Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 18, 2015

Open Thread 2015-29

News & views ...

Posted by b on July 18, 2015 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink

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Tsipras: Europe already changes

Posted by: nmb | Jul 18 2015 18:34 utc | 1

thanks nmb... "Financial Europe marked only a Pyrrhic victory against Greece." looks pretty solid to me for the time being..

Posted by: james | Jul 18 2015 18:37 utc | 2

is it better to be a colony of the usa, or germany or russia?

connected article here

i was mostly thinking of different countries when i said this, but the article is interesting for throwing a different light on other countries working thru a similar challenge..

Posted by: james | Jul 18 2015 18:45 utc | 3

Yes as we feared, Kiev begin the war again

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 18 2015 18:57 utc | 4

Thank you James. The battle continues.

Posted by: nmb | Jul 18 2015 19:11 utc | 5

From 2014 but still scary

Luke Rudkowski And Dan Dicks Arrested At Bilderberg meeting in Denmark 2014

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 18 2015 19:57 utc | 6

@james, 3:

Alongside the Fort Russ article you linked to is another: Lords and Vassals: a Quick Update on America's Empire. Together the two shed a lot of light on a lot of situations. For starters, that Poland is increasingly coming under Germany's neocolonization focus because Greece is squeezed dry and the Ukraine didn't turn out to be the source of new profits that the US and Germany hoped for.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Jul 18 2015 20:49 utc | 7


I'd choose russia these days.

PS. I like your commentaries and always click on your name. Thanks for your well thought out comments.


Posted by: juannie | Jul 18 2015 21:24 utc | 8

On the July 16th post about Greece, several comments linked to and recommended the Costas Laparvitsas speech at the Democracy Rising conference sponsered by The Real News Network. I would also recommend that speech, prominently linked at the site.

Also linked there is an interview which Mr. Laparvitsas gives to Dimitri Lascaris, who is participating in the conference along with other Real News staff. One of his questions was about the Schauble offer of a temporary Greek exit. To this, Laparvitsas replied:

"There are people who are trying to make out that the proposal for exiting the Eurozone is really Schauble's proposal. Anybody who argues that Greece must exit is doing the work for Mr. Schauble, is making his bidding.

This is not true, this is false. It's a manifest falsehood. Manifest falsehood. The reason is clear. Mr. Schauble did offer a dilemma. A choice, a dilemma, to the Greek government. And that said very clearly on the one hand you can have a bailout, which will be very harsh and which would include creating a new fund to sell off your public property and which would include severe monitoring of every action by the government and so on. It is essentially a neocolonial arrangement. It offered Greece this path. It also offered Greece the path of temporary exit that as you mentioned previously, that would allow some kind of writeoff along the terms of the [inaud.] and both possibly some support for the new exchange rate. That's what Schauble offered.

The second part of his offer, the second part of the dilemma, is not what we're advocating when we're advocating radical exit, progressive exit. We want to nationalize the banks, we want to change the structure of the economy. We want to have an effective writeoff and so on. At least, it's not the same thing."

I haven't watched all of the proceedings at the conference, but I was taken aback when Mr. Lascaris strongly advocated in Saturday morning's session that Greece take Schauble's and IMF's offers to provide assistance for Grexit. And I am wondering what his purpose could have been, when clearly Mr. Laparvitsas does not agree that these would be friendly helpers. My thought is Greece can, and should, look elsewhere for assistance. Friends like these they don't need.

Posted by: juliania | Jul 18 2015 21:27 utc | 9

PPS. You also psychohistorian.

Posted by: juannie | Jul 18 2015 21:27 utc | 10


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 18 2015 22:52 utc | 11


I'm living where there's a strong US occupation force, with plans to bring in 10,000s of foreign laborers, who will get their green cards and then hopefully flood the Texas labor market and not remain here, ...

...although most will, tipping the voting population majority from the poor locals, to equal minorities of foreign workers, poor locals, and the disinterested haolie occupiers, who just want their tax-subsidized Fed super centers to shop in, while they make plans for Pivot to Armageddon.

Not surprisingly, Goldman is already here with a $B tranche loan for the local technocrat godfathers, who are all busy taking bribes and selling off our public assets, leaving the poor locals with an unsustainable human services tax base, and 10,000s of foreign workers with green cards, who speak poor English, are ill-educated, and are willing to work for $5 cash under the table for La Familia mafia bosses, who fly them over here from the villages,in return for half their wages.

Technocrats, WS banker loans, US occupiers, mafia bosses and unrestricted cheap foreign labor as the new super-minority.

What could go warong?!

Maybe they'll open a Disney World Mini-mall.

"When you wish upon a star,
you prolly won't get very far,
Anything your heart desires,
will burn in flames in funeral pyres."

Walt wrote that his first day on the job, before he learned about focus-group marketing and 'happy-up' campaigning.

Onward for the Party to TPP! Lu,lu,lu,lu,lu,lu

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 18 2015 22:55 utc | 12


This is the Mil.Gov Technocrats Fourth Reich of 1000 Years.

There's no conjecture or surmise, you can see it with your lying eyes. These Mil.Gov pensioners and their Ivy League West Point-educated chauffered sequestered children graduate to administrative desk jobs for life, channeling vampire- squid hot money into hostile takeover of the Public Commons and the National Treasury, all executed with Aryan precision under a Marxist National Security psy-campaign.

Here, there and everywhere, Reykjavik to Jo'burg, Sevastopol to Bogotá. And you know what? They'll get it ... they'll get all of it.

"And then they came for me."

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 18 2015 23:24 utc | 13

@12 Yes indeed. They swarm across the border looking for work. On the other hand who else is going to pick the fruit, gut the chickens and clean the swimming pools?

Posted by: dh | Jul 18 2015 23:25 utc | 14

Jessica Baker: (Jessica Screaming)
Jessica Baker: Jessica Screaming
Jennifer Baker: (Jennifer Screaming)
Jennifer Baker: Jennifer Screaming
Kim Baker: (Kim Screams)
Kim Baker: Kim Screams
Sarah Baker: (Sarah Screams)
Sarah Baker: Sarah Screams
Jessica Baker: (Jessica Screams)
Jessica Baker: Jessica Screams
Jennifer Baker: (Jennifer Screams)
Jennifer Baker: Jennifer Screams

Posted by: Timon | Jul 18 2015 23:59 utc | 15

Annie Martin: (Annie Screams)
Annie Martin: Annie Screams
Bar Refaeli: (Bar Screams)
Bar Refaeli: Bar Screams
Mary Jane Watson: (Mary Jane Screams)
Mary Jane Watson: Mary Jane Screams
Rose Octavius: (Rosie Screams)
Rosie Octavius: Rosie Screams
Julianne Hough: (Julianne Screams)
Julianne Hough: Julianne Screams
Shandi Finnessey: (Shandi Screams)
Shandi Finnessey: Shandi Screams

Posted by: Timon Screaming | Jul 19 2015 0:03 utc | 16

Greece's New Cabinet Sets Sights on Locking in Bailout

...a surprise shuffle that saw around 10 top government positions change hands. The move effectively removed dissident Syriza figures from key positions in Tsipras' government, after 39 of the party's legislators refused to back the bailout package.

The government's next move is expected to be to lock in the new bailout deal before upcoming elections. The elections are likely to be held in September or October, while finalizing the bailout could take as long as a month.

So ... the 39 have their work cut out for them : return to the people for discussion, advice and instruction. Help organize a referendum on the EU's diktat and to organize a new party to effect an alternative ... we would say the alternative.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 19 2015 0:42 utc | 17

@11 - I like that article. If these facts continue to emerge and solidify, that fraudulent testimony and rigged economic statistics drew Greece into a bailout with IMF that actually wasn't warranted, then I suppose this would take on for the Greeks the scale of a 9/11 kind of treasonous false flag.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 19 2015 1:21 utc | 18

I would postulate that the intelligent Greeks are movings this international kabuki towards Grexit. The key points are being able to nationalize the banks and make them open again with a temporary currency, aligned with a repudiation of the oderous parts of the debt and feints toward prosecuting the bankers selling known slime.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 19 2015 4:32 utc | 19

the *groan* is discarding all pretense of *impartiality*,

only one of seven posts left ,

the following disappeared without trace, not even with a *comment deleted* msg.

*Nelson’s handler was a man named Gordon Kerr, of the Forces Research Unit, established under Thatcher essentially to professionalise collusion. His subsequent career demolishes the ‘bad apple’ theory even further: “He actually left the north under the cloud of being a mass murderer and involved in all these killings – but then went on to become British military attaché in China! *

imagine sending a death squad organiser to china as military attache,
he wasnt there for his health thats for sure hehehe


a brit whines about chinese middle class destroying the world's eco system,
i post this to show him who's the champ of eco terrorism. [1]
also lost without trace, hehehe

someone ask me why post at the *groan* at all,
i persevered for several reasons,
*there'r kick ass commenters there too, putting some of the alternate media posters to shame.
*so far the censorship is at least grudgingly tolerable, about 70 % success rate,
*i did manage to convert a few sheeples who thank me for opening another window to them.
i wouldnt be surprised some of the newbies at moa followed my links to here.
the clown wow could be one, the last time i encountered him at the groan i consigned him to my bozo file, meaning no more communication.
but he seems to enjoy a celebrity status here !

any way with the groan's latest unabashed assault on their own vaunted *freedom of speech*, i guess it might be time to call it a day.
u win, groan.

dont get me started on the haarp , biowarfare...............

Posted by: denk | Jul 19 2015 5:44 utc | 20

Are the fundamentalist Jewish terrorists and the fundamentalist Islamic terrorists teaming up against the Palestinians in Gaza?

BREAKING: Several Simultaneous Explosions Rock Gaza

The officials said six car explosions occurred at the same time. The cars belonged to senior officials from the Islamic Jihad resistance group and from the Hamas party, the party running affairs in the strip.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosions, but in recent months there were several confrontations in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood between Hamas security forces and fighters from a group affiliated with the Islamic State group operating in the impoverished strip.


Boycott, Separate from, Disown both!

Posted by: jfl | Jul 19 2015 6:35 utc | 21

Kerry Q&A with PBS's Woodruff on the Iran nuclear deal.

The same concerns are highlighted (inspections of suspected sites, the weapons embargo, billions in unfrozen assets etc) with Kerry answering every one of them. Without missing a single beat (he definitely rehearsed for this). He actually carried himself like a competent statesman for once. This is the same man who, overnight, created a new country in central Asia.

The hawkish ambassador Susan Rice parroting the same good arguments.

