Ukraine on the Proud Highway: Skidding in Broadside.

Uncle Volodya says, “Don’t waste time beating on a wall, hoping it will turn into a door.”

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
– Hunter S. Thompson, “The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967”

Whew! It’s been a hell of a ride, hasn’t it, Ukraine? But all roads end somewhere, just as this one must. Despite having the IMF and a host of other western institutions as your pit crew, spraying Febreze into the air to cover the smell of sweat, burning rubber and decomposition, the long, long road (from which there is no return) is drawing to its end. He ain’t heavy, he’s my client state.

Let’s have a look at the current freeze-frame from Trading Economics. Sourced from the World Bank and other global financial and analytic institutions, Trading Economics provides solid benchmark statistical data. In the case of Ukraine, nearly all the data comes from the state statistical service – so this is data Ukraine will admit to.

GDP growth rate – somewhat of a misnomer, it currently sits at 0.6%, a leap upward from the previous quarter’s dismal  -.03. That’s good news, surely? Not necessarily: more about that in a bit. Unemployment rate; 9.1%, down slightly from the previous 10.1%. To put that in perspective, it’s nearly double that of Russia, which is the target of international sanctions that restrict its ability to borrow, rather than the west’s pillow-boy, being coddled with low-interest loans and outright financial gifts. Inflation rate, 16.2%, up a bit from the previous 15.9%. Interest rate, unchanged at 12.5%. Balance of trade, a gulp-inducing -$827 million, another couple of hundred million further from break-even than last quarter’s -$552 million USD. And government debt to GDP ratio, 79%; a full 9% worse than last quarter’s 70%.

This is a snapshot of a country in serious trouble. But how can that be, you say, or you should. Ukraine’s western backers are doing everything they can short of just flying in planeloads of money and throwing it out the windows.

The short answer is that the west has failed in its project to turn Ukraine into the ever-popular imaginary icon of a prosperous western-oriented market democracy. But the magnitude and depth of that failure have yet to be plumbed. And let’s understand each other here: I’d love to cheer for the west, I really would. I live here, I like it here, and generally I am fond of its people, its culture and its values. I have a real problem with some of its governments, but that’s my privilege as a resident of a free society.

But imagine for a second that the west is a child, and you are its parent. When it does something bad, do you reward it? Hell, no. When it does something bad which hurts other people, should the punishment be lighter, tougher, or should there be none? Setting social and even international boundaries for your policies is broadly little different from parenting. If you reward bad behavior, it is the same as encouraging it.

Western agencies and special interests, proudly led by the US State Department, overthrew the elected government of Ukraine and put in place a hand-picked crowd of revolutionaries and oligarchs. This is not even a matter for debate; the Maidan was lousy with State Department officials, American senators, European diplomats and fixers, and the former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State and the former United States Ambassador to Ukraine were caught red-handed, on the telephone, planning the new government which would result while Yanukovych was still nominally President. The western democracies put the revolutionary government in place, interfered constantly in the subsequent election with their relentless promotion of Poroshenko (considering the second-largest Ukrainian diaspora is in Canada), encouraged the martial punishment of eastern Ukraine in what Kiev likes to call the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) (because using the Ukrainian military against Ukrainian citizens is forbidden by the country’s constitution) and encouraged Kiev in every one of its anti-Russian activities in a clear attempt to stoke enmity between the two. The western democracies continue to prop up the demonstrably-unpopular Poroshenko government – although they were quick to help overthrow Yanukovych, who was more popular before the coup that drove him from the country than Poroshenko was only a year after taking office. He’s even less popular now. Last, but far from least, two of the western democracies – Canada and the United States – joined non-entity Palau and Corruption-capital Ukraine in voting against the Russian-sponsored Resolution on the Condemnation of Glorification of Nazism. Please note that only one of those countries wields a UN veto, which should not detract from the shame of the others. I doubt anyone will forget it.

The western democracies – I’d like to call them something else, but just ‘the west’ makes me sound too commie-lover – pressured their own institutions to pervert and subordinate their own good-governance rules to politics, in order to allow Ukraine to continue receiving money although the former rules prohibited it. And now, at last, we are reaping the wages of stupidity and partisanship. Are these behaviors appropriate to reward, or punishment? You tell me, Dad and Mom.

Anyway, back to economics for a moment. Ukraine’s GDP showed a little bit of growth, which we speculated might be encouraging. Is it? Not really.

When the bottom fell out of the Ukrainian hryvnia, Ukrainians who still had a bit of money were desperate to protect the value of the currency they held. Please note that the site referenced tries to link the crash of the hryvnia to Yanukovych’s decision to turn away from the European Union Association Agreement. In fact, you can match it almost to the minute to the explosion of violence on the Maidan.

The tendency at the time was to purchase foreign currency as a hedge, often American dollars. But that has changed – changed in a way which presents a false indicator of Ukrainian fiscal stability.

What is driving the Ukrainian GDP growth is a boom in construction. In a country where the standard of living is steadily declining. If those two statements seem like they shouldn’t go together, it’s because they don’t.  Driven off of their foreign-currency position by the failure of the hryvnia to come back, and to rise in value against the American dollar, coupled with the latter currency’s weakness, Ukrainians are plowing their savings into housing as an investment, hoping to protect what remains of their cracked nest eggs.

Meanwhile, the biggest hard-currency contribution to the Ukrainian economy, aside from Russian investment in Ukraine (the biggest of the country’s investors by quite a stretch), is remuneration by the Ukrainians who have gone abroad to work. Where have most of them gone? Well, what language do most of them speak? That’s right – Russian. The great majority of those who fled the country went to ‘the aggressor’, Russia, from whence they now send home nearly a quarter of the Ukrainian state budget, and 7% of GDP. How long before it sinks in among the western meddlers that their project to split Ukraine away from Russia has instead left Russia with a turn-key implosion option that it can exercise, remotely, any time it likes? Can there be any doubt that only pity stays its hand? It certainly is not fear of the west, whose sanctions are the best thing to happen to Russia in decades.

If it was me who brought about this epic cock-up, this cluster-fuck for the Guinness records…I’d be pretty ashamed of myself. But it wasn’t me. In fact, I think you will find I argued against just about every foolish, wrong-headed and mean-spirited course the western democracies have taken.

But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of pity at their disastrous consequences.

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2,032 Responses to Ukraine on the Proud Highway: Skidding in Broadside.

  1. ErGalimba says:

    I didn’t have time post this before, but about a month ago I found some ridiculous pieces in the Italian press about Zapad. (To be fair the ‘Corriere della Sera’ had a fairly balanced piece about how NATO was exaggerating). One of the best, from ‘Il Libero Quoditidiano’ (used to be OK nowadays too tabloidy), is linked below. Excerpts start from the title “Operzione Zapad, Putin porta la guerra in Europa / Putin brings war to Europe / Putin bringt Krieg zu Europa” and includes such wonders as “”Il Terrore si chiama Zapad / The name of the terror is Zapad / Die Furcht heisst Zapad” as well as “Negli ultimi mesi le provocazioni russe sono state sempre più insistenti con … uso spregiudicato della propaganda politica … che il porto sull’Atlantico di Klaipeda sia stato un regalo di Stalin alla Lituania / Russian provocations in the last months have been ever more intense with … the reckless employment of political propaganda … that the Atlantic port of Klaipeda was a gift to Lithuania from Stalin.” and “un cordone impenetrabile di artiglieria, uomini e mezzi corazzati / an impenetrable cordon of men, artillery and armour” and finally “può succedere qualsiasi cosa … Basta un errore, è sufficiente che un tank (stupid Englishism carro armato! ) superi un confine perché la situazione precipiti cit. / anything may happen. … A mistake is all it takes … all that’s necessary for the situation to escalate is for a tank to cross the border”. This level of breathlessness ought to win some sort of acclaim! (Even if it is from an italian Daily Mail) It certainly lodged in my brain 🙂

    http://www.liberoquotidiano.it/news/esteri/13247132/russia-operazione-zapad-vento-guerra-lituania-maxi-esercitazione-militare-annessione-repubbliche-baltiche-.html

    • Moscow Exile says:

      But the Deutschlandlied says:

      Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
      Von der Etsch bis an den Belt,
      Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
      Über alles in der Welt!

      die Memel — the Nemen River

      Memel —Klaipeda

      Stalin took Memel and Memelland off Fritz!

      And die Etsch is the Adige in Italy, which river rises in the South Tyrol.

  2. Northern Star says:

    Now almost daily maniacs run amok …but all TPTB MSM media/Congressional lackeys do is babble horseshit about how the Russians cost Killary the election…

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/10/31/immi-o31.html

    https://www.yahoo.com/gma/york-city-officers-responding-reports-shots-fired-lower-194603578–abc-news-topstories.html

  3. Northern Star says:

    The Old Gray bitch talks out of both sides of her ultimately warmonger trap

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/10/24/nyti-o24.html

    But it’s the same song sung by this propaganda douche whore:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_war
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four#The_War

  4. Northern Star says:

    “Catalonia’s deposed president, Carles Puigdemont, has promised to respect the results of December’s snap regional elections and said he would leave Belgium and return home immediately if a fair judicial process were guaranteed in Spain.

    Puigdemont, who could face charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds over his administration’s push for independence, travelled to Brussels hours before Spain’s attorney general announced the possible charges on Monday.

    In a possible sign that Madrid has gained the upper hand in the dispute, he told a packed press conference in the Belgian capital that he would abide by the results of the snap regional elections on 21 December, called by the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.

    Puigdemont said he accepted the challenge of the elections “with all our strength”, dispelling fears that secessionists might boycott the ballot in the hope of denying it legitimacy. Spain wants Catalonia “to abandon our political project, and they won’t achieve it”, he said.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/31/catalonia-ex-president-puigdemont-belgium-asylum-independence

    “if a fair judicial process were guaranteed in Spain.”

    Good luck with that..moron

    • ucgsblog says:

      The Guardian’s analysts aren’t very good. Polls have Puigdemont winning the snap elections 60% to 40%. Knowing that, reread this:

      “In a possible sign that Madrid has gained the upper hand in the dispute, he told a packed press conference in the Belgian capital that he would abide by the results of the snap regional elections on 21 December, called by the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.”

      I’ll give the Guardian one thing: they entertain. Here’s the polling for anyone interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalan_regional_election,_2017

      Puigdemont’s Party: 61 seats
      CUP (also pro-independence) 8 seats
      Seats needed: 68; whoops
      CatComu: Pro-Indy Referendum: 13 seats
      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that 83 is more than 68;
      The trio of pro-autonomy parties: 53 seats

      Unless Rajoy can get one of the pro-Referendum Parties to defect, he’s fucked. As to why he probably won’t be able to do that, well:

      [img]https://www.thesun.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/nintchdbpict000357369233.jpg?strip=all&w=960[/img]

      Whoops. But remember guys, Puigdemont accepted the election results that he’s very likely to win is him caving to Rajoy according to the Guardian. He’s like totes caving.

      • marknesop says:

        Western reporting has defaulted to telling whoever is paying for their reporting exactly what they want to hear, which – understandably – results in aghast amazement when that reality does not materialize. Remember Mitt Romney’s dismay when he flopped in the 2012 election? All his campaign’s numbers said he was going to win, and any other result ‘just wasn’t logical’. Similarly, all that ‘Russia is safely isolated’ bullshit is preparing Americans for an easy victory, when nothing like that is going to happen.

        The Spanish autonomy movement is not going to have an easy time of it, but Europe is getting hosed with this quacking analysis whereby the danger is past and the troublemakers have fled. If Rajoy is as stupid as the rest of them, the surprises are far from over.

