Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 21, 2015

Open Thread 2015-15

News & views ...

Posted by b on March 21, 2015 at 19:25 UTC | Permalink

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Since I couldn't add a comment to the the last posting about the mess in the middle East I will state here my appreciation for your efforts to educate the public about elements of the pariah nation we live in and need to face.

It is a statement to your message that so much effort is being made by trolls in comments to dilute and/or deprecate your insightful postings.

Thank you for your efforts.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 21 2015 19:48 utc | 1

The U.S. Has No Defense Against A Russian Nuclear Attack. Really.

Posted by: ALAN | Mar 21 2015 20:55 utc | 2

@ 2 Thompson seems to think a nuclear war is winnable with the right technology. Talk about deluded.

Posted by: dh | Mar 21 2015 21:20 utc | 3

#1, I agree

#2 Sure there can be winners a nuke war, it will be Mother Earth as she will finally have shaken off it's mortal enemy. HUMANS;)

Posted by: jo6pac | Mar 21 2015 21:37 utc | 4

Russia warns Denmark its warships could become nuclear targets

Posted by: ALAN | Mar 21 2015 22:04 utc | 5

ALAN I saw a similar article on Strategic Culture. I don't know what to make of it. Certainly Denmark is full of far-right fascists. But I'm not sure Russia should be provoking them - they're reactionary as hell. Denmark now has a chance to start WWIII.

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 21 2015 22:24 utc | 6
Russian security forces have reportedly killed seven suspected militants in the country’s North Caucasus region of Dagestan.

According to Russia’s National Anti-Terror Committee on Saturday, the country’s security forces attacked a building in Leninsky district on the outskirts of Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala, after receiving information that militants were hiding there.

The committee said the security forces first tried to hold talks with the militants in a bid to convince them to surrender themselves, but attacked the building after the militants opened fire on the troops.

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 21 2015 22:34 utc | 7


The U.S. Has No Defense Against The Defense (sic) Department. Really.

There, fixed it for you.

That includes the now rogue Homeland Security Department, and now this:

FEDBIZOPS - DEFENSE CONTRACTS: TransGen Energy Inc., Rockville, Maryland (W912DY-15-D-0016), and New Generation Power Inc., Chicago, Illinois (W912DY-15-D-0002), will share a $7,000,000,000 multiple award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity firm-fixed-price contract for power purchase agreement task orders. The first contracts under this appropriation were awarded in 2013. TransGen Energy and New Generation Power will be awarded funding for biomass technology under this contract. Exact funding and work location will be determined with each order with an estimated completion date of Sept. 22, 2023. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 52 received. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

The RINO-RINO Congress of 1000 Years has discovered you can grift 'Green Grants' over to the Defense (sic) Department, away from Department of Energy, then metastasize those 'Green Grants' by 1000%, while at the same time cutting -8% across the board from health and human services. DoD? Now it's Under the Radar, Nothing to See Here, Citizen, Move On.

?How many gigawatts of 'renewable green energy' do Americans get for that $7B? None. It's a 'technology grant'. ?New Generation Power's qualifications in biomass technology? None. They're a former solar marketing front company with projects in India.

This is Solyndra on steroids! Green Front Companies stacked with former Mil.Gov on their Boards, appropriate principle officers pulled in by executive search firms, unknown source of VC funding, IDIQ contracts, no deliverables, no terms of completion, Pure Profit™. Just read their bios!!! Marketing expert; venture capitalist; aerospace; HMOs; retail sector!, ..these folks have NO EXPERTISE in renewable technology. It's a VC Front Company 'bust-out' operation on America, Inc, and not one word in the business media. $7B technology grant, front company, NOT ONE WORD~!

Hey, nobody ever said the NeoCons were stupid.

Netanyahu lectured the US Congress like retarded school children about more sanctions against Russia, then the RINO-RINO Congress duly extended those sanctions for another year, that have already cost American business $7B (hey, there's your New Generation Power reach-around!), then Netanyahu flew back to Hebron to cut the ribbon on Israel's new Special Free Trade Zone ... with RUSSIA!

It's a Global ShakeDown Game. Black is White, War is Peace, Lies are Truth. Power Rules.

Posted by: NoReply | Mar 21 2015 22:34 utc | 8

Wow, Forbes has this:

One Year After Russia Annexed Crimea, Locals Prefer Moscow To Kiev - Forbes

The U.S and European Union may want to save Crimeans from themselves. But the Crimeans are happy right where they are.

One year after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in the Black Sea, poll after poll shows that the locals there — be they Ukrainians, ethnic Russians or Tartars are all in agreement: life with Russia is better than life with Ukraine.

Little has changed over the last 12 months.  Despite huge efforts on the part of Kiev, Brussels, Washington and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the bulk of humanity living on the Black Sea peninsula believe the referendum to secede from Ukraine was legit.  At some point, the West will have to recognize Crimea’s right to self rule. Unless we are all to believe that the locals polled by Gallup and GfK were done so with FSB bogey men standing by with guns in their hands.

The rest is also interesting.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 21 2015 23:56 utc | 9

NBC fears viewers learn what Iran's Foreign Minister said to Ann Curry? tweet @JZarif ! There is something seriously wrong with the media in America. And what NBC did with the interview with Iran's foreign minister is the latest example of that.

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Mar 22 2015 0:06 utc | 10

@9 That is interesting especially coming from Forbes. After reading this

I thought we were being prepped for a 'we must liberate the poor Tartars' campaign.

Posted by: dh | Mar 22 2015 0:55 utc | 11


Thanks for the link ... I wasn't able to watch the video but I did find the transcript and put it up here.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 22 2015 1:37 utc | 12

A little history:

For The Record #166 - The Free Congress Foundation Goes West: World War II Redux?

FTR #166 In AFA-36, Mr. Emory discussed the Free Congress' activities in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as part of an analysis of the destabilization of that region. (The material was drawn from an article in "Covert Action Information Bulletin" #35 entitled "The Free Congress Foundation Goes East.")

The Free Congress foundation was founded by right-wing lynchpin Paul Weyrich in 1974, the year after he started the Heritage Foundation. Weyrich had earlier participated in an attempt to take over the American Independent Party, an amalgam of Ku Klux Klansmen and John Birchers. Found within the FCF are individuals and elements associated with the milieu of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations.

The Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN) was essentially a re-naming of the Committee of Subjugated Nations, formed by Hitler in 1943.

Comprised of fascist organizations allied with Hitler, such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists/Bandera or OUN/B and Hungarian Arrow Cross, the ABN advocated an anticommunist approach that not only favored the rolling back of Soviet influence from Eastern Europe, but the dissolution of the Soviet Union into its constituent republics.


Covert Action Information Bulletin - Winter 1986 - No. 25 - Nazis, the Vatican, and CIA


Covert Action Information Bulletin, No. 20 - Winter 1984
Fifth Anniversary Issue

Cover: Maurice Bishop and Fidel Castro at Santiago, Cuba, July 26, 1983. Photo by Prensa Latina.

Table of Contents

  1. Editorial: Grenada and Nicaragua & Our Fifth Anniversary
  2. Grenada -- No Bishop, No Revo: U.S. Crushes Caribbean Jewel by Ellen Ray and Bill Schaap
  3. Cuban Statements on Grenada
  4. Nicaragua Braces For War by Ellen Ray and Bill Schaap
  5. Fort Huachuca Buildup: Desert Technology
  6. Washington's Proxy: Israeli Arms in Central America by Clarence Lusane
  7. Pak in the Saddle Again by Fred Clarkson
  8. The Korean Spy Plane: Flight 007 Aptly Named by Ken Lawrence
  9. Sources and Methods: CIA Assassinations -- Part IV by Ken Lawrence

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 22 2015 2:23 utc | 13

Forgot the link for the first one: Here it is

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 22 2015 2:24 utc | 14

Looks like despicable actions of the United States in Abu Gharib (meet the new boss, same as the old boss) are going to come to light. And of course it is important to remember that this behavior wasn't "a few bad apples" and shouldn't be blamed on just the low level folks who carried it out (though they'll try) but that this was behavior sanctioned from the top.

The US government says it fears release of pictures showing abuse of prisoners would incite attacks on serving US personnel [AP]
US ordered to release photos of army abuse of detainees
Federal judge rules images showing abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan must be released after long court battle.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 22 2015 3:10 utc | 15

Not doing too good tonight - this is the important part:

Federal judge rules images showing abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan must be released after long court battle.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 22 2015 3:11 utc | 16

03/22/2015 00:59

Russian Spring

The new Ukrainian law “About special status of Donbass” endows the territories with partial autonomy, but only after elections in accordance to Kiyev rules and under supervision of the Ukrainian forces. In addition, the territories controlled by the combatants are designated as “occupied territories”.

