Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 04, 2013

Open Thread 2013-21

News & views ...

Posted by b on October 4, 2013 at 17:39 UTC | Permalink


Someone who calls himself sasa wawa has started a blog to investigate the Ghouta chemical weapons massacre: Who Attacked Ghouta?

Sasa wawa has demonstrated that the UMLACA rocket claimed to be used in the CW attack has a maximum range of some 2.5 km. Human Rights Watch claims that it was fired by Assad's troops some 9 kilometers away.

In our long-running research wiki A Closer Look On Syria we are slowly reconstructing the events. It now seems likely that alleged victims were given isopropyl methylphosponate (IMPA) to fake the blood tests for sarin. Evidently this hoax was first tested in a false flag attack on April 29.

A full list of all YouTube videos is taking shape here.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Oct 4 2013 18:02 utc | 1

1) The conviction that the Ghouta Sarin attack was a false flag by Saudi Arabia has become pretty mainstream - presumably UPI is mainstream

What is becoming increasingly clear is that Assad wasn't behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in an eastern suburb of Damascus. The evidence gathered by U.N. inspectors may lead to pro-al-Qaida operatives in the resistance movement.

The purpose of such an operation would be to further discredit Assad's regime and sabotage peace talks.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 4 2013 18:52 utc | 2

Latest from Russia Today: "Russian diplomatic sources" contend that the chemical weapons attack was carried out by Saudi black ops, in conjunction with a rebel group.

Posted by: Harper Langston | Oct 4 2013 18:54 utc | 3

@~somebody, #2: well, that's Arnaud de Borchgrave. He is recognised as an insider who doesn't necessarily always tell the whole truth and nothing but. Insiders can do that. But in this case, the second half of his article is full of the most extreme and almost certainly fictitious atrocity stories about the Westgate Mall victims. I said elsewhere on here just a few minutes ago that the leader of al-Shabab seems to me like an obvious pseudo-gang type, a sort of mega-provocateur false flag agent, who got rid of Shabab's original leaders simply by staging an internal coup in Shabab and executing them. But even so, more recent stories from Nairobi have not at all confirmed the earlier claims that hostages had had their fingers cut off, their eyes gouged out, etc, and Borchgrave is going to town on these atrocities on order to argue that the US (wait for it)... may be making a big mistake by backing AQ in Syria.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 4 2013 19:19 utc | 4

So did the Obama administration shift its policy on Syria so quickly to have a diversion from the NSA scandals? And was the Ghouta atrocity manufactured (whether with or without the complicity of the U.S. government) in order to provide the justification for the change in policy?

Posted by: lysias | Oct 4 2013 21:35 utc | 5

I can’t imagine a more erudite and articulate spokesperson for exposing the US & UK governments for the despotic moral and political sewer they now inhabit. This interview, Glenn Greenwald full interview on Snowden, NSA, GCHQ and spying, by a hostile BBC interviewer raises Greenwald’s credibility and my respect for him even higher yet. It is pathetic if one considers the interviewer’s standpoint but I found it ironically humorous and entertaining while succinctly informative.

Posted by: juannie | Oct 4 2013 22:56 utc | 6

juannie @ 6: Thanks for that Greenwald interview. One of the best I've heard.

Posted by: ben | Oct 5 2013 0:31 utc | 7

Here's the next big thing coming down the road in global "free" trade. Also, I hear, coming to the Alantic/Europe areas.

Posted by: ben | Oct 5 2013 1:09 utc | 8

thanks! great interview on glenns part. bbc interviewer was in over her head.

Posted by: james | Oct 5 2013 2:51 utc | 9

That lady with the scottish accent, the inquisitorial air, and the script of questions evidently written for her by MI5 and MI6, is named Kirsty Wark.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 5 2013 3:41 utc | 10

The evidence gathered by U.N. inspectors may lead to pro-al-Qaida operatives in the resistance movement.
The purpose of such an operation would be to further discredit Assad's regime and sabotage peace talks.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 4, 2013 2:52:47 PM | 2

'pro-al-Qaida operatives in the resistance movement.'

resistance movement? pro-alq in?

Posted by: brian | Oct 5 2013 4:10 utc | 11

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Oct 4, 2013 2:02:32 PM | 1
Who Attacked Ghouta?
that blog by a troll with no name is no more to be trusted than Brown moses, whom he(?) praises

Posted by: brian | Oct 5 2013 4:25 utc | 12

Snowden documents shed light on Shiban, Akbar, and Trojanov cases

rgiap! miss you comrade!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 5 2013 4:26 utc | 13

Re Snowden, NSA, Pentagon, CIA.
I read something about NSA having a CIA vs Pentagon context but can't find it and can't recall whether the NSA is more Pentagon-ish than CIA-ish or vice versa.
I'd be grateful if someone here could refresh my memory.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 5 2013 5:24 utc | 14

thanks. i see in the wikipedia entry for her a note on the greenwald interview which goes as follows. "In October 2013 on the BBC's Newsnight, Wark interviewed Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald about his reporting of the NSA and GCHQ cyber-spying programs leaked by Edward Snowden.[16] The interview was seen as openly hostile in which "Wark unabashedly made the case for the prosecution, interrogating Greenwald about his reporting and Edward Snowden."[17] Greenwald later wrote that Wark and other journalists have focused "almost entirely on the process questions surrounding the reporting rather than the substance of the revelations" about NSA surveillance and privacy invasions "and in the process made some quite dubious claims that come straight from the mouths of government officials."[18]
here is greenwalds post on this - [18]

Posted by: james | Oct 5 2013 5:31 utc | 15

this post didnt pass muster at atimes....

