalonians are breaking the law and pushing the envelope, they should be arrested supposing they are all 90 years old. We are all familiar with photographs specifically employed to invoke pathos, like the White Helmets were fond of doing. On the other hand, if the police are genuinely repressing them during authorized demonstrations, that must be addressed as well.

        The Spanish government is not going to want to let a piece of Spain go, especially when it will be coerced by the EU to support its independence by trading with it and lending it money to get started. Independence is hard, and if you don’t have someone to help and guide you, you will probably fail. As I mentioned before, the west is very selective about which independence movements it will support and which it will not. Weakening Spain and further sapping its economy must suit western purpose for some reason, or the Catalans would be portrayed as seditious rebels who are trying to partition the country for their own selfish interests.

        • Jen says:

          It’s not as if the Catalonian independence referendum came out of nowhere and caught Madrid and the EU unawares. The Spanish government should have seen it coming as early as two years ago when Scotland held its independence referendum and should have reminded Barcelona that under the current Spanish Constitution, secession from Spain is illegal. As it is, Madrid’s clumsy reaction gives the independence referendum more attention and importance than it probably deserves.

          Moon of Alabama referred to information that indicated that before the referendum, polling indicated that most voters would have said No to secession. The reason for the referendum was in part connected with Catalonia’s desire for more financial autonomy and say in how its tax revenues are used by Madrid (although the region also gets generous subsidies from Madrid and workers willing to work for peanuts from other poorer parts of Spain, like Andalusia). Both the regional government in Barcelona and the central government in Madrid may have their own agendas in stoking up the independence referendum issue that are at odds with what voters may really want.

          I am guessing that the EU tacitly approves of Madrid’s heavy-handed reaction and will only say something against it if police start teargassing people or if someone dies. Catalonian secession threatens EU unity as much as it does Spanish unity: there may be other secession movements in other parts of the EU which may be partly driven by public anger at recent EU policies and austerity programs.

          • cartman says:

            It really does upset the balance of power in the EU even more to Germany. Based on population size and economy they’ve already secured most of the power to themselves. Spain was one of the big countries, and it is likely that any break will also result in fractured resistance to Berlin.

        • Ryan Ward says:

          “Weakening Spain and further sapping its economy must suit western purpose for some reason, or the Catalans would be portrayed as seditious rebels who are trying to partition the country for their own selfish interests.”

          I think this is a bit too conspiratorial. The West’s reaction to the Catalans has been very mixed. Generally Western governments have been suspicious and mildly hostile, while the media has been more supportive. I suspect, more than anything else, this reflects Spain’s marginal status. It’s just not important enough to generate a concerted collective response in the West.

          • marknesop says:

            You could very well be right that it reflects Spain’s marginal status, although it could be so much more than it is. I don’t really suspect any great conspiracy, I merely meant to highlight western selectivity in what it portrays as a flowering-of-democracy event and what it portrays as an unfair uprising against a benevolent government, irrespective of their being essentially the same thing with different players.

      • Special_sauce says:

        Nonsense. The police are being restrained, from what I can see. No gas. No buckshot. No capascacin spray. No electric shock. No dogs. No armored cars. No high pressure water. Basically mano a mano with the protesters. Wailing on ’em with their batons. I’m sure it hurts, and will probably break the skin of unprotected parietal bones. But that’s what riot police do.

        And now we see the usual suspects piling on the Brutal Spanish Police. I smell a rat.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “And now we see the usual suspects piling on the Brutal Spanish Police. I smell a rat.”

          ^Spanish national police kicking the crap out of Catalan firefighters.

          ^Spanish national police kicking the crap from participants of referendum.

          Also, according to Financial Times and other sources – there are already 760 wounded.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            They are simply being chastised for not publicly expressing their overwhelming joy at their having been so fortunate to have been born in a free, open and democratic society in which freedom of expression and dissent is tolerated by all.

  27. saskydisc says:

    Venezuela considering shipping oil to Syria for refining in response to US sanctions.

    The dismissiveness of the people quoted in the article is belied by their ranks.

