A few short comments about the Fascist coup in Bolivia

November 12, 2019

Source

These are the folks who just came to power:

They are all members of some kind of Fascist “Christian” cult.

This is what these folks did with those who dare oppose them:

Trump loves this.  He called it a

significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere” and then he proceeded to threaten two more Latin American states by saying “these events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere”.

Old Uncle Shmuel is still hard at work

In fact, he has a very good point.  What this latest coup signals to all patriotic Latin Americans who want to see their continent free from US oppression is this: if you want to openly defy the diktats of the Empire, make absolutely sure the commanders of your armed forces are loyal to you.  Furthermore, you should never forget that the most powerful weapon of the Empire is not its bloated and mostly clueless military force, but its ability to use corruption to obtain by the printing press what they cannot seize by brute force.

So far, Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua have been successful in their resistance against Uncle Shmuel.  Likewise, there seems to be an internal (and covert) “hidden patriotic opposition” inside the Brazilian military (at least according to my Brazilian contacts) which might limit the damage done by the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and the coup against Lula da Silva (for example, the Brazilian military has declared that they will not allow Brazil or Brazilian forces to be used in an attack against Venezuela).

Finally, the absolutely shameful behavior of many Latin American countries whose comprador elites are trying to catch up with Poland as the most abjectly subservient voluntary slaves of the Empire.  These countries all know that both Maduro in Venezuela or Morales in Bolivia were honestly elected and that all the rumors about a stolen election are nothing more than crude lies.  In sharp contrast, the so-called “US allies” in the region are all spineless prostitutes who are in power solely because of the support of the AngloZionist Empire.

In 1971 an Uruguayan journalist named Eduardo Galeano wrote a seminal book entitled “Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina” which was eventually translated into English under the title “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent“.  This extremely famous book (at least in Latin America) is as actual in 2019 as it was almost half a century ago: the veins of Latin America are still bleeding and the folks doing the bloodletting have not changed one bit.

The only good news so far is that the US-backed regimes in Latin America are all facing various levels of protests and dissatisfaction which might lead to popular protests which could eventually remove the comprador elites once again, but this time around the leaders of the resistance need to truly understand that winning a popular vote is simply not enough: every time a truly patriotic regime comes to power, the US eventually is successful in using its agents in the ruling classes in general and especially in the armed forces to overthrow the popularly elected leaders.

Hugo Chavez made many mistakes, but that he got right, and that is why the US has not been able, at least so far, to trigger a color revolution in Venezuela.  Well, they tried and failed.  As for Cuba, it has resisted the combined might of the US Empire for many decades, so they also know something crucial.

Over the past decades the “front lines” between sovereign and free Latin American countries and US puppets has moved many times, and both sides felt at times victorious and at times despondent.

And yes, the coup against Morales is a HUGE blow to the resistance to the Empire.  The man was much more than just a leftist patriot, he was a moral symbol of hope for the entire continent.  Now that he is gone, a lot of Latin Americans will be as disgusted and sad as I am today.

I take some solace in Mexico’s decision to give Morales political asylum. I don’t know enough about Mexico to speculate on the motives of the Mexican President, but now that Morales is safe he can always relocate to another country if needed.

Should Morales ever come back to power, his first priority ought to be a profound purge of the military and the replacement of “School of the Americas” types with real patriots.  Doing this will not be a sufficient condition for success, but it will be a required one nonetheless.

The Saker

Revisiting the win-win-win-win outcome in Syria

Revisiting the win-win-win-win outcome in Syria

The Saker

[this analysis was written for the Unz Review]

In his recent article “The Road to Damascus: How the Syria War Was Won” Pepe Escobar summarized the outcome of the war in Syria in the following way:

It’s a quadruple win. The U.S. performs a face saving withdrawal, which Trump can sell as avoiding a conflict with NATO ally Turkey. Turkey has the guarantee – by the Russians – that the Syrian Army will be in control of the Turkish-Syrian border. Russia prevents a war escalation and keeps the Russia-Iran-Turkey peace process alive. And Syria will eventually regain control of the entire northeast.”

This otherwise excellent summary overlooks two out of three members of the “Axis of Kindness”, including Israel and the KSA.  Of course, later in his analysis Pepe does address these actors, and also includes Kuwait. Furthermore, a thorough discussion of what took place would have to also include China, Hezbollah, Yemen and the EU (well, the ones that matter, the UK and France.  The rest are just voiceless colonies of the USA).

Most of the analyses of what just took place focused on the “what”.  I will try to look into the “why” and the “how” of what just happened in Syria.  Still,  I don’t propose to make such a detailed analysis, but I do want to re-classify the actors in a somewhat different way: by their relative strength.

Actor Theoretical Strength
The “Axis of Kindness”:United States+CENTCOM+NATO+Israel+KSA by far the most powerful actor almost by any measure: a bigger military force then all the other actors combined (at least when looked at regionally), huge economic power (the dollar is still THE #1 currency on the planet), total control of the region (via CENTCOM) and quasi unconditional support from Europe (via NATO).  Finally, Israel does pack a powerful military punch.  This actor has only ONE weakness, but more about that later.
Iran+Hezbollah+Houthi+Shia forces in Iraq in regional terms, Iran is the local superpower which can even successfully defy the Axis of Kindness forces (and has done so since the Islamic Revolution of 1979).
Russia+Syria I placed Russia and Syria in the same group and I could have added Iran, but since I believe that Russia objectively has more power over the Syrian government than Iran, I think that it is important to put Russia and Syria together simply because Damascus cannot say “no” to Moscow, but could do so, at least in theory, to Tehran.  Finally, Russia and Iran agree on the main issues, but have different visions for the future of the Middle-East.  Thus this is another reason to look at them separately, even if not necessarily in opposition to each other.  In military terms, Russia is very strong, then very vulnerable, then very strong again, it all depends on your level of analysis (see below)
Turkey+pro-Turkish factions in Syria That one is a difficult one to classify.  On one hand, Turkey does not have any regional allies (the Ottoman Empire left only hatred and deep resentment in its former colonies).  For a while, the pro-Turkish factions, which were liberally showered with weapons, money, training, logistical support, etc, by the US and the KSA, but eventually these factions grew weaker and weaker until they reached a state of advanced impotence leaving Turkey pretty much alone (we will also look into that below).
The Kurds For a while, they sure looked potentially powerful: not only did the Kurds have a pretty big military power (albeit mostly one restricted to infantry), they had the support of Axis of Kindness and, especially, Israel which saw any form of Independent Kurdistan as a great tool to weaken and even threaten Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria.  Furthermore, the Kurds happened to control a lot of oil rich regions and they could always retreat in the mountainous areas if needed.
The Takfiris (i.e. the many and constantly name-changing franchises of what used to be called “al-Qaeda”). In reality, the Takfiris really ought to be classified together with the Axis of Kindness since they have been the foot-soldiers/cannon-fodder for the AngloZionist since the 1980s (from Afghanistan then to modern day Syria).  Nonetheless, we will consider them as distinct from the rest of the Axis of Kindness forces.

Of course, and just like any other taxonomy, this one is necessarily somewhat subjective and others might use different criteria or categories.  Now let’s look at what I believe is the key to the control of the entire region: the ability to place “boots on the ground” or the lack of such an ability:

Actor Ability to place boots on the ground
The “Axis of Kindness”:United States+CENTCOM+NATO+Israel+KSA This is The One Big Weakness of the Axis of Kindness members: while they have huge armed forces, and even nuclear weapons, while they can deploy numerically very large forces, while they can (arguably) achieve air and naval supremacy/superiority pretty much anywhere in the region, they cannot follow up any of these options with a credible ground force.  While this is always carefully obfuscated by the legacy AngloZionist propaganda, the US, Israeli and KSA ground forces are only capable of murdering civilians or primitive resistance forces en masse.  But as soon as any of these militaries meets a halfway decent enemy force which is willing to fight on the ground, they are defeated (name me ONE meaningful victory of these Axis of Kindness forces in the last couple of decades or more!).
Iran+Hezbollah+Houthi+Shia forces in Iraq The Iranians and their local allies (calling them “proxies” completely misses the real nature of the relationship between Iran and these regional forces!) are all capable of deploying very capable ground forces.  In fact, they have all done so with tremendous success (especially Hezbollah).  What Iran provides to this informal alliance is the capability to augment it with new, high-tech and modern weapons, including anti-shipping missiles, air defenses, ATGMs, communications, drones, etc.  In terms of ground forces, this alliance is the #1 power in the region.
Russia+Syria Both Russia and Syria have very competent and well-balanced forces deployed in Syria.  However, truth be told, I believe that Hezbollah+Iran currently have even more military weight, at least in terms of ground forces in Syria.  The thing to keep in mind is this: if only Russian forces existed inside Syria (Tartus, Khmeimin, plus assorted special units all over Syria) then Russia is definitely weaker than the Axis of Kindness.  But if we assume that Russian forces outside Syria could (and probably would!) intervene to defend the Russian forces inside Syria, then we would have to flip much of this equation around and categorize Russia as even more powerful than the Axis of Kindness (I will explain in more detail why and how below).
Turkey+pro-Turkish factions in Syria There can be no doubt that at the initiation of the international aggression against Syria, Turkey had a credible and powerful military.  Then something went very wrong and with each new development (starting with the coup attempt against Erdogan) Turkey only got weaker and weaker.  The country which dared to shoot down a Russian Su-24 eventually found itself in the humiliating position to have to ask for Russian help not once, but over and over again.  The latest Turkish invasion of northern Syria has proven that, while the Turks can still beat the Kurds, that’s about all they can do, and even that not very well.
The Kurds Frankly, I never believed in the chances of the Kurds for anything even remotely resembling an independent Kurdistan.  Oh sure, my sympathies were often with the Kurds (at least in their struggle against Turkey), but I always knew that the notion of imposing some new (and very artificial) state against the will of ALL the regional powers was both naive and self-defeating.  The truth is that the US and Israel simply *used* the Kurds if and when needed, and ditched them as soon as it became obvious that the Kurds outlived their utility.  The best the Kurds will ever get is a regional autonomy in Iran, Iraq and Syria.  Anything else is a dangerous pipe dream.
The Takfiris (i.e. the many and constantly name-changing franchises of what used to be called “al-Qaeda”). Just like the Turks, the various Takfiris appeared as a formidable force when the aggression against Syria was initiated.  And if the the US GWOT appeared to be a true blessing for the “good terrorists” (that’s, of course, all the terrorists in this region) it is because it was.  Then something went very very wrong, and now they look as weak and clueless as the Kurds.

Now let’s sum this up.  This is how the relative strength of these regional actors has changed since the initiation of the AngloZionist aggression against Syria:

Actor Evolution of strength of each regional power
The “Axis of Kindness”:United States+CENTCOM+NATO+Israel+KSA DOWN: from strongest to one of the weakest in the region
Iran+Hezbollah+Houthi+Shia forces in Iraq UP: arguably the most balanced military force in the region
Russia+Syria UP: in a process which only *looked* like sheer “good luck” Russia and Syria grew stronger and stronger with each passing year.
Turkey+pro-Turkish factions in Syria DOWN: in sharp contrast to Russia, a weird process of what *looked* like sheer “bad luck” Turkey and its allies in Syria just seemed to get weaker and weaker with each passing year.
The Kurds DOWN: the Kurds made the immense mistake of believing all the empty promises (often called “plan B”, “plan C”, “plan D”, etc.) made by the AngloZionists.  Now all their dreams are over and they will have to settle for autonomy inside Iraq and Syria.
The Takfiris (i.e. the many and constantly name-changing franchises of what used to be called “al-Qaeda”). DOWN: their situation is almost as bad as the one of the Kurds.  Their sole advantage is that they are not linked to any one piece of land and that they can try to regroup somewhere else in the region (or even the world); never say never again, but it looks to me like this will not happen in the foreseeable future.

It is now time to try to make sense of all this and try answer the question of why one group of relatively strong actors had so much bad luck as to become weaker and weaker, while the weaker became stronger and stronger.

The first thing we need to agree upon is that irrespective of the public posturing, everybody is, and has been, talking to everybody else.  This “conversation” could be official and public, or behind closed doors, or even by means of intermediaries and, last but not least, a state version of “body language”: by means of actions which send a message to the other party or parties.  Still, while this is certainly true, it is the quality of the communications between the various parties which made all the difference.  When, say, Netanyahu or Trump publicly proclaim they they don’t give a damn about anything at all (including international law) and that they reserve the right to threaten or even attack anybody, at any time, for any reason whatsoever, this is a very clear message to, say, the Iranians.  But what is that message, really?  It says a couple of things:

  1. Resistance is futile because we are so much stronger than you and therefore
  2. We don’t give a damn about you or your national interests and therefore
  3. We are not interested in negotiating with you (or anybody else for that matter).  Your only solution is to submit to us

This is really crucial.  The USA and Israel have proclaimed their total superiority over the entire planet and, specifically, over every single actor in the Middle-East.  Furthermore, their entire worldview and ideology is predicated on this very strong sense of military superiority.   Ask any Israeli or US American what their countries will do if some coalition of local powers is successful in attacking them: they will reply something along the lines of “we will simply nuke all the friggin’ ragheads and sand-niggers – f**k them!”.  This line is always delivered with a tone of absolute finality, a total certitude and the mental equivalent of “’nuff said!”.

