Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 07, 2017

Open Deescalation Thread

I am off to appreciate the deescalation measures Hamburg police prepared for tonight.

Picture via Der Postillon bigger

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on July 7, 2017 at 17:54 UTC | Permalink

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Putin and Trump agree to cease fire in Southern Syria. This means that Putin has surrendered the central principle of his Syria policy - territorial integrity of Syria. The carve up continues. Will some ostensible federal arrangement in Ukraine be the quid pro quo?

Posted by: paul | Jul 7 2017 18:08 utc | 1

I think it's better to say that the Syrian government and whatever counts as opposition in Daraa have come to an agreement, which means an end to the fighting in the Southwest - and that is in place since a few days already.
This agreement between 'Putin' and 'Trump' only means that Russia will guarantee that the US doesn't do any dirty tricks when the Jordan-Syria reopens for business.

Posted by: Jeff | Jul 7 2017 18:22 utc | 2

Should be good fun, b. You're lucky to be right on site.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 7 2017 18:25 utc | 3

Lots of chaotic things going on in Hamburg these days.
Here a scene from yesterday: (and many more on YT).
Reminds me of the good democratic rebels at the Majdan color-revolution in Kiev.
The only thing I miss is Mrs. Nuland helping the rebels out with water & food and some US/EU-politicians giving patriotic speeches in front of the rebel-croud. Double standards again?

Posted by: maningi | Jul 7 2017 18:39 utc | 4

"Intractable positions", "a joint desire to move forward" -- if the American media are unsuccessful in demolishing this potential for co-operation and agreement, there is reason to believe for a reasonably positive future.

Posted by: chet380 | Jul 7 2017 18:44 utc | 5

Jeff @2--

Yes, you have a good handle on what's transpired. Negotiations for reconciliation have carried on since the last quarter of 2016, and it was becoming clear that a positive resolution was soon to occur.

As for G-20 action, much has occurred, including the BRICS heads-of-state sideline meeting, from which a communique was issued, which echoes Putin's address,

Only the most basic of info's been released about the Putin/Trump meet; I expect more to be available later,

Putin also met with South Korean President Moon,

Hopefully, b will gain lots of onsite info and share it with us. Otherwise, it's a Friday, and news is slow.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 7 2017 18:51 utc | 6

Be careful.

Germany has a long history of using those water cannons against civilians.

"The first truck-mounted water cannon was used for riot control in Germany in the beginning of the 1930s."


I wonder why that wikipedia article does not mention the israeli version of truck-mounted water cannon?

The Skunk Truck. (A version that uses water mixed with chemical weapons).

Sometimes those watercannon-things fall off a cliff to great amusement:

Israeli occupation "skunk truck" crashes in occupied Jerusalem

I hope all the German watercannons meet the same fate.

Posted by: Trond | Jul 7 2017 18:59 utc | 7

@ 4: Let's not forget this Miadan moment..

Posted by: ben | Jul 7 2017 19:03 utc | 8

Patrick Cockburn,in his most recent article for the Independent, quotes a former US State Department official who said that

"we don’t have a policy in Syria, everybody in the Middle East knows that whatever is said by the Pentagon, State Department or National Security Council lacks authority because whatever assurances they give may be contradicted within the hour by a presidential tweet or by one of the factions in the White House."
Cockburn adds: "the ex-official lamented that it was like living in an arbitrary and unpredictable dictatorship."

While this may very well be true as far as operational details are concerned, it is apparent that "regime change" (orchestrating a coup d'etat) is the overarching goal

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jul 7 2017 19:07 utc | 9

re 1

This means that Putin has surrendered the central principle of his Syria policy - territorial integrity of Syria. The carve up continues.
I rather doubt that interpretation.

The expression is "south-west Syria". That means the Israeli front. Maybe calming the shooting at Israel, in order to remove the need for Israeli reactions?

I don't actually know whether the Amman-Damascus road is open for traffic, but given that I saw recently that there are still busses from Damascus to Raqqa, dangerous as that may seem, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that busses are making the transit between Amman and Damascus, no doubt with innumerable stops for inspection by one militia or another.

These dangerous trips do occur. Just to give you a flavour, a Syrian I know, a Druze, had to go to Aleppo. They were stopped by Da'ish. As a Druze, instant death if discovered. He was taken before the Amir. Are you Sunni? yes. Then prove it by reciting the Surat al-Baqara (the longest chapter of the Qur'an). He didn't know it other than the beginning. He started, and then quickly figured out that they didn't know it either, so he continued reciting Quranic style rubbish, until the Amir got bored and fell asleep, At which point he was released. He described them as slitty-eyed thus Turkic.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 7 2017 19:16 utc | 10

Has anyone read this crap on MINT PRESS NEWS: "Left, Right And The Russian Connection: An Interview With Alexander Reid Ross And Eric Draitser"

Who is Yoav Litvin??? (The author of the piece)

Posted by: LindaJ | Jul 7 2017 19:21 utc | 11

Hamburg retards
Those idiots are doing what Merkel wants. Her fourth mandate. Scaring votes for the left.

Posted by: Nick | Jul 7 2017 19:27 utc | 12

@11, a little knowledge is a bad thing.

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 7 2017 19:29 utc | 13

Bernhard, we're all expecting a report from the scene in your own words.

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 7 2017 19:31 utc | 14

(Whoops...prematurely hit send on that last post.)

Patrick Cockburn, in his most recent article for the Independent, quotes a former US State Department official who said that: "[W]e don’t have a policy in Syria, everybody in the Middle East knows that whatever is said by the Pentagon, State Department or National Security Council lacks authority because whatever assurances they give may be contradicted within the hour by a presidential tweet or by one of the factions in the White House."

Cockburn adds: "the ex-official lamented that it was like living in an arbitrary and unpredictable dictatorship."

