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Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

Dutch Safety Board report on Malaysian Airliner MH-17

Posted by Charles II on October 14, 2015

Link here. I haven’t read it. However, they have ruled out anything except a “9N314M-model warhead carried on the 9M38-series of missiles, as installed on the Buk surface-to-air missile system.”


The dog still not barking is the absence of evidence from U.S. spy satellites and other intelligence sources that Secretary of State John Kerry insisted just three days after the shoot-down pinpointed where the missile was fired, an obviously important point in determining who fired it.

Posted in crimes, Russia | 2 Comments »

The dirtiest war/corrected

Posted by Charles II on October 7, 2015

One step closer to outright war between US and Russia. Kareem Shaheen, The Guardian:

The row threatens to further escalate tensions over Moscow’s airstrikes to support the regime of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said his country could not endure Russian violations of its airspace in its campaign in Syria and said Russia risked “losing” Turkey.

“Nato has issued a stern ultimatum,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying ….

Nato’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, had said earlier on Tuesday that the Russian incursions into Turkish airspace did not appear to be an accident, because the incursions had happened twice and lasted for a long time.

If Turkey shoots at Russia and Russia shoots back, Turkey can invoke the NATO mutual defense clause.

Meanwhile, ISIS is trying to score the components of a dirty bomb. Maybe they already have. Adam Johnson of FAIR analyzes the AP report and points out that the FBI states that there is no known connection to ISIS. AP just headlined it that way to sell newspapers at the expense of honesty. Jerks.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, Russia, terrorism | 11 Comments »

US blasts Russians for bombing al Qaeda

Posted by Charles II on October 1, 2015

OK. Parry is on the story:

The key sentence in The New York Times’ lead article about Russian airstrikes against Syrian rebel targets fell to the bottom of the story, five paragraphs from the end, where the Times noted in passing that the area north of Homs where the attacks occurred had been the site of an offensive by a coalition “including Nusra Front.”

What the Times didn’t say in that context was that Nusra Front is Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, an omission perhaps explained because this additional information would disrupt the righteous tone of the article, accusing Russia of bad faith in attacking rebel groups other than the Islamic State.

Where was I when this country became an al Qaeda ally?

Posted in Russia, terrorism | 5 Comments »

Twin Narratives: The Big Lie and the Simple Truth, in the same article

Posted by Charles II on September 9, 2015

I was nonplussed today when a friend said that we were on the eve of a situation like World War I, an idea that Michael Weiner Savage has apparently been pressing. Thinking about the Ukraine, and how it has brought American and Russian troops into the same country, I thought I might agree with Mr. Weiner.

But it turns our he was talking about Syria. My friend thought it was notable that a nuclear submarine is heading in that direction. I thought it was a lot less notable since Russia has been a military ally of Syria for something like 50 years.

In the U.S. media, we see the strange phenomenon of a lie and the truth twining around one another, as illustrated thus:

W.J. Hennigan and Brian Bennett, LA Times, tentative title Scary Russian Intervention in Syria:

U.S. intelligence has captured evidence of a significant escalation of Russia’s military engagement in Syria’s civil war, including satellite images of an apparent Russian base for staging troops and heavy equipment under construction near a port city that is a stronghold for Syrian President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials say.

“It’s obviously a big concern,” one official said. “If they’re moving people in to help the Syrian government fight their own fight, that’s one thing. But if they’re moving in ground forces and dropping bombs on populated areas, that’s an entirely different matter.”

The White House said it was closely monitoring reports of Russian military operations in Syria after images of Russian-built warplanes and reconnaissance drones appeared on social media accounts belonging to Syrian opposition fighters. The pictures purportedly showed the aircraft operating near Idlib province in northwestern Syria. Idlib, like Latakia, is in the part of the country dominated by the Alawite sect, the religious minority group to which the Assad family belongs.

“Any military support to the Assad regime for any purpose, whether it’s in the form of military personnel, aircraft supplies, weapons or funding, is both destabilizing and counterproductive,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday.

In August, news footage from Syria showed updated versions of Russian-made BTR-82A fighting vehicles with Russian military markings that hadn’t been seen before in the country. A video clip from the conflict also appeared to show orders being given in Russian to a tank operator.

Also last month, a website that tracks ships moving through the strait between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean published photos of a Russian landing ship that appeared to be carrying several armored vehicles under camouflage netting and four military transport trucks. (emphasis added to identify bulls–t)

And here’s the second story, also W.J. Hennigan and Brian Bennett, LA Times, tentative title, Russians suppoprt Syria, counter ISIS:

increased Russian involvement could extend Assad’s hold on power…

the Russian government has provided the Assad government financial support, intelligence information, weapons and spare parts for its Russian-made military equipment.

the Kremlin has long stated its support for Assad in the fight against insurgent groups, including the Islamic State militants who control large swaths of Iraq as well as Syria.

…Russia’s sole military installation outside the borders of the former Soviet Union is a Cold War-era naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus.

With the buildup, the Russians could be looking to increase their ability to resupply Assad’s forces … The Russians also could help guard the Alawite home territory ….

Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, a steady stream of Russian weapons and resupply shipments have entered Syria to help Assad’s forces.

“Russia is one of Syria’s most important allies and has supplied military and political support to the Assad regime since the beginning of this crisis,” a U.S. intelligence official said.

Or, to condense it down into the lede that the article ought to have had:

Russia has been Syria’s close military ally for over 50 years. US support for terrorist groups has destabilized Syria. Russia is sending a few BTR-82A armored personnel carriers and four trucks on a landing craft barge as part of its long-standing arms transfers to Syria. There are (very unsurprisingly) Russian-built planes and drones in the one part of the country that hasn’t been overrun by terrorists, the Alawite homeland. Also, unsurprisingly, a few Russian troops who the Kremlin will call “trainers” are being sent, probably to guard the Russian port and any other installations they have there.

