Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 16, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-65

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

  • August 12 - 'Western' Media Falsely Claim That Russia's Covid-19 Vaccine Is Ready To Go
    The international part of the phase 3 trial of the Russian vaccine had already been announced. Now there is more on the Russian side of the phase 3 trial (machine translation):
    Post-registration studies of the Russian vaccine against the new type of coronavirus can begin in 7-10 days, reports TASS with reference to the director of the National Research Center (SIC) of Epidemiology and Microbiology named after N.F. Gamaleya of the Ministry of Health Alexander Gintsburg.

    Several tens of thousands of people will take part in the post-registration studies, Gunzburg noted. He added that research will be carried out on the territory of the Moscow region.

Other issues:


On July 13 we wrote:

Covid-19 - New Quick Tests Are Coming

> These kind of tests are comparable to quick pregnancy test. They are for use at home or at points of care for quick screening. The usual turn around time for such tests is some 15 minutes and they do not require special equipment.
[T]he advantage of the antigen tests is their simplicity, speed and the mass production costs of about one dollar. They can be integrated into normal life processes like international travel without causing long delays. That the tests have some false negatives does not matter much. Epidemiological modeling shows that when often used these are superior to other methods of epidemic surveillance. <

Now these tests are finally there:

FDA clears saliva test for Covid-19, opening door to wider testing - STAT
Quick and affordable saliva-based COVID-19 test developed by Yale scientists receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization - Yale News
Cheap, frequent COVID tests could be ‘akin to vaccine,’ professor says - Harvard Gazette

Faltering empire:

Once upon a time people from outside the U.S. were very eager to get H-1B visas which allow one to work in the U.S. and to maybe become a citizen. There were even profitable scam sites which promised their customers that they could get preferential access to such visas. Those times are gone:
Shocking no one, not enough foreigners applied for H-1B visas this year so US govt ran a second lottery - The Register
Watching mushroom clouds from the beach in LA. Apocalypse...maybe not now, but soon! - Yasha Levine

> We’re living on the edge of a slow-moving apocalypse — surrounded by pristine beaches, multi-million dollar homes, homeless encampments, and a slow-burning pandemic. But that’s the Los Angeles way. Just pretend the world beyond your lawn doesn’t really exist — or, if does exist, it’s all the fault of some malicious foreign power. 

I’m sure buying that extra Tesla will get us out of this. That, and using unredeemable prison labor to fight fires. And of course bringing democracy to Belarus… <

Turkey in trouble:

Congress has secretly blocked US arms sales to Turkey for nearly two years - Defense News
Turkey slams Biden's past call for U.S. to back Erdogan opponents - Reuters
Foreigners Flee Turkish Stocks at Fastest Pace Since March 2019 - Bloomberg
Money for Nothing: currency crisis in Turkey - Yetkin Report

> Based on the numbers as of the end of July, the CBRT’s gross reserves were 90 billion USD. After we account for liabilities, net reserves decline to 26 billion USD. As we adjust for swaps, net reserves decline to -33 billion USD. <


Officials: US seizes Iranian gas heading for Venezuela - Al Jazeerah

> US officials tell AP Trump administration seized cargo of four tankers transporting Iranian fuel to Venezuela.
Iran's ambassador to Venezuela, Hojad Soltani, pushed back on what would appear a victory for the US sanctions campaign, saying on Thursday on Twitter that neither the ships nor their owners were Iranian. <

Tankers de-flagged for using Iranian sanctions-busting tactic - Lloyd's list

Four tankers among 16 discovered manipulating AIS to show a vessel is in one place while it is actually at another loading Iranian crude
Javad Zarif @JZarif - 14:02 UTC · Aug 15, 2020
"Pirates of the Caribbean" have their own judges and courts now.
Sadly for them, stolen booty wasn't Iran's. Fuel was sold F.O.B. Persian Gulf. Ship and flag weren't ours either.
Hollow, cheap propaganda doesn’t deflect from miserable failure of US diplomatic malpractice at UN.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on August 16, 2020 at 12:31 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

Russia proposed a virtual summit to discuss the Iran agreement and Trunp's "snapback". The proposal was supported by China and Framce but Trump has stated that such a summit could only happen after November.

Here are the key points of Putin's proposal and the link.

- "Iran faces groundless accusations.”
- “Resolutions are being drafted (by Washington) with a view to dismantling decisions that had been unanimously adopted by the Security Council.”
- “Russia maintains its unwavering commitment to the JCPOA.”
Russia’s Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf Region (which Iran welcomed and US ignored) “outlines concrete and effective paths to unravelling the tangle of concerns” in Persian Gulf region.
- “There is no place for blackmail or dictate in this (Gulf) region, no matter the source. Unilateral approaches will not help bring about solutions.”
- "There is imperative need to build an inclusive security architecture in the Persian Gulf."

Pushing the Gulf Security issue is very timely given UAE's announcement last week. Could they be related? A little high level give and take? This 'security' is what lies behind the pragmatism that exists between Iran, UAE and Qatar despite often and publicly being on different sides.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 18 2020 11:04 utc | 201

Walter @ 157 -- You write pure gold as well, although I might read your words ".... thousands of years of becoming Chinese..." as ".... thousands of years of being Chinese..."

".... those intrepid leaders who brag about lying cheating and stealing.... must remind our Chinese brothers of bandits on the ancient road. They seen 'em come, and they seen 'em go..."
Another gem: a historical time scale measured by the thousands of years.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Aug 18 2020 11:47 utc | 202

Aaron Mate interviews Norman Eisen on Pushback for almost an hour about Trump's impeachment.
Mate is establishing a very significant component in his journalistic approach which he demonstrates how to argue his perspective with someone who is completely opposed to him. Eisen led the impeachment team, is extremely hawkish and openly calls for the Democrat version of imperial America. Mate is respectful but, as always, does not give an inch and is truly a master at pulling out the opponent's point and then attacking that point with hard facts.
Mate's format is a model for all of us in how to engage with others who oppose our position.

