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November 02, 2015

Open Thread 2015-41

News & views ...

Posted by b on November 2, 2015 at 18:35 UTC | Permalink

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anyone else following the action in around Deir Ezzor? here is the latest update..

@98 yeah, right.. i wouldn't bother with the wow brained one.. sss - same stupid s all the time..

Posted by: james | Nov 4 2015 6:06 utc | 101

Block by bloc, inch by inch, line by line, snort by snort, grunt by grunt ...

"This element of ‘Captagon’ in the violent jihadism from 2011 onwards (and, in turn, in the rise of ISIL/Daesh) is interesting for another reason too.

You will have heard numerous people over the last year or so compare ISIS to the Nazis or the SS in terms of their brutality and their fascistic ideology, right? Well, a German author and researcher, Norman Ohler, recently published a book in which he revealed a new dimension to the rise of the Nazis: specifically that Hitler’s armies had carried out their “Blitzkrieg” invasions of Poland and France while high on a version of crystal meth which kept them wide awake, feeling euphoric and invincible."

Link to the-story-of-captagon-nato-isis-libyasyria-the-nazis

Posted by: doveman | Nov 4 2015 6:10 utc | 102

Whoa… go off-grid for a week and come back to spend another week just catching up on topics, comments and many excellent links. Some various points on old topics (apologies for not having time to attribute properly!):

Someone asked why the Nazis never went in for strategic bombing in WW2. Apparently the original commander of the Luftwaffe, General Wever, wanted very much to develop strategic bombers. Interestingly the project was called “The Ural Bomber”, giving a pretty good idea of the intended range and target. Wever died in a plane crash in 1936 and was replaced by General Kesselring, who instead devoted Luftwaffe resources entirely to tactical air support of blitzkrieg on the ground. Thus ended the Nazi strategic bomber program.


Another commenter asked why the US couldn’t just work with Russia to defeat Daesh, as the US and UK fought alongside the USSR in WW2 to defeat the Nazis. Well, beneath the surface the US/UK weren’t really fighting on the same side as the USSR. The US/UK delayed really fighting the Nazis for as long as possible in hopes that they would destroy the USSR, whether outright or at least devastate it beyond foreseeable recovery. When it became obvious that the USSR was going to defeat Nazi Germany effectively on its own, then came the assault from the west, not out of solidarity with the Soviet effort but to prevent the Red Army from advancing all the way to the Atlantic. ”Operation Unthinkable” even envisaged a surprise attack on the USSR just weeks after the Nazi surrender, supplementing US/UK forces with Wehrmacht troops, but was shelved both because of insufficient forces for an offensive and because the newly-developed atomic bomb was not available in sufficient quantity for a strategic advantage.

Today the US pushes Daesh in the Middle East and (once again) Nazis in the Ukraine and Baltics as part of its geopolitical campaign against Russia, China, Iran, Syria and other regime change targets, while claiming to oppose said proxies. Same as it ever was…


Someone mentioned that the US Pledge of Allegiance was inspired by or modeled after some form of Soviet pledge or oath—this is not accurate. The first version dates back to 1892, although the “under God” wording was added in the McCarthy era as a means of exposing “Godless Communists” who would supposedly refuse to so swear.

Not knowing any of this history as a five-year-old atheist in 1st Grade, I refused to say the “under God” portion, the first step of my radicalization.


A commenter speculated on whether Bernie Sanders might become another FDR. I would say that neither Sanders nor any other two-party candidate can become “another FDR” implementing a modern New Deal program. It’s not a matter of subjective consciousness, but of political necessity on the part of the PTB. The missing ingredients? Hundreds of thousands of unemployed rallying in the streets, general strikes and factory occupations, a 100,000-strong US Communist Party with a USSR visibly unaffected by the Great Depression. Whatever form a modern US movement might take, we need to take things to such levels before the PTB even think to try to coopt it with such reformism. Without it, even a President Sanders will be just another neocon in “hopey-changey” clothing as Obama has been.

