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December 26, 2018

Open Thread 2018-70

News & views ...

Posted by b on December 26, 2018 at 02:57 AM | Permalink

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What will the world look like in 2070?

Posted by: George Lane | Dec 26, 2018 3:37:19 AM | 1

Did people see this?

https://twitter.com/defense_news/status/1076130269747400705

Blackwater: "We are coming"

So much for ending the war in Afghanistan.

Posted by: tom | Dec 26, 2018 3:37:35 AM | 2

A very ominous piece on he future of Syria (and Russia's involvement):

Israel’s Christmas Attack on Syria Wasn’t Surprising but It Revealed an “Inconvenient Truth” About Russia’s S-300s Anti-Air Missiles By Andrew Korybko

https://williambowles.info/2018/12/26/israels-christmas-attack-on-syria-wasnt-surprising-but-it-revealed-an-inconvenient-truth-about-russias-s-300s-anti-air-missiles-by-andrew-korybko/

All the pieces were in place for it to happen sooner than later, but striking Syria on Christmas night sent a terrifying message that’s sure to backfire against “Israel” but will probably also get people to wonder why the S-300s didn’t deter this from happening in the first place.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 4:53:28 AM | 3

Big seasons greetings resident professional propagandist Craig... who hasn't been seen around for ...well... since a bit of heat was put under the Integrity Initiative.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Dec 26, 2018 5:11:32 AM | 4

@4 Not much of a professional, having a poor grasp of the facts and little ability to muster an argument. We got bog-standard Western propaganda. Superficial in the extreme.

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Dec 26, 2018 6:53:22 AM | 5

Wow. So much for all the empty talk about Russia giving Israel some much deserved push back. Let's just say any push back didn't last long. Israel once again acts with shameless disregard for international law, not to mention common human decency, and once again Putin - who supposedly champions international law - colludes. I guess one could call Putin's approach to international affairs "crony globalism". Despicable.

Posted by: paul | Dec 26, 2018 6:56:37 AM | 6

Israel threat security of civilian airlines, last time they killed russians. Putin making a fool of himself by not giving Syria the S300!

Israel's airstrikes on Syria threatened 2 civilian flights landing in Beirut & Damascus - Russia
https://www.rt.com/news/447423-israel-strike-syria-civilian-planes/

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 26, 2018 7:04:57 AM | 7

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 4:53:28 AM | 3
(people wonder why the S-300s didn’t deter this from happening?)

That's an easy one. Either Korybko is unfamiliar with the meaning of the expression "keeping your powder dry" or the Syrians (and the "Israelis" themselves) knew it was a half-arsed attack which was adequately responded to without wasting the S-300 on a nothing-burger.

A better question would be "Why doesn't Bibi don his Wyatt Earp hat and do something Brave, Courageous and Bold?"
And we all know the answer to that question, don't we?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 26, 2018 7:25:35 AM | 8

Hmmm...MaBuS (MBS) appears to still be with us, what gives?

The CIA came out publicly against MBS. Trump has established plausible deniability by voicing support. The comet (46P/Wirtanen) recently passed. The Senate had a unanimous voice vote (one hundred hands), see:

https://www.politicususa.com/2018/12/13/the-senate-humilates-trump-with-unanimous-voting-condeming-mbs-for-khashoggi-murder.html
Posted on Thu, Dec 13th, 2018 by Jason Easley
"The Senate Humiliates Trump With Unanimous Vote Condemning MBS For Khashoggi Murder"

So why is MaBuS still with us? Where is the vengeance? Why no coup, yet? (with the invisible hand of the CIA)

"Man who uses
other man's crystal ball
eats other man's glass"

Posted by: librul | Dec 26, 2018 7:43:25 AM | 9

Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 26, 2018 7:25:35 AM | 8

On what evidence is your opinion based? Until we know more about the nature and scale of the attack, none of us are in a position to know. I (republished) the piece because it's one interpretation, I neither endorse or deny its assertions but Russia's relationship to Israel is something we know something about. I figure that Putin/Russia is playing a decidedly dangerous 'game' in trying to keep Israel on its side, whilst trying to defend its interests in the Middle East.

See Tony Cartalucci's piece which I also published:

https://williambowles.info/2018/12/25/us-withdrawal-from-syria-paves-way-for-israeli-strikes-by-tony-cartalucci/

And what, exactly is Russia' keeping its powder dry', for? A full scale attack by Israel?

Bill

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 7:46:21 AM | 10

William Bowles

Simply because S300 was never given for Syria, its used by Russians against threats against themselves in Syria.
Thats S300 is never used agaisnt Israel by Syria. If only Putin could give S300 to Syria, these attacks by Israel would stop.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 26, 2018 8:11:49 AM | 11

There's a big story here. Israel bombs Christians in Syria on Christmas Day.

There won't be anything like that published in the MSM, of course.

Posted by: Fastfreddy | Dec 26, 2018 8:25:41 AM | 12

Fastfreddy | Dec 26, 2018 8:25:41 AM | 12

Fast: you have a source for this please?

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 8:32:56 AM | 13

#3, William Bowles:

A very ominous piece on he future of Syria (and Russia's involvement)

I read this article, and it seems to me that it is largely "empty" and too hasty. The title says "Inconvenient Truth” About Russia’s S-300s". But where's this "Inconvenient Truth" in the article? Nowhere. In fact, the author simply wonders why S-300s were not used. Well, there are several reasons for this.

First (main) thing - Russian Ministry of Defense stated that "Israeli attacks on Syria could lead to the crash of non-Russian passenger aircraft. The Israeli Air Force attack was carried out at the time of landing of civilian non-Russian airliners at the airports of Beirut and Damascus. To prevent the tragedy, restrictions were placed on the use of air defense and electronic warfare by the Syrian government forces, which allowed air traffic controllers in Damascus to take a passenger plane from a dangerous area and send it to the alternate airfield Khmeimim". Source.

Second thing - Syria received S-300 just a few months ago. Must understand that these are serious and complex weapons. It takes more than one month to learn how to properly use this powerful weapon. Plus, more than one month of training to hone skills in using these weapons. Only after high-quality and in-depth training, as well as long exercises sessions, this complex can be used really effectively. I don't think that at the moment the Syrian military is ready to use S-300 professionally.

Third thing - It should be borne in mind that S-300, of course, will not be used every time Israel tries to strike at Syria. It all depends on the nature of the attack. To repel a minor attack, there is no need to use such a serious complex as S-300.

Posted by: alaff | Dec 26, 2018 8:42:45 AM | 14

Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 26, 2018 7:25:35 AM | 8
On what evidence is your opinion based? Until we know more about the nature and scale of the attack, none of us are in a position to know. ...
And what, exactly is Russia' keeping its powder dry', for? A full scale attack by Israel?
Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 7:46:21 AM | 10

A speculative comment by Grieved (#246 in the Fallout of Trump's Syria Withdrawal thread) adequately summarises the salient details which have seeped into reports by various International News outlets. Interested Oz TV viewers can get reports from dozens of such outlets each day via ABCTV, ABC News24, SBS1 and SBS2.
I've explained in the comment to which you're responding what Russia is keeping its powder dry for i.e. to avoid wasting it.
The Syrians are saying that all of the missiles fired at Damascus were successfully intercepted by S-200 and that shortly thereafter "Israel's" missile defense system was activated to intercept some incoming threats. Niqnaq has links to more expansive reporting and video... on... the nothing-burger.

