The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersRussian Reaction Blog
Punishing Putler
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

So it looks like the British reaction to The Skripal Affair is assuming very serious proportions, especially with the most recent allegations that the nerve agent in question was Novichok.

(Incidentally, it is a gas so potent – an order of magnitude more so than VX – that carpet bombing a middle-sized city with it is projected to wipe out most of its population, but was apparently unable to even kill its main target).

PM Theresa May has now given Russia a two day deadline to prove it was not behind the attack, or else… Well, all sorts of wild suggestions are now flying on the Internet how the UK and “the West” ought to “punish” Russia.

I suppose this makes it as good a time to address this topic as any, in approximate order of severity.

Boycott FIFA World Cup 2018

The positive side is that the UK – so, presumably, England – will not have to worry about getting poisoned by the Russians “to slow them down” (as suggested by professional Russia basher Edward Lucas).

Not that anyone would notice.

On the other hand, if they could cajole the other Western countries into boycotting as well, it would be yet another humiliation for the kremlins, who seem to think they can buy their way into international handshakeworthiness by hosting very expensive international sporting events.

On the other hand, I don’t think that’s even a bad thing.

Kick out RT

This is being actively discussed.

This is going to seriously hurt RT’s international operations, since London hosts one of its two main foreign HQs. However, this gives Russia perfectly good cause to kick out the BBC and other British outlets. Hence why pro-Western journalists such as Max Seddon and Alexey Kovalev are beseeching Britain not to do it.

Since RT is not that successful anyway – viewership numbers are underwhelming, and 40% of its website visitors come from Russia itself – this will hurt Britain more than it hurts Russia.

The chances of other Western countries joining in are minimal, but if they do, I suppose the only result will be an across the board fold-up of the remaining major Western news bureaus in Moscow.

Further Financial Sanctions

E.g. prohibiting British investors from buying Russian sovereign debt, but this will have even less of an effect than the US doing it, which Mercouris explained here:

  • Russia has massive foreign currency reserves (currently $450 billion) and its budget remains essentially balanced.
  • Nothing stops it from floating bonds in the Asian money markets

So the effects from this will be negligible.

Step up Support for the Ukraine

Weapons supplies to the Ukraine are always an option but frankly Britain is unable to substantively change the military balance by itself.

However, the UK could recognize the DNR and LNR to be terrorist organizations.

This will, amongst other things, enable the UK to effect much more aggressive prosecution of Novorossiya supporters, should it also recognize the DNR and LNR to be terrorist organizations (which currently only the Ukraine does). In this case, Graham Phillips and Patrick Lancaster might want to apply for asylum in Russia.

Along with the nuclear/novichok “terrorism,” this will also lay further groundwork to:

Designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism

With associated further financial sanctions down the line, should the UK convince the US (realistic if Blackpill Timeline continues to pan out) and the EU (less likely but imaginable) to follow suit.

Cut Russia off from SWIFT

This is not something that the UK, nor even the US, can do by themselves; the organization itself is based in Brussels, Belgium, it is subject to Belgian and EU law, and is owned by its member financial institutions.

When Iran was booted out from SWIFT in 2012, it required the agreement of all 27 EU countries.

Russia has domestic alternatives to SWIFT (РАБИС, БЭСП) for commercial banks, and since 2014, the Mir payment system has been created for ordinary citizens. It is likely that internal transactions can be carried out without a hitch even in the event of a serious Western financial embargo.

As Alexander Mercouris points out, since 2014 the large state-owned banks that dominate the Russian banking system have been effectively cut off from borrowing in Western financial markets anyway. Consequently, it will be Western companies and businessmen with Russian investments who would be the most seriously affected, not to menton SWIFT itself, which will lose out from the loss in Russian institution membership fees.

Export Controls on Tech

Russia depends heavily on European (esp. German) machine tools.

A resurrection of Cold War style export controls on technology transfers to the USSR would hurt Russia badly. But this is not something that the UK or even the US seem to be capable of pushing on Germany and/or the EU.

Confiscate Russian oligarch assets in the UK/The West

This, ironically, presupposes a lack of rule of law in the West to an extent barely even imaginable in Russia. (For instance, nobody was confiscating Poroshenko’s chocolate factory in Lipetsk, to the chagrin of Russian nationalists).

But let’s suppose British judges are willing to overturn a millennium of legal norms just to punish Putler.

First, the UK will, at a single stroke, solve a large chunk of Russia’s problems with comprador elites, who make (or suck out) their money in Russia and spend it in London (Miami, Nice, Courchevel, etc.). The remote risk of losing your money due to a falling out with one of Putin’s henchmen sure beats the certain risk of losing your money by dint of being a “Russian oligarch” in the West.

Second, this will, to a great extent, constitute “friendly fire.” The Russian economic elites, especially those with ties to the West, are far more pro-Western than the population at large, and most Russians in London actually vote against Putin during elections.

Third, far from turning the oligarchs against Putin, it will just increase the already considerable control he has over them even further. This idea that pissed off oligarchs will feed Putin his own polonium tea is a beloved fantasy at places like /r/politics, but in the real world, it is 2018, not 1998, nor even 2003; Russia is no longer an oligarchy, but a “silovarchy” of security men clustered around Putin. With the “oligarchs’” remaining assets parked within Russia, their ability to create trouble for the regime will be even further diminished.

Cut Russia off from the Internet

This would again require the cooperation of the entire West, and if done forcibly – e.g., cutting the underwater cables connecting Saint-Petersburg to the world, as the Royal Navy quietly did to German telegram cables on August 4, 1914 – it would amount to a more or less overt declaration of war.

Will it cripple the Russian Internet? Of course not. The Internet perceives censorship as damage, and reacts by bypassing blockages. The West is not the world; short of NATO seizing control of the entire Russian border, it will retain access to the worldwide web, even though speeds will be much slower. The internal Internet (Runet) should not be greatly affected, since like China, Russia has taken care to build in redundancies that will enable it to function autonomously (ironically, efforts that Russian liberals have long interpreted as part of a totalitarian scheme to cut Russia off from the worldwide Internet).

Seizure of Russian Foreign Gold & Currency Reserves

Obviously, this is not something that the UK can do anything meaningful about, since less than 10% of Russia’s foreign currency reserves are in pounds sterling.

The USD and Euro each account for a bit more than 40% in Russia’s foreign currency basket, as well as a symbolic amount of yuan. Most of Russia’s sizable gold reserves ($80 billion) are parked in Russia itself.

Needless to say, seizing these assets will be illegal, extraordinary, and close to a declaration of war.

If anybody is going to do it in any possible universe, it is going to be the US (Europe is too fissiparous to push something like that through).

I am certainly not one of those people who predicts the Final Collapse of the petrodollar and US imperialism every year. But this will be a real risk if the US does something this insane. While seizing the assets of small and economically irrelevant “rogue states” is nothing special, doing this to Russia – as one of the world’s core Great Powers – will be an entirely different ball game that will discredit the American-dominated global financial system, most critically in the eyes of China (since what stops the US from eventually pulling something similar on them?).

Since this system massively favors America – the US dollar’s global reserve status artificially lowers risk premiums in the US, making foreigners willing to “irrationally” invest in US bonds at rates well beyond equilibrium – its unraveling will likewise hurt the US more than anyone else. This could even be the trigger that snaps the US back down to an economic level more correlated with the quality of its human capital.

Total Embargo

The Russian economy will crater, but Russia is at least self-sufficient in food and energy, while many EU countries – especially the former eastern bloc ones – depend on Russian gas to power their factories and heat their homes during the winter.

Now it’s not like they’ll be freezing to death. However, they will be paying through the nose for LNG imports, and the disruptions from the temporary interruption in Russian oil supplies will plunge the EU and probably the world into a depression.

Over time, Russia will orientate itself towards East Asia, especially China. Despite the necessity of it, this will not be a fast process, due to the paucity of the needed infrastructure as well as Russia’s poor understanding of Chinese realities. But this will be bridged with time, and as China continues to break out into technological leadership, the lack of access to Western tech and knowhow will become less and less of a debilitating factor for Russia.

Assassinate Putin

I do see this seriously suggested every now and then in comments (if not in official rhetoric, thankfully). Hopefully that’s because most non-crazy people recognize the downsides.

Conclusions

Some common themes:

  • Most prospective sanctions are some combination of: Ineffective, hurt its initiators as much as Russia, or carry grievous geopolitical implications.
  • Are not credibly capable of changing (alleged) Russian misbehavior
  • Most of them are likely to stoke even further Russian resentment against the West, discredit its domestic pro-Western forces, and strengthen the regime politically, even where they weaken Russia economically.

But by far the most crucial factor is that those measures that do have the capacity to truly wreck the Russian economy need the cooperation of Asia, and by Asia, I mean China.

This is why Russia’s development of China ties has been Putin’s single greatest foreign policy success, besides which everything happening in Syria is basically irrelevant. No wonder that this development has been consistently decried by the liberal fifth column.

 
Show 328 CommentsLeave a Comment
328 Comments to "Punishing Putler"
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Whole thing will be forgotten in a few weeks. Britain is no longer a super-power with world influence – and it is now one whose opinions are no longer even have to be taken in consideration by the EU states.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Another reason why Brexit is a good thing.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. Ex-spy Skripal poisoning ‘clearly came from Russia’ & ‘will trigger response’ – Tillerson

    My money is on Radio Gleiwitz unfolding.

    The scenario “Get busier in Syria” may be an option.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I don’t know what is happening, but there clearly is an ever-increasing drumbeat of war propaganda against Russia. With talk of Russian “hybrid warfare” against the West (which Russia is supposedly already waging), basically any act of war against Russia should already be justified. This is getting truly unhinged, and the statements of western leaders are now not much different than they were towards, say, Iraq before they started a war against it. Russia is now viewed as a rogue state. This incident was clearly unhelpful, but may have been committed by someone else intent on making the situation even worse.

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  3. Weapons supplies to the Ukraine are always an option but frankly Britain is unable to substantively change the military balance by itself.

    They do not have the budget or interest in Ukraine. Any financial donations would rapidly disappear in corruptions.

    As for military equipment. The last time they sold to Ukraine, obsolete APCS, which were characterized as ‘moving coffins’:

    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/britain-s-ugliest-cold-war-vehicle-is-back-in-ukraine-154aad7d2179

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  4. A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media

    Thank you, Anatoly. You are doing precisely what Mr Unz prescribes.
    It is the sort of piece that should be appearing in any serious journal or newspaper in the West. And they should be paying you the going rate for producing such a comprehensive piece. The fact that it is not is evidence of the continuing decadence and depravity of the Western MSM.

    Read More
    • LOL: Mr. Hack
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  5. I will come off the fence, the hysterical reaction tells me this was a false flag, combine that with the claim of a Russian developed nerve agent. The neocons are just going wild on this, just no way would cautious Putin have made such a gamble on such a pointless gesture. Corbyn is still leading in several opinion polls, and that sort of thing makes some people absolutely desperate, throw in the failure of regime change in Syria, Trump and Brexit winning and an Israeli F16 being shot down in Israeli airspace and you can do crazy things.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  6. @El Dato
    Ex-spy Skripal poisoning 'clearly came from Russia' & 'will trigger response' – Tillerson

    My money is on Radio Gleiwitz unfolding.

    The scenario "Get busier in Syria" may be an option.

    I don’t know what is happening, but there clearly is an ever-increasing drumbeat of war propaganda against Russia. With talk of Russian “hybrid warfare” against the West (which Russia is supposedly already waging), basically any act of war against Russia should already be justified. This is getting truly unhinged, and the statements of western leaders are now not much different than they were towards, say, Iraq before they started a war against it. Russia is now viewed as a rogue state. This incident was clearly unhelpful, but may have been committed by someone else intent on making the situation even worse.

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    This is getting truly unhinged, and the statements of western leaders are now not much different than they were towards, say, Iraq before they started a war against it. Russia is now viewed as a rogue state. This incident was clearly unhelpful, but may have been committed by someone else intent on making the situation even worse.
     
    It's not a question of 'want', but a question of 'can'.

    Iraq was a weak country, with no strong country protecting it.

    It was seen that it 'could' be toppled Saddam, and this gave birth to a desire - or even the 'want' - to do so.

    Human nature will follow through on doing something, if and to the extent that, it perceives that it can do something. And sometimes only for the sake of showing that it can do something. If people could get away with murder - well, - the world be rather unpleasant.

    Nobody will make war on Russia, because there is no 'can'. The situation is physically - not to mention politically and economically - impossible. Likewise nobody will make war on the Americans, or on China, or even on India.

    What is possible, or can be done, is exactly what we see: Babies throwing their toys out of the pram: 'Harsh statements and condemnation'. 'A sanctions list of oligarchs who will be denied visas'. 'Kicking out RT from London' - (which would good for improving the country's PR). 'Refusal to send the Queen of England to the World Cup'. Add to list as suitable.

    , @Jon0815

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.
     
    It strikes me that Russia's strategic situation today vs. the USA is basically the reverse of what it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1962, the USA and USSR had rough parity in conventional forces, but the USA had a huge strategic nuclear advantage. Today, the USA and Russia have rough strategic nuclear parity, but the USA has a huge advantage in conventional forces. I'm not sure in which situation nuclear war is more likely- although collectively, Western politicians sound a lot more openly bellicose towards Russia today, than they ever did during the Cold War.
    , @Randal

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.
     
    Risk of war, or risk of nuclear war? When the major nuclear arsenals are officially back on "launch on warning", then I'll believe we face a risk of nuclear war that is of a similar order of magnitude to what I remember from the late Cold War.

    Risk of a great power war, I agree. I've noted recently (and I'm not the only one) that the situation in Syria is smelling more and more like 1914 (but with timescales in minutes and hours, rather than days). The US regime's latest repeated and open threat to (illegally, but of course laws don't apply to the goodies) attack Syrian government forces over the East Ghouta clean-up provides a direct path to war if either side misjudges its responses by an iota.

    A war is actually fairly likely at the moment - I suspect the US regime will at some point attack Syrian government forces, and any Russian response that results in significant US casualties will put the US regime on the spot about responding in turn. There's no way of knowing for sure how either government will respond in those circumstances, and much depends upon details around the scale of any attacks and the particular targeting. It's a disturbingly chaotic and analytically difficult situation.

    As to whether it would escalate to a nuclear exchange, well we all have to hope at least one side will take one of the various inevitable opportunities to deescalate before we reach that point. It seems unlikely it would go that far, though. I've long been a believer that nuclear weapons are unique in human history in that they make it almost impossible for the decision maskers to believe they won't suffer the worst consequences of any war they start - "win" or "lose".

    We could imo easily see a limited exchange of fire between Russian and US forces in Syria at any time in the next days or weeks. It mostly depends upon what orders the Russians in theatre have and are given in response to events.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. Maybe it’s just advertisement for the latest Jennifer Lawrence vehicle?

    Philosoraptor.jpg

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  8. anon • Disclaimer says:

    I agree with AK on Russia organizing and hosting expensive global sports events, which ultimately provides NATO with some leverage over Russia. Russia would be much better off spending that money on their military and the country’s infrastructure.

    Now, in the sphere of financial sanctions that can genuinely hurt the Russian economy, I don’t think that there is much that the West can do. If there was something they could do, they would have already done it circa 2014-16 when the Maidan along with the oil-price collapse gave NATO real hope that the much sought-after regime-change objective was at hand. Having said that, I wouldn’t put it past them to try something as stupid as kicking Russia off the SWIFT payments system, which will surely cause short-term problems for Russia, but that would be their last anti-Russian bullet gone.

    Now, it shocks me that AK seems to be unaware of the epic stakes in Syria. Well, in brief, Russia be intervening in Syria has destroyed US-NATO-Zio plans for a New Middle East. Russia has basically saved Lebanon (Hezbollah) Syria, Iraq and Iran from total annihilation (see Zbig’s micro-state Doctrine) and is well on her way of constructing an anti-NATO sphere of influence in this most strategic region. With these countries on-board the Putler train, Russia will be able to control and take advantage of a massive chunk of the world’s oil & gas production, on top of preventing the pipelines that are a threat to Russia from ever happening and building those suit her. On the list of Russian achievements in the Middle East, one can add the total ruination of West-Turkey relations, for centuries a major thorn in Russia’s backside.

    Oh, and one more thing. The EU cannot replace Russian gas, not even in the very long-term. For several reasons:

    a) There is not enough LNG to supply EU gas demand.

    b) There is not enough LNG terminal capacity to receive enough LNG even if it ever existed.

    c) Building such infrastructure is extremely time-consuming as well as money-consuming. It would seriously damage the EU’s already pathetic competitiveness on the global markets.

    d) LNG will always be more expensive than piped gas which affects the trade balance as well as competitiveness > Do you think that the Germans are approving Nord Stream II out of any sympathy towards Russia? No! They are simply f*cked otherwise.

    e) In order for wind-energy to be in any way partially effective (which is a goal for the EU) you need to replace nuclear and coal generation so as to be able to balance the inevitable wild swings of power generation from the notoriously intermittent energy-source that is wind.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    I agree with you on Middle East.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  9. @reiner Tor
    I don’t know what is happening, but there clearly is an ever-increasing drumbeat of war propaganda against Russia. With talk of Russian “hybrid warfare” against the West (which Russia is supposedly already waging), basically any act of war against Russia should already be justified. This is getting truly unhinged, and the statements of western leaders are now not much different than they were towards, say, Iraq before they started a war against it. Russia is now viewed as a rogue state. This incident was clearly unhelpful, but may have been committed by someone else intent on making the situation even worse.

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.

    This is getting truly unhinged, and the statements of western leaders are now not much different than they were towards, say, Iraq before they started a war against it. Russia is now viewed as a rogue state. This incident was clearly unhelpful, but may have been committed by someone else intent on making the situation even worse.

    It’s not a question of ‘want’, but a question of ‘can’.

    Iraq was a weak country, with no strong country protecting it.

    It was seen that it ‘could’ be toppled Saddam, and this gave birth to a desire – or even the ‘want’ – to do so.

    Human nature will follow through on doing something, if and to the extent that, it perceives that it can do something. And sometimes only for the sake of showing that it can do something. If people could get away with murder – well, – the world be rather unpleasant.

    Nobody will make war on Russia, because there is no ‘can’. The situation is physically – not to mention politically and economically – impossible. Likewise nobody will make war on the Americans, or on China, or even on India.

    What is possible, or can be done, is exactly what we see: Babies throwing their toys out of the pram: ‘Harsh statements and condemnation’. ‘A sanctions list of oligarchs who will be denied visas’. ‘Kicking out RT from London’ – (which would good for improving the country’s PR). ‘Refusal to send the Queen of England to the World Cup’. Add to list as suitable.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    They definitely don’t want a nuclear war, or any kind of war, with Russia. Though here’s this video from 2016, especially the senator’s face around 6:48. If you tell me this high ranking senator didn’t want to bomb the Russian forces in Syria, then what do you base your opinion on?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWG3D11lMiY&feature=youtu.be

    Anyway, probably they don’t want a nuclear war, obviously. But they are intent on ramping up tensions beyond anything ever seen during the Cold War. When tensions run high, misunderstandings can lead to very bad things.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  10. @Dmitry
    Whole thing will be forgotten in a few weeks. Britain is no longer a super-power with world influence - and it is now one whose opinions are no longer even have to be taken in consideration by the EU states.

    Another reason why Brexit is a good thing.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. The more Western hostility toward Russia the better the sovereignty of the Russian people in the long run. As Karlin points out, Putin and the oligarchs especially seem to believe a modus vivendi with the West is a real possibility. Hence, the continued efforts to re-approximate the West rather than decisively moving to restore the autarky necessary to resist the globo-gayplex. Well, all they’ve got for their pains is repeated kicks to teeth. The Atlantic bloc is driven by the dogma of liberal managerialism, which is incapable of compromise since its a de facto religion.

    AK, do you think the shift toward a more militarized elite will reduce corruption as the oligarchs are marginalized? What are the structural and policy changes required to reduce corruption?

    Read More
    • Replies: @myself
    After the Cold War, the West never gave any breathing room to Russia. They placed a puppet in power (Yeltsin), pushed NATO eastwards, destroyed Russian allies in the Middle East (and would have severed Russia from China, if that had been possible - but it was not), and of course staged a coup in the Ukraine.

    The Yeltsin government, which was weak, unpatriotic and deluded by Western prescriptions of "no-tarrifs" and "laissez-faire", essentially annihilated the Russian defense-industrial capability and tanked Russian economic growth.

    In the Yeltsin years, Russia's economy was restructured not thoughtfully, but disastrously. Like forcing so much medicine and surgery on a sick patient too soon, that he starts dying before your eyes. All of it because of Yeltsin's love for (and Western advice in favor of) lurching, vomit-inducing "reform". Gradual reform - NO! The nineties saw Russia drive right off a cliff.

    I can only conclude that the West sees Russia as an eternal, immutable, irreconcilable ENEMY. Note, I mean Russia, not the Soviet Union. Why? Because Russia is an "Alien Civilization", with paradigms and values very different from the West's, and with enough power, depth and size to not have to "bend the knee" to the the reconstituted Roman Empire - into which the West has morphed.

    Was it Zbigniew Brezinski who said "I like Russia so much that, where Russia sits now, I want there to be many Russias, ten Russias or more". Obviously so that any given society in that vast space can be more easily manipulated and intimidated. Such is Western thinking.

    Now we are at the end-game. Russia MUST be dissolved and their civilization extinguished between 2018 and 2020, or the window will start closing on the Western Empire. The multi-polar world is not merely coming, it is absolutely here.

    Russia's options multiply, and there are yet other powers in the world who will not "bend the knee" with whom Russia has natural partnership. These other civilizations grow in power, and their numbers multiply.

    IT'S NOW OR NEVER! And so the American and European elites have become utterly hysterical.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  12. Boycotting the world cup will save us the embarrassment of being knocked out by Pitcairn Island.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    They were knocked out by Iceland in the last European Championship. Iceland are in this year's World Cup, so there is a chance they might do it again. You're being a bit harsh on the England players. Pitcairn Island has about 200 people. Iceland has at least 300,00 people-about the same size as Plymouth !
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  13. Didn’t the gas pipeline to China thing get canceled? Relations of Russia with China seem ok but nothing special.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Gas should start to be delivered to China from the Far-East from end of 2019.

    http://www.ntv.ru/video/1446841/

    , @Kimppis
    Where did that BS come from anyway? I remember reading something like that on MSM a few years ago, but was it just western/neocon wishful thinking and nothing else? "Some small potential delays -> it's canceled!"
    , @Anonymous lurker
    The huge "Power of Siberia" Russо-Chinese gas pipeline is still under construction and at a Gazprom board meeting at the beginning of March this year (just a week ago or so) CEO Miller announced it's about three quarters finished (1580 kilometers worth of piping and support infrastructure have been put in place to date, out of a planned total length of some 2158km).

    I reckon the tap will be turned on by 2019 sometime, so all of that has been on schedule without any significant hitches.

    Media (well, Western ditto at least) announced that the project had run into a wall and was likely going to be cancelled as soon as they caught a whiff of some reports on minor cost overruns pertaining to a certain section of it. Needless to say, it wasn't that simple.

    This reporting approach applies to all Russian construction projects, really. On occasion, there are some real hitches (such as the scandal-ridden, hugely costly and long overdue St. Petersburg stadium), but the things get built anyway eventually. And it's literally nothing compared to the cost overruns and delays seen in (for instance) the Big Dig in Boston or the Hallandsas tunnel in Sweden... Happens to the best of us. In Russia, good old corruption might be a bigger factor behind such issues than it is elsewhere, but the issues themselves certainly aren't unique, whatever causes them.

    Most of the time it's just bullshit though, based on (likely deliberate) misinterpretations of the actual scope and extent of the projects and their budgets (as illustrated by the infamous Sochi "roads of caviar and gold" and everything), or based on an absolutely autistic fixation on even the slightest hiccup (such as one railroad approach to the Crimean bridge needing a slight redesign from the original plan, which immediately gave rise to dozens of headlines all over the place a few months ago).

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  14. @spandrell
    Didn't the gas pipeline to China thing get canceled? Relations of Russia with China seem ok but nothing special.

    Gas should start to be delivered to China from the Far-East from end of 2019.

    http://www.ntv.ru/video/1446841/

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. @anon
    I agree with AK on Russia organizing and hosting expensive global sports events, which ultimately provides NATO with some leverage over Russia. Russia would be much better off spending that money on their military and the country's infrastructure.

    Now, in the sphere of financial sanctions that can genuinely hurt the Russian economy, I don't think that there is much that the West can do. If there was something they could do, they would have already done it circa 2014-16 when the Maidan along with the oil-price collapse gave NATO real hope that the much sought-after regime-change objective was at hand. Having said that, I wouldn't put it past them to try something as stupid as kicking Russia off the SWIFT payments system, which will surely cause short-term problems for Russia, but that would be their last anti-Russian bullet gone.

    Now, it shocks me that AK seems to be unaware of the epic stakes in Syria. Well, in brief, Russia be intervening in Syria has destroyed US-NATO-Zio plans for a New Middle East. Russia has basically saved Lebanon (Hezbollah) Syria, Iraq and Iran from total annihilation (see Zbig's micro-state Doctrine) and is well on her way of constructing an anti-NATO sphere of influence in this most strategic region. With these countries on-board the Putler train, Russia will be able to control and take advantage of a massive chunk of the world's oil & gas production, on top of preventing the pipelines that are a threat to Russia from ever happening and building those suit her. On the list of Russian achievements in the Middle East, one can add the total ruination of West-Turkey relations, for centuries a major thorn in Russia's backside.

    Oh, and one more thing. The EU cannot replace Russian gas, not even in the very long-term. For several reasons:

    a) There is not enough LNG to supply EU gas demand.

    b) There is not enough LNG terminal capacity to receive enough LNG even if it ever existed.

    c) Building such infrastructure is extremely time-consuming as well as money-consuming. It would seriously damage the EU's already pathetic competitiveness on the global markets.

    d) LNG will always be more expensive than piped gas which affects the trade balance as well as competitiveness > Do you think that the Germans are approving Nord Stream II out of any sympathy towards Russia? No! They are simply f*cked otherwise.

    e) In order for wind-energy to be in any way partially effective (which is a goal for the EU) you need to replace nuclear and coal generation so as to be able to balance the inevitable wild swings of power generation from the notoriously intermittent energy-source that is wind.

    I agree with you on Middle East.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  16. I find it pretty bizarre May is pronouncing an ultimatum on Russia. It is not really becoming when the US does so on a much smaller country. May doing it to Russia is theater of the absurd. Doubly so, since the British government has spent so long dragging its feet on Brexit.

    Two days is less time than they held Brittany Pettibone for, is it not?

    You can be sure that May has something already lined up. I’d guess some special interest group came up with it and profits from it.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  17. It will most likely come down to just the boycott of the World Cup. Then the question is how many other EU countries would join in and what would Germany do?

    There would be an attempt to organise a parallel world cup for he boycotters (plus US) to soften the blow on the fans. But it is a long shot and the impact would be what exactly? How is not showing up for someone’s party going to accomplish anything?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cyrano
    I also think that boycotting the World Cup is the most likely scenario. Maybe even the whole thing was staged to give them an excuse to do that. They simply want to turn Russia into pariah state. If they continue with the same stupidity like banning Russia from the Olympics and boycotting the World cup, instead of turning Russia into pariah state they might turn them into piranha state and Russia definitely has some bite in them, enough to give the morons in the west a reason to consider entering uncharted waters.
    , @JL
    There is huge opposition to a WC boycott in the UK. Among other reasons, according to FIFA rules, if a country unilaterally stages a boycott they also forfeit their right to play in the next WC four years from now. There are two religions in the UK, the royal family and football. They'd be playing with fire by boycotting.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  18. @Beckow
    It will most likely come down to just the boycott of the World Cup. Then the question is how many other EU countries would join in and what would Germany do?

    There would be an attempt to organise a parallel world cup for he boycotters (plus US) to soften the blow on the fans. But it is a long shot and the impact would be what exactly? How is not showing up for someone's party going to accomplish anything?

    I also think that boycotting the World Cup is the most likely scenario. Maybe even the whole thing was staged to give them an excuse to do that. They simply want to turn Russia into pariah state. If they continue with the same stupidity like banning Russia from the Olympics and boycotting the World cup, instead of turning Russia into pariah state they might turn them into piranha state and Russia definitely has some bite in them, enough to give the morons in the west a reason to consider entering uncharted waters.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  19. @Dmitry

    This is getting truly unhinged, and the statements of western leaders are now not much different than they were towards, say, Iraq before they started a war against it. Russia is now viewed as a rogue state. This incident was clearly unhelpful, but may have been committed by someone else intent on making the situation even worse.
     
    It's not a question of 'want', but a question of 'can'.

    Iraq was a weak country, with no strong country protecting it.

    It was seen that it 'could' be toppled Saddam, and this gave birth to a desire - or even the 'want' - to do so.

    Human nature will follow through on doing something, if and to the extent that, it perceives that it can do something. And sometimes only for the sake of showing that it can do something. If people could get away with murder - well, - the world be rather unpleasant.

    Nobody will make war on Russia, because there is no 'can'. The situation is physically - not to mention politically and economically - impossible. Likewise nobody will make war on the Americans, or on China, or even on India.

    What is possible, or can be done, is exactly what we see: Babies throwing their toys out of the pram: 'Harsh statements and condemnation'. 'A sanctions list of oligarchs who will be denied visas'. 'Kicking out RT from London' - (which would good for improving the country's PR). 'Refusal to send the Queen of England to the World Cup'. Add to list as suitable.

    They definitely don’t want a nuclear war, or any kind of war, with Russia. Though here’s this video from 2016, especially the senator’s face around 6:48. If you tell me this high ranking senator didn’t want to bomb the Russian forces in Syria, then what do you base your opinion on?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWG3D11lMiY&feature=youtu.be

    Anyway, probably they don’t want a nuclear war, obviously. But they are intent on ramping up tensions beyond anything ever seen during the Cold War. When tensions run high, misunderstandings can lead to very bad things.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    They definitely don’t want a nuclear war, or any kind of war, with Russia. Though here’s this video from 2016, especially the senator’s face around 6:48. If you tell me this high ranking senator didn’t want to bomb the Russian forces in Syria, then what do you base your opinion on?

    Anyway, probably they don’t want a nuclear war, obviously. But they are intent on ramping up tensions beyond anything ever seen during the Cold War. When tensions run high, misunderstandings can lead to very bad things.

     

    The two sides would just like to bomb each other's Arabs.

    The Washington (more aggressive politicians) want to bomb the Kremlin supported Arabs (Assad's forces).

    While the Kremlin, it's already been bombing the Washington supported Arabs (the FSA/opposition).

    -

    If they accidentally hit each other's forces inside Syria, then they would look for an excuse to 'climb down' or de-escalation, after various rhetoric. Even Turkey did this - and both sides climb down, and Turkey is a lot less scary than the United States.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  20. @spandrell
    Didn't the gas pipeline to China thing get canceled? Relations of Russia with China seem ok but nothing special.

    Where did that BS come from anyway? I remember reading something like that on MSM a few years ago, but was it just western/neocon wishful thinking and nothing else? “Some small potential delays -> it’s canceled!”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Where did that BS come from anyway? I remember reading something like that on MSM a few years ago, but was it just western/neocon wishful thinking and nothing else? “Some small potential delays -> it’s canceled!”


     

    No it was all over local media as well last year. I guess it is how China are negotiating.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  21. From the case against Saddam, to every other week in Syria, to this Skripal affair all we ever hear about is poison gas. Is it a cultural thing, or what? I mean presumbly you know which people will obsess more about murder by gas than others. In a neocon-led world you have wonder.

    Read More
    • Agree: Felix Keverich
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  22. JL says:
    @Beckow
    It will most likely come down to just the boycott of the World Cup. Then the question is how many other EU countries would join in and what would Germany do?

    There would be an attempt to organise a parallel world cup for he boycotters (plus US) to soften the blow on the fans. But it is a long shot and the impact would be what exactly? How is not showing up for someone's party going to accomplish anything?

    There is huge opposition to a WC boycott in the UK. Among other reasons, according to FIFA rules, if a country unilaterally stages a boycott they also forfeit their right to play in the next WC four years from now. There are two religions in the UK, the royal family and football. They’d be playing with fire by boycotting.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    according to FIFA rules, if a country unilaterally stages a boycott they also forfeit their right to play in the next WC four years from now.

    That doesn't seem to be automatic, actually, and in any event the boycott (if it occurs) is not likely to be unilateral -- the UK will only withdraw if it can convince others to follow suit.

    REGULATIONS 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

    Article 6 Withdrawal, unplayed matches and abandoned matches

    1. All participating member associations undertake to play all of their matches until eliminated from the FIFA World Cup™.

    2. Any association that withdraws between the preliminary draw and the start of the preliminary competition is liable to a fine of at least CHF 20,000. Any association that withdraws after the start of the preliminary competition is liable to a fine of at least CHF 40,000.

    3. Any association that withdraws no later than 30 days before the start of the final competition is liable to a fine of at least CHF 250,000. Any association that withdraws less than 30 days before the start of the final competition, or during the final competition itself, shall be fined at least CHF 500,000.

    4. Depending on the circumstances of the withdrawal, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee may impose sanctions in addition to those provided for in par. 2 and 3 above, including the expulsion of the association concerned from subsequent FIFA competitions.
     
    , @Pericles

    There are two religions in the UK, the royal family and football.

     

    Well ... three religions.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  23. @JL
    There is huge opposition to a WC boycott in the UK. Among other reasons, according to FIFA rules, if a country unilaterally stages a boycott they also forfeit their right to play in the next WC four years from now. There are two religions in the UK, the royal family and football. They'd be playing with fire by boycotting.

    according to FIFA rules, if a country unilaterally stages a boycott they also forfeit their right to play in the next WC four years from now.

    That doesn’t seem to be automatic, actually, and in any event the boycott (if it occurs) is not likely to be unilateral — the UK will only withdraw if it can convince others to follow suit.

    REGULATIONS 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

    Article 6 Withdrawal, unplayed matches and abandoned matches

    1. All participating member associations undertake to play all of their matches until eliminated from the FIFA World Cup™.

    2. Any association that withdraws between the preliminary draw and the start of the preliminary competition is liable to a fine of at least CHF 20,000. Any association that withdraws after the start of the preliminary competition is liable to a fine of at least CHF 40,000.

    3. Any association that withdraws no later than 30 days before the start of the final competition is liable to a fine of at least CHF 250,000. Any association that withdraws less than 30 days before the start of the final competition, or during the final competition itself, shall be fined at least CHF 500,000.

    4. Depending on the circumstances of the withdrawal, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee may impose sanctions in addition to those provided for in par. 2 and 3 above, including the expulsion of the association concerned from subsequent FIFA competitions.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  24. I hope they don’t shut RT. Nice to have a choice of biased State broadcasters and alternative views.

    Via the Financial Times, alcohol consumption falling bigly in Russia.

    In the meantime, “Russian nerve agent” is totally drowning out “thousands of girls raped” in the British media.

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/britains-worst-ever-child-grooming-12165527

    As I’m always saying, we need to stand firm against Russian invasion, otherwise Britain could be filled with millions of foreigners who would rape our daughters!

    Read More
    • Replies: @El Dato

    In the meantime, “Russian nerve agent” is totally drowning out “thousands of girls raped” in the British media.

     

    A couple of days ago I caught myself thinking that someone had heard that the Mirror would drop loot and decided to proactively do something outrageous to generate noise for a news cycle or two.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  25. @jimmyriddle
    Boycotting the world cup will save us the embarrassment of being knocked out by Pitcairn Island.

    They were knocked out by Iceland in the last European Championship. Iceland are in this year’s World Cup, so there is a chance they might do it again. You’re being a bit harsh on the England players. Pitcairn Island has about 200 people. Iceland has at least 300,00 people-about the same size as Plymouth !

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    This is an HBD site. Population numbers in and of themselves don't matter at all.

    A few things which matter, in no particular order of importance:

    1) British upper class children mostly play rugby instead of football. Mario Götze's father is a university professor. I guess the lower classes in England have too much genetic load even for football talent. (There is some talent, but not enough to win a world cup.)

    2) Icelanders are especially well suited to a number of sports. They are just big and tough. Genetics. For example they also dominate in strongman competitions.

    3) In Iceland there was a great program of promoting team sports (also handball), while in England it's less organized. Growing talent is just not that important to the clubs, who instead buy talent from abroad.

    What I don't understand is that how Hungary could perform so poorly in football. Orbán threw a lot of money on it (he built a number of shiny stadiums, where the same shitty teams play shitty football...), but it got us nowhere. Apparently Hungarian coaches (including those raising young players) are of very bad quality, stuck in the 1970s or something, and it's very difficult to change that, since older coaches teach the younger ones. The system is also very corrupt, and by throwing money at it, Orbán only managed to perpetuate it. Players enjoy that now they can stay in Hungary for similar money as they would make in the German second league, but for less work or performance, so they prefer staying at home. Ironically, this might depress the Hungarian national team in the coming years.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  26. Another response to add to AK’s menu, and one which seems to be under serious consideration.

    From today’s Times

    More significantly, ministers are preparing the ground for a cyber-counterattack. Amber Rudd, the home secretary, hinted at covert retaliation last week, saying: “You may not hear about it all but when we do see that there is action to be taken we will take it.” The deployment of malware is a likely option, a senior Whitehall source said yesterday. “Offensive cyber would be something in the arsenal. It would be considered or even likely [selected].”

    The Ministry of Defence and GCHQ are accelerating a joint offensive cyberprogramme, The Times understands. Any cyberoperation against the Putin regime could include attacking Kremlin computer networks or websites publishing fake news and the output from state-sponsored cyber-troll factories.

    In both the US and EU, it has been stated on numerous occasions that cyber attacks could be considered an act of war. So is this really what the UK wants?

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    LOL, this from the Murdoch machine is almost as good as those mysteriously lethargic England footballers. They're going to ... DDoS Infowars and Prison Planet! That'll make Wusha think twice!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  27. @Verymuchalive
    They were knocked out by Iceland in the last European Championship. Iceland are in this year's World Cup, so there is a chance they might do it again. You're being a bit harsh on the England players. Pitcairn Island has about 200 people. Iceland has at least 300,00 people-about the same size as Plymouth !

