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First things first: let get the obvious out of the way

Homosexuality is a phenomenon which has probably always existed and which has often polarized society into two camps: those who believe that there is something inherently bad/wrong/pathological/abnormal with homosexuality (probably most/all major religions) and those who emphatically disagree. This is normal. After all, the issue of homosexuality deals not only with sex as such, but also with societal norms, reproduction, children and family issues and, most importantly, with love. What could be more mysterious, more fascinating and more controversial than love?

I am beginning this article with these self-evident truisms not because I find them particularly interesting, but because we live in a weird time when only one of these two views gets objectively and calmly discussed, while the other point of view is immediately censored, denounced and condemned as some kind of phobia. Now, the word “phobia” can mean one of two things: aversion/hatred or fear/anxiety.

Does this make sense to you?

Why is it that an opinion, a point of view, can only be explained away and dismissed as being in itself pathological/irrational?

Let me ask you this: can you imagine that somebody might be critical of homosexuality as such (or of homosexual behavior/practices) without suffering from any kind of phobias or without hating anybody?

If not, please stop reading and turn the TV back on.

For everybody else, I submit that this phobia-canard (along with the no less stupid “closet homosexual in denial” label) is not conducive to an intelligent discussion. It is, however, great to shut down any critical analyses and “ad homineming” anybody who dares to ask the wrong questions.

Next, I also submit that there are those existing out there who do indeed feel an aversion/hatred/fear/anxiety towards homosexuals. These are the folks who feel their masculinity tremendously boosted when they get the chance to beat up (preferably in a group against one), humiliate or otherwise assault a homosexual. In my (admittedly entirely subjective) experience these are a minority. True, some homosexuals do elicit a strong sense of disgust from male heterosexuals, but these are typically those homosexuals who, far from being sequestered in some societal “closet” do the opposite: they ostentatiously flaunt their homosexuality with provocative make-up, dress or behavior. Again, in my (no less subjective) experience, these are also a minority among homosexuals. I think that there is a very natural explanation for the aversion these “in your face” homosexuals trigger in male heteros, and I will discuss it later below.

But for the time being, I would rather stay away from these circumstance-specific minority phenomena.

Next, let’s define the issue

In its entry for “homosexuality” Wikipedia writesThe longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation, and therefore not a mental disorder”.

This sentence deserves to be parsed very carefully, especially since it uses a lot of frankly vague terms.

For starters, what does “longstanding consensus” refer to? In 1973 the US American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM-II. The US American Psychological Association followed suit in 1975. This leads me to conclude that by “longstanding” Wikipedia means either 46 years or 44 years. In terms of human history, 44/46 years is close to instantaneous and hardly “longstanding”. There is also the issue of HOW and WHY these two associations decided to “de-pathologize” homosexuality. I will touch upon that later, and for the time being I will simply state that declaring a pathology that is henceforth to be considered as “normal” by means of a vote is hardly scientific.

Next, the statement above begs the question of what “homosexuality per se” is (as opposed to homosexuality “not per se” I suppose?). The intent here is clear: to decree that whatever co-morbidity (depression, suicide, substance abuse, violence, etc.) can be identified in homosexuality will always get explained away because it is not inherent to homosexuality per se. This is just another crude word-trick to suppress any discussion of homosexuality in the real world (as opposed to DSM-like manuals).

Then there is the notion of “normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation” which, of course, begs the question of what would qualify as an “abnormal and negative variation of human sexuality”. And to those who would say that I am being silly here, I would point out that while in the 1970s the issue was “just” homosexuality, we nowadays live in the society of LGBTQIAPK and that some even add an ominous + sign at the end of this abbreviation (LGBTQIAPK +) just to be truly and totally “inclusive”. And here is the obvious fallacy: since homosexuality is a “normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation” then it must also be true for the entire LGBTQIAPK+ “constellation”. I submit that unless your IQ is way below room temperature you surely must realize that what we are dealing with here is a free for all in which any variation of human sexuality is declared “normal and positive”. QED (technically, this would be a syllogisic fallacy).

By the way – do you ever wonder what that small “+” sign at the end of LGBTQIAPK + really stands for? The answer depends on who you ask, of course, but if you ask Facebook in the UK, it’s no less that 71 (SEVENY ONE!!) genders (not sure if FB believes that UK users need more options than non-UK users…?). Turns out that this one small “+” is much bigger than the rest official acronym 🙂 And, just for giggles, here is what the full acronym (the original 10 plus the new 71 should look something like this:

AAAAAABBCCCCCCCCCCFFFFFFGGGGGGGHIIIIIKLMMMMMMMNNNOPPPQTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTW+ (yes, I still added the obligatory “+” at the end so as to be truly “inclusive” should this list grow in the future (which, no doubt, it will!).

And anybody not buying into that fallacy is, again by definition, a “hater” and, as you well know, “haters will hate,” right? And if not a hater, then at the very least a repressed closet homosexual.

So far, how do you like that intellectual environment?

I sure don’t. In fact, I loathe it, primarily because it is freedom-crushing.

So I will proceed to discuss this topic with no regard whatsoever for the politically correct doxa that seems to have take over the entire western world. If you think that this makes me a “hater” (or a homosexual in deep denial) you can stop reading here, since everything below could be summarized by the one word “crimethink”, which would make me a thought-criminal.

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This Spring saw a sudden increase in the volume of articles in the so-called “alternative media and blogosphere” about Putin “selling out” Syria or Iran to the Israelis and their US patrons, or both. What was particularly interesting about this campaign is that it was not triggered by any kind of event or statement by Putin or any other senior Russian decision-makers. True, Israeli politicians made numerous trips to Russia, but each time they walked away without anything tangible to show for their efforts. As for their Russian counterparts, they limited themselves to vague and well-intentioned statements. Nonetheless, the “Putin sold out to Netanyahu” campaign did not stop. Every meeting was systematically interpreted as The Clear Proof that the Zionists control the Kremlin and that Putin was doing Netanyahu’s bidding. The fact that this campaign began ex nihilo did not seem to bother most observers. Soon I started getting steady streams of emails asking me to react to these articles. My reply was always the same one: let’s do the opposite of what these supposed “specialists” are doing and wait for the facts to come out and only then form an opinion.

Truth be told, I had already tackled that canard in my article “Why is Putin “allowing” Israel to bomb Syria.” I also had tried to debunk some of the most persistent and toxic falsehoods about Russia and Israel in my article “Putin and Israel: A Complex and Multi-Layered Relationship.” I also wrote an article entitled “Is Putin Really Ready to “Ditch” Iran?” trying to debunk that stupid theory. Finally, I even tried to compare and contrast the Russian approach towards Israel (which I qualified as “self-interest”) with the attitude of the “collective West” (which I qualified as “prostitution”) in an article entitled “Russia, Israel and the Values of “Western Civilization” – Where Is the Truth?”.