Posted by: migueljose | Aug 18 2020 11:50 utc | 203

karlof1 @ 160 -- "Has the USA at anytime in its history actually held the moral high ground?"
Never. Unless we believe in people who lie, steal, cheat, create alternate truths, create new realities while we are busy analysing the last reality they created.

psychohistorian @ 161 --"How long will humanity put up with.... "Don't do what we do, do what we say!"
Not too long more, in the historical time sense. The US, not the citizens, but the US as projected by the US leadership, has been an aberration, at least since FDR's time, a short period of loud self-promotion by a carnival barker about freedom, democracy, human rights, and that bald lie called Right To Protect, which is another name for Might Makes Right.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Aug 18 2020 12:08 utc | 204

Reuters is not my cup of tea but this is welcomed news...

"U.N. tribunal: no evidence Hezbollah leadership, Syrian government behind Hariri killing"

Posted by: notlurking | Aug 18 2020 12:09 utc | 205

Amen VK@175

Re: Craig Murray

"I think the difference between myself and many of my readers is that while we both recognise “western” government as plunder by the capitalist elite exploiting the working class and a fake democracy controlled by a media serving the elite, you and others seem to think that governments are a lot better just because they are anti-Western."

And I think you, Mr Murray, miss the whole point, sir, entirely. It has little if anything to do with thinking other governments are better because they are anti-western. I think what happens in other Sovereign Countries is no ones business but that of the folks there; something about that sovereignty thing and the UN Charter and all.

Respect that and act accordingly, seeking fair exchange in trade and general commerce, promoting mutual benefits for everyone instead of seeking subjugation and blatant "power over" exploitation; and let different folks have their different ways without the intentional stirring of chaos and bringing on harm and destruction in order to "win" at others expense and even of lives.

I do think that Western Governments like the UK and US, particularly, are really rotten in that respect: treating other sovereign nations as equal world community members seems to be beyond their abilities or willingness; so there is that.

Posted by: Fading Away | Aug 18 2020 12:26 utc | 206

Peter AU1 @197

I don't think the situation is that dire for China. Reuters is just cheerleading to keep the losing team's spirits up. Remember the famous fictional quote from Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto: "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." That particular giant is now in ICU on a ventilator made in China that in his dementia he wants to "decouple" from. That giant no longer has the capacity for "terrible resolve" except in its imagination. It is economically flat on its back on a gurney in the ICU being kept alive by printing fiat dollars to buy equities to artificially inflate the stock market in the mistaken belief that economy = stock market.

If you need a visceral gut-punch understanding of the impossibility of the old American giant regaining anything like "resolve", then sign up as a substitute teacher in any school district in the nation and spend some time hopping from school to school inspecting America's farm teams (full positive pressure hazmat suit recommended). You don't even need a degree these days since everyone qualified who can is running from the schools for their lives. Pay close attention to the empty eyes and slack and unresponsive faces of the inmates just listlessly passing their time in the classrooms. Note the slumped and slouched postures and the distant and unfocused gazes. Attempt to engage them in even the most trivial of discussion and observe the garbled and incoherent grunts and sniffs that are their best attempts at communication.

The condition of America's youth isn't something that just happened in one generation. This dissipation of soul and spirit has been going on for many decades. Even their heroes and role models are vapid and vacant, as if their goals in life are to become the most intellectually flaccid humans possible without relying upon a ventilator. Indeed, if they could get a machine to take over the boring and tedious labor of breathing without the discomfort of a ventilator they would jump to it without hesitation... or perhaps it is more accurate to say they will flop and sag in that general direction with their best approximation of enthusiasm, which is really nothing more than their eyes fluttering open and occasionally focusing on their goal.

But a giant really has been recently awakened and filled with resolve, and that giant makes the one of yore that Admiral Yamamoto feared look puny in comparison.

Americans like to fantasize that all we need is something to motivate us again and we will launch into another Manhattan Project, or Apollo Program, or suddenly have millions of Rosie the Riveters cranking out Liberty ships again. That is, quite simply, not even possible for America anymore. But China, on the other hand... that giant is awake now. We cannot even imagine at this point what the Chinese will be able to accomplish. A domestic chip industry leading the world is already a given, but spin-off technologies from their development push will head in directions we in the West have never even thought of.

As for China being behind in some aspects of chip fab, keep in mind that isn't because nobody in China understands the extreme ultraviolet lithography processes that are used for current cutting edge chips. That's just tech licensing issues. China never developed that manufacturing capacity before because it was simply cheaper to buy from Taiwan. In fact, some of those TSMC chip fab facilities are actually in mainland China! There are chips being made in China that presumably cannot be sold there due to Trumpian logic!

But that is just a temporary condition. The market couldn't prepare China for full chip independence (because it was cheaper to buy than to make them), so the Chinese government began investment in domestic production (because they are communists) some years ago. This means that much of the difficult part of developing that new productive capacity has already been done, with multiple organizations having been funded and established, initial talent recruited and teams built, and mapping out where they need to go. I have to admit that I do not know what their long pole tasks in their development effort currently are, but it is almost certain that the overall project can be significantly shortened by throwing more talent and money at it. In other words, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Huawei was manufacturing Kirin chips at a completely domestic 7nm fab facility, at least as a pilot project, by the end of this year.

It is wondering where China goes afterwards that fascinates me right now.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 18 2020 12:36 utc | 207

i really like aaron mate, he seems to be interested in finding the truth, and doesn't give the impression of being an egomaniac.
recent news story in some u.s. outlets morphed the claim about russians paying the taliban bounties to kill us soldiers into a claim that the iranians are paying bounties. same anonymous intel officials, per the usual.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Aug 18 2020 12:41 utc | 208

Fading Away @ 206 -- "Respect (other nations' sovereignty) and act accordingly, seeking fair exchange in trade and general commerce, promoting mutual benefits for everyone instead of seeking subjugation and blatant "power over" exploitation; and let different folks have their different ways without the intentional stirring of chaos and bringing on harm and destruction in order to "win" at others expense and even of lives. I do think that Western Governments like the UK and US, particularly, are really rotten in that respect...."