There is no point in getting anyone’s hopes up for meaningful change in this or that two-party candidate. The only chance is to build the movement, one brick at a time…

Posted by: Vintage Red | Nov 4 2015 7:06 utc | 103

I haven’t seen anyone link to this yet: Stalin and the geopolitics of historical revisionism

Author Albert Naryshkin quotes Aleksey Fenenko in summation:

All the legitimacy of the modern world order is tied to the outcome of the Second World War. If the countries of the West pursue a policy of eliminating the UN Security Council in its current composition (and there are signs of this), then it is necessary to do ideological groundwork. Why is the topic of Stalinism, although Stalin died in the middle of the last century, so popular in the West? Because it is the foundation for transforming the UN. If for a moment we admit that “Stalin and Hitler were equally responsible for the war,” then the question is immediately raised: what exactly is Russia doing in the UN Security Council? In Germany and Japan, I think, another question arises, the question of whether or not the borders arranged by Stalin are just….

Something quite similar already happened in history. In the 19th century, no less a schism was caused by the figure of Napoleon Bonaparte. The destroyed emperor was adored and strongly romanticized in France, the country which wanted to revise the results of the Congress of Vienna in 1815. National movements idolized Bonaparte, including Italian, Polish, Hungarian, and Irish ones which wouldn’t have had the chance to create their own states without new turmoil in Europe. And, conversely, the victorious powers - Russia, Great Britain, and Austria - didn’t like Bonaparte. The point wasn’t even Napoleon, but rather disputes about the necessity of revising the results of the Congress of Vienna. Today we feel a similar danger emanating from disputes over Stalinism and the beginning of the Second World War: we are not talking about Stalin as such, but about the transformation of the UN Security Council into an objective disadvantage for Russia.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Nov 4 2015 7:09 utc | 104


[...]Well, a German author and researcher, Norman Ohler, recently published a book in which he revealed a new dimension to the rise of the Nazis: specifically that Hitler’s armies had carried out their “Blitzkrieg” invasions of Poland and France while high on a version of crystal meth which kept them wide awake, feeling euphoric and invincible."

Bingo! I saw the headlines about the book, but busy as we are with the takfiris, I didn't pay much attention to it. Thanks for bringing it here in the context of the narco-terrorists in Syria, and for reminding me the name of the author. Now the book is not just past history, it has found a similar experience in the present, and it makes total sense reading it. Though drugs have been used by the US to pay for the CIA black ops (Golden Triangle, Iran-contra), this might be the first time in history an entire terrorist army is kept fighting on massive drug consumption.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 4 2015 7:17 utc | 105

James @100 -- that was sad/pathetic ... apparently "someone" working for an NGO made the allegation that no one is willing to verify and she can't tell you who they were or who they work for ..... well, obviously that settles it and asking further threatens to make this weary woman annoyed.
Elsewhere, I read that someone at the Kremlin said that the hospitals/clinics reportedly hit never existed ... WTf

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 4 2015 7:29 utc | 106

@106 susan.. i enjoy those videos.. if those folks ever look back at them, they must be extremely embarrassed with their response! i shared one yesterday too - same deal.. pathetic is a good word for it. it is a propaganda war too of course, although if you are going to lie or make shit up, wouldn't it be better to at least have the name of the town where the hospital was hit in? that is apparently top secret too!!!

Posted by: james | Nov 4 2015 7:38 utc | 107

@doveman, 102 and Lone Wolf, 105:

I remember hearing that the German soldiers' term for the speed they were issued was "Blitz" and that their high command considered it necessary for them to be able to keep up with the pace of "Blitzkrieg." Later in the war the US soldiers' term for what they were issued was "Crank" (as in "all Cranked up"), and that upon returning home those veterans who couldn't re-acculturate to civilian society after such levels of stimulation went on to form the social base of the first motorcycle gangs.