    • Special_sauce says:

      That’s what Canada should do with its own oil. Refine it on site(or nearby). Ship to customers over the pole.

      • saskydisc says:

        Some of it is thus refined, e.g. in Fort McMurray, Lloydminster and Regina. Unless the US ceases to be a major supplier of goods to Canada, balance of payments suggests trade with the US, and unless Canada agrees to more dirty refining, much of it will continue to be refined in cancer alley.

    • Patient Observer says:

      One economic sanctions expert who is familiar with the U.S. thinking said it wouldn’t be difficult to write a new executive order or amend the current executive order to block the sale of any products produced out of the refinery, similar to the sanctions imposed against Iran.

      “We know how this playbook works,” said a sanctions expert familiar with the deliberations inside the Trump administration. “It’s not something we haven’t tried before.”

      Under such sanctions, those behind the refinery or its products could be prohibited from accessing the U.S. financial system or markets. They could also be subject to “secondary sanctions” that prohibit foreign companies from working with the refinery or risk being blocked from U.S. markets.

      That is similar to the US idiocy to fine German companies that engage in fully legal business dealings with Russia. Who cares about international law? The US is no longer on a slippery slope toward international chaos, it is in free-fall.

      Iran and China, as part of a larger strategy, should work with Venezuela to over come efforts to sabotage a sovereign nation.

      • saskydisc says:

        I am not sure that it is idiocy as much as desperation. They must surely recognize that they are going down the drain. The question is how many countries they can drag down with them. The problem with China is that they are often willing to wait for the US to finish a coup before moving in. The desperation to which our host has referred before is getting dangerous, and China will need to face some risks sooner rather than later.

  28. saskydisc says:

    One of my comments did not go through. Please check the spam file.

  29. Patient Observer says:

    Some may view this Saker post as controversial:


    The article seems well documented and attempts to answer this question:

    …the next thing we can ask ourselves is what is it in Jews which causes judeophobia.

    It’s a fair and reasonable question.

  30. Super Matt says:

    Dear Mark,

    “I note from a recent comment ‘Matt’ left – in rebuttal to a suggestion by a commenter that his far-too-frequent comments are cluttering up the blog and ruining it for reader -, that one of his opponents’ comments are far more frequent than his own. Let’s just put paid to that erroneous statement right now; that’s what the stats page is for.”

    OK, fair enough, I’ve commented the most. I was wrong there.
    “although he has no problem citing blog news or fringe authors as a reference to back up his credo”

    I’ve cited Joshua Stanton, NKNews, DailyNK, etc regarding North Korea. I don’t recall citing “fringe” authors to backup my claims, mainly because their arguments stand on their own. These “fringe” authors tend to be academics, like professors. Compare that to the truly fringe “geopolitical analysts”, as RT calls them, used by the latter.

    “he casually dismisses any such references used by opponents as ‘well-known sources of disinformation”.

    But many sources used are spreading disinformation. This is fact. And you act as if I’ve used this defence many times, even though I’ve used it sparingly. I only recall referring to Sputnik and maybe 1 or two other sources with that phrase.

    “If you cite an above-reproach reference by a usually reliable source, he will claim that he wasn’t really talking about that at all, accuse you of ‘twisting his words’, and send you off on another round of chasing your own tail.”

    This is my biggest problem with many commenters here. They do indeed twist my words and put words into my mouth, or they exaggerate what I say to a caricature.

    “One of his favourite hobby-horses is RT, which he claims is an all-propaganda-all-the-time network controlled directly and exclusively by the Kremlin. But all to no avail, I’m afraid – it is steadily declining in viewership, and the only people who really watch it are Putin and his dog. That’s exaggerating, of course, but the picture he paints is of a dictators-R-us paean to state suppression of alternative thought.”

    It is simply a fact that RT exaggerates its viewership. Most of its YouTube views have nothing to do with politics, geopolitics, etc. This is admitted by an employee of the now-defunct RIA Novosti, who leaked certain documents:

    thedailybeast. com/putins-propaganda-tv-lies-about-its-popularity

    Basically, RT needs its view counts to be as high as possible, in order to prove to the Kremlin that their network is superior than other state-funded networks and therefore, should be given priority in funding. That’s why you see outlets like Sputnik put random news stories on their front page, about natural disasters. Those are most likely to go viral.