  5. saskydisc says:

    US begins to sanction Chinese company over trade with Iran and North Korea. Unstated is what the company’s annual trade with the US is. Note also that the author is a neo-con (what with the neo-con buy-out of Asia times), whose main publishing grounds is the Moonie press (Washington Times).

    Todd Crowell, of predicted Japan/China war fame, is of the opinion that Japan will oppose new sanctions on Iran.

    Bertil LitNet, who apparently has covered Myanmar for some time (and is known for insisting that Myanmar had close ties to China and North Korea, yet seems to be completely ignorant of Myanmar’s long military ties to Singapore) says that the Rohingya are pawns in a geopolitical game. While the description has some basis in reality, his thinking is very neo-con. He seems to have been a long term Aung Suu Kyi groupie.

    Asia times does have a recent article on the jihadis in Myanmar. The leadership is Pakistani Rohingya (hence likely having Afghan experience), based in Saudi. The main tactic for most recruits is to spy on pro-government Muslims, and leave killing to the fanatics. This allows the non-fanatical members to become fanatics over time, while alienating pro-government Muslims when revenge attacks are perpetrated in response to Jihadists—several pro-government Muslims also fled.

  6. Evgeny says:

    Regarding the recent terror attack, to any Russian or Russia observer it’s painfully clear that targeting of Central Asians by Saudi preachers of radical branches of Islam is a very old story.

    A case in point. In early fall or late summer of 1998, future foreign minister of independent Chechnya — Ilyas Akhmadov — visited Shamil Basayev in one of Khattab’s training camps that was located in Serzhen Yurt. He was surprised to find out the training camp was guarded by Central Asians:

    It was surreal for me to return to this place (where I had fought for several months) and find a checkpoint manned by an Arab and three Central Asians. I gathered that the Central Asians were of different nationalities because they spoke to each other in Russian instead of their native languages. I wore my fatigues and carried my wartime identification as Shamil’s aide. I gave my identification card to the Arab, who called Khattab on the radio and received h is approval. I then was permitted to drive up to the main gate, which had a second checkpoint and was manned by ten more Central Asians. I had never seen Central Asians in uniform in Chechnya. In a political sense, among Chechens, Shamil’s career had ended, but here he was with people who were to us nobodies—they were foreign vagabonds and misfits, whom many wanted to expel from Chechnya. In a social sense the men now surrounding Shamil not only could not make a claim to political leadership in Chechnya, but could not even marry into a reputable Chechen family.

    When I saw Shamil, the first thing I asked was, “Who are the Central Asians?”

    “Don’t worry, they’re good guys,” he responded.

    (c) p. 141, “The Chechen Struggle. Independence Won and Lost” by I. Akhmadov and M. Lanskoy (2010)

  7. rkka says:

    Trolls don’t discuss things in good faith. They live only to denigrate, and they distort at best, lie at worst.

  8. Northern Star says:

    “Over the course of four hours, senators argued that “foreign infiltration” is the root of social opposition within the United States, in order to justify the censorship of oppositional viewpoints.”
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/01/goog-n01.html

    In other words these zipperhead dumbfucks think that all Americans are subject to be manipulated and programmed by TPTB.

    Throughout the entirety of the ‘Cold war’ (1945-1990), no one claimed that the profound societal upheavals in the wake of the race based Civil Rights followed by the Women’s Rights movements were a result of “foreign infiltration”.

  9. Warren says:

    BBC Newsnight
    Published on 31 Oct 2017
    SUBSCRIBE 159K
    Following concerns over ‘Russian meddling’ in the 2016 US election through the use of social media platforms, John Sweeney looks at the role of Facebook and other tech firms as a means of influencing politics.

    Newsnight is the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs TV programme – with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.

  10. Warren says:

    TheRealNews
    Published on 31 Oct 2017
    SUBSCRIBE 201K
    Russiagate is a purported attempt to uncover the alleged subversion of U.S. democracy, but it’s creating dangers of its own, says former FBI Special Agent Colleen Rowley

  11. Moscow Exile says:

    В Ростове матери массово едут опознавать погибших сыновей на Донбассе
    В Ростове-на-Дону на базе одной из местных воинских частей открылся центр по опознанию трупов российских солдат, погибших в Украине.

    In Rostov, mothers journey en-masse so as to identify their dead sons in the Donbass
    In Rostov-on-Don, at the base of one of the local military units, there has been opened a centre for the identification of the corpses of Russian soldiers who have died in the Ukraine.

    In a refrigerator right now there are hundreds of unidentified bodies. Some of them are dressed in the uniform of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, others in the uniform of militiamen. According to some sources, among the latter are many Russian military specialists who had earlier been abandoned on the territory of Lugansk and Donetsk regions. Freejournal.biz reports.
    Apparently, this is a huge morgue in the so-called “Voennede” — a neighbourhood to the northwest Rostov built specifically for the military. A huge storage facility appeared here during the “First Chechen War” and can accommodate up to several thousand dead bodies.

    Here is also a forensic centre which specializes in the identification of victims by DNA investigation. After the signing by the representatives of Boris Yeltsin of the so-called Hasaevert agreements, the storage facility and the identification centre were mothballed. But with the beginning of the undeclared aggression against the Ukraine, the services of this sorrowful establishment were required by Russia again. Here is a video of the cemetery at the Kapitalaya coal mine in Donetsk (see: http://www.vinigret.net/?p=2271)

    Of course, the work of the identification centre at “Voennede” is strictly classified. Journalists and representatives of the public are not allowed onto its territory. Passes are issued only to close relatives of the deceased, who come for identifying the dead. From all of them, a non-disclosure subscription is taken.

    Meanwhile, not all the bodies of the dead Russian army servicemen reach Rostov-on-Don. As the Russian politician and expert and founder of the group “Georgia 200 from the Ukraine to Russia” Elena Vasilieva reported on her Facebook page, after the Ukraine Ministry of Defence had officially announced the figure of 2,000 dead soldiers, the Russian army suffered new losses.

    “It is easy to calculate that even after those 2000 deaths, 300 more soldiers were killed in the village of Pobeda”, writes Elena Vasilieva. “Also 47 Russian servicemen, having been captured by the Ukrainian military, walked along a “green corridor” from Ilovaysk and, together with ukrainians, were fired upon by their own side. Another 120 soldiers from a Russian army column were killed in the town of Snezhnoe. Of the 80 Pskov paratroopers sent to the Ukraine, only 10 have remained alive: 70 died. 230 Russian soldiers were killed during the shelling of a column on the march. A battalion of 60 Russian artillerymen were totally cut to pieces by the volunteer battalion “Caucasus”. 59 bodies of Russian servicemen were buried in a common grave: near Novoazovsky, another 40: they were thrown into a coal mine. Near Krasnokamensk, also in a mineshaft, nearly 600 dead bodies were hidden….”

    And on and on it goes, listing off frightful Moskali figures.

    Shocking, innit?

    But hush! What is this I see, after having done a Google image search?

    EU court faults Russia for ‘serious failings’ in a 2004 siege that killed 186 schoolchildren


    Bodies of schoolchildren killed in a school seizure in Beslan, North Ossetia, September 3, 2004.(AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, File)

    Those are dead kids in the body bags.

    • marknesop says:

      Shameless. You can see by the size difference between the adult medical technicians and the visible bodies that those must have been pretty little Russian soldiers.

      Why would Russia have to keep such a deep, dark secret of participation by its military, if it was ongoing? It’s a regional power with its own national-security concerns, while Kiev is openly recruiting mercenaries from all over the world to help it overpower the Donbas.

      A little like the BBC’s water-carrying for the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, in which BBC Ukraine uncritically passes along Kiev’s historical whitewashing. that appeared at, of all places, Newsweek.

    • ucgsblog says:

      If this was in the US, my guess, (and I’m just guessing here,) is that the families of the kids would be suing the “journalist” who published this crap for all of his money. But it’s Russia, so that crap’s probably going to fly. Also, isn’t doing a Google Image search like Journalism 101?

    • Patient Observer says:

      The fact that it is a photo of dead Russians is sufficient. The West’s thought leaders can’t get enough; provides inner satisfaction and validation of the superiority, wonderfulness and exceptionalism. Not sarcasm.

      • marknesop says:

        That may be, but it’s just as likely to be some lazy fucker wanting to get paid for churning out the result his employers asked for. And that employer, in turn, knows what his audience wants to see. There’s the added bonus in there of outraging Russians by parading and misrepresenting photos of their dead children. Everone’s a winnah!!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Most of the victims, though Russian citizens, were not ethnic Russian, Beslan being situated in the Autonomous Republic of North Ossetia.

        The Russians were to blame, of course…..

        Yada, yada, yada ….

    • Fern says:

      That’s just unbelievable – beyond shameless. What IS wrong with these people???

    • Cortes says:

      Horrible.

  12. Warren says:

    Al Jazeera English
    Published on 1 Nov 2017
    SUBSCRIBE 1.6M
    The International Monetary Fund has some advice for countries in the Gulf: Diversify, and diversify fast. The oil, that’s made many Gulf countries extremely wealthy, is not going to last forever. And the IMF’s 2017 report is predicting the worst growth rate for the region since the global financial collapse several years ago.

    Economies in the region have been suffering since oil prices fell dramatically in 2014. Attempts to curb oil production have only slightly raised revenue. And the Gulf Cooperation Council diplomatic crisis that began in June has only made the situation worse.

    The IMF says Qatar and its blockading neighbours could have trouble finding investors if the crisis continues.

    So what are the alternatives?

    Presenter: Jane Dutton

    Guests:

    Jane Kinninmont, Deputy Head and Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House

    Cornelia Meyer, oil-and-gas specialist

    Khaled Al Khater, Specialist in Monetary Policy and Political Economy

  13. Warren says:

    Sky News
    Published on 1 Nov 2017
    SUBSCRIBE 661K
    A report from the National Audit Office has found that the Royal Navy is being forced to ‘cannibalise’ its own ships, submarines and helicopters for spare parts.

    Lord West is a former First Sea Lord. He tells Sky News that the practice shows the Royal Navy is being starved by funding cuts.

  14. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    Americans need punitive psychiatry – lock them people up and electroshock them until they turn sane or their eyes burst.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      American twitter-sphere bravely broke yet another low bottom, and reached the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior level of the terrorist attacks investigation (hint: when in doubt – blame Russia for everything):

      Bismillāhi rraḥmāni rraḥīmi –“Safullo” is now a “Russian” name, and Uzbekistan (probably) decided to return toRussia! I mean, yeah, sure was one internationally famous Russia from Uzbekistan that they might have head of – Boris the Blade aka “Boris the Bullet Dodger”, “very industrious” ex-KGB “sneaky fucking” Russian Cossack anti-Semite from the “Snatch”.

      Also – totally in agreement about the punitive psychiatry. I mean – look at all the loons going postal there.

      • kirill says:

        Ukrainians were Russians too until Uncle Scumbag decided to make an outpost out of Ukraine. Western culture and media are puppets on a string.

  15. Warren says:

    Russia Insider
    Published on 1 Nov 2017
    SUBSCRIBE 224K
    Russian TV: Latin America Opens Its Huge Market to Russian Massive Investments

  16. Special_sauce says:

    US officer doesn’t seem to know what’s going on.
    But check out the escutcheon in the background. What the heck is that thing, like a pointy upside down heart/spade w/horns?!