Thanks for putting in more polite words what I call the Western elite's craving to eat other peoples' lunches, including those of their hardworking deplorables, whom I have nothing against, being a kiwi deplorable myself.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Aug 18 2020 12:43 utc | 209

ref Hariri
That's new to me
"DNA evidence showed that the blast that killed Hariri was carried out by a male suicide bomber who was never identified."

And this is good news: "Prosecutors used cell phone records to argue the men on trial — Ayyash, Hassan Habib Merhi, Assad Hassan Sabra and Hussein Hassan Oneissi — carefully monitored Hariri’s movements in the months leading up to the attack to time it and to put forward a fake claim of responsibility as a diversion.

Court-appointed lawyers said there is no physical evidence linking the four to the crime and they should be acquitted."

but how does that confirm this statement of theirs:
"As an hours-long reading of the verdict got underway, judges said they were “satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt” that the evidence showed that Salim Jamil Ayyash possessed “one of six mobiles used by the assassination team.”"

Not that we live in a world where logic matters anymore....

Posted by: Mina | Aug 18 2020 12:57 utc | 210

William Gruff @ 207 -- "That particular giant is now in ICU on a ventilator made in China that in his dementia he wants to "decouple" from."

Yuppp, printing trillions of fake USDs, lending said "money to themselves (buying their own bonds is lending to themselves) is like a bankrupt writing more IOUs to get out of debt.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Aug 18 2020 13:19 utc | 211

Time to buy China’s smoking hot equities: China’s market is cheapest major bourse worldwide with Covid-beating low currency risk, strong GDP growth and robust profits

This article, obviously, is pay-walled.

David P. Goldman is one of those many "experts" in the USA who's fervently nationalist and doesn't lose any opportunity to feed the flames of WWIII if it means a possibility for a return to American supremacy.

Or, is he? Behind the curtains, he's telling his clients to buy Chinese.

The American elite is in full Jesus Christ mode right now: one narrative to the people, another one to his disciples.

Posted by: vk | Aug 18 2020 13:53 utc | 212

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 18 2020 12:36 utc | 207

Dissing China's current lack of capabilities is a Western MSM favorite pastime. Somehow they don't apply the same impossible standard treatment for other countries (e.g Superpowah India couldn't even make a price-competitive export screwdriver, much less an EUV lithography tool) or realize they will kiss their entire industrial base goodbye once China manages to manufacture everything they already can or even better.

Posted by: J W | Aug 18 2020 14:09 utc | 213

@ vk 213

Another proof that half 'American' billionaires are in bed with Mainland Chinese billionaires.

This is one of the main forces inside the West to go soft on PCC China: consequently they have to be tough on Russia or Iran because the Anglo MICCs needs an enemy - anybody- to keep their sales to other governments and subsidies from their own.

Posted by: Antonym | Aug 18 2020 14:23 utc | 214

A particular poster responding to VK@ 212 demonstrates lack of understanding in how capitalist markets work. Capitalists are not "in bed with" other capitalists, they are just trying to maximize profits. Capitalists will happily kill each other for profits. They will foul their own nests for a profit. Like parasites, they will destroy their host countries for profits.

China has capitalists, but unlike western countries capitalists do not rule China. China manages their capitalists, and culls them when necessary.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 18 2020 14:59 utc | 215

The Russian MSM is going full retard on Belarus. A complete shitshow. Some op-eds are even explicitly willing to give up Russian national security in exchange for the fall of Lukashenko on Western terms.

The Soviet journalists were one of the main classes to play the role for the sabotage of Gorbachev's government and one of the architects of the fall of the USSR. They are agents of liberalism inside Russia and the ex-Soviet Republics. They hope to repeat the dose now with Belarus.


You thought Guaidó was the endgame of color revolution imbecility? Behold the Belarus "coordination council":

Belarusian opposition plans to complete formation of coordination council on Tuesday

Only the clown is not enough this time, the Westerners are importing the whole circus.


@ Posted by: Antonym | Aug 18 2020 14:23 utc | 214

Well, what does the West want, then?

The USSR went full isolationist, and suffered incessant attacks from the West until it fell in 1991.

China is now going reverse-USSR, integrating, with good intentions, its economy with the West's. And the West is sill attacking China.

It seems to me the West will never leave the Third World alone. It is asking to be destroyed.

Posted by: vk | Aug 18 2020 15:07 utc | 216

Thanks for your interest, Australian lady. I'm aware this site is mostly for geopolitics, so I won't overburden the thread. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's is good policy here. Your two years in Turkey must have been exciting. I was sad but not perturbed that Hagia Sophia became a mosque again. My own home sanctuary is a better conduit for me these critical times. But I'll add the ancient Christian community in Iraq to your list of threatened communities.

I well remember Putin's accord with Erdogan when the large mosque in Moscow was dedicated. Much has happened since then. Thanks for your analysis @ 195.

Posted by: juliania | Aug 18 2020 15:15 utc | 217

@ juliania | Aug 18 2020 2:27 utc | 184.. thanks juliania.... i have always had more of a fascination with heraclitus or diogenes of sinop then aristotle or plato! my imagination hasn't been captured by aristotle who i always associated with a type of school of logic, or plato who i associate with long winded philosophy more... that is an interesting way that you associate the different approaches to reading the bible... i have always thought the bible a collection of stories, some which made it into the book and others that didn't based on the church fathers of the time, who lacked a real understanding of what was being shared... but that is just me.. most don't see it this way.. i think the message and ideas got corrupted fairly early.. but there is still a lot of value in it all regardless..

here is a saying from diogenes on plato - ' beg a cup of wine from plato and he will send you a whole jar.. he does not give as he is asked, nor answer as he is questioned.' he has quite a few quotes on plato, lol...

i think the idea that an idea can be understood a number of different ways is all i was really getting at, with the most literal a bit like a sledgehammer to knock others over the head with, verses a more sublime message that only those with ears could hear...

