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It is pretty clear what took place yesterday night. Even if you don’t read Russian, the following chart released by the Russian Ministry of Defense says it all:

Basically, 4 Israeli aircraft were sent on a bombing mission against targets near the Russian facilities in Khmeimim and Tartus (which, by itself, is both stupid and irresponsible). The Israelis *deliberately* did not warn the Russians until less than a minute before the attack took place, thus the Russians did not have the time to tell the crew of the Il-20 electronic warfare aircraft, which was on approach for a landing, to take evasive action. When the Syrian S-200 fired their missiles to intercept the incoming missiles, the Israelis F-16 used the Il-20, which has a much bigger radar cross section, to hide themselves resulting in the loss of 15 lives and one aircraft.

Typical Israeli “cleverness”.

The Russian MoD placed the full blame on the Israelis and declared that this attack was “dastardly”, the Israeli actions as “hostile” and said that Russia “reserves the right” to respond with “adequate counter-actions”.

This is one of these rare opportunities when there is, I believe, a viable and logical option to respond: tell the Israelis that from now on any of their aircraft approaching anywhere near the Russian forces will be shot down.

Will the Russians do that?

I doubt it. Why? Because of the very powerful pro-Zionist 5th column in Russia.

I am pretty sure that the Russian military would love to take such an measure but, unfortunately, they are limited in their actions by the 5th columnists in the Russian government.

We shall see. If Russia does nothing, it will be interesting to see how those who deny the existence of a pro-Zionist 5th column in Russia will explain this.

PS: the only positive effect from this tragedy is that this will go a long way to trash the image of Israel in the Russian public opinion (which is constantly subjected to pro-Zionist propaganda in much of the Russian media).

UPDATE1: there we go: Putin is already “downgrading” the gravity of what happened. He has just declared thatthe Israeli jet didn’t down our aircraft” and spoke of “tragic circumstances“. True, he did add that the Russians will take measures that “everyone will notice” but I am personally dubious about these “steps”. I hope that I am wrong. We will find out soon.

UPDATE2: I am watching the Russian media and I have to report that Zionist propagandists (Russian liberals and Jewish commentators) look absolutely *terrible*: they are desperately trying to blame everybody (the Syrians, Hezbollah, and even the Russians) except for Israel. This will not sit well with the Russian public.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Israel, Russia, Syria 
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A couple of months ago I did an interview with one of the foremost scholars of rabbinical Judaism, Michael Hoffman. The occasion was the release of his latest book “The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome”. At the time I did not expect to have to ask for a follow-up interview with him, but when I learned that Amazon had censored his books (please see Hoffman’s own account of this here). Specifically, the ban is on three of his books. A complete ban (Kindle + printed book) on Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, as well as The Great Holocaust Trial: Revised and Expanded, while his textbook, Judaism Discovered, has been removed from the Kindle. I felt that I had to talk to him again and he kindly agreed to reply to my questions. I submit to you the full text of our Q&A which I will follow-up with a short commentary.

* * *

The Saker: Please summarize what happened to your books and Amazon and tells us what specific explanations were given to you. Did Amazon ever offer you a “page and paragraph” list of “offending” passages? Do you have any means of knowing exactly what your book is being banned for?

Hoffman: Whether it is Facebook, Google or Amazon, the excuse most often cited for suppression is “content guidelines’ violation.” Amazon notified us on August 13 that two of our titles, which they have been selling for years and in thousands of copies, Judaism Discovered, our 1100 page textbook published in 2008, and Judaism’s Strange Gods: Revised and Expanded, published in 2010 — were being permanently removed after “review” by the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) unit of Amazon. A facsimile of the KDP notice can be viewed here:

In their e-mail they told us that “…we found that this content is in violation of content guidelines.” In studying their content guidelines one encounters a vague, generic statement about not permitting that which is “offensive.” There is no guidance as to what “offense” has suddenly arisen after these books were sold on Amazon for several years. Like the Red Queen in Wonderland who declared to Alice that, “A word is anything I say it is!” — that which “offends” is anything Amazon says it is. A third book, The Great Holocaust Trial: The Landmark Battle for the Right to Doubt the West’s Most Sacred Relic, was also forbidden.

Does Amazon have the chutzpah to publicly categorize these books as “hate speech” or some other alibi for censorship that could be contested? No, they do not. They leave authors and publishers twisting in the wind, making it more difficult to appeal the decision and report to the public on the tyranny. Although since they allow no appeal, it’s a moot point. Personally, I have no doubt concerning why my books were censored.

The Saker: What is, in your opinion, the true intent behind the ban on the sales of your book? What is Amazon’s interest in this?

Hoffman: I don’t believe Amazon has much interest in this. It is more likely that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is the interested party. Last August 7 the New York Times online published a revealing piece by David French in which he wrote: “We live in a world where the Southern Poverty Law Center, a formerly respected civil-rights organization, abuses its past trust to label a host of mainstream organizations (including my former employer, the Alliance Defending Freedom) and individuals as ‘hate groups,…based sometimes on…outright misreadings and misrepresentations of an individual’s beliefs and views…Amazon recently booted Alliance Defending Freedom from its AmazonSmile charity program because of the center’s designation.”

At around the time in 2017 that the SPLC was trying to interfere with the business operations of people such as myself, by intimidating banks and credit card processors into refusing to process payments for books, Paypal notified us that due to the contents of our website ( we were an embarrassment to their brand and they were terminating our account. As long as Paypal was owned by libertarians, all was well and we had a high customer satisfaction rating for our integrity and dependability. The original Paypal mainly cared about whether you were a responsible seller. A politicized administration eventually took over Paypal and in 2017 we were terminated, very likely on the “advice” of the SPLC.