  17. Pavlo Svolochenko says:

    That does it, I’m claiming n-word privileges

    Niggas

    • marknesop says:

      Mmmm. From the The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. So it must be true. Oddly enough, when the same organization found the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliev, to be the most corrupt person in the entire world, it did not deter European leaders from flocking to kiss his feet as the new messiah whose honest gas exports would save them from the tyrant Putin, who only made second runner-up.

      • Drutten says:

        OCCRP has done a lot of good work, for example regarding Ukrainian corruption, the probable SBU killing of Pavel Sheremet, the mafia state that is Montenegro (with their pro-NATO grand kingpin Đukanović and his protege Marković) et cetera.

        No doubt does Putin have a lot of wealthy friends and acquaintances, and given that it’s Russia it is a no-brainer that some of these things are shady or at least have shady origins. Corruption obviously remains an issue and literally every even moderately bigtime player involved with Russian politics has some history with it (yeah, Navalny et al too, obviously)

        At the same time, there’s no doubt that corruption has indeed rapidly been decreasing, so there’s way more to this story than meets the eye.

        Funny thing, by the way, regarding Timshenko, Törnqvist and their “Gunvor” is that Carl Bildt (yes, that Carl Bildt, Swedish prime minister in the early 1990s and later foreign minister in the mid-2000s) played a key role in that shady company.

        • marknesop says:

          Also at the same time, if you are going to make a case that because Putin knows Arkady Rothenberg, he is as good as ghost director of SMP Bank and Gazprom, you are going to have an uphill battle proving that corruption is not just the way the civilized world does business. All of the western politicians are thick as thieves with rich people and big-time movers and shakers. Let’s recall who showed up in the Panama Papers, and who didn’t, and the American reaction; so what? Even US government agencies, we learn, such as the FDIC use shell companies all the time, to transfer assets to failing banks.

          • Patient Observer says:

            My cousin was in the same college class as the future wife of Henry Kissinger which puts me virtually in the inner circle of the deep state. I rarely mention the obvious significance of this.

            • marknesop says:

              Me, too; I’ve been hiding my light under a bushel. I have occasionally met local radio celebrity Ed Bain at fundraisers and United Way events, and even talked with him for a few minutes once. I guess this means I am a silent director at The Q100.3, a power I intend to exercise. Oh; except that he doesn’t own the radio station. I’m not even sure who does – maybe I have even more powerful connections.

              But why think small? According to Forbes, Putin and the Rotenbergs are related ‘by residence country’. By the same criteria, I am connected to the Prime Minister, and have my hands on the levers of power.

              Of course, I’m being sarcastic. The allusion is that Putin and the Rotenbergs are chummy, and that Putin is influenced in his decision-making by what would be good for the Rotenberg brothers. Is there any evidence of this? Companies owned by the Rotenbergs get lots of state business, but construction happens to be the business they are in. I have never seen any evidence that Putin invented projects which were not needed, just to give his buddies lucrative work, or that Putin is personally involved in contract awarding at all. Bush was chummy as could be with Kenneth ‘Kenny-Boy’ Lay, who was the CEO of Enron during its scandal-plagued end. Bush is not in jail, and there seems to be no popular movement hollering that he was implicated in throwing work to Enron and pissing people’s money away.

          • Matt says:

            The connections are deeper than that. Did you read that New Yorker profile on Rothenberg I earlier linked? It talks more about this.

            • marknesop says:

              Do any of these connections prove that Putin is a shareholder in the banks or assets? Benefits financially in any way from his associations with any of these people? Anything that demonstrates his relationships with any of these people rise to the level of, say, Dick Cheney being part of the vetting process which awarded no-bid contracts to Halliburton, who later were caught again and again fleecing the American taxpayer by charging US rates for fuel used in Iraq and billing for meals for dead soldiers?

        • niku says:

          I suspect that President Putin is not bothered, and in some cases, even approves of such charges.

          Putin is a great ruler, and great rulers know how to integrate (put to use) everything [1]! The anti-corruption campaigners in Russia are playing a useful role, and therefore they enjoy Putin’s protection. (So, Putin allowed Navalny to run as the mayor of Moscow not because he was worried about Navalny gaining sympathy otherwise, but because he partly approves of the anti-corruption crusade. Also note that even Kudrin participated in the 2011 protests, probably with Putin’s blessings!)

          What Putin wants is to “tame” the fervour — as he says, “evolution, not revolution”.

          [1] “great rulers know how to integrate everything” — Vilfredo Pareto.

        • Matt says:

          Ironically, the “Killing Pavel” documentary they made was a partner project with… Bellingcat.

          Point is, these organisations also criticize Ukraine.

      • rkka says:

        So, the guy who compared riot police facing small arms & firebombs to gibbering Wahabi headchoppers is now upset that Russians are now more prosperous and more effectively governed than they were back when Boris the Sot was handing out billion$ in state assets for a kopek on the ruble.

        Your main problem here is that we know you care not how, or even whether, Russians live, only that their government submit to the AFPE&P, which Yeltsin did and Putin does not.

        Your bad faith criticisms of Putin and the Russian government accomplish nothing here.

      • Jen says:

        The members of OCCRP include Novaya Gazeta and The Kyiv Post. OCCRP has worked with Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty in the past and is supported by Open Society Institute & Soros Foundations Network and USAID.

        https://www.occrp.org/en/members

        • Matt says:

          I believe that was a similar criticism made by Putin, when the Panama Papers came out, where he linked the releasing entity with Soros and USAID.

          It does not diminish their reporting, however. It’s useful to know their biases, though.

        • rkka says:

          Yeah, their bias is anti-Russia and pro-just about everyone else.

          Its kinda how the House of Saud gets a pass for funding, supplying, and justifying the wars of gibbering Wahabi lunatics against secular Muslim governments whose Sunnis disagree on Sunni jurisprudence with single-minded Hanbali headchoppers while Iran gets called ‘the world’s greatest supporters of terrorism ZOMG!’

          • Matt says:

            The OCCRP released a massive investigation proving the U.S. was shipping Balkan weapons to Syria. Not just rumours, but they produced actual documents that can be used in court:

            https://www.occrp.org/en/makingakilling/

            There’s a staggering number of articles in the above series, about Saudi Arabia, the U.S., etc. It’s extremely in-depth.

            Thus, the OCCRP has not given a pass to anyone, whether that be the Saudis, or the U.S.

          • rkka says:

            The AFPE&P thought it was a Good Thing that the U.S. shipped massive tonnages of weapons to their pet ‘moderate’ Wahabi headchoppers in Syria, who mostly turned them over to the folks who ran the airplanes into US buildings a while back.

            Oh, and the folks who ran the airplanes into the buildings a while back? They’re ‘moderates’ now. Just ask the RAND Corporation.

            https://www.rand.org/blog/2017/10/the-moderate-face-of-al-qaeda.html?adbsc=social_20171030_1897881&adbid=924920565089026048&adbpl=tw&adbpr=22545453

            • Matt says:

              Why are you mentioning Rand? The accusation was that OCCRP is only “anti-Russian” and doesn’t report on Western issues. I have given examples to the contrary.

              • marknesop says:

                So we must stay on that subject forever? And I don’t think anyone ever said OCCRP was only anti-Russian, and offering examples of it criticizing someone else does not prove it is not anti-Russian. This is a fairly common dodge – organization X also criticizes western governments, therefore it is unbiased. Not necessarily; what if its criticisms of culpable western organizations are always well-founded, while its criticisms of Russian institutions are based mostly on unsubstantiated media reports? A good example is the allegation that Russia is manipulating elections all over the place with well-aimed propaganda. Plenty of people believe it is true. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is no longer a required standard, proof by allegation is acceptable, and anything with a snatch of Cyrillic buried in it somewhere – so that it looks as if someone clumsily tried to hide it – is proof enough.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  As regards seeking out Russian connections, get this:

                  When in the UK last August/September, I had problems paying online with my NatWest card.

                  Last year, I could not pay for our airline tickets from Russia to London with this card.

                  I sorted out the problem last year as regards my online payment problem. I phoned NatWest HQ in London. The problem had been caused by the fact that when I went into exile in 1993, I left my sister’s address as my forwarding address for NatWest bank. I had no address in Russia then, nor did I have an address in the UK: I had burnt my boats. So my card address last year when I was trying to pay for flight tickets was changed to that of my Russian address.

                  I presume NatWest security did not like giving the green light to a transaction order made by someone in Russia.

                  So last September, I had to sort out this address problem again. The bank snoops had become suspicious of my online payment orders because on the one hand my card address is here in Mordor, whereas my current account address is that of my sister in Salford.

                  So I made my account address the same as my card address, namely my address in the Evil Empire.

                  Since I made this change in address for my account, all payments have been transacted as ordered.

                  One month back in Darkest Mordor, I receive a thick envelope from NatWest. Some joker there states: “We have noticed a Russian connection with your account”.

                  “No shit, Sherlock!” think I.

                  The letter goes on to ask me my income as Her Majesty’s Fucking Inspector of taxes is very interested in my foreign earnings. Amongst other things they demand to know are the details of the passport of the country in which I “claim” to be resident.

                  The letter contains forms, which they demand must be filled and returned within 30 days of receipt of the letter.

                  I filled in the form and added a lengthy, irate letter, in which I inform them that I am a citizen of the UK by birth, as were my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents right back to when the fucking Anglo-Saxons landed in the erstwhile Roman Imperial Province of Britannia; I tell them that the only fucking passports that I have ever had were, firstly, the old big, blue British ones and, since the UK became a member state of the EU, red, EU United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ones; that at present, I have no source of income, having been unemployed since my return to Russia on 16 September.

                  I also tell them that I am 68 years of age, that for 3 years I have been receiving a British state pension, paid monthly into my current NatWest account; that I also receive a monthly pension from the Miners’ pension Fund, having worked as coal miner for most of my adult working life before fucking off from the UK, and that where I choose to live and to raise a family is no concern of theirs. I also give them my British National Insurance number and my British National Health Service number.

                  I did not post the reply. They can go and fuck spiders!

                  I did, however, make a formal complaint to NatWest Bank, telling them to get off my back.

                  They have since sent two replies by email as regards my complaint, both of which stating that investigations into the circumstances that gave rise to my complaint are being instigated.

  18. kirill says:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-01/are-they-trying-silence-me-arrest-warrant-issued-rose-mcgowan-elites-strike-back

    The US, a “freedom toilet”. Freedom by elites to terrorize their critics by whatever means they desire. The reason that the US-led NATzO media is rabidly obsessed with Russia and its demonization is to divert attention from the reality of power and life in NATzO itself.

    BTW, traces of anything can be planted on possessions that are handled by 3rd parties. In this case, the chain of possession has to be established and since the time of the contamination cannot be established, there is more than enough reasonable doubt to not proceed with any charges.

  19. marknesop says:

    Kseniya Sobchak thinks the Budapest Memorandum is international law. Perhaps she’s not as smart as I gave her credit for.

    Interestingly, as pointed out by Deutsche Welle, the Budapest Memorandum also obligated its signatories not to use economic pressure to coerce Ukraine into convenient decisions. Yet the Americans – signatories to the Budapest Memorandum and current loud yellers that if Ukraine only had its nukes now, Russia would not dare to fuck with it (completely irrelevant, as all the control systems necessary for launch were in Russia), paid Ukraine to give up its nukes. Now there’s a detail that doesn’t come up often in these ‘international law’ discussions.

    • kirill says:

      Sobchak is a two bit liberast spouting all the tired and ridiculous talking points dished out by their NATzO masters designed to make Russians guilty for everything. The promise to Gorbachev not to expand NATzO eastward was the equivalent of a memorandum. I don’t hear much about it being broken. But then 5th column NATzO bootlicks think NATzO is god-like and infallible. Why don’t these retards just pack their bags and move to their precious promised land? If they hate Russia so much, just move already.

