Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 20, 2018

Sundry - Shutdown, Ukraine, Omidyar And Syria

As I am currently somewhat handicapped in writing a consistent piece (possible reasons: the flu, writers block or temporary burnout) I'll restrict this to some short thoughts on recent issues.


The so called government shutdown in the U.S. is no shutdown. It is political theater that pretends a political divide between the two parties that simply is not there. All the bad stuff - the military operations, the spying on you and me, and of course the payments to Congress and the White House are designated as "essential" and will continue. Only the nicer stuff, services for the common people, will be restricted. Adam H. Johnson wrote about this split the last time a "government shutdown" happened: It’s Not a Government Shutdown. It’s a Right-Wing Coup.


The Ukrainian Parliament has practically declared the Minsk agreements null and void and decided to militarily "liberate" Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea from the will of the people living there. Just in time the neo-nazi fanatics of the Azov Battalion received a U.S. military delegation and U.S. arms.

The 2015 Minsk II agreement (full text) demanded that the Ukraine creates a new law for the administration of these regions:

Without delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts,” based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of Sept. 19, 2014.

Russia is not a party of the agreement. But when the resolution by the Ukrainian parliament was not forthcoming western propaganda falsely blamed Russia for "not fulfilling the Minsk agreement" and the west has since bound the sanctions on Russia to this fake conclusion.

The National Bank of Ukraine announced that an independent accountant found that PrivatBank, then owned by the coup financier and billionaire Ihor Kolomoyskiy, was plundered of $5.5 billion shortly before it went bankrupt and nationalized by the coup government. In connection with that an IMF loan of $1.8 billion to the Ukraine allegedly went directly into Kolomoyskiy's pockets. How much of this stolen money was paid to U.S. politicians?

While the anti-Trump politicians and media still fret about "Russian influence" on U.S. social media everyone seems to have forgotten that in early 2016 the Ukraine set up a massive troll farm and a Ministry of Truth. Back then even the U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine disliked that. If every troll tweeting in Russian or with Cyrillic letters in its name is under the direct command of Vladimir Putin where then are those Ukrainians trolls?


Back in December I described how the Silicon Valley billionaires Bezos and Omidyar helped the Obama administration to privatize and hide the NSA papers leaked by Edward Snowden. Mintpress now took a deeper look into Omidyar's service to the deep state and his active suppression of financial resources for WikiLeaks.


The Turkish military has started to bomb the Afrin (Efrin) canton in north-west Syria. "Free Syrian Army" fighters under Ottoman/Turkish flags stand ready to invade it. The canton is held and administrated by YPK/PKK Kurds. Neither I nor Elijah Magnier nor Joshua Landis had expected that Erdogan would really do this. One wonders what deals have been made with Russia and Syria to allow for this invasion.

There was a plausible rumor yesterday that Syria had offered to send its security forces to protect the Afrin area but that the Kurds rejected that. Now Russia and Syria think that the best way to prevent the announced U.S. protectorate of Kurdish held territory in the north-east is to prove to the Kurds that the U.S. is unwilling to protect them and their brethren in Efrin from Turkish attacks. The Kurds had quite good relations with the Russians and to some extend also with the Syrian government. They then changed sides to get U.S. protection with the intent of splitting up Syria and anbing a big chunk for themselves. "Well, here is your payback. Now you will see what your new "allies" are willing to do for you."

I now expect a rather short fight, minor losses of territory to Erdogan's goons and a lot of bloody noses.

Posted by b on January 20, 2018 at 15:50 UTC | Permalink

next page »

It's been clear for a long time that a carve up of Syria was the end game and that Russia was facilitating this with its beautifully timed declarations of peace, of an end to the operation, etc.. In essence, the 'latest developments' are fake news, in that it's only a matter of the details being filled in.

Of course the 'end game' aforementioned is just the next stage in the war...

Posted by: paul | Jan 20 2018 16:04 utc | 1

b, feel better. And thanks for the many insightful articles that otherwise, we would not have access to with the lame stream "media."

I will send along a donation as soon as my employer to be gives me a start date.


Of course, the spying will continue and it is essential to the narcissistic, control state thieves of liberty to continue their ponzi scheme "war on terror." As if. If we ever had a war on terror we'd first need to acknowledge the the US is the single largest terrorist organization on the planet.

Posted by: John | Jan 20 2018 16:38 utc | 2

@paul at #1: Yeah, right, the only country other than Iran that has dedicated resources and diplomacy to preserving Syria's territorial and governmental integrity is to blame for carving up Syria. You might want to present just a tiny bit of evidence before serving up such counter-factual statements.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jan 20 2018 16:43 utc | 3

Here's EHSANI2 take on it:

On #Afrin: Critical to recall that Turkish military officials flew to Moscow few days ago and met their Russian counterpart. When the plan to invade Afrin was presented, all the Russians had to do was inform Turks that The Kurds are now America’s & not Russia ‘s boys =>

2-Lets be clear: Had the Syrian Kurds not jumped off the Russian ship, it would be hard to imagine today’s attack on Afrin taking place. The ball is now in Washington’s court. The US convinced the Kurds to become their partners. The test of this commitment started today =>

3-Judging by the start of the operation, it seems that The Turks mean business. More than 10 aircrafts conducted the first bombing campaign. It’s likely that Tanks will be deployed as well. Tillerson already called his Turkish counterpart ==>

4- Important to stress again that Turkish planes used Syrian airspace. Russia & it’s radars had to have been fully aware of the operation. The Kurds are now tne allies of @realDonaldTrump @brett_mcgurk and a member of NATO is bombing them. Welcome to the Middle East

5-Erdogan’s anger at American decision to arm & pick the Kurds as partners in the fight against ISIS had to come to a boiling point. During last speech by Tillerson, an attempt was made to appease Erdogan through offering complimentary lip service. Ankara bought none of it

6-Note that Erdogan had watched Kurdish developments closely in Iraq and saw how the Iraqi Army crushed that independence attempt with little if any reaction by the US. Erdogan has now dared Washington to do more than offer their Kurdish allies verbal support

7-Observers of the region have long debated how strong was the US support of Syrian Kurds. Those who believed in this newly consummated marriage thought that America not only will protect their partner but will also help them achieve their long held dream of nationhood

8-In a previous thread, it was noted how this Kurdish dream of nationhood was likely to face significant challenges. The role/importance of Turkey in NATO was one of them. Was America ready to compromise NATO’s southern theater with Russia now so near & ready to fill that void?

Posted by: arbetet | Jan 20 2018 16:44 utc | 4

well Turkish militias are withdrawing from Eastern Idlib apparently. That might be part of the deal. I'm sure the Syrian government doesn't mind seeing Turkey and the Kurds whittle away some of their respective forces while they move into Idlib.

Don't worry about the writer's block - you've been producing a lot of high quality lengthy articles. Just take the pressure off and write things like the above until the block dissolves by itself

Posted by: JakeS | Jan 20 2018 16:45 utc | 5

Lavrov threatens to give a lesson to the Syrian opposition who have torpedoed the Geneva meeting and refuse to go to Sochi. Their leaders rushed to the Washington to ask for US protection. Now they are going to fight against US supported SDF.
Russia (and Syria) will be pleased to see them decimated and the Kurds turning away from the USA.
Afrin could a be good omen for Sochi.

Posted by: virgile | Jan 20 2018 16:50 utc | 6

It would be nice to know just how popular the Rojava dream is among ordinary Syrian Kurds. Pretty hard to do an accurate survey I guess.

Posted by: dh | Jan 20 2018 16:59 utc | 7

I remain skeptical about Erdogan’s intentions.