How come you're upset?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 26, 2018 9:05:37 AM | 15

Question:
What do you do when confronted with an iron dome?
Answer:
You send a depleted uranium-tipped ballistic missile through it.

Posted by: bjd | Dec 26, 2018 9:10:44 AM | 16

Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 26, 2018 9:05:37 AM | 15

I'm not upset. What makes you think I'm upset? I merely questioned your assumptions just as you questioned mine.

It may well be as alaff said @14, that it was too early to use or not necessary to use the S-300 but to my mind it's not so much about the missiles but about Israel's illegal attack! Were they testing the waters so-to-speak or had they been in touch with Russia? Of course Israel claims it was targetting Hezbollah or Iranian weapons or suchlike but to do it so near to a civilian, international airport and apparently having been in touch with Russia before hand, means there's more to this than meets the eye.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 9:20:00 AM | 17

William @10

"neither endorse or deny its assertions"

What is your post then? clickbait?

Hoarsewhisperer's post is an opinion. So what is yours? It is reasonable to assume that the article posted reflects your opinion, is it not?

There is a reason not to engage your best weapons systems and that could be that the attack is primarily designed to test out the other sides systems in order to identify weaknesses, and engaging helps the attacker achieve its aims.

I recall that when the US was launching it's missiles there was discussion that Russia had systems in place both to monitor the attack and also to try out their own electronic interference systems. The reverse must also apply.

No system is invulnerable so there is a balance between needing to use your systems and revealing too much about your systems (unnecessarily and/or prematurely).

So either the S300's are overblown, outside the direct use of Syria forces, the shooting down of an Isreali plane would have incalculable political and escalation implications, or they have not been deployed because do so is not warranted.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 26, 2018 9:26:45 AM | 18

Pantsir S1 shot down 14 out of 16 GBU-39 projectiles. No need for S-300 against those. Stop trolling. In other news, convoys of SAA are moving in the direction of Manbij. Who will take it? Bets are on..

Posted by: Lozion | Dec 26, 2018 9:29:18 AM | 19

Lozion

Stop trolling yourself, Israel this time hit many sites of Syrian army and have done so for the past 4 years now. Syria cant protect its territory to say atleast!
S300 would stop those attacks just like that. But Israel is more valuable to Putin than Assad apparently. Its a disgraceful behavior by Putin.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 26, 2018 9:57:37 AM | 20

ADKC | Dec 26, 2018 9:26:45 AM | 18

Clickbait? Troll? I don't respond to glibness.

It's far to early to form an opinion. All I can say is that Russia appears to have a very close relationship to Israel and as I intimated above, it walks a very fine line between Israel and Syria. We should bear in mind that Russia's main concern is protecting the Motherland, nothing comes before that! This is obvious from the way it has responded to the Empire's attacks. Russia can't afford to take on allcomers, it has to carefully choose where and when it fights. At the same time, this makes Russia vulnerable. Libya is a perfect example of the 'domino theory' in action. Russia could have vetoed the UN no-fly resolution but chose not to, when clearly it was an act of war by the USNATO and wrote as much at the time.

As to where I stand, if you look at the articles I've selected on the issues, I use them to try figure out what hell is going on. I have no more access to info than anybody else has but people respond and supply more insights.

I take all the points about the S-300 onboard. I understand that their main responsibility is the protection of Russian forces but at the same time I have a big problem with Russia's relationship to the settler state, Israel and how this makes Russia vulnerable.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 10:10:03 AM | 21

Remember, folks, that Putin said that Russian military personal often accompany Syrian forces and he warned against attacking them. If the Syrian army is attacked, the S-300s would be used for defence. Israel is not supportive of Russia; they are adversaries with completely opposite agendas. If Trump pulls out, it is a huge blow to Israeli military strategy and the recent attack is certainly testing the waters as Israel sees itself with no alternative but to carry on without the full support of Washington. Under these circumstances Israel will be hard pressed to mount much of an attack without consequences. But the Pantsir system is doing fine against these attacks. The threat and danger to Russia, however, is still present if these attacks continue. They may even be staged to encourage Trump to stay involved in the country if Israel escalates to the point that it loses air assets. Or Syria retaliates as it warned it would.
FWIW,
L.

Posted by: Larry Paul Johnson | Dec 26, 2018 10:45:46 AM | 22

This from South Front:

The Syrian side did not use the S-300 air defense system delivered by Russia to repel the airstrike. Syrian personnel have not yet finished the necessary training. According to experts, the Syrian S-300 system will be put on a combat duty in the second half of January or in early February 2019.

The recent Israeli strike came a day after the Russian Defense Ministry announced that 150 servicemen of one of the surface to air-missile regiments of Russia’s Central Military District had returned from Syria.


https://southfront.org/syrian-war-report-dec-26-2018-israel-strikes-syria-s-300-is-not-employed/

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 10:47:40 AM | 23

@20 You Sir/Madam are a moron lowering the signal to noise ratio of this site, therefore a troll..

Posted by: Lozion | Dec 26, 2018 10:55:53 AM | 24

As to 22 and 23, yes, it would appear to be a case of testing the waters. The thing is the Israeli's don't seem game enough to enter Syrian airspace, preferring to launch missiles from outside Syrian borders. That's one indication of the testing the waters bit. There's also politics in this, maybe a signal to the US on Christmas day, of all days. Not that it means that much to the Israelis or the Syrians, but to Americans it sends a different signal. There didn't appear to be a need for the S-300. The old Syrian defenses handled previous missile attacks quite well. Why drive in a small nail with a sledge hammer?

Posted by: m | Dec 26, 2018 11:06:59 AM | 25

@ Zanon | Dec 26, 2018 9:57:37 AM | 20

Lozion has a point. SBDs, if indeed those were employed, do not represent a proper target for super-fast and big S-300. SBDs are small and very well 'armored' by its high-performance steel casing against incoming fragments. Furthermore, its very small target cross section seriously decreases the probability of hitting crucial components of the weapon.

Attacking Israeli aircraft over Lebanon? A no-go at the current state of affairs, as it would most likely trigger an escalation neither Russia, Syria, Hezbollah and Iran want, at least for the time being.

It's just been another provocation without meaningful consequences by the nutjobs south of Lebanon.

Posted by: Hmpf | Dec 26, 2018 11:08:26 AM | 26

It appears to be too early to say much about the latest Israeli attack, until more details are released, but my inkling is of a lot in common with the IL-20 atrocity - namely that the Israelis may have been deliberately hiding behind two civilian passenger jets to launch their attack. If that is the case the Israelis can expect to be a gigantic loser.

From what I can gather it appears that 14 of the 16 the guided bombs were shot down using Pantsir S1 and/or S200. If that is the case then it is not true to say that the S300 was not used, because the S300 is an integrated system which automatically chooses the most appropriate means of response including S200/S125 etc and also including (as I understand) the Pantsir. In the case of the S200 at least, the missiles will be guided to their targets by the S300 radars and S300 control system.

The big question is the role of the two passenger jets and why their presence impeded action against the Israeli F16's. That is where the parallels with the IL-20 come in. The Russians are going to analyse this carefully and precisely before publishing conclöusions - after that we can expect harsh action - certainly geostrategic and maybe also kinetic.

The Israelis lost big time from their IL-20 misadventure, but those losses will seem like childs play compared to their geostrategic losses from a repeat performance - that is if my interpretation is correct.

