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December 29, 2020

Open Thread 2020-103

News & views ...

Posted by b on December 29, 2020 at 18:55 UTC | Permalink

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Here is part 2 from the distinguished former Australian diplomat and public servant:

https://johnmenadue.com/the-dangerous-and-erratic-ally-that-offers-us-protection-an-updated-repost-part-2-of-2/

Posted by: Paul | Dec 29 2020 19:28 utc | 1

this is huge (reposting): https://swprs.org/russian-hacking-nato-psyop-revealed/

"In early November, however, British researcher David J. Blake essentially solved the “Russian hacking” psyop, down to the operational level, as described in his new book “Loaded for Guccifer 2.0”."

Posted by: Elon | Dec 29 2020 19:33 utc | 2

I would be interested to have b's take on the Navalny saga and the now infamous phone call with Kudryatsev (or whoever was at the other end of the line).

I must say I have been at first deeply shocked by the level of detail and the apparent depth of bellingcat's and Navalny's investigation. The effort they have put into this does seem to be massive, and it's not easy to brush it away when they trot out name after name of supposed FSB agents. A few weeks ago I gave the Navalny story at most 1% chance of being true, now I have been seriously swayed - even though the whole thing looks so ridiculous I sometimes wonder if I have not been inadvertently dropped into some kind of strange alternate reality.

Since then I have had more time to settle down and read alternative takes, like the one from Mark Chapman at the Kremlin stooge. They raise good counterpoints, starting with the obvious ; it's absolutely inconceivable that a supposed FSB agent would talk over an unsecured line to a perfect stranger with a made-up name - Maxim Ustinov - about an event from three months ago, which should have been by then thoroughly debriefed. On top of that, Navalny called about 20 other FSB guys in the days prior, which by then should have set everyone on alert. To think that this Kudryatsev guy would ignore all this and just spill over all the details of a highly sensitive operation is mindblowing - or everything we think we know about the FSB is wrong and these guys wouldn't be able to find their own ass with both hands and a searchlight. This is all the more ironic as at the same time we are told that the Russians just did the hack of the century with Solarwinds, running circles around all the best US cybersecurity experts.

However the issue is that those are only conjectures. It *may* be possible that if you call an FSB agent from a spoofed land line, and if you are just forceful enough, he will prefer talking than hanging up on a superior. More serious counterarguments are lacking ; for instance it should be easy for Russia to prove the callee was someone else, or that Kudryatsev doesn't work for the FSB. Instead, we have only see silence and fairly weak replies from the likes of Peskov.

This is all the more surprising as this phone call is no less than the third version of Navalny's poisoning I have heard of. In the beginning he was supposed to have been poisoned by tea at the airport. Then his crew stormed his hotel room and claimed to have found novichok on a water bottle - water bottle which was brought to Germany by Maria Pevchikh and then disappeared from radar. And now this underpants story, which was surprisingly announced two weeks ago via an article in the Daily Mail, whereas Navalny's call happened a few days ago. Let's not forget also the utter implausibility of the novichok itself, which I always found laughable.

So what to believe ? In Russia proper, the event has not really made a splash. Sure it's been talked about, but more as a funny or interesting item in the "weird news" category than some sort of regime-toppling event, as some hilarious reddit threads would like to believe. Maybe that's the Kremlin's calculus, not wanting to give them any extra publicity rather than take the time to debunk it thoroughly ? Or is Kudryatsev the real deal, and has the FSB really sunk so low ?

Posted by: Micron | Dec 29 2020 19:54 utc | 3

@ 2 elon.. it isn't huge, but thanks for sharing it either way... it is going over the same stuff we have gone over at moa since day one with all of this.. cheers..

@ 3 micron... read elons link @ 2 and look to the bottom in the comments on elliot higgins - the bellingcat bullshitter... this dipshit works for m16 and the cia, as does navalny... what part of this is hard for simple people to understand?? it is an ongoing psyc ops game of cat and mouse... like i said previously - the uk ought to stick to writing monty python skits and skip with this stuff..underpants and etc. etc.. the uk has become a real joke on this level and that is obvious to most anyone at this point.

Posted by: james | Dec 29 2020 20:16 utc | 4

Paul | Dec 29 2020 19:28 utc | 1

The Aussies and the US are in the process of being outmanoeuvred by the Chinese,
who are in the throes of setting up a major deep water LNG naval base at Daru in Papua New Guinea (PNG.) This is very close to the Aussie demarcation line (Which itself goes extremely close to the coast at Daru, probabaly to put possible underwater gas fields inside Aus territorial waters).

Daru is interesting because a planned gas pipeline is also going to join the (southern?) Highlands and the town, or at least the island on which it sits.

Of course Daru also opens up the Fly river territory.

My wife and I were once going to emigrate to Aus, but on the third visit to Brisbane it had already become Americanised and the "laid-back" period had visibly finished. All we could see were stressed Ozzies running to work. This was many moons ago, so the US'ification is not new.

Posted by: Stonebird | Dec 29 2020 20:17 utc | 5

Russian scientists suspected of 'doomsday weapons' project involving deadly Ebola virus

A shadowy unit of Moscow’s domestic FSB spy agency linked to the Alexei Navalny novichok attack is suspected of being behind the secret plans involving deadly viruses

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/russian-scientists-suspected-doomsday-weapons-23226721

Posted by: Francis | Dec 29 2020 20:18 utc | 6

another dipshit story from the uk... that is all they have! they really need to stick to humour.. they don't do anything else very well..

Posted by: james | Dec 29 2020 20:20 utc | 7

More strangeness regarding the Christmas morning downtown Nashville explosion:

"Witnesses report hearing gunshots, warning before vehicle explosion in downtown Nashville"

Here is a *very* interesting 8.5 min audio clip from a December 25 NewsChannel 5 local TV report, of a woman who according to her statements, lives with four of her family members in a 3rd floor apartment at 166 2nd Ave. N. (above the Rodizio Grill brazilian steakhouse and Melting Pot bistros, on the east side of the one-way northbound street at that point).

The alleged "Lee RV Oswald" white camper-bomb was parked directly across the street (on the west side [near entrance to old Bell South building, w/ surveillance cameras trained on the bldg entrance, per the woman] of 2nd Ave. N; the RV was facing north in direction of traffic flow on the one-way street) and plainly visible/audible from the vantage of the woman's 3rd story apt windows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iag6cTWpgq8&t=25s

Google map shows the location of woman's apartment and walking distance in relation to the Sungard data center and cloud services Nashville office I had cited above ( @ gm | Dec 29 2020 2:55 utc | 139/ [OT 2020-102] post).

Walking distance is ~3 minutes; distance as the Hellfir-err...crow flies, is approximately *150 meters*.

Could the camper-bomb (possibly triggered by a precision hellfire type strike on an
AN or ANFO laden RV?) have been a diversionary ruse to draw police attention away from some other actual target of the Dec 25 Nashville event?

Posted by: gm | Dec 29 2020 20:21 utc | 8

I forgot to mention that the Chinese will command access to and from East Aus. to the West and the multiple shipping lines that use the channel.

It does bring up an idle thought - the Chinese are buiding a lot of aircraft carriers. These are not going to be confined to Chinese coastal waters. They MUST be used for "power projection", similar to the US. They may also try to build a series of "bases" (like Djibouti) that give them a lead in the Pacific. Daru, - Rabaul to follow?

Posted by: Stonebird | Dec 29 2020 20:23 utc | 9

Micron @ 3:

I should think when you read anything that involves Bellingcat as a source of information or being involved in an investigation, you should always be on guard for lying and obfuscation.

Where and how did Bellingcat, Der Spiegel, CNN and one other media outlet obtain the metadata and personal details of FSB employees? Bellingcat et al apparently paid cryptocurrency for this information obtained from phone databases. Who were the people who sold them this information and how did they obtain it? Who has such capabilities to obtain such information?

Bellingcat can no longer be regarded as a citizen journalist outfit relying solely on open sources; since 2018 at least, when it "exposed" the identities of two Russian tourists who were in Salusbury at the time Sergei and Julia Skripal were "poisoned", Bellingcat has been a puppet outlet for intel agencies.

John Helmer / Dances With Bears has a post stating that 31 hours after Alexei Navalny was admitted to hospital in Omsk, a German air ambulance crew was at the hospital and a German doctor was by Navalny's bedside. The FSB had just a day and seven hours to attempt a second murder durimg which time Navalny must have been in intensive care and intubated.

It is possible also that the person Navalny spoke to was an actor. The personal identity details, the particular sounds and intonation of the real Kudryavtsev, and metadata from K's past phone conversation transactions were needed (and perhaps stolen, then sold to Bellingcat and others) to stage a stunt that would fool most police investigators.

This stunt has had real, potentially tragic consequences, in that a follower of Navalny's, Lyubov Sobol invaded the apartment (under false pretence, with people illegally dressed in government uniforms) where Kudryavtsev's mother-in-law lives and filmed parts of the apartment. The mother-in-law has had to go into protection. Sobol was arrested but seems to have got off lightly.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 29 2020 20:29 utc | 10

Francis | Dec 29 2020 20:18 utc | 6

It is quite possible that a "source" will have to be named for the upcoming NEW'PlAGUE, that according to the WEF and Schwab will be necessary to eliminate one or two billion people. (over-population) So "Russia, Russia, Russia," is only to be expected. They have to set the stage beforehand, don't they?

