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April 18, 2015

Open Thread 2015-18

News & views ...

Posted by b on April 18, 2015 at 16:18 UTC | Permalink

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A new account on the founding of the Islamic State.

The Terror Strategist: Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State

By Christoph Reuter, Spiegel

Largely founded and run by former Baathist intelligence people. Later somewhat overtaken by Jihadis.

That piece again raises the false claim of cooperation between the Syrian government and IS. The Syrian state was all the time mostly on the defensive. It fought only those who attacked it. When IS left the Syrian army alone that army did not attack IS because of lack of available menpower. It was busy enough with other lunatics who attacked it.

Posted by: b | Apr 18 2015 16:49 utc | 1

The Eagle has landed. 173rd Airborne Brigade is now on the ground in Ukraine. If Russia sent a special forces unit to Venezuela, USNATO would be cool with that, right?

What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by: chuckvw | Apr 18 2015 18:15 utc | 3

Haha, yeah. 173rd in Ukraine to 'train'.

"There will be three streams of 300 fighters of the national guard. Three streams of eight weeks. Then joint exercises," Avakov said. "After completing the exercises, the U.S. partners will provide the national guard units with a special ammunition and communications equipment.”

I wonder if the nazis will get better kit than ISIS.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 18 2015 20:34 utc | 4

Excellent link, b this documented and well researched report will go a long way to debunk the widely held belief that the Islamic State is nothing more than a US puppet or a bunch of fanatics with a death wish.

I especially enjoyed the clever way the author, Reuter brushed and painted an image of what the Caliphate will be. His version of reality would have us believe that the Islamic State is not really a Islamist Political movement but a Stalinist Dictatorship in the making, this image is very cleverly spun into the report.

One of the spokesmen for the IS was asked about the Nationalists/Islamist contradiction that was apparent from the beginning of this conquest and he replied that after the conquest is complete they will decide what influence if any the nationalists will retain.

It's also interesting that all the horrible tactics and methods described by the author as Stasi like are used by all powers in our world to varying degrees including Germany and the US.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 18 2015 20:49 utc | 5

b. @ 1,

In my opinion the article uses some genuine information based on the papers it cites to inflate its story into a sensational expose. It is clear that the former Iraqi intelligence officer, aka Haji Bakr, was an intelligence planner/chief for IS, and the plans cited were for establishing an IS intelligence network. The military and other strategies were developed and carried out by other IS leaders.

After detailing his plans for this intelligence organization, the article goes on to describe IS's takeovers in parts of Syria, stating and implying that these were due to Bakr's plans and organization. These certainly played a part, but the overall success was due to many other IS methods and moves.

This puffery is similar to the imaginary "alliance" between the Assad regime and IS with which the article concludes.

Posted by: FB Ali | Apr 18 2015 20:49 utc | 6

@b, what about the Wahabi connection? Not a word in the article. Casting the blame on Baathists could be a way of retrospectively making Dubya and the Coalition of the Bribed look good.

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 18 2015 21:22 utc | 7

@7

Agree completely. Conspicuous by their abscence.

Right from the start it seems that the Iraqi Baathist Haji Bakr is not so much 'planning' as gathering material on what's already going down ...


Bakr took up residence in an inconspicuous house in Tal Rifaat, north of Aleppo. The town was a good choice. In the 1980s, many of its residents had gone to work in the Gulf nations, especially Saudi Arabia. When they returned, some brought along radical convictions and contacts. In 2013, Tal Rifaat would become IS' stronghold in Aleppo Province, with hundreds of fighters stationed there.

... and what's going down is text-book Saudi Wahabist infiltration ...

Students from Saudi Arabia, office workers from Tunisia and school dropouts from Europe with no military experience were to form an army with battle-tested Chechens and Uzbeks. It would be located in Syria under Iraqi command.

... plus CIA operatives from Chechnya and Uzbekistan.

So who was 'the great planner Haji Bakr' - who never got out of Tal Rifaat - spying for?


Haji Bakr was dead and the local rebels took his wife into custody. Later, the rebels exchanged her for Turkish IS hostages at the request of Ankara.

I don't know if Der Spiegel has consciously or unconsciously been used to disseminate this - exclusive! - contrived story ... but I think consciously is much more likely.

Everyone knows how smart the Germans are.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 19 2015 1:13 utc | 8

@17 sorry, meant 'absence' ... funny, though, I'm making that particular spelling mistake with growing frequency ... I must be thinking 'abscess' when I write it.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 19 2015 1:16 utc | 9

@3

U.S. military trainers in Ukraine may destabilize situation: Kremlin


“The participation of instructors or specialists from third countries on Ukrainian territory, where the domestic Ukrainian conflict is unresolved … could destabilize the situation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow during a conference call.

Britain has already sent military personnel to train Ukrainian troops, while Canada and Poland have pledged to send 200 and 50 instructors respectively this year.


Someone mentioned yesterday that it is impossible that the majority of US citizens do not love war ... that seems to be true of the Brits and Canadians as well. They at least seem to be just as adept as we 'Americans' at doing nothing to end 'their' governments furthering the cause of aggressive Western warfare. Wherever the 'Americans' are the Brits and Canadians are certainly never far behind. And the Canadians are intent on 'punching over the weight class', with fully 200 to the US' 300 'trainers' on the way. The Australians are not as active in Europe, their pair of the five eyes seem focused on Asia. New Zealand's aid to the war effort seems a bit more circumscribed ... intelligence/counter-intelligence only.

And the Saudi aggression - nearly purely against civilian targets - proceeds uncommented upon if not outright acclaimed in Yemen - and Syrian and Iraq - by not just the 5-eyes but by the world at large.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 19 2015 1:45 utc | 10

sorry b cannot swallow a 100% evidence free treatise whose only proof is an allegedly real document produced by a dead man. Smells like, sounds like, looks like the hitler diaries all over again.
I don't trust Spiegel or the little 'kickers' in this or the language e.g. "IS are the world's biggest terrorist army" - is just more of the same old same old. e.g.this kicker: that some of the papers were written on an old letterhead from the dead al-Khlifawi's former ministry used more than a decade after he got flicked from his job. It just reeks of a set up.

There are questions to be asked about the formation of Daesh/isis. Indeed if they are one entity or a coalition of different entities with a common agenda, but an unsupported document such as this whose release just happens to time nicely to let amerika off the hook for its complicity in the creation of IS right when the IS war powers legislation is in the middle of congress examination, deserves to be treated with caution.

The only thing we know for sure is that IS is an inevitable consequence of amerikan, or fukasi, or USuk, or my preferred, whitefella imperialism.

It suits the proponents of that imperialist mindset to send inquiring minds down rabbit holes of who (a prerequisite of the 'who' must be he/she cannot be tied to the invasion and subsequent colonisation) said what first to whom, who first did what to where and all the pointless bullshit the imperialists can drag up.

The simple facts are as follows - without amerikan/Englander/French/Israeli interference in Syria/Iraq/Libya all those nations would be still secular, strong and sharing out resources with their citizens. In other words an anathema to the neoliberal fucks who want to lead humans up the garden path of superstition & fealty to the leadership of organised cults who can sell the most archaic, irrational ice boxes to eskimos.

For the fucks in charge in whitefella land, this stuff is always about the money - all the rest is window dressing.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Apr 19 2015 1:47 utc | 11

@11

I think b shares your skepticism. It is just the CIA operative hiding out among the cacti who so stirringly approves this lame rendition.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 19 2015 2:01 utc | 12

mina has a link to ... Noam Chomsky on Yemen


Yemen has been the main target of the global assassination campaign - the most extraordinary global terrorism campaign in history - it is officially aimed, as in this last strike, it is aimed at people who are suspected of potentially being a danger to the United States.

Now that's a pretty extreme form of terrorism, but it's accepted in the West, and Yemen has been the main target.

Of course it's also a terror-generating campaign, as is understood at the highest level. When you, say, attack a village and murder somebody who you aiming at, and maybe a couple of other people who are standing around, that does tend to ellicit a call for revenge. And it has undoubtedly - it's not even questionable - increased what we call 'terrorism'.