I was naïve to think that any of my arguments would elicit any doubts amongst the “Putin is a traitor” crowd. After all, if being wrong for years could not convince them otherwise, no rational argument would.

Then, news agencies began to report that General Nikolai Patrushev, the Director of the Russian Federal Security Service and the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, would travel to Israel to meet with John Bolton and Bibi Netanyahu. At this point, the steady stream of concerned emails suddenly turned into a deluge! After all, why would such a high-ranking (and rather secretive) Russian official travel to Israel to meet two of the worst and most evil politicians of the Anglo-Zionist Empire? Surely, he had something important to say, no? The consensus (of sorts) was that Patrushev would sell out Iran and Syria in exchange for some (entirely theoretical, quite unlikely and inevitably vague) “concessions” on the Ukraine, Crimea or sanctions.

My reply remained the same. Let’s wait until these folks actually meet and let’s see if their meeting brings about something significant (as a rule, I find getting facts an essential first step before engaging in any analysis; apparently, my detractors feel otherwise).

So, again, I decided to wait.

Then something weird happened: the meeting took place, it was even reported (albeit mostly in general terms), the participants issued their statements and… …nothing. The outcome of the “Jerusalem summit” was greeted by a deafening silence and a few vapid commentaries. My first hunch was that, as the Russian saying goes, the “mountain had given birth to a mouse” and that nothing of importance came out of the summit. Boy, was I ever wrong!

The official Russian position on Iran

The summit did indeed produce something of vital significance, but for some reason, the most senior-official statement on Iran that any Russian decision-maker ever made received very little attention. Unless you happened to be a Saker blog reader, you would never find out about it.

See for yourself and click here: for both the video and the transcript.

To my knowledge, this is the only full-length English language transcript of Patrushev’s statement. (Ruptly posted a video dubbed in English, but it was hardly noticed. As for the transcript, to my knowledge it was never reposted in full).

Which is too bad, since the following words have now been spoken by one of the most authorized and high-ranking Russian officials to date: (emphasis added)

“We have emphasized an importance of easing of the tensions for the country (Syria) between Israel and Iran, by the way of implementation the mutual approaching steps. We have made an emphasis that Syria must not be turned into an arena for geopolitical confrontation. We have also highlighted the need for the international community to help Syria to rebuild its national economy. Among other things, Syria should be free of illegal trade restrictions, unilateral sanctions, as well as sanctions on economic operators that help Syria to rebuild. They also have to be free from all sanctions.

We also turned everyone’s attention to the relations of Syria and other Arab states that should be normalized again. Syria is once again should be a full-fledged member of the Arab League. Also, we pointed out an importance of establishing the contacts of Syrian government with its Kurdish ethnic minority. We stated of importance to unite the efforts to eliminate all remaining in Syria terrorists. We called for immediate disruption of all channels through which terrorists might be able to obtain weapon grade chemical materials and their precursors.

Russia, the United States and Israel should join their efforts to help peace to return to Syria.

In the context of the statements made by our partners with regard to a major regional power, namely Iran, I would like to say the following: Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner, with which we are consistently developing relations both on bilateral basis and within multilateral formats,

This is why we believe that it is inadmissible to describe Iran as the major threat to the regional security and, moreover, to put it on par with the Islamic State or any other terrorist organization, Especially, since Iran contributes substantial efforts to bring peace to Syria and to stabilize the situation in Syria.

We have called on our partners to show restraint and readiness for reciprocal steps, which must serve as the basis for the consistent advancement towards the easing of tensions in the Israeli-Iranian relations”

To my knowledge, this is the very first time that Russia has officially declared Iran not only as a partner but as an ally! A few days later, President Putin confirmed that this was an official position which had his imprimatur when he stated in his interview to the FT that:

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Iran, Israel, Russia, Syria 
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I recently received a copy of a most interesting book, A.B. Abrams’ “Power and Primacy: the history of western intervention in Asia” and as soon as I started reading it I decided that I wanted to interview the author and ask him about what is taking place in Asia in our times. This was especially interesting to me since Putin has embarked on the Russian version of Obama’s “pivot to Asia“, with the big difference that Putin’s pivot has already proven to be a fantastic success, whereas Obama’s was a dismal failure. I am most grateful to A.B. Abrams for his time and expertise.

The Saker: Please introduce yourself and your past and present political activities (books, articles, memberships, etc.)

A.B. Abrams: I am an expert on the international relations, recent history and geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region. I have published widely on defense and politics related subjects under various pseudonyms. I am proficient in Chinese, Korean and other regional languages.

I wrote this book with the purpose of elucidating the nature of Western intervention in the region over the past 75 years, and analyzing prominent trends in the West’s involvement in the Asia-Pacific from the Pacific War with Imperial Japan to the current conflicts with China and North Korea. I attempt to show that Western conduct towards populations in the region, the designs of the Western powers for the region, and the means by which these have been pursued, have remained consistent over these past decades. This context is critical to understanding the present and future nature of Western intervention in the Asia-Pacific.


The Saker: You have recently published a most interesting book Power and Primacy: the history of western interventions in Asia which is a “must read” for anybody interested in Asia-western relations. You included a chapter on “The Russian Factor in the Asia-Pacific”. Historically, there is no doubt that pre-1917 Russia was seen in Asia as a “Western” power. But is that still true today? Many observers speak of a Russian “pivot” to Asia. What is your take on that? Is Russia still perceived as a “Western power” in Asia or is that changing?

A.B. Abrams: In the introduction to this work I highlight that a fundamental shift in world order was facilitated by the modernization and industrialization of two Eastern nations – Japan under the Meiji Restoration and the USSR under the Stalinist industrialization program. Before these two events the West had retained an effective monopoly on the modern industrial economy and on modern military force. Russia’s image is still affected by the legacy of the Soviet Union – in particular the way Soviet proliferation of both modern industries and modern weapons across much of the region was key to containing Western ambitions in the Cold War. Post-Soviet Russia has a somewhat unique position – with a cultural heritage influenced by Mongolia and Central Asia as well as by Europe. Politically Russia remains distinct from the Western Bloc, and perceptions of the country in East Asia have been heavily influenced by this. Perhaps today one the greatest distinctions is Russia’s eschewing of the principle of sovereignty under international law and its adherence to a non-interventionist foreign policy. Where for example the U.S., Europe and Canada will attempt to intervene in the internal affairs of other parties – whether by cutting off parts for armaments, imposing economic sanctions or even launching military interventions under humanitarian pretexts – Russia lacks a history of such behavior which has made it a welcome presence even for traditionally Western aligned nations such as the Philippines, Indonesia and South Korea.

