Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 11, 2014

Ukraine: As Economic War Escalates, Fighting May Resume Soon

The ceasefire of Minsk between the Ukrainian coup-government and the federalists of east Ukraine was something both sides needed.

The Ukrainian army was on the verge of completely  loosing it. It was temporarily defeated and needed to rearm and reorganize. While the federalist insurgents were successful and probably able to continue their fight for a few days their forces were overstretched and needed to consolidate.

But many on the insurgent side did not like the ceasefire. It did not give them the federal autonomy they demanded. The neo-nazi "national-guard" battalions on the other side also criticized the ceasefire. They want the total destruction of their enemy and ethnic cleansing of all Russia-affine Ukrainians.

Russia had pressed for the ceasefire to avoid further sanctions. It was an offer to the "western" side to step back from the cliff of an economic war. Obama and NATO tried to sabotage the ceasefire through false claims of a Russian invasion and other propaganda. But the Ukrainian president had to ignore the pressure from Washington and Brussels or he would have lost another city, Mariupol, to the insurgents.

The main Russian reason to support the ceasefire, to hold back sanctions, has now vanished. Three days ago the EU, against the will of several of its members, decided on new sanctions on Russia:

The European Union adopted new sanctions against Moscow on Monday despite the leaders of Russia and Ukraine vowing to uphold a truce aimed at halting a devastating five-month war.
In Brussels, the EU formally approved fresh sanctions against Russia but said they would not come into force for a few more days, effectively delaying the measures to see if the current truce will hold.

The truce held and despite that facts and its earlier claims the EU today announced that the new sanctions will be implemented immediately:

The European Union has agreed to impose further sanctions on Russia on Friday over its role in the Ukraine crisis, diplomats say.

The move is aimed at maintaining pressure on Russia, the sources said.

Russia says it is preparing a response "commensurate with the economic losses" caused by the EU sanctions.

This is another catastrophic and escalating EU move with regards to Ukraine and Russia. This turns the conflict into an economic war between the EU and Russia in which no side can win. Only the United States and China will profit from it. 

Additonally Poland had the crazy idea of supplying gas which it purchases from Russia to Ukraine which is not willing or able to pay for direct deliveries from Russia. This is a breach of contract as the deliveries from Russia to Poland are not allowed to be resold to other Russian gas customers. Russia allegedly responded by lowering the volume of gas it supplies to Poland and Poland immediately folded and stopped the reverse gas flow to Ukraine:

Russia’s OAO Gazprom limited natural gas flows to Poland, preventing the European Union member state from supplying Ukraine via so-called reverse flows.

Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, or PGNiG, got 20 to 24 percent less fuel than it ordered from Gazprom Export over the past two days and is compensating flows with alternative supply, the company said today in an e-mailed statement.

Poland halted gas supply to Ukraine at 3 p.m. Warsaw time today, according to Ukraine’s UkrTransGaz.

We can be not sure that this is the whole story though. Gazprom says it provides all the gas Poland ordered through its pipelines but hints that Ukraine, where those pipelines cross, may be the party which is taking the gas:

Russia has denied that its state-run gas giant Gazprom has been limiting flows to Poland.

"Reports by news agencies on the reduction of volumes of gas supplies by Gazprom to Poland's PGNiG are incorrect,” Itar-Tass reported Gazprom spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov as saying. “The same volume of gas as in previous days – 23 million cubic meters a day – is being supplied to Poland now."

Before Gazprom issued its statement, Uktransgaz’s Prokopiv blamed Russia for trying to “derail” the plan for Poland to supply Ukraine with “reverse” gas, while Ukraine refused to pay its debt to Gazprom and is currently cut off from Russian supplies, and accused Russia of limiting the supply of gas.
In August, Russia’s energy minister, Aleksandr Novak, warned that in the upcoming winter Ukraine may begin siphoning off Russian supplies intended for Europe if it fails to build up its reserves.

There is more conflicting news. The Ukrainian president Poroshenko claimed that most of the "Russian troops", which no one, including the OSCE observers in the area, has ever seen, have left Ukraine:

“Based on the latest information I have received from our intelligence services, 70 percent of the Russian troops have moved back across the border,” Poroshenko said. “This bolsters our hope that the peace initiatives enjoy good prospects.”

NATO, likely fearing that Poroshenko was again moving towards a peaceful solution, disputed the claim:

"The reported reduction of Russian troops from eastern Ukraine would be a good first step, but we have no information on this. The fact of the matter is there are still approximately 1,000 Russian troops in eastern Ukraine with substantial amounts of military equipment and approximately 20,000 troops on the Russian border with Ukraine," the NATO military officer said.

Push, push, push for war ...

But some parts of the "western" media are slowly waking up to the fact that not all is well with Ukraine and the "western" strategy. They note that Ukraine can not afford the IMF's 'Shock Therapy' and needs money without conditions which it will likely never pay back:

Absent this "bail-in" of foreign creditors, Ukraine will simply be taking on more debt that it lacks the capacity to service, risking a long-term compound debt spiral for the country and practically guaranteeing a wholesale default down the road -- and continuing political instability.

After months of ridiculing anyone who pointed to neo-nazis within Ukraine's regime and military forces as "Putin lover" reports about those neo-nazis now pop up in several "western" media.

Russia best reason to hold the insurgents in east Ukraine back from further fighting has vanished. The economic war is escalating no matter what Russia does or does not do. As the media have more time to look into the real issues in Ukraine the state of the sorry affair will become more clear and "western" public support for Ukraine will decline. This is a threat to "western" warmongering and to again escalate to fighting is the best method to suppress such news.

Hawks on both sides now have reason to restart the fighting. Expect the ceasefire to completely fail very soon.

Posted by b on September 11, 2014 at 17:47 UTC | Permalink

« previous page | next page »

That's a threat!
Posted by: b | Sep 12, 2014 6:38:45 AM | 77

Sounds more like a promise to me.
i.e. "Don't don't come whining to us when our non-peaceful solution isn't quite as muted as you had imagined/wished/daydreamed."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 12 2014 16:24 utc | 101

Saker is reporting that there is a rumor of Srelkov death.

Sometimes they listen to me, sometimes they don't.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Sep 12 2014 16:31 utc | 102

"NATO is a defensive organization, not an offensive one."
Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Sep 12, 2014 6:33:03 AM | 75

Does Libya ring a bell?
NATO's soft-target specialists (aka Pansies & Petunias) ran 21,000 (safe-distance, vandalism) sorties against Libya's civilian infrastructure.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 12 2014 16:48 utc | 103

Ukraine EU trade pact delayed - no free trade zone.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 12 2014 16:51 utc | 104

'Putin managed to get Russia back on its feet' the same way that Donald Trump managed to get Atlantic City back on its feet: Oligarchy. For the average Russian, as the average American, the view never changes. - ChipNikh at 76.

I have to object to this.

Not for the average Russian, no idea about Atlantic city or Trump.

In Russia, some easily verifiable facts, since *about* 1995 - but consult many sources.

1) birth rate is not far from the US and has risen, infant mortality went down, both moves sinificant (but what to compare to? ..) These measures are really telling of the well-being of ppl.

2) life expectancy jumped up. (Perhaps not so difficult after 1990 .. >1995 - any stabilization would have had a positive effect.)

3) Immigration to Russia outpassed emigration. It is a place ppl go to rather than flee.

4) GDP per capita doubled at least, these are shoddy measures, what do they really mean? etc. - Chart from the World Bank, not! a Russia fan:

5) Economic, commercial relations with the outside flowered at a rapid pace- actually Russia would be a prime example of trade liftin’ all boats (if you follow) after the oligarchic and mafia-type mob-wars which killed 10’s of thousands in Russia, mostly youngish men, during the Yeltsin era. In 2013 it was quoted as ‘top reformer’ by the World Bank, it encouraged entrepreneurship, etc. (no link but no surprise..)

I agree absolutely that the nos. are dicey, maybe not meaningful, much could be discussed. But on all these indicators, including well-being, work life balance, job satisfaction (and the like, see OECD, link below, not a Russia supporter) Russia has been doing really well since Putin, and on some measures reaches the top 20%.

If the US could tout at least stability on such measures, or even better, gains, you would have heard about it 24/24 with triumphant fanfare. Specially GDP per capita, which is a taboo measure in the US.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 12 2014 16:53 utc | 105

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 12, 2014 12:53:45 PM | 105

Here is a few articles on the Soviet Union from What's Left.

You might find a few useful facts in the one titled We Lived Better Then.
Reading all of the articles provides an insight into why Russophobia stems from an Existential Fear of the Soviet system by the world's heartless greed-embracing 1%.

P.S. I usually like ChipNikh's stuff, but when he's Not Quite Right it's sensible to call him on it...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 12 2014 17:36 utc | 106

seems like junta going to make some propaganda against the russian aid trucks again..sigh.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 12 2014 17:37 utc | 107

@105 you object, that makes two. "average Russian"? got a link?

Commandante Fidel suggests(Counterpunch) that it is the collective spirit fostered in Russia by Lenin and the Comrades that has made Russia so successful. Case in point: war. Russia hasn't been losing them lately. Notice? There's a fuss on the horizon, they deal with it and go home. If they lose(Afganistan) they aren't poor sports about it. Look at the West: wars everywhere just festering away, year after year. Driven by rich egoists bent on revenge and the zombies who follow them. I'm sure the same applies to Russia, but not nearly to the same extent.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 12 2014 17:41 utc | 108

@ yellowsnapdragon @98

They killed Strelkov again ? I wonder who did it this time..Putins chauffer ? The glorious hero's of the Ukrainian father land ? Saker (who is a nationalist fool and a petit bourgeois gossip)"reports" every rumor he sees.

Posted by: Marc | Sep 12 2014 17:59 utc | 109

Vitali Klitschko asks Germany - Berlin - for help to build a wall - in German

Springer media - Die Welt - has already come out in favour of the idea.

Any German politician coming out in support should be laughed off and booed off any stage.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 12 2014 19:00 utc | 110

The more I've studied Ukrainian business, at least in the big metallurgy cities east of the Dneiper, the more obvious it becomes how insane this all is, and how the country has been captured by foreign interests completely inimical to its own. Kiev is more neutral with Western IT outsourcing, etc.

The wall -- what can one say? It is pretty ironic that the West has fallen to building walls. Even fuckin' Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave. "Count Chocula, tear down this wall!"