*Japan has never in the past 1,500 years had a smooth relationship with China, *

this *aso* san has got cheek !

japanese aggressions on chinese territories dates back to the ming dynasty
now dont get me started on ww2. !!!

*Germany gave up 24 percent of its traditional territory to these two countries, the
two biggest victims.*

*Japan’s intransigence about far-flung territorial claims is particularly hard to
fathom given its undisputed role as aggressor nation, aligned with Nazi Germany.
It invaded nearly all of its neighbors, left millions dead and committed unspeakable
war crimes in China, Korea and Southeast Asia. Is it not a bit unseemly for Japan
to be tussling over territory that it once used as a springboard to terrorize its

its not *a bit unseemly*, its downright outrageous !
diaoyu was a war booty taken from china , it was supposed to be returned to
china after the japense defeat in ww2, but the ever so nefarious uncle sham gave
it to japan as *administrator*. thus setting a booby trap to be sprung at their

the socalled asia pivot is all about springing the booby traps in ecs n scs to
corner china.

Posted by: denk | Oct 5 2013 6:05 utc | 16

"We are skeptical of Americans and have no trust in them at all.
The American government is untrustworthy, arrogant, illogical and a promise-breaker.
It's a government captured by the international Zionism network,"

said Khamenei.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Posted by: Loyal | Oct 5 2013 12:57 utc | 18

An important indicator of the social decline of the USA, cases of the use of a "drug" known as Crocodile have emerged in the US. I'm not surprised to hear that this popped up in Arizona, one of the most socially divided states in the union.

This is no "drug". Although it gives a high, its physical effects are so extreme and damaging (made using gasoline and phosphorous, its use quickly results in rotting flesh, the exposure of bones, the destruction of vital organs) that it cannot be classed as a simple "drug". This drug is more less indicative of extreme hedonism or even growing social ills, but of people being reduced to both extreme poverty and extreme psychological distress. Not surprising that it emerged in rural Russia during the catastrophe of the 1990s and is now cropping up in the United States as we head, seemingly intentionally, towards our own collapse.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 14:15 utc | 19

@18 Great... Drone warfare 2.0

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 14:21 utc | 20

18) Looks like a waste of money (though the team developing it must have had a lot of fun, so maybe it was worth it) I can imagine no terrain including very steep and rocky ones where wheels would not be more advantageous.

An adaptation of the project might be great for handicapped people though.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 5 2013 14:29 utc | 21

18) Looks like a waste of money (though the team developing it must have had a lot of fun, so maybe it was worth it) I can imagine no terrain including very steep and rocky ones where wheels would not be more advantageous.

An adaptation of the project might be great for handicapped people though.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 5 2013 14:29 utc | 22

I think this possibly the most important story to come from the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens

Mapping social networks has long been a tool of law enforcement as well as political organizing. It is the single most powerful tool of any group seeking to influence another. The NSA has taken that to the next level now and is mapping, likely, the social networks of the entire world.

To use an example from pop culture to those who have seen The Wire - you recall the bulletin board with the organizational charts of the gangs, and the job of the police was to fill in the gaps, find the important nodes, and go after them. The US government now has this capability - previously the result of long and time consuming police work - at the press of a button.

The fact that we know that the NSA has used the "three hops" formulation to dig into the background of American citizens means that likely there are only the smallest pockets of US citizens - those who neither know a foreigner, nor knows someone who knows a foreigner, nor knows someone who knows someone who knows a foreigner - that are not part of these maps. As even the right wing liberatarian Cato institues notes ""If you're building a social graph starting with a foreigner and you build far're of course also going to be building up the social graphs of Americans."

The practice of making these maps, because of their obvious potential for misuse (the NYTimes notes that "As far back as 2006, a Justice Department memo warned of the potential for the 'misuse' of such information without adequate safeguards"), was prohibited until 2010 when the NSA lifted the restrictions.

A key fact in all of this: It has nothing to do with the September 11th attacks. According to the NYTimes, this power was, in fact, requested by the NSA as early as 1999. Though rebuffed at the time, the Bush administration began an illegal effort to do so anyway, and in 2010 the Obama administration finally granted the permission that makes it legal.