Alas, for the Axis of Kindness, this is a completely counter-factual belief.  Why?

First, the quick appeal to nukes is an implicit admission that there is something very wrong with the rest of the armed forces of the Axis of Kindness.  Furthermore, the real regional powers all understand that it is not in their interest to give the US or Israel a pretext to use nukes.  Thus, while, say, the Iranians sure have the means to strike Israel or any one of the many CENTCOM facilities in the Middle-East, they have been very careful to keep their counter-attacks below the dangerous threshold in which the legacy AngloZionist corporate media would be unable to conceal the magnitude of the disaster and demand that nukes be used (yes, if it comes to that, both the Israeli and the US media will demand nuclear strikes just as they cheered for every war of aggression ever committed by the USA and Israel).

Second, precisely because the US and Israel are unable to have real allies (they only have colonies run by comprador elites), they cannot operate successfully in a multi-lateral kind of relationship with other actors.  The contrast between the US/Israel, on one hand, and Russia and Iran, on the other, could not be greater.  Both Russia and Iran understand that having real allies is much more advantageous than having puppets.  Why?  Because in order to convince somebody to become your ally you absolutely have to offer that party something tangible as part of a compromise goal setting.  When this is done, the weaker ally feels that it is defending its own interests and not the interests of a patron which might be unreliable or which might even backstab you.

Third, one of the best US experts on the theory of negotiations, Professor William Zartman, wrote in his seminal book “The Practical Negotiator” that

One of the eternal paradoxes of negotiations is that it allows the weak to confront the strong and still come away with something which should not be possible if weakness and strength were all that mattered (…).  Weaker parties tend to seek more formal negotiating forums and to strengthen their hand through organizations (…).  Weak states can afford erratic or irresponsible behavior more easily than stronger parties, particularly when the rules of regularity and responsibility favor the strong (…).  Weak states do best by rewarding stronger states’ concessions rather than than by “hanging tough” and by opening high to indicate needs and to facilitate rewards (…).  The tactics of toughness and softness vary according to the strength of the parties: under symmetry, toughness tends to lead to toughness and under asymmetry to softness, with weaker parties following the leader of stronger parties.

There is a lot to unpack here (and there is much more in this book which I highly recommend to everybody!).

First, let’s compare and contrast the Russia and US approaches to creating negotiation fora.  The US cooked up the “Friends of Syria” forum which was most remarkable in two unique ways:  first, in spite of calling itself “Friends of Syria” this group only contained a who’s who of Syria’s, Iran’s and Russia’s enemies (just like to “Friends of Libya” was a cornucopia of countries hostile to Libya).  Secondly, the self-evident (and not really denied) purpose and function of this group was to bypass the UNSC.  There is nothing new here, the US has been trying to replace the UN and its role in upholding international law with all sorts of gimmicks including “coalition of the willing” or appeals for a “rules-based international order”.  Needless to say, with the possible exception of a few truly dim propagandists, all these tricks are designed to avoid the already existing international fora, beginning with the United Nations.  Russia, in contrast, not only used the UN for all its (admitted limited) worth and succeeded in forcing the USA to accept resolutions on Syria (or the Ukraine for that matter) which the US did not want to agree to, but which they could not veto on political considerations.  Not only that, Russia also created the Astana peace process which, unlike the US created fantasies, brought together different parties including parties hostile to each other.  The most brilliant move of the Russians was to impose on all parties the notion that “those willing to negotiate are legitimate parties whose interests must be considered while those who refused to sit down are all terrorists“.  Of course, the many al-Qaeda franchises tried to play the “rebranding game”, but this did not help: you can change names once every 24 hours if you want, but if you ain’t sitting down at the negotiating table you are a terrorist and, therefore, a legitimate target for Russian/Iranian/Syrian attacks.  Once the Empire had to accept these terms, backed by a UNSC resolution, it became locked-in in a process which they could only stop by means of a military victory.

And here we come back to the boots on the ground issue.  For all its combined military power, the Axis of Kindness does not have a ground force it can put on the ground.  Whereas the Syrians, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia very neatly and most effectively (even if informally) agreed to the following assignment of tasks:

  1. The Syrians will let the Russians reorganize their armed forces, especially a few elite units, and slowly, step-by-step liberate their lands.
  2. The Iranians and Hezbollah will act like a fire-brigade and will directly support the Syrian operations with their own forces in crucial sectors of the line of contact.
  3. The Russians will take control of the Syrian airspace and provide the Syrians, Iran and Hezbollah protection from AngloZionist missile and bomb strikes.  Finally, Russian special operation forces will be engaged in high priority operations which are beyond Iranian or Hezbollah capabilities.

What was the biggest obstacle to the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah-Russian plans?

Turkey, of course.  The Turks have always hated Assad (father and son) and their Neo-Ottoman delusions still give them a, shall we say, “special desire” to intervene beyond their own borders.  Furthermore, Turkey also very much saw Syria as a contributing factor to their “Kurdish problem”.  Finally, Turkey did have the kind of military which made it possible for it to threaten intervention or even intervene in Iraq and Syria (obviously not against Iran).  Thus, what Russia needed to do was take Turkey out of the equation or, at least, weaken Turkey as much as possible.  And that is exactly what Russia did.

For the Kremlin the shooting down of the Su-24 was tantamount to a declaration of war.  Except that the Russians, quite aware of their relative weakness if compared to the US+NATO+CENTCOM+Turkey, wisely decided not to retaliate in kind and, say, strike Turkish military facilities.  But Putin did promise “you won’t get away with just not selling us tomatoes” (Russia imposed an embargo on a number of Turkish export goods).  Besides a number of political and economic sanctions, you can be sure that the Russians decided to use all their methods and means to weaken and destabilize both Erdogan personally and Turkey as a whole.  Then, here is what happened:

  • On November 24th, 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24
  • In the next days, Russia closed down the north Syrian airspace, severed all contacts with the Turkish military, promised to shoot down any other Turkish aircraft attacking any target in Syria (regardless from what airspace) and imposed political and economic sanctions.
  • In December Putin ominously declared “Если кто-то думает, что, совершив подлое военное преступление: убийство наших людей — они отделаются помидорами, или какими-то ограничениями в строительной и других отраслях, то они глубоко заблуждаются” (“if somebody thinks that by committing a vile war crime they will get away with tomatoes or some type of restrictions in the construction and other industries, they are profoundly mistaken“).
  • In June 2016,  Erdogan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing sympathy and ‘deep condolences’.
  • On 15 July 2016, a coup d’état was attempted against Erdogan and almost cost him his life.  By all accounts, Russia played some kind of behind-the-scenes role and saved Erdogan’s life and power.
  • Following the failed coup, Turkey embarked on a major re-alignment and cast its lot with Russia and Iran, even if that meant having to accept Assad in power in Syria.

What exactly Russia did behind the scenes (versions range from warning Erdogan to actually using Russian special forces to evacuate him in extremis) will probably remain a secret for many years, but neither does it really matter.  All we know for sure, is that after the coup, Erdogan made a 180 and completely changed his tune.  My personal belief is that the Russians used their covert means to entice the US and its Gulenist CIA puppets to try to overthrow Erdogan only to then foil their coup attempt.  I find the two other main options (the US is fantastically stupid and incompetent and Russia is an amazingly lucky country) much harder to believe.  But even if we accept these options, or some combination thereof, Russia still superbly played her cards (by, for example, using the pretext of Turkey’s downing the Su-24 to strongly beef up Russian air defense capabilities in Syria) and Turkey was removed as a “powerful hostile actor” from the Russian equation of the Middle-East.

After that, what was left was only a kind of “political and military mopping-op operation.

Russia repeatedly tried to make the Kurds realize that their strategy of fighting every single neighbor they had was a non-starter which will inevitably backfire.  Alas for the Kurdish people, their leaders were either too delusional, or too corrupt, to understand this.  In the meantime, Erdogan and the rest of the Turkish political establishment were adamant they Turkey would under no circumstances allow the Syrian (or Iraqi) Kurds to ever establish their own state.

[Sidebar: I really feel sad for the Kurds, but I also have to say that they really did it to themselves.  This ought to be systematically studied, but their appears to be two kinds of small nations: those who are smart enough to play one big neighbor against the other while collaborating with both (say Kazakhstan or Mongolia) and then there are those who have no sense of history at all and who end up repeating the same mistakes over and over again like, say, the Poles or the Kurds.  These nations always have a bloated sense of self-worth which leads them to act as if they were the big guys on the block and every time all they achieve is alienating all their truly big neighbors.  Apparently, irrespective of the number of times these folks were smacked down by others in history, their narcissistic self-aggrandizement and, frankly, arrogance, gets them invaded, then invaded again and then invaded some more.  You could say that they are born losers or that they “failed to learn the lessons of history”.  Same difference, really]

For the Kremlin, the solution was obvious: use the Turks to force the Kurds to accept the inevitable but don’t let the Turks establish a permanent invasion force in northern Syria.

True, the Russians have voiced their rather flaccid disapproval of the Turkish operation and they called everybody to come back to the negotiation table.  This is one rather rare example in which Russia’s rhetoric did not match her actions because in reality the Turkish operation would have been absolutely impossible if the Russians had not given Ankara an unofficial, but very trustworthy, go ahead beforehand.  Furthermore, according to at least one report (which I find reasonably credible) the Russian Aerospace Forces even scrambled a pair of Su-35S to engage a Turkish pair of F-16 which, as soon as they saw what was about to happen, decided to make a run for their lives.  Yet, in other instances, we know for a fact that F-16’s were used against Kurdish targets.  It is pretty clear that the Russians not only told Erdogan what was acceptable and what was not, they also “fine tuned” the Turkish operation just so it would force the Kurds to negotiate while not making it possible for the Turks to establish any kind of meaningful presence in northern Syria.

What happened next was a domino effect.  The Kurds tried to fight as best they could, but everybody realized that they were doomed.  The US Americans, very predictably and, I would argue, very logically, also ran for their lives.  Trump used this (totally true, but nevertheless pretext) to get out of Syria (at least officially) not only to protect US lives, but to also get out of the political quicksand which Syria has become for the Axis of Kindness.

Last but not least, the Israelis were absolutely livid, and for good reason: there is no doubt that they are the biggest losers in this entire process and they now find themselves in the situation of depending on a pretend superpower which cannot deliver anything of value (except loads of dollars which the Israelis spend on a lot of useless hardware).  The recent events in the region have not only shown that US ground forces plainly suck, they have also show that US guarantees are worthless while US weapons systems are vastly over-rated.

Here we come to what I believe is the single most important development of this conflict: ALL the many Israeli plans for the region collapsed one after the other.  Most pathetically, all the trips Netanyahu made to Russia to try to con the Russians into taking Israel seriously have failed.  Why?  Because the Russians have long understood that Israel is a paper tiger with impressive “roar” (aka the massive international Zionist propaganda machine known as the “western free media” among infants and dull people) but who is unable to follow up its loud roaring with anything more tangible.  Yes, I know, the worse things go for the Israelis, the bigger their boastful propaganda becomes: after having promised that the “invincible IDF” conducted “hundreds” of strikes in Syria and Iraq they now make noises about having a “killing list” which includes Hassan Nasrallah.  Right.  As for their “hundreds” of airstrikes, they must be the most inept and poorly executed air campaign since the total failure of NATO’s air campaign in Kosovo.  Ask yourself this basic question:

If the Israelis have been conducting “hundreds” of airstrikes in Syria – why have they not resulted in any tangible effects on the military situation on the ground?

After all, when the Russians intervened, they changed the course of the entire war.  In fact, the (very small) Russian Aerospace task force in Syria reversed the course of that war.

Why did the Russian air campaign yield such truly phenomenal results and why did the Israel air campaign yield absolutely nothing (except some much needed psychotherapy for the many Zionists who suffer form what Gilad Atzmon brilliantly referred to as “pre-traumatic stress disorder”)?

The answer is simple: one was a real military campaign while the other was just “feel good” PR.

A very good example of Zartman’s thesis that “Weak states can afford erratic or irresponsible behavior more easily than stronger parties, particularly when the rules of regularity and responsibility favor the strong” can be found in the relative position of, on one hand, Iran, Hezbollah and the Houthis and, on the other, the US and Israel.  Not that Iran or its allies have acted irresponsibly, they have not, but when they reacted, it was always with a double message: we don’t want war, but we are ready for it.  But when the US engages in rather crude threats (just think of all the silly threats Trump has made during his presidency, including the most recent ones to wage war on Turkey if needed, not a joke, check here), these threats always end up further weakening the USA.  It is a true blessing for Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and the Syrians that their enemies are not only so inept, but also so good at cornering themselves in the worst kind of situations.  In the end, the US still managed to lose face, even if you were never told about it.  What do I mean?

