Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
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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RT is considering the possibility that KG9268 was shot down:

Only external force could have broken apart crashed Russian airliner – owner

“We are certain that neither technical malfunction nor pilot error” can be blamed for the disaster, Aleksandr Smirnov, who supervises the company’s fleet, said. …

“The only possible explanation is a mechanical force acting on the aircraft,” Smirnov said. “There is no combination of system failures that could have broken the plane apart in the air.”

So I am going to proceed from now on under the assumption that this was not an accident. (The "external" part seems to have been added by RT.)

Posted by: Demian | Nov 2 2015 19:15 utc | 2

In an interview with Spanish newspapers that was published October 31st, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon condemned U.S. President Barack Obama’s demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad be removed from office, and Moon said: “The future of Assad must be determined by the Syrian people.” A very rare occurrence when Moon goes against the US.This news buried in most western news reporting.

Posted by: harry law | Nov 2 2015 19:43 utc | 3

What are the latest news on the Syrian ground ? Is the army making progress ?

Posted by: Pastoralo | Nov 2 2015 19:54 utc | 4

Wonder how much CIA funding this guy gets?

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 2 2015 19:56 utc | 5

@Demian - #2

Wrong interpretation ... owner's fleet was grounded due to suspect poor maintenance record. Owner is trying to tell the world it can't be pilot's error or technical defect of aircraft. How would he know?

Russian Federal Aviation Agency has chided the owner of the plane that crashed in Egypt

The Irish Aviation Authority says the plane that crashed in Egypt's Sinai desert was registered in Ireland, and regulators there found its safety documentation in order earlier this year.

The Airbus A321 was owned by Irish firm Willmington Trust SP Services (Dublin) Ltd and leased to Russian airline Metrojet.

The aviation authority says that because the plane was Irish-registered, "in April/May 2015, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) conducted an annual review of the aircraft certifications in support of its annual Certificate of Airworthiness renewal process and all certifications were satisfactory at that point in time."

The authority said that under international aviation rules Russia was responsible for all aspects of the plane's operation, including maintenance and safety.

Aircraft likely lost it's tail section which was heavily damaged and repaired in 2001. There was an erratic flying pattern of height and speed in the moments before it disappeared from radar. Tail section and main fuselage with wings were found separated by some distannce on the ground. There has been a similar accident of an aircraft breaking up during flight.

Posted by: Oui | Nov 2 2015 20:03 utc | 6

@Damien, well Ash Carter did darkly warn that Russia was putting itself at risk of reprisal terror attacks by joining the fray. I wouldn't put anything past the scum that run the US

Posted by: ran | Nov 2 2015 20:06 utc | 7

The main wreckage of the aircraft, main wings and fuselage, was later located in mountaineous terrain in Wadi Al-Zolomat (Valley of Darkness) at coordinates N30.1691 E34.1725 about 60nm south of Al-Arish (Sinai, Egypt), straight below the last transmitted transponder position, the debris field according to satellite images below expanding 350 by 3190 meters (1150 by 10460 feet). The tail section of the aircraft was found at coordinates N30.1527 E34.1858, 2230 meters/1.2nm south of the main wreckage and south of the last radar position. No survivors were found.

[Source: Aviation Herald]

Posted by: Oui | Nov 2 2015 20:10 utc | 8

@2 demian - how do they rule out a bomb or pressure sensor on board left thru the luggage handlers?

Posted by: james | Nov 2 2015 20:19 utc | 9

@Oui, ran, james:

Yeah, I just read a Russian report on this. It prefers the tail falling off scenario: apparently, that would have caused rapid depressurization which would have prevented the pilots from sending a distress message.

Some interesting things in that story. (1) No signs of damage coming from the outside have been observed, as was the case early on with MH17. (2) Information about what's on the black boxes is coming out already. (3) There's one photo of a woman holding her child and smiling, which indicates that depressurization was indeed immediate.

The story goes with poor maintenance being the culprit, with ultimate blame going to Medvedev, for deciding to go with foreign manufacturers of airliners in the wake of some Russian aviation catastrophes, instead of building up the Russian civilian aviation industry.

So I am going to try to calm down.


Wrong interpretation ... owner's fleet was grounded due to suspect poor maintenance record. Owner is trying to tell the world it can't be pilot's error or technical defect of aircraft. How would he know?


Posted by: Demian | Nov 2 2015 20:34 utc | 10

b has a twitter photo of the tail section,( that I thing is the same plane). Please go there. '

Posted by: tom | Nov 2 2015 20:42 utc | 11

Flight recorders show crashed Russian jet not struck from outside

The Russian plane that crashed in Egypt was not struck from the outside and the pilot did not make a distress call before it disappeared from radar, a source in the committee analyzing the flight recorders said on Monday.
The Egyptian government said the black boxes were being examined by Egyptian and Russian experts along with German and French specialists from Airbus and from Ireland where the aircraft was registered.

Posted by: okie farmer | Nov 2 2015 20:45 utc | 12

FWIW, There were dueling headlines this morning between the NYT and the Guardian (at least) ... yesterday it was reported emphatically the plane was not shot down ... then this morning there was a headline that there was some form of external strike ... as if they had revised their prior assessment (perhaps having spoken too soon).

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 2 2015 20:52 utc | 13

@james no. 9

The RT article quoted an airline executive who only said the aircraft was shot down. It wasn't a statement from any investigators. The airline certainly has a motive to deny any mechanical cause. Whether it ultimatelyends up being a bomb or any other sort of attack, a mechanical failure, or pilot error, I would take what the exec says with many grains of salt.

An aide to Putin was quoted as saying:

“It would be wrong to articulate any preliminary guesses or voice statements that are not based on anything,” said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the Russian president, on Monday. “Let the investigators produce at least some results first.”

Posted by: sleepy | Nov 2 2015 20:54 utc | 14

This was a deliberate act of war against Russia by those parties more interested in overthrowing the Assad government than in defeating terrorism. This should tell you all you need to know about this action, and the only question remaining is how brutal will the Russian response be?