I believe the Obama administration (by making these rounds in the press, reaching out directly to the American people and repeatedly hammering in the pros of the deal into the psyches of the viewers) is making an honest attempt to safekeep the Iran nuclear deal. Because, as they themselves pointed out, the alternative would mean the US would lose its standing in the international community. The US would become further isolated in the world. Not Iran.

And to avoid the very real possibility of yet another costly war in the middle east. To liberate the world from yet another middle-eastern rogue nation. Which, as it would turn out, did NOT have an existing nuclear weapons program. It'd be Iraq War of 2003 all over again.

I'm aware that the United States has never been consistent in any foreign policy decision they've made (at least no in recent years) and things may change tomorrow. But I attribute that to too many influential people with their hands on the steering wheel.

Posted by: never mind | Jul 19 2015 7:18 utc | 22

Not sure where to put this. Ostensibly a response on the 'Billmon' thread to jfl @75, it also touches a lot on the main subject of conversation here:

@71, @73

And you guys are just endlessly whining about the whiners ..."

No, we're trying to get out the truth (from our perspective) about the fake left collaborators. You would think that would be damned easy with an example like the July 5 referendum and then Syriza's utter capitulation to economic depravity, but no, the 'official left' and you have been way behind on who the class enemies are (I imagine the 'official left' just wants to keep us confused, while I'm sure your motives are purer) and what the obvious solution at this point solution is.

That solution is the leftist Grexit proposed by Laparvitsas.

Also, on a specific loser and 'there is no alternative' 'euro-loving no matter what' collaborationist, I'm very worried the 'official left' and the mainstream media is preparing to expend its very considerable resources promoting Varoufakis as the new leader of the Greek 'left'. What a replay of capitulation that would be!

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 19 2015 7:31 utc | 23

jfl @21: Yeah, maximize focus on the KSA/ISIS/Israeli co-oppression of the Middle East. The war of intolerance and religious hatred against any sort of decent future for the region. Noting that the most important member of team @asshole is the USA.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 19 2015 8:28 utc | 24


Greece™ is the shiney object to divert everyone's attention from Ukraine, which has been cut off from Russian gas for non-payment, and will default within the month on the IMF loans, triggering Kerry's promise to backstop those IMF loans with monies looted from American taxpayers, monies which the RINO US Congress has already set aside $58B for in a 'special account' without any explanation, so not only will $38B looted by Nulanders from the American people and given to the PRIVATE IMF bank, but another $20B slush grift to keep The Junta from bankruptcy and launch the next USA armed and trained war in Donbass.

Nulanders are launching all out psyops against Russia in the runup to a new Nazi blitzkreig from Kiev and Poland against Crimea and Donbass here: RUSSIA WANTS TO DESTROY UKRAINE AND FURTHER CONFLICT IS IMMINENT, CLAIMS UKRAINIAN PM ON MH17 ANNIVERSARY.

Meanwhile, back in Greece, Tsipras is "busy doing G-d's work", and the world media are following him around like trained poodles, casting chicken bones and reading ashes for what the ECBs next move will be, though that matters.

The Ukraine War will not televized. The $58 BILLION looted from Americans will disappear between WADC and Kiev. It will not be accounted for. MegaDeath wins.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 19 2015 9:04 utc | 25


You should find out who owns the eurozone debt....which bank or country

then you will know who is holding the keys to the kingdom

let me know how it goes

Posted by: mcohen | Jul 19 2015 10:28 utc | 26

Here is Costas Lapavitsas' amazing speech on the austerity package and on an exit strategy:

Posted by: | Jul 19 2015 12:33 utc | 27

How about Trump being swiftboated or Howard Dean'd in the hooplah over his accurate "he's not a war hero" comment.A full court response from the neolibcons of either party.What a joke.(Trump aint my guy,but he's been accurate about reality more than the rest of the rethug field and most of the demoncrats.

Posted by: dahoit | Jul 19 2015 13:31 utc | 28

Interestingly, Trump has donated more money to Democrats over the years than Republicans. That and he has donated to the Clinton Foundation.

Trojan Horse?

Posted by: paulmeli | Jul 19 2015 14:21 utc | 29

Speaking of Trump:
Donald Trump Says John McCain Is No War Hero, Setting Off Another Storm


In Iowa, Mr. Trump disparaged Mr. McCain’s Vietnam War record, saying: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 19 2015 15:32 utc | 30

I think it is arguable that Trump and Sanders are both Trojan Horses for Hillary, she has so many negatives it is going to take a lot of payoffs to get that nomination.

Posted by: mad1 | Jul 19 2015 15:37 utc | 31

Germany’s Destructive Anger
But we’ve heard less about German anger, and we know they are angry. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was reported to have started yelling during Saturday night’s negotiations. France and Italy have both made huge loans to Greece, but neither country has expressed hostility to Greece. Why is Germany so angry?

As an economic historian, I got a taste of this resentment during a conference on Greek sovereign debt held in Munich last week.
But when the German economists spoke at the final session, a completely different tone took over the room. Within the economic theories and numbers came a moral message: The Germans were honest dupes and the Greeks corrupt, unreliable and incompetent. Both parties were reduced to caricatures of themselves. We’ve heard this story throughout the negotiations, but in that room, it was clear how much resentment shapes the views of German economists.

Clemens Fuest, of the Center for European Economic Research, who has advised Mr. Schäuble, kept reciting numbers about Greek debt and growth, and said the Greeks had failed at every level over the past several years to manage their debt. He believed they should simply be thrown out of the eurozone. Henrik Enderlein, of the pro-European Jacques Delors Institute, said that Greece should stay in the eurozone, but only if it applied more austerity and better management. Daniel Gros, director of the Center for European Policy Studies, theorized that Greek debt and economic woes could be countered only with better export numbers.
All points were important, but to hear it from these economists, Germany played no real part in the Greek tragedy. They handed over their money and watched as the Greeks destroyed themselves over the past four years. Now the Greeks deserved what was coming to them.

When I pointed out that the Germans had played a major role in this situation, helping at the very least by insisting on austerity and unsustainable debt over the last three years, doing little to improve accounting standards, and now effectively imposing devastating capital controls, Mr. Enderlein and Mr. Fuest scoffed. When I mentioned that many saw austerity as a new version of the 1919 Versailles Treaty that would bring in a future “chaotic and unreliable” government in Greece — the very kind that Mr. Enderlein warned about in an essay in The Guardian — they countered that they were furious about being compared to Nazis and terrorists.
When the panel split up, German attendees circled me to explain how the Greeks were robbing the Germans.
Here lies a major cultural disconnect, and also a risk for the Germans. For it seems that their sense of victimization has made them lose their cool, both in negotiations and in their economic assessments. If the Germans are going to lead Europe, they can’t do it as victims.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 19 2015 15:44 utc | 32

Jackrabbit #11 The eu was set up to fail and Greece is first.

Go top for story.

Posted by: jo6pac | Jul 19 2015 15:56 utc | 33

Vintage Red, here's my favorites comments from Lords and Vassals
malik • 7 hours ago

America is not so much a "lord," as it is a mass-murdering serial killer with deep rooted sociopathic tendencies combined with Christian moral fanaticism.

Indeed, the Serial Killer is the perfect archetype of the American national character.

Think Charles Manson, Son of Sam, the Zodiac Killer, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy all rolled into one, and you will comprehend what the "Land of the Free" really stands for. In fact, it's not a coincidence that all these notorious serial killers were AMERICANS.

What's more, America's "democratic" allies like Britain, Mexico, Canada, Australia, or Europe are no better, as they share these same psychopathic instincts and thus naturally gravitate towards their beloved (snicker) Leader of the Free World.

At base, America's allies are more crime partners than mere vassals. To call them "vassals" is to provide them with an alibi for their own criminal behavior.
Larchmonter445 • a day ago

J. Hawk, your simile fails because it represents a system that is different than what we see. Feudalism is only a characteristic of this Hegemony.

This Hegemon rules with bases of military occupation, covert operations and financial power. Even your view that Britain is not spied on by NSA is very naive. The great British spy scandals certainly indicated that they must be spied on. No exceptions.

There is no chance for either a left or right government in any of the vassals from altering course. They do as they are told or they fall in scandal or worse.

The divergence from the Hegemon's line is so tiny that it matters not. Wreck your own economy, defy your own people, but you will obey the Hegemon.

This Tyrant is more than a Feudal Lord. This is a ruthless killer. The terror struck in the heart of the vassals is profound. Find an exception. There are none. There haven't been any in several decades, Europe, Asia or wherever you find the American relationship to a "ally". Blind obedience. Instant.

From WWII on, when Ike was made Supreme Allied Commander over Field Marshall Montgomery, and then NATO Commander, and always US General over all others, and never US troops commanded by other than US commanders. Now Obama has tried to water that down, but the US rules, it controls everything.

Ironically, the vassals are like Pavlov's dogs. The Hegemon clicks his heels and the vassals wet their pants.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 19 2015 16:13 utc | 34

@8 juliania.. thanks! ditto and i also really enjoy psychohistorian's posts.. @7 vintage red offers a very similar article outlining the power structure at work..

@12 chipnik..that sounds depressing! is that the puerto rico by chance?

Posted by: james | Jul 19 2015 16:32 utc | 35

On ‘Lords and Vassals’ by J Hawk at Fort Russ posted by Vintage Red

Hawk is right in pointing out that the ‘vassal’ relationship is a mutual contract, refering to medieval times. Welcome to see a ranking of these vassals, e.g. Israel in the top category, i.e. the most precious, coddled vassal given the most advantages and bowed down to the most, with Poland in the 3rd category (out of 4.)

He says amongst other things that Ukraine hoped to gain tier one, - we are the new Israel !! - yup.

Ukr. would be a staunch US ally and do its dirty work vis-à-vis Russia, gifted endless monies (for defense, which is paid to US Cos. anyway, war, big biz, upper class, and lots of oppos to steal along the way, and of course privatization, exploitation by the colons, with differences 1) generally be protected and so on.

Like, the Israelis kill indiscriminately in Gaza, we can do it in the Donbass! Those ppl are scum, tick the box, Arabs, Muslims, Russians, Colorados, Separatists, Terrorists, Chechens, Poor ppl who cheat, Whatever, All of them at once, etc.

We will get rich.

Kiev miscalculated, Washington too, but with no or little consequences for them.

1. Israeli poor single mothers and their children are kept alive, if barely, in the Ukraine today, moot. Kiev cannot however hard it tries attain the holy status of ‘Israelis - Jews’ - it may insist on their ‘roots’ and ‘folklore’ and ‘allegiance’ and ‘new core invented culture’ and ‘European values’ and twist and turn about showing how submissive and greedy they are, it is fail all along the line. The charade is kept up because some ppl earn piles of money. Also nobody is willing to abandon the alliance abruptly, that looks bad, it has to be phased out.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 19 2015 16:39 utc | 36

noirette: i always look forward to your comments, smart and lucid. wish you did more than reactive comments. perhaps in another place?

