Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 11, 2015

Open Thread 2015-17

News & views ...

Posted by b on April 11, 2015 at 18:09 UTC | Permalink

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Look like the French are getting slowly fed-up with US/NATO tacticts:

French Intelligence: Russian Intervention in Ukraine is a Myth | offguardian

Russian military intervention in Ukraine is a myth, General Christophe Gomart, France’s Military Intelligence Head has said.

As reported by RT, General Gomart made his explosive comments in a parliamentary hearing on the Ukrainian crisis. He questioned NATO’s claims of Russia preparing to attack Ukraine as French agents failed to spot any activities signaling this – either before or after the crisis began.

A statement by the chief of France’s military intelligence, General Christophe Gomart, was published on the National Assembly’s website:

“NATO announced that the Russians were about to invade Ukraine. But, according to French intelligence, there is nothing to corroborate this hypothesis – we determined that the Russians were deploying neither command posts nor logistical facilities, including field hospitals, needed for a military incursion,” General Gomart told a parliamentary hearing.

And here the transcript for those who understand french:

Assemblée nationale ~ Compte rendu de réunion de la commission de la défense nationale et des forces armées

And the Link to the story on RT:

French military intelligence rules out ‘Russian invasion plans’ for Ukraine — RT News

“NATO announced that the Russians were about to invade Ukraine. But, according to French intelligence, there is nothing to corroborate this hypothesis – we determined that the Russians were deploying neither command posts nor logistical facilities, including field hospitals, needed for a military incursion,” General Gomart told a parliamentary hearing.

Posted by: Fran | Apr 11 2015 19:11 utc | 2

From an interview with Vladimir Kouznetsov, ret. Russian chief of nuclear security in Russia, Le Temps, 9 april 2015. My comments in (..)

Ukraine has no fossil fuels except coal. (All the talk about fracking is just dreck.) It produces 50% of its electricity in nuclear plants. There are 15 production units. In Khmelnitski, Rovno, the South Ukraine sector, and Zaporozhye.

The Gvmt. has said it will increase production to 65%, but expansion, new construction, upgrading is on hold. Production units are all working at 100% and some units are beyond their projected life-span. Stress tests and security tests and extra maintenance on the existing units are not being carried out properly. Either dropped entirely, as production is never halted, or shelved to the future, or are being implemented partially. Because: funding is unavailable, late, or not enough, and the Gvmt. does not understand the importance of doing this (quelle surprise.) The Ukranian nuclear industry will become completely degraded and can at present only be saved by decisive, prompt, coordinated investment and actions.

Security culture and measures in the plants is weak, insufficient. The problem of nuclear waste has not been solved and Chernobyl remains an unholy mess and is not run by a professional team, contrary to ALL legislation on these matters.

(Frau Angela, please do something for your future generations! Call Vladimir!)

(To top it all off…) The profs, students, equipment, etc. at the National University of Nuclear Energy and Industry have become…Russian! (It was in Sevastopol.) The National Polytech in Odessa cannot train the experts needed, perhaps a few low-level ppl, not more.

——————-

The last report of the State Nuclear Inspectorate of Ukraine seems to be for 2012. That is in English, so who knows. Still, one would expect some err interest, pressure?

I could not find anything of substance concerning the IAEA and Ukraine after around 2010. Except for some small accident reports and the matter of switching fuel to USA providers, which, btw, is impossible for now and in the foreseeable future, for purely technical reasons. Also documents relating to the Crimea question, the legal status of treaties, cooperation, etc. As usual, the Kiev Gvmt tried to refuse having Crimea put under Russia; but in Dec 2014 Kiev requested the IAEA to order Russia to be responsible (which is what Russia proposed bang off.) Where this affair is at present, I am not sure, though one obscure article did state that the IAEA took the decision to consider Crimea Russian for their remit, naturally enough this news is not (as far as I can see) official or made public.

http://www.snrc.gov.ua/nuclear/en/publish/article/119456

kiev post:

http://tinyurl.com/lehyczr

Ukraine did not pay its IAEA membership fees for 2014. Capital (Ukr. site, eng.):

http://tinyurl.com/lq9q6mw

Idk if they have paid anything since but I doubt it. As far as I understand it, they still have a little time, 6 months or more, before being excluded, as per IAEA statutes. I suppose some deal will be cobbled together to keep Kiev amongst the respectable.

Pravy Sektor tried to occupy the Zaporozhye plant in May 2014, vid 1 min.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR4Mk62FKeU


Posted by: Noirette | Apr 11 2015 19:30 utc | 3

Very little so far in the western Media, despite the this occuring in Spain:

Protesters in Spain stage first ever 'hologram march' against gag law (VIDEO) — RT News

People across the world took part in a unique protest against the Spanish law that limits the rights of the public to rally. No one attended the virtual march, but holograms of protesters were projected outside parliament in Madrid instead.

Pictures inside the link.

Why are there no outcries about this "dictatorial" law in Spain?

Posted by: Fran | Apr 11 2015 19:36 utc | 4

Another fake FBI 'terror plot', this time an innocent bystander is charged as well (the 'suspects' friend, who lent him money for a storage locker).

How many of these are there now? Still no mass outrage. Media spin remains essential to the formula.

The Newburgh Four doc on HBO is pretty good, it shows how the FBI had cameras set up in multiple locations to basically make a 'movie' out of the entrapment. Thousands of hours of video as well as roving HD surveillance of every meeting the agent has with the men. Now this should have proven the entrapment(and it very explicitly does down to the bribery involving large sums - $250K to this indigent 'group'), but all were given life sentences. It's all on film. At one point the handler is contacted by the FBI after one of his indoctrination sessions with the 'suspects' and he states; "It was perfect, like a movie script". And there are further byzantine schemes illuminated as well, such as driving to the next state to pick up materials so federal charges could be brought.

Fake bombs, fake 'FBI informant' who's actually an agent/handler of shady provenance, fake motivation(group admitted doing it for $$, not Islam).

Always the same. And I really have lost count the number of times this has happened. 10? 15? The high profile ones at least.

Now I see that the "KKK murder plot" of late was also an FBI fake. A fake post-mortum pic of the un-dead 'target' was shown to the suspects to entrap them as well.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 11 2015 19:51 utc | 5

Fran @ 4

"Why are there no outcries about this "dictatorial" law in Spain?"

Because beneath the veneer of civilized government Spain is still a Fascist State.

Posted by: Alberto | Apr 11 2015 20:17 utc | 6

One has to take the news from RT with a grain of salt. One has to keep in mind who's behind RT. Like one also has to be skeptical when one reads US newssources.

But the news about France having second thoughts is credible.

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 11 2015 20:39 utc | 7

Banning communism in Ukraine: https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/knocking-down-lenin/

Posted by: KMF | Apr 11 2015 21:53 utc | 8

Wrong link. Should have been this one: https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/goodbye-lenin/

Posted by: KMF | Apr 11 2015 21:55 utc | 9

@3

' ...the matter of switching fuel to USA providers, which, btw, is impossible for now and in the foreseeable future, for purely technical reasons ... '

Accident at the South-Ukrainian Nuclear Power Station


It is noted that the incident had no connection with the operation of Westinghouse fuel, and relates exclusively to the operation of the electrical part of equipment.

In March, the specialists of the South-Ukrainian nuclear power plant completed the download of the upgraded TVS-WR fuel, produced by the American-Japanese company "Westinghouse," into the reactor of the third energy block of the power station.


I assume that rather than having 'no connection with the operation of Westinghouse fuel' the incident is probably directly related to switching fuel, which is 'impossible ... for purely technical reasons'.

We bastard Americans and Germans ... "Can't see it from my house" ... don't care who we kill outside our borders or how much of the earth we lay waste.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 11 2015 21:56 utc | 10

Willy2, Russian sources like RT have a good track record. The Western media and governments now practice agitprop and disinformation that they must have learned from the USSR before it collapsed.

Posted by: Arius | Apr 11 2015 22:05 utc | 11

@5

FAIR commented on the obvious a couple of weeks ago...

Media Inflate Threat With ‘ISIS Plots’ That Don’t Actually Involve ISIS


Right on cue, the American media publish dressed-up FBI press releases about the “disrupted” plot, complete with balaclava-wearing stock photos: “FBI Disrupts Plot to Kill Scores at Military Base on Behalf of Islamic State” was the Washington Post‘s headline (3/26/15).

These outlets, as usual, omitted the rather awkward fact that this “ISIS plot” did not actually involve anyone in ISIS: At no point was there any material contact between anyone in ISIS and the Edmond cousins.


... Lots of contact between the cousins and the FBI, though. And so in this case.

These should all be termed "FBI plots" - to entrap susceptible innocents in their attempts to give ISIS legs of its own. The real "ISIS plots" and plotters are all at Langley and the Whitehouse, using the FBI, the Amazon Post, and the rest of their subsidiary MSM as their pure propaganda echo chamber.

The Washington alphabet soup, and the MSM as well, have been so adulterated and poisoned that they need to be dumped out and a whole new batch prepared, before they kill us all.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 11 2015 22:17 utc | 12

good blog post on the issue of Valentina Lisitsa not performing for the tso in toronto..

Posted by: james | Apr 11 2015 23:18 utc | 13

@13 I don't see a lot of outrage at the TSO decision. I guess most people in Canada buy the
anti-Russia meme.