    • Evgeny says:

      “completely irrelevant, as all the control systems necessary for launch were in Russia”

      The reality is somewhat more complicated, since there were both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Strategic nukes were controlled from the main command center in Russia, while tactical nukes could be used locally — but Ukraine lacked any delivery systems for tactical nukes other than artillery, which is not much in terms of deterrence.

      However, the main concern of the U.S., as I understand, was to prevent any prospects of nuclear proliferation. Which would be inevitable in case Ukraine retained some tactical nuclear weapons. Instead of serving as any kind of a deterrence against Russia, chances are high that some of the weapons would have ended up in hands of the highest paying bidder — that could be anyone from “rogue” states to international terrorist organizations.

      I presume, you are fully aware of the fact that Osama bin Laden sought to obtain WMDs from Russia? He did not succeed. However, his chances of success would have been immeasurably greater, had Ukraine retained some of the nukes.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, those are all valid points. According to Deutsche Welle, American concern was that these weapons were targeted against the west, so they were probably talking about the strategic component. I don’t know that nuclear proliferation was as big a concern then as it is now, but it may have been. In any case, the United States both threatened Ukraine and offered it economic inducements, so that in the parlance of the article, Ukraine had little choice but to comply. Which was a violation of the Budapest Memorandum’s terms almost before the ink was dry.

  20. Lyttenburgh says:

    [Sigh]. Well, at least next year’s elections won’t be boring!

    Famous (in certain circles) Russian feminist, journalist, and political activist of the liberast bend Yekaterina “Katya” Gordon (the central photo) announced that she too wants to run for the president’s office! Ergo – this Tryptich “The Hope of the Liberalism in Russia”:

    [Sobchak – Gordon – Navalny].

    Yeaaaaah, rrrright…. Ivanovo, 28 October – Navalny’s rally:

    400 attendees (including the press) .

    • James lake says:

      Question

      Do these people have to satisfy some qualifying criteria. Or can anyone just run for such high office to be the head of state

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Russian Constitution

        Chapter 4. The President of the Russian Federation

        Article 81

        2. Any citizen of the Russian Federation not younger than 35 years of age and with a permanent residence record in the Russian Federation of not less than 10 years may be elected President of the Russian Federation.

        Ksenia Sobchak qualified to be a candidate last November 5, her 35th birthday.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          The charlatan above does not qualify as he is a convicted criminal serving a 5-year suspended sentence for embezzlement. Russian law forbids a Russian citizen with a criminal conviction from standing for public office until 10 years after his sentence ends.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Interestingly, the European Court of Human Rights, said that the latest prosecution against Navalny was flawed. This prosecution resulted in both he and his brother being found guilty of embezzlement.

            The ECHR criticized the Russian prosecution for stating that personal gain was Navalny’s motivation for committing the crime for which he was charged.

            In its wisdom, the ECHR stated that one could say that all businessmen are motivated by personal gain: all businessmen, however, are not criminals.

            And there was I thinking that matters concerning due course of law and criminal procedure were beyond the ECHR remit.

            • kirill says:

              I recall we discussed that ECHR ruling and it was some sort of stupid joke. Criminal cases are not internet debates. There are laws and perps that break them get evaluated as to if they did in fact break them. Whether all business men are out to make a buck or not is totally irrelevant. Following this “logic” it’s OK to murder someone since the killer gets a good feeling from it and all he was doing was looking for a gratification.

  21. Jeremn says:

    When the Twitter-using population of Bulgaria and Ukraine, among others, suddenly find themselves branded Russia-linked.

    • marknesop says:

      And they were deemed to be ‘election-related’ if they referred to ‘any notable debate topics’. So anything other than “I’m stopping at Starbucks; want anything?” could be election-related.

      • Matt says:

        It’s impossible to know for sure which accounts were operated by the troll factory, especially with their use of proxies and VPNs. Thus, the most sensible thing to do is find “suspicious” details, like partisan accounts based in Russia tweeting about U.S. politics.

        Of course, there are many troll accounts that are known to be operated by Russia that didn’t have the above details.

        I already responded to that Saker articles that tried proving the troll accounts were created by the CIA and that the former trolls who spoke to journalists were just Western patsies. Sadly, my lengthy comment received no reply there.

        Maybe I’ll make a post summarizing all the concrete info about the trolls, as well as a critique of the alt-media’s analysis. I will link it here when I’m done.

    • et Al says:

      ####

      Now that is hilarious. I think this method should be taken up and repeated widely.

  22. et Al says:

    The Register: Wheels are literally falling off the MoD thanks to lack of cash
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/11/02/defence_safety_authority_annual_report/

    Safety regulator gives head office the whole nine yards

    British military helicopters are at risk of crashing while wheels are literally falling off Army Land Rovers thanks to poor maintenance and funding cuts, according to a damning report by the Defence Safety Authority.

    The UK watchdog’s six-monthly report, published earlier this week, is a blistering look at Ministry of Defence safety systems. Lieutenant General Richard Felton, who recently took post as the director-general of the DSA, took no prisoners in his first report.

    He found, among many other things:…
    ####

    Plenty more at the link. Don’t forget the comments.

    So, Michael Fallon has resigned over ‘touching a journalist’s leg 15 years ago‘, apparently. As there is no criminal prosecution launched against him, any other rumor about his behavior is kept out of the papers, on risk of being accused of libel. It is laughable that he resigned over something that happened 15 years ago, but it does go to show how da law works in the UK.

    Vis the article above and Fallon Gone being blamed for the state of the armed forces, well he wasn’t DefMin when those projects were give the go ahead. Not that he should be let off, but if you start in a job, you have to go with what is already on the table or raise a ruckus and probably leave shortly afterwards.

    • ErGalimba says:

      There are similar problems in Italy, in Germany, most of Europe in fact. I’ll go dig up the sources some time. Not really surprising given the uselessness and lack of mission of modern European military forces. At least with conscription and national service they could be said to have a social function. These days it might as well be to subsidise parasitic arms manufacturers, so since maintenance and readiness eat money and aren’t needed….

    • Fern says:

      No-one resigns because they briefly put a hand on a journalist’s knee a decade and a half ago….there must be more substantive allegations lurking about somewhere.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Yes, my though as well. When the high profile go down on a “politically correct” but otherwise trivial reason, there was an unseen war preceding the ball. Weinstein comes to mind as another example. Kevin Spacey is another. Both scumbags for sure but there is the norm so they likely offended the wrong powers.

        Hollywood pedophiles must be getting a little nervous as their victims may be ready to finally speak out:

        http://theweek.com/articles/731375/hollywood-sitting-pedophilia-scandal

        The flurry of sexual harassment and assault allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein confirms an unsettling truth that deep down we already knew. There’s a reason “casting couch” has become a grotesquely ubiquitous term. We have long quietly assumed that big-time movie producers exploit their power to sexually exploit women. We should have heeded the warning signs. The smoke has been there for a long time. Of course the faint plumes were evidence of a fire raging, a fire we both did not imagine and yet knew was burning.

        How could we have been so blind?

        The answer to this question will also give you the answer to the next question: Can we seriously doubt that Hollywood is also turning a blind eye to a very real child sex-abuse scandal?

        The evidence is there, just as it was in the cases of Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein. In 2011, former child star Corey Feldman warned that pedophilia in Hollywood was “the big secret” and “the number one problem.” Feldman alleged that he was abused and that his friend was raped on a movie set at the age of 11. But he didn’t just talk about instances of abuse. In a later interview, he described a system whereby young children were groomed by powerful older men who formed an organized network, with “publicists” providing cover. He would “love to name names,” but feared the legal risks, he said.

        Hollywood – the biggest and most successful export of the US.

  23. Matt says:

    Further evidence that those “skeptical” of the MSM tend to be major conspiracy theorists, to the point where they question reality itself:

    Top comment (22 upvotes) in a Russia *nsider article:

    “all made up Fake Sarin gas attack by the USA. Same with original one disproved by Seymour Hersh

    Las Vegas shooting same scene Fake room with dead body – dial hollywood!”

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/russiainsider/drawing_the_red_line_on_sarin_lies/#comment-3594933460

    • marknesop says:

      Matt, you simply cannot draw conclusions about the broad state of mind of a particular population by citing a particularly rude comment which helps you make your point, and then crowing about how many upvotes it got. I notice this is a favoured method of yours, particularly when you want to slag RT. Its commenters might well be a bunch of mouth-breathers, but you (a) don’t know anything about their general political philosophy from that single comment, (b) don’t know where they are from and consequently what population they purport to represent, and (c) don’t know if the comment was planted deliberately to trigger a reaction. And 22 upvotes? Come on. Since when is what 22 people think a social trigger?

      Show me respected and impartial polling data, and then we might be getting somewhere. And I could care less about the mysteries surrounding the Las Vegas shooter and any purported conspiracy theories that it was some kind of false flag or distraction. He was some sort of nutjob, and while it does beg the question how he could manage to get so many guns and so much ammunition up to his room without arousing suspicion, not to mention installing cameras in the hallway, hoteliers generally try to mind their own business unless the customer is acting nutty, and he apparently wasn’t.

      Sometimes conspiracy theorists are on to something, sometimes they’re not. But the label is frequently used to discredit those who are pointing out an obvious inconsistency – don’t pay any attention to him, he’s a nut. I’m sure it’s not hard to understand that people with something to hide would make use of any tactic to avoid scrutiny which might expose them, and it is awfully close to the “The charges are ridiculous” knee-jerk statement of defense lawyers.

      • Patient Observer says:

        I learned to be a skeptic of the MSM way back in the Vietnam war era and my skepticism was strengthened by MSM reportage of the Iraq WMDs stories and the NATO bombing of Serbia. Many other lies perpetrated by the MSM (including virtually the entire Syrian war coverage) confirmed yet again the utter (and deadly) rubbish emanating from the MSM on those issues that matter.

        That makes me a conspiracy theorists according to some.

        • marknesop says:

          It’s very unfortunate that you can’t even take photographs at face value anymore, since everything is subordinated to politics and spin. How is it democracy if the ruling party and the opposition are always fighting for control of your mind and the precious narrative, in order to be able to achieve various goals? What is the point in your vote if you don’t even know what you’re voting for, because you’re being fed an unending magic-show? The alleged leader of the free world will not stop at using phony photographs of Russian tanks entering Ukraine – or genuine photographs, just not entering Ukraine and taken years ago – in order to justify what it wants to do and pretending to be totally taken in by tricky Ukrainians. Or news clips of ‘rioting in Moscow’ in which the signs in the background are written in Greek. The only real value in the news any more is entertainment, because you can’t believe anything even if you see it with your own eyes, can’t be confident you’re not being told a lie and led down the garden path. Pathetic.

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    I see the personal insults must have been flying around again last night (2/3 November) whilst I was asleep.

  25. Moscow Exile says:

    Impoverished Russians on Tverskaya Street, Moscow, last night:

    ГИБДД пришлось ограничить движение по Тверской из-за старта продаж iPhone X

    Traffic police have had to limit traffic along Tverskaya because of the start of iPhone X sales

    Moscow. the 3rd of November. INTERFAX.RUPolice officers restricted traffic on the right-hand lane of Tverskaya Street in Moscow near the Apple flagship store, where on Friday they began selling the latest iPhone X, an Interfax correspondent reports.

    For several days on Tverskaya Street, in the vicinity of House 27, there has been a queue of more than 100 people who want to be the first to purchase an iPhone X. People who are waiting for the start of sales have brought gas heaters; in addition, an ambulance has been on duty.