I've read Saker since his beginning, and he is a good writer and has proven to be an accurate geo-political commentator. But with this Russian pivot things have hit too close to home and he has allowed his emotional swings to get the better of him. I skim him now (and his voluminous dicey comments) and take him with a grain of salt. So yes, it has become a little like a global soap opera: "As the Russian world turns." Ha,ha.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 12 2014 19:54 utc | 111

If Strelkov has been killed, he's been updating his blog from ghost world within the past couple of hours.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Sep 12 2014 20:24 utc | 112

@Malooga #111:

The Saker is a blogger, not a member of Russia's equivalent of the National Security Council. I think it's nice that he doesn't shy from revealing his feelings about the current crisis. This helps non-Russians connect with how Russians think about it.

There are plenty of English language resources besides the Saker available now for non-Russian speakers to keep track of the crisis, so the Saker is not obligated to strive for some kind of "objective" point of view.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 12 2014 21:30 utc | 113

There are rumours that Cold One is dead! He hasn't posted on MOA for several hours. Everybody is very worried.

Posted by: dh | Sep 12 2014 22:15 utc | 114


I have two words for you: "Strelkov Dead!"

As Gleb Bazov says, "Shamelessly irresponsible."

Saker doesn't even reveal his source for the gossip, just "I have heard the news" in classic disinformation passive voice.

It's his reputation, not mine.

Like I said, I like Saker and respect his knowledge -- and yes his intensity of feeling and humanity is refreshing. He is a real person. But he is overwhelmed in his personal life and trying to do too much too fast with his blog (even if for a very good reason), and the quality of his work has suffered.

There is an important distinction to be made between "feeling" and "emotionalism," which should be deeply reflected upon.

I want Saker to succeed, not fail. I am criticizing him as a friend and ally, not attacking him.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 12 2014 22:57 utc | 115

@Malooga #115:

Points well taken.

Here's a very good short documentary: Crimea for Dummies.

Definitely worth watching. Ukrainians should be tied to a chair with clips put on their eyelids like Alex in A Clockwork Orange and forced to watch this.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 12 2014 23:17 utc | 116

To "clodn" at 75

Jeez, you did go there. I remember the news flash that broke the news about Jim Jones. TOTALLY TASTELESS.

To Penny at 83 -- Thanks for taking on clodn at 75. I said when he first threatened to post Jim Jones cf'd. to Putin I would not go there, thank you very much for taking on that distasteful duty.

We could make this the std. template to retort to almost any posting by Our Resident Troll-

[Insert Post name] Classic propaganda, in every sense, [including imagery, if posted]

Adhominem- Attack the person, ignore the facts [supply example(s), to taste]

Demonization- Guilt by association [insert current object of abuse] [optional, if string = hitler, then (including 'Reduce to Hitler/Reductio ad Hitlerum).

And buzzwords- You got buzzwords [again, examples to taste].

And if I may simplify -- blather, rinse Western guilt, repeat.

To Marc @ 96 -- clodn is most appropriate. Should we start a poll for our favorite affectionate nickname for Our Resident Troll?

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 12 2014 23:27 utc | 117

To Demian @ 116 --

A most intriguing suggestion. Two possible difficulties, 1) the taste for the ultraviolence by the Pravyi Sektor brownshirts means, it might not work & 2) if I remember the film, there's the hint at the end that the treatment, though seemingly successful on conclusion, has worn off or the protagonist has overcome it.

PS -- I was always intrigued by the choice of "Ludwig van B." as the protagonist's favorite soundtrack.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 12 2014 23:33 utc | 118

On Strelkov --

Just on the vineyard, Saker has freshly posted a detailed discussion of the implications of Strelkov's press conference and the implications for Russia. No doubt many of you have seen it and are pondering it already.

I only have time now for a quick scan, but was struck by the opening: This is "a historical moment because it marks the move of Strelkov from the Novorussian military struggle into the much larger, and far more dangerous struggle, the struggle for the political future of Russia."

Strelkov: from swimming with Piranhas to swimming with Great White sharks .

He includes much background, including links to his posts that really got me hooked on the site, his discussion of "behind-the-scenes struggle between what I called the 'Eurasian Sovereignists' (ES) and the 'Atlantic Integrationists' (AI)."

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 12 2014 23:53 utc | 119

I take back what I said in #113. Malooga was right. Here is what the Saker writes in the post rufus magister just gave a link to:

there could also be Eurasian Sovereignists who might want [Strelkov] dead to have him as a martyr and symbol of Russian heroism.
That's just loony. The cause of Russia in the current geopolitical struggle is perfectly clear to any informed and decent human being, and that includes Russians themselves. Russia's determination to create a polycentric world is completely rational and just, so Russia does not need any martyrs. Also, a slogan that RT used is "Truth is the best propaganda." When the truth is on your side, you don't need devious schemes like killing one of your best people do get sympathy for your cause.

@rufus magister #118:

That suggestion was merely proposing torture for the sake of creating anguish. I did not mean to suggest that Ukrainian nationalists can be made to see reason by means of the Ludovico technique.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 13 2014 1:39 utc | 120

Demian --

Not to worry, I took at as joke. Gallows humor is a survival tool -- let me correct that -- survival strategy -- in these dark times. I've tried to inject a certain note of humor in my postings here. As Lily Tomlinson says, "No matter how much cynicism I acquire, it never seems to be enough."

But I was serious about the Banderaist's taste for the ultraviolence. Plenty of evidence for it.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 13 2014 2:06 utc | 121


Still I think Saker has largely acquitted himself with another fine post. I generally buy what really is one of the primary theses of his blog: the AI vs ES internal conflict -- and I do think it is a factor in much of what we are seeing.

Having read Saker's post, one could almost posit that the entire Novorussia movement is a fifth column strategy designed to draw Russia into overt conflict with the US with a split Ukraine. Still, I'm not sure why Russia prefers a wobbly neutral Ukraine as opposed to a NovoRussia which controls the southern sea exposure from Mariopol to Odessa to Transnistria to Zakarpattia in the west containing the primary gas pipeline routes.

By the way, I enjoyed the film, although if that was a first film project he had a lot of help from RT. Someone picked out all the historical landmarks, scripted it, provided a translator, and the camera work and editing is very sophisticated, and his sound micing in the wind is better than I could ever achieve.

I had to be a rude guy, but I hope all his hard work with the willowy ladies he seems to favor paid off in some small way.


I have a theory that you are really Rip Van Winkle who just woke up and discovered the internet. Am I right?

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 13 2014 2:07 utc | 122

Malooga @ 122 --

No, I've been on the internet long enough that my personal email is a netscape account. I fondly remember the days before the search engines pre-selected the search results you saw and posted ads at you based on remembering your searches.

I have only recently been moved to start posting, however. The whole nasty business in Ukraine has made me more active in a no. of ways. Oh, and I only recently discovered the vast vault of real cool videos that is YouTube. You know, there's more than just commercial pop music, self-help videos and cute cats out there? (Don't get me wrong, Ms. Magister and I have three cats, so we have the live show).

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 13 2014 2:17 utc | 123

@ malooga @ 111

Saker is a crackpot who pines for the Russian monarchy. If he were a Brit he would be BNP trash. In fact, some of his most devoted readers are BNP trash. When he was merely translating the information he got from Russian language sources and publishing information that was everywhere else suppressed, his site was useful. He's just another crackpot Russian nationalist now, clamoring for his nationalist utopia. He could be a character out of a Mel Brooks play, crica 1963. His entire "Anglozionist" hypothesis is one of the most out-there examples of Russian nationalist wingnut thinking since the Protcols were written, and recently, hes gone off the deep end with that. He literally worships Strelkov, I think, as a Russian Orthodox saint. Strelkov's contribution to the fight against US led aggression has been noted by history, but he was replaced because his thinking, his candle power just wasn't cutting the mustard in a very, very dangerous environment. There-is-no-hope-in-Russian-Nationalism Saker!! He has become a rabid Putinist. I am certainly no Putin hating, Putin obsessed Putinologist but Putin is the leader of the very forces of "Atlanticism" and Accommodation which Saker claims to despise -the Russian liberals. Saker ! Putin IS "the Russian liberals"! And of course he bitterly hates Russian communists, because they won the civil war.

Posted by: Marc | Sep 13 2014 2:24 utc | 124

and @ 122 --

I nearly forgot -- folks keep coming up with new acronyms, I periodically have to consult Urban Dictionary. I use IMHO frequently, ROTFLMAO when appropriate.

BTW, Can't see how anyone can type on cell phones. Have one, tend not to carry it, dislike being tracked if I can avoid it. Same reason I tend to avoid reward cards and EZPass.

Hey, I read Bamford's "The Puzzle Palace" shortly after it came out. And have a good run of Covert Action Info. Bulletin in my archives. I know what the "deep state" is capable off, I'll make 'em work for it, at least a bit.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 13 2014 2:27 utc | 125

@Malooga #122:

Yes, I treat the Saker's narrative about "the AI vs ES internal conflict" as authoritative. Colonel Cassad and Alexander Dugin pretty much give the same account.

As an aside, I will say that there are definitely AI people in Germany, but there is nothing equivalent to ES. That's what continual occupation will do to a country which previously offered the main European alternative to the Anglo-Saxon model.

@Marc #124:

And of course [the Saker] bitterly hates Russian communists, because they won the civil war.
I can respond to that, since my background is similar to the Saker's. He is a Russian who was born and grew up in the West, and so am I.

White Russians stopped hating Russian communists when Gorbachev started perestroika. And if some animosity remained in some circles, the awakening of Novorossia and Strelkov, with his White Russian orientation, produced a definitive and final reconciliation of White and Red Russians.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 13 2014 2:45 utc | 126

@124 Sounds like you should have your own blog. You could tell us what's REALLY going on.

Posted by: dh | Sep 13 2014 2:45 utc | 127

@Malooga #122:

I'm not sure why Russia prefers a wobbly neutral Ukraine as opposed to a NovoRussia which controls the southern sea exposure from Mariopol to Odessa to Transnistria to Zakarpattia in the west containing the primary gas pipeline routes.
We don't know that Russia does not want the Ukraine to break up. That is merely the official Russian position.

Also, reducing Ukraine to a landlocked rump would not be a satisfactory outcome for Russia, if Ukraine continued to be ruled by fascists. Russia does not want a country with a fascist, rabidly Russia hating regime located between itself and Germany, no matter how small that country is. So one reason Russia isn't going for a breakup of the Ukraine now is that that would consolidate the position of the fascists in what remained of the Ukraine. The Novorossian army cannot go as far as Odessa on its own; that would require Russian military intervention. And such intervention would definitively turn a majority of Western Ukrainians against Russia, whereas my impression is that the anti-Russian sentiment of the majority of western Ukrainians is still shallow, and thus something which can dissipate. The breakup of Ukraine should not be done all at once. It should be done gradually, so that it can be a learning experience for Ukrainians, to cure them of their delirious nationalism.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 13 2014 3:13 utc | 128

And further to Malooga @ 122 --

But you are right to detect a certain, conscious note of antiquarianism.