Posted by: dh | Apr 12 2015 0:55 utc | 14

@4, @6

I don't know that gag-rules originated in the USA, but they certainly were made use of here ...

Gag rule


After the beginning of the earnest agitation of the Northern abolitionists against the institution of slavery in 1831, petitions of various kinds poured into the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate praying for the abolition or the restriction of that institution. ...

The pro-slavery forces responded with a series of gag rules that automatically "tabled" all such petitions, preventing them from being read or discussed. The House passed the Pinckney Resolutions, authored by Henry L. Pinckney of South Carolina, on May 26, 1836, the third of which was known from the beginning as the "gag rule" and passed with a vote of 117 to 68. (The first stated that Congress had no constitutional authority to interfere with slavery in the states and the second that it "ought not" do so in the District of Columbia.)


There're also the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) and, of course, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate's favorite : Espionage Act (1917} ... beneath the veneer of civilized government (?) the USA is still a crypto-fascist state.

It's great to see the Spanish so creatively resisting! Sorry not to see Podemos doing better in the recent elections, though.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 12 2015 1:01 utc | 15

@5, even the nytimes tends to include a disclaimer that they never had the ability to do anything and that all their bombs and weapons were furnished by the bureau. But it comes after the breathlessness.

Posted by: Crest | Apr 12 2015 4:10 utc | 16

04/11/2015 21:11

Russian Spring

“In pursuance of mandate of the Ukrainian President, in the zone of the carried out antiterrorist operation, as of today, all military groups have joined either ranks of the Ukrainian Military Forces or regular units of the National Guard”, announced Stepan Poltorak, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine.

According to the head of the Defense Department of Ukraine, neither volunteer formations nor other armed groups exist in the area of military campaign or at the line of engagement.

Posted by: Fete | Apr 12 2015 4:11 utc | 17

We aren't hearing much about American military and private "contractors" in Ukraine. I have a feeling that we will be hearing a lot about them as the spring progresses.

Posted by: chuckvw | Apr 12 2015 5:11 utc | 18

@chuckvw #18:

I'm not so sure. I have a feeling that the Pentagon and CIA have realized that the Ukie military and punitive battalions (which have apparently been integrated into the military, according to #17) are no match for the NAF, who have reason as opposed to blind hatered on their side. USG wants to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, but as usual, is averse to American casualties, even if they are only mercenaries private contractors.

The Minsk II ceasefire appears to be holding as well as it ever has. I haven't really followed the Ukrainian situation during the past few weeks. As far as I can tell, the main reason to think that the Ukies will launch another assault is that they need to keep the war going to keep the regime from imploding.

I would love to hear what US military in Ukraine (as opposed to CIA operatives, who are scumbags) think of their Ukrainian colleagues. Do they have a name for them, like "desert nigger" or "towel heads" for Arabs? I find it hard to believe that US pro-fascist junta propaganda works on American soldiers once they meet actual Ukies.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2015 6:02 utc | 19

RT is just a tiny bit propagandistic but I love the way they tell their news. I think they learned from CNN, so Willy2 I think your full of it. RT is one of the best news sources out there and if they gave me a job, I would take it in an instant. I would never work for an American news channel. I spit at the thought.

Posted by: Fernando | Apr 12 2015 6:15 utc | 20

@Fernando #20:

RT is one of the best news sources out there

Is that really the case? Of course, RT operates on an incomparably higher level of journalistic integrity than any news channel from the Anglosphere, like CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, or the BBC. But I have read that RT too uncritically regurgitates what Western media report. So I no longer keep track of what RT is reporting. Where I get my Russian news from is Fort Russ, Russia Insider, and New Cold War, and Russian language news sites and blogs.

Another issue is other channels like RT. As far as I know, the main ones are Al Jazeera, PressTV, and teleSUR. I don't trust Al Jazeera so I don't follow it, but do you think RT is significantly better than these other two (other than from having a significantly bigger budget)?

As an aside, something I've wondered about is why Turkey hasn't created its own equivalent of PressTV. Maybe that's something that NATO members aren't allowed to do?

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2015 6:37 utc | 21

@Demian - I think the American troops will enjoy Ukrainians and will consider it like I consider it - a conflict between interesting people who are basically cousins, that I can't do anything about other than watch.

I recently met a Ukr-American randomly at a store who was fervently pro-Ukrainian, and he had lots of mean things to say about Russia.

He couldn't stand them - called them drunks, invaders, etc..

He was very friendly as a person though - a bigtime Christian; I think he was a nice and earnest guy.

I think the Nazi sentiment is basically a blend of historical honor, and plain and being plain and simple anti-Russian, and not so much anti- other minorities.

Ultimately Ukraine needs good relations with Russia if they want to have any sort of economy. The current setup gives the EU full political leverage, which will probably entail western economists undermining its social system and exploiting its labor force for slave wages.

Posted by: DamascusFalling | Apr 12 2015 7:39 utc | 22

RT reports that the Russian Navy evacuated 18 Americans - whom the USG refused to concern itself with - among 300 others ...

'Nobody will help us evacuate:' Americans urge Washington to help flee Yemen war

Russian naval ship evacuates over 300 people stranded in Yemen

Sanaa-tized? Rights groups sue State Dept for refusing to evacuate 1,000s of Americans from Yemen

... of course Russia had earlier taken care of its own.

Apparently there remain as many as 4,000 Americans in Yemen whom the USG has just written off.

Too busy helping their allies, I guess ...

Exclusive: U.S. expands intelligence sharing with Saudis in Yemen operation

Reuters is still pushing the "Iran-linked Houthi forces" line. Part of the US' European MSM Unit.

It was Summer Nasser whose report I had read earlier ... I imagine she's one the American citizens whom the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate reserves the right to kill ... Perhaps he was hoping the Saudis would get her. Now - if she is one of the 18 - he'll have to hit her himself in Djibouti.

Otherwise ... he'll be delivering her coordinates to the Saudis.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 12 2015 7:52 utc | 23

@DamascusFalling #22:

He was very friendly as a person though - a bigtime Christian

I have absolutely no idea of what it means for a Ukr-American to be "a bigtime Christian". The only Ukr-American I am in correspondence with is Jewish.

The Saker informs us that today is Orthodox Easter. So Happy Orthodox Easter!

Which Easter do bigtime Christian Ukrainians celebrate, Orthodox Easter or Latin Easter? Who knows? As far as I can tell, for Ukrainians, religion is just another vector for hating Russians. (Our Vietnam Vet saw this coming; I thought he was delusional when he wrote that the Ukrainian civil war was going to have a religious dimension.) (jfl will no doubt think that I am being naive again, in thinking that the religiosity of Russians is authentic, whereas the religiosity of Ukrainians is bogus, unless a given Ukrainian belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)).

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2015 8:10 utc | 24

jfl at 10, yes I saw that report. In my post I said ‘impossible’ meaning ‘impossible as too difficult to carry out in the present conditions’ - it requires a huge amount of changes, retro-fitting, testing, etc. (i have read, i’m no expert. this aint twigs, paper, ciggie buts, birch logs you pitch into your fireplace.) So who knows what actually took place there, the article really only stresses that it has nothing to do with Westinghouse. One previous ‘accident’ I did read about, which also provoked an automated electrical shut down was due to a defective replacement part being used. (no links as one can’t be sure what really occurred.) Anyway it is all scary as hell.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 12 2015 12:09 utc | 25

We may not have the Odessa Commune. But if we don't get the Lugansk Commune, it won't be for a lack of trying. NewColdWar has a manifesto from a meeting of the left forces of Lugansk People’s Republic. Emphasis added.

We, the representatives of communist, socialist, workers’, environmental and anti-fascist organizations, believe that the revival of Lugansk should begin and march under the banner of social justice, equality and fraternity. Only the socialist path of development will be able to successfully overcome the consequences of this military-humanitarian catastrophe. The authorities should not return to the discredited policy of appointing protégés of the oligarchic clans that robbed the Lugansk region for years. The Red traditions of the region — from Kliment Voroshilov to the present day – have always been strong in our land, and just as in 1917, Lugansk should be a harbinger of the coming global left turn.

That Lugansk sets off a global turn to the left strikes me as a bit voluntaristic, but it would make for a very nice spring.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 12 2015 15:50 utc | 26

Has anyone else noticed that there is an almost complete blackout on news from and about Tikrit? The lead Reuters reporter who reported directly about the problems immediately after much of the city was captured including a lynching was run out of the country by death threats from Shia groups. Even the Iraqi news sources have nothing to say about current conditions in the city or if the Militias have left or if fighting continues.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 12 2015 15:59 utc | 27

in re 24 -- Nothing like a little heresy-hunting on the day of the Risen Christ. Well withing the parameters of charity and forgiveness that he set.

While Philaret of Kiev is a hypocrite and careerist, I don't doubt that at least some of his (nationalistically misguided) charges have genuine spiritual feelings. Uniates, too, of course, and whatever misc. Protestants and other faiths one might find there as well.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 12 2015 16:11 utc | 28

@3 noirette.. very interesting to stay on top of and watch unfold.. thanks.

@7 willy2... and how much are we reading about the french position in any western msm? i would imagine next to nothing as it doesn't go along with the 24/7 chart against russia and big bad putin.. ps, i agree with @11 arius..