AFAICT, the ground forces that are to be used are the alQueda Islamists that Turkey harbors in Idlib. Not yet sure if there will be anything like a Turkish invasion. And, I believe that as long as they are not facing Turkish government troops , YPG will put up a determined fight.

USA is unlikely to upend their whole strategy. Even if Afrin is taken, it would not really change anything fundamental.

Is it all bluster? And who really benefits?

>> Erdogan needs a reason to extend Turkey’s State of Emergency.

>> Astana talks: R+6 willingness to allow Turkey to attack Afrin spoils any rappraochment with Kurds. Erdogan’s linking of Afrin to USA arming Kurds is specious.

- The Kurds were armed well before USA support.

- USA has already said that they will no longer supply heavy arms to Kurds.

- USA has said they don’t support the Kurds in Afrin.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 20 2018 17:31 utc | 8

I agree the US government shutdown is a farce, but IMO it is desired by most in Washington because it fits the needs of the elites. While no fan of Agent Orange, the attempted coup by the Clinton Clan and it supporters has come to an end with a memo to be released exposing the combined machinations of certain Demo elites within and outside the FBI to fabricate a basis to impeach the President. Given this was to come out this weekend, the enormity of the shutdown distracts the American public from their failure. The Repos, on the other hand would like to flush the entire government down the toilet, less the military.

Being the cynic that I am I have been waiting for the US to execute its decapitation of the North Korean government during the Seoul Winter Olympics, as the North would be hard pressed to retaliate against the South during such a public spectacle. It should be remembered that the Obama administration executed its coup in the Ukraine during the 2014 Winter Games. Given China's recent warnings of alerts to its military, I'm thinking they are thinking along the same lines. Hopefully, the chaos resultant from the US shutdown may inhibit such actions.

Isn't a collapsing empire so interesting?

Posted by: Michael | Jan 20 2018 17:42 utc | 9

Ref b january blues: blue lamp/vit D/holidays in the sun/chocolate/cooking/baking

Posted by: Mina | Jan 20 2018 18:07 utc | 10

No wonder one can have nervous breakdown trying to make sense of pure unadulterated absurd which are last three decades of US imperial hooliganism, senseless deaths, suffering and economic cruelty resembling Nero's wilderness of pain.

What I think b must confront is that while two decades ago Russia and China started from much clearer rational and moral positions now they chose to entangle in the western destructive rants just be acquiesced to US imperial psychotic episodes revealing their ultimate allegiance to global oligarchic class.

There are no more good and bad guys everyone has some dirt on their hands, some little some a lot.

But one thing we must acknowledge about Putin, his honesty.

In 2015 I asked why they came?

The only official record of direct reason to move to Syria was not saving Assad, not humanitarian reason since it does not require weapons, not to protect the military base, although they accomplished that, it was in Putin words fighting Russia based terrorists who fled to Syria.

And that was accomplished as well, almost,Chechnya extremists terrorists have beeen badly beaten in Syria and Russia.

Russia sticks to realpolitik and is not anti imperialist revolutionary force at all by trying to balance power among global ruling elites for their own advantage.

Posted by: Kalen | Jan 20 2018 18:18 utc | 11

take it easy b.. even when you aren't up to speed, you're providing ongoing information of very high quality..

Posted by: james | Jan 20 2018 18:18 utc | 12

>>>>> WorldBLee | Jan 20, 2018 11:43:56 AM | 4

Fully agree with you. That the Russians have retained their outposts in Afrin suggests they and the SAG believe that the Kurds can redeem themselves but with Washington announcing an open-ended commitment to remain in Syria, it's difficult to see how the Kurds could winkle them out without a lot of unpleasantness. Perhaps Afrin should declare independence from Rojava and ask for Russian/SAG support in the meantime.

As for the US military palling around with self-identifing Nazis that is not unexpected given America's past history in that area but it is just so f****d up. And where one might ask are so-called American liberals on this? So willing to accuse the alt-right in Charlottesville of being neo-Nazis yet so unwilling to criticize the US military's links with Nazis in Ukraine.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 20 2018 18:21 utc | 13

@ Michael who wrote: "Isn't a collapsing empire so interesting?"

It would be better to watch if there wasn't so much collateral damage. How much more is there to come before this collapse we all keep hoping for?

On the Syrian issue I just left a comment/ZH link on the previous thread with this take away quote:
“The TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) has started airborne operations,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said at a party congress on Saturday, quoted by Hurriyet. Yildirim said eight F-16 aircraft were involved in the aerial sortie, which is ironic when one considers that Turkey is using US-made warplanes to bomb a US-backed military organization which has been provided with weapons made in the US.

Take care of yourself b. This years flu has knocked a number of my healthy friends down hard.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 20 2018 18:25 utc | 14

graun had a story about Mexico,where they said Obrador? was Russian stooge.Oy, my God.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 20 2018 18:34 utc | 15

does anyone here know why twitter suspended the parody twitter acct @FearDept ?

The official reason? It was suspended for alleged "automated behavior."
The Fear Dept tweeted mainstream media articles while mocking the US Military/Media Industrial complex. Basically mocking war and propaganda.

"The Fear Department" has almost 60,000 followers and has been tweeting since May 2010.

When you go to Fear's acct link, you get message that "this account is temporarily restricted" .

It's last tweet was January 9, 2017

Posted by: Laura Roslin | Jan 20 2018 18:54 utc | 16

You ask "How much more is there to come...?"

The last round in Ukraine erupted while the winter games finished in Sochi. I see the empire positioning things to repeat the treatment during FIFA. Ukraine is being primed and the clock is set to create incidents that will force Russia's hand.

This potential very public shaming of Russia is what is restraining Russia from responding to many of the US and Israeli (and Turkish?) provocations in Syria. Perhaps they are hoping their present silence will gain them some grace for that showcase event.

Personally, I doubt it.

And should some incidents happen during the FIFA world cup events, we will see the real Putin - which might be for the best in the long run.

Posted by: les7 | Jan 20 2018 18:57 utc | 17

Any here have any thoughts as to why Russia doesn't call out Israel in their obvious collusion with 'democracy' in Merica?
They seem to be taking the brunt of false accusations (sanctions etc etc) when they could easily point out 'with proof' the actual interference in "democracy' by a foreign actor.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Jan 20 2018 19:17 utc | 18

another naggy question; is why didn't the Palestinians push for full rights as FULL citizens of a single state (Isreal) immedieately after the Jerusalem announcement? Doing so would have given them everything they wanted after one voting cycle, or truly exposed Israel as an apartheid state to the world.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Jan 20 2018 19:20 utc | 19

It's the flu. Feel better soon.

Posted by: CDWaller | Jan 20 2018 19:26 utc | 20

Erdogan bagan the war in Syria. And now he has to end the war by risking the lifes of turkish soldiers. And seeing that his friends the USA are arming his opponents the Kurds.
So Erdogan is the asshole who have to blame himself for the mess he made.

He wants the Qataris to build a second Bosphorus. And he wants the EU to pay for the loses. And he wants to be rewarded with a memebership in the EU.

If the EU is consequent, they should punish Turkey? or should the EU dissolve itself?

Posted by: az | Jan 20 2018 19:29 utc | 21

Turkish aerospace forces now claim a patch of Syrian sky; Assad has promised to shoot down those jets. Will that trigger a NATO Pact response? Will NATO strikes be limited to Syria once they get the "go-go-go!" order? I've been 'lurking' on this forum long enough to view Turkish military intentions in Syria as negatively as I view US "intentions" anywhere. b's analysis of the "mistake" Hawai'i missile alert opened my eyes to just how nefarious and desperate things have gotten.
I view Turkey's invasion as a yet another moronic effort to fan the flames of war in the area by whatever means are available. There are a lot of NATO pieces being moved into place around the Rus-Chin periphery. Are the logistics in place for a kick-off?