Though I try to keep up with current trends and styles, I'm in many respects "old school." On music, I don't want to the baby boomer equivalent of the aging Big Band fans I first worked with, who hated that damn Rock 'n' Roll noise. Nor like many of my contemporaries, stuck on "Classic Hits." Local alt. rock station is my fave FM preset, though I listen about equally to the local AM newsradio station, for the traffic.

But I also believe, if your "poem" contains neither rhyme nor rhythm (meter), it ain't poetry. A precious, pretentious little essay, maybe.

One reason I like the Saker (and was more than willing to overlook his mixed views on the Soviet past) was his link of the AI/EU split to the old Slavophile vs. Westernizers split in Russia, dating back to at least Peter the Great, if not Ivan the Terrible, in many ways. As well as his opposition to DC's imperial hegemony and his in-depth analysis of the milit. situation.

Comment here is much more lively. Thanks to you all!

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 13 2014 4:28 utc | 129

Russian Spring


Summary from the Army of South-East:

The situation did not change cardinally. The regimen of fire cessation implemented under auspices of the Minsk agreement negotiated by the contact group was generally abided. However isolated violations by junta subdivisions were common.
From morning periphery and suburbs of Donetsk were fired at by fascist artillery. 1 km east of Donetsk, settlement Khanzhenkovo, was hit twice in areas of residential sector and railway station.

Around 9 a.m. from Avdeevka (north of Donetsk) the punitive troops carried shelling of Makeevka (earst of Donetsk)
In 14:45 from Ostroye (8 km west of Donetsk) the nazi perpetrated artillery raid on residential quarters of Donetsk’s west outskirts; and their salvo rocket systems hit east outskirts of Krasnogororovka (west of Donetsk).

Provocations continued in area of Donetsk airport – several sporadic attacks from personal weapons on combatants’ positions.

Two times the punitive troops attacked combatants’ outposts in west outskirts of Yelenovka (12 km south-west of Donetsk) and in west outskirts of Petrovskoye (40 km south of Donetsk). Both sides suffered casualties.

Combatants’ reconnaissance witnessed a friendly fire incident at a column of military hardware of Military Forces of Ukraine. Casualties amounted to 30 killed/wounded at least.

The junta continued regrouping, reinforcing in all directions. Bases were being equipped new outpost built.

Comment: “kot-ivanov” stopped updating the campaign map “because of number of reasons”.

Kot (Cat) Ivanov

Comment: Igor` Strelkov hosted a conference, where he encouraged to support Putin, blamed the Fifth Column and pledged to stay around.

Posted by: Fete | Sep 13 2014 4:40 utc | 130

Doesn't anyone realize the significance of the postponement of the Ukraine EU trade association? And ongoing EU-Russia negotiations?

Ukraine will be able to deliver goods to the EU and Russia without tariffs whilst the EU won't have access to the Ukrainian market - negotiating during the next year for a - de facto - EU - Eurasian Union trade zone.

This deal could have been had from the start. People should not die for this.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13 2014 5:25 utc | 131

@rufus magister #129:

One reason I like the Saker … was his link of the AI/EU split to the old Slavophile vs. Westernizers split in Russia
I wasn't aware that he made this link, although it is an obvious one, if for no other reason than Eurasianism was a 19th century Russian idea related to Slavophilism.

I do not accept this link however, if for no other reason than that as a Russian, I consider myself to be a Westernizer. I was an extremist Germanophile until a few years ago, when I finally realized that Germany has become little more than an American colony. To the extent that I am connected to Christianity, I consider myself to be a Lutheran, not Russian Orthodox. That is how Western oriented I am: unlike the Saker, I cannot relate to Orthodoxy. (Saker grew up in a Catholic country; I grew up in Protestant America. Russians view Roman Catholicism as their enemy, but are indifferent to Protestantism (which for them is Lutheranism). Since I grew up in a Protestant, not a Catholic, country, I was more subject to influence from the local religious culture. Roman Catholicism is utterly repugnant to any Russian.)

Equating AI with 19th century Westernizers is problematic because the model for the Westernizers was Germany, not England. English culture was completely alien to the Westernizers. You just need to read Dostoyevsky's The Underground Man to see that. The Westernizers were not Atlanticists: they were sufficiently Russian to consider England, with its replacing of reason with self-interested economic activity, which requires the endless launching of wars, to be utterly removed from anything that can be called a human frame of reference. What the Westernizers were attracted to was the application of reason to society (what German culture offered), not possessive individualism, which is what English culture is all about.

Speaking of White Russians, listen to Sad Lovers and Giants (an English band).

Posted by: Demian | Sep 13 2014 5:26 utc | 132

@Demian | 120

there could also be Eurasian Sovereignists who might want [Strelkov] dead to have him as a martyr and symbol of Russian heroism.

That's just loony. The cause of Russia in the current geopolitical struggle is perfectly clear to any informed and decent human being, and that includes Russians themselves. Russia's determination to create a polycentric world is completely rational and just, so Russia does not need any martyrs.

Not really. I dont always agree with Saker, but in this case I can see many scenarios there he is right. Its only loony if you think Eurasian Sovereignists are idealists with crystal clear moral values, they arent.

Remember that there is a high corruption in Russia, and that includes ES camp (which also includes some oligarchs). Uncorruptible leader like Strelkov could step on many toes, and someone may decide he is worth more dead than alive. Set up AI's to blame, and its a win-win for some unscrupulous oligarchs in ES.

Also where did you get the notion Russia doesnt need martyrs? Everyone needs them! They are a perfect way to rally public around the flag, to influence opinions and direction. It doesnt matter if we speak about Russia or US, its an ancient tactic to get support or to push raging people against someone. US for example made it into the art, anytime they need something, they arrange new batch of martyrs, whether its "Maidan's 100" or MH-17. Just because Putin wouldnt sink this low (maybe), doesnt mean nobody would in Russia (including ES camp).

Posted by: Harry | Sep 13 2014 5:38 utc | 133

@114 dh.. that was quite funny!

Posted by: james | Sep 13 2014 5:39 utc | 134

@Harry #133:

You could well be right. I guess I am incurably naive in this respect. I find it difficult to conceptualize unscrupulous, self-interested ES oligarchs, but you're probably right about unscrupulous people existing in the ES camp. So I withdraw my criticism of the Saker on this point.

In any case, I don't think that anything this interesting has happened on the world stage since the Berlin wall was torn down, so we all have to go through a learning experience.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 13 2014 5:56 utc | 135

I think calling Saker a Putinist is ridiculous. He's been admirably cautious and objective with regards to Putin's policies - personally desiring a Russian direct intervention, but understanding why such action is a bad idea.

However, this is not to say Saker doesn't have other issues. His ongoing obsession with Anglo-Zionism, for example, detracts immensely from his potential to serve as a voice of opposition to the Western main stream media.

As for Strelkov - I've noted before that while I admire what he (and the other NovoRussians) have done on the military front through their personal sacrifice and commitment, at the same time he (and those with similar views) have an (in my opinion, of course) overly simplistic and narrow understanding of what is going on.

Sure, there are plenty of Atlanticists and oligarch appendages in the Russian government. However, it is quite clear that they don't run things in Russia. The Atlanticists are in total disarray in the face of this recent wave of Russian pride and unity behind Putin. The oligarchs in turn have long since been subjugated to the needs of the Russian state. Sure, they're still getting plenty of perks - not least the ongoing support from Russian state owned banks - but ultimately they do what they're told, or else.

As for NovoRussia - the war isn't going to be won on the ground. The sad reality is that the majority of the people in Ukraine - irregardless of area - have NOT decided one way or the other. These people just want to be left alone - to live in a reasonably stable society with some modicum of infrastructure.

The junta and its fascist bits may be a largish pimple on Ukrainian society's face, but then again, so are the militant federalists.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 13 2014 9:18 utc | 136

Thank you Fete, for your regular contributions.

MR: Cat lover is a good thing!

@Demian: Yes, time is an element in any build-up of Novorussia. I do believe that strong cells are already in place in Kharkov, Odessa, and Zaporizia. Dniepropetrovsk will be the hardest nut to break.

Marc, et al.: I am quite aware of Saker’s prejudices and where they diverge from mine. And some of his posters definitely come from where you claim! I’m also not crazy about his “AngloZionist" construction, as are many of his readers. But I read from as wide a range of sources as possible, since history is made by all people together, not just the ones I agree with. I already know what I believe to be true in the world, so if I only read that which I agree with, I would never grow.

Among the many sources I have followed around the Ukrainian issue:
Here, Vineyard Saker, Kremlin Stooge (where I just won first prize in a caption contest!), Odessablogger, Russia: Another viewpoint blog, Alexander Mercouris, Mark Sleboda, Colonel Cassad, Slavyangrad blog, Brad Cabana, RFE Power Vertical (don’t laugh), Yevgeny Feodorov, Joaquin Flores, Borotba, Russian and Ukrainian english language media, Jack Matloff, BalkanBlog, DaRussophile, Mark Adomanis, Niqnaq, El Murid, Electric Politics, etc.

In any event, I think that covers a good range of the political spectrum. Then I have to trust myself to make my own mind up -- which also changes with the flow of events.

The longer analyses of Flores and Feodorov, I consider to be fundamental grounding knowledge, as I do believe Russia to be a potential target of planned destabilization.

I also recently completed a formal conflict mapping of the situation, which resulted in five pages of small print notes. It is a good technique, which can be helpful for organizing and prioritizing one’s thoughts and knowledge about a conflict -- such as identifying actors and stakeholders, levels of conflict, interests vs. goals, etc.

Here is a recent quote from the Kremlin Stooge blog: “yalensis (poster): Like all people, Russians have a jumble of thoughts and ideologies in their heads, some mutually contradictory: A possible synthesis was revealed by the forces of Novorossiya, what Strelkov calls the “Russian Spring”. Among the Novorossiya forces you have an ideological potpourri of Reds, Whites, communists, nationalists, internationalists and even (gasp!) a couple of reformed fascists, like Gubarev (who now speak of nationalizing the oligarchs).”

I note that El Murid, the communist blogger, is a friend of the monarchist, Strelkov. Strelkov, before he stepped down, was reported to have greatly changed and opened his political views in talks with Commies, Socialists, Reds, Internationalists, etc. who were fighting (and willing to give their lives for their beliefs) under his command.

Despite my own personal radical left leanings, I am a firm believer in the “big tent” theory of political change. After all, we all have to live together with one another now, don’t we? So, it behooves us to attempt to build grand inclusive coalitions to effect change. In the days of the .006 of 1% having all the wealth and power, and with great need across the land, this task should be child’s play. As the saying goes, “The People United Will Never Be Defeated.” (Have any of you classical music fans heard Fredric Rzewski's moving composition? Highly recommended.)