@9 kmf... paul wrote a good article their. josh wrote a nice response to it too.. thanks..

@14 dh.. yes, it is definetely so.. the canadian ukraine congress is a lobby group that managed to influence the head of the tso.. canada has the largest ukraine population outside of ukraine and russia - 1.3 million or something like that.. there are a few politically rabid ones too who spout off the same bullshit anti russia/putin meme that annie apple ass writes about regularly in her articles to mainstream new con media outlets too..

@17 fete. thanks.

@20 fernando.. i tend to agree with you..

@21 demian.. what i would like to know is why the http://english.al-akhbar.com/ site no longer publishes in english.. i enjoyed reading the stories for the greater variety of info sources in the mid east area..

@22 d falling... that person you highlight and many others - just swallow the cool aid given out via the western msm without question.. that is the beauty of propaganda.. most won't question any of it.. russia - bad, putin - evil - wash, rinse and recycle.. note willy 2 questions rt.. that is generally a good sign, especially if they do that to all the western msm outlets that play fast and loose with the info they opt to share..

Posted by: james | Apr 12 2015 16:22 utc | 29

I think there's been a lot of fundamentalist christian outreach in Ukraine.. that's what this guy seemed to be coming from.
I'm not going to pass judgment - I consider the Ukrainians to be victims of hysteria, partly to largely fomented by outside elements (USA spinsters, lures from the EU).
Sooner or later they'll have to accept the fact that Russia will have
more to offer them economically than IMF/EU's debt and wage slavery

Posted by: DamascusFalling | Apr 12 2015 16:50 utc | 30

@30 df.. isn't that one of the exceptional nations other main exports after war equipment and financial derivatives? wacky funny mental christianity - coming to a faraway part of the world where people have never heard of jimmy swaggert, jerry falwell and etc. etc.. if they could just wrap a bible around the bomb - whether military or financial - they could kill a few birds with one bomb, lol..

Posted by: james | Apr 12 2015 17:00 utc | 31

Wayoutwest @ 27

well, i read that they've been pretty busy exhuming many hundreds of corpses from numerous mass graves around the town. the bodies of iraqi cadets and even Sunni sympathizers apparently slaughtered in cold blood by the boys from ISIS who are dreaming, indeed killing, for a mo' better world.

Posted by: john | Apr 12 2015 20:19 utc | 32

Sputnik has a report one the ongoing fascist coup in the Ukraine, as Kiev Becomes First European Capital to Openly Glorify Criminal Ideology. "'Neo-Nazism is becoming a new state ideology in Ukraine,' Mateusz Piskorski, head of the European Center for Geopolitical Analysis, told RIA Novosti."

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 12 2015 21:04 utc | 33

@DF #30:

I think there's been a lot of fundamentalist christian outreach in Ukraine.. that's what this guy seemed to be coming from.
I'm not going to pass judgment

Thanks for clearing that up. And not passing judgement is an admirable and proper attitude. Of course, I don't need to be bound by it when it comes to fundamentalist Christianity in the Russian world, since I'm Russian. ;-)

I believe that the Russian government should make the same effort to prevent fundamentalist Christianity from getting an inroad into Russia as it does with Scientology. (Both the US and the EU attack Russia for not recognizing Scientology as a religion.)

This is not to say that I dislike American evangelical Christianity per se. I actually felt more at home in a local evangelical ("non-denominational") church than I did in a local conservative (Missouri Synod) Lutheran church. I just don't think that American evangelical Christianity has any place in the Russian world.

jfl recently referred to my liking PEGIDA. Let me explain my position. I do not buy the liberal line that freedom to choose your religion is an absolute right. A given religion may have a place in some societies, but not others. I personally do not believe that any form of Islam is compatible with Western European society. With Russia it's completely different: Russian society and culture have assimilated Islam. It is too late for Western Europe to do that. (The presence of Islam in the US is perfectly fine as well, for different reasons: because the US is a nation of immigrants and there is no state religion.) But I also believe that Iran has just as much a right to keep Iran Muslim as Russia has to keep Russia Christian. (Russia is Christian in the sense that Orthodoxy is the defining religion of the Russian world. That does not mean that other religions, namely Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism are not officially recognized as equally "valid".)

Sorry for the religious digression, but today is Russian Easter. :-)

Posted by: Demian | Apr 12 2015 22:10 utc | 34

UAE to declare war on Pakistan?


In a statement released on Sunday, Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan criticized Abu Dhabi for "making threats” against Islamabad.

"This is not only ironic but a thought-provoking moment that a minister of UAE is hurling threats at Pakistan. The statement of the UAE minister is in stark violation of all diplomatic norms prevalent according to the principals of international relations," he said.

The Pakistani official’s remarks were made in response to UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash, who described Pakistan's parliamentary vote on the Yemen crisis as "contradictory and dangerous", warning Islamabad of “heavy price” for taking on what he called an “ambiguous stand” over the issue.


Unanimous = Ambiguous. Only in a 2-bit despotism (ok, a 2-gigabit despotism), where only one vote counts, can such a statement roll off the tongue of ... an emir, I guess.

Among the data in wikipedia's sidebar on the UAE ...


Ethnic groups (2009)

  16.6% Emirati (citizenry)
  23% other Arabs
  42.3% South Asian
  12.1% other Asian
  6.0% other expatriates


... wonder how many among those 42.3% are Pakistani? Wonder how many among those 23% are Syrians, Iraqis, and Palestinians?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 12 2015 22:26 utc | 35

J@30

I'm glad you brought up the mass graves which I would think would be reported on not blacked out. The last report I read from Iraqi sources stated they found some 22 bodies near Saddam's Palace, not much of a mass just as the other mass graves that have been reported on held 20-30 bodies. Where did these thousands of bodies go or do they exist? We will probably never know, these cadets and others may be hiding in their grandmother's basement dressed in burkas to hide their identity.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 12 2015 23:49 utc | 36

ISIL HELPS ISRAEL CONCEAL HISTORICAL ORIGIN
https://ashraf62.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/isil-helps-israel-conceal-its-historical-origin/

Posted by: ALAN | Apr 13 2015 0:19 utc | 37

WayOutWest with more ISIS-friendly, link-free conspiracy theories.

So, apparently the reporter group received some death threats on Facebook by some unknown group that could well be anybody.

WayOutWest is far more concerned with the war-time deaths of some ISIS fighters - make that the "lynching" (according to a Western reporter) of a single ISIS fighter - than with the liberation of a whole city in Iraq. And there is plenty of reporting still going on, though WayOutWest wants to make it sound as if the result of a single Reuters reporter shivering in his diapers is that there is a news blackout from the city.

You are the biggest ISIS-boosting propagandist that I have ever seen. You're disgusting. You spit on the graves of not just all those who have died in Syria and Iraq under the ISIS knife, but also of the 3,000 who died from the collusion of Islamist fanaticism and US warmongering on 9/11. Get lost you fraud.

Here's some news from Tikrit, for everyone, especially for the Google-challenged, ISIS-blinkered pawn WayOutWest.

The second battle of Tikrit is now over. It began on March 2 and lasted until April 4, when Iraqi commanders confirmed that the last pocket of Islamic State militants in the city had been eliminated.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-v-micallef/lessons-from-the-second-b_b_7049430.html


Senior Coalition Source: No Large Scale Human Rights Abuses in Tikrit

http://www.basnews.com/en/news/2015/04/11/senior-coalition-source-no-large-scale-human-rights-abuses-in-tikrit/

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 13 2015 0:29 utc | 39

While WayOutWest is blubbering through these tearful posts over the death of single ISIS fighter, a mass grave of some 500 victims of ISIS has been discovered in Northern Iraq.

http://www.basnews.com/en/news/2014/09/11/500-bodies-found-in-is-mass-grave-in-northern-iraq/

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 13 2015 0:35 utc | 40

Nice try, G that report was bases on hearsay from last year with an unattributed picture of about ten bodies from who knows where. I didn't read the Huff Post story because only nitwits use them for sources.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 13 2015 1:59 utc | 41

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/CubaNews/conversations/messages/152375

So much for US no longer meddling in Latin American affairs:

Panama, Apr 11 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban delegation to the Summit of the Poeples revealed today here the order given by US officials to counter-revolutionary activists accredited to the social forum of the Summit of the Americas ...

The US officials regretted that due to an indiscretion by an Argentinean young woman participating in the Forum of Youth, the financing that the US State Department devoted to the preparation of the anti-Cuban delegation to the summit had come to public notice, the document said.

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 13 2015 2:49 utc | 42

@WoW #40:

I didn't read the Huff Post story because only nitwits use them for sources.

For those who haven't seen this:

'Huffington Post' Employee Sucked Into Aggregation Turbine
Horrified Workers Watch As Colleague Torn Apart By Powerful Content-Gathering Engine

My favorite Onion piece, after the one about Planned Parenthood opening its new abortionplex in Kansas.

Although we've traditionally dedicated 97 percent of our resources to other important services such as contraception distribution, cancer screening, and STD testing, this new complex allows us to devote our full attention to what has always been our true passion: abortion

Posted by: Demian | Apr 13 2015 2:51 utc | 43

04/12/2015 14:00

Russian Spring

The Ukrainian forces’ tanks launched attempt to breach defense toward Donetsk airport, Eduard Basurin, the Deputy Commander in Chief of Donetsk Republic Defense, informed journalists.