Posted by: bolasete | Jul 19 2015 16:56 utc | 37

A helpful analysis that puts the Greek-EU crisis in its context can be seen at: . The title of the article is " Why is Germany so tough on Greece? Look back 25 years" by Dirk Laabs. Laabs writes, "It was 25 years ago, during the summer of 1990, that Schäuble led the West German delegation negotiating the terms of the unification with formerly communist East Germany. A doctor of law, he was West Germany’s interior minister and one of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s closest advisers, the go-to guy whenever things got tricky."

Posted by: jrh | Jul 19 2015 16:57 utc | 38

Chipnik says @ 12:

I'm living where there's a strong US occupation force

yeah, it's getting pretty humdrum out there, ain't it?

i mean, i figure there must be AT LEAST a billion of us who can say the same thing.

Posted by: john | Jul 19 2015 17:31 utc | 39

Bankster to Angie: Get this deal done. This time banks will fall because of contagion. Anyway nobody will budge.

Angie: I’m doing my uber streng bestest

Man in wheelchair (cackles): This is madness but maybe I like it

Grey-haired lady: Vee are ze most reluctant but zen, sorry th-en, yes

Alexis sits head lowered in hands.

Angie to Alexis: You heard the man. Your other choice is the third world. Your people will eat fish bones and olive pits

Boss Tusk to Alexis: You are not leaving the room

Alexis nods, a tear dribbles down his cheek.

Enter a small Greek girl stage left: (whispers pleadingly) I’m hungry

Ghostly Nasty Voice from ceiling: All proceeds to plan

Lights lowered

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 19 2015 18:07 utc | 40

at some point the $ collapses: deflation/hyperinflation. sooo many thinktankers are funded that plans to utilize different vectors have been gamed. euro group holds together is best; grexit is acceptable. as long as the working class is further crushed the fascists will be pleased. us, leading fascist nation (corporate state; dictatorship of finance capital), needs to squeeze the home front, plunder further (russia makes them drool), destroy value for reconstruction. the future looks bleak. perhaps the loss of the ussr really was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century.

Posted by: bolasete | Jul 19 2015 18:44 utc | 41

@Noirette : The Ukrainians have certainly tried to build a myth of historical victimhood, with their idiotic attempt to create their own personal holocaust out of the famine that struck so much of the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Of course trying to convert a natural disaster into a genocide 50 years after it occurred (even with the Madison Avenue department of the CIA dusting off and re-writing the old Nazi script) when there is no evidence it was intentional isn't such an easy task. Even more foolish trying to hang it on "Russians" when the USSR was, at the time, run by a Georgian who was to be followed by a Ukrainian and since there's no getting around the multi-ethnic nature of the USSR, those who want to rewrite it as a Russian Empire don't have any historical leg to stand on. Only the most uninformed simpletons or most vicious Nazis will replace, in their memories, the mass graves and pogroms created by the Banderists (captured on film) for some historical subterfuge about a natural disaster that struck over huge areas of the USSR.

Anyway, they tried, they failed as so many have before. They thought they could go from part of the USSR to part of the USA in a few decades, but got turned into another debt colony thrust into perpetual conflict with their giant neighbor and with the usual suspects in the US elite picking off the best of the assets. Sure, the oligarchs will take the lions share, but the common people are doomed as usual. Misery, want, repression and war! The harvest of citizens in any nation undercut by a US sponsored coup - the Ukrainians have only to look at the history of Guatemala, Indonesia, and pre-revolutionary Iran to know what's in store for them.

Posted by: guest77 | Jul 19 2015 19:15 utc | 42

jfl.. not sure why i thought of you with this article..

link to article.

Privacy fears grow in Thailand over hacking revelations

Posted by: james | Jul 19 2015 19:35 utc | 43


Yes, the Thai military dictatorship is the traditional totalitarian fascist model pioneered by Sarit in the fifties. It's the military everywhere that is not only conducting the dragnet - the NSA is a branch of the US military - but also now 'proactively' fighting 'the war on information leakage and public discussion'.

I had noticed Thailand's presence on the list of the HT's customers - just above Russia in terms of money spent. I imagine that HT gets 'the big bucks' for its malware. Its clients are used to poor price/performance ratios and to throwing money at their 'problems' ... The Dictator has also just announced that he's going to spend over a billion USD for Chinese blue water submarines - the average depth of the Gulf of Thailand is 58 meters - and, purely coincidently, that he is going to begin the emasculation of the 'populist' universal health care program - get the infant mortality rate in Thailand back up where it 'belongs' ... so I imagine he hasn't got much for his money.

I do imagine he'll be coming back for more and more though. The Dictatorship is hot to put all the international internet traffic in/out of Thailand through a single gateway, where it can 'control' it.

Thailand is on the skids as far as its government is concerned. One year down ... looks like a long, dark night of dictatorship. The 'elite' and middle class wannabes seem pleased.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 19 2015 23:27 utc | 44


' Indeed, the Serial Killer is the perfect archetype of the American national character.

' Think Charles Manson, Son of Sam, the Zodiac Killer, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy all rolled into one, and you will comprehend what the "Land of the Free" really stands for. In fact, it's not a coincidence that all these notorious serial killers were AMERICANS. '

You left out the 500 kg American Serial Killer in the center of the room, in the White House. Barack Obama. All time champion American Serial Killer. Slash Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Drone strikes kill 10 Qaeda suspects in Yemen: Official. He's killed so many for so long that no one even looks up, or counts the bodies any longer. Almost no one. A true to form Serial Killer, he knows little to nothing about those he kills.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 20 2015 0:42 utc | 45


Thanks for the link. That was a very interesting analysis and session. I agree with the analysis. It looked as though many others - at that session - did not. Note that it was all in English. I hope that the Greeks are in agreement with Costas' analysis, supportive of Costas' analysis and get on with it, doing what must be done.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 20 2015 1:43 utc | 46

jfl, what is happening in Thailand is the same Shock Doctrine approach used by the puppets of Western finance on South America. Control finance and create an oligarchy that dominates govt., media and commmerce.............maintained over time by inheritance and accumulating ownership of property.

Noriette, your play description of a scenario for Greece was very creative and touching. My jaded scenario for our world has Gaia smacking us (what remains) back to pre-industrial scrambling for existence in a highly polluted world within a decade or two. I keep telling friends that at 66 I am glad i didn't make children that I would have to explain/defend my thoughts or our species to.

I do think the the kabuki in Greece is far from over. As soon as the banks open back up and the basic Greek economy opens up, some other part of the EU merry-go-round will start to fly off and fundamental questions that have come up will continue to be ignored.

The past 500+ years of private finance debt slavery to the inherited rich is looking like a sad obituary to our promising species. Are we really, really , really sure that this form of social organization sucks for most of the species participants?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 20 2015 6:32 utc | 47

@47 psychohistorian

Yeah, I guess ... but it was the Indians who 'created the oligarchy that dominates govt., media and commerce ... maintained over time by inheritance and accumulating ownership of property', during an imperial spree that predates our own.

They've expanded, been augmented by the Chinese, intermarried, and adapted of course, but it's an old, old story. Older than 500 years. The Romans used to trade with the 'Cambodians' - Funan - in the early CE.

The Siamese in Bangkok still regard all of Thailand as their property ... inhabited and worked by farmer-squatters, to be dusted off when the time is opportune. Not unlike the way the Germans view the present day population of Greece, I suppose ... and of Italy and Spain ... The way the 'Spaniards' of South America regard the Indios. The way the 5-eyed denizens of Oceania regard the rest of the world.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 20 2015 7:19 utc | 48

28 killed, 100 injured as blast hits Turkey border town near Syria

Reading the article makes me feel that - regardless it seems to be an attack by ISIS - Erdogan is going to use this as an excuse to attack the Kurds. But Iran is not exactly a neutral observer.

It seems to me that Turkey-Iran-Syria-Iraq-Lebanon (TISIL) need to forego the luxury of petty ethnic rivalry and self-aggrandisement and get down to what should be their common business : defending themselves against the KSA/USA/IL. TISIL could have it all their way in Anatolia if they'd just think in terms of what's both possible and conducive to peace and happiness. I cannot imagine that the problem is Iran-Syria-Iraq-Lebanon ... maybe the Russians could invite them all for tea and a talk?

Posted by: jfl | Jul 20 2015 12:37 utc | 49

Terrorist attack in Turkey:

The AKP-ISIS honeymoon is over. Turkey is now the target of ISIS.

Posted by: virgile | Jul 20 2015 13:32 utc | 50

@james #43

Stop going to Asia Times, after "Investor" bought over and revamped it. Pepe Escobar still there but the Jap-puppet editor seems drifting toward Jap and Amerikka.

Anyone knows who are the "Investor" Could it be another NSA covert site?

Posted by: Jack Smith | Jul 20 2015 14:22 utc | 51

jfl 44
* The Dictator has also just announced that he's going to spend over a billion USD for Chinese blue water submarines*

sea military are infested with us trained officers who'r mostly are pro usa,
this also ensure that they get their hardware from uncle sham.
a win win set up.....for washington !

if thai military is diverging from the clutch of the unitedsnake isnt it a turn for the better ?

Posted by: denk | Jul 20 2015 15:38 utc | 52

Wonder if this is the famous false flag "of Syrian origin" Turkish authorities were caught planning last year(?).

Posted by: Ananymus | Jul 20 2015 16:03 utc | 53

Zakharchenko repulsively commends Right Sector for attacking gays in Kiev (and I think he means this literally, in reference to their attack on a gay pride parade--it's toward the end of this interview):

There are much more important things discussed there, but that really stuck in my craw. These fucking backwards religious zealots. The Saker is so sure his exalted Orthodox Christianity is so much different than the Protestant evangelists you hear on the radio in the U.S., but it has a funny way of arriving at some very similar places.

Perhaps Novorossia has more in common with Right Sector than I'd like to think.

Posted by: RudyM | Jul 21 2015 3:02 utc | 54

The comments on his site seem more sycophantic than ever, but that's pretty much the way it goes anywhere. There definitely are a lot of creepy, partly ultra-conservative, religious posters there.

Posted by: RudyM | Jul 21 2015 3:05 utc | 55

Fallout from Makachevo continues. The question remains, can Poroshenko get, if not a monopoly on coercion, at least a preponderance of it.

