Monday, December 15, 2014

WTF's Happening to the Erl?

The gas-pump price is currently visiting levels last seen 5 years ago, when there was still lots of 'accessible' world oil and the market was unaffected by 'green cars'.  Now-a-days we're told there is still lots of oil, but it's not the Jed Clampett 'bubblin' spume' variety, and it costs a lot more to get out out of the ground and purify for the use of your transportation device.

So why, after decades of steadily rising gas prices,  has 'the bottom' apparently fallen out of the market? You can bet yer gas can that oil speculators almost didn't see this one coming.

So what was 'this one', and why?

At face value we're expected to believe that the Saudis, and their oil-loving cousins in the UAE,  took it into their minds to sell-off their oil for what it's worth, rather than the price 'the market' was willing to pay. After decades, again, of inflated oil profits, OPEC has decided to 'buy the world a coke' literally, if not figuratively. From an accepted world price of around $100 bucks a barrel , the Arabs have decided to let that barrel fall to the $45 per barrel level "on which their economy is based".  Somebody mixed up  a batch of special Kool-aid and the Arabs delightedly drank it. Or so we're told.

 But why, along with the saga goes the foundation myth. apparently the middle eastern oil potentates have decided that now is the time to bring the North American frack industry - which threatens to put them right out of business - to a grinding halt. This is to be accomplished by reducing the cost of imported oil so low that the fracked stuff can't compete. The frack industry withers-up and, after all the rig and corporate structure has been bankrupted into paper losses, the price will resume it's natural ascension.

 If the same logic wasn't also being applied to America's endeavor to knock Putin's 'Russian empire' for  six, it might be almost credible. But it all flies in the face of God and human nature. Ain't nobody that good, or that stupid. And believing that a gas glut, now, will somehow stop fracking, or even boiling oil out of tar sands, is playing with less than a full deck.

There is still a finite supply of oil on earth, and burning it is screwing up the planet's  ecosystem. That's the gospel here, the rest is 'ennertainment'.

What I think is going on is that the Saudis and the Emirates, which are phenomenally indebted to the World Bank, IMF and the USA, along with sitting on the 'rest' of their oil, are being threatened with the same sort of sanctions - for 'harboring' terror - as is Russia, Syria, Iran et al -  with the essential difference being that sanctions WILL hurt Arabs, who spend a considerable amount of time and money in the west. The Arabs are just 'backing their friends in the west', again, this time with more substance than form.

The question is how long can it go on? And how much 'collateral damage' will be done to 'the innocent'? The bottom line for oil-producing nations is that the thirst for oil isn't being depleted by feeding it the cheap stuff first. Inevitably when the 'good stuff ' runs short,  the market for the second-rate product will rise to make it 'worthwhile' again. What isn't sold-off cheap, will be available to sell-off at a better price. That includes fracked fuel, the hard-to-recover  or  the 'dirty' stuff.

Or at least that's what they say about supply and demand  in "Economics for Dummies".

Fill-up cheap while you can. Don't think of the poor starving Russians, they certainly aren't thinking about you.

Happy Maidan to You

Victoria Nuland could have said it any better .... to Chevron.

This from the little lady who, almost single-handed, launched $6 billion dollars worth of the kind of 'assistance' that makes America great.

Some of America's 'investment' in EUkrainian freedom probably did do some good, somewhere, but if it's like any of the close to two trillion dollars the US has spent since 2001, nobodies know where it's all gone. The best places to look for the 'benefits' are in outback Montana and the ski zones of Utah, Cabo San Lucas, Panama, Costa Rica, Uruguay and the Dalmatian coast. America has made some wealthy people filthy rich. Including a few in Ukraine

                 Montenegro Y.C.

A year ago the three-times elected President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich 'welched' on a potential deal with the EU that would have seen an infusion of a paltry $15 billion dollars to prop-up the 'zombie' of what used to be a fairly-healthy country. Along with the 'deal' were a number of 'austerity' measures designed to make sure Ukrainians serviced their debt, before they serviced themselves. If there hadn't been a Maidan about 'joining Europe', there would have been a Maidan about losing the pensions and trimmed government salaries.

At the same time, the Russians were offering $15 billion without the strings. But that was a stop-gap and an "insult to the nation", one that 'real' Ukrainians could not stomach. It promised nothing but more of the same.  A revolution was required. This time, one with imported flowers.

So as winter morphed into deep winter, the smoke rose from an increasingly violent Maidan until gunshots resulted in about 100 dead - the "heavenly Hundred' - Yanukovich 'fled' east and the 'appointed' government of old pols and Maidan 'leaders' took over - hailed by the USA and the west, as Ukraine's new voice of freedom. Within  days the 'twins' - Prime Minister Yatsenuk and President Turchynov - who had floated to the top - started ruling by decree.

                                    "America's choice - Yats and Turchy"

One of the first decrees blamed all the trouble on 'Russians', outlawed the language and effectively introduced a second-class citizenship. Crimea, largely-populated by potential second-class citizens,  voted to leave Ukraine and asked to be received into the Russian Federation. The 'interim' government blamed this on Russian troops rather than the Russian majority and when similar separatist sentiments 'caused' increasing violence in the eastern cities, the 'interim' government declared a 'war' on (Russian) terror and ordered a mobilization.