“An attempt to breach defense by tanks took place in area of settlement Zhobun`ki located in outskirts of the airport”, told the Deputy Commander.

Basurin also noted numerous incidents of shelling the territory of Donetsk Republic by Ukrainian tanks. “During past 24 hours, the Ukrainian tanks shot 98 rounds. Settlements Spartak and Shirokino (south) were shelled the most”.

Posted by: Fete | Apr 13 2015 3:30 utc | 44

@41

Thanks, ruralito. Never mistake a wolf in sheep's clothing for a sheep.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13 2015 3:37 utc | 45

For those who may be interested... the story is breaking that Turkey and Saudi are planning a joint invasion of Syria. Here's the link:

Saudi Arabia, Turkey Discussing Unlikely Alliance To Oust Syria's Assad

Th0ught it was important. Maybe not.

Posted by: chuckvw | Apr 13 2015 4:01 utc | 46

@45

The most recent date I saw in the article linked is 2 March...

Turkey, Iran 'should act together to stop bloodshed'


Erdoan hosted Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Interior Minister Prince Mohammad bin Nayef al-Saud at a lengthy meeting hours before departing for an official visit to Tehran.

Bin Nayef's visit was not announced on the daily schedule of Erdoan regularly posted on the official webpage of the presidency of the Republic of Turkey.

Accompanied by a delegation, the visiting deputy crown prince arrived in the Turkish capital at around 6 p.m. on April 6, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The agency noted that the delegation, which travelled to Turkey on Bin Nayef's private plane, was welcomed by Interior Minister Sebahattin -ztrk at the airport.

Later in the evening of April 6, Anadolu briefly reported that the meeting between Erdoan and Bin Nayef, which took place at the former's presidential palace, lasted for an hour and 40 minutes.

The surprise meeting came just hours before Erdoan's scheduled visit to neighboring Iran on April 7, despite recent tensions between Ankara and Tehran over the Saudi-led bombing operation in Yemen.

During a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on April 7, Erdoan said, "History and culture has been slaughtered in Iraq," noting that more than 100,000 people have died in Iraq and at least 300,000 people have died in Syria as well.

"I don't look at the sect. It does not concern me whether those killed are Shiite or Sunni, what concerns me is Muslims," Erdoan said during his one-day visit to the neighboring country, adding that Iran and Turkey should mediate between the battling parties and hope to obtain a result.

"We have to put an end to this bloodshed, this death," said the president.

Erdoan and Turkey have backed a Saudi-led military campaign against Houthi insurgents in Yemen. Tehran supports the Shiite Houthis, and Erdoan's remarks regarding the situation in Yemen had angered some Iranian officials.

"We both believed that it is necessary for us to witness the end of war and bloodletting in Yemen as soon as possible," Rouhani said.

The two presidents signed eight agreements and emphasized the need for greater economic cooperation, with Erdoan saying the two countries were far behind a target to lift trade volume to 30 billion a year.

Trade between the two totaled around 14 billion in 2014.

He also said Turkey and Iran should start trading in their own currencies instead of dollars or euros to avoid foreign exchange volatility, and complained about the price of natural gas imports from Iran.


... Doesnt look at the sect ... no more blood in Yemen, but killing Syrians is OK? Erdo[g]an seems inherently untrustworthy to me. He seems constantly to be looking for an opportunity to capitalize upon, regardless anything he may have said in the past.

That's Turkey on the right and Pakistan in the left who have both evinced an interest in Iranian gas, though, Erdoan wants a discount, too. Trade in local currencies is a good idea for anyone who believes TIAA.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13 2015 7:46 utc | 47

Police Told Dying Black Man: 'F*ck Your Breath'

A new video recording, which emerged Friday, shows Eric Harris dying from the shot wound from Oklahoma reserve officer Robert Bates.

Tulsa Police Sgt. Jim Clark told the press conference that the Tulsa County Sheriffs Office inquiry decided that Bates was not guilty of a crime.

Bates claims he mistakenly shot the man dead with a firearm, thinking he was using a taser. “Oh! I shot him. I’m sorry,” the video depicts the 73-year-old reserve officer, who is a wealthy donor to the sheriff's department, as saying.

A 73 year-old cop?

A 73 year-old cop who is a reserve officer?

A wealthy 73 year-old 'reserve officer' who 'donates' to the sheriff's department?

Sounds like pay to kill a black guy to me.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13 2015 7:58 utc | 48

Police Told Dying Black Man: 'F*ck Your Breath'


A new video recording, which emerged Friday, shows Eric Harris dying from the shot wound from Oklahoma reserve officer Robert Bates.

Tulsa Police Sgt. Jim Clark told the press conference that the Tulsa County Sheriffs Office inquiry decided that Bates was not guilty of a crime.

Bates claims he mistakenly shot the man dead with a firearm, thinking he was using a taser. “Oh! I shot him. I’m sorry,” the video depicts the 73-year-old reserve officer, who is a wealthy donor to the sheriff's department, as saying.


A 73 year-old cop?

A 73 year-old cop who is a 'reserve officer'?

A wealthy 73 year-old 'reserve officer' who 'donates' to the sheriff's department?

Sounds like pay to kill a black guy to me.

The other cops are his body guards, they're there to make sure he doesn't get hurt.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13 2015 8:04 utc | 49

Ha, ha, ha..........

Sweden confirms mystery ‘Russian sub’…was in fact a workboat — RT News

The unknown foreign vessel the Swedish Navy searched for near Stockholm last autumn was actually a “workboat,” a senior navy official says. Local media had alleged a hunt was on to try and find a Russian submarine, which was believed to be in the area.

Swedish Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad told the Swedish TT news agency on Saturday that what was thought to be a vessel or a foreign submarine was actually just a “workboat.”

Posted by: Fran | Apr 13 2015 9:07 utc | 50

Erdogan is definitely one of the most disappointing characters in the region. He started as a leader of "democratic-religious" movement, and at the time the secular parties in Turkey were tainted with fascist/extreme nationalist aspects of Kemalism, i.e. the system was formally democratic but effectively quite authoritarian, intolerant of cultural rights of minorities, doctoring the past, condoning death squads and so on. Erdogan started with good reforms, plus some activity to "strengthen the Muslim character". Economy improved, and so were the rights of Kurds. But he is also a megalomaniac idiot and at some point things were starting to seriously drift downhill. He is cunning enough to stay in power using a combination of wedge issues that alienate almost half of the voters while gaining support of the rest, with the help of heavy buyout, intimidation and persecution of the media. And he uses the accumulated power to pursue deeply erratic policies.

For example, at some point he was "seriously" concerned with Israeli abuses and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but since then the issue was heavily downgraded among his kaleidoscopic priorities, where regime change in Syria drifted to the top. But to change a regime you need to make bets on the opponents and here he has obvious problems. The dominant style of Islam in Turkey is "relatively progressive" type of Sunni, but he ended up effectively supporting both wings of al-Qaeda, "moderate" al-Nusra and "radical" ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. All reporting on the interactions with ISIS is officially forbidden in Turkey, and so are investigations into what military intelligence is doing, what they are trucking to whom. Investigating what bribes are collected by Turkish officials is also practically forbidden, both are firing offenses for members of investigative institutions and the judiciary. Indisputably, al-Nusra gets huge direct support, while there are glimpses of deals with ISIS, like a ISIS commander (who is Turkish) comfortably getting treatment for wounds in Turkish hospital (a regular hospital, not in a prison). He also openly itches to invade Syria, but Obama refused to support him on that, Iran, Russia and perhaps China probably all had some "words of caution" as well.

On Yemen the situation is "funny". My guess is that Turks got huge personal bribes from Saudis and Gulfies to uncritically supply the Salafist extremists in Syria, and so he is under heavy pressure to send troops to Yemen in the support of "Sunni cause". But like in Pakistan, this is very unpopular, both among the population and within the military. Hey, if that was such a nice job, Saudies and Gulfies have their own troops too! Yemen has too many similarities to Afghanistan to make it a candidate for "profitable occupation", which is probably the Saudi plan. So while Erdogan dislikes Shias and other heterodox sects, he definitely does not hate them like Salafis do, and it is hard to see reason to prefer a former Communist recently converted to the role of Saudi puppet over a coalition of Shia and secular nationalists. The general impression among the population seems "Saudis are bombing Muslim and that should not be done". This is what I heard from a person from that region, and it is consistent with the comments from the region, and to me, it reflects a combination of the usual prejudice with common sense.

By the way of contrast, thinking in Washington is untainted by prejudice (who cares about the distinctions between Zaidis, Twelvers, Ikwan, Salafis, Naserists and Marxists) and common sense (which requires to care a bit), so the Washington simply follows the first impulse, to fulfill the orders of the best customers of the military-industrial complex. Especially if we are not asked to send actual troops.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 13 2015 9:33 utc | 51

Is there a pattern to this madness currently going on in Syria, Iraq, Yemen. why are the Assyrian, Yemenese, Babylonian areas being targeted. Why has this Jesuit Pope suddenly got involved in the Armenian controversy, is this a red herring to what is the real motive. People there is a pattern to this madness, according to Dr. Ashraf Ezzat.