Note that the big Silicon Valley tech companies are again deeply involved in this effort. Ones Facebook connections are an important part (likely one of the more important parts) of this effort. GPS services, such as the one in smart phones, were also used.

The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents.

Very interesting, that voter roles were used. This of course provides information of political affiliation. One wonders just how much invaluable information the NSA would be able to provide to political candidates and parties of their choice. The question that also comes to mind is, if this is meant for tracking foreigners, what interest does the US have in using the voting habits of US citizens!

Because of these latest Snowden leaks, we now know know as well what kind of information about people is being collected - and it involves both personal information about ones family, as well as information about internet activity, including posting to blog forums such as we all do here:

A top-secret document titled “Better Person Centric Analysis” describes how the agency looks for 94 “entity types,” including phone numbers, e-mail addresses and IP addresses. In addition, the N.S.A. correlates 164 “relationship types” to build social networks and what the agency calls “community of interest” profiles, using queries like “travelsWith, hasFather, sentForumMessage, employs.”

Genral Alexander, who runs the program, has denied it. But this would not be the first time a powerful NSA agent lied directly to congress. In classic use of weasel words, he continually denies "creating dossiers on Americans" and presumably they do not - they just have the ability to create them in the time it takes a supercomputer to churn one out (and that time can be measured in microseconds, most likely).

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 14:54 utc | 23

That lady with the scottish accent, the inquisitorial air, and the script of questions evidently written for her by MI5 and MI6, is named Kirsty Wark.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 4, 2013 11:41:20 PM

What a piece of wark...

Bears a striking resemblance to Rosa Klebb.

Posted by: [Name Redacted] | Oct 5 2013 14:54 utc | 24

is hmm back, under the name of Sara Connor?

Posted by: crone | Oct 5 2013 15:04 utc | 25

Not to mention the latest stories of bad behavior by NSA employees coming to light.

"Last week it was disclosed that the NSA had broken privacy rules on nearly 3,000 occasions over a one-year period."

"National Security Agency officers on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests, U.S. officials said."

We have to think about the range of behavior - from Snowden escaping, with good intentions, of every secret the NSA possesses, to a few dummies using the multi-billion dollar apparatus to spy on ex-wives what are the unknown cases in between?

Who is doing a little moonlighing for a hedge fund? Who is passing some info to a political party? Who is using the info to blackmail a neighbor or celebrity?

This is too many small minds with too much power.

Those are the mainstream accusations, but the gossip goes far further. Certainly there is no reason to think that, if dummies are willing to risk their livelihoods spying on their love interest, that somewhat more menacing - and profitable - actions wouldn't occur.

WMR has learned from a knowlegable National Security Agency (NSA) source that agency employees are using various NSA data mining and surveillance systems, including PRISM meta-data and phone call transcripts, to snoop on their wives and ex-spouses. In addition, some NSA employees have offered to sell such information to individuals outside of NSA who want the goods on their wives and ex-spouses.

In one case, NSA surveillance data was used to track down the contact information and location data for an NSA official’s daughter. A Maryland court-issued restraining order prevented the NSA official from having any contact with his daughter.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 15:05 utc | 26

The BBC interview with Greenwald was astonishing.

The interviewer was like nothing I've ever seen on MSM, and that is saying something. The clear government bias. The questions bordering on homophobia. The ridiculous assumptions.

My favorite part was the section with the Conservative MP at the end, reduces to whimpering "...well, the Russians do...have very sophisticated capabilities..." as the best she could come up with to cover her outrageous, evidence-fee, accusations that the Russians have somehow managed to grab Snowden's information.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 15:10 utc | 27

Television in Nazi Germany Doco:

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 15:11 utc | 28

I should clarify from above: "A key fact in all of this: It has nothing to do with the September 11th attacks."

I just mean, the NSA has desired to make these maps from the earliest days of a public internet, and when you see all of the clowns telling Congress "9/11!!" well it is just bullshit.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 15:13 utc | 29

24) Mountain Bike Technique - Jumping Fundamentals Part 1

Of course you can jump on wheels.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 5 2013 16:07 utc | 30

juannie @ 6: Thanks also for that Greenwald interview. Gutsy journalists like Glenn Greenwald, as well as our own blog host Bernard, aka b, are in short supply. What passes for journalism nowadays in the US is more like celebrity sound bites. Hollow and full of trivia.

I have the utmost respect for people who aren't afraid to speak the truth.

Posted by: Cynthia | Oct 5 2013 16:19 utc | 31

@19 guest77

Krokidil is simply the name for 'street process' created desomorphine. Desomorphine is a potent but short acting opioid, the sort of thing used post surgery. It belongs to the proud lineage of super potent opioids created to be less addicting than morphine, first heroin, then desomorphine, then a litany of others, and finally oxycodone.

The limb damage comes from the caustic chemicals, including red phosphorus, used to do a quick synthesis from codeine. So like methamphetamine, the damage comes from botched synthesis via bad chemistry rather than the drug itself.