Historically the revolution was 'in danger' and the people needed to be 'leveed en masse' to defend 'liberte, egalite and fraternite'. The tanks rolled east in May.

Since then a tentative advance, in some places stopped by local citizens reprising a Chinese road-block,  turned into a 'drive-by shooting' experience when 'nationalist', and fascist, militias 'took the lead'. Much of the east was 'liberated' before the Kyiv forces closed-in and virtually encircled Slavyansk and other towns in the east. A period of shelling resulted in the retreat of eastern forces. Battles for regional airports at Lugansk, Slavyansk and Donetsk were fierce and, in the latter case, turned into in a long destructive slog. That one is 'on-going'.

By July the rebels had started fighting back, trapping some Ukrainian units against the Russian border and embarrassing them with some notable raids and strikes. At the end of August a 'counter-offensive' trapped a number of Kyiv forces in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas. Some surrendered, some were destroyed and some broke out to flee west. A new front was opened along the Azov littoral and Kyiv forces were driven back in a number of places, including around Mariuople.

The 'ceasefire' declared at the EU meeting in Wales, provided an opportunity for the Kyiv forces to withdraw for replenishment, the creation of newly-drafted units and the replacement of destroyed materials. The army was redeployed to the east by the end of October. To-date it is reported to be 'digging-in' to await the 'Russian offensive'. Like the related 'Russian invasion' one shouldn't hold one's breath. Shelling continues from both sides and small scale raids will probably dominate the winter months.

                     Xmas 'tankov' . Slav'Eukrainie!

Who knows what Springtime will bring but it's highly unlikely the Kyiv forces will improve during a winter at the front.

'Torcher' and 'Bus-tossin 101' - the Sophomores Take America!

It's out and it's 'transparent'.  All 500 pages - or whichever ones haven't been 'redacted', or withheld, or censored -  of the 'executive brief',  of a more substantial report, on America's torturing terrorists.

The Congress wrote it, the White House read it, the forces o'justis got to delete, or black out the parts (starting on the front cover)  that would have 'sapped America's strength'. And now the mall-trotters get to watch everybody important sucking their teeth and allowing as to how torture 'isn't a national value' and maybe we shouldn't do that any more, but how things were so bad back then, that extremism in defense of liberty was no vice  - to paraphrase Barry Goldwasser. Or 'crime' for that matter, either.

Leading the counterattack is 'the best Veep money could buy' - the 'Dickmeister' Cheney - who would do it all again 'in a heartbeat' or even faster. The report according to him is "full of crap" - I''m inclined to believe him, for even if it was fiction, it doesn't describe America's better moments. More like what would happen of frat house hazers and the school bullies were given awards for what they do. Let's face it though, the 'real American' part was trying to 'reinvent' torture - which according to Hollywood, has been around for millennia - as a 'scientific' discipline, or a subject for Psych 201 term papers.

It turns out, lacking the obviously repellent detail,  that a couple of US Air Force psych Majors (literally) got a little 'out of hand' on some desensitization survival training and something like the 'experiment' from  Ghostbusters took place - i.e. people got 'shocked and awed' for little or no reason - a lot. For their services, a grateful nation was prepared to pay them - and their private consulting corporation - some 120 million smackeroos. But they were only paid $81 million before the wheels came off their cart. Enough for each of them to build the home of their dreams and retire on their 'service pensions'. The two have been 'outed', in a show of good faith. But the same mechanism that stopped them from being 'overpaid', also stops them from being prosecuted. They have  better immunity than somebody who found the hidden idol.

I post their photos as example of the kind of non-monsters who approach torture the same way most people approach a pizza.

Mitchell on the left a 'defrocked' Mormon bishop lives in Florida, Jensen on the right has a multimillionaires' mansion somewhere the cowboys live.

If there's anybody to be blamed, these two 'bozeaux' are it.  They took taxpayer money for what turned out to be 'bad intel'. But, hey, they've already been pardoned. So good luck trying to 'go after' the good guys.

The media has been having a field day over it all and public opinion is divided between 'necessary evil' and 'they deserve everything they get'. One of the feast-makers, Big John Brennan, head of the CIA and master-planner of the faery-feller's masterstroke in Kyiv,  after declaring a couple of  'eus culpas' on behalf of the CIA has stated that the time has come to 'put it all behind us' and move on with the national business of voting the necessary appropriations to keep the government  payroll keeping America safe. It's done. Over.  Nothing to see here. Move along.

 What seems apparent is that - for all the negativity, and cost and effort - the whole exercise was relatively fruitless. No demonstrable terrorism was stopped, no evil-doers caught, you can't say that vic'try was attained. And to-day someone is even saying that,  for all the torture, there isn't an iota of proof that Al Qaeda attacked the Twin Towers like we thought they did.

AQ didn't do it?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Let's Do It Again

The United States has just announced that it is  re-deploying the A10 'Warthog'  ground attack aircraft.

The A10 was developed to counteract the threat posed by the "massive" forces of armor deployed by Russia and the Warsaw Pact states in a possible invasion of western Europe.  The aircraft, designed to survive in an intensive anti-aircraft environment: the engines were positioned out of the line of direct fire, the cockpit was positioned in an armored titanium 'bathtub', multiple under-wing hardpoints enabled the carrying of a wide array of bombs and rockets, redundant control systems were featured as was the main weapon a 30 millimeter 'gatling gun' firing depleted uranium munitions.

