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December 17, 2016

Open Thread 2016-42

News & views ...

Posted by b on December 17, 2016 at 04:48 AM | Permalink

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From Popular Science:

By Alexandra Ossola March 24, 2016

Hey - why not? What could possibly go wrong?

Thank God the coup starts Monday. There may be hope for us all yet.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 17, 2016 5:01:10 AM | 1

It appears that the next city to be liberated from known terrorists should be Washington,the American people should invite Russia in to help.

Posted by: Ken hughes | Dec 17, 2016 5:35:20 AM | 2

Were the birthers right? "Forensics investigation proves Barack Obama’s birth certificate is ‘fake’ (VIDEO)"

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 7:07:34 AM | 3

try this link, made a mistake:

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 7:09:46 AM | 4

"Information war" is getting fun.

Spurred by the mounting concern over Russian meddling in the US presidential election, western spooks are rushing to try and get a fuller picture of the Kremlin’s strategy for manipulating information to influence opinion.

The CIA lost control of the Syrian and Ukrainian "civil war" narrative?
Oil and gas executives lost patience with politicians and decided to run the show themselves?

Putin: US and Japanese oil companies keenly interested in Russian energy sector ?

Ah, these deals aren't for us little people.

"Then there is another area of activity – economic interaction between Russia and the United States. Right now, for example, it has already been made public that we signed a large deal to privatize one of our biggest oil and gas companies, Rosneft, which sold 19.5 percent of its shares to a consortium of Qatar’s sovereign fund and Glencore, one of the world’s largest traders," Putin told the Nippon TV channel and and the Yomiuri newspaper in an interview posted on the Kremlin website.

Glencore is the one that is buying oil from Kurdistan without consulting the Iraqi government.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2016 7:21:19 AM | 5

This is Rudaw on Glencore's Kurdistan deal

The comment section is interesting.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2016 7:25:08 AM | 6

Two great reads from Nassim Nicolas Taleb, author of The Black Swan.

The first is a short two minute read, and cant convert the (I'd guess at upwards of) 95% of MofA commenters who already see through the MSM shitstorms... yet it still has a fantastic 'share value.'

The Syrian War Condensed: A more Rigorous Way to Look at the Conflict
In the end I never imagined seeing the “left” siding with the AlQaeda of Sept 11, mourning the fighters of Aleppo and, aside from such independent journalists as Robert Fisk, spreading all manner of concoctions.

Inside that is a link to a entertaining, Frakonomics-style 25min read for anyone looking to kill a few minutes here and there.

The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority
How Europe will eat Halal — Why you don’t have to smoke in the smoking section — Your food choices on the fall of the Saudi king –How to prevent a friend from working too hard –Omar Sharif ‘s conversion — How to make a market collapse

Posted by: MadMax2 | Dec 17, 2016 7:28:31 AM | 7

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 7:09:46 AM | 4

It does not matter. Obama has always been a US citizen and he got elected - twice. The birth certificate discussion is offensively racist. No white president nor presidential candidate had to face it.

In the meantime there is no transparency on Trump's tax payments nor conflicts of interests. Very likely not just Trump but his larger family got the job.

I find it humanly endearing and comparatively harmless considering their business is real estate and marketing but it is not "democracy".

US trade unions will have to put up a fight for their life. It is probably healthy but the danger of an authoritarian corporate state is real.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2016 7:38:20 AM | 8

@somebody | 5

That Rosneft story is a bit weird. Glendora and Qatar sovereign fund? See also this take by John Helmer (or mirror at NakedCapitalism).

Meanwhile presidentV. Putin came to Japan on an official visit (first to a G7 country since the Maidan affaire), some economic deals where signed (won’t amount to much in reality - mostly joint development of Kurils + some oil and gas deals). But PM Abe Shinzo did not make any progress on his cherished project of recovering the Northern Territories, or Southern Kuriles. At least they’ll keep talking.

Posted by: Philippe | Dec 17, 2016 7:39:45 AM | 9

Hmpf! While the U.S. bombs the shit out of 7 countries (and counting), Pres. Vladimir Putin is on a charm mission around the planet making "partners". The U.S. even tried to dissuade Abe from the meeting; to no avail.
The Phillipine's Duterte' has told the U.S.; bye, bye, and will align with China and Russia.
Gee, who do you think will (has?) win/won the diplomacy prize?
Bye, Bye U.S.; coulda, shoulda, woulda...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 17, 2016 7:50:37 AM | 10

somebody @8 Not sure if it is racist since there are five other presidential “birther” controversies from American history including John McCain, George Romney and Barry Goldwater.What is important is whether the truth was told, regardless of a persons colour or ethnic origins.

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 8:27:53 AM | 11

Posted by: Philippe | Dec 17, 2016 7:39:45 AM | 9

Sounds like the Kurile deal will be "joint use". Interesting that Helmer calls Glencore a "sanctions busting" expert. If I understand it Russian banks - presumably in Rubles - funded the restricted buy of Rosneft shares - presumably in Euro/Dollar - by Glencore and a Qatari fund.

Here is the Daily Telegraph on the deal

Rosneft is still majority-owned by the Russian government and is one of 11 companies placed under an asset freeze by EU and US sanctions designed to restrict the flow of foreign capital into Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in 2014. ...

Glencore will invest just €300m for a 0.54pc share in Rosneft, while holding 50pc of the joint venture it has set up with the Qataris to hold the Rosneft stake. The QIA will put €2.5bn into the deal, with the balance being supplied in loans from a group of Italian and Russian banks.
Switzerland-based Glencore, which was advised by law firm Linklaters, believes that owning shares in a prohibited entity is not in breach of the rules. “The transaction is in compliance with applicable sanctions laws,” said a Glencore spokesman.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2016 8:37:07 AM | 12

DAMASCUS – According to two reports coming out of Aleppo today, at least 14 US Coalition military officers were captured this morning in an East Aleppo bunker by Syrian Special Forces.

This story was quietly leaked by, who announced, “The Security Council is sitting in private on Friday, December 16, 2016, at 17:00 GMT, while NATO officers were arrested this morning by the Syrian Special Forces in a bunker in East Aleppo.”

Fares Shehabi MP, a prominent Syrian Parliamentarian and head of Aleppo’s Chamber of Commerce published the names of the Coalition officers on his Facebook page on the 15th December:

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 9:07:21 AM | 13

Obama repeated the false claim that Putin had been head of the KGB at his press conference yesterday. (I heard him saying the same thing on a recording of an interview on NPR radio, earlier yesterday morning, before the press conference.) What's up with his repeating such a lie? Hadn't his advisers told him that he was mistaken?

Posted by: lysias | Dec 17, 2016 9:16:57 AM | 14

lysias@14 I thought that also, but the KGB was replaced by the Federal Security Service. "Putin began his career in the KGB as an intelligence officer. Stationed mainly in East Germany, he held that position until 1990, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
in 1998, Putin was appointed deputy head of management under Boris Yeltsin's presidential administration. In that position, he was in charge of the Kremlin's relations with the regional governments.
Shortly afterward, Putin was appointed head of the Federal Security Service, an arm of the former KGB, as well as head of Yeltsin's Security Council".

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 9:33:01 AM | 15

"while NATO officers were arrested this morning by the Syrian Special Forces in a bunker in East Aleppo.”

I see one US and one Turkish name on the list. Until this list started doing the rounds, I was unaware that Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco and Israel - Saudi's being the majority - were part of NATO.

Posted by: Peter AU | Dec 17, 2016 9:46:57 AM | 16

@16 It's pretty clear ...14 coalition officers were captured.....NATO officers were arrested (2 of them). Of course the story may not be true.....we have to wait to read it on the BBC.

Posted by: dh | Dec 17, 2016 9:55:26 AM | 17

Re Nato Officers in Aleppo bunker

The complete article from Voltaire... "Voltaire network — The security Council seat to behind closed doors, Friday, December 16, 2016 at 17h universal time, while Nato officers were arrested this morning by the special Forces to the syrian in a bunker in Aleppo-Is."

The 21st century wire link to the supposed facebook page does not work.

Seems like more grist for the Rumor mill. GCC special forces advisors rather than NATO personnel?