Posted by: Crest | Oct 5 2013 16:22 utc | 32

@33 Thanks. I also read the articles.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 17:12 utc | 33

For all the attention focused on him, the surviving Boston bomber seem to have completely vanished from the media landscape, huh?

Meanwhile the US political police continue to harass and try and bait Muslims surrounding the case:

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 22:53 utc | 34

Reddit Q&A with Glenn Greenwald

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 22:56 utc | 35

A company that "vets" viral videos.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 5 2013 23:35 utc | 36

and you thought you were hearing things!

Posted by: brian | Oct 6 2013 2:30 utc | 37

a super ship befitting a super power

three more on the way !

*its capable of launching 220 airstrikes a day*
wow, thats LOTS of firepower !
does this means that murikka has got lots of *humanitarian bombings* on the card. ?

Posted by: denk | Oct 6 2013 5:07 utc | 38

@ 38: Oh boy, more toys to help make the world more receptive to the coming "Global Plantation".

Posted by: ben | Oct 6 2013 5:39 utc | 39

38 :-)) a lot of taxpayers money, a lot of gear that can be destroyed by one bomb ...

Posted by: somebody | Oct 6 2013 5:50 utc | 40

ben 39

is this how a r2p mission being conceived ?

raytheon ceo
*hey barry, our warehouse is bursting, i need to clear my stocks somehow* !

*dont worry pal, u keep them missiles coming, i'll give u a war*

*u give me ur picture, i'll give u a war* of *sinking of the maine* fame

Posted by: denk | Oct 6 2013 6:34 utc | 41

somebody 40
*a lot of gear that can be destroyed by one bomb *

dont worry, more no bid contracts for muricun mnc.

Posted by: denk | Oct 6 2013 6:54 utc | 42

42) agree, they are not really intended to be useful.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 6 2013 7:18 utc | 43

Aljazeera of Lies
this is alajzeera: witness their recent history

AJE is still trying to pin Ghouta on Assad
Al Jazeera English
In an interview, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continued to deny charges that his regime used chemical weapons to eliminate the opposition #Syria #Assad

but who is more likely to kill syrians with gas as well as guns? a president whos been there for years and hasnt done so till 2011? or foreign jihadis who arrived in...well 2011?

Posted by: brian | Oct 6 2013 8:04 utc | 44

So now obama bomb all over Africa? Is this man alright?

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 6 2013 8:38 utc | 45

AJE also have a story about the dreadful Iraqi Shi'ite government, how it rounds up innocent Sunnis and pulls their fingernails out to obtain confessions and then hangs them, by the hundred. Now speaking for myself, I don't ask you to love the Iraqi Shi'ite government, but I do ask you to consider how this angle of reporting lays the ground for a defense of AQI.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 6 2013 9:26 utc | 46

This suggests something different from the standard CIA vs Shabab spectacle (a mossad unit?)

Assassinations of Muslim clerics in Kenya ‘boosting al Shabaab’
Drazen Jorgic, Reuters, Oct 5 2013

MOMBASA, Kenya – The killings of popular Muslim clerics in Kenya’s port city of Mombasa are strengthening support for al-Shabaab, a prominent Islamist said on Saturday. The apparent assassination of Sheikh Ibrahim Omar on Thursday night raised religious tensions in Kenya’s commercial and tourism hub, where several prominent Muslim preachers have been killed over the past 18 months. Young Muslims, streaming out of a mosque where Omar had preached, torched a church, burned tires and fought the police on Friday. Four people were killed during the day-long riots. Abu-Bakar Sharif said Omar’s killing would boost recruitment and support for the Somali group among Kenyan Muslims convinced the cleric was gunned down by Kenyan security agencies. [...] The drive-by shooting of Omar was strikingly similar to that of Sheikh Aboud Rogo, a cleric who had been Omar’s mentor, last year. Both men were popular with youths along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline where many Muslims feel marginalized by the mainly Christian government. They both died on the same stretch of road outside Mombasa, their cars sprayed with bullets.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 6 2013 11:39 utc | 47

@47 - local mafias hand in glove with factions inside the Kenyan security apparatus? Maybe add a pinch of ethnic or tribal or class conflicts to the explanation.

I'm come on dude, no need to pull in the Mossad or CIA for every occurrence of violence in that part of Africa. The MSM takes as usual the easy road of throwing al Shabaab into the mix, because of a recent occurrence. That doesn't make it real. African people are perfectly capable of causing a lot of havoc themselves.

Posted by: Philippe | Oct 6 2013 12:42 utc | 48

Aug. 21, 2013, Syria CW attacks. After trawling thru the vids and examining the UN report, came to the conclusion that either the entire shebang was a set up, faked, or some minor dissemination of a neurotoxin took place by some? method. But who am I.

UN report.