The gun on the A10 - unique and particular only to the type - has a very high rate of fire. The aircraft carries  enough rounds for a burst of sustained fire lasting about 30 seconds. The gun is highly accurate landing most of the shells fired inside a 40 foot circle at a distance of 4 000 feet. It can cause significant damage to most armored vehicles and is highly destructive to anything less than tanks.

When the round leaves the gun, the DU part of the round is heated to burning point by the time it strikes the target.  The heat and weight of the round assist melting and penetration, some of the round is dissipated in smoke, spall and dust. If the round hits the ground, or rock, it can disintegrate or lodge in the ground. The DU, its dust and spall, is radioactive at short range and can contaminate food and water. It is thought that most gas masks cannot prevent inhalation of small particulate. Depleted uranium has a half life of 50 Billion years. To date, no way has been found to ameliorate or negate its effects.

In addition to the A10 system - DU forms part of many other munitions designed to penetrate concrete or other emplacements, the results are much the same. 

Since 1990 DU has been used  in Gulf War 1, in Yugoslavia, In Afghanistan and Iraq - and in increasing amounts - from hundreds to thousands of tons.

And now we're getting ready to deploy the A10 again, against all those tanks ISIS doesn't have.

A good perspective on this, and other war horrors, can be found in the documentary "Beyond Treason".

Beyond Treason

Saturday, November 01, 2014

At the Movies

There are a rash of 'new' movies out, telling all the old stories in new form. Obviously some are destined for greatness - like current 'blockbusters' if i could think of one, but that is mainly because of the wide-spread mediocrity of the contending pap.

 Comic book tales are very big in all this and, like most comics some are quite good providing some escapism in imagines super powers and Wham! Bam! The current 'XMen' and 'Heros of the Universe' reprise former efforts with new story lines if not new casting. 'A Dame to Kill For"  is an interesting new product in the genre, entertaining  even if the dame really isn't worth killing for.

 A couple of topical issues movies are interesting but play on the old 'fear'  and prejudices one might think should be starting to fade.

'Frontera' is an interesting piece that makes the 'wetback' experience look challenging only because somebody might be trying to shoot you, or kidnap you as you wend your way to some gardening work. The actual trek is an overnight walk through the desert -bring water- to a usually friendly American home or roadside pick-up. Aside from the Americans who like to 'scare greasers back where they came from', or thee poor border patrol and cops who hold the frontier for freedom. It's a redemption tale where love conquers hatred - or even a hard bitten Mexican-disliker who incongruously  and for little apparent good reason changes his spots. There's a nod  to the other terror in a scene where two border jumpers catch the eye of the heroine of the piece as they wander away from the immigrant camp, to lay their prayer mats out in the desert and worship Allah. Great shades of undetected jihad!

Another period piece is 'Camp X Ray' and almost ludicrous look at the 'coming of age' of a young female GI posted to guard the hard core "detainees" (prisoners have rights) at Gitmo. Starring the beauteous Kristen Stewart, who does wonders for the army kepi and fills out her regulation PT outfit admirably - the film depicts how the personal touch of empathy can grow to affect ones' thinking and ones' duty. Although she's 'honor-bound to defend freedom at the Gitmo slammer, GI Jane can't help become affected by the 'humanity' and personal magnetism - for it can't be anything else- of one of the worst of the worst. She can even 'get over' their initial meeting when he introduces her, and the uniform she so proudly wears to the notorious 'shit cocktail' after she slacks off on procedure. Unlike most gals in a similar situation, outside of Copenhagen, she cleans herself off and, wondering why somebody would do that to a stranger, soon falls for his humanity.  Lindy England she's not.  What I can't figure out is why her fellow guards let her off with it?  Other than a senior NCO who gets confused by her beer consumption and tries relieving his stress in her, and a CO who seems related to the Fort Commander in Dancing with Wolves, you'd almost think she was doing guard duty on her own tick.  All is as it is however, her tour comes to an end and the accused jihadi is still safe  for democracy in the hands of others honor-bound to treat him like the unconvicted sh*t he so truly is.
But you are left with the impression that, if her military benefits aren't up to scratch, she might be checking out Code Pink or coming back with Michael Moore.

David Cronenburg's latest 'thriller' a psychodrama about incest Hollywood is drawing some buzz in the media - probably because of its advertising budget.  If you've seen 'The Fly' you won't be impressed by Juliette Moore's concern about her "holes" and Robert Pattinson's casual worldliness as an aspirant/limo driver. The move is a bum-numbing POS. It's called "Map to the Stars"

"Lucy" is interesting but somebody started smoking the dope and the story of a gal who accidentally unlocks her real self turns into an incredibility.  the continuity goes down a 'caca hole'.

"St. Vincent' is a pleasant change in the right direction. Great cast and not a bad story. Outstanding sound track. It might actually get a nomination.

I'm a really wanting to see 'Fury'.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Scrapyard Ukrainia

 The figure of 40 000 armored fighting vehicles has been used to describe what the armed forces of Ukraine inherited from the old Soviet Western Army Group, when the USSR fragmented in 1992. Obviously more tanks than Germany started, or ended, the Second war with, was a few too many for any nation not threatened by an armored onslaught.