Posted by: Peter AU | Dec 17, 2016 10:07:38 AM | 18

@18 Sure they could all be special forces, mercenaries, dual nationality manpad technicians. Hopefully there will be a news conference. I don't see much point in nit-picking until then.

Posted by: dh | Dec 17, 2016 10:12:55 AM | 19

I watched Wag the Dog (again) last night. It's amazing how bad our news has become in the 20 years since. At the end of one of the DVD extras was this: "So, will the next generation be able to tell the difference between real news and news that has been faked?" And that's a good question considering how many different source there are out there.

This is one of the extras:
Wag The Dog - From Washington to Hollywood and Back
(24:35 min)

This is an interview with the author of American Hero, the book that the movie was built from:
(19:35 min, 1998)

Posted by: Curtis | Dec 17, 2016 10:14:13 AM | 20

@Peter AU

Penelope posted "SAA has captured 10 NATO officers in their E Aleppo headqtrs. I love it." " and Ziad Fadel "....11 Americans and 2 retired British SAS operatives who could not escape East Aleppo. The publicity from such a capture of foreign agents would be priceless and prove that Obama and the limeys were 100% complicit in the murder of Syrian citizens."

Still unconfirmed if true. Russia should parade the spies or terrorists in the streets of Damascus to show UN - Obomo and Samantha Power, Kerry are damn liars and should expose publicly complicity to millions of refugees and death of innocents civilian in Syria and elsewhere. Let us wait and see video or pics.......

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 10:26:58 AM | 21

It looks like Condoleezza Rice may get her wish for the birth of a new Middle East. George Bush thought the US aligned and Sunni dominated Saudi and other GCC states, together with Israel would defeat and become the regional Hegemon of the more independent states, or as they are better known, the 'arc of resistance' see 'The Redirection' here Unfortunately for her and other Neocons, the opposite is happening. Syria's eventual victory will make the 'arc' stronger, the 'arc' Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq backed by Russia and to a lesser extent China will be joined by Yemen and possibly by Egypt and Libya, are we beginning to see US influence in the region disappear? One can only hope so. Now the 'arc' need to apply pressure, financial and military on the causes of all the upset and terrorism in Syria and all over the world the Wahhabi head choppers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Alliances are crucial when confronting the "Masters of the Universe".

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 10:29:56 AM | 22

Courageous academic speaking against propaganda

Posted by: Mina | Dec 17, 2016 10:30:34 AM | 23

names of the US/Nato/GCC mercs
Mutaz Kanoğlu – Turkey
David Scott Winer – USA
David Shlomo Aram – Israel
Muhamad Tamimi – Qatar
Muhamad Ahmad Assabian – Saudi
Abd-el-Menham Fahd al Harij – Saudi
Islam Salam Ezzahran Al Hajlan – Saudi
Ahmed Ben Naoufel Al Darij – Saudi
Muhamad Hassan Al Sabihi – Saudi
Hamad Fahad Al Dousri – Saudi
Amjad Qassem Al Tiraoui – Jordan
Qassem Saad Al Shamry – Saudi
Ayman Qassem Al Thahalbi – Saudi
Mohamed Ech-Chafihi El Idrissi – Moroccan

i bet they all have FB pages

Posted by: Mina | Dec 17, 2016 10:33:33 AM | 24

@ harrylaw 22.
A lot of the GOP don't think much about the goals of Team Bush and their accomplishments based on their own statements. I'm reading The Dirty War On Syria now and early on it talked of Condoleeza Rice's discussion of spreading creative chaos throughout the region back in 2005.

Egypt independently and Syria (with her allies) have done well to resist the manipulators. I wish Yemen and Libya could join in but they have been (successfully) weakened. It looks like their only outside support is from Russia. So far, the Saudi/Qatari Wahab-Salafist alliance with US/NATO is still strong but at least it is suffering setbacks. I only wish more Americans were informed of the obvious overall agenda.

Posted by: Curtis | Dec 17, 2016 10:55:59 AM | 25

Jack Smith 21

The problem I have seen since the start of the rumors of a NATO/western headquarters/control room within eastern Aleppo is that the westerners would have to remain invisible to the average rank and file jihadi or be able to pass themselves off as jihadists. A western control room in a hidden cave, somewhere out of sight of the average headchopper but close enough to remain in close contact with AQ leadership sounds plausible.
The above lists of names from Aleppo being posted are predominantly the types/nationalities whose ideology allows them to fit into the crowd and are predominantly neither NATO nor western.

Posted by: Peter AU | Dec 17, 2016 11:00:07 AM | 26

I guess the MSM has forgotten what was done to Fallujah...

Posted by: shadyl | Dec 17, 2016 11:00:27 AM | 27

You could also add that Libyans probably have no children.

Posted by: Mina | Dec 17, 2016 11:06:16 AM | 28

n addition to, the other original report was provided by Damascus-based Syrian journalist Said Hilal Alcharifi. According to Alcharifi, captured “NATO” officers were from a number of member states including the US, France, Germany and Turkey, as well as Israel. Here is his statement (translated from French):

“Thanks to information received, Syrian authorities discovered the headquarters of high ranking western/NATO officers in the basement of an area in East Aleppo and have captured them alive. Some names have already been given to Syrian journalists, myself included. The nationalities are US, French, British, German, Israeli, Turkish, Saudi, Moroccan, Qatari etc. In light of their nationalities and their rank, I assure you that the Syrian government have a very important catch, which should enable them to direct negotiations with the countries that have tried to destroy them.”

December 15, 2016 Hilal Alchar Facebook statement (translated from the French)

Very urgent
The Syrian authorities were able to arrive at the headquarters of the senior Western and regional officers in the basement of an Aleppo neighborhood and to capture them alive.
Some names have already been ex-filtered to Syrian journalists, including myself.
Given the nationalities (US, French, British, German, Israeli, Turkish, Saudis, Moroccans, Qatari, etc.) of these bastards and their military ranks,
Syria now holds a tremendous amount of treasure to carry out negotiations with the countries that have destroyed it.

Posted by: ALberto | Dec 17, 2016 11:11:02 AM | 29

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 10:29:56 AM | 22
It is just a rerun of the Arab Cold War

US thought they could change the dynamic with Russia/Soviet Union out of the picture. Well, they could not.

The big prize they seem to have lost are Iran, Pakistan and probably Afghanistan and Turkey.

Posted by: Mina | Dec 17, 2016 10:30:34 AM | 23

No courage needed, he has got well paid tenure for life. He has had this position from the start. Only interesting thing is that public television ZDF is quoting him now.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2016 11:13:49 AM | 30

@Peter AU | Dec 17, 2016 11:00:07 AM | 26

agreed, waiting for South Front, AMN - Al-Masdar News, The Duran or any sites with videos and pics. Ziad Fadel half truth or speculative?

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 11:16:52 AM | 32

Lawless Harry (a.k.a. harry law) and Mina: please enclose your links in "< a href="LINK">description<\a>" (space added between < and "a" to prevent the effect of displaying just this: description).

Lawless Harry: the ability of the Sheriff Office of Maricopa County to assemble experts to produce B.S. is awesome. The whole premise is dubious, because this year Ted Cruz was a candidate in primaries, and he is born in Canada with parents that were citizens of Canada (father) and USA (mother), so identical situation that Obama would have, were he born abroad. I suspect that the "expertise" is equally dubious. In Poland, the country of my citizenship, a few commissions with "international panels of experts" were assembled to prove that the catastrophe at Smolensk airport was result of some incredibly cunning plot, and about one third of the populations believes that, while close to half thinks that this is B.S. If nothing else, it shows that expert panels organized with clear prior intention by ad hoc bodies (Maricopa County? Really? Why not Baca county?) have zero ability to convince those who were not convinced before.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 17, 2016 11:21:23 AM | 33

Ok, I will wait and watch on these advisors captured in Aleppo. My thought has been that westeners would have to remain invisible to the average jihadist.
southfront has an article describing them as US led Coalition members which is more plausible than NATO.
The links at southfront to the original facebook post do not work either. Censured by facebook as "fake news"? or pulled by the author? If not pulled by the author then it seems the capture of these people is a big embarrassment to the US and others.