You can read her analysis here

Posted by: papa | Apr 13 2015 10:30 utc | 53

halt ...who goes there

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 13 2015 10:43 utc | 54

to follow news from yemen check here
http://www.yementimes.com/

Posted by: Mina | Apr 13 2015 10:48 utc | 55

Fort Russ as Antifashist.com's unpacking of the contradictions within the recent ban on Communist and Nazi ideology by Kiev, Ukraine banned itself. "AT" is translator Alexey Tatu.

The point of interest here is that when banning the “totalitarian communist regime", Ukraine de jure banned itself. It is still not clear whether the decision made by the Ukrainian parliament was independent. It is possible that such a decision could have been inspired from abroad, by the caring owners of the current government. With a definite, far-reaching goal of the eventual elimination of Ukrainian state, which was built, as is well known, solely through the efforts of that same "totalitarian communist regime"....

Even the actual act of the state independence of Ukraine in 1991 would turn out to be illegal by judicial standards as it was authorized by a "criminal regime".

If this is not another insane political maneuver on the part of the Ukrainian political minds, [the outlawing of Russian media, and Russian as a second language was another one of these recent laws that quickly comes to mind, as it quickly led to heightened tensions with all of Eastern Ukraine, and the Russian neighbor - AT], it is also possible that we have witnessed a deliberate attempt to prepare legal grounds for a surgical dismantling of the Soviet limitrophe which failed its aspirations at independent statehood.

Glad to see that our Rada of Solons is on the job in Kiev.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 13 2015 11:53 utc | 56

@45

This Huff piece seems to be based on authorized White House leaks, notice the disclaimer and other reported information.

It still may have some importance and it does reinforce my comment at the earlier post about Yemen and the new Saudi foreign policy. The Saudis are even willing to set aside their hatred for the Muslim Brotherhood to work with Turkey on this coming invasion.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 13 2015 15:16 utc | 57

@49 piotr.. thanks for a pretty good overview of how i basically see it too.. there is no way to justify saudi arabias war on yemen, but there will always be countries and sheeple happy to agree to a war on others.. if it was on their own country and land they would adopt a different view..

@53 mina.. thanks

regarding the huff post - piece of crap propaganda site.. haven't read anything from that site in many years... still won't.. crap.

Posted by: james | Apr 13 2015 15:43 utc | 58

@51 papa.. interesting link. thanks..

Posted by: james | Apr 13 2015 15:48 utc | 59

Just to mention an interesting case. That of the Palestinians in Yarmouk. Two days ago, the Guardian published an article by Mehdi Hasan, an Indian Brit, with no known knowledge of Arabic but who works for AlJazeera English. He blamed Asad for bombing Yarmouk, although their video (in Arabic) showed first-person witnesses claiming that the Syrian army saved them. It is rare to see article writers lie outright, though for commenters, it is regrettably common.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 13 2015 20:04 utc | 60

L@60

You should do a little research before jumping to conclusions about Yarmouk. The Assad regime has besieged and bombed the camp for more than two years in support of their ally the PFLP and against the FSA and their Palestinian allies. Now that Nusra/IS has control of most of the camp the bombing will continue. I'm sure that most of the remaining civilians would want the fighting to just stop but this is war.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 13 2015 21:44 utc | 61

Bolivia Accuses Assange of Putting Evo Morales' Life at Risk


“Have you apologized to Morales?” [Bolivian Ambassador to Russia, Maria Luisa] Ramos [Urzagaste] asked Assange during a video conference Monday, during the premier of the documentary “Terminal F” about Snowden's search for exile.

In July 2013, the Morales' presidential plane made an emergency landing in Austria after being denied permission to fly over France and Portugal due to rumors that Snowden was with him en route to asylum in Bolivia.

“We weren't expecting this outcome. The result was caused by the United States' intervention. We can only regret what happened,” Assange concluded.


It wasn't Julian Assange who forced down Morales' plane it was the US' stooges in the US' European Unit who forced down Morales' plane, when ordered to do so by the US. This is just ridiculous, although typical of the Big Lying neocons.

The Israelis claim the Palestinian children they 'inadvertantly' murder are being used as human shields by the grown-up the Israelis have set out to murder ... all piled on top of one another, as they are, in the postage-stamp Israeli Concentration Camp of Gaza.

Remember the remark of the gunners in the US helicopter after they'd shot up the kids in the Collateral Murder video that the heroic Chelsea Manning released to us all?

“Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.” ... say the murderous Americans, who themselves brought the battle to all of Iraq@home, based on their pack of transparent lies.

And we're still in the air there. Twelve long years later. Killing innocents at our leisure. From the safety of our aircraft.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 14 2015 0:56 utc | 62

@jfl #62:

Ridiculous, indeed.

The Israelis claim the Palestinian children they 'inadvertantly' murder are being used as human shields by the grown-up the Israelis have set out to murder

Hard as it is to believe, the Ukrainians are even worse. At least the Israelis don't deny shooting Palestinian children. The Ukrainians claim that civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure in the Donbass are due to rebels bombing their own cities and villages. Also, Ukrainians claim that anti-junta demonstrators set themselves on fire in the 2 May 2014 Odessa Trade Union building massacre. Zionists may be racist, but they are not clinically insane like Ukrainian nationalists.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 14 2015 1:54 utc | 63

@63 demian.. they are both liars, regardless of their national or political affiliations...

Posted by: james | Apr 14 2015 3:39 utc | 64

Interesting story at Al Monitor about Hamas's statement/nonstatement supporting the Saudi war in Yemen. They seem to be trying to lightly kiss some Saudi butt while keeping a hand on the Iranian udder but it doesn't appear to fool anyone. Supporting the legal government in Yemen may be a lawyer's way of dodging the issue but they may soon have to decide which side of the sectarian divide they belong to.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 14 2015 4:24 utc | 65

Looks like the Saudis have failed their screen test ...

US Expands Role in Saudi Arabia’s War on Yemen


Now, US warplanes are also being used to help select potential targets for Saudi planes, likely to be a controversial move since the Saudis have killed an enormous number of civilians in their strikes so far.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, US ships off the coast of Yemen have begun boarding ships and searching them, in hopes they might find “Iranian weapons” being delivered to Yemen’s Shi’ites. They haven’t found any.


... the Saudis seem 'good' at killing children, and that cannot fail to impress the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, himself the slayer of children by the hundreds, by the score. But they can't seem to close the deal.

With no help from the Egyptians, no help from the Pakistanis ... the NPPL's moving in for another shocking, awful signature destruction of an Islamic nation himself. The poorer the better - stay away from anyone that can fight back.

I think the Yemenis will surprise him and his 'brain trust' of bosses at the CIA.

Who'd have guessed that he'd (his bosses would) pick Yemen as the place for him to trip completely over his dick?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 14 2015 7:48 utc | 66

New slap in the Gulfee-faces with Egypt denying yesterday's rumour about 5000 ground troops coming
القاهرة تشارك في "عاصفة الحزم" جوا وبحرا فقط
http://ar.rt.com/gpwo

Posted by: Mina | Apr 14 2015 12:57 utc | 67

Mina @ 67
Is there a mandate from the United Nations to carry out this military action? Egypt in this sensitive time do not have the right to commit a mistake.

Posted by: ALAN | Apr 14 2015 17:30 utc | 68

Been off grid for a few days... enough to see some further reports on what is going on in the Odessa/Bessarabia region.

While as rufus magister wrote @26 we do not appear to have an Odessa Commune, there does seem to be a new, open level of defiance of the junta by the people of the region. On 10 April antifascists upstaged a junta attempt to coopt the anniversary of the city's liberation from the Nazis, clashing with reinforced police as uniformed EuroMaidan supporters tried to snatch red flags from gathered Odessans. This is the fifth straight day of mass protests, following months of bombings and other sabotage and mass arrests concurrent with the recent declaration of a separatist Odessa People’s Republic (clearly illegal under junta rule) and a quasi-legal Popular Rada of Bessarabia (see below—perhaps a manifestation of transitional tactics? Not that this stops the SBU from its repression). The Southwest may be far from the DPR/LPR and the Russian border but it is directly adjacent to Transdniestria, which makes it vulnerable in the minds of both the Kiev junta and neighboring Moldova.

Figures vary on how many antifascists have been arrested, from 20 to 39 (“and a large cache of arms and explosives was seized”—believable in light of reports over the winter from Odessa, Kharkov and Nikolaev). Arrests on this scale would be a grievous blow to the leadership of any local underground organization, but they do not seem to be subduing the people of Odessa. So far events are consistent with any of the scenarios I outlined earlier: a premature uprising provoked by the SBU roundup of “domestic separatists,” a planned uprising meeting a strong SBU counterstrike, and a spontaneous uprising joined by the underground leadership.

A new front in the antifascist struggle seems to be emerging, both geographically and in form. The new form has been called “a para-government, dual-power organization” by Fort Russ and a “guerrilla republic” by me in an earlier post. The ground is softening under the boots of the junta. I’ll bet that there are already neighborhoods of Odessa and surrounding territory that the fascists write off as “Indian country”…

From Russia Insider:

20 Detained, legalities of multinational People’s Rada of Bessarabia, Moldovan government worried

39 arrested, charged with “planning acts of sabotage and bombings”

Poroshenko and his SS outnumbered by fearless antifascists in Odessa while attempting to coopt anniversary of city’s liberation from Nazis

Poroshenko and SS told “Fascism will not pass!” (1 min video)


Posted by: Vintage Red | Apr 14 2015 18:29 utc | 69

The first two Russia Insider links above don't seem to find their pages. Here are the raw URLs for those interested:

http://russia-insider.com/en/ukraines-security-service-detains-founders-popular-rada-bessarabia/5549

http://russia-insider.com/en/ukraine-says-39-pro-russian-saboteurs-arrested-odessa/5551

Posted by: Vintage Red | Apr 14 2015 18:33 utc | 70

A@68

The Saudis told the UNSC to piss-off in 2013 over their inaction on removing Assad so they didn't even bother to ask permission for this action, they did come to Washington to announce this intervention holding hands with the Hegemon, the only power that matters.