 So, for the better part of 20 years what they couldn't peddle to African fighters (or to resupplying new found US allies in Iraq and Afghanistan)  the Ukraine mothballed in gigantic tank parks.  Thank goodness the Ukraine had developed a fairly robust 'refurbishment' for export industry.

  Until this year Ukraine wasn't threatened by anything much worse than the utilities being turned-off for lack of payments. But things change and so, when a threat from Moscow was detected, the Ukraine went into overdrive to mobilize its armed forces - to "defend" itself, and to "defend" itself by putting down an separatist movement in the eastern part of the country. It didn't take long for the natives there to begin to block Ukrainian tank columns, but when they didn't stop,  burning AFV's became more and more common place. In fact, as time passed and actual fighting worsened, they became 'normal'.

 The 'active war' ended in a welter of destruction as 'Russians' attacked and destroyed numerous concentrations of Ukrainian vehicles leaving burned and rusting hulks spread over the better part of two eastern regions.

This past year has made that refurbishment industry probably Ukraine's only real 'growth' sector, aside from flags, politics, entertainment and Public utilities. Sadly the 'new production' centres of the east have largely been removed from the economic picture for the foreseeable future. But that hasn't stopped Kyiv from trying. A recent 'independence day parade' featured the latest models rolling off the assembly line, down the parade route and off to battle in the east. Some of these fell victim to increasingly well-armed rebels in the great August pay-back.

Scrapyard EUkrainia

Cleaning up after all this will cost as least as much as was spent doing it. and unless the price of steel rises significantly retrieving and scrapping the detritus of battle will cost more than the junk is worth. 

There's another object lesson about the value of modern war in all this. It sure isn't like the 'glory' of grandad's day - except to the recruiters. But it is a profit-taking opportunity to savvy investors in the right place at the right time with the right junk to peddle .... as always.

Bowling for Ebola

This thoroughly nasty affliction has made a reappearance in Africa with every sign that this time the benefits of modern communications will share the wealth with the whole world. A previous outbreak in central Africa during the 80's served only to point out the nature of the disease and the potential it had as a people killer. Military germ warfare experts were immediately interested. This time, unless they're directed toward disease control, the same sort of experts were among the first deployed to the sites involved. But this time seems to be different.

Although the world seemed as interested this time as it had been last time, the outbreak of disease got well out of control long before it was noticed. Possibly because of recent disturbances and changes to the  social milieu in these places, the 'missionary clinic' system that worked so well to isolate, if not to treat and stop, the last instance, didn't seem to work, or might have been (in the case of west Africa) missing in action. Church groups which in previous times might have formed the first line of defense may have been superceded by NGOs with less 'long-term' perspectives, or, in the 'free market' aspect of things, nothing at all.

What is interesting to me is that it happened again at all. Ebola is rooted in the practice of eating, or acquiring, "bush meat' - animals foraged for food in the African wild. It is thought that an ebola-like illness is endemic in some populations of apes and monkeys used as food by 'primitive' Africans. It strikes me that, if this is a 'new' development twenty years seems long enough a period to educate people about the dangers of the practice and the effects and symptoms of the disease.  When a sore throat and head ache result in somebody bleeding from body orifices and dying, even the most primitive people would notice. It probably wouldn't take overly long for the problem to become known, resulting in the kind of  'quarantine' that 'primitive' people have applied to the contagious for millennia.

Perhaps in these more enlightened times that natural barrier to epidemic has been breached by a misplaced concern for human rights.

We know that the hospital 'protocols' in regard to transmitted infection - being re-learned after the 'panacea epoch' of anti-bacterials, are challenged by viral diseases like Ebola. And if the trained front-line professionals get sick first, who is to replace them?

Prognosticators are describing a 'gets worse, before it gets better' scenario and the head of the World Bank has already started to consider the costs involved should the disease break out in 'advanced societies'.

One thing that seems apparent is that, barring the  planned destruction of disease centers and threatened populations by military force, all the trillions we've wasted lately on bang-bang  and boom-boom pale to insignificant waste in consideration that one fifth that amount might have moved 'primitive' societies well beyond the need to hunt bush meat.

 That the world is as unprepared as it was before is also surprising. Ebola cold be a cutting edge military weapon. But all such weapons must be developed in such a way that the user isn't as affected by them as the target. So since the last outbreak I would imagine that military labs at least would have been working on immunization schedules. Many such virus-based diseases, like polio, have been attenuated by vaccine development. Such vaccines and treatments must have been in the works as some successful ones were available to the first western victims. Survivors might be a source of useful anti-bodies, and in one case those have been used.

One of the interesting asides in this is the news that a vaccine for ebola has been 'shelved' for the past 15 years. Development of that was stopped after  tests indicated it was effective on monkeys. Now it's being 'rushed through development'  to test it on humans, But that will take some time.  In the meantime local doctors are hoping to use blood serum from recovered victims.

Western governmental sources are cautioning against a 'stupid' response to the outbreak. At the same time those sources seem to be thoroughly out of touch with the front line which has bobbled, and now admits 'mishandling' the original out break.  New cases demonstrate a seemingly cavalier attitude to the potential for a mass break-out as exposed people seem free to travel (in the latest instant on a cruise ship) while official sources caution that the 'incubation period' for ebola - thought to be 21days - might be significantly longer. Next they'll be finding that, like AIDS, the disease can be transmitted before the carrier actually feels any  ill effects. That would make airport temperature scans akin to chasing the horse twenty minutes after it has exited the corral.

