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01 August 2017

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Anna

The Baltic states had started a Russophobic complain under a slogan of the "native language" immediately after their "liberation." Even those Russian families that have been living in the Baltic states for generations must hold an exam in the "native" language in order to maintain their citizenship there. The statistics for the citizens of Baltic States tells that a large percent of the educated, intelligent, and ambitious have already left the new NATO launching pads against Russia. https://worldview.stratfor.com/analysis/baltics-emigration-and-demographic-decline

English Outsider


Lemur - Could be you haven't given the NYT much attention recently. Or, if you were in my country, the quality press or the BBC. Don't blame you, of course, but this is the world we live in. The deal is this. No longer do we look at fact or argument. We simply assume our position and assume that anyone who contests it is worthy only of contemptuous dismissal.

The alarming thing is that this isn't only a "left wing" approach. I've been looking at some "right wing" stuff recently. Magazines here that call themselves "paleo-conservative" and some people who call themselves the "alt-right" in your country. From what I've seen - I didn't spend that much time there - they're pretty well as bad.

Let's face it. The artfully calibrated sneer is generally what passes for political argument in your country or mine. You and I don't like it. The Colonel's site offers us a refuge from it. But it's to be expected it'll pop up now and again.

Anna

Meanwhile, the MSM silence re Awan affair (the greatest national cyber-security breach) is deafening. It seems that the "deciders" made some orders for the presstitutes to not mention the well-documented (unlike "Russian hacking") breach. https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/01/did-hillary-scapegoat-russia-to-save-her-campaign/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgKCNaDFl_U

Fred

rkka,

"conventionally." I don't think that is true of the Russian Federation. Probably not China either. Russia could certainly destroy most of the West with it's strategic rocket forces, which our elites seem to have forgotten. China could probably do so also.

smoke

Egregious but good example of what passes for news reporting these days, PT.

I had been reflecting already on what news reporting is not and ought to be, after receiving a link, from a friend, to a Huffpost report on Bill Browder's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Yes, Huffpost is an awkward bird, no "paper of record." Its shortcomings seem similar in kind, albeit to a greater degree, to those of more established media.

The particular article consisted of a brief summary and then a long transcript of Browder's testimony, detailing, in gruesome detail, the depredations, torments, and eventual killing of Browder's tax attorney Magnitsky, in the custody of Russian police. This event transformed Browder from an American-Russian investor (oligarch), chased out of Russia, into a vengeful, stinging fury targeted at Putin's Russia. Or that's the simple story.

Since one no longer relies on a single source for any news, and above all not an American Brit, who spent the 90s in Russia and left with a fortune, I began searching the net for information to fill out the picture. What more is known about Browder? How is the Magnitsky Act, which Browder sponsored and lobbied though Congress, being used in practice? What was the point of his appearance at Judiciary? Etc.

The story began to gather context and, actually, became more interesting. I passed a few tidbits back to the friend, who had recommended the Huffpost story. Such as the fact, reported by Breitbart and not by Huffpost, that during his testimony, Browder had cleared the Trump team of collusion in the meeting with the Russian lawyer Veselnetskaya. Browder reported that in 2016 she was lobbying everyone that she could find in an effort of repeal Magnitsky, and that she had lobbied throughout the halls of Congress, too.

Later I noticed that another of my friends, with a warm heart, had linked to the Huffpost story on her Facebook page, expressing horror. I realized that she and many like her are the intended audience for such reports.

The whole exercise moved me to reflect on what news has become and should be. Three hours on the internet put the Browder testimony in some perspective - I'd have liked to know more, but time... I would have crosschecked a NYT story too. Readers should not have to spend hours on the internet, as PT has done for this report of Russian troop movements, seeking out alternate sources, just to get a full story. Nor do we have time for this every day. Many won't even think to look further. This is what good news reporting ought to be doing.

This is why websites like this one have become invaluable.

Anna

Facebook is in service to the empire of FedReserve.

Lemur

Doesn't answer my question, commits the sin of the scare quote, and borders on argumentum ad temperantiam and special pleading. Why are your positions a product of rationality while those whom you oppose are not? Is it because they reached different conclusions?

Jack

PT

This is par for the course for Pravda on the Hudson. I'm surprised that NPR actually had a report on US/NATO activities around the border with Russia. I also notice that Tucker Carlson is giving some air time to viewpoints in opposition to the DC/NYC groupthink.

I don't know what's gonna pierce the bubble that the Borg inhabit. If it does get pierced it will imply that we are in the middle of a major calamity.

b

Notice that the NYT bullshit and graphic is based on Phillip Karber of the Potomac Foundation.