Posted by: Peter AU | Dec 17, 2016 11:22:17 AM | 34

@26 By 'western' you presumably mean white Anglo-Saxon? Seems Westerners come in all ethnic varieties these days. But these 'officers', if they exist, would have been selected to blend in.

Posted by: dh | Dec 17, 2016 11:23:06 AM | 35

It would appear that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are very vulnerable to regime change, Qatar is a midget with a population of 1.8 million most ex-patriots it only has 278,000 citizens [2013]The Saudis can only hire mercenaries to defend their medieval rule. Surely the arc of resistance can do as the Saudis have done in other Arab countries inject paid mercenaries [unattributed of course] to teach the fuckers a lesson. "An assault on Ras Tanura, however, would be vastly more serious. As much as 80% of the near 9m barrels of oil a day pumped out by Saudi is believed to end up being piped from fields such as Ghawar to Ras Tanura in the Gulf to be loaded on to supertankers bound for the west
"I cannot think of any more logical target for terrorists. It [Ras Tanura] is the nerve centre for the Saudi oil trade but also for global exports. If you can blow up the Pentagon in broad daylight, then it cannot be impossible to fly a plane into Ras Tanura - and then you are talking $100 [per barrel] oil,".

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 11:24:00 AM | 36

One can speculate most likely SAA captured the mercenaries, since Kerry and Samantha Power was so aggressive attacking Russia during the last few UN Security Council meets.... wait patient

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 11:26:54 AM | 37

suddenly it is allowed to speak about torture of civilians under al Nusra

Posted by: Mina | Dec 17, 2016 11:27:22 AM | 38

add - Moscow to Host Crucial Meeting With China, Pakistan to Discuss Afghanistan


Russia supports China Pakistan Economic Corridor Projekt

Replying to a question, the Russian ambassador said his country wanted Pakistan and India to resolve all issues including Jammu and Kashmir through peaceful means.

He said Pakistan and Russia were also closely cooperating in efforts for restoration of peace in Afghanistan.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2016 11:28:45 AM | 39

@dh | Dec 17, 2016 11:23:06 AM | 35

Yes, wanna White Anglo-Saxon. A real live limey or Black's Amerika with ID. An Arab could be transplant, fake etc... Wait. It will show up just as 21st Century's Vanessa Beeley did - White Helmets.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 11:38:18 AM | 40


China Responds: Will Return Stolen Drone, "Regrets US Hype"
China Seized An Unmanned U.S. Navy Sub - That Was Possibly Legal

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 11:48:52 AM | 41

mina@38. Thanks for the Independent article, this needs to be rammed down the propagandist throats of the likes of the Guardian and BBC.

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 11:53:06 AM | 42

Piotr Berman @33 Why Lawless Harry? If it is not true after “the overwhelming forensic evidence shows the posted document [Barack Obama’s birth certificate, posted on the official White House website] is nothing more than a “created” document – pieced together using another source document.” Then the 'experts', not me, will have to account for themselves. If it is true, then your 'suspicions' will have proven to be as correct as the 17 intelligence agencies who 'suspect' Putin was the source of the Hacked e-mails. We shall wait and see.

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 12:08:57 PM | 43

harrylaw@36 - The Guardian data from 2004 has changed quite a bit over the last decade.

Saudi Arabia still exports most of its 7.5 MMbbl/day oil through Ras Tanura, but has expanded capacity at other terminals. Yanbu - on the Red Sea - has pipelines with a reported capacity of 5 MMbbl/day and will be expanded soon to carry 7 MMbbl/day to tank farms there. They don't export nearly that much through Yanbu now because the oil terminal is never that busy (nor, I believe, even has the capacity to transfer 5 MMBbl/day to ships).

As far as final destination, East Asia now receives 65-70% of all Saudi Exports. Previous exports to the west have mostly been replaced by other suppliers (Russia obviously being a major player). The U.S. still imports Saudi oil, but in much smaller quantities than the past. Alaska and Gulf of Mexico supplies most of the previously imported Saudi oil to the U.S.

China - and to a lesser extent, India - would be the primary customers hurt by an interruption of load-outs at Ras Tanura. But Iraqi - and increasing Iranian - supplies through their ports could replace much of that.

A total blockade of the Persian Gulf would cause serious shortages in East Asia, but the Saudis could still ramp up Yanbu in the Red Sea as an alternative. That has been the intent all along for Yanbu - as an alternative to Ras Tanura and the Saudi's other Persian Gulf ports 'just in case'.

Threats to Saudi Oil Infrastructure (2013) has more oil porn for those so inclined.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 17, 2016 12:33:41 PM | 44

@41 Jack Smith - reading the ZH story, I love this quote from the retired Chinese admiral regarding the noise from the US: "The louder they shout, the more their protests ring hollow."

This then, is how China parses the US today. The US could learn from both China and Russia about how the truly strong act in life.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 17, 2016 12:36:03 PM | 45

@38 Mina - interesting to see this half-turn in the Independent. This is so similar to all the awkward, hedging stories that come from the MSM writers as they attempt to walk back previous positions proved untenable by subsequent events on the ground.

What a deluge of oily and repulsive articles we'll see after the inauguration as MSM tries to paint itself supportive of the new administration.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 17, 2016 12:44:25 PM | 46

Well, hell.

As usual a SAKER repost never saw the light of day. However, this repost may make it past the censor!

The article explains a lot about how we've gotten to where we are.

Posted by: rg the lg | Dec 17, 2016 12:51:36 PM | 47

@7 thanks - Taleb never fails to be awesome

Posted by: aaaa | Dec 17, 2016 12:54:54 PM | 48

And then, there is this:

Hmmm. Go check out the article: Making Sense of Trump by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich. You'll have to use a search engine because this site is saker-phobic.

Posted by: rg the lg | Dec 17, 2016 12:57:37 PM | 49

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 11:38:18 AM | 40

White westerners seem to be able to blend in really, really well

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 17, 2016 12:44:25 PM | 46
My impression is oil business decided they had enough and want to cut losses.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2016 1:02:55 PM | 50

Alexander Mercouris at the Duran has an interesting piece today describing how Turkey, Russia and Iran are currently conferring at their top levels of diplomacy, military and intelligence:

Following Syrian victory in Aleppo Foreign and Defence Ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran confer

Obviously, Idlib and how to achieve success there are of prime concern. Mercouris suggests this may be the beginning, or the furtherance, of a true political settlement to all the tensions in Syria.

Two things to note here. One is that the US is not part of the discussion group. Trump I would guess will simply walk away from Syria, even the eastern part. Regardless, the real players have to guarantee and enact the peace, and the US in my opinion is no longer one of the real players - simply a spoiler whom everyone tolerates for the moment because the cost of confrontation outweighs the minor aggravation of simply outlasting the current natural attrition of the US.

And then there's Turkey. We see that deals with Erdogan have a "2 steps forward, 1 step back" character, but still we get that 1 step net gain. Turkey can make Idlib easier or harder. Undoubtedly Erdogan will see this as holding some good cards in this game - but on the other hand, this is both Russia and Iran he's playing against. I look forward to seeing how this all shakes out.

I'm rooting for Turkey's rehabilitation as a useful member of the world community and of Eurasia. I hope for cooperation and the minimum of betrayal from Turkey - but others here will have a much better grasp than I do of the layers of complexity wrapping Turkey's position.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 17, 2016 1:05:28 PM | 51

PavewayIV @44 Thanks for that informative link, I will read it later as I am sure the people who want the House of Saud to fall will, with all the vulnerable ports and difficult to defend pipe line networks.
In order for me not to be called "Lawless Harry" and to comply with the terms of the 'Encouragement to Terrorism act 2006', my hopes for the destruction of the Saudi economy by any means are only 'understandable' and hope that no one takes it to mean [unlike the US government] that I encourage terrorism.

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 1:14:20 PM | 53

PB @ 33 said.."If nothing else, it shows that expert panels organized with clear prior intention by ad hoc bodies (Maricopa County? Really? Why not Baca county?) have zero ability to convince those who were not convinced before."

Amen brother. With enough money, anyone, can hire "experts" to convince people that water, in fact, isn't wet.

Besides, fucking Obama is toast, who cares? Just another mouthpiece for the entitled rich confined now, to a life of luxury. Poor thing!