While the Western Bloc attempted to isolate the USSR from East and Southeast Asia by supporting the spread of anticommunist thought, this pretext for shunning Russia collapsed in 1991. Today the West has had to resort to other means to attempt to contain and demonize the country – whether labelling it a human rights abuser or threatening its economic and defense partners with sanctions and other repercussions. The success of these measures in the Asia-Pacific has varied – but as regional economies have come to rely less on the West for trade and grown increasingly interdependent Western leverage over them and their foreign policies has diminished.

Even when considered as a Western nation, the type of conservative Western civilization which Russia may be seen to represent today differs starkly from that of Western Europe and North America. Regarding a Russia Pivot to Asia, support for such a plan appears to have increased from 2014 when relations with the Western Bloc effectively broke down. Indeed, the Russia’s future as a pacific power could be a very bright one – and as part of the up and coming northeast Asian region it borders many of the economies which appear set to dominate in the 21st century – namely China, Japan and the Koreas. Peter the Great is known to have issued in a new era of Russian prosperity by recognizing the importance of Europe’s rise and redefining Russia as a European power – moving the capital to St Petersburg. Today a similar though perhaps less extreme pivot Eastwards towards friendlier and more prosperous nations may be key to Russia’s future.

The Saker: We hear many observers speak of an informal but very profound and even game-changing partnership between Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China. The Chinese even speak of a “strategic comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era“. How would you characterize the current relationship between these two countries and what prospects do you see for a future Russian-Chinese partnership?

A.B. Abrams: A Sino-Russian alliance has long been seen in both the U.S. and in Europe as one of the greatest threats to the West’s global primacy and to Western-led world order. As early as 1951 U.S. negotiators meeting with Chinese delegations to end the Korean War were instructed to focus on the differences in the positions of Moscow and Beijing in an attempt to form a rift between the two. Close Sino-Soviet cooperation seriously stifled Western designs for the Korean Peninsula and the wider region during that period, and it was repeatedly emphasized that the key to a Western victory was to bring about a Sino-Soviet split. Achieving this goal by the early 1960s and bringing the two powers very near to a total conflict significantly increased prospects for a Western victory in the Cold War, with the end of the previously united front seriously undermining nationalist and leftist movements opposing Western designs from Africa and the Middle East to Vietnam and Korea. Both states learned the true consequences of this in the late 1980s and early 1990s when there was a real risk of total collapse under Western pressure. Attempts to bring an end to China’s national revolution through destabilization failed in 1989, although the USSR was less fortunate and the results for the Russian population in the following decade were grave indeed.

• Category: Foreign Policy, History • Tags: American Military, Asia, China, Islam, Russia 
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The first thing to say here is that we have no means to know what really happened. At the very least, there are two possible hypotheses which could explain what took place:

1) a US provocation: it is quite possible that somebody in the US chain of command decided that Iran should be put under pressure and that having US UAV fly right next to, or even just inside, the international border of Iran would be a great way to show Iran that the US is ready to attack. If that is the case, this was a semi-success (the Iranians had to switch on their radars and attack the UAV which is very good for US intelligence gathering) and a semi-failure (since the Iranians were clearly unimpressed by the US show of resolve).

2) an Iranian provocation: yup, that is a theoretical possibility which cannot reject prima facie: in this scenario it was indeed the Iranians who blew up the two tankers last week and they also deliberately shot down the US UAV over international waters. The goal? Simple: to show that the Iranians are willing and ready to escalate and that they are confident that they will prevail.

Now, in the real world, there are many more options, including even mixes of various options. What matters is now not this, as much as Trump’s reaction:

Now, whether this was a US provocation or an Iranian one – Trump’s reaction was the only correct one. Why? Because the risks involved in any US “more than symbolic strike” would be so great as to void any rationale for such a strike in the first place. Think of it: we can be very confident that the Iranian military installations along the Persian Gulf and the southern border of Iran are highly redundant and that no matter how successful any limited US missile strike would have been, the actual military capabilities of Iran would not have been affected. The only way for the US to effectively degrade Iranian capabilities would be to have a sustained, multi-day, attack on the entire southern periphery of Iran. In other words, a real war. Anything short of that would simply be meaningless. The consequences of such an attack, however, would be, in Putin’s words “catastrophic” for the entire region.

If this was an Iranian provocation, then it was one designed to impress upon the Empire that Iran is also very much “locked, cocked and ready to rock”. But if that is the case, there is zero change that any limited strike would achieve anything. In fact, any symbolic US attack would only signal to the Iranians that the US has cold feet and that all the US sabre-rattling is totally useless.

I have not said such a thing in many months, but in this case I can only admit that Trump did the right thing. No limited attack also makes sense even if we assume that the Empire has made the decision to attack Iran and is just waiting for the perfect time. Why? Because the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

The basic theory of attack and defense clearly states that the attacking side can gain as a major advantage if it can leave the other side in the dark about its plans and if the costs of being ready for a surprise attack are lower than the costs of being on high alert (those interested in the role and importance of surprise attack in the theory of deterrence can read Richard Betts’ excellent book “Surprise Attack: lessons for defense planning“).

How true is this story about Trump canceling a US attack at the last minute? It is impossible to know, but it appears to me that it is certain that the nutcase Neocons around Trump wanted the strike. But it is also plausible (if by no means certain) that at least two groups could have opposed such a strike:

1) The planners at CENTCOM and/or the Pentagon.

2) The planners for Trump’s reelection campaign.

The first ones would lobby against such a strike simply on the sound military grounds mentioned above. As for the second group, they probably decided (correctly) that if Trump starts a war with Iran which nobody has an “exit strategy” for – this could result in a huge blowback for the entire region and kill Trump’s reelection chances.

In this case, whether Trump listened to either group or simply followed his gut instincts, it appears likely that Trump (maybe a “collective Trump”) said “no, I don’t authorize this”. In this case, he does deserve our sincere praise and gratitude (irrespective of this past actions and inactions).

In conclusion, I want to show the kind of fantastically stupid, mindbogglingly ignorant and criminally irresponsible war propaganda the so-called “conservative” US media outlets have been spewing. Check out this one:

Hannity’s flagwaving logorrhea is exactly the kind of total nonsense which will sooner or later result in a major military disaster followed by a collapse of the Empire itself (for a detailed outline of how this is likely to happen, please read John Michael Greer superb book “Twilight’s Last Gleaming“). The sheer number of counter-factual and plainly stupid things Hannity manages to squeeze into just under 7 minutes is, by itself, a remarkable feat.