Vladislav Deynego, the authorized representative of Lugansk Republic in the contact group to assist Minsk agreements, notes that the new law effectively violates the Minsk agreements; the sides are merely left to wait for response of the guarantors who attended signing the agreements.

03/21/2015 23:21

Russian Spring

Sergey Lavrov, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia told that ”the day this very ambiguous ruling (the law “About special status of Donbass”) was upheld, the Vice-President Joe Biden called Poroshenko and praised the ruling.” “In conversation during the call, Joe Biden confirmed, that the U.S. ships equipment and sends instructors to train the National Guard”.

Posted by: Fete | Mar 22 2015 3:54 utc | 17


Yeah ... but he stayed his action for 60 days to give the CIA more time to come up with reasons not to release the pictures. Didn't he?

Thanks for the links to Covert Action Information Bulletins! I see just those 2 at

I did find and email a guy in DC who has (multiple copies) copies of the the entire sequence for $165. Id be happy to send you his email if you're interested. I think the whole run ought to be scanned, OCR'd, and made available over the wire. If you're in the US maybe we could ship a run to yourself and then you could forward them to me one at a time for scanning, OCR'ing, and html formating here. Meanwhile I'll see how it goes with these two issues.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 22 2015 5:17 utc | 18

@ guest77 16:

Released or not, I'm afraid it matters not, at least to most Americans, who don't consider any non-whites real people. The moral vacuum here in tthe US is stunning.

Posted by: ben | Mar 22 2015 5:21 utc | 19

Russia warns Denmark its warships could become nuclear targets
Posted by: ALAN | Mar 21, 2015 6:04:28 PM | 5 & Okie @ 6

Russia doesn't give a toss about 'threats' from Denmark. Denmark, like US-NATO's other friends, especially Israel, is a soft-target specialist and a bigger danger to itself than any countries with a sustained defense and retaliation capability.

It was a telegraphed warning to Obama. The so-called warning made the connection between NUKES and NAVIES, of which the spendthrift Yankees have more than 40. The dumbass Yankees idea of a Naval Defense "strategy" is for any fleet which comes under threat is to clump together for mutual defense - meaning each navy can be threatened and then vaporised with 1 nuke.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 22 2015 5:24 utc | 20
Obama Details His Disappointment With Netanyahu In First Post-Election Comments
with video

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is operating under the assumption that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not support the creation of a Palestinian state, despite the Israeli leader's post-election efforts to recast himself as amenable to a two-state solution.

"We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn't happen during his prime ministership, and so that's why we've got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the region," the president said in an interview with The Huffington Post on Friday.

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 22 2015 6:08 utc | 21

This is worth a read, being more direct and less circuitous than the oft politically correct mildness usually on offer at TomDispatch.

Is A New Political System Emerging in This Country?
(The New American Order)

Perspectives examined:
1. 1% Elections
2. Proliferation of the National Security State
3. Delegitimisation of Congress & Status of President (Bibi etc)
4. Rise of NatSec State as the 4th (unaccountable) Branch of Govt
5. Demobilisation of the American People

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 22 2015 6:45 utc | 22

On Friday the GA Ali al Sistani, in Baghdad, made a rather pointed remark about the Iraq/Iran forces being unprofessional and their lack of planning for the third failure to take the city of Tikrit. It seems the Iraq/Iran forces brought knives to a gunfight and none of their 30,000 fighters can fight, at least in urban warfare. The Islamic State force of about 1,000 didn't run which they were supposed to do and now they are using guns and bombs which the Iraq/Iran forces need help from someone who knows how to deal with them.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 22 2015 7:36 utc | 23

uh oh!
Syria has retaken Golan border crossing expelling AlQaeda (Jabhat Al Nusra). And Israel can't come to AlQaeda's rescue this time for fear of Hezbollah retaliation!

Posted by: brian | Mar 22 2015 7:50 utc | 24

Posted by: Fete | Mar 21, 2015 11:54:56 PM | 17
that trick was tried with Crimea in the early 1990s...the autonomy was soon removed

Posted by: brian | Mar 22 2015 7:52 utc | 25

Posted by: Fran | Mar 21, 2015 7:56:32 PM | 9
the title usi a classic eg of Goebbels style Big Lie...Crimea was never 'annexed'..saying it was leaders the readers to believe russia used force to take over crimea

Posted by: brian | Mar 22 2015 7:53 utc | 26

this looks interesting,,,,ISIS or Islamic State in Iraq and Shams (otherwise labelled by one wit as Israel Security Intelligence Services).....providentially has the helpful word SHAM in its title!

love the motto at 1:59 that goes : there is no ruler but Cod!

Posted by: brian | Mar 22 2015 9:01 utc | 27

@Hoarsewhisperer #22:

Tom Engelhardt wrote:

we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name.
But it does have a name, and everything Engelhardt considers in that post has been analyzed and theorized already. See inverted totalitarianism. I was surprised at Engelhardt's ignorance.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 22 2015 9:40 utc | 28

South Korea, Japan, China Hold First Trilateral Talks Since 2012

SEOUL (DPA) — South Korea, Japan, and China brought together their foreign ministers Saturday for the first time in nearly three years to try to strengthen their relations, which have been battered by territorial disputes and historical conflicts.

South Korea's Yun Byung Se, Japan's Fumio Kishida and China's Wang Yi expressed in a joint statement their hope that the "trilateral cooperation mechanism" would again go into effect. The mechanism formalized cooperation among the three countries, and a secretariat was established for it in 2011.

The ministers also indirectly called upon North Korea to cease developing nuclear weapons.

Obama continues to flail and flail away, taking divot after divot in Asia.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 22 2015 10:16 utc | 30

Posted by: Fran | Mar 21, 2015 7:56:32 PM | 9

Not to rain on the 'FORBES has this' feeling, but it's not Forbes 'news' but a Forbes blog, and the magazine is careful to say that its blog contributors don't necessarily reflect official Forbes feelings. Still, the links it contains are to 'Western' opinion polls showing what is obviously true, that a huge majority of Crimeans chose to break away from Ukraine and unite with Russia, and that they're overwhelmingly happy they did so.

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 22 2015 10:52 utc | 31

EU Ukraine policy: "stupidity on a grand scale"

The point of departure was the Malta conference in December 1989. ... So our fate on this side of the continent was settled without our participation.

[W]e took the worst possibility of them all: an enlarged NATO, that now begins encircling Russia on all sides and yet excludes Russia. You don’t have to be a strategic genius to understand that Russia, a nuclear power, would sooner or later oppose this.

A “chaos regime” has brought a new style of realpolitik to Europe, and we let it happen. What’s the point of the EU if it can’t even prevent a war on its own continent?

The current government in Kiev is making the problems worse rather than addressing them.

Clearly the problem is not Russia, it is the USA. The Europeans must know this now, if somehow they did not before.

The Europeans need to rise up on their hind legs and just explain the lay of the land to the USA. European participation in the AIIB is instructive, so too is the CHK Trilateral conference in Asia. But Ukraine must to be straightened out.

The Europeans don't really give a damn about the Ukrainians of whatever stripe ... but Victoria Nuland has put them in a position where the very fact of their independent existence is at stake. Actually of their existence period, as they know it. Uncle Sam's bankruptcy is apparent to everyone. It needs to be acknowledged, and made a part of the official narrative. The lecherous, drunken old Uncle Sam taken account of. Still a part of the family, but keep an eye on him - get paid in cash, hide his bottle, and keep him away from the children.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 22 2015 10:56 utc | 32

Posted by: Demian | Mar 22, 2015 5:40:14 AM | 28

> politically correct mildness <

Tom is never going to provoke TPTB. Nor is he ever going to recommend violent overthrow of the USG. However, he publishes critiques on every negative aspect of the USG which has the potential to inspire simmering wrath (in people paying attention). He's a low-level, innocuous subversive. A while ago he reproduced an #Occupy poster which said

The American Dream
You have to be asleep
To believe it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 22 2015 11:25 utc | 33

I'm reading Michael Parenti's Make-believe Media and he refers to Englehardt's Ambush at Kamikaze Pass - written 44 years ago. I enjoyed reading it today.

I think it was Sheldon Wolin who coined the term Inverted Totalitarianism. I certainly appreciate the concept, although I don't really think inverted totalitarianism does it ... maybe inside-out totalitarianism or enantiomeric totalitarianism ... but totalitarianism by any name will smell as rank.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 22 2015 12:38 utc | 34

Here's a link to Ambush at Kamekaze Pass, a piece written by Tom Englehardt 44 years ago, which still resonates today. And here's a link to Inverted Totalitarianism, a little distillation of Sheldon Wolin's work on Democracy Incorporated from 2003. I think he coined the term.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 22 2015 12:59 utc | 35

NATO Ready To Welcome Ukraine As Full Member: Stoltenberg

KYIV: NATO is ready to consider the Ukraine’s bid for membership in the alliance, if Ukraine decides to submit it.

