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16 June 2016


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Bizarre proposed Ukraine operation shortly after the MH-17 shoot down by Australia and the Dutch (if real)..

You could not make this stuff up



What's the thinking on Syria? Pivots and decision points are in the air.

We have Turkey pulling support for rebels that threaten Assad's capacity to quash an autonomous Syrian Kurdistan. The Sultan has realized he's made a long list of enemies - Russia, Iran, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Kurds, the US, and the EU. Meanwhile, Russia has resumed bombing around Aleppo as Kerry fulminates about their favourite fundies being promoted to their sky virgin loft. Shortly prior, the Russian, Iranian, and Syrian defence ministers met to discuss The Plan. The Russian MOD's assessment of the talks was brief. It's possible Iran is having a big 'What's the plan?' moment with Putin, being especially suspicious of talks between Russia and the West. Russian media has been murmuring lately that the pro-Assad ground forces have insufficient clout to take Raqqa or achieve the total victory preferred by Iran.

My belief is that the Russians started talking to the US because (a) they want to force the US to walk back on its grand isolation ploy (b) expose the fact the US cannot produce moderate head choppers they are prepared to showcase before the world, and (c) avoid a quagmire by keeping diplomatic options open. Whatever the case, current pro-Assad ground forces lack the strength to make significant gains in short order unless this Turkey business turns out to be a game changer. There's no sign of the US backing down or Russia abandoning support for Assad, so we could be settling in for a Long War now that the SAA has reached the end of its logistical tether.


Some here might find this book interesting: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/salonika-a-strange-sideshow-to-the-first-world-war-1.2687086

The author also wrote a volume of history: https://www.amazon.co.uk/War-Memorial-Story-Villages-Sacrifice/dp/067092153X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466098261&sr=1-1&keywords=Clive+Aslet+War+Memorial




Lisa Sullivan has been in Latin America since '77 & talks about the plight of the locals.

(If I were y'all, I'd pray that they resolve their crises soonest before they all start flocking to the US of A...)


Brexit is heating up in the UK. A member of Parliament was shot and stabbed to death.


This is undoubtedly a tragedy. My point is addressed to those promoting the evisceration of the 2nd amendment to our Constitution. Don't they have gun control in the UK?


The NY Times has a story that the Orlando shooter posted to Facebook during the attack. He also took time to change out the magazine. A question to those more knowledgeable about such stressful situations. Why didn't anyone attempt to jump him or throw bottles or other objects or in general attack him back, even if they were unarmed? Clearly if people were packing in the situation could have been different.


Israel seems to have amended its law on terrorism, if I got news correctly today.

This would be a bit off topic on our recent treads on events in and around Orlando, but it is well written.

Here is an article by Allison Deger on Mondoweiss:


Family of Tel Aviv attacker tries to understand how star pupil turned to violence

When Mohammed Makhamri was shown a picture of his son Khaled being arrested in Tel Aviv last Wednesday at an outdoor shopping center after an attack that killed four, he recognized him instantly even though the beard was gone.


In retrospect, Mohammed could see a shift brewing in Khaled. The pieces did not fall into place until it was too late. Khaled had taken a semester off of school, telling his family he needed “room to breathe.”


The possibility that Khaled’s family would face home demolition was presumably not a surprise to him. When he was seven years old a relative living in the building next door killed an Israeli during the second Intifada. Afterwords the Israeli military razed the building leaving 28 people homeless, “most of them children” said Mohammed.


My estimate of the Orlando jihadi has evolved. Earlier I thought that there was some confluence between the killer as a conflicted gay that sought salvation through his deadly actions. I'm shifting to the belief that it is more likely it was a strategic decision long planned in conjunction with an Isis contact.

It provides the perceived benefits of targeting a despised group that reflects Isis's world view and is likely seen as an appropriate target of the corrupted West by a large segment of Muslims. This would aid in their struggling recruitment.

It aligns with his family's beliefs.

It aligns with his, now disclosed, media blitz getting his "message" out midway through his bloody endeavor.

It aligns with his wife's actions who would otherwise not exactly find their excursions to gay bars understandable.

There have been no reported instances of him actually hooking up with someone in the gay community and only limited approaches to individuals. The social media presence would make sense if his goal was understanding his target and finding the softest, most attractive time and place.

I am not so sure the shooter wasn't also a repressed gay but if he had jihadi contacts it seems that the strategic aspect of this would be rather appealing.


Recently I listened to a talk by Bruce Sterling. Don't recall it verbatim, but apparently someone in Italy told him, he doesn't understand US panic concerning Trump. After all, why shouldn't they have their version of Berlusconi.

Maybe the message reached Trump, Politico reports:

Does Donald Trump want to create a Trump News Network?

this was the speech, but it's long, and please don't ask me, where it was:


Reading T. J. Stiles 2015 biography of George Armstrong Custer, which was awarded a Pulitzer. If you know American history, you know how the story ends.