Posted by: Rich Sanchez | Nov 2 2015 20:55 utc | 15

The questions raised this morning -- after the emphatic denials of yesterday -- surprised me and gave me "pause" -- because yesterday's denials were so emphatic and because they came from so "high up", iirc, the Kremlin.
Currently we have "Sinai plane crash: no direct evidence of terrorism, says US intelligence chief" and that a "technical fault" has been ruled out, elsewhere and earlier, pilot error had been ruled out.
Are they toying with us or generating click-bait? "Direct evidence" means what? Negative evidence (particularly this early) usually means little to nothing -- Didn't find a denonator, didn't find a bomb, didn't find metal stress, didn't find what-ever. We'd do better with "The investiation continues"

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 2 2015 21:08 utc | 16

How does the flight recorder evidence prove or disprove that it was "struck from the outside"? Wouldn't the wreckage tell the tale? Is this just a quote from some "anonymous official"?

And of course there wasn't a distress signal sent, if it was a catastrophic failure.

I do see a pattern in the headlines, and it's blame everything but malfeasance...

Posted by: Ananymus | Nov 2 2015 21:12 utc | 17

The Russians are being deliberate in their analysis because Putin is a master tactician. They'll look at all the evidence, regardless of whether they already know who's responsible or not, and then they'll drop a hammer of epic proportions on someone.

Remember, the American government somehow managed to convince the brain-dead American public that TWA 800 wasn't shot down by missiles, so for anyone to be questioning this tragedy less than three days after it happened is ridiculous.

Posted by: Rick Sanchez | Nov 2 2015 21:23 utc | 18


> How does the flight recorder evidence prove or disprove that it was "struck from the outside"?

It doesn't. And this didn't come from investigators: just another rumor flying around.

> Wouldn't the wreckage tell the tale?

(no pun intended, I'm sure). Investigators said "preliminary" investigation of debris showed no evidence of explosives. I've read on aeronautics engineering forums that once all debris is located (and it is), that required for investigation is generally acquired in 3 days thereafter.

> Is this just a quote from some "anonymous official"?

The jet's operator issued statement (not from evidence) there must have been external impact, but investigators have since denied this.

They've got top flight teams from Airbus, Russia, Egypt and elsewhere on this. A bunch of news agencies already have got some facts wrong. These guys will figure it out. What is clear is there was catastrophic failure that happened very, very fast... probably with no time for crew to react: decompression disabled (and probably killed) them it seems, almost immediately.

Precise knowledge of cause and rest of sequence of events will have to wait for the investigators.

Posted by: jdmckay | Nov 2 2015 21:32 utc | 19

Why Syrians support Bashar al Assad

By Tim Anderson: He is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He has researched the Syrian conflict since 2011 and visited Syria in December 2013.


Posted by: Virgile | Nov 2 2015 21:39 utc | 20

Not that I would pretend to know anything, but it looks pretty evident to me that the tail fell off. That would explain the reported climbs and descents. Either a bomb or damage from the tail-strike 13 years before.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 2 2015 21:56 utc | 21

@ Posted by: Virgile | Nov 2, 2015 4:39:59 PM | 20
Thanks, that was very interesting ... particularly about the very early days excessive force against peaceful demonstrators claim - So much evidence that the "proxy war" started immediately or even before that. It's frustrating how many Americans immediately clamp onto some narrative of brave-freedom-fighters even after so many foreign-money NGO financed "color revolutions" ... Because American life is so depoliticized, they seem stunningly unaware of the presence of "factions" within and between groups. A dangerous naïvete and so prone to binary (good guy/bad guy) thinking.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 2 2015 22:45 utc | 23

For those who follow Thierry Meyssan on Voltairenet there are some new things today, and they are surprising.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 2 2015 23:08 utc | 24

Penelope 24, thanks for link, could this finally be the end of nation building and leading from behind???

Having verified that they both had the same understanding of the Geneva Communiqué, Russia and the United States decided to bring the dissident states into line, meaning France, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Since they understood that the French position was not based on any realistic interests, and could only be explained by a colonial fantasy and the corruption of the French government by Turkish and Saudi money [5], the White House and the Kremlin decided to act only upon the source of the problem, in other words, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Are the neocons getting their toys taken away? What is Queen Hillary to do?

Posted by: shadyl | Nov 2 2015 23:23 utc | 25

Susan Sunflower @ 16,

The Egyptians, apparently in efforts to protect tourism told us & Moscow that the pilot had contacted them w technical problems & was going to land at an airport. They even quoted two Egyptians including one from Air Incidents Cmte. Then BBC aired two photos obviously shot by the Egyptian search & rescue team, who said that the plane broke into two pieces, and they showed the tail and another part.

All lies. The two pieces were perhaps 10% of an airplane.

Of course the airline operator is "sure" it had nothing to do w maintenance or the behavior of its pilots & so must favor something from outside the plane.

The reports of the plane jigging rapidly up & down? These are not confirmed by the graphs shown of the plane's final on-radar moments-- which were available yesterday on The Hindu. I posted the link on the comments from the Plane story. In the same comment is a BBC link, which if you scroll down gets you to a tiny video of a man in a checked shirt who works for Flightradar24.

I guess we'll just have to wait for more. I don't think Moscow was lying to us; they were relying on the info which Egypt was giving out.

Egypt, btw, has found @ arrested Turkish intelligence personnel working in the ISIS/Jihadist areas of Sinai. I think it was the end of July when they arrested 18 Turks headed by a colonel of MIT. Erdogan is host to MB's parliament in exile & has tried for punitive international diplomatic efforts against Egypt. And that's MY little bit of speculation.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 2 2015 23:44 utc | 26

@20 - that's a pretty great article. Thanks.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 3 2015 1:11 utc | 27

@20 virgile.. thanks.. i 2nd guest77's comment.

