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October 29, 2020

Why Are These Anti-Russian And Anti-Chinese Narratives So Similar?

After more than four years of Russiagate we finally learn (paywalled original) where the Steele dossier allegations about nefarious relations between Trump and Russia came from:

A Wall Street Journal investigation provides an answer: a 40-year-old Russian public-relations executive named Olga Galkina fed notes to a friend and former schoolmate who worked for Mr. Steele.​ The Journal relied on interviews, law-enforcement records, declassified documents and the identification of Ms. Galkina by a former top U.S. national security official.

In 2016, Ms. Galkina was working in Cyprus at an affiliate of XBT Holding SA, a web-services company best known for its Webzilla internet hosting unit. XBT is owned by Russian internet entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev.

That summer, she received a request from an employee of Mr. Steele to help unearth potentially compromising information on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump ’s links to Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Ms. Galkina was friends with the employee, Igor Danchenko, since their school days in Perm, a Russian provincial city near the Ural mountains.

Ms. Galkina often came drunk to work and eventually got fired by her company. She took revenge by alleging that the company and its owner Gubarev were involved in the alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee. A bunch of other false allegations in the dossier were equally based on Ms. Galkina's fantasies.

Mark Ames @MarkAmesExiled - 18:39 UTC · Oct 28, 2020

So the Steele Dossier that kicked off 4 years of Russiagate hysteria among the US ruling class was cooked up by two Russian alcoholics from Perm. “Gogolesque” does not begin to describe the grotesque credulity & stupidity of the American elites.

The tales in the dossier were real disinformation from Russians but not 'Russian disinformation' of the American Newspeak variant.

The FBI, and others involved, knew very early on that the Steele dossier was a bunch of lies. But the issue was kept in the public eyes by continues leaks of additional nonsense. All this was to press Trump to take more and more anti-Russian measures which he did with unprecedented generosity. The accusations about a Trump-Russia connection were the 'Russia bad' narrative that pressed and allowed Trump to continue the anti-Russian policies of the Obama/Biden administration.

A similar string of continuous policies from the Obama/Biden administration's 'Pivot to Asia' and throughout the four years of Trump is the anti-China campaign.

We now hear a lot about Hunter and Joe Biden's corrupt deals with Chinese entities. These accusations come with more evidence and are far more plausible than the stupid Steele dossier claims. Their importance is again twofold. They will be used to press a potential President Joe Biden to act against China but they will primarily be used to intensify a public anti-China narrative that creates public support for such policies.

As Caitlin Johnstone points out:

I don’t know how or at what level, but we are being played. A narrative is being aggressively rammed down our throats about China in exactly the same way it was being aggressively rammed down our throats about Russia four years ago; two unabsorbed nations the US government has long had plans to attack and undermine.
Russiagate was never really about Trump. It was never about his campaign staff meeting with Russians, it was never about a pee tape, it was never about an investigation into any kind of hidden loyalties to the Kremlin. Russiagate was about narrative managing the United States into a new cold war with Russia with the ultimate target being its far more powerful ally China, and ensuring that Trump played along with that agenda.
...
If Biden gets in we can expect the same thing: a president who advances escalations against both Russia and China while being accused of the other party of being soft on China. Both parties will have their foot on the gas toward brinkmanship with a nuclear-armed nation, with no one’s foot anywhere near the brakes.

It is thus assured that the verbal attacks on China, the search for new anti-China allies like the Hindu-fascist India and the dangerous weaponizing of Taiwan will all continue under a Biden administration.

Posted by b at 15:30 UTC | Comments (74)

October 28, 2020

Open Thread 2020-86

News & views ...

Posted by b at 18:39 UTC | Comments (206)

October 27, 2020

Belarus - Opposition Call For 'Crippling General Strike' Fails To Reach Workers

On April 30 2019 some Random Guyaidó in Venezuela got snookered into a coup attempt which turned him into a laughingstock when the troops he had expected to support him failed to show up:

The whole coup attempt was run within a 500 x 200 meter corridor with nothing of significance happening outside of it. A dangerous propaganda stunt but so far nothing more than that.

This slight modification of the Guaidó/López picture above seems appropriate. These dudes are mere comic figures, wannabe fantasy heroes.


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One would have thought that such a comical failure would have put an end to similar schemes of 'western' supported regime change attempts.

Unfortunately it didn't.