To return to Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos founded it in 1994. It was very much a libertarian book operation from the start. From 1994 until a year or two ago, Amazon only refused to sell hard core pornography and books that constituted direct appeals to violence or law-breaking, which is how it should be. Every other type of book was sold, without censorship, which is one reason for Amazon’s early success and increasing market share. Then last year, after Mr. Bezos had reached the status of one of the world’s wealthiest persons, and Amazon’s total value was beginning to approach that of Apple and Google, Amazon staged a huge purge and eliminated more than a hundred World War II revisionist history books published by Germar Rudolf’s CODOH organization (books smeared as “Holocaust denial”). This year it was my turn. Next year it might be any author not part of the university press syndicates or the major houses. Such is the heedless power and immunity of Amazon.

It’s important to note that the thought police who removed three of my books were based in the digital division of Amazon, where the electronic Kindle books are marketed and managed. A Kindle permits anyone connected to the Amazon website to read approximately the first thirty pages of any Kindle book free of charge. Consequently, my Judaica scholarship was on display around the world and therefore it was much harder to lie about me and mischaracterize my Talmud and Kabbalah research under those circumstances.

We were also beginning to sell ever increasing numbers of these Kindle books to people in Asia, particularly India and Japan. It’s my hunch that Big Brother is not half so worried about printed books as the digital kind. Removing the three books from the Kindle was the primary objective.

To be banned by Amazon is not equivalent to being banned by any other private business. Most publishers will admit that Amazon has replaced Bowker Books in Print as the industry’s authoritative guide to what books in English have been printed in the past and what is in print now. Amazon is currently the reference source. For a book to be forbidden by Amazon renders it largely invisible. It is equivalent to burning the book. So this is not a matter of Amazon exercising the prerogative of private enterprise. Amazon is a monopoly. It has no rival. If your book doesn’t exist on Amazon, then for most people who are not research specialists, your book doesn’t exist. The consequences for the pursuit of knowledge are ominous.

There is a problem here for Amazon as well. The more Amazon excludes books that embody facts and ideas that constitute radical dissent, the more it becomes a narrow censor’s aperture rather than a reliable bridge to the entire range of the Republic of Letters.

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In a recent article, Paul Craig Roberts directly asked me a very important question. Here is the relevant part of this article (but please make sure to read the full article to understand where Paul Craig Roberts is coming from and why he is raising this absolutely crucial issue):

Andrei Martyanov, whose book I recently reviewed on my website, recently defended Putin, as The Saker and I have done in the past, from claims that Putin is too passive in the face of assaults. As I have made the same points, I can only applaud Martyanov and The Saker. Where we might differ is in recognizing that endlessly accepting insults and provocations encourages their increase until the only alternative is surrender or war.

So, the questions for Andrei Martyanov, The Saker, and for Putin and the Russian government is: How long does turning your other cheek work? Do you turn your other cheek so long as to allow your opponent to neutralize your advantage in a confrontation? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you lose the support of the patriotic population for your failure to defend the country’s honor? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you are eventually forced into war or submission? Do you turn your other cheek so long that the result is nuclear war?

I think that Martyanov and The Saker agree that my question is a valid one

First let me immediately state that I do find this question valid, crucial even, and that is a question which I have been struggling with for several years now and that still keeps me up at night. I think that this question ought to be raised more often, especially by those who care for peace and oppose imperialism in all its forms and I am grateful to Paul Craig Roberts for raising it.

Second, considering the overall nastiness of so much of the pro-Russian blogosphere and so-called “alternative media”, I want to go on record by saying that I have the utmost respect for Paul Craig Roberts, especially for his remarkable courage and intellectual honesty. At times I might not agree with everything Paul Craig Roberts writes, but I never forget that he is most definitely a real American patriot and a true friend of Russia. I consider him a precious ally in my own struggles.

Having clarified this, let me turn to Paul Craig Roberts’ question.

First, I will begin by questioning the very premise of this question and ask whether it is true that Russia has a policy of “turning the other cheek”?

In my opinion, that is a mistaken assumption. For one thing, Russia does not have “a” foreign policy, but several very different policies towards different countries and situations. I won’t list them all here, but I will mention two which are most often mentioned in this context: Syria and the Ukraine.

These are dramatically different conflicts with profoundly different characteristics:

Syria The Ukraine
Risk of direct superpower confrontation between Russia and the US Yes No (only indirect)
Risk of a local incident escalating into a full scale and nuclear war High Very low
Proximity to the Russian border No Yes
Overwhelming force advantage US/CENTCOM/NATO Russian military
Presence of a large Russian population No Yes
(Russian) Popular mandate for the use of force if needed Supportive but cautious (not a blank check) Strong (in case of Russian counter-attack to save Novorussia)
Risk of political blowback if Russia is forced to escalate or intervene Limited (the EU has more or less accepted that Russia is in Syria, and even the US and Israel have) Very high (in the EU)
Russian intervention justifiable under international law Yes, self-evidently Yes, but not self-evidently
Major economic and social consequences (for Russia) from the conflict’s outcome No Yes
Is Russia pressed for time to resolve this conflict? No No

As you see, out of 10 characteristics the conflicts in the Ukraine and Syria have only one in common: that Russia is under no time pressure to resolve them. In fact, I would argue that time is very strongly playing to the advantage of Russia in both conflicts (note that I did not say that the local populations in the Ukraine and Syria are in the same position as Russia – for them every passing day is a nightmare).

The two most important comparative characteristics are the risk of the conflict escalating into a full scale and direct superpower confrontation which, by itself, could easily escalate into a nuclear war. This is most unlikely in the Ukraine and very possible in Syria.


Just look at the current stand-offs taking place in the two countries: in the Ukraine the Novorussians are warning of a concentration of Ukronazi armor near Mariupol; in Syria the Russian Navy and Aerospace Forces are poised to sink USN ships if given the order. See the difference in magnitude and quality?!

For these reasons I believe that we need to look at the Russian stance in these two conflicts separately.