Perhaps this also was what Ghaddafi was referring to when he, early in the mercenary invasion of Libya, referred to the antigovernment forces as "drug addicts."

Posted by: Vintage Red | Nov 4 2015 8:31 utc | 108

Lone Wolf @105 & Vintage Red @ 108 -- drawing a long string, perhaps, but it does make one wonder if there isn't some code in all that "White House" business and the euphoric 24x7 'exceptionalism' old Obama feels (following along from 'ex'-cocaine-man, GWBush) while doing his Tuesday morning extra-judicial drone-man kill list before trotting off for a spot of golf in the afternoon? Anyone checked the tap water lately?

Posted by: doveman | Nov 4 2015 11:59 utc | 109

... and we can also note two small items from the Islamic paradigm:

(a) technically it is not alcohol so there are a number of possible interpretations which means although a 1,000 times worse it is not 'haram' per se (although I doubt the Wahhabi fundamentalists would concur) -- this how the Yemeni get to chew their khat; and

(b) "Assassins" and the Old Man in the Mountains cult (see ).

It is, however, unknown how Hassan-i-Sabbah was able to get his "Fida'in" to perform with such fervent loyalty. One theory, possibly the best known but also the most criticized, comes from the reports of Marco Polo during his travels to the Orient. He recounts a story he heard, of the "Old Man of the Mountain" (Sabbah) who would drug his young followers with hashish, lead them to a "paradise", and then claim that only he had the means to allow for their return. Perceiving that Sabbah was either a prophet or magician, his disciples, believing that only he could return them to "paradise", were fully committed to his cause and willing to carry out his every request.

Whether it was 'hashish' or some other cocktails, the story goes that young aimless youth were drugged and transported to a secret abode for a heavenly long-weekend in 'Paradise' with their 70 Houris 'virgins' etc only to be then drugged again and dumped back in the street gutter. They then believed without a doubt that death was just a return to this Paradise and were easily employed as assassins etc. I think today's version is called Dash (for it) or ISIS, or whatever Hollywood suggests, and the Houris sex slaves are Kurds and Yazidis etc.

Posted by: doveman | Nov 4 2015 12:26 utc | 110

@doveman, hmmm:

US presidential hopefuls to attend conference in Israel

A number of American presidential hopefuls are expected to visit Israel next month for a conference on foreign and defense policy.

Organizers say that several candidates have already confirmed their participation, while others are currently considering coming to Israel in person or participating via videoconference, but refused to provide any specifics.

The First Presidential Candidates’ Forum Abroad, to be held in Jerusalem on November 3-4, will focus on “economic, foreign, defense and cultural policy,” according to a press release.

Posted by: shadyl | Nov 4 2015 13:50 utc | 111

@Vintage Red@108

[...] Perhaps this also was what Ghaddafi was referring to when he, early in the mercenary invasion of Libya, referred to the antigovernment forces as "drug addicts."

That's the beginning of the article doveman links to in his first post. Yours are interesting bits and pieces of history of drug use in the military. Thanks for the link to "Stalin and the geopolitics of historical revisionism," I recently posted, don't remember which thread here, on how Western historians try to paint the Stalin period as a stain in Russian history, for nefarious purposes. Good to have you back.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 4 2015 15:00 utc | 112

Is Masha Gessen turning into a male?

Posted by: TOOF | Nov 4 2015 16:19 utc | 113

no idea if this is true:

Russia in Syria: US readies for dogfight, deploys F-15Cs fitted with air-to-air combat weapons

•By Johnlee Varghese
| Updated: November 4, 2015 16:43 IST

Amid increasing Russian influence over the Syrian skies, the United States is sending in a large number of F-15Cs fitted with air-to-air combat weaponry.

Security experts believe that the fighters are being deployed at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to maintain a strict no-fly zone over the Turkish border to the north of Syria, which is periodically violated by both the Russian and Syrian air forces.