As far as the AI vs. ES theory: I have read every range of opinion on it from absolute truth to bunkum. I take it as one (and a strong one) of the many narratives, some contradictory, which motivate people in Russian society. I have also heard opinions of Putin as fitting in all over the spectrum. I see him as clearly tilting towards the ES siloviki. and Russian independent Nationalism.

Marxism tells us that people are motivated by material conditions. This is true to a certain extent: A starving man is surely motivated by food. But, with one’s essential needs taken care of, the sciences of psychology and public relations readily demonstrate to us that man is primarily an emotional actor, easily swayed but all manner of manipulation of the deep forces of want, fear, desire, love, abandonment, and belonging, among other emotions.

According to Michael Parenti, “Much of politics is the rational manipulation of irrational symbols.”

He has a very good article about fascism which covers this subject: Fascism: A False Revolution by Michael Parenti. Even though written almost 20 years ago, it remains relevant to current fascist movements in the Ukraine, and the ISIS formation (despite the fact that our host and Peter Lee are, in their political ignorance, ready to call them anti-imperialists).

I will close my thoughts with a few brief quotes:

“Fascism is a false revolution. It makes a revolutionary appeal without making an actual revolution. It propagates the widely proclaimed New Order while serving the same old moneyed interests.

In fascism, these irrational, atavistic appeals go back to the mythical roots of the people: for Mussolini, back to the grandeur that was Rome; for Hitler, the ancient volk. Then there’s the cult of the leader: Il Duce, the Führer. With leader worship and state worship came the glorification of militarism, war, and conquest-basically conservative symbols to get people distracted from their own immediate political/economic class-interests and get them galvanized into war, the conquest, militarism.

Fascist doctrines stress one people, one state, one leader. The people are no longer to be concerned with class divisions, but must see themselves as part of a harmonious, authoritarian whole, a view that supports the socioeconomic status quo. In contrast, a left agenda advocates a sharpened awareness of class injustice and class struggle, the articulation of popular demands and the self-generated participation of popular forces.

As in all reactionary regimes, public capital was raided by private capital.

What distinguished fascism from ordinary right-wing autocracies was the way it attempted to cultivate a revolutionary aura and give the impression of being a mass movement. Fascism offers a beguiling mix of revolutionary sounding mass-appeals and reactionary class politics. The Nazi party’s full name was the National Socialist German Workers Party. Both the Italian fascists and the Nazis consciously tried to imitate the left: youth organizations, mass mobilizations, rallies, parades, banners, symbols, slogans, uniforms. And I think for this reason, too, many mainstream writers treat fascism and communism as totalitarian twins. But most workers and peasants could tell the difference. Industrialists and bankers could tell the difference. And certainly the communists and the fascists could tell the difference.

Western capitalist states have tolerated and cooperated with fascism. After World War II, the Western capitalist allies did little to eradicate fascism from Italy or Germany except for the Nuremburg trials, but the police, the courts, the military, security agencies, the bureaucracy have remained largely staffed by those who had served the former Nazi regimes, or their ideological recruits, and that remains true to this day.”

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 13 2014 9:27 utc | 137


“I have always been in favor of the European choice for Russia,” said Lukin. “I’ve always said that the only path of European integration for Ukraine is in coordination” with Russia. “This is a sovereign decision, but it should be coordinated with Russia to make it successful and effective.”

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13 2014 10:30 utc | 138

more endgame - EU press release

EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Klimkin and Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Ulyukayev agree on the importance of promoting trade liberalisation in support of growth and greater prosperity, in line with their WTO obligations. They concur on the necessity to ensure that the EU-Ukraine AA/DCFTA and the CIS FTA both contribute to a more integrated economic space in the region.

To be able to fully support the stabilisation of Ukraine, the Commission is ready, in the event that Ukraine ratifies the Association Agreement with the EU, to propose additional flexibility. Such flexibility will consist in delaying until 31 December 2015 the provisional application of the DCFTA while continuing autonomous trade measures of the EU to the benefit of Ukraine during this period.

Parties will continue to consult on how to address concerns raised by Russia. The progress of these consultations will be reviewed at Ministerial level trilateral meetings.

This ongoing process needs to be part and parcel of a comprehensive peace process in Ukraine, respecting the right of Ukraine to decide on its destiny as well as the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

On the basis of this understanding Russia and Ukraine confirm that they will continue to apply the CIS-FTA preferential regime.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13 2014 10:55 utc | 139

To Demian at 132 --

I wouldn't necessarily agree completely with the Saker's analysis. But I appreciated his long view, as a history geek.

You're of course right about the Germans being the preferred model of the West. As I'm sure you know, back in Peter the Great's day, all Westerners were "nemetzkii liudii," (german people) only later did the differentiate as the saw more variety. Curious too that that adjective, literal meaning "dumb people" (as in not speaking, i.e. in russkii iazyk).

Polish Catholics, deadly enemies (see the Time of Troubles) and Lutherans, friends. Catherine the Great's original faith, of course.

Myself, born, catechized Catholic, but when the parents divorced, Southern and then Independent Baptist. The Pharisees caused me to loose the faith. I have to confess, my knowledge of Orthodoxy is scant, one area where my reading has been a little shaky.

But I do like the Easter custom -- congregation leaves the church, circles it, returns to find the sanctuary empty, like the tomb in the Gospels.

To finish off on the Westerners vs. Slavophiles, contemporary period sees an inversion -- the Slavophile/Eurasianists are now the progressives, relatively speaking.

To Malooga @ 137 --

"Dogs have masters, cats have staff." Can't remember where I saw it, but so true. Crews nicknames include "the Duke," "the Princess," and the youngster, "the Squire." He's actually usually of the "the Scamp." His tastes in people food are very catholic (ie, universal), gotta watch that guy, aka "the Black Blur."

I might make a few comments on the substance there later, Malooga, off to run some errands, see some family and friends.

Thanks for the list of sites btw, I know some of the names, like Cassad, will try to have a look as time permits.

PS to Demian on music -- I was planning on looking into to some of your earlier recommendations later this eve.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 13 2014 14:02 utc | 140

somebody at 131, about the new non-deal re. European Association between Ukr. and the EU (in any case an insecure prelim., more promises than gold), I read this:

EU-Ukraine trade deal delayed as concession to Russia DW, Sept. 12.

The free trade pact with the EU is put off, till 2016, and the present arrangements are designed to help Ukraine - it can export to the EU for ‘free’, can continue to tax incoming goods at the same time.

The EU cannot sign an Assoc. Agreemtn with Ukraine because it cannot fulfill the conditions that come with it, which include all kind of reforms which the Urk. as, for ex. in the grip of a civil war and with no defined national territory, cannot fulfill (and probably never will anyway, but that is another story.)

The EU can move fences, twist a bit here and there, but it can’t go too far or it will loose credibility at home and moreover transgress all of its carefully set-up procedures, criteria, which the powerful bureaucrats set up, adhere to religiously, etc.

It is curious that the conclusions of the meet is spinned as a 'concession to Russia’ by Reuters reporters (which afaik is where the original news was from.) Russia may have threatened to slap import taxes on Ukr. goods, so getting those off the board is helping Ukraine, not Russia. The ‘concession to Russia’ line nevertheless looms large, too funny. Russia of course does not care about EU goods entering Russia thru Ukraine, that is BS, the volume of trade would be insignificant (see local contraband like all over) and they could stop it if they wanted to.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 13 2014 14:58 utc | 141

@Noirette, somebody:

Yes, it could have been done with no war right after the EU agreement ditching -- I believe Russia was amenable.

What does US continued prosecution of the hard war do to all of this?

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 13 2014 16:02 utc | 142

@136c1ue.. i like the saker. i agree with malooga there is an element of emotionalism - example: his sharing the rumour on strelkov's hanging, that interferes his otherwise good commentary. i think dh@114 summed it up the best in his analogy, although it might not have been his intent, it was very funny.

@137 malooga.. congrats on the kremlin stooge 'caption contest' and thanks for your ongoing comments. what was the caption you offered?

@141 noirette. thanks for your ongoing overview on this topic.

Posted by: james | Sep 13 2014 16:43 utc | 143

Malooga @115 nice classy piece, damning with faint praise.

Perhaps you missed:

"While I cannot prove a negative, so far NOT A SINGLE RUSSIAN OR NOVORUSSIAN SOURCE HAS CONFIRMED THIS including his friend el-Miurid. So I suggest that we take a deep breath, say a prayer, and wait before coming to conclusions."

Posted by: Anon E Mouse | Sep 13 2014 17:57 utc | 144

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 13, 2014 10:58:29 AM | 141

It is described as huge Russian diplomatic victory by RT, too.

As I understand it the EU will now negotiate an adjustment of their standards with Russian standards. If they manage to do that it would be huge for trade both ways.

Deutsche Welle, German government radio, sounds pessimistic. They assume, Russia wants a frozen status quo with Ukraine unable to join either EU or NATO.

Somehow I do not think so.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13 2014 19:06 utc | 145

@ Anon E Mouse:

In journalism, there is the concept of “burying the lead” of a story. We all understand what that means and why it is done.

Saker, on the other hand, chose to lead with the burial! And then he is dismayed and indignant at the furor he caused.

He is too bright not to understand what he has done, and too Christian not to recognize the effects of his actions on others and apologize.

Remaining in denial and psychological projection only dig deeper the hole of his spiritual quandary.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 13 2014 23:39 utc | 146

"KIEV, September 14 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey has reported that NATO countries started supplying weapons to Ukraine. "I also spoke [at the NATO summit in September] in private with the defense ministers of the leading countries of the world, those that can help us, and they heard us, we have the supply of arms underway," Heletey said in an interview with Ukrainian Fifth channel." This process has begun, and I feel that this is exactly the way we need to follow," the minister said..."

Posted by: really | Sep 13 2014 23:50 utc | 147

Demian @ 132, further to mine @ 140.

I went back and did a little research, a little rushed earlier. I was impressed by this whole series, not just the two he cited in analyzing Strelkov. The particular discussion I thought of, however unclearly, is here Russia and Islam, part one: introduction and definitions

I think this short quote sums up what I saw in the Saker's very astute capsule tour of the problem of coping with promise and threat of the West. It's a staple of Russian history that varying groups of West European powers attempted to exploit, conquer, aid, and/or ally with Russia. Which and for depend on the period, some are more likely to do one or the other. "I would even claim that the entire Soviet experiment was also an attempt to westernize Russia, albeit not along the usual Papist or Masonic models, but along a Marxist one. What all these models have in common is a visceral dislike for the real Russian culture and spirituality, and a obsessive desire to 'turn Russia into Poland'".