Mukachevo: Maidan Hawks, Maidan Doves, and the Prophets of a New Revolution

However, in my view, it doesn't matter how the conflict between the authorities and the RS will end. It only matters that the conflict has raised the chronic and unofficial stand-off between the authorities and the "volunteer battalions" to the level of official and open military confrontation. One also must keep in mind that in the process the Right Sector is gradually becoming a symbol of the struggle by Ukraine's patriots against the authorities which betrayed the Maidan....

The Right Sector and its fate are of little importance to Ukraine but the organization, even after being destroyed, might just be the stone which causes a military and political avalanche destroying everything in its path. It might be that the Right Sector militants in Mukachevo are the prophets of a new Ukrainian revolution.

But maybe not. Popular support appears a bit dicey as the Right Sector threats fizzle Pravyi Sektor has rescheduled its big rally to "say no to the government of traitors" for Tuesday th 21st. From translator J. Hawk's comments.

The Right Sector appears to be in a downward spiral. They'll probably do better than 10 people on Tuesday. Like, for example, 100 people! It seems that the advertised RS strength of 10 thousand members is something of a bluff by Yarosh because whenever an opportunity arises to actually use that strength, the result is a somewhat pathetic one like this.

Now, collectively, the volunteer formations do represent a significant force. They are also one of the most important pillars of the regime, which is why even the wayward RS tends to be treated with kid gloves (the Transcarpathia operations are aimed at RS "bad apples", as if the barrel itself was full of wholesome ones). But they are internally divided. No single leaders controls all of them....

How long can Kiev count on the loyalty of the volunteer battalions? For as long as there are spoils it can deliver, even at the expense of Ukraine's own population. But not a minute longer.

Meanwhile, a separatist demo in Lvov. Galicia for Galicians!

Alex Mercouris advises that renewal of the war he expected did not occur due to financial reasons.

In the absence of the negotiations envisaged by the deal done in Minsk the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics exist in limbo – under blockade, facing current shelling, without a proper legal status and without full control of the territory they claim.

The Ukrainian government for its part cannot bring itself to recognize or accept the separate identities of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, but lacks the means to suppress them.

The situation is extremely unstable and very dangerous.

The Saker (everyone's favorite Orthodox Slavophile) believes that If Poroshenko Attacks His Days Are Numbered. He's being set up and manipulated into attacking by Washington.

Poroshenko is in a terrible situation. Ukrainian economy is basically dead. There is nothing left to salvage, nevermind turn the tide and overcome the crushing economic crisis.

The Right Sector is up in arms and very, very angry. Folks in the western Ukraine are already seriously considering demanding their own special autonomy status. As for Odessa with Saakashvili in charge and the daughter of Egor Gaidar as Deputy Governor, it will inevitably explode, especially since the USA officially pays their salaries....

By now Poroshenko has probably already figured out that he is being used like both a pawn and a fall guy by the USA: when he will be forced to order an attack on Novorussia and this attack inevitably fails, he will be blamed for it all.

Why would the USA order Poroshenko to attack even though such an attack is sure to result in yet another defeat? For two reasons: the (now rather hypothetical) hope that Russia might intervene and because that is the perfect way to get rid of Poroshenko.

Novorossiya for its part is well-situated to capitalize, he believes. It has behaved with scrupulous restraint, in order to make it clear that when war resumes, it will be due to Kiev. And it should be able to defeat the initial strike and gain ground with counter-attackes.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 21 2015 6:13 utc | 56

Thoughts on the up-coming negotiation during the Greek intermission

The IMF and ECB have stated that Greece needs debt restructuring. But will they - or a supportive country like France - help Greece to get a commitment for sustainable debt in the upcoming negotiations?

IMO Greece should reasonably expect that the negotiated agreement will include a commitment to a sustainable debt level and a detailed description of what that means for Greece. Yanis has suggested that debt servicing is capped at some percent of GDP. But it seems clear that Greece also needs a hefty investment to reinvigorate its economy - thus the IMFs call for a 30-year moratorium.

But it appears that Schauble et al. may press for even more concessions from Greece during the negotiations (possibly as an attempt to force GRexit). That would mean things like accelerated privatizations and no clarity on the parameters of debt restructuring. This would make a barely acceptable 'deal' repugnant and possibly/probably lead to a rejection of Syriza/Tsipras in elections that are expected soon after an agreement is reached (a turn to the right?).

As long as GRexit is NOT on the table, Tsipras will have no choice but to capitulate. The ECB and IMF are unlikely to be political allies (they won't be on the Greek side of the table at talks), and the assistance of those countries that have been supportive are limited (e.g. France's desire to keep Greece in the EZ doesn't mean that it will oppose the German block on any specific deal terms).

It seems that Tsipras has wanted to avoid moves that signal a willingness for GRexit. Possibly because Schauble might use that against Greece. However, the ECB and IMF statements on debt restructuring give Tsipras just cause and political cover to demand a full outline of debt restructuring. There is no reason that Tsipras should not make that a 'red-line' - which is necessarily backed by preparations for GRexit. Especially given that he was supposedly so close to walking away from the negotiations with Merkel and has stated that he 'doesn't believe' in the agreement.


I have previously argued that Greece 'wins' by getting a commitment on debt restructuring or a managed GRexit. The former is more advantageous as it avoids disruption and allows Greece to possibly benefit from Euro-area reforms (fiscal integration) envisioned by France and others. (Though the possibility of Euro reforms is a minor consideration as it is unclear when reforms will occur and what help they might be.)

So the question is: at what point does Tspiras make a stand? We are told that Tsipras was willing to walk away from the talks over the issue of the $50bn Euro privitization fund. Clarity on debt restructuring seems (IMO) to be just as vital. And with the opening of the banks, Tsipras should have a bit more room to maneuvre.

If Tsipras can not take a strong stand due to assurances he gave during the negotiations, then he should step down (which would probably mean Greek elections BEFORE the negotiations instead of AFTER).


The February Agreement with the Troika (renamed "Institutions") was nauseating. But Tspiras/Yanis didn't comply with the Troika's wishes which drew charges of "incompetence" that were blasted via MSM. This anti-Syriza campaign caused me to view Tsipras/Yanis as being true to their strategy of confronting TPTB. Later, MSM cried that Tsipras/Syriza was 'undemocratic' - about the same time that Schauble taunted Tsipras about calling a referendum (polls showed that Greeks favored staying in the Eurozone). Yet when Tspiras DID call a referendum, the EU-elite was furious and initially tried to influence the vote by insisting that 'OXI' meant GRexit. This confirmed by belief that Tsipras was true to Syriza's goals.

The negotiations that occurred after the referendum caused many to see Tsipras as a betrayer. This, despite the fact that Tsipras obtained a negotiation on a comprehensive agreement that includes debt restructuring - what Tsipras/Yanis had wanted back in February (instead the Troika had demanded a 2-step process that was very disadvantageous to Greece). PLUS, Tsipras needed to reach an agreement in order to open the banks. However, IMO if the harsh measures in the contemplated new program are not balanced by a strong commitment on debt restructuring, then the 'breakthrough' (a comprehensive negotitation) - and the suffering that was necessary to achieve it - would have been for naught. Thus, if Tsipras is not steadfast in seeking a strong commitment to debt restructuring (fully specified), then it is impossible to see him as anything but a 'betrayer'.


The media seems to think that the Greek drama is over. I think this is just intermission.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 21 2015 16:58 utc | 57


Those people who continue to beg for more war in the east Ukraine and collapse in the west Ukraine will eventually have to admit that Putin has the helped create the best possible situation for Russia, a 'Frozen Conflict'. The Peoples Republics are in ruin and their economies are destroyed so they will not likely lead any Socialist conquest of greater Ukraine and the Kiev regime is totally dependent on the succor of the West to continue to survive and are severely limited by their total dependence.

Expect nothing of any consequence to occur In Ukraine now that these restraints are being solidified.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 21 2015 17:50 utc | 58

What are we to make of this recent news? “Israel, Greece sign status of forces agreement” because: Iran. Pffffft.

“Kammenos said the “Greek people are very close to the people in Israel,” adding that military bilateral relations are good, and that both countries will continue to build on them through joint training. Terror - ism and jihad, he added, are not just in the Middle East, but are also present in the Balkans and Europe.

Greece is within range of Iranian missiles, he added. “If one Iranian missile makes its way to the Mediterranean, this could be the end of states in this region,” the Greek defense minister said.”

Posted by: wendy davis | Jul 21 2015 18:53 utc | 59

There definitely are a lot of creepy, partly ultra-conservative, religious posters there.

Posted by: RudyM | Jul 20, 2015 11:05:28 PM | 55

Hey, leave the Jews alone!

Posted by: abc | Jul 21 2015 20:48 utc | 60

Wayout at 58 --

In my expectations of ongoing war, increasing social tension and instability, and possible collapse by Kiev, I anticipate continuing to rely on folks closer to the action and better-informed.

Poroshenko keeps acting to increase stability, but evidence for enhanced stability and authority seems scarce. You don't have any to spare, do you?

Meanwhile, this from Yarosh, courtesy of AP and US News & World Report. Pravyi Sektor held its previously-announced national conference in Kiev. The whole show is all quite conducive to stability, no?

Speaking Tuesday at the national Right Sector congress, group leader Dmytro Yarosh called for a referendum to impeach President Petro Poroshenko and his government.

Yarosh also called for the recognition of volunteer battalions and their right to carry arms as well as introducing martial law, which he said, will help defeat the rebels in the east....

Yarosh told the supporters at the square that the new government that replaced Yanukovych's regime was only about "changing names" but not the political system.

"We are an organized revolutionary force that is opening the new phase of the Ukrainian revolution," he told the rally....

The Ukrainian government has attempted to rein in the volunteer battalions... In reality, hundreds of men in government-controlled eastern Ukraine still carry arms without any authorization. [I would think that figure low; emphasis added - rm]

Yarosh accused the government of deploying troops and weaponry to hunt down the Right Sector members instead of focusing on the war in the east: "Our guys were spilling their blood (in the east) but now they are being punished behind the lines...."

The stand-off in Mukacheve [aka "Mukachevo"] has caused a split in Right Sector with several dozen fighters quitting the battalion to join other battalions in protest.

I've not seen anything further on this last point yet.

Social revolution, especially after the assassination of Mozgovoy, does seem a distant prospect in the Donbas (sadly, they don't seem too good anywhere). But even with the longest of odds, you still run the race, 'cause you never really know the outcome in advance.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 21 2015 23:51 utc | 61


Only time will tell what the future holds for the Ukraine and I don't usually make predictions but the 'nothing of consequence will happen' seems a safe bet.