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2015 1:54 utc | 28

Nice piece at Russia Insider by, apparently, a retired NATO Russia hand:

Underestimating Russia will surprise you

In short: Alexander understood how Napoleon did things and surprised him with proper preparation and a full strategy. This, I believe, is the essence of the “Russian way in warfare”. Know and understand the enemy and surprise him. We have just seen this again in Syria. And, for that matter, over and over again in the Ukraine crisis where nothing has gone the way Nuland & Co intended. And in Ossetia in 2008.
Why the neocons thought it would be any different for them, when they are utter dunces compared to Napoleon and Hitler, is beyond me.

You won't read this in Foreign Affairs

Posted by: Demian | Nov 3 2015 2:20 utc | 29

john helmers latest.

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2015 2:40 utc | 30

I would never steal honor nor credit from legitimate monsters. Yet the truth cannot forever be denied.

No matter what ever happens on this temporarily green little planet, it is all my fault.

All their guilt redounds to me. Say sorry would never be even significant. I would repent in blood, were I to deserve it.

You are not so unlike me...

Posted by: blues | Nov 3 2015 2:54 utc | 31

The first well trumpeted military attack on Hasaka by a coalition of "US backed rebels" and the YPG turns into a painful failure.
The 'moderates rebels' may be effective in encaging Alawites women to use them as human shield, but on the field against ISIS, they don't seem to be effective at all. They should ask Russia and the Syrian army for advices.
"- Kurds, Arab allies hit hard by Islamic State car bomb.
- Dozens dead in Sunday incident, Arab militia commander confirms.
- Offensive to seize Islamic State-held towns in Hasaka was launched Saturday.
- U.S. has stepped up bombing in area for last three days

The Islamic State said a suicide bomber attacked a Kurdish-led column of armored vehicles Sunday, including tanks and armored personnel carriers, killed dozens of Arabs and members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG.

Read more here:

Posted by: Virgile | Nov 3 2015 2:54 utc | 32

In Syria, New U.S.-Backed Alliance Exists in Name Only By BEN HUBBARD 6:53 PM ET Ten days of interviews and front-line visits made clear that an alliance entrusted with beating jihadists in northern Syria faces daunting political and logistical challenges.

Looks like Obama has lost the NYT wrt Syria ... but the night is still young ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 3 2015 3:16 utc | 33


I think these were local Arab groups that joined with the YPG and they aren't connected with the Liver Eaters. I doubt they or the YPG will be too anxious to repeat this bloody rout.

It will be interesting when the green Russian troops that are supposedly joining the ground assaults meet the hardened and clever Islamic State forces.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Nov 3 2015 3:22 utc | 34

Asia Times Forum is a redux of Neocons. It passes for alternative media but the forum is dominated by NEOCON SCUM. Zampano is a moderator that sides politically with the most closed minded boot licking Bugs Bunny forum member. Anonymous could hack their server and expose them for what they pretend to be but are not.

Posted by: Ro Ri | Nov 3 2015 3:55 utc | 35


Why the neocons thought it would be any different for them, when they are utter dunces compared to Napoleon and Hitler, is beyond me.

You won't read this in Foreign Affairs…

...Or "The National Interest." Watch out calling La Nuland a dunce, she might give you a Maidan cookie, kool-aid and all. :-)

On a more serious note, I thank you for the link to Russia Insider, it has a graph about the French invasion to, and route from Russia, of which I kept a hard copy, and lost it many years ago. I've been looking all over for it, and couldn't find it, until today. I feel I've found a long-lost friend. Thanks again.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 3 2015 4:00 utc | 36


The first well trumpeted military attack on Hasaka by a coalition of "US backed rebels" and the YPG turns into a painful failure.

Well, that justifies the presence of US Special Forces, see?

BTW, they can consider themselves lucky they weren't bombed by their "friends," the US Air Force, a common event in Iraq, as we know.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 3 2015 4:22 utc | 37

The following is exactly the type of info we all knew should have been forthcoming in the MH-17 incident, but wasn't. Well, whaddya know, seems like we get it with this crash.

From Sputnik:

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) —A US surveillance satellite detected a heat flash over the Sinai Peninsula at the same time the Russian Kogalymavia airliner crashed on Saturday killing all 224 people on board, according to media reports.

The satellite’s evidence does not support the theory that the airliner was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, NBC News reported on Monday evening.

“The speculation that this plane was brought down by a missile is off the table,” the report quoted a senior US defense official as saying.

The official noted that US intelligence analysts believed the flash could have been a bomb exploding or a fuel tank detonating after an explosive blast, the report said.

© NASA Turkish Airlines Suspends Flights Over Sinai After Russian A321 Crash

The US satellite would have tracked the heat trail of any missile fired from the ground with its infrared detection equipment, but there was no indication at all of that, the report added.

If confirmed, the US reports would likely point investigators in the direction of a bomb, probably with a barometric trigger, being successfully smuggled into the cargo hold of the airliner when it was loaded at the Sharm el-Sheik airport in Egypt.

Posted by: woogs | Nov 3 2015 4:28 utc | 38

@Virgile #32:

The first well trumpeted military attack on Hasaka by a coalition of "US backed rebels" and the YPG turns into a painful failure.

The Syrians and Russians could take a page from the Brits, Americans, and Israelis and just wait and let the various US-terrorist and credulous nationalist groups kill each other before coming in to finish off whoever's left.

Posted by: Demian | Nov 3 2015 4:31 utc | 39

@Ro Ri #35

Asia under new ownership and management. Published and run by a small group of investors who purchased the site earlier this year.

Be smart don't go there, more or less like Huffington, the editor a Jap.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Nov 3 2015 4:43 utc | 40

Harry @ 3,

I think it was Noirette who gave us this link yesterday. It's the Vienna declaration from 10/30. 10/30/15 Attending countries were Saudis & Gulf states, EU, UN, China Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, France, Italy, Russia, US, UK, Turkey, but NOT Syria or Israel. They all signed the document.

Even tho it looks like a defeat for the neocon faction at the UN, represented by US's Jeffrey Feltman, who seems allied w de Mistura, you might see Voltaire below to understand the significance of US forces in Syria simultaneous w the Vienna declaration. Jeffrey Feltman's memo at Geneva talks is overthrown by the Vienna declaration above. He had called for Syria's executive, Judiciary, and Parliament all to step down, plus the arrest, trial & conviction of a list of Syrians.