    This is an HBD site. Population numbers in and of themselves don’t matter at all.

    A few things which matter, in no particular order of importance:

    1) British upper class children mostly play rugby instead of football. Mario Götze’s father is a university professor. I guess the lower classes in England have too much genetic load even for football talent. (There is some talent, but not enough to win a world cup.)

    2) Icelanders are especially well suited to a number of sports. They are just big and tough. Genetics. For example they also dominate in strongman competitions.

    3) In Iceland there was a great program of promoting team sports (also handball), while in England it’s less organized. Growing talent is just not that important to the clubs, who instead buy talent from abroad.

    What I don’t understand is that how Hungary could perform so poorly in football. Orbán threw a lot of money on it (he built a number of shiny stadiums, where the same shitty teams play shitty football…), but it got us nowhere. Apparently Hungarian coaches (including those raising young players) are of very bad quality, stuck in the 1970s or something, and it’s very difficult to change that, since older coaches teach the younger ones. The system is also very corrupt, and by throwing money at it, Orbán only managed to perpetuate it. Players enjoy that now they can stay in Hungary for similar money as they would make in the German second league, but for less work or performance, so they prefer staying at home. Ironically, this might depress the Hungarian national team in the coming years.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    In Britain, Football was historically the game of the skilled working class and lower middle class.
    Players were recruited by professional clubs between the ages of 18 to 22 from low level feeder clubs, often called juniors.
    Celtic, the first British club to win the European Cup (1967), exemplified this progression. Their captain was a trainee accountant whom they signed when he was 20 from a junior club. The team included plumbers, joiners, dental students and others who had all played for junior teams.
    However, by the late 1960s, clubs were increasingly signing school boys on S Forms. And the game in Britain has never really recovered.
    Obviously, you have a much better idea of who is going to be a good player when the player is 18 rather than 13. Also, under the old system, recruitment favoured disciplined young adults. The feeder clubs ensured a constant supply of talent to the professional clubs.
    When I watch a professional game now, all too often I see players who were recruited because they could run around full size pitches when they were 13 or 14, not because they had any great football talent. The target group for modern British professional footballers is far too small, both in absolute numbers and also socially. Few parents will let their 14 year old son sign S forms unless they are absolutely sure he will make it. This means that players from an underclass background are now heavily overrepresented in the modern game. It's why you've got Wayne Rooney, not Bobby Moore ( RIP )
    The British game's greatest successes were in the 1960s - England winning the World Cup, Celtic and Manchester United winning the European Cup. The present methods of recruiting and developing players only promise continued decline. [ And that's without mentioning the preponderance of foreign players in the English Premier League ]
    , @DFH

    1) British upper class children mostly play rugby instead of football
     
    Not true, they are virtually the only people who play rugby, but football is still much more popular
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  28. @for-the-record
    Another response to add to AK's menu, and one which seems to be under serious consideration.

    From today's Times

    More significantly, ministers are preparing the ground for a cyber-counterattack. Amber Rudd, the home secretary, hinted at covert retaliation last week, saying: “You may not hear about it all but when we do see that there is action to be taken we will take it.” The deployment of malware is a likely option, a senior Whitehall source said yesterday. “Offensive cyber would be something in the arsenal. It would be considered or even likely [selected].”

    The Ministry of Defence and GCHQ are accelerating a joint offensive cyberprogramme, The Times understands. Any cyberoperation against the Putin regime could include attacking Kremlin computer networks or websites publishing fake news and the output from state-sponsored cyber-troll factories.
     
    In both the US and EU, it has been stated on numerous occasions that cyber attacks could be considered an act of war. So is this really what the UK wants?

    LOL, this from the Murdoch machine is almost as good as those mysteriously lethargic England footballers. They’re going to … DDoS Infowars and Prison Planet! That’ll make Wusha think twice!

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  29. Lavrov said that if someone used chemical weapons, then the UK should notify the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons of which both Russia and the UK are member states, in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. He also said that for Russia to answer the British ultimatum, they should first send a sample to Russia. According to Lavrov, as soon as the allegation of a Russian produced chemical weapon being used came up, the Russians sent a request to the UK so that their experts could sample it. Apparently it’s standard under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Organization’s rules allow the UK to send a request to Russia to answer within 10 days (not 36 hours), and if I understand it correctly, the Russians are allowed to take samples.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I find it interesting that the UK didn't follow the normal procedure according to the chemical weapons convention. I understand this was a murder (attempt) and not a normal chemical attack, could this be a reason? I tend to believe Lavrov more than Boris Johnson, but could he have lied? It's important to establish the facts, so that we don't spout easily disproved conspiracy theories.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  30. @reiner Tor
    This is an HBD site. Population numbers in and of themselves don't matter at all.

    A few things which matter, in no particular order of importance:

    1) British upper class children mostly play rugby instead of football. Mario Götze's father is a university professor. I guess the lower classes in England have too much genetic load even for football talent. (There is some talent, but not enough to win a world cup.)

    2) Icelanders are especially well suited to a number of sports. They are just big and tough. Genetics. For example they also dominate in strongman competitions.

    3) In Iceland there was a great program of promoting team sports (also handball), while in England it's less organized. Growing talent is just not that important to the clubs, who instead buy talent from abroad.

    What I don't understand is that how Hungary could perform so poorly in football. Orbán threw a lot of money on it (he built a number of shiny stadiums, where the same shitty teams play shitty football...), but it got us nowhere. Apparently Hungarian coaches (including those raising young players) are of very bad quality, stuck in the 1970s or something, and it's very difficult to change that, since older coaches teach the younger ones. The system is also very corrupt, and by throwing money at it, Orbán only managed to perpetuate it. Players enjoy that now they can stay in Hungary for similar money as they would make in the German second league, but for less work or performance, so they prefer staying at home. Ironically, this might depress the Hungarian national team in the coming years.

    In Britain, Football was historically the game of the skilled working class and lower middle class.
    Players were recruited by professional clubs between the ages of 18 to 22 from low level feeder clubs, often called juniors.
    Celtic, the first British club to win the European Cup (1967), exemplified this progression. Their captain was a trainee accountant whom they signed when he was 20 from a junior club. The team included plumbers, joiners, dental students and others who had all played for junior teams.
    However, by the late 1960s, clubs were increasingly signing school boys on S Forms. And the game in Britain has never really recovered.
    Obviously, you have a much better idea of who is going to be a good player when the player is 18 rather than 13. Also, under the old system, recruitment favoured disciplined young adults. The feeder clubs ensured a constant supply of talent to the professional clubs.
    When I watch a professional game now, all too often I see players who were recruited because they could run around full size pitches when they were 13 or 14, not because they had any great football talent. The target group for modern British professional footballers is far too small, both in absolute numbers and also socially. Few parents will let their 14 year old son sign S forms unless they are absolutely sure he will make it. This means that players from an underclass background are now heavily overrepresented in the modern game. It’s why you’ve got Wayne Rooney, not Bobby Moore ( RIP )
    The British game’s greatest successes were in the 1960s – England winning the World Cup, Celtic and Manchester United winning the European Cup. The present methods of recruiting and developing players only promise continued decline. [ And that's without mentioning the preponderance of foreign players in the English Premier League ]

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Okay, that makes sense.
    , @Aslangeo
    Have a read of Why England Lose by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szynanski - a detailed analysis of football around the world.

    Their key point about football demographics in England was that that clubs chose people from white or Caribbean working class backgrounds. Middle class people and Asians were excluded. The authors did an analysis of the backgrounds of the England squads from 1998 to 2006 and found only five players who had fathers with white collar jobs (one of these fathers ran the mail room where I worked). There was also an anti intellectual culture within English football

    Other countries are much more inclusive, intellectual and therefore more successful
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  31. @Verymuchalive
    In Britain, Football was historically the game of the skilled working class and lower middle class.
    Players were recruited by professional clubs between the ages of 18 to 22 from low level feeder clubs, often called juniors.
    Celtic, the first British club to win the European Cup (1967), exemplified this progression. Their captain was a trainee accountant whom they signed when he was 20 from a junior club. The team included plumbers, joiners, dental students and others who had all played for junior teams.
    However, by the late 1960s, clubs were increasingly signing school boys on S Forms. And the game in Britain has never really recovered.
    Obviously, you have a much better idea of who is going to be a good player when the player is 18 rather than 13. Also, under the old system, recruitment favoured disciplined young adults. The feeder clubs ensured a constant supply of talent to the professional clubs.
    When I watch a professional game now, all too often I see players who were recruited because they could run around full size pitches when they were 13 or 14, not because they had any great football talent. The target group for modern British professional footballers is far too small, both in absolute numbers and also socially. Few parents will let their 14 year old son sign S forms unless they are absolutely sure he will make it. This means that players from an underclass background are now heavily overrepresented in the modern game. It's why you've got Wayne Rooney, not Bobby Moore ( RIP )
    The British game's greatest successes were in the 1960s - England winning the World Cup, Celtic and Manchester United winning the European Cup. The present methods of recruiting and developing players only promise continued decline. [ And that's without mentioning the preponderance of foreign players in the English Premier League ]

    Okay, that makes sense.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  32. @reiner Tor
    Lavrov said that if someone used chemical weapons, then the UK should notify the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons of which both Russia and the UK are member states, in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. He also said that for Russia to answer the British ultimatum, they should first send a sample to Russia. According to Lavrov, as soon as the allegation of a Russian produced chemical weapon being used came up, the Russians sent a request to the UK so that their experts could sample it. Apparently it's standard under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Organization's rules allow the UK to send a request to Russia to answer within 10 days (not 36 hours), and if I understand it correctly, the Russians are allowed to take samples.

    I find it interesting that the UK didn’t follow the normal procedure according to the chemical weapons convention. I understand this was a murder (attempt) and not a normal chemical attack, could this be a reason? I tend to believe Lavrov more than Boris Johnson, but could he have lied? It’s important to establish the facts, so that we don’t spout easily disproved conspiracy theories.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    I find it interesting that the UK didn’t follow the normal procedure according to the chemical weapons convention. I understand this was a murder (attempt) and not a normal chemical attack, could this be a reason? I tend to believe Lavrov more than Boris Johnson, but could he have lied?

    He certainly didn't lie about the established procedure. And the procedure should apply since the matter involved (use of proscribed chemical) certainly falls within the remit of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Here is the relevant section of the Convention (from Article IX, "Consultations, Cooperation and Fact- Finding"):

    2. Without prejudice to the right of any State Party to request a challenge inspection, States Parties should, whenever possible, first make every effort to clarify and resolve, through exchange of information and consultations among themselves, any matter which may cause doubt about compliance with this Convention, or which gives rise to concerns about a related matter which may be considered ambiguous. A State Party which receives a request from another State Party for clarification of any matter which the requesting State Party believes causes such a doubt or concern shall provide the requesting State Party as soon as possible, but in any case not later than 10 days after the request, with information sufficient to answer the doubt or concern raised along with an explanation of how the information provided resolves the matter. Nothing in this Convention shall affect the right of any two or more States Parties to arrange by mutual consent for inspections or any other procedures among themselves to clarify and resolve any matter which may cause doubt about compliance or gives rise to a concern about a related matter which may be considered ambiguous. Such arrangements shall not affect the rights and obligations of any State Party under other provisions of this Convention.
     
    The fact that the UK didn't follow the established procedure would seem to be a further sign of the current hysteria that is reigning there.
    , @Beckow

    interesting that the UK didn’t follow the normal procedure
     
    This looks like a staged media event. It follows 'normal procedures' for media demonisation. Johnson and Theresa May seem to be in the dark. They are being told menacing facts and put under pressure to show leadership. Leaders cannot show skepticism during a crisis like this - it is a peer event, absolute unity and loyalty are required. A professional shows up in your office and in front of all your colleagues says that the 'poison originated in Russia'. So of you go issuing threats.

    Unfortunately, this has a dynamic of its own and we may see different players act out their roles with very little room to manoeuvre.

    Any chemical attack would qualify as an 'attempted murder'. This is exactly when the Chemical Weapons procedures should be used. But that is very slow and Britain would lose control of the story. This might end up the same as all the similar media stories, a lame, ambiguous statement that allows for deniability ('probably' will be used a lot). After Vietnam and a few other embarrassments, Western elites decided that 'media domination' is a necessary part of any conflict. There is an obvious conflict with Russia, so media acts its part. What difference does it make if we all get pulverised to dust what stories were the two sides exchanging right before it happens? I think Putin stated that 'world without Russia is not worth it' for a reason, we are in a very volatile period. Tillerson gone, if Medvedev or Lavrov resign, it might be time to head for the hills (preferably in the Southern hemisphere).

    By the way, in Slovakia football players from the Hungarian minority are traditionally among the best. Maybe something about coming from smaller towns and villages with a strong 'tribal' mentality. Even so the national team has been a disgrace. Maybe if England chooses to boycott, we might get a shot as a replacement?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  33. And now Tillerson is out. Is Pompeo worse?

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Probably yes, he's a super-hawk on Iran and wants to kill the nuclear deal:
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/trumps-cia-pick-pompeo-anticipates-rolling-back-the-disastrous-iran-deal/

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/making-trumps-bad-foreign-policy-even-worse/
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  34. @reiner Tor
    This is an HBD site. Population numbers in and of themselves don't matter at all.

    A few things which matter, in no particular order of importance:

    1) British upper class children mostly play rugby instead of football. Mario Götze's father is a university professor. I guess the lower classes in England have too much genetic load even for football talent. (There is some talent, but not enough to win a world cup.)

    2) Icelanders are especially well suited to a number of sports. They are just big and tough. Genetics. For example they also dominate in strongman competitions.

    3) In Iceland there was a great program of promoting team sports (also handball), while in England it's less organized. Growing talent is just not that important to the clubs, who instead buy talent from abroad.

    What I don't understand is that how Hungary could perform so poorly in football. Orbán threw a lot of money on it (he built a number of shiny stadiums, where the same shitty teams play shitty football...), but it got us nowhere. Apparently Hungarian coaches (including those raising young players) are of very bad quality, stuck in the 1970s or something, and it's very difficult to change that, since older coaches teach the younger ones. The system is also very corrupt, and by throwing money at it, Orbán only managed to perpetuate it. Players enjoy that now they can stay in Hungary for similar money as they would make in the German second league, but for less work or performance, so they prefer staying at home. Ironically, this might depress the Hungarian national team in the coming years.

    1) British upper class children mostly play rugby instead of football

    Not true, they are virtually the only people who play rugby, but football is still much more popular

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    My boss's children in the UK go to public schools. His son plays rugby. He said no one in the school plays football. But they watch football on TV.
    , @Verymuchalive

    Not true, they are virtually the only people who play rugby, but football is still much more popular
     
    Rugby Union is popular amongst middle and upper class British people, though less so than Football. They are not virtually the only people to play it. Rugby is popular in many rural areas such as the West Country of England, the Scottish Borders and some urban areas such as South Wales, the East Midlands of England. Rugby Union is markedly less popular in Scotland than elsewhere in the British Isles probably because modern Football first developed in Scotland and Rugny Union was seen as an English import.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  35. @DFH

    1) British upper class children mostly play rugby instead of football
     
    Not true, they are virtually the only people who play rugby, but football is still much more popular

    My boss’s children in the UK go to public schools. His son plays rugby. He said no one in the school plays football. But they watch football on TV.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Some Public Schools in England play Rugby to the exclusion of Football, but nowadays most permit both. Of the 8 original Public Schools, Charterhouse and Westminster play Football mostly rather than Rugby. Chelsea FC has the most affluent fans ( and hooligans ) in England. Many of them are FPs of Charterhouse or Westminster.
    , @Pumblechook
    Having attended boarding school in England, I can confirm that students generally prefer to play more rugby than football. A good number of the English rugby team (perhaps half) are privately educated and others are from prestigious public state schools who play rugby as part of their aspiration to be seen as pseudo-private schools (like Whitgift school in south London.

    However, this also depends on the region and the school to some extent (charterhouse notably plays more football than rugby during the winter term). Football, following it and being good at it is also a bit 'cool' as there is a tendency for wealthy, privileged public school boys to incorporate a few 'working class' aesthetics and tastes into their milieu. Hence the heavy usage of the word 'mate' amongst them and plenty of tracksuit bottoms being worn.

    By the way, Hungary are not that bad - there is a solid generation coming through and I immensely enjoyed watching them give Portugal a good run in that euro 2016 match. However, there is no doubt that with a good combination of Slav/Germanic genetics and a solid population, Hungary should be ranked 30 places higher in the world than she currently is.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  36. @reiner Tor
    And now Tillerson is out. Is Pompeo worse?
    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  37. @DFH

    1) British upper class children mostly play rugby instead of football
     
    Not true, they are virtually the only people who play rugby, but football is still much more popular

    Not true, they are virtually the only people who play rugby, but football is still much more popular

    Rugby Union is popular amongst middle and upper class British people, though less so than Football. They are not virtually the only people to play it. Rugby is popular in many rural areas such as the West Country of England, the Scottish Borders and some urban areas such as South Wales, the East Midlands of England. Rugby Union is markedly less popular in Scotland than elsewhere in the British Isles probably because modern Football first developed in Scotland and Rugny Union was seen as an English import.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  38. @reiner Tor
    I don’t know what is happening, but there clearly is an ever-increasing drumbeat of war propaganda against Russia. With talk of Russian “hybrid warfare” against the West (which Russia is supposedly already waging), basically any act of war against Russia should already be justified. This is getting truly unhinged, and the statements of western leaders are now not much different than they were towards, say, Iraq before they started a war against it. Russia is now viewed as a rogue state. This incident was clearly unhelpful, but may have been committed by someone else intent on making the situation even worse.

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.

    It strikes me that Russia’s strategic situation today vs. the USA is basically the reverse of what it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1962, the USA and USSR had rough parity in conventional forces, but the USA had a huge strategic nuclear advantage. Today, the USA and Russia have rough strategic nuclear parity, but the USA has a huge advantage in conventional forces. I’m not sure in which situation nuclear war is more likely- although collectively, Western politicians sound a lot more openly bellicose towards Russia today, than they ever did during the Cold War.

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Western politicians sound a lot more openly bellicose towards Russia today, than they ever did during the Cold War.
     
    They believe that they can get away with a conventional attack (for example in Syria), because they are stronger in conventional forces, and then the only option the Russians will have will be to commit suicide while simultaneously taking the Americans down with them.

    This is a corollary of the belief that there is absolutely no way ever a nuclear war will happen. Well, if it is absolutely impossible, then why not start a conventional war while we are stronger?

    It also nicely illustrates my view that the less people fear nuclear war, the more likely it becomes.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  39. @Verymuchalive
    In Britain, Football was historically the game of the skilled working class and lower middle class.
    Players were recruited by professional clubs between the ages of 18 to 22 from low level feeder clubs, often called juniors.
    Celtic, the first British club to win the European Cup (1967), exemplified this progression. Their captain was a trainee accountant whom they signed when he was 20 from a junior club. The team included plumbers, joiners, dental students and others who had all played for junior teams.
    However, by the late 1960s, clubs were increasingly signing school boys on S Forms. And the game in Britain has never really recovered.
    Obviously, you have a much better idea of who is going to be a good player when the player is 18 rather than 13. Also, under the old system, recruitment favoured disciplined young adults. The feeder clubs ensured a constant supply of talent to the professional clubs.
    When I watch a professional game now, all too often I see players who were recruited because they could run around full size pitches when they were 13 or 14, not because they had any great football talent. The target group for modern British professional footballers is far too small, both in absolute numbers and also socially. Few parents will let their 14 year old son sign S forms unless they are absolutely sure he will make it. This means that players from an underclass background are now heavily overrepresented in the modern game. It's why you've got Wayne Rooney, not Bobby Moore ( RIP )
    The British game's greatest successes were in the 1960s - England winning the World Cup, Celtic and Manchester United winning the European Cup. The present methods of recruiting and developing players only promise continued decline. [ And that's without mentioning the preponderance of foreign players in the English Premier League ]

    Have a read of Why England Lose by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szynanski – a detailed analysis of football around the world.

    Their key point about football demographics in England was that that clubs chose people from white or Caribbean working class backgrounds. Middle class people and Asians were excluded. The authors did an analysis of the backgrounds of the England squads from 1998 to 2006 and found only five players who had fathers with white collar jobs (one of these fathers ran the mail room where I worked). There was also an anti intellectual culture within English football

    Other countries are much more inclusive, intellectual and therefore more successful

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    You fucking assholes commenting on British society truly have not got a clue
    Any one of you that were privileged enough to come here with the money your parents stole from your homelands went to schools that isolated you from people like me
    Lucky for you and lucky for me
    Please do not share your bullshit as if you know the people of a country you clearly loathe and despise
    Dear god please just go home - oh you can’t right
    Wankers
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  40. @reiner Tor
    My boss's children in the UK go to public schools. His son plays rugby. He said no one in the school plays football. But they watch football on TV.

    Some Public Schools in England play Rugby to the exclusion of Football, but nowadays most permit both. Of the 8 original Public Schools, Charterhouse and Westminster play Football mostly rather than Rugby. Chelsea FC has the most affluent fans ( and hooligans ) in England. Many of them are FPs of Charterhouse or Westminster.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I believe his son attended a school in Scotland.
    , @Pumblechook
    Ah, I see there is another man on this thread who knows his stuff. I played Charterhouse at football, incidentally - lost about 6-0
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  41. @Verymuchalive
    Some Public Schools in England play Rugby to the exclusion of Football, but nowadays most permit both. Of the 8 original Public Schools, Charterhouse and Westminster play Football mostly rather than Rugby. Chelsea FC has the most affluent fans ( and hooligans ) in England. Many of them are FPs of Charterhouse or Westminster.

    I believe his son attended a school in Scotland.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Legally, there are no Public Schools in Scotland. There are private or independent schools. Nearly all are non-boarding. This is because The Church of Scotland and the other Calvinist denominations did not approve of boarding.
    There are a mere handful of independent boarding schools in Scotland. I think your boss's son may have attended one. Gordonstoun excepted, they were all founded by English immigrants or persons of English origin in the C19th. These persons nearly all had strong connections with the Episcopal Church, a branch of the Church of England. Even today they are culturally quite distinct from all other independent schools. They are ( English ) Public Schools in all but name.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  42. @Jon0815

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.
     
    It strikes me that Russia's strategic situation today vs. the USA is basically the reverse of what it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1962, the USA and USSR had rough parity in conventional forces, but the USA had a huge strategic nuclear advantage. Today, the USA and Russia have rough strategic nuclear parity, but the USA has a huge advantage in conventional forces. I'm not sure in which situation nuclear war is more likely- although collectively, Western politicians sound a lot more openly bellicose towards Russia today, than they ever did during the Cold War.

    Western politicians sound a lot more openly bellicose towards Russia today, than they ever did during the Cold War.

    They believe that they can get away with a conventional attack (for example in Syria), because they are stronger in conventional forces, and then the only option the Russians will have will be to commit suicide while simultaneously taking the Americans down with them.

    This is a corollary of the belief that there is absolutely no way ever a nuclear war will happen. Well, if it is absolutely impossible, then why not start a conventional war while we are stronger?

    It also nicely illustrates my view that the less people fear nuclear war, the more likely it becomes.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  43. OT: Update on China and AI.

    They now dominate spending on AI start-ups from private firms.

    That chart was taken from a recent report. You can read the full report here

    They are now close to at par on patents. Patents is not always indicative of quality, of course, but it’s no longer true that most of Chinese patents are garbage and frankly hasn’t been true for quite some time.

    Given that Chinese internet firms have access to a billion domestic customers to try things out at massive scale, it’s only a matter of time before China not only closes the gap but pulls ahead.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  44. @reiner Tor
    I find it interesting that the UK didn't follow the normal procedure according to the chemical weapons convention. I understand this was a murder (attempt) and not a normal chemical attack, could this be a reason? I tend to believe Lavrov more than Boris Johnson, but could he have lied? It's important to establish the facts, so that we don't spout easily disproved conspiracy theories.

    I find it interesting that the UK didn’t follow the normal procedure according to the chemical weapons convention. I understand this was a murder (attempt) and not a normal chemical attack, could this be a reason? I tend to believe Lavrov more than Boris Johnson, but could he have lied?

    He certainly didn’t lie about the established procedure. And the procedure should apply since the matter involved (use of proscribed chemical) certainly falls within the remit of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Here is the relevant section of the Convention (from Article IX, “Consultations, Cooperation and Fact- Finding”):

    2. Without prejudice to the right of any State Party to request a challenge inspection, States Parties should, whenever possible, first make every effort to clarify and resolve, through exchange of information and consultations among themselves, any matter which may cause doubt about compliance with this Convention, or which gives rise to concerns about a related matter which may be considered ambiguous. A State Party which receives a request from another State Party for clarification of any matter which the requesting State Party believes causes such a doubt or concern shall provide the requesting State Party as soon as possible, but in any case not later than 10 days after the request, with information sufficient to answer the doubt or concern raised along with an explanation of how the information provided resolves the matter. Nothing in this Convention shall affect the right of any two or more States Parties to arrange by mutual consent for inspections or any other procedures among themselves to clarify and resolve any matter which may cause doubt about compliance or gives rise to a concern about a related matter which may be considered ambiguous. Such arrangements shall not affect the rights and obligations of any State Party under other provisions of this Convention.

    The fact that the UK didn’t follow the established procedure would seem to be a further sign of the current hysteria that is reigning there.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    But does it mean the Russians have a right to get samples? Maybe they should answer the same question within ten days (instead of thirty-six hours), but are they allowed to inspect the evidence against them? Theoretically they should be able to answer without a sample, since they presumably know if they used it, and can easily check if anything is missing from its stocks.

    Questions and presumably a need for samples only arise in case they issue a categorical denial of both - they haven’t used such chemicals, and their stocks are intact (no theft has happened).

    In any event, in a democracy a free press would ask the British government the following questions:

    1) how do they know that the poison was produced in Russia and nowhere else?

    2) why didn’t they follow the standard procedures?

    3) why didn’t they contact the OPCW? (Which, I believe, would also be standard procedure.)
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  45. @for-the-record
    I find it interesting that the UK didn’t follow the normal procedure according to the chemical weapons convention. I understand this was a murder (attempt) and not a normal chemical attack, could this be a reason? I tend to believe Lavrov more than Boris Johnson, but could he have lied?

    He certainly didn't lie about the established procedure. And the procedure should apply since the matter involved (use of proscribed chemical) certainly falls within the remit of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Here is the relevant section of the Convention (from Article IX, "Consultations, Cooperation and Fact- Finding"):

    2. Without prejudice to the right of any State Party to request a challenge inspection, States Parties should, whenever possible, first make every effort to clarify and resolve, through exchange of information and consultations among themselves, any matter which may cause doubt about compliance with this Convention, or which gives rise to concerns about a related matter which may be considered ambiguous. A State Party which receives a request from another State Party for clarification of any matter which the requesting State Party believes causes such a doubt or concern shall provide the requesting State Party as soon as possible, but in any case not later than 10 days after the request, with information sufficient to answer the doubt or concern raised along with an explanation of how the information provided resolves the matter. Nothing in this Convention shall affect the right of any two or more States Parties to arrange by mutual consent for inspections or any other procedures among themselves to clarify and resolve any matter which may cause doubt about compliance or gives rise to a concern about a related matter which may be considered ambiguous. Such arrangements shall not affect the rights and obligations of any State Party under other provisions of this Convention.
     
    The fact that the UK didn't follow the established procedure would seem to be a further sign of the current hysteria that is reigning there.

    But does it mean the Russians have a right to get samples? Maybe they should answer the same question within ten days (instead of thirty-six hours), but are they allowed to inspect the evidence against them? Theoretically they should be able to answer without a sample, since they presumably know if they used it, and can easily check if anything is missing from its stocks.

    Questions and presumably a need for samples only arise in case they issue a categorical denial of both – they haven’t used such chemicals, and their stocks are intact (no theft has happened).

    In any event, in a democracy a free press would ask the British government the following questions:

    1) how do they know that the poison was produced in Russia and nowhere else?

    2) why didn’t they follow the standard procedures?

    3) why didn’t they contact the OPCW? (Which, I believe, would also be standard procedure.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    But does it mean the Russians have a right to get samples? Maybe they should answer the same question within ten days (instead of thirty-six hours), but are they allowed to inspect the evidence against them?

    This is splitting hairs, the Convention clearly cannot deal with all possible eventualities. It clearly sets forth that there is to be an "exchange of information and consultation", which is a 2-way process. The Russians can presumably answer that without examining the sample they are unable to say whether or not it came from their laboratories, which is an entirely reasonable position.

    By the way, former UK ambassador Craig Murray has a very interesting article out today on his website. He discusses the possible link to Steele and the dossier, observing that

    Skripal was at hand in the UK, and allegedly even close to Miller in Salisbury. He could add in the proper acronym for a Russian committee here or the name of a Russian official there, to make it seem like Steele was providing hard intelligence. Indeed, Skripal’s outdated knowledge might explain some of the dossier’s more glaring errors.

    But the problem with double agents like Skripal, who give intelligence for money, is that they can easily become triple agents and you never know when a better offer is going to come along. When Steele produced his dodgy dossier, he had no idea it would ever become so prominent and subject to so much scrutiny. Steele is fortunate in that the US Establishment is strongly motivated not to scrutinise his work closely as their one aim is to “get” Trump. But with the stakes very high, having a very loose cannon as one of the dossier’s authors might be most inconvenient both for Orbis and for the Clinton camp.

    If I was the police, I would look closely at Orbis Intelligence.
     
    He also mentions another possibility which I have to admit hadn't specifically occurred to me:

    And one country which has always manufactured very similar persistent nerve agents is Israel. This Foreign Policy magazine (a very establishment US publication) article on Israel‘s chemical and biological weapon capability is very interesting indeed. I will return to Israel later in this article. . .

    To return to Israel. Israel has the nerve agents. Israel has Mossad which is extremely skilled at foreign assassinations. Theresa May claimed Russian propensity to assassinate abroad as a specific reason to believe Russia did it. Well Mossad has an even greater propensity to assassinate abroad. And while I am struggling to see a Russian motive for damaging its own international reputation so grieviously, Israel has a clear motivation for damaging the Russian reputation so grieviously. Russian action in Syria has undermined the Israeli position in Syria and Lebanon in a fundamental way, and Israel has every motive for damaging Russia’s international position by an attack aiming to leave the blame on Russia.

    Both the Orbis and Israeli theories are speculations. But they are no more a speculation, and no more a conspiracy theory, than the idea that Vladimir Putin secretly sent agents to Salisbury to attack Skriapin with a secret nerve agent. I can see absolutely no reason to believe that is a more valid speculation than the others at this point.

     

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/russian-to-judgement/
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  46. Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    In some cyberpunk universe, a Vory-Wagner conspiracy is successfully plotting against the world.
    , @Verymuchalive
    Maybe they'll use it as an excuse to confiscate Chelsea FC from Abramovich.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    OT:

    Do you know what might be triggering this?

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-13/hungarys-central-bank-repatriate-its-gold-london
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  47. @reiner Tor
    I believe his son attended a school in Scotland.

    Legally, there are no Public Schools in Scotland. There are private or independent schools. Nearly all are non-boarding. This is because The Church of Scotland and the other Calvinist denominations did not approve of boarding.
    There are a mere handful of independent boarding schools in Scotland. I think your boss’s son may have attended one. Gordonstoun excepted, they were all founded by English immigrants or persons of English origin in the C19th. These persons nearly all had strong connections with the Episcopal Church, a branch of the Church of England. Even today they are culturally quite distinct from all other independent schools. They are ( English ) Public Schools in all but name.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I don’t think it’s a boarding school, he lives in Scotland.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  48. @Verymuchalive
    Legally, there are no Public Schools in Scotland. There are private or independent schools. Nearly all are non-boarding. This is because The Church of Scotland and the other Calvinist denominations did not approve of boarding.
    There are a mere handful of independent boarding schools in Scotland. I think your boss's son may have attended one. Gordonstoun excepted, they were all founded by English immigrants or persons of English origin in the C19th. These persons nearly all had strong connections with the Episcopal Church, a branch of the Church of England. Even today they are culturally quite distinct from all other independent schools. They are ( English ) Public Schools in all but name.

    I don’t think it’s a boarding school, he lives in Scotland.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  49. I actually bought a ticket for England Panama game in the world cup i really hope they are not going to boycott the world cup

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    I am going to that one too, assume I could day trip it by train if needs be.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  50. @reiner Tor

    In some cyberpunk universe, a Vory-Wagner conspiracy is successfully plotting against the world.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  51. @reiner Tor

    Maybe they’ll use it as an excuse to confiscate Chelsea FC from Abramovich.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  52. @reiner Tor
    But does it mean the Russians have a right to get samples? Maybe they should answer the same question within ten days (instead of thirty-six hours), but are they allowed to inspect the evidence against them? Theoretically they should be able to answer without a sample, since they presumably know if they used it, and can easily check if anything is missing from its stocks.

    Questions and presumably a need for samples only arise in case they issue a categorical denial of both - they haven’t used such chemicals, and their stocks are intact (no theft has happened).

    In any event, in a democracy a free press would ask the British government the following questions:

    1) how do they know that the poison was produced in Russia and nowhere else?

    2) why didn’t they follow the standard procedures?

    3) why didn’t they contact the OPCW? (Which, I believe, would also be standard procedure.)

    But does it mean the Russians have a right to get samples? Maybe they should answer the same question within ten days (instead of thirty-six hours), but are they allowed to inspect the evidence against them?

    This is splitting hairs, the Convention clearly cannot deal with all possible eventualities. It clearly sets forth that there is to be an “exchange of information and consultation”, which is a 2-way process. The Russians can presumably answer that without examining the sample they are unable to say whether or not it came from their laboratories, which is an entirely reasonable position.

    By the way, former UK ambassador Craig Murray has a very interesting article out today on his website. He discusses the possible link to Steele and the dossier, observing that

    Skripal was at hand in the UK, and allegedly even close to Miller in Salisbury. He could add in the proper acronym for a Russian committee here or the name of a Russian official there, to make it seem like Steele was providing hard intelligence. Indeed, Skripal’s outdated knowledge might explain some of the dossier’s more glaring errors.

    But the problem with double agents like Skripal, who give intelligence for money, is that they can easily become triple agents and you never know when a better offer is going to come along. When Steele produced his dodgy dossier, he had no idea it would ever become so prominent and subject to so much scrutiny. Steele is fortunate in that the US Establishment is strongly motivated not to scrutinise his work closely as their one aim is to “get” Trump. But with the stakes very high, having a very loose cannon as one of the dossier’s authors might be most inconvenient both for Orbis and for the Clinton camp.

    If I was the police, I would look closely at Orbis Intelligence.

    He also mentions another possibility which I have to admit hadn’t specifically occurred to me:

    And one country which has always manufactured very similar persistent nerve agents is Israel. This Foreign Policy magazine (a very establishment US publication) article on Israel‘s chemical and biological weapon capability is very interesting indeed. I will return to Israel later in this article. . .

    To return to Israel. Israel has the nerve agents. Israel has Mossad which is extremely skilled at foreign assassinations. Theresa May claimed Russian propensity to assassinate abroad as a specific reason to believe Russia did it. Well Mossad has an even greater propensity to assassinate abroad. And while I am struggling to see a Russian motive for damaging its own international reputation so grieviously, Israel has a clear motivation for damaging the Russian reputation so grieviously. Russian action in Syria has undermined the Israeli position in Syria and Lebanon in a fundamental way, and Israel has every motive for damaging Russia’s international position by an attack aiming to leave the blame on Russia.

    Both the Orbis and Israeli theories are speculations. But they are no more a speculation, and no more a conspiracy theory, than the idea that Vladimir Putin secretly sent agents to Salisbury to attack Skriapin with a secret nerve agent. I can see absolutely no reason to believe that is a more valid speculation than the others at this point.

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/russian-to-judgement/

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  53. @reiner TorRead More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    No idea. As they wrote in the article, the amount is minuscule, and it's an international trend including countries like the Netherlands or Austria.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  54. @Daniel Chieh
    OT:

    Do you know what might be triggering this?

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-13/hungarys-central-bank-repatriate-its-gold-london

    No idea. As they wrote in the article, the amount is minuscule, and it’s an international trend including countries like the Netherlands or Austria.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  55. @reiner Tor
    I find it interesting that the UK didn't follow the normal procedure according to the chemical weapons convention. I understand this was a murder (attempt) and not a normal chemical attack, could this be a reason? I tend to believe Lavrov more than Boris Johnson, but could he have lied? It's important to establish the facts, so that we don't spout easily disproved conspiracy theories.

    interesting that the UK didn’t follow the normal procedure

    This looks like a staged media event. It follows ‘normal procedures’ for media demonisation. Johnson and Theresa May seem to be in the dark. They are being told menacing facts and put under pressure to show leadership. Leaders cannot show skepticism during a crisis like this – it is a peer event, absolute unity and loyalty are required. A professional shows up in your office and in front of all your colleagues says that the ‘poison originated in Russia’. So of you go issuing threats.

    Unfortunately, this has a dynamic of its own and we may see different players act out their roles with very little room to manoeuvre.

    Any chemical attack would qualify as an ‘attempted murder’. This is exactly when the Chemical Weapons procedures should be used. But that is very slow and Britain would lose control of the story. This might end up the same as all the similar media stories, a lame, ambiguous statement that allows for deniability (‘probably’ will be used a lot). After Vietnam and a few other embarrassments, Western elites decided that ‘media domination’ is a necessary part of any conflict. There is an obvious conflict with Russia, so media acts its part. What difference does it make if we all get pulverised to dust what stories were the two sides exchanging right before it happens? I think Putin stated that ‘world without Russia is not worth it’ for a reason, we are in a very volatile period. Tillerson gone, if Medvedev or Lavrov resign, it might be time to head for the hills (preferably in the Southern hemisphere).

    By the way, in Slovakia football players from the Hungarian minority are traditionally among the best. Maybe something about coming from smaller towns and villages with a strong ‘tribal’ mentality. Even so the national team has been a disgrace. Maybe if England chooses to boycott, we might get a shot as a replacement?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  56. @spandrell
    Didn't the gas pipeline to China thing get canceled? Relations of Russia with China seem ok but nothing special.

