Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 13, 2016

Syria: Obama's Delusion Over Russian Retreat Continues

Some U.S. media say that Iran is "aggressive" when it detains U.S. ships and sailors ... who invade Iranian waters.

It is such delusional worldview that has people all over the world shake their heads over U.S. media and politics.

But this messy thinking starts at the top. The Obama administration is filled with delusional thinkers. Consider this nonsense, relayed by the unofficial spokesperson David Ignatius, over Putin's position towards the Syrian President Assad:

Putin this week seemed to take a public step toward the U.S. position that Assad must go eventually. In an interview with the German newspaper Bild released Tuesday, Putin hinted that he might grant Assad asylum.
Putin’s reference to asylum was taken “very seriously” by the White House, a second administration official noted Tuesday. “I think he was sending a signal about where he stands” that was consistent with what Russian officials have been telling the United States in private, the official said.

The transcript of the interview is available in English and Russian for all to see.

Putin was in no way "sending a signal". He was deflecting a direct question that the reporters asked. He took a firm stance that Assad must stay and be allowed to take part in new elections:

Question: If, contrary to expectations, al-Assad loses the elections, will you grant him the possibility of asylum in your country?

Vladimir Putin: I think it is quite premature to discuss this. We granted asylum to Mr Snowden, which was far more difficult than to do the same for Mr al-Assad.

First, the Syrian people should be given the opportunity to have their say. I assure you, if this process is conducted democratically, then al-Assad will probably not need to leave the country at all. And it is not important whether he remains President or not.

How is that "sending a signal"? The only signal I perceive therein is that - as far as Russia is concerned - Assad will stay where he is right now. I have no doubt that the private statements of Putin and the Russian government in this case are exactly the same than the official ones.

In October Obama demanded that Russia let go of Assad or end in a quagmire. Since then the position of the Syrian government has solidified and the Russian support has turned out to be very effective and not a burden. The position of the U.S. administration and its jihadist proxy forces in Syria has deteriorated. With each Islamic State attack the pressure to end the U.S. war on Syria is increasing.

How then can the "administration official" come up with this nonsense?

Is there still this neocon superiority illusion that lets U.S. news media and politicians believe they are the only ones who matter? That the U.S. is the only country which has a say in global issues?

One would have thought that the lost war in Iraq and the U.S. quagmire in Afghanistan would have cured such delusions. But stupid thinking seems hard to heal.

Posted by b on January 13, 2016 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

next page »

Hitler in 1945 still thought he could win the war.. It seems Obummer has the same crazy syndrome

Posted by: Karl | Jan 13, 2016 11:20:04 AM | 1

If you don't think i'm tough on terror,ask OBL!What a freakin maroon,and his half full glass of piss.A definite space oddity.
Serial liars lie serially,regarding Putin's actual quotes.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 13, 2016 11:23:20 AM | 2

The interview you link to up top is important reading if only for the final comment on sports and the arts that Putin makes. But I also enjoyed his reference to Goethe and the difference between the Russian and German languages. I find Russian very hard to follow because of the rapid pace at which it is spoken - Putin's explanation certainly corroborates that impression.

Also, his points about "freedom' and 'democracy' are worth consideration.

We here in the US are not free, nor do we have a democracy at present. This is because the people are not being listened to by those appointed by them, nor is it clear that those appointed have actually been appointed by the people. (Putin did not say that - it is my own assessment.)

Posted by: juliania | Jan 13, 2016 11:34:09 AM | 3


This American sailors, who drifted in Iranian waters by 2 or 3 miles yesterday, and were just released today, should be very happy that they didn’t drifted in Erdogan’s waters for 17 seconds and couple of miles.-

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 13, 2016 11:34:28 AM | 4

Mikhail Lermontov did a great translation into Russian of Goethe's Wandrers Nachtlied 2. Here's the German:

Über allen Gipfeln/ Ist Ruh,/ In allen Wipfeln/ Spürest du/ Kaum einen Hauch;/ Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde./ Warte nur, balde/ Ruhest du auch.

And Lermontov's Russian:

Горные вершины/ Спят во тьме ночной./ Тихие долины/ Полны свежей мглой./ Не пылит дорога,/ Не дрожат листы./ Подожди немного,/ Отдохнёшь и ты.

Preserves Goethe's metrical/rhyme scheme almost perfectly, and stays remarkably close to the sense of the German version.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 13, 2016 11:47:16 AM | 5

Remember that David Ignatius is a writer of fiction. (He also has close insider ties with the CIA, so often reflects their point of view. A mid-level manager I knew from there, now deceased, was amazed at how much he knew.)

Posted by: Seward | Jan 13, 2016 12:04:52 PM | 6

Ignatius is a member of the American ruling class. His father was Secretary of the Navy and publisher of the Washington Post. Ignatius himself was educated at St. Albans School, Harvard, and Cambridge. During his career in journalism, he has occupied all sorts of prestigious postings.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 13, 2016 12:26:20 PM | 7

b - thanks for shining an ongoing light on the ongoing propaganda war which is about all the usa seems good for these days...

@ 4 kooshy.. you are on a roll!

Posted by: james | Jan 13, 2016 12:29:21 PM | 8

How then can the "administration official" come up with this nonsense?

Typical cognitive dissonance, which Wikipedia defines as [...]"an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas or values, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.[1][2]

Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. An individual who experiences inconsistency (dissonance) tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance—as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it.[1] [...]

In the particular case of Obama and the US government, they don't seem motivated at all to reduce this dissonance, or to "avoid situations and information likely to increase it," on the contrary, cognitive dissonance is the platform from which they constantly deny, contort, distort, and twist reality to fit their spurious needs.

Thanks b for expounding into the US denial syndrome.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 13, 2016 12:39:05 PM | 9

"How then can the "administration official" come up with this nonsense?"

What else can one expect from the insufferable 'exceptional and indispensable' lunatics in the US that are like another people that thought they were 'uber alles', and what did that lead to?

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Jan 13, 2016 12:42:56 PM | 10

Good thing the navy did not venture into Turkey waters....

Posted by: shadyl | Jan 13, 2016 1:08:20 PM | 11

Stupidity generally cannot be healed, although it can be ended.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jan 13, 2016 1:29:48 PM | 12

Regarding the US vessels "drifting" into Iran's territorial waters: Yes, my first thought was "Gulf of Tonkin/USS Pueblo redux?"

The factual scenarios are different in all of these incidents, but there is a common denominator of US naval forces provocatively entering a hostile nation's territorial waters, and claiming afterwards that it was either fully justified or an innocent mistake.