While this may very well be true as far as operational details are concerned, it is apparent that "regime change" (orchestrating a coup d'etat) is the overarching goal the US is pursuing, however haphazardly, in Syria with Iran next in line. When was the last time the US military got involved somewhere and then just packed up and went back home? Cockburn is missing an important detail and he is one of the few MSM journalists who is not acting as a propagandist for Western interests.

The media is extremely allergic to telling it like it is and I wonder if MSM journalists like Cockburn and Robert Fisk deliberately avoid mentioning certain things in order to safeguard their jobs? I find it hard to believe that Cockburn, in this case, is not aware that "regime change" was never really taken off the table. In the same article he goes on to mention US plans for Iran so it is almost certain he knows what is going on in Syria. It is actually a decent piece but readers who may not be aware of the state of affairs in Syria are getting an incomplete snapshot of the situation there. Is holding the US and its "coalition" to full account an MSM "red-line" that even the charmingly named "Independent" is unwilling to cross?

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jul 7 2017 19:34 utc | 15

@13 apparently so.

Posted by: LindaJ | Jul 7 2017 19:35 utc | 16

re 9

As Cockburn says, anything Trump comes out with is meaningless. he'll say the opposite tomorrow. However engage in a major war in Syria, particularly if against the Russians, that's another matter. His electoral base wouldn't tolerate it, if it were likely to lead to American deaths.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 7 2017 19:41 utc | 17

N24 Nachrichten - Hamburg: Wasserwerfer gegen die "Revolutionäre Demo - G20 entern":

Posted by: xxx | Jul 7 2017 19:55 utc | 18

George Clooney fleeing migrant-filled Italian region for USA?

Posted by: aaaa | Jul 7 2017 20:02 utc | 19

Qatar seems to be back tracking at least in Libya with Haftar announcing yesterday he has cleaned up Benghazi.
Egypt trying to show muscles (maybe they have 1 or 2 planes that are hard to swallow?)
Luckily, Zorro is coming to the region

Posted by: Mina | Jul 7 2017 20:09 utc | 20

Good going b. Let's hope more who are able make their way to Hamburg to protest. I love the header and subhead in The Guardian: "Arrests and injuries as Hamburg gripped by mass anti-G20 protests: Teargas and water cannon deployed outside Elbphilharmonie concert hall while inside world leaders listen to Ode to Joy"

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jul 7 2017 20:10 utc | 21

re Mina 20

Qatar seems to be back tracking at least in Libya with Haftar announcing yesterday he has cleaned up Benghazi.
I don't understand this. In what way is Hafter giving in, because of cut of Qatar financing (which could well be a problem)?

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 7 2017 20:35 utc | 22

Assuming the Qatar blockade is resolved, Mina, the next near-term crisis in the Middle East for the The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS is Kurdistan. Barzani says that an independence referendum will go forward in September in Iraqi Kurdistan. Meanwhile, Turkey-FSA continue to shell the Syrian Kurds. No doubt once Raqqa falls they'll really get down to business.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Jul 7 2017 20:51 utc | 23

It's 2 cents day, so here's mine.

Two national leaders brought their heads of foreign ministry to an international meeting. Score 1 for diplomacy. They didn't bring their generals. And we've all seen how powerfully Russian diplomacy works. The message to the world and all stakeholders is that it keeps on working - work with it if you want to get somewhere.

Trump wasn't afraid to do this meeting. In this sense, even if he's a fool (which I'm not completely convinced of yet), he has some semblance here of being his own man. Also, for domestic consumption, he can say he made a deal if he wants. He walked away with some narrative.

It seems to me that there's no reason why Putin and Trump can't keep talking as need arises if they choose to. No one is going to be friends here. But a narrative of two countries aggressively pursuing their own national interests is what Russia is now promoting. This is ground for dialog and actually some stability over time.

I don't think anyone was looking for much out of this, and it was the wrong venue for such. But the meta-messages and to see how the leaders would interact were the key things, and personally I'm satisfied.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 7 2017 21:07 utc | 24

…the Stasi often used a method which was really diabolic. It was called Zersetzung, and it's described in another guideline. The word is difficult to translate because it means originally "biodegradation." But actually, it's a quite accurate description. The goal was to destroy secretly the self-confidence of people, for example by damaging their reputation, by organizing failures in their work, and by destroying their personal relationships. Considering this, East Germany was a very modern dictatorship. The Stasi didn't try to arrest every dissident. It preferred to paralyze them, and it could do so because it had access to so much personal information and to so many institutions.
—Hubertus Knabe, German historian

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 7 2017 21:43 utc | 25

More info coming...Tillerson says it was a good meeting that went on so long because they had so much to talk about. Very engaged: Listen: Tillerson describes meeting between Trump and Putin. The Duran's Adam Garrie picked up on the last soundbite in this clip where Tillerson says maybe Russia has the right approach to Syria and maybe we have the wrong approach. Very egalitarian view, not quite as bombshell as it sounds I think, more a way of signifying agreement on the (purported) end goals.

Ray McGovern with RT thinks the agreement in southwest Syria is a little test from Putin to see what the strength of Trump's power is - i.e. will USAF act independently again or will it obey the commander-in-chief? Putin, Trump meeting gives way to developments in Syria. A lot of the Russian takeaway will be what kind of practical trust can be forged at this level, how in control is Trump? One wonders how much of this meta message got through to Trump himself.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 7 2017 21:50 utc | 26

Everyone seems happy that Trump and Putin shook hands and agreed on something. But wasn't agreeing on SW Syria easy? Seems that both would want to avoid the messiness of stepped-up Israeli action.

I think its clear that the 'Assad must go!' Coalition will not stop wanting Assad gone. But Russia and Iran will not allow it, arguing that Assad is needed to counter the Jihadis. This is a fundamental disagreement.

So what can they agree on?

The next logical demand of the 'Assad must go!' Coalition is some sort of division, isn't it? And whatever a division of Syria is called: "federated", "autonomous region", "safe zone" etc., it effectively means the creation of a "salafist principality"/Sunnistan - a goal which was revealed in a DIA report back in 2012.