    The huge “Power of Siberia” Russо-Chinese gas pipeline is still under construction and at a Gazprom board meeting at the beginning of March this year (just a week ago or so) CEO Miller announced it’s about three quarters finished (1580 kilometers worth of piping and support infrastructure have been put in place to date, out of a planned total length of some 2158km).

    I reckon the tap will be turned on by 2019 sometime, so all of that has been on schedule without any significant hitches.

    Media (well, Western ditto at least) announced that the project had run into a wall and was likely going to be cancelled as soon as they caught a whiff of some reports on minor cost overruns pertaining to a certain section of it. Needless to say, it wasn’t that simple.

    This reporting approach applies to all Russian construction projects, really. On occasion, there are some real hitches (such as the scandal-ridden, hugely costly and long overdue St. Petersburg stadium), but the things get built anyway eventually. And it’s literally nothing compared to the cost overruns and delays seen in (for instance) the Big Dig in Boston or the Hallandsas tunnel in Sweden… Happens to the best of us. In Russia, good old corruption might be a bigger factor behind such issues than it is elsewhere, but the issues themselves certainly aren’t unique, whatever causes them.

    Most of the time it’s just bullshit though, based on (likely deliberate) misinterpretations of the actual scope and extent of the projects and their budgets (as illustrated by the infamous Sochi “roads of caviar and gold” and everything), or based on an absolutely autistic fixation on even the slightest hiccup (such as one railroad approach to the Crimean bridge needing a slight redesign from the original plan, which immediately gave rise to dozens of headlines all over the place a few months ago).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Yes I posted above it is expected around the end of 2019

    http://www.ntv.ru/video/1446841/
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  57. @Kimppis
    Where did that BS come from anyway? I remember reading something like that on MSM a few years ago, but was it just western/neocon wishful thinking and nothing else? "Some small potential delays -> it's canceled!"

    Where did that BS come from anyway? I remember reading something like that on MSM a few years ago, but was it just western/neocon wishful thinking and nothing else? “Some small potential delays -> it’s canceled!”

    No it was all over local media as well last year. I guess it is how China are negotiating.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  58. @Anonymous lurker
    The huge "Power of Siberia" Russо-Chinese gas pipeline is still under construction and at a Gazprom board meeting at the beginning of March this year (just a week ago or so) CEO Miller announced it's about three quarters finished (1580 kilometers worth of piping and support infrastructure have been put in place to date, out of a planned total length of some 2158km).

    I reckon the tap will be turned on by 2019 sometime, so all of that has been on schedule without any significant hitches.

    Media (well, Western ditto at least) announced that the project had run into a wall and was likely going to be cancelled as soon as they caught a whiff of some reports on minor cost overruns pertaining to a certain section of it. Needless to say, it wasn't that simple.

    This reporting approach applies to all Russian construction projects, really. On occasion, there are some real hitches (such as the scandal-ridden, hugely costly and long overdue St. Petersburg stadium), but the things get built anyway eventually. And it's literally nothing compared to the cost overruns and delays seen in (for instance) the Big Dig in Boston or the Hallandsas tunnel in Sweden... Happens to the best of us. In Russia, good old corruption might be a bigger factor behind such issues than it is elsewhere, but the issues themselves certainly aren't unique, whatever causes them.

    Most of the time it's just bullshit though, based on (likely deliberate) misinterpretations of the actual scope and extent of the projects and their budgets (as illustrated by the infamous Sochi "roads of caviar and gold" and everything), or based on an absolutely autistic fixation on even the slightest hiccup (such as one railroad approach to the Crimean bridge needing a slight redesign from the original plan, which immediately gave rise to dozens of headlines all over the place a few months ago).

    Yes I posted above it is expected around the end of 2019

    http://www.ntv.ru/video/1446841/

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  59. Dr Richard North has information about where the batch of Novichok was manufactured. North is a Russophobe, a close colleague of the late Neocon Helen Szamuely, so many of his opinions can be taken with a dose of polonium. However, he is usually very good on the facts.

    Crucially, contrary to Mrs May’s assertion, the group of military-grade nerve agents known as Novichok, were not originally developed by Russia. Rather, they were part of a programme initiated by the Soviet Union, said to be in the late 1970s to early ’80s.

    The particular variant said to have been used in this incident is Novichok 5. This was developed, according to a number of reports, in the earlier stage of the programme – before the break-up of the Soviet Union. Any accurate description of the product would have it attributed to the Soviet Union.

    Another crucial issue is the most likely place of manufacture. As a Soviet Union Cold War weapon, it was almost certainly produced in what is now the Republic of Uzbekistan – more specifically, the site of initial production would have been the Nukus Chemical Research Institute, in Karakalpakstan province.

    The point here is that it is a matter of undisputed record that after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and during the collapse of the Soviet Union, a state of anarchy existed in many of the former Soviet provinces, including Uzbekistan. For a time, control was lost of formerly secure Soviet facilities, including Nukus Institute, which seems to have been abandoned in 1992/3, after the Russian Federation came into being.

    At that point, it would appear, any amount of agent could have been sold or dispersed, its destination and purchasers unknown. So desperate was the situation that the facility was, on the invitation of the Uzbek government, taken over by the United States – which, we must now assume, could have acquired samples of the agent.

    Latterly, a senior defector from the Soviet chemical weapons program, Vil S Mirzayanov, who worked for more than 25 years in the Soviet chemical weapons programme, said publicly that the plant was built to produce batches of Novichock. US involvement was still being reported in 1999.

    So as well as the agent being possibly sold or dispersed, we also have direct US involvement. Any bets on some of this ending up in the custody of MOSSAD ?

    For the full article. see

    http://www.eureferendum.com/

    Read More
    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    So as well as the agent being possibly sold or dispersed, we also have direct US involvement. Any bets on some of this ending up in the custody of MOSSAD ?

    For the full article. see

    http://www.eureferendum.com/
     

    How interesting. On the cui bono front, Russia would surely rank well below these two countries.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  60. @Andrei
    I actually bought a ticket for England Panama game in the world cup i really hope they are not going to boycott the world cup

    I am going to that one too, assume I could day trip it by train if needs be.

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    From Moscow obviously. I have a friend who lives in Kolomna though and I was wondering if you can train it from there to Nizhny Novgorod?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  61. @reiner Tor
    They definitely don’t want a nuclear war, or any kind of war, with Russia. Though here’s this video from 2016, especially the senator’s face around 6:48. If you tell me this high ranking senator didn’t want to bomb the Russian forces in Syria, then what do you base your opinion on?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWG3D11lMiY&feature=youtu.be

    Anyway, probably they don’t want a nuclear war, obviously. But they are intent on ramping up tensions beyond anything ever seen during the Cold War. When tensions run high, misunderstandings can lead to very bad things.

    They definitely don’t want a nuclear war, or any kind of war, with Russia. Though here’s this video from 2016, especially the senator’s face around 6:48. If you tell me this high ranking senator didn’t want to bomb the Russian forces in Syria, then what do you base your opinion on?

    Anyway, probably they don’t want a nuclear war, obviously. But they are intent on ramping up tensions beyond anything ever seen during the Cold War. When tensions run high, misunderstandings can lead to very bad things.

    The two sides would just like to bomb each other’s Arabs.

    The Washington (more aggressive politicians) want to bomb the Kremlin supported Arabs (Assad’s forces).

    While the Kremlin, it’s already been bombing the Washington supported Arabs (the FSA/opposition).

    -

    If they accidentally hit each other’s forces inside Syria, then they would look for an excuse to ‘climb down’ or de-escalation, after various rhetoric. Even Turkey did this – and both sides climb down, and Turkey is a lot less scary than the United States.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  62. @LondonBob
    I am going to that one too, assume I could day trip it by train if needs be.

    From Moscow obviously. I have a friend who lives in Kolomna though and I was wondering if you can train it from there to Nizhny Novgorod?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Aslangeo
    Yes but it is complex train from Gatulin station main station in Kolomna to Kazan voksal in Moscow then train from Kursky Voksal in Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod total travel time about 7 hours 2 to Moscow about 4 to Nizhny Novgorod see Russian railways website available in English
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  63. @Lemurmaniac
    The more Western hostility toward Russia the better the sovereignty of the Russian people in the long run. As Karlin points out, Putin and the oligarchs especially seem to believe a modus vivendi with the West is a real possibility. Hence, the continued efforts to re-approximate the West rather than decisively moving to restore the autarky necessary to resist the globo-gayplex. Well, all they've got for their pains is repeated kicks to teeth. The Atlantic bloc is driven by the dogma of liberal managerialism, which is incapable of compromise since its a de facto religion.

    AK, do you think the shift toward a more militarized elite will reduce corruption as the oligarchs are marginalized? What are the structural and policy changes required to reduce corruption?

    After the Cold War, the West never gave any breathing room to Russia. They placed a puppet in power (Yeltsin), pushed NATO eastwards, destroyed Russian allies in the Middle East (and would have severed Russia from China, if that had been possible – but it was not), and of course staged a coup in the Ukraine.

    The Yeltsin government, which was weak, unpatriotic and deluded by Western prescriptions of “no-tarrifs” and “laissez-faire”, essentially annihilated the Russian defense-industrial capability and tanked Russian economic growth.

    In the Yeltsin years, Russia’s economy was restructured not thoughtfully, but disastrously. Like forcing so much medicine and surgery on a sick patient too soon, that he starts dying before your eyes. All of it because of Yeltsin’s love for (and Western advice in favor of) lurching, vomit-inducing “reform”. Gradual reform – NO! The nineties saw Russia drive right off a cliff.

    I can only conclude that the West sees Russia as an eternal, immutable, irreconcilable ENEMY. Note, I mean Russia, not the Soviet Union. Why? Because Russia is an “Alien Civilization”, with paradigms and values very different from the West’s, and with enough power, depth and size to not have to “bend the knee” to the the reconstituted Roman Empire – into which the West has morphed.

    Was it Zbigniew Brezinski who said “I like Russia so much that, where Russia sits now, I want there to be many Russias, ten Russias or more”. Obviously so that any given society in that vast space can be more easily manipulated and intimidated. Such is Western thinking.

    Now we are at the end-game. Russia MUST be dissolved and their civilization extinguished between 2018 and 2020, or the window will start closing on the Western Empire. The multi-polar world is not merely coming, it is absolutely here.

    Russia’s options multiply, and there are yet other powers in the world who will not “bend the knee” with whom Russia has natural partnership. These other civilizations grow in power, and their numbers multiply.

    IT’S NOW OR NEVER! And so the American and European elites have become utterly hysterical.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous

    “I like Russia so much that, where Russia sits now, I want there to be many Russias, ten Russias or more”.
     
    They would be better off applying that approach to China.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  64. @Verymuchalive
    Dr Richard North has information about where the batch of Novichok was manufactured. North is a Russophobe, a close colleague of the late Neocon Helen Szamuely, so many of his opinions can be taken with a dose of polonium. However, he is usually very good on the facts.


    Crucially, contrary to Mrs May's assertion, the group of military-grade nerve agents known as Novichok, were not originally developed by Russia. Rather, they were part of a programme initiated by the Soviet Union, said to be in the late 1970s to early '80s.

    The particular variant said to have been used in this incident is Novichok 5. This was developed, according to a number of reports, in the earlier stage of the programme - before the break-up of the Soviet Union. Any accurate description of the product would have it attributed to the Soviet Union.

    Another crucial issue is the most likely place of manufacture. As a Soviet Union Cold War weapon, it was almost certainly produced in what is now the Republic of Uzbekistan - more specifically, the site of initial production would have been the Nukus Chemical Research Institute, in Karakalpakstan province.

    The point here is that it is a matter of undisputed record that after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and during the collapse of the Soviet Union, a state of anarchy existed in many of the former Soviet provinces, including Uzbekistan. For a time, control was lost of formerly secure Soviet facilities, including Nukus Institute, which seems to have been abandoned in 1992/3, after the Russian Federation came into being.

    At that point, it would appear, any amount of agent could have been sold or dispersed, its destination and purchasers unknown. So desperate was the situation that the facility was, on the invitation of the Uzbek government, taken over by the United States - which, we must now assume, could have acquired samples of the agent.

    Latterly, a senior defector from the Soviet chemical weapons program, Vil S Mirzayanov, who worked for more than 25 years in the Soviet chemical weapons programme, said publicly that the plant was built to produce batches of Novichock. US involvement was still being reported in 1999.

     
    So as well as the agent being possibly sold or dispersed, we also have direct US involvement. Any bets on some of this ending up in the custody of MOSSAD ?


    For the full article. see

    http://www.eureferendum.com/

    So as well as the agent being possibly sold or dispersed, we also have direct US involvement. Any bets on some of this ending up in the custody of MOSSAD ?

    For the full article. see

    http://www.eureferendum.com/

    How interesting. On the cui bono front, Russia would surely rank well below these two countries.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  65. Has anyone else noticed how the following story, reported by the BBC shortly after the incident, has disappeared down the proverbial memory hole?

    Meanwhile, a doctor who was one of the first people at the scene has described how she found Ms Skripal slumped unconscious on a bench, vomiting and fitting. She had also lost control of her bodily functions.

    The woman, who asked not to be named, told the BBC she moved Ms Skripal into the recovery position and opened her airway, as others tended to her father.

    She said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripal’s face or body.

    The doctor said she had been worried she would be affected by the nerve agent, but added that she “feels fine”.

    A bit astounding, given the toxicity of Novichok (5-8 times the toxicity of VX), don’t you agree?

    Some additional (and highly relevant) tidbits, from Weapons of Mass Casualties and Terrorism Response Handbook, published in 2006 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

    The Novichok agents are thought to be far more difficult to detect during manufacturing and far easier to manufacture covertly, because they can be made with common chemicals in relatively simple pesticide factories . . . “The weapon’s originality lies in the simplicity of its components, which are used in civilian industry and which cannot, therefore, be regulated by international experts.”

    With the breakup of the Soviet Union, as with V-gas, the Novichok agents (or scientists who know how to manufacture them) may well be available to a terrorist at the right price. Considering that detection and treatment of these agents are not well established, the Novichok agents would prove to be quite problematic if used as a weapon of terrorism. The ability to manufacture them free of controls makes them quite appealing to terrorists. Table 3-5 lists known open-source information regarding these agents.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    My colleagues at work totally believe that Putin is now murdering all people critical of him.

    The power of propaganda.
    , @El Dato
    Does "Novichok" even exist. I had never heard of it and it sounds like something out of exposition time of Navy CSI or Anime. Or mabye a product of Mr Porochenko's factories.

    Frankly sounds like "Red Mercury", which was the Slavic Planet Killer material or something back in the 90s. Can't remember.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  66. @LondonBob
    From Moscow obviously. I have a friend who lives in Kolomna though and I was wondering if you can train it from there to Nizhny Novgorod?

    Yes but it is complex train from Gatulin station main station in Kolomna to Kazan voksal in Moscow then train from Kursky Voksal in Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod total travel time about 7 hours 2 to Moscow about 4 to Nizhny Novgorod see Russian railways website available in English

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Cheers. Sounds too complicated, will have to decide if I have the time, money and energy to visit Kolomna on its own.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  67. If they cut Russia off of SWIFT, they would have to make payments through banks connected to the Russian messaging system. Sberbank is present in Germany and other EU countries.

    This and a lot of the US’s actions over the past 4-6 years is just doing reputational damage to Western institutions that took decades to build. Those rich foreigners who have propped up the British economy since the 70s are going to disappear.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  68. The only appropriate response from Russia is to give May the middle finger and tell her to f*ck off.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  69. @German_reader
    Probably yes, he's a super-hawk on Iran and wants to kill the nuclear deal:
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/trumps-cia-pick-pompeo-anticipates-rolling-back-the-disastrous-iran-deal/

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/making-trumps-bad-foreign-policy-even-worse/
    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Has Oceania always been at war with Eurasia or Eastasia again now?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  70. @reiner Tor

    Has Oceania always been at war with Eurasia or Eastasia again now?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Oceania is now at war with both.

    By the way am I the only one who, when reading Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, found it odd that Eastasia and Eurasia never allied with each other? I was always wondering how both were duped by the treacherous Oceania, which, as a result, won the war eventually.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  71. @Daniel Chieh
    Has Oceania always been at war with Eurasia or Eastasia again now?

    Oceania is now at war with both.

    By the way am I the only one who, when reading Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, found it odd that Eastasia and Eurasia never allied with each other? I was always wondering how both were duped by the treacherous Oceania, which, as a result, won the war eventually.

    Read More
    • Replies: @myself
    I read the book a long time ago. IIRC, no one won the "war" because no one wanted to actually win; they wanted foreign bogeymen, so they (all 3) kept it going indefinitely.

    No one won.
    , @German_reader

    "I was always wondering how both were duped by the treacherous Oceania, which, as a result, won the war eventually."
     
    iirc the war in the book was going on indefinitely...and its history was constantly being rewritten.
    But has been a long time since I read it, and I didn't really find its depiction of totalitarianism that convincing.

    EDIT: " This ends the war and results in a victory for Oceania. "

    But how can we know this isn't just more propaganda?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  72. @for-the-record
    Has anyone else noticed how the following story, reported by the BBC shortly after the incident, has disappeared down the proverbial memory hole?

    Meanwhile, a doctor who was one of the first people at the scene has described how she found Ms Skripal slumped unconscious on a bench, vomiting and fitting. She had also lost control of her bodily functions.

    The woman, who asked not to be named, told the BBC she moved Ms Skripal into the recovery position and opened her airway, as others tended to her father.

    She said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripal's face or body.

    The doctor said she had been worried she would be affected by the nerve agent, but added that she "feels fine".
     
    A bit astounding, given the toxicity of Novichok (5-8 times the toxicity of VX), don't you agree?

    Some additional (and highly relevant) tidbits, from Weapons of Mass Casualties and Terrorism Response Handbook, published in 2006 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

    The Novichok agents are thought to be far more difficult to detect during manufacturing and far easier to manufacture covertly, because they can be made with common chemicals in relatively simple pesticide factories . . . "The weapon's originality lies in the simplicity of its components, which are used in civilian industry and which cannot, therefore, be regulated by international experts."

    With the breakup of the Soviet Union, as with V-gas, the Novichok agents (or scientists who know how to manufacture them) may well be available to a terrorist at the right price. Considering that detection and treatment of these agents are not well established, the Novichok agents would prove to be quite problematic if used as a weapon of terrorism. The ability to manufacture them free of controls makes them quite appealing to terrorists. Table 3-5 lists known open-source information regarding these agents.

     

    My colleagues at work totally believe that Putin is now murdering all people critical of him.

    The power of propaganda.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    No doubt helped by the stupidity and ignorance of the younger generation. I am over fifty and by the time I left school at 18, I had a reasonable grasp of my country's history and modern history generally. I had studied a wide range of literature. Hell, I had even read Virgil in the original Latin. I've been a fan of the Romans ever since- you don't need to tell me what the Romans did for us. Despite its failings, I felt the system encouraged me to think. I remember the heated debates we had in the Debating Society about politics, religion and social matters - everything from the Neutron Bomb to the Equality or otherwise of women. I proposed the case that Women should not have the vote as they were far too emotional and irrational. I don't know if that would be possible now.
    In the British Isles where I live, apart from some independent schools, most state schools teach a dumbed down, simplistic curriculum with ever increasing political correctness. Independent thinking is not encouraged. The aim, no doubt, is to make young people more susceptible to state propaganda.
    I would hope the situation in Hungary is not as bad as in Britain. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    , @Val
    This is beyond frustrating, especially knowing that you can't convince people otherwise if they don't want to be convinced.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  73. Suicide, family dispute, vindictive former colleague, triple agent gone wrong, false flag by anti Putin oligarchs pushing for a Magnitsky Act, Ukrainian revenge act, Mossad could do it but I can’t see their motivation for a false flag.

    Is the death of Beresovsky’s accountant a coincidence? When they bought Aeroflot he complaint that 20% (I think) of the wage bill was going on secret service operatives. By the way Glutsky was “rescued” by Lugovy who then did for Litvinenko. Maybe it’s middle ranking DVR or FSB doing a clear out. Since 2006, Russia has a law that allows the FSB to carry out overseas assissinations without seeking permission.

    The scale of the one sided media from McMafia to Red Sparrow to Putin as a Tsar has been breathtaking. Not to mention the US election claims. Is this cultural or some one’s PR? The Hermann press is more negative to Russia than the UK press but this hysteria hasn’t happened in Germany.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh

    Since 2006, Russia has a law that allows the FSB to carry out overseas assissinations without seeking permission.
     
    Why would such a law exist? Seems like it gives an opportunity for individuals and small cliques within the FSB to unilaterally start international incidents.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  74. @YetAnotherAnon
    I hope they don't shut RT. Nice to have a choice of biased State broadcasters and alternative views.

    Via the Financial Times, alcohol consumption falling bigly in Russia.

    https://twitter.com/jfarchy/status/973442156022116352

    In the meantime, "Russian nerve agent" is totally drowning out "thousands of girls raped" in the British media.

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/britains-worst-ever-child-grooming-12165527

    As I'm always saying, we need to stand firm against Russian invasion, otherwise Britain could be filled with millions of foreigners who would rape our daughters!

    In the meantime, “Russian nerve agent” is totally drowning out “thousands of girls raped” in the British media.

    A couple of days ago I caught myself thinking that someone had heard that the Mirror would drop loot and decided to proactively do something outrageous to generate noise for a news cycle or two.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  75. @for-the-record
    Has anyone else noticed how the following story, reported by the BBC shortly after the incident, has disappeared down the proverbial memory hole?

    Meanwhile, a doctor who was one of the first people at the scene has described how she found Ms Skripal slumped unconscious on a bench, vomiting and fitting. She had also lost control of her bodily functions.

    The woman, who asked not to be named, told the BBC she moved Ms Skripal into the recovery position and opened her airway, as others tended to her father.

    She said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripal's face or body.

    The doctor said she had been worried she would be affected by the nerve agent, but added that she "feels fine".
     
    A bit astounding, given the toxicity of Novichok (5-8 times the toxicity of VX), don't you agree?

    Some additional (and highly relevant) tidbits, from Weapons of Mass Casualties and Terrorism Response Handbook, published in 2006 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

    The Novichok agents are thought to be far more difficult to detect during manufacturing and far easier to manufacture covertly, because they can be made with common chemicals in relatively simple pesticide factories . . . "The weapon's originality lies in the simplicity of its components, which are used in civilian industry and which cannot, therefore, be regulated by international experts."

    With the breakup of the Soviet Union, as with V-gas, the Novichok agents (or scientists who know how to manufacture them) may well be available to a terrorist at the right price. Considering that detection and treatment of these agents are not well established, the Novichok agents would prove to be quite problematic if used as a weapon of terrorism. The ability to manufacture them free of controls makes them quite appealing to terrorists. Table 3-5 lists known open-source information regarding these agents.

     

    Does “Novichok” even exist. I had never heard of it and it sounds like something out of exposition time of Navy CSI or Anime. Or mabye a product of Mr Porochenko’s factories.

    Frankly sounds like “Red Mercury”, which was the Slavic Planet Killer material or something back in the 90s. Can’t remember.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  76. @Philip Owen
    Suicide, family dispute, vindictive former colleague, triple agent gone wrong, false flag by anti Putin oligarchs pushing for a Magnitsky Act, Ukrainian revenge act, Mossad could do it but I can't see their motivation for a false flag.

    Is the death of Beresovsky's accountant a coincidence? When they bought Aeroflot he complaint that 20% (I think) of the wage bill was going on secret service operatives. By the way Glutsky was "rescued" by Lugovy who then did for Litvinenko. Maybe it's middle ranking DVR or FSB doing a clear out. Since 2006, Russia has a law that allows the FSB to carry out overseas assissinations without seeking permission.

    The scale of the one sided media from McMafia to Red Sparrow to Putin as a Tsar has been breathtaking. Not to mention the US election claims. Is this cultural or some one's PR? The Hermann press is more negative to Russia than the UK press but this hysteria hasn't happened in Germany.

    Since 2006, Russia has a law that allows the FSB to carry out overseas assissinations without seeking permission.

    Why would such a law exist? Seems like it gives an opportunity for individuals and small cliques within the FSB to unilaterally start international incidents.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Actually, as far as I know, there is no such law. The law in question allows the FSB (I think the president needs to be involved) to liquidate terrorists abroad without a trial at home. I think there should be some kind of danger, so that random people cannot be murdered willy-nilly, at least in theory. The law can probably be abused, like all laws, but needless to say, similar laws exist in the sole existing liberal democratic superpower as well, the US President can also order the liquidation of terrorists abroad, the most famous example being the liquidation of Osama bin Laden.
    , @LondonBob
    The law is take out terrorists, not anyone you feel like.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  77. @Daniel Chieh

    Since 2006, Russia has a law that allows the FSB to carry out overseas assissinations without seeking permission.
     
    Why would such a law exist? Seems like it gives an opportunity for individuals and small cliques within the FSB to unilaterally start international incidents.

    Actually, as far as I know, there is no such law. The law in question allows the FSB (I think the president needs to be involved) to liquidate terrorists abroad without a trial at home. I think there should be some kind of danger, so that random people cannot be murdered willy-nilly, at least in theory. The law can probably be abused, like all laws, but needless to say, similar laws exist in the sole existing liberal democratic superpower as well, the US President can also order the liquidation of terrorists abroad, the most famous example being the liquidation of Osama bin Laden.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive

    The law in question allows the FSB (I think the president needs to be involved) to liquidate terrorists abroad without a trial at home.
     
    Isn't that what the Russians have been doing in Syria. Executing Russian-born Islamists who have gone to fight for ISIS and the like.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  78. Help please!

    From tonight’s Sky News:

    Dr Vil Mirzayanov is a chemist who ran the technical counter-intelligence department in Russia’s chemical weapons institute.

    He helped make “novichok”, the class of nerve agents the British government says was used to poison defected spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. . .

    The Russian government has denied any involvement in the Salisbury poisonings, but Dr Mirzayanov says that only Russia could have carried out such an attack, characterising novichok as a “fingerprint”.

    So it absolutely has to be Russia, since novichok is like a “fingerprint”, right?

    From yesterday’s Daily Mail:

    The Russian whistleblower who exposed the country’s secret chemical weapons programme has revealed the horrific torturous effect of the Novichok nerve agents on their victims.

    Vil Mirzayanov described the use of the lethal toxins as a ‘brazen’ attack by Vladimir Putin, who ‘thinks he can use everything to kill enemies’. . .

    Shockingly, they can be created from common, unrestricted and undetectable industrial and agricultural chemicals available worldwide.

    As a result, weapons inspectors fear other rogue nations, including Syria and North Korea, could have their own lethal stockpiles of the powerful nerve agents.

    So they can be created from chemicals freely available worldwide, and it is likely that other nations have stockpiles.

    Do you see my problem?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    So it’s easy to create and handle and basically anyone could produce it. Sounds like a signature.
    , @El Dato

    Help please!
     
    Sorry, it's over.

    Navy CSI bullshit of the highest order. The noise of July 1914.


    Dr Vil Mirzayanov is a chemist who ran the technical counter-intelligence department in Russia’s chemical weapons institute.

     

    How is that clown being pulled out of the woodworks all of a sudden? What is "technical counter-intelligence" and what does it have to do with the chemical weapons institute.

    horrific torturous effect of the Novichok nerve agents on their victims.
     
    Like suddenly getting inundated by propaganda until they barf themselves to death. Was David Kelly lucky? We will never know.

    Shockingly, they can be created from common, unrestricted and undetectable industrial and agricultural chemicals available worldwide.

     

    "Shockingly", modified insecticides are modified insecticides. Aum Shinrikio can do it. I could probably brew up some VX in the basement myself but I would kill myself doing so. Big whoop.
    , @Chet Bradley

    Do you see my problem?
     
    Yes, you have 48 hours to prove you didn't kill someone with an undetectable poison. Seems like you should use Monty Python as your defense attorney.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  79. @reiner Tor
    Actually, as far as I know, there is no such law. The law in question allows the FSB (I think the president needs to be involved) to liquidate terrorists abroad without a trial at home. I think there should be some kind of danger, so that random people cannot be murdered willy-nilly, at least in theory. The law can probably be abused, like all laws, but needless to say, similar laws exist in the sole existing liberal democratic superpower as well, the US President can also order the liquidation of terrorists abroad, the most famous example being the liquidation of Osama bin Laden.

    The law in question allows the FSB (I think the president needs to be involved) to liquidate terrorists abroad without a trial at home.

    Isn’t that what the Russians have been doing in Syria. Executing Russian-born Islamists who have gone to fight for ISIS and the like.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    No, Syria is a war, they don’t execute them, they kill them in action.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  80. @for-the-record
    Help please!

    From tonight's Sky News:

    Dr Vil Mirzayanov is a chemist who ran the technical counter-intelligence department in Russia's chemical weapons institute.

    He helped make "novichok", the class of nerve agents the British government says was used to poison defected spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. . .

    The Russian government has denied any involvement in the Salisbury poisonings, but Dr Mirzayanov says that only Russia could have carried out such an attack, characterising novichok as a "fingerprint".
     
    So it absolutely has to be Russia, since novichok is like a "fingerprint", right?

    From yesterday's Daily Mail:

    The Russian whistleblower who exposed the country's secret chemical weapons programme has revealed the horrific torturous effect of the Novichok nerve agents on their victims.

    Vil Mirzayanov described the use of the lethal toxins as a 'brazen' attack by Vladimir Putin, who 'thinks he can use everything to kill enemies'. . .

    Shockingly, they can be created from common, unrestricted and undetectable industrial and agricultural chemicals available worldwide.

    As a result, weapons inspectors fear other rogue nations, including Syria and North Korea, could have their own lethal stockpiles of the powerful nerve agents.

     
    So they can be created from chemicals freely available worldwide, and it is likely that other nations have stockpiles.

    Do you see my problem?

    So it’s easy to create and handle and basically anyone could produce it. Sounds like a signature.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    By the way, being a Russian whistleblower who defects to the US seems to be a lucrative profession. The chemical weapons scientist referred to in the above article, Vil Mirzayanov , can be found in the New Jersey white pages. His nearly 300 m2 house sits on a 2.5 acre (1 hectare) lot and is currently valued at nearly $1 million.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  81. @Verymuchalive

    The law in question allows the FSB (I think the president needs to be involved) to liquidate terrorists abroad without a trial at home.
     
    Isn't that what the Russians have been doing in Syria. Executing Russian-born Islamists who have gone to fight for ISIS and the like.

    No, Syria is a war, they don’t execute them, they kill them in action.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Or execute them after they have been caught and their identity confirmed.
    No doubt one day we will find
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  82. @for-the-record
    Help please!

    From tonight's Sky News:

    Dr Vil Mirzayanov is a chemist who ran the technical counter-intelligence department in Russia's chemical weapons institute.

    He helped make "novichok", the class of nerve agents the British government says was used to poison defected spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. . .

    The Russian government has denied any involvement in the Salisbury poisonings, but Dr Mirzayanov says that only Russia could have carried out such an attack, characterising novichok as a "fingerprint".
     
    So it absolutely has to be Russia, since novichok is like a "fingerprint", right?

    From yesterday's Daily Mail:

    The Russian whistleblower who exposed the country's secret chemical weapons programme has revealed the horrific torturous effect of the Novichok nerve agents on their victims.

    Vil Mirzayanov described the use of the lethal toxins as a 'brazen' attack by Vladimir Putin, who 'thinks he can use everything to kill enemies'. . .

    Shockingly, they can be created from common, unrestricted and undetectable industrial and agricultural chemicals available worldwide.

    As a result, weapons inspectors fear other rogue nations, including Syria and North Korea, could have their own lethal stockpiles of the powerful nerve agents.

     
    So they can be created from chemicals freely available worldwide, and it is likely that other nations have stockpiles.

    Do you see my problem?

    Help please!

    Sorry, it’s over.

    Navy CSI bullshit of the highest order. The noise of July 1914.

    Dr Vil Mirzayanov is a chemist who ran the technical counter-intelligence department in Russia’s chemical weapons institute.

    How is that clown being pulled out of the woodworks all of a sudden? What is “technical counter-intelligence” and what does it have to do with the chemical weapons institute.

    horrific torturous effect of the Novichok nerve agents on their victims.

    Like suddenly getting inundated by propaganda until they barf themselves to death. Was David Kelly lucky? We will never know.

    Shockingly, they can be created from common, unrestricted and undetectable industrial and agricultural chemicals available worldwide.

    “Shockingly”, modified insecticides are modified insecticides. Aum Shinrikio can do it. I could probably brew up some VX in the basement myself but I would kill myself doing so. Big whoop.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    What is “technical counter-intelligence” and what does it have to do with the chemical weapons institute.
     
    I am an expert of this, because I read the relevant Wikipedia articles.

    His job was to check from the outside of the facility if the agent or any sign of the illicit activities inside could be detected, and to prevent such detection.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  83. @reiner Tor
    So it’s easy to create and handle and basically anyone could produce it. Sounds like a signature.

    By the way, being a Russian whistleblower who defects to the US seems to be a lucrative profession. The chemical weapons scientist referred to in the above article, Vil Mirzayanov , can be found in the New Jersey white pages. His nearly 300 m2 house sits on a 2.5 acre (1 hectare) lot and is currently valued at nearly $1 million.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  84. @El Dato

    Help please!
     
    Sorry, it's over.

    Navy CSI bullshit of the highest order. The noise of July 1914.


    Dr Vil Mirzayanov is a chemist who ran the technical counter-intelligence department in Russia’s chemical weapons institute.

     

    How is that clown being pulled out of the woodworks all of a sudden? What is "technical counter-intelligence" and what does it have to do with the chemical weapons institute.

    horrific torturous effect of the Novichok nerve agents on their victims.
     
    Like suddenly getting inundated by propaganda until they barf themselves to death. Was David Kelly lucky? We will never know.

    Shockingly, they can be created from common, unrestricted and undetectable industrial and agricultural chemicals available worldwide.

     

    "Shockingly", modified insecticides are modified insecticides. Aum Shinrikio can do it. I could probably brew up some VX in the basement myself but I would kill myself doing so. Big whoop.

    What is “technical counter-intelligence” and what does it have to do with the chemical weapons institute.

    I am an expert of this, because I read the relevant Wikipedia articles.

    His job was to check from the outside of the facility if the agent or any sign of the illicit activities inside could be detected, and to prevent such detection.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  85. @reiner Tor
    Oceania is now at war with both.

    By the way am I the only one who, when reading Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, found it odd that Eastasia and Eurasia never allied with each other? I was always wondering how both were duped by the treacherous Oceania, which, as a result, won the war eventually.

    I read the book a long time ago. IIRC, no one won the “war” because no one wanted to actually win; they wanted foreign bogeymen, so they (all 3) kept it going indefinitely.

    No one won.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    No, you’re wrong. While in the earlier chapters they explain that no one wanted to win, in the last chapter Oceania actually does win the war by capturing all of Africa. This ends the war and results in a victory for Oceania.

    Of course it’s implied that the war might be restarted at a later point in time, perhaps after the other two powers ally with each other, since it’s not a total victory in the sense that Eurasia is not destroyed (and Eastasia was an ally at that point).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  86. @for-the-record
    Help please!

    From tonight's Sky News:

    Dr Vil Mirzayanov is a chemist who ran the technical counter-intelligence department in Russia's chemical weapons institute.

    He helped make "novichok", the class of nerve agents the British government says was used to poison defected spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. . .

    The Russian government has denied any involvement in the Salisbury poisonings, but Dr Mirzayanov says that only Russia could have carried out such an attack, characterising novichok as a "fingerprint".
     
    So it absolutely has to be Russia, since novichok is like a "fingerprint", right?

    From yesterday's Daily Mail:

    The Russian whistleblower who exposed the country's secret chemical weapons programme has revealed the horrific torturous effect of the Novichok nerve agents on their victims.

    Vil Mirzayanov described the use of the lethal toxins as a 'brazen' attack by Vladimir Putin, who 'thinks he can use everything to kill enemies'. . .

    Shockingly, they can be created from common, unrestricted and undetectable industrial and agricultural chemicals available worldwide.

    As a result, weapons inspectors fear other rogue nations, including Syria and North Korea, could have their own lethal stockpiles of the powerful nerve agents.

     
    So they can be created from chemicals freely available worldwide, and it is likely that other nations have stockpiles.

    Do you see my problem?

    Do you see my problem?

    Yes, you have 48 hours to prove you didn’t kill someone with an undetectable poison. Seems like you should use Monty Python as your defense attorney.

    Read More
    • LOL: reiner Tor
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  87. @reiner Tor
    My colleagues at work totally believe that Putin is now murdering all people critical of him.

    The power of propaganda.

    No doubt helped by the stupidity and ignorance of the younger generation. I am over fifty and by the time I left school at 18, I had a reasonable grasp of my country’s history and modern history generally. I had studied a wide range of literature. Hell, I had even read Virgil in the original Latin. I’ve been a fan of the Romans ever since- you don’t need to tell me what the Romans did for us. Despite its failings, I felt the system encouraged me to think. I remember the heated debates we had in the Debating Society about politics, religion and social matters – everything from the Neutron Bomb to the Equality or otherwise of women. I proposed the case that Women should not have the vote as they were far too emotional and irrational. I don’t know if that would be possible now.
    In the British Isles where I live, apart from some independent schools, most state schools teach a dumbed down, simplistic curriculum with ever increasing political correctness. Independent thinking is not encouraged. The aim, no doubt, is to make young people more susceptible to state propaganda.
    I would hope the situation in Hungary is not as bad as in Britain. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    I would hope the situation in Hungary is not as bad as in Britain.
     
    I don’t think it’s substantially better. Especially not in the long run. Orbán neglects education, which has the side effect of making teachers hate him. Teachers tend to be leftists anyway, but it seems they have become overwhelmingly so in the last few years. High schoolers are now often protesting the government, there have been demonstrations against Orbán by them (nominally about some issues with education, but obviously it was political, including some of the slogans etc.), so it’s probably a mistake which will bear its rotten fruits over the long run.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  88. @myself
    I read the book a long time ago. IIRC, no one won the "war" because no one wanted to actually win; they wanted foreign bogeymen, so they (all 3) kept it going indefinitely.