The labs that did the analyses are not named and their reports are not available. Lab reports aren’t even officially ‘secret’ or ‘for X eyes only’ or even numbered as a document or what not, for. ex. subject to a FOIA request. In short, the data has no existence of a formal kind. In Europe, labs that do such analyses are part of the Gvmt. or under strict Gvmt. control, and subject to classification-secrecy and disclosure procedures. Here we see ‘fiat’ Science, it is so - mirabile dictu! - because a political body -UN- says so.

One of the 4 labs was SPIEZ, Berne, CH, see for ex from the Swiss Gov.

> 2 others: WIS, Munster, Germany, a military Lab. Swedish Defense Lab at Umea, the only one in S vetted to do such analysis by the OPWC, Org. for the Prohibition of Chem. Weapons, part of / under the umbrella of the UN.

SPIEZ would be the lab of choice in CH as it has for a long been involved in CW matters with a lot of public statements, alarmist but inconclusive interviews, and is part of the Gvmt. The head of the SPIEZ Chem. Dpt., Stefan Mogi, was elected to Chairman of the scientific advisory board to the OPCW. Yesssss.

The point is that there is no solid evidence, no published reports that anyone will stand behind and attest to, incl. chain of evidence of samples, analyses A, B, C, carried out by X, Y, Z, signed and sealed. (I’m not arguing they don’t exist, I’m sure they do.)

The body -UN- that emits the results does so via a position of Authority, and need not even justify or admit to secrecy, as nobody asks them to! Btw, that is part of the UN’s role, to act as a El Supremo who by-passes national or conventional procedures, and the UN knows on which side its bread is buttered, which clients it has to serve or appease, what services to deliver.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 6 2013 13:14 utc | 49

local mafias hand in glove with factions inside the Kenyan security apparatus? Posted by: Philippe | Oct 6, 2013 8:42:04 AM | 48
OK. But I'm not sure whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with the premise of the article, which is that these killings are being done with the intent to provoke radicalism among young Muslims, and possibly to entice them into joining Shabab (if it has a presence there). Now, Kenya security might do that as a provocation, but they wouldn't unless they were instructed to do so by higher up, where the policy of deliberately creating phony AQ wars originates, and as a comparison I would suggest Yemen, though it's a lot less developed that Kenya and hence a lot less able to interpose any resistance to an international plan to use it as a pawn in the GWOT.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 6 2013 13:49 utc | 50

*While China has the largest military in the region and is the most aggressive in using it* [sic]

the muricuns really are living in their own universe ,
yet another classic *robber crying out robbery* !

cant comment on that site ;-)

Posted by: denk | Oct 6 2013 14:06 utc | 51

I’m not convinced that the premise of the article is correct, nor am I convinced that the involved factions of the security services necessarily take orders from higher up. The ‘attempted planting of evidence’ noted in the article could be simply be a convenient way to hide what they were doing. How many unionist or local activist have been murdered or otherwise ‘disposed of’ simply because they stood in the way of local mafia-like businesses (and their, corrupt, sidekicks in the local police)?

Posted by: Philippe | Oct 6 2013 14:51 utc | 52

Kill for Peace

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 6 2013 15:20 utc | 53

@52: well, I suppose it could simply be a matter of Muslim leaders obstructing police protection rackets, and no more than that. But you should read the whole article, if you haven't, to see how integral the role of 'prominent Islamist' and 'accused Shabab financier' Abu-Bakar Sharif in publicising the matter internationally by talking to Reuters, and very explicitly too. He certainly sees it in Shabab terms, and as a man accused of terror funding, with his own assets already frozen, he would have to be pretty foolhardy to do this unless he had a reason. His self-assurance suggests to me that he is part of a larger scheme of provocation, designed to exacerbate and exploit religious conflict, if not actually to promote Shabab recruitment, as such. Here are the key lines, in a rather engaging tense-free english:

After this attack I think more youth will be willing to go over. It make Muslims realize or sympathize with al-Shabaab, because they see a Christian government killing Muslims and they sympathize with them. Westgate happen because Kenyan Anti-Terror Police Unit or the Kenyan intelligence started eliminating potential targets, thinking they removed every threat to the security of Kenya. Westgate happen because they relaxed.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 6 2013 15:55 utc | 54

This is a very interesting concept, similar to what the NSA has produced for the entire internet-using population of the Earth.

I haven't used it enough to make a worthwhile judgement od the execution, but it is certainly a very interesting concept. I do like the idea of a public intelligence sites like this.

NNDB is an intelligence aggregator that tracks the activities of people we have determined to be noteworthy, both living and dead. Superficially, it seems much like a "Who's Who" where a noted person's curriculum vitae is available (the usual information such as date of birth, a biography, and other essential facts.)