This has been stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels at the forum organized by the German Marshall Fund.

“It is up to Ukraine decide whether to submit the bid for NATO membership or not. Ukraine should decide that. If it submits, we will consider the application in the same way as we consider the application of any other country,” Ukrainian media quotes him.

In 2015, the units and the individual officers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will take part in 237 events of the individual partnership program [Individual Partnership Action Program] with NATO.

If the Europeans are still not up to tossing out their lecherous, drunken uncle's NATO, they can at least throw out his stooges, starting with the Prussian from Plön.

Jens Stoltenberg

Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, took the initiative to appoint Stoltenberg as Secretary-General, securing the support first of the United States, then of the United Kingdom, and then of all other member states.

That was then, this is now. Not a moment to waste. Wake up! You're sleepwalking into WW III.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 22 2015 13:24 utc | 36

The Forbes article is interesting. There was a long article once in Harpers explaining how insane, and deeply ingrained this thinking is:

"But stabilization in this case meant the two countries would have an assured ability to wipe each other out. "

Clearly, the correct state of affairs is that USA can wipe out any other country but no other country can wipe out USA. Then USA could make a wipeout warning any time a turn of events is evil, i.e. displeasing Washington consensus. "We think we have the right to enrich uranium under the treaty" "Shut up, or wipeout!", "Resolution of the conflict in Ukraine should consider the interests of all involved parties..." "Shut up, or wipeout!". The entire boring and ineffective edifice of foreign policy would be set on a rational basis, Department of State would be devoted to planning of the world affairs, and informing various countries etc. about American decisions. Since no country is as advanced, benevolent and well informed as USA, what can be possibly wrong with that picture? Perhaps it would not be "the end of history", once dreamt by Fukuyama, but surely it would be the end of era of chaos and confusion, and a start of a Golden Age.

For example, the era of budget deficits would be gone. USA would simply establish how much each country should contribute to the budget of USA. And all those annoyances like Iran, Chavistas, Putin etc. would be go away. One can argue that this goal is immoral, but that is just carping of some radicals (furriners would complain too, but so what!?). One can argue that this is simply technologically and logically impossible, as it imposes a tremendous incentive on Russia to prevent it For example, enemy missiles would have to be shot down shortly after lift off, but given that even the fastest missile cannot achieve it if it is launched outside Russian territory and a Russian missile is launched in the middle of the country. One could preposition the interceptors on orbit, but Russians would just shoot down the interceptors as soon as they are positioned there -- a stupid treaty forbids nukes in space, so they would have a right to do it. Basically, all plans of intercepting Russian missiles before they do any harm are based on the assumption that they would not alter their technology by adding decoy missiles and warheads. Hence this pipedream would cost a lot.

The most worrisome is the logic of first strike and obvious countermeasures. First strike would wipe out huge majority of Russian strategic weapons so interceptors would handle only the remnant. The countermeasure is "hair trigger defense", when in doubt, when the communication with the command center is lost etc., launch. That would reduce significantly the success of the first strike, but it would also make it possible to have a thermonuclear was by mistake.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 22 2015 16:59 utc | 37

What is going on here? Yesterday, looking for a new posting, there wasn't one. Not only that, but the comment section on this was closed, not taking anew comments. By the way, seeing that Asia Times seems to have sold out to Facebook, (you can only comment if you have a facebook account-the response to why-because of spam and on social networks like facebook, it doesn't happen, because everyone is in harmony). Is this going to happen to M o A too?

Posted by: Norman | Mar 24 2015 17:38 utc | 38

Who shutdown the blog, b?, or typepad? and why?

Posted by: jfl | Mar 24 2015 17:45 utc | 39

The Tikrit offensive has devolved from a raft of excuses for its failure to recriminations between the involved parties reducing it to a near farce. First al Sistani called everyone involved unprofessional and unprepared then the head of the Bader Brigade called the Iraqi Army weaklings for begging the US for air strikes and now the Kurds are claiming that there are 30,000 Iranian forces involved in the fighting in Iraq.

This is what happens when an army lead by corrupt clowns and militias lead by the likes of Quasem Soleimani face off against the dedicated Jihadis of the Islamic State, they fail and then turn on each other.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 24 2015 18:47 utc | 40

I wonder if the shutdown was a response to the trolls. Or maybe the trolls themselves caused the shutdown?

Posted by: lysias | Mar 24 2015 19:01 utc | 41

Wayoutwest says:

This is what happens when an army lead by corrupt clowns and militias lead by the likes of Quasem Soleimani face off against the dedicated Jihadis of the Islamic State, they fail and then turn on each other

your unconfirmed version of events is getting quite predictable.

maybe the Iraqi command is just showing concern for the lives of civilians. maybe they just don't feel compelled to cut off electricity and water to the towns inhabitants before dousing them with white phosphorus and depleted uranium incendiary bombs.

Posted by: john | Mar 24 2015 19:12 utc | 42

Well put.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 24 2015 19:21 utc | 43

So Israel, the not so silent third party in Amerikan politics, has been accused of spying on US nuclear negotiations with Iran. How long before Jon Boehner is charged with treason? I'm not holding my breath.

The espionage didn’t upset the White House as much as Israel’s sharing of inside information with U.S. lawmakers and others to drain support from a high-stakes deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program, current and former officials said. “It is one thing for the U.S. and Israel to spy on each other. It is another thing for Israel to steal U.S. secrets and play them back to U.S. legislators to undermine U.S. diplomacy,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on the matter…

The U.S. and Israel, longtime allies who routinely swap information on security threats, sometimes operate behind the scenes like spy-versus-spy rivals. The White House has largely tolerated Israeli snooping on U.S. policy makers—a posture Israel takes when the tables are turned.

spy vs spy

Posted by: Nana2007 | Mar 24 2015 19:25 utc | 44

There's 'news' now of 'the Whitehouse' ... implicit recognition of the impotence of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate ... backing an independent Palestine, apparently a land-locked Palestine, without Gaza.

If they really backed an independent Palestine they would simply recognize Palestine, send the 6th Fleet to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, and begin the construction of a tunnel under Israel connecting Gaza and the West Bank - using the funds formerly dedicated to maintaining the Israeli Wehrmacht, including its nuclear weapons.

They are never serious. Hot air and bullshit is all they ever have to offer.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 24 2015 19:48 utc | 45

@37 norman.. see the new post with explanation.. that is interesting about asia online being taken over by fakebook... fakebook seems to be a popular thing with the internuts.. i hate it myself and avoid using it at all costs..

@41 john.. yes.. sure seems like wow is more into the white phosphorous approach which is why he gets characterized a certain way among the posters here..

@44 jfl.. so true..

article from the saker - Is Uncle Sam “tossing” Kolomoiskii?

Posted by: james | Mar 24 2015 20:01 utc | 46


The three examples I cited are reported in many ME and Western news sources and they are from published statements or interviews with the principles involved. If the Iraqi Army leaders are worried about the civilians in Tikrit would they be begging for US air strikes?

I guess you don't know much about what DU munitions are, anymore than you know about what is happening in Iraq

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 24 2015 22:52 utc | 47

@ John #41
Well said indeed ... unlike Falluja and the USMC.

Posted by: Outraged | Mar 24 2015 22:52 utc | 48

The US lead coalition is not involved in the battle for Tikrit and I doubt they will join in that battle because it would be seen as assisting the Iranians who are seen by the US as a problem not a solution in Iraq.

The importance of this failure by Iraq/Iran forces is that some reporters are beginning to use this as a final example of the inability of these forces to defeat the Islamic State and are already calling for US troops to get the job done. This is wishful thinking in my opinion but it may be what we will be hearing soon from the US war machine.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 24 2015 23:24 utc | 49

as if the usa has a shred of integrity with regard to truth in iraq or beyond LOLOL.. they are the same fuckers who unloaded du in iraq.. their own vets are suffering from it too, but do you think the usa would look after them with regard to that? no, they are too busy trying to think of the next war, when they are not creating havoc where-ever they set their gaze on.

the war of iraq in 2003 -made in the usa! it was supposedly over weapons of mass destruction which is really weapons of mass delusion - something the usa specializes in on a regular basis..the usa is going to let us know the iranians are not helping matters in iraq??? LOLOL... i would hate like hell to see what happens when they are not trying to HELP!

Posted by: james | Mar 24 2015 23:37 utc | 50

You need to be able to parse the true meaning of US statements about Iran, they are actually saying they fear that Iran is gaining influence and control in Iraq while the US is losing what little influence it ever really had.