Posted by: empbub | Jan 20 2018 20:00 utc | 22

To all the trolls that come here wanting to spout hatred toward individuals or ethnic groups....saying that it is the way forward....or writing "...... ignoring the elephant in the room is the only way backwards." is so much BS

There are many of us that come here who understand that social institutions rule our lives, not individuals, nor ethnic groups. Your attempts to lead folks to a fools errand of attacking individuals or ethnic groups instead of the social conventions of private finance, unfettered and ongoing ownership of property, etc. will not succeed at MoA.

The future is here but just not evenly distributed. Many of us are chafing at the bit to move on with human development instead of reliving the Dark Ages. Your self centered values are in our way and will be deprecated accordingly.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 20 2018 20:08 utc | 23

Who will call for a UNSC emergency reunion after Turkey ruthlessly bombs and invades another UN member under the self-defense principle?
A few demonstrations in Iran triggered a emergency UNSC meeting, while killing civilians and destroying a city in an illegal invasion does not deserve such reunion?

Posted by: virgile | Jan 20 2018 20:10 utc | 24

Dear B,

That small piece you wrote on Ukraine and its disregard for Minsk II, and the plundering of Privatbank was enough material for one post! But thanks all the same for taking the time to post what you have.

We have had a very severe flu season here in Australia last year and maybe Europe is following us. Plus austerity programs around the EU along with higher gas prices to be paid by the public for restricted supplies (due to all the various shenanigans the US and the EU engage in to avoid buying gas direct from Gazprom and trying to force the Russians to send gas through Ukraine) do not help people in building up resistance to airborne viruses. So please take care, rest a lot and perhaps consider asking one of your regular commenters whom you trust to write something for MoA.

In the meantime I've heard that Ukrainian President Poroshenko splashed out the equivalent of half a million US dollars on a week-long holiday in the Maldives, staying at the 5-star ritzy Cheval Blanc Randheli resort. He is claimed to have spent his own money on his holiday. But where did he get that money from? Under the Ukrainian Constitution, he is supposed to divest himself of all his businesses on becoming President (in 2014). So on the assumption that he did, how could he have afforded such an extravagant vacation?

Posted by: Jen | Jan 20 2018 20:30 utc | 25

And the New York Times continues to rewrite history:

Across Syria, buildings lie in ruin. Millions have fled their homes. And historic sites have been shattered, either by military bombardment or at the hands of the Islamic State.

What the f**k happened to Al Qaeda and all the other CIA-backed salafists? Did they fall down the memory hole?

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 20 2018 20:36 utc | 26

@25PH. I sure hope I'm not included there because of my questions at 19 & 20, as I am in strong agreement with "There are many of us that come here who understand that social institutions rule our lives, not individuals, nor ethnic groups. Your attempts to lead folks to a fools errand of attacking individuals or ethnic groups instead of the social conventions of private finance, unfettered and ongoing ownership of property, etc. will not succeed at MoA." I look forward to your comments here. B's analysis and grieved and yourselves comments are awesome. Yet the naggy question of what to do when said institutions seem to be under minority control? How does one or many even confront these institutions( beyond individual efforts, (such as being debt free, paying cash and many other indivualised efforts) when their first line of defense will be too accuse their opposites of bigotry or the often used in these cases anti-Semitic?

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Jan 20 2018 20:40 utc | 27

A deal de facto or de jure certainly was reached in Moscow between the heads of the Turkish and Russian armies. The relocation of Russian MPs and observers and freedom of overflight for Turkish air forces confirm this.

De facto: Turkey told Russia they were going to sweep the Afrin pocket, Russia offers protestations but nothing more knowing full well the US won't intervene to save the YPG, at a minimum driving a wedge between the SDF and Washington, at a maximum driving them back over to Russia and Syria.
De jure: Moscow, Istanbul (and Damascus) agree to let Turkey clear Afrin and Manbij of YPG control. Turkey agrees to pull support from rebel groups in Idlib, possibly gets some sort of buffer zone, controlled by itself or the SAA, separating Turkish from Syrian Kurds.

Either way this will alleviate at least two fronts for the SAA. Turkey will have to pull FSA and Nusra forces from Idlib to use as cannon fodder against the Kurds, allowing the SAA to more swiftly reclaim the province. For the SDF they will have to pull fighters from the south, ie the oilfields east of the Euphrates, to reinforce the northern front. This will allow for much easier liberation of those assets.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jan 20 2018 20:48 utc | 28

>>>> empbub | Jan 20, 2018 3:00:56 PM | 24

Turkish aerospace forces now claim a patch of Syrian sky

Not necessarily, modern PGMs can hit targets 60 miles away from the release point, so the Turkish Air Force could be releasing the bombs from well within Turkish territory while the Turkish Air Force also has access to a standoff missile with a range of 250-300 kms. Although such munitions are expensive, they are cheaper than losing an F-16.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 20 2018 20:53 utc | 29

@Tannenhouser I don't know, but it would have been pointless to try. It is almost ridiculously too late. The time this might have been a possibility was before the time of the first Intifada (30 years previously). Later, the two-state solution effectively died with assassination of Yitzak Rabin (1995). Since 2000, Israel has determined to remain a Jewish state at the expense of democracy, if necessary. However this happens to look to the outside world.

Posted by: David Hollander | Jan 20 2018 20:56 utc | 30

@ Ghodtship 31

Your comment is definitely accurate. However, there are videos shot today in Afrin on RT and other sites showing the Turkish bombardment as it happens in which at least two jets can be seen directly above the city. I think either Moscow has given them the green light or simply doesn't mind the Turkish assault as it ultimately alleviates the Idlib and Deir Ez-Zour fronts.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jan 20 2018 21:08 utc | 31


From France. Sorry for my poor English.
Please, be sure that many people worldwide are following your blog. Don't let anybody change your mood via the kind of trolling that we witness these last days. I am not in your situation, but I know what are their goals, and how painful it is for you. Resist, we need you!
Bon courage mon ami.

Posted by: VincentL | Jan 20 2018 21:12 utc | 32

@32 David Hollander. Thanks for the reply. I get what you are saying.....Too late....I think the Palestinians could have lost a battle (Jerusalem) to win the war(Single state. At the very least when Israel denied citizenship this would have exposed the true nature of Zionist controlled Israel. This in turn would have generated support from groups otherwise apathetic to the Palestinian cause.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Jan 20 2018 21:30 utc | 33

@15 psychohistorian

I use the word "interesting" in a very philosophical context, as the flailing of a militaristic and savage empire in decline in terms of its collateral damage are be most accurately described as horrific.

Given we are going to encounter much harder conditions in the coming years, I must retain a detached view, just to damper my despair. The forces at work are as massive as those that caused the cataclysms of WWI and WWII and I fully expect similar results, or worse.

Posted by: Michael | Jan 20 2018 22:09 utc | 34

Putin with Erdogan killed Israel and USA. The West have no credibility and no friends. Their aim to destroy Russia by terrorist failed. And Putin with the help of Erdogan who promised to kill the terrorist in Afrin, not to harm the population and not to invade Afrin.

Erdogan demonstrates the helpless jewisch and American loosers. This is a victory against the british spirit.

Posted by: az | Jan 20 2018 22:11 utc | 35

I'm curious about Ukraine & its neo-nazi's. How do the Israelis who work there, knowing the past-present? After all, mention the word nazi in their presence, and they go out of their collective minds attacking the source. Or maybe there's some sort of collusion taking place?

