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April 09, 2018

Syria - Any U.S. Strike Will Lead to Escalation

Yesterday's alleged 'gas attack' in east Ghouta likely never happened. A video shows a number of presumably dead kids in a basement or dark apartment. Another video shows an undamaged yellow gas cylinder which, we are told, was dropped from some unseen helicopter and crashed through a concrete roof. We do not know when or where these videos were made.


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Besides those videos of murky origin we hear claims from two 'western' paid anti-Syrian propaganda organizations, the White Helmets and SAMS, which claim hundreds were wounded in a chlorine attack.

Interestingly the MI6 outlet in Coventry, the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights (SOHR), does not confirm a 'gas' incident. In its version of events some 40 people died after their shelter collapsed:

Cont. reading: Syria - Any U.S. Strike Will Lead to Escalation

Posted by b at 03:10 PM | Comments (242)

April 08, 2018

The MoA Week In Review And Open Thread 2018-15

Last weeks posts:

The false headline is still up.

Our Skripal pieces attracted a large number of readers. Many people seem to distrust the mainstream reporting and came here for an alternative view. Welcome!

The farce continues. As the Skripals are apparently alive and well the British government has a problem. When they talk and tell the world that it was actually food poisoning and not a chemical weapon attack that hit them, the government of Theresa May is toast. The Skripals have to be kept isolated and eventually vanished. The CIA might give them a new identity or lock them into one of its black sites. The Skripals house and the Zizzy restaurant are to be destroyed. (Who will kill the hospital doctors?)

The "doorknob" theory the UK spread to explain the alleged injury of one policeman is so outrageously stupid that many doubt it. To counter the mistrust, HMG comes up with an even more implausible explanation:

Russian agents watched Sergei Skripal for a fortnight and chose to strike on a Sunday morning so no postmen or delivery men would be exposed accidentally to the nerve agent. Any third parties touching the door handle before the Skripals would have required the agents to reapply the gel to the door handle, at the risk of being seen doing so.

Sure, that's why so many neighbors spoke of foreigners milling around in the street for two weeks (not). And its why there was such a large manhunt right after the incident happened (not).

Veterinarians in Salisbury post on Facebook that they had contacted the police several times immediately after they learned that the Skripals were admitted into hospital. They offered to take care of their cats and guinea pigs. The police did not react at all. One cat escaped, the guinea pigs died of thirst and the cat left behind was so starved that it had to be put down.

Use the comments as open thread ...

Posted by b at 12:27 PM | Comments (108)

Syria - Timelines Of 'Gas Attacks' Follow A Similar Scheme (Update II)

Updated below

An alleged new 'chemical incident' in Syria reminds of a similar series of events we saw last year. We are told to believe that each time the U.S. pulls back from the war on Syria the Syrian government is responding with a 'chemical attack' that pulls the U.S. back in.

March 30 2017
U.S. priority on Syria no longer focused on 'getting Assad out': Haley

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States’ diplomatic policy on Syria for now is no longer focused on making the war-torn country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, leave power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said on Thursday, in a departure from the Obama administration’s initial and public stance on Assad’s fate.

April 4 2017
Suspected gas attack in Syria reportedly kills dozens

World leaders expressed shock and outrage Tuesday at reports of a suspected chemical attack in northwestern Syria that killed scores of civilians, with one UK official suggesting the incident amounted to a war crime.

April 7 2017
Trump launches attack on Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles

The U.S. military attacked a Syria-government airfield with 59 Tomahawk missiles on Thursday evening.

April 10 2017
US envoy Nikki Haley says Syria regime change is inevitable

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has told CNN that removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power is a priority, cementing an extraordinary U-turn in the Trump administration's stance on the embattled leader.

The Khan Sheikhun incident had been faked. An international investigation found that half of the alleged casualties arrived in hospitals before the incident was said to have happened. Nothing followed after Haley's last announcement. The administration was apparently not willing to go beyond the one-off strike. The flip-flop was attributed to confusion or infighting within the Trump administration.

A year later the exactly same development can be observed.

Cont. reading: Syria - Timelines Of 'Gas Attacks' Follow A Similar Scheme (Update II)

Posted by b at 06:31 AM | Comments (193)

April 07, 2018

A Very British Farce

Mark J. Doran wrote this very British farce. (Publish here with his permission.)

SERGEI: I'm not dead!
MORTICIAN: What?
CUSTOMER: Nothing - here's your ninepence.
SERGEI: I'm not dead!
MORTICIAN: Here - he says he's not dead!
CUSTOMER: Yes, he is. The 'Times' said so. March 12th. Front page. Trust me: he's dead.
SERGEI: I'm not!
MORTICIAN: He isn't.
CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon. It was a Novichok nerve agent. There's no treatment, and no recovery is possible.
SERGEI: It was just the prawns, that's all! I'm getting better!
CUSTOMER: No, you are not. It was 'military grade', 8 times stronger than VX. You were dead in seconds.
MORTICIAN: Oh, I can't take him like that - it's against regulations.
SERGEI: How's my daughter? And what about my pets?
CUSTOMER: Oh, don't be such a baby.
MORTICIAN: I can't take him ...
SERGEI: I feel fine! I want to go back to Russia!
CUSTOMER: Oh, do us a favor ...
MORTICIAN: I can't.
CUSTOMER: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long. We've someone coming over ...
MORTICIAN: I think I'll write a letter to the 'Times'.
CUSTOMER: No you bloody won't. Look at the trouble the last one caused.

Cont. reading: A Very British Farce

Posted by b at 08:30 AM | Comments (109)

April 06, 2018

The Best Explanation For The Skripal Drama Is Still ... Food Poisoning

Doctors at the Salisbury District Hospital announced today that Sergej Skripal's health is rapidly improving. He and his daughter Yulia will likely be well again.

It is unlikely that any targeted poisoning with a real 'military grade' nerve agent would have allowed for such an outcome. This brings us back to food poisoning as a possible cause of the Skripals' ordeal.

A friend of this blog, Tore, sent us his considerations which we publish below. He suggest that shellfish poisoning, which is caused by a neurotoxin known as Saxitoxin or STX, is the real culprit of the Skripal incident. He explains how this would fit to the observable behavior of the British government and other participants in the drama. In my view his theory has significant merit.   

On Wednesday the niece of Sergej Skripal, Viktoria Skripal, received a phone call from Yulia Skripal. She was interviewed by a Russian TV station and suggested that food poisoning might have been the real cause of the calamities her relatives were in:

“Did they eat a dish that one cannot eat, or is it banned in England?

"The first signs when they were found were very similar to fish poisoning.”

Victoria intended to visit the UK and to bring Yulia back home to Moscow. The United Kingdom just rejected Victoria Skripal's visa application because she "did not comply with the immigration rules." No further explanation was given.

For those who have not read our previous posts on the issue we offer a short recap of the case. Regular readers may want to scroll down to Tore's part.

Sergej and Yulia Skripal were found on a public bench in Salisbury at about 4pm on March 4. They had collapsed, were conscienceless and were brought into emergency care at the Salisbury District Hospital. Local media wrote of a potential Fentanyl overdose.

Half an hour before the Skripal's collapsed they had eaten at Zizzi, a seafood and pizza outlet.

Cont. reading: The Best Explanation For The Skripal Drama Is Still ... Food Poisoning

Posted by b at 04:59 PM | Comments (180)

April 05, 2018

Novi-Fog™ In Fleet Street - Truth Cut Off

Having been caught lying and covering up its lies about the Salisbury incident, Theresa May's government peddles new unbelievable stories to the press. This may divert the immediate attention but time is not on her side. The story will further unravel. What else can she do?

The British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson decide to attack opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn:


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A pity endeavor. It were the lies of Theresa May and Boris Johnson which convinced the other countries, not any factual evidence:

BERLIN (Reuters) - Britain needs to show proof that Russia was behind last month’s poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England, the German government’s coordinator for Russia said on Thursday.

Gernot Erler said pressure was rising on Prime Minister Theresa May’s government after Britain’s military research centre, at Porton Down, said on Tuesday it could not say yet whether the nerve agent used in the attack had been produced in Russia.

That contradicts what we had previously heard from British politicians and will certainly raise the pressure on Britain to show further proof that the traces plausibly point to Moscow,” Erler told German broadcaster ARD.

Armin Laschet, head of Germany's most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia and an ally of Merkel, also questioned (German) the British behavior (my translation):

If you force almost all NATO allies to solidarity, should you not have assured evidence? You can stand towards Russia however you like, but in my the studies of international law I learned of other ways of dealing with states.

Myth has it that a British paper once printed the headline "Fog in Channel - Continent cut off". That British view put the self-importance of the island above anything else. Throwing Novi-Fog™ at the Skripal affair will indeed cut off the continent. It will leave the British government isolated from any support.

The international loss of trust for the British claims is serious. Unless the UK government comes up with a very plausible story with some real evidence behind it no serious European official will lend it any further support.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who's skepticism convinced 165 countries to not fall for Boris Johnson's lies, says that Johnson has to answer "serious questions".

The spin-masters of the May government throw more Novi-Fog™ into Fleet Street to prevent that.