So this terrorism campaign incredibly - an incredible one - and also increasing terror as we can see - but the other front is support for the Saudi invasion - the bombing, the blockade - which has barred food and other supplies by air or by sea, direct bombing attacks that are also killing people regularly - and these two things happen to be somewhat in conflict.

Because the US is supporting the Saudi attack and the Saudi attacks as ordered by the United States is offering space for the operations of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the main source of what we call terror.

So, for example, the NYTimes today has an article on how Al Qaeda's expanding in Yemen, conquering cities, banks, and so on, because of the space that's left open by the war against the Houthi, the Saudi war, who were the main enemy of al Qaeda and are now engaged in a war with, basicly, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

So these two elements of policy, both of them extremely harmful to Yemen, are also somewhat in conflict. Which creates a problem for planners in Washington.


It seems apparent at this point that al Qadea/ISIS is the ground component of the Saudi armed forces, so the question is ... why has the US, allied as it is with the Saudi regime, been nominally attacking al Qaeda in Yemen via it's drone assassination campaign?

The only reason I can imagine is that the second, 'terror generating', component of the campaign has been the only real component of the US war against Yemen.

Yes, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has indeed killed many, many people in Yemen ... but have any of them actually been al Qaeda?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 19 2015 3:20 utc | 13

D@11

The documents that this report displays do have provenance but they don't prove anything. They do explain the connection that was already known between the IS and remnants of Saddam's regime and how they played a large part in the planning and implementation of the building of the Islamic State.

You are correct about Syria, Libya and Iraq before Western intervention except that they would still be repressive dictatorships. The US and friends did break Humpty Dumpty and certainly failed to put him back together. They also created the conditions, not intentionally IMO, for the rise of the long suppressed Idea and desire to unite the Muslim World under a new Caliphate.

The planning, tactics and implementation of the IS's leaders seems to me to be way beyond anything the CIA, Saudis or even the Israelis are capable of even imagining.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 19 2015 3:47 utc | 14

"Ben Affleck defends Islam against Bill Maher & Sam Harris" - 10.6.14

"Ben Affleck demanded PBS program hide his slave-owning ancestors" - 4/18/15

A tip of the Hatlo Hat to the usual suspects, they'll do it everytime.

Posted by: Steve Canyon | Apr 19 2015 4:06 utc | 15

The FBI has some 15.000 paid informants. Socalled to combat terrorism.

http://trevoraaronson.com/book/

One of those informants set up a sting against the FBI:

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/15/fbi-informant-stung-fbi/

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 19 2015 4:19 utc | 16

I'll share a few pieces from my Wash Post RSS feed. It's interesting how Anglophone academics seem to be more ready to stand up for Yemenis than for Ukrainians:

Top Yemen scholars in the West condemn Saudi Arabia’s war
Yemen grinds to a halt for lack of gas
Russia-Iran relationship is a marriage of opportunity

I'm not recommending any of those articles; I just glanced through them myself. I just thought I'd note that the Wash Post still seems to occasionally engage in proper foreign reporting.

As for Russia, there are two Russophobic articles without anything about the recent slew of political assassinations in the former Ukraine. As for the article about Russia and Iran, it could be worse.

The main thing I get out of this exercise is that the US establishment is still dead set on dismembering Russia, whereas what's being done to Yemen isn't really an American project.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 19 2015 4:58 utc | 17

Gareth Porter analyses what the roadblocks are for a US deal with Iran.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30265-the-possible-military-dimensions-bomb-that-could-blow-up-iran-deal

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 19 2015 5:01 utc | 18

04/19/2015 04:51

Russian Spring

The head of Donetsk Republic Aleksandr Zakharchenko summarized military situation in Donetsk and plans for future.

“The situation is such that the Ukrainian army in the last few days probes our defense to find weak spots.

The area of Peski, Spartak and airport neighbors the center (of Donetsk Republic). Quite logical to deal a major blow here to behead the Republic. Therefore, a reconnaissance by way of battle is carried out to check our reaction; how we counter their artillery, tanks; to learn our fire emplacements.

As of today eight units of armored hardware were destroyed, yesterday – four, day before yesterday – two. Fourteen total units of armored hardware is their loss.

We lost two tanks, six 300ths (wounded) - today, four 300ths – yesterday, probably three 300ths - day before yesterday. Unfortunately, all wounded severely.

The comprehensive understanding that Minsk-2 agreements have collapsed, as before the similar ones, would be the point to begin a counter offensive.”

04/18/2015 13:30

Russian Spring

An issue whether to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk Republics will be considered in accordance to the actual realities on the moment this becomes an issue.

This was announced by the President of RF Vladimir Putin in interview to the broadcast “Saturday News”.

Putin remarked that at present time he does not want to elaborate this subject. “I would rather not address this account, because anything I say is going to be counterproductive”, he clarified.

Posted by: Fete | Apr 19 2015 5:07 utc | 19

SOTT.net: Female psychopath: Texas veterinarian fired after bragging online about killing a cat with a bow and arrow WARNING: graphic photo

Is it a female psychopath or a Texan psychopath? Why don't these things ever happen in Long Island or Massachusetts?

To the credit of Texans, enough people made outraged phone calls to quickly get her fired.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 19 2015 6:32 utc | 20

Demian

So you seriously believe animal cruelty is solely made by texans? Just to prove your weird post wrong:

First google search:

"Massachusetts lawmakers stiffen animal cruelty penalties"
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/08/18/massachusetts-lawmakers-responding-puppy-doe-case-stiffen-penalties-for-animal-cruelty/4cdgtSUvz1Y0ftxsJYmjDI/story.html

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 19 2015 6:58 utc | 21

It is interesting to me to watch the dynamics being played out in the finance area.

This link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-04/19/c_134162471.htm talks about how the US and Japan continue to be welcome to join the Chinese led AIIB. 57 other countries have joined the last I read.

The G20 also released a statement yesterday or today being critical of the US Congress that has refused for 5 years to act on a proposed changes to the IMF voting rights.....still leaving US with veto control but hey, this is the end stage of Empire we are watching.

I expect by the end of the year there will be working alternatives to SWIFT and the BIS if pressure continues to be applied......or serious war, but not nuclear, will break out in one or more collateral conflict areas.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 19 2015 7:16 utc | 22

@Anonymous #21:

That was partly a self-mocking joke directed at rufus magister involving northeastern regional chauvinism. This is humor along the lines of Kingsley Amis's remark that "I've finally worked out why I don't like Americans … Because everyone there is either a Jew or a hick." Both Long Island and suburbs of Boston have a preponderance of Jews. Texas does not. Growing up in Latvia BTW, my father had essentially the same impression of Latvia.

I was absolutely horrified by this atrocity against a cat, however (on second thought, I think the killer being female was significant, since I have noticed that many American women hate uncastrated tomcats), so my intent in making that post was perfectly serious.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 19 2015 7:45 utc | 23

Here's something that puzzles me: Engel's 'updated' story has been wisely reported in the US by NY Times, NBC, USA Today, Greenwald, AbuKhalil and many more. Yet I found not a single mention of it in German-language media.

It has been on Sputnik and RT, but not in their German-language section.