By the way, I wouldn't take either Korybko or Cartalucci too seriously, both seem to me to be pro-empire misinformation artists - or at the very least highly untrustworthy sources.

Posted by: BM | Dec 26, 2018 11:26:03 AM | 27

Attacking Israeli aircraft over Lebanon? A no-go at the current state of affairs, as it would most likely trigger an escalation neither Russia, Syria, Hezbollah and Iran want, at least for the time being.
Posted by: Hmpf | Dec 26, 2018 11:08:26 AM | 26

This is precisely where the consequences of the Israeli timing my come in. If they deliberately timed their offence with the landing of passenger jets in Beirut and Damascus, thereby putting those jets at risk, Russia may be able to persuade Lebanon to allow them to impose a total no-fly zone over Lebanon for all Israeli military aircraft and projectiles. Check mate.

Posted by: BM | Dec 26, 2018 11:39:27 AM | 28

Lozion

Please respond in a mature way. Why cant you criticize Putin when Israel have attacked Syria like 100 times and even killed russian soldiers. Only one benefitting from your bickering is Israel.

What is your end game for Syria without them acquiring the S300/ defending itself from being killed by israeli missiles?


Hmpf

Of course its not, that why Russia have put S300 to protect themselves from just these missiles, if they arent capable of israeli missiles, they wouldnt be put there to begin with.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 26, 2018 11:42:47 AM | 29

I've just seen this which also suggests the Israelis were hiding behind the passenger jets

Russian MoD: Israeli Air Force Used Landing Of Two Civilian Planes As Cover For Airstrikes

Syria had to delay actions against the F16s to safeguard the passenger jets.

Expect heavy Russian/Syrian retribution against Israel (especially geostrategic).

Posted by: BM | Dec 26, 2018 11:50:29 AM | 30

BM says:

By the way, I wouldn't take either Korybko or Cartalucci too seriously, both seem to me to be pro-empire misinformation artists - or at the very least highly untrustworthy sources

curious accusation. i've read Cartalucci for years and have always found him to be fact-based and incisive. his analysis of imperial perfidy has been remarkably constant and consistent, and if you have something more concrete to prove deception on his part i'd love to see it.

Posted by: john | Dec 26, 2018 12:10:47 PM | 31

As for relations between Russia and Israel, don't for get that Russian Jews represent over 10% of the Israeli population. Roughly one million out of nine million. Putin obviously is aware of this and may represent leverage for Israel. To use a favorite word of the pundits, this "emboldens" the blue haired PM

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Dec 26, 2018 12:11:14 PM | 32

All--Korybko, again, wrote hastily about something he fails to completely understand, thereby making a fool of himself. Syrian air defenses are quite adequate without needing to employ their S-300s. It's not clear if the changes to Syria's rules of engagement include targeting AND shooting down Zionist jets over Lebanon outside of Syrian airspace, which would employ S-300s. The following is Canthama's report from SyrPers posted @ 5 hours ago:

"Some latest news from Syria:

"1) Last night attack from the apartheid regime was very intense, used several vectors such as cruise missiles, ground to ground missiles etc…in total it was reported 64 IDF missiles, this nbr can change as per SANA. only 7 went through the SyAAD defenses, which is an incredible rate of hits.

"There were several targets, all on the IDF hit list targets released few weeks ago, but only 1 target was hit SW of Damascus, causing material damages on a weapon depot, believed to be one of the hundreds carrying ammo recollected from the very terrorists the apartheid regime sent weapons to. SANA reported 3 SAA soldiers were injured during the explosion.

"It is believed the SAA fired retaliatory ground to ground missiles into occupied Golan which caused the interruption of IDF attack. SANA is yet to comment on that, but there are videos with Patriot attempts to intercept SAA missiles on the occupied Golan.

"2) There was not so ever any other casualty on this event, the web and news last night was full of fake news and intentionally planted news.

"3) Yesterday was a tough day in the apartheid regime, Natanyahu dismantle the cabinet for a new election and it seems the Likud party managed to hold him in power. Keep in mind the corruption case against Natanyahu is strong and moving to the last phase, he is desperate. On top of that the apartheid regime is completely against the US withdrawn from Syria, placing Natanyahu at odds with Trump, thus the attack in Syria as a sign of defiance and provocation to cause strong Syria/Russia’s reaction, which it did not happen.

"4) SAA troops are in the very outskirt of Manbij, the deal is done between the MMC and the Syrian Government, there are a mix of some key SAA armies involved, bringing to all the Manbij pocket heavy tanks, missiles and thousands of soldiers. SyAAD has brought to Kuweyres and Aleppo airbases AA to protect the skies in all northern Syria thus controlling the events for the next months.

"Important to watch what is done in Qamishli and Hasaka airbases regarding AA defenses, if it is beefed up in the next few days, it will mean some inroads were agreed.

"5) Early today, the SAA has moved NW of Aleppo and liberated the town of Malikiyah, just northwest of Menagh airbase, this position was occupied by turkish backed terrorists. There are reports local SDF forces worked with the SAA on this ops. Not clear why this is happening, but it could be to divert the turkish backed terrorists that moved in force to the area near Manbij. There is no huge strategic gain with it but to control a small road that bypass the M5, but it could indicate advances toward Afrin and Azaz, but this is too early and more info is needed."

What the Zionists did was to commit an obvious Terrorist Attack on a peaceful capital city trying its best to celebrate Christmas that will further sully what remains of its reputation, as if it could get any lower than it is now. Nutty's clearly terrorizing for domestic reasons as there are Yellow Vest demonstrations and other political unrest occurring in Zionistan daily. Hopefully, he will be the last in a long line of Zionists Devils deserving a trial prior to dismemberment at The Hague.

It appears the lengthy, complicated back-room discussions between Damascus and Kurds has reaped results that are now becoming visible. The holiday's over, so now it's time to destroy the vermin. Iraq's PM is supposed to visit Assad for talks to coordinate several key actions: approach to Kurds and Turks; action East of Euphrates; and Iraqi government plans to deal with its Outlaw US Empire occupiers that are infiltrating from Syria. I've peered into corners to see if Iran or Syria have made any comment about Trump's withdrawal, but still nothing, which I entirely understand.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 12:18:47 PM | 33

@2

My jaw dropped to the floor when I read that... the fact that they're reverting to the old name is the final step in the rehabilitation of the Iraq War criminals without liberals and pseudo left none of which would be possible

New podcast by Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton on Integrity Initiative https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=doip79-pYn0

And tying this together.....

Chris Williamson: Private Eye has reported that the #IntegrityInitiative anti-propoaganda unit is taking tips from the security masterminds who tried to sell the wisdom of going to war in Iraq!
And this outfit was set up by the Institute for Statecraft that's received £millions from HM Govt!!! https://mobile.twitter.com/DerbyChrisW/status/1076983080131416066

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Dec 26, 2018 12:18:48 PM | 34

@William Bowles: I think you are spot on. The Russia-Israeli relationship HAS to be more important from Putins view. Not counting the millions of Russian Israli citizens alone, but also because Nethanyahu is always trying to gain leverage with Putin by "offering" some "help" meaning influence with the US establishment.

The critique of the Stavka bloc and the patriotic/non western aligned bloc in Russia has been that Putin is too much on the side of the Oligarchs, and their western leaning interests.
Putin is trying to balance between the Stavka and the pro western oligarchic bloc. But he owes both his rise to power and his current power to the oligarchs, so even if he wanted to take a firmer stand against those forces who want capitulation to the western terms, he couldn't.