As noted in the links and comments, US wingnut politicians and pundits will incorporate this event into their ever-bubbling stream of reactionary demagoguery. However, it seems as though this contretemps is not escalating on the geopolitical level. So perhaps this time it really was just a merry mixup.

Still-- I'm no sailor, and I defer to nautical experts here. But with all of the billions invested in procuring state-of-the-art, high-tech navigation equipment for US Navy ships-- including a network of satellites to support GPS location and tracking systems-- is it really plausible that these vessels can indeed "drift" past territorial boundaries? Just askin'.

Posted by: Ort | Jan 13, 2016 1:34:52 PM | 13

The extract from the Putin interview contains some not-so-subtle swipes at US-style democracy which seem to have flown under the radar.

Putin raised the Snowden issue because he sees Snowden & Assad as equally Patriotic and trustworthy. Snowden believes in an America for all Americans and Assad believes in a Syria for all Syrians. And that's the reason the criminally insane USG hates them.

He is making the point that Obama (unlike Assad) doesn't want Syrians deciding who their President should be and made damn sure that Americans didn't get to decide whether Snowden should be rewarded or punished for exposing USG criminality.
He described Smowden's asylum in Russia as "far more difficult" because Obama and Putin both know that the USG cancelled Snowden's passport, rendering him stateless and stranding him in Russia.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 13, 2016 1:47:43 PM | 14

Sure, a vessel can drift, but it's the sailors who allowed it to do so, and they certainly know how to operate their navigational equipment; otherwise, they'd never get posted to drive anything at sea. I fish in the ocean, and my GPS Chart Plotter is very primitive compared to what the US Navy has. There is a major marine protected area in the middle of the fishing grounds that all fishers must know about, and it's very easy to set up way points that show just where its located. Charts within the GPS also demarcate certain navigational boundaries, like the 3 and 12-mile zones, so I know when I enter international waters. The Iranians said they had the GPS units from the boats and would be happy to show on that equipment just where they were. Such plotters have a "string" showing where the boats traveled, so proving guilt is extremely easy.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 13, 2016 1:47:56 PM | 15

What a ridiculous idea! Why Bashar al Assad who stood facing the hateful plots of the USA, France, the UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and is winning over ISIS would go on exile? Who will decide that? The UN? The US? The pathetic opposition? Erdogan? Under which authority? Normally a leader is sent to exile if he loose the war. Bashar did not loose the war, he is winning politically and militarily. The losers are the SNC and the rebels and they are already exiled in Turkey where they will stay to the end of their lives if they care for their lives.
It seems that the US media is so desperate that the US administration leaked that Bashar Al Assad will will stay until 2017 ( at least) that they are trying to present some compensation to that humiliating reality by inventing the idea of a punishment on Bashar al Assad.
Ignatius is totally off track as he has been for 4 years...

Posted by: virgile | Jan 13, 2016 2:02:02 PM | 16

Not sure the political leadership or punditry are delusional or stupid - they are simply staying "on message" and their statements reflect policy. The policy, even after Russia's intervention in Syria, continues to be regime-change in Damascus and the use of "rebel" proxy forces to see this through.

Here, David Cameron concedes his claim of 70,000 moderate rebels was nonsense, but reiterates the policy: using rebel forces as "pressure" to achieve the removal of Assad.

Posted by: jayc | Jan 13, 2016 2:35:41 PM | 17

Can anyone comment why Putin/the Russians stopped short of unveiling further evidence of Erdogan, Family and Co crook empire from oil smuggling to sarin gas, to money laundering?

The Russsians even called his resignation (and vice versa shamelessly Erdogan called Putin's if what they claimed was not proven while anyone with half brain knows Erdogan and his crony network made sure no one can prove they smuggle oil, helped third party ISIS/Al Nusra cooperatives to carry ingredients to make sarin gas..

They day Erdogan is removed from power, they day Turkey would return to its original secular roots and foreign policy (Peace at home, peace in the world) will be the day current chaos would start return some form of normalcy.

Posted by: Truist | Jan 13, 2016 3:03:24 PM | 18

Yes I would very much like to know what is happening with Erdogan and its denunciation by the Russian Government.It would be great if b or any other person could give us update on the subject matter.

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Jan 13, 2016 3:19:49 PM | 19

The United States has softened its stance on Syria including the future of President Bashar al-Assad to accommodate Russia, opposition coordinator Riad Hijab said, warning the opposition would face a hard choice on whether to attend peace talks this month.

"The Russians and Americans did not cite Assad (during the negotiations) and did not talk about his departure and that is clear backtracking," he said. "When (President Barack) Obama said he (Assad) had no legitimacy, Kerry was making concessions."

Posted by: Les | Jan 13, 2016 3:36:00 PM | 20

Can anyone comment why Putin/the Russians stopped short of unveiling further evidence of Erdogan, Family and Co crook empire...
Posted by: Truist | Jan 13, 2016 3:03:24 PM | 18

Syria won't be vermin-proof until someone does something about the sources of the vermin. If persuasion doesn't work, and the Final Solution has to be a violent one, then Russia will need a very long list of sins to justify its action. And it probably won't be confined to Turkey's turkeys.
On the other hand, Russia may be able to use its Erdogan Dossier to persuade the Turkish People that a new Govt couldn't possibly be worse than the present one.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 13, 2016 4:06:26 PM | 21

Al disease is to close down its totally dis-honest based US media!!!!!

Posted by: Rd. | Jan 13, 2016 4:11:42 PM | 22

For a long time AJ is denied, or banned, to distribute its content as the major networks are doing.

An explanation is clumsy and difficult to believe. Something with that name simply can not be working, they might have the programme 150% of than Fox, or CNN, simply stated, in the US hate toward anything what IS and SOUND to Islam is exposed as a monstrous. Lunacy of the US is unprecedented.

In a nation-state even a propaganda producing outlets must be of the nation-origin.

February 10, 1936


You must have good government. And for good government you need good propaganda. Good government without propaganda is as feeble as propaganda without a government behind it. They must reinforce each other.

And if the Jewish press think they can threaten us now, or find ways around our emergency decrees, they'd better look out. One day we'll lose out patience, and then their lying Jewish tongues will be silenced!”

I can only hope that Medievalist from West Asia will look upon its neighbors and own interest, not the interest of murderers in silk ties.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 4:46:21 PM | 23


US NAVY went rogue without State and/or Whitehouse knowing the plans.


Navy was testing Iran radar with direct orders.


Someone wanted to start shit.

I do NOT believe it was an "accident". Timing is everything.

Posted by: shadyl | Jan 13, 2016 4:49:05 PM | 24

“The Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation, rooted in conflicts that date back millennia,” Obama said.

