Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 27, 2020

To Keep Russiagate Alive 'Officials' Make New Claims Without Providing Evidence

There were allegations about emails that someone exfiltrated from the DNC and provided to Wikileaks. Russia must have done it. The FBI and other intelligence services were all over it. In the end no evidence was provided to support the claims.

There were allegations that Trump did not really win the elections. Russia must have done it. The various U.S. intelligence service, together with their British friends, provided all kinds of sinister leaks about the alleged case. In the end no evidence was provided to support the claims.

A British double agent, Sergej Skirpal, was allegedly injured in a Russian attack on him. The intelligence services told all kind of contradicting nonsense about the case. In the end no evidence was provided to support the claims.

All three cases had two points in common. The were based on sources near to the U.S. and British intelligence community. They were designed to increase hostility against Russia. The last point was then used to sabotage Donald Trump's original plans for better relations with Russia.

Now the intelligence services make another claim that fits right into the above scheme.

Reporters from the New York Times and the Washington Post were called up by unnamed 'officials' and told to write that Russia pays some Afghans to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. There is zero evidence that the claim is true. The Taliban spokesman denies it. The numbers of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan is minimal. The alleged sources of the claims are criminals the U.S. has taken as prisoners in Afghanistan.

All that nonsense is again used to press against Trump's wish for better relations with Russia. Imagine - Trump was told about these nonsensical claims and he did nothing about it!

The same intelligence services and 'officials' previously paid bounties to bring innocent prisoners to Guantanamo Bay, tortured them until they made false confessions and lied about it. The same intelligence services and 'officials' lied about WMD in Iraq. The same 'intelligence officials' paid and pay Jihadis disguised as 'Syrian rebels' to kill Russian and Syrian troops which defend their countries.

The journalistic standards at the New York Times and Washington Post must be below zero to publish such nonsense without requesting real evidence. The press release like stories below from anti-Trump/anti-Russian sources have nothing to do with 'great reporting' but are pure stenography.

The New York Times:

Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says

American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.
The officials familiar with the intelligence did not explain the White House delay in deciding how to respond to the intelligence about Russia.

While some of his closest advisers, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have counseled more hawkish policies toward Russia, Mr. Trump has adopted an accommodating stance toward Moscow.
The intelligence assessment is said to be based at least in part on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals.

The Washington Post:

Russian operation targeted coalition troops in Afghanistan, intelligence finds

A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan, including U.S. and British troops, in a striking escalation of the Kremlin’s hostility toward the United States, American intelligence has found.

The Russian operation, first reported by the New York Times, has generated an intense debate within the Trump administration about how best to respond to a troubling new tactic by a nation that most U.S. officials regard as a potential foe but that President Trump has frequently embraced as a friend, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive intelligence matter.
The unit that officials identified as responsible for allegedly offering the bounties has also been linked to the poisoning and attempted murder of former Russian military spy Sergei Skripal in Britain in 2018.

Posted by b on June 27, 2020 at 13:43 UTC | Permalink

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This is getting intensive--
Lawmakers want answers from Pentagon, White House on reported Russian bounties.. . .more here at google search bounties

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 29 2020 22:53 utc | 101

@101 Don Bacon Bounties are not - by definition - paid in advance. They are paid out when you produce the body.

There are some inescapable consequences that flow from that, mostly around the concept of "causality".

Afghanistan can not now be awash with cash from Russian-paid bounties (which, remember, is the one and only bit of "evidence" in the NYT article) without simultaneously being awash with the blood of dead GIs.

Because - obviously - if the Russians are offering a "bounty" then it is the fatalities that result in the cash, it is not the cash that results in the fatalities

So where are the mountains of dead GIs?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 29 2020 23:49 utc | 102

The message spread across the land (besides some foreign islands and the isolated continent of Australia). This is the story from the Lone Star State:

The plot thickens, good Congress people from Texas and Indiana are at odds. Some found that White House is inconsistent: the President was not briefed about the bounties and found that the story is not credible. Is that possible?

Elementary! If the story were credible, the President would be briefed!

That does not satisfy all.

Thornberry (from Texas) said “Anything with any hint of credibility that would endanger our service members, much less put a bounty on their lives, to me should have been briefed immediately to the commander in chief – and a plan to deal with that situation.”