    For security purposes, several police units, including a traffic police team, are located near the store. The traffic police officers have restricted cars from using the rightmost lane near the store and laid out traffic cones. In addition, two car towing-trucks are on duty, and a car from Moscow City Road Traffic Authority.

    All this is due to the fact that in the morning, rush hour the traffic along Tverskaya towards the centre turned out to be very heavy, the traffic congestion stretching from Tverskaya Street, House 27, to the Belorussky Railway Terminus.

    Today, there have started worldwide sales of the Apple smartphone iPhone X. The cost of the gadget in Russia starts from 79.9 thousand rubles [$1,367 / £1,047]. That is how much a model with a memory of 64 GB costs. For a device with a memory of 256 GB, you will have to pay 91.9 thousand rubles [$1,572 / £1,204].

    And each one of those oppressed Russian citizens who is patiently waiting for an iPhone X on Tverskaya, where last the temperature was minus 6°Celsius [21.2°F], yearns for freedom and democracy; for free and fair elections, and away with the tyrant that has brought about the isolation of Russia from the “community of nations”, economic sanctions and who has reduced the citizens of Russia to penury.


    What! No little rubber ducks?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Typo:

      People who are waiting for the start of sales have brought gas heaters; in addition, an ambulance has been on duty should have read:

      For the people who are waiting for the start of sales, they have brought gas heaters; in addition, an ambulance has been on duty

      “they” being the Moscow City authorities.

      [I should have preferred to have used the passive voice, thus: Gas heaters have been brought for the people who are waiting for the start of sales. However, prescriptive US English grammarians on Google constantly warn me that the passive voice should be avoided at all costs.]

      You can see the gas heaters in the lower picture above.

      Jolly decent of them to do that, don’t you think — evil regime and all that?

      • marknesop says:

        I would have thought those would have been supplied by the business marketing the phones.

      • Jen says:

        The “sales” and the crowds they attract are a publicity stunt to get media attention. The business would have been obliged to put on gas heaters and to contact city authorities to organise first aid and police security for the event. Note that the article also mentions that part of a street had to be closed. All this “news” generates publicity for the sales and the company holding the sales.

    • Cortes says:

      What’s with the tiaras?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I don’t know: just daft girls playing at princesses, I think.

        They must be bloody princesses if they have so much money to waste on the latest iPhone, with which they can incessantly send text messages

  26. Patient Observer says:

    Another walk down memory lane – a brief review of MSM propaganda regarding the Syrian invasion usually packaged as reportage of credible sources who definitely are not:

    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/408618-syria-war-propaganda-media-west/

  27. cartman says:

    Worried about Russia’s march on grain markets? It could be worse.

    I guess people are more worried about Russia’s wheat exports than ISIS.

    • marknesop says:

      Funny you should mention that – there was an article in today’s paper reporting an investigation into possible price-fixing in Canada…on bread.

      Accusation is not proof, of course, but the notion that grocers here might be conspiring to fix prices on an item so mundane and low-priced as bread is, frankly, shocking to me.

    • kirill says:

      The two-bit anti-Russian hate and bias reeks through that piece. But for poor little Reuters things are going to get worse. Infrastructure limits is that Russia can overcome in an exceedingly short period of time. Cranking up Russia’s export capacity to 55 million tons would likely take less than two years. The bottleneck must be port storage and loading facilities.

  28. Matt says:

    From the always-excellent Julia Davis:

    Zakharova spreads fake news on Russian state TV: “Who could forget fantastic photos of Bin Laden’s reception at the White House?”

    Zakharova says that Bin Laden was in the White House because it was lobbying. The host, Skabeeva , says that Ukrainian FM Klimkin was in the White House because of lobbying too., comparing Klimkin to Bin Laden. Even Zakharova was surprised. Madhouse.

    • Matt says:

      At least Zakharova’s hair match her teeth.

      • marknesop says:

        Oh, did Old Zacky insult you? That’s it for you. Bye-bye. I should have known your streak of reasonableness would not last and was just another feint.

        • Jen says:

          If the Julia Davis referred to is the same Julia Davis at this LinkedIn site, I’d hate to think what her den … I mean her cheek pad … OOPS, teeth look like if women’s hair is taken to be representative of their dental hygiene.

          https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliadavisnews

          • marknesop says:

            That’s not even what I’m talking about. The American media has an established record of retouching the photographs of its enemies to make them appear low and brutish; yellowing their teeth and exaggerating their features. Matt’s well-known skepticism takes a convenient vacation whenever he happens upon a juicy prize like that photo. His aim, as usual, is to get a rise. Well, mission accomplished, Mattie – you got one. I hope it was worth it. Matt is permanently banned here and his comments will be destined for removal as soon as they appear. It might not happen immediately because this is not my job, but it will happen, so those who don’t want to have their own replies left hanging in the air would be well-advised to not respond to his taunting.

            Maria Zakharova, also known as ‘Old Zacky’, does not have crooked and yellowed teeth. She does not have crows-feet carved into the corners of her eyes. But it is just like Matt the cheap propagandist to put something like that out there, and pretend it’s real. Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’, rawhiiiiiidddde!!! Great job, Matt, especially when your point was supposed to be the Russian government inventing cheap fakes. Don’t bother inventing any miracle clauses by which you give yourself permission to reappear, because you are gonzo, taillights, don’t come back.

            • kirill says:

              It’s an obvious fake. I have seen her speaking numerous times on video and never noticed any discoloration. I personally know people whit discolored teeth and it does show. But they have such teeth not because they are inferior. There are all sorts of medical problems.

              Also, TV pundits and celebrities get their teeth whitened. Not such a big cost and effort.

            • Jen says:

              Didn’t realise that US media engaged in such infantile behaviour as to retouch Zakharova’s teeth – I just thought the colours in that photograph were exaggerated. Well I learn something new every day! Thanks!

              Of course Photoshopping and other kinds of retouching of politicians’ features go on in Australian print news media but are usually done in such an exaggerated or buffoonish way that most people who see the pictures know they’ve been manipulated.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Two smiling Elizabeths:

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Betty Windsor must be too hard up to afford teeth whitening.

                • yalensis says:

                  Teeth-whitening procedures only work on people with a certain type of teeth, especially if they have a very hard enamel.
                  Some people don’t have the right kind of enamel.
                  The dentin layer of the tooth is yellow by nature.
                  Also, some people have medication conditions or took certain medications in childhood that permanently stained their teeth. It’s really not their fault.

                  I remember seeing a funny article in some Dermatological journal, about how Hollywood demonizes people with skin conditions… Like Freddy Krueger, also witches with warts, etc. I guess the same thing goes for teeth.

    • marknesop says:

      Where did the photo come from? Did Russia generate the fake? Or was it dangled out there for them to find, so ‘exposers’ could triumphantly pounce on it?

      • Patient Observer says:

        There can be little doubt that at one time the US supported Osama Bin Laden and the feeling was mutual. Too bad Maria got trolled. She is an extraordinarily intelligent woman but sometimes her passion can get the better of her.

        • marknesop says:

          Those cheesy fakes are everywhere – all made by Russia, no doubt, to cast unfair aspersions on the land of the free and the home of the downright sweet. Here’s Osama and Obama, enjoying a luau. Here he is again, gettin’ jiggy with Condi Rice, as well as an explanation which suggests the Clinton/bin Laden photo has been around since 2008, and was originally part of a photoshop contest. Was the photoshop contest in Russia? No. of course it wasn’t. But any suggestion by anyone Russian that Hillary Clinton would have anything to do with the like of bin Laden is just, like, well, it’s so outrageous I can’t put it into words. Yet every time the western media gets caught faking a news report with a photo that turns out to be from somewhere else, they just go, oh, like, my bad, and you just have to love them even more for their fresh-faced honesty.

          Osama bin Laden certainly was at one time a CIA asset, not particularly liked by the American establishment, but valued for his usefulness as an anti-Soviet foil. And Orrin Hatch, for one, says they would do it all over again, even kn owing what America knows now, because it was worth it.

  29. et Al says:

    A roll up of recent Russia aeronerd news:

    FlightGlobal.com: MC-21 begins flight-test programme from Gromov
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/mc-21-begins-flight-test-programme-from-gromov-442860/

    The aircraft undertook a 3h flight on 2 November, the airframer states.

    It says the tests assessed stability and control at a range of altitudes from 6,000-12,000m (19,700-39,400ft).

    “All aircraft systems operated normally,” adds Irkut.

    FlightGlobal.com: Russia eyes new military variants of Mi-38 helicopter
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/russia-eyes-new-military-variants-of-mi-38-helicopte-442203/

    Russia may develop medevac and electronic warfare (EW) variants of the Mil Mi-38 helicopter, but has so far ruled out an armed model….

    Tass via Aert5.com: Russia may use Su-34 bomber to develop one-seat attack aircraft
    http://tass.com/defense/973608/amp

    …As a source in the defense industry told TASS, experimental design work on developing an attack aircraft on the basis of the Su-34 bomber is expected to begin in 2018….
    ####

    Price? I’m not convinced, but then again it will never be fully fueled so it can carry the maximum 8ton load, all sorts of extra battlefield gear and still have massive reserves of energy and maneuverability. Hmmm.

    function.mil.ru via Alert5.com: Anti-drone unit stands up in Russia’s Western Military District
    http://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12148695@egNews

    A permanent anti-drone unit has been activated in Russia’s Western Military District. The company-size unit has been dubbed the “special forces of electronic warfare.”

    EconomicTimes.com via Alert5com: INDRA-2017: Indian, Russian fighter pilots fly together
    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/indra-2017-indian-russian-fighter-pilots-fly-together/videoshow/61234482.cms

    Indian and Russian fighter pilots flew together to exercise tri-services military exercise ‘Indra 2017’. The exercise began in Vladivostok last week. Over 80 Indian Air Force personnel, two massive transport aircraft, 350 soldiers from the Indian Army and two Indian Navy warships are participating in the first-ever Tri-Services Joint Exercise between the Armed Forces of the two nations. The objective of the entire exercise is to promote professional interactions, establishment of joint command and control structures between India and Russia. More than 1,000 troops of the 5th Army, Marines and ships of Pacific Fleet and aircrafts are participating from the Russian side.


    ####

    There was an article yesterday (The Duran? FortRuss???) that speculated the US is deliberately sanctioning Russian military firms not because of anything to do with Crimea, but to break up the Russia-India defense relationship in favor of the US. It will fail of course.

    If you pause the above video at 5 seconds you will see a couple of pilots helmets hanging off the pitot tube on the Russian Su-30SMs nosecones with one of the Russians touches with a smirk ! I know things are make ekstra stronk in Россия, but still…
    ####

    Izvestia via Alert5.com: Russia researching on 600-ton ekranoplan for missions in Arctic and Pacific
    http://alert5.com/2017/10/28/russia-researching-on-600-ton-ekranoplan-for-missions-in-arctic-and-pacific/#more-65649

    https://iz.ru/659793/sergei-valchenko-nikolai-surkov-aleksei-ramm/rossiia-postroit-arkticheskogo-monstra

    The project is given the code-name Rescuer and will be handled by Alekseyev Central Hydrofoil Design Bureau, which in the past produce ground effect vehicles such as Lun and Orlenok.

    The vehicle is expected to weigh 600 tons with a length of 93 meters and wing span of 71 meters. It will be able to operate on land as well. Top speed is 550 km/h.

    Scaled models have completed wind tunnel testing and the timeline to complete the project is 2025.