Posted by: jaqwith | Apr 19 2015 8:01 utc | 24

After watching Mad Max 2 (1981) decades ago, I forecast it was going to take about 200 years for the, at that time current, ehem, “civilization” to get there. I was utterly wrong. The post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max 2 entered our present time as a prequel through the weakest link in Eastern Europe, the Ukraine, by way of an ideology we all assumed dead and part of humanity’s past, Nazi-Fascism. The analogy (keep it in proportion) between Ukraine’s Maidan and Mad Max 2 was made evident by the home-made weapons and attires of the main actors of the coup d’état that installed the Kiev junta, and became even more pronounced after Donbass oblast denounced the new regime. Bands of neo-Nazi marauders were at the front-lines in Donetsk/Luhansk, looting, burning, raping and killing, in a search & destroy operation that left me dumbfounded by its quick transformation into carnage. I didn’t expect the Kiev regime to declare the Donbass a “terrorist” area of operation so fast, and to turn their own people into untermensch in such a short time. Wrong again. The West’s MSM had their day glorifying the infamous “cyborgs” so-called defenders of the Donetsk airport, whose ego got so caught in their delusional cyborg identity, a large majority of them remain buried at the airport ruins. Mad Max 2 had its own version of invincible übermensch cyborgs, blood-thirsty idiots whose drive to kill leads them to a sure death. The use of Nazi memorabilia, widespread among the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, was also used in Mad Max 2 by the gang leader Lord Humungus and his rag-tag army. His S&W gun had a Totenkopf (skull & bones) on its case, widely used by the SS, and some of his goons wore Nazi style attires. In general, the cult of death and the contempt for the life of anyone opposed to their goals, a visceral part of Nazi ideology, is another shared characteristic between the neo-Nazi Ukies and Mad Max enemies. Their only motivation is greed for oil, not different from the Kiev junta's thirst for Donbass gas, oil and coal. I could go on and on with the analogy, the point is the Ukraine is suffering a regression of great historical proportions, in their futile search for an identity whose only point of reference is in the past, their shameful collaboration with the Nazis. Ironically, the Nazis despised them as Slavish trash, and aimed at exterminating them to make Ukraine the bread-basket of the Third Reich. What a travesty of history it is to see the bastard children of Banderas reaching out to the darkest corner of their souls in order to become…Eurotrash.

Addendum

In the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max 2 there are firearms but only few bullets, thus the fighting goes on with primitive weaponry, a boomerang used by the Feral Kid, bows and arrows, a home-made “flame-thrower,” etc. In the Maidan prequel we had a collection of DIY weapons made by the useful idiots who fought and died for what it looks more and more like a semi-feudal oligarchical neo-Nazi regime, corrupt to the core, made up of US/Eurostan puppets.

DIY Maidan Weapons

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 19 2015 8:08 utc | 25

#13
The target of the terror campaign is US
When I read tht after a year nothing has been done for the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram or for the Yazidis, I think I am told that our governments have reached a degree a cynicism they want everybody to be aware of.

About the Spiegel file, cf RT
http://rt.com/news/250949-isis-strategy-blueprints-syria/

One should spread the word: yes indeed ISIS would not have been efficient if it was a creature invented by the former Saddam security apparatus and the tribes of Falluja. They don't give a damn about religion but know how to recruit zombies. This means that the US have failed in Iraq, something the MSM never like to print.

Still no one answered me why it was so easy for guys to attck vaults in London on Easter weekend, coming twice, doing it on camera, the police being called but not coming. Did the price for diamond on the international market fall don afterwards? Who profits?

Posted by: Mina | Apr 19 2015 9:06 utc | 26

@Lone Wolf #24:

Very nice analogy and essay. I am certainly for making references to (cultish) pop culture to help one understand current events. But as far as I can tell, the Mad Max movies give one little insight into what is going on in the former Ukraine. The level of sheer insanity and unmitigated evil of Ukrainian nationalism completely exceeds anything that the creators of the Mad Max movies could imagine.

In case you missed it, here is a German documentary with English subtitles of the Odessa trade union massacre. The sheer vileness that you see in those videos far exceeds anything Hollywood could ever come up with.

The atrocities of Odessa on May 2, 2014

Posted by: Demian | Apr 19 2015 9:21 utc | 27

P.S. I think a much better movie for understanding the Ukraine (there is no point in calling it "the former Ukraine", since there has neer been a legitimate state having the silly name "Ukraine") than the Mad Max Movies is this:

White Tiger. I am unaware of any work that makes as clear the metaphysical continuity between Hitler's Nazi regime and today's Ukrainian regime as this film does.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 19 2015 9:58 utc | 28

W@14 What provenance? I read the article and there was no independent evidence of these documents legitimacy.
All I read were allegations of highly dubious veracity.
When the bremer dipstick dissolved the Iraqi army and made hundreds of thousands armed Iraqis unemployed/able with the stroke of a pen, those former soldiers moved into any niche where they could support their clans.
Some joined the Shia militia, many commissioned officers joined the so-called surge whereby amerika paid for sunni militias to wage war on the shia government which amerika had just had installed.
Some joined religious sects such as former army general and Ba'athist vice president Ezzat al-Douri who joined up with the militant sufi sect, Naqshbandi.
Some former Iraqi soldiers have doubtlessly joined Daesh but that does not prove "remnants of Saddam's regime and how they played a large part in the planning and implementation of the building of the Islamic State. " .
All it tells us is that some former Iraqi military ended up in Daesh, just as they ended up a every other armed group which has been engendered by the destruction of ME political structures by amerika.

After ww2 a large number of former Nazi troops ended up in the foreign legion. They washed up there after episodes in North Africa fighting with the Algerian resistance and central and southern Africa fighting for whitefellas wanting to hold onto no longer sustainable colonies. The French Foreign legion was a last resort for soldiers tired of poor or no pay and shitty logistics.

Saying that Ba'athist played a large part in the planning and implementation of the Islamic State just because some soldiers from old Iraq joined up is about the same as blaming the Waffen SS & Wehrmacht for the french defeat at Dien Bien Phu.

As for the other tosh about Syria, Iraq and Libya being 'repressive dictatorships' under Ghaddaffi, Hussein and Assad, I hardly know where to begin except to say that when those three nations were existing as the complex tribal alliances which made up basis of the secular Arab states before amerika et al deliberately set about wrecking them, their rates of imprisonment and execution per 100,000 citizens were far below those of amerika, Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Israel.

Dictatorship implies some bloke at the top of the pyramid whose word is law throughout the land. This is the complete antithesis of how those states actually functioned. Local clan leaders would make decisions and move them upwards to the central government whose call on whether to implement the decisions usually came down to extensive negotiations with the regional leaders from across the nation.
When a decision had been made for national implementation of a central decision, that also required negotiation with regional leaders. Sure Hussein could 'insist' on some things sometimes, but if he tried to get his point across unilaterally too often he would find his regional support eroding fast.

Libya was destroyed by Englanders dragging out the same plays as they had in Arabia 100 years before. Intelligence about all the clans and their leaders was gathered and the most venally corrupt and sociopathically brutal clan leader was offered control of a huge area far bigger than his traditional sovereignty.
The Englanders did that with the al-Saud family in Arabia and they tried the same with a group of Arab speaking clans in the east of Libya 100 years later.

But unlike Arabia USuk couldn't actually put in any troops on the ground and the 'wording up' that USuk agents had given Libyan arab speakers led sociopaths among em to conclude that they were being encouraged to wage a genocidal war against non-Arabic speaking Berbers, sub-Saharan African clans, Coptic xtians and a swathe of other ancient north african sects.

I have no doubt that the vid of copt beheadings was made by agents of Libya's 'recognised government'. That is the band of thugs that england, france, italy, israel and amerika want to have in charge of Libya, but which Libyans themselves refuse to recognise as their government.

Those assholes committed terrible atrocities against non-Arab speaking Libyans all the way thru their western backed "revolution" and are one group in Libya for whom murder comes easy.

Pretty soon everyone else united against the Arabic speaking easterners. You see these nations such as Iraq, Syria, and Libya that you wrote off as repressive dictatorships poured huge resources into educating their citizens, and this is really the nub of the USuk problem.
Iraqis, Syrians and Libyans don't believe any old shit they are told - they are capable of sussing out what toxic shit Obama and co spout and can analyse the weasely words dribbling down the chins of amerikan sleazebags to isolate the sub text, and then work out what is really being said.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Apr 19 2015 10:37 utc | 29

Debs is dead @ 28

very nice synopsis, i particularly liked this keen point...

You see these nations such as Iraq, Syria, and Libya that you wrote off as repressive dictatorships poured huge resources into educating their citizens, and this is really the nub of the USuk problem.

Posted by: john | Apr 19 2015 11:35 utc | 30

@28

A great piece of writing, Debs. Good work!

As for the other tosh about Syria, Iraq and Libya being 'repressive dictatorships' under Ghaddaffi, Hussein and Assad, I hardly know where to begin except to say that when those three nations were existing as the complex tribal alliances which made up basis of the secular Arab states before amerika et al deliberately set about wrecking them, their rates of imprisonment and execution per 100,000 citizens were far below those of amerika, Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Israel.