@ Australian lady | Aug 18 2020 1:33 utc | 179... that was an insightful post and and interesting speculation on your part.. thanks for sharing that.. i have nothing to add, other then that i enjoyed what you had to say there.... you could be right....

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2020 16:12 utc | 218

Even if unsuccessful at pushing Hezbollah out, a renewed civil war would severely disrupt Hezbollah operations. Maybe enough to allow Israel to conduct a nuclear strike on Iran's nuclear facilities? (Something USA can't do because Russia has warned them away.)
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 18 2020 0:16 utc | 177

JR, why, oh why does this leak into every conversation? I know you are not the ‘War with Iran’ crowd. You don’t seem to have thought this through, it seems.
What can be accomplished by such an attack?
Why do you need nukes to destroy Iran’s nuclear sites? Why not just regular ballistics?
What about the — real men — wanting to go to Tehran? Nuclear dust from such attacks would deter them, no?
Do you think Hezbollah is the only way that Iran can respond?
Do you think Israel can do anything without the empire’s permission? Also, US can be warned by Russia, but not Israel? Just doesn’t make sense.
Other than getting the war started, a war that will be fought on Iran’s turf — from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean — the pipsqueak, Israel, cannot get anything else out of this, and the end result would be “Jews to the sea.”
I keep saying this: there was a time when two countries sat between Israel and Iran. Now, due to the empire’s follies, Nutty has to run to daddy Putin and ask, please don’t let them [Iranians] come any closer than 40 miles (Katyusha range?) to our (no-existent) border (no link, I can find it if you insist)

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Aug 18 2020 16:30 utc | 219

Moving Closer?

"Chrystia Freeland to replace Bill Morneau as Trudeau's finance minister, reports say
According to several media reports, Chrystia Freeland will become Canada's next finance minister, the first woman to take on the role. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to make small adjustments to his cabinet on Tuesday after Bill Morneau stepped down on Monday."

Posted by: arby | Aug 18 2020 17:01 utc | 221

“Here we go again! US intelligence saying IRAN is paying bounties to kill Americans in Afghanistan is pure parody”

By Scott Ritter, author of SCORPION KING, previously referenced by our host, has this:

It was Russia in June, now it’s Tehran. Don’t US analysts understand that Taliban fighters really don’t need any more motivation to target American troops? This is simply politicized (un)intelligence that isn’t fooling anyone.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Aug 18 2020 17:46 utc | 222

@ Sakineh Bagoom | Aug 18 2020 17:46 utc | 222.. they had to recycle that story as it didn't get any traction with russia as scapegoat, so now onto iran! i am sure someone in usa intel is writing up another script for next month with the same boring ideas regurgitated...

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2020 18:46 utc | 223

@juliania | 217

"I well remember Putin's accord with Erdogan when the large mosque in Moscow was dedicated"

Are you talking about late Sept. 2015?
When Putin gathered EuroAsian and ME religious leaders of all faiths to the opening of the restored Mosque in central Moscow and in a barely veiled attack on Erdogan and his support of ISIL/ Muslim Brotherhood Jihadists humiliated him in front of everyone? You can probably still find a transcript of the speech.
Within weeks Russia was blowing sweet hell out of the Turkish convoys - which consisted of 100s of lorries every day to and from Syria - weapons to and stolen industrial goods and machinery/ oil from!!

Is that the accord you are referring to or have I misunderstood?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 18 2020 19:44 utc | 224

@juliania | 217 (found the speech)

"We see what is happening in the Middle East (this has been mentioned here today too), where terrorists from the so-called Islamic State are compromising a great world religion, compromising Islam, sowing hatred, killing people, including clergy, and barbarically destroying monuments of world culture. Their ideology is built on lies and blatant distortions of Islam.
They are trying to recruit followers here in Russia too. Russia’s Muslim leaders are bravely and fearlessly using their own influence to resist this extremist propaganda. I want to express my tremendous respect for these people who carry out their work heroically and have suffered losses. I have no doubt that they will continue to educate the faithful in the spirit of humanism, compassion and justice."

Read the last part 'our Muslims leaders' bearing in mind that Russia had banned Muslim Brotherhood from operating in Russia in the early 2000s. And it had closed Saudi sponsored religious centres at about the same time.

This speech is one of the key moments in the Syrian Conflict and one that the West is so desperate to forget that it is barely acknowledged. Within weeks Russia had entered the conflict. Within weeks airspace was closed to the ISIS Airforce - Turkish Air Force of course! And within months, Turkey had shot down a Russia jet and was about to see what a Russian 'pound of flesh' felt like - Russia leveraged Turkey's compliance in Syria for the next 3-4 years!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 18 2020 20:15 utc | 225

james @ 218, I enjoyed Plato more because the classes in which I studied philosophy were themselves discussions and that's what the Dialogues are. That's a good quote from Diogenes!

And on Scripture, I guess it would depend on what one considers sublime. I always loved the Old Testament stories, probably because I first had them as children's tales on a felt board, and in New Zealand those bible classes would often be held at the beach. Playing with camels and palm trees in the sand was a bit of fun!

On the Saturday of Easter weekend the Orthodox service begins by a reader going through each of the main ones, from Genesis to Daniel; they're just magnificent tales read in an ongoing salute like that. The crossing of the Red Sea, Jonah, the children in the fiery furnace... At noon begins the change of vestments from black to white, along with the bible open to the Acts of the Apostles, and anyone entering the church throughout the afternoon as it is being decorated for Easter night can read aloud from the open page. Easter begins just before midnight with a procession around the darkened church outside, pausing before the door...