IMO there is a high chance of cw ff leading to threat of US attack in the coming weeks. As a last-ditch effort to avoid a larger war, Putin might then relent and a allow a division that makes "Sunnistan" a reality.

I think there is a full-court press to get Putin to deal. Everything has been set to make the establishment of 'Sunnistan' the least worst option (as Kissinger might say).

I wrote of this here: Putin-Trump at the G-20: Birth of Sunnistan?

Any thoughts?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 7 2017 21:54 utc | 27

Bush sr. ran the CIA. Putin ran FSB. Merkel was Stasi. These are not fucking coincidences.

Speaking of the Stasi, people need to read the above if you really think "I have nothing to hide" means you should freely give the government, along with anybody who might be a personal or business rival of yours, all the information they need to destroy your life

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jul 7 2017 21:59 utc | 28

Hamburg is a decidedly weird place today, with half the city under siege and people unable to move from A to B. No cars on the streets (which is cool), only bikes...and police buses.Media are mixed, some reports are fairly objective, others...not so much. In many cases, the pictures just don't seem to match the statements of journos & police spox, esp. re yesterday's demonstration. Tomorrow's final demonstration is anticipated with some anxiety.

@Nick 12

Merkel will get a fourth mandate no matter what.
Interestingly, seems that she just acknowledged that the (inter alia) German carmakers are headed for a huge decline. Big changes...and China is leading the way.

@Laguerre 22

Haftar is gaining the upper hand - his opponents in Benghazi are running out of money, presumably because of Qatar's changed stance.

Posted by: smuks | Jul 7 2017 22:00 utc | 29

the world is a weird place today... no cars on the streets.. sounds like my kinda place... somewhere where every day feels like a sunday when i was growing up when businesses were closed and people might have done something different other then shopping and adding to the madness. just doing nothing would be a great change!

@27 smuks... glad to hear of more of the fallout connected with qatar... change can't happen soon enough on the planet..

Posted by: james | Jul 7 2017 22:11 utc | 30

Frau Merkel says 'discussions on trade are proving very difficult'. Except if you're dealing with Canada, apparently...

Trudeau's Concessions in Canada-EU Trade Deal Will Hit Cities Hardest

"In an EU document analyzing CETA, the authors all but called Canada a complete sucker - stating they had won concessions for beyond their expectations."

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jul 7 2017 22:16 utc | 31

Grieved @25--

Thanks for those links. I returned to the official Russian government sites to see if any updates, but there were none. Indeed, at the MFA site, the thinnest of PRs was posted about the Lavrov/Tillerson meet--just two short sentences: essentially, we had a meeting "The officials reviewed some key international and bilateral matters."

Heck, the PR about phone call between Lavrov and Egypt's FM was 4 times longer!

Media has little more to add, and I see you've read Saker's take, which I see as too pessimistic. Clearly, we'll need to watch what occurs during the rest of July to see if the Outlaw US Empire changes its behavior. Perhaps we'll get more from the Trump/Xi meet.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 7 2017 22:24 utc | 32

Jackrabbit 26
How could RUSSIA - with her history - consider any backdown over Syria affecting all her allies anything but a short term Munich agreement (1938) for the space age. War between the Atlantacists and Eurasia would still be inevitable .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jul 7 2017 22:27 utc | 33

more on the alleged chemical weapon attack of early april from al masdar..

OPCW ignores possibility Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack was staged: diplomat


US refuses Russia’s offer to inspect Shayrat Airbase for chemical weapons

Posted by: james | Jul 7 2017 22:46 utc | 34

Well, it appears that the Putin/Abe meet was productive despite being delayed by the meet with Trump going long,

TASS has the most detailed report thanks to Lavrov's presser,

"The situation in Syria, in Ukraine, on the Korean Peninsula, problems of cyber security, and a range of other issues were discussed in detail," he said, adding that the two leaders "agreed on a number of concrete things."

Just what those "concrete things" are we'll need to wait and see.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 7 2017 22:47 utc | 35

Hamburg is looking grim. Police will not look good in the courts after this.

They should not have planned G20 in a city like this.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 7 2017 22:52 utc | 36

On 4th of July Greenland records the coldest Northern hemisphere July temperature ever. But don't worry-- the media recorded it as catastrophic melting-- at minus 33 degrees Celsius! 95% of Greenland has ice above the mean level, did ya know?

New South Wales, Australia has also had record July cold: minus 10.4 degrees Celsius. But don't worry-- the media's not reporting it.

Here's the official graphs, etc. But don't worry-- you can always not look.

Posted by: Penelope | Jul 7 2017 23:09 utc | 37

jackrabbit & ashley albanese-- Just another point of view:
The Syrian war is being purposely dragged out. While the Russian nation and the American nation are both good guys, the oligarchs who rule them are united against us, in pursuit of the global oligarchy. US withdrew Patriots to permit Russian entry into the war. Russia calls for ceasefire to permit jihadists to re-arm whenever victory threatens. US & Britain intel announced that the jihadists brought down the Russian liner in the Sinai, knowing this was the pretext for Russian escalation in Syria. LOOK at the Sinai pictures, especially the heavy engine that fails to dent the sand, or the wings that caught on fire w/o exploding the gas tanks. While you're at it, look at the images of the aircrash in the Donbass. It's all theater, guys. Withdraw your emotion for just a moment and look with your rational mind.

US leaders betray the nation in the oligarchs' interests, so does Merkel, but you go on believing that Putin & the Chinese oligarchs are against their own interests as billionaire oligarchs w the power to rule. You think our oligarchs weren't smart enough to try to bribe them w continued power & wealth? Or you think that these two sets of oligarchs were virtuous enough to resist, and to survive?