It could give us an idea about the characteristics that a new'plague might have.

Posted by: Stonebird | Dec 29 2020 20:35 utc | 11

Original link found on: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com

Lynn Fries of GPE Newsdocs sat down with Michael Hudson to discuss the Covid-19 economy. Hudson describes how our present form of capitalism has distorted the role of government and how that is increasing general and Covid-related misery.

https://youtu.be/TQZkBkAIFfw

Posted by: Idiocrates | Dec 29 2020 20:42 utc | 12

@james | Dec 29 2020 20:16 utc | 4

Completely agree...

I have stopped paying attention to the Navalny saga about 5 minutes after it became news. I mean, why waste ANY time on it? Better go outside for a walk (if you can), read a book or drink some whiskey...whatever...

Posted by: Idiocrates | Dec 29 2020 20:46 utc | 13

The disgraceful farce in the USAi: holding a defense appropriation bill hostage to get a $2000 support for the people by driving a 'force the vote' concession out of the vile Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell is not saying if he will even put the vote on the agenda for a debate! Perhaps he knows that there are sufficient Republican supporters of the vote for $2000 that it will pass and he will be done for.

The military won't starve or be chucked out of their 'forts' for want of this vote. The people will continue to suffer and many will be chucked out of their homes if the $2000 vote is lost or not even put to the vote. As Bernie Sanders once advocated:- $2000 a month for every person until the pandemic ends. Now THAT is a worthy proposition.

It would be liberating to see Mitch chucked out of the Senate in his runoff election. He should drag Rand Paul out with him. The terror these people have for anything socialist inclined is enough to convince anyone that they have lost their minds to the indoctrination of the private finance capitalist oligarchy. They are not fit to serve and neither are the equally indoctrinated Democrats.

If they force the vote against Mitch McConnell then Nancy Pelosi is in danger from the pressure for a Medicare for All debate. Those are the stakes and now Pelosi is swept along in the current.

It is Good to see the glass bell fracturing.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 29 2020 21:08 utc | 14

@ Micron | Dec 29 2020 19:54 utc | 3

Check out Aaron Mate's expose on Belingcat
https://thegrayzone.com/2020/12/27/navalny-poisoning-cia-mi6-discredited-state-funded-bellingcat-play-key-role-in-accusing-russia/

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Dec 29 2020 21:19 utc | 15

@gm | Dec 29 2020 20:21 utc | 8

Speculation here is that it was a propane bomb, as in about 30 outdoor grill propane canisters.

Posted by: pokums | Dec 29 2020 21:23 utc | 16

james@7
You are being optimistic. My guess, based on years of reading this sort of guff, is that the story is a form of projection. In other words: the US and UK are seriously entertaining the possibility of using just such a biological attack on China, Russia or Iran themselves.
After all is there really much difference, morally, between such an attack and current policies which involve depriving civilians living in countries with governments unapproved by NATO of medicines, food and vital necessities?
It was the UK, after all which, to considerable US applause, set out to win the war in 1914 by starving Germany's civilian population. And then there are the well documented, if officially denied, stories of US biological warfare in China and Korea as well as, more recently, Cuba.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 29 2020 21:50 utc | 17

@4 james: you didn't get it. read it again. huge new revelations, first time ever hard proof at the technical level.

Posted by: Elon | Dec 29 2020 21:51 utc | 18

China is not the reason why the US’ ‘luck’ is running out

--//--

Wuhan to release information on emergencies within 5 hrs, reserve 20,000 beds for infectious diseases in post-epidemic era

With the pandemic defeated, Wuhan perfects its emergency system on the lessons learned.

--//--

West fools and ruthlessly exploits so-called ‘citizen journalist’ Zhang Zhan

The question we should all ask ourselves is: what will the Western peoples do with this lie? Will they enlist en masse for an all-out war against China? Will they press the nuclear buttons?

--//--

Russia hopes Putin is 1st leader to visit China when pandemic subdued: Ambassador

I don't expect Putin to give up his Occidentalist roots. But I expect him to govern for the well-being of the Russian people and nation.

Do the right thing, Mr. Putin, gravitate east.

--//--

China Forces Drugmakers to Slash Prices 51% to Get on Insurance List

Disaster capitalism, meet your foe: disaster socialism.

There are a lot of obstacles in the long path, but China is steadily and inexorably marching towards a public universal healthcare system.

Posted by: vk | Dec 29 2020 23:38 utc | 19

james #4

Right on. The mention of Bellingcat or blundercat as it is known in the trade renders the entire story to be a fantasy based on a convoluted low tech lie.

Elliot Higgins couldn't lie straight in bed. When will they stop paying this twit for drivel.

Thanks to Nathan Mulcahy for the debunk link at grayzone.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 29 2020 23:45 utc | 20

New Labour's lord and saviour, sir Keir Starmer, reveals himself completely impotent against Brexit:

Labour will not seek major changes to UK’s relationship with EU – Keir Starmer

Feeling the heat from his backbenchers for the first time, he came out with this ridiculous policy:

Labour will make a clean break from its divisions over Europe and will not seek major changes to the UK’s relationship with the EU, Keir Starmer has told the Guardian, vowing to shift Labour’s focus to “Britain in the 2030s” rather than the battles of 2016.

Evoking Tony Blair’s election slogan of “forward not back” on the eve of the vote on the post-Brexit trade deal, Starmer said he wanted to lead a party that was focused on the future – saying it was unlikely Europe would even feature on his party’s election leaflets.

That's the problem with artificially fabricated leaders: they're just the husk. No real power at all.

Posted by: vk | Dec 30 2020 0:05 utc | 21

@ pokums | Dec 29 2020 21:23 utc | 16

Not likely to be propane based according to this local Nashville news source:

https://youtu.be/ZxKB8YHLGwg?t=117 (they say low-grade explosive indications according to experts they talked with.)

Dark (reddish-orange-yellow smoke indicates N (nitrogen-based) agents =>formation of gaseous (reddish color) nitrogen oxides.

Propane (ie hydrocarbon fuel-air explosive mixes) => colorless or white (water vapor based) smoke. Propane gas [denser than air] based fuel-air bombs in an unconfined space are tricky and require careful timing of *two* charges: The first to blast the liquid propane into an atomized cloud that mixes to proper explosive concentration with [the oxygen in] air, followed by a second igniting charge(s) to ignite the suspended propane-air mix 'cloud' evenly, before the propane can settle out and separate from the lighter air.

Posted by: gm | Dec 30 2020 0:43 utc | 22

and this was necessary because?

Posted by: George | Dec 30 2020 0:47 utc | 23

China and EU poised to sign long-delayed investment deal ...
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/29/china-and-eu-poised-to-sign-long-delayed-investment-deal

Posted by: Nick | Dec 30 2020 1:07 utc | 24

@18 Elon

You could do us all a favor by creating a brief paragraph summarizing what's in the article - rather than offering cliffhanger-sensationalist invitations to discover for ourselves, from scratch, what's in it.

This way people will know if they want to click through to read it, as well as getting a better sense of who you are. Currently, james rates extremely highly, in my book at least, for parsing material and presenting pithy and trustworthy comments regarding same - so, absent a summary from you, people are probably going to skip your offering, which would be a shame.

Thanks in advance...

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 30 2020 1:09 utc | 25

@Grieved | Dec 30 2020 1:09 utc | 25

It was a quick, pretty well written article. Here it is again:

https://swprs.org/russian-hacking-nato-psyop-revealed/

Posted by: gm | Dec 30 2020 1:17 utc | 26

PS: Elon's link was from his post 153 in the last open thead 2020-102, which seemed to get frozen for a while earlier in the day.

Posted by: gm | Dec 30 2020 1:26 utc | 27

@26 gm

But what does it say? Do I have to read it and make a summary here so others can know what it means? I speak as an outsider with this material, and you seem to be an insider.

Can you spare a hint?

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 30 2020 1:33 utc | 28

I actually came back to share a news item that may be old news here by now - it's from mid-December. Samantha Power is to be the new head of USAID. Black Agenda Report has a story on this:

The Planet’s Problem from Hell: Samantha Power

"As head of USAID, she’ll be in perfect position to wield foreign aid as a cudgel for beating foreign heads of state till they line up behind US empire, which she understands as a never-ending campaign to stop genocide and defend human rights."

Power is a strange case, and for me she holds a morbid fascination because she used to strike me as someone with liberal and altruistic tendencies - I wrote about her in this way when she was just joining the first Obama administration. I was impressed with her work to that date. But I was deluded and so was she. The difference is that she was rewarded for her delusion and doubled down on it, and apparently is in full cry with it still.

The unsolved problem for me is that I don't know if she's a study in turning a relatively decent person with unsuspected closet fascist tendencies, into a full-blown fascist, by providing the correct rationales to an intellectually bright mind - this would be a feat we've seen often, and it bears close study - or, alternately I was simply naive, and her position was all along obvious to others less deluded than I.