It's a good word, sublime. That is a sublime feast.

Posted by: juliania | Aug 18 2020 20:31 utc | 226

Indeed, AtaBrit, it seems I was mistaken. I think at the time I was hoping that Erdogan's presence signified, as the account I read made it seem, that this was a friendly moment between the two. I am not sure this is the exact one, but here's what I could find in a search:

Vladimir Putin, concerned about the growing number of Russian-speaking citizens joining the ranks of the self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist group fighting in Syria and Iraq, on Wednesday painted jihadism as a distortion of Islamic values and the opening of the new mosque as a positive outlet for Russian Muslims.

"We see what is happening in the Middle East where terrorists from the so-called Islamic State group are compromising a great world religion, compromising Islam, in order to sow hate," he said at the site of the newly reopened Moscow Cathedral Mosque.

The speech, which was delivered just a day before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, also emphasized the mosque's role as a spiritual center for Russians. "It will be a source for education, spreading humanist ideas and the true values of Islam," Putin said.

Among those in attendance were Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was set to meet with Putin later that day to discuss the conflict in the Middle East and specifically in Syria. Concern has grown among world leaders regarding Russia's role in war-torn Syria, with the United States recently accusing Putin of sending troops and military equipment to his embattled ally, President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey, meanwhile, has been highly critical Assad during the country's civil war.

In addition to the estimated 2,000 Russian speakers who have traveled to the Middle East to fight alongside IS, Moscow has also been fighting an Islamic insurgency in the restless Caucusus region in the south.

The Moscow mosque was originally built in the early 1900s, and then demolished in 2011. The reconstruction, which cost $170 million (152 million euros), drew controversy after another mosque was demolished in order to make room for it. One of the largest mosques in Europe, it will be able to accomodate an estimated 10,000 people.

Did Erdogan feel insulted enough to give up on the scheduled meeting?

Posted by: juliania | Aug 18 2020 20:57 utc | 227

This is why I don't think Japan has successfully stifled the pandemic: they too only rely on pooled testing.

Pool testing has become worthless in areas of the U.S., in part because there are simply too many cases

Posted by: vk | Aug 18 2020 21:06 utc | 228

@juliania | 227
Sadly, but typically western coverage at the time was scant and cursory, at best.

But when you consider that the "as has been mentioned" point was referring directly to Erdogan's earlier speech; and that Putin had gathered regional leaders of all faiths and was clearly demonstrating what he considered to be the true 'spirit' of Islam while implying that Erdogan was the head of an abberation of Islam, there is no mistaking the intent.

What is interesting but not surprising however is that Russia's role is so thoroughly and intenionally 'overwritten' by the western media.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 18 2020 21:15 utc | 229

Thank you for taking me back to that speech, AtaBrit, but I am going to stand by my original comment. A bit of a hunt, but I did find that there was a photo of the two at their meeting after the speech, and indeed further hunting got me to this:

And apologies, I would concede an "apparent" before my statement of accord, but the speech itself I do not see as an insult outright since Erdogan is mentioned in warm thanks at the beginning of the speech for his contribution to the rebuilding of the mosque. I now remember that I watched the video of the speech back then, and for the time in which it took place I think accord was an adequate description. It's a lovely speech, and the mention in the paragraph you quote seems entirely appropriate, given the serious matter just beginning to be addressed in Syria. And wasn't this about the time when Erdogan had just escaped his own near assassination? Sorry if I got that mixed up, I could be wrong. So many 'ins' and 'outs'!

Posted by: juliania | Aug 18 2020 21:36 utc | 230

@ juliania | Aug 18 2020 20:31 utc | 226.. we are different and have travelled different paths to get where we are now.... and yet i notice the similarities in us as well! i like the gospels myself, matthew, john, luke and mark...

here are a few more quotes from diogenes of sinope on plato.. " plato's philosophy is an endless conversation." " plato winces when i tack dust across his rugs: he knows that i am walking on his vanity." .. i like this one the best today - " when plato said that if i'd gone to the sicilian court as i was invited, i wouldn't have to wash lettuce for a living, i replied that if he washed lettuce for a living he wouldn't have had to go to the sicilian court." !!!

we finished watching the 6 part smiley's people.. it is worth the watch!

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2020 21:55 utc | 231

William Gruff

Thank you for your sage and detailed commentary on China. I too wonder of their capacity and creativity. If the past few millennia are any indicator, then there is some hope for the world - as long a we dont screw the biosphere in the process.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 18 2020 23:21 utc | 232

On Hiroshima Day, I linked to an article by one H. Bruce Franklin that few had read or heard of despite his having published widely. A few days ago, CounterPunch published another of his essays, "August 12-22, 1945: Washington Starts the Korean and Vietnam Wars". Here's part of the lengthy introduction:

"Except for Seoul, most of southern Korea was agricultural, and most of the people were peasants working for a small class of large landowners. When the American military finally did arrive on September 8, they discovered two competing infrastructures in their occupation zone. One was a police state created by the Japanese occupiers, designed to protect the wealth and power of the large landowners and the mercantile elite in the cities and towns. The other consisted of hundreds of “People’s Committees” throughout the land, all part of the 'Korean People’s Republic' proclaimed in Seoul just prior to the U.S. arrival. Guess which side the United States chose. Thus very quickly the Japanese military occupation was replaced by a strikingly similar American one."

The secret CIA report from 1948 that follows ought to have informed Truman to let Koreans develop as Koreans. But as we know, that wasn't going to be allowed. But what was happening in Korea differed little from Greece, Italy, and most of Europe. The vision of the USA's leadership had turned 180 degrees from FDR and Wallace and now differed little from those forces just defeated.