Posted by: Penelope | Jul 7 2017 23:24 utc | 38

Greived @25 here's the transcript to go with your video of the Tillerson presser held today following the Putin/Trump gab -

Posted by: h | Jul 7 2017 23:28 utc | 39


Meanwhile, here in Los Angeles, CA, my 'cold' tap water is coming out at room temperature...something that has never happened in my 50-year lifetime.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Jul 7 2017 23:32 utc | 40

Tillerson's New Conference

Tillerson's answers to question about how much Trump pressed Putin on 'Russian interference' vaguely implied that the Russians accepted responsibility as he suggested that the Russians were willing to discuss guarantees against such interference happening in the future.

The Trump Administration continues to take a middle-ground approach that allows the "red scare" to continue. Some will say this is smart politics or smart negotiating or both. I think it shows a lack of will - an ambiguity that is harmful to a peaceful resolution. I think it stems from the Wahabbi-Zionist grip on US ME policy. W-Z want it ALL, so they (or their representatives) will always be ambiguous about any discussion that would leave them with something less than ALL.

The Agreement on SW Syria was probably mostly done before the meeting. Meeting participants reviewed details of what the prepared agreement but mostly probed each other to determine how strongly held each sides views were about Syrian outcomes.

The length of time that this took shows how close to the razor's edge US-Russia relations are. Care must be taken to avoid a miscalculation.

Tillerson's blabbering about common objectives was meaningless. The Russians have long said that they believe that the Syrian people should decide the fate of Assad at some point in the future. The longstanding US position has been that Assad's removal should be sooner rather than later because free and fair elections can't be held with Assad as leader.

It seems to me that the failure to agree "next steps" coupled with a failure to agree on a future meeting is significant. And the lack of detail from the Russian side (as per karlof1 @33) also suggests that the meeting didn't go well.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 7 2017 23:37 utc | 41

Posted by: Penelope | Jul 7, 2017 7:09:56 PM | 35

35 a simple google search reveals 6 degrees Celsius/43 Fahrenheit and rain in Greenland.

No ice at these temperatures.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 7 2017 23:39 utc | 42

@Grieved 25

"Ray McGovern with RT thinks the agreement in southwest Syria is a little test from Putin to see what the strength of Trump's power is ... how in control is Trump? One wonders how much of this meta message got through to Trump himself."

Sounds quite reasonable to me.
Putin/ Lavrov did the same with Obama/ Kerry, but they failed the test. They did negotiate in earnest imo, but...


Moscow has committed far too much in Syria to 'relent'. The military, diplomatic and economic pressure on the US will increase if necessary to reach an solution. It has no choice but to agree.

Posted by: smuks | Jul 7 2017 23:48 utc | 43

Penelope @35--

I constantly watch what occurs on Greenland; and as the chart at the link shows, this year's having wild swings in variability,

This year has seen the very early opening of Nare's Straight which separates the Northern edge of Greenland and Ellesmere Island allowing the vast majority of thick multiyear fast ice to be broken free from Greenland, transported through the straight and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean never to be ice again, which is a very big, important loss for the central arctic ice basin. The fast-ice loss also allows for an increase in the speed of glaciers previously inhibited from flowing into the Lincoln Sea, and thus a great volume of ice moved into the ocean. This is the best satellite site I've found to observe anything anywhere on the planet, Click "Start Playing," enter place you want to see in upper right search box--Petermann Glacier, for example--select "geology" from left-hand menu, zoom-out, and explore this impressive and important ice river!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 8 2017 0:03 utc | 44 At 1:20 on this link you will see a graph by the Danish Meteorlogical Institute confirming the near-record accumulation of ice over most of Greenalnd. Don't be fooled by a weather report from Nuuk, Greenland, on the Coast. It's and immense continent & Nuuk isn't typical

Posted by: Penelope | Jul 8 2017 0:43 utc | 45

i think the little test concept is exactly right... usa is notorious for failing those kinds of tests..

Posted by: james | Jul 8 2017 0:53 utc | 46


Accumulation/ablation lines are moving upward (that is, towards the heads of the glaciers). Higher than normal precipitation will cause deeper seasonal accumulation above the line. This is obvious here in CA...we've had a near-200% accumulation at altitude this past winter, but the winter snow lines have gone up nearly 600m. In terms of area covered (or not), it's huge.

Don't be fooled by cherry-picked ice depth readings.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Jul 8 2017 0:53 utc | 47

The peace deal or de-escalation with the US in southern Syria most likely has to do with US moving their operation from Tanf to Shaddadi. I had read sometime ago that Jordan wasn't happy about US using Jordan and Tanf base to attack SAA - not that Jordan would have much say in the matter.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 8 2017 0:57 utc | 48

James Corbett on the CNN gif debacle:

Posted by: Anoncommentator | Jul 8 2017 1:00 utc | 49

Posted by: Penelope | Jul 7, 2017 8:43:20 PM | 43

3 degrees Celsius/ 37 Fahrenheit in Qaanaaq. No ice in this temperature either.

I think your link deals in alternative reality.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 8 2017 1:04 utc | 50

A reminder, and if you've never seen it, how MSM (in this case C-span) broadcasts fake news as war propaganda- footage from 1991 Gulf War.
This was eye opener for me as I recall being totally sucked in at time by both the CNN and C-Span stories.

But by the time of the Syrian "boy in ambulance" Omran story last year Icould correctly smell a rat:

Posted by: Anoncommentator | Jul 8 2017 1:13 utc | 51

“Can a nation be free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot.” Vladimir Lenin



Posted by: Brian | Jul 8 2017 1:19 utc | 52

Penelope @ 36 said:"You think our oligarchs weren't smart enough to try to bribe them w continued power & wealth? Or you think that these two sets of oligarchs were virtuous enough to resist, and to survive?"

These questions raised are embedded in my mind also. An alliance of global oligarchs is the working classes' worst nightmare.

And all will be revealed when actions replace rhetoric. It doesn't look good...