Can any native English speaker comment on my impression that according to Hon. Thornberry, credibility is dangerous to our troops? In any case, there will be a lively debate if the news that shook the world had a hint of credibility. IMHO, there were no such hints, but perhaps there were veiled and faint hints. In other words, American hinterland will be consumed by disputes concerning hints.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 30 2020 0:06 utc | 103

Piotr Berman @Jun30 0:06 #103

Can any native English speaker comment on my impression that according to Hon. Thornberry, credibility is dangerous to our troops?

By "credibility" Thornberry is referring to a credible threat. He is making the case that you have pointed out:
If the story were credible, the President would ... [have been] briefed!

So I'm not sure what you think you are misunderstanding.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30 2020 0:31 utc | 104

Yeah, Right @Jun29 23:49 #102

So where are the mountains of dead GIs?

No evidence is required in the kangaroo court of public opinion.

US propaganda keep Americans in a constant state of fear.

  • Democratic Socialist Revolutionaries!
  • Antifa terrorists!
  • Woke Millennial slackers!
  • Yellow Peril!
  • Dust cloud from Africa!
  • Red Menace!

<> <> <> <> <>

We've seen this movie before:

Foreign satellite Hogarth! And all that that implies ... I don't feel safe Hogarth, do you?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30 2020 0:54 utc | 105

more from CNN's source ... "The source tells CNN that intelligence of this nature with risk to US troops should be assumed to be true until you know otherwise."

This sounds like something a 4yr old (or Congressman) would say and not something a professional Intel officer would say unless they were in a near coma. In all seriousness, does this quote give us a hint as to who leaked this story? This is absurd, so this person is saying that something is true based on its sensationalism. This is one of the dumbest things I've hear.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jun 30 2020 1:27 utc | 106

I am now quite convinced that this story derives from the fact that the Taliban has become so awash with USA cash that even the US Military could not fail to notice.

But what they could not do was explain it, so they turned to the CIA and asked: What gives? Do you know anything about this?

And, boy, did they ever: this is all CIA black money

Which is not exactly something the CIA can admit to, so they had to lie.

And if you have to go with a lie, well, heck, go big.

Apparently the MSM is admitting that there is no "concensis" amongst the US intelligence community on this story.

I bet there isn't.

I'd wager it's the CIA in one corner insisting "Is true! Is true! Trust us!" while every othe three-letter-acronym is is muttering "This is garbage".

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 30 2020 2:14 utc | 107

If this is CIA (as it appears and seems obvious) - this is a sackable offence.

Get rid of that moll Gina Haspel forthwith.

Posted by: Julian | Jun 30 2020 3:31 utc | 108

Antonym #45

Why do they keep alienating Putin?

Because they insist on Russian complete capitulation, they will have nothing less than abject surrender to their plunder. Read the The Last Mhugal Emperer by William Dalrymple and you get the picture of the British and their lapdogs mendacity.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 30 2020 8:57 utc | 109

Yeah, Right #107

Thank you, that exactly the logical interpretation.

Poppies for palettes of greenbacks on choppers.

I bet they were exchanging the greenbacks for gold on the London Gold Exchange and it is ruffling feathers. I assume the Talibs are buying up big in Mayfair or Park Lane and the Saudis and Occupiers of Palestine are feeling insecure.

What if the Talibs started investing in Antifa :o

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 30 2020 9:21 utc | 110

@Tuyzenfloot #38 Wikipedia, the last time I looked, was still saying there was no evidence that JFK was not killed by "Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone".

Posted by: Gene Poole | Jun 30 2020 11:19 utc | 111

Yeah, Right @Jun30 2:14 #107

I think you solved the puzzle.



Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30 2020 11:32 utc | 112 | Jun 28 2020 15:22 utc | #74

The next thing you know those Russians will be training US police forces.