Posted by: ben | Dec 17, 2016 1:38:02 PM | 54

What a deluge of oily and repulsive articles we'll see after the inauguration as MSM tries to paint itself supportive of the new administration.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 17, 2016 12:44:25 PM | 46

As one who has given up on watching MSM, I am thinking a primary positive effect (dreamer that I am) for the new administration would be for Trump to follow Castro's example and speak directly to the people in some newly formulated fashion. I won't be watching any 'press conferences' because those have become horrible charades, nor do I wish to hear from a White House representative fielding questions with responses that go nowhere. Just the facts, ma'am (or thankfully in this case, sir.)

I have totally had it with MSM. They've got a lot of reorganizing to do. And that goes for the BBC, Guardian, NYT - the whole kit and kaboodle. Just the facts. Cut to the chase. Emulate (if you can) Putin's no-nonsense style. We are all so tired of bamboozling and flamfloozling. Seems like that is all anyone wants to do when they get in front of those tv cameras or sit down to compose a print article.

Enough already!

Just a quiet fireside chat now and then. That's all I ask. Let us know what's going on.

Posted by: juliania | Dec 17, 2016 1:39:33 PM | 55

j @ 55 said: "Enough already!"


Posted by: ben | Dec 17, 2016 1:43:33 PM | 56

#36 wartime experience is that it took hundreds of tons of bombs to close down much small oil processing plant tsunami than the Saudi ones. You should not over estimate the vulnerability of industrial infrastructure.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Dec 17, 2016 2:32:23 PM | 57

Somewhat naive and a light read, but worth it:


Posted by: laserlurk | Dec 17, 2016 2:34:54 PM | 58

I do hope that the list of western/Saudi officers supposedly captured in East Aleppo proves to be correct. They should be put on show. That would be a big help to ending the war.

But even if true, I suppose that some deal has been done, and they will be evacuated quietly. A pity.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 17, 2016 2:50:46 PM | 59

By the way, re China, and John Pilger's film, the Coming War on China, I noted that Obama's speech about the "pivot to Asia" was early on, and not much happened after that. American policy subsequently concentrated on the Middle East. We can all imagine why that happened. But the question I would like to pose is - is the US yet free to leave the Middle East, and concentrate its efforts on Asia? I would say no, they're stuck. Netahyahu won't let him. This could be a serious degradation of US interests.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 17, 2016 3:22:20 PM | 60

Mavbe Netanyahu and the Saudis.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 17, 2016 3:24:47 PM | 61

@2 ken... thanks for the laugh.. wish it could be, but the dictatorship in washington will not allow it!

@7 madmax.. thanks..i love talebs writing insights...

@10 v arnold.. looks that way to me too..

@13 harrylaw.. thanks.. not sure i trust 21centurywire or so much either @18. - @24 syrianperspective i trust more..

@27 shadyl... selective memory at work, as always..

Posted by: james | Dec 17, 2016 3:44:20 PM | 62

Lysias @ 14, Harrylaw @ 15:

At the level O'Bomber and his advisors operate, truth isn't important. For all we know, they may or may not know how much Putin was able (or wasn't able) to achieve in his career with the KGB.

What they do know however is that if you repeat a lie often enough, it gains a life of its own and becomes more "truth" than actual truth itself to an audience that has never been allowed to know the truth. And those who repeat the lie may even over time come to believe in it themselves.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 17, 2016 3:50:32 PM | 63

Voltaire Network - Thierry Meyssan a Frenchman living in Damascus pretty decent chap. Not known to fake or BREAKING NEWS.

Can't wait for vids in YouTube.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 4:10:51 PM | 64

@PavewayIV, Grieved

You ppl has not been paying attention, Its not about unmanned underwater vehicle, Taiwan or even Nanjing massacre! Go and read history. China was humiliated hundreds of years from foreign' interventions - Dutch, Portugal, Brit. German, Japan, Yanks, French etc... China since Nixon, especially after Deng Xiaoping has change. Never mind the commie stuff. China business model follows exactly Amerika, no free elections. Except, no interest in regime change, land grabs what not hers. Like Russia Federation she wants respect - protects interest of their citizens. Again Like Russia Federation have one or two bases outside their territories.

Unless fucking regimes changers understand Russia Federation and China needs and respects. There will be wars. BTW if China wanna colonize she could have done it when Admiral Zheng He, during the Ming dynasty explored Africa, Asia and probably America.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 4:15:54 PM | 65

Cauldron a cookin


As SF predicted, the Syrian army, Hezbollah and the National Defense Forces (NDF) launched an offensive operation against ISIS in the province of Homs.

Government forces attacked ISIS terrorists near the Tyas Airbase and retook the Tyas crossroads and the village of Sharifah.

Over 170 ISIS fighters, 15 vehicles and 4 battle tanks belonging to the terrorist group were reported destroyed in the recent clashes and airstrikes near Palmyra.

Now, the Syrian army, Hezbollah and the NDF will likely develop a flanking attack south of the Homs-Palmyra highway and launch a direct push in the direction of Palmyra.

Posted by: ALberto | Dec 17, 2016 4:42:51 PM | 66

@66 Being curious about the actual objectives of these protestors I did a little research. Peter Tatchell's name came up a lot. He comes across as very vocal but not very realistic. He wants "aid drops, human rights monitors, peacekeepers & war crimes charges" but he's somewhat vague about how this can be achieved. The basic idea seems to be to to pressure the British government into doing something. Here is his manifesto...

Posted by: dh | Dec 17, 2016 4:47:18 PM | 67

@67 jen.. that is exactly right regarding the leadership of the usa - "truth isn't important"... and add to that the concept of accountability which also remains in the ditch and what do you have? a lot of 'paid for' talking heads spouting the same bs 24/7... some of us have obviously had enough and don't even tune in.. i think this is probably true of many young people especially.. it used to be 'unplug, or throw away your tv.. now it has to be ignore the vast amount of information thrown at you via the net, as a high % of it is complete bullshite.' that is how i mostly see it.

@68 jack smith.. i knew he was a french guy, but didn't know he was living in damascus.. i will await details. thanks.

Posted by: james | Dec 17, 2016 4:47:28 PM | 68

Ehsani is right on spot, as usual

Posted by: Mina | Dec 17, 2016 5:31:17 PM | 69

For those who think pizzagate impossible take a look at mainstream media exposure of evidence of a global trade in children for sex and high level pedophiles protected by upper echelons of law enforcement and secret service agencies. Seems this is the way control is exerted over quite a few elite politicians, bureaucrats and media personnel as well as music industry.

Then there's this:

Posted by: Anoncommenter | Dec 17, 2016 5:32:21 PM | 70

dh@71 Tatchell comes across rather like Samantha Power [Mother Teresa]
invoking Right to protect [R2P] and of course he wants peace keepers sent in. In order for R2P to be applicable all 5 veto wielding members of the UNSC have to agree, otherwise it would be a coalition of the willing [as against Iraq]and illegal. Tatchell appears to have more animus against Syria and Russia than good sense.He seems to favour some form of intervention against Russia/Syria. As you say he either has an agenda or he hasn't thought it through. In his case if he had entered East Aleppo last week he would have been thrown off a very tall building and then been decapitated.

Posted by: harrylaw | Dec 17, 2016 5:36:24 PM | 71

Another posting of the Reddit compilation of MAINSTREAM NEWS reports
of organized global high level pedophile rings with coverup by top law enforcement and agencies.

Posted by: Anoncommenter | Dec 17, 2016 5:43:29 PM | 72

bhadrakumers take on the latest obama bad mouthing russia /putin, over interference in the exceptional nations election process..

he seems unable or unwilling to acknowledge these dynamics are something many countries play, especially the usa - in spite of all the pretensions otherwise on his part.. lets all sing together now, lol.. "bad, bad, russia /putin"... lets join hands in starting another war over it..

Posted by: james | Dec 17, 2016 5:48:32 PM | 73

The Guardian has started showing the Borg's shift from Russia towards Iran as their preferred bogeyman. Strange how they change direction in unison like a shoal of fish or flock of birds:

Posted by: Mr Toad | Dec 17, 2016 5:49:11 PM | 74

@13,14,15 lysis and hairylaw

obama knows the difference between the fsb and the kgb ... but we Americans in the street don't. we just remember the kgb paired off with the cia, and james bond movies, so obama's gotta scare us where we live. i'm sure brennan told him that, just as he's told him everything else he 'knows'. obama's the cia's man.