Just look at what just took place:  Trump sent Erdogan such a crude and rude letter (he sounds like a 10 year old), which was so insulting to Erdogan that he not only tossed it in the trash bin, but he also made sure to tell his aides to “leak” to the media how Erdogan treated Trump’s silly threats and insults.   Turkey also launched a full-scale invasion and clearly challenged the USA to do something about it.  At this point, the two other “geniuses” in the White House (Pompeo and VP Pence) had to scramble to Ankara in what was clearly a desperate “damage control” mission, beg for a meeting, and then beg the Turks to agree to an entirely symbolic ceasefire which gave just enough time for the Kurds to agree to all the Syrian terms and to let the Syrian army take control of huge swaths of land without firing a single shot.  Now here is the beauty of it all:

Pompeo and Pence demanded that Erdogan agree exactly to the kind of balanced outcome the Russians have been advocating all along!  I am amazed that the Dem-media has not accused Pompeo and Pence of being Russian agents because what they just “demanded” and “obtained” from Turkey is exactly what Putin wanted 🙂

Of course, this was all wrapped in all sorts of threats and promises to wipe out this or that country (including Turkey, a NATO member state which could, in theory, invoke Art 5 and ask NATO to defend it against the USA!  Of course, this would not happen as this would mark the end of NATO) and all the rest of the obligatory barking we always hear from the US when the “best military in world history” fails to achieve anything at all (even if Trump seriously claims that the US – not Russia – defeated the Takfiris the West has so lovingly been federating, supporting, I strongly believe, directing them for decades).  Yes, Trump did the right thing when he declared that he wanted the US forces out of Syria, but let’s not be naive about that either: he did not order that because he is some great humanitarian, but because if the Turks, the Kurds, the Syrians or anybody else had taken a hard shot at the US forces in the region, this would have resulted in a bigger war which would certainly cost Trump his presidency.

Which brings us to the Russian task force in Syria.  As I said, it is strong, then weak and then strong again.  It all depends on your assumptions:

If we look just at the Russian task force in Khmeinim and Tartus, we see that it is protected by cutting edge Russian weapons systems including S-400s, Su-34s, Su-35S, EW stations, battle management stations, etc.  This is more than enough to beat back a pretty powerful missile and/or bombing strike.  In this case we can think of the Russian task force in Syria as very powerful and capable of dealing with many types of attack.

On the next level, however, it becomes obvious that the biggest weakness of the Russian task force in Syria has been, from day 1, its very small size.  Irrespective of its sophistication, the Russian air defenses can be over-run by a determined attack by any combination of Axis of Kindness forces simply because at the end of the day, air defenses are always a part of a numbers game.  Even in the best of cases, one Russian air defense missile can only engage one attacking missile or aircraft.  For an attack to be successful, all the Axis of Kindness forces need to do is calculate how many missiles the Russians have, then shoot about 1.5x that number of (rather antiquated) Tomahawks, and once the Russians use up their stores, follow up with a second wave of missiles, this time modern and difficult to target ones.  At this point the Russians would have to reply with only their AA artillery and their EW capabilities.  Inevitably, there will come a point when they will be overwhelmed.  In this scenario, Russia is the weaker party and the Russian task force is doomed in case of a sustained US/NATO/CENTCOM attack.

Finally, there is a third level which the AngloZionists have to consider: the Russians have made it pretty clear that in case of an attack on the Russian task force in Syria, Russia will use her strategic striking capabilities to protect her task force.  Such measures could include: long range cruise missile attack and air strikes (possibly coming from the Iranian airspace).  In this case, as my friend Andrey Martyanov explained many times, including in his article “Russia’s Stand-Off Capability: the 800 Pound Gorilla in Syria” which he concluded by the follow words:

“This simple, single operational fact shows precisely why for two years a relatively small Russian military contingent has been able to operate so effectively in Syria and, in fact, dictate conditions on the ground and in the area of its operations. The answer is simple—many adrenaline junkies are lowered in a cage into the water to face sharks, with only metal rods separating them and sharks’ deadly jaws. Yet, up there, in the boat one can always put a man with a gun which can be used in case of emergency to a deadly effect should the cage give. The Russian military contingent in Syria is not just some military base—it is the force tightly integrated with Russian Armed Forces that have enough reach and capability to make anyone face some extremely unpleasant choices, including the fact that it is Russia, not the US, who controls escalation to a threshold and that can explain a non-stop anti-Russian hysteria in US media since the outcome of the war in Syria became clear”

Here, again, we have the same stance as Iran’s: we don’t want war, but we are ready for it.  One could say that the US stance is the polar opposite: we do want war (heck, we *need* it for political and economic reasons!), but we are completely unprepared for it (including psychologically).

Conclusion: remember all those who are now proven wrong!

Remember all the folks who predicted with absolute confidence that Russia was “selling out” Syria?  They began their tune when Russia prevented a US attack on Syria by catching the US at its word and offering to remove all chemical weapons from Syria.  Not only were these weapons useless, they were a prefect pretext for the Axis of Kindness to strike Syria.  The US was livid, but had to accept.  Well, all the “Putin/Russia is/are selling out” Syria immediately claimed that Russia was disarming Syria to make it easier for Israel to attack.

Yet, in reality, no (meaningful) Israeli attack ever materialized.

Then the same folks claimed that Russia “allowed” Israel to strike Syria, that the Russians turned off their S-300s/S-400s, etc, etc, etc.

Yet, in reality, the US pretty much gave up, while the Israelis claimed “hundreds” of sorties.  Maybe they even did hit a few empty and therefore unprotected buildings, who knows?

Then there was the massive choir of trolls declaring that Russia would partition Syria.  Yet, for all the convincing sounding arguments (at least to those who did not understand Russia or the Middle-East), one by one the various “good terrorists” strongholds fell to the Syrian military.  Now more Syrian land has been liberated than ever before.  As for the Turks, they can dream on about a bigger Turkey or about creating some kind of security/buffer zone, but they understand that they cannot do that if Russia and Syria both oppose this.  In fact, Turkey has officially promised to respect the territorial integrity of Syria (see here, in Russian)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of The Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin agreed on the following points:

1. The two sides reiterate their commitment to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria and the protection of national security of Turkey.

2. They emphasize their determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.

3. In this framework, the established status quo in the current Operation Peace Spring area covering Tel Abyad and Ras Al Ayn with a depth of 32 km will be preserved.

4. Both sides reaffirm the importance of the Adana Agreement. The Russian Federation will facilitate the implementation of the Adana Agreement in the current circumstances.

5. Starting 12.00 noon of October 23, 2019, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will enter the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border, outside the area of Operation Peace Spring, to facilitate the removal of YPG elements and their weapons to the depth of 30 km from the Turkish-Syrian border, which should be finalized in 150 hours. At that moment, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will start in the west and the east of the area of Operation Peace Spring with a depth of 10 km, except Qamishli city.

6. All YPG elements and their weapons will be removed from Manbij and Tal Rifat.

7. Both sides will take necessary measures to prevent infiltrations of terrorist elements.

8. Joint efforts will be launched to facilitate the return of refugees in a safe and voluntary manner.

9. A joint monitoring and verification mechanism will be established to oversee and coordinate the implementation of this memorandum.

10. The two sides will continue to work to find a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict within Astana Mechanism and will support the activity of the Constitutional Committee.

 

Memorandum of Understanding Between Turkey and the Russian Federation

http://en.kremlin.ru/supplement/5452

October 22, 2019 (emphasis added by me, VS)

President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of The Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin agreed on the following points:

1. The two sides reiterate their commitment to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria and the protection of national security of Turkey.

2. They emphasize their determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.

3. In this framework, the established status quo in the current Operation Peace Spring area covering Tel Abyad and Ras Al Ayn with a depth of 32 km will be preserved.

4. Both sides reaffirm the importance of the Adana Agreement. The Russian Federation will facilitate the implementation of the Adana Agreement in the current circumstances.

5. Starting 12.00 noon of October 23, 2019, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will enter the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border, outside the area of Operation Peace Spring, to facilitate the removal of YPG elements and their weapons to the depth of 30 km from the Turkish-Syrian border, which should be finalized in 150 hours. At that moment, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will start in the west and the east of the area of Operation Peace Spring with a depth of 10 km, except Qamishli city.

6. All YPG elements and their weapons will be removed from Manbij and Tal Rifat.

7. Both sides will take necessary measures to prevent infiltrations of terrorist elements.

8. Joint efforts will be launched to facilitate the return of refugees in a safe and voluntary manner.

9. A joint monitoring and verification mechanism will be established to oversee and coordinate the implementation of this memorandum.

10. The two sides will continue to work to find a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict within Astana Mechanism and will support the activity of the Constitutional Committee.

The key elements of this MoU are

  1. USA out, Russia in
  2. Syria’s borders cannot be changed

You can see the full press conference of Putin and Erdogan by clicking here.

Finally, this is the reaction of one of the worst AngloZionist propaganda outlets in Europe:

Title: The capitulation of the West

“Die Kapitulation des Westens” (The Capitulation of the West).

I can’t say that I disagree with their conclusion 🙂

Finally, does this “capitulation talk” not remind you of something else we have all seen recently?

Yes, of course, the Ukronazi “Ні капітуляції!” (no to the capitulation!).

Again, what does all that talk of “capitulation” strongly suggest?

If this is not a triumph of Russian diplomacy then I don’t know what this is!

And, just for those who disagree, let me throw in a rhetorical question:

If Putin is such a loser who “sells out” everything and who works with/for Israel and for Netanyahu specifically, if Russia is so weak and clueless, why is it that it is not the Russian people who are denouncing a “capitulation” but, instead, why are all the enemies of Russia freaking out about capitulating?

*******

And now, where do we go from here?

Actually, I am very cautiously optimistic since there is a huge difference between Russia and the USA: the USA needs constant wars simply in order to survive, whereas Russia needs peace to flourish.  Now that the Russians are the biggest player in the Middle-East (well, with the Iranians, of course), they will use the fact that they have pretty good relationships with everybody, including (former?) enemies of Russia like the KSA or the UAE.

Of course, there shall be no peace between Israel and the rest of the Middle-East, if only because by its very nature Israel is a mortal threat to every country in the region, even for countries which currently eagerly collaborate with Israel (like the KSA). The only way for the long suffering Middle-East to finally live in peace again would be for  the Zionist “occupation regime over Jerusalem to vanish from the arena of time” to use the famous, and often mistranslated, words of Ayatollah Khomeini.  The current Iranian Supreme leader also clearly spelled out the only manner in which the Palestinian question can be solved peace will be achieved in the Middle-East:

“The Islamic Republic’s proposal to help resolve the Palestinian issue and heal this old wound is a clear and logical initiative based on political concepts accepted by world public opinion, which has already been presented in detail. We do not suggest launching a classic war by the armies of Muslim countries, or throwing immigrant Jews into the sea, or mediation by the UN and other international organizations. We propose holding a referendum with [the participation of] the Palestinian nation. The Palestinian nation, like any other nation, has the right to determine their own destiny and elect the governing system of the country.”

Both Iranian leaders are absolutely correct.  There shall never be peace in the region as long as a crazed racist regime which has only contempt for the rest of the planet continues its slow motion genocide of the indigenous population of Palestine.

In the meantime, now that Syria, Russia, Iran, the Houthis, Hezbollah and the Shia forces in Iraq have successfully shown Uncle Shmuel the door out of Syria, the last Israeli plan (a “plan Z” perhaps) has now collapsed along with any hopes of creating an independent Kurdistan.

Israel is in no condition to take on such a powerful coalition.  I would argue that even the US cannot win against this force, even if it still is capable of triggering a bloodbath (just like the Israelis did in 2006).

Of all the strategic collapses we have seen under the Obama and Trump presidencies, the loss of influence in the Middle-East is probably the biggest one of them all.  This is a very positive development for the region and for the world.  Now let’s just hope that whoever makes it into the White House in 2020 will understand that this is a done deal and will not try to make “the Empire great again” and reverse that course as any such attempts will result in a major regional war.

The Saker

PS: here is a video of the “best military in history” being pelted by stones and veggies by disgusted Kurds while the US forces evacuate in a hurry.  Really says it all, doesn’t it?  Feel the love 😉

It also appears that the same sentiment is shared by the Iraqis who are now trying to take legal action to finally also give the boot to Uncle Shmuel, see here: https://www.rt.com/news/471645-iraq-pleads-un-help-us-troops/

Again, feel the love, the respect and the (lack) of fear 🙂

 

The Terrorists Among US10| The IO Echo Chamber Scott Shane Joel Harding

October 13, 2019

by George Eliason for The Saker Blog

The Terrorists Among US10| The IO Echo Chamber Scott Shane Joel Harding

At the beginning of October, I was contacted by the New York Times, @ScottShane for an interview about US President Donald Trump. The biggest pressing question he had revolved around how (not if) I’m guiding US foreign policy and advising President Donald Trump on Ukraine and the deep-state war in the US from Donbass. Try reading that over your first sip of coffee. Exactly.

Welcome to the new IO. They keep setting up an elegant chessboard just to play a middling game of checkers.