Posted by: ben | Jul 8 2017 1:38 utc | 53

David Corn just tweeted that he is "scheduled to be on @TheLastWord at 10:15 tonight." And asked us to "Guess the subject." I replied: "Certainly not the illegality of U.S. actions in Syria. You'll no doubt keep your mouth shut about that as u help sell U.S. aggression." (reweet is to more see it) and I tweeted: "Why don't you shock us all and show some integrity and talk about illegal U.S. aggression?"

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Jul 8 2017 2:14 utc | 54

@43 Penelope

I am certain your website is not peddling discredited theories and fantasies. You know how I know? Because in that case it would be called Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jul 8 2017 3:01 utc | 55

Two final things from the G20 meeting:

1. Syria. It's clear work had been going on for days between US/Russia for the two presidents to agree to this new ceasefire. I confess ignorance - is this the area by Golan where Israel keeps attacking SAA under the pretext of response to jihadi attack? If so, someone said (here I think) that US and Russia would both be glad to dampen activity in that area. I would welcome more knowledge from someone who has it.

For the record, Ron Paul Institute's Daniel McAdams thinks it's all a trick because he sees the ceasefires as US means to extricate proxy fighters. That seems completely wrong - we've seen more ceasefire initiatives come from Russia, and work really well - but here's his piece: New Syria Ceasefire Deal May Be US Attempt to Save Rebels From Defeat

Regarding the Ray McGovern concept of a test, we should add that Russia also wants to achieve something here. So while every agreement can serve as a test, it's better if it simply works and things move forward.


2. Ukraine. I missed this part, but there's a step forward here also: Trump-Putin Talks Mark First Step in Defusing Tensions Over Syria, Ukraine

...Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed former Permanent Representative to NATO Kurt Volker as special representative for Ukraine negotiations. Tillerson said he named Volker as a representative upon Putin’s request.

The US formally buys into Minsk 2 - Trump reinforced it today as the only solution, but now there's actually a US representative involved, per Russia's specification. Maybe it's not as big as it seems to me, but isn't this a huge triumph for Russian diplomacy and the Russian way of doing things?

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 8 2017 3:40 utc | 56

@46 Peter AU - I intended not to ignore your comment, and to link it in with mine about the ceasefire @54, but I was remiss. I don't understand the logistics of it all yet, but I got the sense your comment might be part of it.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 8 2017 3:50 utc | 57

New South Wales, Australia has also had record July cold: minus 10.4 degrees Celsius. But don't worry-- the media's not reporting it.
Posted by: Penelope | Jul 7, 2017 7:09:56 PM | 35

Dear Penelope,
If any populated location in the lowlands of NSW experienced a temperature of -10.4 deg C, it would be mentioned in the National Weather Reports and would be News.
If, on the other hand, the weather station atop NSW's Mt Kosciusko recorded that temperature then it would merely confirm that the top of Mt Kosciusko is, and always has been, the coldest place in NSW.

You're still a very careless, incurious, and uninformed researcher...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 8 2017 4:04 utc | 58

@ Taxi Service between Amman and Damascus

Not running yet

Posted by: guidoamm | Jul 8 2017 4:14 utc | 59

Any-one have a link or a memory of Syria warning Rummy and Bushie and them about the USS Cole being an at risk target before it happened? Syria was torturing Canadians FOR Goodness and our gracious civilisation then. Are we a nation of lawyers, or a nation of laws? Non-disklosure kultur. Heckova job if you can just lobby...
Meanwhile if the CIA wanted every-one confused I wonder why they started with themselves (Lsd ambushes eg.), plus all those program name changes, sheesh. Chaos thru chaos. Elihu Root would expect more from them were he a zombie today.

Good health, and the happinesses you pursue be found

Posted by: failure of imagination | Jul 8 2017 6:10 utc | 60

Penelope... please read these lines and try to understand them...

Global Average Temperature rise ('Global Warming') as a result of increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere has always been predicted to lead to Local Climate CHANGE!. Another way to express that word CHANGE is to call it Local Climate INSTABILITY.

Most regions of the world will get hotter and some will get colder. Some will get wetter and some drier. Some (like inland Greenland) will experience increased precipitation (in the form of snow-leading to higher seasonal ice pack inland). All this instability will naturally result in local weather records being broken. The classic one is the possible stopping of the gulf stream. Which may occur as a result of this instability. This will result in a catastrophically colder Northern Europe especially in winter. So if you were to come with 'data' showing that Glasgow is going to get record cold winters over the next 30 years that would be proof of Global Warming not disproof of it.

So even if your 'data' was accurate, it would only serve to reinforce the predicted pattern resulting from increased CO2 emissions.

Posted by: Køn | Jul 8 2017 6:30 utc | 61

Another good piece in Middle East Eye (which I don't know much about. Who sponsors it? How independent is it?) called July 3: The end of one revolution and the start of another. July 3 was the anniversary of Sisi's overthrow in Egypt of Muslim Brotherhood leader and elected President Morsi in Egypt. The overthrow at the direction of and massively funded by the Saudis, of course. The 2017 bullying of Qatar is the final act in that effort to drive forces sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood out of the Gulf and Arab world.

The complete vanquishing of the MB seems to have failed (why a 'complete' vanquishing should matter, ask the idiot Saudis). In addition, Turkey has MB sympathies and has entered the fray to help rescue Qatar. Turkey also is a new ally of Russia in the Syria war, since the U.S. has decided, foolishly, to ally with the Kurds attempting to form a new state along Turkey's southern border.

The realignment of forces is good for peace in Syria and bad for the Saudis, other royalists in the Gulf, and their paid-to-be allies. Hey Saudis (and to a lesser extent Americans): You can have a lot of strategic assets and just be so damn stupid and arrogant it doesn't matter.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 8 2017 6:38 utc | 62

Trump-Putin Meeting Sends Celebrities Into Full Meltdown

Posted by: Anoynous | Jul 8 2017 7:15 utc | 63

@Jeff | 2
Fully agree.
Read in a couple of places that Russian Military Police intend be in charge of patrolling the de-escalation zones, helped by other guarantor nations. Giod move, if true.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 8 2017 9:02 utc | 64

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 8, 2017 2:38:17 AM | 60


Posted by: somebody | Jul 8 2017 9:17 utc | 65

Really surprised by what is happening in Hamburg - wonder who is behind it as it's is very organised. The "protestors" came prepared for violence. What is that they are against ?