@36 hl, 'If you can blow up the Pentagon in broad daylight, then it cannot be impossible to fly a plane into Ras Tanura ...'

but you need permission to blow up the wtc and pentagon in broad daylight, and you'll need permission - from the very same folks - to blow up Ras Tanura ...

but if tee-rump has been talked into taking the wars to china ... they'd be the ones hurt most, according to paveway. well japan and taiwan and south korea, too, but they can all take another one for 'our' side ... that permission may well be forthcoming

that would put out the fires in syria, set the world on fire instead

when they're done, israel and the cia and dnc could (try to) blame it all on the russians and their stooge, tee-rump.

isn't it amazing that the cia/dnc/msm think they can convince us all that russia has secretly taken over the us government when in fact israel took it over years ago - in broad daylight, as they say. i guess they think that since they haven't mentioned it ... we haven't noticed? or that if they scream loudly enough about russia or china ... that we'll forget?

@51 g, 'Trump I would guess will simply walk away from Syria, even the eastern part ...'

wow. that's a sweet, sweet dream.

'... the US in my opinion is no longer one of the real players - simply a spoiler ...'

in my opinion it was never anything but a spoiler, and remains so. it's 'plans' and actions are one and the same: death, devastation, and destruction. that's the 'game'. the US invented it and is the motivating player. if they simply walked away it would be over.

'We see that deals with Erdogan have a "2 steps forward, 1 step back" character, but still we get that 1 step net gain.'

i think you have it backwards still ... 'with Erdogan have a "1 step forward, 2 steps back" character, so still we get that 1 step net loss.'

'I'm rooting for Turkey's rehabilitation as a useful member of the world community and of Eurasia. I hope for cooperation and the minimum of betrayal from Turkey - but others here will have a much better grasp than I do of the layers of complexity wrapping Turkey's position.'

i agree with you there - no mention of Erdogan, that's the key, i suppose. unfortunately Erdogan is on top of the hill, right now.

as long as we're rooting, i'm rooting for the US' rehabilitation ... but i'm afraid that will only come about after its collapse.

no one's working very hard to make it happen. the rehabilitation, i mean. doubtless many more are working on the collapse part, daily.

i share your aspirations g, i just don't see any progress in that direction until Erdogan's gone. i'm certainly not advocating a 'coup' or any of the cia's other filthy 'short-cuts'. but we all leave eventually, and Erdogan will, too.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 17, 2016 5:50:21 PM | 75

@75 He has an agenda for sure. He wants military intervention. He's a British version of McCain. He managed to get a few hundred people into the streets with placards...."Protect civilians!!", "Save Aleppo!!!". I didn't spot Boris Johnson among the crowd. It will pass.

Posted by: dh | Dec 17, 2016 5:59:19 PM | 76


What really matters is how Israel managed to colonize 800 overseas bases for their credit-debt empire, without ever leaving their own shores, or spending a single new silver shekel.

But what really and truly matters is why does really have two 'l's, and truly only has one, and had to sacrifice an 'e' also, which proves unequivocally (there's the two 'l's again) that trueth is nowhere near as important as reallity, lol.

Here's some reality for you. Just went for a hike to see if the ice is thick enough for fishing, and found a pioneer graveyard of the Scandanavians and English who settled our once-quiet little village. A century later, judging from the tombstones, we're no longer farmers and fishermen, we're now a strip mall in the international airport flightpath, super-heavies grinding up into the sky every few minutes. The population is, 100 years later, (really just an eye-blink since the 1999 Soft Coup and 2001 Hard Coup precipitated the change), mostly Black, Hispanic, Somali, Vietnamese, Russian ...and the few English who haven't dragged up.

So it realy doesn't matter what the Chinese truely want, times have chainged, otherwise we'd be pronouncing 'changed' like the Han Dynasty, or that famous kung fu jester Chang, and we'd be eating shredded papaya salad with braised pig knuckles and mango salsa, laughing at those stupid Israeli's and their 800 silver shekel FOBs.

You will be hungry again for more words of wisdom in one hour.

Posted by: chipnik | Dec 17, 2016 6:08:10 PM | 77


No, they just burned through their 2016 Defense budget, again. Planning for 2017 begins in October but US militaries are essentially AWOL from Thanksgiving to Christmas, then they start packing their full battle-rattle, have a blow-out New Year's Eve, start touch-and-goes and lock-and-loads redployments, then kickoff the 2017 season right after the Super Bowl, so USAryans are glaze-eyed with flags, bombs and rockets red glare hoo-aah come Tax Time. That's when you'll see Defense (sic) stocks really take off, and no more smack-talking jab to the ribs to Boeing and Lockheed.

Posted by: chipnik | Dec 17, 2016 6:27:23 PM | 78

Regarding Putin's role on world affairs as a ex-KGB officer, I'd like to to get your opinions on this interview with a retired KGB general I managed to find (now scrubbed from the net). In essence, the interview postulates that as early as the Bolshevik Revolution days a small core of officers around Dzerzhinsky tried to uphold traditional russian & christian values and bidding their time managed to influence late Soviet years and contributed in having Putin in power, himself apparently a member of that "Old Guard". As always, your milage may vary..

"The accepted history as taught in the West is that the KGB was a much-feared instrument of totalitarian oppression, inherently evil in nature, and that the bold vision of Western leaders such as Ronald Reagan succeeded in winning the Cold War. The hidden or “lost” history reveals an astonishingly different reality. From its very beginnings, the KGB contained within itself – at the very top levels – a secret society of Christians who were dedicated to the eventual toppling of the Bolsheviks and the restoration of the culture and values of Christian Tsarist Russia. It was this society which moved behind the scenes at crucial moments to eliminate Stalin, to unseat Khrushchev, to allow glasnost and perestroika to flourish, to keep the Soviet troops in their barracks as the Iron Curtain dissolved, and to replace the corrupt Boris Yelstin with the KGB’s own Vladimir Putin, who proceeded to clean out the Illuminati-backed mafia corruption which Yeltsin had allowed to flourish. It was they who led the transformation of the KGB into the modern FSB, separated from foreign intelligence functions, concentrating on domestic national security.

Excerpts from this interview now follow. The national security officer (now a veteran) is identified merely by the agency initials “FSB”, with questions posed by this writer labeled as “HJD”:

HJD: Thank you, sir, for taking the time to share with us this crucial story. You were a decorated agent of the FSB, and trained under longtime KGB figures – “legends” as you put it. Could you elaborate for us on that background?

FSB: Gladly. The most powerful and effective national security agency in history is the Committee of State Security, “Komitet Gossudarstvenny Bezopasnosti” (KGB) of Russia. Its successor agency of the KGB for domestic security (after foreign intelligence was made separate) is the Federal Security Service, “Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti” (FSB).

I was privileged and honored to have worked with the “Old Guard” of the KGB, under government contracting private agencies of the FSB. The leaders of these organizations were all Generals, many in their 80’s, most 70’s, and some in their 60’s. When they offered to bring me into the national security agency, they referred to it as “an institution of higher learning”. They say that at first very solemnly so you’d think it’s actually a university, then later say it with a big laugh and a knowing smile. But it’s true, and in the best possible way. I was extensively trained in both professional skills as well as life knowledge. I was mentored by some of the greatest talents and geniuses of the world in modern history, who had all been through more than our generation can imagine. In a 2004 Commendation Letter from the FSB, the agency wrote to me: “We are pleased, that you attribute the success and high quality of your professional activities to the results of experience, obtained in the process of several years of joint work with experts of the… FSB.”

HJD: Sir, you have said that the history of the Soviet Union as taught in the West is distorted and incomplete. In what way?