I have written a lot about the Russian stance in Syria and I will therefore only provide a short bullet-point type summary

  • The conflict in Syria places in very close proximity Russian and US forces. Furthermore, the Russian military task force in and near Syria is very small and cannot resist against a determined US/CENTCOM/NATO attack. If attacked, the Russians will rapidly have to use their long-range cruise missiles which are based (or in port) in Russia. What will the US do if that happens?
  • There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the US side will react rationally (or even proportionally) if US bases or ships are destroyed in a Russian counter-attack: the political pressure to “teach the Russians a lesson”, to show that the US “has the greatest military in history” and all the rest of the typical US flag-waving nonsense will force Trump to show that he is the MAGA-President. The current US elites are not only “non-agreement capable”, but they are also ignorant, stupid, arrogant, and they also have an immense sense of self-righteousness, a messianic ideology and a religious belief in total impunity. To assume that the US is a “rational actor” would be highly illogical and, in the case of a possible nuclear war, completely irresponsible.
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Neocons, Russia, Syria, Ukraine 
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The things that please are those that are asked for again and again

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran
John McCain

President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price…
Donald Trump

It is difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia
Vladimir Putin

Bis repetita

It appears that we are coming back full circle: the AngloZionists are again, apparently, preparing to use the very same White Helmets (aka “good terrorists”) to execute yet another chemical false flag attack in Syria and again blame the government forces for it. The Russians are, again, warning the world in advance and, just as last time, (almost) nobody gives a damn. And there are even reports that the US is, yet again, considering imposing a (totally illegal) no-fly zone over Syria (I have not heard this once since Hillary’s presidential campaign). And just like last time, it appears that the goal of the US is to save the “good terrorists” from a major governmental victory.

It appears that my prediction that each “click” brings us one step closer to the “bang!” is, unfortunately, coming true and while the Empire seems to have given up on the notion of a full-scale reconquest of Syria, the Neocons are clearly pushing for what might turn out to be a major missile strike on Syria. The fact that firing a large number of missiles near/over/at Russian forces might result in Russian counter-attack which, in turn, could lead to an major, possibly nuclear, war does not seem to factor at all in the calculations of the Neocons. True, the Neocons are mostly rather stupid (as in “short-term focused”) people, with a strong sense of superiority and a messianic outlook on our world. However, it baffles me that so few people in the US and the EU are worried about this. Somehow, a nuclear war has become so unthinkable that many have concluded that it can never happen.

The other thing which the Neocons seem to be oblivious to is that the situation on the ground in Syria cannot be changed by means of missile strikes or bombs. For one thing, the last US attack has conclusively shown that US Tomahawks are an easy target for the Syrian (mostly antiquated) air defenses. Of course, the US could rely on more AGM-158 JASSM which are much harder to intercept, but no matter what missiles are used, they will not effectively degrade the Syrian military capabilities simply because there are so few lucrative targets for cruise missile strikes in Syria to begin with. Considering that the US knows full well that no chemical attack will take place (or even could take place, for that matter, since even the US have declared Syria chemical weapons free in 2013) the White House might decide to blow up a few empty buildings and declare that “the animal Assad” has been punished I suppose. But even if completely unopposed a US missile attack will make no military sense whatsoever. So this begs the question of what would be the point of any attack on Syria? Sadly, the rather evident answer to that is that the upcoming missile strike has less to do with the war in Syria and much more to do with internal US politics.

Russian and Syrian options

There are a few differences too. The biggest difference is that this time around the Russian naval task force in the eastern Mediterranean is much bigger than last time: 15 ships including two advanced frigates, the Admiral Grigorovich and the Admiral Essen (see a detailed report here: ) and two 636.3-class advanced diesel-attack submarines. That is a lot of anti-ship, anti-air and anti-submarine firepower and, even more crucially, a lot of advanced early warning capabilities. Since the Russian and Syria air defense networks have been integrated by single automated fire system this means that the Syrians will very accurately “see” what is taking place in and around the Syrian airspace (this is especially true with the Russians keeping their A-50U AWACs on 24/7 patrol).

What has me most worried are the various reports (such as this one) which says that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week that “Moscow would be held responsible” if any chemical attack occurs. If by “Moscow will be responsible” the crazies in Washington DC mean “morally responsible”, then this is just the usual nonsense. But I am afraid that with certified nutcases like Bolton and Pompeo in charge, the US might be considering attacking Russian personnel in Syria (not necessarily at the well defended Khmeimin or Tartus bases). These guys could easily target various installations or Syrian military units where Russian personnel are known to be deployed and declare that they were not deliberately targeting Russians and that the Russians hit were “clearly involved” with the Syrian chemical weapon forces. The US has already targeted Russian nationals for kidnapping and detention, they might start killing Russian nationals next and then place the responsibility for these deaths on the Kremlin. You don’t think so? Just think “Skripal” and you will see that this notion is no so far fetched.

The Russians do have options, by the way. One thing they could do is place 6 (modernized) MiG-31s on quick alert in southern Russia (or, even better, in Iran) and keep a pair of them on combat air patrol over Syria (or over Iran). Combined with the “eyes” of the A-50U, these MiG-31s could provide the Russians with a formidable capability, especially against the US B-1B deployed in Qatar or Diego Garcia. So far, the MiG-31s have not seen action in Syria, but if intercepting a large number of cruise missiles becomes the mission then they would offer a much more flexible and capable force than the very small amount of Su-35 and Su-30 currently based in Khmeimim.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Neocons, Russia, Syria 
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The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert
by Ron Ridenour
Publisher: Punto Press, LLC
ISBN-10: 0996487069


Ron Ridenour’s latest book (this is his 10th book on international relations and politics) takes a direct shot at one of the most prevailing myths in the western political discourse: the thesis that Russia and its USSR predecessor have been uniquely aggressive and generally bellicose states. At a time when rabid russophobia is the order of the day (again – chronic russophobia has been a regular feature of western political culture for many centuries now), this is a very timely and important book which I highly recommend to those interested in history.