An interesting factoid, both Iraq and Iran now have DU munitions but it isn't clear if they are being used in Iraq.

There are some voices from outside the West that are worried that the increasing Iranian involvement in fighting in Iraq is leading to increased sectarian violence and fears among the Sunni population. The statement from the Kurds about this issue is the latest warning about possible consequences of their increasing HELP.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 25 2015 1:23 utc | 51


Sectarian violence in Iraq has been going on for years, long before Iranian forces entered the picture. Increasing sectarian violence in Iraq is simply not in Iran's interest.


Kolomoisky has outlived his usefulness to Kiev, so the truce in the oligarchic feud is being revived. Kolomoisky will lose because his opponents have a trump card in the levers of government. The only question is how much he will lose. His only bargaining chip is the military situation in the Donbass, much like the move that got him the Governorship of Dniepropetrovsk. Kiev may decide that unseating Kolomoisky wouldn't be worth the resources needed on the Donbass front.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Mar 25 2015 2:20 utc | 52

Norman @37

Did you mean Asia Time Online sold to Facebook? Notice the changes much earlier when Pepe Escobe articles appeared first on RT and elsewhere before Asia Time Online. Was trying to find who’s the new owners or “investor?” Thanks for the news.

With the changes in Asia Times, and moves more toward MSM like Huffington Post. Its time to say goodbye to Asia Time!

Posted by: Jack Smith | Mar 25 2015 2:30 utc | 53

@wayoutIsrael AKA 'Wayoutwest' AKA 'dummy'.

Dude, go get a job! Or is it your job to post the most brazen
falsehoods and stupidities here and elsewhere?

The Iraqi military is indeed quite weak but it was ZUSA that
put it together, trained it for years at the cost of billions of
dollars. Even the presstitute msm admits to that.

The biased presstitutes also have been forced to admit that the Shia
militias of Iraq, hastily put together and led by a few iranian military
advisers on the ground, have been instrumental in halting your ISIS
heroes and taking the battle to them, retaking much territory and
even helping the kurdish peshmerga.

For instance:

This is while the presence of Iranian military advisers is said to be
highly effective on the battlefield, according to CNN.
As several analysts say, Qasem Soleimani has been organizing and
directing the Shia militia in a more deliberate manner leading to
a better planned assault than previous operations.[98]

The CNN piece is titled:
'Battle for Tikrit: Despite billions in aid, Iraqi army relies on
militia, and Iran'

Not bad for militias that had little time to train and only had
a relative few members with previous combat experience.
Such as those who fought in Syria.
Another CNN presstitute article states:
"The militia -- called al Hashed al Shabi or Popular Mobilization Units
(PMU) -- were trained, equipped and most importantly led by Iranian
military advisers and quickly became battle hardened. What they lacked
in military skills, they made up for in determination."

Tikrit is encircled, actually most of the city already taken,
with the remaining die hard militants dug in the city center.
They'll be eventually eliminated.

One should remember that in the second battle of Fallujah
elite zamerican troops(highly overhyped btw) took from Nov.7th to
Dec.23 to finish off the 2/3 thousand insurgents in the city.

This despite their use of massive firepower(artillery and air strikes).
And what a legacy they've left behind with all the horrific birth
defects and extremely high rates of cancer in the city.

Posted by: Luca K | Mar 25 2015 3:46 utc | 54


"Kiev may decide that unseating Kolomoisky wouldn't be worth the resources needed on the Donbass front."

I spoke too soon.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Mar 25 2015 4:15 utc | 55

Further details on the conflict in Dnieprpetrovsk, from Fort Russ.

The latest posting says Kolomoisky has resigned, as per the Presidential website. Valentine Reznichenko is to be interim governor.

This seems to go against the fairly strong position he holds. Kolomoysky is holding Ukraine by its “Privat” parts notes his ownership of this major bank and other commercial assets gives him substantial power. Several articles (like this analysis) note this and the possibility that Kolomoisky could use his assets in the Donbas to buttress a third "Peoples Republic" in Dnieprpetrovsk.

Some details on the dispute over oil refining that set off the confrontation, as well as American involvement and Poroshenko's softness in the opening round, can be found in Kolomoysky seizes Ukrnafta in Kiev, calls for federalization, hearts Novorossia, ignores US warning. The "oil war" has apparently spread to Odessa.

The ever-astute Yurasumy takes a look at the situation as Kolomoisky raises stakes. Four Poroshenko Bloc parliamentarians quit, with one, Gennadiy Korban (also Deputy Governor) noting in suitably nationalist fashio that "Putin broke his teeth on Dnepropetrovsk, Poroshenko will break them too." He called for a demonstration on Wednesday. Yurasumay argues that:

Kolomoysky needs to raise the stakes and be half a step ahead. Otherwise he will lose. All Poroshenko has to do to win is to deflect his adversary’s moves in the next few days....

Poroshenko’s popularity is moving toward zero. The people are fed up with the war and everything that’s connected with it (death, poverty, the absence of a future). The army is fed up with constant betrayals, which they blame on senior military commanders loyal to the president. This means Kolomoysky has a chance. His assets include the Right Sector and other “volunteers,” for whom Kiev has other plans in store, and PrivatBank which could devastate Ukraine’s finances.

Should the Presidential announcement be true, despite Kolomoisky's raising the stakes, Poroshenko's stall has worked. It could imply a deal -- come to heel, stay out of politics and keep (some of) your loot. Or Kolomoisky is ditch the junta-bestowed office prior to proclaiming his "Peoples Republic." I lean towards a deal being made.

Hawk, the translator, notes that either Washington is powerless, or is quietly managing the neutralization of Kolomoisky. In both this piece and here Yurasumy reports that Korban and the other Rada members alleged a deal. "Poroshenko has decided to implement one of the decisions of the secret protocol of the Minsk agreements. In it was the item on the destruction of the 'Right Sector.'"

The Col. Cassad piece that Third Eye cites at 51 argues that Kolomoisky cannot prevail, "The illusion that Kolomoisky can dictate the conditions for Kiev are reminiscent of Khodorkovsky' illusions, who also thought that huge money and the political influence purchased for these money can overcome the security instruments and the state apparatus."

Kolomoisky's willingness to talk to the Russians and favorable comments on the Peoples Republics make him persona non grata in junta circles. Breaking away like the "colorados" is politically unpalatable. Noting that the Interior Minister Avakov and other security officials are firmly behind Poroshenko, Cassad argues that the moves are part pro forma, part improving his bargaining power.

I don't recall where I saw it, but someone made the point -- Kolomoisky was instrumental in the junta keeping Dnieprpetrovsk, but they don't need his muscle now. The NYT (via Russia Insider) hints at it.

With it's rear now more secure, will the junta renew operations after resupply and whatever of it's latest mobilization it can scrounge up? Or has Kolomoisky played Poroshenko, who is going down?

We'll see if anyone turns out tomorrow; does the demo go off as planned, does it get called off, or does it get transformed into a celebration of "unity"?

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 25 2015 4:55 utc | 56

@third eye and rufus - here is john helmers latest on kolowackjob.. things are moving fast right now.. will be interesting to see the turn out and dynamic of wednesday 6pm gathering..

Posted by: james | Mar 25 2015 5:14 utc | 57

@51 Thirdeye

For another perspectives read Fort Russ:

Kolomoysky is holding Ukraine by its "Privat" (private) parts:

and Zakharchenko suggest "Kolomoysky create Dnepropetrobsk Republic". I read somewhere Zakharchenko leaning toward Kolomoysky.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Mar 25 2015 6:08 utc | 58

james at 56 -- Helmer says its official; the discussion of Kolomoisky's probs. w/Swiss residency permit interesting. I'm looking for a celebration of unity this afternoon.

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 25 2015 11:38 utc | 59

The results of the French départementales elections are being brazenly mis-reported by the French MSM. If you read a short article in any language you will read that the UMP gathered …and tra la.. here the figures vary (on 23 March 2015, date of writing), from about 28 to 32%, the Front National, always 25%, and the Socialists third with…? …19 - 23. BBC (typical and short..)

These are ‘district / county’ elections and there will a run-off next Sunday, who will actually hold which district is pretty unpredictable, some candidates are favored irrespective of party affiliation, not all parties ran in all districts, run off may be tight, etc.

These results are mainly seen as important as an indication of party adherence in view of the 2017 presidential elections. The spin and hoopla can take place because the final results are only of interest to locals and won’t be reported / paid attention to, and won’t be terribly indicative. The first round however is. Paris and Lyon did not vote (different status, schedules.)

The minister of the Interior gives these results, link, but if you access the main page it sends you to results by district (a map: click on your district), so that ppl don’t see the overall results.

Binome = the French voted not for one person, but a pair, a man and a woman. No independent candidates, etc.