Typical Orientalism, current president is trying to whitewash his bloody hands, with this statement and false flag operations, and those before him.

Watch America's last 4 presidents each announce that they're bombing Iraq

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 4:50:56 PM | 25

Actually, Putin does put some distance between Russia and Assad

You have been talking about our targets and means, and now you are talking about al-Assad being our ally. Do you know that we support military operations of the armed opposition that combats ISIS? Armed opposition against al-Assad that is fighting ISIS. We coordinate our joint operations with them and support their offensives by airstrikes in various sections of the frontline. This is hundreds, thousands of armed people fighting ISIS. We support both the al-Assad’s army and the armed opposition. Some of them have publicly declared this, others prefer to remain silent, but the work is on-going.

He is also careful not to take sides on the Iran-Saudi issue

As for whether this will lead to a major regional clash, I do not know. I would rather not talk or even think in these terms. We have very good relations with Iran and our partnership with Saudi Arabia is stable.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 13, 2016 5:02:36 PM | 26

"I do NOT believe it was an "accident"."

As if both sides trying to present itself "we are so nice and innocent people". The US and China had "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" maybe this is the Iranian version of it.

But according to this:,50.3128223,9z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x3fb55aa7712145cd:0xfeed546d4f808f45?hl=en-US
US boats were nowhere close to Iranian territorial waters.

Second thing, is fast boat for commandos and that type of operation. Two boats that were captured must belong to same Matrix ship which must be in vicinity. According to Wiki these are Swedish built boats

Funny story.

Somebody asks about GPS if you look at the photo GPS receiver is clearly visible, in front of the helmsman's position. For example my GPS' that I have in a car error is ~25 yard.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 5:07:40 PM | 27

Putin must distance himself from Assad's policies (using very generic terms) if he wants to be a mediator at the table; he will be better able to engage rebel groups after this interview; b is right in saying the the americans are deluding themselves if they read those statements as a hint Putin will change his stance over Assad's right to partecipate in elections

Posted by: claudio | Jan 13, 2016 5:11:16 PM | 28

"Sure, a vessel can drift, but it's the sailors who allowed it to do so, and they certainly know how to operate their navigational equipment; otherwise, they'd never get posted to drive anything at sea. I fish in the ocean, and my GPS Chart Plotter is very primitive compared to what the US Navy has. "

The current version in NYT is that the boats failed to meet a vessel that would re-supply them with fuel. There are 300 nautical miles from Kuwait to Bahrain, so perhaps it is hard to load a smaller boat with sufficient fuel. Seems that the most advanced navy in the world should do better than that, but it reminds me a gruesome piece of news several years ago. During survival exercises of Marines in Arizona a desiccated body of a marine was discovered. Apparently, one year prior he participated in a similar exercise, but someone forgot to pick him up from the desert.

It seems that Iranians had a good day and a good cheer, while Americans tried to smile with an egg on their face (you can actually try it at home, a useful skill). The diplomacy to eliminate Assad is a similar perfunctory maneuver. My interpretation is that once any possibility of a "satisfactory ending" of Syrian war was precluded, western countries decided to prolong it as much as possible, which currently means supplying the rebels, and since it is not 100% deniable, some justification has to be voiced, "unacceptability of Assad". Assuming that the diplomats and think tankers truly think what they say or write is always risky. Perhaps some particularly mentally challenged idiots, say John Bolton, really do, but Kerry and Obama are actually rather intelligent and not ignorant.

The policy of fomenting and extending a civil war with no resolution is deeply immoral, but who does believe that it would stop our decision makers if the victims are "the other"? Perhaps some philosophers and bloggers believe in universalist ethics, but they would never make it in politics (exceptions are so rare that they really confirm the rule). And we can trace the motivation. The core motivation is that we have allies in the region who prompt that policy: (a) Israel, which is a pet project of part of our Establishment, and (b) absolute monarchs of the Gulf region who are justifiably paranoid that domestic mobs and Shias from the other side of the Gulf will one day sweep them from power. In case (b) the allies pay us really good coin that goes directly into the pockets of military-industrial complex, in case (a), the rich members of the Establishment who are particularly fond of this pet project pay good coin in political contributions etc. And who is willing to pay for a reverse policy?

Of course, it is not ALWAYS the case that the policy selection goes to the highest bidder. But there have to be strong, tangible reason to go against the highest bidder. As I wrote, ethics is not one of them. Wide unpopularity could be, but the issues are sufficiently complicated that the Establishment can obfuscate them with ease -- prattling nonsense if needed, but who will see it as nonsense? Another reason to oppose "high bidders" is a clear possibility of a disaster. If Obama were a real idiot, he would happily send air force to Syria after poison gas incidents. He even made several motions as if he really meant to do it. Ultimately, high military brass explained to him that it would be a disaster. I would conjecture that Obama knew it even before, but he needed a show of "making a good effort" to appease the "high bidders" and continue getting money for the MIC, political donations, etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 13, 2016 5:12:21 PM | 29

Correction, apparently both boats were near Farsi Island but still the speed of a boats is 75 km/h.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 5:14:24 PM | 30

Neretva'43 @27

A 25 yard error would endanger my boat and crew if I relied 100% on your GPS. Mine has an error of about one yard, and I check vital buoy coordinates annually to ensure everything is properly aligned. Bought new in 2004, it's a derelict unit by electronics's standards, although it continues to function like new.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 13, 2016 5:18:41 PM | 31

"The current version in NYT is that the boats failed to meet a vessel that would re-supply them with fuel. There are 300 nautical miles from Kuwait to Bahrain, so perhaps it is hard to load a smaller boat with sufficient fuel."
Range: 240 nmi (440 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)

Get serious. Ah, yes, a sailors had a fun that day, I did not notice scuba diving gear and water skis.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 5:19:43 PM | 32

@ karlof1 | Jan 13, 2016 5:18:41 PM | 31

I am talking about $40.00 GPS for street navigation. Marine ones are much more better one, although not sure what they have and those "land" ones doesn't.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 5:22:21 PM | 33

Here are Goebbels's words in the original German, as delivered in the Berliner Sportpalast on Feb. 10, 1933:

Man muss naemlich gut regieren, und mit einer guten Regierung auch eine gute Propaganda betreiben. Das eine gehoert zum anderen. Eine gute Regierung ohne Propaganda kann ebensowenig bestehen wie eine gute Propaganda ohne eine gute Regierung. Beide muessen sich einander ergaenzen.

Und wenn die jüdischen Zeitungen heute noch glauben, durch versteckte Drohungen die nationalsozialiste Bewegung einschüchtern zu können, wenn sie heute glauben, unsere Notverordnungen umgehen zu dürfen, sie sollen sich hüten! Einmal wird unsere Geduld zu Ende sein, und dann wird den Juden das freche Lügenmaul gestopft werden.