You're right, the Saker doesn't mention the Slavophiles. This particular installment of the series caused me to think -- "he's really a contemporary Slavophile." He has their profound believe in the particular Russian "Genius," as understood in the sense Romantic era nationalism. Each particular people has value as making their own particular contribution to human society; no one size complete fits all, so to speak.

Romanticism being a European-wide response to Napoleon and Enlightenment rationalism, clearly Russia is part of Europe. And clearly part of Asia, too, if "only" through geography, and a second set of period invaders.

It always includes, if memory serves, Orthodoxy as part of that contribution. And in some variants, part of that genius is autocracy. The Romanovs thought so, and patronized the Slavophiles, at least some, at some times.

And I think we would all agree, definitely, vodka. Generally, I don't like the taste of white liquors, rum, gin, etc. But to drink "po russkii" (in the Russian manner or style) means -- shots. So you never taste it, rapidly forget how many you've had, and get, well, a little tipsy. Or at least, that's the way it works for me. I'd prefer georgian brandy, if I could find it, but any port in a storm.

Anyway, that installment is from Feb., so I erroneously attributed my passed flash of connection to the Saker. Sorry for the inadvertent misdirection.

Marc @ 124 -- I don't know if I would go so far as to say and out and out Romanov revivalist, but I would agree he does have a certain respect, perhaps indeed nostalgia for the tsarist past. I would also agree that has a visceral dislike of the victorious Bolsheviks. Won't get down in the weeds (well, at least now) on chapter and verse.

You might be aware that no. of Whites returned, for much of the pre-WWII period, to aid the defense of Mother Russia; many paid for it, of course. Some never left. It was not a small no., I'd be more than glad, again, to provide citations if needed. I'd need to rummage around a bit.

Bottom line, I may not agree with the Saker's preferred solution or some of his historical, but I respect him for his expertise in the gruesome business of war, and his understanding of the broader context. His SitReps and knowledge of the hardware are invaluable.

Disclaimer -- I have done some small amount of editorial work for the Saker and the Oceania variant. I am too modest (no, seriously, limits to my self-promotion) to cite the links, I will if y'all can't find them. As part of the Russian translation team, I made a few contributions to the translation of a news video on Russian ties with Argentina and Brazil. And on oceania, I edited and annotated a text on "For a Franco-Russian Alliance." Maybe more to follow there soon.

And now off to listen to a little music. PS to demian, my reactions to a few of your musical suggestion on a future open post.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 14 2014 3:20 utc | 148

interesting comments from condoleeza rice on a youtube clip here ...

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2014 3:45 utc | 149


Comment: Two hundred plus lorry truck “KAMAZes” delivered more than 2000 tons of 2nd humanitarian aid to Lugansk. Custom procedures were performed by Russia customs at border crossing “Donetsk”.

“Ukrainian border guards and customs were offered to participate in examination of the column, but they refused.”

News Ukraine

Comment: The population of Lugansk has noticeably increased. Refugees return. Humanitarian convoy drivers told seeing 2 km line of cars returning from Russia… Sunday September 14 Lugansk will celebrate Day of the City. But just five kilometers north toward city Schast`e Ukrainian military hardware is being concentrated; amount of troops increases.

Russian Spring

Comment: “The prisoner exchange has stuck because after “inventory” of cellars of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and “zindans” (a pit with water to keep detainees) of all sorts of “nazi battalions”, a great number of people (at least 200) from lists submitted by Novorossia could not be found. Hiding eyes, SBU reported to “negotiators” “that these people are not in their hands anymore”.

In reality this means people died from beating or were executed after imprisonment. Especially notorious in killing prisoners are “nazy battalions”.

Russian Spring

Comment: In Yasinovataya (between Gorlovka and Donets) the junta has practically completed consolidating of troops and is probing positions of the army of Novorosia to detect the most vulnerably directions for subsequent full scale offencive.

Russian Spring

Posted by: Fete | Sep 14 2014 5:28 utc | 150

MH17 Russia - retired air force general - now says Buk

In the Russian version he calls the fighter jet theory not possible as too slow, too low, would have been seen on radar, effect not as heavy as Buk.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2014 7:20 utc | 151

The uninterest by west on MH is very strange, I can only think of that junta shot it down. Although, why? Accident?

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 14 2014 7:50 utc | 152

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 14, 2014 3:50:43 AM | 152

Because of this here? Did the rebels even know they shot at an airliner?

Bottom line: Skilled Buk operators would have been able to distinguish between military and civilian aircraft, the rebels/Russia had an interest not to shoot down civilian aircraft, the link to Russia therefore will be impossible to prove as the operators obviously were semi skilled.

Because of this here? - from before the crash

Ukrainian fighter planes used civilian airplanes as cover.

Ukraine knew the rebels had Buks, there was no reason to assume 3300 feet was safe when 3200 was not.

For a criminal investigation enough blame to spread.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 14 2014 8:22 utc | 153

Vineyardsaker website skirts journalistic standards, scrubs comment section

Many of you are familiar with the Vineyardsaker website. He runs one of the most important sources of news and opinion for those of us English speakers interested in following Russian, and anti-empire, affairs these days. He has been steadily blogging on a number of issues, although mainly focusing on geopolitical concerns, for about seven years now. He has proven himself over time to be an excellent and knowledgeable analyst and writer, as well as a delightful and sensitive human being. His following has grown exponentially since the beginning of the destabilization of the Ukraine. He has also attempted, with some success, to expand the community, and the range of topics covered. All of these efforts are highly laudable. However, in attempting to do so much, so rapidly, he has been wearing himself a little thin as of late, and his health, equanimity, and the quality of his work have visibly suffered.

The other day, the Saker posted the following lines on his blog:

I have heard the news that Igor Strelkov has been found dead, apparently hanged. A lot of you have emailed me. While I cannot prove a negative, so far NOT A SINGLE RUSSIAN OR NOVORUSSIAN SOURCE HAS CONFIRMED THIS including his friend el-Miurid. So I suggest that we take a deep breath, say a prayer, and wait before coming to conclusions

By leading with news of a death, and failing even to supply a source for the information -- despite the presence of a trailing disclaimer, the Saker violated ethical and journalistic standards, and created an outcry.

As I observed yesterday at

In journalism, there is the concept of “burying the lead” of a story. We all understand what that means and why it is done.
Saker, on the other hand, chose to lead with the burial! And then he is dismayed and indignant at the furor he caused.

The host of the prominent Novorussian blog,, Gleb Bazov, formerly a staunch supporter of Saker, had this to say:

I WILL REPEAT. All rumours of #Strelkov's death are false. Reporting them is irresponsible & nefarious. "Grist to the mill of the enemy"

Others involved in analyzing the conflict in the Ukraine were similarly upset with Saker’s precipitous actions.

Rather than apologizing for the uproar he created, and stating that he intended to become better acquainted with journalistic standards, the Saker, a professed observant Russian Orthodox Christian, became defensive, and slightly paranoid -- huffily justifying his behavior, and holding even more firmly to the ethical correctness of his actions. He argued angrily:

For the life of me I cannot imagine how anybody mentally sane could take a paragraph containing the following and conclude that I was announcing Strelkov's death (emphasis added)... [The quote I’ve led the story with followed here. Malooga] Maybe a drooling idiot can, but not somebody mentally normal. Alas, it appears that drooling idiots are the least of my problems.

I am sorry to announce that I have come to the conclusion that the people "systematically misunderstanding" what I write here are neither idiots nor trolls. There is a group of individuals which have embarked on a campaign to slander and discredit me. If they only called me names, that would not be too bad, the problem is that they systematically distort what I actually write here and "creatively re-interpret" it in order to make me say things I never said.

It is clear from this quote that the Saker has sought to deflect attention away from his flouting of ethical journalistic standards in even conjecturing about a death, and onto a (real or imagined) “campaign to slander and discredit” him.

Furthermore, in violation of his professed commenting policies, several published comments critical of his actions, but not hostile to him personally, were purged. (Unfortunately, I did not expect this behavior, and don’t have a download of the webpage.) Perhaps his vindictive behavior in erasing comments which, in his troubled emotional state, he was unable to perceive as being benign and intended to help him, was hinted at in this quote:

My second warning is that I will not answer any strawman posts or comments. If some folks cannot read what it actually says, they need to learn that skill before reading this blog. As for those who deliberately try to twist my words, I have nothing to say to them anyway.

It should be noted that after the great rise in popularity of his blog, the Saker initially attempted to run his blog without moderation, and then after this failed, with minimal moderation. This has often resulted in scores of comments, many poorly written, that are off-topic, spiteful, or hateful.

Additionally, two friendly posts I had sent the Saker encouraging him to bone up on journalistic ethics were never published.

I did copy one post (not mine) which was purged, impressed with its succinctness:

“Saker don't circulate unsubstantiated rumours, especially rumours of someones death !
Adding a cautionary note does not make it OK...”

A comment of mine which, was never published, went in part:

Welcome to the news business. You may think you are “running a blog,” but these days with your content you are in the news business. I suggest you search out a few hoary reporters in your neck of the woods and talk to them about this. (You don’t have to disclose who you are.)

You will find out... that this was the treatment one would expect for what you published.

Next, if you want to continue doing what you do on this blog, I would befriend one of those reporters and get some free training in the kind of sticky wickets one can find oneself in doing the work you do, and how to handle it. Once you have a little more knowledge, these things will not have to waste your time and energy throwing you or the community.

The feelings of those quoted above were not unique, by any means. Reporting news, or rumors, of a death is a very serious affair. Not only one’s readers, but people who know the person reported on have deep interests and strong feelings in this matter. Because of these issues, many specialists in journalist ethics urge caution in these matters. The website “,” warns of some negative effects of change, as “new” and “social” media gain in prominence:

• Rise in “journalism of assertion”: unsubstantiated opinion and rumor which harms journalistic credibility; lack of restraint among online writers
• Pressure to lower ethical standards and sensationalize stories
• Public complaints about how a “ubiquitous” media violate personal privacy

The London School of Economics Website quotes Deborah Hargreaves, Business Editor of The Guardian, as saying, “It’s a difficult thing to cover, because you don’t report on rumors unless you can stand them up.”