Yes, it is a sad day when one has to rejoice that the US President is marginally less stupid and less ignorant than one of the big talking heads on the US idiot box, but these are truly tragic and extremely dangerous times. And in such times, we have to be grateful for anything, no matter how minimal, which pushes back the inevitable war in the Middle-East (or even the world).

This being said, where do we go from here?

Location of the attacks on tankers
Location of the attacks on tankers

My personal guesstimate and almost baseless speculation is that the attack on the two tankers was probably an Israeli false flag operation which failed to achieve its intended results. Notice that the attack itself did not take place inside Strait of Hormuz, but south of it, in comparatively more open waters were an Israeli submarine or specialized surface vessel had less changes to be spotted by the Iranians and a much better chance of escape (for example, take a look at the 2nd map shown below and see for yourself how the depth gradient rapidly drops in the Gulf of Oman).

When this attacked failed to achieve the desired effect, the Israelis and their Neocon agents decided to engage into another provocation, this time using a US drone. I find it likely that in terms of location, the drone was flying inside Iranian airspace, but probably still over water allowing the Empire do claims it’s usual (and CIA-created) cop-out of “plausible deniability” in case of shootdown.

When the Iranians shot down the US UAV, a lot of folks in the US probably wanted to find out exactly where this UAV was flying at the moment of intercept and since the Iranians probably have a lot of radar and EW data to prove that the UAV was inside the Iranian airspace the only safe course of action would have been to express all forms of protest but not to take unilateral (and, therefore illegal) action.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Donald Trump, Iran, Neocons 
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The topic of religion in Russia is a most interesting one, yet the majority of articles on this topic typically focus on Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism and, sometimes, Buddhism. Yet there are other religions in Russia and, in fact, there have always been. When I learned that an active member of the Saker community, Edik (pseudonym), was a Quaker I asked him for an interview. I was curious, how does a member of a relatively small denomination view modern Russia and the role of religion in the Russian society. I am very grateful to Edik for this replies.

The Saker

The Saker: please explain what a Quaker is and how you became one?

Edik: “Quaker” is a member of the Religious Society of Friends, a small Protestant movement which was founded in England in the 1640s. Our formal name comes from John 15:15, in which Jesus says “Henceforth I do not call you servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does; but I have called you friends…”. Initially, “Quaker” was a derisive nickname used by outsiders because many early members of the movement used to tremble during worship, from the intensity of their emotions. The name has, however, now ended up in common usage, including by us.

Quaker belief is based on direct experience of Jesus Christ, often described as an “inward light” who illuminates our sin and brings us through it to salvation. We believe that every person has the capacity to experience the light of Christ. Quakers try to do so through silent, or “unprogrammed”, worship. This involves silently and patiently waiting upon the Holy Spirit, without hymns, sermons or other ceremonies. On occasion, a person may feel led by the Holy Spirit to offer a verbal testimony which the meeting will listen to and consider in silence. The reason that Quaker worship does not involve creeds, hymns, liturgies and rituals is that we feel these might distract us from the Inward Light (although, since the 19th century, some Quaker meetings do set aside part of the meeting for the singing of hymns, separately from the unprogrammed worship). As we emphasise direct experience of God, we do not have clergy or churches (our attitude is that any gathering of the faithful is the church, rather than a man-made structure).

The unstructured nature of the Quaker organisation and belief system has resulted in a great diversity of practice among Quakers. However, we all subscribe to the core principles of equality, integrity, simplicity and peace. These principles call on us to treat every person with respect; be truthful and honest; lead a simple life that avoids wasteful or frivolous consumption; and to reject all forms of violence. Quakers have put these principles into practice by, for example, being early opponents of slavery; dealing fairly with the Native American nations in the US (unlike many of the other European colonists); and, more recently, actively opposing militarism and the arms trade, and promoting non-violent ways to resolve disputes.

As to how I came to Quakerism, like many others, this happened through a period of inner conflict. I’d actually had a fairly religious (Protestant) upbringing with regular attendance at services and Bible study, but having religion forced on me turned me into a determined atheist. After school I was focused on my career, making money, owning things, friends, relationships, travel. I practically never thought about religion and when I did it was usually in a negative context. By the time I was in my mid-40s though, I did feel a vague dissatisfaction with life – in particular work, career and money no longer held the same interest. On the contrary, I’d seen a lot of politics, insincerity and dishonesty in the corporate world and it disillusioned me. But I just continued what I was doing, although it was largely going through the motions. It took a tragedy that befell a close friend of mine to shock me into thinking that there had to be something more in life than material things that could disappear on the turn of a coin. One night shortly after, when I couldn’t sleep, I decided to surf the internet. I don’t know what prompted me to google “Quakers” but I did this and started reading about Quakerism on Wikipedia. What I read about the Quakers and their beliefs stirred something in me so I decided to find the nearest Quaker meeting. Not sure about whether there would be Quakers in Russia, I decided to try attending a Quaker meeting for worship in London. I had never experienced anything like it, I felt as though the silent worship brought me close to the presence of God yet at the same time I was in room with other worshippers who were also sharing in that Presence. Totally different from the sort of religion that I had grown up with. I’ve been attending Quaker meetings for almost 4 years now.

The Saker: Russia has 5 “traditional religions” Russian Orthodoxy, several other Christian denominations, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. Quakers are not on the list. Has that been a problem for you?

Edik: It has not been a problem for me (nor have I heard of other Quakers facing issues because of this). My personal view is that because Quakers have always been outside the mainstream – even in England, where we were persecuted for almost 200 years – we do not consider it relevant to our spiritual life to be part of a “traditional religion” in any country. The number of Quakers in Russia has never been substantial so it would be rather presumptuous of us to try and claim the same status as Orthodox Christianity, Judaism or Islam!

Today, there are probably fewer than 100 Quakers in Russia, mostly in and around Moscow. Not being recognised as a “traditional religion” of Russia doesn’t really affect us in practice. We don’t engage in proselytising and our meetings for worship are very low-key. Therefore, we don’t need to have a large organisation or to own real estate here in Russia. We do raise money for a couple of Russian charities but otherwise, individual Quakers volunteer their personal time to engage in activities that are close to the ideals of Quaker faith – helping children with disabilities or refugees, and running workshops on alternatives to violence. I’m sure the authorities are aware that we exist – we are open about our meetings and activities – but I suspect that we’re just too low profile and unimportant for them to really care.