Earlier in his speech, he cites the Berliner Tageblatt, owned by the Mosse family, by name three times. So we know what he was talking about in talking about Jewish newspapers.

What, by the way, were the emergency decrees that had already been issued by Feb. 10, can anyone tell me?

Posted by: lysias | Jan 13, 2016 5:26:18 PM | 34

Not sure about Feb. 10, but the Reichstags was burned by Nazi by the end of Feb. and after that the Nazis enacted something like the People Court.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 5:36:46 PM | 35

Re: Neretva'43 @ 32

It ads up: 240 nmi range, 300 mmi distance, so either the boats should use fuel saving speed and make it in 24 h, or they should be resupplied. So someone could f..d up. BTW, the range that you linked is for 20 knots, I guess that the rough formula is that the fuel consumption is proportional to the square of the speed, and thus the range is inversely proportional to speed. Thus, 240 mmi at 20 knots, 480 at 10 knots, 120 at 40 knots (i.e. at 75 kmh). Farsi Island is smack in the middle of the route from Kuwait to Bahrein,

The latest DoD release on the sailors captured by Iranian Revolutionary Guard is very gracious, "US Navy always helps sailors in distress and we appreciate the prompt manner etc.", and the end result is a boon to Iran which can show decent relations with USA at the very moment when KSA (and GCC) is fulminating. For that matter, the Administration may also be interested in stopping GCC from going too far.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 13, 2016 5:37:18 PM | 36

Piotr Berman | Jan 13, 2016 5:37:18 PM | 36

"It ads up..." Is it?

I know that, you know that...and they did not? So, they simply ventured into 300 nm trip with a tank of fuel sufficient for 240? Maybe I failed somewhere along the line of thinking, or too much of logic.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 5:43:42 PM | 37

@34 February 4th, 1933: A decree ‘For the Protection of the German People’ It gave Hitler the power to ban political meetings and the newspapers of his political rivals.

Posted by: dh | Jan 13, 2016 5:45:48 PM | 38

I doubt very much they are going anywhere that long. Those boats are of special purpose not for cruising, and they do have Mother-ship.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 5:49:03 PM | 39


Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutze des Deutschen Volkes (Feb. 4, 1933).

Interesting to read that the decree was already being planned by Papen's earlier 1932 government. In fact, there are reasons for believing that Hitler's coalition partners were involved in the planning for the Reichstag Fire and the following decrees and mass arrests, as discussed in Der Reichstagsbrand. Wie Geschichte gemacht wird by Kugel and Bahar.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 13, 2016 5:52:04 PM | 40

Hindenburg trusted Papen. So it is very likely that he signed this decree (and the later Reichstag Fire one) because Papen recommended that he should.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 13, 2016 5:54:44 PM | 41

dh | Jan 13, 2016 5:45:48 PM | 38

“It gave Hitler the power...”

“the words of the Fuhrer had the force of law” Eichman

As we know Nazi Germany was democratic as much as the US is or was or whatever.

The country that is governed by the Executive order is totalitarian de iure and de facto. Let alone say that is de facto in permanent State of Emergency.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 5:58:53 PM | 42

Karl Rove: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Like WMD in Iraq, if it is said often and emphatically enough, it will become a certain kind of reality.

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Jan 13, 2016 6:07:21 PM | 43

" will become a certain kind of reality."

maybe, in short term. In long term and for objective historians no. Not even today from relatively short historical distance.

Hitler's People Court reminds me on the US Federal Grand Jury. Both "Court" and "Jury" used this context is travesty beyond belief.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 6:14:41 PM | 44

@24 Especially in light of the fact that a certain darling neocon Senator who curiously shows up in war torn-countries just before escalating events occur has been going around singing Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran for years.

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Jan 13, 2016 6:14:44 PM | 45

Objective historians will always be judiciously studying reality of the past. We're still talking about the Gulf of Tonkin, for example. Empires act in the present based on their own realities.

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Jan 13, 2016 6:26:42 PM | 46

Hannah Ardent distinguish between reality and facts. If this is a true that Rove is lying and he of course is lier. You know, in the US everything is a lie. So called small people talking small lies and big people big one. But literally everybody is lying that's their lifestyle. Or, they are talking some bullish.

Epitome of the US culture, on every day life, is Lance Armstrong. He lied, everybody knows that and lies continued until he had been caught.

Everybody knows Saddam did not have chemical weapons? Reality show is the US invention too.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 6:37:18 PM | 47

"He refuses to say the name," Trump said. "If you don't say the name, you're never going to solve the problem."

Trump paused for a commotion in the crowd involving protesters, then he resumed.

"Hey, look, it's a problem, we have a problem," Trump said. "We have a problem, and it's going to be solved, but we have to understand the problem. We have to know the problem, and before we do anything and before we do anything stupid, we have to know what we're doing. So we do have a real problem. We do have a real problem. There is such a level of hatred that you can't even believe it. There's a hatred, a deep-seated hatred. We have to find out where it's coming from and what can we do about it?"

Trump's speech 2016 is essentially same as Goebells one from 1936.

This is where "they" are real: brutal and lethal. The US "culture" celebrate a death not life as they claim. Death and money, and somebody else misery is what they are serious about.

Reality show is the US invention too, seemingly everything is real, yet nothing is. It is imitation of life.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 6:50:03 PM | 48

“The Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation, rooted in conflicts that date back millennia,” Obama said.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 6:57:10 PM | 49

Kurds are hitting back at petty tyrant Erdogan...

Breaking: Massive explosion targeted Turkish police HQ in Kurdish town Çinar/Amed. First reports: 6 police killed.

Gilgo ‏@agirecudi 1h1 hour ago

More: Sources close to Turkish police claim simultaneous attacks targeting police HQs in Çınar, Bismil, Şırnak, Cizre, Silopi and Van.
48 retweets 15 likes
View other replies
Gilgo ‏@agirecudi 1h1 hour ago

More: Sources claim massive explosions followed by armed clashes.
(Only the first tweet with photos in this series is confirmed, others TBC)
15 retweets 10 likes
Gilgo ‏@agirecudi 57m57 minutes ago

New photos from Kurdish town of Çinar/Amed: Aftermath of explosion targeting Erdogan regime forces. #TwitterKurds

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 13, 2016 7:17:36 PM | 50

Two US boats are not going to have a mechanical problem. They must have been risking the frontier. They were caught, like the Brits, and then released. Only for the US it's an absolute shame. Americans in the hands of others, that's an absolute no-no.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 13, 2016 7:24:31 PM | 51

I'm sure a decent part of the blame lay with US State departments having their internet info filtered and censored...during work time at least. In the minds of the many minions, I'm nearly sure it is in fact the truth.