Information Operations (IO) in action are defined by “What would we do? Disrupt, deny, degrade, deceive, corrupt, usurp or destroy the information. The information, please don’t forget, is the ultimate objective of cyber. That will directly impact the decision-making process of the adversary’s leader who is the ultimate target.” – Joel Harding

While I’m including the entire interview, I will scatter parts of it throughout as it pertains to what Scott Shane was attempting as a smear piece against alternative media. As for my connection to smaller publications than the New York Times, for all intents and purposes, they seem to have a lot stricter publishing guidelines. They wouldn’t print an innuendo journalist effort like the following effort-

When I started reading his article “The CrowdStrike Plot: How a Fringe Theory Took Root in the White House”I was expecting something heady or at least thought-provoking. What he delivered instead sadly was an unvetted, undocumented attempt to take a swipe at something he had no grasp of. I wasn’t what he expected and in one of my answers to him, I encouraged him to really vet the basis of his question, triple-check his sources, and then fact check it until he knew the information was absolutely clean. His insinuation was…weird. I got a chuckle and you might too.

Why is a NYT, Pulitzer winner contacting me? We both write in the two areas that have the biggest geopolitical impact since before the 2016 election. The good part about this is after reviewing both of our creds and articles, you will need to fully decide if you’re going to give a deep state narrative priority or fact-based journalism.

“Together we’ll see if we can send that to enough people to make a case against him, embarrass him and make it impossible for his to show his face without being labeled a bad journalist, a liar, guilty of perjury, and a dirty propagandist…Photographs can be photoshopped, so can videos. Eyewitness accounts are suspect. Reporters stories are only as reliable as the news sources and that means they are not reliable. Even if the most reliable person in the world says something, their word can always be branded speculation, biased or that they are a paid troll, be it Russian or otherwise (although I really don’t know of any others).”Joel Harding Aug 31, 2015

@scottshane trotted out after I wrote the articles showing the timeline for the deep state coup going on right now. This was done from the perspective of the planners and on a timeline fashion with milestones and comments of progress from the planners.

It was directly after I positively identified the changes made to legitimize the first whistleblower were part of a cookie-cutter methodology from the Next Generation Regime change authors I identified.

So, yes, I was amused.

Looking at it from a head to head perspective, facts should win over politics when the fabric of society and the future are at stake.

His NYT profile page reads; Scott Shane is a reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times, where he has written about national security and other topics. He was part of teams that won Pulitzer Prizes in 2017 for coverage of Russia’s hacking and other projections of power abroad and in 2018 for reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Donald Trump campaign and administration.

While I don’t know if any of the Pulitzer judges will do a face-palm over this, I do know the IO planners for Ukraine and US election interference are cheering his effort on.

Except, they already stated in no uncertain terms, there were no remotely successful attempts by Russians to influence the 2016 election.

In response, another senior wrotePerhaps we could stop telling the Kremlin their ops were so successful when there is little evidence their activities did anything to affect the outcome…and now for something completely different.  Good newsRussian propaganda is being ignored in the United States.”

And

“It is entirely possible the DNC hired online trolls, regardless their geographic origin, to undermine the US President-elect since their party is currently reeling from a crushing loss. – Joel Harding

 “Perhaps the DNC is hiring Russian trolls to wage guerilla warfare on Donald Trump’s nascent administration. I have no proof, so I put this in the form of a question.”- Joel Harding November 2016

Scott Shane’s Facebook’s Russia-Linked Ads Came in Many Disguises has a plausible reason even if he got the story wrong.

I’m not accusing the DNC of hiring Russian trolls to attack Trump, undermine his success, or throw the legal electorate process into disarray and confusion.  I’m not even accusing the DNC of hiring trolls, although that has already been proven.

But what’s that expression again? “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”- Joel Harding December 11, 2016

So now we have the man that marked the inauguration of Ukraine’s Internet Army which had 40,000 trolls on opening day insinuating they were working for the DNC and Team Clinton.

One of the really neat things about this election is seeing all my information operations and information warfare friends on social media, contributing and commenting, looking darned intelligent! Theirs is normally the voice of reason, maturity, and intelligence.” Joel Harding

Email between Ali Chalupa (Consultant for the DNC) and Luis Miranda, Communication Director for the DNC) dated 5/3/16

chalupa oppo researchers ukraine.jpg

“In addition, already 21 November Dmitry Zolotukhin met with his US counterpart, team representative Bellingcat Aric Toler, who conducted a similar training for journalists in Kyiv on the invitation of Media Development Foundation. They also discussed the possibility of holding a conference in Kiev on thematic instruments OSINT-use techniques in the modern media.”

One of the Media Development Center’s sponsors is NATO. It is a project of the US Embassy in Kiev because of the association with the embassy’s diplomatic paper, the Kyiv Post.”

Dimitry Zolotukhin is the Deputy Minister of Information in Ukraine which does Intel and targets dissenters,  the Pravy Sektor/ Fancy Bear hackers answer directly to him. In the notice above which was prepared by his office, it is noted Bellingcat’s Aric Toler is working in an equal capacity to him in the USA.”- How Fancy Bear Destroyed Eliot Higgins Bellingcat Credibility\

The private Intel operatives hired by Alexandra Chalupa to do opposition research against Paul Manfort and Donald Trump were the Ukraine’s Intel Hacker groups. Because they worked for her, Bellingcat, and the Atlantic Council, they would need password access at the DNC.

Ukraine Cyber Alliance and CyberHunta work for the Ukrainian Information ministry. According to cyber expert Jeff Carr, Alperovich and the Ukrainians were the only 2 groups that had key components to hack. This relationship extended through the Atlantic Council.

Why did this relationship start?

The hackers were Alexandra Chalupa’s Oppo Researchers. They are the core of InformNapalm and work with the US Intel Community and Atlantic Council.Their manager was a Ukrainian contractor for the US State Dept.Crowdstrike worked for DNC and Team Hillary at the same time they did.Through the Atlantic Council the hackers worked with Andrea and Irena Chalupa on other projects.Because of Alexandra Chalupa and a Ukrainian State Department contractor Ukraine Intel hackers had access the entire time they worked for the DNC.

Would cyber Oppo researchers need access to the DNC server itself?

If they didn’t have permission to download or retrieve information- It’s a hack. It should be noted that Clinton kept 6 seats to State Department servers after she left for Oppo research that Ukrainian Intel had access to because of this situation.

At the same time, let’s look at Mueller’s Russians and see where they really fit in.

From 2014- Oct 2016 the Ukraine’s Intel and hacking group had a Russian component. Mueller indicted that group. It’s called Shaltay Boltay. Led by former FSB and GRU, they were a Russian criminal gang. Shaltay Boltay, AKA Anonymous International, worked for Ukrainian Intel throughout the election.

Shaltay Boltay wrote the story of the Internet Research Agency from Ukraine fabricating Russian interference. They worked for Clinton on the Ukrainian team doing Oppo Research. As part of CyberHunta, they would need password access to do their job.

The IRA (Internet Research Agency) was the tie Mueller unsuccessfully tried to use showing Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia. In fact, this is a part of the basis for @scottshane articles on the subject. And it is the only narrative proof for Mueller that was available.

Here’s the problem. The collusion work of the IRA was only known through a blog written by Ukrainian Intel hacking group CyberHunta, from Ukraine. They worked through the Information ministry created by Joel Harding. They were in Ukraine actively trying to hurt the Russian government. They were not in Russia.

Scott Shane ignores the fact that everyone involved are working with, working for, or is part of very few groups involved in this ongoing IO. The fact that every individual group or company I’ve written about, are tied together working on the same project set should raise concern by itself.

The Russian criminal gang were hired by Alexandra Chalupa. In October 2016 they went back to Russia and were convicted for treason

Further proof of relationship is in the Surkov government hack in Russia. From Ukraine, Shaltay Boltay was credited with the hack. After, it was the Ukrainian Intel group CyberHunta that released the emails to the Atlantic Council. Ukrainian Cyber Alliance bragged to RFE/RL they changed the geopolitics of the entire world by themselves in 2016.

Did you know HRC’s extended group was among those that wrote the rules governing cyberwar including attribution that made catching Russians for the DNC hack possible? It’s kind of like rewriting the whistleblower policy was supposed to work for the first Trump-Ukraine whistleblower, but with better results.

The Atlantic Council worked on this. Dimitry Alperovitch from Crowdstrike is their resident expert. As far as attribution, as long as there was a Russian in the room with former FSB or GRU ties, it could loosely be attributed to the Russian government according to Rule 17, article 8 Tallinn Manual on cyberwar.

The FBI, the DNC, and Team Clinton knew Shaltay Boltay did the Yahoo hack in 2013 that stole Huma Abedin’s State Dept passwords. The only reason Hillary Clinton’s campaign would have to provide this particular group of hackers passwords to do their job as Oppo researchers would be to throw a shadow on the Russian government.- Fancy Bear Exposed-the People Behind the Hacking Group

But, unlike Scott Shane, I work hard to find the professionals doing the IO work or guiding it. Here we have a group of professional IO operators. Joel Harding is happy because of how well they are doing their job in America trying to sway the 2016 election.

These statements take away the value of Scott Shane’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize entirely, all by themselves. The statements are directly from the IO planner coordinating the media effort behind the anti-Russian effort Shane Scott is part of which took wings in the US as a deep state coup.

In June 2016, the Ukrainian US State Dept. contractor, Christina Dobrovolska went to Washington to meet with her boss at a conference. She brought a Ukrainian Delegation to meet the OUNb Ukrainian Diaspora leader Nestor Paslawsky in New York and got Joel Harding rehired for another year.

If we look at Scott Shane’s article titled How a Fringe Theory About Ukraine Took Root in the White House, we see like a 2x Pulitzer winner, he brought out the big gun to show his narrative is true.

From @scottshane -“Ukraine is the perfect scapegoat for him because it’s the enemy of Russia,” said Nina Jankowicz, a fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington who regularly visits Ukraine and is writing a book called “How to Lose the Information War.”

She noted that a number of Ukraine-linked stories, some of them distorted or exaggerated, have been pulled together by Mr. Trump’s supporters into a single narrative.

“Now it seems like all of these conspiracy theories are merging into one,” Ms. Jankowicz said. She studies disinformation, she said, but Mr. Trump produced one claim she’d never come across.“I do this for a living, and I’d never heard anyone say the servers were in Ukraine,” she said.

In 2016-2017, Scott Shane’s star expert Nina Jankowicz worked in Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, providing strategic communications advice to the MFA’s Spokesperson according to her bio at Foreign Policy International.

This means she was also working with Ukraine’s Information Ministry which does cyber Intel. She was working with Christina Dobrovolska who was the State Dept. liaison to OUNb Diaspora heads like Nestor Paslawsky. The idea Nina was working with Ukrainian Intel people and Alexandra Chalupa is not so farfetched because her position put her in contact with Joel Harding who beyond all this IO madness, wrote Ukraine’s Information Policy.

Nina’s contact with the IO coup group extends to the German Marshall Fund where Aaron Weisburd and Clint Watts are also experts. Jankowicz had contact with Karen Kornbluh because of her State Dept position as well as being another resident expert at the German Marshall Fund.

Kornbluh is on the board of what was the Broadcasting Board of Governors which oversee RFE/RL and other projects. Joel Harding worked at the BBG during this timeframe influencing major media outlets.

According to Mr. Shane’s article –Mr. Eliason and other purveyors of Ukraine conspiracies often point to the Atlantic Council, a research group in Washington, as the locus of the schemes. The Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk has made donations to the council and serves on its international advisory board; Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder, who was born in Russia and came to the United States as a child, is an Atlantic Council senior fellow.

That connection seems slender, but it may be the origin of Mr. Trump’s association of a wealthy Ukrainian with CrowdStrike.

So as not to disappoint Shane, his expert is an Atlantic Council expert and writes at EUvsDisinfo as well. For those not in the know, they were sued by news publications that label publications Russian propaganda.

The Atlantic Council signed a contract to work for/with the UWC (Ukrainian World Congress) and everything they do supports the Information Operation originally intended for Ukraine.

From Mr. Shane’s article- “Mr. Eliason and other purveyors of Ukraine conspiracies often point to the Atlantic Council, a research group in Washington, as the locus of the schemes. The Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk has made donations to the council and serves on its international advisory board; Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder, who was born in Russia and came to the United States as a child, is an Atlantic Council senior fellow.

That connection seems slender, but it may be the origin of Mr. Trump’s association of a wealthy Ukrainian with CrowdStrike.”

So, are the connections actually slender? Only for people stuck inside a narrative box.

I think this next point may sink Mr. Scott into a deep depression. He refers to alternative media in such a dismissive way that it needs addressing.

Scott Shane-“George Eliason, an American journalist who lives in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists fought Ukrainian forces, has written extensively about what he considers to be a “coup attempt” against President Trump involving American and Ukrainian intelligence agencies and CrowdStrike. He said he did not know if his writings for obscure websites might have influenced the president.”

Although the interview is carried in full below, this will give an idea of the contextual value of Scott Shane’s work.