But it mostly exists to document the connections between people, many of which are not always obvious. A person's otherwise inexplicable behavior is often understood by examining the crowd that person has been associating with.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 6 2013 16:26 utc | 55

"Afghan civilians reportedly killed in NATO airstrike"

This Vietnam era "we had to destroy the village in order to save it" mentality prevails today, as it did then. Using air power to deal with an insurgency is the same as using a B1 bomber to deal with Crips and Bloods in South Central Los Angeles with much the same lack of results other than murdering the innocent. Each of these dead Afghan children was as important and deserving of his or her life as Obama's daughters. It's too bad no one understands this.

Posted by: Cynthia | Oct 6 2013 20:16 utc | 56

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 6 2013 20:28 utc | 57

This link is about the real 9/11:

Posted by: bevin | Oct 6 2013 23:27 utc | 58

muricun ignorance, hubris , exhibt 2

*not all other countries are at was with the USA. Make no mistake, China considers all their global activity as part of a war.* [sic]

no sooner did i post a reply than it was deleted.

all i did was calling him mushroom club member
*kept in the dark n fed bushit all day*

n a *robber crying out robbery* !

Posted by: denk | Oct 7 2013 3:02 utc | 59

Part I Mother Agnes discusses evidence re. Al-Ghoutta massacre (in Arabic with English translation) - beware graphic video pics.

part 2

Posted by: brian | Oct 7 2013 7:33 utc | 60

wow that must be all of 30...whatever their nationality: do these 'syrians' not worry that syrians will be killed in the they arent syrian

who holds the 'real eihics of humanity?! bizarre whackos...and they cant spell

Posted by: brian | Oct 7 2013 8:38 utc | 61

'Kim Jong-un is hoping the multimillion dollar Masik Pass will boost tourism and show North Korea is as civilised as the we'
erm,,,.North Korea is as civilised as the west? you mean the west that invaded Iraq and killed 2 million people? or the west that went into Vietnam and killed millions of people...or the west that attacked korea and butchered thousands of civilians at No Gun Ri? or the west that now arms alqaeda in syria? oh : THAT west!

Posted by: brian | Oct 7 2013 10:30 utc | 62

obama does something right
Al Jazeera English
US President Barack Obama has joined the fight to change the name of Washington DC's American football team, the "Redskins".

The club, one of the biggest earners in the NFL, has held the name for 80 years.

But many Native Americans find it offensive, and their campaign to change what they see as a racial slur is gaining momentum.

Al Jazeera's John Terrett reports from Washington DC.

Posted by: brian | Oct 8 2013 2:18 utc | 63

The French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had just an interesting visit to Saudi Arabia:

- he met there King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah and Prince Salman bin Sultan
- he declared that France and Saudi Arabia have a "strategic relationship"
- he vowed to continue to supply "military hardware" to the Syrian National Coalition
- Saudi Arabia rewarded him with a 1.3 bn Euro defense contract on the day of his visit
- talks about another 2 bn Euro defense contract for France are on the way


AFP at Al Ahram: France, Saudi agree to back Syria opposition: Minister

Arab News: Le Drian: KSA, France have unified position on Syria

Posted by: Bandolero | Oct 8 2013 4:27 utc | 64

Snowden & Sochi (is it foot-shooting time in the Western MSM?)

Deutche Welle did several over-enthusiastic, knee-jerk smear jobs about Russia on TV today. There was the predictable stuff about Russia's MSM (= same as Anglo MSM). Then there were warnings from 'activists' that Putin's security apparatus would be spying on visitors (= same as NSA) and a reminder of Russia's habit of intimidating peaceful protesters (= same as US did to #Occupy).

I couldn't help thinking that, thanks to Edward Snowden, I no longer feel as 'lucky' to live in the West as I'm supposed to feel. In fact I envy Russians because (unlike me) they've known for decades that it's unwise to take Govt promises too seriously.

So henceforth whenever I hear the name Edward Snowden, I'll think of him as Equaliser Snowden and silently thank his parents for naming him Edward which, according to the Baby Names register, means "Guardian."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 8 2013 6:34 utc | 65

64) yep, this part is interesting

"Our approach to the situation is identical," Le Drian told reporters in Jeddah, following talks with Saudi officials, including King Abdullah.

"We believe in strengthening the Syrian National Coalition and the general staff of general (Selim) Idriss," the chief of staff in the rebel Free Syrian Army, said Le Drian.

"The National Coalition should be strong and respected... We support the Coalition on the military level, as well as the humanitarian and political levels," he said, declining to give details about military assistance.

As the forces on the ground now seem to be two competing Jihadi organisations and Idriss is a general without an army, above is a smoke screen for - what?

Posted by: somebody | Oct 8 2013 6:56 utc | 66

Though not really surprising, it seems the Australian government knew about PRISM months before Snowden’s revelations.

ABC News Article

I found this sentence particularly interesting:

Talking points about what effect PRISM would have on the privacy of Australians was considered too sensitive for public release.