Many folks here and me included until not so long ago see Putin as the anti western fighter in shining armor.. But the firm stand against Israel after the downing of the russian plane was the action of the Stavka, NOT Putins.

And it does not matter WHAT Putin wants in regard to Israel.. Just like Trump his power base are the often pro israel oligarchs, and he cant escape this system that has been built in the Jelzin years. In fact he IS a child of this system.
He is not Stalin, and can not rule like he wants.. His power is limited, and all he can do is try to balance between the sovereignists and stavka on one side (and most of the Russian people) and the true king makers, the pro western oligarchs and their tools.

Putin has NOT the power and maybe not even the will to be this comic like anti western heroic figther like many of us want and believe him to be.
I understand the need to solidarize with Putin against the Russophobes.. But Putin is not the born again Christ and savior of the world.

Besides all good things, his weaknesses are not to be overlooked, IF one wants to truly understand all this and be solidaric with the Russian people. And this means to see his major weakness:
Him being in the hands of the oligarchs, which means being limited in his powers to stand up to the west, AND being a neoliberal through and through.
Even though his neoliberal views are (to us) hidden by the fact that he is clever enough to keep Medvedjev and his clique in power to use him as scapegoat. Like now with the so called "Reform" of the pension system.

So sadly things are not as simple as they seems. On the other hand, i dont know if it would be better to have a Stavka person like Sergey Shoygu at the top. He seems like the most likely opponent to Putin, AND to him we mostly owe the S300 in Syria and the different ROE in regards to Syria.
But the west would be even crazier with him instead of Putin, and the oligarchs would go berserk. They would maybe even escalate Russia back into the darkest times of the 1990s.

Sorry for the long posting folks, but it is a hugely important topic, and one that is so attacked by propaganda from all sides, that a clear and not biased view is even more important.
But lets hope now that the Kurds come to their senses, and make a fast and full deal with Damascus, so Turkey can not occupy the North of Syria.
Then the war will be nearly done, and the Israeli influence on the Russian oligarchs and their influence on Putin is no longer as crucial as it is today.
That would be a nice christmas present i think..

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPropaganda | Dec 26, 2018 12:20:53 PM | 35

some clown calling (it/him/her/zir...) self ramo3 has spammed comments at RT on the successful hypersonic missile test at https://www.rt.com/russia/447441-avangard-hypersonic-glider-test/

Posted by: spudski | Dec 26, 2018 12:22:34 PM | 36

In any conventional conflict between Russia and the west, no matter how good the new Russian weapons are, Russia will quickly run out of munitions. The West can overwhelm with greater numbers of (poorer quality) weapons. This leads Russia into the position of surrendering or having to escalate (to nuclear). So it is a dead-end to directly get into a conflict with Israel as this too easily leads to the west mustering in support of Israel and a direct confrontation between Russia and the West. Tactically, the way to deal with Israel is to neutralise it's capabilities without resorting to direct confrontation and ultimatums (unsatisfying as that may be).

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 26, 2018 12:28:22 PM | 37

This is supposed to complement the Syrian report I just posted but has yet to appear. This provides the reason why the Zionist attack on Damascus is an act of International Terrorism:

"The Israeli military put two civilian airliners in immediate danger, Igor Konashenkov, the Defense Ministry spokesman, told reporters. 'Provocative acts by the Israeli Air Force endangered two passenger jets when six of their F-16s carried out airstrikes on Syria from Lebanese airspace.'"

Such behavior cannot be condoned for any reasons whatsoever, and ought to produce an article 7 UNSC Resolution. Unfortunately, one Outlaw Nation protects the other Outlaw Nation, so such a proper international response will not be forthcoming. The Moroccan Terrorists are nothing compared to the Zionist and Outlaw US Empire's terrorists, and they all ought to share a similar fate.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 12:36:49 PM | 38

William @21

I did not say that you were a "troll", that was someone else.

I did ponder whether you were engaging in "clickbait" behaviour because your links of someone else's articles take us to your website. At the same time you profess to have no opinion and appear to deny that you agree with the opinion of the articles that you re-post. So it's a bit like engaging with blancmange!

I think I'll give your website a miss.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 26, 2018 12:49:09 PM | 39

Was there another purpose behind the Israeli fighter jets hiding behind civilian aircraft? What would be the international reaction or more specifically the US reaction, to Syrian missiles downing a civilian commercial aircraft packed with civilian holiday passengers on Christmas Day? Would the Israeli role be masked in well-honed outrage at "Assad the butcher" again - without conscience - murdering defenseless civilians, necessitating immediate retaliation on the part of virtue signaling Western forces? Would it validate the cacophony from the Beltway regarding US withdrawal from Syria, vindicating Mattis' resignation concerns?

Posted by: abierno | Dec 26, 2018 12:58:09 PM | 40

ADKC | Dec 26, 2018 12:49:09 PM | 38

I've never said I don't have an opinion on this issue, like everyone else here, I try to figure the reasons why things happen. I can do no more. As to the 'clickbait' accusation, I normally, when referring to articles I repost, give the origin, something I neglected to do this time. Apologies for that.

But as it happens, I took the article from another repost, on Global Research: https://www.globalresearch.ca/israels-christmas-attack-on-syria-wasnt-surprising-but-it-revealed-an-inconvenient-truth-about-russias-s-300s-anti-air-missiles/5663899

Which in turn, was reposted from Eurasia Future: https://eurasiafuture.com/2018/12/25/israels-christmas-attack-on-syria-wasnt-surprising-but-it-revealed-an-inconvenient-truth-about-the-s-300s/

As to whether you visit my site or not, is entirely up to you, it's only been running since 2003.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 1:04:35 PM | 41

Unfortunately, my detained comment providing an update on Syria also condemned Korybko's extremely faulty article he wrote for EurasiaFuture that's taken far too much space in this thread. I'm willing to wait for my comment to be freed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 1:17:45 PM | 42

karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 1:17:45 PM | 41

did you mean detained or detailed and if detained, why so, do you know?

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 1:26:44 PM | 43

@22 larry paul johnson... that is a good point.. peter au mentioned it last night on a previous thread.. indeed israel may be hoping to keep the usa engaged in syria with more of these stunts hoping to get syria to respond more assertively.. either way the insolent and petulant child israel is in a world where there aren't many grown ups in the room.. the usa definitely isn't one of the grown ups... and you see the response from posters here in how russia navigates the challenges... apparently they would like an infantile response which they are used to with the usa!

@BM good comments and viewpoint... i hope you are right in all of that.. if indeed israel was using commercial airliners as cover, there stupidity just keeps on getting the better of them and they will pay for it too.. no number of nikki haley type sycophants or ignormas's are going to change that either...

Posted by: james | Dec 26, 2018 1:27:36 PM | 44

abierno@39 unfortunately that may have been the case, fortunately the disciplined response prevenred such a catastrophe. Perhaps this is the reason behind Moscow's condemnation. Lebanon is said to be sending a complaint to the UN security council.

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 26, 2018 1:28:19 PM | 45

The questions is additional to refusal to give Syria S300, also why Russia/Putin refuse to give Syria adequate offensive missiles.
Meanwhile Putin give S400 to Turkey!

https://www.defensenews.com/land/2018/10/26/turkey-defense-minister-announces-timeline-for-s-400-deployment/

Great ally Syria have, not.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 26, 2018 1:38:02 PM | 46

First report of Syrian retaliation I've seen today. No, it wasn't part of my detailed--6 paragraphs of Canthama's reporting--detained for who knows what as there were no links within it as Korybko's essay was previously linked. Many things ongoing today as the holiday's over, particularly movement around Manbij.