It looks really good, but I think it's necessary to see this at Voltaire for other possibilities that are evolving on the ground, and other possibly correct info of Thierry's. Well worth reading, imo.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 3 2015 4:47 utc | 41

Ah, ShadyLady @ 25, You haven't read the rest yet. When Thierry goes on writing it's usually cuz he has something substantive to say, not just an expansion of what he's already said. Do read on.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 3 2015 4:53 utc | 42

#40 @ Jack Smith....I would like to take thug / bully Zampano and Bugs Bunny boot licker at a Judo / ju jutsu match to see if he/she is really Japanese and if he/she knows the arts. I can hold my own in grappling arts.

Posted by: Ro Ri | Nov 3 2015 4:53 utc | 43

Harry @ 3,

Please look at the quote.

"Now, I do not want to interfere in the process of Vienna, but I think it is totally unfair and unreasonable that the fate of a person [diplomatese here for: U.S. President Barack Obama’s demand that Assad be removed from the Presidency of Syria] to paralyze all this political negotiation. This is not acceptable. It’s not fair. The Syrian government insists that Assad should be part of the transition."

Moon is not referring to Obama. "The fate of a person" refers to ASSAD. The faulty interpretation is by the website. Those still insisting that Assad step down are France, KSA & Turkey, but they have been made to sign off on the Vienna Declaration the day before. Moon is publicly reinforcing the document's import-- except he should not use the word "transition". The Vienna declaration does not say "transition".

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 3 2015 5:08 utc | 44

Virgile @ 20, thanks for the great article de-bunking all those lies about Assad and the Syrian govt & army. It's nice to see it all in one place. Terrific article.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 3 2015 5:40 utc | 45

nmb #1. I knew that at the tme, hence moving to Australia. It was bldingly obvious from early 1982 onwards that they were heading for a clash.

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 3 2015 6:07 utc | 46

pretty funny how thisU 3 minute video plays out..
Any evidence Russia bombed hospitals in Syria? 02 Nov 2015
Published on Nov 2, 2015

Elizabeth Trudeau, Director, Office of Press Relations.
U.S. Department of State - Daily Briefing: Nov.02.2015

matt lee joins in around the 2 minute mark.. top secret - ROF!

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2015 7:41 utc | 47

Prof. Tim Anderson is an academic and social activist based in Sydney, Australia

Syria: how the violence began, in Daraa | Op-Ed News | May 13, 2013

Syrian crisis requires friendship, not aggression | Prayers for Syria – Aug. 2015 | by Father David Smith and Dr Tim Anderson

"Syrians tend to refer to all the armed groups as just Daesh (the Arabic acronym for ISIS) or ‘mercenaries’, making little distinction between their various brand names. All The Muslim Brotherhood backed groups (‘moderate rebels’), the Islamic Front, Jabhat al Nusra and Daesh all have the same sectarian ideology, seem to share the mostly US supplied weapons, and alternately cooperate and squabble amongst each. They all commit similar atrocities, often blaming them on the Syrian Army."

Posted by: Oui | Nov 3 2015 7:45 utc | 48

Western media and under authorship of the biased SOHR always lumped the casualties of war together. Contrary to the Vietnam War and War in Iraq where the kill ratio between enemy and US Army was 10:1, in Syria the army casualties are nearly a third of 250,000 total number of victims. That ratio tells you how well armed the "protestors" of Homs and Daraa were and which side took part in atrocities and mass executions.

Syria rebels using caged captives as 'human shields' in East-Ghouta near Damascus | AFP - France24 |

Posted by: Oui | Nov 3 2015 7:47 utc | 49

1 page
Iraq Situation Report: October 27 - November 2, 2015

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2015 7:54 utc | 50

@18 Rick Sanchez about TWA 800.

For what it is worth, here is first-hand information about TWA 800. I happen to have contact with Boeing Commercial Division at the time working for a supplier to them. My contact at Boeing and I had regular contact for a couple of years and would meet several times a year. We would always hurry the meetings so we could spend more time to gossip about airplanes.

There is of course engineering grapevine gossip at Boeing - unofficial and normally in agreement with particular issues like a specific crash. When something happened, this group would come to some conclusion. But when TWA 800 happened, things were very different. All I got was a short statement that we investigated the fuel tank issue years ago and it is a "done deal". In other words, Boeing engineers were so confident about their fuel tank research, that they did not need any more information. I could feel a cold chill in the air. The engineers adamantly disagreed with the fuel tank theory - unofficial Boeing opinion.

About the Russian crash, they will be able to determine what happened. Sometimes they will know in a couple of days. But there have been cases where some weird things caused a crash and it would take the better part of a year. With mass spectrometers and similar instruments they have excellent chemical forensics nowadays. No chance that they will not find that special package that was put on board.

Posted by: Peter B | Nov 3 2015 7:57 utc | 51

@james - #50

Hyperlink error – slash at the end should be removed. Or use this link to article:

Iraq Situation Report: October 27 - November 2, 2015

Posted by: Oui | Nov 3 2015 8:04 utc | 52

Next step in the PR war will be for the 'rebels' to explain that the people in the cage were supporting them and wishing to protect them, and the MSM could run another little horror show explaining us how the 'rebels' should be understood coz they suffered a lot under atrocious 'regime' etc.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 3 2015 8:52 utc | 53

Penelope@44 Thanks for that, I must confess I was directed to that website by a person who had quoted Moon and was surprised and pleased that it blamed Obama. On reflection my first reading of it was right [as yours was], then I gave Moon the benefit of the slight ambiguity in the article. Bottom line Banki Moon is a pro western stooge and should not be given the benefit of any doubt. Thanks again.

Posted by: harry law | Nov 3 2015 9:55 utc | 54

Lisa @46. Yes. However, this has distinct value because it is actually an official confirmation through once top secret documents.