This meaningless UN embargo and tepid begging for a ceasefire will have little effect on this conflict and the Saudis will ignore it just as they have ignored all other pleas for restraint.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 14 2015 19:15 utc | 71

So Obama caves to the hawks and friends of Netanyahu...

Obama prepared to sign compromise bill on Iran, White House says

Why would any self respecting, sovereign nation take seriously the clowns we call a government? Iran will have to respond in some way. Then Congress will demand a response to the response, etc., etc., until... WAR on 2, 3, 4... or however many... fronts! If only the eunuchs running the EU would just say no. Not likely, I know...

I guess Obama caving isn't really a surprise. It's kind of his signature.

Posted by: chuckvw | Apr 14 2015 21:02 utc | 72

@66

U.S. ships of the coast of Yemen. I guess the trapped American citizens could swim out to them. I know USISRAEL is busy trying to get their Iran War on, but really... what a disgrace. American citizens stranded under the bombs of an "ally" and the State Department flacks just chuckle...

Posted by: chuckvw | Apr 14 2015 21:11 utc | 73

Gee, it's expensive to be the US' doormat ...

U.S. imposes record fine on BNP in sanctions warning to banks


French bank BNP Paribas BNPP.PA has pleaded guilty to two criminal charges and agreed to pay almost $9 billion to resolve accusations it violated U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran, a severe punishment aimed at sending a clear message to other financial institutions around the world.

Washington's Mistral fiat flattens French arms industry; Sukhoi flies high


This check of the antirussian policies asked for by Le Drian and Holland is not done yet with its consequences for the French arms industry. Le Drian, future candidate in the regional elections of 2015 and current Defense Minister, will do anything to avoid addressing the Mistral question, which has struck a decisive blow to the the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire.

An Atlantist, Le Drian has considerably damaged the interests of Brittany as well as of France, since the cost of the non-delivery of the Mistral has set France back at least 20 billion euros, five times the cost of a Mistral.


... Ok, the bankers just stole the loot to pay the fine. Hocus pocus dominocus on the midway at the sideshow of international make-believe finance.

But French workers are out of work because French politicians are on their knees 'servicing' Obama and the US.

You'd think they'd be angry, wouldn't you? Perhaps the French people, too, are like us Americans, just zombified cogs on the wheel of the imperial machine?

France, along with everyone else on the UNSC but Russia, voted to embargo arms to the Yemenis - the victims of US/Saudi aggression!

The Russians - although they apparently proposed an embargo of arms to all those warring in Yemen - could have vetoed the one-sided embargo ... and didn't.

It's like their cave-in in 2010 on Iranian S-300s and in 2013(?) on Syrian S-300s all over again. What the right hand gives the left hand takes away.

Doesn't look good on the part of all those pledged to finding an alternative to US neo-liberal world dominion. Does it?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2015 2:48 utc | 74

@72

' eunuchs running the EU ' that'd be the EUnuchs, wouldn't it. Very apt appellation.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2015 2:50 utc | 75

@75

Sadly true!

Posted by: chuckvw | Apr 15 2015 5:03 utc | 76

As Drought Grips California, Networks Come Up Dry on Climate Science


California is coming off its hottest year on record, is still in the midst of a drought that’s the deepest on record, and is coming out of winter with a snowpack water reserve that’s by far the smallest on record.

Historically, temperatures and precipitation have fluctuated randomly. But as Climate Central reports, now global warming is changing the odds, making it more likely a dry year will also be a warm year, making extreme drought more likely. “It used to be flipping two coins independently and getting two tails one-quarter of time. Now we’re getting tails on the temperature coin much more often,” says Stanford University’s Noah Diffenbaugh. By 2030—or by the time a child born today is in high school—climate scientists expect every single year to be warmer than normal by historic standards.


What're the 'indispensible' nation, the EUnuchs, Russia, China ... all of them trying to do?

Secure supply/control of fossil fuels, the carbon-crack that is killing the world as we know it.

Ride the increase in fossil fuel use right over the cliff ... if they're unable to end the world in a nuclear flash during their 'squabbles'.

To paraphrase Ghandi, 'What do you think of human intelligence and invention?'

I think it would be a good idea.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2015 22:22 utc | 77

Kathy Kelly is doing short-time in Kentucky, for 'inciviliy', for her breach of etiquette in calling attention to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates unending series of drone murders ...

Prison Economics


Communities desperate to host a new prison should also consider the wages that will be paid to the prisoners. What company would choose to hire local non-inmate workers when the BOP can forcibly hire inmates to work for 12 cents an hour, right in their homes, with no need to consider employee benefits, pay raises, vacation pay or insurance. Prison labor creates a labor pool that is always available and can be maintained in a manner similar to the cost of maintaining slaves. If neighboring people lose their jobs, if they have to steal to try to get by, they can always wind up living in the prison.

When prisons are constructed in rural, southern areas, the political elites can count the entire prison population as part of their census, bringing federal funds into their jurisdictions, but without much pressure to share funds with their new ‘constituents,’ since the prisoners by and large can’t vote. Blighted urban areas lose funds desperately needed for education, housing, health care and infrastructure, while rural people compete to be hired as jailers.

One morning last week, a neighbor across the hall told us she feared she would choke on her own sobs as she cried herself to sleep. I wondered how many times the flashlights would re-awaken her during the night. She had been counting on a sentence reduction and her lawyer had told her, just the previous day, that her case is complicated and she most likely wouldn’t qualify. “I can’t do 3 1/2 more years here,” she said, completely distraught. “I just can’t!” “Yes, you can,” insisted one of the friends gathering to console her. I watched appreciatively, two people caught in the storm and guiding each other through it.

We hear about the droughts, and the temperature records, and we recognize that more storms are coming. The recent, and for many never-ended, financial crisis was a storm, and I notice that politicians and pundits are in full swing demanding a new regional war overseas with the arguments we’d hoped the nation had learned to reject twelve years ago. We can expect these threats, with ecological scarcity underlying them all, to build into each other: the perfect storm. We remember that storms can build quickly. “I can’t do 3 more years” might well be a statement truer, and truer for many, many more people, than my suffering fellow inmate ever imagined. We could be working together preparing shelter.


... slavery is making a comeback. In prison. If you're an American your future is in prison : either jailer or jailee.

And, honoring American etiquette and tradition, your odds, one way or the other, will be determined by the color of your skin. Ironic, isn't it, that the reintroduction of slavery in America along the traditional racial lines has been presided over by the first Black American president and his Black Attorney General? You've gotta hand it to the slavers ... they've come a long way since 1865.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 15 2015 22:50 utc | 78

@james#29: Without Al Akhbar English, I am at a loss for a reliable source for news of the Middle East. I haven't trusted AlQatara since the beginning of the Arab Spring. The (Saudi-funded) Daily Star is no substitute.

@papa#53: Pope Francis has been much more outspoken about conflicts in the Middle East and the situation of a variety of Christians there (not just Roman Catholics). Also, he appears to be moving toward healing some of the divisions between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches (which could open up the possibility in a few years for married men to become diocesan priests in the Roman Catholic Church, just as they are able in the Greek Orthodox Church).

Finally, 100 years after the Armenian genocide, well after all the people who committed the atrocity have died, Turkey still will not admit that a genocide occurred. The question is not why the Pope is bringing up the issue, but why other nations are still letting Turkey get away with denying the truth.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Apr 15 2015 23:21 utc | 79

chuckvw and jfl, 75-76 -- Very nice to find folks in such a good "heumor" on this thread.

Rusty at 79 -- well said. Not impressed by the site at 53, seems an invention.

The ole whore of Babylon has her faults (and some of them extremely serious), but we have to give the old girl her due. She kept antiquity and civilization alive in the West, and at times, especially early on, enriched human moral thinking. Others bear far more burden on Turkey (secular nationalist Ataturk and Islamist Erdogan variants both) & Armenia than the Vatican City.

While I'm long an atheist, Mrs. M. is parishioner of the Bishop of Rome (somewhat apprehensively, I'd say). A little more humble and Christ-like than the last few incumbents, Francis is definitely an improvement, in any case. He speaks more compassionately and frankly than the last few pontiffs on any number of issues, so no real surprise.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 16 2015 0:53 utc | 80

Iran Assails U.S. Plan for a Vote in Congress


TEHRAN — Iran's president on Wednesday dismissed the compromise worked out between the Obama administration and Congress over an impending nuclear agreement as internal American politics, saying the Iranians were negotiating with six countries, not just with the United States.