In %, rounded off, for parties that got more than 500,000 votes (abstention about 50%)

National Front - Marine le Pen 25

*Union of the Right 21

Socialists - Hollande 13

*Left Union 8

UMP - Sarkozy 7

Left Front - Mélenchon 5

*Union of the Right is a coalition of right-wing parties, i.e. explicitly not UMP. Left Union, coalition, opposed to Mélenchon.

Various other left parties (communists etc.), added 8

Various other right (excl. UDI - 1% - who was officially allied to the UMP so one should add that one point to the UMP’s score), added 8

/tot = 96, as some parties ex. Greens not taken into account here./

Predictions went along these lines - collapse of the Socialists for ex. What the media did is add ‘left’ and add ‘right’ … Sometimes their wording skirts the issue. .. “Sarkozy and his allies…” (adding enemies!)

Socialists are dead in the water, the UMP (Sarkozy) is despised. The left could do far better if it could get a platform together. The National Front is indeed the first party in France, as published by the Ministry, for this vote. Le Pen’s triumphant stance is fully justified - imagine if she manages to split the Right Union and ‘other right’ and is facing Hollande. A new party (if that was possible, see analogy to Greece with PASOK defunct and Syriza) might also win.

An ersatz democracy and the media shaping the narrative and mashing the figures, etc. For sure the results are tabulated properly (France would not dare, no Diebold machines), but that doesn’t matter, hide the results, spin, hype, create confusion, have your pundits on TV spouting rubbish. This also explains why Sark, Socialists, and Le Pen are all crying victory, if for the Socialists in the sense of fantastically better than ‘expected.’

Extra remarks: these results don’t show a drift to the right, the right in all its forms has done better in the recent past. Of course, this left-right axis is severely outdated and masks the real issues (globalisation, sovereignity, the EU, the Euro, Brussel’s control, NATO, war, Russia, etc.) which is of course its function.

checked the link before posting, and the page of results was vaporised again (at one point it had an incorrect title, another time it posted the page as ‘partial result’!) hunted it up again => maybe the link won’t work.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 25 2015 16:44 utc | 60

@Noirette #60

Thanks, interesting stuff. The link is working.

"Of course, this left-right axis is severely outdated and masks the real issues (globalisation, sovereignity, the EU, the Euro, Brussel’s control, NATO, war, Russia, etc.)..."

Very true, in the USA as well. This is the end result of the mainstream "left" becoming a lapdog for neoliberal globalists and defining itself over identity issues that range from marginal to frivolous, alienating its old core constituency. The "left" can either wake up and realize the severity of its errors or it will take itself out of the game entirely.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Mar 25 2015 18:20 utc | 61

According to this article Kolomoisky is down but not out. He has retained the loyalty of Filatov and Korban, and Yatsenyuk has remained silent. He still has the economic power to ruin Poroshenko unless Poroshenko brings out the big guns of state power against him, the way Putin did against Khodorkovsky. But even then, Poroshenko would be much more vulnerable to countermoves than Putin ever was.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Mar 25 2015 18:57 utc | 62

ABCNews (Australia): Lufthansa Group CEO says Germanwings crash remains 'incomprehensible'

It is very comprehensible to Russian bloggers. The Russian blogosphere is awash with the theory that the Germanwings crash is punishment of Germany for defying the US by trying to end the Ukrainian civil war (through the Normandy format, the only participants of which are Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France) and the message that Germany will not be allowed to have close ties to Russia.

It certainly makes sense to consider the possibility that this was a terrorist act (by a state actor). This is because Germanwings, being a subsidiary of Lufthansa, is as serious about aircraft maintenance and safety as any top airline, and because crashes in the middle of a flight, during the cruse phase are rare (about 15% of al crashes). One theory is that the altimeter was tampered with. Another angle is that Finnish TV reported that investigators who listened to the flight data recorder concluded that the pilots were unconscious at the time of the crash.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 25 2015 22:04 utc | 63

U.S. provides support in Tikrit despite Iran's role

The Pentagon said it would provide Iraq's forces with airstrikes in Tikrit as well, but the Iraqi government has not requested that. ...

Fighting in a dense city is difficult where defenders have an advantage and attackers cannot use heavy firepower.

U.S. Airstrikes on ISIS Reported in Tikrit for First Time

But in recent days, as the militants have continued to hold out in central areas of the city, Iraqi military officials have said that airstrikes would be needed to fully secure Tikrit — despite rebukes by Shiite militia commanders.

Surveillance flights by coalition aircraft over Tikrit began late Tuesday night, according to a spokesman for the Iraqi military’s Salahuddin Operations Command, which has responsibility for the military side of the Tikrit operation. And witnesses reported late Wednesday night that heavy bombing runs had begun in the city against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Until Wednesday, American airstrikes had continued in other parts of Iraq, but not near Tikrit ... American officials have said that was mostly because Iraqi officials had not yet asked for airstrikes.

The offensive began on March 2, with officials making repeated claims that the city would be reclaimed within days, as they did most recently last March 12. Then in recent days officials have said they preferred to consolidate their gains rather than risk more civilian casualties by continuing to press their attack.

Looks like the US has decided to waste Tikrit and its residents. The annihilation of civilians is standard procedure in US wars 'liberating' them.

It's so standard that the US doesn't think twice. Took them awhile to get an Iraqi to provide cover for them though. They found one ...

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, in a speech broadcast on Iraqi state TV from an undisclosed location in Salahuddin Province Wednesday night, hailed the strikes, saying, “The time of freedom has just been started.”

I imagine the airstrikes that destroy Tikrit will also fall on the Iraqi militias engaged there, and 'with luck' on any and all Iranians in the vicinity.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 25 2015 22:10 utc | 64

"Perhaps today’s IMF mission is to fight against this oligarchic business in Kiev. But between two evils it’s not worth choosing."
those are the words of Sergei Glaziev in a translation dated march 19th (story looks to be from march 4th this year), a short time before the unfolding of kolomoisky's changing fortunes.. article here....

Posted by: james | Mar 25 2015 23:32 utc | 65

Thirdeye at 62 --

I saw that article at lunch, and noted J. Hawk's comment: "Poroshenko definitely won this one, though not decisively, and possibly it was a pyrrhic victory. To paraphrase LBJ, is Poroshenko better off with Kolomoisky in the tent pissing out, or outside the tent pissing into it?" Could be just the opening round, as you note, Kolomoisky has substantial economic and political/military power. What will the other oligarchs and independent battalions do?

Kyiv Post's latest take, for those interested, Poroshenko sends shot across oligarchs' bow by sacking Kolomoisky, does not mention today's demo.

Nor does the Russian language Komsomolskaya Pravda v Ukraine but it reports that the feeling of Dnepropetrovtsii about Kolomoisky's dismissal: "the same feeling as when Brezhnev died" (I'd recommend Google over Bing machine language if needed). The region feels it has lost its patron.

They also believe it's an opening round, see Kolomoisky said goodbye, but did not go. They quote a Rada member, who says of Kolomoisky, "We should not forget that it was Kolomoisky who did a lot of the right things in the region, which helped to keep the situation stable, and he enjoys wide support that will also be used."

KPvU quotes other commentators who believe he is escaping the constraints of his post as governor, will actively pursue alliances with other governors and oligarchs, and will compete politically in coming local elections. Kolomoisky, says one, will strike the pose of concerned patriot and "Robin Hood." At least one of my earlier links noted his socialistic call for renationalizations.

We'll have to see what moves Kolomoisky makes, and with what dispatch and vigor. Tough sledding, Wash. seems to have Poroshenko's back on this.

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 25 2015 23:33 utc | 66

Yes, good post, b. And it is very good that you continue with this site and have for so long.

It does seem that you are sometimes too optimistic, but I am, too. So I don't regard that as a failing :)

The news seems to have been delivered by a knuckle-dragger's site. They are clearly not happy that Obama has not met the Prussian from Plön.

I think Obama meets or does not meet those he is told to meet or not to.

Stoltenberg, who seems to be Mutti Merkel's darling, is eager that Ukraine join NATO ... and, you know, full-speed ahead!

The US has come up with just jeeps for Ukraine, but has begun bombing Tikrit.

You know how it is with the ADD afflicted neo-cons. Having no US cannon fodder on the ground and dying allows them to turn their backs on the strange fruits of their misadventures on the one hand and to set off on 'fresh', 'new' adventures on the other.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 26 2015 0:04 utc | 67

Crimea: The Way back Home is now available with English subtitles. This full-length documentary is very slick and well worth watching for anyone who has an interest in the events of a year ago in the former Ukraine. Recommend this to all of your Ukrainian acquaintances!