According to The Daily Beast, the single-seat air superiority fighters will be fitted with eight air-to-air missiles and their objective would be to protect the Turkish border and escort other jets during bombing missions.

The F-15s being sent to Turkey will be the first batch of American warplanes meant solely for air-to-air combat. The F-15Cs were used in many air-to-air combat against the Iraqi air force during the Gulf War.

Since Russia's arrival in Syria with its Sukhoi SU-30 jets, the US and its allies including Israel have become worried. Last month, there were reports that six Russian SU-30s intercepted four Israeli McDonnell Douglas F-15 bombers flying in attack formation near Latakia.

A report said that the Israeli jets were "surprised" and were unprepared for a dogfight, hence they turned course and left the region via Lebanon.

The growing Russian air presence in the conflict zone has been a cause of worry for both the US and Israel.

As per recent reports, Russia, assisted by its super surveillance planes and the free-hand given to it by both the Iraqi and Syrian governments, currently wields superior control over both Iraqi and Syrian air space. This means both the US and Israel can not carry out any mission in the region without Russia knowing about it.

Posted by: okie farmer | Nov 4 2015 16:51 utc | 114

George Orwell, video. His final warning. V short.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 4 2015 19:00 utc | 115

Odessa looks to be a critical front in the struggle for the Donbas and New Russia. Fascist thugs attacked the monthly commemoration of the 2 May 2014 massacre at the Profsoyuz Bldg. It's been 18 months, and authorities still are avoiding an investigation, leading the Council of Europe to formally slap their wrists. Let's all add a very firm "tsk, tsk" to that as well.

Pravda offers this consideration of Saakashvili's tenure as chief of the region.

Saakashvili's objective No. 1 is to cleanse the so-called Odessa "elite" that was formed in the city in the past two and a half decades. This elite has been betraying everyone, with Yanukovych being the last one whom they betrayed. Now Poroshenko and his team have decided that they no longer need extra "companions."

He did not make any headway in the election, as the incumbent, a former Party of Regions member, secured re-election with Kolomoisky's aid. But Saakashvili was still able to make a few phone calls with helpful advice to friends in Georgia about how to make a revolution.

The Pravyi Sektor/Azov Battalion/Crimean Tatar blockade of the Crimea continues.

Who controls Ukraine’s borders? The national government? Along the Ukraine-Crimea border, it is extremist vigilantes who control it, with the full connivance of Ukrainian government authorities. You did not read this in the pages of the New York Times, Guardian or Globe and Mail.

Too busy trying to find and highlight "moderate jihadis," I suppose.

Posted by: rufus magister | Nov 5 2015 1:10 utc | 116

@103, @104 v red

Yes, welcome back.

I had been wondering why Stalin had become - remained? - such an interesting topic here - perhaps elsewhere? - lately, but I admit it escaped me.

I followed a link to an 'ancient' - 2007 - article referred to by - lone wolf? and okie farmer - on some other thread, Germany: The re-Engineered Ally, and it has opened my eyes ...

And war, the German war against the Soviet Union, has become central to the myth making underlying so many of the efforts to reshape the German collective psyche. Though by the 1980s, many German generals and senior officials had forgiven the Soviets for defeating the Wehrmacht, the fashionable view now is that the Soviet victory was illegitimate - because it was achieved by “Stalinist methods” - and that Stalin and Hitler were equally responsible for the war, and equally victimizers of the Soviet population. But since democratic Germany repented its sins, and Russia didn't, Russia will remain in thrall to its totalitarian heritage, and will still have to pay for the war it finally and justly lost in 1991.

(from Part 3: Hail to the chief) The image of Russia not now 'repenting' for its defeat of the NAZIs, but actually celebrating it, has as its necessary opposite hand the complicity of the US and Britain elites with elite Germany and the NAZIs working for the defeat of the USSR both during and after the war, hasn't it?

And so the apologists for empire are wielding a double-edged sword. Maddened by the wounds they inflict upon themselves with every slash they take at Russia on that account, they redouble their attacks on Stalin, in an effort to overshadow Hitler, their past, and their present.