The dude is a certified lunatic known to lie over and over again:

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/02/19/say-it-aint-so-phil-ukraine-russia-open-source-analysis/
"Say It Ain’t So, Phil -

From touting thousands of hidden Chinese nukes to inflating Russian threats, a certain open-source "expert" is doing a disservice to those of us who actually try to fact-check our intelligence work."

English Outsider


Thank you. The split loyalties within the Ukrainian military and security services were reported often at the time but the consequences of that were never so clear. The "enemy in our midst" theme in Ukrainian politics that continues to the present day gains more credibility. Mozgovoy's belief that the Ukrainians, set to fighting among themselves instead of uniting to fight corruption and oligarchy, had been fighting the wrong war, is further validated.

I do also wonder whether the initial Russian hesitancy was caused in part by a fear that the fight against corruption and oligarchy was a theme that would have been disruptive within Russia itself. Incorporating a bunch of sans culotte true believers, with all the prestige of victory behind them, would surely have disturbed the delicate balance of Putin's rapprochement with his own oligarchs.

Your account also reduces to some extent the significance of the spontaneous local uprisings in the Donbass in 2014 and casts further into doubt the importance of the role played by Strelkov. For some he epitomised the resistance. For others he was not a central figure.

Your assessment of the future for the Baltic Russians is grim. Large numbers of people don't "go Home" easily. There is inevitably disruption and suffering in the process. I sincerely hope your assessment is pessimistic.

English Outsider


Sorry, Lemur. The opening two posts above typified for me the style of much modern political debate - lofty dismissal in the first and the sensible but unanswered question in the second. Where are the examples of insane pieces? you ask. But as in much modern political debate sensible questions don't get answered.

I'm reading up Critical Race Theory at present and trying to work out whether it's some sort of mass delusion, like the flagellants in the Middle Ages, or whether there's anything solid behind it. Critical Race Theory is heavy going but it's already clear to me that it's standard doctrine for very large numbers in academic and media circles. It's also already clear to me that you question any part of it at your peril, as some unfortunate academics have found out. That "It is because we say it is" dogmatic approach marks out our present age.

It's observable in the neocons too, so it's not a Left-Right thing. I think that much modern political dogma is powerful only because it relies on a sort of intellectual terrorism - don't you dare to ask questions and if you do we won't listen to them. That little exchange above seemed to typify the impasse.

Hope that straightens out the confusion caused by my comment above.

Lyttenburgh

"Incorporating a bunch of sans culotte true believers, with all the prestige of victory behind them, would surely have disturbed the delicate balance of Putin's rapprochement with his own oligarchs."

Chief difference - Russian oligarchs lack political power. In the Ukraine they are political power.

Russia is fighting corruption on its own pace. Those who scream loudest about it, actually do not to win over it - they want their place at the trough. See examples of Navalny's former pal and former Kirov's governor Nikita Belykh. Another example - former minister Ulyukayev.

Grazhdanochka

While I agree to Basis of what you say, this is certainly not new Dynamic in Baltics.

I think as rkka says unless they do something new and especially unusually controversial things will carry on as usual. Until then it is mostly what you can say is business as usual.

I have Friends in Baltics... Of them some have emigrated to East and West, some remain somewhat demoralised and uncomfortable at Home, and even one who migrated from Moscow to be with her Husband..

I suspect nothing will change unless something explosive happens to make a rethink of Positions and I simply not seeing that right now

Likewise as my original Point was - Baltics I think have more motivated and reliable Security Apparatus should any such Situation occur (and NATO Umbrella to make Moscow think twice)

Grazhdanochka

No Problem! Mozgovoy was correct in that he understood this War as like most all Post Soviet Wars is not simply Grand Politics, but a heavily intertwined Conflict of Geopolitik - National Politics - Oligarch Warfare etc...
Chechnya itself (94-96 had some understandable Reasons but also if you know it personally very well.... Questionable ones)

To your Question about Russian Hesitancy, I think - No..
For better or worse I think we have made unspoken Deal with Government, things can be somewhat overlooked if you bring actual Results. No Lynch Mobs for Oligarchs, No Violent Revolutions, just bring generally positive Results and so far? So far they have delivered in most EVERY Demographic or Measurable Quantity.

I think Hesitancy more likely Stems from usual Reasons - Limited Preparedness, International Relations Concerns, Internal Debate and well that the Opposition in Ukraine did not really need the direct help for quite some Time until the Ukrainian Military started to advance on Russian Border in narrow Corridors around end of 2014 when things got more 'Interesting' ))

As to Importance of Local Uprisings? I think it was vitally Important, the Resistance of Legacy Security Forces is one thing, the Importance of watching unarmed Women, Men resisting Armored Vehicles with only their Bodies is another (This also helped induced Defections from Ukrainian Airlanding Troops!)