Posted by: nmb | Nov 3 2015 10:16 utc | 55

re nmb.

The important issue about 1983, which we all were aware of at the time, is when it's going to happen again. Another neophyte warhawk president, just in power, out to prove his masculinity by bombing someone, preferably the Rooskies. Not a

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 3 2015 11:24 utc | 56

Syrian Army and Hezbollah Capture Over 210km of Territory in Southern Aleppo

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this large-scale offensive in southern Aleppo is the overall effectiveness of the military advisors from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); these aforementioned field marshals have replaced the Syrian Arab Army’s senior officers after a lackluster performance that saw the pro-government forces on the defensive for the last eight months.

Interesting point. Also pretty impressive gains within one month in Southern Aleppo.

Posted by: Harry | Nov 3 2015 11:25 utc | 57

*Not a question of if, but when. The 'whether' is whether it will escalate to nuclear.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 3 2015 11:26 utc | 58

re 57. 210km must mean square kilometres. an area 20 x 10 km.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 3 2015 11:31 utc | 59

Times of Israel says a multinational airforce drill was one this week. american, isreali, polish, greek airforces. planes airpath only few minutes away by fighter jet. jet culd go on tangent. shoot plane. be back in less then 5 min.

american confirming heat flash so quikly very suspicous.

Posted by: penn pansi | Nov 3 2015 11:35 utc | 60

Who would have thunk it ...?

"CNN Journalist ‘Governments Pay Us To Fake Stories’, Shocking Exposé

According to Amber Lyon, a three-time Emmy award winning journalist, CNN is routinely paid by the US government and foreign governments to selectively report on certain events. Furthermore, the Obama administration pay CNN for editorial control over some of their content."


Posted by: doveman | Nov 3 2015 13:01 utc | 61

"CNN Journalist ‘Governments Pay Us To Fake Stories’, Shocking Exposé

When the US government MADE LEGAL the dissemination of propaganda, misdirection and otherwise lying to the public, it signaled its intent to go forth fully into the business of doing exactly that.

And of course, to cover its ass legally and preemptively.

They've been doing it all along, but the intensity has never been so great.

The consolidation of mainstream media has surely helped them in their efforts.

Posted by: fast freddy | Nov 3 2015 13:37 utc | 62

Talking about Asia Times, I wonder if Axel Brot could be persuaded to do a redux of his 3 part crystal ball masterpiece Germany, The Re-engineered Ally from August 2007. He was very pessimistic about Russia's future and it would be interesting to get his current perspective and projections. I can vividly remember one of the tains of event he outlined ended with the conclusion "...and down Russia would go."

Here's the first 5 verses which make up Part 1 which links to Part 3 via Part 2.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 3 2015 14:08 utc | 63

@Mina 53

Syrian rebel group defends decision to use prisoners as human shields

“The cages in Ghouta are not human shields to protect combatants, but rather have been placed among civilians to protect them,” Mohammad Alloush posted on his Facebook account on Monday.

Calling the hostages a “powerful bargaining chip”, another Jaish al-Islam commander, Hamza al-Birqdar, told the specialist news website Syria Direct that the cages had forced a reduction in air strikes, a claim that could not immediately be verified.

Posted by: virgile | Nov 3 2015 14:10 utc | 64

@Peter B - #51

I had a close connection to TWA 800 through a family friend who flew for TWA. He feared they would try to claim it was a maintenance issue and would put his airline out of business, which is exactly what happened.

From the hundreds of eye witnesses who reported seeing missiles and whose testimony never made it into the official report to the fact that the FBI and CIA were involved in what they were trying to convince us was a mechanical failure to the tampering with evidence, the entire event was a miscarriage of justice.

Ever since then it's just been more of the same.

Posted by: Rick Sanchez | Nov 3 2015 14:11 utc | 65

Tail a half?mile away;Shades of 93.
Re flight 800;A couple? of years ago,guys who investigated said the report was a sham,but they and their tale have disappeared from view.
The NYTs obliquely? blames the dead Chalabi for the Iraq War.It was his input which persuaded the shrub.Sheesh.

Posted by: dahoit | Nov 3 2015 14:13 utc | 66

The Russian news organization LifeNews (which is prone to sensationalism, although it often gives better coverage of some stories than "serious" media do; for example, during the height of the Banderastan civil war, it had journalists risking their lives reporting on the fighting) reports that medical examination has revealed that victims of A321 fall into two categories: some died from "explosive trauma" others from asphyxiation etc.

Эксперты обнаружили у пассажиров А321 взрывные травмы
(Experts found explosive traumas in A321 passengers)

Posted by: Demian | Nov 3 2015 14:22 utc | 67


200km2 captured in one month sounds impressive until you realize the nationalist rebels control about 45,000km2 of Syria and the Islamic State controls about 92,000km2 of Syria.

At this rate, one month to take 200km2 of open land it will be a few decades of fighting before this is over.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Nov 3 2015 15:06 utc | 68

Disappointing news on Asia Times, but they still have Pepe and Bhadrakumar, though I did notice Bhadrakumar has not posted anything for a month.

@Penelope, yes I did read the whole article. Really great site. Connects so many dots.

Posted by: shadyl | Nov 3 2015 15:21 utc | 69

" Nobel Peace Prize " recipient and US President offers no condolences.

" Kremlin attaches no importance to absence of condolences from Obama over plane crash "

Posted by: curious | Nov 3 2015 15:26 utc | 70

@Wayoutwest - #68

That statistic you cited sounds impressive until you realize you're including vast swaths of desert wasteland in your figure. The SAA reclaiming 200 square kilometers from the terrorists you seem to be rooting for is impressive when that territory is hotly contested and urban, not useless wasteland.