From Scotts article-“CrowdStrike and Ukrainian Intel are working hand in glove,” he wrote in an email. “Is Ukrainian Intelligence trying to invent a reason for the U.S. to take a hardline stance against Russia? Are they using CrowdStrike to carry this out?”

My actual response to the question– Crowdstrike and Ukrainian Intel are working hand in glove. This is a sad fact proven by others including Jeff Carr. If the key components to the hack are in the hand of only 2 parties, it is simply making a determination of liability to the event.

What’s more important is determining Crowdstrike’s liability in the Intel Community coup attempt that’s being reported in mainstream media by journalists like Tucker Carlson, Sheryll Atkinson, and even former Congressman Ron Paul.

Now, you might understand why I got a chuckle from his article. If he based his 2017 Pulitzer on information from Crowdstrike, Dimitry Alperovich backed his attribution of a Russian Hack at the DNC on a lie he invented. If a Pulitzer Prize winner is afraid to publish what is actually said by an interviewee, he’s scared to death of the facts.

Let me show you what I mean. Part of the evidence Dimitry Alperovich used in his justification for the DNC hack Russian attribution was destroyed by VOA in an embarrassing way. This was his backing proof of Russian involvement. Shane’s work is backed by this fiasco whether he realizes it or not. You have to take the time to vet sources.

According to Alperovitch “The malware used to track Ukrainian artillery units was a variant of the kind used to hack into the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the presidential election this year  said CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch.”

When VOA asked Crowdstrike about the sources they responded “We cited the public, third-party reference source that was quoted,” VOA was told. “But the source referenced in the CrowdStrike report on its website is not the site of the actual IISS, but an article on The Saker, a site that presents a largely pro-Russian version of events in Syria and Ukraine.”

How careful is Crowdstrike and Alperovitch with information? After all, they were dealing with Ukrainian Intelligence directly. Alperovitch even has a twitter social relationship with Ukraine’s hackers.

The chain of information went like this:  IISS Report(think tank) –>Colonel Cassad (Russian blogger)–> the Saker(analytical blog/ translator)—>Alperovitch/ Crowdstrike(information purposely misquoted to create Russian hacker) —>FBI—>CIA—>ODNI (DNI report)—-> You scratching your head wondering who makes this intel crap up. This is one of the DNI report’s secret sources and one that the whole report rests on.- Indict Clinton For the Russian DNC Hack January 16, 2017

To keep things simple, Shane’s 2017 Pulitzer is partly based on Alperovitch misquoting one of the analytic platforms Scott Shane disdains and I write for.

@scottshane do you feel the Pulitzer people are doing a face-palm about right now?

Now, alone this is damning, but it is taken from what is now a 10 part of the series over 30,000 words deep in dense proof provided from the same people who gave Robert Mueller his Russian narrative. They drew @scottshane into to take the feet out from my work. Instead, he makes the case for my work with his own choice of experts and takes away the narrative fictions that won his Pulitzer instead. Maybe you can return them quietly.

If it was just the NYT article, I’d probably still take the time to answer it. But it’s not. This is a coordinated 3-prong effort. That puts it square in the Information Operation coup against the US Presidency.

NBC ran the same type of article in the same timeframe. “Trump seized on a conspiracy theory called the ‘insurance policy.’ Now, it’s at the center of an impeachment investigation.

Just months after Trump’s inauguration, conspiracy theorists pushed a fanciful and unsubstantiated narrative in which the DNC framed Russia for election interference.”

And third, one of the private Intel companies working for Ukraine was able to push the following into the Senate Intel Committee. What they are doing is trying to turn the pressure this article series and the work of many other journalists back onto the journalists and news platforms. This will stop investigations on the IO coup as well as push the Senate toward impeaching the President of the United States based on their fabrications.

As noted in Part 8, Bellingcat and Eliot Higgins have been part of the Intel coup against the Presidency since it began. The timeline and milestones in the article is where they discussed their progress.

When I told Eliot Higgins about my findings and the proof was there, here was his response.

http://washingtonsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/HIGGINS-NO-ONE-WILL-CARE-twitter.com-2018.06.16-04-10-19-400x278.png

The choice is whether the fabric of United States democracy will be irreparably torn or not. If they win, the world loses.

If you couple both efforts with @scottshane‘s, it’s looks damning. All three have the same goal. All three efforts are within the same timeframe. It looks like a coordinated effort to destroy the fact-based story and give the narrative priority.

But, let’s give Scott Shane’s 2018 Pulitzer another whirl, shall we? In the end, and to Shane’s chagrin, DNI James Clapper’s candid admission the only proof he had of Russian influence on the 2016 election was Hillary Clinton (HRC) losing Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. It stretches credulity to conclude that Russian activity didn’t swing voter decisions.”

Scott Shane won Pultizer Prizes for two consecutive years, 2017-18. It’s quite an honor, very prestigious. But, my question is how that is possible if he relied on Crowdstrike’s information that was debunked by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty?

Now, for the Pulitzer Prize, your work was judged by 17 judges. In 2018, there were three or four from the NYT and one from the Washington Post. Both papers push the same narrative.

What are my qualifications to answer NYT Pulitzer Prize winner Scott Shane and his light on facts, heavy on narrative fictions?

My credentials are a little different. For 2017-2018, a few article series I wrote on how privatized Intelligence was taking shape and the problems with it taking preeminence over government agencies was listed #2 for both years by Project Censored. The other side to that was how privatized Intel was using these tools on the public at will, out of spite, and for money. The first-place story was one that was never written at all.

Project Censored’s list shows stories with the greatest national impact that are under-reported, pushed own or censored outright.

Stretched across thirty campuses, the initial round of judging is between over 200 news stories that go through five rounds of judging before making the top 25.  Faculty and students vet each candidate story in terms of its importance, timeliness, quality of sources, and corporate news coverage. If it fails on any one of these criteria, the story is not included. 

Once Project Censored receives the candidate story, we undertake a second round of judgment, using the same criteria and updating the review to include any subsequent, competing corporate cove In early spring, we present all VINs in the current cycle to the faculty and students at all of our affiliate campuses, and to our national and international panel of judges, who cast votes to winnow the candidate stories from several hundred to 25. 

Once the Top 25 list has been determined, Project Censored student interns begin another intensive review of each story using LexisNexis and ProQuest databases. Additional faculty and students contribute to this final stage of review.

The Top 25 finalists are then sent to our panel of judges, who vote to rank them in numerical order. At the same time, these experts—including media studies professors, professional journalists, and a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, among others—offer their insights on the stories’ strengths and weaknesses.

Thus, by the time a story appears in the pages of Censored, it has undergone at least five distinct rounds of review and evaluation. – Project Censored

.

I’ve opened up a type of story that generally doesn’t get told until at least 20 years later. My articles are fact dense. This is part 10 in series that is the first time in journalism I’m aware of an IO coup or Intel Community crimes were opened up at the beginning of the stream, not forensically, after the fact. Most of the actors and actions were accounted for as they occurred.

The publications I write for seem to have a much higher standard of fact grading than the NYT is on this particular story and wouldn’t accept less than extremely dense sourcing from me. The stakes are too high. Some of the editors are even adversarial and had to be convinced beyond a shadow this was happening.

In 2005, at the beginning of Hurricane Katrina, I designed a methodology that would close the levees in New Orleans in less than a week. I contacted the USACE (United States Army Corps of Engineers) at the Pentagon which was where they were trying to get their heads around the stopping damage from happening and not losing the city.

I explained the plan to Colonel Paul Tan, who became my liaison. There were five plans on the table from five different national size contractors. When they heard mine, it became clear it was the only option.

Only one company in the world had the equipment to do this. I contacted the vice president of Erickson Aircrane and convinced him of why it could be done with his equipment. Great people at Ericson. They broke contract with the state of Washington and moved $30,000,000 worth of gear and support to Alabama to stage from. The base problem was you couldn’t get a barge in because the water was too shallow. You couldn’t do the work from dry ground so a crane couldn’t get in.

We could do it from the air successfully by reversing some the normal steps to account for head pressure on the water flow. The other side of that is understanding both the logistics and developing a schedule of procedures that was bulletproof.

Scott, pull the FOIA. My name and our company are prominent in the discussions and minutes early on from the Pentagon decisions.

The commander on the ground in New Orleans had the final word and decided to stay with the sandbags.

After it was over, we, Erickson Aircraft and our company were supposed to demonstrate the methodology for Michael Chertoff and FEMA as a next-gen option. He never set up a schedule.

Erickson’s vice president at the time, Lonny Alaramos, didn’t sign on to the plan for profit. He did it because so many people needed help and an entire city was being destroyed.

In 2011, the Fukashima meltdowns happened. I designed a methodology I gave to a nuclear operator for a bid on the Fukashima project to cut radiation exposure. It went into one of the unsuccessful remediation bids at the time. I used to have locked high rad clearance and about five years before my wife designed the protocol to keep reactors and pools safe during refueling that started to be used internationally. Non-Orthodox Means and Methods to achieve Radiation barriers and establish minimum of ALARA

If you want to have an interesting conversation, I can talk you through a remediation plan for the site at Fukashima I never bothered to publish. The graft and criminality was already apparent with the energy company.

Why add this to the conversation at all? I don’t generally talk about experiences like this because for most people, it’s too esoteric and outside their experience.

What these events show is the ability to go into large unknown situations under stress and not only grasp them fast but create forward-thinking solutions very quickly.

What Scott Shane was especially interested in was whether or not I was shaping Russia and Ukraine policy from Lugansk People’s Republic in Donbass. Topping it off, he asked a couple of times whether or not the President of the United States was getting his information about the DNC hack directly or indirectly from me. And whether or not I was comfortable with that.

Scott Shane-I’m especially wondering where President Trump got his info on this before he first discussed it publicly in April 2017:

Scott Shane– I’ve seen this piece of yours and wondered if there are other items from you or others that might have influenced the president

Scott Shane-Would it worry you if you thought President Trump was getting some of his thinking on this from your writings, presumably secondhand?

I wrote about the rise of unqualified starting Intel guys a few years back. The 2017 ODNI report was stuffed with them including Crowdstrike’s Alperovitch who was its centerpiece. Many of the superstars of the Intel Community sadly lack even reasonable experience or training in the field.

Yet, it is their expertise you want the President of the United States to continue to base decisions on? The unfiltered, non-fact graded political and income inspired reports they send regularly to Congressmen, agencies, and companies are what is destroying diplomacy and peace in the world. Here are some of your great Intel guys, once the trappings are laid bare ever since the Clinton administration pushed this mess into being.

US intelligence agencies built their methodologies on the methods and help of an out of work web-designera pornographer suffering from toxic black-mold induced delusionsa gift shop employee, a stay at home dad whose last job was selling underwear, and a man that heard coded intel messages in fax transmission beeps. Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke.-

Why Vault 7 Tools Used by Private Contractors Shows US Intel Needs a Ground-Up Rebuild Intel and News Building

This is what passes for advanced trainers in the Intel field in the Western world today for OSINT and online Intel gathering. This! This is what trains the entire ODNI and all the agencies including the FBI, CIA, and NIA.

If you ask if I was comfortable with a President of the United States getting actionable Intelligence or evidence from one of these people, their companies or associates? Nope. No. Never.

2 “Open-Source” Intelligence Secrets Sold to Highest Bidders

Early on, Eliason reported, the private contractors who pioneered open-source intelligence realized that they could circulate (or even sell) the information that they gathered before the agency for which they worked had reviewed and classified it. In this way, “no one broke any laws,” Eliason wrote because the information “shifted hands” before it was sent to an agency and classified. [For one account of how early open-source intelligence contractors worked, see Benjamin Wallace-Wells, “Private Jihad,” New Yorker, May 29, 2006.]

This loophole created what Eliason described as a “private pipeline of information” that intelligence contractors could use to their advantage. Members of Congress, governors, news outlets, and others often wanted the same “intel” that the CIA had, and, Eliason wrote, open-source intelligence contractors “got paid to deliver Intel for groups looking for specific insights” into creating or influencing government policy. 

As a result of these changes, according to Eliason’s second article, “People with no security clearances and radical political agendas have state sized cyber tools at their disposal,” which they can use “for their own political agendas, private business, and personal vendettas.”

Although WikiLeaks’s Vault 7 exposé received considerable corporate news coverage, these reports failed to address Eliason’s analysis of the flaws in open-source intelligence and private contractors. A notable exception to this was a March 2017 Washington Post editorial by Tim Shorrock. Noting that WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange had said the CIA “lost control of its entire cyberweapons arsenal,” Shorrock’s editorial reviewed the findings from his previous reports for the Nation and concluded that overreliance on private intelligence contractors was “a liability built into our system that intelligence officials have long known about and done nothing to correct.”

You asked if I was comfortable if he was getting his actionable Intel from me? Nope. No. Never. YOU shouldn’t be either.

The real question Mr. Shane is whether or not you feel comfortable that these unqualified people have been influencing and appearing in the PDB unedited since Bill Clinton was in office. Do you?

Is this a practice you would stop?

The Intel community is gearing up with 4-5 million new hires off the street. Software jockeying has hit a new low. They will influence the PDB. Are you comfortable?