Posted by: Eugene | Jan 20 2018 22:20 utc | 36

Tillerson to Mattis Don't those Turks realize they are not allowed to invade and occupy any part of the sovereign Syrian state, that is against international law? Sarc.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jan 20 2018 22:36 utc | 37

The moves make no sense unless you grasp that for things to justified things must be aligned with Daniel 8. it makes no difference whether you or I believe because it ain't about you, its about them, they believe you have to die to fulfill prophecy.

Posted by: Amanita Amanita | Jan 20 2018 22:44 utc | 38

re:?The Ukrainian Parliament has practically declared the Minsk agreements null and void and decided to militarily "liberate" Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea from the will of the people living there. Just in time the neo-nazi fanatics of the Azov Battalion received a U.S. military delegation..."
And also just in time Russia is voting on legalizing militias in Africa and elsewhere; just in time for Spring in the Ukraine?

Posted by: frances | Jan 20 2018 23:11 utc | 39


You say "There are many of us that come here who understand that social institutions rule our lives, not individuals, nor ethnic groups."

I was cheered by reading that and don't believe it can be emphasised too often. I might quibble with "social institutions" - I think it's more accurate at present to see the West as a random mess of elites - but the sooner we get away from really believing that "America" is doing x, or "France" is doing y the better. That usage is OK if we're speaking loosely, but in truth it's a tiny number of people in those countries determining the policy. Most of the rest of us either don't know, or don't take much interest, or go along with the PR.

Or, increasingly, have no liking for what the various elites are doing but have no means of restraining them.

So too with the Jews. I refuse to believe that some twenty million people are each and every one of them cheering as the Palestinians get hammered. In fact that is patently not true.

Nor are some twenty million people engaged in financial wrong doing, with all the consequences that flow from that. We merely have financial institutions, no matter who runs them, that are out of control.

What we need in fact are "social institutions" restraining any financial institutions the workings of which don't tend to the common good. Because the average Jew is just as much disadvantaged by dysfunctional institutions as the average anybody.

"Restraining" sounds command economy, or even 1984, but it's not. We have "social institutions" that stop any of us going shopping with a shotgun, and always have had. We need similar "social institutions" that, say, stop some chancer stripping a pension fund or buying a politician. In the 90's the Russians learned the hard way that free enterprise didn't mean loot as you please. We in the West need to learn the same lesson but on a vastly greater scale.

I believe that goes for almost all the dysfunctionality we see in the West today. Only if we gain democratic control of our elites will it be possible to say "Country x committed such and such an evil." And I believe that if we the people did gain control of our elites we wouldn't have to say it very often.

Posted by: English Outsider | Jan 20 2018 23:26 utc | 40

I do not agree the Turks are actually bombing - yet. I have read that they are shelling with tanks. But I do not believe they have put any aircraft at risk. Perhaps you know better, please fill me in.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 21 2018 0:06 utc | 41

The bombing has been reported by Syrian and Russian news sites. Seems genuine.
Something I read not long ago, the Turks destroyed a PKK/YPG headquarters in Afrin. Russia also pulled its forces out of Afrin which were placed there to prevent the Turks attacking the enclave.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 21 2018 0:17 utc | 42

thanks i stand corrected

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 21 2018 0:46 utc | 43

38 "What the f**k happened to Al Qaeda and all the other CIA-backed salafists? Did they fall down the memory hole?"

AQ are chameleons who's colour can be changed at will by the powers that be in the US. The colour range is from the biggest threat the world has faced (requiring a long running war on terra), to moderate rebels seeking US democracy

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 21 2018 1:00 utc | 44

>>>> Peter AU 1 | Jan 20, 2018 8:00:27 PM | 47
I know that and I was referring specifically to why the New York Times treats Al Qaeda as if it no longer exists in Syria when regardless of all the name changes it still does.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 21 2018 1:30 utc | 45

So below is a link from ZH that is personal

NSA "Sincerely Regrets" Deleting All Bush-Era Surveillance Data It Was Ordered To Preserve

The reason it is personal is because illegal surveillance of telephone calls I made to a vendor in China in 2004 were listened to.

How do I know this? In late 2004 I received an order for my product through my 800 number from a man who said he was of the CIA and I should not be making disparaging remarks about the then US president in international telephone calls. He gave me a working CIA email address for the order and a Florida ship to.

But I am sure that somewhere in the NSA/CIA/FBI/??? file on me there is a note that I said the things about Bush that I did.

This is the American dream.......snark

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 21 2018 1:48 utc | 46

Michael @10:

The US would lose everything on the political front, if they launch an attack against North Korea during the Winter Olympics.   It would be interesting to hear what excuses Ms. Nauert at the State Dept would use.

Kalen @12:

The words good, bad, and evil, are just labels that are used when it's convenient to one's agenda.   It's completely subjective.

Posted by: Ian | Jan 21 2018 1:54 utc | 47

Was reading up on the Turkish attack in Syria.   They called it, Operation Olive Branch.   ROFL

Posted by: Ian | Jan 21 2018 2:49 utc | 48

As I am currently somewhat handicapped in writing a consistent piece (possible reasons: the flu, writers block or temporary burnout)..
Posted by b on January 20, 2018 at 10:50 AM

It's probably a side-effect of examining, and trying to make sense of, a world dominated by The Banality Of Evil.
It's quite a broad concept,
Here's Information Clearing House's perspecive...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 21 2018 3:34 utc | 49

Imagine there is a troll and nobody
gives a shit.

Can someone explain to me how it is
possible that all involved parties
in Syria - especially the countless
factions of terrorists, aka 'freedom
fighters - do not have access to what
others write about them?

These folks might be able to understand
English beyond "Nike", why are they not
reading the information about their enemy
factions? That seems to be a bit odd.

Nowadays, where everybody seems to own a
'smart' phone.


Eat as much raw garlic as You can stomach,
it is the strongest anti-viral agent known
today. One can safely eat one bulb in the
morning and one in the evening. The trick
is to get the body being used to it by
increasing the dosage daily from a few
cloves to one bulb. It saved my hind
several times already. It also detoxes

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jan 21 2018 4:14 utc | 50

@ james about the trolls

It is a slow Saturday night and they get paid by the comment.....and harassment phone calls.....I have had three as I type....8:30 pm PST..... since my ZH link comment about NSA deleting evidence from Bush-W era.

The calls have not interrupted my painting....grin.....streaming/listening to blues program on KNKX


Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 21 2018 4:34 utc | 51

Addendum to last comment.....the third call was local politics call about special election

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 21 2018 4:36 utc | 52


I didn't realize you felt obligated to publish continually. It's your blog - perhaps you should be more cantankerous, like many other authors, and wean readers off the diet of a full article per day ;) I hope you don't feel under some obligation to publish content. Readers already get a feast at this blog. Your regular pieces are easily good enough for 2 per week, in my view.

By the way, I like the format you introduced today, of sharing what's on your desk, simply to share. It's very useful.

Looking at the Syria situation, and actually Ukraine too, they're both in a bit of a "wait and see" situation right now. I think you've already covered what's necessary - the game's afoot, and I think we're all waiting for events. The SAA strategy of taking Abu Duhur seems to have been more important than being immediately involved in Idlib, as a strong precursor to Idlib. Many pieces are falling into place as part of a large plan it seems, and I look forward to your next appraisal of the theater - in the fullness of time.