FSB: Despite propaganda that the Western alliance supposedly “won” the Cold War, facts of little known true history reveal that the KGB itself was actually controlled by a small, shadow “secret society” faction that opposed the Communist regime, and itself facilitated the take-down of the Soviet Union.
The secret “Old Guard” of the KGB believed that Bolshevism and Communism was actually a “corrupt foreign influence”. There was nothing “Russian” about it. The Old Guard attributed it to the Bavarian Illuminati of secular political Zionists from Europe with some bases in America. Accordingly, they took the first possible safe opportunity to begin restoring the original cultural and national sovereignty of pre-Soviet, Tsarist Russia, by implementing the democratic government of the Russian Federation.

HJD: How was it possible for a secret society to survive within the KGB despite the bloody Russian Civil War and the brutal purges of the Stalinist era?

FSB: The “secret society” aspect of the Old Guard faction in today’s FSB comes from the little known (actually suppressed) history of its original founder and historical figurehead, Felix Dzerzhinsky. Dzerzhinsky is affectionately called “Iron Felix” by agency insiders, and is revered by all KGB and later FSB agents and officers. Dzerzhinsky was born into a family of Polish nobility (Eastern European royal bloodlines), which was Christian, exactly like the Russian Tsarist royal family of Tsar Nicolai II. His father Edmund, although Polish, studied at St. Petersburg University in 1863, the home city of the headquarters royal palace of the Tsar, called the “Peterhoff”. Being of a related Eastern European nobility family, his father would have been invited by or otherwise interacting with the Russian royal family. Dzerzhinsky was more Catholic (whereas the Tsar was Orthodox), and he dreamed of becoming a Jesuit priest with the Vatican. In school his best grades were in “divine law” and Latin language, both Vatican-related studies. Dzerzhinsky was known to apply Jesuit principles to the methods that he invented and developed for the future KGB. The relevant part of Jesuit philosophy is essentially that “moral law permits to achieve holy ends through unholy means”, and for that reason the Jesuit Order of the “Society of Jesus” is considered the army of elite Knights of the Roman Catholic Church, referred to in Vatican circles as “God’s Marines”.

HJD: Yes, this touches on other information shared by the Templar Order regarding the true nature of the Jesuit Order. Are you saying that Dzerzhinsky himself was a closet Christian?

FSB: Absolutely. This personal history of the KGB founder means that Iron Felix could never have agreed with the strongly anti-Christian politics (against all religions) of the Russian Bolshevik revolutionaries. His background also indicates that he had fundamental differences in his strong political beliefs that could never be reconciled with the Bolshevik elements of Communism. However, Dzerzhinsky was a Polish revolutionary who genuinely believed in “power of the people” and “rights of workers” against oppressive regimes. It was his “labor rights” politics – and his extraordinary talents – that allowed him to be compatible enough to rise to power as the founding father of the future KGB of the Soviet Union. Dzerzhinsky carefully established the dual nature and underlying character of the KGB as having a built-in “secret society”, in the form of an Old Guard faction. The Old Guard was dedicated to preserving a strong internal culture and identity of secretly Christian Tsarist national security leaders, with oaths and ethics of medieval royal Knights of a holy mission. So they were genuinely dedicated to the objective interests of the people of Russia and the country itself. Under the ruthless leadership of the Bolsheviks, KGB officers often had to follow orders of the Communist leaders against human rights of the people. Many KGB officers themselves were victims. Of course they had to follow most orders, only enough to not be exposed as a Tsarist Christian secret society, so they could stay in power. As a result, the KGB survived to later stand up for the true national interests even against corrupt leaders, at the first possible opportunity, when the people really needed it the most.

HJD: Given what we know of the sweeping bloody purges in which Josef Stalin would eliminate whole cadres of perceived hidden foes, it is hard to imagine how this Tsarist Christian secret society could possibly have survived.

FSB: It is true that the historical record shows that Stalin, who instigated waves of executions of Russian citizens, was “paranoid” of the KGB leaders, fearing for his life for many years. But the funny thing is: The secret history proves that Stalin was right. In 1953, Stalin died suddenly, with no credible official cause of death, and some Old Guard Generals from that time, when they were over 80 years old (ca.2000), privately admitted to me (with pride): “We killed him – it all had to stop.”

HJD: You mentioned earlier that this secret society of “Old Guard” Russian Christians chose certain crucial moments to make their influence felt. Could you elaborate?

FSB: Certainly. In 1964, the KGB facilitated a coup d’etat against Khrushchev, installing Brezhnev.
In August 1991, the KGB orchestrated the attempted coup against Gorbachev, declaring that their purpose was “to preserve the integrity of the Soviet Union and the constitutional order”. Behind his claims about glasnost and perestroika, Gorbachev himself was really a Bolshevik with “foreign backing” (the same “foreign influences” which created the bloody Bolshevik revolution to begin with. He was nothing but “controlled opposition” by the Illuminati, so that the unsustainable “evil empire” could simply take on a new face controlled by exactly the same elite. The KGB Old Guard could see that Gorbachev was only going to maintain a globalist agenda under an appealing “liberalized” cloak. (That seems to be the very same thing that is happening in the USA under President Obama.) While the coup against Gorbachev was called “unsuccessful” by historians, only because the mainstream media said so, the fact is they did succeed, only a short 4 months later. This Christian secret faction of the KGB eventually succeeded in dissolving the Soviet Union, and installing Boris Yeltsin as the first President of the new democratic Russian Federation, 4 months later in December 1991. As with all so-called “acceptable” candidates for the new democracy, Yeltsin also had links to Illuminati or Bolshevik “foreign influences”. But he had less than others, and because of his drinking problems and many other liabilities, the KGB thought they could keep him under control. Years later, when the Yeltsin government was widely known to be unacceptably corrupted by foreign influences through remaining Bolsheviks and related mafia organizations, in 1999 the Old Guard (then from within the FSB) stepped in again. They forced the surprise resignation of Yeltsin on midnight of New Year’s eve, under a political “deal” to place the current FSB Director, then Vladimir Putin, as “acting President” pending democratic elections. The FSB then proceeded to actively assist to “clean up the country” and solve the nation’s problems. This ensured Putin’s legitimate and authentic democratic election, based upon true merit and real accomplishments actually serving the people. This was overwhelmingly successful, resulting in winning multiple elections for President, all based upon a repeated pattern of real-world accomplishments in the true interests of the people of the nation. This history demonstrates the power of a “secret society” dedicated to the “greater good”. The Old Guard survived the most dramatic and shocking events of modern history, survived many dictators corrupted by foreign influence, and successfully and effectively restored the original Christian Tsarist culture of the nation, in an improved form of true modern democracy. In the process, it showed a proven track record of repeatedly upholding the needs of the people even against corrupt leaders and corrupt agencies or administrations, at times when it mattered the most.

HJD: You have said that you were personally trained by several of these “Old Guard” figures in your early years with the FSB. Would you be willing to share some details? What were these men like?

FSB: For a few years I worked with a KGB legend, the last Director of the Soviet KGB, Lieutenant-General Leonid Vladimirovich Shebarshin (1935-2012), the founder of the federal contracting private agency of the FSB, the Russian National Service for Economic Security (RNSES). I have a commendation letter from that agency in 2001, signed by Shebarshin’s KGB Old Guard partner Major-General V.M. Prilukov. Their letter expressed to me their “sincere thankfulness for productive… cooperation in the spheres of legal and social problems, that addresses the interests of Russian-American relations.”
I was sad to learn that General Shebarshin committed suicide at home, by his ceremonial service pistol (leaving a note) in March 2012, within a week after his 77th birthday which was March 24. Staff at his apartment block described him as always “friendly and good-natured”, but noted that “you could see his health was failing”, and that he had lived alone since the death of his beloved wife a few years before. It is clear to me, that Shebarshin took his exit only three weeks after Vladimir Putin won re-election as President on March 4. (Putin was re-elected after an apparent “break” from his first term by serving as “Vice President”, called Prime Minister, under his protégé Dmitri Medvedev.) Putin’s re-election marked the reliable effectiveness, and proved the full reestablishment, of the Tsarist values of meritocracy and placing the greater good of the nation over the interests of some “elite”.
I know for certain that General Shebarshin was never even close to being “retired”. All of those Old Guard Generals had a running joke, and old Russian expression: “There’s no such thing as a ‘veteran’!” Shebarshin had worked hard on the large-scale cleanup of corruption and restoration of Russia as the world’s leading superpower, to the very last of his strength and endurance, until he was sure that victory had been secured.
I believe that with Putin’s re-election proving the irreversible success of the anti-agenda meritocracy, he felt a deep satisfaction. He certainly must have felt a profound sense that his life work was now “mission accomplished”. With most of his closest friends and Old Guard colleagues gone, there was now no further reason to continue without his loving wife. There would be no further mission in his lifetime that could be more important than what his Old Guard had just accomplished, so he chose to finally end his lifetime of sacrifices, and rest in peace. Shebarshin was gracious, kind, tolerant, supportive, motivational, encouraging, and otherwise a perfect mentor. … He was profoundly wise, and went out of his way to signal to me hidden aspects of myself, and many secrets of the world, giving me all the clues that I would need for the future. That soft but effective approach empowered me to quickly recognize and utilize those keys of truth, that I would only discover in my later years. Throughout 2012 into 2013, I have seen many others of the Old Guard disappear, and even their most successful government contracting agencies disappear with them. I am comforted by their noble legacy of many protégés of this small but effective group of genius mentors who changed the world. The next generation of their “initiates” fully understand and continue the tradition of the Old Guard. They remain dedicated to defending old-world values and the greater good of humanity, and serving as the “last line of defense” against tyranny or oppression. They do this, even though sometimes they are forced to patiently wait – with much preparation – over decades for the right strategic moment to ensure that good will conquer evil.