Dictatorship implies some bloke at the top of the pyramid whose word is law throughout the land. This is the complete antithesis of how those states actually functioned. Local clan leaders would make decisions and move them upwards to the central government whose call on whether to implement the decisions usually came down to extensive negotiations with the regional leaders from across the nation.
When a decision had been made for national implementation of a central decision, that also required negotiation with regional leaders [...]

But unlike Arabia USuk couldn't actually put in any troops on the ground and the 'wording up' that USuk agents had given Libyan arab speakers led sociopaths among em to conclude that they were being encouraged to wage a genocidal war against non-Arabic speaking Berbers, sub-Saharan African clans, Coptic xtians and a swathe of other ancient north african sects.

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 19 2015 13:31 utc | 31

@28

Have you read Monsters of the Market by David McNally? It is available online if you look hard.

The myth of Capitalism as a fig leaf cover for the inherited elite and their world of finance have been destroying cultures for centuries.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 19 2015 13:44 utc | 32

At nmb @ 2, Greece (= G).

Interesting article. There had long been talk of transfer of the debt to the ‘Institutions’. Had G defaulted three years ago, those exposed were in the main French and German ‘systemic’ banks. Which would have pulverised the financial system according to some (can’t judge that but the fear was there..) This is no longer the case, though ‘big bank exposure’ still exists to some minor? degree.

One thus gloms that it was necessary to keep bailing out G, until everything could be shuffled around to defuse the blow-up-bomb of a default. That is the gist of the underpinnings of that article. Recall that PASOK / the previous Gvmt. was voted out because of disgust of the ppl at austerity plus corruption, etc.

That the previous Gvmt. ‘could not’ and did not implement a large part of the ‘reforms’ demanded by the IMF-EU Authorities remains little reported. They found themselves in a Yanukovitch-type position facing the EU Association Agreement - no can do i’m in a bind now what, quit? kinda attitude. Syriza has moved one step forward and roundly stated that some ‘reforms’ are impossible or non-negotiable, in this aspect they are a follow-on of the previous Gvmt. and not a ‘radical break.’

Credible narrative, absolutely, but partial. It throws the Authorities in a favorable light, because it leaves the idea of Greedy Gs fantastical borrowing intact, and paints the Authorities as fixers of a dire problem, even if acting sub rosa or deviously. That G was and is being deliberately squeezed is left out. Article in F, treats only the IMF (quote idk the nos):

quote — since 2010 the IMF has made 2.5 /> in billions of euros thoughout/ profits on its loans to G (*before* april 2015) — the IMF charges G 3.6% interest on loans as compared to its standard rate of .9 (not fluffy love but what it requires to stay afloat) - at that rate G would have paid 2.5 less! — Overall the IMF’s loans world 2010-2014 have netted a profit of 8.4, more than a quarter of that from G — at present IMF reserves are 19, and the debt owed to the IMF by G is at 24.

http://cadtm.org/Le-FMI-a-fait-2-5-milliards-EUR-de

These nos. imho were extracted from the Jubilee Debt Campaign, one summary (Jan. 2015) on G, PDF:

http://jubileedebt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Six-key-points-about-Greek-debt_01.15.pdf

~Much more could be said, concerning the EU as a viable structure (not) to mention only one ‘very soft’ topic. G is one bald-faced, nasty experiment.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 19 2015 13:55 utc | 33

Another brilliant Artem Grishaev video (I think everyone here saw "Mobilization clip", unbanned in youtube https://youtu.be/bIPCvCERghQ)

"Good rockets"
https://youtu.be/42RnhSS7WV0

Posted by: Harry | Apr 19 2015 14:03 utc | 34

Posting mistake, here is Mobilization clip: https://youtu.be/bIPCvCERghQ

Posted by: Harry | Apr 19 2015 14:05 utc | 35

@Demian@26&27

Thanks for the links to the Odessa massacre video, already downloaded, and the "White Tiger" film, downloading it as I type. As for a "much better movie for understanding the Ukraine," there is no such a thing since understanding is based on personal experience. I never watched White Tiger, so Mad Max 2 served the purpose. I agree with you about the "unmitigated evil" that permeates the neo-Nazi Ukies, aided and abetted by their partners in crime, the US/UK/Eurostan, ehem, "democracies." My contempt for old bastard Europe has no limits when they remain silent about the crimes against humanity happening before their noses. Not a word from La bitch Merkel, coward Hollande, or lapdog Cameron. I am always happy to add a new film to my collection of Russian movies, so thanks again for White Tiger.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 19 2015 14:16 utc | 36

Debs @ 28: Your history lesson for WoW meets the classic definition of " casting pearls before swine". WoW's only purpose here, seems to be, to invent excuses for the Empire's world-wide, terrorism for profit operation.

Posted by: ben | Apr 19 2015 14:51 utc | 37

#35;Mad Max 2 is known as "the Road Warrior" in the US.Great film btw.The ayatolla of rock and rolla,and his leashed boy toy.Oy!

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 19 2015 16:40 utc | 38

Ukraine, Yavoriv training ground, Javelin
http://rutube.ru/video/0add7e456dd07bb2b3fd3f2ccc723992/?ref=logo

Posted by: ALAN | Apr 19 2015 16:48 utc | 39

@Debs is dead@28

W@14 What provenance? I read the article and there was no independent evidence of these documents legitimacy. All I read were allegations of highly dubious veracity

Bingo. Having been a partial recipient of Snowden's treasure trove of NSA documents, Der Spiegel should know better about proving authenticity of any document, whatever its origins. There are too many holes in their story, some acutely pointed out in your two posts, to make it reliable/believable. Apparently, for Der Spiegel the document's legitimacy proves itself on facts on the ground, events and developments that happened after Haji Bakr was killed. Boasting about their “exclusive access to the 31 pages,” and ”months of research undertaken by SPIEGEL in Syria, as well as other newly discovered records, exclusive to SPIEGEL,” only adds up to the “dubious veracity” of the document. If Poitras and Greenwald would have published the NSA documents on an “exclusive to us” platform, they would have been blasted out of this planet.

On Haji Bakr: how come this phony Muslim can be called “Haji,” a term used in Islam to name those who have fulfilled their pilgrimage to Mecca, and no Koran was found anywhere in his house, where he had computers, cell phones, GPS devices, and a plethora of other papers?

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 19 2015 16:55 utc | 40

Estonians and co-2-cavalry Americans. suburb
http://rutube.ru/video/b23a5e4e79b6b0452ff89cae5a13e5d4/?ref=logo

Posted by: ALAN | Apr 19 2015 17:07 utc | 41

US convoy in Estonia, Parnu, April 2015
http://rutube.ru/video/900375019d5200fb89e5c6f47fbc2a7f/?ref=logo

Posted by: ALAN | Apr 19 2015 17:09 utc | 42

D@28

A Dictator is not a King but he does wield power over all his subjects and is the final word in the country, It's telling how a statement of simple fact and the two words, repressive dictatorship, sets off some people and shows their apparent love of Benevolent Stalinist Dictators so long as they oppose the US. I despise both for mostly the same reasons and have never tolerated US adventurism.

You make many claims about what has happened in the ME but supply no real evidence to support them and then dismiss a factual, documented and as yet uncontested report about the most important movement in the ME today.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 19 2015 17:13 utc | 43

@Lone Wolf & Demian, re: "Mad Max" weaponry:

Back in January I recall a Saker analysis of UAF and NAF stated losses vs. actual losses of Armored Fighting Vehicles, within which there was a link to a site with hundreds of photographs of such vehicles. I don't recall it was posted here:

"... there is also the “Шушпанцеры” (WeirdPanzers) section, which collects pictures of various civilian vehicles armored for military use and light armor with weird weapons bolted on. 381 vehicles so far – basically looks like “Mad Max:Road Warrior” times 50. Highly amusing: http://lostarmour.info/shushpanzer/

Posted by: Vintage Red | Apr 19 2015 17:15 utc | 44

@28 debs is dead... thanks which way the wow blows is fairly obvious..