On a personal note: I write commercially, and there are days when I can't do what I thought I would, and yet 2-3 days later the situation clarifies and the original path gets changed, usually by others and occasionally by my own insight. It still mystifies me how it works out like that, and I'm always glad I didn't push forward and try to hack out what later becomes moot.

"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits."

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 21 2018 4:44 utc | 53

Psychohistorian and English Outsider, your comments on social institutions are most pertinent as the US government like Pontius Pilate throws up its hands so that we the people can shout 'crucify them!' (The Russians, they mean)

Watch out, government; the people are growing very tired of you - one could almost say that like b they feel burnt out. And when even b is saying this, whom we all love and wish the best for - how do you think the rest of the world's peoples feel, including your own?

Why, my own youngest son, with hardly a political bone in his body, caught up in the whirling satisfaction of social media...he was.

No longer!

What changed? What reached him when I couldn't? He says it was the Snowden documentary.

Ah. Well. Good! Sometimes feeling burnt out is ... liberating!

Be well, b.

Posted by: Juliania | Jan 21 2018 4:49 utc | 54

@64 Juliania

Brilliant comment. Thanks for nailing the malaise. I hadn't seen the positive side. Much gratitude.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 21 2018 5:07 utc | 55

@ Juliania with the awakening son.

Glad to read about that and thanks for the reinforcement of social institutions sort of conversations. We need to have more of them, IMO.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 21 2018 5:09 utc | 56

Ah, Grieved, you so often inspire me - thanks, I lift my glass to you. And to psychohistorian, the same. Social media has been such a distraction for a whole generation but it's a fad, and fads die.

If this could happen to my son, it is happening to other sons. I know it has been a luxury they didn't deserve - a poison ignorantly imbibed, a drug. So they wouldn't be conscience stricken by those words "Do you know what you have done?'

Wake, sleeping generation! Know what has been done to you!

Posted by: Juliania | Jan 21 2018 5:35 utc | 57

Re: Posted by: WorldBLee | Jan 20, 2018 11:43:56 AM | 4

@paul at #1: Yeah, right, the only country other than Iran that has dedicated resources and diplomacy to preserving Syria's territorial and governmental integrity is to blame for carving up Syria. You might want to present just a tiny bit of evidence before serving up such counter-factual statements.

I'd say a country that was serious about preserving the territorial integrity of another country - ie, Russia in regards to Syria - would CONFRONT, DISARM & ultimately DESTROY any country that was INVADING SYRIA.

Would they not?

Would they confront an invading army or would they acquiesce and stand aside to the invading army - effectively welcoming this invading army in to divide up Syria?

What would you suggest?

Would a country really committed to preserving the territorial integrity of Syria really stand aside so easily? I doubt it. That is an exhibition of extreme weakness to do so.

I doubt the Russia intervention in Syria would properly be described as an 'exhibition of extreme weakness'. No. In fact the War in Syria is already over - Russia & Syrian have won - this has been reiterated many times and even recently as Putin announced Russia would be withdrawing down forces in Syria given their victory in the Syrian Civil War.

Given this evident Russian/Syrian victory we have seen, would this successful force of Winners in the Syrian War really stand aside and acquiesce to the invasion of Syria by a bumbling backstabbing Turkish President known as Erdogan?

No - of course they wouldn't Why would winners acquiesce to the moves of a madman? They would confront and destroy this invader.

Quite obviously.

Unless - they are in fact accepting of the Turkish invasion as Paul suggests.

It is in fact your assertion that lacks a grounding in reality.

Why do the victorious Russians/ Syrians let the weak Turks bombard and walk into Afrin?

Why indeed?

And a further question - do you really think that once ensconced in North-Western Syria the Turkish army will ever decide to leave? Why would they?

Who will leave first - the US occupation troops in Germany or the Turkish occupation troops in Rojava?

Posted by: Julian | Jan 21 2018 8:22 utc | 58

Re: Posted by: virgile | Jan 20, 2018 3:10:25 PM | 26

Who will call for a UNSC emergency reunion after Turkey ruthlessly bombs and invades another UN member under the self-defense principle? A few demonstrations in Iran triggered a emergency UNSC meeting, while killing civilians and destroying a city in an illegal invasion does not deserve such reunion?

Presumably UN Permanent Security Council and veto-wielding Russia will, if it is really against this Turkish invasion as some here suggest.

Somehow I doubt it though, I think Russia has green-lighted this partition of Syria.

Posted by: Julian | Jan 21 2018 8:47 utc | 59

Re: Posted by: Jen | Jan 20, 2018 3:30:48 PM | 27

In the meantime I've heard that Ukrainian President Poroshenko splashed out the equivalent of half a million US dollars on a week-long holiday in the Maldives, staying at the 5-star ritzy Cheval Blanc Randheli resort. He is claimed to have spent his own money on his holiday. But where did he get that money from? Under the Ukrainian Constitution, he is supposed to divest himself of all his businesses on becoming President (in 2014). So on the assumption that he did, how could he have afforded such an extravagant vacation?

To be fair, Porky Poroshenko is a drunken idiot. He will soon be out of power in Ukraine in the near future. He has no intelligence, no smarts, no allies, no power base, and is a bumbling drunken loser.

Forget about him, he is irrelevant to the Ukrainian situation given he won't be around for much longer.

Posted by: Julian | Jan 21 2018 8:51 utc | 60

Julian @ 74: I agree Poroshenko is an idiot and his chances of a second presidential term look remote - unless of course he declares a national emergency (for some flimsy reason) and assumes extended presidential powers that make him a de facto monarch. The West would allow him to go ahead too, if by doing so Poroshenko prevents someone as extreme as Andriy Parubiy from becoming President.

On the other hand, the West could throw its weight behind Julia Tymoshenko as President and then Porky's days of keeping his snout in the trough will be numbered.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 21 2018 10:12 utc | 61

The matryoshka dolls... I like watching the Russian's at play with the US. US kiddies seem to hit a wall every time they make a move.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 21 2018 10:14 utc | 62

Julian @ 72: Russia and Syria would be well aware that Turkey is still a member of NATO. Article 5 in NATO's Treaty states that an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all members. If Turkish warplanes are attacked, even if trespassing in Syrian airspace, Turkey could call on fellow NATO members to help defend it; the US would certainly push Turkey into calling for help if Turkish fighter jets and soldiers were attacked. This would be the opportunity the US needs and wants to launch an invasion of Syria.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 21 2018 10:20 utc | 63

Julian @72:

The Russians are realists. Restoring territorial integrity shouldn't be Russia's primary objective anyway, that job belongs to Syria. Russia can only do so much with the resources that they have. In addition, Putin has to deal with internal political opponents looking to topple him from the podium. The Russian voters, like the Americans, are sensitive to the number of body bags returning.

Would Russia, or anyone, confront an invading army? Only if they have the resouces and, more importantly, do not provide a casus belli for other larger powers like the US.

IMO, Russia is trying to get Turkey to move away from the US/NATO block. By allowing Turkey into Syria, it could further drive the wedge between the Turks and the US/NATO. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to achieve a larger goal. No doubts Assad isn't happy about it, but they aren't in any position to negotiate.

I agree with your last point. I doubt Turkey will leave Afrin willingly, with the Kurds still alive. Russia, Iran, and Syria, will have to live with it.

Posted by: Ian | Jan 21 2018 10:32 utc | 64

Posted by: Jen | Jan 21, 2018 5:20:44 AM | 77

Not when Turkey is attacking another country, Russia and Syria would be safe fighting Turkey within Syria. But they have no reason to do so.

Article 6 1

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France 2, on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Kurds are between a rock and a hard place. The US support a Kurdish state/entity whatever against Syria but does not support them against Turkey, Russia would support them against Turkey but not in favor of a Kurdish state/entity against Syria.