Posted by: Rick Sanchez | Nov 3 2015 15:32 utc | 71

Stephen Lendman calls out US demonizing Russia in his blog "Obama earlier called ebola, Russia and ISIS America’s greatest threats, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter saying Moscow is a “very, very significant threat,” and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph (“Fighting Joe”) Dunford calling Russia’s “behavior…alarming…an existential threat.”
I hope Russia takes the hint, that whatever they do [unless they agree to become a vassal state] the US will hate them, that being the case and to help keep its self respect, I hope that Russia will arm Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq and Iran to the teeth and with the latest anti aircraft missiles and cutting edge technology, like the US supplies Israel. That might shut the whining masters of the universe up.

Posted by: harry law | Nov 3 2015 15:35 utc | 72

@71 Don't forget they do 'control' a few towns along the Euphrates where they have the locals terrified into submission.

Posted by: dh | Nov 3 2015 15:36 utc | 73

FlightRadar24: Crash of Metrojet Flight 7K9268

There was no distress signal from pilots nor a request to make a landing in Cairo.

Transcript of cockpit recordings obtained by Russian news agency Interfax suggest that there were "sounds uncharacteristic of routine flight", and the crew did not send a distress signal.

What tells you the single flash picked up by satellite? The moment of impact on the ground as the aircraft burst into flames ...

Posted by: Oui | Nov 3 2015 15:43 utc | 74

@dh - #73

I realize the terrorists do control significant territory, however much of what Wayoutwest referred to isn't exactly hotly contested, nor will it ever be. As usual, he appears to be rooting for the terrorists.

Posted by: Rick Sanchez | Nov 3 2015 15:44 utc | 75

Did this already appear here?
From Israel Shamir's Blog; 4 October 2015.
< If Russians will be successful, their adversaries are likely to set up an atrocity: the downing of a civilian airliner, the bombing of a school,and suchlike. We should be ready for such a development.>

Posted by: john ashpool | Nov 3 2015 15:45 utc | 76

I strongly support Penelope's recommend of Virgile's link @ 20:

Posted by: juliania | Nov 3 2015 15:49 utc | 77

@75 Controlled as in public throat slitting.

Posted by: dh | Nov 3 2015 15:49 utc | 78

278 I'll try that again. Controlled by public throat-slitting. WOW likes all that stuff.

Posted by: dh | Nov 3 2015 15:54 utc | 79


Syrian Army and Hezbollah Capture Over 210km of Territory in Southern Aleppo [...]

[...] Interesting point. Also pretty impressive gains within one month in Southern Aleppo.

Al-Masdar news need to be taken with a grain of salt, they are a propaganda venue for the Syrian government. I am sure there are SAA/Hezbollah gains in Aleppo, but those news need to balanced out against other info sources, or checked against Syrian reports here at MoA. The Syrian battlefield is in constant flow, with attacks and counterattacks changing the battle lines accordingly.

On the replacement of Syrian officers for Iranian "field marshals" from IRGC, the rate at which they are being killed, more than 10 in about a month from high to mid rank, makes one wonder how long would it take for the Syrian conflict to decimate the IRGC of all the experienced brass, the brain-power acquired during the Iran-Iraq war.

URGENT: IRGC Colonel Killed in Syria

Two IRGC Officers Killed in Syria

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 3 2015 16:10 utc | 80

I've come to the conclusion that wayoutwest in this environment performs an important function. He/she is a 'devil's advocate' in that he presents the opposing argument in order for meaningful conversation to ensue. Assigning motive is unnecessary and pointless because we can't really know why any of us post here. The entire point is to debunk the argument, which we would not be able to do without the presence of him/her. I'd far rather he/she do this than that I have to wade through or listen to the mindless propaganda of the mainstream media. At least he/she is concise and to the point.

Some day we'll have convinced him/her (if he/she isn't convinced already) that his/her argument is groundless. Our own Vienna accord.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 3 2015 16:19 utc | 81

@Hoarsewhisperer #63:

Excellent piece. Thanks so much for that. I've only read Part I so far. This was prophetic:

It is the remarkable lack of decorum, the intentional staging of bullying language, rich in threats and insults, the resentful hypocrisy, the slightly unhinged display of bad faith when diplomacy and suasion are the order of the day, that has convinced even some of the "just-a-bad-patch" hopefuls that the bad times are here to stay.
Also, the part about Sweden is good. It's interesting that Olaf Palme, while trying to maintain Sweden's neutrality, was assassinated, after which Sweden went firmly into the US orbit.

Posted by: Demian | Nov 3 2015 16:19 utc | 82


At this rate, one month to take 200km2 of open land it will be a few decades of fighting before this is over.

You wish it would take that long. First of all, whatever gains SAA/HA have made in the outskirts of Aleppo, have been on contested land, inch by inch, not "open land" as your usual perversion of reality calls it. Second, fortunately advances in a war is not measured in lineal metrics as you assume, which only reveals your ignorance in military matters. But we all knew that.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 3 2015 16:21 utc | 83

@52 oui.. here is the main page.. it is the first story presented.

@53 mina.. yes, and that those headchoppers are all nice people just trying to get along if assad and russia weren't such big bad bullies too..

@61 doveman.. thanks. more confirmation of same..

@71 Rick Sanchez.. wow is like having bozo the clown in the room always rooting for those friendly headchoppers.. he must work for the usa state war dept! they would never let him into the press corps!

@81 julianna.. nah - just the stupidity factor shown in spades while throwing the conversation for a distraction.

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2015 17:11 utc | 84

Here is a link that all should read, IMO

Economics is a "social science" and I look at all social sciences as models for social control. While there are some benefits that have come from social sciences, they are more akin to religions then real science. Their models and classifications of human interaction are born in bias and help perpetuate gender stereotypes and TINAs like private finance and inheritance.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 3 2015 17:37 utc | 85

Susan S. on the previous thread. Is anyone still "investigating" what led to what we so neatly call "the migrant crisis”?

Me. But I’m still wondering about various aspects. What is for sure, and what continues, is that the MSM wildly exagerated it, and ongoing. What is certain also, is that FRONTEX (who was given all kinds of responsibilities, tasks, when other programs locally run and paid for were scotched, such as Mare Nostrum - goog), has fudged in a big and blatant way the numbers, their capabilites, possible actions, etc.