Turns out, Mr. Franklin has his own website where you'll discover his 18 books cover quite the gamut of genres, Robert A. Heinlein: America as Science Fiction being one that I'm very curious about. The list of published articles is humbling and begins in 1955. This one's title sounds like it might be of more recent vintage, "Debt Peonage: The Highest Form of Imperialism?”, but it was published in Monthly Review in March 1982, which can be found here.

So, here we have yet another witness of history who recorded it and has written prolifically about it and other topics that seem to intersect. And his work's accessible, and we can still ask him questions about what he wrote. There always seems to be another voice that appears when you think all have spoken. I hope other barflies besides me will take the time to read and capture his insights. Someone who's perceptive enough to write The Wake of the Gods: Melville's Mythology ought to be heard when discussing the content of his latest work, Crash Course: From the Good War to the Forever War.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 18 2020 23:47 utc | 233

Excellent article about the geopolitical scenario of the early 21st Century. Highly recommend the read:

¿Cómo frenar a China? El ascenso de Beijing y las fracturas estratégicas en Estados Unidos

I agree with the author that Bill Clinton represented the "Belle Epoque" of the USA.

I also agree with the author that George W. Bush represents the "proto-Trump".

Posted by: vk | Aug 19 2020 1:08 utc | 234

I shall begin, james ---thanks!

Posted by: juliania | Aug 19 2020 1:14 utc | 235

Exclusive: Cai Xia, who has been expelled from the elite Central Party School, says president’s ‘unchecked power’ has made China ‘the enemy of the world’
Transcript: ‘He killed a party and a country’

Cai, who said she had wanted to leave the party since 2016 as the space for discussion within the party shrank dramatically, also blamed the country’s international problems on Xi.

Posted by: Antonym | Aug 19 2020 1:53 utc | 236

Posted by: vk | Aug 17 2020 23:43 utc | 175

I am disappointed, but not that surprised at Craig Murray's position. I find his position on this to be lets say, undiplomatic. I guess in a parallel universe where the government paid for BBC and the FCO carry the same weight as lets say the Syrian foreign service and their media SANA perhaps such shows of bravado would cancel each other out (ignoring outright bribery by the west). This in no way takes away the superior diplomatic service that Syria possesses when compared to the monkeys that FCO produces these days. The other nations standing up to the western hegemon aren't slouches either. I wont soon forget the Bolivian ambassador to the UN putting the USA in their place. No wonder Morales was ousted in a coup. Mr. Murray seems to be ignoring the elephant in the room. It has been a long time since western governments have represented their citizens properly. What has my countries MFA promoting a neo-Nazi government in Ukraine got to do with Canadian values? Oh silly me, it's all about my new minister of finance Ms. Freeland soon to be PM.

I'm personally outraged at my government actions to overthrow countries, backing fake Presidents having my Minister of Foreign Affairs parading around in Kiev. Perhaps if there was some balance, like say my ambassador to Occupied Palestine attending the demonstrations against Netanyahu or standing in solidarity with the Palestinians, but I dream.

There is also the problem of blowback or producing the opposite effect with an ambassador's presence at demonstrations. What point would it be for the Russian ambassador showing up at demonstration in the US? To give Racist Madcow a seizure? What if the ambassador of North Korea showed up at the demonstrations in Kiev to show support for the government? Would that be the right thing to do? Well, if he did show up at the Maidin in Kiev, I would have had a word of advice for him. When you see the ambassador for the US vacate the square, you should do likewise. The cookies have been handed out. The snipers are in place. Lights, camera action.

Perhaps it all comes down to Craig Murray fantasies of being Scotland's first ambassador to London so he can do more than a few victory laps around number 10 and if he is still alive and at Belmarsh demonstrate for the release of Julian Assange.

Posted by: Tom | Aug 19 2020 3:16 utc | 238

LMAO, can we have favorite ultranationalist Hindustan troll in here to enlighten us which country in this world doesn't have a significant political opposition? Like, starting from his own instead of taking lame tired potshots on CHHHHYYYYNA?

Posted by: J W | Aug 19 2020 3:52 utc | 239


Your favorite ultranationalist Hindustan troll is just a little peeved that his heroic Jawan ran like rabbits when the Chinese kicked them back over their side of the line and left their mates that had a few bumps and bruises to freeze in the Galwin creek.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 19 2020 4:41 utc | 240

China has capitalists, but unlike western countries capitalists do not rule China. China manages their capitalists, and culls them when necessary.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 18 2020 14:59 utc | 215

All of their 600+ Billionaires are members of the CCP. There are 100 Billionaires in parliament

The big capitalists in China are all in the party (only 6% of the population is a party member) . The party now owns all the valuable state assets, unlike in Maos day when the assets were owned by the people (admittedly not as valuable as today but they did not have trillions of dollars in Western investments and MFN then)

China is no different than US in many respects. Both have a 1 party authoritarian government. Chinese people have the illusion of socialism. American people have the illusion of a 2 party Democracy. Gross wealth inequality exists in both countries. Main difference is the US and West moved their industrialization to China while they focus on financialization, IP and agriculture. Both are partners in the Agenda 2030 project and coming Global Technocratic Government using COVID as the Triggering event , an event which they both helped plan.

Posted by: Kay Fabe | Aug 19 2020 6:06 utc | 241

Kay Fabe
Chinese dont have the illusion of socialism. They have socialism.
How many people have US pulled out of poverty in the last two decades?
How many people have india pulled out of poverty in the last two decades?

How many people has the whole f ing 'west' pulled out of poverty in the last two decades?

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 19 2020 6:22 utc | 242

@ Posted by: Kay Fabe | Aug 19 2020 6:06 utc | 241

You're adopting an institutionalist view of History. That's not how History works.

If I used your logic, I could claim - with equal validity - that it is the CCP that's using the billionaires to their own goal, not the reverse.