What's most scary is that, for all our 'knowledge', we seem to know little at all. Or at least to know too little to say ' Ebola is nothing to worry about'.  It might very well be the 'big one' they've been expecting for so long - mishandled, we could make it so.

Perhaps even more concerning is the amount of international inertia about providing resources to Africa and the fact that 'ebola stories' seem to have become 'yesterday's news'  and much less 'emotional' issues for the mainstream media.

Anyhoo Akbar!

Homegrown terror has struck at the 'heart of Canada's democracy'. And in the aftermath, Canada's real democrats are preparing some 'very sound' steps to keep us all free. The first step is a serious funding increase for CSIS and the RCMP and probably for a 'new' security organization to 'fill the gaps' that CSIS and the RCMP seem to feel are 'wide open', namely on the internet.

Just last week the head of CSIS and the 'big stick' of the RCMP with the Minister of War,  Mr. Blarney, were comfortably ensconced before some parliamentary committee , reporting on the state of state security. There were 'areas of concern', they noted, but nothing that was 'beyond them'. They were still there when some ''radicalized" Quebecois ran over two soldiers at a Strip Mall in St. Jean, Que.

After that attack, the state security organs were quick off the mark to decry the 'self-radicalization' that resulted in 'terror attacks'. But once again, they were 'on it', having had the 'perp' in their sights and under observation for 'quite some time'. It's just unfortunate they weren't told of his jihadi plans, or watching him the day he did it. Some 80 such 'radicals were similarly in their sights, we were told - not to frighten, simply to inform.

 Then a 'gentleman of the streets' with what could be jihadi delusions of grandeur, or mental issues, shot a soldier guarding the War Memorial in Ottawa. He hen followed-up with what was described as a 'shooting spree' in the Houses of Parliament. That 'spree' resulted in one parliamentary guard shot in the foot, the shootist shot dead and the Sargent-at-Arms of the House of Commons probably in line for the Medallion of Fortitude, or whatever Canada calls its security-level VC.

Oh, and a 'world class' police security operation.

That truly put the wind up State Security - for they had to admit they hadn't the foggiest about what was going on.  US security even told them who the shootist was - apparently based on a photo that went up, and then down again, on an "Isis-related twitter account". It seems that the shooter may have stolen a rifle and ammo from a visit to his Aunt last week, for, according to  everybody, his police records and other proclivities would have banned him from gun ownership eternally, in Canada anyway. After he stole the gun he then must have posed for a selfie of himself holding it. If he didn't practice with it somewhere, the shooting of the guard might be classed as accidental, for he held that gun in a way that, if fired, could hurt someone, likely himself.

(The photo, above, which appeared on Canadian media within an hour of the incident and was attributed to “an ISIS twitter account”, now is being claimed to have been taken, at the cenotaph, during the incident, by a "tourist",  and forwarded to 'security'.
It was disseminated to emergency services to assist apprehension of the assailant. From there it was, apparently, forwarded to foreign intelligence  (the US identified the shooter)  and leaked to the press. Police are investigating how the leak occurred and by whom.)

Updated security cam ( quite a bit of it for low security Canada) is appearing. It shows the shooter arriving by car (his own) before the legislature, scattering a covey of parliamentarians and doing a windsprint up to the main driveway where he hijacks a limo and speeds off to the centre entrance, by now pursued by two RCMP units.

He 'dumps' the limo and sprints into the building, just ahead of the pursuing police, where we are told,  he had a 'firefight' with the door security, shooting one guard in the foot. He then 'escaped' down a hallway in a flurry of shots. He took up a hidden position in a nook by the parliamentary library door. At that point video shows security advancing down the hall toward him. In the meanwhile the Sargent-at-Arms of the legislature, a dignified looking ex-RCMP gent, hearing the shots, exited his office near the library with his service pistol in hand. Warned of the gunman's location, he took position on the other side of a pillar forming the 'nook'. It was reported that he could see the barrel of the gunman's Winchester protruding past the pillar. Diving to the floor, we are told, the Sargent rolled onto his back discharging his pistol and dropping the shooter. He then emptied his clip into the man, as other personnel appeared to join him in the fusillade. The video ended with the Sargent at Arms looking very cool indeed, pistol still in hand entering the Caucus chamber to inform the government that the assailant was dead.

The parliament building remained in lockdown until after sunset and the gunman's corpse was removed later in the evening. Work crews worked overnight to clean up and mask some significant damage from gunshots.

Parliament resumed its business on Thursday morning after a suitable dignified visit and photo-op at the War Memorial. A man was arrested by police for 'interfering with a police investigation' by crossing the yellow tape, much as the Prime Minister and his wife did. The Sargent at Arms was regaled to a thunderous standing ovation and a desktop-slamming by the grateful politicos. He was visibly moved by the tribute.