Posted by: Lozion | Dec 17, 2016 6:39:34 PM | 79

As my semi-last contribution to this forum I would like to say I am sick to death of JFL. What a windbag. Look at the space he has taken up with quotes. I would say that, in general,(exceptions Grieved, psychohistorian, Paveway, La Guerre and others) the contributors to this blog do not do justice to its creator, the level is extremely low and yet this mystifies me because Bernhard's work is top class and totally brilliant at times. It may just be that the left has totally disintegrated and knows not what it stands for.

Posted by: Lochearn | Dec 17, 2016 6:41:57 PM | 80

Saudi Arabia Suspends Investments in US Due to Trump – WSJ

Saudi Arabia is going to rethink its “financial strategy” toward the US due to several factors, one of which is the election of billionaire Donald Trump as the country’s president, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing informed sources.

Riyadh will suspend its investment in the economy also due to changes in the US law, in particular, due to adoption of a bill by the Senate and the US Congress, which authorizes to prosecute states, which support terrorist activities on the territory of the US. According to the US government, Saudi Arabia is among such countries.

wouldn't russia be a good place for the saudis to invest? think of how many rubles they'd get for their dollars.

dollar's up now, too. (i read an article by a chinese general some while back which detailed his view of the ebb and flow of us capital ... looks like an ebb tide is setting in)

and if (hah!) the us didn't like the diversification of the saudi portfolio ... russia has the arms to protect the saudis from the adventures outlined by paveway and hairylaw above.

yes, makes good sense for the saudis.

@84 lochearn

gosh, sorry you find me so offensive, i always liked your comments. i guess you pressed the post button before noticing lozion's quotes right above? no end of people for you to hate on this blog and in this world. so long.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 17, 2016 6:57:13 PM | 81

No, JFL, I certainly do not hate you or even dislike you in any way. It's just I cannot remember anything I read of yours that jolted me or made me think. Maybe I am asking too much. Or maybe I missed your best posts. Whatever. The fact is that the level on the comments is just not stimulating. I am trying to start a discussion about why that is.

Posted by: Lochearn | Dec 17, 2016 7:07:59 PM | 82

Jack Smith@69 - ?? I didn't make any statements here opposing what you said in @69, in fact I agree with it. Did you actually mean me? The statement I made to HarryLaw about East Asia being most harmed by the Saudi port closure (from an attack or whatever) is simple fact based on world oil trade statistics. I'm not advocating such an attack, I'm merely stating how exports would be affected today because HarryLaws citation from the Guardian was based on older 2003-2004 export data when the west was the major destination for their exports.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 17, 2016 7:40:49 PM | 83

@86 lochearn

well, if you'll bother with the comments of this windbag, of whom you are sick unto death, i attribute the decline in the level of comments on this blog - not to b's tightening its focus first to syria and then to the election farce in the us - but to the popularity among 'specialists' that that focus engendered, and subsequently to the ambulance chasers and outright trolls attracted by its constant flame.

when b's posts were on a broader range of subjects a more diverse commentariat posting more diverse comments obtained.

that's what i think happened.

Posted by: jfl | Dec 17, 2016 7:59:39 PM | 84

@84 Lochearn - where might one find your comments, if you should stay away from this place?

I avoid ad hominem but I have to say that personally I appreciate jfl's comments, and I've benefited from many of them.

In general, comment threads come and go, don't they, in quality? Sometimes a really good one happens. I don't quite know what makes the difference. And look at Fort Russ, with some of the finest product in the Russian analysis space, and their regular few commenters jump in with rabid nonsense early enough in practically every thread to turn deep comment away - and the authors of that site know it, but don't know how to regain the intelligent discussion they used to have. At least here the format remains one of each comment's standing or falling on its substance.

You yourself seem to indicate that all you really want is useful discussion. The personal attack just kind of slipped out, maybe?

I remember a truth I was taught some decades ago that I had to spend about two years making sense of, but which to me is as undeniable as any law of physics: "The only way to have a thing, is to be that thing, and to give it away."

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 17, 2016 8:16:09 PM | 85

@84-89.. i would like to 2nd grieved comments, typically insightful and on target : "The only way to have a thing, is to be that thing, and to give it away." thanks all of you and the many others for offering what you can..

Posted by: james | Dec 17, 2016 8:37:57 PM | 86

In case anybody is wondering where head chopper photographer Mahmoud Raslan is:

Activist Mahmoud Raslan, who is inside Aleppo, told CNN that he was close to the entrance gate from rebel-held to regime-held areas when violence flared. "The evacuation was suspended by the regime and the Syrian regime now is shooting at the entrance point using heavy machine guns," he said. "A warplane is in the sky now and the Syrian regime is trying to advance in al-Sendyanah bridge. People are gathered in huge numbers and very scared."

Posted by: Tobin Paz | Dec 17, 2016 8:40:27 PM | 87

Alison Weir on neocons and Iraq War:

Not welcome at Code Pink invent where she was originally invited to present:

Running from the Truth: Code Pink Excludes Alison Weir from Event

Posted by: RudyM | Dec 17, 2016 8:45:30 PM | 88

@chipnik (81)

English orthography is really and truly fucked.

Posted by: RudyM | Dec 17, 2016 9:06:01 PM | 89

DH @ 71, HarryLaw @ 75:

I have seen references to Peter Tatchell on other websites. He is prominent in the LGBTI movement in Britain and has supported some controversial campaigns and issues such as lowering the age of consent from 16 to 14 years. He is known to have had a sexual relationship with an underage boy in the past (I do not know if this was consensual though Tatchell has claimed it was). Although he may have done good work in the past as a human rights campaigner or a gay rights campaigner, he still comes across as latching onto other people's campaigns and blowing his own trumpet. Definitely a whiffy character.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 17, 2016 9:29:20 PM | 90

@PavewayIV and Grieved

My humble apologies. I was expressing China's feeling - hundred’s years of humiliations and intervention, blah, blah... and got screwed up posters in " China Seized An Unmanned U.S. Navy Sub - That Was Possibly Legal and Anglo-Saxon blood thirsty mercenaries in Aleppo. No harm intended. bows.

I'm glad you replied, found out me mistake and helpless since b don't delete stupid mistake. :-)

Posted by: jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 9:54:36 PM | 91

Where are the white helmets ? Have they been evacuated from Aleppo.
Nobody in the West is talking more about these "supermen" who used to produce
nice clips from aleppo.
They vanished from the field and from the media as well.
Maybe they will appear again in Hollywood and finally join
Samantha Powers and the entire Obama's adminsitration as the best comedians
of 2016. They truly deserve an oscar.
BTW: Obama Administration created a lot of job during the last 3 years:
comedians, story writers, illusionist, magicians and a big army of truth caliphs.
Xmas to you guys

Posted by: Nohan | Dec 17, 2016 10:31:41 PM | 92

Our former reality TV star present Chief Executive is being backfilled by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Boy George. What cold possibly go wrong?