On the face of it, they do this to get financing, as many repressive orgs. do; but the EU reliance on FRONTEX creates chaos which is detrimental to the EU, as in ‘failed policies’, ‘shortsighted moves’, ‘contradictory strategies’, ‘dissent and strife between member countries’ etc. Sounds like the USA! Muddle about and talk BS and rely on repression….(I’m not talking here about migrants, the financial burden, the difficulty of integration, other topic.)

For ex. the International Migration Bureau (Geneva) tallies from jan to aug ’15 (inclusive) 590 K who entered Europe (not just the EU, that is without Turkey natch.) This may be an a bit of an undercount, as they themselves admit. (no link)

Similar sorts of numbers, visible in the MSM (who jam it in, buried, in case they are accused of lies and inaccuracies, another cover is ‘emotional’ stories), while mixing up other false nos, which come from FRONTEX / gingerly from EU.

Wapo (see the graphics chart..)

Germany last year managed to return only 4,700 of the 35,000 migrants who were told to go back to those nations — in part because deportations are difficult.

“Deportation is always difficult, but maybe you have to remove 100,000 to help the other 600,000 find a way to stay,” said Demetrios G. Papademetriou, president emeritus of the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank.

Yahoo - an alarming headline and a lot of obfuscation .. one has to read the excerpts and nos. carefully. ex:

UNHCR said in October that it was planning for up to 700,000 refugees in Europe this year and a similar or greater number in 2016. But that plan has already been eclipsed, with 744,000 arriving so far. Some 3,440 are estimated to have died or gonemissing in the attempt to escape to Europe. "Plan" - huh?

(These orgs. have a great interest in inflating the nos. and no reason for understatement.)

A low-level reading is that migration / refugees > to EU in ’15 so far has between doubled / tripled, as compared to 2014 (a lowish! year.) In CH, for ex. it has doubled, but still has not reached ‘peak’- which was after Yugoslavia and after invasion of Afgh / Iraq. (OK maybe not a good ex. as the scuttlebut was that only Germany and Sweden were the only ‘good places to go.’)

What one is dealing with here is international politics, Media hype, various manipulations. Not to demean the refugees/migrants …

They are the mains loosers. Many had all their savings stolen for a ‘better life’, and the poorest sold their sheets and chickens, even homes, to embark on that perilous journey. It is a ‘new biz’, and quite lucrative even with sagging prices (competition has lowered them, while also creating links and cooperation between the scammers, widening the circle of profiteers) and small margins. As the links show, many will be summarily sent back after ‘life in the camps’, they will then be worse off than before. It is a supreme example of exploitation rapacious capitalist style.

Muslim hordes invading the EU - not. (Though naturally refugee discontent may lead to violence.)

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 3 2015 17:39 utc | 86

Soros said in an e-mailed statement that a six-point plan published by his foundation helps “uphold European values” while Orban’s actions “undermine those values.”

“His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle,” Soros said in the statement. “Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.”

Posted by: George | Nov 3 2015 17:44 utc | 87

@Demian - #82

Olof Palme: "Apartheid cannot be reformed, it must be eliminated"

"Apartheid South Africa’s aims at growing their nuclear weapon arsenal was something well known in the world arena at the time. One can only imagine the stir that Palme created amongst the South African government of the time with his continuous campaign against the proliferation of nuclear weapons".

We weren't aware at the time of his assassination, but as apartheid ended and the Truth and Reconciliation began, it was Israel who partnered with the Apartheid state to develop chemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. I always understood the signature killing was from South Africa, however due to it's perfection without a trace it could have been contracted to Kidon.

A decade later, another champion of peace with Palestinians was gunned down: Israel's PM Yitzhak Rabin.

Posted by: Oui | Nov 3 2015 18:13 utc | 88

@80 In spite of the situation complexities this is not a very sophisticated war. It's a slow crawl block by block..
Apparently iranian commanding officers fight on the frontline for whatever reason though, which puts them at great peril

Posted by: bbbbb | Nov 3 2015 18:14 utc | 89

France furnished arms to the Syrian ‘opposition’ (anti-Assad) in 2012 and from then on. Under an EU embargo rule! (Again > the EU is a hollow shell.) This was known before but is now revealed in a book to appear soon where Hollande and his Gvmt. admits it.

Ex. A councillor from the Elysée: flash trans:

Yes, we furnish what they need, but in function of our capacities and our evaluation of the situation. In clandestiny (aka while operating outside of intl agreements), one can only act on a small scale. Limited means imply limited objectives. At the end of the road, will our aid help the revolution to succeed? No. The revol = anti-Assad.

Other official: flash paraphrase:

Hollande and his officials have been very imprudent re. the embargo. As F can’t really influence events, a moral posture is adopted. However, morality is not a great guide for foreign policy. Meaning a moral posture about what is ‘the right thing to do’ and ‘a moral necessity’ is a last ditch feeble argument, a cover up and/or a sign of weakness.

In this case, I add, for no gains of any kind whatsoever. Will the USA praise F and declare it an ally and recipient of funds, favored status, contracts, etc. etc.? Never. Will F be able to play a role in Syria, its old stomping grounds? No, that is out of the question.

Link is in F with all relevant refs.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 3 2015 19:21 utc | 90


@80 In spite of the situation complexities this is not a very sophisticated war. It's a slow crawl block by block..

Well, that's quite a statement. Not a sophisticated war, with state-of-the-art fighter bombers delivering precision-guided munition (missiles/rockets) at a rate of 48 to 96 sorties per day, bunker buster bombs, fighter jets to protect them, attack helicopters, S-300 systems, MLRS, A2AD systems, UAV, and a lot more cutting edge military technology we know nothing about.

FYI, all real wars are a "slow crawl, block by block," just google "ussr battle berlin," or "ussr battle stalingrad," and you will see how "sophisticated" WWII was, so much the Russians lost 100,000 men just to take Berlin, crawling, block by block.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 3 2015 20:11 utc | 91


Hyping the capture by the Axis of Resistance of what I have seen described as farmland and small villages while the Army of Conquest holds their important lines and the SAA's supply lines are cut by the Islamic State and al-Nusra seems a pitiful attempt to boost morale.