As is Turkish proxies left Idlib to fight YPG leaving the Syrian army to finish off the rest. Kurds are de facto fighting Turkey needing support from Syria or Russia will cost the Kurdish project.

Let me guess - US don't know what they are doing.

Syrian Civil War Map
‏ @CivilWarMap
"Of course the attack would not happen if we handed Afrin over to the regime, because the turkish attack is only against our democratic project. That's why we declined the Russian demand today." [2/2]

Aldar Xelil: "Russia told us today that we need to offer them something. Then they would stop Turkey. We asked what we were supposed to offer. They said we should hand Afrin over to the regime. Then the attack will not happen." [1/2]

Posted by: somebody | Jan 21 2018 10:40 utc | 65

@ 72 Julian

Why indeed?

Given the poor analysis in the comments here I'll help you with an answer ...

1) Despite what many read Russia urgently needs this to go money money ;)

Gazprom receives permit to build second line of Turkish Stream gas pipeline
Business & Economy

January 19, 20:39 UTC+3

2) Regardless of the terms the treaty Turkey can close down the Bosporus at any time ;) Any reprisal from Russia against a NATO member WILL present them with their most desired article 5 scenario.

3) Russia cannot face conflict on 2 fronts..this is known by all. Russia (Putin) also cannot afford the deaths of Russian Federation military personnel because ...

4) 2018 is the year of our presidential election :D and ... Reported levels of support for Putin is not so great as the 'Opinion Polls' and western blogosphere would have people believe. I also point out here, as I have pointed in many other places, this is the last term for Putin,,in 2014 a hawk will take his place i.e. no more dove, which should make for a very interesting 6 years geopolitically ;)

I could go further but that would spoil my amusement..:D

From a Russian with love..or not ;)

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 21 2018 10:41 utc | 66

Juliania says:

If this could happen to my son, it is happening to other sons

I'd wager that it was social media that clued your son into the likes of Edward Snowden, and even you into the likes of what you have done, and judging by the future we have bequeathed to our children, i'd say something must have distracted us as well. don't blame the kids. get down on your hands and knees and beg their forgiveness.

Posted by: john | Jan 21 2018 10:45 utc | 67

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 21, 2018 5:41:40 AM | 82

Putin has been able to stop Erdogan before by simply shutting down business. Turkey is completely dependent on Russian gas. Oil price is good. Last thing I heard is Russia privatizing its military.

Russia has been absolutely quiet on Afrin. Turkey has been talking about attacking for quite a while without doing anything. It is very likely they got the go ahead from Russia.
It is also likely that they got the go ahead from the US - who don't want Turkey to switch defense systems.

Putin succession is sure going to be interesting

I would not bet on a nationalist hardliner to win.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 21 2018 11:11 utc | 68

In regards to the awakening citizenry:

Just ponder about the fact, that people
are given an ICBM alert and don't buy
into it. How much more obvious can it
be? Of course there were enough manipulated
minds to freak out - after all, an alarm
about megatons of death hurling one's
way is akin to the impending end of the
world. But the majority on the Big Island
did not buy into it. It's the awakened
island - at least partially.

The mainland is a different story altogether.
How long it may take there is beyond imagination.
When people buy into the "government shutdown"
hook, line and sinker, the inability to calculate
1+1 and arrive at the appropriate result is painful
to the observer.

These people give trillions to the mic/'security'
complex and to each other and have the audacity
to tell the people that the government must be
shut down, because there is not enough money
and the presstitutes outdo themselves to find
the flaw of this in partisan reasons?

None of the great dystopian fiction could have
ever painted such a bleak picture. The fact that
the criminals in Warshington don't have a deadly
revolution at the doorsteps of their cushy tax
payer funded offices eludes me in it's entirety.
It is reminiscent of a collective cognitive failure.

Next step: shutting down all agencies that are
allegedly protecting the citizens/consumers. No
can do that anymore - need the funds to be redistributed
to the plutocrats. They need more money, since billions
are not enough to get by. Poor things.

When NPR asks the question about "Who is responsible
for the shut down?" and arrives at the prescribed
result of "differences between R's + D's "demands
for laws that benefit their paymasters, one knows
it's "Free for all" - just not the Ted Nugent kind,
but for the rich.

In psychology - which I desired to study at one
point - I believe it is called 'severe cognitive

What a farce. What's next? Representatives
with signs reading:

"Will pass laws for caviar and a Porsche"?

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jan 21 2018 11:17 utc | 69

@ funny guy 84

I write the wrong date ;) 2014 when should be 2024..but whatever ;D I say again..this is Putins LAST term, under the Constitution of the Russian Federation he can never stand again past 2024. So, shall we talk again in 2024 about a nationalist sitting in the Kremlin ? maybe you got a name or 2 to tell me who will stand ? :D :D because Medvedev whose face and name is hated by most will not be the one chosen by United Russia.

Yeah, and good luck thinking that shutting down trade will happen again. Turkstream the S400s (and more) plus the Belt and Road, they all need Turkey and Erdo knows money money :D

Save us Russia..LoL

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 21 2018 11:29 utc | 70

"(possible reasons: the flu, writers block or temporary burnout)"
Making a wrong call also seriously messes up a line of thinking. One miss after countless correct calls is still a good average.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 21 2018 11:46 utc | 71

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 21, 2018 6:29:18 AM | 86
So if Russia elects (or Russian elites agree on) a Trump like figure in 2024 who do you think will be in the White House by then? (This probably is the Neocon's dream as it would explode the Russian empire, just like it explodes the US empire now).

All Erdogan can do is try to play off Russia against the US. Russia has more leverage I would say. But why did Kurds calculate the US would back them? Because Russia is on the side of Damascus and they tried to get independence from Damascus? Why did Barzani miscalculate so spectacularly in Kirkuk?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 21 2018 11:53 utc | 72

So the Turkish air force made airstrikes on YPG positions with precision munitions according various sources....
I wonder who supplied them with coordinates for these positions so it was possible to use precision bombs.
Think about that, two factors the precise coordinates and the actual bunker.
These strikes were in coordination with the Russians, not only sanctioned, but actively encouraged. The Russians are serious, when serious.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jan 21 2018 12:07 utc | 73

For the White House I have to guess another chosen by the invisible hand we know so well. As for Russia Dmitry Rogozin would get many supporeters I hope he keeps his nose clean till then.

But why did Kurds calculate the US would back them?

Was it the US they calculate on or did that same invisible hand above wag the tail ? Think back to that white flag with blue bars and a star we all saw that was waved so in many pics when the Kurds wanted to vote for their own state ? Who pays whom ? Not once have I see that mentioned by western bloggers since then...why is that, why won't they go there, because really short memories ? nope, I don't think so at all..and this now is still all about Iran and Hezbollah and Lebanon ;)

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 21 2018 12:17 utc | 74

@somebody 88
I dont think Erdogan is playing Russia against the US, I think he has placed his bets, and anyway its too late now. The US will try and get him for this.
Maybe Erdogan thought like this: Ok so I am a member of Nato, but they don't like me much, I am tolerated, the Israelis don't give a damn either , I am all alone here with vicious neighbours and Shiites.. And EU will not ever let me in, I am tired of waiting.
I f I make up with these despicable Russians and the two bit dictator next door, maybe OBOR and the Chinese will bring riches and the Iranians are nice people even if they are not proper Muslims, Hmmmnnn

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jan 21 2018 12:19 utc | 75

Peter AU 1 | Jan 21, 2018 5:14:31 AM | 76

The matryoshka dolls...
Very Russian; and representing, IMO, a depth of understanding about life.
This is only one, of many reasons, I think the U.S. is playing beyond its Ken.
A most dangerous place to be for the ignorant.
Historically, deadly for that player only; but with nukes; deadly for everyone...
We'll see...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 21 2018 12:25 utc | 76

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 21, 2018 7:17:31 AM | 90

Sure, I know about the Israel-Kurdistan sympathies, but Israel is in no position to back anyone in the ME without the US.