    A report from Izvestia says Russia is researching on a new ekranoplan – aka ground effect vehicle – that can perform rescue missions and resupply remote bases in Arctic and Pacific.
    ####

    And this got mentioned briefly in the PPNN a couple of days ago:

    FlightGlobal.com: Bombardier discloses tentative deal covering 61 CSeries jets
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/bombardier-discloses-tentative-deal-covering-61-cser-442824/

  30. Cortes says:

    Sooner rather than later the “Yanukovych was Putin’s puppet” card will be played to justify the whole Russiagate nonsense:

    https://sputniknews.com/us/201711031058800832-mueller-investigation-includes-podesta-republican/

    • marknesop says:

      Yeah, uh huh, Yanukovych was totally in Putin’s pocket. Except when he was bravely trying to break away from Moscow’s tractor beam, and take Ukraine in the direction of sunshine and double happiness in the EU, but then Mordor exerted its evil pressure on someone who was already in its pocket anyway, to force him to change his mind. That narrative makes complete sense.

    • kirill says:

      Whatever BS they come up with, at the end of the day they have nothing. Meanwhile in Russia we have exhibit A: Navalny.

  31. saskydisc says:

    APrepeats the superbandwidth/ Guccifer 2.0 fairy tale. Or perhaps it is a confession—forget Savushkina street—the trolling action is happening at 430 S Capitol Street SE #3…

    The BBC is still trying to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    Burundi has quit the ICC farce.

    • kirill says:

      The AP article is random crap about unproven allegations and does not explicitly raise the bandwidth issue. Instead they claim that massive amounts of emails were siphoned off in minutes after phishing instigated breaches. This AP article is lying by omission, but others have to come up with a cover a story to explain away the massive amounts of emails that were leaked.

      https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

      “Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate—the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.”

      Superbandwidth is a transparent attempt to crawl out of the box they are trapped in when someone pointed out the obvious, that the volume of files transferred required a USB stick. None of the machines at the convention center would have had multiple T3 equivalent internet bandwidth. Whatever aggregate bandwidth the convention center has, it is quickly diluted by dozens and likely hundreds of computers being used in the building. Convention centers are not data hubs and do not offer individual machines near-unlimited bandwidth.

      Then we have the other issue. Hackers outside the building are not going to see machines inside the building as unlimited access targets Even if some internal machine was given bigger bandwidth, that would be to satisfy ongoing usage and not for decoration. Even people sitting in a parking lot outside would get no more than the sort of bandwidth that ISPs give their customers. Nowhere near 100 megabytes per second. But the hackers were not in the USA but were in Russia as claimed. That kills of any superbandwidth theory instantly. There is no way in Hell that routing through various domains would come with a dedicated high speed link. There would be numerous bottlenecks instead and the bandwidth is throttled by the worst bottleneck.

      To have superbandwidth requires dedicated lines between machines or data centers. They have such lines for supercomptuer centers and big time clients. Not for hackers hacking via the actual internet.

  32. marknesop says:

    In an astounding move, Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volcker has recognized Russia’s right to supply weapons and other support to the militias of eastern Ukraine, should it choose to do so.

    “Ukraine has been facing a conflict on its own territory for the last three years… it is a reasonable thing for a country to defend itself, and it’s also reasonable for others to help countries defend themselves, as well,” he said.

    All this comes about in the context of continuing agitation to get the United States to supply defensive weapons to Ukraine, which apparently does not have enough even though it is a net weapons exporter. All the comment-forum analysis chairs seem to think the Javelin missile will be a game-changer. Hard to see how, if it is used only as a defensive weapon – Ukraine might wait a long time for a tank assault from the Donbas.

    I’m being sarcastic, of course. Ukraine pretends to want Javelin missiles to protect itself against enemy tanks, and Washington pretends to believe it. Most of the battlefield exchanges since the last actual battle are by artillery. Ukraine wants Javelins for a concentrated strike which will allow it to break through the defending line and roll up the Donbas, at which time the west will claim no pinchbacks allowed, and this is the final solution. I don’t think too many people here believe that is a possibility. Especially after Volcker said it was all right for Russia to help the easterners out. I bet the drafters of the Minsk Agreement are not very chuffed with him right now.

    • kirill says:

      I think the US military knows that the Kiev regime can do f*ck all. Javelins are not going to do squat to give the Ukr punitive armies any advantage. The rebels can get Kornet-EM missiles which are just as effective. The rebels are motivated fighters, while the Ukr regulars and paramilitary thugs are basically scum. They are good only at shelling civilians.

  33. marknesop says:

    Islamic State loses Deir-es-Zour. They got sort of wiped out in Iraq as well, more or less ending the group’s territorial plans. Now they will have to go back to hiding in caves – or blending back in with the local population – until they are needed again somewhere, sometime to substantiate a western intervention.

    A joint strike by cruise missiles from the submarine KOLPINO and six Tuplolev TU-22 bombers delivered what the Daily Express describes as a ‘show of incredible force’, and obliterated several ISIS positions near Abu Kemal. Those Kalibers are shaping up to be a pretty good piece of kit, and quite versatile.

  34. Jen says:

    This news will gladden Patient Observer:

    “Serbia rejects US calls to cut ties with Russia”
    http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/11/03/540812/Serbia-Ivica-Dacic-Russia-ties-US-Yee

    Although Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic probably had better watch his own chair to make sure it’s not pulled out from under him unexpectedly.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Yes, good news. I hope Serbia can drain money from the EU as partial compensation for the damage done by bombing and blockades and then “rediscover” its true ally Russia and new best friend China. It will be difficult and Russia will need to provide help behind the scenes but it ought to be doable.

    • marknesop says:

      Much the same as the choice presented to Ukraine, although the USA now disavows any pressure to make Ukraine choose, because pressure is not what the United States of America does. Probably Dacic is just scared of Moscow, because of its pressure.

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    To harken back to that BBC travel feature a few days ago, in which a US citizen, a woman brought up in Russia, describes the Trans-Siberian train as pre-historic — no showers, no air conditioning etc. — the following pictures seem to contradict what this person wrote about that train service:

    That’s the Trans-Siberian at the Yaroslavskiy Terminus, Moscow. The carriages are most certainly air-conditioned and the toilets are vacuum flushed, as in airliners. The compartments usually have 4-berths, but there are also de-luxe, 2-berth compartments with en-suite lavatory and shower.

    One day, I swear, I’m going to take a ride on that train!

    And below is a photograph of the new double-decker “Aeroexpress” at the Kievskiy terminus. This Aeroexpress connects to Vnykovo airport.

    Other Aeroexpress services connect to Sheremetevo and Domodedovo airpots from the Belorusskiy and Paveletskiy Termini respectively.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Not often a traveler by train but when I do it is usually a good experience and beats travel by car or plane any day, Those train cars, if the interior matches the apparent fit/finish of the exterior, would be a great ride. The smooth and quiet ride of modern passenger trains is simply uncanny.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        They have a very smooth ride now because of (a) welded rails and (b) fantastic new electric motors.

        I don’t know what they’ve done to the motors in recent years, but they’re smooth and silent and extremely powerful. The latest metro units are a joy to ride in.

        I miss the old clickety-click of rail travel, though, but I’m a child of the steam age.

        The latest Moscow metro trains which were introduced in April of this year:

        Typical Third World shit-hole!

        And no graffiti, the uncultured oafs!

        Clearly afraid of artistic self expression in this oppressive regime.

      • Patient Observer says:

        A trans-Siberian rail vacation would be pretty good versus a cruise that is nothing but eating and drinking. Need to convince the Mrs.

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    Isil facing endgame after fall of last city in its caliphate

    Islamic State is facing its endgame after Syrian troops retook its last-remaining city and Iraqi forces closed in on its final pocket of territory along the border.

    The loss prompted Britain to announce it would soon begin withdrawing its jets from the coalition air effort against Isil, drawing down a three-year offensive against the terror group as its “caliphate” crumbles.

    Jolly well done, you RAF chaps!

    Never in the field of human conflict was so little owed by so many to so few.

    • Patient Observer says:

      Saw this TED talk on global population, health statistics and economic growth while on a plane ride:

      The presentation of fairly complex data was very well done and showed that on average the world’s living standard is rapidly improving thanks mostly to fantastic progress in China. A few things in the presentation rubbed me the wrong way. For example, he used a logarithmic scale on the x-axis which tended to visually compress large disparities in things like income creating an impression of more balance when there is little (he made quick hand-wave to ignore the use of a log scale). Also, when a “communist” country made huge progress it was because it became less communist. That was a needless injection of a political agenda in the presentation. And when a “capitalist” country makes progress via government supported public health, education and economic development programs no one in the Western media seems to describes those efforts as a move towards socialism.

      True, the natural world is under a great challenge but he world’s population seems to be stabilizing. I happen to like the natural world a lot so a stabilizing population using appropriate technologies (like nuclear power) is a very good thing:

    • marknesop says:

      And She’s Having Twins!!! scream the supermarket tabloids. I daresay she’s a very nice young lady, but she seems to have done little to benefit the world since her ascendancy but churn out children as the gestation period allows.

      • Jen says:

        Kate Middleton may not have much choice or control over her life: she may not have an independent income as Diana Spencer did (and which would afford a soft landing if she did something controversial that resulted in her being estranged from the Royal family) and her own family appears to be on the make as wannabe aristocrats whose interests are best suited by Kate being as blank as blank can be by not being out of step with her in-laws but not taking any risks either. Also rumours abound that Diana Spencer might have been killed by arms companies annoyed with her activism against landmines and Middleton may have been advised to steer away from supporting anything with the potential to cause upset.

    • Jen says:

      What really stinks about this news – and all the more reason to support the abolition of the British monarchy and sending the entire Mountbatten-Windsor family on one-way tickets out of the solar system – is that Prince William is not only echoing his grandfather Prince Phillip’s views on overpopulation (especially perceived overpopulation by poor Third World people) but that he is using the issue of the loss of wildlife and environment to support his argument. This is in spite of plenty of information about what really forces impoverished people to leave their original lands and go into marginal areas to cut down forests and threaten animal and plant species there: it’s not from having too many children, it’s usually because of pressure and threats from governments and the corporations that lobby them and bribe or blackmail their politicians to take over peasant farms and forests and turn them into mines or plantations producing crops for export. Farmland producing crops to feed people shrinks and among other things this is how an “overpopulation problem” appears to arise.

      Prince William is in a position to inform himself on the real reasons for the global destruction of natural environments and the loss of wildlife. He is part of an elite class of people who are responsible through their actions, their money and their connections and networks for destroying wild animal and plant species and their habitats. If he really cares about wildlife protection and overpopulation in Third World countries, he should inform himself about the politics and economies of those countries and how they affect people’s lives. But like his father Prince Charles, Prince William probably lives in his own social bubble where he is selectively fed information that triggers his pet likes and dislikes and gets a reaction.

      It is very likely also that increasing US and French military activity, supposedly against Islamist terrorism, in parts of Africa is creating chaos and upheaval among communities and that in turn leads to environmental and wildlife destruction.

    • yalensis says:

      “The Duke said that as a result, wildlife was being put under “enormous pressure”…
      As the reporter scribbled that one down, the Duke kicked his horse and resumed with the fox hunt…

  37. Moscow Exile says:

    С ДНЕМ НАРОДНОГО ЕДИНСТВА!

    HAPPY DAY OF NATIONAL UNITY!

    Today has been a state holiday in the Evil Empire since 2005. It replaced Great October Revolution Day of November 7.

    However, as November 4 falls this year on a Saturday, Monday, 6 November, will be a non-working day in lieu of today.