I guess I'd like to know the answers to this, although I could do without Power being the subject of the study. Oh well, it seems she will be around. At USAID she will be able to get her way without having to bear the ridicule of stating that way out loud in front of the whole world, as she was forced to at the UN. I suspect it will be revenge on her part, which she will call something different in her own mind.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 30 2020 1:51 utc | 29

@29 I doubt if Powers sees herself as a fascist. More likely she thinks of herself as a crusader for democracy and human rights. Saddam and Ghadafi were perfect targets for her. Draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: dh | Dec 30 2020 1:59 utc | 30

@ 17 bevin... you are probably correct... i had a moment of optimism there - short lived... nothing like sobering up here at the bar!

@ 18 elon... it is a fucking book review... it says so in the book! listen - none of that matters as the new york times is not going to read his book and blast a headline or two out on it, let alone that sinless paper the guardian or any of the others.... all of it is old news.. sure - blake has the facts... no one in this world cares about facts anymore... if anyone cared about facts, they wouldn't have let any of what is happening happen, but they don't so it does! okay, that was my best impression of alice in wonderland for the moment.. like grieved asks - tell us what is so earth shattering in that swpr.org article or book review that really got you? i want to know too!

Posted by: james | Dec 30 2020 2:51 utc | 31

In Russia - в России

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flyADpC1Ono

Posted by: Francis | Dec 30 2020 4:00 utc | 32

Larry Summers thinks $200 checks are too 'extreme'. Here he is being wheeled out by the blue machine within the elite to bag the pathetic $600 payment. Katie and Jack give him and his thieving blue dog democrat propaganda a flogging.

Democrats suck, and suck, and suck. AND then they kick the non elite in the guts.

Lawrence Henry Summers (born November 30, 1954) is an American economist, former Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank (1991–93), senior U.S. Treasury Department official throughout President Clinton's administration (ultimately Treasury Secretary, 1999–2001), and former director of the National Economic Council for President Obama (2009–2010). He is a former president of Harvard University (2001–2006), where he is currently (as of March 2017) a professor and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 4:29 utc | 33

Posted by: Francis | Dec 30 2020 4:00 utc | 33

Thanks, that was very good.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 30 2020 7:28 utc | 34

@james: you obviously aren't a technical guy. the book for the first time delivers hard proof at the technical level. this is a huge breakthrough. nobody here cares what "the new york times" thinks or does. just look at how this guy caught the FBI by reverse-checking their old web certificates and IP ranges. this is just brilliant. but it looks like you simply don't understand what he is talking about, or maybe you're jealous that somebody else achieved such a breakthrough. https://loadedforguccifer.wordpress.com/2020/11/13/how-the-fbi-hid-their-russia-special/

Posted by: elon | Dec 30 2020 8:16 utc | 35

Grieved #28


But what does it say? Do I have to read it and make a summary here so others can know what it means? I speak as an outsider with this material, and you seem to be an insider.

Can you spare a hint?

If I can assist: "The 'Russian hacking' NATO psyop has finally been solved....

To professional analysts, it has long been clear that the “Russiagate” saga – including the “Russian hacking” claims, the Trump-Russia collusion claims, as well as the “Skripal poisoning incident” and the more recent “Navalny poisoning incident” – has been a US and NATO psychological operation aimed at containing a resurgent Russia and a somewhat unpredictable US President."

Blake shows how the “Russian hacking” psyop was initiated by the US and NATO in 2014 in response to Russia’s reaction to the US regime change in Ukraine, when Russia retook control of the Crimean Peninsula and supported the de-facto secession of Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine."

The US/NATO psyop was inspired by the actual amateur hackers “CyberBerkut” in Ukraine and “Guccifer” in Romania. Blake shows how in 2014, NATO created a “Cyber Defence Trust Fund” and used this entity to initiate false-flag “hacking operations” against the US and other NATO members that would then be falsely “attributed” to alleged Russian 'state-sponsored hacking groups'."

Blake shows how the mysterious persona of Guccifer 2.0, who claimed the hack, was played by none other than Alperovitch himself, while the technical infrastructure, including the notorious website dcleaks.com, was provided by US and NATO intermediaries in NATO member Romania."

Ah yes Alperovitch that well known criminal associate of Joe Biden who was Obummer's man in Ukraine and a few other war zones. Handy for him to be the President elect right now I guess but not so handy for the world at large as President Joe Xerxes Biden is about to 'take control'.

So every bit of the Russiagate business was designed to smear Russia, destroy detente and advance the war machine. The planetary expectation that a peace dividend would arise after the destruction of the USSR was shattered when the Clinton USAi pirates invaded the echelons of power and commenced to strip Russian people of their entitlements and investments in state and natural resources. Vis the rise of the Clinton Foundation.

Ditto when Xerxes Biden ushered in the collapse of Ukraine recently and commenced stripping assets yet again. Only this time pocketing the lot in his family 'entity'. Such is the pack we call the Democrats masquerading as a USAi government.

I trust that helps;)

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 8:23 utc | 36

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 8:23 utc | 37

Though I'm pretty sure Bellingcat is a propaganda outfit and Higgins is a total douche' bag, I must say he produces very sophisticated narratives (note: "sophisticated", not necessarily truthful).

He creates the most dangerous kind of lies possible: Those which are blended with truth.

At the same time, I'm quite disappointed in alternative media's and "truth seekers" in general failure to precisely debunk the narratives Bellingcat puts out:

In particular, regarding the Skripal Case, nobody did a good job of addressing his claims and apparent evidence about the identities of two alleged FSB/GRU agents. I saw a lot of off-hand dismissals just because "it's Bellingcrap", however the material and claims he presented were convincing, and never really refuted:

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2018/09/26/skripal-suspect-boshirov-identified-gru-colonel-anatoliy-chepiga/



To validate the hypothesis that Chepiga is Skripal poisoning suspect “Boshirov,” Bellingcat and The Insider obtained extracts from the passport file of Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga – the man born on 5th April 1979 – from two separate sources with access to databases dated prior to 2014.

The passport file contained a photograph – dated approximately in 2003, when this passport was obtained – that strongly resembled a younger “Boshirov” as seen in passport photos released by the UK police, with an even stronger resemblance to the cover identity passport photo published in our previous publication on the Skripal suspects.

Left: Anatoliy Chepiga’s passport photo from 2003. Middle: “Ruslan Boshirov”‘s passport photo from 2009. Right: “Ruslan Boshirov”, as seen in a photograph released by UK police

A passport application form in the passport dossier listed Chepiga’s 2003 place of residence as “Military Unit 20662, Khabarovsk”, confirming this was indeed the person identified in the 2003 database. It also listed his place of birth as “village of Nikolaevka”, further linking this person to the Hero of the Russian Federation with the same name.


Yes, 90% of the Skripal narrative is obvious bollocks but that one particular item was never properly resolved and suggests the Russian side may not be completely truthful in the matter either.

The narrative he produced about the MH16 shoot down was also filled with "evidence" that nobody did a decent job of addressing precisely ... in particular the images Bellingcat produced tracking the BUK transporter between Russian and Ukrainian territory was never properly addressed and I hate to say it, convincing on the surface ...

The only thoroughly effective debunking against Bellingcat's narratives that I've seen has been that done by Prof. Theodore Postol regarding the faked chemical attacks at Khan Sheikhoun:

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

Someone with the time and skill needs to do a thorough job of honestly examining and comprehensively debunking Bellingcat's more dangerous narratives.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Dec 30 2020 9:19 utc | 37

@gm | Dec 29 2020 20:21 utc | 8

Could the camper-bomb (possibly triggered by a precision hellfire type strike on an AN or ANFO laden RV?) have been a diversionary ruse to draw police attention away from some other actual target of the Dec 25 Nashville event?

I obviously don't know for sure, but there has been a lot of talk about the AT&T building housing computers to be audited in relation to the massive US election fraud. So perhaps this was a way to avoid the audit. It would not surprise me.

Posted by: Norwegian | Dec 30 2020 9:21 utc | 38

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Dec 30 2020 9:19 utc | 38

Correction, I meant "MH17 shoot down", not MH16.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Dec 30 2020 9:21 utc | 39

@bevin | Dec 29 2020 21:50 utc | 17
Yes, I agree. If we have learned anything this year it is that the western "democracies" have been turned into Orwellian dystopian wastelands. The "leaders" such as Boris Johnson and others have been stripped naked and we can see what kind of criminals they are. Because they have been outed, all they can do is double and triple down, and that is what they are doing. There is no limit to what we can expect from them.

Posted by: Norwegian | Dec 30 2020 9:31 utc | 40

Arch Bungle |#38

Thank you and I agree that there needs be a total debunk of every bellingcat lie and fakery.