    “And that’s just an example. Other favourites are the contention – straight-faced, I must assume – that benevolent America only wants to free the hapless North Korean people from slavery. Have we ever heard that rationale before from Washington’s distribution networks? We need to do regime change to free the enslaved people from the grip of an awful dictator? We sure have – in Libya.”

    You can not prove that the U.S. wants to deliberately destabilize the Korean peninsula because of its ill-fated intervention in Libya. The two scenarios are completely different, with the U.S.-Korea issue having started decades ago. When did the U.S. decide to purposely destabilize the Korean peninsula? So far, SK is far more stable than NK, under American patronage. The ascribing of sinister motives to the U.S. is common these days. It doesn’t require much proof to backup, because it’s kind of abstract. And charges can be levelled merely with some deductive reasoning, as you’ve done.

    “Ditto his descriptions of the ‘internet research center’ on Savushkina Street, … I did a post on this back in the spring of 2015, and the fingering of this building as the cave of an army of paid trolls originated in a story by Novaya Gazeta, the spunky little Russian newspaper that always tells the truth even when nobody in Russia tells the truth because honest journalists have all been murdered or imprisoned….Apparently the Russian state does not rate the importance of its troll army highly enough to buy it modern flatscreen computers, which abound in Russia just as they do everywhere else.”

    It’s a nice meme you have running, linking this to Novaya Gazeta and then mocking it. To this day, you have the audacity to imply that the story is false. The 2013 Novaya Gazeta article (globalvoices .org/2013/06/21/the-kremlins-kitchen-serves-up-russias-free-press/) was corroborated by one of Russia’s most respected media outlets, RBC:

    rbc. ru/magazine/2017/04/58d106b09a794710fa8934ac?from=subject

    “At least one popular pro-Trump, anti-Clinton Facebook group called Secured Borders, says RBC, is managed from the St. Petersburg troll factory. RBC claims it obtained a screenshot of the group’s advertisement statistics (available only to a Facebook group’s administrator) from someone who claims to be its owner, which confirmed that the group is managed from St. Petersburg. Secured Borders boasts 140 thousand subscribers, and just one of its posts published at the height of the election campaign and heavily advertised on Facebook, reached 4 million people on Facebook, was “liked” more than 300 thousand times and shared more than 80 thousand times. RBC also reported that a right-wing Twitter account called Tea Party News, which is followed by 22 thousand other accounts, is also run from the St. Petersburg hub. All in all, RBC’s sources say that at the zenith of the U.S. election campaign, the troll factory’s accounts across different social media platforms would churn out as many as 50 million posts a month, with anti-Clinton messages getting the most attention.”

    I’ve posted the leaked documents from the factory already, that came out in Summer of 2014. Read this:

    globalvoices. org/2015/03/14/russia-kremlin-troll-army-examples/

    http://www.buzzfeed .com/maxseddon/documents-show-how-russias-troll-army-hit-america?utm_term=.oorvlWlpm#.pgqbl8l5D

    globalvoices .org/2014/11/19/fake-ukrainian-news-websites-run-by-russian-troll-army-offshoots/

    As for the CRT screens, the photo only shows one room. My school still has some computers with CRT screens. It’s entirely possible there’s a mix of LCD and CRT monitors in the building. That is hardly reason to not believe this story If that’s the best rebuttal you’ve got, then you know it’s a pathetic one.

    “Even if it were true that the Kremlin is running a state-sponsored campaign to discredit western philosophy, what of it? It could hardly prevail against the counter-operation to spread American propaganda western values manned by the US military, could it?”

    It has nothing to do with “discredit[ing] western philosophy”. It’s a disinformation campaign. And I already addressed that link, which you’ve previously linked. This is an open admission, not a secret program. It’s not done on Western media, no English language, and is focused on fighting Jihadist propaganda in various languages. It’s not valid to compare this to a disinformation campaign by Russia.