Hope all is well b, look forward to your analysis of what went on an the G20. Take care

Posted by: James Lake | Jul 8 2017 9:37 utc | 66

Compare to G20 Toronto.

Everyone saw this coming. I think it is some ritual where police and a wild mix of political resistance compete in who is in control of the city.

In these situations police go for the weak part of the demonstrations not for the fighters, even though according to the police 200 of them got hurt in Hamburg up to now, and uncounted demonstrators got severe injuries.

There were ununiformed police among the protesters and one of them felt he had to shoot in warning.

In all likelihood there were secret service/police among the fighters.

The political outcome is open. On the one hand Merkel and Co can claim more security is needed on the other hand they have shown they cannot provide it.
Hamburg is a Social Democrat governed state though and the police is theirs.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 8 2017 10:19 utc | 67

The police help ed them get the weapons (through an extreme right guy intermediary) in order to infiltrate the group. Big success.

Posted by: Mina | Jul 8 2017 10:42 utc | 68

Yep - a lot of people have an interest in this type of escalation. It is the people in the middle who lose every time.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 8 2017 10:47 utc | 69

How long before western liberal media blames Putin for riots? Maybe have they already done that?

Posted by: Anoynous | Jul 8 2017 11:16 utc | 70

Anybody see that Julian Assange was to address the G20 re cyber security, only to have fire alarms go off right before the start requiring an evacuation of the auditorium? If true, it is unbelievable that the TPTB are so obvious!

Posted by: Trixie from Dixie | Jul 8 2017 11:59 utc | 71

It was an event running parallel to G20 organized by a group called"constructive disobedience" but still the audacity!

Posted by: Trixie from Dixie | Jul 8 2017 12:19 utc | 72

@B: LOL !!!!!

Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 8 2017 13:01 utc | 73

@65 I can see how it might be fun to run through the streets smashing things up but what's the political philosophy behind it?

Posted by: dh | Jul 8 2017 13:20 utc | 74

Penelope 38
Commentators up to August 1914 were analogously saying much the same things about international trade and banking as you posit in your comments .
Unfortunately the best guides to all this are still Lenin and Karl Kautsky.

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jul 8 2017 13:44 utc | 75

In reply to maningi (4) Most of the organized peaceful demonstrations scheduled for the G-20 meetings in Hamburg, to which much of the larger public might relate, have called off their family oriented protest marches as the Black Bloc contingent has taken to the streets in their usual hooligan and destructive manner to which the authorities must respond. This to me suits the establishment all too well and smacks of covert activity by the government spooks to bring this end about. The State knows how to deal with violence being violent itself but is flummoxed by massive peaceful demonstrations by the people demanding change. So the question is which type of action by the people does anyone think the government, as a tool of the plutocrats, would prefer? The people know by now that the State is violent so having the Black Bloc point this out again and again but while raising the ire of the general population does nothing if not hinder the anti plutocrat-globalist movement.

Posted by: BRF | Jul 8 2017 13:50 utc | 76


g20 to hell - international anticapitalist demonstration

We are mobilizing internationally to turn Hamburg into a location and an exclamation mark of resistance against old and new authorities of capitalism.

A demonstration at the G20 summit’s eve will express protest and resistance, radical critique and practice against the patriarchal and capitalist state of affairs. We are resisting the discursive priority of receptions and fireside chats during the days to follow.

G20 is creating a temporary state of emergency and its political bias stands for everything we are fighting against. The police and military are present on the roofs of Hamburg during the summit, and they are perpetuating capitalist regimes all over the world. Neo-liberal and protectionist capitalist models are both similarly part of global exploitation, walling-off and impoverishment.

Whether this cynical violence is going to be obvious or rather superimposed by grand receptions and beautiful pictures is also at stake during Hamburg’s hot days. We are opposing the summit as well as any effort to include political critique and resistance as a part of the summit’s orchestration as a democratic institution.
Summits like G20 and institutions like IMF, WTO or the World Bank being instruments of peace, human rights or climate policies is one of the great lies and illusions of the powers-that-be.

The political philosophy is to show the state as openly oppressive as they think it is anyway.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 8 2017 13:50 utc | 77

Thanks to all and particularly to Grieved and h for comments and the link to Tillerson press interview. I'm remembering that the German press was particularly good in the analysis of Maidan provoked escalation, so hopefully there will be attention paid to the deliberate provocations and who is doing them at this relatively mild gathering. To paraphrase (with Tillerson's help) a quote I saw in John LeCarrés 'The Russia House', the people of the world are weary of destruction and conflict and are yearning for peace; surely it is now time for governments to step out of the way and let them have the peace they are yearning for. (The quote is from Dwight D. Eisenhower.)

Posted by: juliania | Jul 8 2017 13:56 utc | 78


See here - my previous quote from the website did not go through the filter

Basically two sides reinforcing their world view - that the capitalist state is repressive and that repression is necessary to avoid anarchy.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 8 2017 13:58 utc | 79

74 - next try without the link - I don't get it through the filter.

Two sides are reinforcing their world view - that the state is repressive and that repression is necessary to avoid anarchy.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 8 2017 14:00 utc | 80

somebody @36 this reminds me of Merkel's refugee doctrin: "Wir schaffen das!"

Posted by: Fran | Jul 8 2017 15:10 utc | 81

all rodin's deep thinkers ask, "but can the Matrix be defeated by kung fu????"

de-escalation measures? come on all you shoplifters. bring your preggers & kids & granma & the starving vets and just take it.