I didn't realize how much time he spent on McClelland's staff. Or that spent much of the Peninsular Campaign aloft in observation balloons. Great personal bravery plus a strong penchant for self-promotion, which was bested by McClelland's staff in puffing up Little Mac.


Harry Turtledove, in his alternative history novels, portrays Custer as far more competent than the usual historical depictions, and Turtledove does his homework quite rigorously. Custer may have been an insufferable megalomaniac (he is that too in the novels), but he was still something special.

The Twisted Genius


You have to remember that this occurred at two in the morning in a Florida nightclub celebrating Latin night. I don't imagine many of the clientele being in any condition to throw bottles or attack someone with any degree of effectiveness. The jihadi asshole chose his target well.

Chris Chuba

Wargame: How President Hillary Clinton could trigger a nuclear war with Russia

Since the subject of 'nuclear codes' was mentioned by Hillary Clinton in her foreign policy speech, here is a scenario where she, and NOT Donald Trump, escalates a situation into a nuclear war with Russia. I'm not saying it is going to happen but I came up with a scenario that I believe is not totally ridiculous. If people disagree with me, no offense taken, comments are welcome ...

1. President Hillary Clinton orders a no fly zone over Syria.

2. Russians successfully counter it with better than expected performance of their S400's.

3. Enraged by downing of U.S. aircraft, Hillary, at the suggestion of the newly appointed Gen. Breedlove, approves a plan to have U.S. troops back a land attack on Crimea while launching a naval missile attack on Sevastopol. After all, it's not really Russian territory and they believe it will force them to leave Syria.

4. The Russians decide to make the U.S. experience war in their own backyard thinking that it will make them re-consider their campaign. They launch a cruise missile attack on a U.S. military base in San Diego with conventional warheads.

5. President Clinton is faced with a choice, either pursue a cease fire or to escalate even more. She is advised that a nuclear first strike will eliminate a Russian response. She is told that we know where all their submarines are. She sees this as a choice between being a one term President or being remembered as the one who eliminated the Russian menace. She orders the attack ...

Some additional info, a paper from members of the Council on Foreign Relations claimed that we had nuclear primacy in 2006
Also, the "Russian Insider" claims that Russia has been shooting down U.S. drones over Crimea recently. If true then we don't see Crimea as the same way the Russians do.


A nice vocal performance to give you confidence in the future; straight from Detroit:

Will Reks


Someone who actually promotes evisceration of the 2nd Amendment is probably better suited to answer this but I will offer up an answer in case you were sincerely looking for one.

I don't know the particulars about the UK's gun control laws. There about 50-60 gun-related homicides every year in the UK. I don't think any type of gun control will make that number zero so I think we are agreed that it is a total failure in the UK.


I have been mulling over the timing of the release of the fact that HC's private e-mail server was hacked.

Any chance it might be connected to the Russian President's reaction to negotiations reportedly ongoing between Victoria Nuland / Nicos Anastasiades et al. re: the "withdrawal" of Turkish troops from Cyprus and their replacement with (Turkish) NATO forces? Turning 37% of Cyprus into a surrogate U.S. military base cannot have pleased the Russian leader. Just a thought.

William R. Cumming

P.L. and ALL? Any links to analysis of the Clinton Global Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative?


I would appreciate it if our British correspondents David Habakkuk, LondonBob, et al would share their views on the tragic murder of parliamentarian Jo Cox and the consequences for the Brexit referendum.

It seemed from the recent polls that Leave was edging ahead and Cameron, Osborne and others leading the Remain campaign were under pressure. This tragedy could possibly shift sentiment dramatically. Will Jo Cox be the martyr for Remain and the larger EU project?


There is an excellent series on YouTube on the WWI called The Great War series by historian Indy Neidell. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUcyEsEjhPEDf69RRVhRh4A

I highly recommend it. He follows the war with an episode per week (roughly 100 years back) which makes for a fascinating flow.

The Twisted Genius

Looks like there is a serious infestation of "Assad must go" true believers at the State Department. These are mid level career diplomats rather than think tank appointees. The neocon sickness runs deep. I wish I had more faith in Trump to be able to do something about this. Unfortunately, I think he would be destroyed soon after his inauguration.



And as always the laws only apply to Palestinians.


alba etie

Richard Armitage has endorsed Clinton - that does it I am for certain writing in Sanders on my ballot now !


Chas freeman has a piece in the national interest


For review and comment.


I wish more people were aware of just how "saturated" the neocon presence is within mid-level as well as upper level federal bureaucracies.


How does The Brown Lady define "diplomats."

" More than 50 State Department diplomats" out of how many "rank and file" ???

50+ does not seem like a surprisingly large number of toadys + advantage seekers.

but this is (as usual) pure ignosticism (sic) on my part.

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