Operation 'Save Boris' feeds new sensational but implausible stories to the papers. It claims that top secret intelligence, which can not even be shown to the opposition leader, proves that Russia tested how to smear nerve agents onto doorknobs:

Cont. reading: Novi-Fog™ In Fleet Street - Truth Cut Off

Posted by b at 03:41 PM | Comments (158)

April 04, 2018

"It's The Cover-Up" - UK Foreign Office Deletes Tweet, Posts False Transcript, Issues New Lies

It's Not The Crime, It's The Cover-Up:

When a scandal breaks, the discovery of an attempt to cover up is often regarded as even more reprehensible than the original deeds.

The British government is trying to cover-up the lies it made with its false allegations against Russia. The cover-up necessitates new lies some of which we expose below.

Yesterday the head of the British chemical weapon laboratory in Porton Down stated that the laboratory can not establish that the poison used in the alleged 'Novichok' attack in Salisbury was produced by Russia. This was a severe blow to the British government allegations of Russian involvement in the poisoning of Sergej and Yulia Skripal.

Now the British government tries to hide that it said that the poison used in the Salisbury was 'produced in Russia' and that Porton down had proved that to be the case. The government aligned media are helping to stuff the government lies down the memory hole.

We all need to make sure that the new lies get exposed and that the attempts to change the record fail.

Yesterday the British Foreign Office deleted this from its Twitter account:


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The March 22 tweet was part of a now interrupted thread which summarized a briefing on the UK government's response to the Salisbury incident given by the British Ambassador to Russia, Dr Laurie Bristow, to the international diplomatic community in Moscow.

After the silent scrubbing of the record was publicly questioned the Foreign Office admitted that it deleted the tweet:

Cont. reading: "It's The Cover-Up" - UK Foreign Office Deletes Tweet, Posts False Transcript, Issues New Lies

Posted by b at 04:18 PM | Comments (131)

April 03, 2018

Operation Hades Blamed Russia - A Model For The 'Novichok' Claims?

(This is a 'working thread' to collect various items related to the alleged 'Novichok' incident in Salisbury and the fate of the British spy Sergej Skripal and his daughter Yulia. For a wider overview of the case please check our longer write-ups linked at the end of this post.)

The Russian government sent fourteen specific questions to the British government and thirteen questions to the OPCW. There seems to be some French involvement in the investigation of the alleged nerve agent and Russia ask why that is the case.

Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to Britain, further increased the pressure on Theresa May by publicly asserting that the Skripal case was a 'provocation' carried out by British intelligence.

Telepolis points out (in German) that this would not be the first time that a 'western' service would stage such a 'provocation'. The Skripal case is indeed quite comparable to Operation Hades.

On August 10 1994 German officials in Munich 'found' 363 grams of plutonium on a plane coming from Moscow. They immediately asserted, that the plutonium 'must' have come from a Russian reactor. There was a lot of media panic, international political noise and condemnation of Russia.


Time Cover August 29 1994

This put pressure on the Russian government to increase its security at its nuclear sites. The U.S. offered to 'help' with nuclear security and thus got easy access to Russia's nuclear secrets. The case broke in the mid of the federal election campaign in Germany and helped chancellor Kohl to get re-elected.

Months later first leaks appeared, reporters dug deeper into the story, it all started to unravel.

Cont. reading: Operation Hades Blamed Russia - A Model For The 'Novichok' Claims?

Posted by b at 12:23 PM | Comments (148)

This Washington Post Headline Is Fake News

On March 30 the Washington Post, the blog site of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, published a report about the expulsion of some 'western' diplomats from Russia. The move was an expected and proportional retaliation for the expulsion of Russian diplomats from some 'western' countries.

The piece was originally published under the headline:

One by one Russia tells European ambassadors of latest diplomatic expulsions

This is visible in the web-address (URL) of the piece which was formed from the original headline when it was first published.

.../washingtonpost.com/world/europe/one-by-one-russia-tells-european-ambassadors-of-latest-diplomatic-expulsions/2018/03/30/...

The editors apparently disliked the original headline. It was factually correct but did not create enough reason to hate Russia. The original headline was therefore replaced with a factually false one:


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Cont. reading: This Washington Post Headline Is Fake News

Posted by b at 12:26 AM | Comments (31)

April 02, 2018

Why I Did Not Buy A Smartphone

This my current cell phone:


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It is an Ericsson T39M bought in 2001. I have used it since. Back then it was the top-of-the-line phone and cost, in today's equivalent, some €600-700 ($800). It has triband GMS which enabled me to use it in Europe and in the United States. GPRS and HSCSD allowed for fast 56 kbit/sec data transfers. I had also bought the wireless Bluetooth headset for the phone but soon lost it. It was anyway somewhat unpractical.

Despite daily use and rough handling the phone itself shows no sign of aging. (The light color of the phone attracts lots of dirt and I did not clean it before taking the picture.) It works very well. The rubber cable coating of the charger has fallen apart which necessitated a support construction, made from matches and tape, at the connector side.

I would love to keep the phone for another 17 years but its battery is dying on me. Originally the phone would be up for three or more days under normal use. It is now down to less than a work-day. Talk time is down to some unpredictable 3-7 minutes without recharging. This is no longer acceptable. 'New' special batteries for this phone are offered on eBay and elsewhere for €50 to €80. But their provenience is murky and the only dealers are in Turkey, Serbia, Hongkong or Indonesia.

The obvious question came up: Should I buy a smartphone to replace my trusted Ericsson?

I tested several of the current top-of-the-line smartphones - Motorola, Samsung, Apple. They were in the same relative price range as my old Ericsson was at its time. But they lack in usability. They either have a too small screen for their multitude of functions or they are bricks that require an extra pocket.

In 1999 science fiction writer David Gerrold was asked how cell phones would develop. He correctly predicted the integration of all media, communication and services into one 'smart' device:


via Esther Schindler - read the full column

But Gerrold was wrong with this part:

Cont. reading: Why I Did Not Buy A Smartphone

Posted by b at 03:28 PM | Comments (85)

April 01, 2018

The MoA Week In Review And Open Thread 2018-14

An idea for your next Easter brunch, or for a caption contest:


via English Russia - bigger

Last weeks posts:

Two short items on Syria:

  • The last part of terrorist bastions in east-Ghouta will shortly be handed over to the government:
Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai - 2:08 PM - 1 Apr 2018
#Duma deal:
Falyaq al-Rahman to #Idlib
Jaish al-Islam to Jarablus/#Turkey controlled area
All heavy weapons delivered to the Syrian Army
A local council with a city, unarmed, to run local needs with #Damascus approval.
End of #easternGhouta and safety to #Damascus #Syria.
  • Trump's proclamation that the U.S. military will leave Syria 'very soon' is likely not serious. It is a bargaining strategy to get the Saudis to pay for the occupation they want. The Zionists, Saudis and the dimwits at the Washington Post editorial board argue that the U.S. must stay in Syria to prevent an Iranian role in that country. But the only reason why Iran is playing a security role in Syria at all is the attack on and occupation of that country by foreign forces. When the attacks stop and the occupiers leave Iran will no longer have such a role. The real intent of those who argue otherwise is 'regime change' in Syria and in Iran.

Use the comments as open thread ...

Posted by b at 11:09 AM | Comments (136)

The Easter Walk

Easter echoes the eons-old human festivity that celebrates the spring equinox. The cold and dark days of winter are gone, the bright time of fertility has come.

Ishtar, a Mesopotamian goddess of love, stepped down into the underworld of death but was revived:

Inanna-Ishtar's most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the ancient Sumerian underworld, a myth in which she attempts to conquer the domain of her older sister Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld, but is instead deemed guilty of hubris by the seven judges of the Underworld and struck dead. Three days later, Ninshubur pleads with all the gods to bring Inanna back, but all of them refuse her except Enki, who sends two sexless beings to rescue Inanna. They escort Inanna out of the Underworld, but the galla, the guardians of the Underworld, drag her husband Dumuzid down to the Underworld as her replacement. Dumuzid is eventually permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister Geshtinanna remains in the Underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons.

The Christian resurrection of Jesus is probably an adaption of this old tale. Today's fertility symbols of Easter, the egg and the hare, relate to the old Germanic fertility goddess Eostre (Ostara).

When the Christian message developed from its eastern Mediterranean origin it incorporated older local gods and fables to convert the multi-theistic societies to the new monotheistic* believe. The gods of the pre-Christian religions were not completely discarded but their tales transformed to support the new uniting message the Christian preachers were spreading.

Whatever. It's spring, the darkness has vanished and this is my favored holiday.

Happy Easter


Faberge egg with flowers - bigger

 

The greatest work of German literature is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust. In part one Dr. Faust and his famulus Wagner take an 'Easter Walk' (Charles T. Brooks' translation, original version). Each Easter Sunday my dad recited this poem for us. I continue that tradition.

Faust:
Spring's warm look has unfettered the fountains,
Brooks go tinkling with silvery feet;
Hope's bright blossoms the valley greet;
Weakly and sickly up the rough mountains
Pale old Winter has made his retreat.

Cont. reading: The Easter Walk

Posted by b at 05:23 AM | Comments (32)

March 31, 2018

Hillary Clinton Ordered Diplomats To Suppress 'Novichok' Discussions

While the last act of the 'Novichok' drama, the seasonally appropriate resurrection of the Skripals, proceeds, some additional details of the history of 'Novichok' nerve agents come to light.

Details on 'Novichok' nerve agents were published in a 2007 book by Vil Mirzayanaov, a Soviet scientist offered asylum in the United States.

After the publication the U.S. and the UK actively suppressed international discussions about the book and the 'Novichok' chemical weapon agents. Documents from the U.S. State Department published by Wikileaks show that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton directed her diplomats to not talk about Novichok and to play down the matter should it arise in chemical weapon control talks.