Elsewhere, Poroshenko ends martial law making him look weaker than ever. Arab League going against advice of Outlaw US Empire to reinstate Syria. Ground broken in Korea by North and South for construction of rail line linking them despite Outlaw Empire efforts to forestall. Japan says to world: Fuck-off, we're going to kill whales regardless.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 1:47:15 PM | 48

Zanon @45--

Quit spreading manure! Putin didn't "give" Turkey anything. Turkey sought permission to purchase S-400 system and its request was okayed by Russia's National Defence Board, which makes such decisions--not Putin!

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 1:51:11 PM | 49

Russia, according to TASS (note the snowflakes in their logo), is not clear on US intentions in Syria and is relying on media reports. Is Trump clear? Is there a strategy? Or just an idea? There seems to have been no coordination between the US, France, Britain, and Israel, and no contacts between the US and Syria or Russia (or Iran). Trump and Erdogan had a phone call and Trump has been invited to visit Turkey. Turkey and Syria are repositioning forces. A fog has descended.

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 26, 2018 2:02:30 PM | 50

karlof1

Of course there was a purchase, its a way of speech.
That is why Putin cannot be trusted, doing business with Nato and not his so called allies in Damascus!
Do you think that is wise?
At the same time Putin is clearly a zionist, israel supporter, but his attitude, its awful. Of course Syrian state recognize that too.
Remember when they kicked iranians out, once again who benefitted - thats right Israel. Same with the refusal to give the S300. One is a useful idiot for backing that policy by Putin.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 26, 2018 2:03:29 PM | 51

@ 46 william bowles... thanks bill. it is going to come out in the wash either way... if it is the same tactic as the russian surveillance plane that israel was responsible for, israel is going to find their position worse, instead of better.. it is amazing how big of a hole israel wants to make for itself..

Posted by: james | Dec 26, 2018 2:10:36 PM | 52

Zanon @50--

I requested you cease spreading manure, yet you persist by adding even more. All the tripe you've posted over and again has been debunked and proven false time and again! ENOUGH!!!!!

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 2:14:10 PM | 53

karlof1

We can all disagree on things no need to be childish about it.
If you do not want to engage in a debate, dont direct messages to that particular person.

All good, happy new years'! :)

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 26, 2018 2:20:00 PM | 54

karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 1:47:15 PM | 47

To which you add Russia's Avangard hypersonic missile successfully tested according to Putin.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 2:29:15 PM | 55

ADKC | Dec 26, 2018 12:49:09 PM | 38

BTW, The more sites articles get 'syndicated' to, the greater its reach. I've lost count of the number of sites that have reposted my writing over the years, or the number of languages they've been translated into, so you called it clickbaiting but that's a commercial thing, it's about being paid for every click, so actually, I find your comment insulting, now I think on it. But that's okay, you're free to call it whatever you want.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 2:42:52 PM | 56

the pessimist : not clear on intention

It appears that the intention is to keep Eastern Syria in in hands that are friendly to US / NATO / ‘Assad must go’ Coalition.

And If that’s true, why was Mattis so upset? His resignation letter suggested that Trump was abandoning “allies” and giving in to Assad and Putin. Was his resignation just a PR stunt? Such a stunt makes me wary because it gives could mask intentions that are far from peaceful.

Also note: Blackwater going to Afghanistan. Destruction of bridge being constructed by SAA.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 26, 2018 2:44:24 PM | 57

@ tom 2

What official role would Blackwater potentially play in Afghanistan in the wake of a U.S. Pullback?

I would imagine very little beyond contractor security. They will screw up and kill some civis, but I fail to notice how this announcement would fly in the face of trump's troop withdrawal.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Dec 26, 2018 2:54:11 PM | 58

"The Senate Humiliates Trump With Unanimous Vote Condemning MBS For Khashoggi Murder” …

So why is MaBuS still with us? Where is the vengeance? Why no coup, yet? - librul at 9.

(MaBuS = MBS I suppose)

Because the target of the attack is Trump, not KSA. Any move against Trump will do, will do.

KSA is only accused / blamed very indirectly, while nevertheless being pointedly informed that the US PTB overall is ready to take gloves off, veer away from past standard policy, i.e. suddenly make a surprising move.

Such as, vilify MBS when all his actions previous, some far worse, were either kept sub rosa, condoned, or applauded.. !

The message is: Beware .…We are the Overlords and need not be consistent or justify ourselves.

The largely symbolic condemnation of MBS, imho, was a riposte to the KSA decision to NOT sell off part of Aramco, proposed by MBS. (I read King Salman nixed that but idk.)

Site is worth a look:

https://www.saudiaramco.com - some minor deals are touted as super collaboration…ex.:

https://www.saudiaramco.com/en/news-media/news/2018/saudi-aramco-and-raytheon-sign-mou-to-establish-jv-in-cybersecurity

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 26, 2018 3:01:02 PM | 59

pat lang talking about what BM has already addressed here on the open thread... not clever.. extremely stupid and unfortunate as the same game can be playing on airplanes arriving in tel aviv at some point...
https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/12/how-clever.html

Posted by: james | Dec 26, 2018 3:18:00 PM | 60

William @55

Nothing hurts more than the truth!

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 26, 2018 3:22:57 PM | 61

and, trump speaking in iraq today.. ""I think a lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking. It's time for us to start using our head," the president said. “In fact we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria," he added."

Posted by: james | Dec 26, 2018 3:23:28 PM | 62

I knew something hinky also had happened last Christmas with the criminal welfare state, but I had to look it up. Christmas Day 2017, Guatemala's president got on Facebook and publicly pledged to move his embassy to Jerusalem and noted that he'd already started the process, after meeting with Netanyahu (and being told to). This of course mirrored Trump's recent actions, which had already triggered violence in Bethlehem during the height of the holiday tourist season.

It's just one humilation ritual after another with this outfit. And the more violent fallout the better, even if it's in their own backyard? I mean, I guess it's one sort of way to live.

Posted by: sejomoje | Dec 26, 2018 3:45:17 PM | 63

ADKC | Dec 26, 2018 3:22:57 PM | 60

Meaning what?

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 3:54:51 PM | 64

Rather doubt anyone will see the following words of Khamenei's published by any Western media outlet:

"The value of #Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) to Muslims is definitely no less than the value, worth and esteem he has in the eyes of the Christian believers."

Although he does note very few actually follow his path.

Oh, and Trump won't need to worry about making a decision to withdraw Outlaw US Empire forces from Iraq as Iraqis will force them to leave as they did earlier with Obama.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 3:58:36 PM | 65

So Trump visited a U.S. military base in Western Iraq. He stated that the troops on the Western border of Iraq with Eastern Syria will be used as a forward base when needed in Syria. There are just over 5000 troops stationed there.

What he's not saying, but is really the covert plan, is to use these troops for Iran containment to prevent Iran from doing business with and through Syria. That's what is really happening. The 1st phase was ISIS, the next phase is using these forces to deal with Iran, and that you can bank on!