The Saker: What is your personal observation about the degree of religiosity of most Russians? What percentage would you say is really religious and what percentage are just superficially “culturally” religious?

Edik: In general, I think that most Russians are more concerned with the issues of day-to-day living (as I was for many years of my life) and don’t think about spiritual issues very much. I would say that a large majority (perhaps as many as 80%) of ethnic Russians identify with Orthodox Christianity. Within this group, I estimate that three quarters treat Orthodoxy primarily as a cultural affiliation – ie., part of being a “Russian” – and are only occasional practitioners (eg., they baptise their children, observe religious funeral rites, wear a crucifix and perhaps attend a church service two or three times a year but not much more than that). My impression, just by speaking to people (not very scientific, I know!) is that many believe in God in an abstract way; that is, if asked, they would say that He probably exists but are otherwise not very interested in His nature or our relationship with Him.

• Category: Foreign Policy, Ideology • Tags: Christianity, Russia 
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Introduction by the Saker:

For a while now we have been lucky enough to have a wonderful Iranian member of the Saker community writing analyses for the Saker Blog: Aram Mirzaei has brought a wealth of expertise and priceless insights into Iran and everything Iran-related. Clearly, after the DPRK, Syria and Venezuela – Iran is now the target of Trump’s ignorant hubris and threats and it is therefore extremely important to debunk AngloZionist propaganda about Iran and its role and actions in the Middle-East. This interview with Aram Mirzaei is just the first step of a major effort by the Saker community to report more often about Iran. Expect much more in the near future. In the meantime, I will let Aram introduce himself and then reply to my questions.

The Saker

My name is Aram Mirzaei, I’m 30 years old and live somewhere in Europe. Originally, I hail from western Iran, a place that is deeply rooted in my heart. Ever since my teenage years, I’ve had a passion for history and politics, a trait I inherited from my mother who was an Iranian revolutionary. Naturally, this passion made me choose to study political science all the way up to my Master’s degree. Having supported my country against foreign threats my entire adult life, I became an activist for the Resistance Axis when the Syrian War broke out in 2011 and have combined my passion for writing and politics, to contribute to the propaganda fight that runs in parallel with the fighting on the ground. Thus, I have endulged myself in anything related to Iran, in an effort to have a complete understanding of the land that I was born in and where my forefathers once dwelled in. Aside from these interests, I also love philosophy, sociology, religion, football (soccer) and trading, with a specific focus on crypto currencies.

The Saker: Please explain what an “Islamic Republic” is and how it is different from any other republic? What makes the Iranian political system unique? How democratic (vs theocratic) is it? Do you consider Iran to be a democratic country (in the sense that the will of the people is the highest, sovereign, authority)?

Aram Mirzaei: These are very relevant questions as this issue is something most outsiders have a hard time understanding. Growing up in the West, I myself had a hard time understanding this system until I read Imam Khomeini’s manifesto: Islamic Governance – rule of the jurisprudence. Here, Khomeini offers a very unique viewpoint and insight into his ideas of a modern Islamic form of government. Khomeini views the Western democratic system as a foreign way of governance, not suited for Muslim countries, while he also correctly identifies the deep flaws within the contemporary Islamic forms of governance, that they are outdated monarchies prone to corruption and decadence.

Simply put, Khomeini offers a compromise between Western Democracy and Islamic Sharia law. To understand this form of government, one must understand the background of Shia Islamic scholarship and the theological debate regarding Islamic government. As many already know, modern Twelver Shia faith rest on the pillar of the Occultation, the belief that the messianic figure, also known as Mahdi, who in Shia theology is the last (Twelfth) infallible male descendant (Imam) of the prophet Mohammad, was born but disappeared, and will one day return and fill the world with justice and peace. In this time of post-Occultation the theory of Velayat-e Faqih (Rule of the Jurisprudence), holds that Islam shall give a Faqih (Islamic jurist) custodianship over the people, in the absence of the Hidden Imam.

The doctrine of Velayat-e Faqih has been an issue that has divided the Shia Islamic scholars between the ideas of a so called Limited Guardianship and an Absolute Guardianship of the jurisprudence. Traditionally, Limited Guardianship has been the dominant interpretation where Mujtahids (Islamic scholars) have left secular power to the monarchs while the Ulema’s (clerical class) role has been limited to non-litigious affairs. This interpretation holds that the Ulema should only assume an advisory role to the monarch who is responsible for the task of protecting the country. For centuries, especially during the time of the Safavid Shahs, Iran was ruled this way, with the Ulema assuming an advisory role in the royal court of the Shahs. Only during the Pahlavi dynasty of the 20th century did this begin to change as Reza Shah Pahlavi, initiated radical secular changes to the Iranian society as a whole.

The idea of Absolute Guardianship hails from the belief that collective affairs fall under the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist. Before Khomeini, there had been a few scholars arguing for Absolute Guardianship, yet none of them gained the amount of influence as Khomeini did. He presented the concept as necessary to protect and preserve Islam during the Occultation of the Imam. According to Khomeini, a society should be governed by those who are the most knowledgeable about Islamic law, this is his main argument in what an Islamic Government actually is. In his manifesto, Khomeini argues that monarchy is un-Islamic. In a true Islamic state, those holding government posts should have knowledge of Sharia, as well as having intelligence and administrative ability. Thus the monarchy becomes redundant in such a governing system, paving the way for a Republic to take its place instead. Specifically Khomeini argued that the un-Islamic government “though it may be made up of elected representatives does not truly belong to the people” in the case of Muslim countries.

Where Shia Mujtahids have tended to remain outside the active political sphere, Khomeini argues that leading Mujtahids also have inherited the Prophet’s political authority by explicating several ahadiths of the Shia Imams. An example is his analysis of a saying attributed to the first Imam, Ali who in addressing a judge said:

The seat you are occupying is filled by someone who is a prophet, the legatee of a prophet, or else a sinful wretch.”

Khomeini reasons that the term judges must refer to trained fuqaha (jurists) as they are “by definition learned in matters pertaining to the function of judge” , and since trained jurists are neither sinful wretches nor prophets, by process of elimination “we deduce from the tradition quoted above that the fuqaha are the legatees.” He explains that legatees of the prophet have the same power to command Muslims as the Prophet Muhammad and (in Shia belief) the Imams. Thus, the saying, `The seat you are occupying is filled by someone who is a prophet, the legatee of a prophet, or else a sinful wretch,` demonstrates that Islamic jurists have the power to rule Muslims.