No doubt the impending legislation - which has been in the works for some time, will save us all from internet piracy if it does nothing else.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's All Over .... but for the Shooting

The great Ukrainian adventure takes a rest. If nothing else, here's a 'landmark' for the 'propaganda' it has produced. Here are some:


        Saur Mogila monument

 And Afterward

The war Memorial on a the greatest height of land outside Donetsk became the focal point of bitter fighting after the Kyiv forces closed in on that city. The Monument was shelled and taken by the Ukrainians,  It was then shelled and retaken by the 'rebels' at the end of August, just as things were 'going south' for the 'good guys.

It is now a monument to the Civil War of 2014.

Grads at Saur Mogila

Slava Eukrainia!

Saur Mogila - finale?

Along with Saur Mogila are the corpses and the scrap metal.

After the 'liberation' of Slavyansk unmarked graves were discovered, the dead in which were described, by Kyiv forces  as being executed by the 'terrorists'. Three particular members of an evangelical church were so described as "being killed for their flashy cars". Mass arrests of rebel 'sympathizers' were also recorded. and an Ukrainian 'pol' (Oleh Lyashko) traveled to the city to personally 'arrest' the chief of police, for treachery.

Global Research: War Crimes

Donetsk continues to be a center focus for the unresolved ceasefire, with rebel forces continuing to try to winkle Ukrainian forces out of the airport and the Kyiv forces harassing the city and its environs with random shell fire. Since the ceasefire more than 30 civilians have been killed in, or near, Donetsk and the airport fighting has taken the lives of between 10's and 100's (depending who's telling) of  military personnel. The airport facilities have, for all intents and purposes, been destroyed.

In abeyance - a permanent political solution, Ukraine's fuel crisis, war crimes charges on both sides and the resolution of the  MH17 atrocity.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


The hypnotic charms of Old Egypt's 'mother goddess', the assembler of dead Osiris little bits, Bobby Dylan's paean to loss and recapitulation and now the nemesis of western civilization are enshrined in the name ISIS - the latest civilized way of expressing an idea for english-speakers that we can hardly get our heads around. if we can't say it we'll give it an acronym - at least its not something entertaining like SPECTRE or UNCLE.

ISIS (الدولة الإسلامية - ad-Dawlah l-ʾIslāmiyyah) (al daesh) appeared as an offshoot in the Syrian civil war - one of the numerous groups attacking the Al Assad regime. Shortly after it first hit the press in the west it was announced that it had 'usurped' AlQaeda and was facing off against other rebel groups. In short order it had subsumed those who agreed with it and destroyed the ones that didn't. The latter included the very small 'moderate' rebels favoured by America. It did however 'fall heir' to a large quantity of  their US-supplied arms and resources. ISIS soon became the main contender in central and south eastern Syria and it had strong ties to the Sunni areas of Iraq, particularly the restive province of  Anbar.

There are less positive schools of thought that lay ISIS directly at the door of the CIA and or Israeli Mossad or both. If that is the case, then either there is a plan for disrupting the oil region to benefit America (what could be wrong with $30 a barrel ISIS oil?) or ISIS has, like AQ before it, escaped the control of its masters. If it isn't the case, then somebody was sound asleep at a very important switch....the same people who are now trying so sell an salutary war.

The Monster

When the Baghdad government failed to put down the Sunni uprising in Anbar, fighters from Syria soon became involved, until, this past summer, ISIS itself became involved in Iraq, removing the government presence from Anbar and a large swathe of the Iraqi northland. It was opposed, practically, only by the Kurdish forces around Basra and Kirkkuk.

It was at this point America decided that action needed to be taken to prevent a seizure of the whole of Iraq. The Iraqi government was resupplied, as were the Kurds, and an offensive mounted to 'hold' ISIS forces.  When ISIS threatened a "humanitarian disaster' the US undertook a  tactical bombing campaign in support of non-ISIS forces.

This bombing campaign has now been extended to Syria and is upgraded to a 'strategic' campaign to reduce, and eventually eliminate ISIS completely.

What You Won't See on the News

 Since the Crimean war the graphics of war have grown by bounds.  From the first, time-exposed  collodion plates (usually of the dead, for the living tended not to stand still that long) to to-day's helmet cams - taking live action shots of the action, and uploading it for distribution almost immediately by satellite communication - the battlefield - once the property of the locals and the participants is something we can see ad hear almost at the same time it happens. There are other less pleasant sensations that we miss,  but the scenes of carnage are no less shocking to-day, as when Matthew Brady "Laid the dead at the doorsteps of the nation" in 1863.

I came across this rather lengthy video of some of the scenes of this summer's 'battles' in Eastern Ukraine. This one is quite remarkable in that it's virtually unedited and focuses on the civilian experience in Donetsk, Lugansk and smaller villages and towns around those cities.

Its politics are those of the participants, but, should someone be faulted with any of this, at some time in the future, it would make some great evidence.

Donbass Summer 2014

An analysis of MH17 

And now that the fighting has, for the most part, abated, the detritus of war is revealing that 'fratricides' can be even more unpleasant than the planned killing of a stranger.  If what has been reported is correct  there are some people, on both sides who should be appearing before a war crimes court. In my estimation, and in accordance with the current logic that saw 'terrorist backers', in New York and China, sentenced to life behind bars - there should be a number of national leaders in the dock to account for their recorded utterances.