On the Skripal case, considerable effort went in to debunk 'the Russians did it ' narrative. That debunk lies in the archive at 'theblogmire'. But it will take some effort on a reader's part. I understood the entire bellingcat narrative fell apart when the Dutch and Australian colonial clowns set out an exhibition of some of their 'evidence' and there in the centrepiece was the nose cone of the Buk missile that just happened to be part of the Ukranian government hoard. It was recognised immediately by a Russian military attache in attendance. There is a serial number inside the piece and a traceable register. Maybe there will be more on that at John Helmer 'dances with bears'.

After that there were a series of 'accidents' at two Ukranian weapons stores that were quite spectacular.

There is an urgent need for the free voices in the west to go after the likes of bellingcat as they are useful idiots paid for by the Atlantic Council and UKUSAi.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 10:37 utc | 41

ooops on my #42 it should read

I understood the entire bellingcat narrative ON MH17 fell apart when the Dutch and Australian colonial clowns set out an exhibition of some of their 'evidence' and there in the centrepiece was the nose cone of the Buk missile that just happened to be part of the Ukranian government hoard. It was recognised immediately by a Russian military attache in attendance. There is a serial number inside the piece and a traceable register. Maybe there will be more on that at John Helmer 'dances with bears'.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 10:41 utc | 42

I think in the Navalny case a lot more low profile conflict has been going on between the US and Russia than is public. So both the Russians and the US were very active in his neighbourhood which makes it easier to come up with a convincing story with a lot of truth , and a lie at the crucial point. Each time we have to believe the Russians did something totally stupid and against their interests. Bellingcat provides a lot of information because they get their info from the info the CIA has accumulated.

It is scary that there is such a willingness of propagandists to subvert every trustworthy source that it destroys trust in everything. You don't want to be paranoid but are maneuvered in that direction. Unless you just believe it all.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Dec 30 2020 10:51 utc | 43

Arch Bungle #38

On Skripal and the Russian tourists coincidence, I sometimes speculate that they were there to pick up something and they were successful. They managed to give the UK nerds the slip and there was a desperate rush by the UK to cover it up because by the time the SHTF they were aloft and on their way to Moscow. The UK nerds don't like being beaten at the Great Game of course and so took their revenge on Julia and Sergei who are either dead or languishing in some 'rural prison' in the UK countryside.

Salisbury is one of the most intensive cctv monitored urban areas in UK and not one minute from any camera has ever been publicly released to confirm the UK case - laughable!

There was a Russian aluminium oligarch connected to the madness as well given that the emergency helicopter that was used came from his property in the rural fringe of Salisbury on that fateful afternoon.

The Great Game never ends, it just gets repetitive.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 10:57 utc | 44

Tuyzentfloot | Dec 30 2020 10:51 utc | 44

I think that we have got it the wrong way round. Those that wanted Navalny dead are the US (CIA, Mi6) to be able to put the blame on the Russians. The EU would then have found an "excuse" or have been pushed to set up a "Magnitzy Act" to impose more sanctions. That the Russians saved Navalny was not at all the desired solution.

He became ill in the toilet of the plane and suffered a massive metabolic disorder (Russian claimed reason). Why the toilet? (no, I am not talking about getting his knickers in a twist and letting the "poison" out). Navalny had other problems and physical conditions, so it is just as possible that he went into the toilet for a..... sniff of cocaine (?) or other pleasurable substance. Which was, in fact, dangerous for him personally. Possibly hidden as a medecine? He took "it" himself. He missed being claimed as a martyr by the quick thinking and kindness of the Airplane's pilot.

One reason for the continued interest in making up the "Navalny must die" theme is that the five eyes, did not have a ready-made alternative - to oblige the Europeans to increase sanctions.

Posted by: Stonebird | Dec 30 2020 11:46 utc | 45

Norwegian | Dec 30 2020 9:31 utc | 41

Agreed! I fear 2020 was just the "tip of the iceberg". As Bette Davis would say: "you ain't seen nothing yet!" With political authoritarianism and the medical tyranny still on the rise, 2021 has the potential to be far worse than 2020.

Posted by: EoinW | Dec 30 2020 11:49 utc | 46

Chinese Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine shows 79% efficacy rate against virus, applies for market launch

The vaccine shows a 79. 34 percent efficacy and 99.52 percent antibody positive conversion rate, reaching the standards of the World Health Organization and Chinese authorities.

[...]

It was approved in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain earlier this month with an efficacy of 86 percent, according to the UAE government.

This vaccine is still going through phase-III trials, but it clearly has great efficacy (up to 99%). Those will be the ones who will save the bulk of the lives around the world, specially in the Third World.

Posted by: vk | Dec 30 2020 11:56 utc | 47

Tibet legislature decries U.S. act smearing region's development

"The real purpose of the act is to undermine Tibet's prosperity and stability," said the statement.

[...]

According to the statement, people in Tibet are masters of society: Deputies from the Tibetan and other ethnic minority groups account for 92.18 percent of the region's over 35,900 deputies to the people's congresses at all levels.

Today's Tibet is experiencing rapid economic and social development, and local people live and work in peace and contentment. The population of Tibet has increased from 1.23 million in 1959 to 3.44 million in 2018, with ethnic Tibetan people accounting for over 90 percent of the region's total. The per capita disposable incomes of urban and rural residents in Tibet grew 10.7 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively, in 2019.

There are 1,787 sites for the practice of Tibetan Buddhism and more than 46,000 resident monks and nuns in Tibet. Traditional religious activities are held normally. The Chinese government has also promulgated regulations to respect and protect the living Buddha reincarnation, the succession system unique to Tibetan Buddhism, according to the statement.

[...]

"People in Tibet know better than anyone else the region's development and religious freedom situations, while the United States is not entitled to be a judge or preacher," said the statement.

Tibetans don't want feudalism.

Posted by: vk | Dec 30 2020 12:03 utc | 48

Uncle Tungsten @ 42,43,

There definitely was more on John Helmer's Dances With Bears about that serial number on the BUK missile ... one of his posts said that the Russians traced the serial number back to a missile that had been delivered from Moscow to Ukraine in December 1989 or at least some time just before the Soviet Union broke up.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 30 2020 12:22 utc | 49

Arch Bungle @ 38:

There have been videos made by independent researchers that tear apart Bellingcat's claims of having the film of the truck transporting the BUK missile from Russia to Ukraine. The videos were uploaded to Youtube so it is possible that Youtube has taken them down. In some of these videos, the film that Bellingcat claims is genuine is run slowly so that you can actually see where splicing has been done and a building magically appears in the background where none existed before.

I am not so sure that Bellingcat's use and comparison of the personal details and photographs of Anatoly Chepiga with the information and images of Ruslan Boshirov are as accurate as Bellingcat makes out. We do not know if Bellingcat doctored some of the photos of Chepiga and/or Boshirov to make them look more alike, or deliberately lies about a couple of photos being of Chepiga when they are of Boshirov or someone else instead. Whoever supplied Bellingcat with those photos and personal information, all of which may have been stolen from a database, may well have the technology to change and tweak the photos and the information, and age the images as well - not to mention inventing and staging an entire phone conversation and changing the intonations of one speaker to make him sound like another, real person with near 100% accuracy - to fool even professional forensic investigators. This smells strongly of UK intel involvement.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 30 2020 12:41 utc | 50

Regarding universal health care: it is a benefit to society, provided the political elites are fiscally responsible and do not work against the system. Unfortunately they are never fiscally responsible, which means every health care system has a limited life span. It's still much better than America's predatory system. Most citizens in western democracies have enjoyed decades of good health care because of the single payer system.

Once the political elite see no personal benefit in a universal system, they begin the long process of dismantling it. The health care systems in the UK and Canada have been under siege for 25 years. The NHS does appear to have been practically destroyed already. I've watched politicians working towards this goal of discrediting the system then replacing it with the American system. I never expected the medical community to become an ally in killing our universal health care.

What is most troubling in 2020 is how doctors have turned against the system. In Canada, it's been 10 months and people still can't see their doctor. These doctors must know they cannot do their job properly without physically examining their patients. Why - during the Covid Crisis - are they making things worse for non-Covid patients?

Even worse is this vaccine business. It is common knowledge that new vaccines need at least 10 years of testing before they are considered safe for public use. Why are doctors endorsing a highly experimental vaccine that's been tested 4 months? Ontario's chief public health official even threatened those who refuse the vaccine with "restrictions". They are actually in favour of using citizens as human guinea pigs!

I suppose in the American private system doctors are in a better position to enrich themselves. I do wonder how many politicians/doctors/scientists have been bought by corporate interests, like Big Pharma. I fear all trust in the medical community is being put in jeopardy because the first thing doctors forgot when the Coronavirus hit is their Hippocratic oath.

Posted by: EoinW | Dec 30 2020 12:43 utc | 51

The Independent Editorial: Supporting the Brexit deal is the first stage of the rebuilding process

Translation: Labour could never have done anything to stop Brexit; the goal was always to remove Corbyn.

Posted by: vk | Dec 30 2020 12:48 utc | 52

This is interesting:

Inactivated vaccines developed by China prove efficient, effective: CDC Director Gao Fu

As for the question that many people have been wondering about - What are the differences between vaccines developed by China and those by the US? Gao replied that China has chosen inactivated vaccines while the US has been developing a new type, called mRNA vaccines.