According to the constitution of Iran, an Islamic republic is defined as a state ruled by the Fuqaha. In accordance with Qur’an and on the basis of two principles of the trusteeship and the permanent Imamate (bloodline of the Prophet), it is counted as a function of the jurists. Also it is explained that only the jurists that are upright, pious and committed experts on Islam are entitled to rule . Also those who are informed of the demands of the times and known as God-fearing, brave and qualified for leadership. In addition they must hold the religious office of Marja (the highest rank in the Shia clerical establishment) and be permitted to deliver independent judgments on general principles (fatwas). The Marja has only the right to rule the Islamic Republic for as long as the Twelfth and final Imam remains in Occultation.

In this sense, the Islamic Republic of Iran is unique in comparison to other so called “Islamic Republics” such as Pakistan and Afghanistan as they are governed by secular constitutions and are only Islamic Republics by name rather than in practice.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, Iran, Islam 
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We all know that the Neocons are by far the largest and most influential group of sponsors of US wars of aggression. They are the ones who lobbied the hardest for the invasion of Iraq, and they are the ones which for decades have tried every possible dirty trick to lure the US into acts of aggression against Iran. In fact, in terms of international law, the Neocons could be seen as a gang of international war criminals. Why? Because, as I have already pointed out several times, according to the fundamental positions of the Nuremberg Tribunal, the worst crime possible is not genocide or any other crime against humanity. The worst possible crime is the crime of aggression because, according to the experts who set up the Nuremberg Tribunal, the crime of aggression “contains” all the other crimes (by the way, the International Criminal Court takes the same position). In the words of the chief American prosecutor at Nuremberg, Robert H. Jackson, “to initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” By that definition, every single US President would be a war criminal (at least as far as I know; if you can think of a US President who did not commit the crime of aggression – including against Native Americans! – please let me know). As for the Neocons, they could be fairly characterized as a “criminal conspiracy to commit the crime of aggression.” In a sane world, that would make them international pariahs on par with the al-Qaeda crazies (who, whether they realize it or not, were federated by the US Neocons and are still their hired guns not so much against the West but mostly against all the other (non-Takfiri) forms of Islam, primarily Hezbollah and Iran). In fact, while most are still afraid to say so publicly, I believe that there is a growing realization amongst political analysts that the Neocons are a dangerous international gang of warmongering thugs.

What is, however, less known is that inside the US, the Neocons and their allies have been a prime force to dismantle the Bill of Rights, especially the First and Second Amendments.

Today, I want to give a simple yet telling example of how this kind of stuff is quietly happening with very little opposition. And for that example, I will use the US state in which I am currently living, Florida.

Check out this stunning sequence of events:

On April 11th the FL House unanimously (114-0) passed a House Bill 741 which would define anti-Semitism as:

  • “A certain perception of the Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people.”
  • “Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities.”

The bill also provides many examples of “anti-Semitism,” including:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews, often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Accusing Jews as a people or the State of Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.

The bill also provides that examples of anti-Semitism related to Israel include:

  • Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel.
  • Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.

On April 29th Governor DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet met in Jerusalem (not a joke!) to proclaim their support for “the Jewish state” (sic) and declare that DeSantis will be the most pro-Israel governor in “America” (sic). The fact that holding that meeting abroad is a violation of Florida law did not bother anybody (except The Florida First Amendment Foundation which filed a lawsuit against this outrage). Neither did the fact that Israel is the last openly and officially racist state on our planet. Sadly, Florida is hardly an exception, two dozen other states (including Texas) have passed similar laws.

The tiny little fig-leaf covering the real anti-civil-rights nature of such laws is the cop-out that such laws do not technically violate the First Amendment since they “only” apply to schools (FL) or that they do not ban free speech as such, but “only” allow for disinvestment from corporations and individuals who dare to profess the “wrong” point of view about Israel (TX).

This is, of course, utter nonsense.

Since the Neocons cannot openly come out and declare “let’s abolish the First Amendment”, they use what I would call a “legislative death by a thousand cuts” meaning that rather than openly repealing the First Amendment, they simply neuter it by imposing innumerable small limitations, regulations, interpretations, restrictions, etc. etc. etc (by the way, that is how the US elites are currently also trying to dismantle the Second Amendment).

As somebody who studied in the US and obtained two diplomas here (1986-1991), I can attest that before 9/11 US schools and campuses were a wonderful Petri dish for all sorts of opinions and ideas, including very controversial ones. The freedom of speech on US colleges was total, and it was understood and expected that all opinions and ideas were to compete on their intrinsic merits and not carefully parsed for any sign of crimethink. This has now totally changed: with a few exceptions, most US schools (including many colleges!) have now become ideologically monolithic, and the only possible opinion is total hatred for Trump and unconditional support for the Clinton gang.

The most toxic aspect of these freedom-crushing laws is that they are deliberately directed at the young because the ruling plutocracy fully appreciates the fact that young people are far easier to mold ideologically, to indoctrinate. Add to this that the bulk of the US “educational” system (along with the US corporate media) is designed to actually stupidify students and make them compliant (the exact opposite of what “education” is supposed to achieve) since all that is required from 90+% of the US population are just the basic skill-sets needed to serve their overlords and ruling elites (the remaining top 10% of schools are mostly reserved for the children of the ruling US nomenklatura such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.).

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As predicted, Putin’s popularity takes a nosedive.

This fact is not often discussed in the West, but the popularity of Vladimir Putin is in decline and has been so ever since, following his reelection, he kept more or less the same (already unpopular) government while that government very clumsily attempted to “sneak by” undetected a pension reform. Now the latest numbers are in, and they are not good: only 31.7% of Russians trust Vladimir Putin, that is his worst score in 13 years! His score last year was 47.4% (by the way, Shoigu got only 14.8%, Lavrov got 13%, and Medvedev got 7.6%. These are terrible scores by any measure!)

I have been warning about this for a while now (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here), and we now can try to understand what happened.

These are the faces most Russians are fed-up with
These are the faces most Russians are fed-up with

First, it is obvious that millions of Russians (including yours truly) were deeply disappointed that Putin did not substantially reorganize the Russian government following his triumphant reelection last year. Putin himself is on record saying two things about that: first, that he is generally happy with the performance of the government and, second, that he needs an experienced team to implement his very ambitious reform program (more about that in a moment).

Second, it is equally obvious that the pension reform is profoundly unpopular and that Putin’s personal credibility has never recovered from this political fiasco.

Third, and this is the most overlooked and yet most interesting development – there is a real opposition gradually emerging in Russia. What do I mean by “real”? First, I mean not a “pretend opposition” as we see in the Russian Duma (which is a glorified rubber-stamping parliament). Second, I mean a patriotic opposition which is neither financed nor controlled by Mr. Soros nor the CIA nor any of their innumerable offshoots. The problem is that this opposition has many severe problems and that it completely fails to present an alternative to the current “Putinocracy.”