Posted by: Ashes | Oct 8 2013 7:06 utc | 67

@ 67. There is scarcely any doubt remaining that Oz Govt's (of either stripe) take their orders on Oz Foreign Policy, and Oz domestic Security Policy, from the US Consulate (ie the US Ambassador to Oz). The (rally-round-the-flag) meetings are so frequent that Oz polies sometimes let slip meaningless-in-Oz Yankee one-liners such as "we've got your back" as one senior Labor Govt poli did earlier this year.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 8 2013 7:50 utc | 68

brian @ 60. Mother Agnes Mariam is a brave woman. And sharp, and thorough. All the points she brings up are tops, and they are amongst the most important.

I’m still hoping that the Ghouta ‘massacre’ may be exposed, the perps identified, and all those who colluded and covered up at the very least shamed in public opinion. I’d like to see her testifying at the Intl. Court, well one can dream. (Her testimony implies that the possibility that these children were kidnapped to serve as suffering or dead props is very real.)

Even before 21 Aug. some ppl found ‘doubles’ of children. (I.e. same child dead in two seemingly different places.) So that would be standard procedure.

> passing to the living (21 aug. Syria):

A young girl doing fair acting and a Doc who certainly is not a doc.

Another clip of the exact same scene, same doc, same place, but with different acting methods.

These vids are, inho, chopped up into pieces - short clips - because if they were strung together, the whole footage shown, they would not be believable: they would last too long, be too odd in their dialogue, presentation, switching. Plus, no doc in an emergency would act this way for so long.

But that is just my perception.

The power of the image (or really short) video clip is understood by all, and it often clumsily constructed on the model of Hollywood images, shock photos of long ago, and theatre from the culture itself, and models presented in the MSM. And so West meets East.

For. ex. the piling up of denuded bodies is an MSM staple since the Holocaust (to take just contemp. history), but Islam cannot present naked ppl. It is known that in the W dead children break kids is the way to go.

The respected W photographer Spencer Tunick makes his living by photographing crowds of naked ppl, thus using shock value of a kind - public nakedness, piled up bodies, invoking surprise, sexual interest, horror, and ancestral images, memories - flipped over to benign ‘Art’, fun, creativity, etc. Clever but not particularly laudable.

Images from goog:

Afaik he has never pictured children, for obvious reasons.

So in the Syria Ghouta dead pictures we see a mixture of many memes, many theatrics, coming together. The white shrouds are crucial as well.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 8 2013 14:58 utc | 69

Assad commented in his interview that one child was shown in two different photographs, in two different locations. According to SANA, the exchange went like this:

Assad: Every investigation should start with identifying the number of the real victims. The armed groups speak about 350. The US speaks about 1,400. Médecins Sans Frontières mention about 280. [Spiegel has "The militants said 350 victims, the US said 1,200 victims." - RB] This cannot be right. Even the photos taken of the victims contain discrepancies. For instance, a dead child appears in two different locations.
Spiegel: You mean that the photos of the victims have been manipulated? [This omitted by Spiegel - RB]
Assad: I want to say this case should be verified thoroughly, and no one has done that so far.

According to Spiegel, it went:
Assad: Any investigation should begin with the identifying the number of the real victims. The militants said 350 victims, the US said 1,200 victims. [SANA has "The armed groups speak about 350. The US speaks about 1,400. Médecins Sans Frontières mention about 280." - RB] There is something not true on the ground. There are also inconsistencies in the pictures. One of the dead children can be seen in two locations in two photos. [Question by Spiegel in SANA version: "You mean that the photos of the victims have been manipulated?" omitted here - RB] What I want to say with this is that you have to verify this case very precisely, but no one has done that so far.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 8 2013 16:11 utc | 70

The fruits of militarism:


An American arrested in Thailand on drug trafficking charges led a group of former military snipers who killed people for money, U.S. officials said Friday

Two Other Defendants, Former Members of the Armed Forces of Germany and Poland, Are Also Charged with Conspiracy to Import Cocaine

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 9 2013 0:34 utc | 71

another dumb idea brought to us by @smart people: people ignore murder cause eyes gued to 'smart' phones

Posted by: brian | Oct 9 2013 0:50 utc | 72

NSA to fire 90 percent of system administrators.

Great move, highly intelligent (sarcasm)

Posted by: somebody | Oct 9 2013 8:08 utc | 73

someone sending the russians a message?
'The Dutch government responded by saying it would apologize only if an investigation into the incident proved the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity had been breached. '

this is almost an admission of guilt

Posted by: brian | Oct 9 2013 10:56 utc | 74

The UK seems to be just a parody of the sad joke that is the US at this point. How pathetic.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 9 2013 10:57 utc | 75

That was two months ago. Could you at least give us credit for having read about it by now, unless it just doesn't interest us in the first place, which is probably true of some people, but then if they aren't interested, they don't need to be reminded about it two months later, either.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 9 2013 11:56 utc | 77


Easy please, if your # 77 was meant for guest77 #76. I for one am interested but happened to have missed that item and I did appreciate the link. We are all a little fallible or off the mark sometimes and I would like to see a lot more good will and tolerance for other poster's faux pas, when they occur, which in this case I feel didn't.