To explain the differences, Gao said that China started vaccine research and development as early as January, when scientists started selecting samples of coronavirus suited for experiments.

One of the key decisions made at the time was to lend the biological safety level-3 laboratory to China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a subsidiary of China's biopharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, which provided a necessary environment for the development of inactivated vaccines.

Due to the lack of similar laboratories, many countries in the West had to abandon such an approach, Gao said.

"By comparison, they went further down the path by developing mRNA vaccines, a more commonly used solution for patients suffering from cancer, but not for ordinary people," Gao noted, adding that it was the first time for the injection of such a vaccine in a healthy human body, with no previous successful attempts to rule out possible side effects.

A politically correct explanation or an testament to Western infrastructural decline?

I still stick with my opinion that the advancement of mRNA was mainly for IP (monopoly prices) purposes, but this is doesn't exclude Dr. Gao's explanation: the West's decline is forcing it to adventure in the cheapest ways possible to extract more rent in order to overcome its decline, which reinforces its decline, in a dialectic movement.

Posted by: vk | Dec 30 2020 12:56 utc | 53

@38 Arch Bungle

Just off the top of my head re MH17 Bellingcat advertised BUK unit 231 as being Russian but never asked if there was a BUK unit 231 in the Ukrainian arsenal. 2 is the air defence sector, 3 is the battalion, 1 is the unit number. (Luhansk 3 1)

You also gotta ask yourself the question as why the russians would deploy a M1 telar independently in the first place. (they won't cos it's an M1 TELAR)

Posted by: S.O. | Dec 30 2020 13:24 utc | 54

@ Micron 3 - Others have correctly stated that anything Bellingcat publishes should be studied not for facts, but for how MI6 intersects with Bellingcat and how it aims to organize its propaganda. The methodology is very similar to the spoofing around the Spiral case, only it has been stepped up with a phone call. Remember that in the Spiral so-called 'unmasking' of the two Russian travelers to Salisbury, Bellingcat used the public's (and unfortunately also Craig Murray's) tendency to believe more when they see pictures. Yet none of the supposed aliases were proven then. This methodology has just been a bit widened to include a video while you see Navalny making the phone call - however, the rest would have to be thoroughly examined and is most definitely far-fetched. The key here, though, is not so much that it can't be disproven: the key is that it lays out a fascinating narrative. Bellingcat/MI6 and the CIA use hungry Ukrainian KGB people as consultants - their stamp and methodology is on almost all research and especially any hints at motive of the alleged perps.

Posted by: Josh | Dec 30 2020 13:35 utc | 55

https://southfront.org/mysterious-disappearance-of-flu-in-san-diego-prompted-call-for-audit-of-covid-records/

I wonder how much revenue has been collected by companies such as Alliance Health Care since the start of the lockdowns, and for what services.

Posted by: Josh | Dec 30 2020 13:44 utc | 56

Bellingcat is a classic 'front'. Neither Higgins nor its 'researchers' is responsible for anything more than signing its name to the output of the state Intelligence teams concocting these narratives. Bellingcat has very little credibility but MI6 and the CIA have none at all which is why they employ fronts of all kinds to publish their stories. Their patronage of Higgins is an indication of how worn out the "security sources asking that their names not be used" ploy in the MSM has become.
And as the old newspaperman joke goes "There's a reason we call them stories."

Posted by: bevin | Dec 30 2020 14:05 utc | 57

I think Belling cat's main purpose is to keep everybody occupied with an endless list of false trails. You aren't supposed to believe them, you are supposed to waste your time proving them wrong. This is why the narrative is always faintly ridiculous.

The Ukrainian spooks Josh mentions up there do have readily identifiable mental furniture, just like the Israelis, you can usually spot them by the sort of lies and insults they make up to accuse their enemies and the cliches they use.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 30 2020 14:49 utc | 58

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 10:37 utc | 42 Maybe there will be more on that at John Helmer 'dances with bears'.

John Helmer published his latest book on the MH17 saga The Lie That Shot Down MH17 in late September. Maybe someone has already read it and can provide some info to your question.

Posted by: vato | Dec 30 2020 15:03 utc | 59

The return of Fukuyama. Highly recommend the read:

‘End of history’ obsession links to West’s problem with democracy

Posted by: vk | Dec 30 2020 15:07 utc | 60

Seeing a graphic of comparative economic effects of the pandemic, one would say that the pandemic achieved equaling almost all economies in the world, in the losing, since it achieves slowing those who were growing at fast pace, like China and Russia, and throws in in the depth the EU which was recovering already from the 2008 crisis, while the US, who loses the least, stays more or less the same...

Before the pandemic the US economy was already crumbling, with rising unemployment, a debt crisis at risk of exploding, and big corporations and banks at risk of bankrupt.

After the pandemic, the panorama is like as if it had been made tabula rasa, and in the end we have to start anew, again, after a decade of efforts and sacrifices, with countries which were expected to be growing, even when timidly, like Spain, losing in the dozens of percentage of GDP, and thus being placed, again, at the mercy of presures from the usual lenders of always ( in the past the Troika, IMF, Rating Agencies, now the conditioning of vaccines and "recovery funds" to the impossing of harsh reforms very unpopular amongst the population before the pandemic and which if it were not pandemic measures on place, would be strongly contested in the streets..) .

China and Russia, with great prospects of growth and very low unemployment rates will see their percentages of diminshed to a half, or even more in the case of Russia.

LatinAmerica, already in a process of advancing developments and recovery from previous deep crisis where the govenrment was won by progressive froces, suffers the greatest loses and thus get at the mercy of the financial vultures of always up North and in the interantioanl monetary organisms...This way the poor are not allowed to rise their head...ever..and the prospect, already announced by WHO on that this is not by any hint of imagination the worst pandemic as more and worse will arrive, act as Damocles spade over most of the peoples of the world.

One would say that who most profitted from the pandemic has been the US, which stays more or less the same with a slight lose of 1% GDP, but achieves slowing, or directly sink, competitors who could, otherwise, have been growing at fast or slow pace, but growing after all...

Especially affected are main competitors after China, the EU and Russia, where to the socioeconomic damage must be added the astronomical diverting of spending towards vaccines and PCR tests ( which, anyway, will not end the pandemic, as even the WHO has already warned...)

Win most the richest amongst the richest, being first in the podium the US ones, Musk ( no wonder he is always laughing, the rest of us wonder what of...), followed by Bezos ( a known abuser of labor rights...), thus winning mainly US oligarchy, along with BigPharma ( espcially European-US joint ventures intertwined with major powerhouses in Europe, which never, not even its most wet dreams, have received such ammount of public funds transfer for such a tsunami of profit that will come overflooding them.

Wins also the state of surveillance and harsh authoritarian measures ( like the return of blacklisting, and the definitive the throwing in the dustbin of Nuremberg legislation on applying undesired medical treatment, or still poorly tested to human beings...)which before the pandemic were only in the programs of the far-right, which never achieved power through democratic electoral processes till now, unless by coup d´etat in developing countries or former Soviet space, when their governments were not of the convenience of the US or have something their oligarchs´corporations needed to steal to keep their astronimic earnings..

In this clear advance of the corporatocracy already stablished, we are not so surprised to know that Pfizer ( where a mjor shareholder in US hedge fund BlackRock, known for the huge trassfer of FED money it was object of by Trump at first moments of the pandemic, and which already entered our countries to especulate on real state, making the constitutional right to have a home something practicaly imposible for a majority of the population, and started buying health public faccilities, in a process of privatization of another constitutional right facilitated by the far-right governmetns in some regions...)presured the Argetinian government to cede the exploitation and ownership of their glaciers and rights of fishing in exchange for their vaccines... Also we know that next responsible for agriculture in the coming in US Biden administration will be a head of Monsanto...


https://twitter.com/Amor_y_Rabia/status/1344056392274108416

https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/1343974007704612865

https://twitter.com/smolny7/status/1344242426551132162

https://twitter.com/Amor_y_Rabia/status/1344075058164211713

https://twitter.com/Amor_y_Rabia/status/1344253848907558914

https://twitter.com/Revista_AyR/status/1343672527927861254

https://twitter.com/Amor_y_Rabia/status/1343638401195630593

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Dec 30 2020 15:19 utc | 61

what still bothers me, is why a vaccine at all, already several very effective infection preventives have been presented and no one seems interested in preventing infection,, guess infection prevention lacks sufficient profit and c/n/b patented?

Also not often discussed is how 85 countries became ill with Stain A of the virus in the course of 2 days of each other?
Infectious viral substances.. don't just divide up and infect 85 countries at once.

Fox news this AM said a new strain of the virus has killed a man in California, the new strain story goes on to say the hospitals are filled beyond stretch-able capacity, even their is fear the hospitals will run out of Oxygen.. I kid you not..
maybe that story will be enough for most people to hurry to get their dna modified by RNA.

can somebody identify for me the metabolic pathways majic RNA money maker infection fighters will be changing?