Posted by: Gene Poole | Jun 30 2020 11:41 utc | 113

@Piotr Berman | Jun 29 2020 14:11 utc | #92

Reading you one would think that allegations of the CIA funding itself using drug trafficking are the kind of fantasy one finds in Wikipedia:

or on US Justice Department Web sites:

Posted by: Gene Poole | Jun 30 2020 11:56 utc | 114

Gene Poole | Jun 30 2020 11:56 utc

Applying Occam principle is not easy, because of the temptation to add "interesting facts". I think we should focus on the initial statements with adding other facts, however interesting

1. A stash of USD is found. Is it very peculiar? Info about afghani exchange rate adds that "it can be different in the open market", so informal market in currencies exists. Given that, a putative agents bringing bounties could exchange currency themselves or leave it to the Afghan contact. Without convincing explanation, stash of USD is no more peculiar than stash of any other currency, including afghanis. Interim conclusion: this tidbit was added to create a "story", but does not make it more believable.

2. Some guys, "Taliban and criminals" (presumption of innocence, anyone?) were interrogated. They said something about the bounties. Missing details: anything identifying actual Russians -- duly reported in the article, we know no time, places, nothing. Can interrogated people answer with random nonsense? Yes. Was the info connected to other facts in Afghanistan, like a particular person that was killed? No.

3. Without knowing any particular Russians involved in the scheme, some folks concluded that this is the work of the same GRU unit that was involved in unsuccessful poisoning in England and Bulgaria. What connected activities in such distant places, with different methods? Nothing. Is it possible that someone who knows three dots, ramblings of interrogated people and murky events in distant Europe (were the victims really poisoned by Russians?), and some murky "GRU unit" only because they were already mentioned in "leaks"? Yes. Here I have a PERSONAL OPINION that this is pretty desperate or lazy method to create a story where there is none.

What else do we have in the story? Unnamed, unnumbered, not timed, members of armed forces and intelligence were convinced about Russian involvement, again, without any info about actual Russians. Can those people ramble incoherently like the interrogated people? Experts of sociology say: Yes. In the sample of 1000 interviews of members of US armed forces, 327 rambled incoherently, while in the sample of 537 members of two houses of American congress, 420 rambled incoherently. Entire symposia of Washington think tanks consist of incoherent rambling. I guess I started to ramble.


Now a question that was implicitly posed by some members of Congress: does this story have "any hints of credibility"?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 30 2020 13:16 utc | 115

@Piotr Berman | Jun 30 2020 13:16 utc | #115

In the end I believe that we're past the point - perhaps long past - where we can ask if there is any credibility. We need to keep in mind that the function of the narrative, and then of the coverage of reactions to it, is not to inform the public but to manufacture consent. The very fact that the story is discussed at all, and not its credibility, is what is important. And of course the more discussion and reaction there is, the more the narrative is reinforced, and its reinforcing itself is its secondary function.

Somewhere out there is a good piece on how the "intelligence community" realized very early on the importance of colonizing the press. It became an obsession for Hoover. But today it has gotten to the point where "journalism" seems to see its role as reinforcing the status quo - the status quo of course being domination of the planet by a single superpower. It is no longer about events, but about the narrative, as Caitlin Johnstone has pointed out many times.

Posted by: Gene Poole | Jun 30 2020 14:03 utc | 116

@115 Piotr Berman “What else do we have in the story?“

Well, heck, one thing we DON’T have is an uptick in the number of dead US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Which - considering the subject matter - reminds me more than a little of Sherlock Holmes observation regarding dogs that bark in the night.

Watson: I didn’t hear any dogs barking.
Holmes: Precisely, my dear Watson.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 30 2020 14:44 utc | 117

What short and defective memories "we" have:

U.S. has lost sight of cash from $70 billion sent to Afghanistan: Inspector General

It may come as little surprise that the U.S. cannot track all of the cash it has infused into Afghanistan after nearly 10 years of war and $70 billion in security and development projects. But a blistering audit released Wednesday found that untold amounts of American taxpayer dollars are vulnerable to winding up in the pockets of insurgents, and blames both countries for a dysfunctional tracking system.

This is just another chapter in the spooks' color revolution against Trump. They must still be thinking that Trump may win the election.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Jun 30 2020 15:28 utc | 118

I should point out that the above story is from 2011.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Jun 30 2020 15:30 utc | 119

"While some of his closest advisers, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have counseled more hawkish policies toward Russia,..."

Dems unite and fight behind John Bolton & Mike Pompeo! What could go wrong?