It seems to me that this documentary has three main purposes. (1) Document the events leading to the reunification of Crimea with Russia. (2) For the Russian audience, recapture the euphoria that Russians experienced upon the reunification. Events in the Ukraine took a downward turn after that moment. (3) Send a strong, clear signal to the West that now that the Crimea has come back to Mother Russia, it will always stay there, so the US and the EU should learn how to live with this new (also old, as opposed to fleeting, from 1991–2014) reality.

h/t to Deep Resource

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2015 5:55 utc | 68

I'm amazed at how quickly info is being released about the Germanwings crash. The plane was nearly vaporized unlike M-17, the wreckage of which--large pieces of wreckage--remains strewn across the countryside. We'll probably know what happened yesterday with some certainty in the next week or so. We will never know what happened over Ukraine more than a year ago. Some truths are just too inconvenient.

Posted by: chuckvw | Mar 26 2015 6:19 utc | 69

Prospect Mag's editor is Bronwen Maddox,

Bronwen Maddox is a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation for "transatlantic debate."

The list below includes some current, but many former Governors of the Ditchley Foundation for "transatlantic debate."

  • Lord Adonis. Former Transport Secretary.

  • Giuliano Amato. Formerly Prime Minister of Italy.

  • Margaret Beckett. Formerly Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

  • Paul Boateng. Formerely British High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa and Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

  • Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone, JP. Formerly Secretary of State for Health and for National Heritage.

  • John Brademas. Formerly Chairman, The American Ditchley Foundation. President Emeritus, New York University. Formerly Democratic Congressman for Indiana.

  • John Bruton. Former Irish Taoiseach.

  • Robin Butler, GCB, CVO. Master, University College, Oxford. Formerly Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service.

  • David Cameron, MP. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Conservative Member of Parliament for Witney.

  • Menzies Campbell, CBE, QC, MP. Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Fife North East and formerly Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party.

  • Lord Carrington, KG, GCMG, CH, MC. Formerly Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Secretary-General of NATO.

  • Shami Chakrabarti, CBE. Director of Liberty.

  • Lynda Chalker. Formerly Minister for Overseas Development.

  • Robert Cooper. Director General, Council of the European Union.

  • David Hennessy. Formerly Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords; Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford.

  • Geoffrey Howe. Formerly Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

  • David Hunt. Formerly Secretary of the Cabinet and formerly Chairman, The Ditchley Foundation.

  • Douglas Hurd. Formerly Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

  • Peter Jay. Former Ambassador to the United States.

  • François Lagrange. Chairman, National Commission for Privatisation and President of the Patent Office, France.

  • Roy MacLaren. Formerly Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Minister of Trade.

  • Neil Kinnock. Chairman, The British Council. Formerly Vice President of the European Commission.

  • Peter Mandelson. Commissioner for External Trade, European Commission. Formerly Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

  • John Major. Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

  • David Miliband. Formerly Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Labour Member of Parliament for South Shields.

  • Patrick Nairne. Formerly Permanent Secretary, Department of Health and Social Security and Master, St. Catherine’s College, Oxford.

  • Pauline Neville-Jones. Minister of State for Security, Governor of the BBC and Political Director, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

  • Martin O’Neill. Formerly Member of Parliament for Ochil.

  • Malcolm Rifkind. Conservative Member of Parliament for Kensington and Chelsea. Formerly Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

  • John Sawers. KCMG. Chief of SIS. Formerly British Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

  • Jack Straw. Formerly Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Leader of the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; Home Secretary.

  • Elizabeth Symons. Formerly Minister of Defence Procurement, Minister of State for International Trade and Investment, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

  • Kevin Tebbit. Formerly Permanent Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence.

  • David Willetts. Conservative Member of Parliament for Havant and Minister of State for Universities and Science.

  • Shirley Williams. Former Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party in the House of Lords and Public Service Professor, Kennedy School of Government. Director, Project Liberty, Harvard University. Formerly Secretary of State for Education and Science.

Quite a collection of spooks, shills and political shitheads there.

Well done Russell, seems that spooks, shills and political shitheads just love you

And who could blame them, eh, what with your cheeky cheery chirpy Artful Dodger impression (while banging one of the Billionaire Goldsmith family)

Posted by: Quote/UNquote | Mar 26 2015 9:18 utc | 71

In addition to moving against Kolomoisky, Poroshenko is also acting to curb the volunteer battalions. Fort Russs has J. Hawk asking whither The "Night of Long Knives" Cometh?. All units not under UAF or National Guard command are to leave the "ATO" area by April. Azov and some other battalions are National Guard units, but the Right Sector militia is not.

The Right Sector is protesting, claiming that once they leave, it will fatally undermine the defensive lines, and they are likewise opposed to their units being disbanded. Moreover, they are playing the "Putin card", by claiming that Poroshenko has betrayed them at Minsk. It is easy to imagine that once they are out of the ATO, it will be difficult for them to justify their existence and, especially, their weapons. One other tangible effect will be the elimination of the Right Sector from the profitable smuggling operations between Ukraine proper, the Donbass, and Russia.

Poroshenko is clearly trying to take advantage of the firing of Kolomoysky, which was a useful demonstration of power, to press his advantage and take out a number of other potential rivals. Whether that will help him, or Ukraine, is another question. His nation-wide approval rating is now under 20%, according to a recent survey.

Hawk concludes by noting that, thanks to its support of Poroshenko, the SBU has gained in influence and is being reorganized into a political police against dissent. "So at long last Poroshenko will get himself a loyal (?) Praetorian Guard. But then again, that's what the National Guard was supposed to be, and we know how that turned out... "

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 26 2015 11:31 utc | 72

Well, 48 hours after the crash, the mystery of Germanwings is cleared up:

the copilot went berserk

Note that already one day after the crash, there were reports about what was on the cockpit voice recorder. That Guardian story linked to above has quite a lot of detail about what's on the recording. But with MH17, we still haven't been told anything about what's on CVR, other than that there's nothing unusual.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2015 20:20 utc | 74

@74 demian..those are the kinds of things more people would benefit from questioning..why nothing on the top secret event of the downing of mh17, but quick and full disclosure on this? smells fishy means it is fishy to me..

Posted by: james | Mar 26 2015 20:45 utc | 75

@james #75:

Yeah. Everything concerning the MH17 investigation is treated like a state secret. Yet most Westerners are so brainwashed that few find that strange. The Germanwings investigation, in contrast, is totally transparent, as the investigation into an airliner crash should be.

And, again courtesy of DeepResource, some irony:

Aviation Business Gazette: FAA recognizes Andreas Guenter Lubitz

Transportation safety experts strongly recommend against flying with an uncertified pilot. FAA pilot certification can be the difference between a safe flight and one that ends in tragedy.
It will be interesting to see whether that Web page gets taken down.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2015 21:01 utc | 76

re 74

But with MH17, we still haven't been told anything about what's on CVR, other than that there's nothing unusual.
The lack of information made available from the black boxes of MH17 is a real problem. One can only suppose that the results are not those desired.

Posted by: Laguerre | Mar 26 2015 21:13 utc | 77

Another development in the Ukraine the Western media will ignore:

Ukraine's Chief Anti-Corruption Offical Fired after Uncovering Millions Stolen

Ukrainian State Financial Inspection uncovered 7.5 billion Ukrainian hryvnia (about $0.3 billion now, up to $1 billion at the time) that have been stolen from state funds under the new post-Maidan government
The official who fired the corruption investigator was Victoria Nuland's darling Yats.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2015 21:34 utc | 78

' Well, 48 hours after the crash, the mystery of Germanwings is cleared up '

Wow. I read what was on the other end of the link and, just wow.

Two pilots. One leaves the cockpit to piss. The cockpit door is locked. Nothing but breathing from the one who remains from there on in. The missing pilot comes back but he's locked out, cannot get back in to the cockpit.

What the hell ... ? How could this happen!?

Obviously the conclusion is the one in the cockpit chose to fly the plane into the Alps???!!!

I don't buy it for a minute. It's Lufthansa - apparently all the European airlines - scrambling to cover their asses.

The Western media are to be ignored in all cases. Check out the 'coverage' of Saudi Arabia invading Yemen. It's all about Iran.

No, it's all about the USA/KSA/Israel - Egypt and the GCC dwarves.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 26 2015 22:58 utc | 79

There are indications that Poroshenko is moving more broadly to consolidate his position. In addition to sacking Kolomoisky and beginning to rein in the "volunteer battalions" (see at 72), trial balloons about replacing Yatsenyuk are now aloft. Russia Insider asks, Is Yatsenyuk on His Way Out in Ukraine? The post originally appeared at OffGuardian.

After discussing Yatsenyuk's vulnerabilities (war-weariness, corruption, failure of economic reform) and possible replacments (Speaker Groisman, Dep. Speaker Paruby, Jaresko, oligarch Sergei Liovochkin) it discusses the prospects. Vasiliy Stoyakin is a political scientist and directs the Ukrainian Center for Political Marketing.