Posted by: snake | Dec 30 2020 15:35 utc | 62

Posted by: snake | Dec 30 2020 15:35 utc | 62

Funny you mention that:

Russia is developing world’s first Covid-19 antidote, preclinical studies show drug effectiveness of more than 99%

---

In other news, the Houthis are attacking Aden just as the new "government" arrives, many dead & injured. I expect they will be in Riyadh sometime next year the way things are going there.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 30 2020 15:56 utc | 63

When people like Navalny make it to the news level, it’s a cause for concern at the very least. Preparation about what’s in store for us all in the time ahead. Yesterday I noticed that Juan Guaido was back on PBS. We all need to be outraged, alarmed, and scared. In reality, though, I see nothing but irrelevance of any one propped up by the news, quintessences of dust.

Posted by: Geoff | Dec 30 2020 16:01 utc | 64

Capitalist totalitarianism:

Ukrainian teenager faces JAIL over Soviet ushanka he picked up at flea market

Eventually, however, authorities confiscated the hat and took the boy’s details for charges to be prepared. Pre-trial investigations are ongoing.

The Ukrainian parliament moved to ban communist symbols like the hammer and sickle in 2015, but the city of Lvov had introduced similar measures of its own at least three years beforehand. As well as Soviet-era icons, citizens can face jail terms for singing or playing the former anthem of the USSR or any of its former republics.

However, as recently as 2018, a notorious Waffen SS division was celebrated in the western Ukrainian city, with swastikas on display to mark the 75th anniversary of the formation of a local Nazi-aligned partisan unit in WWII.

Posted by: vk | Dec 30 2020 16:03 utc | 65

If Biden is made President Biden Hopes that Mike Morell is coming back as CIA Director.

Both are Confidence Men.

You remember Colin Powell's delusional and disastrous 2003 UN speech in
the lead up to the illegal invasion of Iraq. How fitting that it was Mike Morell
that sat with Powell personally for four days going over the "intelligence"
used for Powell's speech. Mike Morell played an essential role in hoodwinking
this country, how fitting.

Confidence man Mike Morell had his role in taking us into Iraq.
Confidence man Biden had his important role also.

Senator Biden was a leader in Congress and Chairman of the Foreign Relations committee -
the committee that held the hearings on the bill to give Cheney/Bush the authority to invade.
He stacked the witnesses testifying before his committee - almost all were pro-invasion.
But he did more than that, he was a leader in Congress and marshaled Democratic support for the bill
to invade.

Democrats at one time were outraged and incensed at the treachery, illegality and immorality of the Iraq invasion.
What has changed? Those things are no longer true?

We remember the Obama/Biden slogan "Hope and Change".
What has Changed?
It is now clear, with the return of Biden and Morell, that Democrats themselves have Changed.

Posted by: librul | Dec 30 2020 16:42 utc | 66

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Bracing-for-a-possible-Iranian-linked-attack-15836041.php

"U.S. officials warn of potential Iran-linked attack"

"Iran-linked". So any excuse will do now.

pretty big chance Trump will try for an attack on Iran before Jan 20. But you guys waste your time discussing belingcat's BS or whatever their name is.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Dec 30 2020 16:55 utc | 67

Bemildred @ 63 reveals Houthis attack Aden many dead & injured.Riyadh next <=probably explains Hoyeru @ 67's link
Yemeni success destroys Iran? .


Posted by: snake | Dec 30 2020 17:19 utc | 68

vk@65 tries to judo "totalitarianism" against capitalists, but everyone knows "totalitarianism" means fascism and communism are the same except, Stalin killed more people therefore he's worse. Fascism and democracy are developed political forms of capitalism (absolutist monarchy and mixed monarchy were previous transitional forms in an earlier phase of capitalist development.) Fascism is the combat formation of capitalism aimed against communism and thus every invocation of "totalitarianism," like serious use of the phrase "Soviet empire" coyly flirts with anticommunism. The forms of government suitable for socialist/communist societies have yet to be fully worked out. Imitations of old forms, like the old Korean monarchy, still hold too much sway.

In the case above, Ukraine is a fascist regime. It's true that the openly fascist formations "merely" have their own armed units incorporated into the military and the official national government is formally composed of other parties. But Franco Spain was not dominated by the open fascist parties either. Only a fool could deny Franco Spain was fascist and only fools (or liars) deny Ukraine is fascist. (The wretched Bret Devereaux, who prides himself on being woke, banned me for openly saying "Holodomor" was fascist propaganda. Crooked Timber has censored me for calling out the EU as supporting fascism.) Of course the fascists in Ukraine will commit such enormities.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Dec 30 2020 17:32 utc | 69

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 30 2020 15:56 utc | 63


In other news, the Houthis are attacking Aden just as the new "government" arrives, many dead & injured. I expect they will be in Riyadh sometime next year the way things are going there.

Are we sure this was a Houthi strike? I know it seems the obvious thing to conclude but I'm trying to understand why everything *except the ostensible target* was hit. Ansar Allah is not known for being imprecise, they could have definitely taken out the entire plane on the runway.

*sniff* ... I sense the reek of Mossad in the air.


Posted by: Arch Bungle | Dec 30 2020 17:47 utc | 70

@james @13

James,

Like you, I have never took the "Navalny poisoning" episode seriously.

I assumed from day one that it was a propaganda ploy. It is simply and completely illogical and I have much better things to do with my time. Due to that I never bothered to read the Bellingcat Press Release or its rebuttal.

But one thing that I get from reading the posts on this site is this. The Bellingcat Press Release is apparently (I still haven't read it) quite detailed.

I find that interesting.

Most propaganda pieces are superficial. The basic operating priniciple behind them is that the masses only read the headlines and little more. Thus, no great effort is needed to make the story look credible - just repeat the same story in one outlet after another and you will accomplish the goal of establishing an accepted "narrative."

But here is an (apparent) detailed propaganda piece.

I wonder if intelligence agencies are now trying to come up with more sophisticated psyops in order to counter well thought out critiques appearing in the alternative media. Put another way, the alternative media has become a problem and more sophisticated psyops are necessary to deal with that.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Mike from Jersey | Dec 30 2020 17:51 utc | 71

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Dec 30 2020 17:47 utc | 70

No, neither one of us is sure, but the Houthis are at least known for having precision weapons, and also for not seeking to run up the number of dead (as you mention). But it could well be a number of other players. I don't see that this helps the Israelis, they are on the Saudi side in this, although it is perfectly believeble that they would bomb their own people and they are stupid.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 30 2020 18:06 utc | 72

Deaths in private homes, England and Wales (provisional): deaths registered from 28 December 2019 to 11 September 2020 (Provisional figures on deaths in private homes in England and Wales [least release])

"* In England, the number of deaths in private homes registered between 28 December 2019 and 11 September 2020 was 108,842; this was 25,472 deaths more than the five-year average for the same period.

* In Wales, the number of deaths in private homes registered between 28 December 2019 and 11 September 2020 was 7,440; this was 1,624 deaths more than the five-year average for the same period.

* Between Week 12 (week ending 20 March 2020) and Week 37 (week ending 11 September 2020), males accounted for a higher percentage of excess deaths in private homes than females, while males and females aged 70 to 89 years accounted for the majority of the excess.

* Excess deaths in private homes in England and Wales were mostly deaths not involving the coronavirus (COVID-19)."

"Looking at the year-to-date (using the most up-to-date data we have available), the number of deaths up to 11 September 2020 was 434,618, which is 53,376 more than the five-year average." (from Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 11 September 2020)

So for the period from 28th December 2019 to 11th September 2020 there where 53,376 excess deaths in England and Wales but 25,472 of these excess deaths where in private homes and "were mostly deaths not involving the coronavirus (COVID-19)". Only 134 of excess deaths in private homes involved Covid-19.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 30 2020 18:08 utc | 73

Posted by: Mike from Jersey | Dec 30 2020 17:51 utc | 71

Propagandists are in general very long-winded, and that includes Bellingcat. Having mostly bullshit at their disposal, they tend to use a lot. If they don't need the bullshit, they don't need the propaganda either.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 30 2020 18:12 utc | 74

This study, recently published in Nature, with almost 10 million participants in Wuhan, finds that asymptomatic Covid-19 patients DO NOT transmit the disease. If this is true, then this is no different than other respiratory tract infectious diseases like influenza.

This also means that blanket lockdowns make little sense Instead, only the symptomatic patients should be under lockdown. Ideally the authorities would also encourage compliance with targeted financial incentives and material support (e.g. help with shopping, etc.). Remember, lockdowns are not the cure, but they help "flatten the curve", and create time and space for implementing the real and effective tools against a pandemic. What are those effective tools? Just consult with a few countries that have managed the pandemic much, much better than us. But suggesting anything like that in the land of the free, will mean committing professional suicide.

Instead, we have this mad rush to vaccines that have no long term safety data.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-19802-w

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Dec 30 2020 18:15 utc | 75

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 30 2020 18:06 utc | 72

This looks like a message from one party or another (Saudi, Israeli). It looks like they're saying:

"You may *think* you are the new government of Yemen but do not forget that *we* are your true masters ..."