In June 2020 it became obvious that a U.S. directed color revolution was planned to unseat the President Lukashenko of Belarus. It happened as usual after the election results were put into doubt. But just a few days later it became obvious that the attempt had failed:

While President Alexander Lukashenko claimed to have won 80% of the votes during last Sunday's election, the 'western' candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya claimed that she had won. (While the 80% is certainly too high it is most likely that Lukashenko was the real winner.) Protests and riots ensued. On Tuesday Tikhanovskaya was told in no uncertain terms to leave the country. She ended up in Lithuania.

Lukashenko then proceeded to make a deal with Russia which promised him protection in exchange for progress in the creation of a Russian-Belarus Union State.

Even the NATO lobby-shop Atlantic Council admitted that the coup attempt had failed:

Cont. reading: Belarus - Opposition Call For 'Crippling General Strike' Fails To Reach Workers

Posted by b at 14:32 UTC | Comments (73)

October 26, 2020

Erdogan Is Again Under Pressure And Therefore Likely To Escalate

Over the last years the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has managed to alienate so many of his countries international partners that it is hard to keep count. He at times did so on purpose to distract his voters from a sinking economy and other local calamities. But there are signs that he has now exceeded the patience of the adversaries he has created. He is now finally receiving the rebukes he has seemed to be seeking.

While Russia has emphasized friendly relations with Turkey, it is in conflict with it in Syria, Libya and most recently in the war over Nagorny-Karabakh.

Russia at times has a not-so-subtle way to communicate that its patience has run out. Last Thursday Russian ships in the eastern Mediterranean fired missiles on a oil smuggling center near Jarablus, Syria:

More than 15 militants from the Turkish-controlled Syrian armed opposition were killed and injured in a missile strike by an unknown military aircraft on a smuggling market for oil products in the city of Jerablus, bordering Turkey, in northern Syria, local sources reported.

It is noted that the rockets were also fired at two fuel tankers, which were moving along the highway near the village of Kus in the direction of the market. Eyewitnesses reported that at the time of the strikes, several powerful explosions occurred in the border area.

The oil was smuggled from eastern Syria and was on its way to Turkey.

Today a Russian air attack on a graduation ceremony of Turkish financed 'Syrian rebels' killed or wounded more than 200 of them.


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Cont. reading: Erdogan Is Again Under Pressure And Therefore Likely To Escalate

Posted by b at 16:03 UTC | Comments (161)

October 25, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-85

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Michael Tracey @mtracey- 18:34 UTC · Oct 24, 2020

Tried to get into Biden’s “drive-in” event with Bon Jovi this afternoon in Dallas, PA and was told attendance is limited to “party officials and donors.” Registration is not open to the general public. Kinda weird how these campaign rallies have effectively become private affairs

Mark Sedwill said the UK had sought to exploit Moscow’s “vulnerabilities”, including through the deployment of its recently declared offensive cyber-capability.

He said the aim of such actions had been to “impose a price greater than one they might have expected” in response to aggressive Russian behaviour.

---
Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-85

Posted by b at 13:31 UTC | Comments (279)

October 24, 2020

Putin On The Role Of The State In The Economy

Most of the commentators on yesterday's post were right. It was the Russian President Vladimir Putin who said this:

Many of us read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when we were children and remember what the main character said: “It’s a question of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet. … It’s very tedious work, but very easy.”

I am sure that we must keep doing this “tedious work” if we want to preserve our common home for future generations. We must tend our planet.

The subject of environmental protection has long become a fixture on the global agenda. But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We often say that nature is extremely vulnerable to human activity. Especially when the use of natural resources is growing to a global dimension. However, humanity is not safe from natural disasters, many of which are the result of anthropogenic interference. By the way, some scientists believe that the recent outbreaks of dangerous diseases are a response to this interference. This is why it is so important to develop harmonious relations between Man and Nature.

It was a part of a talk he gave at this year's Valdai Discussion Club meeting.

I found the excerpt remarkable because it included this, on might say, anti-capitalistic statement:

.. an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

That 'green' statement will rile those people who argue for free markets and a right to sell bullshit in ever more flavors. In their view the fight against such 'communists' thinking must be renewed.