The book is separated into three parts. In the first part of the book (The Great Capitalist Socialist Divide), Ridenour looks at the Cuban Missile Crisis in some detail and uses it to debunk the many myths which the “official” US historiography has been presenting as dogma for decades. In this first section, Ridenour also provides many fascinating details about Captain Vasili Arkhipov “the man who prevented WWIII”. He also recounts how the US propaganda machine tried, and still tries, to blame the murder of JFK on the Russians. The second part of the book (Peace, Land, Bread) goes back in history and looks into the ideological and political struggle between the collective West and the Soviet Union from the revolution of 1917 and well into the Cold War. The third part of the book (Russia At the Crossroads – the Putin Era) conclude with very recent events, including the western backed coup d’etat in the Ukraine and the Russian intervention in Syria.

The first and the third parts of the book are extremely well researched and offer a rock-solid, fact-based, and logical analysis of the Cuban Missile Crisis and its modern equivalent, the AngloZionist “crusade” against modern Russia. This is a very important and good choice because the two crises have a lot in common. I would even argue that the current crisis is much more dangerous than the Cuban Missile Crisis because of the extremely low personal and intellectual qualities of the current US ruling elites. Ridenour shows that in 1962 it was not the Soviets, but the US which pushed the world to the edge of a nuclear war, and in the third section of his book he shows how, yet again, the Empire is cornering Russia into a situation which very much risks resulting in a nuclear conflict.

For those who would have a knee-jerk rejection of Ridenour’s crimethink, the book, on page 438-444, offers a list of governments the USA has overthrown since WWII (50), countries which the USA has bombed (30), foreign leaders it has murdered (50+), suppressed populist/nationalist movements (20), and subverted democratic elections (30). Ridenour then asks how it is that with a tally like that the US gets to moralize about Russia. He is absolutely right, of course. Compared to the USA, the Soviet Union was a peace-loving, non-interventionist and generally international law respecting country. Oh sure, the USSR had its share of horrors and evil deeds, but compared with the “land of the free and the home of the brave” these are minor, almost petty, transgressions.

The book is not without its faults. Sadly, in the second part of his book Ridenour repeats what I can only call the “standard list of western clichés” about the 1917 Revolution, it’s causes and effects. Truth be told, Ridenour is most certainly not to be singled out for making such a mistake: most of the books written in English and many of those written in Russian about this period of Russian history are basically worthless because they are all written by folks (from all sides of the political spectrum) with a vested ideological interest in presenting a completely counter-factual chronology of what actually took place (Russian author Ivan Solonevich wrote at length about this phenomenon in his books). Furthermore, such a process is inevitable: after decades of over-the-top demonization of everything and anything Soviet, there is now a “return of the pendulum” (both in Russia and outside) to whitewash the Soviet regime and explain away all its crimes and atrocities (of which there were plenty). For these reasons I would recommend that readers skip chapter 7 entirely (the description of the 1905 and 1917 revolutions are particularly bad and sound like a rehash of Soviet propaganda clichés of the early 1980s).

This weakness of this historical analysis of the two Russian revolutions is, of course, rather disappointing, but it in no way affects the pertinence of the fundamental thesis of this book: that, for all its very real faults, the “Evil Empire” was a gentle and timid regime when compared to the AngloZionist “Axis of Kindness” and its never-ending violent rampages all over the world (literally) and its orgy of subversion and violence in the name of democracy, freedom, human rights and all the rest of the western propaganda buzzwords.

The book’s afterworld begins with the following words “WAITING AND WAITING! Waiting for the end of the world! Waiting for Godot! Although, unlike in Samuel Beckett’s Theater of the Absurd play, in which Godot never arrives, the mad men and mad women leaders of the US, France and UK (and Israel) are bringing us their bombs”. Having been warning about the very risks of war for at least 4 years now, and having, along with others, posted a special “Russian Warning” to warn about this danger, I can only wholeheartedly welcome the publication of an entire book aimed at averting such a cataclysmic outcome.

My other big regret with this book is that it does not have an index. This is particularly frustrating since the book is packed with over 500 pages of very interesting information and can be used as a very good reference book.

Still, these criticisms should not distract from the very real value of this book. One of the most frightening phenomena today is that the Empire and Russia are currently headed directly for war and that, unlike what took place during the Cuban Missile Crisis, almost nobody today speaks about this. The western corporate media is especially guilty in this regard, as it encourages a constant escalation of rabid anti-Russian rhetoric (and actions) without ever mentioning that if brought to its logical conclusion such policies will result in a devastating war which the West cannot win (neither can Russia, of course, but that is hardly much of a consolation, is it?).

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We can all thank God for the fact that the AngloZionists did not launch a war on the DPRK, that no Ukronazi attack on the Donbass took place during the World Cup in Russia and that the leaders of the Empire have apparently have given up on their plans to launch a reconquista of Syria. However, each of these retreats from their hysterical rhetoric has only made the Neocons more frustrated and determined to show the planet that they are still The Hegemon who cannot be disobeyed with impunity. As I wrote after the failed US cruise missile strike on Syria this spring, “each click brings us closer to the bang“. In the immortal words of Michael Ledeen, “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business“. The obvious problem is that there are no “small crappy little countries” left out there, and that those who are currently the object of the Empire’s ire are neither small nor crappy.

Having now shown several times that for all its hysterical barking the Empire has to back down when the opponent does not cower away in fear, the Empire is now in desperate need to prove its “uniqueness” and (racial?) superiority. The obvious target of the AngloZionist wrath is Iran. In fact, Iran has been in the cross-hairs of the Empire ever since the people of Iran dared to show the AngloZionists to the door and, even worse, succeed in creating their own, national and Islamic democracy. To punish Iran, the US, the USSR, France and all the other “democratic” countries unleashed their puppet (Saddam Hussein) and gave him full military support, and yet the Iranians still prevailed, albeit at a terrible cost. That Iranian ability to prevail in the most terrible circumstances is also the most likely explanation for why there has not been an overt attack on Iran for the past four decades (there have, of course, there has been plenty of covert attacks during all these years).

I won’t list all the recent AngloZionist threats against Iran – we all know about them. The bottom line is this: the US, Israel and the KSA are, yet again, working hand in hand to set the stage for a major war under what we could call the “Skripal-case rules of evidence” aka “highly likely“. And yet, in spite of all this saber-rattling, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has summed up Iran’s stance in the following wordsthere will be no war and no negotiations“.