Now put the rest of the facts in subsequent paragraphs, and you have journalis,

There is no story here. Yes, because the Americans have failed to counter ISIS and continue to try to overthrow Russia’s ally, the Russians are taking cautious steps to support him. I think they’ll fail, and that the consequences of Assad falling will be catastrophic, potentially destabilizing Egypt and Turkey.

But this is not a Russian D-Day landing in the Middle East.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, Russia | Leave a Comment »

Stephen Cohen on Ukraine

Posted by Charles II on August 26, 2015

Stephen Cohen, 8/25 on John Batchelor Show.

Posted in Russia, Ukraine | Comments Off on Stephen Cohen on Ukraine

A uniter, not a divider

Posted by Charles II on August 19, 2015

M. K. Bradrakumar, ATimes

From all accounts, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had a highly successful visit to Moscow on Monday. The single biggest outcome of his talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov should be the signing of the contract for the delivery of upgraded S-300 missiles by Russia to Iran.

The official Russian media reported that the delivery of the missile systems will take place 30-40 days after the signing of the agreement in Moscow (which is expected to be on Aug. 25.)

There is much political symbolism here insofar as Moscow is plainly mocking at the timeline of the US Congress’s approval/disapproval of the Iran nuclear deal will be mid-September. Clearly, as far as Moscow is concerned, Iran’s integration with the world community is deemed to have happened already.

Of course, the S-300 is not covered by any sanctions, since it is categorized as a “defensive” weapon. Nonetheless, the White House has protested. And, to be sure, this time around Moscow will ignore the protest.

The American and Israeli experts have admitted that the S-300 will be a game changer in the strategic balance in the Middle East, since it is a formidable weapon that will make an air attack on Iran very prohibitively expensive.

But that is not the whole story. The fact remains that China is also waiting in the wings. A commentary in the government-owned China Daily on Monday was the latest report speculating on a deal in the pipeline for the supply by China of the J-10 multi-role fighter jet to Iran. The report suggested that not only is the J-10 a “good option for Iran … capable of performing air-to-surface strikes and anti-ship strikes” but “China is also very flexible in payment issues” and “it is highly possible that Chinese aviation industry will transfer technology used on the J-10 to buyers.”

The U.S. has certainly managed to unite all of our potential adversaries. A uniter, not a divider, as Dubya once said.

Posted in China, Russia | Comments Off on A uniter, not a divider

War-messed regards from Mariupol

Posted by Charles II on August 19, 2015

Stephen Cohen on The John Batchelor Show, via The Nation:



Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the Ukrainian crisis and new US-Russian Cold War. Heading this installment are mounting signs that Kiev may be planning a renewed military assault on the rebel strongholds of Donetsk, Lugansk, and other Donbass areas. If so, Cohen points out, this raises two large questions. Since Kiev alone cannot hope for a military victory and would likely suffer a crushing defeat, is it counting on US/NATO support. And if such support is forthcoming, will Russian President Putin have any choice except to send in his own forces, resulting in war between the United States and Russia?

Posted in international, Russia, Ukraine | Comments Off on War-messed regards from Mariupol

Guardian dresses Ukraine rebels in Soviet uniforms to get us into the Cold War spirit

Posted by Charles II on July 17, 2015

Click to expand



Jesus. What is going on at The Guardian? This breathless bit of reporting is (a) of video that was shown a year ago, though NewsCorp dug up a few additional minutes, (b) manages to go further over the top than the Torygraph, which they link, and (c) adds  leaked draft of the findings of the Dutch Safety Board”– while not asking American intelligence to release what it knows. Do we really need another but of deniable and anonymous information when there are almost certainly satellite photos of the missile launch– photos which according to some sources show the troops in question to be wearing Kiev uniforms.

Maybe it’s time to go OffGuardian.

Posted in media, Russia, Ukraine | Comments Off on Guardian dresses Ukraine rebels in Soviet uniforms to get us into the Cold War spirit

Thieves fall out in Ukraine

Posted by Charles II on July 12, 2015

Alec Luhn, The Guardian:

Tensions have been rising between the government and the Right Sector militia that has helped it fight pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

A Right Sector spokesman, Taras Kuzyak, told Ukrainian media on Sunday that seven infantry fighting vehicles had blocked the entrance to Right Sector’s base near the town of Skole in Lviv region, adding that law enforcement was similarly cutting off access to other Right Sector bases in western Ukraine.

The move came after a gunfight broke out on Saturday, when about 20 Right Sector gunmen arrived at a sports complex controlled by MP Mikhail Lano. They had been trying to stop the traffic of cigarettes and other contraband, a spokesman for the group said.

Kyiv Post version here.

Gazeta version, as translated by Fortruss here.

Posted in Russia, Ukraine | Comments Off on Thieves fall out in Ukraine

Islamists join neo-Nazis in Ukraine

Posted by Charles II on July 9, 2015

Robert Parry:

In a curiously upbeat account, The New York Times reports that Islamic militants have joined with Ukraine’s far-right and neo-Nazi battalions to fight ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. It appears that no combination of violent extremists is too wretched to celebrate as long as they’re killing Russ-kies.

[added]“The Chechen commands the Sheikh Mansur group, named for an 18th-century Chechen resistance figure. It is subordinate to the nationalist Right Sector, a Ukrainian militia. … Right Sector … formed during last year’s street protests in Kiev from a half-dozen fringe Ukrainian nationalist groups like White Hammer and the Trident of Stepan Bandera.

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