As the full English transcript of Putin's speech and the two and a half hour Q&A is now available I can also quote another interesting passage where Putin talks about capitalism and the role of the state. His standpoint seems very pragmatic to me:

Cont. reading: Putin On The Role Of The State In The Economy

Posted by b at 18:00 UTC | Comments (94)

Putin On The Role Of The State In The Economy

Most of the commentators on yesterday's post were right. It was the Russian President Vladimir Putin who said this:

Many of us read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when we were children and remember what the main character said: “It’s a question of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet. … It’s very tedious work, but very easy.”

I am sure that we must keep doing this “tedious work” if we want to preserve our common home for future generations. We must tend our planet.

The subject of environmental protection has long become a fixture on the global agenda. But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We often say that nature is extremely vulnerable to human activity. Especially when the use of natural resources is growing to a global dimension. However, humanity is not safe from natural disasters, many of which are the result of anthropogenic interference. By the way, some scientists believe that the recent outbreaks of dangerous diseases are a response to this interference. This is why it is so important to develop harmonious relations between Man and Nature.

It was a part of a talk he gave at this year's Valdai Discussion Club meeting.

I found the excerpt remarkable because it included this, on might say, anti-capitalistic statement:

.. an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

That 'green' statement will rile those people who argue for free markets and a right to sell bullshit in ever more flavors. In their view the fight against such 'communists' thinking must be renewed.

As the full English transcript of Putin's speech and the two and a half hour Q&A is now available I can also quote another interesting passage where Putin talks about capitalism and the role of the state. His standpoint seems very pragmatic to me:

Cont. reading: Putin On The Role Of The State In The Economy

Posted by b at 17:53 UTC | Comments (8)

October 23, 2020

Guess Who Said This

Guess who said this:

Many of us read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when we were children and remember what the main character said: “It’s a question of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet. … It’s very tedious work, but very easy.”

I am sure that we must keep doing this “tedious work” if we want to preserve our common home for future generations. We must tend our planet.

The subject of environmental protection has long become a fixture on the global agenda. But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We often say that nature is extremely vulnerable to human activity. Especially when the use of natural resources is growing to a global dimension. However, humanity is not safe from natural disasters, many of which are the result of anthropogenic interference. By the way, some scientists believe that the recent outbreaks of dangerous diseases are a response to this interference. This is why it is so important to develop harmonious relations between Man and Nature.

No cheating please. Guess. Who said the above?

Please let us know your first guess in the comments.

Posted by b at 17:43 UTC | Comments (137)

October 22, 2020

Open Thread 2020-84

News & views ...

Posted by b at 17:04 UTC | Comments (222)

Silly Season

Washington Post, November 19, 2017

Justice Department pushing Iran-connected charges in HBO hack, other cases

Last month, national security prosecutors at the Justice Department were told to look at any ongoing investigations involving Iran or Iranian nationals with an eye toward making them public.

The push to announce Iran-related cases has caused internal alarm, these people said, with some law enforcement officials fearing that senior Justice Department officials want to reveal the cases because the Trump administration would like Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran.

Washington Post, October 22, 2020

U.S. government concludes Iran was behind threatening emails sent to Democrats

U.S. officials on Wednesday night accused Iran of targeting American voters with faked but menacing emails and warned that both Iran and Russia had obtained voter data that could be used to endanger the upcoming election.

The disclosure by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe at a hastily called news conference marked the first time this election cycle that a foreign adversary has been accused of targeting specific voters in a bid to undermine democratic confidence — just four years after Russian online operations marred the 2016 presidential vote.

The claim that Iran was behind the email operation, which came into view on Tuesday as Democrats in several states reported receiving emails demanding they vote for President Trump, was leveled without specific evidence.
...
Metadata gathered from dozens of the emails pointed to the use of servers in Saudi Arabia, Estonia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, according to numerous analysts.

Reuters, October 22, 2020

U.S. intelligence agencies say Iran, Russia have tried to interfere in 2020 election

The emails are under investigation, and one intelligence source said it was still unclear who was behind them.
...
... the evidence remains inconclusive.

The claims that Iran is behind this are as stupid as the people who believe them.

I for one trust (not) those 50 former intelligence officials who say that all emails are Russian disinformation. They are intended to 'sow discord' which is something the U.S. has otherwise never ever had throughout its history.

Politico, October 19, 2020

Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say

More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails ... “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
...
While the letter’s signatories presented no new evidence, they said their national security experience had made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case” and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin’s hand at work.

“If we are right,” they added, “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”

No, this doesn't make any sense. It is not supposed to do that.

Posted by b at 7:21 UTC | Comments (114)