    “And what is left to say about the ridiculous tale, staunchly adhered to by US Democrats and their fans everywhere, that Russia used Wikileaks to hack the American election?”

    I’ve stated that I don’t believe in the RussiaGate hoax, many times, both here and Reddit.

    “Well, just as an aside, it reminds me of another exchange with ‘Matt’, in which I inquired why he would take the alleged word of ‘American intelligence professionals’ when the veteran intelligence professionals who probably taught them everything they know say it is a crock”

    I recall this too and how ironic that you misrepresent it. That comment of mine, regarding intelligence agencies, was simply stating that the rank-and-file agents at the CIA and DIA are honest and not liars at all. That comment also stated that the main liars were the politicians and politically-appointees. That comment gave several examples, like of CIA analysts disagreeing with the WMD claims or concluding that certain evidence was falsified, like the DIA (military intelligence) trying to make peace with the Libyan leadership to go around HRC and the CIA, since they were funding Jihadists in Libya, like of the DIA’s warning of a “Salafist-principlaity” being birthed in Syraq. DIA agents even spoke to reports by phone, giving highly-classified audio recordings of the DIA speaking with Ghaddafi’s advisors:

    washingtontimes. com/listen-tapes-libya-clinton/

    “and the data transfer rate precludes it having been a hack via the internet. He somewhat primly replied that he would trust the word of current intelligence professionals, thank you very much. No doubts entertained here.”

    I also addressed this specific claim. Read this editor’s note from the section titled “Time Gaps and Throughput”:

    thenation. com/article/a-leak-or-a-hack-a-forum-on-the-vips-memo/

    “For some, he appeals to their confidence that they know the subject inside out, then dances away with mockery that you don’t know what you’re talking about”

    The arrogance of this is quite stunning. Most people here don’t know the subjects of the Venezuelan economy, NK, etc, “inside out”. Your attempt to elevate them as some sort of superior beings challenged by a nobody is dishonest.

    “In other cases he dangles enticing subjects by taking a position he knows is unsupportable and easily refuted – he can always modify his position later, and will – the important thing is to get you into the conversation.”

    This is another meme you have going about me, that I change my position or modify it. This has simply never happened, apart from once or twice when I had to clarify a comment I made earlier. I have repeatedly asked for examples of this when you have made this claim before. And nobody has been able to supply even one piece of evidence.

    My views are not insane at all and are all reasonable, including that the Venezuelan economy is not doing badly because of ‘U.S. sabotage”, that the NK leadership’s primary goal is to stay in power, hence the WMDs and dictatorship, and that there is a disinformation campaign launched by the Kremlin, as evident from the overwhelming evidence that Mark chooses to ignore by mocking NZ, even though documents from the factory were leaked, former trolls interviewed, and a well-respected media outlet, RBC, further exposing the financing of the troll factory, among other pieces of evidence.

    Mark’s entire post is one giant caricature that he has reduced me to, which he then mocks and addresses. Multiple “memes” about me “modifying” my positions are used to try and discredit me, along with casting me as some neocon-loving person who “thinks America can only do good” and that the latter is “exceptional”. This is completely false and I have criticized U.S. foreign policy many times.

    But it’s easier to mischaracterize someone’s views, label them a “troll”, and then address caricatures you’ve created. I suppose people just don’t like it when their views are challenged, especially in a clear manner. They want to believe the U.S. is responsible for the collapse of the Venezuelan economy, that Maduro is a good, democracy-loving guy simply fighting the “imperialist Gringos”; that the NK leadership cares about its people and is forced to hold down a dictatorship and develop WMDs because the U.S. wants to “genocide” their population as it did in the Korean war; that Russia could not launch a disinformation campaign with fake news, psychological warfare, and paid trolls; etc.

    If you think labelling me a “troll” and pretending that I “modify” my views because I like “provoking” people is enough to delude yourselves to believe what you think and ignore reality, then be my guests.