The Islamic State has taken advantage of this situation and overran a SAA military complex near Homs in the town of Maheen capturing a large arms depot and later ambushing the first attempt by the YPG and friends to move on al-Raqqa.

I wonder how the green Russian troops that were reported to be joining the ground conflict will fare against these battle hardened Syrian rebels or the even more organized and powerful Islamic State forces.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Nov 3 2015 20:26 utc | 92

@90 Noirette 'I add, for no gains of any kind whatsoever.'

Worse than no gains, they surely managed to add to the number of Syrians deaths and the devastation and destruction of Syria ... in order to salve their 'moral' conscience. The French seem to have a conception of morality that is analogous to the their conception of socialism: an 'obsolete' concept to be 'honored' in its breach.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 3 2015 20:41 utc | 93

What appears to be exceptional about this "war" is that so much of the civilian population has fled ... months ago ... and that -- where ISIS is involved, their actual ties to the land and the population are "peculiar" ... to what degree they are in fact largely "foreign invaders", wannabe occupiers, colonial expeditionary force for the Caliphate, I'm not sure.

There are some rumblings among the anti-ISIS Iraqi Sunnis, but I haven't heard anything about what life in ISIS stronghold Fallujah is like these days ...

I had always assumed that at least the Iraqis Sunnis would eventually want their country back -- back from the Shiia and back from any foreigner-controlled (KSA) ISIS. Wondered if Sunni-controlled autonomous regions -- like those enjoyed by Iraqi Kurds -- might be sufficient. There has been an utter black-out of information coming from the brave jihadis and jihadi controlled territory ... who's responsible for that?

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Nov 3 2015 20:43 utc | 94


[...] I wonder how the green Russian troops that were reported to be joining the ground conflict will fare against these battle hardened Syrian rebels or the even more organized and powerful Islamic State forces.

"the green Russian troops"...are doing very well thank you, kicking takfiri butchers ass wholesale, any time.

The "battle hardened" head-choppers and the "more organized and powerful Islamic State forces" cannibals are all narco-terrorists, their "power" coming from Captagon and cocaine, the liver-eaters drugs of choice, provided by their degenerate sponsors, the pedophile Saudis, who might not be able to pay your wages for too long, btw.

Saudi prince drug bust puts focus on Captagon, the amphetamine of choice for Isis

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 3 2015 21:35 utc | 95

Economics is a "social science" and I look at all social sciences as models for social control. While there are some benefits that have come from social sciences, they are more akin to religions then real science. Their models and classifications of human interaction are born in bias and help perpetuate gender stereotypes and TINAs like private finance and inheritance.
Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 3, 2015 12:37:48 PM | 85

Yep. A popular Oz radio host, now retired, used to say "Economocs was invented to make astrology look good."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 4 2015 1:52 utc | 96

Posted by: Demian | Nov 3, 2015 11:19:27 AM | 82

Beautifully written, too. Free-flowing, error-free, fastidiously correct English.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 4 2015 2:00 utc | 97

@92 "Hyping the capture by the Axis of Resistance of what I have seen described as farmland and small villages while the Army of Conquest holds their important lines and the SAA's supply lines are cut by the Islamic State and al-Nusra seems a pitiful attempt to boost morale."

The weasel words "what I have seen described" tells us that even Wayoutwest doesn't really believe what he is regurgitating, but he thinks that if he doesn't delve too deep then he has plausible deniability (I-didn't-say-that-I'm-merely-repeating-what-others-say).

Note that the next bit (AoC are holding "their important lines") likewise suffers from weasel-wording, because it rather depends upon the definition of "important", which *in* *turn* relies on the accuracy of the "description" of recent SAA gains being merely "farmland and small villages".

Supposition piled upon misconception would appear to be a very flimsy edifice indeed.

The only statement in Wayoutwest's pitiful paragraph that isn't weasel-worded is the unambiguous claim that ISIS and al-Nusra have cut the SAA supply line on the Hama-Aleppo corridor.

Which would indeed be disastrous for the Syrian Army if it were true but, alas for Wayoutwest, it ain't true.

ISIS and al-Nusra did launch a simultaneous attack to cut that road (and isn't that co-ordination itself very interesting?), but they were unable to hold the gains that they made and so were unable to sever that supply line.

"The Islamic State has taken advantage of this situation and overran a SAA military complex near Homs in the town of Maheen capturing a large arms depot and later ambushing the first attempt by the YPG and friends to move on al-Raqqa."

The reporting by the MSM of the capture of Maheen is sourced entirely from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who it turn appears to have sourced this entirely from an ISIS statement, so I would take it with a grain of salt.

Even if it were true I can find no reference to the overrunning of "a SAA military complex in Maheen", not even at the SOHR.

And as for the claim regarding an ambush of a YPG "move on Raqqa", well, gosh, that would be a neat-o trick considering that the YPG haven't actually made any move on Raqqa.

They refuse to embark on such a daft scheme, precisely because they have said - time and time again - that they think that is a daft idea. They want to strike west towards the isolated Kurdish enclave around Afrin, which makes far more sense from their point of view.

Mind you, they haven't done that yet either.

So maybe Wayoutwest might also like to regale us with fairy-stories regarding the ambush of the Move On Afrin, even though it also hasn't begun.

Why not, dude? After all, you appear to be making everything else up as well.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 4 2015 2:44 utc | 98

William Blum has had to cut back his output a bit recently, but his Anti-Empire Report #140 is out and a pleasure to read, if reading about the empire's perennial hypocrisy and betrayal can be called 'pleasure'.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 4 2015 3:36 utc | 99

57" youtube video Matt Lee: Any evidence Russia bombed hospitals in Syria? 03 Nov 2015 Elizabeth Trudeau, Director of Press Relations. U.S. Department of State - Daily Briefing

Posted by: james | Nov 4 2015 6:02 utc | 100

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