    On 22 October [November 1 New Style], 1612, Russian national militiamen under the leadership of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky stormed Kitai-Gorod (the heart of Old Moscow adjacent to the Kremlin) and the garrison of the occupying Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth retreated into the Kremlin.

    Prince Pozharsky (Minin was a butcher by trade) entered Kitai-Gorod with the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and, according to much later testimony, vowed to build a major church in memory of this victory.

    On 23 Oct (2 Nov) the invaders’ garrison commander signed his capitulation and released from the Kremlin Moscow boyars and other notable persons.

    On the next day, 24 October [3 November], the garrison surrendered. At the end of February 1613, the Zemsky Sobor (a council of elders) elected a new Tsar, Mikhail Romanov, the first of Romanov dynasty.

    The rest is history …

  38. Patient Observer says:

    There was a comment suggesting that a media organization that criticizes “both sides” should be considered as objective. Of course, that is nonsense and to use a term I recently learned, a “thought-stopper” agreement (much like calling someone “worse than Hitler” to stop a discussion).

    For example, Yahoo runs stories highly critical of the certain aspects of the US government but that does not at all prove that their reportage on Russia is objective. There is no implied causal connection in those reporting agendas.

  39. et Al says:

    Saad Hariri, PM of Lebanon has publicly resigned, whilst in Riyadh, blaming I-ran for interference and destabilizing Arab politics! Was he offered money or was he blackmailed?

    This is a desperate move by the state sponsors of IS/ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever. Is this the next stage of a campaign by Washington and friends to claim that they will now have protect Lebanon and need to destroy I-ran to do that oh and revenge for 1982 marine barracks attack, with the Israelis fully on board? Lebanon to be sacrificed to get I-ran? Nutters.

    • et Al says:

      Moon of Alabama: Lebanon – Hariri’s Resignation – The Opening Shot Of The Saudi War On Hizbullah
      http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/11/lebanon-hariris-resignation-the-opening-shot-of-the-saudi-war-on-hizbullah.html

      Four days ago we asked: Is The “Moderate Al-Qaeda” Set To Target Hizbullah?. The implied answer in that piece was “Yes, the war is coming to Lebanon.”

      Today the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri resigned with a statement issues from Saudi Arabia on the Saudi Arabian TV station Al Arabia (video). This is the opening shot of the war.

      The Saudi-Israeli-U.S. axis will lose this war while Iran and Russia will win from it.

      Earlier this week the extremely sectarian Saudi Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan had threatened Hizbullah in Lebanon and announced surprises:…
      ####

      More a the link.

      • saskydisc says:

        I am replying to you rather than to the troll, although I am replying to the allegation of substance in the troll’s comment. The troll points out that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon fingered Hezbollah in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. Thereby hangs a tale that bears repeating.

        Recall that the troll, in defence of the ICC, alleged to oppose the misconduct of the ad hoc tribunals subject to the norms of the ICC, e.g. Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Lebanon, Cambodia et cetera, to wit, subornation to perjury, kidnapping, murder in custody, prosecution and conviction for crimes in which opposing parties have already been convicted and sentenced carried out, et cetera.

        Now the troll drops that pretence. By defending the special tribunal for Lebanon, he is de facto confessing to not opposing such practices at all. Moreover, the leader of the special tribunal for Lebanon was a member of the terrorist outfit, Mujahideen Al Khalq. Said leader offered the text of the indictment to Hezbollah, prior to publication, on payment of one million US dollars.

        Hezbollah’s response was to the point—they released Israeli drone video feeds that they had hacked. The Israeli drones were carrying out surveillance of Rafiq Hariri’s compound a month prior to the assassination. Hezbollah complained that the tribunal was not investigating Israel, but stopped short of an accusation. An Al Qaeda member later confessed to involvement in the assassination. Recall the US support for various AQ linked outfits that came out around 2007, e.g. for Jund ash Shams, Fatah Al Islam et alia.

      • Patient Observer says:

        Here is more info, if a little dated, on the assassination of Saad Al-Hariri from no less than the Christian Science Monitor:

        https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0810/Is-Hezbollah-right-that-Israel-assassinated-Lebanon-s-Rafik-Hariri

        The most sensational revelation, however, was Nasrallah’s claim that Hizbullah had discovered how to intercept television footage from Israeli reconnaissance drones flying over southern Lebanon in the mid 1990s. He said that drone images intercepted by Hezbollah led the group to stage an ambush in September 1997 in which 11 members of a 16-strong elite Israeli naval commando unit were killed.

        More footage from Israeli drones showed routes taken by Rafik Hariri’s motorcade in Beirut, including the scene of his subsequent assassination.

        Can it be that Israel assassinates political leaders? Yassar Arafat comes to mind as one of their higher profiles hits. Numerous links on the subject.

    • kirill says:

      Lebanon is part of a crescent spanning to Iran and likely Afghanistan in the future which Russia is trying to establish to block the Wahabbi swarms from infiltrating north into Russia. Russia’s current foreign policy is brilliant, they are not deluded to think that some border control can stop the Wahabbi maggots. The maggots need to be burned out in the Middle East.

      So far Syria is a loss for NATzO and its pal Israel. Iran is a non-starter. Iraq is looking more and more like a loss too in spite of the the 2003 invasion. The Iraqi Shia, who are the majority, are not going to submit to Washington. They are natural allies of Iran and Hezbollah. Lebanon is in a meta-stable state where Hezbollah has stopped outright collusion with NATzO and Israel. I can see why these self-appointed masters of the universe are keen to stage regime change in Lebanon.

      I hope Russia gives Lebanon support as it did to Syria.

  40. Patient Observer says:

    Never did have confidence that there was a meaningful democracy in the US but even the sham democracy was rigged:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/elizabeth-warren-says-2016-democratic-224556384.html

    ..she [Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass] believes the 2016 Democratic nomination for president was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton, and that the party faces “a real problem” in dealing with the fallout from the revelation that Clinton’s campaign secretly took over control of the Democratic National Committee in 2015.

    Brazile wrote in her new book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House, that shortly after she took the DNC job in late July 2016, she discovered the Clinton campaign had signed an agreement to help keep the DNC financially alfoat, a deal in “which [Clinton] expected to wield control of its operations.”

    The agreement between the DNC and the Clinton camp was signed in August 2015, several months before the primary season began and almost a full year before she officially secured the nomination over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I).

    Hillary really really really wanted to be President and used every dirty trick she could and that her sponsors/controllers would support.

    In regards to an earlier post, the fact that Yahoo ran the above story has absolutely no bearing on the degree of their objectivity regarding Russia. Indeed, today’s stories had typical anti-Russians speculations that were simply piles of rotting garbage.

    • marknesop says:

      The Donna Brazile who slipped Clinton a copy of the questions she would be asked prior to the debate, of which Brazile was moderator? I think it would be safe to speculate her book is more in the nature of a firebreak, and that things are a good deal worse than she describes.

      • Patient Observer says:

        And Hillary took the questions making her guilty of what? Fraud? Was there a legal contract entered into by the participants that stipulated things like no prior knowledge of the questions, no cheating? If there were I am sure that the other participants (Bernie Sanders for example) would avert their eyes for the good of “democracy”. Jezus, what a cesspool and Hillary was paddling around in the middle.

        • marknesop says:

          Brazile lied about it for just as long as she thought she might still get away with it, then admitted it in a messy glurt of remorse in hopes she would be forgiven. Snopes energetically defended the position that Clinton having foreknowledge of the questions was completely fabricated and false, and that the site which reported it was one known for ‘fake news’, although they left just enough confusion about which event they were describing to be able to wriggle free, while deliberately leaving the impression that everything about the story was faked.

          And what prompted Brazile’s shamefaced confession? Leaked emails which recorded her transmission of hints and tips to the Clinton campaign, something she clearly did deliberately to further Clinton’s chances of winning election rather than an innocent slip-up. Yet Clinton and her harpy defenders keep banging on that Russia hacked the election and put Trump in the White House, just as if what she was doing should have been kept from the voters and anything less is a perversion of democracy. Disgusting.

  41. ucgsblog says:

    AP Investigation’s Conclusion: the Russians are confident enough to hack all of the DNC, but unable to set up a basic website. I’m guessing they hired a few staffers from Poproshaiko’s Administration.

    Warning – Brain Cell Loss: https://www.yahoo.com/news/russian-hackers-pried-clinton-campaign-emails-062809973–politics.html

    • ucgsblog says:

      The public responds to AP:

      “It would appear that hackers provided more honesty to the American election process than the Democrat Party. Their own emails proved the Dem Party to be dishonest, corrupt and rigged. Now even Brazile and Warren are admitting it. The Dem voters who supported Bernie never had a chance, their party sold out to the highest bidder.

      The Russians tried to hack the Republicans but they actually had adequate security… Hillary is the epitome of a Bitter Sore Loser and she will be in jail shortly.

      Hillary Clinton stole the primary election from Bernie Sanders.

      She’s guilty and she knows it. It would save the taxpayers millions if she would own up to it.

      I am sure glad the Russians made all the Americans vote for Trump. Because their plan to help the US economy seems to be working.

      OMG … The media can’t just let go. Hillary is nothing in today’s American politics arena. The sooner media and democrats realize it, the better it will be for them.

      So, do I feel sorry for poor Hillary? Nope.

      Hillary now rests at the decomposition site of both history and politics. Lame as a wife, lame as State Secretary, she lost everyting. Whatever is left of her is now but the smell of decay and the danger of contamination.

      I find it so laughable that they scream they lost the election because emails were hacked by Russians. If the emails were about cake bake social events it would not make any difference. What the emails showed was how dishonest and corrupt they are.

      If Hillary wasn’t the CORRUPT FELON ELECTION RIGGING BEYOUCH she is, there wouldn’t have been anything to find.”

      Those are the top ten emails. Posted verbatim. Since AP just had its Kievan Moment, I must add: every Zrada turns into Peremoga…

      • Evgeny says:

        ucgsblog, I see your point about the election. When I read MSM press these days I recall some article published many years ago in which the author derided the concept that Russians might play any role in Western politics — presumably because the West consists of open societies which are subject to any sort of influences anyways, but since they have gotten their political processes right, they are immune to any form of foreign meddling.

        • ucgsblog says:

          It’s just UCG. I’m not sure if I want to claim that the Russians can never influence US elections, but I know for a fact that this one was not influenced by the Russians, or Wikileaks, or Santa, or the Elves. The reason that the Democrats lost, is because they lost the White Rust Belt Vote Coalition. That is the only explanation for the defeat in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Had the DNC just lost Pennsylvania, then it’d be different. But that wasn’t the case. In fact, the difference between the Electoral Map of 2012 and the Electoral Map of 2016 is the White Rust Belt Coalition’s Vote.

          Were members of said coalition influenced by the leaked emails? Perhaps, but I highly doubt that. Lytburger introduced me to an article that states the real reason for said coalition’s shift: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about/

          I completely agree with the author.

          • Evgeny says:

            Thanks, UCG! That’s a very good link. Especially because it explains the American cultural context that most of us Russians don’t really get.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes; I love how AP investigators were able to determine details intelligence professionals were not. Why doesn’t the US government simply outsource all of its intelligence work to AP?

  42. et Al says:

    Euractiv: Trans-Europe Express: Kosovo and Catalonia are (not) the same
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/trans-europe-express-kosovo-and-catalonia-are-not-the-same/

    The EU’s position that the referendum in Catalonia is illegal and that its independence drive is an internal matter for Spain did not go down well in Serbia. In fact, it irked the Balkan country so much that at one point it considered sending an official letter to the Commission to demand clarification….
    #####

    I’m surprised that this was published, but it is du jour. As for Belgrade, it has so far proven spineless. Big words, no action. Since they accepted the vague EU text ‘good neighborly relations’ reinterpreted as ‘all but recognition in name’ by Brussels, they’ve crumbled each time under pressure. If Belgrade doesn’t want to save itself, then…. As for the Russkies, they’re quite happy to help, but it is only truly effective for those that want and do help themselves. Moscow cannot do it for them.