First, let’s first look at Iranian rationale for “no negotiations”

The obvious: “no negotiations”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been very clear in his explanations for why negotiating with the US makes no sense. On his Twitter account he wrote:


The Iranian Supreme Leader even posted a special graphic summary to summarize and explain the Iranian position:


Finally, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his fundamental approach towards the AngloZionist Empire:


The contrast between the kindergarten-level low-IQ bumbling hot air and threats coming out of the White House and the words of Ali Khamenei could not be greater, especially if we compare the words the two leaders decided to post all in caps;



Notice first that in his typical ignorance, Trump fails to realize that Hassan Rouhani is only the President of Iran and that threatening him makes absolutely no sense since he does not make national security decisions, which is the function of the Supreme Leader. Had Trump taken the time to at the very least check with Wikipedia he would have understood that the Iranian President “carries out the decrees, and answers to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country’s head of state“. It is no wonder that Trump’s infantile threats instantly turned into an Internet meme!

In contrast, Khamenei did not even bother to address Trump by name but, instead, announced his strategy to the whole world.


Trump’s ALL IN CAPS meme

Of course, issuing ALL IN CAPS threats just to be treated with utter contempt by the people you are trying to hard to bully and having your words become a cause of laughter on the Internet will only further enrage Trump and his supporters. When you are desperately trying to show the world how tough and scary you are, there is nothing more humiliating as being treated like some stupid kid. Therein also lies the biggest danger: such derision could force Trump and the Neocons who run him to do something desperate to prove to the word that their “red button” is still bigger than everybody else’s.

It is important to note here that making negotiations impossible is something the Trump administration seems to have adopted as a policy. This is best illustrated by the conditions attached to the latest sanctions against Russia which, essentially, demand that Russia admit poisoning the Skripals. In fact, all the western demands towards Russia (admitting that Russia is guilty for the Skripal case, that Russia shot down MH-17, that Russia hand over Crimea to the Ukronazis, etc.) are carefully crafted to make absolutely sure that Russia will not negotiate. The sames, of course, goes for the ridiculous Pompeo demands towards the DPRK (including handing over to the US 60 to 70 percent of its nukes within six to eight months; no wonder the North Koreans denounced a “gangster-like” attitude) or the latest US grandstanding towards Turkey. Sadly, but the Neocon run media has successfully imposed the notion that negotiations are either a sign of weakness, or treason, or both. Thus to be “patriotic” and “strong” no US official can afford to be caught red-handed negotiating with the enemy of the day.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Iran, Neocons 
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Russians are typically good at some things, and not so good at others. One of the things which Russian politicians are still terrible at, is avoiding self-inflicted PR disasters. Remember how Russian officials mismanaged the entire topic of “S-300s for Syria” (if not, then check out “part six” of this analysis)? Something similar is happening again, but this time with the procurement of new advanced and expensive weapons systems.

We have all seen the “Russia is canceling the Su-57!” and “Russia cannot afford the new Armata T-14 tank!” headlines. Pretty soon I expect to see something along the lines of “US sanctions force Putin to abandon the XXXX” (fill the blank with whatever weapon system you want). So is there any truth to any of that?

Well, yes and no.

Aircraft and main battle tanks

What is true is that Russian officials have been way too eager to declare that the Russian military will soon have many weapons systems much superior to anything produced in the West. Alas, these same officials rarely bothered explaining where, why, when and how many of these weapons systems actually would be deployed. That kind of ambiguous message makes it look like Russia is zig-zagging (again!). Perfect example: Russia deploys 4 Su-57s to Syria and then appears to more or less cancel or, at least, dramatically reduce the procurement of this weapons system. The reality is both much simpler and a little more complex. And to explain what is taking place we need to first understand the difference in military procurement in the West and in Russia.

In the West, the main goal of any procurement of any weapons system is the transfer of as much money as possible from the government to the pockets of the private individuals controlling the Military-Industrial Complex. Put differently, Western force planning (especially in the US) is not threat or mission-driven, but profit driven. And while some outrageously expensive weapons systems do get canceled (like the Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche attack helicopter), other even more expensive and poorly designed ones remain funded (such as the F-35). This is the kind of situation only a fantastically corrupt country with no real threat to itself can afford. In contrast, Russia is far less corrupt and has potential enemies right across most of her borders.

Russian force planning is threat/mission driven. This means that before the Russian military decides that it needs X number of Su-57 or T-14s it has to make the case that there is a threat which only Su-57s and T-14s can counter (or, at least, that it makes more sense – human, economic or tactical – to use new systems)

During the Cold War, the general rule (there were exceptions, of course!) was that the US was typically the first side to deploy a new technology/capability which the Soviets then studied before developing a counter-capability once the strengths and weaknesses of the new US technologies/capabilities were fully understood. The price to pay for that method was that the Soviets were usually one step behind the US in deploying a new technology. The main advantage of this dynamic for the Soviets was that their weapons systems typically ended up being both cheaper and superior. A good example of this kind of dynamic is the development of the Su-27 in response to the US development of the F-15 or the development of the Akula-class SSN in response to the Los Angeles-class SSN by the USN.

Today the situation is quite different. If you compare Russian and western weapons systems (say, the latest versions of the Su-35/Su-30s vs the latest versions of the F-15s/16s/18s or the T-90/T-72B3/B3M vs the Abrams/Leopard MBTs) you realize that the current Russians systems are at least as good as their US/EU counterparts, if not better. This happened because with the official end of the Cold War US/EU force planners decided to waste money on hugely expensive weapons systems instead of modernizing their aging aircraft or tanks. After all, 20-30-year-old tanks and aircraft were more than adequate to deal with such “threats” as Iraq or Yugoslavia, so why waste the money: nobody expected Russia to be able to rebound as fast as she did.