    No one won.

    No, you’re wrong. While in the earlier chapters they explain that no one wanted to win, in the last chapter Oceania actually does win the war by capturing all of Africa. This ends the war and results in a victory for Oceania.

    Of course it’s implied that the war might be restarted at a later point in time, perhaps after the other two powers ally with each other, since it’s not a total victory in the sense that Eurasia is not destroyed (and Eastasia was an ally at that point).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pavlo
    The victory in Africa was a fiction - it did not happen.

    Goldstein's book (which O'Brien - one of its authors - allows is accurate "as a description"), explains that actual fighting between the three powers involves small groups of highly-trained specialists, and where a major operation is undertaken it is usually a surprise attack against an ally. The book adds "despite the endless slaughters reported on the telescreens, the great battles of earlier wars... have never been repeated".
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  89. @reiner Tor
    Oceania is now at war with both.

    By the way am I the only one who, when reading Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, found it odd that Eastasia and Eurasia never allied with each other? I was always wondering how both were duped by the treacherous Oceania, which, as a result, won the war eventually.

    “I was always wondering how both were duped by the treacherous Oceania, which, as a result, won the war eventually.”

    iirc the war in the book was going on indefinitely…and its history was constantly being rewritten.
    But has been a long time since I read it, and I didn’t really find its depiction of totalitarianism that convincing.

    EDIT: ” This ends the war and results in a victory for Oceania. ”

    But how can we know this isn’t just more propaganda?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It’s a caricature of totalitarianism. Of course, real totalitarianism didn’t look like that. But consider it’s mental techniques for the true believers.

    Crimestop: totally exists in true believers of any ideology.
    Doublethink: totally exists, like the simultaneous belief of a decaying, aging, collapsing Russia, and one that is capable of remote mind control of millions over the internet.
    He describes how the highest ranks are the best informed of reality (i.e. the falsity of their own propaganda) while also being the truest believers. Like Nazi leaders being the best informed of the precariousness of the military situation, yet being the most fervent believers in the possibility of a final victory. Or Bolshevik leaders knowing that they are operating a terror regime with luxuries for the select elite and starvation for the masses, yet also believing that this is somehow a revolution for a better future.

    Or the slogans of the Party: War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Diversity Is Strength. Etc.

    It’s little wonder it’s still quoted so often.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  90. @Verymuchalive
    No doubt helped by the stupidity and ignorance of the younger generation. I am over fifty and by the time I left school at 18, I had a reasonable grasp of my country's history and modern history generally. I had studied a wide range of literature. Hell, I had even read Virgil in the original Latin. I've been a fan of the Romans ever since- you don't need to tell me what the Romans did for us. Despite its failings, I felt the system encouraged me to think. I remember the heated debates we had in the Debating Society about politics, religion and social matters - everything from the Neutron Bomb to the Equality or otherwise of women. I proposed the case that Women should not have the vote as they were far too emotional and irrational. I don't know if that would be possible now.
    In the British Isles where I live, apart from some independent schools, most state schools teach a dumbed down, simplistic curriculum with ever increasing political correctness. Independent thinking is not encouraged. The aim, no doubt, is to make young people more susceptible to state propaganda.
    I would hope the situation in Hungary is not as bad as in Britain. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    I would hope the situation in Hungary is not as bad as in Britain.

    I don’t think it’s substantially better. Especially not in the long run. Orbán neglects education, which has the side effect of making teachers hate him. Teachers tend to be leftists anyway, but it seems they have become overwhelmingly so in the last few years. High schoolers are now often protesting the government, there have been demonstrations against Orbán by them (nominally about some issues with education, but obviously it was political, including some of the slogans etc.), so it’s probably a mistake which will bear its rotten fruits over the long run.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Orbán neglects education, which has the side effect of making teachers hate him.

    This was the problem in Britain, Margaret Thatcher thought that state education would continue as before. Her successor, John Major, had the attitude: ignore it and hope it goes away. Neither did anything to prevent the increasing left-wing influence in state education, especially in Labour-run local councils. Of course, not helped by very few Conservative politicians having children at state schools.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  91. this will hurt Britain more than it hurts Russia.

    OK, you’ve convinced me that is one the present British government will certainly adopt.

    I do think, though, that it’s slightly misguided speculating about how much the UK regime can hurt Russia. The objective of those hyping the incident (who may or may not be the ones responsible for the incident itself – who knows?) is not really to damage Russia, the objective is to create a more confrontational relationship between the US and Russia, and between the US’s European satellite states and Russia, in order to reduce commercial, cultural and political contacts and ultimately prevent any diplomatic rapprochements.

    As such, it seems unlikely any of the meaningfully risky or costly measures will be taken. Rather, they will pursue the ones that create maximum propaganda impact for the least risk and cost.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    Hi Randal
    If indeed that is your real name (unlikely I think)
    In your 2nd para I laugh as you say “... UK regime ...” Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage - which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage
    Next sentence - “... hyping the incident ...”
    Is it hyped? Is this a country with a history of overly dramatically hyping terror? I would suggest quite the opposite
    IMHO we to our risk undermine and downplay serious incidents
    So why on earth would we scare the shit out of the people of Salisbury
    As per my earlier post I am not a supporter of this government
    But I do believe we have been wronged and I do challenge the like of you
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  92. @reiner Tor
    No, you’re wrong. While in the earlier chapters they explain that no one wanted to win, in the last chapter Oceania actually does win the war by capturing all of Africa. This ends the war and results in a victory for Oceania.

    Of course it’s implied that the war might be restarted at a later point in time, perhaps after the other two powers ally with each other, since it’s not a total victory in the sense that Eurasia is not destroyed (and Eastasia was an ally at that point).

    The victory in Africa was a fiction – it did not happen.

    Goldstein’s book (which O’Brien – one of its authors – allows is accurate “as a description”), explains that actual fighting between the three powers involves small groups of highly-trained specialists, and where a major operation is undertaken it is usually a surprise attack against an ally. The book adds “despite the endless slaughters reported on the telescreens, the great battles of earlier wars… have never been repeated”.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  93. @German_reader

    "I was always wondering how both were duped by the treacherous Oceania, which, as a result, won the war eventually."
     
    iirc the war in the book was going on indefinitely...and its history was constantly being rewritten.
    But has been a long time since I read it, and I didn't really find its depiction of totalitarianism that convincing.

    EDIT: " This ends the war and results in a victory for Oceania. "

    But how can we know this isn't just more propaganda?

    It’s a caricature of totalitarianism. Of course, real totalitarianism didn’t look like that. But consider it’s mental techniques for the true believers.

    Crimestop: totally exists in true believers of any ideology.
    Doublethink: totally exists, like the simultaneous belief of a decaying, aging, collapsing Russia, and one that is capable of remote mind control of millions over the internet.
    He describes how the highest ranks are the best informed of reality (i.e. the falsity of their own propaganda) while also being the truest believers. Like Nazi leaders being the best informed of the precariousness of the military situation, yet being the most fervent believers in the possibility of a final victory. Or Bolshevik leaders knowing that they are operating a terror regime with luxuries for the select elite and starvation for the masses, yet also believing that this is somehow a revolution for a better future.

    Or the slogans of the Party: War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Diversity Is Strength. Etc.

    It’s little wonder it’s still quoted so often.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @German_reader
    I read it as a teenager and tbh have forgotten much of the details...but iirc one thing I didn't find convincing was its depiction of sexuality, with the party wanting to control all intimate relationships, only love of Big Brother being allowed, everything being relentlessly politicized. I think that's something too obviously repellent for most people. Entertainment in Nazi Germany wasn't like that...it rather presented idyllic, mostly apolitical scenes of family life many people even today would probably find attractive (I suppose similar motives existed in Stalin's Soviet Union). Totalitarianism (if that concept is even useful, and not just Cold war propaganda) needs to present a credible narrative that it will improve the lives of its adherents, or at least of their collective, so the sacrifices will be worth it. And both Nazism and Soviet communism did provide highly attractive visions whose appeal shouldn't be hard to see...Orwell's big brother was a caricature imo.
    And iirc it's also implied in 1984 that the inner cadres are quite cynical and may not even believe their own ideology, only are into it for power worship. That's also unrealistic imo...Nazis, Fascists, Communists on the highest levels certainly did believe in their ideology.
    But as I wrote it's been a long time since I read it (almost 20 years), so I may not quite remember it all correctly.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  94. @reiner Tor
    I don’t know what is happening, but there clearly is an ever-increasing drumbeat of war propaganda against Russia. With talk of Russian “hybrid warfare” against the West (which Russia is supposedly already waging), basically any act of war against Russia should already be justified. This is getting truly unhinged, and the statements of western leaders are now not much different than they were towards, say, Iraq before they started a war against it. Russia is now viewed as a rogue state. This incident was clearly unhelpful, but may have been committed by someone else intent on making the situation even worse.

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.

    Risk of war, or risk of nuclear war? When the major nuclear arsenals are officially back on “launch on warning”, then I’ll believe we face a risk of nuclear war that is of a similar order of magnitude to what I remember from the late Cold War.

    Risk of a great power war, I agree. I’ve noted recently (and I’m not the only one) that the situation in Syria is smelling more and more like 1914 (but with timescales in minutes and hours, rather than days). The US regime’s latest repeated and open threat to (illegally, but of course laws don’t apply to the goodies) attack Syrian government forces over the East Ghouta clean-up provides a direct path to war if either side misjudges its responses by an iota.

    A war is actually fairly likely at the moment – I suspect the US regime will at some point attack Syrian government forces, and any Russian response that results in significant US casualties will put the US regime on the spot about responding in turn. There’s no way of knowing for sure how either government will respond in those circumstances, and much depends upon details around the scale of any attacks and the particular targeting. It’s a disturbingly chaotic and analytically difficult situation.

    As to whether it would escalate to a nuclear exchange, well we all have to hope at least one side will take one of the various inevitable opportunities to deescalate before we reach that point. It seems unlikely it would go that far, though. I’ve long been a believer that nuclear weapons are unique in human history in that they make it almost impossible for the decision maskers to believe they won’t suffer the worst consequences of any war they start – “win” or “lose”.

    We could imo easily see a limited exchange of fire between Russian and US forces in Syria at any time in the next days or weeks. It mostly depends upon what orders the Russians in theatre have and are given in response to events.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    As to whether it would escalate to a nuclear exchange, well we all have to hope at least one side will take one of the various inevitable
     
    I don't know if I need to add - as some free advice in such scenarios.

    Spread out against the most fashionable cities of the West. while are entire children of kremlevskoy verkhushki.

    In particular will be safe places (which we may designate as 'spaces of calm') in time of nuclear warfare to go to: - Limassol, London, Amsterdam (e.g. Mariya Putina), Paris (e.g. Miss Peskova), New York (e.g. Miss Lavrova), Nice, Saint-Tropez (e.g. Sechin's yacht).

    On the other hand, nuclear missiles may be freely landing in places which are not fortunate to be considered 'fashionable to live', or even labelled as 'not cool' amongst the children of the Kremlin elite - Kansas city, Dortmund, Poznan, Glasgow, Minneapolis?

    , @reiner Tor
    If you think a nuclear war is truly impossible, then it's possible that the leadership of one (or all) nuclear powers believes so, too. This means that, as a corollary (and as you write, too), the chances of a shooting war between nuclear powers gets higher.

    My point is this: once there is a shooting war, truly anything will be possible. Decisions will have to be made rapidly. For example once it becomes clear that the Russian force in Syria is wiped out, and for example the anti-ship missiles are worthless against superior American technology (for all we know, it's possible), they will either have to retaliate out of theater, or retaliate using tactical nuke strikes.

    Perhaps, as you point out, there will be opportunities to de-escalate after that point, but one never knows. Do you think the Americans gloating after such a military success will de-escalate before the Russian retaliation? How? If they were reckless enough to attack in the first place? Let me point out that a tactical nuke is, technically, already a nuclear war. And that once tactical nukes are used, all bets will be off, panic will set in in capitals.

    The other possibility is an American defeat, or semi-defeat, like Martyanov's Wunderwaffen destroying a couple American carriers and a few US bases in the Middle East, with or without the Russian contingent being wiped out. How will the US elite react to that? How will the US public react? Hysteria might be an understatement to describe what could follow.

    Maybe they'll de-escalate before a full nuclear exchange. (Very likely, but far from absolute certainty.) There's a small chance they won't. Maybe it will be impossible to de-escalate at that point. I think once there's a war, all bets will be off. We just can't imagine what will happen.

    When the major nuclear arsenals are officially back on “launch on warning”
     
    How long does it take to change it? Two hours? With modern technology, I guess you don't need as high levels of readiness as during the Cold War. It might be faster to put them on high alert.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  95. @reiner Tor
    It’s a caricature of totalitarianism. Of course, real totalitarianism didn’t look like that. But consider it’s mental techniques for the true believers.

    Crimestop: totally exists in true believers of any ideology.
    Doublethink: totally exists, like the simultaneous belief of a decaying, aging, collapsing Russia, and one that is capable of remote mind control of millions over the internet.
    He describes how the highest ranks are the best informed of reality (i.e. the falsity of their own propaganda) while also being the truest believers. Like Nazi leaders being the best informed of the precariousness of the military situation, yet being the most fervent believers in the possibility of a final victory. Or Bolshevik leaders knowing that they are operating a terror regime with luxuries for the select elite and starvation for the masses, yet also believing that this is somehow a revolution for a better future.

    Or the slogans of the Party: War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Diversity Is Strength. Etc.

    It’s little wonder it’s still quoted so often.

    I read it as a teenager and tbh have forgotten much of the details…but iirc one thing I didn’t find convincing was its depiction of sexuality, with the party wanting to control all intimate relationships, only love of Big Brother being allowed, everything being relentlessly politicized. I think that’s something too obviously repellent for most people. Entertainment in Nazi Germany wasn’t like that…it rather presented idyllic, mostly apolitical scenes of family life many people even today would probably find attractive (I suppose similar motives existed in Stalin’s Soviet Union). Totalitarianism (if that concept is even useful, and not just Cold war propaganda) needs to present a credible narrative that it will improve the lives of its adherents, or at least of their collective, so the sacrifices will be worth it. And both Nazism and Soviet communism did provide highly attractive visions whose appeal shouldn’t be hard to see…Orwell’s big brother was a caricature imo.
    And iirc it’s also implied in 1984 that the inner cadres are quite cynical and may not even believe their own ideology, only are into it for power worship. That’s also unrealistic imo…Nazis, Fascists, Communists on the highest levels certainly did believe in their ideology.
    But as I wrote it’s been a long time since I read it (almost 20 years), so I may not quite remember it all correctly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Your points about the sexuality and family values are true. Leftist revolutionaries usually offer sexual promiscuity, while rightists promise happy family life, with the Nazis being somewhat in between (or a little bit of both), and the Soviets under Stalin quickly moving to the conservative family values thingy. (Glossy had a point here.) But Nineteen Eighty-Four is a caricature, not an accurate description of a real or viable political system. Another error is that the technologies depicted are not well thought out, like there is the speakwrite (which in 2018 does exist, but only as part of ubiquitous high-tech systems like smartphones), but apparently in a lot of respect it's stuck in the 1940s. But again, it's basically a science fiction, and one which doesn't concern itself much with technology.

    Regarding the belief of the leaders, O'Brian at first appears to be a leader of the resistance, then later becomes a cynical secret policeman, but eventually we find out that he believes in the superiority of Ingsoc like a madman. It's a bit similar to how liberal leaders (or even ordinary SJWs) fervently believe in anti-racism, but then somehow are cynical enough to avoid diversity in their private life. O'Brian is an example of doublethink in the novel.

    Anyway, I don't like it as much as before, but I think Orwell could grasp a number of aspects of ideological thinking (which, unfortunately, is part of all of us, but is especially typical of totalitarian ideologies, including the liberal soft totalitarianism).

    Totalitarianism (if that concept is even useful, and not just Cold war propaganda)
     
    Well, it describes something, you can lump them together from certain aspects, but there were profound differences. So you can use the expression, but be aware of its limitations.
    , @myself
    The depiction of sexuality was a metaphor, nothing more.

    Sex is a natural and fundamentally human activity, for without it, there would be no humans of whom to speak, never mind human societies. (Though this could change with the advent of future technologies - that's a separate topic)

    The point in 1984 is that if sex can be politicized, what can't be? Answer: Nothing.

    We see this in the modern West where people self-divide into parties, ideologies, tribes, races, religions - and then these various groups stake out seemingly unrelated positions regarding everything and maybe nothing.

    Take the issue of gun ownership. It's so wrapped up in politics, history and ideology that people can't even see guns for what they are - they're tools, inanimate objects, end of story.

    Guns don't cause inequality, nor do they usefully defend against tyranny - they're tools, that's all. Guns are not related to class, race, political affiliation, sexual orientation - except if we say they are.

    That's just one example of a non-political issue being politicized.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  96. @reiner Tor

    I would hope the situation in Hungary is not as bad as in Britain.
     
    I don’t think it’s substantially better. Especially not in the long run. Orbán neglects education, which has the side effect of making teachers hate him. Teachers tend to be leftists anyway, but it seems they have become overwhelmingly so in the last few years. High schoolers are now often protesting the government, there have been demonstrations against Orbán by them (nominally about some issues with education, but obviously it was political, including some of the slogans etc.), so it’s probably a mistake which will bear its rotten fruits over the long run.

    Orbán neglects education, which has the side effect of making teachers hate him.

    This was the problem in Britain, Margaret Thatcher thought that state education would continue as before. Her successor, John Major, had the attitude: ignore it and hope it goes away. Neither did anything to prevent the increasing left-wing influence in state education, especially in Labour-run local councils. Of course, not helped by very few Conservative politicians having children at state schools.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Thatcher didn't even really try to stop or reverse the abolition of grammar schools, just pathetic.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  97. @Verymuchalive
    Orbán neglects education, which has the side effect of making teachers hate him.

    This was the problem in Britain, Margaret Thatcher thought that state education would continue as before. Her successor, John Major, had the attitude: ignore it and hope it goes away. Neither did anything to prevent the increasing left-wing influence in state education, especially in Labour-run local councils. Of course, not helped by very few Conservative politicians having children at state schools.

    Thatcher didn’t even really try to stop or reverse the abolition of grammar schools, just pathetic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    The loss of grammar schools did quickly stop under Lady Thatcher, but there was no reversal of policy to open new ones or reopen old ones. State Schools were left in the claws of local authorities, most of them Labour-run. There were no new ideas about how to improve State Schools or stop the slide in standards or the increasing left-wing influence.
    The same could be said about other areas of policy, whether immigration or health care, The Thatcher Government focussed on a limited number of economic matters, often to the detriment of social and cultural matters, which came back to haunt the Conservatives later.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  98. @reiner Tor
    No, Syria is a war, they don’t execute them, they kill them in action.

    Or execute them after they have been caught and their identity confirmed.
    No doubt one day we will find

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  99. @German_reader
    Thatcher didn't even really try to stop or reverse the abolition of grammar schools, just pathetic.

    The loss of grammar schools did quickly stop under Lady Thatcher, but there was no reversal of policy to open new ones or reopen old ones. State Schools were left in the claws of local authorities, most of them Labour-run. There were no new ideas about how to improve State Schools or stop the slide in standards or the increasing left-wing influence.
    The same could be said about other areas of policy, whether immigration or health care, The Thatcher Government focussed on a limited number of economic matters, often to the detriment of social and cultural matters, which came back to haunt the Conservatives later.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  100. I am and have been a life long Socialist
    I have also volunteered to defend my country
    Be that as a sense of duty or perceived adventure
    I try to maintain a healthy level of cynicism and try to be pragmatic
    I try not to believe all the news as presented by headlines
    Over the past week – and despite all of the other shocking and incredible news globally – I have become astonished by the events unfolding in Salisbury
    I am not anti Russian – if anything I have great respect for Russian people
    But I am pragmatic and I do truly believe that any country that allows a minority of people to take control and bully the majority by fear can not be trusted
    And therefore there is no doubt – in my small mind at least – Russia have (sic) done wrong in the UK
    They have imported and used with agents with intent to kill a chemical agent – a nerve agent – that even they do not truly understand the extent of illness and death it can cause
    There is no doubt Russia will not confess or take any responsibility
    But we as a proud people should not be afraid to confront a bully and I am willing to commit again to the defence of my country – irrespective of its faults – because I will not be bullied
    If we all stand up and defend what we believe to be right and fair and just we will be on the right side if history

    Read More
    • Replies: @Vorotyntsev
    BrummyGav


    Your amusing message cannot possibly be anything else than a pastiche, is it not?

    The “socialist” hint is too good to be true.
    , @Parbes
    Yeah, sure...you're a "life long Socialist" - who just happens to turn stridently anti-Russian right at the moment when the neoliberal, neoimperialist, warmongering UK regime requires it, any facts be damned. I bet your "socialism" consists of being a card-carrying member of the UK Regime Hired Internet Trolls' and Propagandists' Trade Union (!)

    IDIOT. The UK regime are wasting money on you idiots, which they should be using instead on preventing the mass-rapes of working-class UK girls by Pakistanis. But I guess you don't even consider that to be a "problem", eh?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  101. @Randal

    this will hurt Britain more than it hurts Russia.
     
    OK, you've convinced me that is one the present British government will certainly adopt.

    I do think, though, that it's slightly misguided speculating about how much the UK regime can hurt Russia. The objective of those hyping the incident (who may or may not be the ones responsible for the incident itself - who knows?) is not really to damage Russia, the objective is to create a more confrontational relationship between the US and Russia, and between the US's European satellite states and Russia, in order to reduce commercial, cultural and political contacts and ultimately prevent any diplomatic rapprochements.

    As such, it seems unlikely any of the meaningfully risky or costly measures will be taken. Rather, they will pursue the ones that create maximum propaganda impact for the least risk and cost.

    Hi Randal
    If indeed that is your real name (unlikely I think)
    In your 2nd para I laugh as you say “… UK regime …” Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage – which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage
    Next sentence – “… hyping the incident …”
    Is it hyped? Is this a country with a history of overly dramatically hyping terror? I would suggest quite the opposite
    IMHO we to our risk undermine and downplay serious incidents
    So why on earth would we scare the shit out of the people of Salisbury
    As per my earlier post I am not a supporter of this government
    But I do believe we have been wronged and I do challenge the like of you

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage – which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage
     
    You think Randal is a Russian troll?
    Sorry, but you're an idiot.
    , @Randal

    Hi Randal
    If indeed that is your real name (unlikely I think)
     
    LOL! OK "BrummyGav".


    In your 2nd para I laugh as you say “… UK regime …” Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage – which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage
     
    I mentioned the reason I use the term "regime" for the US and for countries within the US sphere here a couple of months ago - it's a conscious choice:

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/the-phantom-list/#comment-2183785


    Next sentence – “… hyping the incident …”
    Is it hyped? Is this a country with a history of overly dramatically hyping terror? I would suggest quite the opposite
    IMHO we to our risk undermine and downplay serious incidents
     
    "Is it hyped?" A supposed attempted murder of a foreign former spy is front page news for days (soon to be weeks, no doubt) with hysterical "meetings of COBRA" and endless speculative bollocks about whodunit, as though it really matters and as though the people "investigating" it and telling us the supposed results of their investigations aren't established liars anyway?

    If it really is a murder of a former foreign spy by a foreign government then it's a diplomatic matter of as much or as little importance as the government chooses to make it, and no particular concern for the vast majority. Though frankly you'd have to be pretty stupid to seriously think the Russian government did it, since it gains them nothing and likely costs them a lot. Especially based upon the mere word of the same kinds of British government and media liars as enabled Blair's and Cameron's wars. If it's some other kind of crime, then it's just another sensational crime event, that should be forgotten in a couple of days.

    Unless people with power and influence see something to be gained out of making it a big, lasting story by pretending to believe "Russia did it".

    Have a guess which will happen.

    So why on earth would we scare the shit out of the people of Salisbury
     
    Most likely because there are powerful people who want to continue, and to further whip up, a confrontation of Russia that suits their various ulterior agendas. It's much the same as the way consent for the Iraq war was manufactured with "experts" and trusted government figures, and media mouthpieces, exaggerating or outright misrepresenting evidence and conclusions, or how the same thing was done for the attack on Libya by making up a supposed "humanitarian emergency" to justify that disastrous war.

    It's hardly anything new, for those who have been paying attention for the past few decades.

    As per my earlier post I am not a supporter of this government
    But I do believe we have been wronged and I do challenge the like of you
     
    As has been pointed out, you really have no idea what "the like of me" is. Nor it seems do you have much of a clue about how the world around you works, which presumably explains why you've seemingly soaked up all the superficial propaganda about Russia you could find, in a media that's frankly full of the stuff.

    any country that allows a minority of people to take control and bully the majority by fear can not be trusted
     
    You seem not to have noticed that Putin's support and general popularity in Russia is well above what senior politicians here command.

    If we all stand up and defend what we believe to be right and fair and just we will be on the right side if history
     
    ROFL! Yeah, that's pretty much what the interventionists said about the attacks on Iraq and on Libya, and the attempt to hand Syria over to bloody jihadist chaos by overthrowing the government.

    Great stuff. Do you ever intend to try learning from experience?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  102. @BrummyGav
    Hi Randal
    If indeed that is your real name (unlikely I think)
    In your 2nd para I laugh as you say “... UK regime ...” Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage - which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage
    Next sentence - “... hyping the incident ...”
    Is it hyped? Is this a country with a history of overly dramatically hyping terror? I would suggest quite the opposite
    IMHO we to our risk undermine and downplay serious incidents
    So why on earth would we scare the shit out of the people of Salisbury
    As per my earlier post I am not a supporter of this government
    But I do believe we have been wronged and I do challenge the like of you

    Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage – which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage

    You think Randal is a Russian troll?
    Sorry, but you’re an idiot.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    An idiot? Yeah probably
    Is Randal a Russian troll? No idea but I didn’t say that - merely questioned the use of language
    But hey thanks for the feedback
    If y’all think the UK government have made up this whole Salisbury thing and that Russia is not responsible ...
    Well god bless ya
    Whichever god y’all believe in
    , @Parbes
    He's probably a UK regime troll himself. Their job is to scour Internet sites and blogs, trying to insult, intimidate, argue with and drown out individuals honestly stating their facts-and-logic-based opinions.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  103. @BrummyGav
    I am and have been a life long Socialist
    I have also volunteered to defend my country
    Be that as a sense of duty or perceived adventure
    I try to maintain a healthy level of cynicism and try to be pragmatic
    I try not to believe all the news as presented by headlines
    Over the past week - and despite all of the other shocking and incredible news globally - I have become astonished by the events unfolding in Salisbury
    I am not anti Russian - if anything I have great respect for Russian people
    But I am pragmatic and I do truly believe that any country that allows a minority of people to take control and bully the majority by fear can not be trusted
    And therefore there is no doubt - in my small mind at least - Russia have (sic) done wrong in the UK
    They have imported and used with agents with intent to kill a chemical agent - a nerve agent - that even they do not truly understand the extent of illness and death it can cause
    There is no doubt Russia will not confess or take any responsibility
    But we as a proud people should not be afraid to confront a bully and I am willing to commit again to the defence of my country - irrespective of its faults - because I will not be bullied
    If we all stand up and defend what we believe to be right and fair and just we will be on the right side if history

    BrummyGav

    Your amusing message cannot possibly be anything else than a pastiche, is it not?

    The “socialist” hint is too good to be true.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    Hey Vorotynsev
    Firstly - have to admit I had to look up “pastiche”
    Way beyond my lower level of education
    What a great word
    The good news is I copied or mirrored no cunt
    So you and your pompous bunch of trolls can go fuck yourselves
    Thanks for teaching me something new today
    Dobre
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  104. @Aslangeo
    Have a read of Why England Lose by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szynanski - a detailed analysis of football around the world.

    Their key point about football demographics in England was that that clubs chose people from white or Caribbean working class backgrounds. Middle class people and Asians were excluded. The authors did an analysis of the backgrounds of the England squads from 1998 to 2006 and found only five players who had fathers with white collar jobs (one of these fathers ran the mail room where I worked). There was also an anti intellectual culture within English football

    Other countries are much more inclusive, intellectual and therefore more successful

    You fucking assholes commenting on British society truly have not got a clue
    Any one of you that were privileged enough to come here with the money your parents stole from your homelands went to schools that isolated you from people like me
    Lucky for you and lucky for me
    Please do not share your bullshit as if you know the people of a country you clearly loathe and despise
    Dear god please just go home – oh you can’t right
    Wankers

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Yes, it does look like they went to the schools that actually taught them English.
    , @utu
    What did tick you off? Do you care that much about football?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  105. @BrummyGav
    You fucking assholes commenting on British society truly have not got a clue
    Any one of you that were privileged enough to come here with the money your parents stole from your homelands went to schools that isolated you from people like me
    Lucky for you and lucky for me
    Please do not share your bullshit as if you know the people of a country you clearly loathe and despise
    Dear god please just go home - oh you can’t right
    Wankers

    Yes, it does look like they went to the schools that actually taught them English.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    Hey Danny Cha
    You seriously gonna bitch on my use o’ my native language?
    You pompous piece O shite
    Ain’t ever gonna play that tune dude
    Tosser
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  106. @BrummyGav
    You fucking assholes commenting on British society truly have not got a clue
    Any one of you that were privileged enough to come here with the money your parents stole from your homelands went to schools that isolated you from people like me
    Lucky for you and lucky for me
    Please do not share your bullshit as if you know the people of a country you clearly loathe and despise
    Dear god please just go home - oh you can’t right
    Wankers

    What did tick you off? Do you care that much about football?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  107. @German_reader

    Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage – which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage
     
    You think Randal is a Russian troll?
    Sorry, but you're an idiot.

    An idiot? Yeah probably
    Is Randal a Russian troll? No idea but I didn’t say that – merely questioned the use of language
    But hey thanks for the feedback
    If y’all think the UK government have made up this whole Salisbury thing and that Russia is not responsible …
    Well god bless ya
    Whichever god y’all believe in

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    If y’all think the UK government have made up this whole Salisbury thing and that Russia is not responsible
     
    Well, I don't believe that...I just have no idea what's behind this whole affair or who's responsible.
    Randal is clearly English btw, insinuations that he must be some sort of Russian agent are idiotic. This tarring of anyone who has doubts about the narratives pushed by Western establishments as a traitor or fool in thrall to foreign powers is just tiresome, if you can't state your opinion without resorting to such tactics, don't be surprised about negative reactions.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  108. @BrummyGav
    An idiot? Yeah probably
    Is Randal a Russian troll? No idea but I didn’t say that - merely questioned the use of language
    But hey thanks for the feedback
    If y’all think the UK government have made up this whole Salisbury thing and that Russia is not responsible ...
    Well god bless ya
    Whichever god y’all believe in

    If y’all think the UK government have made up this whole Salisbury thing and that Russia is not responsible

    Well, I don’t believe that…I just have no idea what’s behind this whole affair or who’s responsible.
    Randal is clearly English btw, insinuations that he must be some sort of Russian agent are idiotic. This tarring of anyone who has doubts about the narratives pushed by Western establishments as a traitor or fool in thrall to foreign powers is just tiresome, if you can’t state your opinion without resorting to such tactics, don’t be surprised about negative reactions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BruumyGav
    @German dude
    Risk of boredom or repetition - I never accused anyone of being a Russian troll - so done with that
    I share your cynicism that any government - be they Western or Eastern or Asian or whatever - would lie to protect their regime is absolutely possible (in fact more than likely)
    Is it possible the Salisbury event is some UK internal fuck up and they’re looking for a scapegoat? Damn of course at some level you could write a conspiracy to see that
    But at risk of seeming to be a right twat there is no way it is and therefore there are 2 choices
    1) it was a state approved execution assault on foreign soil
    2) rogue agents determined to avenge the acts of a traitor
    Choice 1 is real bad and affects us all
    Choice 2 - we’ll just take care of business and we all carry on with the status quo
    Going back to my initial post I honestly rarely care too much
    But this shit takes me back too many years and to a time I thought we had left behind us
    Take my view sincerely or not I honestly don’t give a shit
    , @Dmitry

    Well, I don’t believe that…I just have no idea what’s behind this whole affair or who’s responsible.
    Randal is clearly English btw, insinuations that he must be some sort of Russian agent are idiotic. This tarring of anyone who has doubts about the narratives pushed by Western establishments as a traitor or fool in thrall to foreign powers is just tiresome, if you can’t state your opinion without resorting to such tactics, don’t be surprised about negative reactions.
     
    This is site attracting nonconformists and sceptical insomniacs. i.e. demographic who usually don't like their leadership/elite wherever they are living.

    Generally whichever country people are living or coming from, it's which leadership/elites they are attacking.

    I.e. Randal attacks British elite - he is probably British. If he starts attacking Russian elite - he is probably Russian or Ukrainian. And if he was criticizing Bulgarian parliament, or Algerian constitution - he would probably be Bulgarian, or Algerian, respectively.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  109. @Daniel Chieh
    Yes, it does look like they went to the schools that actually taught them English.

    Hey Danny Cha
    You seriously gonna bitch on my use o’ my native language?
    You pompous piece O shite
    Ain’t ever gonna play that tune dude
    Tosser

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pavlo
    You write like a semi-literate britbong moron - probably because that's what you are (a Comprehensive lad if I'm any judge)

    Instead of mutilating the language that is your dying people's gift to the world, why not take a hike and do what comes naturally to you?

    That means suck down two dozen cans of cheap lager and collapse in a gutter, facedown in your own vomit while your fat slag girlfriend lolls on the pavement, waving her hideously flabby thighs in the air.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  110. @BrummyGav
    Hey Danny Cha
    You seriously gonna bitch on my use o’ my native language?
    You pompous piece O shite
    Ain’t ever gonna play that tune dude
    Tosser

    You write like a semi-literate britbong moron – probably because that’s what you are (a Comprehensive lad if I’m any judge)

    Instead of mutilating the language that is your dying people’s gift to the world, why not take a hike and do what comes naturally to you?

    That means suck down two dozen cans of cheap lager and collapse in a gutter, facedown in your own vomit while your fat slag girlfriend lolls on the pavement, waving her hideously flabby thighs in the air.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    Pavlo
    You poor sad chap
    Do you truly think insulting me means anything?
    So weak and so sad
    The next time you see your therapist share this dialogue
    Hopefully it can help
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  111. @Randal

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.
     
    Risk of war, or risk of nuclear war? When the major nuclear arsenals are officially back on "launch on warning", then I'll believe we face a risk of nuclear war that is of a similar order of magnitude to what I remember from the late Cold War.

    Risk of a great power war, I agree. I've noted recently (and I'm not the only one) that the situation in Syria is smelling more and more like 1914 (but with timescales in minutes and hours, rather than days). The US regime's latest repeated and open threat to (illegally, but of course laws don't apply to the goodies) attack Syrian government forces over the East Ghouta clean-up provides a direct path to war if either side misjudges its responses by an iota.

    A war is actually fairly likely at the moment - I suspect the US regime will at some point attack Syrian government forces, and any Russian response that results in significant US casualties will put the US regime on the spot about responding in turn. There's no way of knowing for sure how either government will respond in those circumstances, and much depends upon details around the scale of any attacks and the particular targeting. It's a disturbingly chaotic and analytically difficult situation.

    As to whether it would escalate to a nuclear exchange, well we all have to hope at least one side will take one of the various inevitable opportunities to deescalate before we reach that point. It seems unlikely it would go that far, though. I've long been a believer that nuclear weapons are unique in human history in that they make it almost impossible for the decision maskers to believe they won't suffer the worst consequences of any war they start - "win" or "lose".

    We could imo easily see a limited exchange of fire between Russian and US forces in Syria at any time in the next days or weeks. It mostly depends upon what orders the Russians in theatre have and are given in response to events.

    As to whether it would escalate to a nuclear exchange, well we all have to hope at least one side will take one of the various inevitable

    I don’t know if I need to add – as some free advice in such scenarios.

    Spread out against the most fashionable cities of the West. while are entire children of kremlevskoy verkhushki.

    In particular will be safe places (which we may designate as ‘spaces of calm’) in time of nuclear warfare to go to: – Limassol, London, Amsterdam (e.g. Mariya Putina), Paris (e.g. Miss Peskova), New York (e.g. Miss Lavrova), Nice, Saint-Tropez (e.g. Sechin’s yacht).

    On the other hand, nuclear missiles may be freely landing in places which are not fortunate to be considered ‘fashionable to live’, or even labelled as ‘not cool’ amongst the children of the Kremlin elite – Kansas city, Dortmund, Poznan, Glasgow, Minneapolis?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Mariya Putina moved back to Russia years ago. Apparently so did Lavrov's daughter. I don't think in such a situation Sechin's yacht will matter. Obviously it will be a desperate decision made during a 15 minute meeting by the president and a few important government ministers and generals. I wouldn't be surprised if Lavrov wasn't among the decision-makers in such a situation. He's a foreign minister, not a military expert, and it would already be a military council in a state of war. The American elite's children will almost surely survive in nuclear shelters, and contrary to what most people believe, it will be possible to leave the shelters after some time and move to less contaminated areas.

    To my knowledge in recent years (the elite Moscow school is but one recent example) there's been a constant movement back to Russia of the children of the Russian political elite. I guess they might fear blackmail or harassment in Western countries.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  112. @German_reader

    If y’all think the UK government have made up this whole Salisbury thing and that Russia is not responsible
     
    Well, I don't believe that...I just have no idea what's behind this whole affair or who's responsible.
    Randal is clearly English btw, insinuations that he must be some sort of Russian agent are idiotic. This tarring of anyone who has doubts about the narratives pushed by Western establishments as a traitor or fool in thrall to foreign powers is just tiresome, if you can't state your opinion without resorting to such tactics, don't be surprised about negative reactions.