Posted by: lindaj | Jun 30 2020 15:42 utc | 120

Plausible explanation ... my uninformed opinion is at least as good as Petraeus's
in his review of the story (not raw intel) he says, 'interrogation of prisoners led to storehouse of cash QED'.

Let's assume that is what happened. Maybe these prisoners had a grudge against a rival Taliban faction and wanted us to hit them in the wallet, why not plant a story that would provoke a U.S. raid? By 2019 we were more interested in air strikes and less in manned attacks so they wanted to give us a really good incentive other than, 'there are a few more guys here in a secure compound'.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jun 30 2020 16:01 utc | 121

This obviously ridiculous NYT and WP story does not merit too much debate. I am prompted to write a couple of words because of the mention of journalistic standards (by b). Journalistic standards do not apply to this type of story, because that is not journalism. Just because this type of story is published in newspapers in order to look like it is journalism, does not make it so. This type of writing is pure warmongering; it is a means/tool/weapon placed in the public sphere as part of psychological warfare against the American people, and the rest of the people in this world, to drive and ensure policy outcomes preferred by a part of the US and allied ruling class.Nothing new there, in fact, boring, BUT, dangerous, because so many will want to believe it. Better worry about the Russian and Chinese boogeyman, than Corona that has killed more than 100,000 of your countrymen and continues to kill them, now, in real time, in real life.
Here's the thing - these so called journalists that write and publish this stuff are fundamentally dishonest and indecent people. I say that as a journalist. Why do they do it? Some are profoundly ignorant, some are simply callous and evil. It is as simple as that. In the US (but not only) there is an explosive mix of a poorly educated, ignorant population abused constantly by those they "elected" to "lead", and a large number of ignorant, dishonest and evil people who have journalistic jobs.It's a vampire ball over there in the US. Grotesque, and very, very dangerous, for us all. It does not have to be like that.

Posted by: JB | Jun 30 2020 16:44 utc | 122

@Piotr Berman | Jun 30 2020 13:16 utc | #115

In the end I believe that we're past the point - perhaps long past - where we can ask if there is any credibility.

Posted by: Gene Poole | Jun 30 2020 14:03 utc | 116

Ha ha. This is your and mine opinion. But some members of Congress are pontificating on that. A GOP-er from Texas voiced an opinion that a story about such a danger to "our servicemen" should be presented to President if it had any hint of credibility. White House claims that this is because it did not have any credibility. Democrats differ on that (those who opened their mouth, which is not all of them), GOP is a bit split. Actually, GOP would not mind dragging the debate a bit to show (a) their seriousness, they are card-carrying imperialists after all (b) Democrats are total idiots -- unlike GOP that (in this instance) is less idiotic.

Sometimes I think that Biden represents the average intellect of Democratic leadership as of now. After all, would Democrats win Senate and Presidency this fall, their committees would be swamped with money (from the swamp), they would get all those patronage positions, and they could even deliver some goods to the constituents, say, judges that resemble human beings, health care system patched to some functionality etc. And they could debate points that resonate with the middle-of-the-road voters while not alienating the left.

Another observation is that some part of educated public can be brainwashed more effectively than those less educated. A simple minded person would see nothing there and that would be that. But readers of "high-brow" NYT are a different story. And think-tankery apparatus is brainwashing congresscritters 24/7. Being educated, they can memorize this b...t, being "conventionally educated", they do not understand.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 30 2020 18:15 utc | 123

Applying Occam's principle usually works the wrong way
- whatever seems intuitive to me (low cognitive/reputation dissonance )satisfies occam's principle.
- proof is often little more than lack of imagination : because with my limited imagination i can see no other explanation so this must be true. Occam's razor then tends to block thinking so you stick with the one explanation you came up with.
There is such a thing as a sequence of adding hypothesis>question> additional explanation
but how to decide whether the additional explanation is just a new hypothesis to patch up the first one. But reality is complicated too and hard to capture in simple explanations.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 30 2020 19:51 utc | 124

Tuyzentfloot @Jun 19:51 @124

It's an Occam's Razor that is made myopic by laying a groundwork of suspicion and fear as well as coordinated messaging that creates implicitly appeal to authority (multiple media sources). An authority that has been secretly corrupted.

Presidential news conference just happened and a question was: will Trump take action if warranted. So the "authority" is elevated to every reporter in the room and the President's spokesperson. Naive application of Occam's Razor: the bounty story must be true!