Posted by: vk | Aug 19 2020 11:15 utc | 243

This one's for Atabrit's endless love of the Greeks and dislike of the Turks, making out that the Greeks are just nice ordinary people and Turks are nasty and aggressive:

New images of Turkish ship reveals damage caused by collision with Greek frigate

Reported in a Greek newspaper of course. Essentially presented as great Greek victory against the Turks. When you actually look at the video, you see that the Turkish frigate passes in front of the Greek one. At the last moment the Greek captain realises that the Turkish ship is going to miss him, and so he accelerates, visibly accelerates, to make sure he rams the Turk. But, no, no, no, according to Atabrit, Greeks are not aggressive, although it was a deliberate unforced act of war. Anyway, as far as I understand it, this disputed area is south of Antalya, and far from any Greek territory. The Greeks hide behind the protection of the EU.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 19 2020 13:29 utc | 244

Below is the latest pronouncement from Pompeo about Iran snap-back provisions via Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is expecting to trigger snapback - a return of all U.S. sanctions on Iran - soon, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, after the U.N. Security Council rejected Washington’s bid to extend an arms embargo on the country.

To trigger a return of the sanctions, the United States will submit a complaint to the 15-member U.N. Security Council about Iran’s non-compliance with the nuclear deal, even though Washington quit the accord in 2018.

When are other nations going to laugh in the face of empire growing absurdity?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 19 2020 15:11 utc | 246

@(The ever delightful) Laguerre | 244

Mind pointing me to the comment where I make such comparison and draw such conclusions?

Why not address / respond to the comments I actually write? Are you unable to counter them?

I think you are projecting your own biases, honey.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 19 2020 15:25 utc | 247

@ (The ever delightful) Laguerre | 244

Just watched the video.
You really need to do better than that. )))

Keep searching the internet, because there are indeed many such videos asserting this that or the other. You'll notice I don't get into such squabbles because often the videos show nothing conclusive.
Good hunting. ))))

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 19 2020 15:34 utc | 248

@Sidney Caesar #38
QAnon is a scam.
A trio of wannabe Youtube celebrities that have struck gold.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 19 2020 15:54 utc | 249

@ADKC #58
Four seas is officially about linking, but in reality it is the insertion of a new choice in transport.
Today, we have 4: road, rail, sea and air.
There is a direct tradeoff between any of these vs. another in terms of speed, cost and to a lesser extent, capacity.
BRI aims to add a 5th: high speed rail. It would have cost closer to rail but would be much faster than sea. It could have the capacity of sea.
Strategically, BRI has always been about China not being vulnerable to interdiction at sea. Rail lines deep inland and guarded by batteries of missiles is potentially much more secure vs attack than lumbering freighters.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 19 2020 16:02 utc | 250

I highly suggest reading this excellent recap of the paradigm shift in Geoeconomics by Dilip Hiro that clearly shows Trump's fighting an uphill battle to try and compete with a dynamic China whose political-economic system is far more advanced and efficient than the Parasite governed Outlaw US Empire's Neoliberal degrowth engine. This statistical excerpt is a case in point:

"China also led the world in mobile payments with America in sixth place. In 2019, such transactions in China amounted to $80.5 trillion. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the authorities encouraged customers to use mobile payment, online payment, and barcode payment to avoid the risk of infection. The projected total for mobile payments: $111.1 trillion. The corresponding figures for the United States at $130 billion look puny by comparison."

Those last two sentences I bolded for emphasis for this reason--the velocity at which China's economy's running is 10X that of the Outlaw US Empire's!!!! Hiro's conclusion echoes what I've said in my own writings over the past 2 years of Trump's Trade War with China:

"Setting aside Washington’s belief in the inherent superiority of America, a future administration could stop hurling insults or trying to ban enviably successful Chinese tech firms and instead emulate the Chinese example by formulating and implementing a well-planned, long-term high-tech strategy. But as the Covid-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear, the very idea of planning is not a concept available to the 'very stable genius' presently in the White House."

So, I find it very amusing to read the desperate attempts to sow the Outlaw US Empire POV about China. I wrote what now seems eons ago that the only way for the Outlaw US Empire to compete with China was to join the entire BRI project, which meant changing from Zero-sum to Win-Win. That opportunity can still be embraced, but a complete reversal in thinking must occur. But as the promotion of the turncoat Cai Xia shows, there's absolutely no room for enlightened thought within the Outlaw US Empire as every minute China continues to pull ahead while all that's produced is further China bashing while bemoaning the further falling behind. The Parasite Neoliberals cannot ever admit defeat even as they sink deeper into the abyss of their own design.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 19 2020 16:31 utc | 251

The attempt to hold a videoconference between the UNSC-5+Iran and Germany has failed due to Trump's refusal. But as Peskov noted, that doesn't mean the end of dialog over the JCPOA between all but the Outlaw US Empire; that will certainly continue. Also the attempt to deploy the "snapback" sanctions cannot succeed since the Outlaw US Empire is no longer party to the treaty and thus cannot implement something where it lacks standing--an easy to understand point of logic that apparently cannot be fathomed by Pompeo or Trump.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 19 2020 17:03 utc | 252

Belarus + Ukraine.

Aug. 16, 2020, Red Star Over Donbass blog. Quote:

Belarus oppostion copies Ukrainian reform package in appeal to Western capital.

Supporters of Belarus ‘Resuscitation Reform Package’ proposed to carry out privatization to attract transnational corporations.

Curiously, it is a copy of the Ukrainian project of the same name, which appeared after the Maidan events in 2014. 

see site for the links. In Eng and Russian.

Why strech your brains or waste time to write something when the copy-pasta will do?

Yet, it is a sign that Color Revolutions are getting old, as too repetitive, not creative, sort of ersatz moves to get locals on board with getting some dollaris, top local 'corrupt' type positions, lucrative shadowy contracts (Afgh. opium for ex.) from the USA-USA, rah rah, and then what?

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 19 2020 17:30 utc | 253

karlof1 | Aug 18 2020 23:47 utc | 233 Thanks for the Franklin materials.