    @German dude
    Risk of boredom or repetition – I never accused anyone of being a Russian troll – so done with that
    I share your cynicism that any government – be they Western or Eastern or Asian or whatever – would lie to protect their regime is absolutely possible (in fact more than likely)
    Is it possible the Salisbury event is some UK internal fuck up and they’re looking for a scapegoat? Damn of course at some level you could write a conspiracy to see that
    But at risk of seeming to be a right twat there is no way it is and therefore there are 2 choices
    1) it was a state approved execution assault on foreign soil
    2) rogue agents determined to avenge the acts of a traitor
    Choice 1 is real bad and affects us all
    Choice 2 – we’ll just take care of business and we all carry on with the status quo
    Going back to my initial post I honestly rarely care too much
    But this shit takes me back too many years and to a time I thought we had left behind us
    Take my view sincerely or not I honestly don’t give a shit

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    There's a third possibility, that some other group or state is behind this.
    I don't think I'm into conspiracy theories (and have been sceptical of some of the "alternative" explanations for various incidents over the last few years - I don't doubt that Russian-backed rebels did accidentally shoot down MH17; and I think it's quite possible that Assad's forces did use poison gas...I just don't care much about it), but so much strange stuff previously thought unimaginable has happened over the last few years that I wouldn't exclude any possibilities anymore (just think of all the efforts in the US to paint Trump as a Russian stooge...beyond bizarre imo).
    I agree that it would be pretty bad if this was an assassination ordered by the Russian state...I just can't see though why Putin and his inner circle would want to order something like this, what do they gain from it? Humiliating/angering Britain just for the sake of it seems rather pointless.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  113. @Pavlo
    You write like a semi-literate britbong moron - probably because that's what you are (a Comprehensive lad if I'm any judge)

    Instead of mutilating the language that is your dying people's gift to the world, why not take a hike and do what comes naturally to you?

    That means suck down two dozen cans of cheap lager and collapse in a gutter, facedown in your own vomit while your fat slag girlfriend lolls on the pavement, waving her hideously flabby thighs in the air.

    Pavlo
    You poor sad chap
    Do you truly think insulting me means anything?
    So weak and so sad
    The next time you see your therapist share this dialogue
    Hopefully it can help

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pavlo
    Angrily declaiming that you don't care about being insulted evinces your butthurt.

    Responding with the most generic insult possible compounds this impression and illustrates your low intelligence and limited verbal creativity. But nobody would expect more from a Comprehensive lad, would they?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  114. @BrummyGav
    Pavlo
    You poor sad chap
    Do you truly think insulting me means anything?
    So weak and so sad
    The next time you see your therapist share this dialogue
    Hopefully it can help

    Angrily declaiming that you don’t care about being insulted evinces your butthurt.

    Responding with the most generic insult possible compounds this impression and illustrates your low intelligence and limited verbal creativity. But nobody would expect more from a Comprehensive lad, would they?

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    Oh poor dear Pavlo
    You really are a sad creature
    Was my response angry? I think that was just your perception
    You are clearly in need of help you poor poor sole
    To be clear I was not a Comprehensive lad
    Nor am I highly educated and certainly not to your level
    But you are a sad and deranged individual in need of help
    Please seek it soon before you do harm to yourself or others
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  115. @BruumyGav
    @German dude
    Risk of boredom or repetition - I never accused anyone of being a Russian troll - so done with that
    I share your cynicism that any government - be they Western or Eastern or Asian or whatever - would lie to protect their regime is absolutely possible (in fact more than likely)
    Is it possible the Salisbury event is some UK internal fuck up and they’re looking for a scapegoat? Damn of course at some level you could write a conspiracy to see that
    But at risk of seeming to be a right twat there is no way it is and therefore there are 2 choices
    1) it was a state approved execution assault on foreign soil
    2) rogue agents determined to avenge the acts of a traitor
    Choice 1 is real bad and affects us all
    Choice 2 - we’ll just take care of business and we all carry on with the status quo
    Going back to my initial post I honestly rarely care too much
    But this shit takes me back too many years and to a time I thought we had left behind us
    Take my view sincerely or not I honestly don’t give a shit

    There’s a third possibility, that some other group or state is behind this.
    I don’t think I’m into conspiracy theories (and have been sceptical of some of the “alternative” explanations for various incidents over the last few years – I don’t doubt that Russian-backed rebels did accidentally shoot down MH17; and I think it’s quite possible that Assad’s forces did use poison gas…I just don’t care much about it), but so much strange stuff previously thought unimaginable has happened over the last few years that I wouldn’t exclude any possibilities anymore (just think of all the efforts in the US to paint Trump as a Russian stooge…beyond bizarre imo).
    I agree that it would be pretty bad if this was an assassination ordered by the Russian state…I just can’t see though why Putin and his inner circle would want to order something like this, what do they gain from it? Humiliating/angering Britain just for the sake of it seems rather pointless.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    @German
    I’m certainly open to the idea that a third party executed the attack and all avenues of investigation should be thouroughly looked at
    However it seems critical to solving the incident that Russia support the investigation and provide as much technical physical and logistical support they can
    If it’s rogue elements of their security services or material that was stolen during the post Cold War transition then fine - figure it out and find it and stop it
    Who the hell wants this stuff out there
    The last thing any of us want is conflict
    We live in a mad world but it’s all we have
    We should all want to try to make it better
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  116. @Vorotyntsev
    BrummyGav


    Your amusing message cannot possibly be anything else than a pastiche, is it not?

    The “socialist” hint is too good to be true.

    Hey Vorotynsev
    Firstly – have to admit I had to look up “pastiche”
    Way beyond my lower level of education
    What a great word
    The good news is I copied or mirrored no cunt
    So you and your pompous bunch of trolls can go fuck yourselves
    Thanks for teaching me something new today
    Dobre

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  117. @Pavlo
    Angrily declaiming that you don't care about being insulted evinces your butthurt.

    Responding with the most generic insult possible compounds this impression and illustrates your low intelligence and limited verbal creativity. But nobody would expect more from a Comprehensive lad, would they?

    Oh poor dear Pavlo
    You really are a sad creature
    Was my response angry? I think that was just your perception
    You are clearly in need of help you poor poor sole
    To be clear I was not a Comprehensive lad
    Nor am I highly educated and certainly not to your level
    But you are a sad and deranged individual in need of help
    Please seek it soon before you do harm to yourself or others

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pavlo
    'sole'

    LOL learn to speak your own language britbong.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  118. @BrummyGav
    Hi Randal
    If indeed that is your real name (unlikely I think)
    In your 2nd para I laugh as you say “... UK regime ...” Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage - which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage
    Next sentence - “... hyping the incident ...”
    Is it hyped? Is this a country with a history of overly dramatically hyping terror? I would suggest quite the opposite
    IMHO we to our risk undermine and downplay serious incidents
    So why on earth would we scare the shit out of the people of Salisbury
    As per my earlier post I am not a supporter of this government
    But I do believe we have been wronged and I do challenge the like of you

    Hi Randal
    If indeed that is your real name (unlikely I think)

    LOL! OK “BrummyGav”.

    In your 2nd para I laugh as you say “… UK regime …” Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage – which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage

    I mentioned the reason I use the term “regime” for the US and for countries within the US sphere here a couple of months ago – it’s a conscious choice:

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/the-phantom-list/#comment-2183785

    Next sentence – “… hyping the incident …”
    Is it hyped? Is this a country with a history of overly dramatically hyping terror? I would suggest quite the opposite
    IMHO we to our risk undermine and downplay serious incidents

    “Is it hyped?” A supposed attempted murder of a foreign former spy is front page news for days (soon to be weeks, no doubt) with hysterical “meetings of COBRA” and endless speculative bollocks about whodunit, as though it really matters and as though the people “investigating” it and telling us the supposed results of their investigations aren’t established liars anyway?

    If it really is a murder of a former foreign spy by a foreign government then it’s a diplomatic matter of as much or as little importance as the government chooses to make it, and no particular concern for the vast majority. Though frankly you’d have to be pretty stupid to seriously think the Russian government did it, since it gains them nothing and likely costs them a lot. Especially based upon the mere word of the same kinds of British government and media liars as enabled Blair’s and Cameron’s wars. If it’s some other kind of crime, then it’s just another sensational crime event, that should be forgotten in a couple of days.

    Unless people with power and influence see something to be gained out of making it a big, lasting story by pretending to believe “Russia did it”.

    Have a guess which will happen.

    So why on earth would we scare the shit out of the people of Salisbury

    Most likely because there are powerful people who want to continue, and to further whip up, a confrontation of Russia that suits their various ulterior agendas. It’s much the same as the way consent for the Iraq war was manufactured with “experts” and trusted government figures, and media mouthpieces, exaggerating or outright misrepresenting evidence and conclusions, or how the same thing was done for the attack on Libya by making up a supposed “humanitarian emergency” to justify that disastrous war.

    It’s hardly anything new, for those who have been paying attention for the past few decades.

    As per my earlier post I am not a supporter of this government
    But I do believe we have been wronged and I do challenge the like of you

    As has been pointed out, you really have no idea what “the like of me” is. Nor it seems do you have much of a clue about how the world around you works, which presumably explains why you’ve seemingly soaked up all the superficial propaganda about Russia you could find, in a media that’s frankly full of the stuff.

    any country that allows a minority of people to take control and bully the majority by fear can not be trusted

    You seem not to have noticed that Putin’s support and general popularity in Russia is well above what senior politicians here command.

    If we all stand up and defend what we believe to be right and fair and just we will be on the right side if history

    ROFL! Yeah, that’s pretty much what the interventionists said about the attacks on Iraq and on Libya, and the attempt to hand Syria over to bloody jihadist chaos by overthrowing the government.

    Great stuff. Do you ever intend to try learning from experience?

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    Yo Randal
    You LOL at my tag -why? Location and name all in one - odd reaction
    I’ll just surmise your verbose response
    You don’t see why Russia would do what the government have stated
    I just lapping g up the cool aid and just plain stupid
    And governments lie
    Well I agree with my last summation above - governments do lie
    And maybe the Russian government are innocent
    And yeah maybe I am just a Schmuk who buys whatever the headlines are in the Mail or the Sun or the good old Beeb
    But seriously if you’re going to buy what comes out of the Kremlin or Russian news as gospel then your just as dumb as I am
    So good luck with that
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  119. @German_reader
    There's a third possibility, that some other group or state is behind this.
    I don't think I'm into conspiracy theories (and have been sceptical of some of the "alternative" explanations for various incidents over the last few years - I don't doubt that Russian-backed rebels did accidentally shoot down MH17; and I think it's quite possible that Assad's forces did use poison gas...I just don't care much about it), but so much strange stuff previously thought unimaginable has happened over the last few years that I wouldn't exclude any possibilities anymore (just think of all the efforts in the US to paint Trump as a Russian stooge...beyond bizarre imo).
    I agree that it would be pretty bad if this was an assassination ordered by the Russian state...I just can't see though why Putin and his inner circle would want to order something like this, what do they gain from it? Humiliating/angering Britain just for the sake of it seems rather pointless.

    @German
    I’m certainly open to the idea that a third party executed the attack and all avenues of investigation should be thouroughly looked at
    However it seems critical to solving the incident that Russia support the investigation and provide as much technical physical and logistical support they can
    If it’s rogue elements of their security services or material that was stolen during the post Cold War transition then fine – figure it out and find it and stop it
    Who the hell wants this stuff out there
    The last thing any of us want is conflict
    We live in a mad world but it’s all we have
    We should all want to try to make it better

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    However it seems critical to solving the incident that Russia support the investigation and provide as much technical physical and logistical support they can
     
    Why would it make sense for the Russians to provide genuine support to an "investigation" that they will undoubtedly expect to be about as honest and above board as Colin Powell's UN presentation?

    Doubtless they will want to make noises about cooperating, but I have no doubt whatsoever they are well aware that the outcome of any investigation subject to British or US government influence will be such as to allow for the kinds of measures against Russia those people want to justify. They've seen this kind of stuff before with the Litvinenko nonsense, and all the bollocks that the neocons put out about Iran, Syria, and other target countries.

    Anything they provide will merely be used against them if there's any way that can be done, and ignored otherwise. They know it's a rigged game just as we (or those of us who are paying attention) know it's a rigged game.


    The last thing any of us want is conflict
     
    If there's one thing the history of the past 18 years should have taught you beyond any doubt, it's that there are some among us who absolutely desire conflict, and many of them have considerable power within our own government, and that of the US, to manipulate media, politics and events to achieve that end.
    , @neutral
    England is a cucked anti white cesspit, having a nuclear attack wiping out London would be less destructive than the virulently anti white nomenklatura than currently runs things.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  120. @Randal

    Hi Randal
    If indeed that is your real name (unlikely I think)
     
    LOL! OK "BrummyGav".


    In your 2nd para I laugh as you say “… UK regime …” Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage – which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage
     
    I mentioned the reason I use the term "regime" for the US and for countries within the US sphere here a couple of months ago - it's a conscious choice:

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/the-phantom-list/#comment-2183785


    Next sentence – “… hyping the incident …”
    Is it hyped? Is this a country with a history of overly dramatically hyping terror? I would suggest quite the opposite
    IMHO we to our risk undermine and downplay serious incidents
     
    "Is it hyped?" A supposed attempted murder of a foreign former spy is front page news for days (soon to be weeks, no doubt) with hysterical "meetings of COBRA" and endless speculative bollocks about whodunit, as though it really matters and as though the people "investigating" it and telling us the supposed results of their investigations aren't established liars anyway?

    If it really is a murder of a former foreign spy by a foreign government then it's a diplomatic matter of as much or as little importance as the government chooses to make it, and no particular concern for the vast majority. Though frankly you'd have to be pretty stupid to seriously think the Russian government did it, since it gains them nothing and likely costs them a lot. Especially based upon the mere word of the same kinds of British government and media liars as enabled Blair's and Cameron's wars. If it's some other kind of crime, then it's just another sensational crime event, that should be forgotten in a couple of days.

    Unless people with power and influence see something to be gained out of making it a big, lasting story by pretending to believe "Russia did it".

    Have a guess which will happen.

    So why on earth would we scare the shit out of the people of Salisbury
     
    Most likely because there are powerful people who want to continue, and to further whip up, a confrontation of Russia that suits their various ulterior agendas. It's much the same as the way consent for the Iraq war was manufactured with "experts" and trusted government figures, and media mouthpieces, exaggerating or outright misrepresenting evidence and conclusions, or how the same thing was done for the attack on Libya by making up a supposed "humanitarian emergency" to justify that disastrous war.

    It's hardly anything new, for those who have been paying attention for the past few decades.

    As per my earlier post I am not a supporter of this government
    But I do believe we have been wronged and I do challenge the like of you
     
    As has been pointed out, you really have no idea what "the like of me" is. Nor it seems do you have much of a clue about how the world around you works, which presumably explains why you've seemingly soaked up all the superficial propaganda about Russia you could find, in a media that's frankly full of the stuff.

    any country that allows a minority of people to take control and bully the majority by fear can not be trusted
     
    You seem not to have noticed that Putin's support and general popularity in Russia is well above what senior politicians here command.

    If we all stand up and defend what we believe to be right and fair and just we will be on the right side if history
     
    ROFL! Yeah, that's pretty much what the interventionists said about the attacks on Iraq and on Libya, and the attempt to hand Syria over to bloody jihadist chaos by overthrowing the government.

    Great stuff. Do you ever intend to try learning from experience?

    Yo Randal
    You LOL at my tag -why? Location and name all in one – odd reaction
    I’ll just surmise your verbose response
    You don’t see why Russia would do what the government have stated
    I just lapping g up the cool aid and just plain stupid
    And governments lie
    Well I agree with my last summation above – governments do lie
    And maybe the Russian government are innocent
    And yeah maybe I am just a Schmuk who buys whatever the headlines are in the Mail or the Sun or the good old Beeb
    But seriously if you’re going to buy what comes out of the Kremlin or Russian news as gospel then your just as dumb as I am
    So good luck with that

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Speaking of which, how did you find us here? We are hardly mainstream and well advertised.
    , @Randal

    You LOL at my tag -why?
     
    Because it's not your real name and you were implying that the tag I use might not be my real name as though it was some kind of snide criticism. You might well be someone called Gavin from Birmingham, but you aren't anyone called "BrummyGav", that's for sure.

    You don’t see why Russia would do what the government have stated
    I just lapping g up the cool aid and just plain stupid
    And governments lie
     
    Yes, that's a reasonable summary. Though ignorance is not the same as stupidity, and it might be the former rather than the latter. But I've yet to see any really plausible explanation of what the Russian government could possibly gain from having committed this alleged crime that would even begin to make up for the trouble it will likely cause for them over the next few months if those manipulating the story get their way (and they usually do).

    It's as though the Russian government is simultaneously so stupid they just can't help handing their worst enemies a new stick to beat them with, and so cunningly clever that they are some kind of existential threat to the world.

    But seriously if you’re going to buy what comes out of the Kremlin or Russian news as gospel then your just as dumb as I am
    So good luck with that
     
    I try to judge the words of governments and media on their particular merits, and don't believe any of them implicitly. Though it happens that in international relations (my particular area of interest), the Russian government's version has in the past two decades often been closer to reality than that of the US or UK regimes, at least in the broad thrust if not always in the awkward details.

    That mostly reflects the reality that it has been the US and its poodles (such as we have degenerated into) that have been the powerful aggressors seeking to reshape the world, and the Russians have been the weaker party, resisting where they can.

    In this case I don't think the Russians didn't do it because the Russians deny it. I don't think they did it because nobody worth trusting as far as I can spit has given me any reason to believe they were responsible, and the idea that they were makes no sense on its face.

    But whoever did it (and we will probably never find out), there's no doubt whatsoever who is pushing the story in the direction of confrontation, and it's all the usual suspects.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  121. @German_reader

    If y’all think the UK government have made up this whole Salisbury thing and that Russia is not responsible
     
    Well, I don't believe that...I just have no idea what's behind this whole affair or who's responsible.
    Randal is clearly English btw, insinuations that he must be some sort of Russian agent are idiotic. This tarring of anyone who has doubts about the narratives pushed by Western establishments as a traitor or fool in thrall to foreign powers is just tiresome, if you can't state your opinion without resorting to such tactics, don't be surprised about negative reactions.

    Well, I don’t believe that…I just have no idea what’s behind this whole affair or who’s responsible.
    Randal is clearly English btw, insinuations that he must be some sort of Russian agent are idiotic. This tarring of anyone who has doubts about the narratives pushed by Western establishments as a traitor or fool in thrall to foreign powers is just tiresome, if you can’t state your opinion without resorting to such tactics, don’t be surprised about negative reactions.

    This is site attracting nonconformists and sceptical insomniacs. i.e. demographic who usually don’t like their leadership/elite wherever they are living.

    Generally whichever country people are living or coming from, it’s which leadership/elites they are attacking.

    I.e. Randal attacks British elite – he is probably British. If he starts attacking Russian elite – he is probably Russian or Ukrainian. And if he was criticizing Bulgarian parliament, or Algerian constitution – he would probably be Bulgarian, or Algerian, respectively.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    nonconformists and sceptical insomniacs
     
    Well it is 3.30am here.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  122. @BrummyGav
    Yo Randal
    You LOL at my tag -why? Location and name all in one - odd reaction
    I’ll just surmise your verbose response
    You don’t see why Russia would do what the government have stated
    I just lapping g up the cool aid and just plain stupid
    And governments lie
    Well I agree with my last summation above - governments do lie
    And maybe the Russian government are innocent
    And yeah maybe I am just a Schmuk who buys whatever the headlines are in the Mail or the Sun or the good old Beeb
    But seriously if you’re going to buy what comes out of the Kremlin or Russian news as gospel then your just as dumb as I am
    So good luck with that

    Speaking of which, how did you find us here? We are hardly mainstream and well advertised.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    @Danny C
    Firstly I hope the short name doesn’t offend
    I’m not sure how I stumbled on this thing (is it a blog??)
    I was just looking to share some thoughts- be they agreeable or not - and I guess unfortunately (for you guys as you don’t seem to like my honest thoughts from the heart) I simply came upon this group
    I honestly did not mean to offend and was just looking for dialogue
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  123. @BrummyGav
    Yo Randal
    You LOL at my tag -why? Location and name all in one - odd reaction
    I’ll just surmise your verbose response
    You don’t see why Russia would do what the government have stated
    I just lapping g up the cool aid and just plain stupid
    And governments lie
    Well I agree with my last summation above - governments do lie
    And maybe the Russian government are innocent
    And yeah maybe I am just a Schmuk who buys whatever the headlines are in the Mail or the Sun or the good old Beeb
    But seriously if you’re going to buy what comes out of the Kremlin or Russian news as gospel then your just as dumb as I am
    So good luck with that

    You LOL at my tag -why?

    Because it’s not your real name and you were implying that the tag I use might not be my real name as though it was some kind of snide criticism. You might well be someone called Gavin from Birmingham, but you aren’t anyone called “BrummyGav”, that’s for sure.

    You don’t see why Russia would do what the government have stated
    I just lapping g up the cool aid and just plain stupid
    And governments lie

    Yes, that’s a reasonable summary. Though ignorance is not the same as stupidity, and it might be the former rather than the latter. But I’ve yet to see any really plausible explanation of what the Russian government could possibly gain from having committed this alleged crime that would even begin to make up for the trouble it will likely cause for them over the next few months if those manipulating the story get their way (and they usually do).

    It’s as though the Russian government is simultaneously so stupid they just can’t help handing their worst enemies a new stick to beat them with, and so cunningly clever that they are some kind of existential threat to the world.

    But seriously if you’re going to buy what comes out of the Kremlin or Russian news as gospel then your just as dumb as I am
    So good luck with that

    I try to judge the words of governments and media on their particular merits, and don’t believe any of them implicitly. Though it happens that in international relations (my particular area of interest), the Russian government’s version has in the past two decades often been closer to reality than that of the US or UK regimes, at least in the broad thrust if not always in the awkward details.

    That mostly reflects the reality that it has been the US and its poodles (such as we have degenerated into) that have been the powerful aggressors seeking to reshape the world, and the Russians have been the weaker party, resisting where they can.

    In this case I don’t think the Russians didn’t do it because the Russians deny it. I don’t think they did it because nobody worth trusting as far as I can spit has given me any reason to believe they were responsible, and the idea that they were makes no sense on its face.

    But whoever did it (and we will probably never find out), there’s no doubt whatsoever who is pushing the story in the direction of confrontation, and it’s all the usual suspects.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    @Randal
    Appreciate the cool rational response
    10pts for getting the name and origination :)
    I tried to set a baseline normal view in my first note - I don’t buy headlines or news led government lines
    But - I do not trust Russia (nor do I trust China or any autocratic country)
    I know democracies like the UK or US are not perfect (lived in both) but at least we get a chance to change it
    I only note the above to share my baseline view
    Hopefully the truth about Salisbury will come to light - probably not though right?
    If it’s not Russian FSB then hopefully we’ll find out
    If it is all of our worlds change and not in a positive way
    If it’s a US and/or UK conspiracy to blame Russia then holy shit - how fucked is that
    Hope no ones too offended
    Most Brummies are OK
    , @for-the-record
    Randal,

    Why are you and others wasting your time replying to what, if not a troll, is a mere provocateur?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  124. @Dmitry

    Well, I don’t believe that…I just have no idea what’s behind this whole affair or who’s responsible.
    Randal is clearly English btw, insinuations that he must be some sort of Russian agent are idiotic. This tarring of anyone who has doubts about the narratives pushed by Western establishments as a traitor or fool in thrall to foreign powers is just tiresome, if you can’t state your opinion without resorting to such tactics, don’t be surprised about negative reactions.
     
    This is site attracting nonconformists and sceptical insomniacs. i.e. demographic who usually don't like their leadership/elite wherever they are living.

    Generally whichever country people are living or coming from, it's which leadership/elites they are attacking.

    I.e. Randal attacks British elite - he is probably British. If he starts attacking Russian elite - he is probably Russian or Ukrainian. And if he was criticizing Bulgarian parliament, or Algerian constitution - he would probably be Bulgarian, or Algerian, respectively.

    nonconformists and sceptical insomniacs

    Well it is 3.30am here.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  125. @Daniel Chieh
    Speaking of which, how did you find us here? We are hardly mainstream and well advertised.

    @Danny C
    Firstly I hope the short name doesn’t offend
    I’m not sure how I stumbled on this thing (is it a blog??)
    I was just looking to share some thoughts- be they agreeable or not – and I guess unfortunately (for you guys as you don’t seem to like my honest thoughts from the heart) I simply came upon this group
    I honestly did not mean to offend and was just looking for dialogue

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    I was just looking to share some thoughts- be they agreeable or not – and I guess unfortunately (for you guys as you don’t seem to like my honest thoughts from the heart) I simply came upon this group
    I honestly did not mean to offend and was just looking for dialogue
     
    Dialogue is certainly available here. Though it's probably not the best place if you are easily offended, by politically incorrect opinions or by robust language.

    As for "us guys not liking your honest thoughts", well speaking for myself I am mostly a counterpuncher - if you approach me with the kind of hostility you did in your initial post to me (101) then I'll happily respond in kind. I'm not offended by it, just quite happy to engage in robust dialogue when it seems appropriate. Your initial post to "Aslangeo" was pretty confrontational, though.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    No worries. We're not sensitive here and being aggressive is part of the dialogue, but as Randal noted, it doesn't make much sense for the full narrative of "Putin orders a rather clumsy attack in the UK right before his election." Add that to the deadline and it all feels weirdly aggressive and hardly the actions of reasonable people; one could certainly suspect foul play from Russia and one could even insist on cooperation to try to find out what's happening but instead what it feels like is full-on Russophobia and threats.

    None of it feels like its in good faith.

    I should add that most of us here are rightists in some form or another, so you might find a lot of dialogue on that too ;)

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  126. @BrummyGav
    @German
    I’m certainly open to the idea that a third party executed the attack and all avenues of investigation should be thouroughly looked at
    However it seems critical to solving the incident that Russia support the investigation and provide as much technical physical and logistical support they can
    If it’s rogue elements of their security services or material that was stolen during the post Cold War transition then fine - figure it out and find it and stop it
    Who the hell wants this stuff out there
    The last thing any of us want is conflict
    We live in a mad world but it’s all we have
    We should all want to try to make it better

    However it seems critical to solving the incident that Russia support the investigation and provide as much technical physical and logistical support they can

    Why would it make sense for the Russians to provide genuine support to an “investigation” that they will undoubtedly expect to be about as honest and above board as Colin Powell’s UN presentation?

    Doubtless they will want to make noises about cooperating, but I have no doubt whatsoever they are well aware that the outcome of any investigation subject to British or US government influence will be such as to allow for the kinds of measures against Russia those people want to justify. They’ve seen this kind of stuff before with the Litvinenko nonsense, and all the bollocks that the neocons put out about Iran, Syria, and other target countries.

    Anything they provide will merely be used against them if there’s any way that can be done, and ignored otherwise. They know it’s a rigged game just as we (or those of us who are paying attention) know it’s a rigged game.

    The last thing any of us want is conflict

    If there’s one thing the history of the past 18 years should have taught you beyond any doubt, it’s that there are some among us who absolutely desire conflict, and many of them have considerable power within our own government, and that of the US, to manipulate media, politics and events to achieve that end.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  127. @Randal

    You LOL at my tag -why?
     
    Because it's not your real name and you were implying that the tag I use might not be my real name as though it was some kind of snide criticism. You might well be someone called Gavin from Birmingham, but you aren't anyone called "BrummyGav", that's for sure.

    You don’t see why Russia would do what the government have stated
    I just lapping g up the cool aid and just plain stupid
    And governments lie
     
    Yes, that's a reasonable summary. Though ignorance is not the same as stupidity, and it might be the former rather than the latter. But I've yet to see any really plausible explanation of what the Russian government could possibly gain from having committed this alleged crime that would even begin to make up for the trouble it will likely cause for them over the next few months if those manipulating the story get their way (and they usually do).

    It's as though the Russian government is simultaneously so stupid they just can't help handing their worst enemies a new stick to beat them with, and so cunningly clever that they are some kind of existential threat to the world.

    But seriously if you’re going to buy what comes out of the Kremlin or Russian news as gospel then your just as dumb as I am
    So good luck with that
     
    I try to judge the words of governments and media on their particular merits, and don't believe any of them implicitly. Though it happens that in international relations (my particular area of interest), the Russian government's version has in the past two decades often been closer to reality than that of the US or UK regimes, at least in the broad thrust if not always in the awkward details.

    That mostly reflects the reality that it has been the US and its poodles (such as we have degenerated into) that have been the powerful aggressors seeking to reshape the world, and the Russians have been the weaker party, resisting where they can.

    In this case I don't think the Russians didn't do it because the Russians deny it. I don't think they did it because nobody worth trusting as far as I can spit has given me any reason to believe they were responsible, and the idea that they were makes no sense on its face.

    But whoever did it (and we will probably never find out), there's no doubt whatsoever who is pushing the story in the direction of confrontation, and it's all the usual suspects.


    Appreciate the cool rational response
    10pts for getting the name and origination :)
    I tried to set a baseline normal view in my first note – I don’t buy headlines or news led government lines
    But – I do not trust Russia (nor do I trust China or any autocratic country)
    I know democracies like the UK or US are not perfect (lived in both) but at least we get a chance to change it
    I only note the above to share my baseline view
    Hopefully the truth about Salisbury will come to light – probably not though right?
    If it’s not Russian FSB then hopefully we’ll find out
    If it is all of our worlds change and not in a positive way
    If it’s a US and/or UK conspiracy to blame Russia then holy shit – how fucked is that
    Hope no ones too offended
    Most Brummies are OK

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    I know democracies like the UK or US are not perfect (lived in both) but at least we get a chance to change it
     
    Only within tightly limited parameters, unless we are very wealthy (see the link in the comment I linked for you above about the study that was reported as claiming the US is an oligarchy.

    Try setting up an openly racist party here (or one that has the same basic view on sexual behaviour as the vast majority of our grandparents' generation had) and see how long it is before you are arrested, harassed by thugs with the tacit approval of the police, denied access to a bank account, and generally excluded from ordinary political dialogue.

    If it’s a US and/or UK conspiracy to blame Russia then holy shit – how fucked is that
     
    If I had to guess (and that's all it would be for anybody honest) I'd say it's most likely some third party criminal action, or possibly some shadowy US- or UK-elite or Russian exile action, now being exploited by those in the UK government and media who see it as a useful opportunity. The perpetrator of the crime is unknown. That there is clearly a conspiracy to blame Russia can hardly be honestly denied. The media and the government didn't even bother to wait for any investigation.

    Most Brummies are OK
     
    Nothing against Brummies. But your politics would seem to be the opposite of mine, so I don't expect we would agree about much.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  128. @BrummyGav
    @Danny C
    Firstly I hope the short name doesn’t offend
    I’m not sure how I stumbled on this thing (is it a blog??)
    I was just looking to share some thoughts- be they agreeable or not - and I guess unfortunately (for you guys as you don’t seem to like my honest thoughts from the heart) I simply came upon this group
    I honestly did not mean to offend and was just looking for dialogue

    I was just looking to share some thoughts- be they agreeable or not – and I guess unfortunately (for you guys as you don’t seem to like my honest thoughts from the heart) I simply came upon this group
    I honestly did not mean to offend and was just looking for dialogue

    Dialogue is certainly available here. Though it’s probably not the best place if you are easily offended, by politically incorrect opinions or by robust language.

    As for “us guys not liking your honest thoughts”, well speaking for myself I am mostly a counterpuncher – if you approach me with the kind of hostility you did in your initial post to me (101) then I’ll happily respond in kind. I’m not offended by it, just quite happy to engage in robust dialogue when it seems appropriate. Your initial post to “Aslangeo” was pretty confrontational, though.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    If I seemed offended I wasn’t
    However I am by nature aggressive/confrontational so apologise if they came across too strongly
    Just to change topic...

    Breaking news is Stephen Hawking has just passed away - he leaves quite a legacy
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  129. @BrummyGav
    @Danny C
    Firstly I hope the short name doesn’t offend
    I’m not sure how I stumbled on this thing (is it a blog??)
    I was just looking to share some thoughts- be they agreeable or not - and I guess unfortunately (for you guys as you don’t seem to like my honest thoughts from the heart) I simply came upon this group
    I honestly did not mean to offend and was just looking for dialogue

    No worries. We’re not sensitive here and being aggressive is part of the dialogue, but as Randal noted, it doesn’t make much sense for the full narrative of “Putin orders a rather clumsy attack in the UK right before his election.” Add that to the deadline and it all feels weirdly aggressive and hardly the actions of reasonable people; one could certainly suspect foul play from Russia and one could even insist on cooperation to try to find out what’s happening but instead what it feels like is full-on Russophobia and threats.

    None of it feels like its in good faith.

    I should add that most of us here are rightists in some form or another, so you might find a lot of dialogue on that too ;)

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  130. @Randal

    I was just looking to share some thoughts- be they agreeable or not – and I guess unfortunately (for you guys as you don’t seem to like my honest thoughts from the heart) I simply came upon this group
    I honestly did not mean to offend and was just looking for dialogue
     
    Dialogue is certainly available here. Though it's probably not the best place if you are easily offended, by politically incorrect opinions or by robust language.

    As for "us guys not liking your honest thoughts", well speaking for myself I am mostly a counterpuncher - if you approach me with the kind of hostility you did in your initial post to me (101) then I'll happily respond in kind. I'm not offended by it, just quite happy to engage in robust dialogue when it seems appropriate. Your initial post to "Aslangeo" was pretty confrontational, though.

    If I seemed offended I wasn’t
    However I am by nature aggressive/confrontational so apologise if they came across too strongly
    Just to change topic…

    Breaking news is Stephen Hawking has just passed away – he leaves quite a legacy

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  131. @BrummyGav
    @Randal
    Appreciate the cool rational response
    10pts for getting the name and origination :)
    I tried to set a baseline normal view in my first note - I don’t buy headlines or news led government lines
    But - I do not trust Russia (nor do I trust China or any autocratic country)
    I know democracies like the UK or US are not perfect (lived in both) but at least we get a chance to change it
    I only note the above to share my baseline view
    Hopefully the truth about Salisbury will come to light - probably not though right?
    If it’s not Russian FSB then hopefully we’ll find out
    If it is all of our worlds change and not in a positive way
    If it’s a US and/or UK conspiracy to blame Russia then holy shit - how fucked is that
    Hope no ones too offended
    Most Brummies are OK

    I know democracies like the UK or US are not perfect (lived in both) but at least we get a chance to change it

    Only within tightly limited parameters, unless we are very wealthy (see the link in the comment I linked for you above about the study that was reported as claiming the US is an oligarchy.

    Try setting up an openly racist party here (or one that has the same basic view on sexual behaviour as the vast majority of our grandparents’ generation had) and see how long it is before you are arrested, harassed by thugs with the tacit approval of the police, denied access to a bank account, and generally excluded from ordinary political dialogue.

    If it’s a US and/or UK conspiracy to blame Russia then holy shit – how fucked is that

    If I had to guess (and that’s all it would be for anybody honest) I’d say it’s most likely some third party criminal action, or possibly some shadowy US- or UK-elite or Russian exile action, now being exploited by those in the UK government and media who see it as a useful opportunity. The perpetrator of the crime is unknown. That there is clearly a conspiracy to blame Russia can hardly be honestly denied. The media and the government didn’t even bother to wait for any investigation.

    Most Brummies are OK

    Nothing against Brummies. But your politics would seem to be the opposite of mine, so I don’t expect we would agree about much.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive

    If I had to guess (and that’s all it would be for anybody honest) I’d say it’s most likely some third party criminal action, or possibly some shadowy US- or UK-elite or Russian exile action, now being exploited by those in the UK government and media who see it as a useful opportunity. The perpetrator of the crime is unknown.
     
    Amongst the third parties, I would definitely include MOSSAD. Also, I don't always agree with The Saker, but his description of May as AngloZionist is very apt. The hysterical reaction and the ultimatum to Russia both seem attempts to distract attention from the real culprits.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  132. @BrummyGav
    Oh poor dear Pavlo
    You really are a sad creature
    Was my response angry? I think that was just your perception
    You are clearly in need of help you poor poor sole
    To be clear I was not a Comprehensive lad
    Nor am I highly educated and certainly not to your level
    But you are a sad and deranged individual in need of help
    Please seek it soon before you do harm to yourself or others

    ‘sole’

    LOL learn to speak your own language britbong.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    Ha ha
    You got me
    Oh well
    Hope it made your day
    The exchanges were fun
    Cheers
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  133. @Pavlo
    'sole'

    LOL learn to speak your own language britbong.

    Ha ha
    You got me
    Oh well
    Hope it made your day
    The exchanges were fun
    Cheers

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  134. @BrummyGav
    I am and have been a life long Socialist
    I have also volunteered to defend my country
    Be that as a sense of duty or perceived adventure
    I try to maintain a healthy level of cynicism and try to be pragmatic
    I try not to believe all the news as presented by headlines
    Over the past week - and despite all of the other shocking and incredible news globally - I have become astonished by the events unfolding in Salisbury
    I am not anti Russian - if anything I have great respect for Russian people
    But I am pragmatic and I do truly believe that any country that allows a minority of people to take control and bully the majority by fear can not be trusted
    And therefore there is no doubt - in my small mind at least - Russia have (sic) done wrong in the UK
    They have imported and used with agents with intent to kill a chemical agent - a nerve agent - that even they do not truly understand the extent of illness and death it can cause
    There is no doubt Russia will not confess or take any responsibility
    But we as a proud people should not be afraid to confront a bully and I am willing to commit again to the defence of my country - irrespective of its faults - because I will not be bullied
    If we all stand up and defend what we believe to be right and fair and just we will be on the right side if history

    Yeah, sure…you’re a “life long Socialist” – who just happens to turn stridently anti-Russian right at the moment when the neoliberal, neoimperialist, warmongering UK regime requires it, any facts be damned. I bet your “socialism” consists of being a card-carrying member of the UK Regime Hired Internet Trolls’ and Propagandists’ Trade Union (!)

    IDIOT. The UK regime are wasting money on you idiots, which they should be using instead on preventing the mass-rapes of working-class UK girls by Pakistanis. But I guess you don’t even consider that to be a “problem”, eh?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  135. @German_reader

    Only someone from an actual regime would use that verbiage – which i hazard a guess is translated verbiage
     
    You think Randal is a Russian troll?
    Sorry, but you're an idiot.