So, should Kurds have been led to believe that Israelis control the US they failed, don't you think?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 21 2018 12:38 utc | 77

@ All
Quite frequently the white Helmets were mentioned here. There is an attempt to white-wash them here:

What reputation has this in the US? Trustable? Or are they kind of paid FakeNews-Whitewashers, something we is been recently introduced in Germany, for instance. The narratives of our MSM concerning geopolitical topics are worn out here, therefore such an effort.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 21 2018 12:41 utc | 78

@ 93

So, should Kurds have been led to believe that Israelis control the US they failed, don't you think?

Or maybe they were presented with an offer that they could not refuse.

As it is now..Russia will not get into a direct conflict with the US ( for now at least ) but, Erdo he has no problem going against the Kurds and, being a NATO member the US can't afford to try to stop him. How will it look to the EU NATO crowd if the US attack one of their own ? it might make them question their own security and will they also get throwed under the bus,,it brings up lots of questions in the wrong places :D :D

I do not like or trust Erdo, but I think he wins this round for the home team.

Posted by: 07564111 | Jan 21 2018 12:55 utc | 79

Scanning the MSM earlier, I ran onto this article at the Guardian..
"Italians asked to report fake news to police in run-up to election"

The new US McCarthyism seems childishly obvious, yet I guess a reasonable percentage will believe it as it is being pumped from all MSM.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 21 2018 13:05 utc | 80

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 21, 2018 7:41:31 AM | 94

I don't know about snopes but the story of the White Helmets is clear - they are humanitarian and they work with terrorists. A doctor is supposed to treat everybody.

European/US strategy in the Syrian war was for "the rebels" holding territory and take over the administration there by "civil society" - that would include health.

There are countless papers of Berlin's SWP on this strategy and its failure.

The areas held by "rebels" who turned out to be Islamist terrorists had the White Helmets inside - who had to coordinate with the groups controling these areas and whose Western support did not stop - as the support to the Islamists from the Gulf via Turkey did not stop.

Seymour Hersh claims that there was military coordination and intelligence sharing between the US, Russia, Israel, Germany and Syria militaries to eliminate groups they considered terrorists as everybody was frightened they might successfully take over the Syrian state.

That is not what politicians sold to their electorates - there is a complete disconnect.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 21 2018 13:09 utc | 81

@ somebody | Jan 21, 2018 8:09:03 AM | 95
Thank you for the answer! The first link is to - Here we have the problem of filter bubbles. You simply cannot continue to discuss with a lot of people here if you use and accept as a source, on the same level as other sources. And vice versa. We are close to a point where normal political debate is no longer possible when each side claims that the others side's source are corrupt and plain propaganda. As it seems once had been founded from the motivation to overcome this problem. But did they deliver? Or have they been bought in?
The Guardian took quite some effort to discredit any critique of the White Helmets as Russion propaganda:

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 21 2018 13:44 utc | 82

Re: The White Helmets is featured heavily at the www. where they are sure they have debunked them.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jan 21 2018 14:11 utc | 83

I don't know about snopes but the story of the White Helmets is clear - they are humanitarian and they work with terrorists. A doctor is supposed to treat everybody.

@ somebody | Jan 21, 2018 8:09:03 AM | 81

This is why I very doubt those here planting to be lefties are real leftists at all, since, everybody in Europe, except the "fake left", knows at this time that the White Helmets is a "propaganda operation" created by British contractor Le Mesurier aimed at discrediting Assad´s legitimate government, where the same members of Nusra play the "humanitarian characters". The thing is that there are already dozens of videos of them playing the "manequin challenge" with the same wounded "activists" and victims being rescued one time after another at different locations along with after performance photos of the same people smiling with a great joy along with their saviors. There are also dozens of videos of them misstreating Syrian soldiers corpses ( too much for real medical staff )and even holding weapons and celebrating along the headchoppers of Nusra:

The White Helmets go to Hollywood

Of course, our luminaria knowitall,"b", will never come to complain about the lenght of "somebody"´s comments or his obvious ignorance... ( or plain bad faith ), will he?

Ainss....cómo se os ve el plumero, majos...

Posted by: elsi | Jan 21 2018 14:27 utc | 84

@ Don Lille Abe | Jan 21, 2018 9:11:31 AM | 83
Thank you! But this is treated here as a doubtful source also.
@ elsi | Jan 21, 2018 9:27:46 AM | 84
„ since, everybody in Europe, except the "fake left", knows at this time that the White Helmets is a "propaganda operation" created by British contractor Le Mesurier aimed at discrediting Assad´s legitimate government...“
Nonsense, plain nonsense! A very tiny fraction of people who spend a lot of time in the Internet plus who opt for the left (and, admittedly, for the alt right) know this. Your neighbour in the train or bus most likely has never heard of it. The reason why I asked for the reputation of is that in a discussion here one guy came with the argument, that said link would prove that the critique of the White Helmets is just Russian propaganda. - My I ask whether you live in a kind of filter bubble that you stopped to view the realities outside of your PC?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 21 2018 14:44 utc | 85

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 21, 2018 8:44:00 AM | 82

I was quoting as - obviously - they are an official Russian source, same as the BBC is an official British source.

You usually can rely on the BBC and RT (and other official media) to get their facts right, what they will do is feature different facts and not mention certain facts. There is no media that is free from this twist, journalists have to choose on a hourly basis which facts are important to report and which facts are not. That is what editorial policy is about. If you don't have facts you quote anonymous or non anonymous sources who say stuff you are not responsible for. You don't report "alternative fact" or rumours. You don't need to and still can have an agenda. When I report on Eastern European workers sleeping in Berlin's Tiergarten and murder happening there, most people will assume that Germany is in a mess. The facts are true, the conclusion is highly debatable.

RT would list the worst things that can be said about the White Helmets, they don't say they are a non humanitarian fighting force. They happen to work in areas where terrorist groups rule. Which is the reason of their fame and Western government funding (which is not in dispute).

You can be sure that all media is in danger of being manipulated by secret services - it is part of their toolbox. But sometimes it is just lobbyists being able to place an article - or how did MEK's Maryam Rajavi get an article into the Wall Street Journal marked as "opinion/commentary" but not "paid content"?
Do you think it is a legitimate view of what is going on in Iran?

And this here is the "respectable" Washington Post on the coup in Turkey

Or rather, a U.S. military source told NBC News that Erdogan was trying to get into Germany.

Senior US military source tells NBC News that Erdogan, refused landing rights in Istanbul, is reported to be seeking asylum in Germany.

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 15, 2016

Washington Post fudged Erdogan's stay with other quotes but still insinuating he had lost control - but NBC did report fake facts attributing them to a "senior US military source".

It is very interesting to leave the Western "information bubble" and look what other countries have to say. No journalism is independent. You always have to look for how it is financed and protected if in a war zone.

Back to the White Helmets: No one doubts they do medical work. No one doubts they do PR. And no one doubts it is anti Syrian government PR:

The politization of humanitarian work is the worst part of modern assymetric warfare in my opinion - to the point where people might get killed for a video.

Fake facts by alternative media have always been there, just now they can compete in distribution with traditional media. There is no technical difference between Germany's official tv channels and Youtube media.