The prestigious Poynter Institute (for reporting) suggests concerned reporters consider using Poynter’s 10 ethical questions:

1. What do I know? What do I need to know?
2. What is my journalistic purpose?
3. What are my ethical concerns?
4. What organizational policies and professional guidelines should I consider?
5. How can I include other people, with different perspectives and diverse ideas, in the decision-making process?
6. Who are the stakeholders — those affected by my decision? What are their motivations? Which are legitimate?
7. What if the roles were reversed? How would I feel if I were in the shoes of one of the stakeholders?
8. What are the possible consequences of my actions? Short term? Long term?
9. What are my alternatives to maximize my truthtelling responsibility and minimize harm?
10. Can I clearly and fully justify my thinking and my decision? To my colleagues? To the stakeholders? To the public?

Clearly, the Saker did not consider many of these questions before going to print. The effect on other stakeholders was immediately apparent, as was the effect on his journalistic reputation. In contrast, his journalistic purpose in rushing to promulgate unsubstantiated rumor remains unclear, as he has not seen fit to explain what positive purpose it may have served. Question # 7 -- putting oneself in the other’s shoes -- is particularly relevant to this matter. Yet, judging by his defensive reaction, if the roles were reversed, and somebody reported his unsubstantiated death to one of his family members -- let’s say his wife -- it is clear that he would not be quite as understanding of the reporter involved as he expects his readers to be of him. What if a member of Strelkov’s family were to read his blog that morning? It is the careful consideration and handling of these ethical concerns that separates the best, most highly respected and trusted ace reporters from the destructively careless young cubs prowling the beat.

Finally, the NPR reporters ethics site warns,”Don’t just spread information. Be careful and skeptical.”

When determining whether to pass along information being reported on social media sites by other news outlets or individuals, be thoughtful. When we point to what others are saying, in the eyes of many we are effectively reporting that information ourselves. This is true whether the platform is an official NPR social media webpage, a personal blog or a Twitter page that is written by an NPR journalist...

We challenge those putting information out on social media to provide evidence. We raise doubts and ask questions when we have concerns — sometimes “knocking down” rumors circulating on the Web is of enormous value to our readers. And we always ask an important question: am I about to spread a thinly-sourced rumor or am I passing on valuable and credible (even if unverified) information in a transparent manner with appropriate caveats?

Above all, proceed with caution, especially when news is breaking and accounts vary widely about what is happening. Reach out to other sources for confirmation. And the general standard is simple: Tweet and retweet as if what you’re saying or passing along is information that you would put on the air or in a “traditional” news story. If it needs context, attribution, clarification or “knocking down,” provide it.

One hopes that the Saker would read this post and consider some of the ethical issues involved. One hopes that the Saker would take the time to familiarize himself with basic journalistic standards, and the responsibility he has to those he writes about. And finally, one hopes that the Saker will apologize to those he has hurt, rather than hurting his own credibility by defending an indefensible action. These are all productive steps which will only make the Saker’s reporting stronger, and trust in him firmer in the future. We wish him the best in continuing on with his very valuable endeavor.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 14 2014 8:23 utc | 154

The Saker is a Blogger, not a Journalist, he does what he does using his own resources, money and time. And he is human with all of humanities frailities. Strength to him.
Respectfully, why are you misusing this Blogs comment section to criticize, berate and lecture 'from on high' a blogger from an independent site ?
How can your diatribe be anything but OT ?
Perhaps, you should take a couple of pills to ameliorate an apparent dose of pompousity and lack of humility ?
As I believe 'Anonymous' posted, maybe you should start your own blog, hm ?

Posted by: Outraged | Sep 14 2014 9:01 utc | 155

@Malooga #154:

The Saker made a mistake. But I don't see what you think you are going to accomplish with your long post attacking him.

What I find most puzzling about this affair is that the Saker took the idea that Strelkov might have killed himself seriously, and basically said that we must wait and see, and not jump to conclusions until we get more information. The Saker makes much of his Russian Orthodox faith, but in Russian Orthodoxy, suicide is a grave sin, perhaps the gravest sin. This is because when you kill yourself, you reject God's gift to you – your life. Since it is well known that Strelkov is devoutly Russian Orthodox, the idea that he would kill himself is unthinkable. So the Saker's not dismissing this hoax out of hand, but instead seeing fit to make a post about it, makes me wonder how well he understands Russian Orthodoxy. (And he is writing a dissertation on it! Whereas I have not studied Russian Orthodoxy at all, and was just raised in it.) Saying that Strelkov killed himself is an incredibly deep insult to the man.

In the comments to Saker's follow up post, one learned that when the Saker made his post about Strelkov's alleged suicide, he was responding to an email by Nora, who used to make posts here. The Saker likes Nora, so his making his unfortunate post about Strelkov might have been a result of that feeling of affection. So some of the blame for this stupidity goes to Nora. The fault is not the Saker's alone.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 14 2014 9:24 utc | 156

F1 Sochi Grand Prix to run as scheduled...

Posted by: really | Sep 14 2014 10:15 utc | 157

Germany (like rest of morons in the EU) keep getting fcked by NSA

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 14 2014 10:31 utc | 158

From a lurker point of view, Malooga's comments are WAAAAAY too long and length for length I'd much prefer Sorrentine :-D

Posted by: acrimonious | Sep 14 2014 12:02 utc | 159

Marko Antonovic said ...
The fighting will continue, but also remember that most news is fake. J Flores at CSS explains that there never was a ceasefire in first place. Also he says a new piece in a day or two will explain how OTAN will continu the war during the winter and after.

In examining the recent example of the ‘Ceasefire’ of early-mid September, we will explain why there never was an actual ‘Ceasefire’, and how this does not represent any kind of failing on the part of Russian strategic thinking nor does it represent any kind of betrayal of the interests of Novorossiya. Rather, similar to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and the attempt on Syria, the goal of the US is to create a failed state in central-eastern Europe out of the former Ukraine.

There">">There Never Was a Ceasefire

Joaquin Flores of Radical Party and CSS has a new piece on there, "Never was a Ceasefire".

Posted by: Marko Antonovic | Sep 14 2014 14:15 utc | 160

So sorry - link is

There Never Was a Ceasefure

Posted by: Marko Antonovic | Sep 14 2014 14:20 utc | 161

And now junta admit that western states give them weapons (from

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 14 2014 15:09 utc | 162

@156 demian.. that is an interesting twist as i was unaware of the sakers focus on religion.. i conclude he is not all that well or overstretched.. that in combo with a type of emotionalism that lacks detachment. while it reflects on him to a degree, i don't think folks need to make a mountain out of it..

curious if anyone watched that video i linked to @149 with the 1 minute interview with rice? i get very little feedback on my posts which is fine, but i am curious about this one from others perspective..

fete - thanks also for your consistent updates..

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2014 15:13 utc | 163

@153 somebody.. the wapo is propaganda central.. i agree with you here "the rebels/Russia had an interest not to shoot down civilian aircraft"...

when one thinks of who benefits from such an act, i think the answer has already been given - the one's who want to heap sanctions regardless of the confirmation of all the rumours... wapo for fwiw could just as easily change it's name to the rumour post, as the washington post... it blows my mind how anyone can take the nyt, wapo or wsj seriously..

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2014 15:31 utc | 164

Well, well, I thought I heard my name. ;~)

Maybe I can set some of this straight. After reading a couple of different comments at the Vineyard re: the Wikipedia piece and that "news" item, I emailed Saker to see if he knew any more about it. I actually posted his responses on the thread, so if you're interested you can see exactly what he emailed back.

Some time later, after he'd gotten several more emails, he put up a post in which he stated in the first paragraph, in capitalized boldface letters no less, and I quote, "not a single russian or novorussian source has confirmed this". He then suggested "we take a deep breath, say a prayer, and wait before coming to conclusions."

I personally found that quite reassuring. The rumors were flying, people were panicking and he said precisely what needed to be said: yes, there's a rumor; no, there's no confirmation, calm down, pray and wait for more data before jumping to any conclusions.

I'll spare you all my full opinion of this rather pathetic tempest in a teacup since it will hardly convince those invested in keeping it going and isn't really necessary for anyone else. But I will also add that I spent a lot of time there Friday, I'm a fast reader and although there was one post in particular I thought should have been taken down, he refused. Nothing else disappeared, period.

Posted by: Nora | Sep 14 2014 19:16 utc | 165

I watched the Condie clip. Nothing unexpected. She can speak more forthrightly, not being in office.

But, yes, that is the US plan: Make Ukraine into a failed state, break up eu/russian integration -- most especially their energy grid, and swing eu back into the North american sphere. Notice she said at the end "as quickly as possible" Whos side is time really on. Russia will be exporting gas to China in three years, and probably to india soon afterwards.

By the way, US does have excess gas to export, but it will be more expensive then russsian gas by a longshot. How could it not be -- it must be shipped to port, than turned into lpg, then shipped across sea, etc. Russian gas just flows. US consumes twice the oil it produces and this will not change. So she is lying about the underlying situation, which is what one would expect of her.

Germany already gets its Russian gas through proprietary northstream, so its needs are met. Making the rest of europe more gas insecure increases her competitive advantage, at the expense of countries wanting to peel off to russia.

Their first aim is to break up russia, but this plan has only the smallest chance of succeeding. So they are trying to create a new iron curtain closer to russia, then they will be free to pivot to china and destabilize her. The big news is India under Modi strengthening its relations with russia and china.

The US plans for remaking the world are rather extreme, especially when one considers their power is waning. As I have said before, the main US assets in this gambit are NATO and their ability to compromise and buy off all top eu politicians. But all the money in the world can'tt buy off or change the rules of logic. Barring a World War (in which we may all perish), the tide is turning.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 14 2014 20:04 utc | 166

As to Saker, maybe I'm an old fart. I believe that when you make a mistake you apologize and move on. No big deal. Not acknowledging a mistake has never helped me in the long run.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 14 2014 20:59 utc | 167

Listening to Lavrov giving up on the West

... the Russians have no fear of the military threat posed by NATO. Their reaction to the latest NATO moves (new bases and personnel in Central Europe, more spending, etc.) is to denounce it as provocative, but Russian officials all insist that Russia can handle the military threat.

As one Russian deputy said "5 rapid reaction diversionary groups is a problem we can solve with one missile". A simplistic but basically correct formula. Putin said the very same thing when he clearly spelled out that in case of a massive conventional attack by "anybody" Russia would engage tactical nukes.

In fact, if NATO goes ahead with its stupid plan to deploy forces in Poland and/or the Baltics I expect Russia with withdraw from the IRNF Treaty and deploy advanced successors to the famous RSD-10 (SS-20).

And now, in the center ring, is IS - the most terrifying (eminently defundable & 'defeatable') , monster the world has ever seen! - lately - into whose mouth and between whose terrifying jaws Barack Obama - the sainted defender of democracy and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate - will now place his smiling head.