Here we need to state something significant: Putin is indeed a “liberal,” at least in terms of economic policies. When he says that he is happy (“on the whole”) with the performance of the Medvedev government, it is because he probably is. Furthermore, while Putin apparently likes to listen to folks like Glaziev, he is clearly wary of implementing the more “social” (or even “socialist”) measures advocated by Glaziev and his supporters.

But if Putin is a liberal, is there really a 5th column acting behind the scenes?

This being said, it would be wrong to jump to the primitive conclusion that there is no 5th column (or no “Atlantic Integrationists”) in the Kremlin or in the Staraya Square. In fact, it would be impossible for such a 5th column not to exist. How do we know that? For three very basic reasons

  • The AngloZionist leaders of the Empire absolutely hate Putin. Those pretending to deny that are either terminally dishonest or fantastically stupid. Either way, they are wrong. Simply put: by the late 1990s Russia as a country was quasi-dead, finished, something like the Ukronazi occupied Ukraine today. Not only has Putin single-handedly saved Russia from collapse, he turned Russia into a power capable of defeating the plans of the Empire not only in Syria but also in the rest of the Middle-East. Yes, all the accusations of “collusion” and “hacking” are verbal prolefeed for TV-watching intellectual midgets, but that does not mean that the leaders don’t have real, factual and logical reasons to fear Putin and Russia. They do. And they are doing everything in their power to weaken Russia and overthrow Putin.
  • Most of the Russian elites achieved their elite status in the 1990s (some even in the 1980s!), and many of them hate Putin for putting a stop to the total robbery bonanza which made it possible for these people to not only come to power but also make a killing financially. As for the so-called “economic block” of the Russian government, it is entirely made up of what I loosely call the “WTO/IMF/WB/etc.” -Types: folks who sincerely endorse the so-called “Washington Consensus.” The very least one could say about these folks is that their worldview and ideology are not only totally alien to traditional Russian values, they are in fact profoundly anti-Russian. For these folks to become the 5th column is the most natural development.
  • The system which Putin inherited was one deeply integrated with the AngloZionist sphere of financial, economic, political, and social influence. While western sanctions (and general political shortsightedness) severed many of these ties (thank you to the Neocons for their life-saving sanctions and, especially, hysterically Russophobic propaganda!), there are very few cases (if any) of Russians severing such ties. Some believe that Putin sincerely wanted Russia to join NATO or/and the EU. I don’t agree with that, but whether he was sincere or not, the fact is that Putin did initially try to court the West. The fact that the West was too stupid to see the fantastic opportunity this situation was offering is yet another powerful testimony of how incompetent western “area specialists” have become.

Putin’s 2007 “Munich speech” should have acted like an urgent wake-up call to the leaders of the West, but they lacked the brains and courage to listen to what Putin was saying. The same thing happened during Putin’s 2015 speech at the UNGA. To his internal Russian audience, Putin bluntly said, when asked if the West was trying to “humiliate” Russia: “They do not want to humiliate us, they want to subdue us, solve their problems at our expense.” Personally, I believe that Putin, as any other officer of the First Main Directorate (foreign intelligence) of the KGB always understood that the West was a mortal enemy of Russia and that this has been true for at least 1000 years. Thus I think that it would be naive to believe that Putin ever “trusted” the West. But did he deliberately give that impression for as long as it could serve his purposes? Yes, absolutely. Now, this period is clearly over.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Neocons, Neoliberalism, Russia, Vladimir Putin 
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Last week saw what was supposed to be a hyperpower point fingers for its embarrassing defeat not only at Venezuela, which successfully defeated Uncle Shmuel’s coup plans, but also at a list of other countries including Cuba, Russia, China and Iran. It’s is rather pathetic and, frankly, bordering on the comically ridiculous.

Uncle Shmuel clearly did not appreciate being the laughingstock of the planet.

Eviction Notice of the USSS
Eviction Notice of the USSS

And as Uncle Shmuel always does, he decided to flex some muscle and show the world “who is boss” by…

blockading the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC.

But even that was too much for the MAGA Admin, so they also denied doing so (how lame is that!?)

Which did not prevent US activists of entering the embassy (legally, they were invited in and confirm it all).

Now the US Secret Service wants to evict the people inside the building.

So much for the CIA’s beloved “plausible deniability” which now has morphed into “comical deniability”.

If you think that all this sounds incredibly amateurish and stupid – you are 100% correct.

In the wonderful words of Sergei Lavrov, the US diplomats have “lost the taste for diplomacy“.

But that was not all.

In an act of incredible courage the US, which was told (by the Israelis, of course!), that the Iranians were about to attack “somewhere”, Uncle Shmuel sent two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Middle-East. In a “daring” operation, the brilliant USAF pilots B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf to “send a message” to the “Mollahs”: don’t f*ck with us or else…

The “Mollahs” apparently were unimpressed as they simply declared that “the US carriers were not a threat, only a target“.

The AngloZionists apparently have also executed a false flag operation to get a pretext to strike Iran, but so far this seems to have gotten rather little traction in the region (so far – this might change).

Lavrov reacting to the latest US threats
Lavrov reacting to the latest US threats

Now let’s leave this “Kindergarten level of operations” and try to make some sense from this nonsense.

First, while the American can pour scorn on the Iranians, call them ragheads, terrorists, Mollahs, sand-niggers or confuse them with Iraqis or even think that Iranian are Arabs (as, apparently, are the Turks, at least by the US common standard of ignorance), the truth is that the Iranians are world-class and most sophisticated players, especially their superb analytical community. They fully understand that a B-52 anywhere near the Iranian airspace is a sitting duck and that if the Americans were planning to strike Iran, they would pull their aircraft carrier far away from any possible Iranian strikes. As for the B-52, they have long range cruise missiles and they don’t need to get near Iran to deliver they payloads.

In fact, I think that the proper way to really make the Iranians believe that Uncle Shmuel means business would be to flush any and all US ships out of the Persian Gulf, to position the B-52s in Diego Garcia and to place the carriers as far away as possible to still be able to support a missile/bomb attack on Iranian targets. And you can bet that the Iranians keep very close tabs on exactly what CENTCOM aircraft are deployed and where. To attack Iran the US would need to achieve a specific concentration of forces and support elements which are all trackable by the Iranians. My guess is that the Iranians already have a full list of all CENTCOM officers down to the colonel level (and possibly even lower for airmen) and that they already know exactly which individual USAF/USN aircraft are ready to strike. One could be excused to think that this is difficult to do, but in reality is is not. I have personally seen it done.