Lets review this crisis in six months and see who is most accurate, I'm sure you will still be reporting on the daily/weekly incidents that will continue to fascinate and inform us about events that will continue to occur during this stalemate.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 22 2015 2:11 utc | 62

@59 Wendy Davis

Wow. I don't know much about Panos Kammenos, having read his profile in wikipedia I'm hoping that he just says off the top of his head whatever occurs to him at the time when speaking to foreigners.

But what are the IDF doing training in Greece?! Are they going to lead the campaign against "terrorism and jihad ... present in the Balkans and Europe"?

Posted by: jfl | Jul 22 2015 6:45 utc | 63

Interesting take on the turmoil in (disintegration of?) the EU and The return of the “German question” at the A taste of the French 'elite' reaction in Dominiq Strauss-Kahn's letter To my German friends.

It seems that European fear of Germany has gone from zero to full in well under 10 seconds.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 22 2015 9:30 utc | 64

The background looming behind the abyss Germany has pushed Greece into ...

Federal Reserve documents stagnant state of US economy

The American phenomenon of record stock values fueling an ever greater concentration of wealth at the very top of society, while the economy is starved of productive investment, the social infrastructure crumbles, and working class living standards are driven down by entrenched unemployment, wage-cutting and government austerity policies, is part of a broader global process.

... A defining expression of this crisis is the dominance of financial speculation and parasitism, to the point where a narrow international financial aristocracy plunders society’s resources in order to further enrich itself.

While the economy is starved of productive investment, entirely parasitic and socially destructive activities such as stock buybacks, dividend hikes and mergers and acquisitions return to pre-crash levels and head for new heights. ...

The intractable nature of this crisis, within the framework of capitalism, is underscored by the IMF’s updated World Economic Outlook, released earlier this month, which projects that 2015 will be the worst year for economic growth since the height of the recession in 2009.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 22 2015 10:08 utc | 65

Wayout at 62 --

So, no, you can't actually point to any evidence.

We can be sure that in six months Kiev will still be far from a stable state under the rule of law. Whether it remains a unitary one with Poroshenko in charge seems less clear.

Hopefully I can keep you fascinated and informed 'til then.

The pending elections may help clarify things.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 22 2015 11:46 utc | 66

And for you fellow connoisseurs of disorder and instability, from the top shelf at New Cold War, American academic Nikolai Petro traces the development From Maidan to Mukachevo: Evolution of the Ukraine crisis. He discusses, amongst other topics, the forces available to Poroshenko and their limitations.

The Ukrainian government is trying to portray this as nothing more than a gangland confrontation gone awry, but the involvement of the Right Sector, and their use of weapons that should have been relinquished at the end of their military service, have turned the incident into a national drama. At the heart of the conflict lies an unresolved controversy over ownership of the Maidan revolution of February 2014.

It is commonly acknowledged that the initial gatherings on Kiev’s Maidan Square in early December 2013 were the result of popular frustration with corruption and a desire for more rapid integration into the European Union. These two issues united many Ukrainians who describe themselves as supporters of Western and European values.

But by mid-January 2014, as a careful study by Kiev based sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko shows, the initiative among the street protesters had shifted away from the urban middle class, to radical nationalists who were descending on Kiev from western Ukraine....

Given the incessant friction between the Ukrainian military and the volunteer battalions, it is not clear how much the current government can rely on the military for support. In any case, the Ukrainian media reports that soldiers sent to contain the rebel Right Sectors fighters that had fled the scene in Mukachevo apparently issued a statement that they would refuse any order to shoot at them. As of July 14, what remains of the platoon has “disappeared”.

In other words, for anyone planning a coup, the timing could hardly be better....

Alas, many “pro-Western” Ukrainian political figures have spent years undermining the legitimacy of every legal and official institution in post-Soviet Ukraine.... The lingering legacy of nihilism now makes it exceedingly difficult for people to put their trust in anything that the government says or does.

Here is but one recent example of many. On its evening newscast of July 17, one of the country’s most popular television channels, Inter, broadcast the results of its weekly online survey. In answer to the question “What do [Rada] deputies deserve for their accomplishments this session?” it received the following responses: “A bonus” (two per cent), “A vacation” (two per cent), “New elections” (22 per cent) and “Criminal charges” (75 per cent).

As someone once sang, "It's getting better all the time."

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 22 2015 12:00 utc | 67

There are several points I did not mention in my explanations of Syriza’s utter defeat / craven capitulation / betrayal (My stance being that I don’t agee with that last word.)

Some may recall that right when they were elected I expressed dismay about several aspects of their electoral program (from reading a few different versions in translation…) One remark was about taxation of the church.

1. Parties like Syriza swim in the political culture of their country. This shapes not only individual minds but party strategy. A certain portion of status quo is always accepted, it is part of the landscape. This is how one wins elections in ‘representative democracies.’ Who, involved in the US political arena (and not just politically active / interested in taxation) would propose lifting tax exemption for charities or non-profits, private foundations as they are called? Even when many ppl are aware that huge scams are taking place? Nobody. This is just the way it is in the US.

The merchant marine is another ball of wax. For those who understand French, Arte has an excellent doc (insofar as MSM docs go..nice visuals etc.) about control of the sea, much of which concerns Greece. Available (everywhere?) on Arte Replay (streaming) for a few days.

2. I was reminded of this by Orlov’s latest piece. Syriza’s electoral programs were wildly alarming to Germany / the EU / the Troika. For ex., one point included withdrawing from NATO! (I myself ignored it completely.) Which set the EU rigidly, collectively, against Syriza from the start. They did not understand ‘Southern’ - ‘Leftist’ type culture where these kinds of aims are expressed and not repressed (pol. control is lower, ppl have their say…), and can even find their way onto official pol. platforms, but ultimately don’t mean much, and aren’t even a threat. So here we see an example of deliberate cultural misunderstanding, which, btw, Europe is supposed to be able to handle - NOT.

a last link on Greece, it is a round-up, summary, recent analysis piece, good for those not up to speed, Nicole Foss on Automatic Earth.

guest77 at 42, yes.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 22 2015 13:43 utc | 68

Fort Russ has this analysis from Yurasumy, a Ukrainian blogger whom they rate highly.

The team which lost everything in 2014 is still in power. Due to procedural issues. The US wants to have its own, controllable, but legitimate (as far as the "world" is concerned) government. They are not concerned whether it's legitimate in Ukraine itself. That's why Poroshenko cannot be replaced.

This is why the US have chosen the most flawed but, I think, unavoidable plan to marry the Junta and the pro-US wing of the Party of Regions (which entirely logically includes all of the party's oligarchs) as the least painful and conflict-prone option.

Any radical attempt to change Ukraine's top authorities will turn the country into a mess of irreconcilable differences which might affect territorial control. The US doesn't need it so far therefore they are working with the people who are on the spot even though these people are a bunch of losers who screwed up EVERYTHING.

Academic Gordon Hahn draws comparisions with Weimar. He presents an extensive account of Pravyi Sektor's activities around Maidan and subsequently.

During this more than year-long record of terror, terrorism, vigilantism, and criminality, neither Yarosh nor any other RS official or member has been questioned no less arrested for any of these crimes. As demonstrated above both national and local officials are intimidated or are actively working with RS groups....

Thus, RS after committing a myriad of war crimes, terrorist attacks, now ‘conventional’ crimes and other forms of defiance of the Maidan regime and its siloviki was able to convene its ‘congress’ and organize a mass demonstration in the center of the capitol, without any real pressure from the regime....

This begs the question: Why has Yarosh not attempted yet to use force to seize power?

It appears that RS still lacks sufficient forces to carry out a successful revolt on its own. Estimates are RS’s UVC has some 2,000 fighters. Other RS members in other volunteer battalions would likely double that figure, but this would not be enough to hold on to power if they seized key installations in Kiev.

Hahn believes Yarosh remains intent on seizing power, seeing the recent party congress and demonstration as test of how much support they have. He sees Yarosh as playing a long game here.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 24 2015 12:03 utc | 69

Syria calls for regional alliance to counter terrorism

The Syrian foreign minister has called on the countries in the Middle East to make efforts to establish a regional alliance to counter the rising threat of terrorist groups like ISIL in the region.

In a Friday address to the Media Conference Against Terrorism in the Syrian capital, Damascus, Walid al-Muallem said the necessity for setting up such a united front has increased in the absence of “any serious international and regional effort for combating terrorism.”

“The need to create such an alliance is certain particularly in light of the failure of the anti-ISIL alliance established by America,” said Muallem of the ongoing airstrikes by the United States and allies against purported ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria.

The top Syrian diplomat questioned the honesty of Washington in creating the coalition, saying, “Does the US really intend to eliminate ISIL, or does it want to exploit it to realize its strategic goals?”

Regardless the outcome in the US of actions in response to the Iran 'sanctions' deal it looks as though things are beginning to come together in the Syria-Iraq-Iran belt. That can only be a good thing, as far as I can see. I hope that the SCO/BRICS/EEU speak up and encourage SII, at least, to act together to contain terrorist/extremists and to bring peace, and eventually prosperity, back to the region.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 24 2015 17:44 utc | 70


I wonder who the Assad Regime was addressing at this meeting? It's not likely any ME country will join their alliance and even Russia didn't attend.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 24 2015 19:08 utc | 71


Well you've made your bet, I'll wait and see.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 25 2015 1:22 utc | 72

Ukrainian blogger Aleksandr Sabiy reports From Mukachevo to Kiev--Right Sector erects checkpoints. He is a nationalist, but not a fascist, and uses the occasion to prod to government to activity. In particular, he notes one on a main thorofare in Kiev.

It would seem that the Mukachevo situation has spilled into all of Ukraine and Kiev is not an exception. It may be it's just an effort to frighten people, but if not, why is it there? Ukraine's government also doesn't seem to know what to do in the conflict that erupted with its former "comrades"....

In the space of a year the Right Sector increased its personnel and arsenal so that the fire can erupt anywhere, even downtown Kiev.

The former head of the National Bank of Ukraine Sergey Arbuzov expressed an interesting and valuable thought.... "The Right Sector is not Ukraine's main threat. The biggest threat is the helpless, unprofessional government...."

I agree with that position--the authorities' passivity impacts all of us.... How would the Right Sector respond to national demands? They might well respond with grapeshot. So there's only one way out: effective action by the government.... We are not seeing that in our own government.

Sabiy would begin with attempts at a political solution, but "if they fail, returning fire."

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 25 2015 2:02 utc | 73

@72 Saudi Arabia and Israel will be eager to join I expect. They both hate terrorism and extremism.

Posted by: dh | Jul 25 2015 2:15 utc | 74

European Awakening?