Why they would censor info travelling through the ether at really says enough about who owns the greatest fears among us. Not the darkness of the many, just the darkness of a few who get to write the rules of history...who gets to see what.

The US State reality is just so distant now...

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 13, 2016 7:31:01 PM | 52

b: '... this messy thinking starts at the top ...'

Yes it does. I agree.

Swan Song for a War and Austerity President (Who is Also Black)

Obama’s fictional – and, thankfully, final – State of the Union address seems coherent only when juxtaposed with Republican counter-fictions. Together, the two interlocking narratives describe a nation and world of complete fantasy.

Under his guidance, “we recovered from the worst economic crisis in generations” (by further consolidating the hegemony of the banks, pumping tens of trillions into the accounts of the Lords of Capital, and finally admitting that Wall Street was too big to jail); “reformed our health care system” (through his 2009 bait-and-switch that further embedded corporate insurers and drug monopolists and set back true “universal” single payer health care, possibly for a generation); “reinvented our energy sector” (by turning the White House into the global headquarters of fracking, destroying all prospects of halting global warming short of a catastrophic 3 degree rise, and presiding over the world’s worst oil spill, saturating the Gulf of Mexico); and “secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love” (a stance that did not “evolve” until it had gained national traction during his second term in office).

Obama Speech Ignored His Death Toll at Home and Abroad

The White House kept one seat vacant in the gallery during Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday “for the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice.” This was part of Obama’s campaign for new federal restrictions on firearms ownership.

Obama could have saved seats for a wedding party. Twelve Yemenis who were celebrating nuptials on Dec. 12, 2013, would not have been able to attend Obama’s speech because they were blown to bits by a U.S. drone strike.

The Wall Street Stooge in Chief, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate lives in a pigpen of sloppy thinking ... the names of the children he murdered in Afghanistan and Yemen, in just his first term. The CIA's Manchurian Candidate.

And what we have to look forward to in the next 5 to 10 years ... the NPPL's legacy ...

Philippine Supreme Court Approves Return of U.S. Troops

The Philippine Supreme Court, in a 10-to-4 decision, approved an agreement that would allow the American military to station troops and weapons at bases in the Philippines, a former American territory, more than two decades after lawmakers in Manila voted to expel American troops in a show of anti-colonialism.

... to be carried out by pig's to be named later, living in succession at the pigpen of messy thinking at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Or we can start now, better late than never.

@25 neretriva'43

Thanks for the link to the Bushes I&II, Clinton I, and Obama all bombing Iraq.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 13, 2016 7:42:12 PM | 53

Fuel and boating: The 1/3 Rule. Coast Guard is very adamant that mariners adhere to the 1/3 Rule when it comes to fuel: You plan your trip so that you have 1/3 of your fuel remaining when you return to port as a buffer in case of emergencies. Running out of fuel at sea is one of--if not the most--embarrassing and dangerous thing you can allow to happen as a captain. Murphy's Law is very painful out on the ocean--people die because of small infringements.

What I'm saying is hard core professionals like those in the Navy and Coast Guard don't make stupid mistakes like the one alluded to here. If what's being alleged is actually the real deal, then several people ought to be court martialed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 13, 2016 7:46:11 PM | 54

It's called face saving. At least that's what it looks like. As soon as I saw that quote from Puting I knew they'd ignore the rest of his statement completely.

It's a good sign, overall. But I'd look at this Wall Street Journal article too before getting too optimistic.

Also, I suspect that Russia will be skeptical. Why would they trust anybody on this side at this point? And Kerry has been going back and forth on Assad for so many months, it seems like he still thinks he has a way of booting him out at the last minute or some such.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 13, 2016 7:46:54 PM | 55

How then can the "administration official" come up with this nonsense?
Probably Jewish.

Posted by: MRW | Jan 13, 2016 7:49:21 PM | 56

@33 Neretva'43,

Upmarket GPS receivers, such as marine and survey units, use a differential mode, allowing ~1-meter accuracy. Budget receivers achieve only 25-meter or so accuracy, which is usually enough to distinguish streets in a subdivision.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jan 13, 2016 7:58:19 PM | 57

@51 Laguerre 'Americans in the hands of others, that's an absolute no-no.'

No! No! Blame the Admirals of the USN. McCain will blame Obama. "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." Like the Forrestal. Or the Vincennes. It's Froggy, again, trying to reappropriate the 'hall' from the wolverines.

I had an English friend who told me the vile English elite all held their breath when Wind in the Willows was first published, only to resume breathing when it was successfully embraced as a children's classic. Poor badger, poor Mosaddegh, poor all of us.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 13, 2016 8:05:03 PM | 58


Probably Jewish.

Probably right. At the risk of being called "anti-semitic," the "non-sense" is symptomatic of a deep neurosis. Jews don't have a copyright on neurosis but it runs deeply in their genes, the US government is full of Israeli firsters, ergo, non-sense permeates it.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 13, 2016 8:09:13 PM | 59

My feeling is that this is all for domestic consumption. The US government must maintain the illusion of being the world's sole super power and sole authority or else the US people will start to question why we must go without civil liberties and spend $1 Trillion per year on military and intelligence.

Wether they are stupid enough to believe what they tell us, I have no idea.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 13, 2016 8:11:36 PM | 60

A recent war crime committed by the US in Afghanistan when they bombed the hospital and murdered/burned 30 individual.

Doctors Without Borders says it provided the GPS coordinates to U.S. and Afghan officials weeks before and that the strikes continued for half an hour after U.S. and Afghan authorities were told the hospital was being bombed.

and now two fast boat lost at Persian Gulf?

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 8:11:44 PM | 61

from above link

"The other thing that the Department of Defense has made clear about this investigation is that it will consider a series of potential human errors, failures of process and technical malfunctions that may have contributed to the mistaken strike. And I think that’s an indication from the Department of Defense that they take very seriously their responsibility to conduct this thorough investigation."

“By contrast, Putin brought up the deadly US airstrike on a hospital that killed over 20 people in northern Afghanistan in October and the following lack of mainstream media attention.

American pilots hit the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, by mistake, I am sure,” he said. “Western media outlets have attempted to hush this up, to drop the subject and have a very short memory span when it comes to such things. They mentioned it a couple of times and put it on ice.” On the contrary, “this phony evidence” about Russian pilots allegedly targeting civilian targets “keeps circulating,” Putin added.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 8:22:55 PM | 62

"..a series of potential human errors, failures of process and technical malfunctions..."