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30 2020 20:22 utc | 125

I know that I explicitly use speculation when thinking about such a case , so I can question the certainty of a linkage.
Factors in this case
- how much tension is there: if there is an intense conflict going on then these things are fairly normal. If you are in a war don't whine that the other is trying to kill you
- how messy/noisy are things: conflicts can be chaotic and Afghanistan is a noisy situation, worse than 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend or at least, tolerated'. An american base A may be paying off an afghan group B to keep them off their back and these are using the money to attack another american base C. American base A is paying group D who helps them and D pays off B for protection or other services, while B attacks A and C. These things can be expected to happen as part of the situatoin.
The Saudis have a reputation of losing track of why they are paying people.
- how large is the effect: assessing the principle vs assessing the amount. In a dirty situation the most crazy things happen, most of them little more than noise. Scott Ritter before the Iraq war focused on the amount of iraqi CW , not on the principle. James Risen made the mistake to focus on the principle of Russian involvement, not on the size of the effort. If you have a project and you want it to be effective then it is not the idea that counts. you have to throw resources at it. If you don't have the resources how do you think Putin would react if you come with a proposal?
- what is supposed to be the logic of the attacker? Is it just to display their bad faith? Why would the russians pay the Taliban, because they want to keep the americans or because they want them to leave? This is often hard because people's reasoning can go in all directions. Maybe the russians wanted to show the US that they could hurt them if they wanted? The idea that the Afghans needed bribing is silly, but rename bribing to funding and the idea is suddenly less silly.
- what is the logic of the guy complaining? That is usually the easiest one. If you are in a hot war and you want to deescalate then you don't go about highlighting the real things the enemy does. But you do if the purpose is pro war propaganda or escalation. If the complainer is in a position of power, that would be virtually always. The facts don't matter.

I think this is a case where the facts are secondary. The only thing that matters here is what are the complainers trying to achieve with their claim. And then you have to separate between the originators of the claim and those who amplify them all for their own reasons. Maybe it originated as internal Afghan claims , not directly aimed at Russia.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 30 2020 20:35 utc | 126


@124 I thought you were saying something about the gullibility of the public. But @126 you have coughed up a hairball that befuddles the entire matter.

Yeah, Right @Jun30 2:14 #107 has the most coherent explanation: CIA transacting with Taliban. And it satisfies Occams Razor for knowledgeable observers as it both explains inconsistencies in the reporting and aligns with suspected CIA drugs involvement.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30 2020 21:15 utc | 127

You think your authoritative tone makes your point more convincing Jackrabbit?
124 is about occam being counterproductive. I use 126 to see whether this case supports that we need to use operations opposite to occam: noisy situations allow for wild and complicated but true claims. Trying to make the situation simpler by applying occam does not help.
Speculation also complicates the hypothesis but is needed to adjust certainty.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 30 2020 21:36 utc | 128

Tuyzentfloot @Jun30 21:36 #128

Thanks for the clarification. I'm not trying to be difficult.

I applaud your investigation into how authoritative communications works - or rather works to the advantage of the establishment.

And I agree that people's natural thinking process is short-circuited.

Generally, people don't have the knowledge to understand how they are manipulated and instead of investigating further, they tend to place more trust in sources that are familiar to them and whose biases agree with them (even if they don't fully trust it).

If Mark Twain is correct:

"It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.

Then simply fooling the fooled might be one answer. But first, you have to get their attention (no small thing).


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30 2020 22:58 utc | 129

... we need to use operations opposite to occam: noisy situations allow for wild and complicated but true claims. Trying to make the situation simpler by applying occam does not help.
Speculation also complicates the hypothesis but is needed to adjust certainty.
Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 30 2020 21:36 utc | 128

I agree that a primitive use of Occam can be actually a misuse, after all, we should not postulate "unnecessary beings", but some beings absent in premises that we are explaining are necessary or useful. Scientific method deals with probabilities, noise in the data etc. One has to gouge reliability of evidence with some rough models.

The alleged starting point is a "large stash of USD". The amount is undisclosed, neither is time (in 2019?) and place (Afghanistan, mere 300,000 square miles). Is it unusual? Dependent on time and place, it may be unusual or not. Given that, how much information is in this statement (that would be minus logarithm of the probability)? We do not know, so it is zero information.