People will have to learn to check what they are told - sites claiming to fact check (without knowing anything themselves) are not going to be the solution.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 21 2018 15:23 utc | 86

@somebody | Jan 21, 2018 10:23:18 AM | 86

Way surpassed the "100 words limit" stablished by "b" for commenting here, at least for me, on what everybody knows about the MSM, to, again, repeat you "goal sentence" on that "The White Helmets do medical work"...
As a health sector worker myself, it would be interesting checking what do you understand by "medical work":

Posted by: elsi | Jan 21 2018 15:37 utc | 87

add to 86

Back to Snopes

Now operating with a team of just 13 editorial staffers (including video and graphics) Snopes weighs in on matters large and small, covering subjects including politics, pop culture, tech, health. While it's not a household name, Snopes drew 12.4 million unique American users in June according to Quantcast, and another 3.7 million around the world.

Their conclusion on the White Helmets

Whatever their motives may be, we found no credible evidence that the White Helmets are linked to terrorist organizations. The accusations seem to be levied at the group based on political motivations, not evidence.

Were they looking? Do they speak Arabic? Do they understand what is said in those videos? Do they know the geography the White Helmets operate in, and which groups rule the territory?

The white helmets are part of the strategy to hold Syrian territory and govern it. These territories are not held by "civil society" and fighters observing the Geneva convention. The strategy is criminal not the white helmets who don't carry guns and presumably help a lot of people including terrorist governors.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 21 2018 15:46 utc | 88

@ somebody | Jan 21, 2018 10:46:51 AM | 88
Thanks a big lot! Because I came in the meantime to the same conclusion I appreciate it! ;-)
In fact, if one reads a second time: the do not dig into any of the critiqes, they confirm that the founder of the White Helmets is a British secret service guy and they do not look deeper into the special kind of financing of this group. Therefore no way of accepting the thesis „ has checked it, the critique is without reason“.
@ elsi
Leave aside the 100 words thing: look into the mirror and find out what you contributed to the disputed case. This is a discusson and no exhibition of own high moral standards.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 21 2018 15:57 utc | 89

@51 psychohistorian.. fair enough!!! lol... how about @50 nottheonly1's comment right before you!

"Imagine there is a troll and nobody
gives a shit."

@54/57 julianna.. nice comments. thanks for sharing all that..

@88 somebody.. on snoops take on the white helmets.. well, snoops has become another propaganda tool then, hasn't it? i trust the pay is good..

Posted by: james | Jan 21 2018 19:05 utc | 90

Dear Hausmeister, Sombeody, Elsi,

The article that decries the portrayal of the White Helmets as a propaganda front for ISIS terrorists was written by Bethania Palma aka Bethania Palma Markus (hereafter referred to as BPM).

You may like to read this article at on BPM, her Facebook page and her lists of people she likes which include one Hamid Khatib (called Hamid Khalib in the article), a civilian photographer who is apparently embedded with the Free Syrian Army and the White Helmets and who supplies photos and articles to Reuters and other MSM outlets.

BPM appears to be an extremely odd individual with little background general knowledge and experience of Syrian and Middle Eastern politics. I daresay several if not most commenters here at MoA could run rings around her and her Los Angeles-based Guardian writer equivalent Olivia Solon.

There is other information about David Mikkelson, one of the founders of, and the website itself (which you can Google) which would suggest that it is unreliable as a fact-checking website.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 21 2018 21:52 utc | 91

Oliver Stone put together a pretty good documentary on the Ukraine coup:

Ukraine On Fire

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 22 2018 5:57 utc | 92

Eugene. During the Maidan protests, Ukrainian Jewish groups reported a rise in “anti-semitism” (I prefer the more accurate “Jew-Hatred”). Then, as soon as the coup occurred on February 22, 2014, Ukrainian Jewish groups began reporting actual physical attacks.

But the ADL and even the Jewish State of Israel in the Levant (JSIL as Max Blumenthal brilliantly termed it) ignored the Ukrainian Jews and insisted that the real “anti-Semitism” problem was Russia! I was dumbfounded. Jews against Jews? As you noted, they usually respond to Jew-Hatred as a united front (and rightly so).

But then I learned that the funding for Azov Battalion (by far the most Nazi of the neo-nazi militias) was funded by a Ukrainian Jew (Igor Kolomoisky). And I remembered the 1933 Transfer Agreement between the Zionists and the German Nazi Party (by which the Zionists got the world to stop the boycott against Germany in exchange for the Nazis sending some 140,000 German Jews to Palestine, with cash and weapons - to prepare for their “War of Independence”).

And I realized it wasn’t “Jew against Jew.” It was and is “Fascists FOR Fascists.”

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 22 2018 8:23 utc | 93

Jen, Hausmeister, Sombeody, Elsi, et al

Eva Bartlett wrote a very good take-down of Snopes and their Syria propaganda

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 22 2018 8:34 utc | 94


BBC seems to have staged a “napalm” attack response for their Panorama show.

And medical doctors not only state that the White Helmets do NOT perform normal medical procedures, but they have actually injured or possibly murdered their “patients” on their propaganda videos.

In fact, the "hero" doctor in those videos from the April 4, 2017 “Sarin gas attack” is the former doctor Shajul Islam, who was arrested in Great Britian for kidnapping journalists in Syria. But they had to let him go because the witnesses had been, you know, kidnapped and beheaded. Remember James Foley?

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 22 2018 8:57 utc | 95

Exposing Oz Katerji And The UK Based Pro FSA And White Helmets Terrorist Propaganda Networks Operating In The United Kingdom

Newsweek Nazi Hypocrisy Exposed: Juxtaposed Articles Highlight Nazi Glorification and Obfuscation Conducted by ‘News’ Propaganda Outlet

Posted by: Chris | Jan 22 2018 14:03 utc | 96

Examining Twitters New Censorship Activities Implemented Under the Guise of Stopping Extremist and Russian Content

Proof of Censorship Hypocrisy Under the Guise of Stopping Terrorism: Social Media and Government Combine on New Censorship Measures to Control Narratives That Don't Align With Government 'Official' Narratives

Posted by: Chris | Jan 22 2018 14:22 utc | 97

@Chris - this blog isn't a linkdump for clarityofsignal. You are now blocked.

Posted by: b | Jan 22 2018 16:10 utc | 98

Michael : Being the cynic that I am I have been waiting for the US to execute its decapitation of the North Korean government during the Seoul Winter Olympics..... It should be remembered that the Obama administration executed its coup in the Ukraine during the 2014 Winter Games.

Just that? Remember when Georgia attacked Osetia and Russian Army in their shortlived 08-08-08 war?
Wiki: The 2008 Summer Olympic Games, ... took place in Beijing, China, from 7 to 24 August 2008

Also, in July 2014 when all the media was crazy about 'Russian invasion into Ukraine" conspiracy, Israel carpet-bombed Palestine, almost outside the news cycle.

Posted by: Arioch | Jan 22 2018 16:43 utc | 99

Daniel : And medical doctors not only state that the White Helmets do NOT perform normal medical procedures

As far as i remember, there was two videos, with month or two between them.
One of few public medic with integrity...
It was in some scandinavian land, Norway or Swede or something, i don't quite remember and don't want to google.
Catch me if you can :-D

Then, 2-3 days after the second video was released, in the capital of the said state the newly trendy truck-into-crowd terroristic acts happened out of the sudden.
The government got the message and silenced those medics, there was no more high-profile public reports from them about AQ-ISIS-WH, for what i heard.

Posted by: Arioch | Jan 22 2018 16:50 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.