Beppe Grillo Calls for Nationalisation of Italian Banks and Exit from Euro

The Eurozone now faces the prospect of: Marie LePen's FRexit; Beppe Grillo's ITexit; Catalan independence (CATexit?); BRexit (the British vote); along with the continuing possibility of a GRexit.


Excellent insider's view of negotiations and 3rd-bailout deal:

Why I've Changed My Mind About GRexit

This reinforces my view that it is not enough to have broken free of the Troika's forced 2-step negotiation. In this comprehensive negotiation, Tspiras MUST get commitments to substantial relief and a detailed implementation plan. Accepting promises, complex conditions, etc. = failure and betrayal.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 25 2015 2:49 utc | 75

I wonder who the Assad Regime was addressing at this meeting? It's not likely any ME country will join their alliance and even Russia didn't attend.
Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 24, 2015 3:08:45 PM | 71

Aren't you conflating TALKING with DOING?
Assad didn't say anything that Russia doesn't already know. And I'm intrigued by the forgetfullness behind your dismissal of a battle-ready Russian fleet near Syria as "Russia didn't attend".

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 26 2015 4:29 utc | 76


This 10 ship Russian task-force should be very effective against the Islamic State Navy if the ever have one but in the mean time it has little to do with the conflict on the ground in Syria.

The Russians have also bought rights to use Cyprus' ports for refueling and seem to have pulled most of their personnel out of Syria and no Russians attended this important meeting.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 26 2015 5:59 utc | 77

Our resident Bhagawan made a solid recommendation over at the Turkey Launches thread.

"What SHOULD be of interest on this board is the looming bankruptcy of the Ukraine."

New Cold War conveniently obliges us with two items. They provide repost a Financial Times article laying out some of the data on economic activity and outstanding debt in A Summary of Ukraine's Debt Crisis.

While a Greek default and exit from the eurozone could endanger the future of the euro project, default and economic collapse in Ukraine could open the door for prolonged regional conflict.

In their second offering the New York Observer watches as the Ukraine spirals into the economic abyss. Where the FT gives you dreary statistical graphs, the visuals include a very fetching photo of vyshyvanka-clad Radical Party leader Yarosh brandishing his trademark pitchfork (the vyshvyanka is a peasant blouse that is de riguer for Banderists).

Righteously shutting the door and throwing away the key from the Russian market for its industries’ products, post-revolution Kiev deliberately closed its eyes to the fact that it has almost nothing to offer to the rest of the world.

Europe’s [higher] quality standards cannot be matched by Ukrainian industry any time soon. Even Ukrainian white salt is used in Europe only to put on the roads during the winter or in the chemical industry as additive. Ukraine’s natural salt is considered ‘dirty’ for having too many minerals in it.

So, how to come out of the mess the country is in? So far, nobody of the ruling elite has an answer, unless one seriously considers the program of Oleksandr Turchynov, the Secretary of the Council for National Security and Defense of Ukraine and former acting President of Ukraine. Like everything with a touch of a genius, his idea on how to improve Ukraine’s disappearing economy very simple—Ukraine must sue Russia for the “annexation of Crimea,” which, by Mr. Turchinov’s reckoning, is worth $100 billion.

Of course, as a patriot, Mr. Turchinov doesn’t want to sell Crimea to Russia; he wants Ukraine to receive both the coveted peninsula and the coveted cash. “We don’t sell territories,” he explained to Interfax-Ukraina news agency. “This is how we will both return Crimea and will get $100 billion—through the court.”

I'm given to understand that donning a vyshvyanka really makes this sort of magical thinking much easier. You see not only hidden Russian military formations but the profound wisdom of Bandera, too.

Gratuitous musical link. Been jammin' to this on the local FM alt-rocker. X Ambassadors, Renagades "All hail the underdogs!" I like the understated electric guitar.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 26 2015 13:33 utc | 78

Greek reporting fiasco continues at Naked Capitalism

The crew at Naked Capitalism desperately want their readers to know they were right about Greece. They went all-in with the MSM lynching of Yanis, Tsipras, and Syriza, and they just can NOT walk that back.

Today, Lambert writes on the Kathimerini Report of a Syriza "Plan B". After drawing in the reader with questions about the logic behind these revelations (I was thinking: finally!!! some skeptism about the media), he proceeds to attack Yanis, Tsipras, and Syriza as undemocratic and Yanis in particular as treating the Greek people as "lab rats".

Although he rightly questions the logic of the 'Plan B' reports, Lambert's own logic in attacking Syriza/Yanis/Tsipras is severely lacking. Assuming that the Kathimerini Report has any truth (they didn't even confirm the claim that former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont was involved), Yanis' 'Plan B' seems to have been devised solely as a response to the Troika's forced closure of Greek banks - NOT to lend credibility to a threat of GRexit. Yanis' remarks regarding the democratic mandate extending to GRexit are completely consistent with this. The Tsipras/Yanis plan appears to have been designed solely to counter a Troika move to undermine Syriza's democratic mandate (to end austerity). While this could lead to GRexit - it would not be Syriza-initiated GRexit but one that is forced on Greece.

After covering Greece intensely, for months, and generating a storm of protest while doing so (see here; here, here, and here), one would think that NC would be much more wary of media manipulation as described by comments from Link and philippe kieffer.


A proper understanding of what happened in the last 5 months is important to understanding what is happening now and in the future. How the media has been played/contributed is an important aspect. Another important aspect is recognizing that Yanis and Tsipras managed to break free of the 2-step process that was forced upon Greece (an accomplishment that the media tries to diminish by focusing on allegations of incompetence and betrayal). That 2-step process was extremely disadvantageous to Greece as it required Greece to describe how it would service the crushing debt BEFORE talks about debt restructuring. Now Tspiras' challenge is to negotiate specific details regarding debt restructuring.

Given how the media has been used in the past to discredit Syriza, anyone that is seriously following Greece should be very skeptical of the media. It seems to me that the recent 'plan B' leaks may be part of a smear campaign to undermine Tspiras' ability to lead/negotiate.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 26 2015 19:12 utc | 79

follow-up @79

Yanis tweets (emphasis mine): So, I was going to "hijack" Greek citizens' tax file numbers? Impressed by my defamers' imagination.


Also, I should've linked to the NC post that I spoke of:

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 26 2015 20:25 utc | 80

Well, its getting surreal.

Lambert dismisses Syriza/Left Platform denials, saying: "They would, wouldn't they?".

Yves dismisses any need to hear from Varoufakis, saying: Varoufakis has a long history of telling obvious lies..."

Ambrose-Evans Pritchard (AEP) at ft reports that Kathimerini did not contact Varoufakis before posting the story, and it is unclear to me at this time (based on AEP Reporting) if Kathimerini received a tape or just a transcript.

Based on Yanis' tweet and a statement made to the Telegraph, Yanis seems to be denying some part of Kathimerini's story, but AEP's headline makes it seem otherwise: Varoufakis reveals cloak and dagger 'Plan B' for Greece, awaits treason charges. With this headline, AEP is (deliberately!) positioning the story in the same way that Yanis has complained that his detractors are positing it: conflating contingency planning for Troika actions - which required secrecy so as to not upset the negotiations - as a strategy to deliberately, unilaterally, and undemocratically effect GRexit.

AEP also appears to take Yanis' speculation on the intent of his detractors as FACT, and thus includes "awaits treason charges" to the headline. The sense I got, from reading the body of the article, is that Yanis has opined that his detractors would like to charge him but it is unclear to me that any charges are actually being considered by any authority (after all, the story JUST broke). Imagine the difference in meaning if AEP had added: "disputes critics charges" or "claims witch hunt" to the headline instead of "awaits treason charges".

Note: AEP is the reporter that wrote that Tspiras was hoping for a 'YES' vote from the referendum. As I recall, sourcing on that was dubious and many people pointed out flaws like: wouldn't it have been logical for Tsipras to _consider_ the possibility of a 'YES' win given that the Greek oligarchs own most of the media and they were pushing for a 'YES' vote?


Looking forward to a fuller explanation from Yanis and Tsipras.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 27 2015 9:34 utc | 81

The minions at the Naked Capitalist are incensed that the Pinkos of Syriza has made even small gains against the Troika and will not be satisfied until they are chained in a German dungeon. From the day Syriza was elected their goal has been to utterly destroy Syriza and especially Y and T. They are openly displaying Naked Fear of what could happen if this anti-austerity monster spreads to other EU members.

I don't think Y or T did anything illegal in their investigating a way to move funds if the banks closed, they didn't hack the Troika's software which may have been illegal.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 27 2015 14:46 utc | 82

Wayoutwest at 82: Considering the site's history, your comment is likely very far off both about Naked Capitalism's desires, and in your comment's obsession with fixing 'the blame' for all bad things happening to Greece on Germany. I know the mainstream media is telling you to stare at Merkel, but over here is the IMF, the representative of the huge Western banks and the real force calling the shots. If it were up to Germany and not the IMF, Greece might've been allowed to Grexit from its nightmare. Your comment also diverts blame from Syriza, which is actually imposing the new more extreme than every austerity.

Naked Capitalism is strange and spectacularly wrong the impossibility of Grexit. So, in contrast to your certainty of evil motives, I don't know why NC is sticking to its weird and anti-factual position. Bill Mitchell, who was recently attacked at NC, hits back very strongly with this piece: Some IT considerations of a Greek exit:

And, based on all that previous research and subsequent developments in IT systems and software, my conclusion that a Greek exit is not rocket science might also be extended to the conclusion that a Greek exit is not particularly challenging from an IT systems perspective.

That doesn’t mean the process would be trivial, not prone to human error, or rapid.

But the knowledge of how to change a currency from an IT perspective does not have to be invented. The procedural technical manuals specifying the processes that have to be followed are all available. The IT know-how (that is, the human skills) are all available. And, all that is needed is a bit of time and some care.

Just ask Lithuania. They have just accomplished this task.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 27 2015 17:37 utc | 83

On occasion, the Kyiv Post proves useful.

One of the great things about seizing state power is using it to punish your enemies. That seems to be the case here, where a Party of Regions sees his beach party crashed. I rather doubt he's the only local big-wig to take an expansive view of his lease terms.

It's only in NRA brochure where wide availability of guns leads to perfect order. Anyone surprised to hear Gun Crime Surges In Ukraine.

The number of gun crimes in Ukraine has increased dramatically since war broke out in the east. Experts say the spread of the black market has made buying weapons in Ukraine cheaper and easier, and this coincides with a wave of violence all over the country....

Black market prices are much lower in eastern Ukraine than in the rest of the country, making the sale of illegal weapons a potentially lucrative business. Guns and ammunition can be bought cheaply in the conflict areas, and then marked up considerably for sale in the rest of Ukraine.