Posted by: we make great pets | Jul 8 2017 15:19 utc | 82

The "ceasefire" in south-west Syria? That is to see if Trump has the will/ability to shut down Kushner, Nuttyyahoo et. al. and force the Israeli Zionist IDF to stay out of Syria, perhaps even get off the Golan Heights... Putin is at least 5 moves ahead of the US/Zionists. Trump may not have the intellect or moral compass to realize since forever the US has been playing a brutal game of international tiddly-winks while Putin and Xi are playing multi-level 3D chess.

Posted by: A P | Jul 8 2017 15:32 utc | 83

Adding to what somebody said, I can pass on some information from German discussions on G20 violence:
1st the (violent) political activists just had retreated, most assaults in the night including the particularly unpopular aggression against property of common people, is said to have been carried out by riot tourists without any political ambition, up to wellknown hooligans from Hamburg.
2nd The police are not interested in getting into fights with those violent thugs, that would explain the "unexplicable" tolerance towards them until the "real" special forces went in. (Some people report on that as being the usual practice in dealing with violent riots of any kind in Germany.)

1st and 2nd together are absolutely well suited for making up conspiracy theories as to agents provokateurs and bad intent on the side of the state, which in fact cannot completely denied. But the truth probably is way more trivial namely such as those reports of violent "routine" practice suggest. Nevertheless,
3rd this weird interaction of totally unpolitical motives is sufficient for to deligitimize any protest and to fan fear among normal people - and it is exploited in such a fashion within the German MSM just by showing the footage of the night.
Which, again, may be routine in processing public violence in all Western countries...

Posted by: franziska | Jul 8 2017 15:56 utc | 84

On the G-20.

In general:

Festive, funny and colorful demonstrations but a quite aggressive police. Some 20,000+ demonstrators including 1,000 max "block block" rioters.
Hamburg is a big city. The demonstrations and police actions are limited to two or three quarters near the harbor. Any report of "burning Hamburg" is simply nonsense. Most people living in Hamburg will not see or hear anything of this at all. I would not have seen or heard anything except from the news if I had not purposefully driven there.

Was at "die Schanze" yesterday evening, a quarter I very well know as I have long lived in the area. That is were yesterday's evening violence was taking place.

I saw nothing unusual.

Schanze and the area around have been successfully fighting gentrification for some 30 years now. The first clashes with police water cannons there that I personally attended were some 28 years ago. Every new-year eve and 1st of may such "festivities" are taking place. A few hundred "black block" youngsters confronting a few hundred policemen. Takes a day to clean up the mess. Then the same folks who broke the windows of a shop will again go buy their daily stuff in that place.

The only somewhat unusual yesterday were some looters who had come from out-of-town. The looted two local shops which are normally off-limits.

Also some non-local police who did not know the rules of the ritual clashes. They threatened some accredited journalists which will give them lots of bad press.

Luckily nothing got seriously out of hand. We don't use guns in Germany. The violence is limited to throwing some cobble stone or beer bottle on the well protected police and getting some teargas or water cannon use in reply.

The official police claim is some 100 wounded police throughout yesterday but some 80 to 90 of those will have been "injured" by inhaling pepper spray and teargas used by the police itself. Saw nobody seriously wounded on either side and no report of such.

The owners of the looted shops and burned cars will be reimbursed by the insurance the city has for such purposes. Some hassle, but no big monetary damage.

All in all - any sensational reporting is WAY out of proportion. The best and fairest in English language was this by Mitch Prothero on yesterday's afternoon action:

Posted by: b | Jul 8 2017 16:09 utc | 85

@Ken 61

One of the difficulties you're facing is that most climate change deniers do not know the difference between climate and weather.

If they could be taught just to understand that much they'd most likely see that they've not got a leg to stand on.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jul 8 2017 16:09 utc | 86

@b - 82

Thanks for your G20-report.
Even when reading more "balanced" german sites like Telepolis ( ) the average reader gets the impression that "hell broke loose", not to mention MSM, where an almost war-like situation was/is depicted, most likely with the intention, to draw the readers attention away from anti-globalist and other critical themes. Nice to read, that the situation was not that bad in Hamburg.

Posted by: maningi | Jul 8 2017 16:26 utc | 87

Posted by: dh | Jul 8, 2017 9:20:53 AM | 74

I can see how it might be fun to run through the streets smashing things up but what's the political philosophy behind it?

Read b's post @82.
It is a gentrification deterrence tactic. Clever.

Posted by: hopehely | Jul 8 2017 16:27 utc | 88

Thanks for the personal report on what you saw and the context of the G20 "protests".

Those in control very much must continue to manage the narrative so they can assure the outcome......I don't see any chinks in their armor yet.......

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 8 2017 19:28 utc | 89

85 not really.

What it does is people asking for police protection who would not formerly have done so.

Like in London, Brixton, rioters are destroying their own quarters not the gentrified ones. Brixton riots have not stopped the gentrification of Brixton.

b. I don't agree. The burning cars are produced for the media and the media want those dramatic fotos. All the initiatives that tried to get some content across - annihilated by non existant media coverage.
The fight is not about what is going on on the ground. The fight is what is in the media.

I have long wondered why rioters destroy the areas they live in and loot the shops they buy in. I think people just don't feel at ease outside the areas they live. There is research suggesting that some people don't leave areas in big cities in their lifetime.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 8 2017 20:00 utc | 90

Meanwhile from inside the G20 - already plenty gentrified - Putin in his press conference spoke well of Trump as a reasoning man, calling him much different from his TV appearance. We know Putin as someone who takes in information seriously and can digest and respond in real time - apparently Trump can do the same. This is great praise from someone many of us admire greatly. Putin says there's a working relationship there, and it's obvious he's pleased with the Russian takeaway.

There are several distillations now of Putin's report on the meeting: RT, Sputnik, ZeroHedge, Duran etc. For a transcript, as yet partial, see Putin's website: News conference following the G20 Summit. I note that Trump now can go back to the US and say he asked Putin about "Hacking the Election™" and believes his answers. Furthermore, US and Russia will now set up a joint working group to monitor and verify cyberspace - how's that for a riposte! No more fake news from fake media about fake hacking - certified data coming soon.