Posted by: john francis lee | Sep 14 2014 21:23 utc | 168

@James #149:

Thanks for the link to the Condie clip. I think Malooga's summary of it is correct. But Condie doesn't really say anything that the White House hasn't said. Early on in the crisis, US officials started talking about how Europe must end its dependence on Russian natural gas. Condie is just more forthright about that entailing significant damage to European economies.

@Marko Antonovic #160:

Joaquin Flores is the most interesting commentator on the Ukraine crisis. ATo quote from that piece:

In this case it is for the goal of perpetual hostilities to create a failed state in central-eastern Europe characterized by perpetual hostilities. All other publicly proclaimed proposals by the US are cases of the advertising not being the product. If the game-as-war nears resolution because of the outcome of play-as-hostilities, the rules must be changed to allow continued play-as-hostilities. The rules are changed in order so that the game is infinite.
The Washington Post had an article yesterday about how the junta may start employing guerrilla tactics.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 14 2014 21:55 utc | 169

'Leading Countries of the World' Arming Ukraine

Ukraine has started receiving weapons from the “leading countries of the world,” according to the country's defense minister Valery Geletey.

The declaration comes as reports indicate that the Ukrainian military has resumed shelling in the Donetsk region, in violation of the terms of the September 5 ceasefire.

“We have the supply of arms under way,” Geletey said in an interview with Channel 5, according to Russia Today ... The Ukrainian government has repeatedly stated that they not only fighting the rebels, but Russia as well. This is why, according to Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenkiuk, "NATO in these particular circumstances is the only vehicle to protect Ukraine."

One of Poroshenko's aides then caused an uproar when he announced the countries providing the weapons on his Facebook page as the US, France, Italy, Poland and Norway. The NATO members quickly denied the accusations, but Poroshenko himself claimed the haul from NATO countries would include “high precision weapons,” as well as lethal and non-lethal arms.

Oops, took my eyes of the center ring for a minute ... Gee ... I thought Yats was of the “Fuck the EU!” persuasion. Hmmm, I guess NATO ... the leading countries of the world ... are too?

And Poroshenko's getting drones? They all do seem to be working toward "a failed state in central-eastern Europe characterized by perpetual hostilities."

Just like the center ring.

People of the world ... how come we let them do this to us?

Posted by: john francis lee | Sep 14 2014 22:49 utc | 170

1. 'Biggest Climate March in History' to Hit NYC

Right ...

2. The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals

It will take place two days before the actual gathering of world leaders in New York called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. The marchers will dutifully follow the route laid down by the New York City police. They will leave Columbus Circle, on West 59th Street and Eighth Avenue, at 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday and conclude on 11th Avenue between West 34th and 38th streets. No one will reach the United Nations, which is located on the other side of Manhattan, on the East River beyond First Avenue—at least legally. There will be no speeches. There is no list of demands. It will be a climate-themed street fair.

And the Bush/Obama Administration is headed in the opposite direction and has no intention of slowing down ... just getting a bigger piece of the action for the good ole boys in the oil bidness in Texas ... and Canada. Like Tedd Cruz' daddy ...

3.At all costs

At 1, the people vs fossil fuels is going nowhere, at 2, because the Texans - Condie has/had a tanker named after her - the Texans now own Canada, at 3.

All our troubles come from fossil fuel, the Western military-industrial-complex, the 'inverted totalitarians' in government who protect and project those first two interest interests, and the perennially shiftless, greedy and ruthless who tag along for crumbs.

The USG is just a gang ... a mafia crime family. Joe Biden's son is on the board of a 'Ukrainian' fracking operation!

Posted by: john francis lee | Sep 14 2014 23:16 utc | 171

James @ 149 -- I stumbled across that video, I thought "this is old news," but in judging from the comments it seems a fresh reminder of past follies is usually appropriate. Good call.

Other videos, comments on the "Golos Germanii" channel very interesting, too, please check them out. Don't forget to open a tab for Google Translate, if you need to (I was lazy, I had it trans. a few interesting comments). I'll provide a url on this thread tomorrow, it's a little late for me on this particular evening, I have had a very relaxing weekend.

Anyway, I don't quite what to make of the channel, viewers/poster seems fairly patriotic, fairly std. issue national pride type nationalism. Numerous German videos captioned into Russian. "Seek, and ye shall find."

To Demian, Malooga, JF Lee, as I say on another thread, y'all are moving a bit brisk for me, I'm reading S.F. Platonov for fun and profit on Ivan and Esp. the Time of Troubles, prompted by the earlier discussion of varieties of westernization and opposition to it. I doubt if I'll burden folks here with it.

The ceasefire is a very murky situation, worth the effort to sort out and stay on top off, my congrats. I'm due a little RNR from the trenches (rest and... as well as rock 'n'....)

I've been shifting my opinion a little, mostly pessimistic, occasionally optimistic, but still trending down in my confidence in the ceasefire.

I wish I could recall which coup official I read where saying, peace, at least until after the upcoming elections.

"Hey pal, can ya' spare a buddy a citation?"

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 15 2014 3:29 utc | 172

Re the matter at hand, what's likely to happen next, how real, will the ceasefire hold, I think this post from the Saker on Lavrov giving up on the West:, and particularly the quote below sets the problems facing Washington in its attempt to "subsume" the Ukraine. CDH used that word most colorfully, in a different context, and I think it fits here.

"I don't think that Russian diplomats will make a big anti-western statement at the UN or anywhere else. The opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference. And Russian officials will continue to speak of "our partners" or even "our friends", but while this nice sounding rhetoric will continue, relations with the West will gradually cease to be a priority for the Russian diplomacy, business community and even general public. In fact, Russia is already building a multi-polar world and if the West wants no part of it - tough. The Russians know that the West cannot prevent the emergence of this new world, and they don't really care if they refuse accept this reality or play by the new rules."

PS -- I think it's already been linked, but why bother looking when it's right here if you missed it? Could be bleeding pages ago at this pace. C'mon barflies, let's break those big paragraphs up, get a little more summarizing of outside material, some occasional concision.

Hey -- Hello, my name is rufus m., and I am powerless to control the impact of wordiness in my life. b, as our Proprietor, is the only "higher power" I'm willing to acknowledge. So I had better be preaching to the choir, you barflies. You folks are making me look downright sober. You don't want that, do you? Tx!

So now, drink up, (some of) you gotta to work tomorrow, "Work is the curse...."

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 15 2014 4:11 utc | 173

Russian Spring


Commentary form combatant Prokhorov:

“It was announced the combatants entered the airport (Donetsk). Skirmishes continue, but seems Ukrainians are doomed.
Right now on 00:53 (Moscow time) Ukrainians are anxious to pass reinforcement to the airport; the reinforcement has been blocked and being liquidated.

Near Gorlovka, settlement Panteleymonovka was freed. Today the Military Force of Novorossia entered Panteleymonovka on automobiles, later the armored vehicles joined.

The combatants engage in offensive on settlement Krasniy Partizan (near Gorlovka).

Under Debal`tsevo, a heavy combat takes place for Sofiyevka.

Near Zhdanovka, sides clash in artillery combat.

North of Pervomaysk along the route P-66 (Lugansk highway) in area of Frunze an occupant column was liquidated”

Comment: The ceasefire is past.

Posted by: Fete | Sep 15 2014 4:20 utc | 174

Israel Shamir has a great take on the situation ...

First, compare Russia to Vietnam of fifty years ago.

1. Vietnam was divided into North and South by the West, like the USSR was divided into Ukraine and Russia by the West.
2. North Vietnam became independent; Russia became independent;
3. South Vietnam remained under occupation, Ukraine remained under Western occupation.
4. People of South Vietnam rose against their US-installed government and North Vietnam certainly supported their struggle.
5. The US presented the war as “North Vietnamese aggression”, but North and South Vietnam weren’t two independent states; this was one state artificially separated by the West.
6. Likewise, the US presents now the war in Ukraine as “Russian intervention”, but Russia and Ukraine aren’t two fully independent countries; they are rather two halves of one country, in the eyes of Russians and Ukrainians. In their view, people of the Ukraine rose against the US-installed government, and independent Russia had to support their struggle.

People of my generation remember as the US killed millions of Vietnamese people, bombed their cities and ruined their nature – under the banner of “resisting North Vietnamese aggression” but it ended by unification of Vietnam.

Poroshenko is a Ngo Dinh Diem of the Ukraine, Putin is an unlikely Ho Chi Minh of Russia.

Posted by: john francis lee | Sep 15 2014 4:50 utc | 175

To Noirette @ 105.

" idea about Atlantic city or Trump." I think I'll try to enlist Jersey Jeffersonian (if he turns up again soon) and Malooga, from Brooklyn, to help explain the "pay to play" belt, our own Mid-Atlantic variant of corruption, that can ooze north, west, south. Largely Penna. and New Jersey.

Pa. made a "top ten" list, if you get it, of corrupt states. A number in the south beat it. Source is likely Huffpost.

I do not get "The Apprentice," Trump yells at B-listers, isn't it?

Anyway, the casino industry is imploding, more capacity than the market can bear, time to cut inventories. Facilities, jobs, workers, lives, the usual stuff. Jersey's problems are bigger than Atl. City, and Trump. Too much for now, probably some future Open Thread.

Hey, but until then, a post from Naked Capitalism, on Gov. Krispy (as in Kripsy Kreme) and money towards Wall St. friends. Is New Jersey Fudging Its Pension Fund Results to Defuse a Christie Scandal? Bon appetit!

Whatever Jersey is, Christie is in charge of it, spoken of as presidential material by the Rethuglican establishment. So be prepared, fellow patrons of this fine beverage emporium.

And before I get any grief, I understand, people have issues with wgt., and bonafide medical condtions. Christie is a bully, however, he browbeats town hall questioners who criticize and ask questions. Esp. teachers, IMHO. Gov. Krispy will have to face a little good natured taunting, unless the consensus be it's too disrespectful. I promise to use it only sparingly, and will signal that I believe him way over the top, even for him. My wife, not a petite woman, and I use between ourselves on such terms.

And I expect a very hurt CDN to say I have been unkind to Christie, and probably to him as well. Quelle surprise!?

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 15 2014 5:05 utc | 176

@john francis lee #175:

Comparing the Ukraine to South Vietnam is an insult to the former South Vietnam.


The rebels appear to have decided to finish off the fascist occupiers of the Donetsk airport. I wonder if the EU slapping more sanctions on Russia even though the ceasefire was holding had anything to do with that.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 15 2014 5:33 utc | 177

malooga, demian and rufus m - thanks for watching the condi vid and giving your feedback on it. i am always shocked at how blatant and out in the open some of this stuff is.. how can westerners demonize putin if they are to see videos like this? i tell you how - the msm propaganda is working.. most folks swallow it whole cloth without much if any questioning.. they take it as '''news''' not propaganda..