  43. et Al says:

    Euractiv: Kazakhstan, a fledgling democracy bent on ‘stability’
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/central-asia/news/kazakhstan-fledgling-democracy-bent-on-stability/

    This article is part of our special report Mediation for peace.
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/central-asia/special_report/mediation-for-peace/

    The ruling elite in Astana acknowledges that continuous efforts are needed to tackle corruption – recognised as “systemic” – and bolster press freedom in Kazakhstan. “But it’s a very subtle balance between democracy and stability”, local politicians argue.

    This “subtle balance” between democracy and stability has turned Kazakhstan into an increasingly sought-after mediator in conflict resolution.

    “Our external successes are largely based on our internal stability,” said Zurema Shaukenova, the director of KAZISS, a think tank, who met with a group of international journalists on Thursday (2 November).

    The country’s decision to close down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and abandon its Soviet-time nuclear arsenal have greatly contributed to enhancing the country’s international image, added Sanat Kushkumbayev, deputy director of KAZISS.

    Other reasons for the rising trust in Kazakhstan are its predictable foreign policy, the good relations it has with its neighbours and lack of hidden agenda, he said…
    ####

    More at the link.

    Hilarious! Why not just print this verbatim from KAZISS? Another example of how copy straight from a foreign country gets an easy ride simply because the EU or Washington wants to get in to their pants. I think the only other country in the region that gets an even easier press in the West is Azerbaidjan. Laughable, but there it is. This is part of the West’s realist/pragmatic foreign policies that are abhorred and seen as completely impossible with the world’s largest country loaded with nuclear missiles that stretches from the Baltic to the Pacific.

  44. Northern Star says:

    Led by a pencil neck asswipe..They Bark and Howl at the Bear

    “This week’s congressional hearings on “extremist content” on the Internet mark a new stage in the McCarthyite witch hunt by congressional Democrats, working with the intelligence agencies and leading media outlets, to legitimize censorship and attack free speech on the Internet.
    One after another, congressmen and senators goaded representatives of Google, Twitter and Facebook to admit that their platforms were used to sow “social divisions” and “extremist” political opinions. The aim of this campaign is to claim that social conflict within the United States arises not from the scale of social inequality in America, greater than in any other country in the developed world, but rather from the actions of “outside agitators” working in the service of the Kremlin.
    The hearings revolved around claims that Russia sought to “weaponize” the Internet by harnessing social anger within the United States. “Russia,” said Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, promoted “discord in the US by inflaming passions on a range of divisive issues.” It sought to “mobilize real Americans to sign online petitions and join rallies and protests.”
    The McCarthyite witch hunts of the 1950s sought to suppress left-wing thought and label all forms of dissent as illegitimate and treasonous. Those who led them worked to purge left-wing opinion from Hollywood, the trade unions and the universities.
    Likewise, the new McCarthyism is aimed at creating a political climate in which left-wing organizations and figures are demonized as agents of the Kremlin who are essentially engaged in treasonous activity deserving of criminal prosecution.
    To this end, the congressional witch-hunters released a series of “Russia-linked” social media posts expressing opposition to police violence and social inequality. These were meant to serve as “smoking gun” examples of how Russia worked to sow social divisions within the US.
    The argument that it takes a Vladimir Putin to divide the United States is, frankly, laughable. So far this year there have been 273 mass shootings in which four or more people were killed. More than 1,000 people are killed by police every year.
    The United States is bursting at the seams with social discontent. Inequality, war, the pressures caused by poverty-wage jobs—all are sources of enormous social anger.
    The Democrats’ absurd narrative stems from their attempt to rationalize away their disastrous defeat in the 2016 election, blaming it on a Kremlin-backed conspiracy instead of their own indifference to the social misery that pervades the country.”

    …………………………….

    “The ruling elite sees the combination of social disaffection and the unlimited access to information provided by the Internet as an existential threat that must be combated through censorship. As Clint Watts, a former US Army officer and FBI agent, put it at Tuesday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee: “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words. America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions… Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced—silence the guns and the barrage will end.”
    The fact that censorship is spoken of so openly means that a major intensification is coming. The American ruling elite, to use the words of Watts, believes it is already engaged in a civil war with its own population and is more than willing to use censorship to “silence” sources of “rebellion.”
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/03/pers-n03.html

    But then they cower and whine:

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/11/02/nunes_democrats_are_very_nervous_about_republicans_finding_out_more_about_origin_of_steele_dossier.html

  45. Evgeny says:

    [ot/2] Since this is a blog about Russia, I presume most folks around are already well aware of Russian rap singer Oxxxymiron. Anyway, I’ve just listened to his 2015 album “Gorgorod” and it’s fantastic, especially the last track “Где нас нет”:

    • James lake says:

      Rap is one music genre I just don’t like.
      In the UK -American rap is followed by young kids who get caught up in lyrics that are often debasing and destructive; Violent, crude language about women. Yuk

      Is Russian rap similar to American rap?

      • Evgeny says:

        James, you nailed it and that’s the real story! Russian rap used to resemble your description, and I normally didn’t care about it. But Oxxxymiron changed the game within couple of last years. He brought something previously unseen to the genre — intellectualism, well through-thought texts which evoke strong emotions. All in all he made the Russian rap worthy of attention — a real revolution in the music world.

        • Patient Observer says:

          Intellectual rap would be an “oxymoron” (is that an English translation of their name?). Sounds interesting!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Yeah, my son says that: whereas US rap is based on an inner-city, despondent Black American Weltansschauung, Russian rap, he says, has become more soulful and poetic.

          • Northern Star says:

            The largest group of consumers of rap in America consists of white guys roughly in the 12 to 25 age range.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Yes, my son did mention that US rap seems to be very big amongst whites in the US and is not just an expression of Black Ameican Angst. He mentioned to me the names of some white US performers of rap: I have never heard of them. My son says Russian rap has drifted away from this rap style.

        • Jen says:

          For a music genre that’s lasted nearly 40 years and which has some claim to be a global music force, rap or hip-hop as it’s sometimes called is really very limited in its subject matter and musical variety compared to other styles of music that have arisen during the same time period. I blame the early commercialisation of rap and the continued commercial exploitation by big record labels (long subsumed by media corporations) of the music, and the way it’s marketed to a mostly white audience for its titillation, for this stymied development.

          The various sub-genres of heavy metal – doom, death and black metal – appeared in the early 1980s and these sub-genres also claim to be international – there are now black metal bands in China and parts of the Middle East including Saudi Arabia – yet their lyrical stretch and musical diversity can be astonishing. Black metal has long had folk influences – the music employs tremolo guitar playing methods, similar to techniques used on folk instruments like balalaika or banjo – and in recent years has developed its own sub-genres and fusions including (but not limited to) retro-70s psychedelic rock, orchestral music and even bluegrass. Also while black metal was originally highly nationalistic and obsessed with white supremacist beliefs (especially in Norway where the music originated), the music these days has been co-opted by bands (especially some bands in the US) expressing more social democrat or left-wing views.

          In addition to all that, there are now people replicating black metal and other forms of metal on digital machines and this is creating an existential crisis within the global heavy metal community – because it means that original compositions in the style of heavy metal can now be made on computers and other digitally based instruments without the need for guitars, bass guitars and drums, and the day may come when the music can no longer be performed on non-digital instruments.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        My son and heir, Denis Denisovich, who, unfortunately, is a rapper, tells me that Russian rap is now very similar to US rap, but it is more poetic because Russians are more poetic than Americans — so he says.

        Например:

        However, my boy Vova thinks the above is crap.

  46. Northern Star says:

    Psycho MFs are prepared to mass murder more people in a couple of hours than The Nazis did in six years..

    “Donald Trump, accompanied by a coterie of minders and corporate executives, departed yesterday for a 12-day tour of what US foreign policy strategists now officially designate as the “Indo-Pacific.”
    This will be one of the longest official trips to Asia ever undertaken by an American president, and its objectives are clear. In the short-term, Washington is seeking to stiffen the backbone of its allies for a catastrophic and potentially nuclear war against North Korea. In the longer term, US imperialism is seeking to maintain its waning global dominance by exerting military and economic pressure on China in order to undermine, and ultimately shatter, its growing influence.”

    “He-(Trump)- will insist, firstly, that Xi and his regime stand aside in the event of war with North Korea, a country with which China has a formal military alliance. Secondly, Trump is expected to stipulate that Beijing accepts the pro-imperialist United Nations court ruling of 2016, which rejected its territorial claims over islets and reefs in the South China Sea. Finally, he will table demands for greater access to the domestic Chinese market for American and other transnational corporations.

    ****From China, Trump will proceed to Vietnam, where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is convening on November 10 in the city of Da Nang. The Vietnamese regime has increasingly aligned itself with Washington against Beijing, and reportedly intends to bestow extravagant state honours on the US president.”***

    Hilarious..after recent ass raping by first the French colonialists followed by the American imperialists..these dumb fucks ally thenmselves wth Murica!!!!

    • yalensis says:

      All politics is local.
      Crudely speaking, the Vietnamese hate the Chinese more than they hate Americans!

      • Patient Observer says:

        The Vietnamese leadership is quite likely intelligent and probably takes the long view as evidenced by their their multi-generation success in defeating empires. Their flirting with America may be little more than moving a pawn in their much longer effort to deal with a powerful China.

        Of course, American leadership, being egocentric as all heck, will interpret their flirts as a complete surrender to the devastating charms of the exceptional nation. When the show is over, the US leadership will feel betrayed and start posting nasty messages on social media like “Vietnam is a lying b*tch! and fat! and smells bad!”

        Vietnam’s true BFF Russia, understands the situation, will smile and give a wink.

    • Ryan Ward says:

      “Hilarious..after recent ass raping by first the French colonialists followed by the American imperialists..these dumb fucks ally thenmselves wth Murica!!!!”

      Thank you for this well-thought out, nuanced and elegant comment reflecting a deep understanding of Vietnam’s current situation and goals, and how various foreign powers are relevant to those factors. It’s a shame the SRV doesn’t seem to have access to this kind of high-quality advice, judging by their recent decisions.

      • Northern Star says:

        I assumed you had a point when you made your post….
        care to state it??
        What exactly is the (safe) shelf life of an alliance with an out of control rabid dog??

        • Ryan Ward says:

          As Canada, Singapore, Australia, the Eastern European states and others have found, it can be fairly long if the conditions are right. As, for example, the Baltic nations have found, America can be a very helpful partner for small states that are in close proximity to a large state that America has an interest in balancing against. (not that, with almost 100 million people, Vietnam is a small state, but in comparison with China) In any case, Vietnam has not, and has shown no sign that it’s going to, sign any formal “alliance” with America. Instead, it’s seeking to enmesh as many large powers (India, Russia, America) and middle powers (Japan, Australia) as possible politically and economically in Southeast Asia. This is a similar strategy to the one that led Canada to be a major player in the foundation of NATO (“12 in the bed means no rape”). Of course, the conditions are different in Southeast Asia than in the West, so the connections tend to be informal rather than a formal alliance like NATO, but the logic is similar.

  47. Northern Star says:

    Her interviews with Yanis Varoufakis are most informative

    https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2017/11/3?autostart=true

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