Another important aspect of the increase in gun crimes is the existence of paramilitary units still not controlled by the nation’s military structure....

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 28 2015 1:43 utc | 84

Noirette at 68 -- I forget to mention -- Orlov's pc. was quite provocative, tx.

And like I needed any further reasons to avoid anything more than a brief walk-on in the ongoing drama that is Grexit -- and now, commentary on Grexit -- see the purity-mongering over Naked Capitalism.

The links and water cooler that Strether and Smith post are an invaluable resource. I am shocked to find they are imperfect. They have failed to capture the exquisite and subtle complexities of the still-unraveling situation to the complete satisfaction of all sides.

At this rate, it will be some time before the classically-featured heroine sings, pace yourselves Barflies.

Myself, if someone from the Syriza leadership told me the sun was out, the sky blue and clouds white, I would need to look outside.

And still unanswered is the critical question the situation poses -- how does the working class select and control the leadership it needs to successfully advance its aims and class interest? Especially as much of it will of necessity come from outside of its ranks, from the so-called professional class (e.g., the Syriza leadership).

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 28 2015 2:20 utc | 85

As I mentioned @79, despite important flaws in the Troika-friendly MSM narrative that NC has largely regurgitated to their readers, NC has shown no interest in any reflection upon, or reconsideration of, their coverage. This makes it difficult to explain Greek developments to their readers.

A major aspect of the narrative presented to readers is Tsipras' capitulation and betrayal. NC readers have been led to believe that Tsipras has capitulated JUST AS YVES HAS ALWAYS SAID HE WOULD. But DID Tsipras capitulate? He presented proposals that were unacceptable (e.g. they included debt restructuring) then he called the referendum when presented with an ultimatum.

This ultimately broke the malignant, Troika-imposed 2-step negotiation process (which I have previously described). Now Greece will have the comprehensive negotiation that they sought back in February. In addition - contrary to what was expected of him - he told the Greek people that he "didn't believe in" the third bailout outline agreement (but he would implement it as the best choice for Greece).

It is still not clear that an actual agreement can be reached. GRexit is still a real possibility. EXCEPT TO NC READERS who have been convinced of Tspiras' craven 'capitulation'. Today, Yves addressed the disconnect, saying:

Silly me! I thought that given that the Greek government had prostrated itself and had complied with the creditor demand to pass legislation double-plus-quick or else, that the worst of the hurdles to getting the third bailout passed had been surmounted.

Yves then describes debt restructuring as an IMF issue - despite the fact that debt restructuring was a core Greek concern well before the IMF acknowledged the urgent need for restructuring:

the IMF and the Eurozone lenders just need to duke it out ... this component of the negotiations is not a big source of risk.

This just seems wrong-headed. IMO if anything will blow up the negotiations and lead to GRexit, it is a refusal to provide Greece with substantial restructuring and explicit details regarding implementation.

Yves thus finesses the reader disconnect that NC created. If this intro to the next round had a fuller description of debt restructuring that included the Greek side of the table, Yves might need to acknowledge the achievement of getting the issue put on the table and thereby (implicitly, if not explicitly) WALK BACK much of her criticism.

Aside: I have to wonder if the Troika-friendly MSM will take the same tack: that Greece must accede to whatever debt arrangements the IMF works out for them.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 28 2015 3:20 utc | 86

rufus @86

I agree there is much to like about NC. I was a commenter there for a long time. And I initially shared Yves distain for Yanis because I thought the February Agreement was a betrayal. But I re-thought the matter when it became clear that Syriza was being non-cooperative with that agreement. Although I take issue with NC's point of view and tone with respect to Greece, they have provided a wealth of info.

There are several specific positions that NC/Yves took that IMO were wrong-headed or not well-thought out, including:

1) that Syriza/Yanis were incompetent because they couldn't deliver a proposal for structural reforms as called for under the February Agreement (but they were actually noncooperative/resisting);

2) that debt restructuring no longer mattered after the February Agreement (it mattered to the Greeks!);

3) that debt restructuring doesn't matter because the economic value of the debt is much less than indicated by the nominal value (due to prior maturity extensions and lowered interest rates) - we now know that the IMF and ECB see a need for massive restructuring despite the reduced economic value;

4) that Syriza "has agreed with austerity" because they agreed to have a primary surplus (a primary surplus in a growing economy is very different than on in a contracting economy - Syriza's program includes investment to jump-start the economy);

5) that Tsipras/Yanis should've folded immediately (no resistance) because the Troika were so powerful;

6) that Tsipras/Yanis have set back "what left of the European Left" by their resistance;

7) that Tsipras 'capitulated' - generally understood as his having agreed to all Troika demands and got nothing in return (he got a new negotiation that includes debt restructuring and investment);

8) the general belief/attitude that MSM and establishment-oriented news sources are reliable reporters with respect to Greece.


As for your 'critical question': contrast media coverage of Sanders with that of Syriza/Yanis/Tsipras.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 28 2015 4:28 utc | 87

The revelations about Yanis' contingency planning for a non-bank payment system confirm my understanding of Syriza strategy as described on June 14th at

Greek Debt Deal: Tsipras Still Asking For What He Knows Is Impossible

Many are probably now wondering why, after all the charges of incompetence, Tsipras is doing such a thing. Has Tsipras/Syriza gone insane?


I think few people have made the effort to understand the Greek strategy. IMO it is a strategy that draws from principles of nonviolent resistance. So you lose (and often look foolish doing so) and lose … until you win.
It is virtually impossible to overcome the Troika’s many advantages without:

1) directly confronting the European elite by building solidarity with anti-neolib / anti-establishment groups across Europe, or

2) indirectly confronting the European elite by highlighting the cost that “good Europeans” must bear in an unjust system.

While both of these approaches entail risk, the first was probably deemed less appealing because: it’s difficult to build a coalition fast enough to make a difference in negotiations and its easy to sideline such movement via labels like ‘radical’, ‘anti-European’, ‘Communist’, etc.

The indirect path, which I believe Syriza has chosen, means always stressing a desire to work with Europe, while resisting any half-measures that would only extend the misery and bailout farce. Right up to default (if necessary). It is a grand attempt to turn the tables so that European elite/the Troika faces political costs by being the ‘bad guy’ that forces default/GRexit.

The indirect strategy necessarily entails what many have derided as incompetence:

> noncooperation with forced arrangements (like the two-step process whereby Greece say how it will service the debt before debt restructuring is discussed);

> saying one thing and doing another (rejecting default/GRexit but not producing a workable plan);

> not preparing the people for default/GRexit (that would imply a willingness/desire for such a result and be counter to the ‘good european’ message);

> over-optimism (Tsipras’ saying that an agreement is “close”);

> reiterating the need for a comprehensive deal ad nauseum (despite its being a “non-starter”)

Such a strategy THRIVES on Troika stubborness and rejection because it highlights Troika unreasonableness and heartlessness. Ejecting Yanis from Eurogroup talks; seting a 24-hour deadline; refusing to discuss debt restructuring; not respecting sovereignty or “red-lines”, etc. It is very similar to nonviolent resistance movements that force authorities to confront their own failed policies or overreact to protect them.

It seems clear that Yanis had expected to keep pushing for a satisfactory agreement until the Troika took harsh measures - especially against Greek banking. Once the Troika had done so, the Greeks would be prepared to counter those measures. At that point, the Troika would be faced with the decision to: 1) accept the status quo: allow the Greeks to flaunt the rules - including (possibly) a debt moratorium; 2) agree to the Greek proposals; or 3) take measures to kick Greece out of the Euro.

This strategy required that the Greeks wait for the Troika to walk away from the table or act against Greece. Thus, when Tsipras got the Troika's unacceptable ultimatum, he couldn't reject it so he called the referendum. The banks were then shut BUT Tsipras couldn't because: 1) the Troika portrayed Tsipras as walking away from the negotiation (recall that Tsipras had wanted to continue negotiations!); and 2) Tsipras' hands were tied until the referendum was held.

After the horror of pensioners crying on bank steps, the surprise of IMF support for restructuring, and the amazing 'OXI', the political environment then changed to one where Tsipras could get a comprehensive negotiation that included debt restructuring. Yanis was relieved/resigned.


An audacious and inspiring plan, and a historic result. And its still not over.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 28 2015 5:38 utc | 88

FYI, below is my NC comment of June 7th that got me put into moderation. IMO it is interesting in light of what has happened since, and it shows an alternative, and I think logical, viewpoint that was rejected at NC.

[quoting from Yves' post]We’ve been telling readers, to sometime hostile responses, that Syriza has in fact already agreed to a continuation of austerity. What [Syriza] was hoping to get appears to be a mere weakening of the intensity of austerity

With all due respect: I think your [sic] should be give the commentariat more credit. You have said repeatedly that it was all about the structural reform. Today, FINALLY you write about debt restructuring.

Many Troika-friendly outlets have focused solely on structural reform. In fact, Greece originally wanted a different process for addressing the crisis – but the Troika pushed for a two-step process that puts Greece at a great disadvantage: by presenting a plan for servicing the debt, they undermine their argument for debt restructuring.

The only logical reason for this is that the Troika want to keep Greece in a stranglehold and do not want to accept any losses from write-downs.

Syriza’s program calls for REAL debt restructuring (not creditor-friendly measures like interest caps and extended maturities) plus new money for investment. When these are considered, I imagine that the primary surplus is much less of a drag.


PS Cugel had a comment in yesterday’s links post talking about how the debt restructuring was being ignoring, saying:

Meanwhile Varoufakis reiterated his commitment to debt restructuring that has been consistently rejected by the Troika ... None of these demands are on the table as far as the Germans are concerned. The fact that they are being reiterated at this late date indicates that Syriza really will not be able to accept creditor demands, as I’ve been arguing all along.

[And] This ft article [for example] comparing the Greek and Troika proposals doesn’t mention debt restructuring at all (

In the weeks prior to this comment, I had written many times about the Troika's 2-step 'Catch-22' process, Greek non-compliance, and Greece's 'game of chicken' with the Troika.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 28 2015 5:59 utc | 89

Jackrabbit at 87.

I see no answers to the question of proletarian leadership in Sanders' campaign. The Democratic Party is far less suited as a means of revolutionary struggle than the socialistic Syriza.

How is a new workers party to be organized and its cadres held accountable by the rank and file?

I again urge folks to read The Leaders of Greece Are Some of the Phoniest Idealists You'll Ever See. This will hopefully bring death to the illusion of their radicalism. It seems to have caused much heartbreak.

The day after the January election a truly democratic and, yes, radical government would have stopped every euro leaving the country, repudiated the “illegal and odious” debt – as Argentina did successfully — and expedited a plan to leave the crippling Eurozone. But there was no plan. There was only a willingness to be “at the table” seeking “better terms”.

The true nature of Syriza has been seldom examined and explained. To the foreign media it is no more than “leftist” or “far left” or “hardline” – the usual misleading spray. Some of Syriza’s international supporters have reached, at times, levels of cheer leading reminiscent of the rise of Barack Obama. Few have asked: Who are these “radicals”? What do they believe in?

In 2013, Yanis Varoufakis wrote: “Should we welcome this crisis of European capitalism as an opportunity to replace it with a better system? Or should we be so worried about it as to embark upon a campaign for stabilising capitalism? To me, the answer is clear. Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give birth to a better alternative to capitalism...."

“I bow to the criticism that I have campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and remains, squarely defeated...." [emphasis added; I hate defeatists - rm]

The leaders of Syriza are revolutionaries of a kind – but their revolution is the perverse, familiar appropriation of social democratic and parliamentary movements by liberals groomed to comply with neo-liberal drivel and a social engineering....

Betrayal of the masses is not a bug, it's a feature. Nor is it confined to Greece, of course. Absent a mass movement, Sanders would be no different, in the unlikely event that he comes to power.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 28 2015 12:04 utc | 90

rufus @90

Sanders is a fake socialist but gets lauded or at least 'gruding respect' for that from the US MSM because he is allied with the Democratic Party (see excellent articles at and is no threat to the establishment.

Syriza is a hodgpodge of leftists that came to office due to the disaster that has been visited upon Greece ('Left Platform' being the most hard-core). They have expressed the desire to seize this opportunity to change Greece's oligarchical culture. In this way, they are a threat to the establishment. The media portray them as incompentent, unruly idealists.

Yet Syriza may be the best hope for Greece as the other parties (except communists and nazis) and are behooven to the oligarchs that cow-tow to Brussels and Berlin. For confirmation of this look no further than Schauble et al. evident desire to destroy Syriza.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 28 2015 13:25 utc | 91

JR at 91 --

First, I would question the notion that he gets media respect. Or rather, Alternet would, asking Why Is the NY Times Basically Doing a Blackout on Bernie Sanders?

To the degree that does get a certain amount of media bandwidth, this is due to the peculiarities of Vermont's pop. and politics which have allowed Sanders to sit in the Senate for quite some time. With seniority there comes power, and with that, respect.

Were he still just mayor of Burlington or one Representative out of 435, he'd be a non-entity. Warren's a Dem., I really don't see her getting any respect (see Our Nobel Laureate's man-splaining of finance to her a short while back).

That the Troika wishes to destroy the reputation of Syriza has to do more with their defiance of the Troika than any real threat to the Euroligarchs (or even their poor Greek cousins) and finance capital.

The real opportunity would have been after their initial election, or even after the victory of "No" in the recent referendum. Instead, Tsipras cashiered the dissenters in his Cabinet and brought in the Right.

While they seem to be talking a good game, I question how principled "Left Platform" really is.

I wonder, why do they remain within Syriza? While the conservative bias in this item from a Greco-American website is clear, it is factually informative. It notes their rhetorical opposition while remaining part of the party and governing coalition, at least for now.

The proper moment to split was when the Cabinet blew off the "No" victory; you build a principled movement by principled actions. One hopes they do actually do manage to split in the fall.

Purity-mongering? I think not, this is a matter of the analysis of practical political action by the left, not of interpretive nuance and theoretical sophistication in the analysis of complex high finance and elite politics.

But as I believe the piece linked above from Alternet makes clear, Syriza's leadership were all hat and no cattle from the very start. Or should I say all helmet and no phalanx? Anyway, by their own admission, they had no alternative to capitalism, and no plan or intent to revitalize the "squarely defeated" left.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 29 2015 0:22 utc | 92

Default is still inevitable for Greece; the debt hopelessly exceeds the capacity of the country to repay. And the "Quadriga", simulating Four Trojan Horses, is a threat to the economic well being of every southern, 2nd tier country in the EU. (And they know who they are!)

The effort of Syriza was not in vain. The courage they showed during the months of negotiations (especially Varoufakis) should not be belittled. They tried to apply their own version of leverage; but clearly the institutions had the longer lever. But the Greek Reporter with its smugness leaves a sourness in the pit of the stomach. Tsipras is guilty of failure of nerve; and he said he doesn't believe in a plan to which he commits himself --and this is not commendable and doesn't rate any shiny star for leadership.

I don't believe in the conservative interpretation that concludes "In the elections, the question should be clear: Europe or isolation." That is a cold and misleading assessment. More clearly expressed, the choice would be "abject vassalage or sovereignty".

The crisis of the last few months seems to have shaken the foundations of the Eurozone; and the chief weakness of Tsipras was idealism in seeking a more just accord for the whole of the EU, trying to seek fairness in the transactions of the economically stronger and weaker states. The monetary and political relationships need some balance and harmonization of interests. The rights of the nations--each one of them--needs to be respected in this Union.

Alexis Tsipras has fallen off the pedestal but he has not yet lost the Greek audience. If he remains inflexibly committed to satisfying the needs of the hostile Quadriga, he may find that Greek public opinion, in his political base, will not stick with him for much longer.

Posted by: Copeland | Jul 29 2015 2:32 utc | 93

Copeland at 93 --

No, actually, the bravery of the Greek people has been in vain.

They now have a fully compromised and discredited leadership and are under conditions more harsh than those they rejected in a democratic referendum. Explicitly to teach them -- and the rest of the Europublic -- a firm lesson in who's boss. That would be the Vogon bureaucrats of the European Commission. "Resistance is useless!"

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 29 2015 3:46 utc | 94

@94- I don't think it's been in vain- may be a time lag involved in terms of accomplishments.

Posted by: Nana 2007 | Jul 29 2015 4:33 utc | 95

Copeland @93 and rufus @94

Your remarks ignore the positives in the 'third bailout' outline: 80bn Euro of financing and debt restructuring/re-profiling. The IMF has essentially called for a 30-year moratorium. If Tspiras can lock-in such relief then wouldn't you say that he has done well by Greece?

Note: I think this is why the Syriza-ANEL coalition has held (despite the misgivings of Left Platform). The coming negotiations will determine if this 'third bailout' is a good deal or bad deal for Greece, and Tsipras will be judged based on the final deal.

I have argued (above) that Yanis/Tsipras broke free of the Troika's 'Catch-22' trape (2-step process) - a considerable achievement that is largely ignored by MSM. Even many on the left have joined the capitulation/betrayal chorus.

Tsipras challenge is to negotiate commitments to an appropriately sized relief with a detailed plan of implementation. If need be, he should appeal to public (as he has in the past in his Le Monde Op-Ed), citing the IMF Report on debt sustainability and ECB's stated support for debt restructuring/re-profiling.


"Greece would be better off outside the Eurozone"
In general this is true. Eurozone flaws make it a poor place for those countries that fall behind (due to structural problems or debt accumulation). And the ECB's QE is just a bandaid.

Yet, Greece has started, or boosted, a process whereby Eurozone reforms may be in the cards which could make the Eurozone much more hospitable to 'periphery' countries. This is what Yanis has hoped for.

This is still good reason to be skeptical of any change. But if Greece got significant debt relief, why not stick with the Euro and help promote that process? After all, many economists already believe that Germany should be the one to exit.


In any case, I look forward to your thoughts as I think that how this plays out is important to the future of Europe. And I find that too many are too influenced by establishment-friendly media that focuses on Greek/Syriza faults so as to avoid EU/EZ faults and deter support for inequality and anti-austerity movements.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 29 2015 4:51 utc | 96

Jackrabbit at 96 --

I would say repudiation of the debt (in part, loaded on by one of the "too big to fail" banks) and the confiscation of the funds of the oligarchs who benefited from loans and corruption would be the best outcome. Didn't the IMF say the debt was unsustainable? It will still be so after 30 years. Since I doubt they would waive interest, it will be a bigger burden.

Exit from the EU would be good, too. Commentators back in 1990's, when the present institutional architecture was created, decried the "democratic deficit" within its institutions. The Europarliament has no authority over the Commission, which answers to states. Their neo-liberal governments use Eurodemands to ram through anti-labor austerity.

An acceptable outcome, from the point of view of principled, proletarian politics, would have been for the government to accept its failure, and resign. Instead, you can dissenting ministers and troll the right for votes and replacements.

Syriza had the opportunity to be the avant-garde of a true anti-austerity movement. But they never really intended to do so. Instead, they sold their supporters heritage of resistance for the pottage of a kinder, gentler austerity, betraying not only the Greek electorate but the working people of Europe.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 29 2015 11:38 utc | 97

@rufus, jackrabbit

The Greeks need to make their way to the Grexit , somehow. What Tsipras is saying can be rationalized, from his perpective, on some level, --for instance, his goal to avert humanitarian crisis in the country,-- his comment that the "OXI" referendum vote was not about the drachma or leaving the Eurozone, but it only implied a rejection of the austerity that the Troika had put on the table at that time.

But the unpleasant truth is that the sadistic institutions are grinding the Greeks down with capital controls, and causing a further, crippling contraction of the country's economy. Tsipras can not continue to sell the degradation of Greece, either to his party, or to the Greek people.

There is no foreseeable relief of the misery the society is suffering, so I would be surprised if Tsipras can quell a revolt within Syriza's ranks; moreover, just sacking the dissident MPs will only pour fuel on the fire he's hoping to put out.

It's still too early to judge whether Greek bravery has been in vain.

Posted by: Copeland | Jul 29 2015 17:00 utc | 98

It's quite entertaining how western Lefties project all of their proletarian wet-dreams onto the poor Greeks but when their 6 month old Syriza governments fails to meet their expectations they immediately call for their heads.

The western Left is an abject failure that can do nothing about the austerity regimes in their own countries so their attacks on the Greeks are beyond pitiful.

Grexit was never part of Syriza's offensive plans, it was only promoted as a pipe dream by the WL and as a punishment and bludgeon by the Germans who are still intent on crushing Greece as an example to other EU countries including France.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jul 29 2015 17:26 utc | 99

Yanis Varoufakis faces criminal prosecution over clandestine 'Plan B' currency plot

Supreme court lodges legal case to Greek parliament as "treason" charges escalate against former finance minister

Greece's state prosecutors have set their sights on former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis who faces possible criminal charges over plans to set up a parallel payments system inside the monetary union.

The Greek parliament received two sets of legal complaints about the economist's "surreptitious" blueprint to introduce a euro-denominated alternative currency as a precursor to an exit from the eurozone.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 29 2015 18:00 utc | 100

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