Our host, b's, good will, forbearance and competence is something I, and I hope other's who enjoy and benefit from his hospitality, would try to emulate.


Posted by: juannie | Oct 9 2013 16:09 utc | 78

Thanks juannie. I didn't realize it was so old. I just saw that somebody had posted it and I reposted in English. Clearly a zio-plot by him to make me look bad. ;)

But come now Rowan. So snippy and in an open thread. Tsk tsk.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 10 2013 0:56 utc | 79

Egypt strips Muslim Brotherhood of NGO status
good..however: 'Saudi Arabia renews support to Cairo against ‘terrorism’'
while saudi aids alqaeda terrorism in syria #hypocrisy must also be an islamic virtue

Posted by: brian | Oct 10 2013 7:09 utc | 80

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 9, 2013 6:57:06 AM | 75

UK is known as the Poodle

Posted by: brian | Oct 10 2013 7:10 utc | 81

Re #73, #76, #78, #79: My #77 was intended to be jocular, not "snippy". I should have put a smiley on it, as people always counsel, because voice-tone is not audible on-screen. Sorry.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 10 2013 8:14 utc | 82

:-) :-) :-)

Posted by: juannie | Oct 10 2013 12:33 utc | 83

@82 haha, all in good fun.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 11 2013 1:14 utc | 84

on the way to Oblivion: drones without human operators
'As we reported last month, the government is actually starting to have a difficult time finding people to do some of their more unpopular jobs, like killing people by remote control for example. The US Air Force is having trouble finding people to fly their drones.[1]

Now the US military wants to develop autonomous drones that will kill without an operator. This next generation of drones will be known as lethal autonomous robots, or LAR’s.

Posted by: brian | Oct 11 2013 8:09 utc | 85

in 14 hundred and 92 columbus sailed the ocean blue....he was not the first to discover america: but he was the first to commit genocide there

Posted by: brian | Oct 11 2013 13:41 utc | 86

@85 Nothing that a few more billions of the US citizenry's tax dollars won't fix.

The lowest of the low can make some big bucks now!

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 12 2013 13:17 utc | 87

C.I.A. Warning on Snowden in ’09 Said to Slip Through the Cracks

WASHINGTON — Just as Edward J. Snowden was preparing to leave Geneva and a job as a C.I.A. technician in 2009, his supervisor wrote a derogatory report in his personnel file, noting a distinct change in the young man’s behavior and work habits, as well as a troubling suspicion.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 12 2013 20:14 utc | 88

I'd be very interested to have translation confirmed on this one. Presumably he was saying "It is amazing Obama would believe in American Exceptionalism because of its roots in slavery" not, as Reuters makes it sound "How can a bunch of slaves from a low social strata believe they are exceptional".

Belarus leader says Obama surprises him, 'blacks were slaves'

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 12 2013 22:19 utc | 89

'Making fun of Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is becoming the favorite pastime for Iranians online. Netanyahu was taking some well-deserved flack Saturday after being caught following a racy Twitter account. Last week Iranians were sending him pictures of their pants. Now they're making jokes about what may or may not be going on in his.

Meet Persian Hot Book, an Iranian sex education account, or the porn feed favored most by the Israeli head of state. Which is it? Why not both! The Times of Israel first noticed plenty of people poking fun at Netanyahu on Saturday for following the suggestive account. Netanyahu only follows 89 feeds on Twitter, as of this writing, but his most recent addition is Persian Hot Book, "the first library of hot sex books [in the] Persian language," according to the Times' translation of the account description. A few different people noticed around the same time Saturday afternoon.

Posted by: brian | Oct 13 2013 8:27 utc | 90

@68 There is scarcely any doubt remaining

That's an understatement of course. Evidence the Iraq war statements to their respective parliaments made by the Canadian and Australian Prime Ministers at the start of the Iraq war. Entire paragraphs were word for word identical presenting only one possible explanation.

This joke will end, but it will not end well for anyone.

Posted by: DM | Oct 13 2013 10:14 utc | 91

The phrase mentioned here is copied and repeated countless times. After all these years, has this "senior advisor" been identified?

Posted by: DM | Oct 13 2013 11:47 utc | 92

Old (2008) but brilliant Fisk talk:

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 13 2013 23:16 utc | 93

China's RT?

I didn't realize China had an English language 24 hour news outlet.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 14 2013 0:38 utc | 94

This is probably off-topic, even for an Open Thread.
I stumbled on it a few months ago. It's love-related with tragic overtones and has a backing with a strong orchestral flavour. It's interesting because although it could probably be performed using conventional orchestral instruments, its 'atmosphere' probably wouldn't be "improved" by doing so.
Icehouse (by Icehouse)
Any thoughts?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 16 2013 14:53 utc | 95

This site could be better if the touch of modern design of html produced . . .visit me at

Posted by: Hammish | Oct 29 2013 12:27 utc | 97

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