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The so called 'Novichok' group of nerve agents were developed in the 1970s and 80s by Pyotr Kirpichev and Vladimir Uglev under a Soviet program codenamed 'Foilant'.

Cont. reading: Hillary Clinton Ordered Diplomats To Suppress 'Novichok' Discussions

Posted by b at 07:19 AM | Comments (170)

March 29, 2018

Last Act Of 'Novichok' Drama Revealed - "The Skripals' Resurrection"

It seems that the 'Novichok' fairy-tale the British government plays to us provides for a happy ending - the astonishing and mysterious resurrection of the victims of a "military grade" "five to eight times more deadly than VX gas" "nerve agent" "of a type developed by" Hollywood.

Happy Easter!

Yulia Skripal no longer in critical condition, say Salisbury doctors

The condition of Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury along with her father, is improving rapidly, doctors have said.

Salisbury NHS foundation trust said on Thursday the 33-year-old was no longer in a critical condition, describing her medical state as stable.

Christine Blanshard, medical director for Salisbury district hospital, said: “I’m pleased to be able to report an improvement in the condition of Yulia Skripal. She has responded well to treatment but continues to receive expert clinical care 24 hours a day."
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Her father’s condition is still described by the hospital as critical but stable.

Only yesterday the Skripals chances to survive was claimed to be 1 out of 99. Nerve agents are deadly weapons. A dose of ten milligram of the U.S. developed VX nerve agent will kill 50% of those exposed to it. The 'Novichok' agents are said to be several times more deadly than VX.

It seems less and less likely that the British government claim about 'Novichok' poisoning is actually true. Way more likely are other explanations, for example food poisoning or an allergic shock soon after eating out at a fish restaurant.

The claims of a nerve agent and 'Novichok' seem to have been taken from the script of the British-American spy drama Strike Back (clip) which recently ran on British and U.S. TV. The sole purpose of the 'Novichok' drama is to implicate and damage Russia.

As the former MI6 spook Alastair Crooke writes:

The evidence is beside the point: here was the opportunity to close-off Trump’s ‘illusion’ of a possible détente with Russia. The narrative is all. We will likely never know the full story.

Yulia and Sergej Skripal were found unconscious on the afternoon of March 4.

The U.S. State Department says that its campaign to use the Skripal incident as a tool against Russia started on March 6, only two days after the incident and six full days before the British government raised accusations against Russia.

In her press briefing on March 27 the U.S. State Department spokeswomen Heather Nauert talked about the coordinated ousting of Russian diplomats by some "western" countries:

Cont. reading: Last Act Of 'Novichok' Drama Revealed - "The Skripals' Resurrection"

Posted by b at 02:59 PM | Comments (232)

March 28, 2018

Elijah Magnier - How Syria Challenges The Unipolar Order

Today Elijah Magnier published a three part piece on the war on Syria and its role in the much the global political confrontation.

Will America accept its defeat or will it challenge the Russian Bear and the Chinese Dragon? - Part 1, 2, 3

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The first part describes the current situation at the various fronts in Syria and the most likely next operations. The Syrian government is winning the conflict. U.S. CentCom General Votel admitted that the U.S. strategy in Syria has failed. Magnier concludes:

The US has lost the « extremist battle »- they were incapable of achieving the “regime change” objective in Syria. That was the awakening of the Russian bear from its long hibernation who realised how the US was trying to corner it. Moscow also relied on the Chinese dragon, which shares Russia’s goals to eliminate all extremists and jihadist terrorists in Syria.

Both Russia and China are now working closely to put an end to the uni-polar superpower and thus end US world dominance.

The second part looks at the development of U.S.-Russian relations over the last decade and the role U.S. 'regime change' policies in the eastern Europe and Middle East played in it. The U.S. attack on Syria was part of the wider challenging of Russia. It brought up a new coalition which is now countering U.S. moves:

Obama saw the “Islamic State” growing in Iraq, moving to Syria, watched it occupying Iraq, allowed Jihadists to travel to the Middle East, opened all Saudi jails on condition jihadist extremists imprisoned are shipped to Syria. For one entire year, with “70 countries in a coalition fighting against ISIS” in Syria, the group was in fact expanding and increasing its wealth by selling increasing quantities of oil. All that to stop Iran and Russia, and create failed states (as in Libya) and fight Muslims with Muslims.

But Moscow, Beijing and Tehran knew that Jihadists must be stopped in the Levant before they had the chance to move to their own countries.
...
Syria is not going to be another Libya and Russia and China agreed, along with Iran, to stop once and for all the US unilateral dominance at the gates of the Levant.

Part 3 takes an even wider view and describes how China, and the Russian-Chinese cooperation, succeeds in challenging U.S. unilateral domination of the globe:

While the United States is selling for $110 billions weapons to Saudi Arabia to kill more Yemenis and threaten its neighbours (Qatar, Syria and Iran), Russia has signed 10 year contracts with China worth 600 billion dollars, and with Iran worth 400 billion dollars. Also, China has signed contracts with Iran worth 400 billion dollars. These contracts are aimed at economic cooperation, energy exchange; they promise an advanced economic future for these countries away from US dominance.

The US believes it can corner Russia, China and Iran: Russia has a 7,000 kilometre border with China, Iran is not Iraq and Syria is not Afghanistan. In Syria, the destiny of that a world be ruled by unilateralism is over. The world is heading toward pluralism.

The question remains: Is Washington prepared to accept its defeat and acknowledge that it has lost control of the world and pull out of Syria?

With the recent visit of the North Korean leader Kim Yong-un in Beijing, China has challenged the dominating U.S. role in the discussions over North Korea. There will be no uni-polar U.S. solution in the conflict - neither by talks nor by war. A conflict over Korea could soon supersede the conflict in Syria in size and potential consequences. In the global context the war on Syria is just a starting point. It will likely be in Korea, and maybe in Taiwan, where the real battle between unilateral and multilateral order will be fought.

Posted by b at 02:35 PM | Comments (75)

March 27, 2018

Arms Research "Watchdog Group" Lobbies For War On Yemen And Iran

This Associated Press story has quite a slant.


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Looking into the AP report we find that the "watchdog group" is actually a for-profit company with an anti-Iran agenda and paid by the United Arab Emirates. The UAE, together with Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Britain, is waging war on Yemen and sees Iran as an enemy:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Roadside bombs disguised as rocks in Yemen bear similarities to others used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and by insurgents in Iraq and Bahrain, suggesting at the least an Iranian influence in their manufacture, a watchdog group said on Monday.

The report by Conflict Armament Research comes as the West and United Nations researchers accuse Iran of supplying arms to Yemen’s Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who have held the country’s capital since September 2014.
...
What we’re hoping this does is make plausible deniability not very plausible,” said Tim Michetti, head of regional operations for Conflict Armament Research. “You can’t really deny this anymore once the components these things are made with are traced to Iranian distributors.”

Michetti’s organization, an independent watchdog group that receives funding from the United Arab Emirates, Germany and the European Union to research weaponry recovered in Yemen, said it examined a fake rock bomb in January near Mokha, some 250 kilometers (150 miles) southwest of the capital, Sanaa.

Conflict Armament Research is not an "independent watchdog group" but a dully established British for-profit company registered at the British government's Companies House under company number 07762809. The sole owner is James Bevan, a British national born in 1977.

Cont. reading: Arms Research "Watchdog Group" Lobbies For War On Yemen And Iran

Posted by b at 03:10 PM | Comments (55)

March 26, 2018

Two Failures In One Day - Missile Defense Is An Embarrassment - It Won't Work

Within the new $700 billion defense budget the U.S. Congress allocated more money for U.S. missile defense:

The Pentagon would spend an additional $1 billion on two of Lockheed’s missile defense systems, bringing total appropriations for the Missile Defense Agency to $11.5 billion.

More U.S. taxpayer money will also be given to missile defense contractors in Israel:

Congress has dramatically increased its budget for the Israeli missile defense programs by $148 million to include ongoing Iron Dome and Arrow 3 development.

“I am pleased and excited to announce that the US Congress has approved a record sum for Israel’s missile defense program: $705m. in 2018!” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced on Monday.

Two incidents last night provide again that missile defense is a waste of money. It hardly ever works. Strategic missile defense, which the U.S. builds to take down intercontinental missiles, will not protect against the new weapons Russia and others are now pursuing. The U.S. military acknowledges this. After Putin announced the new weapon systems the Trump administration raised the white flag and suddenly asked for new arms control talks.

Last night the Yemeni army launched (vid) seven ballistic missiles against Saudi Arabia. Three of those targeted the capital Riyadh, four were aimed at military and infrastructure targets. In Riyadh the Saudi forces fired a a number of Patriot surface-to-air missiles and claimed that those successfully intercepted the Yemeni missiles. The Saudis Patriot Advanced Capabilities-2 system (PAC-2) are made by the U.S. company Raytheon which also hires former U.S. soldiers as 'Patriot Battery Systems Technician Field Engineers' to man and maintain the Saudi systems.

Earlier Saudi claims of successful intercepts turned out to be false. The small warheads of the Yemeni missiles separate from the larger missile body and are difficult to detect. The U.S. provided systems inevitably aims at the bigger empty missile body.

This time various videos from Riyadh show that at least seven interceptors were fired against the three incoming missiles. At least two of the interceptors failed catastrophically. The other five seem to have self-destruct at height. There is no sign of any real interception.