All this begs the question of what threats the Su-57s or T-14s were supposed to deal with? Logically this threat would have to be a threat which already existing Su-35s or modernized T-72/80/90s could not deal with. Can such threats be identified? Probably yes, both in the West and, in the case of aircraft, in the East. But how big (in terms of numbers) this threat will actually be is a huge question. For example, I would argue that the only strategic direction in which the deployment of T-14 would make sense is the West, specifically for the First Guards Tank Army which would have to fight NATO in case of a war. And even in this case, there is an optimal mix of old/new MBTs inside the two divisions composing the backbone of this Army which would make more sense than replacing all their current MBTs with T-14s (this will be especially true if a 152mm gun version of the Armata is ever deployed). As for deploying the T-14s to the South or East of Russia, it would make no sense at all since no opposing force in these directions would have armor superior to the Russians. In the case of air-power, this issue is not so much a geographical one (tactical air-power can be rapidly moved from one location to another one) as it is the number of F-22s/F-35s/(X-2s?) the US and its allies could deploy against Russia (assuming air-to-air refueling and that the F-35 actually works as advertised).

In reality only comparing tactical aircraft to tactical aircraft and MBTs to other MBTs is a gross oversimplification; in the real world you would have to compare the full spectrum of capabilities of both sides, such as MBTs vs anti-tank weapons or attack helicopters (in the case or air combat this would be even much more complicated), so I kept it simple just for illustration purposes.

For the foreseeable future, the threat to Russia will come from the latest iterations of the F-16/15/18s in which case the Su-35s/Su-30SM/Mig-25SMT/MiG-35/MiG31BM will be more than enough to deal with that threat, especially with their new radar+missile combos. And for a more advanced threat, a combination of Su-57s and already existing generation 4++ aircraft makes more sense than trying to deploy thousands of 5th generation aircraft (which is what the US is currently doing).

Finally, there is the issue of exports. While exports can help finance the costs of new and very pricey systems, the export potential of already existing Russian systems is much bigger than the one of recently deployed systems. Originally, the Russians had hoped to basically co-develop the Su-57 with India, but the pressures of the very powerful pro-US lobby inside India combined with differences in design philosophy and technical requirements have made the future of this collaboration rather uncertain. Of course, there is China, but the Chinese also have to ask themselves the question of how many Su-57 they would really want to purchase from Russia, especially considering that they have already purchased many Su-35s and are still working on their own 5th generation aircraft.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: NATO, Russia, SU-57 
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In the past few days, the Internet has been flooded with a frankly silly rumor about the US soliciting Australia’s assistance in preparing an attack on Iran. Needless to say, that report does not explain what capabilities Australia would possess which the US would lack, but never-mind that. Still, the report was picked up in too many places (see here, here and here ) to be ignored. In one of these reports, Eric Margolis has described what such a US attack could look like. It is worth quoting him in full:

Outline of a possible AngloZionist attack on Iran

The US and Israel will surely avoid a massive, costly land campaign again Iran, a vast, mountainous nation that was willing to suffer a million battle casualties in its eight-year war with Iraq that started in 1980. This gruesome war was instigated by the US, Britain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to overthrow Iran’s new popular Islamic government.

The Pentagon has planned a high-intensity air war against Iran that Israel and the Saudis might very well join. The plan calls for over 2,300 air strikes against Iranian strategic targets: airfields and naval bases, arms and petroleum, oil and lubricant depots, telecommunication nodes, radar, factories, military headquarters, ports, waterworks, airports, missile bases and units of the Revolutionary Guards.

Iran’s air defenses range from feeble to non-existent. Decades of US-led military and commercial embargos against Iran have left it as decrepit and enfeebled as was Iraq when the US invaded in 2003. The gun barrels of Iran’s 70’s vintage tanks are warped and can’t shoot straight, its old British and Soviet AA missiles are mostly unusable, and its ancient MiG and Chinese fighters ready for the museum, notably its antique US-built F-14 Tomcats, Chinese copies of obsolete MiG-21’s, and a handful of barely working F-4 Phantoms of Vietnam War vintage.

Air combat command is no better. Everything electronic that Iran has will be fried or blown up in the first hours of a US attack. Iran’s little navy will be sunk in the opening attacks. Its oil industry may be destroyed or partially preserved depending on US post-war plans for Iran.

The only way Tehran can riposte is by staging isolated commando attacks on US installations in the Mideast of no decisive value, and, of course, blocking the narrow Strait of Hormuz that carries two-thirds of Mideast oil exports. The US Navy, based nearby in Bahrain, has been practicing for decades to combat this threat.

There is a lot of interesting material in this description and I think that it is worth looking into it segment by segment.

First, I can only agree with Margolis that neither the US nor Israel want a ground war against Iran: the country is too big, the Iranians too well prepared and the size of the force needed for such a campaign way beyond what the Empire can currently muster.

Second, Margolis is absolutely correct when he says that Iran does not have the means to stop a determined AngloZionist (missiles and aircraft) attack. Iran does have some modern air-defense capabilities, and the attackers will sustain a number of losses, but at this point, the size disparity is so huge that the AngloZionists will achieve air superiority fairly soon and that will give them an opportunity to bomb whatever they want to bomb (more about that later).

Assessing Iranian air defenses is not just a matter of counting missiles and launchers, however, and there is much more to this. According to one Russian source Iran has 4 long range anti-aircraft missile S-300PMU-2 systems (with 48Н6Е2 Mach 6,6 interceptor missiles), 29 military anti-aircraft self-propelled missile complexes Tor-M1, some fairly advanced anti-aircraft missile complexes like the Bavar-373, a passive electronically scanned array radar (whose illumination and guidance system almost certainly includes modern Chinese electronics) and an impressive number of radar systems early warning radar of the Russian, Chinese and Iranian manufacture. This category includes systems like the high-potential long-range radar detection and target designation Najm-802 radar (has 5120 receiving and transmitting modules, operates in the decimeter S-range and is designed to detect ballistic targets and small elements of high-precision weapons), the Russian meter radar “Nebo-SVU” advanced early warning and control system with a fixed-array radar, as well as a meter range early warning radar of the type “Ghadir” . Most importantly, these radars are all integrated into the network-centric missile defense system of Iran. For example, the “Ghadir” radar is able to detect not only the tactical fighters of the USAF, the KSA and Israel, but also ballistic missiles immediately after launch (at a distance of about 1100 km). As a result, the presence of Iranian radio engineering units of multi-band radar detection facilities in the Western direction (the Persian Gulf) will allow the Iranians to prepare a flexible echeloned air defense to defend against high-intensity missile strikes. And yet, no matter how much the Iranians have improved their air defenses, the sheer number of of missiles (including the new advanced AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) low observable standoff air-launched cruise missile delivered by B-1B bombers) means that the Iranian defenses will inevitably be overwhelmed by any massive attack.