@170 john francis lee quote "People of the world ... how come we let them do this to us?" good question... i don't know the answer.. why do they want to do this is an even better question.. condi for example must know people are dying needlessly, as do many of these other politicians.. they don't care is all i can conclude.. they wouldn't treat there own family this way would they? what kind of animals are they?

@172 rufus m - "Golos Germanii"? i don't know what that is about..

@174 fete.. thanks.. yes the ceasefire is pasted, but the msm hasn't announced it yet..

Posted by: james | Sep 15 2014 6:14 utc | 178

In an earlier thread, I mentioned that Komsomolskaya Pravda published a story about how representatives from the Left Party had asked the German government some questions about the downing of MH17, and the Ministry of the Interior had responded with a written reply. But I didn't know if that was reported in the mainstream German press. It turns out it was:

Bundesregierung zu Flug MH17: Keine "gesicherten Erkenntnisse" über Abschuss
(Federal Government on flight MH17: no "verified information" on the downing)

Posted by: Demian | Sep 15 2014 7:38 utc | 179

James, The msm isn't announcing the end of the ceasefire simply because Kiev broke it. I just ran through NYT, Guardian, Reuters, BBC - not there.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 15 2014 8:17 utc | 180

@jfl 175
I don't completely buy it, say 85%, but he is one of my favorite writers.

"i am always shocked at how blatant and out in the open some of this stuff is"
Only once you learn how to decode political speech, otherwise it is invisible.

By the way, two years ago I had the privilege of working with a Black guy from Birmingham who had known Condi when they were young. He described all of her people as "uppity" types. It was really interesting to hear his descriptions of life in Birmingham in the '60's for a black person. I learned a lot. And you do get to understand people better when you hear about their backgrounds -- although when you get to the level of Condi's public talk, its all PR boilerplate.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 15 2014 8:32 utc | 181

@okie farmer #180:

The junta never kept the ceasefire. It never stopped shelling Donetsk.

The main thing we have learned from this ceasefire is that even if Russia does everything in its power to end hostilities in the Ukraine, the West will continue its aggression against Russia. And yes, Merkel is the main guilty party here.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 15 2014 8:33 utc | 182

Joaquin Flores has a new piece out this morning about how the US could pull an ISIS maneuver with the Pravy Sektor. I cut and pasted what is going around on my facebook steam.

"Pravy Sektor Coup as ISIS Scenario: NATO to Feign a ‘Unilaterial’ Alliance With Russia
The US stages a coup ousting Poroshenko and installs Pravy Sektor in order to build international support for a Human Rights intervention against Pravy Sektor and to restore ‘democracy’ and ‘order'; the real aim being to create a failed state, perpetuate indefinite war on Russia’s door and even World War … and beyond
Pravy Sektor Coup as Isis Scenario

Posted by: Marko Antonovic | Sep 15 2014 9:04 utc | 183

Thanks, Marko, Joaquin Flores has been the best, most accurate analyst so far.

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 15 2014 9:30 utc | 184

I'm sorry I forgot the link above ... I thought that big empty space looked funny ... just couldn't put my finger on what it was that was causing it ...

It's actually a two part article :

I Kill Putin!
II The Guns of August

I think it's very good. There's much more there than the Vietnam comparison.

Ukraine Threatens to Restart Nuclear Weapons Program

Ukraine's Defense Minister confirms new arms being provided by NATO.

The Ukrainian Defense Minister said on Sunday that his country will restart its own nuclear program if it does not receive satisfactory military support against what he alleged to be a nuclear threat from Russia.

It looks like the Ukrainian Nazis are in 'Al Qaeda emulation mode' ... now that it's all hit the fan .,, just as your patron ordered ... it's Blowback Time!

This is what we get for not having a president, for having a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate instead. I wish we could send him back to Norway, where they know his inner-heart and love him so well, his 'surface' blemishes notwithstanding.

Liar, murderer, war-criminal.

At some point everyone is going to realize that their 'game' has got away from them. The second Shamir article above is good, I think. Both parts are good.

Posted by: john francis lee | Sep 15 2014 9:55 utc | 185

Posted by: Marko Antonovic | Sep 15, 2014 5:04:31 AM | 183

Thanks, too. That link is essential reading.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2014 10:27 utc | 186

You guys might want to keep an eye on this channel, too

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 15 2014 10:34 utc | 187

@180 okie.. that makes sense. i agree.

@181 malooga.. interesting viewpoint on condi and background in birmingham..sun ra is from the same place.. i read the bio on him a few years ago.. of course he was much older the condi rice, being born in 1914, but it did give me some perspective.. thanks for the link @187.

@182 demian. i agree. russia is screwed no matter what it does according to this unholy alliance of the west/usa/nato.. russia needs to figure out where it wants to see itself in all this and stay extremely focused. they are in a tougher position thanks to these major destabilization efforts..

@183 marko. thanks, i will take a look at that.. scary thought and one i am sure these folks will have thought of already.

Posted by: james | Sep 15 2014 20:37 utc | 188

Somewhat OT: Interesting subtext in the conclusion of this Guardian piece:

David Cameron makes emotional plea to Scotland as independence vote looms

Albert Edwards, strategist at French bank Société Générale, questioned whether a yes vote could have wider implications across Europe. "The obvious market conclusion is for a weaker sterling – but a proper old fashioned crisis is plausible. But maybe that is too parochial a vision. The sequence of events which might flow from a yes vote may be as unpredictable and as uncontrollable as those of the late 1980s in eastern Europe, which led to the ultimate demise of the USSR," said Edwards.

The White House reaffirmed on Monday its belief that it would be better for Scotland to stay in the UK. Press spokesman, Josh Earnest, repeated what President Obama said in Brussels earlier this year. "The president said that from the outside the US has a deep interest in ensuring that one of the closest allies that we'll ever have remains strong, robust and united and an effective partner with the US. This is a decision for the people of Scotland to make; we certainly respect the right of the individual Scots to make a decision along these lines, but as the president said, we have an interest [pause] in seeing the United Kingdom remain strong, robust, united," Earnest said.

Since the US empire is just a continuation of the British empire, the breakup of Britain would deal a significant blow to the US empire. If I believed in that sort of thing, I would be praying every day for the Scottish people to do the right thing.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 16 2014 0:36 utc | 190

@190 I'm guessing no will win 60-40%. But the damage is done.

Posted by: dh | Sep 16 2014 0:44 utc | 191

@dh #191:

We shall see. Polls indicate it will be closer than that.

I am not very hopeful of a positive outcome, because it would be too good to be true, and `because Scotland is the land of David Hume, who initiated English modernity (a.k.a. nihilism).

Posted by: Demian | Sep 16 2014 1:27 utc | 192

@192 I have no strong feelings either way. Some Scots seem to be dreaming of a socialist Utopia. I just think real independence will be too scary for the middle-class.

Posted by: dh | Sep 16 2014 1:50 utc | 193

@dh #193:

You're probably right about real independence being too scary for the middle class, but that fear is not rational, since it's not as if Scotland would be isolated if it broke away from the UK: it could still be part of the EU, which has plenty of small countries.

I don't think Scots are dreaming of a "socialist Utopia". They just want the endless imposition of more and more neoliberal policies to end.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 16 2014 2:02 utc | 194

@194. It's a mix of Braveheart and old fashioned Presbyterianism. Plus inequality and not feeling represented by Westminster. They have a case but I don't think joining the EU will be any better. A narrow vote won't prove much anyway.

Posted by: dh | Sep 16 2014 2:25 utc | 195

i suspect a close vote, but i note all the kings propagandists trying to spread fear to help get a no vote on independence.. 3 days to wait and see.. i am an optimist. i think it might happen.

Posted by: james | Sep 16 2014 2:48 utc | 196

Is Poroshenko trying to break free of the Empire's strings?

Wash Post: Ukrainian president offers rebels major concessions to end uprising

Some of the elements of Poroshenko’s plan resembled the so-called frozen conflicts in which Russian-backed partisans have seized control of territories in Georgia and Moldova, thus giving Moscow leverage over those countries and complicating their efforts to join NATO. But Poroshenko defended his proposal, insisting that despite the broad concessions, it would succeed in maintaining the rebel-held territories within the boundaries of Ukraine and prevent their independence.
This suggests that the junta will not start a new offensive. There are obviously power struggles going on between various factions in Kiev about whether to continue pursuing the war.

For Russia, it is more important that the Ukraine, whatever its borders end up being, not end up a US satellite, than that the people of Novorossia become independent of Kiev.

With this latest move, Poroshenko may be excessively looking out for the interests of Ukrainians, as far as the US is concerned. Therefore, a putsch by the Right Sector removing Poroshenko, as discussed by Joaquin Flores, is becoming more of a possibility.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 16 2014 3:19 utc | 197

pepe escobar discussing the bear and the dragon on crosstalk here is pretty good.. ukraine is discussed in passing a number of times..

Posted by: james | Sep 16 2014 3:45 utc | 198

Is Poroshenko trying to break free of the Empire's strings?
Petro Poroshenko will address a joint session of Congress at 10 a.m. on Thursday. He will also meet with President Obama later in the day. He'll be full of piss and vinegar then, probably.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 16 2014 4:02 utc | 199

To Demian @ 190 --

That post got me thinking. Agreed, US has an interest in client stability, etc. But it destabilized Europe badly with the Yugoslavian breakup, Mid-East a couple of ways, mucking about in E. Europe now. And agreed, break up of Britain not good for Wash. The overall impact on the American Imperium would be neglible, they might like the City being undermined by it.

It may not make sense for the to countenance it, but how much of what Wash. does these days?

We inherited/assumed the Brit. Empire, when it could not pay for its colonies after World War II. It has long been dead. It's functioned as "Oceania's" "Airstrip one" (or was it Airbase one in 1984) ever since. So it's smaller, we'll redecorate. A few extra units that it supplies, bases, are nice, but we'll make do. Am. necrophilia for the House of Windsor will continue unabated.

From what I have seen, there's an element of "taking the piss out" of "New Labour." Many Labour voters are apparently going to for independence. I generally dislike break large states into smaller, could be a Union vs. Confederacy thing. I recognize that some cases are defensible, others not. Not the place to discussion the complex phenomena of nat'lism here.

What I'm trying to say is this, I'm neutral about it. I doubt if it will greatly affect international politics, but it may seriously re-arrange domestic politics in the British Isles, I hope but doubt if it moves Labour left. It may split Labour. So it has some pleasant side effects.

And here's a totally speculative idea -- if Scots independence, maybe with Wales, Brittany, Galicia, and of course Eire (incl. Ulster), a Gaelic League?

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 16 2014 4:07 utc | 200

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