Here’s the caveat. If you were earning your Pulitzers, you would have picked up on it.

I write facts. Facts are funny like science experiments. They can be reproduced by different people because they don’t change. Facts are documentable. Facts are what should be in the US President’s Daily Brief (PDB).

I am quite comfortable with all of my articles being fact-checked, fact graded, certified, scrubbed of politics, and used to decide foreign or domestic policy inside the. In fact, I recommend it.

As far as investigating and apprehending criminals, @scottshane should look at local and federal law. That is a law-enforcement issue. Not his, not mine. Exposing the people, groups, and NGOs so as to draw attention to their crimes is the job of a journalist.

Just so you know, Intel decisions and policy based on my writing is catching on a little in the EU. At least parts of this series have been distributed to every EU ministry and official. The damage these particular cyber terrorists and seditionists have done isn’t welcome with open arms anymore. Like every other terrorist act by a national on foreign soil, it’s a matter of time before they bring it home like Bellingcat’s Aric Toler is now.

cert-eu for article.JPG

NYT Scott Shane interview

Shane, Scott Hi George — I’m trying to track the Trump CrowdStrike-Ukraine theory back in time and I see you have labored in this field for years. Would you have time for a call, or just for an email exchange? I probably have until tomorrow.

I’m especially wondering where President Trump got his info on this before he first discussed it publicly in April 2017:

https://apnews.com/c810d7de280a47e88848b0ac74690c83

I’ve seen this piece of yours and wondered if there are other items from you or others that might have influenced the president: https://washingtonsblog.com/2017/01/crowdstrikes-russian-hacking-story-fell-apart-say-hello-fancy-bear-2.html

George Eliason– Hi Scott, I can give some basic answers but I really don’t know what President Trump thinks about. I must have lost my invitation to that BBQ.

What I would like to do is reverse the order of your questions because it makes the most sense.

Scott Shane– I’d like to hear your views now, and whether they’ve changed. Would it worry you if you thought President Trump was getting some of his thinking on this from your writings, presumably secondhand?

George Eliason-The only US President I know for sure was influenced directly by what I write is former US President Barrack Obama. He unequivocally modified foreign policy regarding Ukraine because of what I write.

I started writing articles detailing what was happening in Kiev +political background on January 2014. In March 2014, I was the only English speaking journo getting published in the west at all from Donbass.

On March 6, 2014, Obama signed an Executive Order that made even American journalists sanctionable who challenged the newly installed coup group V. Nuland bought cookies for.

Obama, the self-proclaimed “Killa” already demonstrated a willingness to drone strike Americans based on accusations. No investigation. No trial. Just drone em.

If he signed that executive order and I was the only American in the region. 2+2 invariably has the same result. If he didn’t know I was there or what I was writing, there was no need to formulate said executive order.

Scott Shane– George — Thanks for the reply. I understands that you don’t personally know the president. But you have been a significant voice for the view that Trump is voicing — that the official version of the 2016 hack is false ands that Ukrainian hackers were responsible. For instance you published this a few months before the president first talked about ties between CrowdStrike and Ukraine:

https://washingtonsblog.com/2017/01/crowdstrikes-russian-hacking-story-fell-apart-say-hello-fancy-bear-2.html

George Eliason-Crowdstrike and Ukrainian Intel are working hand in glove. This is a sad fact proven by others including Jeff Carr. If the key components to the hack are in the hand of only 2 parties, it is simply making a determination of liability to the event.

What’s more important is determining Crowdstrike’s liability in the Intel Community coup attempt that’s being reported in mainstream media by journalists like Tucker Carlson, Sheryll Atkinson, and even former Congressman Ron Paul.

The New York Times, your own paper, broke stories about the problem as they forecast it, almost 20 years ago along with News Week and a slew of other MSM publications.

The story of corruption and the possible criminal actions of the newly privatized deep state was updated 15 years ago by your publication and a lot of others.

Around 2007, RJ Hillhouse had enough respect that the DNI answered her charges publically.

Tim Shorrock detailed this magnificently in 2015. The top end of a private deep state replaced the Intel Agency heads in the hierarchy. In 2017, the ODNI and FBI bowed to Crowdstrike and refused to do their job which was to investigate a supposed criminal act.

I detailed this Intel Community coup so closely I was able to list milestones. I suggest you look closely.

The set up to the Ukraine whistleblower story is from a cookie-cutter formula given by the people at Rand that wrote the instruction manual for Next Generation Regime change.

What I feel is irrelevant. What you feel is irrelevant. Once the proof is there, and it is, do you protect the Office of the Presidency and the Republic itself? Or not?

My position is this. If former President Barrack Obama was somehow caught in this position, as much as I hate him, I would defend him and his presidency.

This is the same Barrack Obama that ordered drone strikes on Americans based on the people working with Crowdstrike today. Why are they all tied into Ukrainian Intelligence and the hackers?

Great journalists like Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett are going across warzones reporting. Should they have to worry that their work crosses some private companies narrative and could get them killed by supposedly friendly agencies?

Look at the current series I am writing, the same Intel Community Icon that reported to Congress that US drone strikes on an Americans was successful. In it, you’ll find a screenshot of Aaron Weisburd and Elliot Higgins of Bellingcat concluding Beeley’s reporting must not be allowed to make it into the President’s Daily Briefing.

As a journalist, you should angry for them.

C:\Users\GH\Desktop\spy for hire\CYBER TERROR PART 6 REAL TERRORISM\photos used\1st images\why they are after us\beeley weisburd higgins russian measures.png

C:\Users\GH\Desktop\spy for hire\CYBER TERROR PART 6 REAL TERRORISM\photos used\not our george-twitter.com-2018.08.26-01-52-57.png

George Eliason-Here’s the rub. In 2016, before anyone looked seriously at Donald Trump as “Putin’s guy,” Bernie Sanders was labeled “Putin’s guy.” The same exact method I’ve described being used now was used on Sanders. This means unless everyone that gives a damn about the country stops and takes a real look, Sanders should go play golf instead. He won’t make it out of the primary.

Sanders won. Sanders won. Sanders won. Sanders was…irrelevant.

This is the deeper part of the Crowdstrike crime story. This is. No candidate has a shot in hell of getting through the Democratic primary unless they are signed on to this mess.

Let’s be clear. My politics don’t matter. But for the sake of the argument, I am a conservative who writes for progressive and centrist publications.

I look at someone like Rob Kall of OpEdNews and wish he ran for Congress despite not agreeing with every position. He’d be great. Washington of Washington’s blog has been a heroic voice and will be glad the New York Times recognizes their work.

Some of the better geopolitical analysis is coming from The Saker blog. There are many good alternative news sources across the spectrum and they all matter.

Scott Shane- If Dimitri Alperovitch is working for Ukrainian Intelligence and is providing intelligence to 17 US Intelligence Agencies is it a conflict of interest?

Ukraine has been screaming for the US to start a war with Russia for the past 2 1/2 years. Using facts accepted by leaders on both sides of the conflict, the main proof Crowdstrike shows for evidence doesn’t just unravel, it falls apart. Is Ukrainian Intelligence trying to invent a reason for the US to take a hard-line stance against Russia? Are they using Crowdstrike to carry this out?

Scott Shane- Also, it would be helpful to know a bit more about you — where you grew up, education, how you landed in Ukraine, what work you’ve done there, who pays you now? Have you ever been paid by an army of the Russian state or Russian media, or DPR or LPR?  Or have you always been expressing independent views?

George Eliason-Sure. As you can see in the multiple screenshots above, the same Intel community guys that want to stop some of the world’s best women reporters at any cost, have spent 5 years trying to find me.

So with that in mind, right now the world seems to trust them. I’ve been very clear they need to be investigated and jailed. I remind them this on a regular basis.

But, what do they think of me when you get past the IO. I’m not associated with Russia or Russian media.

love of the game.JPG

George Eliason-I am an American. What do you need to know about me? I am one of the few people to turn down the Carnegie Hero Award. I jumped into a flood that took down 8 bridges and failed to save a woman and her granddaughter.

It broke me for a long time. For the last 5 years, I’ve been writing about Ukraine, Donbass, and the IO, this has been out of pocket other than a camera I crowdfunded.

LNR wasn’t sure I existed until a year ago. I volunteered to monitor the elections here. The only contact I have with Russia is an occasional interview with the Russian Federation’s Permanent Deputy Representative to the UN, Dimitry Polanskiy.

As far as the Russian Army, in 5 years, I’ve yet to come across them. I did a cross-region check in 2014 specifically to ferret them out because western media insisted they were here. I documented the passports and did weapons checks. Weapons all have a manufacture date. The newest weapon was I think, 1967. The oldest rifle was 1919. No Russian army was here to pay anyone.

Lastly, what do I do for work? Today, I’m in between gigs. If you know someone in need of a decent researcher or investigative journalist send them my way.

Scott Shane Addenda questions

George, Plan right now is to cite you and quote you in the piece.

Scott Shane– Question: Obviously there has been much discussion of CrowdStrike and Ukraine, including by you. But some of what Trump said is hard to trace. Do you believe that “a very rich Ukrainian” owns CrowdStrike? Do you believe the hacked DNC servers are hidden in Ukraine? If not, do you have any idea where he’s getting that?

George Eliason-

Scott,

A rich Ukrainian owning Crowdstrike would be a new one on me. That’s not something I’d write without clean lines all the way through the research. The next question isn’t something you asked the other day. Great question and probably the only one I’m not willing to answer at the moment.

I’d like to take the content of the interview and publish whole after you publish. I don’t see any problems with that, do you?

best

George

End Interview

Let’s talk about the servers. Donald Trump mentioned servers in his phone call to Zelenskiy.

If it concerns Crowdstrike, how many servers would the US president be interested in? When he left office, Petr Poroshenko tore out the only server room in Ukraine secure enough to hold those servers.

Petr Poroshenko said he had to take the servers, they didn’t belong to him. Maybe someone should dust off their Pulitzer and go ask him instead of asking me.

 

Russia’s kidnapping problem

Russia’s kidnapping problem

The Saker

October 09, 2019

[this article was written for the Unz Review]

No, this will not be an article about Russians kidnapped in Chechnia (that was a very long time ago) or somewhere in a combat zone.  I will be talking about the USA and Iran.  First, here are a few links for context:

Quick update: the Iranians have declared that the detention of Iuzik was not an espionage case, but a visa violation which will be resolved very soon.

Next, I would like to clarify a few things before discussing what I think is “Russia’s kidnapping problem“.

In the case of Iuzik, I do not think that she was a spy for anybody, including the Israelis.  Why?  For one thing, I read that she entered Iran with a passport stamped with an Israeli visa.  That is not very smart, especially for a putative ‘spy’ and, besides, even the Israelis are not that arrogant (or incompetent).  Furthermore, if the Iranians (who have truly world class security services!) had really suspected Iuzik they had many other options including:

  1. Setting up a sting operation and film her doing something illegal
  2. Feed Iuzik all sorts of bad info to confuse her bosses and smoke out any spies in Iran
  3. Contact the FSB and warn the Russians about her real professional profile

These are just the three most obvious ones.  There are many more.

Finally, spies are not arrested immediately upon arrival, this really makes no sense whatsoever (what would be the point?).

[Sidebar: some have noted that Iuzik is closely linked to all sorts of toxic Russian “informal” or “non-system” opposition groups.  That is absolutely true and I am sure that Iuzik has no more love for Putin than she has for Iran.  And maybe she truly loves Israel.  But that does *not* make her a usable spy while this could have made her a “victim of Putin’s regime and hatred for real journalists“, at least if the Russian Foreign Ministry had not acted immediately and firmly.  The truth is that these Kodorkovskii-type of “journalists” are no threat to Putin or his “regime”.  That is precisely what makes them so angry and why they have to invent “persecutions” ex nihilo]

So what happened here?

My guess is (and I hope and ask my Iranian friends to correct me if I am wrong!) that this is not about Iuzik herself.  I see two possibilities:

  1. The Israeli visa really infuriated somebody at the IRGC and that person acted impulsively
  2. This is the result of internal infighting in Iran

The first one is obvious, so let me explain the second one.

A lot of Iranians harbor plenty of reservations about Russia, some are even outright hostile or suspicious.  They are not alone, there is also plenty of Russians who do not trust the Iranians.  In the first case, the history of wars and Russian interventions (not to mention the Soviet support for Saddam Hussein’s war on Iran!) is the cause.  In the Russian case, the Iranian attitude towards Afghanistan, Chechnia and, especially, Bosnia created a bad image of Iran (and, to a lesser degree, Islam) in some circles in Russia.  There is nothing new here, other countries have had the same problem (France and Germany, Russia and China, etc.).  My guess is that somebody somewhere in the Iranian power structure saw this as a way to create problems between Russia and Iran. The telltale sign for me is that Iuzina was arrested, according to various reports, by a IRGC special forces team (that is what is done with real spies to prevent them from killing themselves or destroying evidence).  Thus a REAL anti-spy method was used on somebody who was self-evidently NOT a spy.  If so, that plan failed, since the Russians immediately summoned the Iranian ambassador who immediately promised to solve this issue.