    He’s probably a UK regime troll himself. Their job is to scour Internet sites and blogs, trying to insult, intimidate, argue with and drown out individuals honestly stating their facts-and-logic-based opinions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BrummyGav
    @Parbes
    I am none of the things you suggest
    This was in all honesty the first time I have engaged in this type of communication
    I merely tried to provide an honest reaction and opinion to the narrative
    If it offended or in some way seemed intent on creating hostility then that was not the intent
    You can believe that or not - it really doesn’t matter
    If sincere opinion offends then that is your issue
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  136. @Parbes
    He's probably a UK regime troll himself. Their job is to scour Internet sites and blogs, trying to insult, intimidate, argue with and drown out individuals honestly stating their facts-and-logic-based opinions.


    I am none of the things you suggest
    This was in all honesty the first time I have engaged in this type of communication
    I merely tried to provide an honest reaction and opinion to the narrative
    If it offended or in some way seemed intent on creating hostility then that was not the intent
    You can believe that or not – it really doesn’t matter
    If sincere opinion offends then that is your issue

    Read More
    • Replies: @Parbes
    Yeah, sure, man, whatever you say. I'm sure you're very reliable and honest (!)
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  137. @BrummyGav
    @Parbes
    I am none of the things you suggest
    This was in all honesty the first time I have engaged in this type of communication
    I merely tried to provide an honest reaction and opinion to the narrative
    If it offended or in some way seemed intent on creating hostility then that was not the intent
    You can believe that or not - it really doesn’t matter
    If sincere opinion offends then that is your issue

    Yeah, sure, man, whatever you say. I’m sure you’re very reliable and honest (!)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow
    This is not about whether you are 'honest' or a 'troll'. Those are meaningless labels in the context here because they cannot be determined.

    It is about your lack of critical thinking.

    If you don't think critically, you are like that proverbial donkey carrying books. Critical thinking requires skepticism. If you take anything from this discussion - and are what you say you are - always remember that people lie. Governments lie, the job of intelligence agencies is to lie, media of course lies. Victims lie, suspects also lie. Decades later they publish memoirs congratulating themselves how clever they were at lying.

    It is possible that the nerve gas came from the British facility right there in Salisbury, by mistake, as part of a drill, or to lobby for higher budgets for 'chemical war prevention'. More crazy things had happened in the past. But we really don't know.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  138. false flag, aka ritualistic human sacrifice.

    I’m starting to like Aztecs. At least they did their in the open and for a good cause (appease gods.)

    LPT: never be the washed-up guy who’s more useful for the propaganda value of his death/illness than alive.

    corollary: never be a member of the public even remotely useful for the propaganda value of his violent death/arrest at the hands of a govt the West would like to isolate. you’re gonna be sacrificed like the sun is gonna rise tomorrow.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  139. @Randal

    You LOL at my tag -why?
     
    Because it's not your real name and you were implying that the tag I use might not be my real name as though it was some kind of snide criticism. You might well be someone called Gavin from Birmingham, but you aren't anyone called "BrummyGav", that's for sure.

    You don’t see why Russia would do what the government have stated
    I just lapping g up the cool aid and just plain stupid
    And governments lie
     
    Yes, that's a reasonable summary. Though ignorance is not the same as stupidity, and it might be the former rather than the latter. But I've yet to see any really plausible explanation of what the Russian government could possibly gain from having committed this alleged crime that would even begin to make up for the trouble it will likely cause for them over the next few months if those manipulating the story get their way (and they usually do).

    It's as though the Russian government is simultaneously so stupid they just can't help handing their worst enemies a new stick to beat them with, and so cunningly clever that they are some kind of existential threat to the world.

    But seriously if you’re going to buy what comes out of the Kremlin or Russian news as gospel then your just as dumb as I am
    So good luck with that
     
    I try to judge the words of governments and media on their particular merits, and don't believe any of them implicitly. Though it happens that in international relations (my particular area of interest), the Russian government's version has in the past two decades often been closer to reality than that of the US or UK regimes, at least in the broad thrust if not always in the awkward details.

    That mostly reflects the reality that it has been the US and its poodles (such as we have degenerated into) that have been the powerful aggressors seeking to reshape the world, and the Russians have been the weaker party, resisting where they can.

    In this case I don't think the Russians didn't do it because the Russians deny it. I don't think they did it because nobody worth trusting as far as I can spit has given me any reason to believe they were responsible, and the idea that they were makes no sense on its face.

    But whoever did it (and we will probably never find out), there's no doubt whatsoever who is pushing the story in the direction of confrontation, and it's all the usual suspects.

    Randal,

    Why are you and others wasting your time replying to what, if not a troll, is a mere provocateur?

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @Randal

    Why are you and others wasting your time replying to what, if not a troll, is a mere provocateur?
     
    Just making conversation (online style).

    I think it's rather jumping to conclusions to portray the guy as a troll or provocateur merely for expressing opinions that in reality are held by the vast majority of ordinary people in the UK, at least.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  140. @Dmitry

    As to whether it would escalate to a nuclear exchange, well we all have to hope at least one side will take one of the various inevitable
     
    I don't know if I need to add - as some free advice in such scenarios.

    Spread out against the most fashionable cities of the West. while are entire children of kremlevskoy verkhushki.

    In particular will be safe places (which we may designate as 'spaces of calm') in time of nuclear warfare to go to: - Limassol, London, Amsterdam (e.g. Mariya Putina), Paris (e.g. Miss Peskova), New York (e.g. Miss Lavrova), Nice, Saint-Tropez (e.g. Sechin's yacht).

    On the other hand, nuclear missiles may be freely landing in places which are not fortunate to be considered 'fashionable to live', or even labelled as 'not cool' amongst the children of the Kremlin elite - Kansas city, Dortmund, Poznan, Glasgow, Minneapolis?

    Mariya Putina moved back to Russia years ago. Apparently so did Lavrov’s daughter. I don’t think in such a situation Sechin’s yacht will matter. Obviously it will be a desperate decision made during a 15 minute meeting by the president and a few important government ministers and generals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lavrov wasn’t among the decision-makers in such a situation. He’s a foreign minister, not a military expert, and it would already be a military council in a state of war. The American elite’s children will almost surely survive in nuclear shelters, and contrary to what most people believe, it will be possible to leave the shelters after some time and move to less contaminated areas.

    To my knowledge in recent years (the elite Moscow school is but one recent example) there’s been a constant movement back to Russia of the children of the Russian political elite. I guess they might fear blackmail or harassment in Western countries.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Mariya Putina moved back to Russia years ago. Apparently so did Lavrov’s daughter. I don’t think in such a situation Sechin’s yacht will matter. Obviously it will be a desperate decision made during a 15 minute meeting by the president and a few important government ministers and generals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lavrov wasn’t among the decision-makers in such a situation. He’s a foreign minister, not a military expert, and it would already be a military council in a state of war. The American elite’s children will almost surely survive in nuclear shelters, and contrary to what most people believe, it will be possible to leave the shelters after some time and move to less contaminated areas.

    To my knowledge in recent years (the elite Moscow school is but one recent example) there’s been a constant movement back to Russia of the children of the Russian political elite. I guess they might fear blackmail or harassment in Western countries.
     
    They shuttle into Moscow from time to time. But the main life, and the main purchases, and conspicuous consumption is done in the West. And it's not to blame them either, they have anonymity overseas, and they nobody is knowing what they are buying.

    They can buy whatever property they want, and nobody will know. Whereas if they did this kind of conspicuous consumption at home it would be published in the next Navalny video.

    Putin family (his daughters) buy up mansions around the world. For years, nobody knew, but sometimes a purchase is discovered, and they end up with people protesting outside a Putin mansion in France.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGaYCCl_CH0
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  141. @Randal

    I think the risk of a nuclear war is now higher than it was during the Cold War.
     
    Risk of war, or risk of nuclear war? When the major nuclear arsenals are officially back on "launch on warning", then I'll believe we face a risk of nuclear war that is of a similar order of magnitude to what I remember from the late Cold War.

    Risk of a great power war, I agree. I've noted recently (and I'm not the only one) that the situation in Syria is smelling more and more like 1914 (but with timescales in minutes and hours, rather than days). The US regime's latest repeated and open threat to (illegally, but of course laws don't apply to the goodies) attack Syrian government forces over the East Ghouta clean-up provides a direct path to war if either side misjudges its responses by an iota.

    A war is actually fairly likely at the moment - I suspect the US regime will at some point attack Syrian government forces, and any Russian response that results in significant US casualties will put the US regime on the spot about responding in turn. There's no way of knowing for sure how either government will respond in those circumstances, and much depends upon details around the scale of any attacks and the particular targeting. It's a disturbingly chaotic and analytically difficult situation.

    As to whether it would escalate to a nuclear exchange, well we all have to hope at least one side will take one of the various inevitable opportunities to deescalate before we reach that point. It seems unlikely it would go that far, though. I've long been a believer that nuclear weapons are unique in human history in that they make it almost impossible for the decision maskers to believe they won't suffer the worst consequences of any war they start - "win" or "lose".

    We could imo easily see a limited exchange of fire between Russian and US forces in Syria at any time in the next days or weeks. It mostly depends upon what orders the Russians in theatre have and are given in response to events.

    If you think a nuclear war is truly impossible, then it’s possible that the leadership of one (or all) nuclear powers believes so, too. This means that, as a corollary (and as you write, too), the chances of a shooting war between nuclear powers gets higher.

    My point is this: once there is a shooting war, truly anything will be possible. Decisions will have to be made rapidly. For example once it becomes clear that the Russian force in Syria is wiped out, and for example the anti-ship missiles are worthless against superior American technology (for all we know, it’s possible), they will either have to retaliate out of theater, or retaliate using tactical nuke strikes.

    Perhaps, as you point out, there will be opportunities to de-escalate after that point, but one never knows. Do you think the Americans gloating after such a military success will de-escalate before the Russian retaliation? How? If they were reckless enough to attack in the first place? Let me point out that a tactical nuke is, technically, already a nuclear war. And that once tactical nukes are used, all bets will be off, panic will set in in capitals.

    The other possibility is an American defeat, or semi-defeat, like Martyanov’s Wunderwaffen destroying a couple American carriers and a few US bases in the Middle East, with or without the Russian contingent being wiped out. How will the US elite react to that? How will the US public react? Hysteria might be an understatement to describe what could follow.

    Maybe they’ll de-escalate before a full nuclear exchange. (Very likely, but far from absolute certainty.) There’s a small chance they won’t. Maybe it will be impossible to de-escalate at that point. I think once there’s a war, all bets will be off. We just can’t imagine what will happen.

    When the major nuclear arsenals are officially back on “launch on warning”

    How long does it take to change it? Two hours? With modern technology, I guess you don’t need as high levels of readiness as during the Cold War. It might be faster to put them on high alert.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Maybe they’ll de-escalate before a full nuclear exchange. (Very likely, but far from absolute certainty.) There’s a small chance they won’t. Maybe it will be impossible to de-escalate at that point. I think once there’s a war, all bets will be off. We just can’t imagine what will happen.
     
    I don't see the Americans de-escalating, or permitting the Russians to do so. The Americans seem to have zero comprehension of the risks they're running. The U.S. is not a rational actor.
    , @Randal
    I imagine that the strategic nuclear forces will be back on high alert within minutes of any significant direct exchange of fire. My point is we aren't there now whereas we were in my childhood. That's what I think of as a "high risk" of nuclear war.

    I don't disagree with anything you write there, though I'd put the emphasis slightly differently in some cases.

    Most likely there will be lots of opportunities for de-escalation, because it's unlikely either party intends for a massive response to any attack. You are correct that once you are at war then all bets are off and things could go bad very quickly, but in the Syria situation I think both sides are more likely to proceed with caution (because in the end both know that MAD still applies, and looms over all). So I feel there are grounds to expect that any exchanges will be characterised by punctuated retaliations and escalations, with repeated opportunities to absorb lessons and (hopefully) deescalate.

    The US attacked the Syrian government last year and the Russians chose not to respond, partly because imo they were taken by surprise and partly because of the very limited "one off" nature of the strike. If you are pro-Russian you will also believe that their restraint was because they are grown ups, to some extent - I'm not sure their US equivalents could have resisted the hysterical need to retaliate, in similar circumstances. If you are anti-Russian you will say that they didn't respond because they know the weakness of their position and feared to do so.

    This time there will be no surprise - the US regime has pointedly telegraphed its supposed intention to strike the Syrian government. That actually puts more pressure on the Russians to respond, or to appear weak. The Russians in turn have pointedly stated that they will retaliate directly against US forces if the lives of Russian forces in Syria are put at risk.

    So if the US launches a wave of missile strikes against various Syrian bases and government targets (the most likely scenario), what does Russia do?

    If Russia sits tight and seeks to ride it out again, it massively loses credibility. But maybe that's better than starting a war. That's probably what most US regime advocates of such strikes are counting on. And then what happens when the US attacks again? And again?

    If Russia responds "asymmetrically" as some strategists have argued they can, where can it do so effectively that doesn't ultimately make its own situation worse and play into the hands of those seeking a general confrontation of Russia?

    If Russia responds militarily, it would really have to be with a limited, targeted response, because anything else would be insane - starting a general war out of fear of a general war. So it could in theory attack a US base or ship from which missiles were launched. Or less seriously it could try just targeting some US planes operating over Syria. If it does so, then there will be another moment of opportunity for de-escalation while the US and the world digests the results of that response.

    And so on.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  142. @reiner Tor
    My colleagues at work totally believe that Putin is now murdering all people critical of him.

    The power of propaganda.

    This is beyond frustrating, especially knowing that you can’t convince people otherwise if they don’t want to be convinced.

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  143. @German_reader
    I read it as a teenager and tbh have forgotten much of the details...but iirc one thing I didn't find convincing was its depiction of sexuality, with the party wanting to control all intimate relationships, only love of Big Brother being allowed, everything being relentlessly politicized. I think that's something too obviously repellent for most people. Entertainment in Nazi Germany wasn't like that...it rather presented idyllic, mostly apolitical scenes of family life many people even today would probably find attractive (I suppose similar motives existed in Stalin's Soviet Union). Totalitarianism (if that concept is even useful, and not just Cold war propaganda) needs to present a credible narrative that it will improve the lives of its adherents, or at least of their collective, so the sacrifices will be worth it. And both Nazism and Soviet communism did provide highly attractive visions whose appeal shouldn't be hard to see...Orwell's big brother was a caricature imo.
    And iirc it's also implied in 1984 that the inner cadres are quite cynical and may not even believe their own ideology, only are into it for power worship. That's also unrealistic imo...Nazis, Fascists, Communists on the highest levels certainly did believe in their ideology.
    But as I wrote it's been a long time since I read it (almost 20 years), so I may not quite remember it all correctly.

    Your points about the sexuality and family values are true. Leftist revolutionaries usually offer sexual promiscuity, while rightists promise happy family life, with the Nazis being somewhat in between (or a little bit of both), and the Soviets under Stalin quickly moving to the conservative family values thingy. (Glossy had a point here.) But Nineteen Eighty-Four is a caricature, not an accurate description of a real or viable political system. Another error is that the technologies depicted are not well thought out, like there is the speakwrite (which in 2018 does exist, but only as part of ubiquitous high-tech systems like smartphones), but apparently in a lot of respect it’s stuck in the 1940s. But again, it’s basically a science fiction, and one which doesn’t concern itself much with technology.

    Regarding the belief of the leaders, O’Brian at first appears to be a leader of the resistance, then later becomes a cynical secret policeman, but eventually we find out that he believes in the superiority of Ingsoc like a madman. It’s a bit similar to how liberal leaders (or even ordinary SJWs) fervently believe in anti-racism, but then somehow are cynical enough to avoid diversity in their private life. O’Brian is an example of doublethink in the novel.

    Anyway, I don’t like it as much as before, but I think Orwell could grasp a number of aspects of ideological thinking (which, unfortunately, is part of all of us, but is especially typical of totalitarian ideologies, including the liberal soft totalitarianism).

    Totalitarianism (if that concept is even useful, and not just Cold war propaganda)

    Well, it describes something, you can lump them together from certain aspects, but there were profound differences. So you can use the expression, but be aware of its limitations.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Anyway, I don’t like it as much as before, but I think Orwell could grasp a number of aspects of ideological thinking
     
    Brave New World seems to me to be far more prescient and far more plausible than 1984. But it's never been as popular, perhaps because Huxley was no fan of either the United States or capitalism.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  144. @Aslangeo
    Yes but it is complex train from Gatulin station main station in Kolomna to Kazan voksal in Moscow then train from Kursky Voksal in Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod total travel time about 7 hours 2 to Moscow about 4 to Nizhny Novgorod see Russian railways website available in English

    Cheers. Sounds too complicated, will have to decide if I have the time, money and energy to visit Kolomna on its own.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  145. @Daniel Chieh

    Since 2006, Russia has a law that allows the FSB to carry out overseas assissinations without seeking permission.
     
    Why would such a law exist? Seems like it gives an opportunity for individuals and small cliques within the FSB to unilaterally start international incidents.

    The law is take out terrorists, not anyone you feel like.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    And I think only dangerous and active terrorists, not retired terrorists.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  146. @LondonBob
    The law is take out terrorists, not anyone you feel like.

    And I think only dangerous and active terrorists, not retired terrorists.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  147. @Randal

    I know democracies like the UK or US are not perfect (lived in both) but at least we get a chance to change it
     
    Only within tightly limited parameters, unless we are very wealthy (see the link in the comment I linked for you above about the study that was reported as claiming the US is an oligarchy.

    Try setting up an openly racist party here (or one that has the same basic view on sexual behaviour as the vast majority of our grandparents' generation had) and see how long it is before you are arrested, harassed by thugs with the tacit approval of the police, denied access to a bank account, and generally excluded from ordinary political dialogue.

    If it’s a US and/or UK conspiracy to blame Russia then holy shit – how fucked is that
     
    If I had to guess (and that's all it would be for anybody honest) I'd say it's most likely some third party criminal action, or possibly some shadowy US- or UK-elite or Russian exile action, now being exploited by those in the UK government and media who see it as a useful opportunity. The perpetrator of the crime is unknown. That there is clearly a conspiracy to blame Russia can hardly be honestly denied. The media and the government didn't even bother to wait for any investigation.

    Most Brummies are OK
     
    Nothing against Brummies. But your politics would seem to be the opposite of mine, so I don't expect we would agree about much.

    If I had to guess (and that’s all it would be for anybody honest) I’d say it’s most likely some third party criminal action, or possibly some shadowy US- or UK-elite or Russian exile action, now being exploited by those in the UK government and media who see it as a useful opportunity. The perpetrator of the crime is unknown.

    Amongst the third parties, I would definitely include MOSSAD. Also, I don’t always agree with The Saker, but his description of May as AngloZionist is very apt. The hysterical reaction and the ultimatum to Russia both seem attempts to distract attention from the real culprits.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Mossad could be a suspect (ie it's plausible that they could have motive and means, and certainly the brutality). I'm not particularly convinced of the motivation, though. It's a bit remote from their presumed immediate concerns.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  148. @reiner Tor
    If you think a nuclear war is truly impossible, then it's possible that the leadership of one (or all) nuclear powers believes so, too. This means that, as a corollary (and as you write, too), the chances of a shooting war between nuclear powers gets higher.

    My point is this: once there is a shooting war, truly anything will be possible. Decisions will have to be made rapidly. For example once it becomes clear that the Russian force in Syria is wiped out, and for example the anti-ship missiles are worthless against superior American technology (for all we know, it's possible), they will either have to retaliate out of theater, or retaliate using tactical nuke strikes.

    Perhaps, as you point out, there will be opportunities to de-escalate after that point, but one never knows. Do you think the Americans gloating after such a military success will de-escalate before the Russian retaliation? How? If they were reckless enough to attack in the first place? Let me point out that a tactical nuke is, technically, already a nuclear war. And that once tactical nukes are used, all bets will be off, panic will set in in capitals.

    The other possibility is an American defeat, or semi-defeat, like Martyanov's Wunderwaffen destroying a couple American carriers and a few US bases in the Middle East, with or without the Russian contingent being wiped out. How will the US elite react to that? How will the US public react? Hysteria might be an understatement to describe what could follow.

    Maybe they'll de-escalate before a full nuclear exchange. (Very likely, but far from absolute certainty.) There's a small chance they won't. Maybe it will be impossible to de-escalate at that point. I think once there's a war, all bets will be off. We just can't imagine what will happen.

    When the major nuclear arsenals are officially back on “launch on warning”
     
    How long does it take to change it? Two hours? With modern technology, I guess you don't need as high levels of readiness as during the Cold War. It might be faster to put them on high alert.

    Maybe they’ll de-escalate before a full nuclear exchange. (Very likely, but far from absolute certainty.) There’s a small chance they won’t. Maybe it will be impossible to de-escalate at that point. I think once there’s a war, all bets will be off. We just can’t imagine what will happen.

    I don’t see the Americans de-escalating, or permitting the Russians to do so. The Americans seem to have zero comprehension of the risks they’re running. The U.S. is not a rational actor.

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    That was my impression as well. I don't watch many YouTube videos, but I'd suggest watching the video I linked in comment #19. I think it's obvious from that video that Senator Wicker didn't understand the risk of nuclear war at all. The same thing could be said of Hillary during the campaign, of John McCain, and many of the usual suspects.

    The only thing preventing a nuclear war with Russia currently is that there are still some people at the very top afraid of a nuclear war.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  149. @reiner Tor
    Your points about the sexuality and family values are true. Leftist revolutionaries usually offer sexual promiscuity, while rightists promise happy family life, with the Nazis being somewhat in between (or a little bit of both), and the Soviets under Stalin quickly moving to the conservative family values thingy. (Glossy had a point here.) But Nineteen Eighty-Four is a caricature, not an accurate description of a real or viable political system. Another error is that the technologies depicted are not well thought out, like there is the speakwrite (which in 2018 does exist, but only as part of ubiquitous high-tech systems like smartphones), but apparently in a lot of respect it's stuck in the 1940s. But again, it's basically a science fiction, and one which doesn't concern itself much with technology.

    Regarding the belief of the leaders, O'Brian at first appears to be a leader of the resistance, then later becomes a cynical secret policeman, but eventually we find out that he believes in the superiority of Ingsoc like a madman. It's a bit similar to how liberal leaders (or even ordinary SJWs) fervently believe in anti-racism, but then somehow are cynical enough to avoid diversity in their private life. O'Brian is an example of doublethink in the novel.

    Anyway, I don't like it as much as before, but I think Orwell could grasp a number of aspects of ideological thinking (which, unfortunately, is part of all of us, but is especially typical of totalitarian ideologies, including the liberal soft totalitarianism).

    Totalitarianism (if that concept is even useful, and not just Cold war propaganda)
     
    Well, it describes something, you can lump them together from certain aspects, but there were profound differences. So you can use the expression, but be aware of its limitations.

    Anyway, I don’t like it as much as before, but I think Orwell could grasp a number of aspects of ideological thinking

    Brave New World seems to me to be far more prescient and far more plausible than 1984. But it’s never been as popular, perhaps because Huxley was no fan of either the United States or capitalism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I think both were prescient in some sense. But Nineteen Eighty-Four is more popular due to all the dictatorship porn (and I admit probably I liked it more as well because of this).
    , @myself
    At the political-economic level, Nineteen Eighty Four was predictive, and the fascinating thing to me, the thing which rang most true, was the idea that Power Has NO Ideology.

    Whether "English Socialism", "Neo-Bolshevism" or the poorly translated "Death Worship", ideology was just the BS veneer to convince the sheep that they and their society was somehow different from that of their "enemies".

    Scratch the surfaces of all the ideologies, and they were all about one thing - dictatorial power. Orwell was taking a cue from recent history (the 1940s). In that era, Nazis sincerely believed they were building a different society from that of the Communists', and vice versa. Inconceivable today, but such thinking was prevalent then.

    OTOH, Brave New World was more prescient at the social level, especially the "drugging" (literally) of the masses to keep them compliant and oblivious to reality (iirc, the drug was called Soma). Our modern mass entertainment and mindless media are drug-like, plus there is an actual, rapidly intensifying Opioid Epidemic across America - I think afflicting primarily European-Americans.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  150. @dfordoom

    Anyway, I don’t like it as much as before, but I think Orwell could grasp a number of aspects of ideological thinking
     
    Brave New World seems to me to be far more prescient and far more plausible than 1984. But it's never been as popular, perhaps because Huxley was no fan of either the United States or capitalism.

    I think both were prescient in some sense. But Nineteen Eighty-Four is more popular due to all the dictatorship porn (and I admit probably I liked it more as well because of this).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  151. @dfordoom

    Maybe they’ll de-escalate before a full nuclear exchange. (Very likely, but far from absolute certainty.) There’s a small chance they won’t. Maybe it will be impossible to de-escalate at that point. I think once there’s a war, all bets will be off. We just can’t imagine what will happen.
     
    I don't see the Americans de-escalating, or permitting the Russians to do so. The Americans seem to have zero comprehension of the risks they're running. The U.S. is not a rational actor.

    That was my impression as well. I don’t watch many YouTube videos, but I’d suggest watching the video I linked in comment #19. I think it’s obvious from that video that Senator Wicker didn’t understand the risk of nuclear war at all. The same thing could be said of Hillary during the campaign, of John McCain, and many of the usual suspects.

    The only thing preventing a nuclear war with Russia currently is that there are still some people at the very top afraid of a nuclear war.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  152. @JL
    There is huge opposition to a WC boycott in the UK. Among other reasons, according to FIFA rules, if a country unilaterally stages a boycott they also forfeit their right to play in the next WC four years from now. There are two religions in the UK, the royal family and football. They'd be playing with fire by boycotting.

    There are two religions in the UK, the royal family and football.

    Well … three religions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    With Islam being the third?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  153. @Pericles

    There are two religions in the UK, the royal family and football.

     

    Well ... three religions.

    With Islam being the third?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pericles
    Got it in one.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  154. @reiner Tor
    With Islam being the third?

    Got it in one.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  155. This is the retaliation. Nothing serious, so far.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  156. @reiner Tor
    If you think a nuclear war is truly impossible, then it's possible that the leadership of one (or all) nuclear powers believes so, too. This means that, as a corollary (and as you write, too), the chances of a shooting war between nuclear powers gets higher.

    My point is this: once there is a shooting war, truly anything will be possible. Decisions will have to be made rapidly. For example once it becomes clear that the Russian force in Syria is wiped out, and for example the anti-ship missiles are worthless against superior American technology (for all we know, it's possible), they will either have to retaliate out of theater, or retaliate using tactical nuke strikes.

    Perhaps, as you point out, there will be opportunities to de-escalate after that point, but one never knows. Do you think the Americans gloating after such a military success will de-escalate before the Russian retaliation? How? If they were reckless enough to attack in the first place? Let me point out that a tactical nuke is, technically, already a nuclear war. And that once tactical nukes are used, all bets will be off, panic will set in in capitals.

    The other possibility is an American defeat, or semi-defeat, like Martyanov's Wunderwaffen destroying a couple American carriers and a few US bases in the Middle East, with or without the Russian contingent being wiped out. How will the US elite react to that? How will the US public react? Hysteria might be an understatement to describe what could follow.

    Maybe they'll de-escalate before a full nuclear exchange. (Very likely, but far from absolute certainty.) There's a small chance they won't. Maybe it will be impossible to de-escalate at that point. I think once there's a war, all bets will be off. We just can't imagine what will happen.

    When the major nuclear arsenals are officially back on “launch on warning”
     
    How long does it take to change it? Two hours? With modern technology, I guess you don't need as high levels of readiness as during the Cold War. It might be faster to put them on high alert.

    I imagine that the strategic nuclear forces will be back on high alert within minutes of any significant direct exchange of fire. My point is we aren’t there now whereas we were in my childhood. That’s what I think of as a “high risk” of nuclear war.

    I don’t disagree with anything you write there, though I’d put the emphasis slightly differently in some cases.

    Most likely there will be lots of opportunities for de-escalation, because it’s unlikely either party intends for a massive response to any attack. You are correct that once you are at war then all bets are off and things could go bad very quickly, but in the Syria situation I think both sides are more likely to proceed with caution (because in the end both know that MAD still applies, and looms over all). So I feel there are grounds to expect that any exchanges will be characterised by punctuated retaliations and escalations, with repeated opportunities to absorb lessons and (hopefully) deescalate.

    The US attacked the Syrian government last year and the Russians chose not to respond, partly because imo they were taken by surprise and partly because of the very limited “one off” nature of the strike. If you are pro-Russian you will also believe that their restraint was because they are grown ups, to some extent – I’m not sure their US equivalents could have resisted the hysterical need to retaliate, in similar circumstances. If you are anti-Russian you will say that they didn’t respond because they know the weakness of their position and feared to do so.

    This time there will be no surprise – the US regime has pointedly telegraphed its supposed intention to strike the Syrian government. That actually puts more pressure on the Russians to respond, or to appear weak. The Russians in turn have pointedly stated that they will retaliate directly against US forces if the lives of Russian forces in Syria are put at risk.

    So if the US launches a wave of missile strikes against various Syrian bases and government targets (the most likely scenario), what does Russia do?

    If Russia sits tight and seeks to ride it out again, it massively loses credibility. But maybe that’s better than starting a war. That’s probably what most US regime advocates of such strikes are counting on. And then what happens when the US attacks again? And again?

    If Russia responds “asymmetrically” as some strategists have argued they can, where can it do so effectively that doesn’t ultimately make its own situation worse and play into the hands of those seeking a general confrontation of Russia?

    If Russia responds militarily, it would really have to be with a limited, targeted response, because anything else would be insane – starting a general war out of fear of a general war. So it could in theory attack a US base or ship from which missiles were launched. Or less seriously it could try just targeting some US planes operating over Syria. If it does so, then there will be another moment of opportunity for de-escalation while the US and the world digests the results of that response.

    And so on.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dfordoom

    because anything else would be insane – starting a general war out of fear of a general war
     
    Which is pretty much what happened in 1914. France and Germany in particular both feared war, which is why they were anxious to go to war.
    , @reiner Tor
    There are several complicating factors, some of which we probably don’t even think of.

    One thing is that no one has any idea if Russian weapons are any good against the Americans. For example the S-400 gets a lot of hype, but I don’t think it can easily down an American plane, especially if the planes are using overwhelming numbers and are very careful not to get shot down. Moreover, the Americans can easily afford losing a few planes, while the Russian contingent cannot really afford to be wiped out. So I think simply trying to shoot down American warplanes is not going to be enough, because eventually it won’t deter the Americans and it will feel as a weak response, both politically and psychologically. In other words, a further loss of Russian credibility and its ability to defend its allies (if it will have any allies left after that).

    So if they want to avoid it, eventually it will have to come to Martyanov’s standoff Wunderwaffen. They will need to attack and seriously damage at least one (and preferably more) of the bases from which the attack was launched.

    The attack needs to aim at many targets, because they cannot know if any of them will be successful, thereby raising the chances of a success. Also, the initial attack has higher chances then any later attack, because for example Russian vessels can move closer to American vessels in peacetime. After the American attack on the Syrian contingent, they can use the element of surprise against the Americans. But only once. Again, this argues for concentrating a lot of resources into the initial escalation. The later escalation steps will be more difficult to make.

    But this (attack on many American bases and vessels, including carriers, in theater) could be too successful, destroying too many American vessels. This in turn could put pressure on the Americans to regain credibility and prestige by escalating further...

    But what happens if the Russians try to destroy, for example, an aircraft carrier, but the carrier’s defenses take down the missiles? What if they try to destroy or damage many targets, but all targets’ defenses brush off the attacks? Now they will have both a diminished credibility and a very angry American leadership. Which, seeing how ineffectual Russian weapons are, will only get emboldened. So there might be a case for a tactical nuclear strike. Or, emboldened by their success, there might be a further American escalation, either immediately, or after a few months...

    Again, the more I think of the situation, the more likely a full escalation seems. It’s a typical dollar auction.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  157. @for-the-record
    Randal,

    Why are you and others wasting your time replying to what, if not a troll, is a mere provocateur?

    Why are you and others wasting your time replying to what, if not a troll, is a mere provocateur?

    Just making conversation (online style).

    I think it’s rather jumping to conclusions to portray the guy as a troll or provocateur merely for expressing opinions that in reality are held by the vast majority of ordinary people in the UK, at least.

    Read More
    • Agree: German_reader
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  158. The britbong regime’s response is so far unimpressive:

    https://rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/6419


    On 14 of March Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko was summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he was informed that 23 diplomats were declared personae non gratae.

    We consider this hostile action as totally unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted.

    All the responsibility for the deterioration of the Russia-UK relationship lies with the current political leadership of Britain.

    Not even an RT ban :(

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    There’s an asset freeze.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  159. I enjoyed Corbyn’s response, bravo, very statesman like.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    What did he say?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  160. @LondonBob
    I enjoyed Corbyn's response, bravo, very statesman like.

    What did he say?

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Questioned the claims, asked if they have given the agent to the Russians to test, asked for the OPCW to be involved and urged dialogue with Russia.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  161. @Pavlo
    The britbong regime's response is so far unimpressive:

    https://rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/6419


    On 14 of March Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko was summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he was informed that 23 diplomats were declared personae non gratae.

    We consider this hostile action as totally unacceptable, unjustified and shortsighted.

    All the responsibility for the deterioration of the Russia-UK relationship lies with the current political leadership of Britain.

     
    Not even an RT ban :(

    There’s an asset freeze.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pavlo

    The freezing of Russian state assets where there is evidence they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents
     
    Since their evidentiary standard these days is 'we say so', this does allow them to seize most any Russian state assets in Britain, but we'll see what they actually do.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  162. @reiner Tor
    What did he say?

    Questioned the claims, asked if they have given the agent to the Russians to test, asked for the OPCW to be involved and urged dialogue with Russia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Questioned the claims, asked if they have given the agent to the Russians to test, asked for the OPCW to be involved and urged dialogue with Russia.

    That part was very good, and courageous. At the end, though, he felt obliged to perform the necessary Russian-bashing, and even asked what measures had been taken to verify the nature of the suspicious deaths of Skripal's son and brother (& perhaps even his wife, I'm not sure).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  163. @LondonBob
    Questioned the claims, asked if they have given the agent to the Russians to test, asked for the OPCW to be involved and urged dialogue with Russia.

    Questioned the claims, asked if they have given the agent to the Russians to test, asked for the OPCW to be involved and urged dialogue with Russia.

    That part was very good, and courageous. At the end, though, he felt obliged to perform the necessary Russian-bashing, and even asked what measures had been taken to verify the nature of the suspicious deaths of Skripal’s son and brother (& perhaps even his wife, I’m not sure).

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Interesting article.

    For example:

    But that wasn’t an argument that Corbyn chose to make. Instead, he sought refuge in the idea of international consensus, the terms of the Convention on Chemical Weapons and the rules of fair process.

    Which made it easy for Theresa May to turn his words against him. There was a consensus in Britain and among its allies, she pointed out: it just didn’t include him.


    The British elites and allies just believe what the government says. But that's "consensus" and I guess evidence that it must be true: so many important people think so.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  164. @Randal
    I imagine that the strategic nuclear forces will be back on high alert within minutes of any significant direct exchange of fire. My point is we aren't there now whereas we were in my childhood. That's what I think of as a "high risk" of nuclear war.

    I don't disagree with anything you write there, though I'd put the emphasis slightly differently in some cases.

    Most likely there will be lots of opportunities for de-escalation, because it's unlikely either party intends for a massive response to any attack. You are correct that once you are at war then all bets are off and things could go bad very quickly, but in the Syria situation I think both sides are more likely to proceed with caution (because in the end both know that MAD still applies, and looms over all). So I feel there are grounds to expect that any exchanges will be characterised by punctuated retaliations and escalations, with repeated opportunities to absorb lessons and (hopefully) deescalate.

    The US attacked the Syrian government last year and the Russians chose not to respond, partly because imo they were taken by surprise and partly because of the very limited "one off" nature of the strike. If you are pro-Russian you will also believe that their restraint was because they are grown ups, to some extent - I'm not sure their US equivalents could have resisted the hysterical need to retaliate, in similar circumstances. If you are anti-Russian you will say that they didn't respond because they know the weakness of their position and feared to do so.

    This time there will be no surprise - the US regime has pointedly telegraphed its supposed intention to strike the Syrian government. That actually puts more pressure on the Russians to respond, or to appear weak. The Russians in turn have pointedly stated that they will retaliate directly against US forces if the lives of Russian forces in Syria are put at risk.

    So if the US launches a wave of missile strikes against various Syrian bases and government targets (the most likely scenario), what does Russia do?

    If Russia sits tight and seeks to ride it out again, it massively loses credibility. But maybe that's better than starting a war. That's probably what most US regime advocates of such strikes are counting on. And then what happens when the US attacks again? And again?

    If Russia responds "asymmetrically" as some strategists have argued they can, where can it do so effectively that doesn't ultimately make its own situation worse and play into the hands of those seeking a general confrontation of Russia?

    If Russia responds militarily, it would really have to be with a limited, targeted response, because anything else would be insane - starting a general war out of fear of a general war. So it could in theory attack a US base or ship from which missiles were launched. Or less seriously it could try just targeting some US planes operating over Syria. If it does so, then there will be another moment of opportunity for de-escalation while the US and the world digests the results of that response.

    And so on.

    because anything else would be insane – starting a general war out of fear of a general war

    Which is pretty much what happened in 1914. France and Germany in particular both feared war, which is why they were anxious to go to war.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Which is pretty much what happened in 1914. France and Germany in particular both feared war, which is why they were anxious to go to war.
     
    The difference between then and now being of course the existence of nuclear weapons, which changes the dynamics of such decisions dramatically. Hence the resulting "nuclear peace", which has held (just about) since the mid-C20th.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  165. @for-the-record
    Questioned the claims, asked if they have given the agent to the Russians to test, asked for the OPCW to be involved and urged dialogue with Russia.

    That part was very good, and courageous. At the end, though, he felt obliged to perform the necessary Russian-bashing, and even asked what measures had been taken to verify the nature of the suspicious deaths of Skripal's son and brother (& perhaps even his wife, I'm not sure).

    Interesting article.

    For example:

    But that wasn’t an argument that Corbyn chose to make. Instead, he sought refuge in the idea of international consensus, the terms of the Convention on Chemical Weapons and the rules of fair process.