One of the Patriot interceptors prematurely exploded during its boost phase. Its burning debris showered the ground with hot parts.


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Another Patriot interceptor made a u-turn and struck the ground some hundred meters away from random onlookers:

Cont. reading: Two Failures In One Day - Missile Defense Is An Embarrassment - It Won't Work

Posted by b at 12:36 PM | Comments (111)

March 25, 2018

Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-13

The last week at Moon of Alabama was again dominated by the Skripal incident. Another long piece about a different issue is still on hold. This week thus saw less posts than desirable.

Mar 19 - NHS Doctor: "No Patients Have Experienced Symptoms Of Nerve Agent Poisoning In Salisbury" and
Mar 21 - Russian Scientists Explain 'Novichok' - High Time For Britain To Come Clean (Updated)

I had added additional historic information on the chemical agents in question in a comment to the March 21 piece.

The British government is milking the incident to push russophobia and to divert from its failure in the Brexit negotiations and all its other problems. But the diversion will only succeed so long. The NHS doctor as well as court testimony by scientists from Proton Down contradict the claims made by the British government. Let's hope that the British opposition picks up on that.

Mar 20 - Cambridge Analytica And The Manipulation Of People by Debs is Dead

Mar 23 - John Bolton - The Man With A Hammer Is Looking For Nails

The one man now seen as the most 'moderate' on war issues in the Trump administration is a retired four star marine general with the nickname "mad dog" who was fired by the Obama administration for being too aggressive towards Iran.

Mar 25 - Syria - The East-Ghouta-Afrin Exchange Is Complete - Where Will The SAA Go Next?

Use the comments as open thread ...

Posted by b at 12:06 PM | Comments (134)

Syria - The East-Ghouta-Afrin Exchange Is Complete - Where Will The SAA Go Next?

After the Syrian army had taken all rural parts of east-Ghouta three pockets of densely upbuild areas were left in terrorist hands. Negotiations had started about transfer of the armed men to Idleb governorate in the north. Some 100,000 people moved from the besieged areas to the Syrian government side. Surrounded by widely superior forces, devoid of human shields and without any chance of relief the terrorist groups are now giving up one by one.


Source: Maxim Mansour/ Syria Digital Map - bigger

First to surrender were Ahrar al-Sham fighters who held the Harasta suburb. 1,500 of them and their families, in total 4,500 people were transferred to Idleb by government buses. They had to give up all heavy weapons and were only allowed to carry one hand-weapons and no ammunition.

Cont. reading: Syria - The East-Ghouta-Afrin Exchange Is Complete - Where Will The SAA Go Next?

Posted by b at 11:26 AM | Comments (57)

March 23, 2018

John Bolton - The Man With A Hammer Is Looking For Nails

President Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin to his reelection as president of the Russian Federation. It was a matter of simply courtesy to do so. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (aka the National Security Advisor), three star general McMaster, had advised him to not congratulate Putin. (McMaster now claims differently.) That was bad advice. But it became even worse when McMaster, or someone in his shop, promptly leaked this to the press. The usual Republican nutters like John McCain grumbled and Trump was furious.

Trump decided to fire McMaster the very next day. He had it coming. Both the White House Chief of Staff Kelly as well as the Secretary of Defense Mattis wanted McMaster out. Unfortunately for them Trump chose a replacement that they did not want and will find difficult to live with.


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John Bolton is not a neo-conservative. He does not dream of 'spreading democracy' or 'nation building'. He is a 'smash, burn and leave' libertarian hawk. He is also an exceptionally avid bureaucrat who knows how to get the things he wants done. That quality is what makes him truly dangerous. Bolton is known for sweet-talking to his superiors, being ruthless against competitors and for kicking down on everyone below him.

Cont. reading: John Bolton - The Man With A Hammer Is Looking For Nails

Posted by b at 11:50 AM | Comments (114)

March 22, 2018

Open Thread 2018-12

News & views ...

Posted by b at 02:10 PM | Comments (159)

March 21, 2018

Russian Scientists Explain 'Novichok' - High Time For Britain To Come Clean (Updated)

A week ago we asked if 'Novichok' poisons are real. The answer is now in: It is 'yes' and 'no'. Several Russian scientist now say that they once researched and developed lethal poisons but they assert that other countries can and have copied these. 'Novichok', they say,  is a just western propaganda invention. They see the British accusations as a cynical plot against Russia. The people who push the 'Novichok' accusations have political and commercial interests.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May insinuated that the British-Russian double agent Sergej Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who collapsed on March 4 on a public bench in Salisbury, were affected by a 'Russian' nerve agent:

It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. It is part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok.

Theresa May's claims are highly questionable. 


Maria Zakharova, spokeswomen of the Russian Foreign Ministry: "'Novichok' has never been used
in the USSR or in Russia as something related to the chemical weapon research" - bigger

A highly potent nerve agent would hurt anyone who comes in contact with it. But the BBC reported that a doctor who administered first aid to the collapsed Yulia Skripal for 30 minutes was not affected at all. Another doctor, Steven Davies who heads the emergence room of the Salisbury District Hospital, wrote in a letter the London Times:

Cont. reading: Russian Scientists Explain 'Novichok' - High Time For Britain To Come Clean (Updated)

Posted by b at 08:37 AM | Comments (204)

March 20, 2018

Cambridge Analytica And The Manipulation Of People

by Debs is Dead
lifted from a comment

MoA-ites correctly distrust every word emanating from the mealy mouthed Guardian because it has been used in a vicious campaign to advance the interests of Zionists to the point where the well being of Guardian readers has been relegated below the interests of apartheid Israel.

Nevertheless having a bit of a shufti at the loudly trumpeted Facebook-Cambridge Analytica expose is an essential act for anyone who wants to try to get a grip on how populations are being deliberately manipulated.

There is a relatively easy to digest video here where Christopher Wyllie, a computer scientist, outlines the birth of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, the CEO and the method used to sell the development of the corporation to Steve Bannon, CA's first customer and Robert Mercer, the Wall Street financier who underwrote the cost of setting up the corporation.

I recommend spending the 13 minutes required to watch the video because Wyllie's summation of what they did and why is horrifying. Lines such as "If you want to change the way a person votes you have to change the culture the person lives within." and "to change a culture, first you have to smash the existing one then grab the pieces and mold it into the shape you want the culture to be".

Cont. reading: Cambridge Analytica And The Manipulation Of People

Posted by b at 05:01 AM | Comments (113)

March 19, 2018

NHS Doctor: "No Patients Have Experienced Symptoms Of Nerve Agent Poisoning In Salisbury"

There have been some interesting developments in the alleged poisoning case of the British-Russian double-agent Sergej Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The British governments standing on the issue is getting worse as more inconsistencies and doubts on its statements come to light. The international support for its claims is weakening.

On March 4 the Skripals collapsed on a public bench in Salisbury in England after they had visited a pub and a restaurant. They were brought to the local hospital. A local policemen was probably also affected. (See our previous posts, liked at the end, for many additional details.) A week later, on March 12, the British government said that a nerve agent was the cause of the incident and accused Russia of being responsible for the act:

Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with Novichok—a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia. Based on this capability, combined with Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations—including against former intelligence officers whom it regards as legitimate targets—the UK Government concluded it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for this reckless and despicable act.

Novichok is not a nerve agent but supposedly a group of chemical substances investigated in the Soviet Union for their nerve agent potential. Only recently have some of these substances been synthesized.

Former ambassador Craig Murray reported that the formulation "... a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, ..." was a compromise negotiated between the British government and its chemical weapon specialists in its Porton Down laboratory. Note that the statement does not implicate at all that Russia is involved in the current case.

The British government demanded a Russian response within 24 hours without presenting any evidence of Russian involvement. Russia rightly pointed out that such a demand is in breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) procedures as supervised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and rejected it.

The U.S, Britain, France and Germany issued a common supporting statement which repeated the British formulation:

This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.
...
We share the United Kingdom’s assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia’s failure to address the legitimate request by the government of the United Kingdom further underlines Russia’s responsibility. We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury.

Since then many questions and doubts about the British government's Noviochok drama have been raised. Bit by bit the case is falling apart.

Consider for example this picture which shows Mr. Skripal and his daughter Yulia presumably in the pub or the restaurant they visited before they collapsed. Who is the third person, visible in the mirror between them, who took the picture?


Via Maxim A. Suchkov and Дмитрий Стешин - bigger

Cont. reading: NHS Doctor: "No Patients Have Experienced Symptoms Of Nerve Agent Poisoning In Salisbury"

Posted by b at 04:11 PM | Comments (144)

March 18, 2018

Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-11

The last week at Moon of Alabama was heavy on 'Novichok'. But that story it is only one act in a much larger play.

Mar 11 - Syria - The Fall Of Two Cities

This morning Afrin fell to the Turkish supported Takfiris. Over the last days civilians and YPG fighters fled the area. The Kurdish YPG made no serious attempt to defend the city. They left large stacks of ammunition behind. The Turkish government will now 'settle' its own people in Afrin and, in two to five years, will let them vote to be annexed by Turkey. This chanin of events was easy to see but the political stupidity of the Kurdish leadership is immeasurable.

The Syrian army continues to split Takfiri held areas of east-Ghouta into tiny pieces. Ten thousands of civilians have fled from the Takfiri to the government's side. Negotiations over the evacuation of the 'rebel' fanatics are ongoing. In a week or two the whole area will be liberated and under government control. A 'chemical factory', likely used to prepare chemical weapons, was found in the already librated area.