And so on. When we add information from all pieces of the revelation, we get 0+0+0. For example, a unit of GRU that "could be involved" was identified, the same as in a number of murky stories, AND basically the only unit that was ever postulated. Probability of that unit being identified is 1, minus logarithm is 0.

Ordinary people identify 0 information messages thinking "so what?". Combination are trickier. E.g. incomplete identifications, as it was identified that a Russian provided money for bounties, hence the stash, with no details allowing to identify the person. To me, it is suspicious, resembles many stories where someone explains something strange (like spouse suffering a fall from a bridge) by a bizarre action of a person that cannot be identified (usually police in such case restrains the freedom of the surviving spouse). Again, there could be details allowing to gouge the plausibility, but none were disclosed. So, sadly, 0 information.

Are there any uses of harping about the quantity of information? I think, yes. For example, you may discuss an event with someone who does not share your assumptions or common sense (like that one of the goals of intelligence agencies is to collect assorted garbage that can be used in information warfare). Or write a letter to "the editor". As a member of a smallish minority, you cannot rely on common sense when you communicate with the majority. TPTB try to create a cognitive ghetto for the opponents, and to a considerable extend they are successful. In the Age of Dinosaurs, mammals were small and they had to have more agile brains than the rulers of the Age, so we can be inspired by the example of our remote ancestors (they survived, dinosaurs did not).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 1 2020 0:13 utc | 130

Latest spin on this story is that Trump wasn't briefed because the NSA absolutely, positively, intransigently objected to the "analysis" that all the cash sloshing around Afghanistan represents the payments of a Russian Bounty to any Taliban willing topledge to Kill A Yankee For Uncle Vlad.

Not just wouldn't sign on to the nonsense.

Nope, the NSA insisted that the story was bulls**t and therefore must not be presented as the "consensus view" of the US IC.

I'm going to say it again: at the end of the day it will be revealed that the CIA is the *only* agency that is promoting this story, and it is doing so mainly to hide that all those cash payments to the Taliban came from them.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 1 2020 4:18 utc | 131

Re: Yeah, Right | Jul 1 2020 4:18 utc

If we are going to speculate and bet, I would bet on military intelligence. On the basis of Dilawar story, it is military that captures and interrogates people (or used to do it), and there were also opinions of military officers who felt the Russian hand behind the scene for a long time. Some sods, bored to death with an assignment where you cannot even relax in a bar or by having a round of golf, concocted a story [my fantasy here] making it as empty of evidence as possible, and making bets if somebody somewhere will show interest in it or not. The way documents circulate, military intelligence should have best access to "unfiltered" reports like >> Shepherd boys in Gulgulbulad threw feces at a patrolling squad. An interrogated boy mumbled something that could mean Russian in the local dialect of Pashto, the last thing he uttered before going totally catatonic. <<

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 1 2020 7:01 utc | 132

@132 Piotr Berman You appear to be ignoring the one fact that does appear to be uncontested i.e. that this story started because US occupation forces noticed that the Taliban are now rolling in cash. American cash. Dollar bills in numbers uncountable and, more to the point, unaccounted.

Even if we both speculate that the "Russian bounty" is nonsense, we still have to account for that fact i.e. where did that cash come from, and what did the Taliban have to do to earn it?

I'm speculating that they earnt it from the drug trade: the Taliban grew the poppies, the CIA handled distribution and sales.

What's your theory on that?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 1 2020 13:11 utc | 133

Three Glaring Problems with the Russian Taliban ‘Bounty’ Story

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jul 1 2020 14:23 utc | 134

The story got at least two updates.

First, that the bounty money was wired from a bank linked to GRU to an account linked to Taliban.

Second, the person in whose home the stash (ca. half a million dollars) was found travelled himself to Russia to get it, and he was described as a "small time drug dealer". "Everybody knows that over there serious drug dealers would not make transactions under 5 million dollars". In any case, we can rely on the famous Afghani sense of honor that whoever gave him money in Russia was not a drug importer but an intelligence agent. Unless he swore to his Russian contact upon Holy Quran that he will never tell his name.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 4 2020 4:18 utc | 136

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