Posted by: Walter | Aug 19 2020 17:43 utc | 254

Yesterday a very important event happened: S&P 500 reached record highs.

As the Chinese already know, this episode may have revealed the true reason behind Trump's persecution of TikTok and Huawei:

US tech decoupling hides restructuring push

Sic transit gloria mundi: the industrial titans of yesterday are the used condoms of today.

As for the American people: meet your new Pantheon - Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook.


Last afternoon, it was noticed in Russian media (TASS) that Putin had talked with Merkel et al and put it plainly that foreign intervention in Belarus is unacceptable.

Almost instantly, the tone of the Russian MSM changed. Two op-eds in a row from RT are now pro-Lukashenko. Sputniknews has also toned down. Pravda and Kommersant idem, and are now publishing articles pondering on the disadvantages of ousting Lukashenko.

My guess is the initial propaganda charge against Lukashenko was an orchestrated operation, aimed to give Lukashenko a "fair warning". After Lukashenko smarted up and talked about establishing the Union State, the Russian government begun to put the due diplomatic processes in motion to ensure Belarus' stability. Then came Putin's warning to Merkel. Then the Russian MSM smarted up.

But there's an even more interesting movement here: it seems TASS (and Ria?) were the first to moderate their editorial tone on Lukashenko, still a couple of days before "Putin's warning". Then the rest followed. The pattern here seems to be that the media closer to the government had the most realistic assessment of the situation in relation to the privately owned/tabloid media. This makes TASS and maybe Ria more trustworthy than the RT, Sputniknews, Pravda and the Kommersant.

Posted by: vk | Aug 19 2020 18:03 utc | 255

Walter @254--

You're very welcome! I did some further digging around via a Yandex search using H. Bruce Franklin and came up with quite a trove. I found his review for The Nation of the 2003 remake of The Quiet American entitled "Our Man in Saigon", which explores untold history. After reading, now I need to watch the film as Franklin seems to suggest doing so. Another bit is this 1972 NY Times article about his fight with Stanford over his tenure, which shows the Times once wrote good articles and tells us quite a bit about Franklin. I've discovered that some of his articles do exist online despite the lack of a link at his website. "Star Trek in the Vietnam Era" being one and as Spock would say is Fascinating.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 19 2020 19:11 utc | 256

vk 255

I only check Tass now for the Russian news or the Russian version of world news. Sputnik and RT too much like tabloids printing what amounts to junk at times.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 19 2020 19:30 utc | 257

Yet, it is a sign that Color Revolutions are getting old, as too repetitive, not creative, sort of ersatz moves to get locals on board with getting some dollaris, top local 'corrupt' type positions, lucrative shadowy contracts (Afgh. opium for ex.) from the USA-USA, rah rah, and then what?

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 19 2020 17:30 utc | 253

The problem is that the recipe works practically every time. The western populace is saturated with ethno-supremacist notions, heavily washed with pseudo-liberal "values", and every regime-change operation meats with approval from large segments of the citizenry. This is particularly true in the Anglo-sphere, especially the US, irrespective of one's party affiliation.

Further, in the case of Belarus, the regime-change propaganda taps into the inferiority complexes of the targeted east European population and the neo-Hitlerite Russophobia that permeates the discourse in the Anglo-sphere. There has been extensive work already on many citizens of Belarus and the Anglo-American empire that has left a great many people with their brains washed and bleached.

In short, the problem is the abject failure of the Russian leadership to make clear to the so called "western partners" that they have crossed red lines and enter the realm of war.

Posted by: Constantine | Aug 19 2020 21:56 utc | 258

Posted by: vk | Aug 19 2020 18:03 utc | 255

Good piece of research on the Russian media, vk. It remains to be seen if the RUssian reaction to the disaster that unfolds is reduced to "disconcert" on the policy of the "western partners".

Posted by: Constantine | Aug 19 2020 22:00 utc | 259

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 19 2020 16:31 utc | 251

the promotion of the turncoat Cai Xia shows

From what I gather from Chinese media, she said China is doomed in 5 years under Xi without a regime change, yet she has no qualms staying on taking CPC's money until she was fired by the party.

So yeah, I wonder why a traitorous parasite is facing so much opposition.

Posted by: J W | Aug 20 2020 2:13 utc | 260

William Gruff @ 215 -- "China has capitalists, but unlike western countries capitalists do not rule China. China manages their capitalists, and culls them when necessary."
Excellent observation. Unlike the West's leadership, who, by and large, serve the bankocracy, the CCP -- by and large -- serves the Chinese people.

uncle tungsten @ 232 -- Back in 1992, I was taking tourist-type photos in Beijing, with my digital camera, which at that time, was cutting-edge Japanese technology. Youth would ask what my new toy was: they had never seen one before. Fast forward a generation, 3 decades, and they are building GPS and 5G systems, sending satellites to Mars. What will they do in another 3 decades? Just as Japan gave us the walkman, pacman, anime, sushi, etc, so China will surely give the world new things.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Aug 20 2020 8:33 utc | 261

Peter AU1 | Aug 17 2020 2:11 utc | 96

That pic of ballistic steel. Does that have a coating of some kind?

Yes it does as the advert says:

AR500 Armor Level III Body backpack Armor is manufactured from an extremely rugged ballistic grade steel core and coated with our PAXCON (a division of Line-X) spall and fragmentation protective coating. Our ballistic steel plate is unmatched in the industry and is formulated and treated specifically to our specifications for improved consistency, durability, and then tested to NIJ standards. Our ballistic plate core is stress fracture resistant, features an ultra-low profile of only .25", and is designed to handle extreme abuse in day to day use, training, and less than ideal storage conditions. AR500 Armor body armor will outlast alternative armor solutions such as Ceramic, Dyneema, UHMWPE, and raw/uncoated steel trauma plates.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Aug 22 2020 20:06 utc | 262

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