"an indication from the Department of Defense that they take very seriously their responsibility..."

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.

Donald Rumsfeld

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 13, 2016 8:30:28 PM | 63

@63 neretva

And then there are the unknown knowns. There are things we insist we don't know that everyone else in the world does know. And which we watch unfold now, just as the oligarchic braintrust unknows them.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 13, 2016 8:40:24 PM | 64

@59 LW, probably droll troll.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 13, 2016 8:42:40 PM | 65


@59 LW, probably droll troll.

Probably right. Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 13, 2016 9:00:56 PM | 66

Does anyone have like me an uneasy feeling with regards to Russia's recent "endorsement" of pro government rebels such as the US supported YPG/SDF?

I wonder if a tacit arrangement has been made between the 2 powers to divide their zones of influence in a west/east ffashion. Surely Russia's is on to US shenanigans about a possible partition of Syria via Kurdish support so why would it recognize them has pro Assad troops? Unclear to me..

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 13, 2016 9:17:02 PM | 67

Exclusive footage from Salma, Latakia (Video)

With the Syrian Arab Army and their allies steamrolling across Latakia province, the focus is now on liberating the remaining towns under terrorist occupation.

It is expected the operation to clear Latakia will be swift since the recapture of the terrorist stronghold of Salma.

The Syrian Arab Army will then focus their attention on Idlib province that was completely overrun by Turkish-supported terrorist forces in early 2015, namely by Ahrar ash-Sham, the Free Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front, under the axis name of the Army of Conquest.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 13, 2016 10:16:33 PM | 68

@29 piotr 'The core motivation is that we have allies in the region who prompt that policy: (a) Israel, which is a pet project of part of our Establishment ... the rich members of the Establishment who are particularly fond of this pet project pay good coin in political contributions etc. '

Ah, but the key word here is 'rich'. How to get rich? Operate a shell game with other people's money. The 'good coin' paid in political contributions is our own, first laundered as 'aid' from the US Treasury to the zionist entity by their stooges in the US congress, then skimmed for said stooges' 'pay' when the cut is made in Tel Aviv. I imagine they appreciate their own 'art' almost as much as the money itself.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 13, 2016 11:09:28 PM | 69

OT Al-Jazeera America is closing its doors

Al Jazeera America is closing its doors, CEO Al Anstey told staffers on Wednesday in an all-hands meeting. The small broadcast channel, which has operated on the periphery of U.S. broadcast media since opening up in 2013, will cease to exist on April 30.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jan 13, 2016 11:24:44 PM | 70

Does anyone here have an uneasy feeling when reading about Russia's "endorsement" of US supported YPG/SDF? Its as if there is a tacit agreement between the two about western/eastern spheres of influence in Syria but surely Russia is up to US shenanigans about partition? Not sure what to make of it..

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 14, 2016 12:29:32 AM | 71

It looks like the msm is unable to back up the Obama fantasy at this point, not the AP at anyrate ...

Russian airstrikes help Syrian army gain major victory in strategic coastal region

Backed by relentless Russian airstrikes, Syrian troops and allied militiamen on Wednesday pushed deeper into a major rebel stronghold in the northwestern province of Latakia, a day after seizing a key rebel-held town in the strategic region overlooking the coast, the government and opposition activists said.

The insurgents in the opposition-held area near the Turkish border were collapsing after the town of Salma fell to government loyalists late Tuesday. Salma's fall marked one of the most significant military victories by the Syrian military since Russia began airstrikes in the country last September to shore up President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

On Wednesday, government troops seized the villages of Mrouniyah and Marj Kawkah near Salma as they continued their advances in the region, aided by immense Russian firepower.

Salma, part of mountainous chains near the border with Turkey known as Jabal al-Akrad and Jabal al-Turkmen, has been under rebel control for the past three years.

"Whoever controls Salma gains control all those surrounding areas which it overlooks," said Zakariya Ahmad, an opposition activist in the nearby Idlib province.

South Front has a video depicting the overall situation in Syriaq.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 14, 2016 12:52:42 AM | 72

Does anyone here have an uneasy feeling when reading about Russia's...
Posted by: Lozion | Jan 14, 2016 12:29:32 AM | 70

Nope. I've persuaded myself that Russia has so many truths to talk about that lies are completely unnecessary... and it's driving the neo-conned Yankees INSANE.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 14, 2016 1:39:34 AM | 73

@70 lozin, 'Does anyone here have an uneasy feeling when reading about Russia's "endorsement" of US supported YPG/SDF?'

Yeah, it makes me uneasy. I'm afraid Russia will be waylaid and mugged again.

I'm not sure what to make of it either.

But Russia's been coming out on top since the scales fell from her eyes and she realized that her 'partner' was 100% unreliable, in fact out to kill her, so I guess that she has a plan, she's weighed the risks, and has decided that there's more to be gained than lost from the actions she's taken. You know what they say ... you can't argue with success. So far.

Whatever she's doing, I don't think there's 'a tacit agreement between the two about western/eastern spheres of influence in Syria'. I think Russia wants to accomplish her goals in Syria without a direct confrontation with the US.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 14, 2016 2:17:55 AM | 74

@jfl #64 "the unknown knowns"

I hope that's original because I'm raising a glass to your health for inventing it. Thank you for closing the circle. That's an amazingly pithy way of stating the denialism.

One could almost go for overkill, and posit that heroes such as Rumsfeld and his ilk do in fact circumnavigate this circle in life, venturing from secure knowns into challenging but accepted unknowns, thence to unsuspected unknowns, only to flee from these in refusal to learn and change from the encounters, seeking refuge instead in denial.

As the caravan moves on.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 14, 2016 3:13:00 AM | 75

Karlov1, neretva et al re GPS accuracy.
Just for fun, I checked the resolution of the GPS in my (Very Ordinary) cellphone and (VO) tablet when I first bought them. On a magnified map both allow me to easily, and reliably, distinguish between 1/4, 1/3, and 1/2 way across the 8 metre-wide residential street outside my home which, imo, translates to a resolution of circa 1 metre. I would expect a specialised device to be "better" although I can't imagine a situation in which "better" would be worth paying extra $ for.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 14, 2016 3:22:16 AM | 76

Very Ordinary = not expensive or special.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 14, 2016 3:42:19 AM | 77

@ Hoarsewhisperer | 75

And thats civilian GPS, military GPS is much more accurate.

Civilian GPS: 0,8 m.

Military GPS: 2 cm to 1 mm
"Higher accuracy is attainable by using GPS in combination with augmentation systems. These enable real-time positioning to within a few centimeters, and post-mission measurements at the millimeter level."