This winter will tell the tale of the 'new' EUkraine.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hannibal Lector - The Killing Machine

'Hannibal' - we are told was a name was used to frighten Roman children. We know from their speeches in the Senate, that Romans saw him as probably a greater threat than we see most of ours. We know, again from their writings,  that when Hannibal Barca the ruler of Carthage, was finally defeated by the legions of Scipio Africanus at the battle of Zama. The Romans destroyed his city, put his people to the sword and salted the fields around the ruin to ensure the land itself would be sterile. 'Carthago delenda est' became the watchword for dealing with impending danger. Carthage, (and Hannibal)  must be destroyed.

There are other references to that Hannibal - crossing the Alps, with his elephants of course. And the new Hannibal - the charming psychopath of print and screens.

 Now there's a new 'ambiguation' for the name - a code word used by the Israeli Defense Forces to alert that a member has been 'kidnapped'. That's not the bad part.

 The kidnapping of Jewish soldiers and, indeed, even the return of the bodies of dead soldiers, has been, in the past, one of those things that brings Jews and their Arab enemies together to negotiate. Generally the negotiations are about the 'swap' or exchange - most often imprisoned Arabs for dead, or kidnapped Israelis. Sometimes the process can take years, and a toll on Israeli governments being pressed to,  'do something'. The case of Gilad Shalit - held captive in Gaza for a number of years being one of the foremost recent cases.

It happened again this summer in the refugee town of Rafah in Gaza , or it almost happened again.

Just after a ceasefire in Operation Protective Edge started, on August 1st,  2014, it was announced  that a young Israeli officer had been 'captured'. The news was  immediately  widespread (the Gaza operation itself arising directly from the kidnapping of three Israeli schoolboys) and even President Obama made mention of the incident in a television appearance, demanding the immediate release of the soldier. In actuality, as was later found to be the case, the soldier was already dead - his body abandoned by his unit retreating after an 'ambush'.

IDF had been involved in an operation to find and destroy 'tunnels' that Israel  had discovered after starting an anti-missile operation  and which, it was claimed,  had been prepared to attack Israel from Gaza.  One of those units operating in Fatah was 'ambushed' by Hamas forces emerging suddenly 'from a hidden tunnel'. In the resulting firefight, Captain Hadar Goldin was felled and his unit forced to retreat. It was reported that he had been 'taken prisoner'.

Following the Shalit kidnapping, and another that precipitated the last 'war' with Lebanon, the topic of 'kidnapped' personnel became a focus for study by the IDF. According to Ofer Winter   the commanding officer of the IDF unit to which Hadar Goldin belonged, a religious ruling in regard to the relative merits of a kidnapped soldier and a dead soldier were compared - as a 'benefit' to the State of Israel or the Israeli people.   The ruling indicated that a dead soldier was 'better' than a kidnapped soldier. And so arose the rationale for what happened next.

Hannibal Directive

 The CO admits that when he was informed of the 'kidnapping', having ordered his unit 'to take ground' to preclude the movement of the captive and then learning that it was going to be impossible to rescue the soldier, he focused on making sure there would be no hostage situation. Despite the ceasefire, he gave the codeword "Hannibal" - ordering a bombardment of the street in Rafah camp where the soldier was last seen. More than 300 shells were fired into the area over the following two days, along with 10 air strikes - in an attempt to kill both the Israeli and his captors.

The commander claims that he was unaware that Gazans had re-entered their homes in the area, given the ceasefire, to retrieve belongings and to check damage. 131 civilians including 53 children were killed in the "Hannibal" strikes.

He also said he would not hesitate to give the 'Hannibal order' again.

The matter is the subject of an 'internal' criminal investigation by the IDF into a number of occurrences in the course of Operation Protective Edge (Steep Cliff).

Monday, September 08, 2014

From EUkraina - one of the 'funniest' places on earth.

When they're not liquidating something, they're a laff!

This Swede's a real turnip.  Good thing he's in Ukrainia  where his viking blood is valued and appreciated.

All Over the Place 

Dust-ups in the Rada.  Banning the Communist and other parties you don't like will stop the 'disagreements' and reduce the desire to punch someone's face

Fight 1
Fight 2
Fight 3

Here's another political piece - this time the self-appointed vigilante of the Donbass - the Leader of his own political party and his own ant-terrorist unit,  Oleh Lyashko, also a reported homosexual, convicted embezzler and Russian-hater #1 judges a bra competition.

Ho! They're real!!! SlavEUkraina!

Here he confronts an evil doer:
Track him down

And Another

 Here he confronts another evil doer:
Listen to those Bells

Other confronters:
Nasty Little Kid
'crooked' politician

And all the latest rage - "lustration", making nEUkrainia 'shiny'.

Dump that Bimba! Slav'EUkrainie!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Future War Zone

 I started to write this blog about 6 weeks ago when I read the article about the equipping of police departments with war surplus vehicles. I knew that was happening because I've read such info over the past three years. In Canada our police get new equipment, but military vehicles for police use are nothing new. And until now I think most of us just thought it's keeping us safe so let the chief have his budget. Well the time has come to say, in grand Belfast style, "Feck that!"