The case of Iumasheva is much more primitive.  This is simply the latest attempt of the US deep state to try to make the Russians do something in retaliation which could then be used to prove how evil and devious the Russians are.  As for offering her to grab a coffee on the way out, it is simply a lack of education of the FBI agents involved.  Maybe they wanted to hit on her, or brag to their pals about taking her out, or maybe they simply wanted to show some kindness and did not realize how this kind of clumsy “kindness” would be seen in Russia (where women have a very different status than the poor women of the United States).

So these two cases are completely unrelated and do not form a pattern.

Except they do, alas, and this is the real Russian kidnapping problem.

Where whining will get you in Russia

In the public opinion (both in Russia and outside Russia) Russia simply looks weak and easy to bully.  Now, of course, inside Russia these kinds of views are mostly held by pro-US “liberals” who are just waiting to fan any flame against Putin and the Kremlin.  Most people inside Russia do actually understand the reasons why Russia does not retaliate in kind (Maria Zakharova just repeated it all on TV recently, Russian speakers can listen to her here).  She summed it all up by mentioning the Russian proverb “На обиженных воду возят” whose direct translation into English makes no sense whatsoever: water is carried on the backs of offended people.  This proverb comes from the times of Peter I when canalizations were not available everywhere and when some dishonest employees of the state who were supposed to deliver the water by carriage for free began charging money for this.  When Czar Peter heard about that, he punished these crooks by making them pull the horse-carriages themselves.  Nowadays the word “offended” takes a different meaning of “pouting” or “whining”, so I would (very freely) translate it as “whiners get screwed” or something to that effect.  An even freer translation could be “don’t bitch and you won’t be treated like one”.  Simply put, concepts like “oi vey!” or “gwalt” are not Russian ones 🙂

When westerners are outraged, they typically do a lot of talking.  They threaten, they complain, they protest, they denounce, etc.   Russians typically say nothing, take the pain and concentrate.  Furthermore, complaints, threats or protests are seen as signs of weakness in the Russian culture.  For example, the advice given to anybody going to jail in Russia is “не верь, не бойся, не проси” which means “don’t trust, don’t fear and don’t ask/beg”.  If the so-called “Russian studies specialists” and other experts in the West understood this key feature of the Russian mindset they would not misread Russia so often.

So this is what happens: each time somebody in the West kidnaps a Russian citizen (or does not respect their diplomatic status) the Russian officials very boringly and vapidly protest, mostly behind closed doors and publicly repeat the canned sentences about “US obligations under international law”, about how the boorish behavior of the USA will end up boomeranging and even further discredit the country which modestly fancies itself the “city on the hill”, “indispensable nation”, the “land of the free”, “home of the brave”, etc.

This all simply reeks of weakness to non-Russians (just see Paul Craig Robert’s article above!).

And that is a REAL problem for Russia.

In Asia, everybody “gets it”.  The Iranians understand that absolutely perfectly and do not mistake politely smiling diplomats with Russian weakness (Iran’s future is, in so many ways, becoming dependent on Russia and the Iranians know that very well; just as with the Putin-Xi alliance, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Putin also understand each other perfectly).  Hence their immediate reaction.  As for the Russians, they also understand that this was not a hostile act on the part of Iran as a country but either a bureaucratic screw-up, or a case of Iranian infighting (which happens in Russia too!).

But in the West, Russia’s apparent passivity and even taste for pain only triggers bewilderment and frustration and I believe that Russia needs to address this problem for the following reason:

Thanks to the ceaseless efforts of Obama and Trump, the AngloZionist Empire is tanking much faster than anybody (including myself) would have ever thought.  True, Europe is still a US colony, but the “natives are being restless” and there are all the signs that at least the “Old Europe” (aka “western Europe”) is slowly coming to its senses and realizes that the US not only fails to deliver much, but even cannot really punish very much either.  Not only that, but the “Old Europeans” will vitally need Russia’s help to deal with the “New Europeans” (aka “eastern Europeans), wannabe colonial servants and full-time Empire-brown-nosing regimes when the EU finally tanks (which, at least to me, is not an issue of “whether” but only a question of “when”).

So far, and as long as Russia continues to look like a willing punching ball of the USA, future potential allies will always wonder whether Russia is a paper tiger or, even worse, a “pretend-resister” and a pushover in reality.

Europe and the Americas are no more a Russian foreign policy priority, if only because right now the US is “not agreement capable” while the EU is trying to find some middle-path between the US, Russia and the nutjobs in the East.  True, Russian foreign policy priorities are now in the South, the East and the North.  But let’s not confuse cause and effect here.  A truly sovereign USA or EU would be an superb partner for Russia in so many ways that she cannot but do everything she can to try to change current US and EU perceptions.

So what could Russia do?

I will immediately exclude all actions which would be illegal under international and Russian law.  The fact that a political Neanderthal acts like a thug is no reason for civilized people to emulate him or retaliate in kind.  Each country, each nation, has to decide for itself whether the rule of law (national or international) is something which matters to it or not.

However, I believe that there are legal actions the Russians could take.

For one thing, the Russians could get much, much more assertive at the UN.  I get it, Lavrov had to say that he was sure that Trump and Pompeo had nothing to do with the latest illegal denial of visas of Russian officials to the UN: he was trying to help Trump who probably really had nothing to do with this.  But Pompeo?!  Of course Lavrov and everybody else understand that this could not have happened without Pompeo’s go-ahead.  How much did Lavrov’s diplomatic talk help Trump?  I don’t think that it made any difference.  And it did make Lavrov look plain silly (a very rare case indeed!) in the eyes of the western public.  Was it worth it?  I don’t think so!

Next, so far the Russians have failed to really put pressure on the USA worldwide, but the reality is that she has plenty of options to hurt US security, political and economic interests. For example in Africa where Russia (and China) have gained a lot of traction in recent years or in Latin America where Russia could provide much more political support to opposition groups to local comprador regimes (say in Brazil, Colombia or even Mexico!).  I don’t mean do what the USSR did and waste millions on local Communist parties or by single-handedly supporting the local economies.  But the Russians could begin using political methods (covert and overt) to being showing the US intelligence community (which will immediately detect this) that there is a price to pay.

What would be important in this case would be to start very “low”, with a few actions here and there, just enough to get the US Americans to notice and then to protest in back-channels.  Once this happens, the Russians could simply say “you treat us as hostiles, fine, but there will be a price to pay”.  The first time around Uncle Shmuel is unlikely to notice, but once this become a pattern, especially an increasing one, trust me, he will notice!

And, consider this: the USA is already, and has been since at least 2013, engaged in a full-spectrum aggression on Russia and they have pretty much exhausted all nasty measures which the USA could implement more or less safely.  Escalating further by, say, disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT, or try to impose a no-fly zone over Syria or try to disconnect Russia from the Internet, or blockade Russian ships – these are all measures which are often mentioned, but which would definitely trigger a dangerous Russian retaliation.  The Russians have made several (very uncharacteristic) warnings about that and the US Americans most likely understood that perfectly.  This is also what happened when the Ukronazis were on the verge of an attack on Russia and Putin decided to (again very uncharacteristically) warn Kiev that any such attack would have major “consequences for the Ukrainian statehood“.  All the Ukrainians, most of them being either Russian or understanding the Russian political culture, immediately understood what that meant and the much announced offensive was scrapped.

Conclusion: Russians still often suck at PR

Yes, RT was huge progress, and even Sputnik probably has a function for the western audiences.  And ladies like Zakharova sure are a HUGE progress compared to the stone-faced Soviet spokesmen.  But, simply put, this is not enough.

Furthermore, even inside the Russian society there are real patriots (not just western agents) who are getting mighty fed-up with the Kremlin’s, let’s kindly call it “meek” or “hyper-polite” attitude.  Meekness is a great quality, so are good manners.  But other attitudes and actions are needed when faced with rogue thug-like regimes, especially when those regimes are both self-worshiping and appallingly ignorant.

I have already mentioned in the past that I believed that the “retirement age reform” was a mistake and that it would create a new, patriotic, opposition to the Kremlin’s policies and even, but to a lesser degree, to Putin himself.  This did happen, even if Putin’s last-minute intervention kinda softened the blow and, eventually, this topic was if not forgotten, then at least not the top issue.

Then there has been, for years now, a weird policy of apparent appeasement of the Nazi regime in Kiev.  Since Putin’s very public threat, since he refused to even take phone calls from Poroshenko and since the Russians have FINALLY begun handing out passports to the Ukrainians, things have somewhat improved on that front.  But for YEARS the Russian opposition (patriotic or not at all) was warning about an imminent “sellout” of Novorussia and that hurt the Kremlin (even if that sellout never happened).

I think that it is high time for Putin or Lavrov to start “not taking calls” from Trump or Pompeo, initially figuratively but, if needed, maybe even literally.

As for the patriotic opposition to Putin, there would be a very easy way to deal with it:

  1. start listening to it and show much more firmness
  2. finally give the boot to some of the more toxic 5th columnists in the government
  3. invite that opposition for a real national debate in various public forums (Valdai, TV, radio, etc.)

I think that many of these patriotic opponent of the Kremlin would be glad to fully support Putin if he did that.  If he fails to do so, this opposition will only grow.  Right now the Kremlin is “lucky” that this patriotic opposition has not succeeded (yet?) in presenting a single halfway credible political figure to lead it.  To my great regret, most of the folks involved are angry, bitter and deeply resentful that they have been almost completely ignored by the Kremlin.  But this will inevitably change, especially if the current government continues to look weak, indecisive and not truly patriotic at all.

Thus, I believe that, both for external and internal reasons, the Kremlin needs to develop and implement a much firmer policy towards US-ordered kidnapping of Russian citizens.  I also believe that this will happen once the political costs for the Kremlin of its current “politeness” become even higher.

One more thing – remember the US seizure of Russian diplomatic buildings in the USA?  Putin’s response was very typically Russian: he invited the children of US diplomats to Christmas ceremony in the Kremlin.  For a short while, he did look like the proverbial “better man”.  But what since?  NOTHING!  Another President sits in the White House and the buildings are still under illegal US control.  Did Putin’s “better man” attitude do anybody any good?  Especially in the long term?  I sure don’t think so.  There is a simple truth that every cop knows: narcissistic thugs do not appreciate good manners.  There is a lesson here.

The Saker

PS: I just saw this video of Iumasheva explaining what happened to her:

Debunking the Putin and Netanyahu/Israel work together

Debunking the Putin and Netanyahu/Israel work together canard (final installment)

The Saker

OCTOBER 10, 2019

This will not be an analysis or even a commentary.  Neither am I siding with, or expressing support for, the Turkish military operation in norther Syria.  Finally, I am not discussing the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of the Kurdish Independence movement.  All I propose to do here, is to draw your attention to a series of facts and logical imperatives which, in my opinion debunk and falsify the disinformation campaign aimed at convincing us that Putin and Netanyahu are working hand in glove or, even better, that Putin is a puppet of the Israelis.  So, with that in mind, here we go:

  1. Fact1: The creation of some kind of independent Kurdistan has been both an Israeli dream for decades and a crucial element of the Israeli plans to “reconfigure” the region.
  2. Fact2: The Turks could *never* execute that attack without Russia’s agreement.  Not only does Russia have some of her top-of-the-line integrated air defenses in northern Syria (the Khmeimin Aerospace Forces base and the Tartus naval base), she also has very powerful EW and SIGNIT capabilities.  The only way for Turkey to try to force their way through that air defense “cupola” would be to attack the Russian forces in Syria which would result in a war with Russia which Turkey has no chance in hell of winning.
  3. Fact3: The Russians also have a lot of weight with the Syrian government who also had to agree to let the Turks operate in their skies.  Remember that while the Syrians don’t have air defense systems as sophisticated and powerful as the Russians, they now have a pretty decent and effective integrated air defense system (as shown by how easily it defeated US cruise missile attack).  If the Russians really wanted to do Israel’s bidding, they could have also convinced the Syrian to defend their airspace.  Finally, the Syrians could move forces in an oppose the Turkish invasion.  None of that happened.

Instead, Erdogan gave the Russians (and, via them, the Syrians) assurances that this operation will be limited in scope and nature and that this is not an attack on Syria’s sovereignty.  Since the Syrians ALSO have a problem with the Kurds, what that meant in plain English is “no worries, we will disrupt and suppress the Kurdish attempt to built some kind of Kurdish independent state and then we will limit ourselves to limited, punctual, operations if and when needed.  This is all in your interests too.”  Which is quite true!

Now the Russians are telling the Kurds:

you need to make a deal with Syria, because if you do not, the Turks will smash you“.

To the Turks, the Russians are probably saying:

If the Kurds agree to some autonomy under a unitary Syrian state, then Damascus will be responsible for law and order in northern Syria, which is the best you can hope for“.

I believe that this is exactly what will happen next.  That is also, in my opinion, the only viable solution for the Kurds.

Bottom line:

A lot of folks are saying that

the US has back-stabbed the Kurds“.

That is quite true, of course.

But if Russia was defending Israeli interests, why is nobody saying that

Russia back-stabbed Israel“?

