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08 October 2016


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Babak Makkinejad

So, US trusts Vietnam and People's Republic of China but not Iran or Russia?

She has a fair amount of trust in the Gulfies and Turkey but none in Cuba?

Are you saying that the English Government, in 1938-1939 period - trusted Germany more than it trusted USSR?

Ishmael Zechariah

I would guess that the real target is not the core band of pilgrims here, but those folks who look in once in awhile. The ink screen thrown up may convince a few that the Borg has a valid premise re. Syria, but not if we keep engaging all incoming. How many of us can afford the required time?
Ishmael Zechariah

mike allen

Old Microbiologist -

I suspect your source on the US stopping airstrikes in Syria due to Russian threats is incorrect. The coalition struck eight more Daesh (ISIS) targets in Syria yesterday in addition to the 13 on the day before.

Near Abu Kamal, one strike damaged two supply routes.

Near Al Shadaddi, two strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three fighting position and a vehicle.

Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes damaged four ISIL supply routes.

Near Mar’a, two strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle and a fighting position.

Near Palmyra, one strike destroyed an ISIL headquarters facility

David Habakkuk

Mike Allen,

I doubt I can explain my mixed feelings about Waugh very well, because it would involve trying to make you understand an alien culture – and it seems likely that you are the kind of American who finds this difficult.

But anyhow.

Many years ago, when I was a not very employable recent university graduate, I wrote to the father of a childhood friend who was a Latin Americanist, asking if there was any way of finding a job out there. He wrote to a contact, suggesting may be I might be of use as a ‘tutor in a traditional Mexican family.’

All he meant by this was that there was no point in being a tutor in the kind of family where the parents have both been to Berkeley or Oxford, and complain about English dentistry.

However, his correspondent took him at his word, and I ended up with a pure Spanish, traditional Catholic family – oddities, in a largely ‘mestizo’ society. So in the course of a largely insular life, I had a year of something close ‘total immersion’ in a very different culture. I barely talked to any native English speakers.

When I returned, by pure fluke, I got a job on an extraordinarily bad and very right-wing monthly magazine owned by a former employee of Lord Beaverbrook – a source for ‘Lord Copper’ in ‘Scoop’. As it happened, my employer modelled himself on his sometime master. This was just after the onset of the 1973 oil crisis, and it rapidly turned out the magazine was teetering on the verge on bankruptcy.

So, at a formative time in my life, I was more closely involved with ‘Waugh-type’ situations than almost anyone else I have come across. That in itself left me with mixed feelings, in particular about the cruelty.

It is so much involved with the brilliance of his best work – but then, I learned in Mexico that strange worlds often have much love in them as well as much cruelty, and that one should never confuse the question of whether one agrees with people with that of whether one likes or indeed loves them.

Coming back to Britain, David Cameron, George Osborne, and Boris Johnson are all former members of something called the ‘Bullingdon Club’ in Oxford.

It features as the ‘Bollinger Club’ in ‘Decline and Fall’ – which I recall right is Waugh’s first, and in my view probably still best, novel.

It is material that my late father was one of the earnest grammar school scholarship boys repeatedly treated with withering contempt in Waugh’s novels.

The contempt is partly reciprocated – in my heart of hearts, and without a shred of social defensiveness, I think of Cameron, Osborne, and Johnson as ‘rich white trash’.

But once again, there are complexities which I do not think I could ever begin to explain to someone like you.

The valley of the Fowey, in Cornwall, is one of the most beautiful places in the Kingdom – also, at the bottom, replete with memories of the American forces who set off from that coast on D-Day. Near where the river starts, up in the hills, there is a ‘stately home’ called Lanhydrock. In the chapel, there is a memorial to those from the estate who died in the First World War.

At the top is ‘Captain Tommy’ – ‘the Honourable Captain Thomas Charles Reginald Agar-Robartes MP.’ Some time ago I discovered, to my amusement, an old Bullingdon Club photograph, in the quadrangle of Christ Church, Oxford, in which he features.

(See http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/889936.9 .)

In 1914, ‘Captain Tommy’ was a rising Liberal politician. He did not have to go to the war – indeed, a perfectly respectable argument could be made that the responsible course of action would have been to have avoided doing so.

He died at Loos in September 1915, after he and a sergeant went out into no-man’s land to bring another sergeant back.

(See https://lanhydrock.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/the-war-dead-of-lanhydrock-parish/ .)

A strand in Waugh is a familiar middle-class snobbery about the aristocracy. But then, the attitudes of people about social class here have been very complex – much too complex, I think, for their to be any hope of my explaining them to you.

It is material, in my own case, that further down the Fowey, on monument in a parish church, there is the name of one of the two maternal great-uncles of mine to have been killed in that war. The son of the vicar of the parish, he had gone out to Canada as a rancher, and come back with a Canadian regiment recruited at the outset of war.

My father’s family, being Welsh, are a different ‘can of worms’ – with different complexities about aristocracy.

But you see, involved in this are a set of social understandings which appear to be totally absent in the contemporary United States, and to have largely vanished in my own country.

A ‘gentleman’ may regard others as his social inferiors. But he does not refer to them as ‘deplorables’; and when there are wars to be fought, and dying to be done, he goes first.

mike allen

@Babak - "Are you saying that the English Government, in 1938-1939 period - trusted Germany more than it trusted USSR?"

No, I think Mr Habakkuk said that.

David Habakkuk

Mike Allen,

The arguments I was making on the Patrick Armstrong thread to which I referred were not to do with ‘forensics of photographs or videos’. They had to do with test results on ‘environmental’ samples.

You have made no effort whatsoever to engage with these arguments.

Indeed, your behaviour is reminiscent of that of columnists on the ‘Financial Times’ – people like Richard Haass. And I do not think I can make a much more contemptuous remark than that.

You write:

‘Voodoo forensics is my term for it. There are a few people trained for it who also have the knowledge of weapon systems and bomb damage assessment that do a decent job.’

I see. Does Professor Theodore Postol of MIT count as one of the ‘few people trained for it’?

You are doubtless familiar with the January 2014 paper he produced with Richard Lloyd under the title ‘Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013’.

(See https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6-GpDfsYECES3lOTUlneldpZ1Boenl1bGV5YkVnY29WdGNF/edit .)

And you will also doubtless have prepared a considered rebuttal to the analysis presented in Postol’s July 2014 paper entitled ‘A Brief Assessment of the Veracity of Published Statements in the Press and Elsewhere Made by Dan Kaszeta, A Self-Described Expert on the Science and Technology of Chemical Weapons’

(See https://cryptome.org/2014/08/postol-debunks-kaszeta.pdf .)


Mike, if you know about Iran fighting KURD insurgency then you must agree this statement yours is false "Those Iglas could just as easily have come from Iran who is no friend of Turkey", Iran wouldn't give MANPADS to KURDS, bringing Turkish planes down while Kurd insurgents or Turks can return the favor, well, on the second thought, unless they are using Obama' planners to plan foreign policy.


Is the MSM (I don't engage anymore) covering the US air strikes on ISIS held areas in Sirte (supporting the "UN backed government")? The destruction sure looks similar to Aleppo to me...

David Habakkuk

Mike Allen,

Years ago I had to train my television researchers. I got used to being patient. But there are limits.

You appear not to know how to locate a book. If you don’t like Amazon, try www.bookfinder.com. It should take you about thirty seconds to locate the Evans study – current best price $5.14 – and it should be with you in a few days.

As to my sources: there are a lot more, but I have given you some of the most critical ones – in particular, the Steiner and Gorodetsky studies.

As to trust, it is relevant – the question is when and where.

It is relevant that, back in 1989, an enormous number of people – and notably, a large section of the Soviet élite – had a very high degree of ‘trust’ in the United States. That was a central reason why the Cold War ended as it did.

All that has gone. If you want to see some reasons why, you might try looking at an article by Sergei Karaganov in ‘Izvestiya’ earlier this year.

Alternatively, have a closer look at Dr Patrick Armstrong’s writings. He had many years of close study on behalf of the Canadian government behind him before he retired and started posting stuff on the internet. And he was warning about the kind of shambles which has been developing many years ago.

(See http://karaganov.ru/en/publications/395 ; https://patrickarmstrong.ca/)

But distrust of your government – and other Western governments – is now spreading through the West.

As it happens, I have limited ‘trust’ in what anybody says.

But if you ask me whether I have more ‘trust’ in Hillary Clinton or in Putin, or in John Kerry or Sergei Lavrov, or Ashton B. Carter or Sergei Shoigu, what answer do you expect to get?

And, although we are certainly a minority, there is a growing body of people in Britain like me.

Get real. Come out of the bubble. Rejoin the human race.


"Anyway, enjoy the coming fight. In all probability my country, Turkey, and my city, Adana, will take some of the first hits-Incirlik is only 18 km away."

I don't know about that, CCTV today was showing a warm welcome to Putin in a visit to Erdogan.

Could be when the Borg demands support, the Sultan will reply "Such as you provided me? We are sitting this out."


Very good post from Peak Oil summarizing the Russian conflict. This would be good to send to your friends, along with Robert Kennedy's:


P.O. doesn't cover new ground until the end, noting the war is a psychological manifestation of victimization / narcissism, and so we've got 2 perfect candidates [karma: As within, so without, sigh]. “Do one to others before they do one to me.” Also thus the regime-change wars will never end until the victimization is enlightened.

Useful for introductions; thought-provoking.


"all he has accomplished in Russia over this small Russian imperialist holding in Syria ..."

thanks all who gave the patronizing condescension of this proud representative of empire the attention it deserves. ...

mike allen

David Habakkuk -

Contemptuous? Sorry to let you down. I have the greatest respect for your comments here.

My comments above were not on chemical weapons but on the photograph of tail fins of a bomb in a warehouse that was used by both bellingcat and Dr Armstrong to push their respective points of view. I do not believe either one of them knew what they were talking about regarding that photograph.

The voodoo forensics term was regarding that photgraph and had nothing to do with chemical weapons. I never suggested that I or commenter "Andy" were experts on chemical weapons. And I am sure that bellingcat is not either.

I am not aware of Dr Postol's work on chemical weapons. I had heard his criticism of Bush on the Patriot/SCUD issue and think he was perhaps right about the oversell of Patriot effectiveness. Everyone oversells their weapon systems, corporate hype, and also government hype. But I will read the link you provided.

Sans racines

Yes agree with your analysis - responsibility, honour, duty and subtlety are the mark of a gentleman - the UK could do with a rejuvenation of the concept having experimented for too long with a random walk through arrogance and trivialisation.

Sans racines

Agree - loved her rebuke, and the part where she tells them to go learn some history!

mike allen

David Habakkuk -

Thank you for your response. I will read those Waugh books you recommended but with an eye out for his snobbery.

I certainly concur with your parting comment about gentlemen and that they should go first when there are wars to be fought.

Sorry you feel that I am someone who is: "the kind of American who finds this difficult." I do not believe I ever gave you or anyone else on this blog reason to have that impression. Throughout my life I have striven to understand other cultures. I may have been hard on the British in some of my past comments here, mainly because of memories of my maternal grandmother who often complained of 'Sassenach duplicity'. But my father was of English descent and I meant no disrespect to you. Please consider it a cousin's spat.

mike allen

@David Habakkuk - "You appear not to know how to locate a book."

I prefer to use local independent bookstores. If it is unattainable locally I will certainly use Alibris or Powell's online.

Why the insults and animosity?

mike allen

@Babak "So, US trusts Vietnam and People's Republic of China but not Iran or Russia?"

Some in the US trust Iran, others do not. I am sure that the situation is reciprocated in Tehran.

I certainly trust the Iranian people. Not so much the IRGC.


In reply to PeteM 09 October 2016 at 09:47 PM

"I don't have a background in this business"

Given the inept nonsense you've been posting that's been glaringly apparent to everyone who read further than the second sentence in your first screed.

"new reality" my ass. It was always reality that the Russians would defend themselves and their allies but then I suppose for a cheetoh yuffling thirty year-old still ensconced in his parents' basement "reality" is a somewhat vague concept. Here's a hint for you "reality" in real life isn't remotely like WoW.


In reply to David Habakkuk 10 October 2016 at 02:45 PM

"You have made no effort whatsoever to engage with these arguments."

Nor will he, that's not his function.

mike allen

@Kooshy - "Iran wouldn't give MANPADS to KURDS, "

I did not say they did. I suggested a possibility. One possibility among many. It could just have easily been us, or the Iraqis, or captured weapons from ISIS, or the Russians as I first suggested.

By the way, PDKI insurgents in Iran are not associated with PKK. They are completely different organizations. And there are reports of shooting wars between them. The leader of PKK has stated publicly that they have no wish to engage in hostilities with Iran and have no designs on freeing Rojhelat (Kurdish areas in Iran.



Little known NEOCON Carl Gershman funnels over $100 million in taxpayer money through his NEOCON slush fund the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Gershman's cross-hairs have centered on regime change in Moscow.

What part of Congress controls the taxpayer money that the NED/Gershman get each year? Are they CIA funds?

Will the Russian Embassy in D.C. file slander charges in U.S. Courts against Gershman and shut him up?

Looks like its going to take a state sponsored operation to shut Gershman's funneling of U.S. taxpayer money down.


“Regime Change” in Russia: Key Neocon Calls On Washington To Remove President Putin From Office

Ishmael Zechariah

TSK is in Syria and is being asked to take part in the "liberation of Mousul" by the Borg. I do not think we have the option of sitting this out. IMO tayyip has been playing both ends against the middle since the false-flag coup but he will have to declare his hand sooner or later. We will see how this all plays out.
Ishmael Zechariah



Here's info regarding Gershman's NED/National Endowment for Democracy's Officers and Board of Directors. A hornet's nest of NEOCONs that steer U.S. foreign policy, not for the best interests of the U.S. either.


Martin Frost (Chairman)
Vin Weber (Vice-Chair)
Marilyn Carlson Nelson (Secretary)
Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle (Treasurer)
Carl Gershman

Board of Directors;
Anne Applebaum
Karen Bass
James Boland
Ambassador William J. Burns
Michele Dunne
Francis Fukuyama
Donald L. Horowitz
Barry Jackson
Zalmay Khalilzad
Jayne M. Kurzman
Marne Levine
Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman
Will Marshall
Azar Nafisi
Andrew J. Nathan
Mark S. Ordan
Fred Redmond
The Honorable Peter Roskam
Ambassador Stephen Sestanovich
David E. Skaggs
Melanne Verveer
George Weigel
Robert B. Zoellick

Babak Makkinejad

The English nobles were poor; they went out and led the English people to kill the proverbial animal and bring back the meat - and everyone got something to chew on.

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