The Russian Defense Ministry loudly warns that U.S. paid provocateurs plan a "chemical incident" to then accuse the Syrian government. The U.S. has sortied ships, say the Russians, to 'respond' to such an incident with a swarm of cruise missiles on Syrian government targets. If that happens, Russia said, it will attack any detected missile launching platform.

Mar 12 - Theresa May's "45 Minutes" Moment

The British government again lies about chemical weapons.

Mar 13 - Trump Orders Rexit - Torture Woman To Head CIA - (Updated)

Who is the next to be fired by Trump? Mattis or McMaster?

Mar 14 - Are 'Novichok' Poisons Real? - May's Claims Fall Apart

The 'Novichok' story, as told by the British government, can not be true.

Mar 16 - The British Government's 'Novichok' Drama Was Written By Whom?

The piece was updated quite often with additional facts and supporting links. Early readers may want to reread it.

A big thank you to all commentators for the extensive and very disciplined discussion of our 'Novichok' posts. These could not be published without your support.

Mar 17 - Guardian Rips-Off Goebbels - Fascist Propaganda For Better Anti-Russian Smears

The post was somewhat updated with this comment.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 10:44 AM | Comments (116)

March 17, 2018

Guardian Rips-Off Goebbels - Fascist Propaganda For Better Anti-Russian Smears

Just recently the Rothschild organ The Economist depicted the Russian president Putin as a dangerous octopus.


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The idea was not original at all. Russia has been the favored target of this denigrating comparison for more than a century.

The Guardian, no less anti-Russian than the Economist, now follows suit.


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The Steve Bell Guardian cartoon, just like the Economist cover, demonstrates a lack of creativity and originality. The spider cartoon is an obvious rip-off from a anti-Russian Nazi campaign:

Cont. reading: Guardian Rips-Off Goebbels - Fascist Propaganda For Better Anti-Russian Smears

Posted by b at 03:17 PM | Comments (92)

March 16, 2018

The British Government's 'Novichok' Drama Was Written By Whom?

The Skripal incident is now, by chance or by design, part of a much larger campaign about 'western' dominance over 'the east'. Russia, which ended the unilateral moment of U.S. nuclear primacy, is currently the main target. The situation is extremely dangerous as any further escalation, in the Middle East, the Ukraine ore elsewhere, might lead to a war between nuclear armed powers.

The government decreed 'truth' about the Skripal case has many discrepancies. The connection of the case to Russia is much weaker than the propaganda claims. But doubt and dissent about it are not allowed to prevail.

The political response to the incident around the British-Russian double-agent Sergej Skripal and his daughter started slowly. On Sunday, the 4th of March, Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a public bench in Salisbury, England. The local police and emergency services took care of them.

Only on March 8 did the case start to make larger waves. The BBC reported:

Addressing the House of Commons, the home secretary [Rudd] said the attack was "attempted murder in the most cruel and public way".
...
She refused to speculate on whether the Russian state might have been involved in the attack, saying the police investigation should be based on "facts, not rumour".

Besides Skripal and his daughter one police officer was affected:

A police officer, who was in intensive care, is now "stable and conscious", Wiltshire's chief constable said.

It is unclear where the officer is thought to have contacted the alleged poison. Some reports said it was at Skripal's house, others say that it was at the bench where the Skripal's collapsed.

But a doctor and others who administered first aid were not affected at all:

Cont. reading: The British Government's 'Novichok' Drama Was Written By Whom?

Posted by b at 12:26 PM | Comments (267)

March 14, 2018

Are 'Novichok' Poisons Real? - May's Claims Fall Apart

The British government claims that 'Novichok' poisons, developed 30 years ago in the Soviet Union, affected a British double agent. But such substances may not exist at all. The British government further says that the Russian government is responsible for the incident and has announced penalties against the country.

A comparable incidents happened in 2001 in the United States. Envelopes with Anthrax spores were sent to various politicians. Some people died. The White House told the FBI to blame al-Qaeda but the Anthrax turned out to be from a U.S. chemical-biological weapon laboratory.  The case is still unsolved.

The 'whistle-blower' Vil Mirzayanov who 'revealed' the 'Novichok' program and its poisons published chemical formulas that should enable any decent laboratory to reproduce them. But neither the existence of the claimed program nor the existence of the alleged substances were ever accepted by the scientific community. The Russian government says it does not know the program nor the alleged poisons.

The highly constructed drama around the alleged poisoning of a British double agent Skripal and his daughter has thus turned into a surreal play. The British government has so far given no evidence that the Skripal's were poisoned at all, or that they were poisoned by someone else. No detailed medical bulletin was published. The British accusations against Russia lets one assume that a suicide attempt has been excluded. Why?

There is no independent evaluation of the alleged poison. The British government claims that its own chemical weapon laboratory at Porton Down, only a few miles from where the incident happened, has identified the poison as one of the 'Novichok' chemicals.

But in 2016 a leading chemist at Porton Down had doubts that such chemicals exist. (Paul McKeigue, Professor of Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology at Edinburgh University, Piers Robinson, Professor of Politics, Society and Political Journalism at Sheffield University and the former British Ambassador Craig Murray point this out):

As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.

Cont. reading: Are 'Novichok' Poisons Real? - May's Claims Fall Apart

Posted by b at 03:17 PM | Comments (211)

March 13, 2018

Trump Orders Rexit - Torture Woman To Head CIA - (Updated)

U.S. President Donald Trump just fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 12:44 PM - 13 Mar 2018
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!

According to the anti Russian propagandists (vid) Tillerson got the job because Trump loves Russia and Tillerson was in good standing with Putin. The same people now claim that Tillerson was fired from his job because Trump loves Russia and Tillerson was not in good standing with Putin.

Neither is correct. The plan to oust Tillerson and elevate Pompeo to State has been rumored and written about for several month. The plan was "developed by John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff". It had nothing to do with Russia. 

Tillerson never got traction as Secretary of State. Congress disliked him for cutting down some State Department programs. Trump overruled him publicly several times.

There is some contradiction in the statements coming from the White House and the State Department. According to the Washington Post:

Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled top diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.

Last Friday Tillerson suddenly fell ill while traveling in Africa and canceled several scheduled events.

But a statement by Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein contradicts the Friday claim:

"The Secretary had every intention of staying, because of critical progress made in national security. [...] The Secretary did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason.”

Tillerson knew he was fired but did not tell his staff?

[UPDATE:]
From the Associated Press White House correspondent:

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller - 3:49 PM - 13 Mar 2018
WH official says chief of staff John Kelly called Tillerson Friday and again on Saturday. Both calls to Tillerson, the official says, warned that Trump was about to take imminent action if he did not step aside. When Tillerson didn't act, Trump fired him.

And shortly thereafter:

NBC Politics @NBCPolitics - 4:22 PM - 13 Mar 2018
JUST IN: Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein is being fired for contradicting the account of Rex Tillerson’s dismissal, White House official tells @PeterAlexander

Thus ends the 2018 insurrection at State.

[End-Update]

With Tillerson leaving Secretary of Defense Mattis is losing an ally in the cabinet:

[I]t starts with me having breakfast every week with Secretary of State Tillerson. And we talk two, three times a day, sometimes. We settle all of our issues between he and I, and then we walk together into the White House meetings. That way, State and Defense are together.

Mattis sometimes calming influence over Trump on military issues will now become less effective.

CIA head Pompeo, the new Secretary of State, is a neoconservative with a racist anti-Muslim attitude and a special hate for Iran which he compared to ISIS. That he will now become Secretary of State is a bad sign for the nuclear agreement with Iran. The Europeans especially should take note of that and should stop to look for a compromise with Trump on the issue. The deal is now dead. There is no chance that a compromise will happen.

The new CIA director Gina Haspel is well known for actively directing and participating in the torture of prisoners at 'black sites':

Beyond all that, she played a vital role in the destruction of interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations. The concealment of those interrogation tapes, which violated multiple court orders as well as the demands of the 9/11 commission and the advice of White House lawyers, was condemned as “obstruction” by commission chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane.

Haspel would be in jail if former president Barack Obama had not decided against prosecuting the CIA torture crimes. Torturing prisoners is a war crime. Obstruction of courts and destruction of evidence are likewise crimes.

Both, Pompeo and Haspel, will need to be confirmed by Congress. Both will receive a significant number of 'yes'-votes from the Democratic side of the aisle.

Posted by b at 11:01 AM | Comments (134)

March 12, 2018

Theresa May's "45 Minutes" Moment

Today the British government made some dubious assertions about Saddam's chemical weapons the poisoning of its double agent Sergej Skripal.

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The British Prime Minister Theresa May claimed (saved tweet) in Parliament that:

  • Sergej Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia.
  • The nerve agent was part of a group of agents known as 'Novichok'.
  • Russia has previously produced the agent and would still be capable of doing so.
  • Russia has a record of conducting state sponsored assassinations.
  • The British government assesses that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets.
  • The British government concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergej and Yulia Skripal.

May went on to claim that:

Cont. reading: Theresa May's "45 Minutes" Moment

Posted by b at 03:41 PM | Comments (183)

March 11, 2018

Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-10

Mar 6 - The New Yorker Attempts But Fails To Boost The Steele Dossier

This hyping of Steele as an honest man who only did his duty is pretty disgusting. What was Jane Mayer paid for writing such an inaccurate and unobjective portrait?