Posted by: james | Apr 19 2015 17:47 utc | 45

@Vintage Red@43

LOL...that's hilarious. I have seen pictures of monsters like those with Al-Shabaab in Somalia and other rag-tag guerrilla groups, but in Europe? It is absolute backwardness. What they gain in armor they lose in mobility. Thanks, VR.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 19 2015 18:33 utc | 46

I think Chomsky's mistaken when he says there's a paradox for American planners when they support Saudi bombing on Yemen that enables Al Qaeda.

There's a paradox, for sure. But I think the planners have moved beyond it. Ever since 2007-08, when Elliot Abrams and Cheney launched a second, still little-known, Iran-contra-style op to bolster Sunni extremists in Lebanon and Syria (see Seymour Hersh's New Yorker expose), America has basically been leaning toward the Sunnis in the great Sectarian War set in motion by the Iraq invasion. Al Qaeda is no longer the top problem, because America has been enlisted by the House of Saud and the Wahhabists in a crusade against the Shia Crescent. Pinprick drone strikes against Al Qaeda-Yemen are largely symbolic. On the levels of deep politics, there's been a "revaluation" of values. Priorities have shifted.

The deepest faultline runs between a Sunni-Saudi-Israeli-American bloc and a Shia-Iranian-Russian bloc. Iraq and Syria sit on that faultline, and it has shattered them. Islamic State is a big x variable, but through underground tendrils it's ultimately connected to, though probably not controlled by, the Sunni bloc. (It's telling how the Sauds put more emphasis on destroying obscure Houthis than border-erasing IS barbarians.) Al Qaeda is a bit player. Where it concerns Al-Nusra, it's an ally.

Obama's budding accord with Iran only superficially contradicts my interpretation. Obama sincerely wants to avoid an Iran war - I do believe that - because he forecasts it would lead to regional war and a potential oil shock when Iran pinches the world artery that is the Strait of Hormuz.

But look at the extraordinary headwinds he's getting from the Saudis and the Israelis and the two parties. It's almost an open mutiny. The executive branch may want peace with Iran, but the deep state and its currents are all that really matters. Obama's gone in a year; its power is eternal, at least in its own eyes; and it has the oil and the arms. When it decides with the Saudis in its fever dreams to blockade and demolish Yemen with a strategically nonsensical and criminal war that enlarges Al Qaeda, the executive goes along. When it says jump, we jump.

(Side bar: I don't want to overcomplicate things: the Saudis have always been buddy-buddy with Al Qaeda, and they're, at the very best, indifferent to its expansion in Yemen. But I suspect many of them delight in it.)

If you want concrete evidence for this read, listen to the anonymous senior officials telling the big papers they're basically embarrassed by the Yemen campaign, and minimizing the U.S. role. They seem to be saying, "Yeah, we know this makes Al Qaeda more powerful, but what can we do?" It's never spelled out, but you can read it between the lines.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 19 2015 18:34 utc | 47

Dividends to the western neoliberal ruling class are beginning to accrue in Ukraine:

"Kiev plans to admit Western investors to privatization of Ukrainian state assets and legislatively bar this opportunity for Russian business, Ukraine’s Economic Development and Trade Minister Aivaras Abromavichus said on Sunday.

"If we start large-scale privatization, then, of course, we’ll need to make a normal roadshow, i.e. to show what we have and invite Western investors," he said in an interview with Ukrinform news agency.

"We’ll not allow Russian investors to buy the assets and, therefore, we need to expand the geography," he added. ...

"Everyone knows which assets the state owns. We have already stated that the sale list will exclude strategic enterprises in nuclear power engineering, forestry and the railway sector," the Ukrainian economy minister said.

"Many other assets that are not located on the temporarily occupied territories must be gradually put up for sale, proceeding from the fact that the state is an ineffective owner of these assets in such a situation," the minister added.

http://tass.ru/en/world/790357

Posted by: ee | Apr 19 2015 20:09 utc | 48

A@46

You are in the competition for lead humorist at MOA with statements such as 'the Saudis have always been buddy-buddy with AQ" and 'concrete evidence from anonymous senior officials'

Keep it up I need the curative powers of laughter.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 19 2015 20:46 utc | 49

Anon @46: Obama sincerely wants to avoid an Iran war

On what do you base your belief?

Obama and his political handlers certainly want to APPEAR as though have been peace-makers. But how far will they go to actually make peace? And why, after all we've seen, do people still make excuses for Obama and give him the benefit of the doubt?

What Obama has come to be known for is droning, spying, chaos, and serving powerful interests. And duplicity. Even the Nobel committee announced that it regretted awarding him the peace prize. Does anyone who is paying attention actually believe that Obama somehow found the spine needed to buck the neocons and fight for peace with Iran when he has given into them in almost every other way? When he touts the neocon self-licking ice-cone of exceptionalism like a true believer?

Now the Iran peace non-deal is falling apart. Strangely, the disagreements began immediately after the "understanding was reached". Was there ever really a "deal"? Was there ever really a 'meeting of the minds' that is necessary for any "understanding"? Or just a attempt by Obama to 'bank' a political/propaganda victory - whether peace is ultimately made or not?

Putin's announcement that Russia would send the S-300 anti-air system to Iran further stresses the non-deal that Obama (with help from M$M boosterism) sold as a done-deal. Obama had Kerry immediately call Lavarov to lodge a strong objection but later said he was OK with the sale. Then, only days later, Obama reached a compromise with with Congress that allows Congress to review the Iranian peace deal!

I was always skeptical that peace could be achieved given the hardliners on both sides (neocon hardliners being the worst as they are always ready to double-down on failed policies). There is just too much hate and distrust (even if to most of us, some sort of peace deal seems to make good sense). But the 'dance' involving Netanhu/Congress and Obama's faux peace non-deal - to further his legacy and 'Great Leader' propaganda was a twist that I just didn't see coming. One really can not be too cynical these days.

The actual result of the 'peace talks' thus far has been to keep the sanctions in place as the talks go on and on. And if the peace talks fail, it will be blamed on Iran (because, despite his record, no one in the west seems to doubt Obama's desire for peace?!?!?!) and the sanctions will continue.

So, again . . . on what do you base your belief that Obama wants to make PEACE (actual, real peace)?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 19 2015 20:47 utc | 50

When WayOutWest starts losing his ISIL-boosting argument du jour - which is always - he starts telling "jokes".

Are you seriously the last person on earth who hasn't heard about the deep connections between al Qaeda and the Saudi Royal family? Or are you just a total shill who will say anything to support ISIL?

After all... you practically creamed your jeans telling us how "...every major move the IS has made has seemed calculated and brilliant in its outcome, what is their next move?" A 64 year old man sounding more or less exactly like an eleven year old girl wondering how Justin Beiber's next album is going to blow her mind.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 19 2015 21:17 utc | 51

Is there any significance to the suit coats the Houthis seem always to be wearing? Every photo I see of their fighters, they're all wearing sort of similar jackets.

Just curious if this is a Yemini thing, or specific to Houthis - or nothing of any significance at all.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 19 2015 21:23 utc | 52

As bogus as the sunni-shia dichotomy is the obama-deepstate dichotomy.

About all that can be said of the former is that the GCC claim to be sunni and are opposed to the people who work for them, who make them rich, who are shia.

About all that can be said of the latter is that the deepstate is smart enough to realize that they cannot sell poison labeled as poison - labeled gmo-s for instance, in the commercial sphere - and so they need a shadow play of good and evil, with the tall, charming, black actor taking the part of the good guy and selling poison labeled as mothers' milk.

Putting the words 'obama' and 'sincere' in the same sentence is the 'touching' tell of the shadow show salesman.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 19 2015 21:30 utc | 53

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iraqi-forces-recapture-2-towns-from-is-near-crucial-refinery/2015/04/17/b458b3be-e4e7-11e4-ae0f-f8c46aa8c3a4_story.html

Now, officials say they believe government forces killed Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri near Tikrit, where the former deputy to Saddam was working alongside Islamic State militants.

syria betrayed iraq in the last iraqi war......well thats what i read somewhere

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 19 2015 21:36 utc | 54

Jackrabbit:

I think Obama wants peace not out of the goodness of his heart, such as it is, but out of a strategic imperative that neoconservatives are far too syphilitic to comprehend. A war with Iran probably sets off a regional war. It could happen a number of ways after the bunker busters take out the nuke facilities - Iran invades Iraq, Hezbollah attacks Israel, Iran attacks Saudi Arabia or vice versa. The result's the same. Skyrocketing oil prices, a potential for crippling stagflation, and an uncontrollable regional war that could bring down the whole rotting Middle Eastern superstructure. A real abyss. I don't think Obama wants that. I think he knows an Iran peace deal is the only way to stop it.