Posted by: ALberto | Dec 17, 2016 10:57:37 PM | 93

Update 19:42 US EST: We have some confirmation on this from our own Syrian sources. The numbers are much higher than just the 14 names released by the Syrian MP via Facebook. That report of 14 officers might be a different group, as it had specific names. My report has only the numbers and nationalities…and the news that they were not really “captured” but were allowed out as part of a deal between all parties involved. You see the Moroccans are missing in these numbers.

No. of American officers is 22
British 16
French 21
Israeli 7
Turkish 62

The list of 14 names leaked by a Syrian MP are not the real names of those officers, they are cover names; it is standard practice to use a fake ID when serving in a secret op. This is a leak that MSM is ignoring, as they have about all stories of captured foreign officers in Syria. But then Syria has been quiet, also.

Posted by: ALberto | Dec 17, 2016 11:03:38 PM | 94

jfl is fine, like many who post here. Information dissemination being key. Food fights suck.

Posted by: ben | Dec 17, 2016 11:19:09 PM | 95

Thanks to Mina @23 for providing the link to the German interview. I have translated the interview to English using software (the webpage cannot be simply translated using Google translate or Bing, as it is a secure page)

"The main responsibility lies with the United States"

Russia is criticized for its air attacks on Aleppo and the deadlock in the UN Security Council. Middle East expert Günter Meyer is blaming interview but especially the United States for the plight of the people of Syria. And Germany? "Has no influence on the situation de facto." The relief organization world vision compares Aleppo to Berlin after the second world war. The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations speaks of a "complete collapse of humanity" in Aleppo. And the UN Secretary General admits: "We all have been collectively left the people of Syria." Mr Meyer, what did wrong the world in Syria?

Prof. Günter Meyer...
... head of the Centre for research on the Arab world at the Johannes-Gutenberg-University Mainz. He is also President of the European Association for Middle Eastern studies. For nearly four decades, Meyer has conducted scientific studies on the economic, social and political development in Syria.

Günter Meyer: The world has done wrong a lot in Syria, but we also need to say who did what wrong: and here the main responsibility lies with the United States. According to statements of the former top commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark, the U.S. Government began immediately after the terrorist strikes on September 11, 2001 with the planning of regime change in seven countries, which have been viewed by the United States as opponents, including Iraq, Libya and Syria also.

To achieve this goal there, the United States created the framework since 2005. This included funding and training an army of terrorists together with Israel and Saudi Arabia in addition to countless media propaganda actions against the Assad regime. These troops should be used for the overthrow of the Governments in Damascus and Tehran as the renowned journalist Seymour Hersh 2007 revealed. 2011 began the war in Syria. What mistakes were made there?

Meyer: The West, especially the United States, has supplied the insurgent jihadists with guns and partially trained. The personnel and material logistics was settled mainly by Turkey while the funding came mostly from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Saudi Arabia has promoted salafistische extremists to establish a radical Islamist Government in Syria. Here, the conquest of Aleppo 2012 was an important step for the jihadists. Time apart from the United States. What do have to accuse Russia of the situation in Aleppo?

Meyer: Without the military intervention of Russia in September 2015 not only Aleppo would be conquered completely by the jihadists. Also, the Assad regime would long since collapsed. Thus the Assad opponents had achieved its goal of regime change under the leadership of the United States. The strongest military forces in itself had torn but the power. And the Islamist extremists, such as the Nusra front belonging to the Al-Qaeda network and the Islamic State (IS), thwarted by the International Alliance under US leadership would be. As the Assad regime which can Putin accuse dear Israeli politician explained that such a reign of terror is who he has prevented this. So goes without Assad now nothing?

Meyer: There is no one who could currently replace Assad's position and also the functioning system of State order in Syria. It is assumed that more than half of the Syrian population supported the regime. This applies not only to the religious minorities such as Christians, Alawites and other Shiite groups that have no chance of survival in Syria under the rule of Sunni extremists--the demand "Christians in Beirut, Alawites in the grave" as made by the jihadists. But also most of the Sunnis, especially in the urban middle class, is still on the side of Assad. What is with moderate rebel groups?

Meyer: The United States always emphasize that they support moderate rebel groups. But play no role. Those who were trained and equipped with weapons, by the United States defected to the radical jihadists largely because they are much better paid. In the United States created 2003 not only the framework through the international law the Iraq invasion for the emergence of the IS. As Michael Flynn, who said former head of the military intelligence agency DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), is also "the support and expansion of the Islamic State on a conscious decision of the American Government". The danger of this terrorist organization was 2012 well known, but it was ignored before the parent attempts to overthrow leaders Assad. If you on a common solution thinking, so a UN mandate. What diplomatic leverage could the West in motion have, to move Russia to give up?

Meyer: All diplomatic initiatives in the past have failed, primarily, that the West has used politically, especially on the Syrian Foreign opposition, even though it has no backing from Syria. However, the demands of Assad's care tending intra-Syrian dialogue. This topic was the subject of the recent negotiations between Secretary Kerry and the Russian Foreign Minister Lawrow now. Such intra-Syrian dialogue with the aim of a political solution could indeed be a chance for peace - but probably mostly the conditions must be accepted in this case is the Assad as he has the strongest position in Syria after the military success. has Europe made what mistakes from a humanitarian perspective?

Meyer: Among them the Christian bishops in Syria repeatedly complain that was the biggest humanitarian failure of EU sanctions. Thus the supply situation of the population has deteriorated overall, and particularly severe in the medical field. Looking to the future - what needs to be done to stabilize the situation in Syria and the role of the West in?

Meyer: In the current situation, the power that has the strongest influence, namely the United States, is largely incapacitated because of the upcoming change of Government. Trump has said the current policy of his predecessors to want to continue with the aim to bring about a regime change in Syria,. It aims to reinforce the fight against the IS and other Islamist terrorists. Everyone is welcome him, supported him. It is so for Damascus, indications that the most important opponent makes a climb-down and one can proceed even together against the terrorists. The winner would be in this case of Assad. It remains open whether Trump keeps what he has promised in the election campaign. Germany and Europe what can do to stabilize the situation in Syria?

Meyer: Europe with its key military players, Great Britain and France, plays only a secondary role. The decisions are made in Washington. Germany assumes only helper functions in the area of aerial reconnaissance in Syria. De facto, so Germany has no influence on what is happening in Syria. Apart from important humanitarian measures of the Federal Republic - especially for refugees in Germany and neighbouring Syria. Here are to extend the recent announcements of Government support for UN relief effort for Aleppo, to welcome. Also, it is certainly a mistake, that a working group has been inserted in Berlin with the aim, to deal with the reconstruction of Syria. When can be started, is still completely open. Back to Assad's allies: what can Russia and the other allies do to quickly improve the situation?

Meyer: There are two ways: one is the more military support for Assad to the reconquest of the country as a whole. While the fighting will focus after the consolidation of the situation in East Aleppo initially mainly on the remaining strongholds of Islamist militias in the province of Idlib and in the South of Damascus. The second way would be the inclusion of intra-Syrian negotiations on a peaceful solution. That the United States is again started to supply the "moderate"rebels with weapons, is as unhelpful.

The interview was conducted by Robin Riemann.

Posted by: Perimeter | Dec 17, 2016 11:32:24 PM | 96

Thanks to Lozion | Dec 17, 2016 6:39:34 PM | 83
for the interview with the ex-KGB officer.
Do you have the name of said officer or any other information about the interview? I would like to pass this on to a friend who is a Russian scholar.

Posted by: Perimeter | Dec 17, 2016 11:53:31 PM | 97

Watch this CCTV a Tibetan's documentary. NO political comments please. Really good.

Roof of the world - A Well-Loved Land.

Making paper from poison roots, ancient’s crude methods and collecting beeswax in Tibetans’ mountains to make Buddha stature and more...

hopping hollywood, western liberals and do-gooder leave these ppl alone.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 11:55:02 PM | 98


Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 17, 2016 11:55:39 PM | 99

@ALberto | Dec 17, 2016 11:03:38 PM | 98

Thanks any other sources anyone?

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 18, 2016 12:16:08 AM | 100

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