Speaking of captured US boats:

What shallow water and river boats were doing in the middle of Gulf and traveling 500 km distance? Special forces were fully armed and with spying equipment, caught in Iran's territorial waters. If common sense and history teaches us anything, they were on a spying mission.

If one boat broke, it would be towed by another to safety, not to hostile territory.

Iran had no real choice here, they had to release 10 marines ASAP not to rock the boat when sanctions are about to be lifted. Regardless what marines were doing there. Iran's explanation was politically correct, but obviously not what happened. "They werent spying, just their boats GPS equipment was broken". I found it amusing, state-of-the-art new military GPS equipment in both boats was broken? :))

What else Iranians were suppose to say? "They were spying, and got caught red-handed." If they say this, they wouldnt be able to release marines just like that. It would drag for weeks and months, with back and forth accusations, finally releasing marines if Iran gets something in return, like prisoner swap. This would pretty much guarantee significant stalling of sanction removal, or even broken deal altogether. This minor spying incident just wasnt worth of it.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 14, 2016 4:37:00 AM | 78

Another point to add, I'm impressed how quickly Iranians caught US boats. They were small and stealthy, and yet Iranians got them within 1-2 kilometers in their territorial waters? And Iran doesnt even have military satellites! This shows very serious surveillance, boats were obviously tracked well before they entered Iran's waters, and IRGC speed boats were able to reach US marines almost immediately after they did. Respect.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 14, 2016 4:44:30 AM | 79

Thanks, Harry @ #78.
Although there was an "inexactitude" in my comment (GPS thinks the street is all of the space between property boundaries), the 0.8m accurately reflects the behaviour of the "You are here" dot. The cheap GPS unit someone outgrew, which I keep in the car, has a splodge instead of a dot which didn't spoil its usefulness in nailing a + 9% speedo error.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 14, 2016 5:28:10 AM | 80

The boat story is very fishy These are small attack boats typically used to infiltrate SF operators. Only one had engine problems. The other could have very easily towed the first back to port. So, someone is lying. The boat captain(s) would be experienced enough to know what to do. These are modern versions of the boat used in the movie Apocalypse Now. So, probably commanded by a salty CPO.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Jan 14, 2016 6:12:52 AM | 81

@75 grieved

Just two bits of info, four cases. Fill in the blank. Then offer a description of what it means. I admit it made me smile. Anyone with too much time on their hands might have done it.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 14, 2016 7:34:30 AM | 82

I still say that the boat story is not overly fishy, because a trip plan with refueling at see makes sense and something could go wrong. When you deal with the young people who go to military as grader of their homeworks in college you can see that many have capacity to make "stupid errors". An alternative plan to sail slowly for 30 hours would not test "combat performance". There are fishy aspects: the route was roughly following the coast of KSA, so a logical meeting would be close to that shore, and a contingency plan should be to get to the shore rather than to drift through the Gulf, number two, it means that the "stupid error" was made by the crew of a larger ship, the one that would provide fuel, and that ship should have more senior command. Although it could be also something as simple as badly tuned engine that excessively consumed fuel, plus imprecise fuel gauge.

Thus an alternative would "testing the defenses" against "silent mode", boats attempting to cross a patch of Iranian waters at a very low speed to be refueled after the crossing. More sinister would be provoking yet higher tensions, but that would be a strangely unreliable approach. To the contrary, the fact that Iranians are deft at avoiding escalations when they do not want them would make the test a low risk operation.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 14, 2016 8:16:14 AM | 83

Posted by: jfl | Jan 13, 2016 11:09:28 PM | 69

How capitalists make money and how they spend money are somewhat separate issues. In the case of Koch brothers the link is very clear, they want to change US governance in a way that would make it easier for them to make more money. But the support of Israel is not like that. Consider why many of them support Metropolitan Opera in New York. Attending opera is fun, attending fundraising galas is also fun (mind you, it is not just music, wine and food, but also displaying trophy wives and girlfriends etc.), and there is some competition with the peer capitalists who is more sophisticated and who has more impressive tchotchkes and achievement badges. Support of Israel has all those elements, and to the degree that mere Metropolitan Opera cannot provide. Of course, fun (enjoyment, ego trips) and profit can be mixed, but in my opinion, for the rich backers, Israel is not all that different from Metropolitan Opera.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 14, 2016 8:43:40 AM | 84

@Piotr Berman@83

I still say that the boat story is not overly fishy, because a trip plan with refueling at see makes sense and something could go wrong.

Many posters have gone over the "fishy," ill-intentioned deal, however, the other option is these green crews could have been sent as sacrificial lambs to the butcher, hoping the Iranians would open fire on them, or that once the US Navy sailors were asked to surrender, they would open fire on the Iranians who had fire superiority, get many US sailors killed/wounded, one or two boats sank trying to escape, and trigger an incident for which the aircraft carriers were just waiting in the wings.

Everything is possible in the murky world of hybrid war.

The IRGC Navy evidently has been trained and drilled on this type of operations, they have learned to do it flawlessly, using powerful force without recurring to violence.

Kudos to the IRGC/Iran.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 14, 2016 9:03:10 AM | 85

@84 piotr

All you say may well be true, but they the Israel aid business is still self-funding.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 14, 2016 9:29:02 AM | 86

You'd better have gas in the boat,if you need a tow back its about 500 bucks,and if you belong to the Sea tow family,only a $150.(Jeez,in the old days the fellow boater would help you back.)
AJ America turned into just another lying neolibcon Zionists apprentice news org.,hence its demise.
Lysias;How many languages do you know?I failed German 2 for lack of attention.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 14, 2016 9:29:59 AM | 87

@ Lone Wolf | 85

The IRGC Navy evidently has been trained and drilled on this type of operations, they have learned to do it flawlessly, using powerful force without recurring to violence.

Yes, much like Russia's "polite green men" took over Crimea, all military experts were in awe.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 14, 2016 9:29:59 AM | 88

What is so odd, and disquieting (about O’s state of the Union speech), is that in politics, and specially in insular and isolated countries (as the USA is), a certain amount of masquerade and spin can be carried our for home consumption, without any damage, provided it is calculated properly. But the present stratospheric level of garbage seems to be directed at the self, that is the in-group that is making it! As a sort of self-reinforcement mechanism. I mean, if Obama made talk about the Syrians deciding their fate and democratic values and blah the Syrian crisis will be resolved blah blah with the help of the USA rah rah and terrorists won’t rest in their beds…US citizens would be perfectly happy, particularly as the (dumb) argument of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Assad is ‘the least worst’ etc. has been smartly shoved down their throats already. Americans are supposed to be pragmatic, can-do, capable of making the best of a bad job, and so on. Not to mention that 90% of the public is asleep anyway.