I think his sincerity comes through in how far he's strayed from the consensus of the Washington establishment, even from the French, to cut this deal. I think it shows in the way he's given up concessions that are politically so unpopular, and, quite frankly, a bit dangerous. (Unlike, presumably, a lot of people at MOA, I think Iran is a vicious regime and I think it should be prevented by all means from getting nukes. I think it's determined to get nukes, or to keep the capability in reserve, protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.)

I admit your analysis - the negotiations are all for show and push the blame for war onto Iran - is interesting and maybe true.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 19 2015 21:38 utc | 55

Jfl, what's the big picture then?

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 19 2015 21:45 utc | 56

@28,29

Yes the real aim of the US/UK/EU with respect to the Islamic countries it feels the 'responsibility to protect' is never far from the 'so sad' column of the front page, Ship Carrying Hundreds of Migrants Capsizes Off Libyan Coast/

And the victims' voices - pointing out the obvious - are steadily gaining the ears of those who can no longer stomach the MSM, US directing Saudi attacks on Yemen: Houthi leader.

And the big picture is clear to all whose eyes are open, The US Is a Threat to the World, not Iran.

Of course the MSM - Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States - still, gamely, lamely sells shadow as substance. Black as white. At this last, desperate stage it's 'Wars of Arab States Fuels Sale of US Arms'.

The binary death stars of war and oil revolve ever more tightly about their common center, dragging us all down - our zombified hands lashed to our masts, into their maelstrom.

'What do you think of human intelligence and invention?'

I think they would be a very good idea.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 19 2015 21:55 utc | 57

@Jackrabbit #49:

I was always skeptical that peace could be achieved given the hardliners on both sides

This talk of "hardliners on both sides" strikes me as just the usual Anglosphere propaganda, analogous to what b discussed in his recent post "Both Sides Touched". I don't believe that there is any significant danger of any alleged Iranian "hardliners" blocking any rapprochement with the West.

Since I know essentially nothing about the Muslim world, the way I think about Iran is that it is like Russia, with Shiite Islam substituted for Orthodoxy. Since Russian policy makers are realists in the international relations theory meaning of the word, I expect that Iranian policy makers are, too.

All this talk about Iranian "hardliners" and presentation of Iran as some dark other is racist hate created by Israeli projection on to the major power of the region, as far as I can tell. From what I find from two films I have seen by the director Asghar Farhadi, A Separation and About Elly, I get the impression that Iran is a normal country. Certainly more normal and rational than Israel, Britain, or Poland, to choose a few examples.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 19 2015 22:01 utc | 58

@51 Yemeni thing, like the jambiya (big knife). You need pockets for qat.

Posted by: dh | Apr 19 2015 22:18 utc | 59

Anon @54: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . . Obama _is_ a neocon. See jfl@54 for more.

Demian @57: I also noted that neocons bear the greatest blame. You failed to mention that. A peace deal was possible years ago. Neocons extended and deepened the "crisis".

Iran's rulers are religious fanatatics. Thats what it took to overthrow the Shah. That they may not be as dangerous as other religious fanatics doesn't make them heros or saints. Fundamentalism and extremism has risen in many places - they feed on each other. Its a very sad development for humanity - especially as we now face global problems that require that we cooperate.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 19 2015 22:27 utc | 60

@55

If Obama were concerned about a regional war ... if Obama were concerned about a world war he could not be arming, training and encouraging his NAZI pals in Ukraine.

Obama takes orders, he does not give them. There is a growing anti-Israeli backlash in the US - among citizens, not among political stooges - and Obama's mission is to blunt that, and to try to blunt European - citizen, not political stooge - anger at the results of 'their' US/'Obama' ordered sanctions on their gas supply, while attempting to drive a wedge between Iran and Russia.

The big picture is turning the collapse of US hegemony into The New American Century ... still. The only thing that's been/is being accomplished is increasing the severity and rapidity of the collapse when it finally does come.

The only 'two parties' in the USA are the ruling party and the people. Most of the people are not yet party to that understanding.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 19 2015 23:53 utc | 61

@55

' (Unlike, presumably, a lot of people at MOA, I think Iran is a vicious regime and I think it should be prevented by all means from getting nukes. I think it's determined to get nukes, or to keep the capability in reserve, protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.) '

Thought you had the odor of hasbarista about you.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 19 2015 23:57 utc | 62

@Jackrabbit #59:

Iran's rulers are religious fanatics.

Sorry, I don't believe that at all. I met someone who used to be in a post-revolution government. He criticized me for letting my wife work. That's about it. But that's just social conservatism; it's not religious fanaticism. He was perfectly rational and we just agreed to disagree on some issues, as is perfectly natural, since we came from different traditions.

From that encounter, I was left with the distinct impression that the religiously minded people running Iran are more rational and cultivated than both American Christian fundamentalists and the people who run US foreign policy.

I've known several Iranian expats, and didn't like any of them. I see them as analogous to Russian liberal Russophobes. But the one Iranian I met who was part of the current Iranian establishment I liked very much and found to be highly civilized. So I think that this idea that "Iran's rulers are religious fanatics" is nothing but Anglophone chauvinism, prejudice, and hypocrisy. (Of course, Jewish Zionists also influence how Anglos think about Iran, but that goes without saying.)

Posted by: Demian | Apr 20 2015 0:13 utc | 63

@55

If Obama were concerned about a regional war ... he would not have started one between Saudi Arabia plus the GCC dwarves against everyone else in the region in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 20 2015 0:15 utc | 64

@59 jr.. fundamentalism is more of a problem for the usa then iran as i see it.. when the neo-cons and born again crew form a holy alliance, all cylinders are firing on the military/financial complex home front..and on a more immediate level hilary is a much bigger insane fanatic then those running iran at present.. how i see it..

Posted by: james | Apr 20 2015 0:53 utc | 65

@dh - thanks. The knife reference lead me to this - interesting to look at at the very least: http://www.apogeephoto.com/dec2013/yemeni-dress-photographing-the-culture-and-customs.shtml

Always worth looking at pre-war tourist photos of the countries we are helping destroy - just for a little dose of reality.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 20 2015 1:08 utc | 66

More about traditional dress in Yemen. Apparently the suit coats are only worn in Yemen as dh mentioned. Historically, the way a man wears his knife was related to social class - workers on the left, the rich on the right - though today most men tend to wear them in the center.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 20 2015 1:14 utc | 67

@Demian

Religious theocracies are not my cup of tea. Doesn't matter to me whether it is Catholic, Jewish, Mulsim, or some other system. Maybe its because I grew up Catholic. Once one has freed themselves from the brainwashing, the sensitivity to the oppressive group-think and mind-control remains.

Don't get the wrong impression. I'm not some anti-religious fanatic - I still enjoy Christmas and Easter - but they are cultural events to me, not religious. I am free to treat them as such, but that would not be the case in a religious theocracy.

Neolibcon social conditioning has religious aspects too: group-think, divisiveness, anti-intellectualism, etc. And maybe that is why I'm sensitive to it.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 20 2015 1:40 utc | 68

I think my experience is somewhat similar to James', IIRC.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 20 2015 1:49 utc | 69

Damian @ 23

As for Kingsley Amis not liking Americans because they are all either Jews or hicks…

Alas, it's even worse than Amis thought. Most American Jews are also hicks.

The trouble with the Brits, however, is they're all yobs or phonies, and even most of the yobs are also phonies.

It's really all so disturbing.

I'm afraid nothing is going to improve until English finally becomes a dead language.