Posted by: Circe | Dec 26, 2018 4:02:38 PM | 66

Those damned Russians will weaponize anything. Here they are weaponizing cuteness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShZ4NURWiD0

Posted by: Entropy Wins | Dec 26, 2018 4:04:42 PM | 67

"The questions is additional to refusal to give Syria S300, also why Russia/Putin refuse to give Syria adequate offensive missiles.
Meanwhile Putin give S400 to Turkey!

https://www.defensenews.com/land/2018/10/26/turkey-defense-minister-announces-timeline-for-s-400-deployment/

Great ally Syria have, not."

Geez, what a moran. Russia does not 'give' weapons to anyone. It sells them. Syria is in no position to buy multi-billion dollar systems until the war is over and its economy is back in order.

The Syrian air defense system is integrated with the Russian system which means it gets the benefit of the Russian S-400/S-300 radar systems. That helps even Syria's existing S-125 and S-200 systems take out all the missiles launched by Israel on Christmas Day.

Posted by: Entropy Wins | Dec 26, 2018 4:10:42 PM | 68

"Oh, and Trump won't need to worry about making a decision to withdraw Outlaw US Empire forces from Iraq as Iraqis will force them to leave as they did earlier with Obama."

Absolutely right.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 26, 2018 4:19:50 PM | 69

I've stayed away from Korybko for some time now. He was incredibly incisive and insightful once, especially seeing through the murky currents behind the Ukraine and Baltic state stories. Then, somewhere his articles started arguing against the "alt media", and I have noticed a thing about arguing against anyone, that it drops the realism of your analysis considerably. I don't know why. Perhaps it's something to do with having to stay completely impartial to nail a situation correctly, and that takes one hundred percent open mind. We see exactly the same thing happen in discussions in this forum, and certainly in this very thread.

I may come back to Korybko one day, when his analysis makes sense. Cartalucci I have admired greatly, but I shied away from the latest piece linked here recently because even in outline his premise was wrong. But I don't call either analyst a person who sits on the "wrong side" especially, just people I have to use my own judgment on to read.

The same is true for me of Magnier sometimes, Meyssan often, Paul Craig Roberts almost always, the Saker occasionally, Craig Murray from time to time, Narwani never, Mazaheri almost never, and b only once in 4 years that I can recall. Garrie does really well most of the time and it's strange to me that he has Korybko on his site, even as he disagrees with him.

The point is that it's not people, it's concepts. Facts and their implications. Meaning and possibility. One turns to those who have provided good material in the past, or who seem to be doing so now, but in every case it's the idea presented that matters, nothing else. Choosing people is just a way of narrowing the odds to get good material. People seem to come and go in this regard.

And then, as if all this wasn't hard enough, we have the trolls, hiding behind ideas like Israelis hiding behind civilian planes.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 26, 2018 4:35:41 PM | 70

DBEP@ 34 said in part;"His power is limited, and all he can do is try to balance between the sovereignists and stavka on one side (and most of the Russian people) and the true king makers, the pro western oligarchs and their tools."

IMO, this opinion has validity. DJT, and all that came before him, with the possible exception of F.D. Roosevelt, have had to
march to the beat determined by the uber wealthy oligarchs. Step too far out of line, and you're history.

ie; JFK, RFK, MLK, & Malcolm X, and these are just the ones in my lifetime.

Posted by: ben | Dec 26, 2018 4:54:29 PM | 71

ben 70
The political figures at the end of your comment did not have - as does Putin - a backstage of three quarters of a century of effective communist government behind them .

No doubt many of the oligarchs to whom you refer are aware of this overarching reality !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Dec 26, 2018 5:06:42 PM | 72

Entropy Wins

Putin backstabbed Iran the same way some years ealier, since again Putin value Israel more than Syria and Iran.

You need to be angry with Putin, do not deflect your denial of whats going on on me.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 26, 2018 5:08:14 PM | 73

Trump visit spurs Iraqis:

"Talk of tabling legislation to expel US forces from #Iraq surfaced after the victory over Da’ish last year but was placed on the back burner by the elections.

"Trump’s visit has firmly put this issue back on the forefront of Iraqis’ minds & anti-US factions are gonna get to work."

More info about Syria's retaliation for Zionist attack says missiles were deliberately air-bursted over occupied Palestinian cities forcing Zionists to close airspace. Word is next time they'll be allowed to impact. Clearly, Zionist Iron Dome is massive failure as is Patriot system.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 5:10:09 PM | 74

Masons at work?

The two words Manifest Destiny are well known to American citizens.
Not everyone, though, is aware that they are in numerology power numbers.

(Power Numbers: 11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, 77, 88, 99)

Manifest == 33
Destiny == 33

Double 33 !

Those standing in the way of double-33 were steamrolled.


Manifest
4+1+5+9+6+5+1+2 = 33

Destiny
4 + 5 + 1 + 2 + 9 + 5 + 7 = 33


Integrity Initiative are also power numbers 55

Integrity
add 9 5 2 5 7 9 9 2 7 = 55

Initiative
add 9 5 9 2 9 1 2 9 4 5 = 55

Double power numbers !

Bet you weren't watching for that.

Masons at work?

Posted by: librul | Dec 26, 2018 5:43:40 PM | 75

Grieved | Dec 26, 2018 4:35:41 PM | 69

The people you name, I have almost exactly the same feelings about their writings and pretty much in the same order, except Roberts, who seems to have completely lost the plot. I feel the same about Gilad Atzmon and Israel Shamir, I know them both and like them and I think they're both really good writers but I also think that their feelings of impotence in the face of the enemy, especially Israel, has left them feeling at war with the politics of the world. Writing is almost an act of desperation, of rage, for them.

All my life I've been a lefty, my folks were and so were all my grandparents as well as most of my uncles and aunts. Collectively, we've lived through WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the host of US wars, big and 'small'ever since. I sense that things are coming to a head. We search for reasons, for ways to predict the future. That's why attempting to explain events is so important.

It's a shame that discourse becomes so antagonistic but then perhaps it follows the writers' trajectories?

Years ago, I read an essay by Jean Baudrillard called’ Xerox to Infinity’ in which he spoke on the nature of the then new medium of computer-mediated communications, composed then of phosphor dots but I think it still holds true that the ephemeral nature of the medium encouraged scanning, rather than actually reading everything!

In the early days of the computer, ‘losing it’ on Usenet or wherever was called flaming. When you scan texts, what stands out is usually what you’re looking for; a hook. Everything else is pretty much ignored, so whatever you latch onto is normally taken out of context, hence the flaming. We end up at cross purposes, mostly unintentionally but the damage is done.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 5:56:16 PM | 76

Greived @69 & WB @74--

Then we try to conduct a discourse and the system screws up by refusing to post comments in an orderly fashion aggravating and alienating the situation further, which is what will likely happen to this comment based on my past experiences over the last two hours.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 6:08:18 PM | 77

Well, I see my complaint comment got posted but the previous 4 remain in limboland! What a crying shame! Anyway, here I go again trying to post a link to what I believe a very perceptive article by Federico Pieraccini:

"Trump's move was driven by US domestic politics and aimed at the 2020 elections. But in doing so, Trump inevitably called out once and for all the bluffs built by Syria’s enemies, infuriating in the process the neoliberal imperialist establishment, revealing how each of these factions has no more cards to play and is in actual fact destined for defeat."

