NOTE: THis will be the last until April -- I'm off soon on a cruise all around South America.
AMERICA-HYSTERICA. I believe that we are approaching the exposure of the plot. Some reading to bring you up to speed. The conspiracy explained (part of it actually – there were other players. MSM too). Happenings: 1) documents 2) interviews of principals 3) reborn investigations of e-mails and Clinton Foundation. First charges laid in Uranium One (an American charged with bribing a Russian too!). Today's step. The Dossier is central to the conspiracy. I reiterate: there was no Russian government involvement in the US election; there was no Russian government collusion with Trump. It was a story invented to support a conspiracy against Trump and then an attempt to cover up the conspiracy when, in the destruction of the plotters' expectations, he was elected. This is very big.
HEALTH. The Minister has provided some statistics that show the steady improvement in Russians' health. For the first 11 months of 2017, the death rate decreased by about 3% with a considerable drop in deaths by alcohol poisoning (16%). Infant mortality continued its steady decline and so the population increases from each end. In the last five years, alcohol consumption dropped a lot as has smoking; meanwhile exercise rates are up. The overall effect is an increase in life expectancy: now put at 72.6 years for men and 77 years for women. It seems that Russians are more optimistic about the future and less depressed by the present. This further strengthens my belief that Russia is poised to take off in a way that it never has before.
GOLD. Russia has bought quite a lot of gold (and maybe more than it's telling us). Photos from the gold vaults. I wonder if China will show its hoard.
RUSSIA INC. Growth of 1.7% and inflation down to 2.5% last year. In comparison the EU's growth forecast was 1.7% but they're now saying 2.2%; the USA's was 3.2%. But here are different figures with USA 2.2%. But, anyway, considering sanctions and so on, that's not bad.
RUSSIAN BASES IN SYRIA ATTACKED. On the night of 5/6 January the Russian bases at Khmeimim and Tartus (Syria) were attacked by 13 UAVs, 10 at the former. The aircraft were armed with mortar bombs. Seven were shot down, six were hacked of which three of which were safely landed. The aircraft themselves were fairly crude but the navigation systems and other electronics were quite sophisticated. The attack was launched from the de-escalation zone in Idlib. On the 12th in a complicated operation involving special forces, artillery with smart munitions and air reconnaissance, the MoD says the people responsible were killed and the depot destroyed (videos). Plenty of rumours of course: a US reconnaissance aircraft was said to be in the area; the Pentagon denies involvement; Putin said it wasn't Ankara. Certainly the air defences showed their ability – especially by taking over six of the UAVs and bringing three to a soft landing. So, if the US was involved (and who knows what's going on in Washington's idiotic and incoherent activities there?) then it discovered that Russian air defences are formidable. (They will only be strengthened – this was an all round learning experience.)
BEEDO! BEEDO! BEEDO! A rather ridiculous publicity video showing the USAF bravely intercepting two Russian fighters flying from Russia to Russia along the very restricted international air corridor in the Baltic. The US side claims the Russians did not "did not broadcast the appropriate codes required by air traffic control and had no flight plan on file". The Russians say they did. I remind readers that it was NATO that rejected a Russo-Finnish proposal that all aircraft fly with their transponders on.
KOREA. As Churchill observed, jaw-jaw is better than war-war and we're getting talking in Korea. One assumes Beijing is somewhere in the background. Moscow and Beijing are coordinating their efforts. Much, if not most, is hidden and consumers of the MSM would be astounded to hear that President Moon gives Trump some of the credit.
THE TRUMP EFFECT. Whether I, Korybko or the Saker has got it right, things are changing and "America First" is making other countries wonder where they fit in. Doctorow observes, others bemoan, but it's happening.
FANTASIA UKRAINIA. There are no nazis in Ukraine. And, if there are, there aren't many of them. And if many, they have little influence. If influential there, then nowhere else. Never mind: 25 December is now a holiday and Hallowe'en is making progress so all is well. (This fatuous piece savaged here).
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer