Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 29, 2015

Open Thread 2015-30

News & views ...

Posted by b on July 29, 2015 at 17:46 UTC | Permalink


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 18:29 utc | 1

Official: Greece has become an EFD debt colony!

Posted by: nmb | Jul 29 2015 18:31 utc | 2

It reflects a determined effort to de-legitimise our five-month long (25th January to 5th July 2015) negotiation with a troika incensed that we had the audacity to dispute the wisdom and efficacy of its failed program for Greece.

The aim of my self-styled persecutors is to characterise our defiant negotiating stance as an aberration, an error or, even better from the perspective of Greece’s troika-friendly oligarchic establishment, as a ‘crime’ against Greece’s national interest.

My dastardly ‘crime’ was that, expressing the collective will of our government, I personified the sins of:
◾Facing down the Eurogroup’s leaders as an equal that has the right to say ‘NO’ and to present powerful analytical reasons for rebuffing the catastrophic illogicality of huge loans to an insolvent state in condirion of self-defeating austerity
◾Demonstrating that one can be a committed Europeanist, strive to keep one’s nation in the Eurozone, and, at the very same time, reject Eurogroup policies which damage Europe, deconstruct the euro and, crucially, trap one’s country in austerity-driven debt-bondage
◾Planning for contingencies that leading Eurogroup colleagues, and high ranking troika officials, were threatening me with in face-to-face discussions
◾Unveiling how previous Greek governments turned crucial government departments, such as the General Secretariat of Public Revenues and the Hellenic Statistical Office, into departments effectively controlled by the troika and reliably pressed into the service of undermining the elected government.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 29 2015 18:34 utc | 3

"Treason" against the Financial Powers-That-Be, I would say. Never treason against Greece. The reactionary forces are clearly calling in all their markers.

Posted by: Copeland | Jul 29 2015 18:43 utc | 4

john helmers latest


Posted by: james | Jul 29 2015 19:34 utc | 5

varoufakis remains mired to a way of thinking that got him personally to this point, the 'Europeanist' and being part of the Eurozone he speaks about is hog wash. Greece was European before the sham EU project. the stakes were clear: austerity/debt colony or sovereignty.

what, did he think that the vampires of the troika would not come for his neck? what a shame.

Posted by: thirsty | Jul 29 2015 19:42 utc | 6

Yep to Thirsty @ 6.

conflating European multi-nationalism by varoufakis, with elite domination of Europe - Who wanted to economically subjugate weak nations, are totally different things.

What he really should be pointing out is the difference between himself and Tsipras and Syriza, with Iceland.

Posted by: tom | Jul 29 2015 20:53 utc | 7

I thought Varoufakis' plan was OK. He had to come up with something, in the case where submission to the Troika's diktats didn't work.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 29 2015 21:03 utc | 8

Turkey Enters Fight Against ISIS, But Target is Still Assad

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 29 2015 21:56 utc | 9

The 'euro no matter what' pseudo-left and Varoufakis himself are trying to manage him into leadership of the fake opposition to the now obviously rightist Syriza. The question for Varoufakis is: why wasn't there a Grexit Plan B? He's another betrayal waiting to happen.

When there are some really excellent and authentic potential leaders rising up. Lapavitsas ...

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 30 2015 0:58 utc | 10

Get em, Liz ...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 30 2015 1:57 utc | 11

In 2014, Chile produced 895,000 tonnes of salmon and used 563,200 kilograms (1.2 million pounds) of antibiotics"

Posted by: DePassage | Jul 30 2015 2:39 utc | 12

"CISA would create a huge expansion of the “backdoor” search capabilities that the government uses to skirt the 4th Amendment and spy on Internet users without warrants and with virtually no oversight."

"All of this information can be passed around the government and handed down to local law enforcement to be used in investigations that have nothing to do with cyber crime, without requiring them to ever pull a warrant. So CISA would give law enforcement a ton of new data with which to prosecute you for virtually any crime while simultaneously protecting the corporations that share the data from prosecution for any crimes possibly related to it."

"There’s little hope for ever challenging this system in court because you’ll never know if your private information has been shared under CISA or hoovered up under a related upstream collection. In a particularly stunning display of shadyness, the bill specifically exempts all of this information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act or any state, local, or tribal law."

Pardon me, but isn't all this a classic example of Facism? The corporations becoming an arm of the state, if not it's masters? And gaining power and privileges for themselves at the same time?

Recall that a certain government never bothered to repeal the liberal Weimar constitution they inherited either. They just acted like it didn't exist.

Therefore there's no paradox in the powers that be calling Snowden or Assange or Varoufakis "traitors" since the public meanings of words are purely political - what Orwell called "doublethink".

They should just call it "lese majeste", and be done with it.

Posted by: ouruboros | Jul 30 2015 2:43 utc | 13

Posted by: ouruboros | Jul 29, 2015 10:43:15 PM | 12

I wonder if Grover Norquist thinks this bloated government behemoth is "small enough to drown in the bathtub" yet?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 30 2015 3:36 utc | 14


Remain calm, everthing is under control.


[Saudi army artillery fire shells towards Yemen from a post close to the Saudi-Yemeni border]

US to Sell Saudi Arabia $500Mln in Munitions to Continue Yemen Campaign

Read more:


[Artist's concept showing the 77-ton configuration of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket launching into space.]

NASA Developing Enormous Rocket That Could One Day Launch Flight to Europa

Read more:

Their control.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 30 2015 9:33 utc | 15

The al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front has abducted the leader of a U.S.-backed rebel group in north Syria, opposition sources and a monitoring group said, in a blow to Washington's efforts to train and equip fighters to combat Islamic State.

A statement issued in the name of the group, "Division 30", accused the Nusra Front of abducting Nadim al-Hassan and a number of his companions in a rural area north of Aleppo. It urged Nusra to release them.

A Syrian activist and a second opposition source said most of the 54 fighters who have so far completed a U.S.-led train and equip programmed in neighboring Turkey were from Division 30.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that reports on the war, said the men were abducted while returning from a meeting in Azaz, north of Aleppo, to coordinate efforts with other factions. The opposition source said they were abducted on Tuesday night.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 30 2015 9:53 utc | 16

Israeli Drone Strike Kills 3 Popular Fighters in Syria’s Quneitra

RaidThree fighters from the Popular committees in Syria's Quneitra were martyred as an Israeli drone struck their position in al-Hadar village which borders the occupied Golan Heights.

In a different context, units of the Syrian army and the armed forces on Wednesday continued to tighten the noose around terrorists across the country through launching more military operations against their dens and positions, killing scores of them and destroying their arms and ammunition.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 30 2015 11:38 utc | 18

More volunteer indiscipline. Mukachevo-2: Aidar Battalion takes over a village

Journalists learned that Aidar went to war not with the monument but with the local population right after its arrival. The locals explained that Aidar militants provoked conflicts and beat up several locals, saying they came to "cleanse" the village of its pro-Russian sentiments.... The locals also said it's not the first incident of this kind, and that invariably drunk UAF soldiers acted like genuine bandits.

Thus the Mukachevo Syndrome is continuing, with the "bandit battalions" and the Right Sector behaving like genuine occupiers on captured territory. The local inhabitants still don't understand those aren't isolated incidents by individual "defenders", but ordinary conduct by Ukraine's marginals who were given weapons and told they were "the defenders of the Motherland." Of course, their motherland is the pirate island of Tortuga into which Maidan transformed Ukraine.

That would be wholesale, Counterpunch discusses volunteer indiscipline at the retail level.

In 2014, Ukraine registered more than one million criminal offenses, a nearly 90% increase in the number of serious crimes–most of them in the capital city of Kyiv....

Ukrainian historian Vladimir Kornilov, director of the Center for Eurasian Studies, recalls that most armed crimes committed in Ukraine are now perpetrated by punitive forces that have been at the front. “As a result of the massacre unleashed a year ago by Kiev, arms are spreading around the country uncontrolled. Gangs formed under the guise of 'volunteer battalions'.... The exponential growth in crime was birthed by ‘Maidan’ itself.”

Glory to the heroes.... CP's assessment of the overall situation? Ukraine: Close to the Edge.

Also from CP, Mike Whitney on The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey. See also Salon on Our monumental Turkey blunder: Who put the American exceptionalists back in charge? "The Pentagon has just tipped this nation into another uncertain, dangerous alliance on short-term tactical grounds."

Finally, a short item on Greece. Tsipras attacks SYRIZA dissenters. That will no doubt help to change consciousness there.

Fairleft at 10 -- I would be inclined to agree, it's an audition. Good question, would he go through with it or is it just posturing? Given the background of the Syriza leadership as a whole, probably just the latter.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jul 30 2015 12:03 utc | 19
US, Turkey prepare to escalate Syrian intervention
By Bill Van Auken
30 July 2015

Having reached a deal with the Turkish government to set up a buffer zone inside Syria, ostensibly to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), official Washington has begun debating the rules of engagement for US military forces to intervene against the Syrian military.

The proposal to seize a strip of land on the Syrian-Turkish border (Turkey’s official news agency has published a map showing it to be 65 miles wide and 25 miles deep) has been accepted by the Obama administration as part of an agreement allowing US warplanes to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base to carry out airstrikes against ISIS targets.
Since launching attacks in Iraq, Syria and within Turkey itself, all in the name of a renewed struggle against “terrorism,” it has concentrated its fire not on ISIS, but on the Kurdish separatist guerrilla movement in Turkey, the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), which has suffered heavy aerial bombardment of its bases across the border in northern Iraq, and its Syrian counterpart, the YPG (People’s Protection Units), whose forces have come under artillery barrages.

These Kurdish movements have constituted the main armed opposition to ISIS in northern Syria and, in the siege of Kobane, just south of the Turkish border, fought with air cover provided by US warplanes. Now, the US State Department is providing a tortured defense of the Turkish attacks on the grounds that the PKK is formally classified by the department as a terrorist organization, while the YPG is not.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 30 2015 12:07 utc | 20

Obomba calls Iranian regime? odious.The guy can't do one thing right wo tripping over Ziodogs.
He's a loser,and what he appears to be.

Posted by: dahoit | Jul 30 2015 14:02 utc | 21

Story at Counterpunch about how Hayden covered up the known location of hijackers in San Diego.They say they couldn't trace phone caller,when the phone company does by billing.They say they called a safe house in Yemen in 2000 and say it was a Bin Laden safe house.Wasn't he in Afghanistan by then?

Posted by: dahoit | Jul 30 2015 14:06 utc | 22

IMF Staff nixes support for third bailout w/ debt restructuring: IMF cannot join Greek rescue, board told

“Greece wants to decide on some important reforms only in the fall and the Europeans only want to deal with the debt issue after the first review because they first want to rebuild trust,” the summary states. “The differences between the IMF’s thinking about the debt issue and what the Europeans are currently discussing are very large.”

EZ/Schauble have promised debt reform (now in writing) but apparently want it subject to 'conditionality'. Essentially, drip..drip..drip debt relief. As I have said, Tsipras/Greece must remain viligent and INSIST upon appropriately massive debt restructuring and a detailed implementation plan.

By refusing to provide commitments and detailed plans for debt restructuring, EX/Troika/Schauble is essentially forcing GRexit because I can not see how Tsipras can agree to a deal that contains only promises of debt restructuring.


Many economists say that it is GERMANY that should exit. Schauble seems to believe that either Greece goes now, or the pressure on Germany grows greater. ECB QE only keeps the music playing - it doesn't solve the inherent problems in the EZ.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 30 2015 16:36 utc | 23

that should be: "w/o debt restructuring

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 30 2015 16:37 utc | 24

Yes, Jackrabbit.
Greece crisis escalates as IMF witholds support for a new bail-out deal

Talks over new rescue package are derailed after less than a week as IMF seeks explicit assurances over debt relief from the Europeans
The IMF is now at loggerheards with Europe's largest creditor nation, Germany

Talks over an €86bn bail-out for Greece have been thrown into turmoil after just four days as the International Monetary Fund said it would have no involvement in the country until it receives explicit assurances over debt sustainability.

An IMF official said the fund would withhold financial support unless it has guarantees Greece can carry out a "comprehensive" set of reforms and will be the beneficiary of debt relief from its European creditors.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 30 2015 19:01 utc | 25

The report by amnesty international about war crimes in gaza is interesting in many ways.there is even a architectual model being touted with forensic evidence

all this originated at a single point.but could it be that the ceasefire and return of civilians to rafah was a deliberate manipulation by hamas to provide cover for a large force of anti israeli forces gathered in tunnels and bunkers below rafah who were moving freely betwen gaza and the sinai.

the snatching of an israeli officer was no coincidence.

the timing was what gives this operation away as a false flag operation against israeli forces

Mondoweiss and its supporting cast have struggled to come away with a reasonable sized propaganda piece.......a primo whataboutery or wtfery....this particular piece will prove even more slippery

the moon shall shine,a dog barks,four travellers gather,the blowing of the horn

Posted by: mcohen | Jul 30 2015 21:19 utc | 26

Yanis Op-Ed: The Defeat of Europe


The Politics of Coercion in Greece by Zoe Konstantopoulou (Speaker of Greek Parliament) shows how extensive the new legislation is, and how detrimental to Greek democracy. (This was a surprise to me.)

Only a massive (and guaranteed to occur) debt restructuring can justify the draconian legislative changes that are asked of Greece.


Some detractors have cited the lack of Greek reforms as evidence of Syriza's incompetence and Tspiras'/Yanis' insincerity. Yanis answers this in his 'The Defeat of Europe' Op-Ed, explaining that the Troika would not approve of any reforms.

I have also seen detractors charge Yanis and Tsipras with lying or misleading. Pointing specifically to Yanis' saying that the banks would be open after the referendum and Tsipras' saying several times that a deal was close and his supposed ignoring of the referendum's OXI result.

In the interview in which Yanis said that the Banks could be opened immediately after the referendum, he referred to a 'plan' that was 'in building'. I think it is clear now that he was referring to his alternative payments plan. As for Tsipras, his constant refrain that a deal was close was part of the negotiating strategy: never to be the one to walk away from the table. And he made it clear before the referendum that the an 'OXI' would NOT mean GRexit while at the same time it became clear - by voting day - that the environment had changed: Europe was now ready to negotiate a more comprehensive agreement that would include debt restructuring.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 31 2015 0:39 utc | 27

At today's State Presser, several questions were asked about Clinton's emails, but not one was asked about the attempted contacts from Saif Qaddafi to Clinton then and State's reaction to the kangaroo court's death sentence for Saif Qaddafi this week.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jul 31 2015 0:52 utc | 28


Glad you brought it up.

Boycott, Disown, Separate from Israel. That's what the world's Jews need to do. Israelis:Judaism::wahabists:Islam.

Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”

Direct foreign investments in Israel dropped by an astonishing 50% last year, much to the chagrin of the Israeli government who has recently referred to BDS as an existential threat far greater than the one supposedly posed by Iran. And just this June, the RAND Corporation published a report stating that if BDS could maintain an aggressive campaign as it is now, Israel’s economy could suffer losses anywhere from 5 to 15 billion dollars each year, for the next ten years.

The 'Iran Deal' and Israel's full court press over it are only making more enemies for the fundamentalist regime in Tel AViv.

LA Jewish Journal - The Iran Poll - 26 July 2015

Should Congress vote to approve or oppose the Iran deal?
American Jews 53 support 35 oppose
All Americans 41 support 38 oppose

Poll: Most Americans oppose compensating Israel for Iran nuclear deal

7.9 percent support increasing annual US aid to Israel from $3.5 billion to $5 billion.
4.1 percent favor giving Israel deep penetrating "bunker buster" bombs of the type designed to destroy fortified targets.
4.0 percent support providing Israel with B-52 long-range bombers.
3.4 percent favor releasing jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to Israel.
While 12.8 percent favor "all of the above" compensation options be given to Israel,
an overwhelming 67.8 percent of Americans chose "none of the above."

Posted by: jfl | Jul 31 2015 1:45 utc | 29

MH370 Malaysian airlines that vanished is now back in the news ... supposedly a piece of the plane that may be part of the plane has been found by the locals off the African mainland in Reunion.

Posted by: thirsty | Jul 31 2015 3:31 utc | 30

Bailout Money Goes to Greece, Only to Flow Out Again
Instead of going into the Greek economy, the funding has allowed Greeks and foreign investors to get their money out

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 31 2015 10:26 utc | 31

Jfl #28......

B ullshit
D oes
S tink

Posted by: mcohen | Jul 31 2015 11:46 utc | 32

@26, don't be too hard on Weiss. He's OK with your farkukte "State." Thinks it can be reformed.

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 31 2015 14:37 utc | 33
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has slammed Turkey for launching air raids on the Iraqi soil, saying the assaults violate the Arab country’s sovereignty.

Abadi said late Tuesday that his council of ministers views Turkish airstrikes on his country as “a dangerous escalation and a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.”

He said his government is committed to preventing any attack against Turkey from inside Iraq, urging Ankara to respect “good relations” between the two neighboring states.

Late on Friday, Turkey launched a campaign of airstrikes against purported ISIL positions in Syria as well as the bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, after a deadly bomb attack left 32 people dead in the southwestern Turkish town of Suruç, across the border from the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani.

Turkey’s ground forces have also carried out artillery attacks on PKK militants in northern Iraq.

However, contrary to the declared objectives, Turkish tanks also shelled four Kurdish-held villages in north Syria late on Sunday, injuring four fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Posted by: okie farmer | Jul 31 2015 17:39 utc | 34

Remember Darfur? Evil Janjaweed muslims killing poor black christian babies? Glamourous celebrities expressing outrage? yadidda yadidda? Of course you do.

Not so fast, pioneers!

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 31 2015 20:32 utc | 35


Vaccine Co. LLC, Frederick, Maryland (W81XWH-15-D-0037); PPD Development LP, Wilmington, North Carolina (W81XWH-15-D-0038); Leidos Inc., Reston, Virginia (W81XWH-15-D-0039); and Tasc Inc., Andover, Massachusetts (W81XWH-15-D-0042), were awarded a ***$501,000,000*** order dependent contract with options for medical research. Funding and work location will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of July 30, 2020. Bids were solicited via the Internet with nine received. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, Frederick, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Vaccine Co Inc!?! Who the Frack are they??




Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 31 2015 22:09 utc | 36


I call bulls hit too, US taxpayer dollars and equipment and technology going to build up Israel's nuclear hegemony in the region, selling them nuclear bunker busters as Hagel did, and now this, like they don't have solar designers of their own?

Conti Federal Services Inc., Edison, New Jersey, was awarded an $11,805,043 firm-fixed-price foreign military sales (Israel) contract with options to construct a photovoltaic power plant at an Israel Defense Forces air base.

Conti (e.g. Mafia) Federal Services??

What the FRACK?

You can't build a PV PP for $11M !!

Frack the Israelis, let them build their own OPS.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jul 31 2015 22:18 utc | 37

Saudi drones launch 3 airstrikes on northwestern Yemen

Saudi drones have launched three airstrikes on the city of Harad in Yemen’s northwestern province of Hajjah, local media say.

Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah satellite television network did not provide further details about the Friday midnight attacks.

According to local sources, Saudi Arabia’s onslaught has so far claimed nearly 5,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced over a million people internally.

The US' Saudi training mission in Yemen continues, familiarizing the Saudi terrorists with the full US panoply of terror.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 31 2015 23:10 utc | 38


Weiss is,s the other ,the woman,the moderator that is dangerous,networks like a spider,subversive mind,deep dark secrets,her and that susan.stay way i tell you.make mincemeat outta you.goddamn kalifornian hippies.

Posted by: mcohen | Jul 31 2015 23:26 utc | 39


Chip...what the fook are you smoking...the vaccines are airborne sterilizers that act on the testicles and shrink them making sperm production impossible.the climate change model has to be replaced by the population change model.

the vaccine effects testicle growth and stunts them reducing sperm production.chip gets the chop old chap

Posted by: mcohen | Jul 31 2015 23:41 utc | 40


your comment at NC is similar to one I wrote @27. So I find the attempt to refute your comment hard to ignore. See this Keep Talking Greece post from May 18th.

> Yes they were taking applications in mid-May because that's what the legislation called for!

> The Humanitarian Crisis Program was likely approved by the Troika - or didn't need approval from the Troika because funding was to come from EU:
"After the EU leaders Summit end of March, EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker had announced to release 2 billion euro to tackle the Greek humanitarian crisis."

So Yanis' point that they could/would not do anything without Troika permission has not been refuted.

And what is the logic? Why would Syriza hold back? Why would Yanis lie about this? If he is lying, where are the objections from those who were involved? The only complaints I've seen from Troika/Eurogroup have been about Yanis being annoying and wasting time - not refusing to implement agreed measures.

As for canceling media licenses of oligarchs, Sriza has to operate within the law. I doubt that any of the 'Western democracies' could easily or quickly start pull licenses. And I have seen info that Syriza HAS begun investigations of oligarch-owned media after their outrageous coverage of the referendum.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 1 2015 0:17 utc | 41

Indices for voter satisfaction in Greece. Via the accursed Naked Capitalism links. Tsipras is facing a meeting of the Syriza Central Committee.

With Tsipras, hounded by the left, vows ‘thus far and no further’ The Gulf Times gives a good overview of recent political maneuvering. Smith's comment on the link: "But this comes after his “red line” promises..."

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, struggling to contain a revolt in his left-wing Syriza party, said yesterday that his government would not implement reform measures beyond those agreed with lenders at a euro zone summit this month.

Tsipras faces a tough Syriza central committee session today with many activists angered by his acceptance of bailout terms more stringent than those voters rejected in a July 5 referendum.

In a clear warning to party rebels, Tsipras said he could be forced to call early elections if he no longer had a parliamentary majority, and suggested an emergency party congress could be held in early September.

At the same time, Tsipras is under pressure from Greece’s creditors to go beyond the two packages of so-called prior actions passed by parliament and include unpopular steps to curb early retirement and tax breaks for farmers, EU sources say....

Compounding his problems, former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis continues to pour abuse on the agreement..., accusing the creditors of trampling on Greek sovereignty and justifying his own secret planning while in office to set up an alternative currency.

“It was a financial war,” Varoufakis told Germany’s Stern magazine in an interview released on Wednesday. “Today you don’t need tanks to beat someone. You’ve got your banks.

Ekathimerini is a little sharper in Tsipras embraces troika while quelling Greek party rebellion.

The troika has a new enforcer: Alexis Tsipras.

After railing against austerity, the Greek leader has come to accept it as a necessary evil to keep Greece in the euro....

After winning massive public support for rejecting more belt-tightening, Tsipras folded in the aftermath of bank closures and capital controls....

The reversal left him at odds with own rank and file in a showdown that could put Europe’s most indebted state on course for snap elections....

Eurasia Group analyst Mujtaba Rahman said a “formal split within SYRIZA is only a matter of time.”

Let's get a rebuttal, straight from the horse. Tsipras: People don’t want Grexit – but it is still on the table! gives highlights of a radio interview. He doesn't actually mention Grexit.

Was it worth it?

It was worth it for Greece to become a cover story in positive terms, he said, pointing that thousands of people rallied for solidarity towards the Greek people.

Was it a defeat?

It was a defeat only for small-minded people, says Tsipras. [Yow! He pointed to the domino effect that his negotiations would have throughout Europe. The difference between the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and previous governments is that ownership does not belong to the left but to those who had lead the country down this path. “A government of the left that is obliged to apply a program which it signed, but it will simultaneously find a way to offset the negative impact and will, at the same time, battle with workers,” he said, pointing to a battle of long duration.

I see no evidence of any domino effect, personally, except of cashiered Cabinet dissenters. I presume Tsipras is trying to say "on the side of" when he says "battle with workers." But I think the reality of his actions puts him "fighting against" the working class. One can only assume he will continue his mitigation efforts with the same ardor, resolution and results he has shown to date.

For example, he complains that he was harangued at a 17-hour meeting (what the production floor would call a "double shift" and be damn proud of pulling) and got wore out and signed. What? When it becomes clear what they want, the principled response is "Sorry, none of this meets my voters mandate" and a gracious goodbye.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 1 2015 0:19 utc | 42


What are you on about?

Weiss is,s the other ,the woman,the moderator that is dangerous,networks like a spider,subversive mind,deep dark secrets,her and that susan.stay way i tell you.make mincemeat outta you.goddamn kalifornian hippies.

Posted by: mcohen | Jul 31, 2015 7:26:32 PM | 39

The moderator in question, annie, does an awesome job at MW. She's also a longterm commenter at MoA in good standing.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Aug 1 2015 1:36 utc | 43

rufus@42- well only time will tell re the domino effect.

I don't think anyone's criticized NC's links, which they do a good job of curating from reader suggestions. It's the high handed handling of comments on Yves Smith's analysis of Greece.

Posted by: Nana 2007 | Aug 1 2015 1:47 utc | 44

@ mcohen

I don't think B offered an open thread for you to bitch about another forum. If you have something to say against Mondoweiss, have the decency to say it there...

Posted by: crone | Aug 1 2015 2:17 utc | 45


You comments are continually deleted at mw because they do not fit the narrative.but thats good.means i must be doing something right.anyway it is not my blog so they can do what they do.this thread is an open thread.i post what i feel is worthy...if i feel that the 2014 war in gaza was deliberately started to stoke anti israel sentiment i will say so.that is my opinion.this is an open thread.

the murder of danny goren was a mistake and it is going to lead to something far worse than what happened in gaza.
there are those that feel that killing israeli,s is justified,they have a free pass because some blog on the internet says so.

if you have nothing positive to say about an already incendiary situation.....something that can calm things down then ...say nothing

Posted by: mcohen | Aug 1 2015 4:08 utc | 46

Nana2007 at 44 --

I'm just making a snide jibe at the brouhaha over NC; they do a fine job, and if they want to be high-handed in their comments, well, it is their site.

For dominoes, let's see what tiles we've drawn. I don't really see any terribly good plays.

Labour may or may not get a leftist leader (Fleet St. is, surprise, suprise, running Corbyn down), but of course that won't matter until the next Parliamentary election, which Cameron is not obliged to call for five years. By then, maybe they will have all resolved to actually vote against austerity measures.

Hollande's Socialists are worse than Labour now, I think, and nothing has been expected of the German Social Democrats since 1914. But perhaps Die Linke is strong enough to put up some fight against the Green/SDP's tag team with CDU/CSU. Italy's governing "leftists" are all in with the Washington consensus. Spain is under comparable stress, the anti-austerity movement there is vocal, but so far Spain officially remains compliant.

And what might be the biggest problem -- so far Greece is more a sad cautionary tale than a rousing story of unity and a victory for human dignity.

"Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will."

Jackrabbit at 41 --

They are also investigating some of Yaroufakis' associates, for their part in his "Plan B." And at least making a show of cracking down on what the Gulf Times describes as rampant "tax evasion... among the rich and the self-employed...." Perhaps 25% of businesses evade taxation.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 1 2015 4:48 utc | 47


I agree with Nana @44. NC Links and work on issues like Private Equity and foreclosures have been outstanding.

But NC took a harsh view on Syriza/Yanis/Tsipras early-on (contrast their support for Sanders who many consider to be much more compromised that Syriza). They brushed aside logic (e.g. that the Greeks were non-compliant, not inept), constructive criticism (like "who else is fighting back against neoliberalism?), and IMO were not as skeptical as they should've been about Troika-friendly media messaging that seems to have been designed to deter sympathy for the Greeks and/or potential friends and allies.

While there are a number of points on which I agree with NC's Greek coverage (e.g there was no solution set), there are also problematic calls (e.g. that a) Syriza should've capitulated to the Troika immediately; and b) that by resisting Syriza has set back "what's left of the European Left by 10 years"). Note: I was also very critical after the February Agreement - and of Yanis in particular - because it seemed that is was such a 'sell-out'.


See (from Jan 25), which I think accurately describes Syriza, their pro-European orientation, and why their not-so revolutionary outlook is appropriate and important.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 1 2015 5:13 utc | 48

rufus@47- you don't mention Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, et al. And this bail out deal isn't even done yet. You speak as if something decisive has occurred. This is an unfolding spectacle of the lawlessness of the EZ- good on Syriza.

Posted by: Nana 2007 | Aug 1 2015 6:00 utc | 49

rufus@47-sorry you do mention Italy and Spain, with a questionable okie doke. C'mon...

Posted by: Nana 2007 | Aug 1 2015 6:06 utc | 50

rufus@47- and yeah, you're pretty pessimistic for a teenage communist....

Posted by: Nana 2007 | Aug 1 2015 6:12 utc | 51

#43 rusty pipes

not annie robbins,there is another one,hovers in the background,snip snip snit titty snip,insidious little creature who moderates all the good stuff...leaves one frightfully impotent.....inhabits other usernames.every now and then i catch a glimpse,a word here,a sentence there,stuff between the lines

Never you mind i am on to it,have my ways and means of flushing the snippit out,and then SWAT and it shall be splatter across the screen

Posted by: mcohen | Aug 1 2015 7:04 utc | 52

Nana2007 at 49-51 --

I call 'em like I see 'em. Italy is probably more likely to put Belucsconi back in power than go radical. Spain shows some potential, but as I noted, it is presently not making waves. I know too little about Portugal to speak to it.

jackrabbit at 48 --

They perhaps have different reasons than I would, but I would say -- the failure of Syriza in abandoning the program they were elected on in favor of implementing a kinder, gentler austerity is a setback for the left.

Regarding your link to the "Marxist" reformist Proyect, I'm one of those hoary sectarians he affects to dismiss. His occasional forays here are rarely well-received. I don't think free electricity, etc., outweighs debt-peonage to Frankfurt. I would favor a cohesive movement over an inclusive one.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 1 2015 15:50 utc | 53


Interesting that MSM likes to focus on the Yanis, who is depicted as a colorful trouble-maker. Coverage of his faults (real or imagined) seems designed to detract from what he says:

- that austerity has failed but Greece is asked for more of it

- he was misled in the initial negotiations in February

- that Europe is run in an anti-democratic manner

- that the Troika's undue control has undermined Greek ability to negotiate and
respond to the crisis

- that Schauble seeks a GRexit to keep other countries in line

- etc.

Attacks on Yanis/Tsipras and the Greek people (profligate, untrustworthy) are reminiscent of 'blame the victim' tactics used time and time again to focus attention away from establishment injustice/wrong-doing. In this case: flaws of the Eurozone, undemocratic institutions, bank bailouts.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 1 2015 15:59 utc | 54

rufus @53

We will have to agree to disagree.

To me, the debt restructuring/re-profiling is key. If sufficient, it could/should allow Greece to break free of the Troika at the end of the 'third bailout' (in three years). If insufficient, it could end Syriza as a political force.

I get the sense that many EU-elites (TPTB) are sympathetic to Schauble's position. They want to keep Greece under the austerity thumb or rid themselves of the problem via GRexit. Thus, they want to limit the extent of debt relief and/or add 'conditionalities'. They also seek to end Syriza's role in government. Syriza is viewed as trouble-makers.

Politically Syriza doesn't necessarily have to end austerity immediately, but they have to show that there is an end in sight. And they can't rely on promises from the EU or IMF. Greece should GRexit if they can't get a solid commitment for sufficiently massive debt relief.


It is already agreed that the debt relieve would come after a positive first review (believed to occur in November). It should be easy to describe and commit to parameters of this relief that would ensure that they debt is sustainable. The IMF has already called for maturities to be extended by at least 30 years.

That the creditors are dragging their feet on engaging in debt relief talks is a bad sign. Their reason for doing so seems bogus: that Greece has to pass another round of legislation so that 'trust' can be restored.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 1 2015 16:31 utc | 55

And what about the results of the Central Committee Meeting? Let's see how an inclusive movement works.

Tsipras prevailed at a 14-hour meeting. Can't take a double shift against a few bankers, but he's good to go fighting a large meeting of cadres. The Party Congress will be held in September, not now as Left Platform proposed.

The Greek Reporter has this short, informative, straightforward account, SYRIZA Central Committee Session Turns into a Battlefield. "Greece’s ruling party looks likely to split in two after Thursday’s Central Committee emergency session saw the Left Platform accusing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of 'shackling Greece with a bailout Memorandum.'"

Left Voice provides further details and draws some suitable conclusions.

The Left Platform and other internal opposition groups proposed an ordinary congress in the coming days, made up of the delegates elected for the founding congress in 2013, which would favor the opposition. Tsipras in contrast proposed an emergency congress in September, after the bailout has been approved, with new delegates based on more moderate party members.

Having not reached an agreement after hours of debate, Tsipras proposed to hold a referendum next Sunday to consult Syriza members, in order to circumvent the party’s leadership bodies....

"How many referenda are we going to hold? We’ve already done one, and we won with 62 per cent of the vote", said Panagiotis Lafazanis, the Platform’s leader. He added, "This country no longer has democracy, but a peculiar type of totalitarianism — a dictatorship of the euro."

The President of the Greek Parliament, Zoe Konstantopoulou (who also voted against third memorandum), questioned the party leadership and said, "SYRIZA did not get the people’s mandate to shackle the country with a bailout memorandum." She added, "Protecting the Constitution is not surrealism," paraphrasing Tsipras’ words. [He found parliamentary opposition to the government by the dissenters surreal]....

Finally, after hours of rhetorical confrontations, Tsipras won the vote and the meeting accepted his proposal of holding the congress in September. He played the "card" of threatening to let the government fall....

The Left Platform left the meeting defeated....

The Left Platform’s strategy to pressure Tsipras, based on parliamentarianism and opposed to the class struggle, has been revealed as completely impotent....

Next Sunday there will be no referendum, and Syriza won’t hold its next Congress until September, after the third memorandum has been completed. In the coming weeks, during the summer break, the conditions for a third bailout will be negotiated. The reorganization of the working class and the fighting sectors who are independent of the government in order to resist the new austerity measures of the Troika is an urgent task.

I'm not a Maoist myself, but lets give props where they're due -- the 17 members of the Central Committee associated with the KOE resigned during meeting.

Were Tsipras a principled leftist, he would have left the meeting with the bankers, rather than signing on to austerity. He should have called an election, saying, "Peeps, I had your back, show me you have mine. For a larger Syriza majority! No to debt, corruption, and austerity! No Pasaran!" In about that tone -- you want accessible and powerful, no talk of financial sustainability and financial minutiae, it's resistance and solidarity.

It is interesting to see that Tsipras thinks new delegates after austerity will favor him. And that he won't call an election to rally the masses to resist, but is like totally cool with doing it to implement austerity. Hey, way to go, "Comrade."

I can only hope that the political organization, perceptiveness, and skills of Left Platform and others will be sufficient to disappoint him. That means raising and calling Tsipras, forcing him to play his election card. Waiting to slap his wrist in the post-austerity party conference is a non-starter.

Either a new anti-austerity coalition emerges, or the problem becomes that of the center-right. Either would be a principled and possibly constructive resolution, and/or pose more problems than they solve. But probably would put a few more tiles in play. Oh Dominoes!

In case I'll go underground
Get some heavy rest
Never have to worry
About what is worst and what is best, hit it!

Politics is the continuation of economics by other means. It's time for some politicking in Greece, IMHO.

There's a little optimism of the will for you, folks.

PS to JR at 55 -- but constructively disagree, I hope. I am not blaming the Greek people, I am blaming a very specific group -- the leadership of a supposed pro-labor party. And as you see, FWIW, I have few helpful concrete suggestions as to alternative actions.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 1 2015 17:29 utc | 56

rufus @56

Constructively yes. I agree with much of what you say. The Summit Agreement was a disappointment and disgrace. And I am also keeping a wary eye on Tsipras.

I think it likely that EU/EZ/Schauble will again push too far. Demanding more 'reforms' before providing any details about debt restructuring and/or proposing drip..drip..drip relief that keeps Greece in debt peonage. Tsipras will need all the support he can muster to counter that and to GRexit (if it comes to that). That Tsipras might cave completely (austerity with only a promise of debt relief) is a terrible thought that nags at the back of my mind.


As for Syriza building solidarity or a movement. That would be great but the reality is that the left has been marginalized and compromised so there is little real support that Syriza could build on (in any realistic time frame).

Syriza itself has done more to create awareness via their resistance (as ineffective as it as been) and referendum (pensioners crying in front of banks). And they may benefit from that in the future.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 1 2015 19:30 utc | 57

follow-up to @54

Secrets of the Brussels media machine

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 1 2015 19:33 utc | 58


' That Tsipras might cave completely (austerity with only a promise of debt relief) is a terrible thought that nags at the back of my mind. '

Yeah. That Clinton or a Republican to be named later might be elected POTUS is a terrible thought that nags at the back of my mind.

There is no hope in hoping for something other than what is obviously in the cards from the political class. None. It is up to the Greek people to wrest the reins of power from their failed political class. It is up to us Americans, to the Germans, the Brits, the French, the Italians ... to do the same. The political class have caved completely, already. They are on their backs in a room on the second floor of the brothel waiting for their TNC of 'choice' to commit the act ... whatever it may be. No perversion out of bounds. There's a price for everything.

We all know that. It's up to ourselves to effect otherwise. We're the only ones here with our interests at heart.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 1 2015 20:48 utc | 59

JR at 57 --

I would agree, the Germans are likely to push too far. And with the weakness of the left, and ergo, of solidarity. And the sad thing is that Tsipras could have done something to start to reverse this.

jfl at 59 --

I'll bet DSK is in charge of that brothel. He's got the right resume for it, no? LOL!

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 1 2015 22:14 utc | 60

rufus@53- with Italy , Spain, Portugal, and the rest of southern EU debt ridden negative growth countries twisting in the wind, I wouldn't be so cavalier about predicting who will come to power, or the amount of political will involved.

My point is that the EU has exposed itself as an unaccountable, amoral, technocratic, plenary regime that will soon be as universally abhorred as Walter Palmer, Cecil the lion's killer.

Syriza was never a street level organization that could accomplish what it seems you were expecting, nor did they have the public mandate to do so. They've started a discussion. The revolution will not be televised.

Posted by: Nana 2007 | Aug 2 2015 3:18 utc | 61

Nana 2007 @60

Who on the left didn't know that about the EU, ECB, etc?

What is seen by all is the Syriza leadership's capitulation. This is not the beginning of a dialogue. It's the forceful reintroduction of 'there is no alternative'.

Two things we can say is (1) that the EU working class and left need to be doubly sure Podemos and the other Syriza-like entities are accountable and on a tight leash. If not, find another party. (2) Look for signs of Eurozone-philia, irrational love of the euro for no apparent damn reason.

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 2 2015 5:10 utc | 62

16 June 2015
Encryption “would not have helped” at OPM, says DHS official

But some of the security issues at OPM fall on Congress' shoulders—the breaches of contractors in particular. Until recently, federal agents carried out background investigations for OPM. Then Congress cut the budget for investigations, and they were outsourced to USIS, which, as one person familiar with OPM's investigation process told Ars, was essentially a company made up of "some OPM people who quit the agency and started up USIS on a shoestring." When USIS was breached and most of its data (if not all of it) was stolen, the company lost its government contracts and was replaced by KeyPoint—"a bunch of people on an even thinner shoestring. Now if you get investigated, it's by a person with a personal Gmail account because the company that does the investigation literally has no IT infrastructure. ... It is a personal Gmail account."

... A consultant who did some work with a company contracted by OPM to manage personnel records for a number of agencies told Ars that he found the Unix systems administrator for the project "was in Argentina and his co-worker was physically located in the [People's Republic of China]. Both had direct access to every row of data in every database: they were root..."

Consultants in Argentina and the Plutocrats Republic owned the OPM? That's what having root access means. I take the fact that it is explictly stated that one consultant was 'in' Argentina and that 'his co-worker was physically located in the' PRC to mean that the one was not Argentine and the other was not in fact a citizen Chinese citizen ... otherwise they'd have said made a point of saying so ... they made a point of not saying so. Being on a shoestring might have made 'monetizing' the information to which they had access tempting, no?

25 June 2015
The OPM Breach Is a Catastrophe

Last week it disclosed its discovery of a long-running and catastrophic breach of the Office of Personnel Management, one which resulted in the theft of 30 years’ worth of sensitive security-clearance, background-check, and personal data from at least 10 million current, past, and prospective federal employees and veterans. The government didn’t merely reveal shoddy IT security on the part of its agencies and contractors. It also revealed unforgivable negligence, because OPM and the government had known about these security problems for two years, already suffered multiple breaches, and done little to nothing about them. While it’s premature to blame China, which may have perpetrated the hack, it’s rather too late to point the finger at the government and its disastrous contracting system.

'... it's premature to blame China, which may have been ' ... but wasn't, is again the clear implication to me.

25 June 2015
Director of National Intelligence blames China for OPM hack

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told an intelligence conference Thursday that the Chinese are "the leading suspect" in the massive hack of the Office of Personnel Management.

Responding to a question from CNN about who was behind the hack, Clapper said, "You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did," adding the U.S. would have done the same thing if it could.

These comments go further toward fingering Beijing for the hack than other administration officials have publicly done so far.

You'd think an outift with a name like the National Security Agency would be responsible for such a massive breach of national security, wouldn't you ... but you'd be wrong. Not only has the NSA put itself in charge of breaching all our security individually, the director of National intelligence is 'hats off' to whomever did it - pulled the theft, one thief admiring the work of another - and, oh yeah - it was China. Asserts the Clapper.

21 July 2015
U.S. decides against publicly blaming China for data hack

“We have chosen not to make any official assertions about attribution at this point,” said a senior administration official, despite the widely held conviction that Beijing was responsible. The official cited factors including concern that making a public case against China could require exposing details of the United States’ own espionage and cyberspace capabilities. The official was among several who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

They have no proof. Or they have proof that it was not China.

31 July 2015
U.S. Decides to Retaliate Against China’s Hacking

The Obama administration has determined that it must retaliate against China for the theft of the personal information of more than 20 million Americans from the databases of the Office of Personnel Management, but it is still struggling to decide what it can do without prompting an escalating cyberconflict.

But in a series of classified meetings, officials have struggled to choose among options that range from largely symbolic responses — for example, diplomatic protests or the ouster of known Chinese agents in the United States — to more significant actions that some officials fear could lead to an escalation of the hacking conflict between the two countries.

But Clapper is going to use his own history of mis- and malfeasance as an excuse to start a cyber war with China. In the interest of national insecurity. Looking forward to the revolution ... of the door between government 'service' and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the reward from the TNC cyber arms merchants on the other side of that door. As is customary in the toilet bowl culture of Washington DC.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 2 2015 7:39 utc | 63

fairleft@61- I wasn't talking exclusively about people on the left, I'm talking about the hope the general public gets fed up and starts organizing- this is already evident in Greece. Why do you insist on making a definitive judgment on a fluid situation? this deal isn't done yet.

Posted by: Nana 2007 | Aug 2 2015 8:06 utc | 64

jackrabbit at 57 --

I would agree, the Germans are likely to push too far. And about the weakness of the left and ergo of solidarity. And the really annoying bit is that Tsipras had a chance to start to reverse that, and passed.

fairleft at 61 --

Agreed, not a dialogue, a diktat.

Nana2007 at 60 --

Sorry, breezy political overconfidence is a part of the package, it's fully integrated into the understated sarcasm. Not sure if it's a bug or a feature.

Most of my knowledge of Syriza and its internal politics I've picked up in the last few days (a refreshing change of pace from Banderist militias). But if this statement is true, no wonder Syriza is folding.

Syriza was never a street level organization that could accomplish what it seems you were expecting, nor did they have the public mandate to do so. They've started a discussion.

What sort of self-respecting left party lacks local organization? Capital has the mass media and institutions, the masses have the streets and their organizations. And couldn't they have defied the Troika and called new elections anyway? That the EU is an "unaccountable, amoral, technocratic, plenary regime" is sadly, not late-breaking news.

And if sadly we remain at the stage of discussion, and not action, isn't my gloomy prognosis not unreasonable?

And while I dearly love Gil-Scott Heron ("B-Movie" is my fave), I have to disagree. Not only will The Revolution be televised, but tweeted, skyped, instagramed, hashtagged and youtubed as well. Thanks to NSA there will be a fine archive, too. And totally mashable, as well.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 2 2015 14:45 utc | 65

Nana 2007 @63: The Syriza leadership capitulated. Sometimes things are what they obviously seem to be. Syriza is the next in the now long line of fake-left Europeanist 'euro uber alles' middle class fools. They have no fluidity in bottom line matters.

And the Tsipras leadership and their oligarch media allies are on the offensive. The next election will very likely be held within 90 days. There is very little time to develop a well-organized and credible left alternative that has mass support. 'OXI' needs a very loud and very left voice at the polls. Holding onto obvious delusions about Syriza, there just ain't no time for that.

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 2 2015 16:36 utc | 66

From a Politico post:

Hillary needs to make a trip to Italy, and have her picture taken holding a hotdog bun in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary bleeding liverwurst, ...then people will believe her. When people get hungry, they will believe anything with liverwurst.

Might work for Porschenko, as Kiev's IMF loan defaults looms.

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 3 2015 9:43 utc | 67

Ahh, I messed up:, '...a trip to Germany...'!

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 3 2015 11:03 utc | 68

Worries about the coup potential of Pravyi Sektor are spreading. See this from the Financial Times, via New Cold War.

The group is one of dozens of “volunteer” battalions that played a key role in halting advances by pro-Russian rebels a year ago, after the revolution ushered in a pro-EU leadership, when the long-neglected regular army was caught flat-footed. But fears are growing that Right Sector — the only major volunteer battalion Kiev has not yet managed to bring under regular army control — could turn its fire on the new government itself....

“It may come to a military coup,” said one Right Sector fighter — although many in the group say they would not go that far. He admitted, however, that public support for such a scenario was low. “That’s why we haven’t done it yet.”

Rostislav Istchenko considers the geopolitical situation, arguing It will be worse in liberated Ukraine than in Crimea.

A Nazi Ukrainian state cannot exist on Russia's borders. It's only a question of how to achieve that.... Let's suppose tomorrow Obama calls Putin and apologizes for all the inconvenience and recalls Poroshenko and his company of nazis back to the US, then what? We shouldn't try to imagine that which can't happen. Kiev will not implement Minsk and it will collapse, but not on its own. It's been receiving assistance in that area for a year and a half.

So patience, comrades, we'll have to pace ourselves.

Chipnik at 67 --

Would that work? Cult of the Virgin is a Catholic, not an Orthodox thing usually. Maybe an appeal to Sts. Boris and Gleb is more in order. I hear their icons bleed borscht.

A link to Jefferson Starship's "Miracles" would be in order. But no good live versions on the Web, IMHO. "If only you believed in miracles, we'd get by." Does Washigton-style magical thinking count?

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 3 2015 12:16 utc | 69

Fairleft @65

The Summit Agreement is bad. I understand that.

But those who criticize the Tsipras for 'capitulating' ignore the fact that this 'third bailout' is some positive aspects: 86bn Euro of new money and a commitment to debt restructuring/re-profiling.(* See note below)

Yanis has argued that Schauble WANTS GRexit. Yanis is trying to rally other European countries against 'Ordoliberalism' by pointing to how Greece is being treated. Why do critics on the left ignore his efforts?

Lefty purists, for whom nothing less than to the barricades! will do, ignore the fact that the left has been thoroughly defeated and compromised. What is winning the day is NATIONAL INTEREST, not class interest. Greece has won support because:

- France fears Marie LePen;

- Italy could be the next Greece;

- USA wants to ensure that Greece remains in EU/NATO.

Podemos actually moved to the center over the last 6-months! They have ruled out making debt an issue.

Unfortunately, class solidarity doesn't seem to happen until a country experiences depression-like conditions. Greece is there, but other countries are not. "I told you so" does not build solidarity. The left has to improve its communication/connection to the people it purports to represent. I think the left will increasingly find common cause with nationalist movements (like Syriza+ANEL).

Another think that gets conveniently ignored is that Syriza are not likely to have won the January election if they promised GRexit. For the same reason, Tspiras assured the Greeks that an OXI in the referendum was NOT a vote for GRexit. Greeks really don't want OUT of the EU/EZ, they want a reformed EU/EZ.

Strange how the left has tied itself in knots: Syriza is a betrayer if it remains in the Euro (no 'deal' with the Troika will be a good deal) and anti-democratic if it moves toward GRexit. Much of the left (both hard-core and controlled opposition) has moved to insulate itself from the fallout of these alternatives, and ignores Yanis' militancy because the MSM has painted him as an oddball.

Lastly, I think GRexit is still very likely. The German block is demanding additional legislation and is dragging their feet on details of debt relief. I think Schauble is still hoping to force GRexit - and there is some breaking point where it is unavoidable. The Greek economy has worsened and Schauble says an agreement for a 'third bailout' will take much longer than anticipated.

And, like many, I would love to see a legal challenge based on 'odious debt'. 'Odious debt' is not yet fully recognized in law. It is based on commonsense legal and moral principals that should prevail but (according to no 'odious debt' case has been adjudicated.


* Note: There are substantial 'second bailout' related funds that were withheld from Greece. Withholding of these funds is just as much a fiasco as the ECB's forcing closure of the banks by withholding liquidity.

The list of funds held by 'institutions' that were not dispursed (not exhaustive):

1) 7.2bn Euros from Troika

2) 2-3bn Euros interest held by ECB

3) about 16bn available but unused at IMF

This totals a bit more than $25bn Euros. I'm not sure that Greece has any legal right to these funds BUT they had been earmarked for Greece.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 3 2015 15:39 utc | 70

Jackrabbit at 70: "Yanis is trying to rally other European countries against 'Ordoliberalism' by pointing to how Greece is being treated. Why do critics on the left ignore his efforts?"

The left watched his efforts, applauded them, but at some point over the last six months also noticed their absolute failure. And, since they failed, the logical left assumed Greece would leave the euro, since that obviously is vastly preferable to deep, seemingly permanent austerity.

But, logical leftists didn't consider the magical hold that the common currency has on some leftists and pseudo-leftists.

The euro simply doesn't work economically, when it serves Germany as an undervalued currency while it disserves the Eurozone southern tier as an overvalued currency. That will never change, and the only way it could be made to work is through income transfers from the Eurozone north to its south. That won't happen, we all know that, so why do some leftists and pseudo-leftists continue to beat their heads against that wall? Eventually you start to look like you have no common sense or are engaging in some sort of filibuster.

The euro hates the poorer countries of the Eurozone. Its poorer countries MUST get over their unrequited love of that bullying currency. The left should be helping them do that, urgently, now, instead of continuing to engage in wishful thinking.

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 3 2015 19:16 utc | 71

Jackrabbit @60 part 2:

"Lefty purists, for whom nothing less than to the barricades! will do, ignore the fact that the left has been thoroughly defeated and compromised."

Sorry, what? The last time Greeks voted, 61% of them voted OXI, NO to the continuation of extreme austerity, a strongly leftist position. The left won the election, and then the now obviously pseudo-left and in fact pro-austerity Syriza showed its true colors and agreed to an even more extreme austerity deal than the one reajected by the Greek people. Where in the preceding is the the left "thoroughly ... compromised"?

"What is winning the day is NATIONAL INTEREST, not class interest. Greece has won support because:
- France fears Marie LePen;
- Italy could be the next Greece;
- USA wants to ensure that Greece remains in EU/NATO."

What support? Greece has been in an extreme economic depression for five years and Europe, the U.S., and the rest have just imposed an even more extreme version of that on Greece.

"Podemos actually moved to the center over the last 6-months! They have ruled out making debt an issue."

Yes, and? If Podemos is pro-austerity -- and I think you're indicating (and I agree) that it likely is -- it is not a leftist party.

"Unfortunately, class solidarity doesn't seem to happen until a country experiences depression-like conditions. Greece is there, but other countries are not."

What difference does class solidarity within the Eurozone matter unless There Is No Alternative to the Eurozone? It's foolish, time-wasting, and unrealistic to expect German workers to reject Germany's advantageous position within the Eurozone. On the other hand, pro-austerity Podemos's solidarity inclinations are irrelevant to any questions about left solidarity.

"'I told you so' does not build solidarity. The left has to improve its communication/connection to the people it purports to represent. I think the left will increasingly find common cause with nationalist movements (like Syriza+ANEL).

Syriza isn't a nationalist movement. It's a class movement, executing the austerity demanded by the Greek upper-middle-class and Greece's oligarchs and their media. Continuing to depress Greece is against the country's national interests.

"Another think that gets conveniently ignored is that Syriza are not likely to have won the January election if they promised GRexit. For the same reason, Tspiras assured the Greeks that an OXI in the referendum was NOT a vote for GRexit. Greeks really don't want OUT of the EU/EZ, they want a reformed EU/EZ."

No one ignores the first. About the second point, Tsipras did make those assurances, but they were drowned out on a massive scale by the scaremongering media and every EU bigwig 'threatening' Greece with EU/Eurozone expulsion if it voted 'OXI'. And, let's be honest, if you reject austerity and the EU rejects your rejection, you either run out of money or you Grexit. Grexit was a logical consequence of rejecting austerity, in the real world Eurozone that Greeks have had to deal with over the last five years.

"Strange how the left has tied itself in knots: Syriza is a betrayer if it remains in the Euro (no 'deal' with the Troika will be a good deal) and anti-democratic if it moves toward GRexit."

I haven't noticed those knots. Syriza is a betrayer if it imposes a more extreme version of the austerity rejected by 61% of Greece's voters, that vote very much class-based. No one has said "no deal with the troika" is a good deal. In the abstract, of course there could have been a good deal. But in the real world there was virtually no chance of a good deal. Lapavitsas and others were already calling for Grexit in March because the handwriting was on the wall in big bold letters. But, I notice with concern that you are not writing in the past tense about the failed chance at a good deal.

"Much of the left (both hard-core and controlled opposition) has moved to insulate itself from the fallout of these alternatives, and ignores Yanis' militancy because the MSM has painted him as an oddball."

Please, the time of pretending there are alternatives is over! Six months of Varoufakis's rhetoric failed to change, even a little bit, the right-wing Eurozone pro-austerity death marching leadership. And the media is in fact promoting Varoufakis as the next leader of the Eurozone-phile 'left'.

"Lastly, I think GRexit is still very likely. The German block is demanding additional legislation and is dragging their feet on details of debt relief. I think Schauble is still hoping to force GRexit - and there is some breaking point where it is unavoidable. The Greek economy has worsened and Schauble says an agreement for a 'third bailout' will take much longer than anticipated."

IF you think it is likely, why don't you support it? How does two or three years of economic hell imposed by a party popularly identified as 'left' help the left? How does continuing the hell help ordinary working and middle class Greeks? Have some basic human sympathy here!

"And, like many, I would love to see a legal challenge based on 'odious debt'. 'Odious debt' is not yet fully recognized in law. It is based on commonsense legal and moral principals that should prevail but (according to no 'odious debt' case has been adjudicated."

Why would you _love_ to see a legal challenge that will certainly fail in the neoliberal orthodoxy loving European courts? What good does that do? Enough filibustering and dillying about, time to walk away from the neoliberal deathship called the Eurozone.

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 3 2015 19:48 utc | 72


Thanks for your response. There is much to think about there. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the following:

1) What do you think of the debt restructuring/re-profiling? *IF* the debt burden was drastically reduced (I know that is a big 'IF') then wouldn't that make it worthwhile for Greece to stick with the Euro? (and wasn't that hope the reason that Tsipras struck a 'deal' at the Summit?)

2) Every one seems to assume that a primary surplus = austerity. But isn't that only the case for an economy that is contracting? If Greece can grow due to new investment & 'structural reforms' (anti-corruption, anti-monopolist, etc.) then a primary surplus wouldn't be such a burden, would it?

At one point Yanis called on Merckel to give a speech in Athens about 'hope'. He did this, I think, to highlight that what the Troika was offering from February-June offered NO hope of ever breaking free of austerity and debt peonage. It seems to me that with the right debt relief and investment, Greece could have hope of being free of the Troika.

I recognize the flaws in the euro as do many others. There is supposed to be talks (this fall?) on reforming the Eurozone.

I believe that without sufficient debt relief, Greece should GRexit. Without sufficient EZ reform, all of the periphery countries should/might also exit. This is why Germany wants GRexit - they see Syriza as 'troublemakers' that are rally-ing the others against the block led by Germany.

As I wrote above, I am growing more skeptical every about whether the Troika will offer sufficient debt relief. Maybe the whole exercise was meant to embarrass Syriza and topple Tsipras?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 3 2015 23:50 utc | 73

These two accounts point to escalating violence in Kharkov. The office of a local Party of Regions/Opposition Bloc lawmaker was attacked, after clashes between Bloc supporters and the Pravyi Sektor. This latest violence apparently took place after the renamed party was denied a place on the coming election ballot.

What might be most interesting are translator J. Flores' comments on the first item. He notes the importance of Kharkov for ongoing domestic resistance to the junt. He would expect to "see in Kharkov a transformation similarly to what we should expect later in Mariupol and even Odessa: these will be initiated by at-first-peaceful protests, building occupations, and only later supported by 'organic' home-grown people's militias, which in fact may include some little green men and friendly stranger elements."

Let's hope they're able to move from defense to offense soon.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 4 2015 3:34 utc | 74

From Red Star Over Donbass comes this interview with Victor Shapinov of the Ukrainian leftist group "Borotba". He sees the Donbass uprising based in the 'Soviet world' as against Ukrainian nationalism. While I think he understates the role of Ukrainian nationalism on the junta side, I believe him to be correct in stressing the Soviet (as opposed to Great Russian) origins of the Peoples Republics.

I do not think that Soviet slogans bring out the Russian nationalists. Soviet carries a strong conotation of social liberation, of anti-capitalism. This conotation was very strong in the Donbass uprising from the beginning. In the words of the late Alexei Mozgovoi: "The main enemy is the oligarchs and bureaucrats"....

The very name "people's republic" comes from the “Soviet world".... They revolted not only against Kiev but against their own oligarchs....

We, the communist left, support this original focus of the uprising, we don't want the name of the "people's republics" to remain just words. People will not fight for the restoration of the Romanov empire, these shadows of the past "don't stick." But to bring back all the gains that have been taken away from the people since 1991 – they will....

I believe that until the overthrow of the Kiev regime there will be independent states with some elements of the welfare state, a powerful public sector and nationalization of the banks. This is the most that can be expected. But when greater Novorossiya or the whole of Ukraine is liberated, then we can think about changing the capitalist model to something less cannibalistic.

There you go again, with that optimism of the will.

For fans of conspiracy theories, false flags, and planted evidence, a small jem by Joaquim Flores at Fort Russ. He asks if A "Dirty Bomb" False Flag Imminent in the Donbas? Apparently the London Times thinks so. The accompanying photo, Flores advises, is from a Ukrainian attack on a chemical facility in Donetsk last year.

Flores in turn picked up the idea from Oleg Tsarev, former Kiev parliamentarian and now Novorossiyan publicist, who wondered Why did the Times publish their report?

But the fact is that when someone wants to commit a crime — he must first create an alibi. Or, in our case, to create the background information that would blame the enemy....

Kiev needs a disaster with the greatest possible number of victims on the despised territory to make Donbass the area of international disaster, and this time to force Russia to agree to enter their "peacekeeping troops" or any other form of pressure, chosen by America and its satellites.

Flores hopes to forestall this by the publicity.

Our role as public servants, citizen media, is to inoculate mass publics against any attempt to pin a future 'chemical attack' on the Novorossiyan armies.... Many analysts have indicated that publicizing and 'calling out' such false flag attempts in their early stages can actually hedge the US Empire's bets that they can pull it off.

So spread the word, Barflies. Only you can stop false flag attacks. Friends don't let friends detonate dirty bombs. And all Bar Patrons must check all thermonuclear devices with the bartender. This applies especially to all rhetorical WMD as well.

Ka boom...

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 4 2015 23:52 utc | 75

Time and circumstances do not permit the fuller consideration of this item, from the Jacobin via NC's Links. It poses the question of Turning “No” Into a Political Front: Some lessons from Syriza — and where we go from here. Stathis Kouvelakis, a Syriza CC member from Left Platform, begins by discussing the difficulty in measure a defeat begins with identifying exactly who or what was defeated.

The most characteristic example is that of the fall of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. Even today there is still no agreement as to what was defeated with the collapse of those regimes.

Most still think that what was defeated together with the USSR was communism, socialism, revolution, the possibility of social liberation. Those of us who disagree with that are a minority, but that does not necessarily mean that we are wrong. But it certainly means that we have not yet emerged from that defeat.

The rest of his essay seems a pretty thorough discussion of the problems facing the left there today.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 5 2015 0:14 utc | 76

Uh, a link would be nice.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 5 2015 0:15 utc | 77

MH-17 investigation is an injustice to all the relatives of the 298 victims

“Nemo iudex in causa sua” is a Latin phrase that means, literally, no-one should be a judge in his own cause.

Ironically, Netherlands should know better since it is the host country or seat for at least eight international tribunals, such as

  International Court of Justice,
  International Criminal Court,
  International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,
  Permanent Court of Arbitration,
  Special Court for Sierra Leone at the premises of the International Criminal Court in The Hague,
  Special Tribunal for Lebanon and
  Appeals Chamber of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Rather than an exception to the rule of 'impartiality, isn't the MH-17 investigation just one more instance of the EU/NATO judging in its own cause, and favor?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 5 2015 0:39 utc | 78

The Ambassador of Latvia to NATO: our biggest threats are the inflow of Ukrainian refugees and the outflow of our population

Indulis Berzins, who previously held various government posts, entered the position of Ambassador to NATO last week. He shared his perspective about the security of the state on a TV program. The greatest threat is a huge influx of refugees from Ukraine. As the diplomat noted, he was warned about such a scenario by the experts involved in the Ukrainian crisis.
Additionally, Indulis Berzins said that a threat to Latvia is the pessimistic mood of its inhabitants, many of whom resent their country and move abroad.

"If the citizens of Latvia will not agree that we need this state, it will create the greatest threat to the security of the country," - the Ambassador said.

The US is emptying Latvia and moving the Ukrainians in? Be a tough fit, won't it? Maybe just enough for a Maidan? But they've already had their Maidan, haven't they? Years ago.

I wonder what ordinary Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuainians really think about US/EU/NATO power plays and the Western Powers' naked use of the Baltic states as instruments?

He also noted that "a group of professional commentators appeared online, which rejects the transatlantic orientation of Latvia".

Are those 'paid by Putin professionals' ... or just ordinary citizens of the Baltic states concerned about the abuse of their nations by the US and its European Unit?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 5 2015 1:02 utc | 79

rufus@77- thanks for the link. This is what I've been saying all along- let the Greeks decide the terms of defeat and the response.

Posted by: Nana 2007 | Aug 5 2015 6:06 utc | 80

further to 76 --

Kouvelakis' balance sheet on the Greek bailout bears closer attention.

He believes that Syriza's recent fold marks a serious defeat for "left-Europeanism," or the notion that "a positive solution will be found within the euro and that [by] displaying credentials as 'good European citizens'" relief would be forthcoming from Frankfurt and Brussels. When the illusion that this strategy would work could no longer be sustained, with no alternative ready, "there remains only the worst option...."

What in part doomed them to failure was there isolation from and neutering of the masses. He notes that the move away from mass activity and agitation began back in 2010, but reached its apex this winter.

[The] left-Europeanism strategy naturally meant largely sidestepping the dynamic of popular mobilization. The choice of focusing on negotiations... quickly led to the first great failure, namely the February 20 agreement signed between the Greek government and the Eurogroup.... Its first and most immediate consequence was to paralyze the mobilization and destroy the optimism and militancy that prevailed in the first weeks after the January 25 electoral victory.

Add the restraining influence of the state apparat and business community, and you get into the dead end Syriza found itself in.

One particular practice that Kouvelakis sees as necessary tool to bring the potential of situations like Greece found itself in during the present recession is the transitional program.

The idea of the transitional program is that we do not content ourselves with abstract, propagandistic anticapitalist discourse that is applicable in every situation and simply reiterates the strategic objective of socialism and revolutionary overthrow.

The tried and tested dividing lines, those that enable the offensive against the class enemy to be activated effectively and the overall balance of forces to be overturned, must be defined anew for every specific occasion.

But since Kouvelakis foreswears any leading role for Syriza or even Left Platform, (vs. it having a "central role to play" as the best organized fraction within Syriza), it's a little hard to see the struggle suggested by the program comes to fruition.

Kouvelakis is right in saying "that we have been taught a harsh lesson, and at a very heavy price.... But... for the forces of the radical and of the anticapitalist left, it was a necessary lesson."

A few rough sums for the balance sheet then. We're sure to get more data, and so the auditors will keep at it. I sure hope we see some red ink.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 6 2015 0:19 utc | 81

A few interesting developments in the borderlands today.

Have Ukrainian Oligarchs Had Enough? One can only hope. Apparently, the fear amongst oligarchs is that recently-announced measures about "de-oligarchization... can result in the redistribution of property and neo-oligarchization...." Translator K. Rus adds:

I think this is a sign of the general mood in Ukraine. Only a small section of population, connected to the current establishment is content. The old Ukrainian elites, the ordinary citizens, and most business owners are struggling to make ends meet, going broke and are literally starving. The discontent is growing.... Only if and when a critical mass of Ukrainian elites will realise that their meal can come only from the East will we see positive changes in Ukraine.... No matter how much damage has been done, bringing Ukraine back under its influence is Russia #1 goal.... Ukraine's destiny is Russia, and the only question is how long will it take for Ukraine to realize that.

To be read in conjunction with earlier "fears" by the MSM of a "dirty bomb." Illegal sale of Uranium-238 prevented in Western Ukraine.

Poroshenko planted a time bomb under Ukraine with a promise of Tatar autonomy in Crimea. This attempt to undermine Crimean reunion with the Russian Federation has the potential to backfire. Why not, say, the Rusyns? Of course, he is promising something he doesn't have and is quite unlikely to actually get, while unleashing a potentially dangerous centrifugal force. Glory to the Ukraine....

Fun for hardcore hardware fans. The Ukraine, it seems, is quite a useful proving and training ground for modern warfare. So take comfort, our continued war only seems pointlessly destructive.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 6 2015 2:48 utc | 82

*The US containment policy against China includes not only holding of old alliances but a creating of new. In the recent strategy Washington pledges to strengthen cooperation with six long-standing allies: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and lists eight new partners: Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Micronesia,
Pakistan, Singpore, Vietnam. With help of its Asian allies the US are going to seal
off the PLA Navy in South China Sea and prevent its moving in operations space.*

for the past two decades,
the unitedsnake has been trying to coax, arm twist asean into an anti chinese posse.
ph was an easy one, it has never been able to wring free from the snake's clutch
[1]. sg is the base of murkkan's latest littoral battleships targetting china.

thailand's former pm yingluck who's very cozy with china was outsted by a wave of yellow shirt *swarming adolescents*, with corruption charges hanging over her head.
myanmars generals wetted their pants over gadaffi's fate, whose gory execution was aired worldwide to send a msg to those who stray from washington's consensus. after hillary *the enforcer* clinton visit to rangoon, the junta was thoroughly co-opted.
did *the enforcer* whisper into the generals ears some thing like , *u'r either with me or.....gadaffi* ?
rangoon has been very provocative at the border [2] after a visit from the cic of pacom, which is a big deal. may be just a coincidence ;-) ?

malaysia, being the last man standing in asean who defy the zwo , is currently subject to an intensive media blitz led by the WARsj, its aussie sidekick and an *investigative website ,*the sarawak report*, run by surprise surprise, a perfidious albion.[3] its mission is to *expose the highly corrupted political scene in malaysia* [sic]

while the charges focus on najib's alleged massive corruption, malaysia's real *crime* has alway been its relative independence from washington's dictat as compared to other asean countries, espeicially the likes of ph. the ultimate sin is kl's flirting with beijing inspite of washington's threat and warning.

after washington's man in kl, anwar failed to unseat najib in the 2013 election [4],
came the official visit by chinese prez xi jing ping in oct 13, xi had a great time in kl with pm najib and ex pm dr mahathir [5]
dr mahathir has always been a thorn in washington's side, not to mention his
running feud with george *the vulture* soros .
grrrr, this the kind of stuff that send the snake straining at its leash !
the rest is history !

less than six months after xi's party in kl, malaysia's never ending woes started.

first came mh370, followed by mh17, then an airasia airliner clash, a helicopter which exploded in mid air. last month another mh airliner nearly bite the dust.

right after the rare earthquake that hit sabah, there appeared to be a marked change in kl's position on scs. kl is currently reeling from the warsj led media campaign, meanwhile its increasingly singing to washington's tune .
must be another coincidence ;-)

Posted by: denk | Aug 6 2015 16:59 utc | 83

Conn Hallinan:

"Behind Washington’s ‘Crackpot’ Deal with Turkey to Fight ISIS"

"Under the guise of fighting ISIS, Turkey's president is re-igniting a bloody war with the Kurds for his own political purposes".

Is Erdogan that desparate ? Doesn't Erdogan see that such a fight/war will break up Turkey ?

IMO, Erdogan's days are numbered.

Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 7 2015 8:14 utc | 84

I'm not sure what to make of it, it does seem an odd invitation. It was issued by Jaromír Štětina, a far-right MEP from the Czech Republic.

Nikolai Starikov believes that Casting for the role of the Fuhrer announced in Ukraine by inviting Biletsky of the Azov Battalion to speak at the European Parliament.

"Because Poroshenko and Co. are clearly not able to cope with... what the United States would like to see in Ukraine... the US is preparing a replacement for Poroshenko. And today in Ukraine a casting for a new dictator is taking place. A few candidates are considered, including Dmitry Yarosh (the leader of a banned in Russia extremist organization "Right sector" – ed.) and Biletsky. So, you can say, this is his first, modest showing."

Who is Jaromír Štětina, is he a reasonable proxy for DC? Sputnik's short item on the invite quotes Czech political scientist Jan Miklas on Štětina's background:

I am not surprised that the decision to invite Biletsky comes from Jaromír Štětina, because he is the kind of man who always root for radicals of every hue, from neo-Nazis to Islamic fundamentalists… During the Nineties he defended the radical Islamists who were then fighting in Chechnya...

The Prague Post reports the invitation as well, and includes further information on Štětina's activities. “Volunteer battalions are a significant, real political and military force in eastern Ukraine. Not to talk to them and not to know who they are means not to be interested in the solution to the conflict," he told Czech news agencies. The article also notes that he has made several visits to the Ukraine, with Pravyi Sektor, Azov, and Donbas volunteer battalions on the itineraries, and that Štětina remarked that all were represented in the Rada.

On the ongoing discussion, i.e. continued attempts to deny the obvious, of "are the volunteers fascists?", he made this contribution.

Štětina ruled out that mainly young neo-Nazis joined these battalions. Such reports are results of Russian propaganda, he added.

Yet he admitted that he had seen the Nazi-tinged symbols among their recruits.

I think it worth noting that Wikipedia reports Štětina's leading role in the so-called Prague Declaration, the center-piece of the ongoing efforts to draw a false equivalence between the Soviets and the fascist Reich.

So he's undoubtedly a beard for someone. But I don't think DC. But clearly a faction of international finance capital is keen make the volunteer battalions respectable.

Glory to the heroes....

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 8 2015 15:25 utc | 85

Like others, I've had problems with links to Sputnik. I've seen some folk recently posting them, so here it goes.

Czech MEP Invites Ukrainian Neo-Nazi to European Parliament

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 8 2015 15:28 utc | 86

And I wonder, who's trying to pretty up Singapore's medieval city-state? HuffPost is all in.

Here's it is as a challenge to democratic governance.

And again as a model for America.

They do try a little balance, allowing that the situation is complex and Lee Kuan Yew's legacy uncertain. You remember him, right? He and his party used to sue opposition candidates and get the compliant courts to award them damages.

And they do let Jim Sleeper, a Yale political scientist, point out American Leaders Swooning Over Singapore's Thuggish Founder Are Blind Politically, Not Just Morally. The sad state of our leadership's politics and ethics is not really late breaking news, but further examples give additional heft to that conclusion.

Having been force-fed various clips of the Republican "Debate" by the MSM, I suddenly find myself wondering -- "Are the Republicans holding auditions for the role of Lee Kuan Yew?"

And while I'm considering the area and its history, a shout-out to the oil-trust lackeys at the Pacfica-funded Democracy Now for making me fully aware of this powerful bit of cinema, Joshua Oppenheimer's film The Look of Silence.

It is a follow-up to his 2012 The Act of Killing, in which he had Indonesian death squad leaders re-enact their activities during the 1960's repression of Communists and other potential opponents of the new Washington-backed military government.

The more things change.... Is W-BMG good shorthand?

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 8 2015 16:09 utc | 87

Ukraine and World Weekly SITREP August 2-9, 2015 by Baaz

Plan Gorbulina-Poroshenko

The main points of the plan:
1. Kiev takes no peace commitments.
2. The total blockade.
3. Continue terrorizing shelling residential neighborhoods of the city of Donbass, so every night to kill someone from the civilians.
4. This should make life unbearable in the Donbas.
5. This should lead to the fall of the regime’s authority DPR and LPR and the collapse of the army of New Russia.
6. Fatigue Russia with sanctions and pressure.
7. It will be prepared by a sudden blow to the Donbass military as a model, the impact of the Croatian army of the Serbian Krajina.
8. NATO puts its troops in Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk, called joint teams Ukraine – NATO.
9. NATO Ukraine provides delivery of weapons, training its army. And then they strike the Donbass, and NATO’s involvement gives the guarantee of full support from the West.
10. The political regime police dictatorship in Ukraine strengthened.

Can that bit about NATO be true?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 9 2015 23:53 utc | 88

The war crimes are not news, reporting by the MSM is however. From Gordon Hahn via Russia Insider, German Mainstream Media Report on Kiev's War Crimes. He believes that the recent crackdown on some battalions means Kiev is prettying up it's record, though he wonders why Pravyi Sektor has not been implicated.

That bacchanalia was whipped up by ‘strategic communications’ and propaganda from officials, media and ‘think’ tanks in Kiev, Washington, and Brussels, replete with claims of Putin’s “fascism” and an imminent Russian march on Europe through Ukraine to “restore the Soviet empire.”

Moreover, it is very likely that in Kiev, if not elsewhere, the deployment of ultra-nationalist- and neofascist- infused volunteer battalions was immediately conceptualized as a temporary meaure that would provide the Maidan regime with a layer of insulation and thus deniability regarding any direct responsibility for the battalions’ atrocities and war crimes, while allowing it to unleash these elements on the ‘koloradoes’ and ‘vatniki’ in the Mongoloid east....

The Maidan regime deliberately recruited criminal and neo-fascists in to the volunteer batalions and helped fund and arm neo-fascist groups like Right Sector that brought the regime to power. All this was openly discussed in the media and described by Maidan regime leaders....

We all know how Washington likes it's "plausible deniability."

While knowing full well that the Maidan regime was organizing and then had unleashed these and many other criminal and neo-fascist volunteer battalions on the Donbass people, they either denied or remained silent on the issue, as these units raped, killed, and maimed.

US officials have spent all of their energy covering up for the neo-fascist element in the Maidan revolt.

'Cuz what you don't know can't hurt you, right? Or rather, it won't hurt the reputation of our political class.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 10 2015 12:21 utc | 89

Stability is the holy grail in Neolibraconia ...

ICRC says Yemen crumbling as Saudi aggression continues

The ICRC chief said Yemen is “crumbling” under a deepening crisis which is nothing short of catastrophic.

"This cannot go on. Yemen is crumbling. As a matter of urgency, there must be free movement of goods into and across the country. Deliveries of food, water and medicine should be facilitated. Much more needs to be done. And minds need to be focused to find a political solution quickly," said Maurer.

"The humanitarian situation is nothing short of catastrophic. Every family in Yemen has been affected by this conflict. The people are facing immense hardship. And it is getting worse by the day. The world needs to wake up to what is going on."

No change here. The 'humanitarian situation' has been catastrophic for months. The UN has come to regard that as 'normal' in the brave new USA/KSA/ISIS dominated world of the Middle East. The UN averts its eyes. No change. Everything is 'stable' there ...

UPDATED: Greece, Creditors Agree to New Bailout

Greece and its international creditors agreed Tuesday on almost all conditions of a new bailout deal, after all-night negotiations.

“An agreement has been reached. Some minor details are being discussed right now,” a finance ministry spokesperson stated.

No further details of the deal were released, though the agreement is expected to be ratified by Greece’s parliament by the end of the week.

No is Yes ... in the brave new world. And - after prodigious expenditures of hot air by the Greek political class - No remains Yes in Greece. The world averts its eyes. No change. Everything is 'stable' there as well...

Spotlight: Gunbattle in Ferguson protests puts U.S. racial divide into renewed focus

A day of mostly peaceful rallies to mark the first anniversary of Michael Brown's death, was tainted by an exchange of gunfire in the crowd Sunday night, when officers shot and critically wounded a black 18-year-old called Tyrone Harris Jr.

Harris was charged with four counts of felony assault on law enforcement by the county prosecutors. His father, however, said his son was unarmed and innocent, according to U.S. media.

The rally was to mark the assassination of an unarmed young black man by an aggressive white cop in Ferguson a year ago. Another unarmed young black man was assassinated by another aggressive white cop in Ferguson during the rally commemorating last year's assassination this year. 'Post-racial' America averts its eyes. No change. Everything is 'stable' there ...

In Palestine the Gaza is in ruins, just as it left by the Israelis a year ago, not one stone upon another. The pledges of the world accompanying crocodile tears unfulfilled. The occasional F-16 screams overhead, its IDF drone-pilot killing whoever is out and about now still. The world averts its eyes. No change. Everything is 'stable' there ...

The majority of mankind are now the sea and the sharks swim freely among us all. We small fish, we invertebrates, we very plankton all hope that somehow the sharks will free us, that perhaps a great black sperm whale will catch and crush in its jaw the monstrous giant squid which has 'stabilized' everything, immobile in its tentacles, everyone, everything on its way to be rent and rendered by the squid's terrible beak ... None of us wants to know how that will be accomplished, we all avert our eyes. No change. Everything is 'stable' here ...

Posted by: jfl | Aug 11 2015 13:24 utc | 90

78 yrs old 小苍桂子 was only eight when the unitedsnake dropped two abombs on her home town hiroshima, even tho she lived to tell the story, she suffered great pain thru most of her life coz of the black rain that soaked her body after the explosion.

she says, *my house was 2.4 km from the epicentre of explosion. i was outside when the bomb dropped, there was a blinding white light that shot across the sky, followed by a huge explosion, all the houses were engulfed in flame. it rained not long after, *black rain*.
i didnt know that those water were undrinkable, when those horribly scorched victims cried for water i let them drank all those black rain water. ! sob sob....

after the war, we dared not tell people we lived so near to the centre of explosion,
lest nobody would marry me for fear of giving birth to deformed babies.
soon an murcunt medical team descended on hiroshima. everybody thought thank god these guys were there to save us .
we flocked to the clinic to seek treatment, but we soon learned to our utter disgust these people werent there to help us, they came for one sole puspose, to assess the effect of atomic radiation on human bodies. they wanna gauge how *successful* was their *handiwork* !
in bikini island the murcunts used 10000 cats and dogs to run their atomic radiaion test, in hiroshima and nagakasi they used human beings, 300000 of them all.
小 苍 桂子 thinks that the only good thing left by the murcunts was article nine of the constitution which forbid jp from going to war ever again.
*i always think that its' aritcle nine that safeguard jp's peace, im dead against its quashing. but the central govn is bent on pushing thru its new security resolution which'd dump article nine and allow jp army fighting oversea once again, the implication of this send a cold down my spine.

dear 小 苍 桂子, sorry u got it upside down.
the prowess of jp soldiers in ww2 greatly impressed the unitedsnake, *hmm, this would make a good rottweiler*. no sooner than the last shot was fired the snake already had a great plan for jp. but first the badly mauled rottweiler needed time to recover and kept tightly under control, hence the articl nine, kinda like a dog leash. when the time is ripe the leash would be removed and the attack dog set free.
that time has come.
the snake spent the last three decades building up its asian nato to encircle china.
using carrots and sticks and whatever dirty tricks in its bag, the snake has been taking down china's allies one by one.
now is the time to go for china's jugular, jp would be that attack dog.
when the shit hits the fan, jp young men would not be dying for the emperor, this
time they'd be cannon fodder for that sneaky bastard, the unitedsnake. !

Posted by: denk | Aug 11 2015 16:28 utc | 91

Lost in all the fun with Seattle, Syria, and the Sickening Seventeen reality TV extravaganza, you may not have noticed the "frozen war" in the Ukraine has warmed up a tad. Here's a display of captured equipment by the DPR 'Viking' battalion. According to the Kyiv Post the Ukraine claims to rebuff separatist offensive. But the Ministry of Defense is claiming some heights nearby were taken.

My guess -- it's going badly for Kiev, since Poroshenko wants an urgent meeting of the Normandy Group.

But drop by Fort Russ for the latest clips, if you're curious.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 12 2015 0:06 utc | 92

Abadi announces reforms aimed at “decentralization” of Iraq

“The United States should speed the supply of arms and equipment directly to local tribal militia and Peshmerga units, while holding out the prospect that arms will flow through Baghdad if and when the central government establishes a reliable process for their transfer and passes legislation to include these fighters in the Iraqi security forces,” the CNAS [the Democratic-leaning think tank, Center for a New American Security] wrote.

It is increasingly clear that the “solution” to the Iraq-Syria war envisioned by the US political-military elite is one that involves the partition of both countries.

The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, General Vincent Stewart, told a conference of intelligence personnel at the end of July that Iraq “may indeed be irreparably fractured and may not come back as an intact state.”

He added, “You also see a lot of fracturing in Syria, where you could end up with an Alawite-stan in the middle and something to the north and something to the south.”

Death, devastation, destruction ... and dissolution continue. No change. Things remain 'stable' in Syria and Iraq.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 12 2015 1:08 utc | 93

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