But certainly it shows that Strelkov was not the only Piece in Play on the Field, and even while he was important his Unit was mostly Ukrainian.
Others were certainly not making their Decisions in 1 Day, these Doubts, Questions, Considerations most definitely had existed for some Time prior, increased by others Actions they saw.

To my Assesment Baltics - It is Pessimistic, but it is also based on that talking to many from Baltics, I do not think most will ever understand us or indeed forgive the USSR or Imperial Russia even if Russia Today is very different.
I do not want War, and I do not expect many Russians in Baltics to get Rights without the kind of Discrimination Europe supposedly rejects.
Thus to me we should offer them (with Incentives and ideally a structured Plan) to return to Russia, it may be costly but Human Capital is Important, and it is not without Precedent - It was proposed for Russians in Kazakhstan long ago)

I do not want to rant to long so I will leave my Response there

Dr.Puck

PT: "Yet, rather than acknowledge that truth, Gordon and Schmitt push the lie that this is an unprovoked action by a militaristic Russia hell bent on conquering the world. "

This is termed a strawman.

There are numerous ways to interpret the quote and article.

Anna

"Seymour Hersh confirms that Seth Rich is Wikileaks contact."
http://theduran.com/seymour-hersh-confirms-in-new-audio-that-seth-rich-was-connected-to-wikileaks-audio/
Looks like an American patriot on one side and a Mossad/CIA-empowered crowd on the other side.

BadBisco

There seems to be some doubt of Browder's motives. Anti-Putin director wanted to do a film about him and ended up believing he was complicit after doing search.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/10/world/europe/sergei-magnitsky-russia-vladimir-putin.html?_r=0

Also interesting, not always a fan of the young Taibbi but with his extensive experience living in Moscow he gives some great details on how companies can be stolen/taken over in Russia.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/trump-russia-russiagate-magnitsky-affair-linked-again-w492290

LondonBob

I prefer Israel Shamir's analysis, his Russian Jewish background gives him the requisite background knowledge, and he often goes where others fear to tread.

https://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-good-fortune-of-mr-browder/

The Browders, once Communist aristocracy. Earl's grandson became a protege of Robert Maxwell who met a watery end ("The most evil person I ever met was a toss-up between Pablo Picasso and the publisher-crook Robert Maxwell." - Paul Johnson) and then a protege of Edmund Safra, who met a fiery end. Browder thought the law didn't apply to him, the Russians decided otherwise, perhaps some day we can also do likewise.

English Outsider

Thanks for the correction. The impression I get is that the Russian oligarchs, though de-fanged at present, also play an important role in furthering Russian trading interests abroad, particularly in the Stans. The English use of trading companies up to the nineteenth century, and beyond at times, is perhaps a rough comparison. Someone has to do the deals, after all. The overlapping interests of the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, still to some extent in place and certainly remaining solidly in place well after the war started, could not but have been a consideration. As Grazhdanochka says below, the Russians have arrived at some accommodation with their oligarchs. The Ukrainians never did - even in Novorossia Akhmetov's companies were only recently taken over and that only from necessity - and the difficulty of disentangling the cross-holdings and preserving the investments is something I assume was also a factor in the Russian approach to the rebellion in the Donbas.

A most difficult subject and if PT doesn't find it too far removed from the present crisis one on which a more authoritative view on would be valuable - after all, the still existing trading links between Russia and the Ukraine can only be cut with further loss to both sides, as the Ukrainian unemployment and emigration rates already demonstrate.

So too in the Baltics. Russophobia comes at a price and it's not only tanks and the like that have to be paid for:-

http://www.reuters.com/article/baltic-russia-electricity-idUSL3N13F3AI20151120

Philippe T.

I made a QDS (Quick and Dirty Survey) of the first 25 comments out of the 266 ones in the category "Reader's Picks" (the most popular ones), and I was amazed by the result. Approximatively 75 to 80% of the comments were criticizing the Gordon/Schmitt piece of disinformation. The main argument is the one developed by PT : the Russian army drill is a response to various NATO/US drills on Russian borders, not a bellicose Russian initiative". The 20 to 25% of comments supporting the article or neutral were on the following lines : "Russia is expanding its borders (Crimea, Georgia), therefore a danger for neighbours", or "Russian army is a paper tiger, this is only gesticulation", or "Central european countries have a bad memory of Soviet occupation, we must reinsure them".
I wish I could have the time to continue these stats with the 529 comments of the "All" category... Within the "NYT Picked" comments, the proportion is nearly 90 / 100% pro-article !
My question, from France, is the following : Are the 80% of NYT readers opposing the NYT policy representative of the US public opinion / of the NYT lectorate? Which consequences for the NeoCons/Dem propaganda policies?
PhT

robt willmann

National Security Council advisor H.R. McMaster yesterday fired Ezra-Cohen Watnick, the NSC senior director for intelligence programs, who apparently was only 31 years old--

http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/2017/08/03/mcmaster-fires-31-year-old-untouchable-ezra-cohen-watnick-from-top-job-at-nsc/#sthash.tmZqomS0.dpbs