Posted by: Ken Nari | Apr 20 2015 2:32 utc | 70

Christianity is Flavian Vanity

In Caesar’s Messiah, Joseph Atwill showed that the Flavian Caesars, Vespasian and Titus, invented Christianity, more or less in the form we know it today. Remarkably, the emperors left behind a veiled confession (or boast) of their work, embedded in the Gospels and the works of Josephus. The religion was invented as wartime propaganda, primarily targeted at Hellenistic Jews of the Diaspora, and also at the Gentiles (who were being approached by Jewish evangelists.) This covert act of psychological warfare was successful beyond the Romans’ wildest dreams: even today, the dominant view is that Christianity arose in humble circumstances, and grew to massive proportions while being driven by a variety of philosophical and religious trends, if not by God himself. However, as Atwill pointed out:

… as Christianity describes its origins, it was not only supernatural but also historically illogical. Christianity, a movement that encouraged pacifism and obedience to Rome, claims to have emerged from a nation engaged in a century-long struggle with Rome. An analogy to Christianity’s purported origins might be a cult established by Polish Jews during World War II that set up its headquarters in Berlin and encouraged its members to pay taxes to the Third Reich

http://postflaviana.org/introduction-flavian-origins-theory-christianity/

Posted by: madrone | Apr 20 2015 2:39 utc | 71

I am an ex-catholic with 12 yrs. of catholic education, 4 years of high school with the Jesuits.

People call me a Daoist because I keep quoting Lao Tze, "The way that can be Named is not the real way".

I saw a funny T-shirt recently that said "Religion" and below that it said "Together we can find the cure".....Americans should get it.

Haven't we been trying to relegate religions to myth status for 500+ years? I see them as an impediment to addressing the challenges humanity faces. It this a feature or a bug of our species?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 20 2015 3:25 utc | 72

Well, I was going to defend Catholicism and Iran, but since now two Catholics have come out in this thread expressing dissatisfaction about their Catholic upbringing, I'll stay quiet.

Really, the only two attitudes to religion that really bother me are Christian fundies (who were called Jesus freaks when the US was more civilized) and New Atheists like Richard Dawkins. I am not inclined to get into quarrels about religion with anyone else at the moment.

@Ken Nar #69:

I'm afraid nothing is going to improve until English finally becomes a dead language.

LOL. I've felt that way sometimes, but don't at the moment, because of this beautiful song from 1993 which I just discovered and mentioned on another thread:

Mazzy Star - Fade Into You

Posted by: Demian | Apr 20 2015 3:54 utc | 73

04/20/2015 01:26

Russian Spring


The representative of Russia in Joint Center for Verification and Coordination of ceasefire, colonel general Aleksandr Lentsov, described experience of visiting Shirokino (south of Donetsk Republic).

“Today, representatives of OSCE and Defense Ministry of Donetsk Republic were visiting Shirokino. We registered 410 explosions of mortar shells for the full day in Shirokino. The shells came from Ukrainian positions”, said the colonel general.

“Yesterday, after the OSCE had left, massive shootouts began – by small arms at first, then by mortars, and finally by artillery. The reason is a great tension between sides”.

According to Lentsov, units of Ukrainian battalion “Asov” remain deployed in area of Shirokino. These destabilize the situation.

“Majority of shootings and attacks come from south”, emphasized the Russian general. “Western direction, where the units of Ukrainian forces are deployed, is practically calm.

Posted by: Fete | Apr 20 2015 3:55 utc | 74

April 20 is Hitler's birthday. I can't imagine that the Ukrainian fascists will let the day go by without committing some atrocity against the DPR.

Posted by: plantman | Apr 20 2015 4:19 utc | 75

G@50

I understand that you are easily overstimulated and often confused but the statement I commented on was about al Qaeda not the Islamic State.

If you can produce any document or reliable report about al Saud supporting or financing AQ since 1994 I will eat my words. It is possible that someone in the 7000 princes in SA may have supported them but it was never a huge factor since '94.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 20 2015 4:24 utc | 76

@Piotr Berman:

Any comments by you about this would be much appreciated. I just glanced through it; I'm not sure what to make of it until there is some kind of definite response to it in Poland.

Presidential candidate Korwin-Mikke: Maidan snipers were trained in Poland

Posted by: Demian | Apr 20 2015 4:58 utc | 77

@psychohistorian@71

Any Taoist can tell you the donkey you use to climb up the mountain of existence can be anything, Catholic, Buddhist, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Taoist, you name it. Once you arrive at the top, you don't need the donkey. It's easy to confuse religion with spirituality. There are very religious people totally devoid of spirituality; and vice versa, there are many spiritual people who know nothing of religion, and don't need to. Mandela's strength came from an invincible spirit, and AFAIK, he didn't profess any particular religion. It's easy to throw out the baby with the bath water, and declare with Marx that "religion is the opium of the people;" however, in Shanghai, opium is the opium of the people. "Socialist" experiments vainly tried to eliminate religion from the masses, and see what happened. I believe Russia is stronger now that the Orthodox Church has retaken its traditional role, than during Soviet times. Any religion can take you places, good or bad. Look at the Jews and their chosenness horseshit, the Republicans and their Christian fundamentalists, IS and the phony Muslims, Burma and their phony Buddhists burning Muslims alive, degenerate Saudis and their criminal Wahhabis. Now look at Lebanon and the strength of Hezbollah, Iran and their Ayatollahs facing the Empire of Chaos for decades, Hugo Chavez calling God in every speech denouncing the evil Empire. Any religion is as good or bad as those who practice it.

Umbrella, light, landscape, sky- there is no language of the holy. The sacred lies in the ordinary.

– Deng Ming-Dao

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 20 2015 5:09 utc | 78

@Lone Wolf #77:

It looks like I have something to learn from the Chinese, because I can't think of religions in general, as you do. I can only think in terms of particular religions.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 20 2015 5:32 utc | 79

Janusz Korwin Mikke is highly intelligent (a former bridge champion) but also highly erratic. One of the recent series of news items is that coal miners made a riot demanding something (I had not patience following the link), Mikke said in an interview that he would order shooting "the bandits", Duda, union leader who is also presidential candidate of the second largest party said that he would punch Mikke in the face, and Mikke appeared in the Parliament with a sabre and asked Duda for a duel if the latter is not a coward. [on further check: Mikke showed a sabre, and he questioned if Duda is not a coward/weasel, but he actually proposed a debate on the eastern foreign policy, in the room rented for the occasion in the building of Parliament.]

The bottom line is that what he said about Russia and Ukraine has quite a lot of logical sense, but Mikke is fully capable of mixing his conjectures with the reality.

Another tidbit: photogenic, eloquent and boldly spoken Mikke is projected to get 4.8% of the presidential vote, and even more photogenic female candidate is projected to get 6.8%.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 20 2015 6:42 utc | 80

@PR #79:

Thanks. I did get around to reading that interview, and the main thing I got out of it was that the interviewer might as well have been a Ukrainian working for the Ukie propaganda system, so Ukie-NATO alternate reality were here questions.

It's interesting to see these developments in Poland, but I guess that the bottom line is that Poland is going to maintain its present position (vassal of the US even more obsequious than the UK) for the foreseeable future.

I really can't complain about that. Poland's democracy is new. Germany and France's democracies are significantly more mature, yet even there citizens are not able to keep their nations from grovellingly submitting to domination and control by the US. What further developments are required for Germany's political elite to realize where its destiny lies – with Eurasia?

A quick guess: when the malign fascist nature of the new Ukraine becomes obvious even to the most fawning Atlanticist.

Or another formulation: the German Social Democrats must make a clear break with Merkel's appeasement of US imperialism and Ukrainian fascism, and return Germany to its Russia friendly policy.

But on second thought, I think I am grasping at straws. Germany is not going to change its policy significantly until there is a major external event, such as Ukraine imploding completely or the dollar collapsing. And that could mean 5 to 10 more years of extreme uncertainty and instability in Europe. Yet Germany could bring that all to an end now, simply by abandoning its Atlanticism (which now entails the active support of an incredibly virulent form of fascism in Europe).