    Which made it easy for Theresa May to turn his words against him. There was a consensus in Britain and among its allies, she pointed out: it just didn’t include him.

    The British elites and allies just believe what the government says. But that’s “consensus” and I guess evidence that it must be true: so many important people think so.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The formatting is wrong. Let me send it again:

    But that wasn’t an argument that Corbyn chose to make. Instead, he sought refuge in the idea of international consensus, the terms of the Convention on Chemical Weapons and the rules of fair process.

    Which made it easy for Theresa May to turn his words against him. There was a consensus in Britain and among its allies, she pointed out: it just didn’t include him.

    The British elites and allies just believe what the government says. But that’s “consensus” and I guess evidence that it must be true: so many important people think so.
    , @for-the-record
    Interesting article.

    Yes, in general though the press has been extremely hostile to his intervention. What's interesting is that there is no reporting whatsoever of his "Russia bashing" that I noted in my earlier email-- this was brought home to me when I unsuccessfully tried to find out whether or not he included Skripal's wife in the recent "suspicious" deaths he enumerated.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  166. @reiner Tor
    Interesting article.

    For example:

    But that wasn’t an argument that Corbyn chose to make. Instead, he sought refuge in the idea of international consensus, the terms of the Convention on Chemical Weapons and the rules of fair process.

    Which made it easy for Theresa May to turn his words against him. There was a consensus in Britain and among its allies, she pointed out: it just didn’t include him.


    The British elites and allies just believe what the government says. But that's "consensus" and I guess evidence that it must be true: so many important people think so.

    The formatting is wrong. Let me send it again:

    But that wasn’t an argument that Corbyn chose to make. Instead, he sought refuge in the idea of international consensus, the terms of the Convention on Chemical Weapons and the rules of fair process.

    Which made it easy for Theresa May to turn his words against him. There was a consensus in Britain and among its allies, she pointed out: it just didn’t include him.

    The British elites and allies just believe what the government says. But that’s “consensus” and I guess evidence that it must be true: so many important people think so.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Late this morning:

    A consensus of influential New York businessmen maintain that the disappearance of union leader James Hoffa was most likely entirely voluntary. Asked whether they were in fact members of the "mafia", a spokesman replied "That's absurd. Our consensus is that there's no such thing outside of crazy conspiracy theories."
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  167. @reiner Tor
    Interesting article.

    For example:

    But that wasn’t an argument that Corbyn chose to make. Instead, he sought refuge in the idea of international consensus, the terms of the Convention on Chemical Weapons and the rules of fair process.

    Which made it easy for Theresa May to turn his words against him. There was a consensus in Britain and among its allies, she pointed out: it just didn’t include him.


    The British elites and allies just believe what the government says. But that's "consensus" and I guess evidence that it must be true: so many important people think so.

    Interesting article.

    Yes, in general though the press has been extremely hostile to his intervention. What’s interesting is that there is no reporting whatsoever of his “Russia bashing” that I noted in my earlier email– this was brought home to me when I unsuccessfully tried to find out whether or not he included Skripal’s wife in the recent “suspicious” deaths he enumerated.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kimppis
    So the Western MSM as a whole fully believes that Putler did it? Of course they do, why am I even asking. And their narrative even before was that Putin kills his critics, so to them this somehow makes perfect sense. Fucking depressing.

    I guess it's going to take a while for the worst hysteria to die down. Can Russia do anything? Prove its innocence? No? Which is a ridiculous concept to begin with. This incident came out of nowhere (kind of...), it just doesn't stop. Every time you think it can't get worse, something like this happens lol. So what's next? Syria?

    And why am I even asking? Because I've tried to stay far away from the MSM recently, need to take care of my mental health, had enough of that nonsense during 2014-15... Yeah, I'm weird.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  168. @Parbes
    Yeah, sure, man, whatever you say. I'm sure you're very reliable and honest (!)

    This is not about whether you are ‘honest’ or a ‘troll’. Those are meaningless labels in the context here because they cannot be determined.

    It is about your lack of critical thinking.

    If you don’t think critically, you are like that proverbial donkey carrying books. Critical thinking requires skepticism. If you take anything from this discussion – and are what you say you are – always remember that people lie. Governments lie, the job of intelligence agencies is to lie, media of course lies. Victims lie, suspects also lie. Decades later they publish memoirs congratulating themselves how clever they were at lying.

    It is possible that the nerve gas came from the British facility right there in Salisbury, by mistake, as part of a drill, or to lobby for higher budgets for ‘chemical war prevention’. More crazy things had happened in the past. But we really don’t know.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Parbes
    "This is not about whether you are ‘honest’ or a ‘troll’. Those are meaningless labels...."

    NO - on the contrary, there is a CRUCIAL difference between an honest opiner spouting falsehoods and nonsense; and a troll spouting falsehoods and nonsense. One is honest but misguided; the other is deliberate and in service of an agenda (and in many cases actually employed for that purpose). Although you're correct in stating that it is not always easy to distinguish between the two on a forum such as this.

    "It is about your lack of critical thinking."

    Bingo; but the "lack of critical thinking" in a specific situation is genuine and unintentional in an honest opiner's case (i.e, due to ignorance, delusion, dumbness, naivete, lack of relevant experience, etc.). In the case of the troll, however, it is mendacious and INTENTIONAL - that is, the troll does not really "lack" the critical thinking skill or background knowledge necessary to assess a certain situation truthfully, but rather spews lies and propaganda on purpose. This perfectly describes the Anglo-Zionist trolls on this and similar sites.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  169. @dfordoom

    because anything else would be insane – starting a general war out of fear of a general war
     
    Which is pretty much what happened in 1914. France and Germany in particular both feared war, which is why they were anxious to go to war.

    Which is pretty much what happened in 1914. France and Germany in particular both feared war, which is why they were anxious to go to war.

    The difference between then and now being of course the existence of nuclear weapons, which changes the dynamics of such decisions dramatically. Hence the resulting “nuclear peace”, which has held (just about) since the mid-C20th.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dfordoom


    Which is pretty much what happened in 1914. France and Germany in particular both feared war, which is why they were anxious to go to war.
     
    The difference between then and now being of course the existence of nuclear weapons, which changes the dynamics of such decisions dramatically. Hence the resulting “nuclear peace”, which has held (just about) since the mid-C20th.
     
    But the problem is that in the past couple of years many in the U.S. have started behaving as if nuclear weapons don't change anything. They seem to think that a war with Russia would be like the Spanish-American War - that their troops will go bravely charging up San Juan Hill, that resistance will be minimal, that it will be all glory with no price to pay.

    They either refuse to believe that a shooting war could escalate into a nuclear war, or they're convinced that somehow they can fight a nuclear war without taking any casualties, or they accept that they might lose a few million civilian casualties but they just don't care.

    We're seeing a degree of recklessness in U.S. foreign policy that surpasses anything seen during the Cold War.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  170. @BrummyGav
    @German
    I’m certainly open to the idea that a third party executed the attack and all avenues of investigation should be thouroughly looked at
    However it seems critical to solving the incident that Russia support the investigation and provide as much technical physical and logistical support they can
    If it’s rogue elements of their security services or material that was stolen during the post Cold War transition then fine - figure it out and find it and stop it
    Who the hell wants this stuff out there
    The last thing any of us want is conflict
    We live in a mad world but it’s all we have
    We should all want to try to make it better

    England is a cucked anti white cesspit, having a nuclear attack wiping out London would be less destructive than the virulently anti white nomenklatura than currently runs things.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  171. @Verymuchalive

    If I had to guess (and that’s all it would be for anybody honest) I’d say it’s most likely some third party criminal action, or possibly some shadowy US- or UK-elite or Russian exile action, now being exploited by those in the UK government and media who see it as a useful opportunity. The perpetrator of the crime is unknown.
     
    Amongst the third parties, I would definitely include MOSSAD. Also, I don't always agree with The Saker, but his description of May as AngloZionist is very apt. The hysterical reaction and the ultimatum to Russia both seem attempts to distract attention from the real culprits.

    Mossad could be a suspect (ie it’s plausible that they could have motive and means, and certainly the brutality). I’m not particularly convinced of the motivation, though. It’s a bit remote from their presumed immediate concerns.

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Israelis don't turn the other cheek, the F16 downing is a big deal. As Craig Murray noted Russia has severely undermined the Israeli position in the Mid East, they can't do anything themselves as they are too weak, they can try and get others to do it. Pro Israeli trolls, MPs and media outlets have been remarkably vocal on this. Thye have to be right up there on the suspect list.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  172. @for-the-record
    Interesting article.

    Yes, in general though the press has been extremely hostile to his intervention. What's interesting is that there is no reporting whatsoever of his "Russia bashing" that I noted in my earlier email-- this was brought home to me when I unsuccessfully tried to find out whether or not he included Skripal's wife in the recent "suspicious" deaths he enumerated.

    So the Western MSM as a whole fully believes that Putler did it? Of course they do, why am I even asking. And their narrative even before was that Putin kills his critics, so to them this somehow makes perfect sense. Fucking depressing.

    I guess it’s going to take a while for the worst hysteria to die down. Can Russia do anything? Prove its innocence? No? Which is a ridiculous concept to begin with. This incident came out of nowhere (kind of…), it just doesn’t stop. Every time you think it can’t get worse, something like this happens lol. So what’s next? Syria?

    And why am I even asking? Because I’ve tried to stay far away from the MSM recently, need to take care of my mental health, had enough of that nonsense during 2014-15… Yeah, I’m weird.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  173. WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki condemned on Wednesday an attempt to murder in Britain of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and demanded Russia, Poland’s former master, to address the UK’s questions regarding the case.

    “We condemn this unprecedented attack on the territory of the United Kingdom. This use of chemicals as weapons is clearly violating international law … ,” Morawiecki said in a statement.

    “At the same time we call on Russia to address the UK’s questions and appropriately cooperate with the OPCW in this regard.”

    Poland expressed its readiness to support Britain, its close ally, in conduct of the investigation.

    Poland’s relations with Russia are strained, as Warsaw is afraid of Moscow’s renewed assertiveness. Russia has deployed advanced nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to its Kaliningrad exclave, which borders Poland.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  174. @Randal
    Mossad could be a suspect (ie it's plausible that they could have motive and means, and certainly the brutality). I'm not particularly convinced of the motivation, though. It's a bit remote from their presumed immediate concerns.

    Israelis don’t turn the other cheek, the F16 downing is a big deal. As Craig Murray noted Russia has severely undermined the Israeli position in the Mid East, they can’t do anything themselves as they are too weak, they can try and get others to do it. Pro Israeli trolls, MPs and media outlets have been remarkably vocal on this. Thye have to be right up there on the suspect list.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Definitely on the list.

    The suggested motive is certainly justifiable, as helping to manufacture popular consent for a US sphere confrontation of Russia over Syria, pursuant to their longstanding goal of handing that country over to Al Qaeda in order to isolate Hezbollah.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  175. @German_reader
    I read it as a teenager and tbh have forgotten much of the details...but iirc one thing I didn't find convincing was its depiction of sexuality, with the party wanting to control all intimate relationships, only love of Big Brother being allowed, everything being relentlessly politicized. I think that's something too obviously repellent for most people. Entertainment in Nazi Germany wasn't like that...it rather presented idyllic, mostly apolitical scenes of family life many people even today would probably find attractive (I suppose similar motives existed in Stalin's Soviet Union). Totalitarianism (if that concept is even useful, and not just Cold war propaganda) needs to present a credible narrative that it will improve the lives of its adherents, or at least of their collective, so the sacrifices will be worth it. And both Nazism and Soviet communism did provide highly attractive visions whose appeal shouldn't be hard to see...Orwell's big brother was a caricature imo.
    And iirc it's also implied in 1984 that the inner cadres are quite cynical and may not even believe their own ideology, only are into it for power worship. That's also unrealistic imo...Nazis, Fascists, Communists on the highest levels certainly did believe in their ideology.
    But as I wrote it's been a long time since I read it (almost 20 years), so I may not quite remember it all correctly.

    The depiction of sexuality was a metaphor, nothing more.

    Sex is a natural and fundamentally human activity, for without it, there would be no humans of whom to speak, never mind human societies. (Though this could change with the advent of future technologies – that’s a separate topic)

    The point in 1984 is that if sex can be politicized, what can’t be? Answer: Nothing.

    We see this in the modern West where people self-divide into parties, ideologies, tribes, races, religions – and then these various groups stake out seemingly unrelated positions regarding everything and maybe nothing.

    Take the issue of gun ownership. It’s so wrapped up in politics, history and ideology that people can’t even see guns for what they are – they’re tools, inanimate objects, end of story.

    Guns don’t cause inequality, nor do they usefully defend against tyranny – they’re tools, that’s all. Guns are not related to class, race, political affiliation, sexual orientation – except if we say they are.

    That’s just one example of a non-political issue being politicized.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  176. @dfordoom

    Anyway, I don’t like it as much as before, but I think Orwell could grasp a number of aspects of ideological thinking
     
    Brave New World seems to me to be far more prescient and far more plausible than 1984. But it's never been as popular, perhaps because Huxley was no fan of either the United States or capitalism.

    At the political-economic level, Nineteen Eighty Four was predictive, and the fascinating thing to me, the thing which rang most true, was the idea that Power Has NO Ideology.

    Whether “English Socialism”, “Neo-Bolshevism” or the poorly translated “Death Worship”, ideology was just the BS veneer to convince the sheep that they and their society was somehow different from that of their “enemies”.

    Scratch the surfaces of all the ideologies, and they were all about one thing – dictatorial power. Orwell was taking a cue from recent history (the 1940s). In that era, Nazis sincerely believed they were building a different society from that of the Communists’, and vice versa. Inconceivable today, but such thinking was prevalent then.

    OTOH, Brave New World was more prescient at the social level, especially the “drugging” (literally) of the masses to keep them compliant and oblivious to reality (iirc, the drug was called Soma). Our modern mass entertainment and mindless media are drug-like, plus there is an actual, rapidly intensifying Opioid Epidemic across America – I think afflicting primarily European-Americans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The Nazi society really was different from the communist one. It was significantly better (for Germans) and significantly worse (for everyone else).
    , @utu

    In that era, Nazis sincerely believed they were building a different society from that of the Communists’, and vice versa.
     
    Nonsense. Nazis did not believe in building any new society or transforming humans into New Nazi Men. Property rights and property relations were unchanged and legal system was maintained unchanged, traditional culture was not rejected, interpretation of history was not transformed. Chances of ending up in prison were 4 time lower than for Americans in 21 century. You could get a fair trial. Even Jews could appeal some anti-Jewish actions and win in courts. Very low unemployment and wages were decent. The only thing that could raise ones brows was the Jewish issue. If Nazis did not touch Jews there would be no reason to generate any level of outrage against them anywhere. But it was the war that changed everything. Till 1939 life for Jews was inconvenient but still much better than that of Blacks in the US and life for ethnic Germans was probably better than lives of Whites in the US.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  177. @myself
    At the political-economic level, Nineteen Eighty Four was predictive, and the fascinating thing to me, the thing which rang most true, was the idea that Power Has NO Ideology.

    Whether "English Socialism", "Neo-Bolshevism" or the poorly translated "Death Worship", ideology was just the BS veneer to convince the sheep that they and their society was somehow different from that of their "enemies".

    Scratch the surfaces of all the ideologies, and they were all about one thing - dictatorial power. Orwell was taking a cue from recent history (the 1940s). In that era, Nazis sincerely believed they were building a different society from that of the Communists', and vice versa. Inconceivable today, but such thinking was prevalent then.

    OTOH, Brave New World was more prescient at the social level, especially the "drugging" (literally) of the masses to keep them compliant and oblivious to reality (iirc, the drug was called Soma). Our modern mass entertainment and mindless media are drug-like, plus there is an actual, rapidly intensifying Opioid Epidemic across America - I think afflicting primarily European-Americans.

    The Nazi society really was different from the communist one. It was significantly better (for Germans) and significantly worse (for everyone else).

    Read More
    • Agree: German_reader
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  178. From Mercouris: http://theduran.com/skripal-crisis-theresa-may-fires-blank/

    - Theresa May produced a package of ‘sanctions’ today which do no more than expose the weakness of Britain’s hand

    - Note that none of these sanctions include any of the supposedly draconian steps which have been spoken about over the last few days

    - Reports in the media have also confirmed that the idea of launching a cyber attack against Russia has been ruled out, since the British quietly acknowledge that Russia has immeasurably greater cyber resources with which to retaliate than Britain does

    - It is interesting to see how the British media has suddenly discovers free speech also applies to Russian media when its own interests are threatened

    - In truth the British were reckless and foolish to enter into a confrontation on the flimsiest of evidence against Russia, a country far more powerful than themselves

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    This kind of posturing by one's own government is obnoxious as much when it falls flat as when it succeeds. In the latter case, it's foolish, irresponsible and arguably evil. In the former, it is so embarrassingly incompetent.

    There are signs this case could go the former way after all, with a lukewarm international response to May's initial bombast followed by somewhat of a climb down, and some indications in the alternative media of a potential serious narrative collapse.

    I saw someone suggest the amusing possibility of Russia demanding samples (as they are entitled, I understand, under the chemical weapons treaty), and when Britain is unable to respond or responds with obvious fakes, announcing sanctions on the UK, perhaps including revocations of visas to Russia at World Cup time).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  179. Another apparent blockbuster from Craig Murray (today):

    The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam

    Here is his summary, but I strongly recommend that you read the whole article, which cites the actual documents supporting his case.

    1) Porton Down has acknowledged in publications it has never seen any Russian “novichoks”. The UK government has absolutely no “fingerprint” information that can safely attribute this substance to Russia.

    2) Until now, neither Porton Down nor the world’s experts at the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were convinced “Novichoks” even exist.

    3) The UK is refusing to provide a sample to the OPCW.

    4) “Novichoks” were specifically designed to be able to be manufactured from common ingredients on any scientific bench. The Americans dismantled and studied the facility that allegedly developed them. It is completely untrue only the Russians could make them, if anybody can.

    5) The “Novichok” programme was in Uzbekistan not in Russia. Its legacy was inherited by the Americans during their alliance with Karimov, not by the Russians.

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/the-novichok-story-is-indeed-another-iraqi-wmd-scam/

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Excellent work by Murray.

    As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.


    In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. (Black, 2016)

    Robin Black. (2016) Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents. Royal Society of Chemistry

     

    Pretty damning.

    5) The “Novichok” programme was in Uzbekistan not in Russia. Its legacy was inherited by the Americans during their alliance with Karimov, not by the Russians.
     
    Tends to point the finger at the US/UK security forces and their shadowy associates.

    Murray's piece makes me suspect he's had some very high level assistance from insiders well aware that an outrageous hoax is being perpetrated by the UK government and wanting to get the information out.

    It's interesting to consider the contents of the Wikipedia article on "Novichok":

    The existence of Novichok agents was admitted by Russian military industrial complex authorities when they brought a treason case against Mirzayanov. According to expert witness testimonies prepared for the KGB by three scientists, Novichok and other related chemical agents had indeed been produced and therefore the disclosure by Mirzayanov represented high treason.[b]

    Mirzayanov was arrested on 22 October 1992 and sent to Lefortovo prison for divulging state secrets. He was released later because "not one of the formulas or names of poisonous substances in the Moscow News article was new to the Soviet press, nor were locations ... of testing sites revealed."[3] According to Yevgenia Albats, "the real state secret revealed by Fyodorov and Mirzayanov was that generals had lied—and were still lying—to both the international community and their fellow citizens."[3] Mirzayanov now lives in the U.S.[14]

    Further disclosures followed when Vladimir Uglev, one of Russia's leading binary weapons scientists, revealed the existence of A-232 in an interview with the magazine Novoye Vremya in early 1994.[15]
    .....
    Mirzayanov gives somewhat different structures for Novichok agents in his autobiography to those which have been identified by Western experts. He makes clear that a large number of compounds were made, and many of the less potent derivatives were reported in the open literature as new organophosphate insecticides, so that the secret chemical weapons program could be disguised as legitimate pesticide research.
    .....
    A Novichok agent was reportedly used in 1995 to poison Russian banker Ivan Kivelidi, the head of the Russian Business Round Table, and Zara Ismailova, his secretary.[31][32][33] Vladimir Khutsishvili, a former business partner of the banker, was subsequently convicted for the killings.[31][34][35] The murder became "one of the first in the series of poisonings organized by Russia's security services", according to Yuri Felshtinsky and Vladimir Pribylovsky. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs analyzed the substance and announced that it was a phosphorus-based nerve agent "whose formula was strictly classified".[36] According to Nesterov, the administrative head of Shikhany, he did not know of "a single case of such poison being sold illegally" and noted that the poison "is used by professional spies". [37]

     

    I wonder how accurate these reported confirmations are. I also wonder who arranged for them to be in the Wikipedia article.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  180. @LondonBob
    Israelis don't turn the other cheek, the F16 downing is a big deal. As Craig Murray noted Russia has severely undermined the Israeli position in the Mid East, they can't do anything themselves as they are too weak, they can try and get others to do it. Pro Israeli trolls, MPs and media outlets have been remarkably vocal on this. Thye have to be right up there on the suspect list.

    Definitely on the list.

    The suggested motive is certainly justifiable, as helping to manufacture popular consent for a US sphere confrontation of Russia over Syria, pursuant to their longstanding goal of handing that country over to Al Qaeda in order to isolate Hezbollah.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  181. @for-the-record
    Another apparent blockbuster from Craig Murray (today):

    The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam

    Here is his summary, but I strongly recommend that you read the whole article, which cites the actual documents supporting his case.

    1) Porton Down has acknowledged in publications it has never seen any Russian “novichoks”. The UK government has absolutely no “fingerprint” information that can safely attribute this substance to Russia.

    2) Until now, neither Porton Down nor the world’s experts at the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were convinced “Novichoks” even exist.

    3) The UK is refusing to provide a sample to the OPCW.

    4) “Novichoks” were specifically designed to be able to be manufactured from common ingredients on any scientific bench. The Americans dismantled and studied the facility that allegedly developed them. It is completely untrue only the Russians could make them, if anybody can.

    5) The “Novichok” programme was in Uzbekistan not in Russia. Its legacy was inherited by the Americans during their alliance with Karimov, not by the Russians.
     
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/the-novichok-story-is-indeed-another-iraqi-wmd-scam/

    Excellent work by Murray.

    As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.

    In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. (Black, 2016)

    Robin Black. (2016) Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents. Royal Society of Chemistry

    Pretty damning.

    5) The “Novichok” programme was in Uzbekistan not in Russia. Its legacy was inherited by the Americans during their alliance with Karimov, not by the Russians.

    Tends to point the finger at the US/UK security forces and their shadowy associates.

    Murray’s piece makes me suspect he’s had some very high level assistance from insiders well aware that an outrageous hoax is being perpetrated by the UK government and wanting to get the information out.

    It’s interesting to consider the contents of the Wikipedia article on “Novichok”:

    The existence of Novichok agents was admitted by Russian military industrial complex authorities when they brought a treason case against Mirzayanov. According to expert witness testimonies prepared for the KGB by three scientists, Novichok and other related chemical agents had indeed been produced and therefore the disclosure by Mirzayanov represented high treason.[b]

    Mirzayanov was arrested on 22 October 1992 and sent to Lefortovo prison for divulging state secrets. He was released later because “not one of the formulas or names of poisonous substances in the Moscow News article was new to the Soviet press, nor were locations … of testing sites revealed.”[3] According to Yevgenia Albats, “the real state secret revealed by Fyodorov and Mirzayanov was that generals had lied—and were still lying—to both the international community and their fellow citizens.”[3] Mirzayanov now lives in the U.S.[14]

    Further disclosures followed when Vladimir Uglev, one of Russia’s leading binary weapons scientists, revealed the existence of A-232 in an interview with the magazine Novoye Vremya in early 1994.[15]
    …..
    Mirzayanov gives somewhat different structures for Novichok agents in his autobiography to those which have been identified by Western experts. He makes clear that a large number of compounds were made, and many of the less potent derivatives were reported in the open literature as new organophosphate insecticides, so that the secret chemical weapons program could be disguised as legitimate pesticide research.
    …..
    A Novichok agent was reportedly used in 1995 to poison Russian banker Ivan Kivelidi, the head of the Russian Business Round Table, and Zara Ismailova, his secretary.[31][32][33] Vladimir Khutsishvili, a former business partner of the banker, was subsequently convicted for the killings.[31][34][35] The murder became “one of the first in the series of poisonings organized by Russia’s security services”, according to Yuri Felshtinsky and Vladimir Pribylovsky. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs analyzed the substance and announced that it was a phosphorus-based nerve agent “whose formula was strictly classified”.[36] According to Nesterov, the administrative head of Shikhany, he did not know of “a single case of such poison being sold illegally” and noted that the poison “is used by professional spies”. [37]

    I wonder how accurate these reported confirmations are. I also wonder who arranged for them to be in the Wikipedia article.

    Read More
    • Replies: @for-the-record
    Mirzayanov, speaking at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, said he is convinced Russia carried it out as a way of intimidating opponents of President Vladimir Putin.

    "Only the Russians" developed this class of nerve agents, said the chemist. "They kept it and are still keeping it in secrecy."

    The only other possibility, he said, would be that someone used the formulas in his book to make such a weapon.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/russians-says-chemist-uncovered-existence-novichok-075342077.html
    , @Verymuchalive
    Thanks for the information. Porton Down has gone from saying that there was no independent confirmation that Novichoks exist ( 2016 ) to claiming that the substance involved in the Skripal business is Novichok 5, according to Dr Richard North ( see Response 59 ).
    At least, I assume Porton Down did the identification of the agent. If they didn't, who did? The Americans? The Germans ?
    The more this affair is examined, the murkier it becomes. And still no evidence has been presented of the involvement of the Russian Government or its agents.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  182. @reiner Tor
    My boss's children in the UK go to public schools. His son plays rugby. He said no one in the school plays football. But they watch football on TV.

    Having attended boarding school in England, I can confirm that students generally prefer to play more rugby than football. A good number of the English rugby team (perhaps half) are privately educated and others are from prestigious public state schools who play rugby as part of their aspiration to be seen as pseudo-private schools (like Whitgift school in south London.

    However, this also depends on the region and the school to some extent (charterhouse notably plays more football than rugby during the winter term). Football, following it and being good at it is also a bit ‘cool’ as there is a tendency for wealthy, privileged public school boys to incorporate a few ‘working class’ aesthetics and tastes into their milieu. Hence the heavy usage of the word ‘mate’ amongst them and plenty of tracksuit bottoms being worn.

    By the way, Hungary are not that bad – there is a solid generation coming through and I immensely enjoyed watching them give Portugal a good run in that euro 2016 match. However, there is no doubt that with a good combination of Slav/Germanic genetics and a solid population, Hungary should be ranked 30 places higher in the world than she currently is.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  183. @Verymuchalive
    Some Public Schools in England play Rugby to the exclusion of Football, but nowadays most permit both. Of the 8 original Public Schools, Charterhouse and Westminster play Football mostly rather than Rugby. Chelsea FC has the most affluent fans ( and hooligans ) in England. Many of them are FPs of Charterhouse or Westminster.

    Ah, I see there is another man on this thread who knows his stuff. I played Charterhouse at football, incidentally – lost about 6-0

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  184. @Beckow
    This is not about whether you are 'honest' or a 'troll'. Those are meaningless labels in the context here because they cannot be determined.

    It is about your lack of critical thinking.

    If you don't think critically, you are like that proverbial donkey carrying books. Critical thinking requires skepticism. If you take anything from this discussion - and are what you say you are - always remember that people lie. Governments lie, the job of intelligence agencies is to lie, media of course lies. Victims lie, suspects also lie. Decades later they publish memoirs congratulating themselves how clever they were at lying.

    It is possible that the nerve gas came from the British facility right there in Salisbury, by mistake, as part of a drill, or to lobby for higher budgets for 'chemical war prevention'. More crazy things had happened in the past. But we really don't know.

    “This is not about whether you are ‘honest’ or a ‘troll’. Those are meaningless labels….”

    NO – on the contrary, there is a CRUCIAL difference between an honest opiner spouting falsehoods and nonsense; and a troll spouting falsehoods and nonsense. One is honest but misguided; the other is deliberate and in service of an agenda (and in many cases actually employed for that purpose). Although you’re correct in stating that it is not always easy to distinguish between the two on a forum such as this.

    “It is about your lack of critical thinking.”

    Bingo; but the “lack of critical thinking” in a specific situation is genuine and unintentional in an honest opiner’s case (i.e, due to ignorance, delusion, dumbness, naivete, lack of relevant experience, etc.). In the case of the troll, however, it is mendacious and INTENTIONAL – that is, the troll does not really “lack” the critical thinking skill or background knowledge necessary to assess a certain situation truthfully, but rather spews lies and propaganda on purpose. This perfectly describes the Anglo-Zionist trolls on this and similar sites.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  185. @myself
    At the political-economic level, Nineteen Eighty Four was predictive, and the fascinating thing to me, the thing which rang most true, was the idea that Power Has NO Ideology.

    Whether "English Socialism", "Neo-Bolshevism" or the poorly translated "Death Worship", ideology was just the BS veneer to convince the sheep that they and their society was somehow different from that of their "enemies".

    Scratch the surfaces of all the ideologies, and they were all about one thing - dictatorial power. Orwell was taking a cue from recent history (the 1940s). In that era, Nazis sincerely believed they were building a different society from that of the Communists', and vice versa. Inconceivable today, but such thinking was prevalent then.

    OTOH, Brave New World was more prescient at the social level, especially the "drugging" (literally) of the masses to keep them compliant and oblivious to reality (iirc, the drug was called Soma). Our modern mass entertainment and mindless media are drug-like, plus there is an actual, rapidly intensifying Opioid Epidemic across America - I think afflicting primarily European-Americans.

    In that era, Nazis sincerely believed they were building a different society from that of the Communists’, and vice versa.

    Nonsense. Nazis did not believe in building any new society or transforming humans into New Nazi Men. Property rights and property relations were unchanged and legal system was maintained unchanged, traditional culture was not rejected, interpretation of history was not transformed. Chances of ending up in prison were 4 time lower than for Americans in 21 century. You could get a fair trial. Even Jews could appeal some anti-Jewish actions and win in courts. Very low unemployment and wages were decent. The only thing that could raise ones brows was the Jewish issue. If Nazis did not touch Jews there would be no reason to generate any level of outrage against them anywhere. But it was the war that changed everything. Till 1939 life for Jews was inconvenient but still much better than that of Blacks in the US and life for ethnic Germans was probably better than lives of Whites in the US.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  186. @Kimppis
    From Mercouris: http://theduran.com/skripal-crisis-theresa-may-fires-blank/

    - Theresa May produced a package of ‘sanctions’ today which do no more than expose the weakness of Britain’s hand

    - Note that none of these sanctions include any of the supposedly draconian steps which have been spoken about over the last few days

    - Reports in the media have also confirmed that the idea of launching a cyber attack against Russia has been ruled out, since the British quietly acknowledge that Russia has immeasurably greater cyber resources with which to retaliate than Britain does

    - It is interesting to see how the British media has suddenly discovers free speech also applies to Russian media when its own interests are threatened

    - In truth the British were reckless and foolish to enter into a confrontation on the flimsiest of evidence against Russia, a country far more powerful than themselves

    This kind of posturing by one’s own government is obnoxious as much when it falls flat as when it succeeds. In the latter case, it’s foolish, irresponsible and arguably evil. In the former, it is so embarrassingly incompetent.

    There are signs this case could go the former way after all, with a lukewarm international response to May’s initial bombast followed by somewhat of a climb down, and some indications in the alternative media of a potential serious narrative collapse.

    I saw someone suggest the amusing possibility of Russia demanding samples (as they are entitled, I understand, under the chemical weapons treaty), and when Britain is unable to respond or responds with obvious fakes, announcing sanctions on the UK, perhaps including revocations of visas to Russia at World Cup time).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pavlo
    Since Britain is essentially a pirate haven, bombarding it like Port Royal would be more appropriate.
    , @peterAUS
    There is another possibility here.

    Whoever killed those people doesn't matter. Nobody is likely to change his/her initial opinion. The "pro-West" crowd will believe Russia did it, "pro-Russia" crowd will believe it did not.

    So, if they somehow made Kremlin (or close to Kremlin) unhappy, why not? What's to lose?
    There is something to gain, though: some people will get the message.

    I, personally, believe it was somebody from Russian side, or at least it was initiated from that side. Intelligence business is......complicated.......especially when this type of stuff is involved.

    That it is being used in full by the certain power circles in West, of course.

    But, fundamentally, nothing changes.
    The general feeling is that low level players in the confrontation are getting more expendable than usual. Wagner incident for example. Now this. Something will happen soon on a similar/same level. The game just got a notch more brutal.

    As long as it doesn't get nuclear, well, that's the world we live in.
    And, really, nobody cares.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  187. @reiner Tor
    There’s an asset freeze.

    The freezing of Russian state assets where there is evidence they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents

    Since their evidentiary standard these days is ‘we say so’, this does allow them to seize most any Russian state assets in Britain, but we’ll see what they actually do.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  188. @Randal
    This kind of posturing by one's own government is obnoxious as much when it falls flat as when it succeeds. In the latter case, it's foolish, irresponsible and arguably evil. In the former, it is so embarrassingly incompetent.

    There are signs this case could go the former way after all, with a lukewarm international response to May's initial bombast followed by somewhat of a climb down, and some indications in the alternative media of a potential serious narrative collapse.

    I saw someone suggest the amusing possibility of Russia demanding samples (as they are entitled, I understand, under the chemical weapons treaty), and when Britain is unable to respond or responds with obvious fakes, announcing sanctions on the UK, perhaps including revocations of visas to Russia at World Cup time).

    Since Britain is essentially a pirate haven, bombarding it like Port Royal would be more appropriate.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  189. Maybe this is completely off subject; but why has there been little to no follow-up on the recent “crash” while landing in Syria of a Russian military transport plane carrying, what I’ve heard, was a large number of experienced Russian military pilots and a high ranking general?
    I find it odd that this incident has disappeared off the radar so quickly. Am I the only one that sees this as strange.

    Read More
    • Agree: for-the-record
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  190. @Randal
    This kind of posturing by one's own government is obnoxious as much when it falls flat as when it succeeds. In the latter case, it's foolish, irresponsible and arguably evil. In the former, it is so embarrassingly incompetent.

    There are signs this case could go the former way after all, with a lukewarm international response to May's initial bombast followed by somewhat of a climb down, and some indications in the alternative media of a potential serious narrative collapse.

    I saw someone suggest the amusing possibility of Russia demanding samples (as they are entitled, I understand, under the chemical weapons treaty), and when Britain is unable to respond or responds with obvious fakes, announcing sanctions on the UK, perhaps including revocations of visas to Russia at World Cup time).

    There is another possibility here.

    Whoever killed those people doesn’t matter. Nobody is likely to change his/her initial opinion. The “pro-West” crowd will believe Russia did it, “pro-Russia” crowd will believe it did not.

    So, if they somehow made Kremlin (or close to Kremlin) unhappy, why not? What’s to lose?
    There is something to gain, though: some people will get the message.

    I, personally, believe it was somebody from Russian side, or at least it was initiated from that side. Intelligence business is……complicated…….especially when this type of stuff is involved.

    That it is being used in full by the certain power circles in West, of course.

    But, fundamentally, nothing changes.
    The general feeling is that low level players in the confrontation are getting more expendable than usual. Wagner incident for example. Now this. Something will happen soon on a similar/same level. The game just got a notch more brutal.

    As long as it doesn’t get nuclear, well, that’s the world we live in.
    And, really, nobody cares.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Whoever killed those people doesn’t matter. Nobody is likely to change his/her initial opinion. The “pro-West” crowd will believe Russia did it, “pro-Russia” crowd will believe it did not.

    So, if they somehow made Kremlin (or close to Kremlin) unhappy, why not? What’s to lose?
    There is something to gain, though: some people will get the message.
     
    This does not make sense. We only reach the situation you describe ("“pro-West” crowd will believe Russia did it, “pro-Russia” crowd will believe it did not") if he was attacked in the first place.

    "Why not" is because the costs to Russia in business, diplomatic and soft power terms are potentially significant, whereas there are no apparently plausible gains evident.

    I, personally, believe it was somebody from Russian side, or at least it was initiated from that side. Intelligence business is……complicated…….especially when this type of stuff is involved.
     
    Can you give a single other example of an exchanged former spy (ie someone they had previously unmasked, tried, convicted and imprisoned) being murdered by the Russians? Does it really strike you that spies would lightly enact a policy of gratuitously murdering exchanged former spies?

    Does the idea that such a policy is conceivable (let alone enacted) comport for you with the evident fact that this man, like other exchanged former spies, lived openly in Britain with his location public knowledge and no significant security?

    If so, I think you are stretching things to suit your own anti-Russian bias.

    I think if anyone did anything here, the Russians would be among the last on the list.


    The general feeling is that low level players in the confrontation are getting more expendable than usual. Wagner incident for example. Now this. Something will happen soon on a similar/same level. The game just got a notch more brutal.
     
    Until a more plausible suggestion is in the public domain, I'm happy to take the Spiegel investigation as the most likely description of the "Wagner event" - a Syrian light probe using mostly militia and irregulars launched in the vicinity, and the Russian mercs just collateral damage. Not a Russian government operation, not intended or planned by anyone in the US or Russian government, and not particularly significant.

    The Truth About the Russian Deaths in Syria

    The incident is already mostly forgotten except by those directly involved.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  191. @reiner Tor
    Mariya Putina moved back to Russia years ago. Apparently so did Lavrov's daughter. I don't think in such a situation Sechin's yacht will matter. Obviously it will be a desperate decision made during a 15 minute meeting by the president and a few important government ministers and generals. I wouldn't be surprised if Lavrov wasn't among the decision-makers in such a situation. He's a foreign minister, not a military expert, and it would already be a military council in a state of war. The American elite's children will almost surely survive in nuclear shelters, and contrary to what most people believe, it will be possible to leave the shelters after some time and move to less contaminated areas.

    To my knowledge in recent years (the elite Moscow school is but one recent example) there's been a constant movement back to Russia of the children of the Russian political elite. I guess they might fear blackmail or harassment in Western countries.