Now, after weakening Kolomoiskiy and the Rada’s adoption of amendments to the Law on Joint Stock Companies, Poroshenko’s position has strengthened, and, according to Stoyakin, “it is possible to weaken the political “party of war”, which opposed the president.”

“There is evidence of an American operation aimed at consolidating power,” the expert said.

Stoyakin reminded that current demonstrations for the resignation of Yatseniuk are by far not the first ones. “But now the situation is different. Following the resignation of Kolomoiskiy there is some kind of a theoretical possibility that the resignation may be pushed through. Will there be enough votes in parliament? Maybe there will be. Arseny Petrovich has sinned quite a lot. Justification can always be found,” the analyst said.

Stoyakin noted that already there were publications claiming Yatsenyuk steals big time, and is generally not a good person. “So the conflict continues to grow.”

It is worth underscoring that Yatsenyuk fired Nikolai Gordienko, the Chairman of State Financial Inspection of Ukraine (see D. at 78). After detailing various cases, Gordienko said "Corruption schemes in Ukraine are headed by the government of Yatsenyuk." I would expect this would drive up his negatives and vulnerability.

K. Rus, the translator of the anti-corruption piece, summed it up thusly -- "Kiev wanted to expose the fraud of the previous government of Yanukovich, but audits, which continued until a year after the Kiev junta took control of the government also uncovered their own fraud. The head of State Financial Inspection was fired for the findings."

Yurasumy asks When will war erupt on the Donbass?. The junta is unlikely to be able to resume before July, if then. They are constrained by equipment limitations and personnel losses. They lost much of their transport and hence mobility. Numerous formations are going from mechanized infantry to foot soldiers. Engines are scarce, as is self-propelled artillery. Novorossiya might be ready by late April, but Yurasumy sees no need to rush.

There might be action on the part of the independent battalions, however.

The leadership of many “volunteer” units understands that long peace means their rapid demise (possibly in the physical sense too). The war can prolong their agony and even make their existence useful for the behind-the-scenes puppetmasters. They cannot pass up this chance....

At the same time, the situation will continue to grow more tense. The chaos within the junta (the Poroshenko-Kolomoysky struggle) may provoke a premature collapse of the junta, but even then it would be dumb for the NAF to attack, before it reaches full readiness. I think that the NAF command will not do something stupid. Besides, there’s no need to hurry. The junta is growing weaker with every passing month.

Should Poroshenko get the "volunteer battalions" out of the East, this source of provocation would of course fade.

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 26 2015 23:03 utc | 80

@jfl #79:

I don't buy it for a minute. It's Lufthansa - apparently all the European airlines - scrambling to cover their asses.

Are you suggesting tha the Marseille prosecutor is making this all up out of thin air, like a Ukrainian? This has happened before:

Deliberate acts: 5 cases of pilots intentionally crashing
Airline Pilots Death Cult

@rufus magister #80:

You probably saw this, but maybe others didn't:

Is Yatsenyuk on His Way Out in Ukraine?

After the resignation of the powerful oligarch Kolomoisky as regional governor Ukraine media is raising the possibility emboldened Poroshenko may move against the prime minister Yatsenyuk next

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2015 23:45 utc | 81

@rufus magister #80:

Oops, sorry. I should read posts before I reply to them, instead of the other way around.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 26 2015 23:57 utc | 82

@jfl #79:

I don't buy it for a minute.

The Russian blogger who says that she has inside information that the US had warned Germany that something was about to happen, so that this crash was punishment for Germany and France getting uppity, is sticking to her account (in Russian). Before the prosecutor came out with the story of the suicide-murderer copilot, she had written that investigators would come up with a cover story, because announcing what really happened – that this was a warning/punishment from USG – is something that a European government just cannot do.

This blogger writes that a detail that the Marseille prosecutor gets wrong is that because of the hieranchical nature of German society, the way the cockpit door lock works in German airlines is different than the European norm. She writes that the captain is still the captain – the person with authority over the plane – even when he is out of the cockpit. This means that if he punches his code into the keypad by the door, the copilot would not be able to keep the door locked. (The story that is being told in Western news media is that the person inside the cockpit can enable a five minuted delay from when an entry code is punched into the keypad outside the cockpit to when the door unlocks.)

It cannot be denied that a German pilot pulling a murder-suicide – something unheard of in any European airline, as far as I know – at a time when USG is putting all the pressure it can on Germany and France is quite a coincidence.

Are there any Germans here following how this incident is being discussed in the German blogosphere?

Posted by: Demian | Mar 27 2015 1:02 utc | 83

D @ 82 -- I used to think it was so 20th. century, but I had to get into the habit of reading stuff after I once linked to and discussed an article that b. had ref'd. in his lead posting.

Let's look at it this way -- with multiple recommendations, it's a must read, right?

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 27 2015 1:59 utc | 84

@rm #84:

Yeah, I guess the article on Yats' possible replacements is a must read.

Although I must say that if they choose the first guy discussed, from the Yanukovich camp, I would find that disorienting, since he does not sound crazy. But since he's from the Yanukovich camp, I think there's little chance that the Rada would approve him.

I think the OffGuardian people are naive when it comes to the Ukraine. The OffGuardian people are Western Europeans. I don't think they have an understanding of how crazy the Ukrainians really are. Poroshenko himself is still talking about building a wall between the former Ukraine and Russia. So even if Yats gets kicked out, the Kiev regime will still be crazy. And even if Kiev starts abiding by Minsk II, the junta will still have to use repressive Nazi techniques to remain in power.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 27 2015 2:35 utc | 85

The co-pilot was stricken ill? Things didn't work out as they were supposed to in that case?

Seems more likely than that the USG crashed a planefull of people to make a point that can only be savored by the tinfoil-hat crowd, or than the suddenly inspired mass-murder suicide of the co-pilot story, doesn't it?

I remain open. Maybe there's something more to this tragic end here. But I discount what I've heard so far.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 27 2015 4:22 utc | 86

Well done Russell, seems that spooks, shills and political shitheads just love you
And who could blame them, eh, what with your cheeky cheery chirpy Artful Dodger impression (while banging one of the Billionaire Goldsmith family)
Posted by: Quote/UNquote | Mar 26, 2015 5:18:04 AM | 71

LoL. That's not a list of "shitheads who just love Brand."
That's a list of shitheads whom Brand scares even more shit out of than your good self.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 27 2015 7:04 utc | 87

>Posted by: jfl | Mar 27, 2015 12:22:59 AM | 86
IF it is a warning to Germany it has been handled exceptionally well.
"Blame the pilot" is the crash investigator's most popular QED.
The day after the crash an "expert" reminded us that there was an incident in late 2014 involving a stretched version of an A320 (A321) which went into a shallow dive to 'correct' a non-existent nose-up attitude problem. The problem was caused by a faulty sensor. The crew couldn't return the plane to level flight because they can't over-ride the computer when it knows it's right.
Eventually a crew member switched off a couple of computers and regained manual control.

According to the expert, Airbus published a bulletin in November 2014 which warned that the sensor is prone to blockage caused by ice (in unusual circumstances) and provided a Standard Operating Procedure to deal with the problem if, and when, it arises. The expert mentioned that Jetstar (Australia) received the bulletin and immediately acqainted its pilots with Airbus's official workaround - which involves switching off the offending computer.

The above news story was told in the context of speculating on whether EVERY airline had time to implement the relevant procedure - the insinuation being that perhaps Germanwings had not.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 27 2015 7:39 utc | 88

Grant Smith of Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy finally gets the DoD to declassify a 1987 report admitting Israel has the capacity to build, not just nukes, but H-bombs.
Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations
A few people start to notice, e.g.
It's Official: The Pentagon Finally Admitted Israel Has Nuclear Weapons, Too

Israel will be safer when it joins the NPT.

Posted by: Imagine | Mar 27 2015 8:12 utc | 89

@ rufus magister | 66

Could be just the opening round, as you note, Kolomoisky has substantial economic and political/military power. What will the other oligarchs and independent battalions do?

Ukies oligarch have little say on the matter, despite their seemingly big local influence. Washington has full control over them, - it said to Kolomoisky to back-down, and he instantly did. Otherwise - his billions in Westerns banks would be frozen and/or confiscated, while Ukrainian assets would be nationalized or assimilated by other oligarchs. Exactly what happened to oligarchs who supported Yanukovich. Its better for Kolomoisky to lose some assets and influence than everything. He wont be rocking the boat, unlike some commentators assume, at least not where US is concerned.

Abouts Yats and Parasha, it doesnt really matter which puppets will sit these posts, you can bet they will be doing 100% pro-US policy.