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/ezra-cohen-watnick/534615/

Back in April 2017, an article from the British Guardian newspaper talked about a Marine officer who was the CIA's liaison to the White House who was ousted from that position and sent back to the CIA; that liaison officer had allegedly had a dispute with Cohen-Watnick--

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/20/trump-cia-firing-intelligence-community-white-house

SmoothieX12

The amount of money spent doesn't mean anything without the context

I write about this for years now. Agree--a very dangerous approach of a direct comparison of military budgets. Paradoxically, competently adjusted figures play, in this particular case, heavily in Russia's favor (as getting a much more bang for a proverbial buck), but Russia's Military Doctrine is explicitly defensive and even latest Fundamentals of Russia’s State Naval Policy Through 2030, while using some language for remote ocean operations are heavily concentrated on Sea Denial not Sea Control. So, yes, Russian "threat" is blown so much out of proportion that now it finally reached a complete grotesque level not seen even during the worst times of the Cold War 1.0.

English Outsider


Lyttenburg - A "more authoritative" view than mine, was of course meant!

Lyttenburgh

" The impression I get is that the Russian oligarchs... play an important role in furthering Russian trading interests abroad, particularly in the Stans. "

Honestly, no idea about that.

In the Central Asia there are not proper “oligarchs” per se – only “families” and clans, with various relevance to the ruling one. The thing is – if you want anything accomplished – you go through the Head of the Family (aka the current head of the Republic). You don’t do this as a business person first – you do it through proper governmental channels. On their own, Russian oligarchs can hardly influence the local elites much.

"The overlapping interests of the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, still to some extent in place and certainly remaining solidly in place well after the war started, could not but have been a consideration."

Interests... like what? The Ukrainian oligarchs are caught between the hammer and hard place. On the one hand - they do not wish to bow to Russia, as this might mean damaging their political power. But they do not wish to embrace all this new nonsense about "Westernizing reforms" either, because this mean less corruption and influence for them as well. I remember how anyone and their dog back in 2015 waxed poetically about the Western "varanigans" in then Yatsenyuk's cabinet - as if Yaresko, Abromavicus and assorted Georgians can miraculously unscrew the country.

Year later nearly all of them were gone and "Mikho" Saakashvili lost his cushy job as well. Why? The "varangians" pushed both for "transparency", as they understood it, and for further liquidation of the state enterprises. There was one catch though - they thought that the liquidation will take form of the more or less "honest" auctions, which would allow the "varangian" Western patrons to acquire the bulk of Ukraine's industrial might, easily outbidding local oligarchs. Seeing this, the "native" oligarchs (and, first of all, Poroshenko) decided to revert back to the now traditional mode of the Ukrainian governmental. Sure, Groysman announced a huge liquidation of the state assets this year. But it will involve 1200 enterprises, not 2000 as was planned, and with NABU effectively sent chasing its own tail, nothing prevents the remaining native oligarchs to become the sole beneficiaries of the whole affair.

The question is... so what? Without(quick!) conversion of the newly acquired assets into off-shore accounts and (extra-quick!) emigration to Cyprus, Israel or Switzerland, the oligarchs wont savour their "peremoga" over the Ukraine for long. Even then - not for too long. They are the dying breed, hailing back to the times of the post USSR plunder. They are unique curio... or the mules, a hybrid result of one particularly nasty transition. Only mules are sterile.

That's the Ukrainian national elite. Russian oligarchs, both the Yeltsenite remnants, or new ones coming from either "siloviks" or "civiloviks" of the early Putin's era, have their fortunes bound to the country. It is in their interest to succeed. The Ukrainian oligarchs thus, are inter-species rivals for them – clueless and unpredictable one's, doomed for extinction.

Kooshy

I always thought, like all businessmen what DT wants is to avoid/ subvert investigation of his past financials and or business deals. Looks like that is not avoidable with Mr. Muller as federal Special Investigator. Always with financial stuff is easier to pull dirt out and indite. BTW notice that this story is coming out of the horse's mouth CNN.

"One year into the FBI's Russia investigation, Mueller is on the Trump money trail"http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/03/politics/mueller-investigation-russia-trump-one-year-financial-ties/index.html

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