Mar 7 - No, Russians Do Not Hack The FCC's Public Comments

In which a federal communication commissioner proves that she has zero understanding of basic web communication.

Mar 8 - Poisoned British-Russian Double-Agent Has Links To Clinton Campaign

The British government and its media are trying their best to make a big scare out of the alleged poisoning of a turned Russian spy. They are blaming Russia without providing any evidence. The Russian government had nothing to win from killing him. Meanwhile the quite direct connection between the poisoned double-agent and the fake Steele dossier is swept under the carpet.

Mar 9 - Trump Threatens Peace In Korea

Lots of powerful entities, including the government of Japan, conservatives in South Korea, the U.S. miliary, the military industry and its hundreds of lobby shops are all interested in making the talks fail. The want war or at least the perception of imminent war. If Trump can get to some agreement with North Korea he deserves some laurels.

Mar 11 - Syria - The Fall Of Two Cities

Anna video footage of the fight in east-Ghouta.

Other issues (I should have written about):

Cont. reading: Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-10

Posted by b at 01:48 PM | Comments (54)

Syria - The Fall Of Two Cities

The Turkish proxy Takfiris have nearly encircled the Kurdish held city of Afrin. The water supply to the city is cut off. It will fall within a few days.


Map by Syrian Civil War Map - bigger

This is the direct result of gigantic miscalculations by the YPG Kurds who controlled the Afrin area. They had a clear offer from the Syrian and Russian government: Hand over the administration to the legitimate Syrian government and the Syrian army will come and defend your land.

They rejected that offer multiple times. They thought they could withstand an attack by a numerical superior enemy which has abundant air and artillery support. Hizbullah can do that but the Kurds are not Hizbullah. Their defense network was mediocre with bunkers easily visible (vid) from the air and ground and without any water supply and other necessities. These medieval fortifications were built over years but fell within hours. There was apparently no second line to fall back to. The tactical military abilities the YPG Kurds have shown were rather amateurish. The announced reinforcements from east Syria made no difference. Now their 'canton' is lost to a very hostile forces. Can it ever be regained?

Meanwhile the U.S. is on the verge of giving away the Kurdish held Manbij to the Turks.

In 2016 the Kurdish PKK attempted to hold onto 'autonomous' city-centers in eastern Turkey. The Turkish army simply shelled those areas into rubble. There insurrection ended with a catastrophic loss of Kurdish fighters. The Kurdish attempts to expand their lands in Iraq by stealing the oil fields of Kirkuk were thoroughly defeated. Now Afrin is lost too.

Why does anyone believe that the Kurds deserve their own state? Their leaders are corrupt and have zero statesmanship. They hang onto illusory aims and ignore the realities of life. Will the Kurds ever learn?

The Syrian Arab Army has split east-Ghouta next to Damascus into two and soon three parts.


Map by Peto Lucem - bigger

Some 70% of the whole east-Ghouta area that the Takfirs held for six years is now liberated. The Syrian army will continue to take the more rural parts and will then keep the upbuild areas (Harasta, Duma, Arbin, Jobar) under fire until the various Takfiri groups agree to give up or to be moved to Idleb governorate. The fall of these Saudi and Turkish proxy forces from their fake 'revolution' throne is another huge victory for the Syrian people. Negotiations about a transfers are ongoing. In Idleb they can join the ongoing Takfiri against Takfiri war between the Turkish supported head-choppers and al-Qaeda aligned hangmen.

Is there a deal between Syria, Russia, Iran and Turkey about an 'exchange' of east-Ghouta for Afrin? The parties are very tightlipped about the issue which lets me assume that something of that kind has been agreed upon.

Eliminating the east-Ghouta enclave will free the large number of Syrian soldiers that were necessary to keep the area surrounded. Those troops will likely move south to liberate Deraa city and all land up to the Jordan border. There are  strong economic reasons for freeing up the Damascus-Amman highway and the border station in-between.

Posted by b at 01:02 PM | Comments (48)

March 09, 2018

Trump Threatens Peace In Korea

The mainstream commentariat:

Then: Trump is a madman who wants to lead us into war against North Korea.

Now: Trump is a madman who wants to lead us towards peace with North Korea.

Rory Yeomans

I welcome the announced meeting of Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.

The imperial military-industrial complex will do its best to sabotage it. Billions of dollars of planned revenue may soon evaporate.

Kim Jong Un has so far shown himself as an excellent strategist. He offered direct talks at the exactly right moment. Trump blindsided all the hawks, worrywards and bureaucrats in his staff by suddenly agreeing to them. If this brinkmanship succeeds the South Korean President Moon deserves a peace price for arranging it.

The best venue for the meeting is?

Posted by b at 03:55 PM | Comments (125)

March 08, 2018

Poisioned British-Russian Double-Agent Has Links To Clinton Campaign

On Sunday a former British-Russian double agent and his daughter were seriously injured in a mysterious incident in Salisbury, England. The British government says that both were hurt due to "exposure to a nerve agent". Speculative media reports talk of Sarin and VX, two deadly nerve-agents used in military chemical weapons. Anonymous officials strongly hint that 'Russia did it'.

New reports though point to a deep connection between the case and the anti-Trump/anti-Russia propaganda drive run by the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton election campaign.

Sergei Skripal once was a colonel in a Russian military intelligence service. In the early 1990s he was recruited by the MI6 agent Pablo Miller. He continued to spy for the Brits after his 1999 retirement. The Russian FSB claims that the British MI6 paid him $100,000 for his service. At that time a Russian officer would only make a few hundred bucks per month. Skripal was finally uncovered in 2004 and two years later convicted for spying for Britain. He was sentenced to 18 years and in 2010 he and other agents ware exchanged in a large spy swap between the United States and Russia. Skripal was granted refuge in Britain and has since lived openly under his own name in Salisbury. His wife and his son died over the last years of natural causes. The only near relative he has left is his daughter who continued to live in Russia.

Last week his daughter flew to Britain and met him in Salisbury. On Sunday they went to a pub and a restaurant. At some point they were poisoned or poisoned themselves. They collapsed on a public bench and are now in intensive care. A policeman on the scene was also seriously effected.

Authorities have declined to name the substance to which the pair is suspected to have been exposed, but:

Local media had on Monday reported the substance found at the scene to be similar to fentanyl: a lethally strong opioid available even on Salisbury's soporific streets.

The British government is hinting at Russian involvement:

Cont. reading: Poisioned British-Russian Double-Agent Has Links To Clinton Campaign

Posted by b at 04:04 PM | Comments (86)

March 07, 2018

No, Russians Do Not Hack The FCC's Public Comments

A member of the Federal Communications Commission, Jessica Rosenworcel, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post.


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It is unlikely that the headline was chosen by the author of the op-ed. The editors of the Washington Post opinion page wrote it. I also doubt that she would have chosen a picture of the FCC head to decorate her piece.

For the record: The headline is false.

The op-ed is about a request for comments the Federal Communications Commission issued last year in preparation of its net-neutrality decision. Anyone, and anything, could comment multiple times. Various lobbying firms, political action groups and hacks abused the public comment system to send copy-paste comments via single-use email accounts or even without giving any email address.

But this had and has nothing to with Russia or Russians.

Here are the top graphs of the the WaPo op-ed with the "Russia-did-it" headline:

Cont. reading: No, Russians Do Not Hack The FCC's Public Comments

Posted by b at 04:17 PM | Comments (50)

March 06, 2018

The New Yorker Attempts But Fails To Boost The Steele Dossier

Updated below
---

Yesterday The New Yorker published a 15,000 word piece about Christopher Steele, the former British spook who created the "dossier" about alleged Russian interference with Trump. Written by Jane Mayer the piece is designed to let Steele shine in the very best light. A civil servant who only followed his conscience when he peddled his made-up dirt to the FBI, the media and Congress.

That a private investigator, highly paid by the Clinton campaign to find dirt about Trump, was acting out of decency, would be unbelievable in the best case. But the piece is way worse. There are at least six factual errors in it which anyone who has followed the affair can easily detect. Some new allegations in the piece are so thinly sourced that any decent editor would have thrown them out.

The first graph is already a mess:

In January, after a long day at his London office, Christopher Steele, the former spy turned private investigator, was stepping off a commuter train in Farnham, where he lives, when one of his two phones rang. He’d been looking forward to dinner at home with his wife, and perhaps a glass of wine. It had been their dream to live in Farnham, a town in Surrey with a beautiful Georgian high street, where they could afford a house big enough to accommodate their four children, on nearly an acre of land. Steele, who is fifty-three, looked much like the other businessmen heading home, except for the fact that he kept his phones in a Faraday bag—a pouch, of military-tested double-grade fabric, designed to block signal detection.

A friend in Washington, D.C., was calling with bad news: ...

A phone, kept in a Faraday bag designed to block signals, rings? How please can a phone that can not send or receive signals, take a call? That is impossible. How can a fact-checker and/or editor at The New Yorker let such nonsense slip into the opening graph of such a large piece?

Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel, with whom I have exchanged views on this, details several of the factual errors in the piece:

Cont. reading: The New Yorker Attempts But Fails To Boost The Steele Dossier

Posted by b at 05:12 AM | Comments (120)

March 04, 2018

Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-09

Feb 26 - State Department Troll Farm Receives Huge Cash Infusion

The above is one 'success' of the neo-conservatives and Clinton apparatchiks who created the idiotic Hamilton 68 project which U.S. media extensively used to make up bullshit stories about Russian bots. But it has become too obvious that the whole thing is based on fakery. The alleged Russian bots are just normal people who do not agree with some U.S. policies and tweet and use hashtags to express themselves. The proprietors and salesmen of that outlet finally admit as much:

“I’m not convinced on this bot thing,” said Watts, the cofounder of a project that is widely cited as the main, if not only, source of information on Russian bots. He also called the narrative “overdone.”

Will any of the media now retract their fake-news stories about "Russian bots"?

Feb 28 - It's 2002 Again - New York Times Makes Bogus WMD Claims

The NY Times is implicating the new "axis of evil" - North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia - in nonsensical WMD claims for which there is no evidence at all.

Mar 1 - Russia Shows Off New Weapons - Tells U.S. To "Come Down To Earth"

The new weapons Russia presented are designed to overcome any strategic missile defense. The reflexive reaction of the U.S. military- industrial complex to this is of course a push for an expansion of missile defense.

Mar 2 - Afghanistan - A Pipeline, Peace And Many Spoilers

There is no response yet from the Taliban to the Afghan government's offer of unconditional talks. Simply saying "no" is unlikely to take this long.

Mar 3 - Syria Sitrep - Afrin, Idlib and East-Ghouta

Here are two additional pieces on the war on Syria which I highly recommend.

The first delves into the early days of the war and documents well how the uprising was Islamist and foreign directed from its very first day:
Did Assad Deliberately Release Islamist Prisoners to Militarize and Radicalize the Syrian Uprising?.

The second is published in Military Review, the professional journal of the U.S. Army. It is a extensive assessment of the Russian political and military execution of its Syria intervention. The authors appear to feel a certain envy:
What Kind of Victory for Russia in Syria?

In sum, Russia appears to have won at least a partial victory in Syria, and done so with impressive efficiency, flexibility, and coordination between military and political action. ... Russia’s “lean” strategy, adaptable tactics, and coordination of military and diplomatic initiatives offer important lessons for the conduct of any military intervention in as complex and volatile an environment as the Middle East. 

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 11:00 AM | Comments (136)

March 03, 2018

Syria Sitrep - Afrin, Idlib and East-Ghouta

After a slow start the Turkish and Jihadi attack on the Afrin canton in north-west Syria is making some progress. Despite intimate knowledge of the terrain and years of preparation the local Kurdish forces of the YPK have little chance to withstand.


Map by syriancivilwarmap.com - bigger

Turkish air and artillery support for the attacking force opponents is overwhelming the Kurds. The ground troops Turkey is using are mostly Islamist Free Syrian Army fighters directed by Turkish officers. A few Turkish special forces are acting as forward observers to call in artillery and airstrikes. Only yesterday the Turkish air force flew more than 30 bombing missions on a rather small front. Today some 36 fighters were killed by Turkish air strikes.

Last week the local Kurdish forces were reinforced by other Kurdish forces and Syrian government paramilitaries. Some of the Kurdish groups had split off from the U.S. supported SDF in east Syria, crossed through Syrian government held land and reached Afrin. Kurdish groups in Aleppo city gave control of two of the three districts they held to the Syrian government to join their brethren in Afrin. A contingent of 500 Syrian paramilitary fighters from two Shiite towns near Afrin also joined the fight. The Turkish army tried to interdict the convoys reinforcing Afrin but most of the fighters reached the front lines. The Syrian Red Cross sent a convoy with humanitarian goods for the about one million inhabitants of the canton.

The Kurdish YPG forces in control of Afrin have a choice. The Russian and the Syrian government have offered their full support if the Kurds submit to Syrian government control just like any citizen of Syria is supposed to do. If they agree, the Turkish planes will immediately vanish from the skies over Afrin. But the Kurds insist on keeping their own military and police forces as well as their unelected local administration. If they keep doing so the Turkish forces will role them up and all will be lost. It is a simple and obvious choice to make.

Cont. reading: Syria Sitrep - Afrin, Idlib and East-Ghouta

Posted by b at 01:46 PM | Comments (75)

March 02, 2018

Afghanistan - A Pipeline, Peace And Many Spoilers

Peace negotiations in Afghanistan had long stalled. But that recently changed in a surprising way. Secret negotiations between many parties must have taken place to suddenly achieve these two results:

Both, the Taliban support for TAPI as well as President Ghani's offer are new. Just two weeks ago Ghani still rejected unconditional talks.


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The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline has been negotiated about since the early 1990s. It is supposed to bring gas from Central Asia to Pakistan and India. Only Russian pipelines are currently connecting Turkmenistan and its large gas reserves to its export markets. This is one reason why the U.S. always pushed for the project. The U.S. company Unocal was heavily involved. One of its consultants was Zalmay Khalilzad who later became U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and then Iraq.

Cont. reading: Afghanistan - A Pipeline, Peace And Many Spoilers

Posted by b at 03:22 PM | Comments (38)

March 01, 2018

Russia Shows Off New Weapons - Tells U.S. To "Come Down To Earth"

In his yearly address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation President Putin spoke about the progress his country has made and about future aims of Russian policies. Most of the address was devoted to internal Russian economic and social developments.

The last part of the two hour long speech (video, English simultaneous translation) was a presentation of Russia's new military posture in response to U.S. encroachment on Russia's borders and the global U.S. missile defense system. Putin announced the development and fielding of new types of strategic weapons which together will make the U.S. global missile defense systems useless. The thirty minutes section starts at 1h:18m.

In 2007 Putin spoke at the Munich Security Conference and warned of U.S. attempts to create a unipolar world:

[W]hat is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making.

It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.

In 2002 the U.S. unilaterally ended the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. In 2004 the U.S. and NATO included global missile defense into their strategic nuclear forces’ drills. Since then Russia has continuously warned that it will have to respond to such a development.  

When the ABM treaty had come into force it created stability by guaranteeing Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). If one side would fire its nuclear armed intercontinental missiles onto the other side that side would respond by firing its own missiles. Thus both states would be destroyed. MAD guaranteed that neither had any interest in starting such a war in the first place.

With a missile defense shield the balance changes. A first strike becomes possible because the missile shield can defeat the retaliating strike. Since the U.S. terminated the ABM agreement it has constantly built up its missile defense and thus threatens Russia's survival:

Cont. reading: Russia Shows Off New Weapons - Tells U.S. To "Come Down To Earth"

Posted by b at 02:24 PM | Comments (137)

February 28, 2018

It's 2002 Again - New York Times Makes Bogus WMD Claims

New York Times, September 8 2002
U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest For A-Bomb Parts

Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb, Bush administration officials said today.

In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. American officials said several efforts to arrange the shipment of the aluminum tubes were blocked or intercepted but declined to say, citing the sensitivity of the intelligence, where they came from or how they were stopped.

The infamous aluminum tubes Iraq sought to buy from Italy were for short range rockets, not for uranium enrichment centrifuges as the Bush administration claimed. That was a fact well known to several U.S. agencies like the Energy and State Departments. But the claim, first propagandized by the NY Times, was repeated by then President Bush in a speech to the UN and became a main basis for the war on Iraq. The Knight-Ridder (now McClatchy) Washington Bureau, but not the NY Times, reported about the many doubts experts had about such  Weapon of Mass Destruction claims.

New York Times, February 27 2018
U.N. Links North Korea to Syria’s Chemical Weapons Program

North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian government that could be used in the production of chemical weapons, United Nations experts contend.
...
The supplies from North Korea include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to a report by United Nations investigators.
...
The possible chemical weapons components were part of at least 40 previously unreported shipments by North Korea to Syria between 2012 and 2017 of prohibited ballistic missile parts and materials that could be used for both military and civilian purposes, according to the report, which has not been publicly released but which was reviewed by The New York Times.

The valves, thermometers and acid resistance tiles Syria may have sought to acquire could be used for medical facilities, the production of candy or for dozens of other civilian purposes. They could be used to produce something for the military with chemical weapons probably being the most unlikely.

But like the discredited aluminum tube story, the current NYT piece, written by its UN reporter Michael Schwirtz, obfuscates the doubts about WMD connections of the issue. It makes false claims and is full of war-mongering assertions by hawkish figures. It is a scare story constructed to vilify various opponents to U.S. hegemony on meager factual grounds.

The reporter does not understand the issue he writes about. The "possible chemical weapons components" are not such. Chemical weapons obviously do not contain valves, thermometers or acid resistance tiles. To increase the "be afraid" effect of his piece the author mentions an alleged 2007 accident "in which several Syrian technicians, along with North Korean and Iranian advisers, were killed in the explosion of a warhead filled with sarin gas and the extremely toxic nerve agent VX." No weapon designer ever thought of "a warhead" that was filled with both - Sarin and VX. That would be lunacy and reports thereof are obviously bogus.

Cont. reading: It's 2002 Again - New York Times Makes Bogus WMD Claims

Posted by b at 08:36 AM | Comments (97)

February 26, 2018

State Department Troll Farm Receives Huge Cash Infusion

The U.S. State Department will increase its online trolling capabilities and up its support for meddling in other countries. The Hill reports:

The State Department is launching a $40 million initiative to crack down on foreign propaganda and disinformation amid widespread concerns about future Russian efforts to interfere in elections.

The department announced Monday that it signed a deal with the Pentagon to transfer $40 million from the Defense Department’s coffers to bolster the Global Engagement Center, an office set up at State during the Obama years to expose and counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.