Because this hypothesis is based on a false premise, that’s all!

As for those who promoted it, I leave you to decide whether they were sincerely wrong or whether they were trying to acquire some public visibility by voicing these imbecilic rumors.

Finally, I already see that a lot of news sources are now saying that Erdogan is planning an annexation of northern Syria.  This is what I make of this hypothesis:

  1. Even if true, this still means that the Israeli dream of some kind of independent Kurdistan will never happen.
  2. Whatever Ergodan did or did not promise the Russians and the Syrians, he fully realizes that Turkey cannot afford to let an anti-Kurdish operation turn into a shooting war with Russia and/or Syria.  Thus whatever solution Ankara would want to impose on northern Syria, it would have to be agree upon with Russia, Syria and, I would argue, Iran.  Israel is basically irrelevant now, especially since the US forces have left.
  3. Finally, see for yourself what the Chinese write (as opposed to the AngloZionist legacy media) about this (emphasis added):

    Both sides noted the importance of ensuring the unity and territorial integrity of Syria and respect for its sovereignty.
    MOSCOW, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed Ankara’s military operation in northern Syria over the phone, the Kremlin said Wednesday.”Putin called on Turkish partners to carefully weigh the situation so as not to damage the overall efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis,” the Kremlin said in a press release.”Both sides noted the importance of ensuring the unity and territorial integrity of Syria and respect for its sovereignty” it read. Earlier in the day, Erdogan announced that his country had launched a military operation in northern Syria against the Kurdish forces that Ankara considers terrorists and separatists.

QED.

The truth is simple: while Israel does have an effective 5th column inside Russia, and while it is sufficient to carefully “massage” the public discourse inside Russia about Israel (most Russians have no idea about the real nature and policies of the last openly and proudly racist state on the planet, at least those who get most of their info from the very philosemitic Russian public media), that 5th column has failed to affect major Russian foreign policy decisions.

Yes, the Russians are all happy to smile and say good things about the Israelis, but that sure does not mean that they don’t understand whom they are dealing with.  Likewise, those who need to know do know about the hatred most Israeli decision makers have for Russians, Christianity or even all non-Jews.

Maybe one day the prediction that Russia will become an Israeli/Zionist puppet will come true.  Maybe. But “maybe in the future” does not mean that it already has.  Besides, even an infinitesimal chance qualifies as “maybe”, but that hardly means that we can be confident, or even hopeful, that it will happen.  If I play the lottery tomorrow, I might win.  But that is not a reason to say that I have already won or that I will win tomorrow.

Conclusion: the hypothesis that Putin/Russia are working with, or for, the Israelis cannot be sustained.  Facts have conclusively falsified it (in fact, any honest and competent analysis of past facts would already also have done so too).

As for myself, I consider that the task is done, I have now conclusively debunked that toxic canard and I won’t waste any more of my time with this nonsense.

Here is my concluding advice: I recommend you carefully take down the names of the individuals and media sources who spread that toxic nonsense and remember that they lied to you this time when, the next time around, they come up with the next form of sensationalism, click-baiting and disinformation (which they will, trust me, that is all they can really do).

The Saker

Giuliani claims he has Ukrainian docs showing ‘collusion’ with top Dems

October 03, 2019

It is really a testimony to the pathetic state of the US media when one has to watch Foxnews to try to understand what is really going on.  In Russian we say, “when there is no fish, even a crab can be considered a fish”.  I think that this interview is such a crab.

The Saker

Switzerland: the political system and the cold arrogance

by Paul Schmutz Schaller for the Saker Blog

Switzerland: the political system and the cold arrogance

Since more than 125 years, Switzerland has a very interesting tradition of popular votes. There are three situations which lead to a popular vote:

a) (Small) changes of the constitution, proposed by the government and approved by the parliament.

b) (Small) changes of the constitution, proposed by a popular initiative, which needs to collect 100’000 signatures (not online!); actually, there are 5.44 millions who are entitled to vote so that 100’000 are about 1.84% of all.

c) New laws or changes of existing laws, proposed by the government and approved by the parliament, if there is a popular referendum, which needs 50’000 signatures.

In the last 10 years, there were 85 popular votes, with very diverse subjects, for example: social and economical questions; questions of immigration and asylum; questions of environment, energy, and nutrition; taxes; transport (roads, railways); medical questions; security and army. Of the 85 popular votes, 16 were of category a) (13 of them were approved in the vote), 46 of category b) (6 of them were approved, against the recommendation of the government), and 23 of category c) (in 16 cases, the proposal of the government and the parliament was approved). Hence, in 16 of the 85 votes, the government did not win. The participation was quite variable; usually, it is between 40% and 50%.

Please do not think that these votes are something like “people” against “elite” or “working class” against “monopoly capital”. Such votes do not exist in reality, at least not in Switzerland. Nearly each vote is the result of some divisions among the ruling classes. Each side tries to convince the population that it supports the real interests of the people while the other side defends only egoistic, particular interests. Of course, in most cases, there are huge differences concerning the financial resources of the two sides. Moreover, the press is in the hands of very few people (as usually in Western countries), which gives them a big advantage. Nevertheless, they are not omnipotent and it arrives that their money and their propaganda is not well targeted.

By the way, the results are usually not overwhelming clear. Only sometimes for subjects of category a) since in these cases, a popular vote is necessary even if there is no serious political opposition. Aside from such cases, there was only one popular vote in the last 10 years, where the losing side got less than 20%. The subject was a popular initiative of a small political party, which demanded a radical change of the tax system without being able to simply explain how the new tax system would work. They got only 8%. On the other hand, close results occur regularly.

Some examples of popular votes

Let me now discuss some examples. As in many other countries, the financing of the retirement is a problem in Switzerland, due to important changes in the age structure of the population. Generally speaking, I think that the Swiss population is quite aware of the problem. However, obviously, right wing parties and left wing parties greatly differ on the method how to solve this problem. In this situation, a quite creative idea emerged in the parliament. In 2017, the government had lost three popular votes, two concerning the retirement and one concerning tax relief for commercial enterprises. The first two were lost mainly due to the opposition of right wing parties while the third was opposed by left wing parties. So, the parliament proposed a combination of the two subjects, considering that both sides would have some advantages as well as disadvantages. This proposition was clearly accepted in a popular vote in 2019.

The immigration question has occupied the Swiss population since at least 50 years. In 2014, a popular initiative for the limitation of the immigration was accepted in a popular vote by 50,3% against 49,7%. This was almost a political sensation, which had some immediate consequences. Since the result was close and very unexpected, some people quite quickly proposed to repeat the popular vote. However, one must underline that these were rather amateurish people, politically speaking. No important political party, which was among the losers of the vote, gave support to this proposition and a second popular vote will not happen. On the other hand, popular initiatives are usually formulated quite generally and it is up to the parliament to elaborate the precise laws. In this case, the winners of the vote were not satisfied with the elaboration of the parliament.

Switzerland has the reputation of being a beautiful country and I shall not say the contrary. Protection of the environment has a long popular tradition in this country. In 2012, a popular initiative was accepted with 50.6% against 49.4%. It demanded the restriction of the construction of secondary residences, which was mainly a problem in the touristic regions of the Alps. This result also was a huge surprise. In this case, there were no demands for repeating the vote; however, again, the winners were not completely satisfied with the successive elaboration of the laws by the parliament.

In a popular vote in 2014, it was rejected that Switzerland buys new fighter jets. This also was an important defeat for the government. Many Swiss think that fighter jets are expensive prestige objects. Clearly, the subject is not closed and more popular votes will come. I wonder whether the recent experiences with Yemen and Saudi Arabia will have some influence.

My last example is from 2013 where a popular initiative – called fat cat initiative – was accepted with 68,0%. In the history of Switzerland, this was the highest score for a popular initiative which was not supported by the government. The subject turned around the excessive salaries of top managers. The vote was a kind of protest against the parallel world in Switzerland, formed by the top managers of big enterprises and their sponsors. Ordinary Swiss people have no access to this world, which functions in its own way. I would think that few people have the illusion that the acceptance of this popular initiative will change much. But it was a warning to this parallel world, indicating that the population is not completely defenceless against them.

In the light of the Swiss experiences, let me make some comments about the most famous popular vote in the world of the last years, namely the vote on Brexit of June 2016. Recall that the participation was 72.2% and the result was 51.9% to 48.1%. In the international press, this was characterized as a close vote. Moreover, prominent politicians, for example former prime minister Blair, almost immediately demanded a repetition of the vote, based among other things on online petitions. From my point of view, this all is nonsense. A difference of 3.8% cannot be judged as close, considering also the high participation and the fact that the British government was against Brexit. The actual prime minister Johnson may be what he is, but for me, his main argument – that one has to respect the popular vote on Brexit – is completely legitimate.

A government of national unity

The Swiss government consists of seven members, called federal council. In principle, each one has the same power; the president changes each year by a rotation principle. Federal councils are elected by the parliament. As a consequence of the system of popular votes, the Swiss government is a government of national unity, not by law, but by tradition. Important political forces are integrated in this way. In the last 80 years, there are three essential examples. Beginning in 1943, the worker and trade union movement was integrated and has – since 1959 – two members of the government. Since 1971, Swiss women are entitled to vote and now, a Swiss government without women is unthinkable (actually 3 of the 7 are women). In connexion with the problems of immigration, the Swiss party with the clearest position against exaggerated immigration became the most important party. As a consequence, this party has now 2 members of the government.

Again from a Swiss point of view, the political system in France is not effective. It systematically excludes large parts of the population, in particular the parties of Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. It is obvious for me that the protest movement of the “Gilets Jaunes” is a consequence of this exclusion, provoked by the political system.

The next elections for the Swiss parliament will be on 20 October 2019. In December 2019, the new parliament will elect or re-elect the 7 federal councils. Concerning the parliament elections, everybody expects important gains for the green and ecological parties. This will then raise the question whether one of the federal councils should be from an ecological party. Such questions are among the most discussed and most interesting in Swiss politics.

Generally speaking, the Swiss population is very content with the political system. Usually, the approval rating of the government is much higher in Switzerland than in other Western countries.

Relations with the European Union (EU)

Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but is surrounded by countries of the EU. Therefore, the relations with the EU are crucial. Some 25 years ago, the EU was quite popular in Switzerland. But this has very much changed. Today, it is merely seen as a necessary evil to have good relations with the EU. Paradoxically, the majority in Switzerland seems however to be opposed that other countries leave the EU.

Recently, the Swiss government has negotiated a new bundle of treatises with the EU. For the EU, the subject seems to be settled. However, in Switzerland, the result of the negotiations will have no chance in a popular vote (which necessarily will be held). The Swiss government is aware of this situation and looks for some improvements. I must say that I am looking forward to a confrontation between the Swiss population and the EU concerning these new treatises.

Why are there dissidents in Switzerland?

One cannot say that the Swiss political system is bad. As I said, the country is quite beautiful and, moreover, quite rich, modern, and open to the world. So, why are we not all happy? Why are there dissidents like me? Of course, I can only give my own explications. By the way, if you read “About the Saker” on this website, you will easily conclude that the Saker is a Swiss citizen, but not particularly happy about his experiences in Switzerland – to say the least.

From an abstract point of view, you can say that Switzerland is a typical Western country. Take as an example the fact that the “approval rating” in the Swiss population of countries like Russia, Iran, or Syria is very small. And since the case of the Occident in the world is utterly unfair, it is only logical that you become a dissident if you live in a Western country. Ok, this is a simple formula, which moreover is not wrong. However, in some sense, it completely misses the point. I claim that nobody becomes a dissident just by rational reflection. What really matter are life experience and a protracted confrontation with the society.

I would say that a dissident is somebody who expects nothing more from his or her country. Who no longer looks for being integrated. Not because of revenge, but because of he or she has tried hard for some reasonable time, but did not find any possible way. Accordingly, I completely lost my faith in Switzerland. I would not longer appreciate being identified with Switzerland. I owe nothing to this country. Ok, I admit that I was disappointed when Roger Federer lost the Wimbledon final despite having match points. And I would support Swiss football team (soccer, for Americans) against most other countries, including China and Russia (but not against Syria, Iran, or Venezuela). But this is more nostalgia, than anything else.

In fact, I consider Switzerland as a boring country. No positive dreams, no ideals, no engagement, no ideas, not even serious discussions. Only chilling defence of the achievements – which, in principle, is not wrong, but the problem is the “only”. And above all, an intolerable arrogance against all that is not glorifying Western hegemony.

“But you have the right of expressing all this criticism.” I hear this argument since 50 years. But only recently, I understood what is thoroughly wrong with it. It suggests that criticism is the aim. But no, I was not born for criticizing. Looking for critics was never my first reaction, except maybe very occasionally in my youth. Ok, I had my own ideas – but for constructive reasons. What I was looking for was the opportunity to contribute to the society as well as possible. But again and again, I was frustrated. The society did not at all care about my contributions. They wanted just my subordination to the existing order. So, finally, I lost interest and became a dissident. Obviously, this made me more calm and easy-going. And as the Saker says: “The deserts are filled with submarines.”

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