I can see how the Saudis would benefit - they're basically sending a reminder of whose in charge.
For the Israelis, this would be part of their recent efforts to increase their influence in the Gulf.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Dec 30 2020 18:15 utc | 76

Errata @74

Deaths in private homes, England and Wales (provisional): deaths registered from 28 December 2019 to 11 September 2020 (Provisional figures on deaths in private homes in England and Wales [latest release])

So for the period from 28th December 2019 to 11th September 2020 there were 53,376 excess deaths in England and Wales but 25,472 of these excess deaths were in private homes and "were mostly deaths not involving the coronavirus (COVID-19)". Only 134 of excess deaths in private homes involved Covid-19.

For clarity; "private homes" are private residences not care homes (which is a difference issue).

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 30 2020 18:19 utc | 77

@snake:Houthis: your link is broke.

I think they don't want to admit the Houthis are kickuing their ass, but no doubt Iran helps the Houthis.
Nevertheless the Houthis are the Yemen military and they started out with all kinds of weapons. And they have all kinds of motivation.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 30 2020 18:22 utc | 78

@ 38 elon... no, i understand it elon.. i am saying reality doesn't matter to these sycophants... that is what i am saying... cheers james

@ 71 Mike from Jersey.. indeed that is what is happening... they are trying to come up with better lies to hide the fact they are lying and caught in a web of lies.. so long as this shithead bellingcrap has full access to the msm, nothing is going to change either! thanks - james

Posted by: james | Dec 30 2020 18:41 utc | 79

Elliot Higgins used to post a summary of links to various stories about the Middle East on The Guardian MENA live blog. He never contributed anything useful or intelligent to the discussion. Just links to other stories. He was posting under the pseudonym Brown Moses. When confronted about some of the links he would mumble something about he didn’t write the article etc. He never struck me as a particularly thoughtful or insightful commentator.

From what I remember he started posting when the Libyan conflict started and moved onto the Syrian crisis from there. So how did a not particularly thoughtful or insightful commentator who simply used to post links about other stories become famous ? Well this , at the time, unemployment accountant had a interest in weapons and he had spotted amongst the photos and the videos fragments of cluster munitions or artillery shells (don’t remember exactly, it was 8/9 years ago, but it was something to do with exploded munitions) which could only have been supplied by the Russians to Syria.

This spotting of his was then picked my major MSM outlets and his 15 minutes of fame started. But the key part about this story is that it opened up a new avenue for the MSM and various intelligence agencies to make claims about Russian and Syrian activities using “open source intelligence” which was essentially Youtube videos and photos on the internet by God knows whom.

So how it worked was like this , NYT publishes a story alleging the Russians/Syrians did X and that the basis for their claims was “open source intelligence”! Like this they could make any claim they wanted without having to back it up by verifying the said intelligence. The disclaimer that the story being published was based on unverifiable open source intelligence would be right at the bottom but by that time as most people only read the headlines the propaganda would have had its desired effect. Most people didn’t read the whole article let alone delve further into what the open source intelligence actually consisted of.

When the intelligence agencies realised they could disseminate false/unverifiable information through open sources giving them sufficient plausible deniability that is when Beilingcat started. The unemployed accountant would be the public face and so the intelligence agencies could disseminate information using him without it ever being traced back to them.

Posted by: Down South | Dec 30 2020 19:03 utc | 80

Report from a local Nashville news reporter and outlet:

"Girlfriend warned Nashville police Anthony Warner was building bomb a year ago, report shows"

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2020/12/29/nashville-explosion-woman-warned-mnpd-warner-building-bomb-2019/4082253001/

NASHVILLE — Sixteen months before Anthony Quinn Warner's RV exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning, officers visited his home in Antioch after his girlfriend reported that he was making bombs in the vehicle, according to documents obtained by The Tennessean.

[...]

In the aftermath, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Warner was "not on our radar" prior to the bombing. But a Metro Nashville Police Department report from August 2019 shows that local and federal authorities were aware of alleged threats he had made.

No actions appear to have been taken to stop Warner, a slender 5-foot-8, 135-pound man who died in the explosion, which injured three others.

On Aug. 21, 2019, the girlfriend told Nashville police that Warner "was building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence," the MNPD report states. Nashville police then forwarded the information to the FBI.

Officers were called to the home of Warner's girlfriend, roughly a mile and a half from Warner, who lived at 115 Bakertown Road.

[...]

The next day, Nashville police sent the report and identifying information about Warner to the *FBI* to check their databases, Aaron said in a statement to The Tennessean.

Later that day, Aaron said, "the FBI reported back that they checked their holdings and found no records on Warner at all."

Darrell DeBusk, a spokesperson for the FBI, told The Tennessean Tuesday night the inquiry was a standard agency-to-agency record check.

Then on Aug. 28, 2019, the Department of Defense reported back that "checks on Warner were all negative," Aaron said.

If we accept, for the sake of argument, that the statements reported here, of the alleged former girlfriend of the 'Lee RV Oswald' bomber, and the Nashville and TBI law enforcement authorities are true,

then I would suggest there is likely s very good chance that at least as far back as 2019, Anthony Quinn Warner [like Epstein before him] already "belonged to Intelligence".

Posted by: gm | Dec 30 2020 19:08 utc | 81

"The penny has not yet dropped in Brussels – and maybe it never will – that the tactic of aggregation, which worked so well with Theresa May, won’t work any longer.

But why? Not least 'pour décourager les autres', also for revenge, but mainly in existential fear of the EU’s own fragility and risk of collapse. The vortex of the post-Brexit political storm, now spinning towards the EU just like Ciara and Dennis and the other winter storms come spinning in out of the Atlantic, is simple to describe.

The previous 35% Anglo-German-Dutch-Danish-Polish blocking minority vote in the EU Council has also disappeared with the UK's departure. So the showdown between Germany and the northern bloc with France and the Club Med is now inevitable."

--from www.spectator.co.uk/?nogeoredir=1

Posted by: groucho | Dec 30 2020 19:09 utc | 82

Bemildred,

You wrote:

I think Belling cat's main purpose is to keep everybody occupied with an endless list of false trails. You aren't supposed to believe them, you are supposed to waste your time proving them wrong. This is why the narrative is always faintly ridiculous.


That is an astute observation.

That is one of the reasons that I don't even bother to read New York Times articles anymore. They do, indeed, "backup" many of the things that they say. But when you dig into the backup, you realize that their "backup" is a series of cherry picked, half-truths which - if you do the research - demonstrates that the true story is often the opposite of what they "reported."

The problem is that by the time you have the real story, you have wasted half a day finding out that they whole thing was a scam from the get-go.

If you read the New York Times you end up in a dilemma. Either you do the research and waste your time finding what you suspected in the first place or you don't back check what they have said. And if you don't do the back checking, you might have this lingering doubt that maybe - this time - they might have told the truth.

It is best to avoid the Times altogether.

Posted by: Mike from Jersey | Dec 30 2020 19:35 utc | 83

@gm | Dec 30 2020 19:08 utc | 83

Again, no mention or any speculation in the local Tennessean article you linked, or in any of the msm articles that I've seen, as to what type of bomb. Even though this guy was a suspected bomb maker for over a year, and the girlfriend and attorney were aware of his hobby, and according to the attorney he "knows what he is doing and is capable of making a bomb," all reporting seems to be disinterested in the bomb type or materials. Just seems weird. (And thnx for your discussion pertaining to the possibility of it being a propane bomb @22)

Posted by: pokums | Dec 30 2020 19:39 utc | 84

Posted by: Mike from Jersey | Dec 30 2020 19:35 utc | 85

Exactly, and said very well too. They waste your time, that's their job. Not unlike all the advertisers on the net who are in your face all day in a desperate attempt to get your attention for their crude advertisements.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 30 2020 19:52 utc | 85

I see vk linked to this outstanding Global Times op/ed that buries Fukuyama's assertion that "the Western democratic system with accountability will be better." Apparently, Prof. Fukuyama has failed to note the complete lack of accountability within Western systems, particularly the Outlaw US Empire's. But then he's never even commented on the completely illegal nature of the USA's activities, so he doesn't rate very highly as an objective critic in my book. Indeed, he fills the office of apologist quite well like the numerous "court historians" that came before him:

"Ironically, it is right under this system that a humanitarian tragedy has claimed over 330,000 lives in the US alone and is killing more. What we see are political and economic interests being put above people's lives, and there is still no clear and consistent anti-virus strategy in the US after some 10 months of confusion, chaos and deaths. Moreover, we have not seen any politicians, officials, or institutions being held accountable for this disaster." [My Emphasis]

That's the reality Fukuyama is blind to, and here's some speculation as to why:

"'In a sense, Fukuyama is in a very awkward theoretical position. He has realized some internal problems within the Western system, but still stubbornly adheres to his 'end of history' theory. He is unwilling to deny the 'superiority' of the Western democratic system he conjectured. Nor can he face up to the essential problems that threaten the democratic system,' Gao Jian, a scholar at Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times. 'He is deeply stuck in a Cold War mentality and Western centrism,' Gao noted."