Also, Stephen Cohen was vastly impressed by the meeting, calling it "historic" and perhaps the most significant since Reagan met with Gorbachev in a short interview with Tucker Carlson.

The more information I see coming out of this G20, the better Trump looks, and the more agreement between Russia and the US appears to have been forged. These ties will be vilified by neocon useful idiots of course, but they will also be hard to unmake, I think. I get the impression that some and perhaps all the working relations between subordinate groups started kicking into gear immediately from the two president's agreements - certainly Lavrov's and Tillerson's teams. Perhaps it's even the case that at lower managerial levels within the US, many civil servants have just been waiting for the green light. These are real boots on the ground - let the blowhards spout all they want.

The hands of the doomsday clock are being pushed backwards.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 8 2017 20:07 utc | 91

Rex Tillerson: ‘No Long-Term Role for The Assad Family or the Assad Regime’

Trump administration dumber than I thought..

Posted by: Anoynous | Jul 8 2017 20:07 utc | 92

@89 Anoynous

"You Have no Right to Talk About Syria's Future!" Putin Slaps the US Secretary of State

Secretary of State given a lesson in hierarchy when Presidents are in the room.

ps..the headline is garish, it was a much more subtle statement that Putin actually made. But the same meaning.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 8 2017 20:14 utc | 93

I know I've been all over this thread but I want to share what I keep finding about the G20 meeting with MoA fellow discussants. Now Alexander Mercouris has weighed in with a nice summary of the meeting between Trump and Putin, highlighting 3 points: the ceasefire in southern Syria, Ukraine, and the cyber security collaboration.

Summing up the Trump-Putin meeting: good bonding; limited progress on Syria, Ukraine and cyber security

I like Mercouris for his lawyer's way of collating the aspects of a situation. In his coverage of the US being invited into the diplomacy regarding Ukraine, he highlights what Putin highlighted, which is that Ukraine and Russia share identical interest, but only the current regime stands in the way of this symbiosis. Mercouris points out that Russia is now choosing to talk to the organ grinder rather than the monkey (lovely phrase), and so is bypassing Merkel, a guarantor of the Minsk agreement, and dealing directly with the actual sponsor, or rather the inheritor of the Obama administration's sponsorship, of Maidan.

Putin's words, as Mercouris highlights:

The interests of Russia and Ukraine, the interests of the Russian and Ukraine people – and I am fully and profoundly confident of this – coincide. Our interests fully coincide. The only thing that does not coincide is the interests of the current Ukrainian authorities and some of Ukraine’s political circles.

So in sum, for Ukraine, one can see that Russia still wants only to see the regime change in Kiev, and sees no other requirement for stability. Donbass, Novorossya perhaps, can still be lawfully autonomous, with regime change. With the US involved and giving its blessing (or covering fire, one might say), we can conceivably now move on to regime change in Kiev.

I deeply love Donbass, and root for its sovereign prosperity. I can find no gladder news than this.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 8 2017 21:16 utc | 94

This could be big: The SAA attacks in the Golan. The Shtetl "State" stays away.

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 8 2017 21:28 utc | 95

It will be interesting to see the fallout if any from Trumps Poland visit and speech.
In Saudi Arabia, Trump screwed close to half a trillion dollars out of the Wahhabi's, endorsed their global terra bullshit, and now the Wahhabi's are at each others throats, Qatar vs KSA, their news sites running stories on how the other sponsors terrorism - GCC split.
The two main tools in the CIA toolkit have been the Wahhabi's and their offshoots for MENA/Central Asia, and the neo-nazi types for eastern Europe.
From what I have read, Trump flogged a lot of expensive US gas to the Pole's, now it remains to be seen what other fallout occurs if any.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 8 2017 21:43 utc | 96

Grieved @91, etc.

Thanks very much for your leg work on G-20 news. Looks like we're both somewhat optimistic!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 8 2017 22:36 utc | 97

From The Economist --(That Rothschild publication):
"The most worrying changes are happening in Greenland, which lost an average of 375bn tonnes of ice per year between 2011 and 2014—almost twice the rate at which it disappeared between 2003 and 2008 "
375 billion tonnes per year. With the ice loss since 2001 their nice little chart shows Greenland has lost 3,840 km3 of ice since 2001! But don't worrry-- the propaganda is misleading.
Turns out the USGS says that the volume of the Greenland ice sheet was 2,600,000 km3 at the beginning of the 21st century.
Despite all of the warming since the end of Neoglaciation, the Greenland ice sheet has lost only .15%. It still retains more than 99% of its 1900 AD ice mass. Do see the article, complete w radar cross section of ice, and the straightforward math:
Greenland is 2.166 million km2 and 1.7 million km2 are covered w ice that's 1.5 km thick. It's presently gaining ice at near-record rates. Yes, of COURSE it's melting at the coastline. Always does.
It's propaganda, guys. Honest. Just like w the Antarctic, where they talk endlessly about the one little peninsula that melts every year (the Western Antarctic), and ignore the rest. The Antarctic is 2x the size of the US, and has at least 25 million km3 of ice. The sea ice around it waxes & wanes seasonally & so does the Western peninsula.

Posted by: Penelope | Jul 9 2017 0:31 utc | 98

Ken @61, When ALL weather occurrences prove your conclusion of global warming, it shows you haven't grasped the scientific method.

Ben @53, The oligarchs are natural allies, and the plan has always been for decentralized administration, at least to begin with.

Posted by: Penelope | Jul 9 2017 0:42 utc | 99

Penelope @96
If I said that ALL weather occurrences proved the veracity of Global Warming then it would show a weak grasp of the scientific method. But I didn't say that...

I said that the overarching Global Warming prediction was that local weather records would start to fall at an increasing rate. No single weather event can be ascribed to Global Warming.

Posted by: Køn | Jul 9 2017 7:50 utc | 100

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