Secondly, if this kind of talk is addressed to allies - a dubious lot, mentioning only KSA and Israel for now - it won’t do either, as it makes the US subservient rather than in control. Throwing sops or softie speechios at allies is permitted to some degree, provided it is calculated to be understood, accepted, and has some meat behind it: it usually signals the message, you are not forgotten, we will do what we can. That implicit promise then *must be made good* and the time-line for doing so is rather slim. All this does not seem to apply in this case, within my view.

As for creating one’s own reality and so on, it can be part of realpolitik up to a point, but not recognizing when it can’t work, is inappropriate, is an extremely serious failure, a dangerous trap to be avoided at all costs, because the audience will see it, and then the King has no clothes.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 14, 2016 10:11:48 AM | 89

Syria won't be vermin-proof until someone does something about the sources of the vermin. If persuasion doesn't work, and the Final Solution has to be a violent one, then Russia will need a very long list of sins to justify its action. And it probably won't be confined to Turkey's turkeys.
On the other hand, Russia may be able to use its Erdogan Dossier to persuade the Turkish People that a new Govt couldn't possibly be worse than the present one.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 13, 2016 4:06:26 PM | 21

Erdogan has mastered psyches of lower educated part of Turkish population over the last 13-yr. He knows very well about divide and conquer.

My bet is he also got on the terms with one part of the still somewhat powerful Turkish Military, and Russians know they have one too many investments in Turkey starting with Nuclear Power station as well as gas stream and other bilateral trade agreements over the last decade.

One would have been almost sure Post-russian fighter jet crash that he is a goner given no one besides KSA/Qatar and terrorist organisations Al-Nusra, ISIS likes the tyrant and he has such a heavy baggage filled with full of crimes against humanity, crony network, oil smuggling, etc etc. yet he is shamelessly keep pumping his neo-ottoman colonial wet dream rhetoric.

Posted by: Truist | Jan 14, 2016 10:23:26 AM | 90

Can anyone comment why Putin/the Russians stopped short of unveiling further evidence of Erdogan, Family and Co crook empire from oil smuggling to sarin gas, to money laundering? Truist at 18.

Because diplomacy is the first stage of the Art of War.

If diplomacy can work you’re good to go, that is, fill in all positive aspects, either moral or selfish; over-arching for the good of mankind, or an outcome of petty, sordid calculus. Putin believes this very firmly. To achieve any diplomatic goals, you must not denigrate, abase, diminish, insult, expose, your prospective negotiation ‘partners’ (that is why Putin always uses this word.) You must be able to meet them if not as equals in power (of any kind) at the table, but as legitimate interlocutors who do have, and can occupy, at least the granted position (by you) of existing, and being considered worthy of own interests, and capable enough to actually, hmm, ‘give it a try.’

Putin’s strategy is of course also meant to show up the US’ actions, which are just the opposite. Vilify the opponent, expose his sins (lies and so on permitted), slap on sanctions, bomb, invade, kill everyone, game over.

—This is of course very general. Idk what exactly Putin has revealed about Erdogan.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 14, 2016 10:34:28 AM | 91

Does anyone have like me an uneasy feeling with regards to Russia's recent "endorsement" of pro government rebels such as the US supported YPG/SDF?

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 13, 2016 9:17:02 PM | 67

Can anyone comment why Putin/the Russians stopped short of unveiling further evidence of Erdogan, Family and Co crook empire from oil smuggling to sarin gas, to money laundering? Truist at 18.
Posted by: Noirette | Jan 14, 2016 10:34:28 AM | 91

Because YPG support really worries Turkey. Putin holds Turkey responsible for the destabilization of Caucasus, not Saudi Arabia.
Putin being printed in BILD signals a German shift - Germany wants the refugee problems solved as fast as possible, and Putin is the only possible solution there is.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 14, 2016 11:00:50 AM | 92

Harry @79

One thing that hasn't been covered is the typical mission of the 'more adventurous' Riverine Groups. They are used to insert and extract special forces units - each boat can carry up to ~20 soldiers in addition to the crew. Did the US drop some dodgy guys off somewhere before being caught (US SF? MEK? Mossad liaison?). Was the 'capture' a deliberate smokescreen to cover the real purpose of the mission?

The boats were from Coastal Riverine Group 2. Here is their 'mission statement' - see final paragraph for CRG 2.

"It will be broken up into two groups. Coastal Riverine Group 1 will be based at Imperial Beach, Calif., with a squadron at the Naval Amphibious Base in San Diego. Coastal Riverine Group 2 will have its headquarters in Portsmouth, Va., with additional squadrons in Bahrain, Rhode Island and Florida.

Each squadron will feature a headquarters element and four distinct companies, three of which will handle security operations, to include protecting ships and shore facilities,
carrying out search-and seizure-operations and providing security for aircraft.

The fourth, Delta company, will specialize in traditional Riverine duties, such as insertions and extractions, boardings on rivers and other inland waters, intelligence collection and more offensive combat operations, said Capt. James Hamblet, Coastal
Riverine Group 2’s commander."

Posted by: Yonatan | Jan 14, 2016 12:59:30 PM | 93

I don't recall anyone posting this link to Greenwald's article condemning the US Propaganda System for its blatant lying about the Navy's mistake,

There really can't be any clearer example of The System than how this incident was handled. About the only bit of spin missing were Trump and Sanders being at fault for the Iranian aggression.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 14, 2016 1:03:51 PM | 94



Posted by: Mina | Jan 14, 2016 1:23:53 PM | 95

re 95. Wonderful stuff. They all looked so young then.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 14, 2016 3:18:14 PM | 96

One has to view the US Navy/Iran incident through Corporate AmeriKKKa's eyes. The Corporate Owners of the USG hope to profit immensely from the detente with Iran and didn't want the Military's juvenile louts putting their Potential Plunder at risk. So they told the USG to find some US grown-ups and sort things out with Iran's grown-ups.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 14, 2016 8:11:20 PM | 97

@89 noirette 'But the present stratospheric level of garbage seems to be directed at the self, that is the in-group that is making it!'

The jig is up. It's dawned on all of them, last week, or the month before. They are all desperately unknowing the now only-too-well-known.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 14, 2016 9:43:48 PM | 98

@91 noirette

Reading the post I imagine Putin leading Obama and his handlers out of hades ... I hope he doesn't look back, keeps his eyes on the sun.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 14, 2016 9:48:49 PM | 99

@97 They want to have it both ways most likely. Keep selling weapons to the Saudis whilst building Walmarts in Iran.

Posted by: dh | Jan 14, 2016 10:04:00 PM | 100

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