IMO, Fukuyama's "end of history theory" was merely a hypothesis that has clearly failed its test and cannot be seen as any sort of theory, although his concept might be made into a theory about Western Arrogance and its clear inability to be held accountable.


Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2020 20:04 utc | 86

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2020 20:04 utc | 88

It's behing a paywall in LeFigaro, any other links for the article reviewed?

Posted by: Paco | Dec 30 2020 20:21 utc | 87

Lavrov's interview with MATCH TV eventually gets into a discussion of the WADA and its actions:

"I criticise WADA for imposing inexplicable and clearly discriminatory restrictions but, at the same time, WADA is believed to not be tough enough on Russia. CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency Travis Tygart already came down on WADA with strong allegations claiming that WADA is exculpating Russia and the agency needs to be reformed. He also warned that, on the basis of the infamous Rodchenkov Act, the United States is creating its own system that will operate and sideline WADA from global sport discussions concerning measures against doping. If this system does get launched it will be a shame for the entire sport industry. Even though WADA is not perfect and 90 percent of its executive committee represent NATO countries or the alliance’s closest allies.

"Question: So you believe there is a political side to it?

"Sergey Lavrov: This does not mean anything, of course. When they say that sport in NATO countries is much better developed and the anti-doping line of action there is also better this implies discrimination against everybody else. I have no doubt that it is possible to ensure that the committee’s composition is professional and at the same time politically and geographically balanced. This composition would be accepted by everybody. However, WADA’s current senior management is trying to fix this lack of balance. We must protect WADA from the attempt to privatise this area of international relations, too. The Americans simply want to privatise it."

Many other facets of Lavrov are revealed in this rather long interview that's worth reading to gather those insights.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2020 20:22 utc | 88

Paco @89--

Hope the Holidays have been good for you so far! As far as I know, the op/ed was only published by Global Times and is available at the above link I supplied.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2020 20:25 utc | 89

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2020 20:25 utc | 91

So far so good, small place, soft winters, very quiet, healthy life. Wishing you the best for the new year. I meant the article by Fukuyama in Le Figaro that is discussed in the GlobalTimes article. Is good to know what those critters think and how they lay it out.

Posted by: Paco | Dec 30 2020 20:43 utc | 90

Jen #51

Regarding film editing skills in the security services. The Zapruder super 8 film of the Kennedy assassination was edited before release at the highest security CIA center in the USA. Controversy raged ever since. This appears to be to eliminate frames that would reveal a second sniper in front of the convoy.

The same allegation of audio/video editing by the state is alleged in the Las Vegas incident. Open source videos suggest more than one shooter.

The MI6/CIA goons have been at it at every technological level forever.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 20:43 utc | 91

@ Stonebird @ 5 & 9:

I posted here at MoA about this new Chinese fishing base early this month. There has been much angst since then. Don't be surprised if Australia engineers political changes in PNG to thwart this move. The US isn't alone in manipulating post colonial regime change ops.

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/chinas-fishery-deal-with-png-wolf-warrior-diplomacy-or-just-business/

The Chinese are outraged by Australian/ US 'freedom of navigation' provocations in the South China Sea, so they can put the boot on the other foot. Try 'freedom of navigation' or 'the right of innocent passage in international waters' in Middle Eastern waters. The US refuses to ratify the International Law of the Sea, so much for the 'rules based, international order.'

As for emigrating to Australia, It depends on what you want. Yes, it has increasingly taken on many undesirable US traits like blatant three levels of government corruption and Middle East foreign policy dictated by the Murdoch media, 'The Lobby' and their political billionaire 'donors.'

On the good side, the OZ health system is far better than, for example, the pathetic and bureaucratic New Zealand health system, even though the ordinary Australian people hate their health system. Kiwi health professionals and tradesmen leave NZ to make more money in Australia. NZ has done well with the virus because the government was aware of the lack of ICU hospital beds so they implemented a swift hard lockdown early. There was no choice.

In many ways sleepy and beautiful NZ is like Australia used to be. Unlike Australia, NZ hasn't totally abandoned the social contract between the government and the people, yet.

Posted by: Paul | Dec 30 2020 20:46 utc | 92

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 20:43 utc | 93

The Zapruder film was Kodachrome, the best of the best in color, but developed exclusively by Kodak. I remember the rolls came with an post envelope. So maybe you're right, either the secret service went to Rochester or Kodak sent a lab somewhere. Boy those Kodachromes, digital colour tries to emulate it.

Posted by: Paco | Dec 30 2020 20:47 utc | 93

Lavrov's end-of-year interview with TASS covers a broad spectrum as one would imagine. Here's a taster:

"Question: The pandemic has changed people’s lives this year. However, instead of cooperative international efforts against the pandemic next year we will likely have a war of vaccines. Where does our strength lie? Will the pandemic become the touchstone for international relations? Who has reaffirmed their friendly ties with us amid the 2020 calamities?

"Sergey Lavrov: Our strength is that Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council with a unique geostrategic position and considerable military-political, economic and cultural potential, has a peaceful and predictable foreign policy. We remain open to joint efforts, based on mutual respect, with anyone who is willing to reciprocate. The main task for Russian diplomacy is to create favourable external conditions for sustainable domestic development, which means that we must build up multifaceted international cooperation and create a 'good neighbourliness belt' around the country in the broad sense of the word.

"We are not playing zero sum geopolitical games, and we are not acting in the spirit of an archaic concept of spheres of influence. Quite the contrary, we are taking practical action to implement the idea that large-scale trans-border problems can only be settled through joint efforts based on the principle of solidarity.

"Guided by this logic, we have provided assistance to countries that have been hit especially heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic at the bilateral level and through multilateral organisations. We are ready to continue cooperating with all interested foreign partners to comprehensively overcome the consequences of this common tragedy. Incidentally, this is what distinguishes Russia from some Western countries, which have not only tried to politicise the purely humanitarian battle against the pandemic but have also used it to punish 'undesirable' governments, contrary to UN calls for at least the temporary lifting of some of the unilateral restrictions, which are complicating the sanitary and epidemiological situation in these countries.

"In this context, it appears logical that even under these circumstances we have built up and strengthened our friendly cooperation with the overwhelming majority of countries in a broad range of spheres this year, including with our allies, like-minded countries and partners in the CSTO, the EAEU, the CIS, BRICS and the SCO.

"I would like to use this occasion to reaffirm that we remain open to dialogue with our Western colleagues, provided, of course, they give up lecturing and the policy of blackmail and ultimatums. This would benefit both our relations with them and international security and stability in general." [My Emphasis]

The longer the Outlaw US Empire refuses to act in a multilateral manner on all outstanding issues, the more estranged it will become from the genuine international system that it ironically initiated. Like Fukuyama, the refusal to see what's actually occurring is resulting in the slow but certain strangulation of itself.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2020 20:51 utc | 94

@93
The only person guaranteed to blow jacks brains out was sitting in front seat of that car.

Posted by: Lee RV Oswald | Dec 30 2020 21:01 utc | 95

paco #95

Thank you, my hazy recall is that Zapruder got the developed film back from Kodak, notified authorities (and media??) after seeing it. Then the authorities took/purchased (?) all the stock and sent it to the cleaners before public release.

On digital colour and clarity I see Huawei latest smart phones are superb. Pixel density is important but film is magnificent when the chemistry is exact.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 21:16 utc | 96

karlof1 #96

Thank you for that good read and your conclusion is spot-on. Forgive me for for thinking that the Imperial Xerxes Biden empire is incapable of change at this time. I say this because of the mendacious line up of court sycophants wedded to 'USAi Uber Alles' that Xerxes himself appointed. We will need to have patience yet but it will be rewarded.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 21:23 utc | 97

Lee RV Oswald #97


The only person guaranteed to blow jacks brains out was sitting in front seat of that car.

One of the front seaters was driving, the other was inconvenienced by a bullet in the spine as I recall. Any decent sniper with a fine rifle within the range available could have achieved that. The motorcade was crawling at low speed.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 21:32 utc | 98

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 30 2020 21:16 utc | 98

It was a 16mm take, that is about half frame, so if enlarged in excess won't have a lot of resolution, but it is the quality of Kodachrome color itself, it was so rich and naturally saturated that computer programs for image processing try to emulate it. In a way it reflects the peak of USA industry, those years when the USA were great, because its products were great.

Posted by: Paco | Dec 30 2020 21:33 utc | 99

Putin and PM Mikhail Mishustin discuss infrastructure and transport development in rather fine detail. Readers will get a good glimpse of how the state at different levels is involved in these realms of development. It's also clear that Russia remains a developing country that still isn't completely connected, a condition remarked upon by both. It's easy to see how the massive amounts of state investment will help Russia's domestic industries, the employment issue, the connectivity issue, and facilitate a large increase in the speed and amount of goods transported through existing and newly developed transport corridors. What Russia's doing is precisely what the Outlaw US Empire ought to be doing but isn't. State investment and ultimate control over Natural Monopolies is the most efficient method of their development and management and provides the best illustration of how to develop and manage public/private partnerships. In retrospect, it's very unfortunate that the USSR wasn't managed in similar fashion.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 30 2020 22:40 utc | 100

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