Now we'll see if this gets shared with the internet community or is swallowed by the information cloud.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 6:43:02 PM | 78

karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 6:08:18 PM | 75

Dear Karlof1, Try not to take it to heart. A bunch of people, probably in the 100s, unknown to each other, are thrown together at random really. It's not the best way to choose debating partners. Add in the nature of the medium and as I've said before, for the most part it actually seems to work here.

The technics are something else. This is probably not the best platform to conduct debates with but who knows what Bernhard went through to arrive at this setup? Having run online systems of one kind or another since around 1983, I'm very aware of its limitations and the inevitable frustrations, just like sny technology really.

I don't know what's happened to you in the last two hours but it can't be so bad to upset you so can it?

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 6:55:05 PM | 79

PS Karlof: Try writing offline or if not, copy before posting, especially on this platform as it has no option to edit. I'm sure it'll reduce your frustration index.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 26, 2018 6:59:45 PM | 80

but, but... the Gog-Magog battle!? and Magog is dead*!

*I know, I know, Magog is a team effort; the head of the hydra may be gone*, but the course of the Borg rolls on...

*Or maybe he's hiding down in the Cayman Islands with Key Lay ...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 26, 2018 7:03:32 PM | 81

William @63

I would have thought it was obvious but I'll set it out for you.

You posted an article.

Someone expressed a differing opinion on one aspect of the article you posted.

You took issue with this differing opinion while denying you had any opinion on the article itself ("I neither endorse or deny its assertions").

I don't really want to waste my time on opinion articles posted by people who don't agree with (or have any position on) the article they posted. This just seems bizarre to me. I responded by the provocative question "What is your post then? clickbait?"

In this context "clickbait" means a link that has the purpose of taking users to an alternative site.

I would have had no problem with the your post, or the article linked to your site, if you actually agreed with the substance of the article you posted.

Instead, you focus on the "clickbait?" question because it appears to have been closer to the mark then I suspected. Really, I had assumed that you agreed with the article you posted but just didn't have the courage (for some reason) to say so.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 26, 2018 7:15:13 PM | 82

@Zanon: The only one in denial here is you. Every time you post your ridiculous, over-the-top tripe ("Putin is a Zionist"), you get a boatload of well-argued, fact-based responses. Yet you never read them, you never learn, and you never question your position. That makes you a de facto troll.

Posted by: S | Dec 26, 2018 7:18:43 PM | 83

@69 grieved... that is an excellent post from you.. i hope everyone reads it... so true and lots for others to think of, if they haven't already considered this...

@karlof1... be patient... you must have put too many links or something in the posts and thus they are held in moderation for the time being... i have tried to figure out what triggers the moderation here.. i believe it is too much data with links... this is only my observation...

Posted by: james | Dec 26, 2018 7:39:47 PM | 84

karlof1 quotes Peiraccini:

"Trump's move was driven by US domestic politics and aimed at the 2020 elections. But in doing so, Trump inevitably called out once and for all the bluffs built by Syria’s enemies, infuriating in the process the neoliberal imperialist establishment, revealing how each of these factions has no more cards to play and is in actual fact destined for defeat."

USA just had an election. The 2020 election is not a pressing concern at this time.

What *is* a pressing concern for neocons like Bolton and Zionists like most of the US establishment (including the Trump family) is Iran. Once Iran becomes a full member of SCO and Russia puts their Avangard hypersonic missiles in service (in 2019), the opportunity to take military action against Iran will have passed.

An Iraq-like invasion/conquering of Iran would be foolish, but bombing of military and civilian infrastruture is very possible with the objective being to support a popular uprising against the Iranian government.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Democratic elections and ruling 'factions' are adult fairytales. It's funny how we all recognize the overwhelming influence of money on US electoral politics but somehow believe establishment hype about our "shinning city on a hill" democracy. And how is it that anyone gives credence to the notion of ruling factions vying for power? All available evidence points to a remarkable agreement among the establishment that neocon and neo-liberal philosophy guide policy.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 26, 2018 7:42:29 PM | 85

@ tom 2

What official role would Blackwater potentially play in Afghanistan in the wake of a U.S. Pullback?

Make sure the Opium gets delivered to the right place. What do you think funds all those covert operations?

Also, when the Taliban stopped all production of Opium financial markets crashed. That Drug money in the end finds its home as an account in one of the international banksters who can generate loans in multiples of 10+. Afghanistan produces 2 billion dollars worth of opium which is worth 400 billion after refining and selling on the streets in Europe, EurAsia and US. 400 billion in trade can add over 4 trilllion to the global economy, and pay for a lot of mischief.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 26, 2018 7:46:16 PM | 86

Putin is not "controlled by oligarchs". The oligarchs have been destroyed in the early 00s: Gusinsky (the media oligarch), Berezovsky (the political broker oligarch), Khodorkovsky (the oil oligarch). These people were real oligarchs, i.e. they were using their wealth to control political processes through black media propaganda, having their own MPs/Ministers/Governors, etc. After the destruction of Gusinsky and Berezovsky, the oligarchs were invited to a meeting with Putin and told to drop any meddling in politics (including media) and focus on purely economic activities. They were also told to assume more social responsibility. In return, they were given a guarantee that the results of the privatization won't be rolled back. Khodorkovsky was the only one who rebelled against the deal and hence was also destroyed. As a result of this deal, the oligarchs stopped being oligarchs, now they're simply billionaires. They are allowed some influence over the economic policies of the government, but no influence over ideology, budget, military, foreign affairs, etc. In other words, the word "oligarch" as applied to Yeltsin-era billionaires is another lie about modern Russia. Putin-era billionaires (Timchenko, Rothenberg brothers, Kovalchuk) were created by Putin to provide counter-balance to Yeltsin-era billionaires; their whole legitimacy is based on loyalty to Putin, who is himself dedicated to strengthening Russia. Yet another group of billionaires are the heads of large state companies, also loyal to Putin. Putin-era billionaires build roads, bridges, stadiums in Russia, invest in Russian defense, aerospace, car industries, while Yeltsin-era billionaires move profits out of the country and buy English Premier League clubs. It is only recently that some of the Yeltsin-era billionaires have "seen the light" (as a result of the sanctions) and started to bring some of their capital back to Russia. Overall, the country is controlled by Putin, military & intelligence (siloviki). Neoliberals still have strong influence over economy/finance/education/culture, but are increasingly contested by industrialist economists as well as historians who are fighting neoliberal myths about Russian/Soviet history.

Posted by: S | Dec 26, 2018 7:47:01 PM | 87

The purpose of a provocation is to lead the provoked into a rash act. There are many posters on various sites who are guaranteed to condemn Putin for not taking (rash) action in response to the latest provocation. I profoundly distrust such posters because they appear to almost be acting in concert with the provocateur.

Today, Poroshenko announced the end of martial law. Poroshenko's plans to provoke conflict with Russia and suspend elections appear to be effectively over. We can look forward to new elections, a new President and an improved relationship with Ukraine. Where would we be now if Putin had responded to Poroshenko's provocations as some would wish?

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 26, 2018 7:58:27 PM | 88

There is a surprising lack of skepticism about Trump in the bar recently.

Last time I looked, Trump was . . .

... still at odds with North Korea;

... still arming Ukraine;

... still pursing crushing sanctions against Iran and Russia;

... still locked in a trade war with China with increasing military tensions;

... still intending to militarize space.