This tack sounds promising. Replace P5+1 with P6-1. Allow the US to isolate itself as it so obviously desires. A weekend shacked up alone in the no-tell-motel with Bibi will do wonders for our perspective.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 16 2015 4:51 utc | 81

CNN: Italian police: Muslim migrants threw Christians overboard, drowning them

Posted by: Demian | Apr 16 2015 21:47 utc | 82

Russia Insider extracted a section of an interview with Zakharchenko, arguing 90 Percent Chance of Full-Scale War with Ukraine. “We will liberate all our compatriots.... Don’t forget, our mothers and our sisters live there, so don’t make us out to be bloodthirsty beasts.”

RI noted it was his first interview with the MSM in some time and linked back to the full article on Bloomberg. Gunfire in Donetsk as Rebel Leader Refuses Ukrainian Unity is your typical MSM product, reality light served in a delicate propaganda sauce of misdirection and omission, ergo no warranties expressed or implied.

The title, for example, is mostly sauce. The do actually quote Zakharchenko:

Nobody wants to come back to Ukraine under any pretext.... I can’t even imagine this happening. Fundamental disagreements between us and Kiev are not disappearing. In fact they become stronger every day....

We thought, still think and will think of ourselves as a part of the Soviet Union, of Russia.

Fort Russ has posted a transcript of Buzina's last interview.

Why is there a conflict between Russia and the West on the territory of Ukraine? What's going on, is not a conflict between Ukraine and Russia, it's between the West and Russia....

For many years the West increased its positions in Ukraine, created groups of influence.... These people received grants, traveled to the USA, they were spoofed.

Real Ukraine lived below. The real Ukraine depends for its economic livelihood on Russia.

You can easily see why Kiev had him killed. The hosts' questioning is quite interesting; this is the only station that would have him on, so I can imagine the reception he might get elsewhere.

Along with the sudden rash of "suicides," it signifies an unhealthy increase in extra-judicial repression. Confidence or desperation, neither motive bodes well.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 16 2015 23:14 utc | 83

For those curious about the nature of the Russian soul, Fort Russ serialized a piece by a scholar of Russia. They do break it into discreet topics, if your only interested in say the recent Ukraine but not Kievan Rus. But read it whole at the original at Greanville Post

Russians have a strong sense of nature which also acquires a spiritual significance.... Christ’s life on earth is less important than the idea of a reigning Christ-God. They prefer the resurrection to the crucifixion.... The dominant Russian ethical attitude is to be found in charity.... All men are brothers! One grasps without further explanation the connect between charity and love for one’s brother and all fellowmen with the basic concepts of Socialism/Communism.

I would argue that, to the degree that these elements are of heightened importance versus their fellow Europeans of furthest West Eurasia, it is due to the fact that Russia emerged from largely feudal socio-economic relations later than those states. Such attitudes would be common to peasants and artisans throughout the land mass some 300 years ago, before the great changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution.

But it is also true that the environment and low population densities promoted solidarity within the villages and towns of the forests and steppes.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 17 2015 0:19 utc | 84

@84 It could just be the vastness of the place. Britain looks so manicured and cozy by comparison.

Posted by: dh | Apr 17 2015 0:25 utc | 85

dh @ 85 -- Spot on, plenty of space to expand/hide. I had an exam question as an undergrad, some no. of years ago. Compare and contrast the American and Siberian frontiers. Both were areas for the ambitious, the discontented, the independent, all sorts of voluntary and involuntary exiles (latter more so of course in Siberia). See e.g. Mormons and Orthodox "Old Believers."

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 17 2015 2:22 utc | 86

@86 Alaska has its share of rebels and misfits I understand.

Posted by: dh | Apr 17 2015 2:51 utc | 87

@rm #80:

While I'm long an atheist, Mrs. M. is parishioner of the Bishop of Rome (somewhat apprehensively, I'd say).

So we finally get a plausible explanation for your RCC "apologetics". ;-) A perfectly valid reason, IMH(umble)O.

I was pleased with Francis's bringing up the Armenian genocide. As for his other progressive overtures, I must say I don't care in the least for any friendly overtures to gays if they are not accompanied by letting women have control over their own bodies. Religion has nothing to do with sexuality, and the RCC should finally accept this aspect of modernity, brought to us by Protestantism.

You may have seen the piece over at Fort Russ about how the RCC has been out to destroy Russian Orthodoxy since time immemorial. I was thinking about making a comment here about it (mostly as a provocation to you), but then thought better of it. I have a soft place in my heart for Roman Catholicism, if for no other reason than I like the Spanish, Pascal, and Eric Rohmer.

@#83:

You can easily see why Kiev had him killed.

I made the same point in off-topic posts in the Richard Engel thread. This is one more way in which Banderastan has gone totally fascist. Even the Nazis didn't engage in such thuggish assassinations of Germans. (Of course, non-Nazi German intellectuals had enough sense to either emigrate or to schweigen, so the Nazis did not have to resort to assassinations of intellectuals.)

@#86:

See e.g. Mormons and Orthodox "Old Believers."

That comparison is extremely offensive, and I have always thought that Old Believers were very silly. But unlike the Mormons, they did not engage in a massive fraud of inventing a new religion out of thin air.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 17 2015 3:20 utc | 88

More idiotic trash from Salon:

Putin hates this film: KGB agent seeks redemption in “Child 44,” Tom Hardy’s murky Soviet-era thriller

American critics and audiences hate it, too: it has a thoroughly rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes. (Still, I'll probably skip through it when it shows up you know where, in order to see how bad it is.) The only thing in Salon worth reading now are the weekly columns by Patrick Smith.

Speaking of how Hollywood portrays Russia, I just watched the latest episode of The Americans, and I'm more convinced than ever that this TV series presents Russian spies in the US in an extremely sympathetic light. The explanation for this might be that as someone wrote recently in The Atlantic, this series is not really a political thriller, but a family drama.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 17 2015 3:40 utc | 89

Speaking of Patrick Smith, there is a new interview by him of Stephen Cohen, which is well worth reading. The second part will follow next week.

They use the excuse that everybody wants to join NATO. How can we deny them the right? It’s very simple. People say every country that qualifies has a right to join NATO. No, they do not. NATO is not a junior Chamber of Commerce. It’s not a non-selective fraternity or sorority. It’s a security organization, and the only criterion for membership should be, “Does a nation enhance the security of the other member countries?” The Ukrainian crisis proves beyond any doubt, being the worst international crisis of our time, that the indiscriminate expansion of NATO has worsened our international security. That’s the end of that story. I don’t know what they think NATO is. Is it like AARP membership and you get discounts in the form of U.S. defense funds? It’s crazy, this argument.
Of course, one also sees the main problem with Cohen here. Being a member of the American establishment, he accepts the fiction that NATO is a "security organization". In actuality of course, it is just more instrument for the US to achieve full spectrum dominance. So by encircling Russia and occupying the Ukraine, NATO is precisely serving its true purpose, so that Cohen's hand-wringing comes across as comical and pathetic.

Also, Cohen keeps on saying that the US should back off Russia. Russians themselves know that the US will never do that. One side or the other must be defeated. That is the only way this fourth generation war will end.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 17 2015 4:48 utc | 90

Demian -- at 88

I didn't mean to imply any theological equivalency. I merely meant that dissident religious trends could find solace on the unpoliced frontier, and I intended no offense.

Smith apparently had a history as a con man prior to his "revelation," his fake history of the "Lost Tribes" was ethnographically laughable in 1850 (I think Mel Brooks riffs on this in "Blazing Saddles"), and their practice of baptizing posthumously ancestors of converts is offensive. They apparently were doing this with Holocaust victims, as well, for a time.

I've mentioned Mrs. M's affiliation once or twice before. I'd probably take more or less the same view, given my background and my tendency to accept things in their complexity. Reality has a way of kicking you in the gut, otherwise, I've found. And not just in intellectual matters.

Anyway, as I've argued, early on, the Church was a progressive force, preserving literacy (and with it, selectively, antiquity) and advancing human dignity and morality.

But that had pretty much ended, even before Luther. Erasmus is rather the last gasp of the Latin "Fathers of the Church," a kind of late-meidieval mass market Acquinas. It got some of his work banned and he nearly got declared a heretic, hence the hang-out with his Swiss printer, if I recall.

And as folks might recall, figures such as Weber and Tawney have discussed the role Protestantism played in enabling capitalism. The north/south-industrial/agricultural-Prot./Cath. divide in Eur. is a well-known topic.

I saw that piece about the Vatican and Orthodoxy, I didn't read it too closely. I'd say the "Time of Troubles," the interregnum between the Rurikids and the Romanovs, was really the only time Rome actually did anything substantive. They finally provoked a nationalist rising lead by Nizhni Novgorod, and I believe that convinced them of the firmness of Russian attachment to Orthodoxy.

Disputes between the Eastern and Western Churches over sites in Jerusalem were, of course, an important stalking horse for rival imperialist designs on the Ottoman empire.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 17 2015 5:50 utc | 91

@rm #91:

Well it's nice that we seem to be pretty much in agreement again.

When it comes to hostility between the Vatican and Orthodoxy, I am not able to get behind the Orthodox side with much conviction, mostly, as far as I can tell, because I identify with Lutheranism, which is the branch of Protestantism which is closest to Catholicism, because it was the first to part ways, and hard-core Orthodox are as hostile to Lutheranism as they are to Catholicism, to the best of my knowledge.