  31. Patient Observer says:

    And the situation worsens in Puerto Rico:


    Fifty-five percent of the island’s residents were reported as not having access to drinking water as of Saturday, up from 44% reported on Wednesday, according to figures from the U.S. Defense Department. Meanwhile, 95 percent of people were without electrical power as of Saturday, the DOD reported.

    95% with out electrical power after more than week is a stunning number. Other stories indicated that large section of Puerto Rico will be without electrical utility service for up to six months.

    Other stories indicate that Cuba, struck with about the same storm intensity as Puerto Rico, has largely establish all basic services and reconstruction is underway. Cuba has an advantage in that large areas were not severely affected thus could serve as staging areas for relief efforts. Still, it says something about the priorities of the governments in question.

    • Jen says:

      I read that Cuba even offered medical help and a team of electrical workers to help restore the electricity network in Puerto Rico but the US government knocked back the assistance.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Yes, I read the same.

      • marknesop says:

        That’s not the first time; Cuba offered a mobile medical team in the wake of Katrina in New Orleans, and the USA refused it. Not many people realize the advanced state of Cuban medical-care knowledge and capability. But it was and is typical of the US government that politics was more important, and denying the Cubans a propaganda opportunity was more important than any services they might be able to render.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          And United States’ Enemy №1 did this in 2012:

          Russian tanker on mercy mission to ice-bound Alaskan town
          Published time: 17 Jan, 2012 11:23

          The Russian tanker Renda is pumping fuel to the shortage-hit town of Nome in Alaska. Without the emergency delivery across the ice-clad Sea of Barents, its 3,500 residents could face outages before the end of the long polar winter.

          • marknesop says:

            Ah, but see! The Russians could not resist using it as propaganda, to make themselves look good.

            I’ve been to Dutch Harbor, and a desolate place it was indeed. Beautiful, though, in a desolate sort of way. It has some Russian roots, as well. When I was there in 2008, you could buy ready-made oladi batter kits in the supermarket.

            The place has an interesting history. And the eagles are everywhere. As I believe I mentioned long ago, a shipmate named Howie Manderson went for a fitness run along the cliffs the first day we were alongside. We wore a brown toque (I think it was late May, but it was still quite cold), and the bobbing motion of it as he ran must have looked, from above, like a rabbit. An eagle cruised in behind him at shoulder height and snatched it off his head, leaving him with very messy talon gouges on the back and front of his head; the one on his forehead probably left a permanent scar. He looked a mess on his return; as you know, scalp wounds bleed profusely, and he was shaven-headed and so had no hair. He was known forever after as Howie “the Eagle” Manderson.

  32. Moscow Exile says:

    Nah, I only watched Rugby League and cricket — on Sky-TV, I think: my brother-in-law was lord by divine right of channel selection. The rest of the time he watched god-awful make-loadsamoney shows, in which folk were observed in property development and making a mint (usually) or buying junk and selling it off as “antiques” and always lying, cheating, taking others for a ride and, therefore, making loads of lolly.

    Such venality made me yearn for my return to my Russian country estate.

    Never heard of “The Club”. I’ll check it out.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      That clip goes back a while. What must have inspired it was a story in some British rag (probably “The Daily Mail”) that I recall about a plasterer who claimed he was earning £1,000 a week.

      I mean — a plasterer, FFS!

      Not a broker or a banker, mind you, but a bloody prole!

    • Moscow Exile says:


      The above should have appeared below Cortes’ question: “Did you manage to watch ‘The Club’ yet?” which appeared below the rugby thread above.

  33. Patient Observer says:

    Unfortunately, it has happened again:


    Over 50 killed by a lone gunman shooting into a crowded music festival from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel. The gunman was a local and the shooting is not believed to be related to terrorism (at least political/religious type).

  34. Patient Observer says:

    Regarding an earlier discussion that PTSD has a higher rate of occurrence in vets fighting in a war that they do not believe is worth fighting and/or ordered to commit war crimes:

    according to Kiev’s own official statistics, “nine out of ten participants of the fighting in the Donbass have medical and social problems, while a third are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

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