But he buys a round of "wish fulfillment" (one part hopium, 2 parts Kool-Aid) for the bar and suddenly everyone's giddy.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 26, 2018 8:05:53 PM | 89

William Bowles @ 78&79--

Thanks for your well intended advice. I copy my replies I n case they get lost; however, b ends up with extra work if they repost in a delayed fashion as is the case at times, although comments do end up snared due to whatever TypePad does. We have a history, and b has admonished me in the past for not being patient enough. I remember the difficulty in unscrambling disjointed replies in List-servs back in the 1990s in what was then state-of-the art academic bulletin board-type communications. I was also involved in trying to design appropriate discourse platforms for online university classes from 1999-2003 and came close to an ideal online classroom situation. Now we have set-ups of the sort Dr. Guy and I envisioned in 2000, although distance learning still has the inherent problem of discontinuity which IMO will never be overcome. But far more useful information's now disseminated through blogs and platforms like b's than ever before, which is why its under attack by those wanting to limit such information dissemination.

I think most of us who populate b's bar are here as students first and teachers second, the lurkers outnumbering us commentators by some unknown ratio, 10,000:1 would be quite nice, but I doubt such a level's ever reached. But as b's journalistic scoops continue to be disseminated and the site gets more shout-outs via social media, it might gain such notoriety!

Effectiveness can also be judged by troll intensity, which ebbs and flows as they come and go. As we've seen, some are very sophisticated, enabling them to operate here for years as their FUD is difficult to address given it's not entirely false.

Often, b lauds others via his Twitter, which few here seem to visit.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 8:07:45 PM | 90

People always seem so surprised when Putin fails to confront Israel or the US. Keep in mind who brought him to power, his 2 biggest backers were stooges of the neoliberals in the West. Sobchack was forced to flee cover corruption charges after being credited with authoring Russias Constitution which prevents interference with the BIS controlled RCB , and Yeltsin was Clintons lap dog and allowed the looting of his countrys assets. So Putin may not be what he seems. Propaganda works in Russia too.

As for Israel it controls Russia as much as it does the USA. Putin is a philo-semite by his own admission. The Chief Rabbi of Russia is known as Putins Rabbi, he is from Brooklyn, a rabbi of the same orthodox sect as Kushner, Felix Sater and a couple of Putins biggest oligarch suporters . Many of Russias top oligarchs also have Israeli passports. Putins already met Bibi 3 times this year and trade and tourism between the 2 countries is booming with more than 60 flights from Israel to Moscow daily. Moscow has more Israeli citizens residing there than any other country but Israel. A Russian academic was recently charged for holocaust denial for daring to question some of the numbers. The media in Russia is just as pro-Israel as in US. The Israeli lobby is global.


I havent made up my mind on Putin but suspect he is not the Angel some would like, nor the Demon others say he is. There is a political
reality in Russia as in the US. A power lurks in the background that pulls the strings of the visible leaders.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 26, 2018 8:20:31 PM | 91

@84 pft

That sure is one fine unfounded assertion you got there regarding Blackwater. All of a sudden, ex-military types are sophisticated a la Pablo Escobar and run the opium biz there?

Wrong, senor.

There is 3x the number of contractors in Afganistan than western soldiers. They need security detail.

In this case, "nothing to see here, move along."

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 26, 2018 8:35:01 PM | 92

"US establishes 2 military bases in Iraq's western Anbar province"
https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2018/12/25/us-establishes-2-military-bases-in-iraqs-western-anbar-province

So US meddling will continue. Surprise, surprise

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 26, 2018 8:38:50 PM | 93

@84 pft

Of course, Blackwater operated in Iraq more along the lines that I envisioned them to, probably.

In Afghanistan, there are so many contractors, that no doubt many of them aim to extract what they can out of the opium biz there.

My point to Tom was that with US troops leaving, funding for the Afghanistan campaign with any luck will drop dramatically. Trump is gambling on Blackwater if he throws his hat in with them.

I hope they get crushed and taught a lesson. Further to my point, Trump will not bail them out, either.

Trump is winding it down, it seems to me.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 26, 2018 8:55:04 PM | 94

What would've been Trump's reaction if Syria had mistakenly downed a civilian airliner on Christmas Day as the Israel's might've been hoping for?

Another round of missile attacks on Syria? Direct attack on Assad? Re-commit to the occupation of Eastern Syria?

Whatever it might've been, we can be be sure that Americans and Europeans would've been overwhelmingly supportive: those that were critical of Trump's pulling out of Syria and those that were cheering his pulling out of Syria. United. Against. Assad.

And ready to face any counteraction by Assad or Putin. Together.

Still think Mattis' resignation was not a PR stunt?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 26, 2018 9:01:28 PM | 95

Reporting on the Integrity Initiative is spotty yet but I did come across the link below of an article by Max Blumenthal....and promises of more.

Inside the Temple of Covert Propaganda: The Integrity Initiative and the UK’s Scandalous Information War

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 26, 2018 9:32:36 PM | 96

Are Jews The Israelites Of The Bible?

The Awkward Moment When Jews Realize They’re The Goyim

https://biblicisminstitute.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/are-jews-the-israelites-of-the-bible/

Posted by: brad | Dec 26, 2018 10:01:15 PM | 97

Trump went to Iraq and gave a speech to the US mercs. Haven't been able to find a transcript as yet, but I think a transcript of that speech will tell us a lot on which way trump is heading in the middle east. The main point the media is picking up on is Trump saying US will stay in Iraq and can use that as a base against Syria. I would guess Iran also featured in that speech.
https://www.rt.com/news/447466-trump-iraq-syria-trip/

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 26, 2018 10:15:49 PM | 98

@89

The Israeli lobby is global.

And the global Lobby messes with every democracy. I've been writing for a long time that Putin is at the mercy of Zionists; Oligarchs, rabbis, Russian Israelis...you name it. His power is Zio-compromised.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 26, 2018 10:26:45 PM | 99

@Pft #89

Israel does not control Russia.

The Chief Rabbi of Russia is of the Chabad sect simply because most of Russian orthodox Jewish communities are of the Chabad sect. He is actually from Milan; he moved to New Jersey in his teenage years, then to Brooklyn, New York, then to Moscow. The "Putin's Rabbi" is a stupid moniker invented by Western "journalists"; he is neither Putin's creation, nor Putin's puppet. It is true that Putin has good relationship with the Chief Rabbi, just as he has good relationships with the Patriarch, the Old Believer Patriarch, the Chief Mufti, the Chief Lama, and lesser religious figures. Sometimes he meets all of them together (google some photos, it's quite a sight), sometimes he has one-on-one meetings. The strongest relationship is with the Patriarch. There is also an "alternative Chief Rabbi of Russia" who represents orthodox Jewish communities that refuse to be governed by a Chabad rabbi.

Russian billionaires with Israeli passports are all Yeltsin-era billionaires (ex-oligarchs) and are not "Putin's supporters". In fact, Friedman and his gang who own Russia's largest private bank, Alfa-bank, were caught several times trying to sponsor pro-US opposition. Most recently, they tried to do it through a high-ranked Alfa-bank employee, Vladimir Ashurkov, who was funneling money to Alexey Navalny. After the Presidential Administration called them out on that, they immediately fired and disavowed Ashurkov, who is now living in London and is a member of Integrity Initiative's UK cluster. Alfa-bank is also the only Russian bank that does not have any problems with its Ukrainian branch. These people are not Putin's supporters, they are Putin's enemies. Putin tolerates them because he keeps his end of the bargain (see my post #85).

Posted by: S | Dec 26, 2018 10:28:24 PM | 100

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