Second, the Americans know that the Iranians know that (well, maybe not Mr MAGA, but folks at the DIA, ONI, NSA, etc. do know that). So all this sabre-rattling is designed to show that Mr MAGA has tons of hair on his chest, it’s all for internal US consumption. As for the Iranians, they have already heard any and all imaginable US threats, they have been attacked many times by both the US and Israel (directly or by proxy), and they have been preparing for a US attack ever since the glorious days of Operation Eagle Claw: they are as ready as they can be, you can take that to the bank. Finally, the terrorist attack by the USN on a civilian Iranian airliner certainly convinced the Iranians that the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire lack even basic decency, nevermind honor. Nevermind the use of chemical warfare by Iraq against Iran with chemicals helpfully provided by various US and EU companies (with the full blessing of their governments). No – the Iranians truly have no illusions whatsoever about what the Shaytân-e Bozorg is capable of in his rage.

Third, “attacking embassies” is a glaring admission of terminal weakness. That was true for the seizure of Russian consular buildings, and this is true for the Venezuelan embassy. In the real (supra-Kindergarten) world when country A has a beef with country B, it does not vent its frustration against its embassy. Such actions are not only an admission of weakness, but also a sign of a fundamental lack of civilization.

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It is sometimes helpful not to look at any one specific issue in detail, but rather make a survey of ongoing processes instead. The resulting picture is neither better nor worse, it is simply different. This is what I want to do today: to take a bird’s eye view of our suffering planet.

Putin trolls the Empire

It is all really simple: if the Ukrainians will give passports to Russian citizens, and we in Russia will be handing out passports to the Ukrainians, then sooner or later will will reach the expected result: everybody will have the same citizenship. This is something which we have to welcome.

Vladimir Putin

It appears that the Kremlin is very slowly changing its approach to the Ukrainian issue and is now relying more on unilateral actions. The first two measures taken by the Russians are maybe not “too little too late”, but certainly “just the bare minimum and at that, rather late”. Still, I can only salute the Kremlin’s newly found determination. Specifically, the Kremlin has banned the export of energy products to the Ukraine (special exemptions can still be granted on a case by case basis) and the Russians have decided to distribute Russian passports to the people of Novorussia. Good.

Zelenskii’s reaction to this decision came as the first clear sign that the poor man has no idea what he is doing and no plan as to how to deal with the Russians. He decided to crack a joke, (which he is reportedly good at), and declare that the Ukrainian passport was much better than the Russian one and that the Ukraine will start delivering Ukrainian passports to Russian citizens. Putin immediately replied with one of his typical comebacks declaring that he supports Zelenskii and that he looks forward to the day when Russians and Ukrainians will have the same citizenship again. Zelenskii had nothing to say to that 🙂

Zelenskii finally finds something common to Russia and the Ukraine

I have been thinking long about this “a lot in common” between Ukraine and Russia. The reality is that today, after the annexation of the Crimea and the aggression in the Donbas, of the “common” things we have only one thing left – this is the state border. And control of every inch on the Ukrainian side, must be returned by Russia. Only then will we be able to continue the search for [things in] “common”

Vladimir Zelenskii

Well, almost. He did eventually make a Facebook post in which he declared that all that Russia and the Ukraine had in common was a border. This instantly made him the object of jokes and memes, since all Russians or Ukrainians know that Russia and the Ukraine have many old bonds which even 5 years of a vicious civil war and 5 years of hysterically anti-Russian propaganda could not sever. They range from having close relatives in the other country, to numerous trade and commercial transactions, to a common language. The closest thing to a real Ukrainian language would be the Surzhik which is roughly 50/50 in terms of vocabulary and whose pronunciation is closer to the south Russian one than to the Zapadenskii regional dialect spoken in the western Ukraine and which is used (and currently imposed) by the Ukronazi junta in Kiev.

The malignant manatee threatens the planet with fire and brimstone

We have Pompeo, a malignant manatee looking to start wars in which he will not risk his flabby amorphous ass also parading his Christianity. Bolton, a mean sonofabitch who belongs in a strait jacket, at least doesn’t pose as someone having a soul. And the Golden Tufted Cockatoo, too weak to control those around him, preening and tweeting. God save us.

Fred Reed

The term “malignant manatee” is not from me, the brilliant Fred Reed came up with this one, but I can only fully endorse it because it fits. Perfectly. And our malignant manatee sure is on a roll! Just this week he managed to threaten Venezuela, Iran, and even Russia and China together. I think that it is high time to declare that Pompeo is a bona fide nutcase, a dangerous, arrogant and ignorant psychopath whose crazy statements represent a direct threat to the entire planet. Not to say that his pal Bolton is any less crazy. Now combine these two rabid thugs with the spineless “Golden Tufted Cockatoo” (to use Fred Reed’s equally hilarious but accurate characterization) and you see that the planet is in big, big trouble.

Turns out that Putin is a crypto-Zionist and an Israeli puppet.

Here I won’t even bother with any quotes. The alternative Internet/blogosphere has, again, been hit by a wave of articles declaring that Putin is Netanyahu’s puppet and a crypto-Zionist. I have debunked that nonsense in the past (see here and here) and I won’t repeat it all here. Besides, what this surge in “Putin the Zionist” propaganda is, is not so much the result of a gradual realization about the true agenda or Putin himself as much as it is, yet again, a desperate scramble for clicks. I already discussed that recently too (see here). I will just reiterate my conclusion here: clickbaiters are never experts and experts are never clickbaiters.

Frankly, to all those who email me and ask “Is it really true? Putin is an Israeli puppet? He helps Netanyahu in Syria, does he not?!” I would suggest simply looking at what the Israelis and Zionists write about Putin (for starters, you can click here, here or here). Even better, ask the defenders of Putin the crytpo-Zionist to explain the hysterically anti-Putin campaign the US legacy Ziomedia has been engaged in for the past years! But don’t hold your breath for an answer – since Russia has comprehensively foiled all Israel’s many plans for Syria, it takes a remarkable determination not to see that Putin is hated by Neocons and Zionists alike, and for good cause, I would add.

Oh, and Putin is a crypto-Muslim too!

Yes, besides being a crypto-Zionist, Putin is also a crypto-Muslim. This latest nonsense usually comes from Alt-Right circles who can forgive Putin his friendliness to Israel, but not to Islam. These are the folks who believe that Putin is not a real defender of the “White Race”. They are opposed by those who believe that Putin and the Moscow Patriarchate will somehow jump-start the “Christian West”. We are talking about some hardcore “single-issue” folks here whose main disagreement is whether Jews or Muslims are to be hated (and feared!) most.

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