That is certainly true of the Saker. I was absolutely horrified when he put "Lutheran Germans" and "Catholic Poles" in the same class in relation to Russia. That alone makes me disinclined to ever post a comment on his new blog. The other thing is that he wrote that Tolstoy and Shostakovitch are not really Russian. My view is that Russian civilization is large and broad enough to subsume both Western European civilization (with the exception of the Anglosphere, which is utterly alien to Russia) and elements of Asian civilization, the latter being what the Saker believes that Russian civilization is restricted to.

As for Weber and Tawney, again you are lumping all Protestantism together. When Weber wrote about "the Protestant ethic", he had Calvinism in mind. When Tawney did so, he had Anglophone evangelicalism in mind. Lutheranism had nothing to do with what either author wrote about.

And as for Mormonism, it certainly did not occur to me that you "intended [any] offense". My remark about the analogy between Mormons and Old Believers was a mockery of Anglophone politically correct discourse. Russians do not speak about a given remark being "offensive"; they will call it a provocation. (So Russians follow Habermas in taking speech to be social action; Anglophones in contrast take it to be a totalizing discourse expressing eternal truths, so long as they happen to agree with it.)

Posted by: Demian | Apr 17 2015 6:49 utc | 92

D at 92 --

I'm only a little surprised at your remarks on the Anglophone world. You may know the (apocryphal?) headline in an English paper -- "Channel Fogged; Continent Cut-off." But it was the English that broke Muscovy's Polish-Swedish isolation by pioneer trade through Archangel. Solid customers for naval stores. By the 1800's, rivals due to conflicting interests; both wanted chunks of the Ottoman and Mughal realms in "the Great Game."

On Lutheranism -- as far as I can tell, it's disliked as foreign and non-orthodox. Paul's flirtation with Lutheran modes of dress and worship is amongst the issues that got him assassinated and deposed in favor of Alexander I.

Given that Lutheran Germans were the first foreigners in numbers in Muscovy, and were long a source of personnel and imperial consorts, linking them with Poles is definitely not kosher. The Vatican might have let it go after the Romanovs, but not the Poles, not even today for many.

Habermas and anything with "discourse" in it is usually above my head. You know, you're drifting towards post-modernism with that kind of vocablulary? If I could rework a MADD slogan -- Friends don't let friends talk po-mo.

If I were discussing, at length, capitalism and Protestantism, I might disentangle the Calvinist from the Anglican from the Dissenting Protestant threads. I merely noted the correlation; the former Hansa & Lutheran Ruhr did OK with early capitalism

All three were notable presences in England. I don't recall where I saw it, but one historian of the matter noted that it was the non-COE Prots who really drove the econ. Barred from public and academic life by the Test Acts through the early 1800's, they focused on business as the only avenue for their talents and energies. Quakers, e.g., pioneered coke for smelting.

Notably, Weber's favorite examples are from Benjamin Franklin, refugee from Congregationalist Boston and a honored member of Christ Church, Episcopal, where he's buried.

Interesting paradox -- Catholicism somehow lacks legitimacy, but Lutheranism is the closest to it. Like the Anglicans, it's old ritual, with a little revamping of the theology and the rules for the clergy. Puzzler like that gets the brain working in the AM, tx!

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 17 2015 12:20 utc | 93

The total integration of Germany into the US drone wars worldwide - and now the US/Saudi holocaust of Yemen - under Mutti is on display at the Intercept, and will soon be on display in German courts as well. That last ... well, maybe.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 17 2015 22:59 utc | 94

Counterpunch reprints Tariq Ali from the London Review of Books on The New World Disorder. Quite interesting, it takes a global view of the vast, sordid spectacle. Here's part of what he says on Germany.

The reason the Germans were so shocked by the Snowden revelations is that it was suddenly clear they were living under permanent surveillance, when one of the big ideological campaigns in West Germany had to do with the evils of the Stasi, who, it was said, spied on everyone all the time. Well, the Stasi didn’t have the technical capacity for ubiquitous spying – on the scale of surveillance, the United States is far ahead of West Germany’s old enemy.

Elsewhere he discusses the Soviet collapse (noting the preference of most East Germans for the DDR), notes the demoralizing failure of the Arab Spring, considers "declinism," and argues against the prevaiing neo-liberal regime of authoritarian austerity.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 17 2015 23:35 utc | 95

RM@91

Whenever I'm down I can be sure reading your comments will provide a statement that brings a grin to my weary face. Reading that the Church was a progressive force, preserving literacy, antiquity and advancing dignity and morals was the knee-slapper I needed, you missed your calling, you should have been a humorist.

The truth about this era and its Church is that it perpetuated illiteracy, superstition, barbarism and filth.

In 800 the Moorish city of Cordoba had paper, 70 libraries, one of which had 600,000 manuscripts, none of which existed in the rest of Europe.

You might try reading The Day The Universe Changed by James Burke, someone who used his advanced degree to actually learn something.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 18 2015 1:08 utc | 96

I have been down lately.

Some here have accused me of being a shill for the imperial state. Sadly I barely get by on my SS check.

Sometimes near the end of the month I'm forced to take to the streets in women's clothing to entertain strange middle aged men in parked cars.

There's no fool like an old fool. And there's nothing sadder than an old whore. Oh well, pour me another. Bottoms up, bar mates!

Posted by: Washout west | Apr 18 2015 1:49 utc | 97

@97

Is the Tweaker back?

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 18 2015 2:21 utc | 98

Wayout at 96 --

Yea, but what has Islam done lately?

The truth about Islam is that it stagnated ca. 1500. The unwashed Christians might not have known their Aristotle, but Charles Martel held the ground. By 1492 the Reconquista had subdued the Moorish kingdoms. In part, because Renaissance Europe had better appreciated and internalized the Aristotelian mathematics the Greeks and Arabs were so kind to preserve and transmit. Averroes, for all of his classical sophistication, remained a censor.

The Church was hardly the cause of the shrinkage of population and economic activity associated with the fading fortunes of the Western Roman Empire. In such an environment, literacy became an unnecessary luxury for many outside the Church. Have you even heard of the Carolingian Renaissance?

If you know Pirenne's Mohammed et Charlemagne you know that the Egyptian product papyrus had been in regular use in the Roman Empire. Pirenne documented it in inventories of goods received by various monasteries. It disappears ca. 700, after the destabilization of trade in the Mediterranean Basin wrought by the rise of Islam. The weakening of the Byzantine fleet meant piracy reappeared for the first time since Pompey drove them from the seas in the 1st. cent. BC.

When the economy and political environment began to stabilize after ca. 1250, townsmen began to gain literacy in the vernaculars through academies serving them. I know of no serious opposition by Rome to this, even though it permitted the circulation of anti-clerical verse.

The disparity between the Europeans and the Ottomans began to widen. Where Suleiman the Magnificent had been a terror to Spain and an ally of France, by 1800 it was the "sick man of Europe," wasting away slowly rather than collapsing rapidly only because the Great Powers couldn't agree amongst themselves on the division of the spoils.

I don't find your crude ad hominen attacks particularly amusing, and Demian does anti-popery with much more flair, knowledge and feeling.

Stick to whatever it is that you do. Apologetics for some of the most backward, reactionary forces presently on the planet, I'm given to understand. I seldom read it closely as I take little pleasure in it. Your venomous ignorance is certainly in keeping with such politics.

Did that bring a smile to your face? It did to mine.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 18 2015 5:00 utc | 99

@rm 99:

Demian does anti-popery with much more flair, knowledge and feeling.

It's nothing personal. I have sparred with defenders of Catholicism on forums in the past, and part of that involves trying to figure out what makes Catholics tick. I go through bouts of anti-popery as you call it, but they always subside eventually. This kind of sentiment should be understandable to you I expect, given that I am a Russian Germanophile who came of age in New England. Two more specific sources of this peculiarity of mine is Hegel's anti-Catholicism and Luther's perplexity and bitterness at the Church just not accepting his reasonable suggestions. I occasionally channel both those thinkers.

Since I'm indulging my narcissism, I'll say something about religions I have a negative view of. I agree with the Saker that modern Judaism is a reaction against Christianity, which was a reform of Biblical Judaism initiated by Jesus and Paul. I consider Islam to be a Christian heresy, although I respect Islamic civilization, Persia in particular. As I've indicated before, it is easy for Russians to respect Islam even though they think Christianity is true and Islam is false, because of the deep Russian experience with Islam from the Mongols. I take Mormonism to be beneath contempt. As for non-Abrahamic religions, I have only ever been interested in Buddhism.

Finally, I have a deep ecumenical streak. (I think that most people who identify with Luther do. With Lutherans, there is a lingering sadness that the Western church split; with Catholics, I think it is more of an anger. (See, the anti-popery keeps on coming back.)) So I find the habit of Russian Orthodox extremists of calling Catholics heretics to be deeply offensive. (And I am not using that word ironically here.)

Finally, I think that this exchange has been instructive for me, since we are both atheists, and I haven't had any conversations about this with American atheists who remain sympathetic to their R.C. background. (Only a couple of Germans. But one I didn't have a discussion about Catholicism with – I only recall him here because he remarked that Habermas' thought is Protestant, as if that were something noteworthy – and the other one claimed that the Nazi period destroyed significant differences in identity between German Catholics and German Protestants.)

Posted by: Demian | Apr 18 2015 6:22 utc | 100

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