    Mariya Putina moved back to Russia years ago. Apparently so did Lavrov’s daughter. I don’t think in such a situation Sechin’s yacht will matter. Obviously it will be a desperate decision made during a 15 minute meeting by the president and a few important government ministers and generals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lavrov wasn’t among the decision-makers in such a situation. He’s a foreign minister, not a military expert, and it would already be a military council in a state of war. The American elite’s children will almost surely survive in nuclear shelters, and contrary to what most people believe, it will be possible to leave the shelters after some time and move to less contaminated areas.

    To my knowledge in recent years (the elite Moscow school is but one recent example) there’s been a constant movement back to Russia of the children of the Russian political elite. I guess they might fear blackmail or harassment in Western countries.

    They shuttle into Moscow from time to time. But the main life, and the main purchases, and conspicuous consumption is done in the West. And it’s not to blame them either, they have anonymity overseas, and they nobody is knowing what they are buying.

    They can buy whatever property they want, and nobody will know. Whereas if they did this kind of conspicuous consumption at home it would be published in the next Navalny video.

    Putin family (his daughters) buy up mansions around the world. For years, nobody knew, but sometimes a purchase is discovered, and they end up with people protesting outside a Putin mansion in France.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Your argument boils down to what they already thought before the Great War: that because all economies are interconnected, the ruling dynasties are related to each other, and they all spend their vacations in the same resorts, so there can be no war.

    I don’t think it has more validity now than it had then.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  192. @peterAUS
    There is another possibility here.

    Whoever killed those people doesn't matter. Nobody is likely to change his/her initial opinion. The "pro-West" crowd will believe Russia did it, "pro-Russia" crowd will believe it did not.

    So, if they somehow made Kremlin (or close to Kremlin) unhappy, why not? What's to lose?
    There is something to gain, though: some people will get the message.

    I, personally, believe it was somebody from Russian side, or at least it was initiated from that side. Intelligence business is......complicated.......especially when this type of stuff is involved.

    That it is being used in full by the certain power circles in West, of course.

    But, fundamentally, nothing changes.
    The general feeling is that low level players in the confrontation are getting more expendable than usual. Wagner incident for example. Now this. Something will happen soon on a similar/same level. The game just got a notch more brutal.

    As long as it doesn't get nuclear, well, that's the world we live in.
    And, really, nobody cares.

    Whoever killed those people doesn’t matter. Nobody is likely to change his/her initial opinion. The “pro-West” crowd will believe Russia did it, “pro-Russia” crowd will believe it did not.

    So, if they somehow made Kremlin (or close to Kremlin) unhappy, why not? What’s to lose?
    There is something to gain, though: some people will get the message.

    This does not make sense. We only reach the situation you describe (““pro-West” crowd will believe Russia did it, “pro-Russia” crowd will believe it did not”) if he was attacked in the first place.

    “Why not” is because the costs to Russia in business, diplomatic and soft power terms are potentially significant, whereas there are no apparently plausible gains evident.

    I, personally, believe it was somebody from Russian side, or at least it was initiated from that side. Intelligence business is……complicated…….especially when this type of stuff is involved.

    Can you give a single other example of an exchanged former spy (ie someone they had previously unmasked, tried, convicted and imprisoned) being murdered by the Russians? Does it really strike you that spies would lightly enact a policy of gratuitously murdering exchanged former spies?

    Does the idea that such a policy is conceivable (let alone enacted) comport for you with the evident fact that this man, like other exchanged former spies, lived openly in Britain with his location public knowledge and no significant security?

    If so, I think you are stretching things to suit your own anti-Russian bias.

    I think if anyone did anything here, the Russians would be among the last on the list.

    The general feeling is that low level players in the confrontation are getting more expendable than usual. Wagner incident for example. Now this. Something will happen soon on a similar/same level. The game just got a notch more brutal.

    Until a more plausible suggestion is in the public domain, I’m happy to take the Spiegel investigation as the most likely description of the “Wagner event” – a Syrian light probe using mostly militia and irregulars launched in the vicinity, and the Russian mercs just collateral damage. Not a Russian government operation, not intended or planned by anyone in the US or Russian government, and not particularly significant.

    The Truth About the Russian Deaths in Syria

    The incident is already mostly forgotten except by those directly involved.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    Does it really strike you that spies would lightly enact a policy of gratuitously murdering exchanged former spies?
     
    Depends.

    Works both ways.

    Somebody did kill two persons, on a bench, in a park, in UK.
    Looks........non-criminal.
    Who?
    Two sides, most likely. Even fifteen if we want to. Still, two or fifteen, feels as a "state job".
    So, by the same token

    Does it really strike you that UK side would lightly enact a policy of gratuitously murdering exchanged former spies?
     
    Bottom line is, a state player did this.
    I feel it was of Russian origin. And, if we want to go into technical details, yes, it could've been any of those who would do such work for Russians, for any reason imaginable.

    So, again, double murder, non-criminal. Apparently poison. M.O. already seen before in related matters.
    A state then.
    Which one more likely?
    , @Kimppis
    IMO, in a nutshell, either you believe the very often repeated Russophobic myth that Russia/Putler has murdered masses of "Kremlin critics" over the years. Then it's of course quite easy to believe that Russia was behind this incident as well.

    Or you actually know that it's statistically nonsense, as Anatoly has showed (sadly, I think even many non-Russophobes are unaware of that) and it doesn't make any sense overall. (Not to mention the timing, of course.) Putin received less than 70% of the votes in 2012, so while the level of Russian authoritarianism can certainly be debated, the country is obviously not a "dictatorship" of any kind.

    Even now, there are probably tens of millions of "Putin critics" in Russia, so killing some random few journalists and "ex-agents" makes as much sense in the real world as Russia brainwashing millions of American and Europeans into voting for Trump and the "far-right".
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  193. @Randal
    I imagine that the strategic nuclear forces will be back on high alert within minutes of any significant direct exchange of fire. My point is we aren't there now whereas we were in my childhood. That's what I think of as a "high risk" of nuclear war.

    I don't disagree with anything you write there, though I'd put the emphasis slightly differently in some cases.

    Most likely there will be lots of opportunities for de-escalation, because it's unlikely either party intends for a massive response to any attack. You are correct that once you are at war then all bets are off and things could go bad very quickly, but in the Syria situation I think both sides are more likely to proceed with caution (because in the end both know that MAD still applies, and looms over all). So I feel there are grounds to expect that any exchanges will be characterised by punctuated retaliations and escalations, with repeated opportunities to absorb lessons and (hopefully) deescalate.

    The US attacked the Syrian government last year and the Russians chose not to respond, partly because imo they were taken by surprise and partly because of the very limited "one off" nature of the strike. If you are pro-Russian you will also believe that their restraint was because they are grown ups, to some extent - I'm not sure their US equivalents could have resisted the hysterical need to retaliate, in similar circumstances. If you are anti-Russian you will say that they didn't respond because they know the weakness of their position and feared to do so.

    This time there will be no surprise - the US regime has pointedly telegraphed its supposed intention to strike the Syrian government. That actually puts more pressure on the Russians to respond, or to appear weak. The Russians in turn have pointedly stated that they will retaliate directly against US forces if the lives of Russian forces in Syria are put at risk.

    So if the US launches a wave of missile strikes against various Syrian bases and government targets (the most likely scenario), what does Russia do?

    If Russia sits tight and seeks to ride it out again, it massively loses credibility. But maybe that's better than starting a war. That's probably what most US regime advocates of such strikes are counting on. And then what happens when the US attacks again? And again?

    If Russia responds "asymmetrically" as some strategists have argued they can, where can it do so effectively that doesn't ultimately make its own situation worse and play into the hands of those seeking a general confrontation of Russia?

    If Russia responds militarily, it would really have to be with a limited, targeted response, because anything else would be insane - starting a general war out of fear of a general war. So it could in theory attack a US base or ship from which missiles were launched. Or less seriously it could try just targeting some US planes operating over Syria. If it does so, then there will be another moment of opportunity for de-escalation while the US and the world digests the results of that response.

    And so on.

    There are several complicating factors, some of which we probably don’t even think of.

    One thing is that no one has any idea if Russian weapons are any good against the Americans. For example the S-400 gets a lot of hype, but I don’t think it can easily down an American plane, especially if the planes are using overwhelming numbers and are very careful not to get shot down. Moreover, the Americans can easily afford losing a few planes, while the Russian contingent cannot really afford to be wiped out. So I think simply trying to shoot down American warplanes is not going to be enough, because eventually it won’t deter the Americans and it will feel as a weak response, both politically and psychologically. In other words, a further loss of Russian credibility and its ability to defend its allies (if it will have any allies left after that).

    So if they want to avoid it, eventually it will have to come to Martyanov’s standoff Wunderwaffen. They will need to attack and seriously damage at least one (and preferably more) of the bases from which the attack was launched.

    The attack needs to aim at many targets, because they cannot know if any of them will be successful, thereby raising the chances of a success. Also, the initial attack has higher chances then any later attack, because for example Russian vessels can move closer to American vessels in peacetime. After the American attack on the Syrian contingent, they can use the element of surprise against the Americans. But only once. Again, this argues for concentrating a lot of resources into the initial escalation. The later escalation steps will be more difficult to make.

    But this (attack on many American bases and vessels, including carriers, in theater) could be too successful, destroying too many American vessels. This in turn could put pressure on the Americans to regain credibility and prestige by escalating further…

    But what happens if the Russians try to destroy, for example, an aircraft carrier, but the carrier’s defenses take down the missiles? What if they try to destroy or damage many targets, but all targets’ defenses brush off the attacks? Now they will have both a diminished credibility and a very angry American leadership. Which, seeing how ineffectual Russian weapons are, will only get emboldened. So there might be a case for a tactical nuclear strike. Or, emboldened by their success, there might be a further American escalation, either immediately, or after a few months…

    Again, the more I think of the situation, the more likely a full escalation seems. It’s a typical dollar auction.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    There are several complicating factors, some of which we probably don’t even think of.
     
    Absolutely. War is the realm of complexity and unintended and unforeseen consequences.

    One thing is that no one has any idea if Russian weapons are any good against the Americans. For example the S-400 gets a lot of hype, but I don’t think it can easily down an American plane, especially if the planes are using overwhelming numbers and are very careful not to get shot down.
     
    The reality is that nobody really knows how these systems will interact and work in a full on modern war situation, because it's never happened. Modelling and theory can only take you so far.

    That said, my impression is that both the Russians and the Yanks are pretty confident the S400 is an effective system. If it's not actively suppressed (an attempt to do so by the usual means - SEAD swamping attacks - would be a massive operation and would itself amount to an open declaration of war on Russia) and US planes are operating over Syria then I think it's reasonable to expect targets to present themselves. It's not just S400 as well, there's a whole suite of integrated systems available.

    The logical first response for Russia to significant attacks on Syrian government targets would seem to me to be either do nothing and swallow it or light up the skies and start attacking US aircraft until the attacks are over. Then see how the Yanks react.

    Provided they get at least one plane I don't think it will be seen as weak - the Yanks aren't used to taking casualties when they are bullying target states, and don't respond well to them. For that very reason, of course, there's then a risk that the US will feel forced to respond (being Americans of course they will portray it as an "unprovoked attack" coming "out of the blue" by the evil Russkis). But it will be another opportunity for a halt to escalation.

    Then if the Yanks choose a limited strike on Russian air defences or forces, the Russians will have the option to target a US ship or base in response. No need for "Wunderwaffen" - a simple torpedo or large missile salvo will do the job.

    Of course either party could decide to forgo incremental escalation and jump straight to a major onslaught, but though the possibility can never be entirely dismissed my feeling is neither would want to do that in this case. The risks are too high and the stakes not really high enough.
    , @dfordoom

    But what happens if the Russians try to destroy, for example, an aircraft carrier, but the carrier’s defenses take down the missiles? What if they try to destroy or damage many targets, but all targets’ defenses brush off the attacks? Now they will have both a diminished credibility and a very angry American leadership.
     
    Or what happens if Russian weapons prove more successful than expected and the Americans lose a couple of carriers? Suddenly their fleet is obsolete junk metal. The Americans would immediately escalate, massively.

    Your scenario is perhaps more likely. Either way escalation is not a possibility but an inevitability. And it will go nuclear.

    That's why during the Cold War both sides were incredibly careful not to be seen to be directly shooting at each other. They were grown-ups and they understood the consequences.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  194. @Dmitry

    Mariya Putina moved back to Russia years ago. Apparently so did Lavrov’s daughter. I don’t think in such a situation Sechin’s yacht will matter. Obviously it will be a desperate decision made during a 15 minute meeting by the president and a few important government ministers and generals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lavrov wasn’t among the decision-makers in such a situation. He’s a foreign minister, not a military expert, and it would already be a military council in a state of war. The American elite’s children will almost surely survive in nuclear shelters, and contrary to what most people believe, it will be possible to leave the shelters after some time and move to less contaminated areas.

    To my knowledge in recent years (the elite Moscow school is but one recent example) there’s been a constant movement back to Russia of the children of the Russian political elite. I guess they might fear blackmail or harassment in Western countries.
     
    They shuttle into Moscow from time to time. But the main life, and the main purchases, and conspicuous consumption is done in the West. And it's not to blame them either, they have anonymity overseas, and they nobody is knowing what they are buying.

    They can buy whatever property they want, and nobody will know. Whereas if they did this kind of conspicuous consumption at home it would be published in the next Navalny video.

    Putin family (his daughters) buy up mansions around the world. For years, nobody knew, but sometimes a purchase is discovered, and they end up with people protesting outside a Putin mansion in France.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGaYCCl_CH0

    Your argument boils down to what they already thought before the Great War: that because all economies are interconnected, the ruling dynasties are related to each other, and they all spend their vacations in the same resorts, so there can be no war.

    I don’t think it has more validity now than it had then.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    All things equal, they are less likely to nuclear bomb their own children, all their possessions, all their friends children - than a normal person - say: myself, would be.

    If missiles are flying on Moscow, obviously there are automatic procedures to retaliate. But if missiles and bombs will fly, it's not going to be in any situation accept from direct attack from Western governments.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  195. @Randal

    Whoever killed those people doesn’t matter. Nobody is likely to change his/her initial opinion. The “pro-West” crowd will believe Russia did it, “pro-Russia” crowd will believe it did not.

    So, if they somehow made Kremlin (or close to Kremlin) unhappy, why not? What’s to lose?
    There is something to gain, though: some people will get the message.
     
    This does not make sense. We only reach the situation you describe ("“pro-West” crowd will believe Russia did it, “pro-Russia” crowd will believe it did not") if he was attacked in the first place.

    "Why not" is because the costs to Russia in business, diplomatic and soft power terms are potentially significant, whereas there are no apparently plausible gains evident.

    I, personally, believe it was somebody from Russian side, or at least it was initiated from that side. Intelligence business is……complicated…….especially when this type of stuff is involved.
     
    Can you give a single other example of an exchanged former spy (ie someone they had previously unmasked, tried, convicted and imprisoned) being murdered by the Russians? Does it really strike you that spies would lightly enact a policy of gratuitously murdering exchanged former spies?

    Does the idea that such a policy is conceivable (let alone enacted) comport for you with the evident fact that this man, like other exchanged former spies, lived openly in Britain with his location public knowledge and no significant security?

    If so, I think you are stretching things to suit your own anti-Russian bias.

    I think if anyone did anything here, the Russians would be among the last on the list.


    The general feeling is that low level players in the confrontation are getting more expendable than usual. Wagner incident for example. Now this. Something will happen soon on a similar/same level. The game just got a notch more brutal.
     
    Until a more plausible suggestion is in the public domain, I'm happy to take the Spiegel investigation as the most likely description of the "Wagner event" - a Syrian light probe using mostly militia and irregulars launched in the vicinity, and the Russian mercs just collateral damage. Not a Russian government operation, not intended or planned by anyone in the US or Russian government, and not particularly significant.

    The Truth About the Russian Deaths in Syria

    The incident is already mostly forgotten except by those directly involved.

    Does it really strike you that spies would lightly enact a policy of gratuitously murdering exchanged former spies?

    Depends.

    Works both ways.

    Somebody did kill two persons, on a bench, in a park, in UK.
    Looks……..non-criminal.
    Who?
    Two sides, most likely. Even fifteen if we want to. Still, two or fifteen, feels as a “state job”.
    So, by the same token

    Does it really strike you that UK side would lightly enact a policy of gratuitously murdering exchanged former spies?

    Bottom line is, a state player did this.
    I feel it was of Russian origin. And, if we want to go into technical details, yes, it could’ve been any of those who would do such work for Russians, for any reason imaginable.

    So, again, double murder, non-criminal. Apparently poison. M.O. already seen before in related matters.
    A state then.
    Which one more likely?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal

    Somebody did kill two persons, on a bench, in a park, in UK.
     
    They're not dead, as far as I'm aware.

    There seems to have been some sort of poisoning attack which affected the two people supposedly targeted, and supposedly a police officer who responded. Beyond that, the only "information" we have comes from the exact same kind of well established liars that lied us into the Iraq war and the Libya war.

    Believing them now over something so conveniently suited to their foreign policy interests would seem to fall immediately foul of George Bush II's famous words of wisdom:

    "fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again"

    We just don't "know" what you are claiming we "know".


    Bottom line is, a state player did this.
     
    On what basis do you make this assumption?

    And even if it was a state player, the first suspects (based upon cui bono, means and opportunity) would have to be the US, since they apparently decommissioned the Uzbek factory where the original stuff was supposedly made, and the US advocates of confrontation of Russia have a much clearer motive for doing such an attack than Russia. Next would be Britain with an equally clear motive and the facilities of Porton Down right next door. Then there's Israel, also with an obvious motive.

    But we don't even know what the substance was, ffs,unless we accept the unsupported word of the established liars in the British regime!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  196. @reiner Tor
    There are several complicating factors, some of which we probably don’t even think of.

    One thing is that no one has any idea if Russian weapons are any good against the Americans. For example the S-400 gets a lot of hype, but I don’t think it can easily down an American plane, especially if the planes are using overwhelming numbers and are very careful not to get shot down. Moreover, the Americans can easily afford losing a few planes, while the Russian contingent cannot really afford to be wiped out. So I think simply trying to shoot down American warplanes is not going to be enough, because eventually it won’t deter the Americans and it will feel as a weak response, both politically and psychologically. In other words, a further loss of Russian credibility and its ability to defend its allies (if it will have any allies left after that).

    So if they want to avoid it, eventually it will have to come to Martyanov’s standoff Wunderwaffen. They will need to attack and seriously damage at least one (and preferably more) of the bases from which the attack was launched.

    The attack needs to aim at many targets, because they cannot know if any of them will be successful, thereby raising the chances of a success. Also, the initial attack has higher chances then any later attack, because for example Russian vessels can move closer to American vessels in peacetime. After the American attack on the Syrian contingent, they can use the element of surprise against the Americans. But only once. Again, this argues for concentrating a lot of resources into the initial escalation. The later escalation steps will be more difficult to make.

    But this (attack on many American bases and vessels, including carriers, in theater) could be too successful, destroying too many American vessels. This in turn could put pressure on the Americans to regain credibility and prestige by escalating further...

    But what happens if the Russians try to destroy, for example, an aircraft carrier, but the carrier’s defenses take down the missiles? What if they try to destroy or damage many targets, but all targets’ defenses brush off the attacks? Now they will have both a diminished credibility and a very angry American leadership. Which, seeing how ineffectual Russian weapons are, will only get emboldened. So there might be a case for a tactical nuclear strike. Or, emboldened by their success, there might be a further American escalation, either immediately, or after a few months...

    Again, the more I think of the situation, the more likely a full escalation seems. It’s a typical dollar auction.

    There are several complicating factors, some of which we probably don’t even think of.

    Absolutely. War is the realm of complexity and unintended and unforeseen consequences.

    One thing is that no one has any idea if Russian weapons are any good against the Americans. For example the S-400 gets a lot of hype, but I don’t think it can easily down an American plane, especially if the planes are using overwhelming numbers and are very careful not to get shot down.

    The reality is that nobody really knows how these systems will interact and work in a full on modern war situation, because it’s never happened. Modelling and theory can only take you so far.

    That said, my impression is that both the Russians and the Yanks are pretty confident the S400 is an effective system. If it’s not actively suppressed (an attempt to do so by the usual means – SEAD swamping attacks – would be a massive operation and would itself amount to an open declaration of war on Russia) and US planes are operating over Syria then I think it’s reasonable to expect targets to present themselves. It’s not just S400 as well, there’s a whole suite of integrated systems available.

    The logical first response for Russia to significant attacks on Syrian government targets would seem to me to be either do nothing and swallow it or light up the skies and start attacking US aircraft until the attacks are over. Then see how the Yanks react.

    Provided they get at least one plane I don’t think it will be seen as weak – the Yanks aren’t used to taking casualties when they are bullying target states, and don’t respond well to them. For that very reason, of course, there’s then a risk that the US will feel forced to respond (being Americans of course they will portray it as an “unprovoked attack” coming “out of the blue” by the evil Russkis). But it will be another opportunity for a halt to escalation.

    Then if the Yanks choose a limited strike on Russian air defences or forces, the Russians will have the option to target a US ship or base in response. No need for “Wunderwaffen” – a simple torpedo or large missile salvo will do the job.

    Of course either party could decide to forgo incremental escalation and jump straight to a major onslaught, but though the possibility can never be entirely dismissed my feeling is neither would want to do that in this case. The risks are too high and the stakes not really high enough.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    No need for “Wunderwaffen” – a simple torpedo or large missile salvo will do the job.
     
    Well, I included those anti-ship missiles among the "Wunderwaffen." What if the Americans have a reliable defense against them? I recently communicated to a knowledgable Hungarian guy (he is one of the authors of this long summary of current military technologies), and he was strongly of the opinion that the Kinzhal would, for example, be totally useless against US vessels (but probably not against lesser countries, including NATO allies). I don't know if that guy is correct (he seems to base his opinions on relevant NATO brochures and the likes), but it could easily happen to be true. Or not. Is there a way the Russians could know that? Of course not. But I guess the Americans do believe it.

    So, suppose you have, say, 10 vessels in the Mediterranean, up against, say, 50 US vessels. (I'm making up the numbers, I have no idea.) Your vessels can sail relatively close to US vessels in peacetime. This makes it more likely that the attack would succeed. But, once you attacked a US vessel, it will no longer be peacetime in the Mediterranean (and maybe not elsewhere), and so a second salvo will have a much lower chance of success. By attacking a US vessel, you will also expose all 10 of your vessels to a US counterattack: they can escalate further by simply sinking all 10 of your vessels.

    Now, there is always a risk of the first attack already being unsuccessful. You can raise the chance of a success by attacking multiple targets (maybe some of them make some mistakes in their defensive measures, or there's a broken equipment in one of their systems, or something). It's difficult to calibrate to make your first attack (really, a counterattack) on US vessels both successful and not too severe.

    Let's repeat the problems:

    1) First naval strike is inherently easier than the second; if you screw up the first strike, it's difficult to be better the second time

    2) There's an unknown chance of failure even for the first strike; a failure being interpreted by the reckless US leadership as an invitation for further escalation everywhere, since it proves in their eyes that Russia is a weak, dying country.

    3) First naval strike invites US retaliation by sinking your vessels: so it's advisable to sink at least as many vessels as your own (and since your Syrian contingent is about to be wiped out, a bit more) so that even after further US escalation you can still call it even.

    4) Sinking many US vessels might make it difficult for the US to counterstrike, or to wipe out your forces in Syria, so it could make it possible for you to evacuate your vessels and perhaps even your Syrian troops; better, to keep Syria as it is

    If you fail with your first strike, it becomes very likely that your only choices are either full capitulation or escalation to tactical nukes. Even that latter might get more difficult, because the US might sink the ships from which to launch them... (Okay, you will always have your bombers, but the difficulty might increase.)

    So logic would dictate a large scale surprise counterattack on the US forces in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. Otherwise you will just give further escalation advantage to the US even in case of a success, and you will also risk failure, which would also make the situation worse for you.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  197. @peterAUS

    Does it really strike you that spies would lightly enact a policy of gratuitously murdering exchanged former spies?
     
    Depends.

    Works both ways.

    Somebody did kill two persons, on a bench, in a park, in UK.
    Looks........non-criminal.
    Who?
    Two sides, most likely. Even fifteen if we want to. Still, two or fifteen, feels as a "state job".
    So, by the same token

    Does it really strike you that UK side would lightly enact a policy of gratuitously murdering exchanged former spies?
     
    Bottom line is, a state player did this.
    I feel it was of Russian origin. And, if we want to go into technical details, yes, it could've been any of those who would do such work for Russians, for any reason imaginable.

    So, again, double murder, non-criminal. Apparently poison. M.O. already seen before in related matters.
    A state then.
    Which one more likely?

    Somebody did kill two persons, on a bench, in a park, in UK.

    They’re not dead, as far as I’m aware.

    There seems to have been some sort of poisoning attack which affected the two people supposedly targeted, and supposedly a police officer who responded. Beyond that, the only “information” we have comes from the exact same kind of well established liars that lied us into the Iraq war and the Libya war.

    Believing them now over something so conveniently suited to their foreign policy interests would seem to fall immediately foul of George Bush II’s famous words of wisdom:

    fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again

    We just don’t “know” what you are claiming we “know”.

    Bottom line is, a state player did this.

    On what basis do you make this assumption?

    And even if it was a state player, the first suspects (based upon cui bono, means and opportunity) would have to be the US, since they apparently decommissioned the Uzbek factory where the original stuff was supposedly made, and the US advocates of confrontation of Russia have a much clearer motive for doing such an attack than Russia. Next would be Britain with an equally clear motive and the facilities of Porton Down right next door. Then there’s Israel, also with an obvious motive.

    But we don’t even know what the substance was, ffs,unless we accept the unsupported word of the established liars in the British regime!

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterAUS

    On what basis do you make this assumption?
     
    On the type of target (spy game).
    On the M.O. involved (chemicals).

    Criminals, for any reason imaginable? No.
    Personal stuff? Less likely than the basic assumption.

    And even if it was a state player, the first suspects (based upon cui bono, means and opportunity) would have to be the US, since they apparently decommissioned the Uzbek factory where the original stuff was supposedly made, and the US advocates of confrontation of Russia have a much clearer motive for doing such an attack than Russia.
    Next would be Britain with an equally clear motive and the facilities of Porton Down right next door. Then there’s Israel, also with an obvious motive.

     

    Could be.
    I still go 70/3o for Russians.

    So, back to the basics:

    ...But we don’t even know what the substance was...
     
    Substance, not a firearm, edged or blunt weapon. Not even common street bashing to death.
    Or more subtle, an accident. Or a "suicide".
    Hence....the rest.

    I think we are missing a tiny little element here.
    The method.
    Substance, two persons at the same time, in public. The "good" scenario, food/drinks poisoning. Less likely.

    So, some substance, dynamically applied, to two persons at the same time, in public, in UK.

    Whoever did this, not good.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  198. @Randal

    Which is pretty much what happened in 1914. France and Germany in particular both feared war, which is why they were anxious to go to war.
     
    The difference between then and now being of course the existence of nuclear weapons, which changes the dynamics of such decisions dramatically. Hence the resulting "nuclear peace", which has held (just about) since the mid-C20th.

    Which is pretty much what happened in 1914. France and Germany in particular both feared war, which is why they were anxious to go to war.

    The difference between then and now being of course the existence of nuclear weapons, which changes the dynamics of such decisions dramatically. Hence the resulting “nuclear peace”, which has held (just about) since the mid-C20th.

    But the problem is that in the past couple of years many in the U.S. have started behaving as if nuclear weapons don’t change anything. They seem to think that a war with Russia would be like the Spanish-American War – that their troops will go bravely charging up San Juan Hill, that resistance will be minimal, that it will be all glory with no price to pay.

    They either refuse to believe that a shooting war could escalate into a nuclear war, or they’re convinced that somehow they can fight a nuclear war without taking any casualties, or they accept that they might lose a few million civilian casualties but they just don’t care.

    We’re seeing a degree of recklessness in U.S. foreign policy that surpasses anything seen during the Cold War.

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @Randal
    I agree, up to a point. Anyone who has had anything to do with deterrence theory knows that once a war has started it can escalate to a full nuclear exchange even without either side intending it to do so. That's why nuclear deterrence deters open conventional wars as well as nuclear exchanges - they are just too risky.

    Taking such a risk over something as petty as their butt-hurt condition over failing to regime change Syria is beyond irresponsible.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  199. @dfordoom


    Which is pretty much what happened in 1914. France and Germany in particular both feared war, which is why they were anxious to go to war.
     
    The difference between then and now being of course the existence of nuclear weapons, which changes the dynamics of such decisions dramatically. Hence the resulting “nuclear peace”, which has held (just about) since the mid-C20th.
     
    But the problem is that in the past couple of years many in the U.S. have started behaving as if nuclear weapons don't change anything. They seem to think that a war with Russia would be like the Spanish-American War - that their troops will go bravely charging up San Juan Hill, that resistance will be minimal, that it will be all glory with no price to pay.

    They either refuse to believe that a shooting war could escalate into a nuclear war, or they're convinced that somehow they can fight a nuclear war without taking any casualties, or they accept that they might lose a few million civilian casualties but they just don't care.

    We're seeing a degree of recklessness in U.S. foreign policy that surpasses anything seen during the Cold War.

    I agree, up to a point. Anyone who has had anything to do with deterrence theory knows that once a war has started it can escalate to a full nuclear exchange even without either side intending it to do so. That’s why nuclear deterrence deters open conventional wars as well as nuclear exchanges – they are just too risky.

    Taking such a risk over something as petty as their butt-hurt condition over failing to regime change Syria is beyond irresponsible.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Yes, it’s highly irresponsible. Yet essentially that’s what they are threatening with.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  200. @reiner Tor
    There are several complicating factors, some of which we probably don’t even think of.

    One thing is that no one has any idea if Russian weapons are any good against the Americans. For example the S-400 gets a lot of hype, but I don’t think it can easily down an American plane, especially if the planes are using overwhelming numbers and are very careful not to get shot down. Moreover, the Americans can easily afford losing a few planes, while the Russian contingent cannot really afford to be wiped out. So I think simply trying to shoot down American warplanes is not going to be enough, because eventually it won’t deter the Americans and it will feel as a weak response, both politically and psychologically. In other words, a further loss of Russian credibility and its ability to defend its allies (if it will have any allies left after that).

    So if they want to avoid it, eventually it will have to come to Martyanov’s standoff Wunderwaffen. They will need to attack and seriously damage at least one (and preferably more) of the bases from which the attack was launched.

    The attack needs to aim at many targets, because they cannot know if any of them will be successful, thereby raising the chances of a success. Also, the initial attack has higher chances then any later attack, because for example Russian vessels can move closer to American vessels in peacetime. After the American attack on the Syrian contingent, they can use the element of surprise against the Americans. But only once. Again, this argues for concentrating a lot of resources into the initial escalation. The later escalation steps will be more difficult to make.

    But this (attack on many American bases and vessels, including carriers, in theater) could be too successful, destroying too many American vessels. This in turn could put pressure on the Americans to regain credibility and prestige by escalating further...

    But what happens if the Russians try to destroy, for example, an aircraft carrier, but the carrier’s defenses take down the missiles? What if they try to destroy or damage many targets, but all targets’ defenses brush off the attacks? Now they will have both a diminished credibility and a very angry American leadership. Which, seeing how ineffectual Russian weapons are, will only get emboldened. So there might be a case for a tactical nuclear strike. Or, emboldened by their success, there might be a further American escalation, either immediately, or after a few months...

    Again, the more I think of the situation, the more likely a full escalation seems. It’s a typical dollar auction.

    But what happens if the Russians try to destroy, for example, an aircraft carrier, but the carrier’s defenses take down the missiles? What if they try to destroy or damage many targets, but all targets’ defenses brush off the attacks? Now they will have both a diminished credibility and a very angry American leadership.

    Or what happens if Russian weapons prove more successful than expected and the Americans lose a couple of carriers? Suddenly their fleet is obsolete junk metal. The Americans would immediately escalate, massively.

    Your scenario is perhaps more likely. Either way escalation is not a possibility but an inevitability. And it will go nuclear.

    That’s why during the Cold War both sides were incredibly careful not to be seen to be directly shooting at each other. They were grown-ups and they understood the consequences.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Or what happens if Russian weapons prove more successful than expected and the Americans lose a couple of carriers?
     
    I also mentioned that possibility! Because the capabilities of both weapons systems vis-à-vis the other are unknown, it’s very difficult for the Russians to calibrate a proportionate, but successful, yet not too costly (on either side - using up half their anti-ship missiles to destroy just one US carrier perhaps wouldn’t do it!) response.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  201. @Randal

    Somebody did kill two persons, on a bench, in a park, in UK.
     
    They're not dead, as far as I'm aware.

    There seems to have been some sort of poisoning attack which affected the two people supposedly targeted, and supposedly a police officer who responded. Beyond that, the only "information" we have comes from the exact same kind of well established liars that lied us into the Iraq war and the Libya war.

    Believing them now over something so conveniently suited to their foreign policy interests would seem to fall immediately foul of George Bush II's famous words of wisdom:

    "fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again"

    We just don't "know" what you are claiming we "know".


    Bottom line is, a state player did this.
     
    On what basis do you make this assumption?

    And even if it was a state player, the first suspects (based upon cui bono, means and opportunity) would have to be the US, since they apparently decommissioned the Uzbek factory where the original stuff was supposedly made, and the US advocates of confrontation of Russia have a much clearer motive for doing such an attack than Russia. Next would be Britain with an equally clear motive and the facilities of Porton Down right next door. Then there's Israel, also with an obvious motive.

    But we don't even know what the substance was, ffs,unless we accept the unsupported word of the established liars in the British regime!

    On what basis do you make this assumption?

    On the type of target (spy game).
    On the M.O. involved (chemicals).

    Criminals, for any reason imaginable? No.
    Personal stuff? Less likely than the basic assumption.

    And even if it was a state player, the first suspects (based upon cui bono, means and opportunity) would have to be the US, since they apparently decommissioned the Uzbek factory where the original stuff was supposedly made, and the US advocates of confrontation of Russia have a much clearer motive for doing such an attack than Russia.
    Next would be Britain with an equally clear motive and the facilities of Porton Down right next door. Then there’s Israel, also with an obvious motive.

    Could be.
    I still go 70/3o for Russians.

    So, back to the basics:

    …But we don’t even know what the substance was…

    Substance, not a firearm, edged or blunt weapon. Not even common street bashing to death.
    Or more subtle, an accident. Or a “suicide”.
    Hence….the rest.

    I think we are missing a tiny little element here.
    The method.
    Substance, two persons at the same time, in public. The “good” scenario, food/drinks poisoning. Less likely.

    So, some substance, dynamically applied, to two persons at the same time, in public, in UK.

    Whoever did this, not good.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  202. @Randal
    Excellent work by Murray.

    As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.


    In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. (Black, 2016)

    Robin Black. (2016) Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents. Royal Society of Chemistry

     

    Pretty damning.

    5) The “Novichok” programme was in Uzbekistan not in Russia. Its legacy was inherited by the Americans during their alliance with Karimov, not by the Russians.
     
    Tends to point the finger at the US/UK security forces and their shadowy associates.

    Murray's piece makes me suspect he's had some very high level assistance from insiders well aware that an outrageous hoax is being perpetrated by the UK government and wanting to get the information out.

    It's interesting to consider the contents of the Wikipedia article on "Novichok":

    The existence of Novichok agents was admitted by Russian military industrial complex authorities when they brought a treason case against Mirzayanov. According to expert witness testimonies prepared for the KGB by three scientists, Novichok and other related chemical agents had indeed been produced and therefore the disclosure by Mirzayanov represented high treason.[b]

    Mirzayanov was arrested on 22 October 1992 and sent to Lefortovo prison for divulging state secrets. He was released later because "not one of the formulas or names of poisonous substances in the Moscow News article was new to the Soviet press, nor were locations ... of testing sites revealed."[3] According to Yevgenia Albats, "the real state secret revealed by Fyodorov and Mirzayanov was that generals had lied—and were still lying—to both the international community and their fellow citizens."[3] Mirzayanov now lives in the U.S.[14]

    Further disclosures followed when Vladimir Uglev, one of Russia's leading binary weapons scientists, revealed the existence of A-232 in an interview with the magazine Novoye Vremya in early 1994.[15]
    .....
    Mirzayanov gives somewhat different structures for Novichok agents in his autobiography to those which have been identified by Western experts. He makes clear that a large number of compounds were made, and many of the less potent derivatives were reported in the open literature as new organophosphate insecticides, so that the secret chemical weapons program could be disguised as legitimate pesticide research.
    .....
    A Novichok agent was reportedly used in 1995 to poison Russian banker Ivan Kivelidi, the head of the Russian Business Round Table, and Zara Ismailova, his secretary.[31][32][33] Vladimir Khutsishvili, a former business partner of the banker, was subsequently convicted for the killings.[31][34][35] The murder became "one of the first in the series of poisonings organized by Russia's security services", according to Yuri Felshtinsky and Vladimir Pribylovsky. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs analyzed the substance and announced that it was a phosphorus-based nerve agent "whose formula was strictly classified".[36] According to Nesterov, the administrative head of Shikhany, he did not know of "a single case of such poison being sold illegally" and noted that the poison "is used by professional spies". [37]

     

    I wonder how accurate these reported confirmations are. I also wonder who arranged for them to be in the Wikipedia article.

    Mirzayanov, speaking at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, said he is convinced Russia carried it out as a way of intimidating opponents of President Vladimir Putin.

    “Only the Russians” developed this class of nerve agents, said the chemist. “They kept it and are still keeping it in secrecy.”

    The only other possibility, he said, would be that someone used the formulas in his book to make such a weapon.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/russians-says-chemist-uncovered-existence-novichok-075342077.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    The only other possibility, he said, would be that someone used the formulas in his book to make such a weapon.
     
    The chemical weapons at Eastern Ghouta and Khan Shaykun must have been used by Germany, which has developed this deadly chemical. The only other possibility is that some other country has copied the formula from the German recipes!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.