And so we must suffer through rounds of attack and subsequent defense of Stalin when actually its the resurgent NAZIs on the attack against Russia that we should by paying attention to. Again.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 5 2015 1:21 utc | 117

not sure this is getting much coverage..
russian cargo plane crash in south sudan.. 40 dead. bomb suspected..

Posted by: james | Nov 5 2015 1:24 utc | 118

@103 v red 'The only chance is to build the movement, one brick at a time…'

I certainly agree there.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 5 2015 1:27 utc | 119

#4 Yes and no could be both

Posted by: mcohen | Nov 5 2015 4:20 utc | 120

@114 Well, the American military would be derelict in its duty if it didn't deploy air superiority fighters to that base, considering that the Russians have deployed air superiority fighters inside Syria.

Mind you, the Russian military would also have been derelict in its duty if it hadn't deployed those Su-30s when it first started operations out of Latakia.

I got no problem with those F-15c jets patrolling Turkish airspace north of Syria, nor would the Russians. American jets are perfectly entitled to do that.

They might have much more of a problem with those jet escorting "other jets during bombing missions", since that means they have to fly into Syrian airspace.

That's where the problem would lie, and the better solution would be for the Americans to simply cease flying those "bombing missions".

After all, it's not as if those bombing missions are actually hitting anything.....

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 5 2015 4:25 utc | 121

@118 "not sure this is getting much coverage..
russian cargo plane crash in south sudan.. 40 dead. bomb suspected.. "

Ahem. If you follow the link you'll find an article that stressed several times that this is a Russian **built** cargo plane, but nowhere in the text does it actually say that the cargo plane is "Russian".

Indeed, if you read it carefully (and only the first six paragraph actually deals with that crash) there are several hints that this is an cargo plane that belongs to an Armenian company.

Oh, and BTW, nowhere in the article does it claim "suspected bomb" with respect to the South Sudan crash.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 5 2015 4:32 utc | 122

Well, in the latest example of Washington playing catch up, “officials familiar with the matter” have told WSJ about a concerted effort to cut off the flow of dollars to ISIS...

Ok, so this is another one of those scenarios where we’ll probably never know what the actual story is ...

First, ... Iranian banks [may have been] accessing dollars through the FX auctions [in violation of international sanctions]...

Second ... we find it particularly amusing that the US is apparently so concerned about supplying Sunni extremist groups with dollars that Washington is willing to push Baghdad to the precipice of crisis in order to cut off the flow. After all, supplying Sunni militants with money and weapons is the whole strategy in Syria and has been from the beginning... generally speaking, the Saudis and Qatar, with the tacit support of the US, have been arming and funding Sunni extremists in Syria for years...

Obviously, this is just the latest piece of propaganda in what has become a truly epic farce.

Why wasn't this publicized in the summer? Are they claiming an anti-ISIS aspect for what was really an anti-Iran action? But wouldn't that only be for the benefit of the Western public? Is any government at the Syrian peace talks swayed by this? Does it help to convince Iraqi leaders that USA is serious about the fight with ISIS (seems that they are in a position to know for themselves)? Are they laying the groundwork to defend Russian allegations of US+allies support/facilitation/toleration of ISIS in light of the downing of the Russian jetliner?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 5 2015 5:07 utc | 123

@122 yeah, right.. thanks.. it was a bit confusing to read, but you are correct.
here's a better link with overview on the event.. i apologize for articulating all that incorrectly.

Posted by: james | Nov 5 2015 5:59 utc | 124

well that worked like a hot damn!! at any rate - any of the link appears to bring you to the full article from marcy.