Posted by: Demian | Apr 20 2015 7:19 utc | 81

Ref Yemenis' jackets
Pockets for qat and strong material on your shoulders to carry weapons. Notice that Yemenis wear "skirts" (futas) and not jalabiyyas (those are worn in KSA Iraq etc so you can see a will to differentiate). Plus North Yemen is cold in winter so if you are in war circumstances you need something better than just tee-shirt or shirt + futa (also, as a Muslim, you are not supposed to be going around in tee-shirt, your arms being considered a private part of your body).

Posted by: Mina | Apr 20 2015 8:27 utc | 82

You need pockets for qat

lol! brings to mind a personal story...

...but it's Burundi, 'turbo cabbage' and a baggy, green corduroy jacket...

...but that's waaay OT!

lol!!!

Posted by: john | Apr 20 2015 8:39 utc | 83

jfl @61: Yeah, exactly on the hasbarista-ness. So with apologies for feeding the troll, I still wanna respond to his/her "demonic Iranians" projection's all-out craziness/war response to a US/Israel attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

A war with Iran probably sets off a regional war. It could happen a number of ways after the bunker busters take out the nuke facilities - Iran invades Iraq, Hezbollah attacks Israel, Iran attacks Saudi Arabia or vice versa. The result's the same. Skyrocketing oil prices, a potential for crippling stagflation, and an uncontrollable regional war that could bring down the whole rotting Middle Eastern superstructure.

No. Iran's sensible response will be measured and 'just do more of what we're already doing' in the already existing regional wars. This is based on its underlying awareness that in the long run it has already won (ever since the US invasion dislodged Iraq from the 'Sunni' sphere, Iran was put on an inevitable course to be the dominant Persian Gulf power) and would not want to inspire or make any unnecessarily disruptive moves. The most extreme thing it might try is to target Eastern Saudi oil fields with offshore mines, but only if that is feasible, would stay localized and wouldn't stop its own exports.

That Iran would invade Iraq, its no. 1 ally, is of course absurd. A measured and effective escalation would be to introduce Iranian troops into Iraq and Syria to help its allies against their Saudi-US-Israel tied enemies (doing what most people in the world would think is a very good thing). In other words, as I said, just step up what it's already doing. No apocalypse.

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 20 2015 11:26 utc | 84

Saudi soldier killed in clashes near border with Yemen


A Saudi solider has been killed in armed clashes with yet unidentified gunmen near the country’s southern border with Yemen, Saudi media reported.

Wonder if that was an al Qaeda Saudi troopie or an ISIS Saudi troopie?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 20 2015 13:01 utc | 85

The 'regional war' is already well underway : the US/Israel/KSA-AQ-ISIS vs the region.

I hope the region comes out on top, and I imagine that 'most people in the world would think it a very good thing' when it does happen.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 20 2015 13:08 utc | 86

jfl @ 60: "Obama takes orders, he does not give them."

Bingo!

Posted by: ben | Apr 20 2015 13:19 utc | 87

@Debs is dead #28
A dictator holds de facto power, but a king also holds de jure and de fide power.
Of in simpler terms: without something like Divine Right of Kings, a dictator holds absolute power only so long as his troops can quell the rebellious.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Apr 20 2015 13:49 utc | 88

ben@86: "Bingo!" (jfl @ 60: "Obama takes orders, he does not give them.")

OK, but this is no excuse. He is a willing participant and member of the team. More 'partner' than 'soldier'.

He is a also narcissistic and materialistic as many Americans are (why the flattery of "exceptionalism" has such strong appeal). But this too, is no excuse.

Lastly, there is the naive excuse of "his heart is in the right place". The duopoly promotes this view by making each side fear the other. But as jfl points out: "The only 'two parties' in the USA are the ruling party and the people. Most of the people are not yet party to that understanding."

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 20 2015 14:48 utc | 89

J@89

I think that it is in a way apologetic to state that "Obama takes orders" Obama just as all presidents are part of the Ruling Class and he holds the highest position in that class. He may consider and respect the power of other members of that class but he had to be in agreement with the agendas and goals of that group before he was selected to lead them.

He's not a puppet nor a King/Dictator.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 20 2015 20:31 utc | 90

and the prize goes to the highest bidder.. crony capitalism or worse, at its finest..

Posted by: james | Apr 20 2015 20:34 utc | 91

"Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State"

The german magazine has a story based on papers found, how ISIS has/had a blue print on how to establish a caliphate in Iraq & Syria. The author of that blueprint was a former Iraqi officer.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/islamic-state-files-show-structure-of-islamist-terror-group-a-1029274.html

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 20 2015 21:24 utc | 92

Correction: I should have written "The german magazine Der Spiegel ..."

Der Spiegel is german for "The Mirror".

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 20 2015 21:26 utc | 93

The US military base in Ramstein, Germany is a very important link in the electronic chain for the control of the drones that fly in the Middle East.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/17/ramstein/

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 20 2015 21:34 utc | 94

@Willy2:

You really should pay closer attention. b brought up that Spiegel article in the first comment in this thread.

And you insult visitors of MoA when you explain to them what "Spiegel" means.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 20 2015 21:36 utc | 95

US Carrier, Warships Head to Yemen to Join Naval Blockade


Now, the US is doubling down, adding the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier, along with several support ships, nominally to stop the weapons shipments that neither they, nor any of their allies, have been able to prove are happening.

The naval blockade of Yemen has so far had the impact of keeping humanitarian aid ships from docking several places, and has forced several food ships to park off coast, for weeks on end, awaiting assorted permissions to dock.


The Gaza model. Spread first to Donbass and now to Yemen. 'Justified', no doubt, by the nearly unanimous, absolutely upside down UNSC resolution putting an embargo on arms shipments to the victims rather than on the aggressors.

The whole world gathers round, to hold the US'/KSA's coats and to cheer while the cowardly bullies kick the Yemenis teeth out, now that they have them down.

These are dark days for the human race on planet earth.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 20 2015 22:13 utc | 96

@95

I think it is yourself, who regularly lectures people here on adherence to your autocratic 'rules', who insults the blog and its readership.

I'd take a dozen willys any day to one hectoring Demian.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 20 2015 22:18 utc | 97

WoW@90: "He's not a puppet nor a King/Dictator."

Clever double straw-man defence WoW (puppet or dictator, LOL). But Inverted Totalitarianism means he is essentially both. Though I believe that "figurehead" and "autocrat" are more accurate terms.

The President is a product of the ruling duopoly of "Third Way" Centrists and and Extreme Right. As you correctly point out, Presidents must serve the powerful interests that got them elected, but those interests today are almost exclusively focused on powerful corporations and oligarchs. Presidents are useful to these interest for relating to the public (as 'Great Leader' figurehead) and as the means of applying increasingly illegitimate executive authority (autocrat).

And before you take issue with my "increasingly illegitimate" charge, consider well the increasing inequality, wall street bailouts, international adventures, trade negotiations that would undermine sovereignty, anti-constitutional spying, crackdown on whistle-blowers, continued executive signing statements, etc.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 20 2015 22:39 utc | 98

@88

' ... a dictator holds absolute power only so long as his troops can quell the rebellious ... '

Here in Thailand coups and dictatorships are so common that they are actually accepted as 'normal'. There's been a coup and a resultant new constitution here about every four years, on average, since the absolute monarchy was 'overthrown' in 1932. The Thais have coups with the same frequency other peoples have elections.

And the divine right of kings has been reinstated, since 1947, with the aid of the CIA, to the point where the first thing a new coup does is gain the always-forthcoming 'blessing' of the king. Law? what law? No law can restrain the Royal Thai Army 'protecting' the king! And the Thai people go along. Are terrified not to, at any rate.

Here in Thailand, the 'native' form of government is the Royal Thai Army coup. 'In the name of the king.'

But dictatorships can be more subtle as well ...


The true strength of rulers and empires lies not in armies or emotions, but in the belief of men that they are inflexibly open and truthful and legal. As soon as a government departs from that standard it ceases to be anything more than “the gang in possession,” and its days are numbered.

—H.G. Wells


... substitute " 'democratically elected' (neolibcon) governments" for the imperial "rulers and empires" and ... I hope that statement will someday become true.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 20 2015 22:42 utc | 99

@99

If, in fact, you are here in LOS; your comment is not very prudent.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 20 2015 23:28 utc | 100

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