I therefore also agree with Margolis that the Iranian oil industry cannot be protected from a determined US/Israeli attack. In fact, the entire Iranian infrastructure is vulnerable to attack.

Margolis’ final paragraph, however, makes it sound like Iran does not have credible retaliatory options and that I very much disagree with.

Example one: Iranian capabilities in the Strait of Hormuz

For one thing, the issue of the Strait of Hormuz is much more complicated than just “the US Navy has practiced for years to combat this threat“. The reality is that Iran has a very wide range of options to make shipping through this strait practically impossible. These options range from underwater mines, to fast craft attacks, to anti-shipping missiles, to coastal artillery strikes, etc.

Therein also lies a big danger: the Israelis and or the US could very easily organize a false flag attack on any ship in the Strait of Hormuz, then accuse Iran, there would be the usual “highly likely” buzzword from all the AngloZionst intelligence agencies and, voilà, the Empire would have a pretext to attack Iran.

In fact, the mere fact of issuing a threat to shipping through this narrow body of water might well deter insurances from providing coverage to any ships and that might stop the shipping all by itself. Should that not be enough, Iran can always lay even a limited amount of mines, and that will be enough (please keep in mind that while the USN could try to engage in mineclearing operations, to do so right off the coast of Iran would expose USN minesweepers to an extreme danger of attack).

Margolis does mention this issue when he writes:

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Donald Trump, Iran, Neocons 
The action is in the reaction
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Now that a little over a week has passed since the much awaited Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki took place, I have had the time to read many of the reactions and comments it generated. I am coming to the paradoxical conclusion that this summit was both a non-event and a truly historical watershed moment. Let’s look at the event itself and then at its consequences.

The summit itself: a much-needed non-event

First, one has to welcome the fact that Putin and Trump spoke to each other, not so much because that fact by itself is great, but because it is an immensely dangerous situation when the leaders of the two military (and nuclear) superpowers do not talk to each other. Over the past couple of years, almost all contacts between Russian and US officials have been unilaterally severed, all by the US side, of course. The sole exception to this quasi-total silence was the ongoing contacts between Russian and US military and security/intelligence officials, which is a very good thing. However, this is also not enough because neither military nor security/intelligence officials are supposed to actually make policies and, therefore, when they are the only ones talking two things can happen: either a) these military and security/intelligence officials are severely limited in their authority to make decisions or b) military and security/intelligence officials are forced to take matters into their own hands and begin making policies in spite of their lack of authority to do so. Such a state of affairs in inherently dangerous (not to mention un-democratic). Still, the fact that the two Presidents and their advisers talked to each other is a much-needed development which hopefully will mark the return to a normal multi-level dialog between Russia and the US.

But besides the fact that talking is by definition good what else did the summit achieve?

Absolutely nothing. Nothing at all.

Oh sure, there were a number of general statements made about “positive discussions” and the like, and some vague references to various conflicts, but the truth is that nothing real and tangible was agreed upon. Furthermore, and this is, I believe, absolutely crucial, there never was any chance of this summit achieving anything. Why? Because the Russians have concluded a long time ago that the US officials are “non-agreement capable” (недоговороспособны). They are correct – the US has been non-agreement capable at least since Obama and Trump has only made things even worse: not only has the US now reneged on Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (illegally – since this plan was endorsed by the UNSC), but Trump has even pathetically backtracked on the most important statement he made during the summit when he retroactively changed his “President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be” into “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia” (so much for 5D chess!). If Trump can’t even stick to his own words, how could anybody expect the Russians to take anything he says seriously?! Besides, ever since the many western verbal promises of not moving NATO east “by one inch eastward” the Russians know that western promises, assurances, and other guarantees are worthless, whether promised in a conversation or inked on paper. In truth, the Russians have been very blunt about their disgust with not only the western dishonesty but even about the basic lack of professionalism of their western counterparts, hence the comment by Putin about “it is difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia“. It is quite obvious that the Russians agreed to the summit while knowing full well that nothing would, or even could, come out of it. This is why they were already dumping US Treasuries even before meeting with Trump (a clear sign of how the Kremlin really feels about Trump and the US).

So why did they agree to the meeting?

Because they correctly evaluated the consequences of this meeting.

The consequences of the summit: a unanimity of hatred and chaos

This is the proverbial case where the real “action is in the reaction” and, in this case, the reaction of the Neocon run US deep-state and its propaganda machine (the US corporate media) was nothing short of total and abject hysterics. I could list an immense number of quotes, statements and declarations accusing Trump of being a wimp, a traitor, a sellout, a Putin agent and all the rest. But I found the most powerful illustration of that hate-filled hysteria in a collection of cartoons from the western corporate media posted by Colonel Cassad on this page:

I won’t repost them here, but please do take the time to look at them and see for yourself what kind of message they hammer in. The message is brought from different angles and in different ways, but the overall unifying theme is this: Trump is infinitely evil, he sold out the US to Putin-the-Devil, and everything the American people hold as sacred and most dear to their hearts is now in immense danger. I have always liked cartoons and the way they disrespect and ridicule the powers that be, but what we see today is not humor, or disrespect or even virulent criticism. What we see today is a hate campaign against both Trump and Russia the likes of which I think the world has never seen before: even in the early 20th century, including the pre-WWII years when there was plenty of hate thrown around, there never was such a unanimity of hatred as what we see today. Furthermore, what is attacked is not just “Trump the man” or “Trump the politician” but very much so “Trump the President”. Please compare the following two examples:

  1. The US wars after 9/11: many people had major reservations about the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and the entire GWOT thing. But most Americans seemed to agree with the “we support our troops” slogan. The logic was something along the lines of “we don’t like these wars, but we do support our fighting men and women and the military institution as such”. Thus, while a specific policy was criticized, this criticism was never applied to the institution which implement it: the US armed forces.
  2. Trump after Helsinki: keep in mind that Trump made no agreement of any kind with Putin, none. And yet that policy of not making any agreements with Putin was hysterically lambasted as a sellout. This begs the question: what kind of policy would meet with the approval of the US deep state? Trump punching Putin in the nose maybe? This is utterly ridiculous, yet unlike in the case of the GWOT wars, there is no differentiation made whatsoever between Trump’s policy towards Putin and Trump as the President of the United States. There is even talk of impeachment, treason and “high crimes & misdemeanors” or of the “KGB” (dissolved 27 years ago but nevermind that) having a hand in the election of the US President.

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It would not be an exaggeration to say that the March 1st, 2018, speech of President Putin to the Federal Assembly, had a tectonic effect on the world public opinion. Initially, some tried to dismiss it as “Russian propaganda” and “bad CGI”, but pretty soon the reality hit hard, very hard: the Russians either had already deployed or were about to deploy weapon systems which were decades ahead of anything similar in the West and against which the West had no defensive measures.

For those interested in a good summary about these weapons, please check this rather well done RT video:

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, bluntly speaking of hypersonic weapons declared under oath that:

“Our defense is our deterrent capability. We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat.”

In plain English this means the following: there are only two ways to deter an attack – denial or punishment. Denial is when you prevent your adversary from striking you; punishment is when you make him pay dearly for the price of this attack. Punishment is a very tricky and undesirable situation, not only because it gives “escalation dominance” to the other side, but also because using nuclear capabilities against a peer or even higher than peer nuclear superpower like Russia basically entails collective suicide. Think of this in simple, practical terms. Say Russia disables or even sinks a US Navy carrier with a couple of hypersonic missiles. What would you do as a US President? The Russian Navy simply does not have as lucrative (and highly symbolic) target as a US aircraft carrier anyway, but even if you decided to strike at the Admiral Kuznetsov or the heavy nuclear missile cruiser Petr Velikii, would you risk using nukes even though the Russians might reply in kind? There is currently no US cruise missile capable of hitting, nevermind sinking, either the Kuznetsov or the Petr Velikii (who both have advanced air defenses which can easily defeat even a swarm of subsonic US anti-ship missiles, especially if they are escorted, which they will be).

The bottom line is this: the recent Russian advances in missile technology have basically made the US surface fleet pretty much useless in a conflict against Russia (and probably against China too). At the same time, Russian advances in air defenses have not only made the entire US ABM system basically useless, it also denies the US the cornerstone of all its tactics: air superiority. This reality is slowly but surely sinking in. This means that many billions of US tax dollars have gone to waste. Not only that, but the entire US military strategy is now obsolete.

But there is more bad news for the AngloZionist Empire: in a recent interview by General Iurii Borisov, Deputy Prime Minister for Defense and Space Industry named six weapons systems which, in his opinion, have no counterpart in western arsenals. These include two almost never (or very rarely) mentioned before:

  1. The “Sarmat” heavy MIRVed ICBM
  2. The Sukhoi Su-57 aka “PAKFA”, the 5th generation jet fighter being developed for air superiority and attack operations
  3. The revolutionary T-14 “Armata” main battle tank
  4. The long-range S-500 air defense system
  5. The mobile anti-satellite system “Nudol
  6. The ground-based mobile jamming system for satellite communications “Triada-2S

While the first four systems listed have been known for a while, very little is known about the Nudol ASAT or the Triada-2S jamming systems. A couple of years ago, in 2015, The Washington Free Beacon wrote one article about the Nudol system entitled “Russia Flight Tests Anti-Satellite Missile Moscow joins China in space warfare buildup” but I did not find anything at all in English about the Triada-2S. There are a few articles published about these two systems in Russian however, and I will summarize them here beginning with the Nudol system

The Nudol weapons system

Artists' representation of the Nudol weapons system

Artists’ representation of the Nudol weapons system

One Russian blogger posted what he says was a drawing of the Nudol system taken from an internal calendar of the Almaz-Antey Corporation. This is what Nudol is supposed to look like (see image). While still interesting, this image really reveals very little about Nudol. A transporter erector launcher (TEL) and two missile containers, just like in the S-300V, not much to go on. A Russian source identifies Nudol as part of a much larger system code-named “A-235/RTTs-181M/OKR Samolet-M” which is formed by integrating three separate systems, a long-range, intermediate range, and a short range. If true, this would indicate that while the Nudol missile launcher is mobile, it would probably have a targeting datalink from both mobile and fixed Russian air defense radars. In fact, the same source confirms that these systems will be fully integrated into the massive Don-2M (and, probably, the Voronezh and Darial) early warning radars. It appears that the Russians had been working on initial concepts for such a weapon system since the 1990s and that 30 years later, this system is still in development. However, some parts of it, such as the Nudol itself, seems to be near completion. It is also interesting to note here that the S-500 “Prometheus” system also mentioned by General Borisov, which is supposed to replace both the S-300s and the S-400s in the Russian armed forces also reportedly has (low-orbit) anti-satellite capabilities (along with anti-ballistic and anti-aircraft missile capabilities). While the specifics are still unclear, what appears to be happening is that the Russians have decided to build a multi-layered but fully integrated air defense, anti-ballistic and anti-satellite system and now that the US has fully withdrawn from the ABM Treaty, they are preparing to deploy it in the ABM and ASAT segments in the next couple of years.

The Triada-2S system

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Russia 
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