Posted by: james | Nov 5 2015 6:40 utc | 126

U.S. eyes more arms for Syria rebels after latest advance

Looks like the US is going to resupply Da'esh in Hasakeh Province. I guess Da'esh sent the 50 tons of ammunition and other goodies it got in the first drop to its al Nusra, JAN, and assorted other al CIAda branches - along with a bill for the CIA to pay, I imagine - and so is in need of more ammunition - and other goodies - itself. No problem. Everytime it rains it rains, ammo from 'heaven'.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 5 2015 7:21 utc | 127

US Troops Deployed to Syria as 'Human Shields' to Salvage Regime-Change Assets

This one sounds right, too, although its an open question as to whether Obama has sent in Americans as 'human shields' or as cannon fodder; to serve as casus belli for his war in Syria.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 5 2015 7:41 utc | 128

A US reblicrat congressman sounding sane on one issue at least ... Amazing words from Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 5 2015 9:46 utc | 129

quote from joe at cannonfire.. "How can you aid "the opposition" while taking down ISIS? In Syria, ISIS is "the opposition." - great quote.. further to this, check out kirbys response from questions in the us press daily briefing today... obfuscation is alive and well!

Posted by: james | Nov 6 2015 4:05 utc | 130

@Lone Wolf, 112 and jfl 117:

Thank you. Work often takes me into a cometary orbit, but I return to MoA when I can. I do remember that the discussion on the changing meanings attributed to Stalin(ism) involved you both, and thought the linked article might interest.

Good to know my current-revelations-aided “drug addict” guess for the anti-Libya mercenaries was on-target; I haven’t gotten to the most recent links yet (I certainly shall; thank you, doveman). At the time of the invasion my only thought was that the CIA must’ve recruited whatever drug-running organized crime networks then existed in Libya to support the mercenaries. Instead the pushers—as so often the case, in so many ways—were the CIA themselves…

Posted by: Vintage Red | Nov 6 2015 6:11 utc | 131

@128 ..."although its an open question as to whether Obama has sent in Americans as 'human shields' or as cannon fodder; to serve as casus belli for his war in Syria."


AFAIK those 50 Special Forces are being sent to one place only: Kurdish HQ.

They aren't going to be "embedded" within the Unicorn Army (a.k.a. "FSA"), nor with any of the other "moderate rebel" forces. Just to the military headquarters of the "pretend coalition" that on closer inspection is 99.9999% pure Kurdish.

And the reason why **those** "rebels" get the dubious privilege of playing host to half-a-hundred Green Berets is simple: the Kurdish YPG is showing all the signs that it isn't doing as its told.

The YPG is being told by Washington to march South on Raqqa, and the Kurds are saying "Naaaaah, I don't wanna".

And the reason why they don't want to do that is because they want to march West, where there Are Some Other Kurds.

Not only does that mean the Kurds are going rogue on Uncle Sam, it is also disastrous for US plans because such a march will result in all those other "moderate rebels" (not to mention all those, ahem, "less than moderate rebels") being cut off from the Turkish border, and That Will Never Do.

That's why Obama is sending 50 Special Forces dudes to YPG headquarters: he's sending them to find out What Gives, Dudes? I Said March On Raqqa, So MARCH ON RAQQA.

I doubt very much that a single on of those 50 Green Berets will ever find themselves in the same room as all the operational plans of the Kurdish YPG.

They'll have the run of the place, and the Kurds will treat them with due respect. But not that room, sorry. Not now. Not ever. And, no, we aren't telling you why.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 6 2015 7:11 utc | 132

Explosive-laden underwater drone found near Nord Stream gas pipeline

An explosive-laden underwater drone has been found in the vicinity of the Nord Stream gas pipeline under multinational waters the Baltic sea, says Swedish media.

The abandoned drone, said to be a one-shot mine disposal vehicle, was found north of the island of Gotland during a routine check on the pipeline, the daily Swedish newspaper Svenska Daglabet reported on Saturday.

As it was found in the Swedish economic zone, the Swedish navy was duly informed.

Is "ISIS/Da'esh" sabotaging Russian pipelines as well as Russian airliners?

Posted by: jfl | Nov 7 2015 23:28 utc | 133

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