Posted by: Harry | Mar 27 2015 8:35 utc | 90

Posted by: Imagine | Mar 27, 2015 4:12:03 AM | 89

Nope, sorry. You've been gulled, this time by the Pentagon.
Israel is the only (imaginary) Nukular armed country which thinks we're stupid enough to believe that, unlike EVERY nuclear-armed country on the planet, it embarked on a nuclear weapons development program BEFORE it had a range of delivery options.

And, amusingly, still lacks any realistic delivery option - unless you count half a dozen Grumman Gulfstreams (very unstealthy and very low tolerance for bullet holes).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 27 2015 8:57 utc | 91

I DO get more and more the imprssion that the Obama administration is fed up with Netanjahu. It's NOT limited to the speech Netanjahu gave to Congress in march. That speech made it only worse. The first signs of a policy shift regarding Israel emerged after the november 2012 US elections.

It seems the Obama administration has chosen to discredit Israel & Netanjahu by leaking embarrassing information to the press. See this story. The source "Intercept" is a bit suspicious but it would fit the overall pattern I see emerging.


Posted by: Willy2 | Mar 27 2015 14:35 utc | 92

Harry at 90 --

While I lean towards believing a deal has been struck between Kolomoisky and Poroshenko (at least for the short term), some of the reports I cite believe it to be a tactical withdrawal. I believe J. Hawk (quoted at 66) is correct in calling it a Pyrrhic victory (3rdEye has a link at 62 to the source). Both Poroshenko and Kolomoisky live to fight another day.

Via Russia Insider, RFE/RL recognizes that things could get out of hand, noting Ukraine Risks 'Feudalization' as Conflict with Oligarchs Boils Over.

I agree that DC is clearly behind Poroshenko now, but I do think it matters who the local leadership is. Human nature being what it is, no subordinate is 100 pct. reliable (see, e.g. Malaki, Diem). Sergei Liovochkin, formerly in Yanukovich's administration, as PM would be different than Paruby. Wash. would no doubt like everyone to behave, but if the lesser oligarchs feel threatened enough, they might be moved to act.

Demian at 85 is correct in saying that the junta is as crazy as a june bug. Liovochkin's appointment would suggest incipient sanity, and would seem unlikely. Folks might recall the Rada's recent fantasy resolution on "reforms" in the "occupied territories" of the Donbas. Or all parties' insistence that they will regain Crimea for Banderastan. "Glory to the heroes...."

I would expect Kolomoisky to regroup and plan ahead, but Russia Insider has an unconfirmed report that he is calling for a demo on Saturday. It also has a report on Poroshenko wanting to bring Yarosh from Prvayi Sektor back into public life at the Ministry of Defense. Poroshenko is moving right along to consolidate his position post-Minsk II.

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 27 2015 15:12 utc | 93

further to 93 --

There is apparently a "pro-Kiev" rally planned for Dnieperpetrovsk on Saturday, says the Kyiv Post. And some sort of "separatist plot" against it, as the Security Service prevents separatist-orchestrated ‘terrorist attack’ at Dnipropetrovsk rally.

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 27 2015 16:24 utc | 94

Demian is probably better able to comment on these than my godless self.

I try to stay up on the various militias kicking around. Via No Bread and Circuses for You, the Intercept reports on The Making of a Christian Taliban in Ukraine. I don't recall seeing it posted here.

But I think Russia Insider's discussion of the Orthodox Morals and Values Shaping the Future of the Russian World is more the sort of "correct belief" D. might have in mind.

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 27 2015 16:43 utc | 95

@rm #95:

That Intercept piece is the last of a series of three; all three are written from a strictly Ukrofascist point of view. That means that the Intercept must be seen as a pseudo-alternative anti-Russian propaganda outlet, like VICE news or Bellingcat.

Needless to say, the idea of a "Christian Taliban" is self-contradictory (in the Orthodox context, at least). The Taliban engages in holy war. But Orthodoxy can have no concept of holy war, since unlike Western Christianity, Orthodoxy does not have a concept of just war, which it considers to be heretical. Thus, even when engaging in war is justified, to defend your land and your way of life from foreign invaders for example, engaging in war is still sinful. In other words, it is a necessary evil that one is sometimes forced to engage in.

That article is very confused. Consider this:

The religious thread is not entirely surprising — Korchynsky and his men are devout Orthodox Christians.
As I said, people who engage in holy war are not Christians. They are heretics.
Above her is the emblem of the Brotherhood, which is also pinned to the uniforms of fighters in the battalion. The emblem includes an early Christian Orthodox symbol of Jesus. Underneath is the Latin inscription: “In hoc signo vinces,” which means, “In this sign you will conquer.”
This is the Jesus of American dispensationalist Christian heretics, not the Jesus of Christianity. Jesus is not a warrior. And note that the motto is in Latin. Latin has nothing to do with Orthodoxy; the Eastern church stayed with Greek. This is a simple and unambiguous indication that the ideas of this "Christian Taliban" are alien to Orthodoxy.

Finally, people interviewed in this story say they are fighting for Orthodoxy. But the center of Orthodoxy is now the Moscow Patriarchate. The split-away so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church is recognized by no Orthodox church. If these Ukrainians are fighting for Orthodoxy, why do they want to kill Russians and burn down Moscow, both of which are Orthodox? Clearly, their motivation has no basis in religion and is just a manifestation of the usual Ukrainian Russophobic racist fascism.

Now, to turn to that Russia Insider article (which is a reprint of this academic paper). I think the author gets everything right, and I fully approve of the concept of the Russian world as the author explicates it, in both its religious and its political meanings.

The only response I have to that paper is to point out that the concept of the Russian World fits hand in glove with Hegelian social philosophy. Thus, there is nothing specifically Russian about it at all. In the same way that the Russian world's basis for morality is Orthodoxy, the basis for morality of Hegel's rational state was Lutheranism. (According to Hegel, Roman Catholicism could not serve such a role, because it is inherently corrupt. But there is no reason for Orthodoxy not to serve it.) From the paper:

Putin began his speech by noting that the world has become a place where decency is in increasingly short supply. Countries must therefore do everything in their power to preserve their own identities and values, for "without spiritual, cultural and national self-definition . . . . one cannot succeed globally."
This corresponds to the concept of Sittlichkeit:
Sittlichkeit is the concept of ("ethical life" or "ethical order") furthered by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in the Elements of the Philosophy of Right (PR). It is the third sphere of right (Recht) that he establishes, and is marked by family life, civil society, and the state. It attempts to bridge individual subjective feelings and the concept of general rights.
Both Hegelian social and political philosophy and Russian Orthodoxy are alternatives to Anglophone liberalism. In liberalism, all that matters are abstract rights and the satisfaction of individuals' economic desires. People everywhere are the same; the concept of culture is a throwback to pre-modern times. According to Hegelianism and Orthodoxy in contrast, in order to feel fulfilled, individuals must be grounded in a particular culture, which provides their life with meaning, so that there is more to life than satisfying basic animal needs. The idea of particularity is very important here. There are universal human rights, but there is no universal culture. There are only particular cultures, and many different cultures exist which can provide communities with the basis for social life.

It would be interesting to see where the intellectuals who developed the ideaa of the Russian World got their ideas. It is very possible that the ultimate source is Hegel.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 27 2015 19:25 utc | 96

Demian at 96 -- You seemed a little subdued after your recent absence, I thought you might need a restorative tonic. Glad to see you back on form.

Personally, I'm all for decency, and I think it obtainable from any number of philosophical and ethical systems.

The need for a universal human culture is self-evident, IMHO. I think it is possible, indeed, desirable and even necessary to retain one or more particular, localized cultures within that general human culture.

As you've supplied the Reading and Sermon, let me add a couple of hymns. Luther favored a Personal Jesus, while of course the Patriarch of Moscow is devoted to Mother Russia.

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 27 2015 20:31 utc | 97

PS to 97 -- Russia's ties to Germany in early 1800's quite good. Turgenev, e.g., studied Hegel in Germany, his fiction can be seen to be popularizing it in a sense.

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 27 2015 20:39 utc | 98

@90 harry.. those are good insights. thanks for sharing and makes total sense.

others regarding the co-pilot of the downed aircraft.. personally i think it is just as it is said to be...

Posted by: james | Mar 27 2015 21:11 utc | 99

It's obvious, and I may have missed s.o. saying the same, but I find it really astounding that a Germanwings plane crashes in the Alps, and we have the story in 24 hours from the Voice Recorder(yes, the FBI leaks water like a sieve), but in the case of MH17, nothing has come out in nearly a year now from the Black Boxes. It takes a big effort to keep things so quiet.

Posted by: Laguerre | Mar 27 2015 21:31 utc | 100

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