The professed reason for the new funding is the alleged but unproven "Russian meddling" in the U.S. election campaign. U.S. Special Counsel Mueller indicted 13 Russians for what is claimed to be interference but which is likely mere commercial activity.

The announcement by the State Department explains that this new money will not only be used for measures against foreign trolling but to actively meddle in countries abroad:

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said the transfer of funds announced today reiterates the United States’ commitment to the fight.

“This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight,” said Under Secretary Goldstein. “It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive.

The mentioning of Silicon Valley is of interest. The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:

Cont. reading: State Department Troll Farm Receives Huge Cash Infusion

Posted by b at 02:02 PM | Comments (106)

February 25, 2018

Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-08

Feb 19 - Internet Marketing - Why Is This Smelly Fish Priceless?

Automated Twitter accounts, or trolls, repeated a tweet about a MoA piece on Muller's indictment of "Russian trolls". Funny but not really important. There is interesting news though related to the original Muller indictment. Mueller accused with little evidence 13 persons involved in the private Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) of meddling with the U.S. election campaign.

The Russian independent TV Rain, also known as Dozhd, found (Russian, machine translation) that one management person of the IRA was missing in the Mueller indictment. That women, Agata Burdonova, has recently moved with her husband to the United States. She had run the "translator" department of the IRA that created English language social marketing campaigns. She has now applied for a U.S. Social Security number.

According to a follow up:

On June 15, 2017, Dmitry Fyodorov says he received an employment offer from Facebook. On August 8, 2017 Fyodorov marries Burdonova. Employer (presumably, Facebook) sponsors both of their visas —prob. H1B.

On December 7 2017 both moved to Bellevue, Washington. Two month later Mueller indicts the alleged IRA owner and management, but not Burdonova. This smells of a deal made by some U.S. agency to get insight into the IRA. In return, an opportunity to move to the U.S. was offered.

Feb 20 - "Russian bots" - How An Anti-Russian Lobby Creates Fake News

On the farce of the "Hamilton 68" dashboard and how the media fall for it.

Feb 22 - The Rothschild Organ And Octoputin - Projection or Envy?

Feb 23 - Syria - The Two East-Ghouta Campaigns - One Is For Liberation, The Other To Save Terrorists

As Hadi Nasrallah smartly asks: "#SaveGhouta - From what exactly? And save who? ..."

Feb 24 - The White Helmet Singalong

See also: Professor for media studies Mark Miller analyses (vid) the war propaganda against Syria.

Feb 25 - Syria - The UNSC Mandated Ceasefire Will Not Hold

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 10:07 AM | Comments (115)

Syria - The UNSC Mandated Ceasefire Will Not Hold

Last night the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2401 demanding a 30 day ceasefire in all of Syria. The text of the adopted resolution does not seem to be available yet. A copy of the original draft resolution is here. The Russian government had offered several amendments to it. It demanded that the U.S. side guarantees that the enemies of the Syrian state would stick to such a ceasefire.

The resolution was initiated by Sweden and Kuwait on behalf of the U.S. It follows after preparation by the Syrian army to liberate the east-Ghouta area next to the capital Damascus had reached a critical point. East-Ghouta is occupied by several terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and militant Salafist groups. Together they have for years been sponsored to harass the 7 million inhabitants of the capital with random mortar and missile attacks. The U.S. initiated a propaganda campaign to "save Ghouta" because it wants to keep the threat from Ghouta towards the Syrian capital alive.


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The ceasefire does not apply to Al-Qaeda, ISIS and associated terrorist groups. The war against them will continue. In east-Ghouta al-Qaeda (HTS) is allied with Failaq al-Rahman.

Cont. reading: Syria - The UNSC Mandated Ceasefire Will Not Hold

Posted by b at 08:12 AM | Comments (70)

February 24, 2018

The White Helmet Singalong

The white Helmet singalong

by Banjo Marla

h/t: Walid

 

Posted by b at 09:27 AM | Comments (34)

February 23, 2018

Syria - The Two East-Ghouta Campaigns - One Is For Liberation, The Other To Save Terrorists

Daily mortar and missile attacks against the Syrian capital Damascus have been ongoing for years but intensified in recent months. The often quoted Syrian Observatory notes:

... raising to 116 persons at least including 18 children and 14 citizen women, who were killed as a result of the fall of these shells since the beginning of escalation on the capital Damascus and its suburbs on the 16th of November, and the SOHR documented the injury of more than 563 persons who were injured in these daily targeting during 3 consecutive months.

Other accounts report higher casualty numbers.

Some of the attacks on Damascus city hit well designated targets. The Russian embassy in Damascus has been mortared several times. Earlier this month more well targeted projectiles hit other Russian interests:

Maxim A. Suchkov‏ @MSuchkov_ALM - 4:03 AM - 7 Feb 2018
#Russia's trade mission in #Damascus got hit by 120-mm bomb & is badly damaged. Earlier Rus aid delivery point in the city came under fire killing two local Syrians, Rus non-gov delegation (Christian & Muslim leaders who brought collected aid) had to be evacuated.

All these mortars and missiles were fired from east-Ghouta, a Takfiri held area consisting partly of densely urban blocks and partly of agricultural villages. Some 400,000 people originally lived in the area but the number of people living there now is likely less than half of that.


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The area is occupied by Takfiris from three groups. Jaish al-Islam is under control of the Salafi Alloush clan and is financed through Wahhabi "donations" from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Nusra Front) and its allied group Faylaq al-Rahman also have significant contingents in east-Ghouta.

Cont. reading: Syria - The Two East-Ghouta Campaigns - One Is For Liberation, The Other To Save Terrorists

Posted by b at 08:35 AM | Comments (89)

February 22, 2018

The Rothschild Organ And Octoputin - Projection or Envy?

The title page of this weeks Economist:


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Now consider one of the earliest cartoons that used this image:


The Rothschild banking family of England, Coin’s Financial School, (1894) - bigger

At least 26% of the British Economist is owned by the Rothschild family. Lynn Forester de Rothschild and her spouse Evelyn de Rothschild are sitting on the board of the Economist Group.

Is the publishing of the Putin squid by the Rothschild organ some kind of psychological projection? Or is it envy?

Cont. reading: The Rothschild Organ And Octoputin - Projection or Envy?

Posted by b at 11:16 AM | Comments (48)

February 20, 2018

"Russian bots" - How An Anti-Russian Lobby Creates Fake News

The U.S. mainstream media are going nuts. They now make up and report stories based on the uncritical acceptance of an algorithm they do not want to understand and which is known to produce fake results.

See for example these three stories:

Russian bot with ancient regalia

From the last link:

SAN FRANCISCO — One hour after news broke about the school shooting in Florida last week, Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia released hundreds of posts taking up the gun control debate.

The accounts addressed the news with the speed of a cable news network. Some adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow. Others used #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting. Earlier on Wednesday, before the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., many of those accounts had been focused on the investigation by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In other words - the "Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia" were following the current news just as cable news networks do. When a new sensational event happened they immediately jumped onto it. But the NYT authors go to length to claim that there is some nefarious Russian scheme behind this that uses automated accounts to spread divisive issues.

Those claims are based on this propaganda project:

Last year, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, in conjunction with the German Marshall Fund, a public policy research group in Washington, created a website that tracks hundreds of Twitter accounts of human users and suspected bots that they have linked to a Russian influence campaign.

The "Alliance for Securing Democracy" is run by military lobbyists, CIA minions and neo-conservative propagandists. Its claimed task is:

... to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.

There is no evidence that Vladimir Putin ever made or makes such efforts.

Cont. reading: "Russian bots" - How An Anti-Russian Lobby Creates Fake News

Posted by b at 03:15 PM | Comments (102)

February 19, 2018

Internet Marketing - Why Is This Smelly Fish Priceless? (updated)

[Updated below]

After I promoted Saturday's piece about the Mueller indictment on Twitter some seemingly automated accounts retweeted my promotion.

The original piece is about an internet marketing scheme that is supposed to have influenced U.S. elections. It is thus amusing that the retweeting bots are part of an internet marketing scheme that is supposed to influence U.S. elections.

But why do they use the line "Omg. Fish is priceless"?

My original tweet:


source - bigger

The automated(?) retweets:


source - bigger

Cont. reading: Internet Marketing - Why Is This Smelly Fish Priceless? (updated)

Posted by b at 07:36 AM | Comments (67)

February 18, 2018

Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-07

Feb 12 - On Sending Troops And Bombs At Times Square

The U.S. bombs Afghanistan to prevent bombs from going off in Times Square. Meanwhile bombs go off in Times Square to stop the U.S. from bombing Afghanistan. A perpetual motion machine ... profitable for some.

Feb 14 - Consolation Post

On various interesting issues ...

Feb 15 - Syria - New 'Chemical Weapons' Fake Planned - Chlorine Though Will Not Do

Touches on the reasons why chlorine is not a battlefield weapon ...

Feb 16 - White House: "Iraq Has Anthrax Virus" "Russia Launched NotPetya"

Computer viruses and malware are very difficult to attribute. The U.S. has shown zero evidence for its attribution of the NotPetya malware to Russia.

Feb 17 - Mueller Indictment - The "Russian Influence" Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme

No Russian activity had any influence on the election. Nowhere did Russia collude with Trump or his campaign. But Cold War 2.0 is needed to sell more weapons ...

 Use as open thread ...

Posted by b at 09:35 AM | Comments (69)