NYT: War Gear Flows to Police Departments

You see along with the increased armament, and the increased sense that there really is a very present danger, everywhere in to-day's world, goes an increased 'sense' that police are more in danger than other people. A 'bunker mentality', that I've written about before , makes police even more alienated for the 'society' they are paid to "serve and protect". Ancillary to all that is the fact that police are not expected to be any more intelligent or educated or enlightened than they have ever been since red caps were looking for work after WW2. Police are 'paramilitaries' in the worst sense of the phrase. They see themselves as 'akin' to soldiers without the training,  the military discipline or the expectations of some kind of 'sacrifice' or 'service'. They even describe themselves as 'veterans'.

In a recent story, the Pentagon decries the disinformation about their the arming of police forces. We didn't do it!  At least in the case of the warfighters of Ferguson  - nosiree,  they got it (except for a couple of Humvees and a hot dog trailer, they did get) from the National Guard - a totally unrelated organization - or they even bought it themselves, from somebody.

Where DO they Get It?

Whether they get it free, or buy it used, or even commission private enterprise to furnish them with the latest in 'crime-fighting security equipment',  police are armed and dressed like soldiers - full military assault gear - with exception of rations pouches for, most of the time, they will be home for lunch, or supper. Using military gear and military weapons - gone are 'sporting shotguns' -  the latest are all 'extra load' and 'pickitinny gizmoed'. They even use weapons that would land a military in contravention of the Geneva agreements - it's not a real war they're fighting - on drugs or crime, eh? So they only have to worry about some rights.

Here's another - about 12 000  surplus bayonets and 7 000 combat knives.

Stop that terror boys!

The sad and concerning thing is that police have been paranoid citizens for a long time. And now, tasked as they are, with possibly confronting 'terror',  they're more paranoid than ever. Nobody wants to die for his country and there's even less reason to die 'serving or protecting' the source of your paycheck. The 'Police Funeral' is only good if you can walk away from it and the group mentality seems to be approaching that of white slave owners in the antebellum south. Even though more carpenters are killed on the job, there's no reason why police shouldn't be armed,  armored and allowed to shoot first should they feel endangered.

And that is a privilege and responsibility (tongue in cheek), vouchsafed to only a few.

Porko Sings!

The finale of the recent NATO conference in Wales came when President Obama announced his latest 'coalition of the willing' to go to the support of another non-member that had been attacked. He found 9 patsies who were willing to take the fight to the  latest creation of the US State Department - ISIS, ISIL or whatever it is they call themselves.  But the penultimate announcement was far more entertaining, for NATO wannabe Petro Porkoshenko did a solo 'My Way' on a ceasefire .

Porko take it the mike

Coming off a telephonic miscommunication earlier in the week, Porko let the world know that, not only was he right about Putin 'caving' to his demands, he had the Russki by the 'short curlies' and had added 5 more steps to the 'peace plan' that he had developed long before Putin mentioned it two days ago.  Along with the 'liquidation' of the terrorists in his inaugural speech, as President of all the Ukrainians, he had indicated that peace would come from the mouths of his cannon forcing the 'rebel' supporters to saddle their steppe ponies and leave EUkrainia.

Once there were no armed 'opposers',  peace would be 'laid' on the east and they would be able to do whatever their hearts desired to become as Ukrainian as the good guys of the Maidan, or something like that.  Rather than anything punitive, he was willing to add a new law so they could speak any language they liked in the east, follow any culture they wanted. Those things would be 'protected'. But the Ukrainian 'first language' law still stands and they had better look up the Ukrainian versions of their children's names, for that's what's going on the birth certificates.

He said  was willing to forgive and forget - make an amnesty (except he hasn't mentioned those 'responsible' for deaths). I'm pretty sure there will be a few show trials of the real 'traitors', the Kyiv crowd wouldn't settle for anything less.  No sense winning war on terror without hanging a few - just to prove you were sincere. I'm surprised he's not demanding the extradition of  Yanukovich.

Porko was so magnanimous you'd almost think he won something. Actually he can't afford to not win something; the Maidan crew would have the balls off him, were they not all in punitive battalions out east. If they ever do get back home, they might well still try. That 'eastern land for of veterans' thing might be in labor camps.

Twelve hours into the ceasefire and you have the ATO (Anti-terrorist operation) forces firing celebratory rockets into Donetsk and the 'terrorists' attacking an innocent unit of the government-sponsored Adar Battalion as they  partake of a Saturday 'outing'.

Adar in trouble

Mr. Poroshenko isn't going to get the same result as he got the last time he ceased fire. And he probably got the message NATO won't be helping him reconquer the east.

Sell that on the Maidan.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Ukraine: the REAL Battle?

The battle for the eastern Ukraine seems headed for its logical resolution, a win for the forces of the Kyiv government. But as they used to say in the closing days of another war, in Germany, "Enjoy the war. The Peace is going to be terrible." Only another Marshal Plan will save Ukraine from a 'terrible' peace.

"Abandoned" battalion

First. If the sentiment that led to  4 months of the finest warfighting the hyrvnia could buy, was real - and there is every indication it wasn't all carried out by agents of the Kremlin, then governing the restive workers of the Donbass - particularly if the downturn in Ukraine's industrial fortunes continue, is going to be more than a case for some stiffer policing.  Much was made of the 'support' of the Kyiv government among workers in the east. There may have been some, but it certainly didn't seem either deep, or as sincere, as that evidenced further west. The 'Steelmen of Mariupol' lasted barely longer than 24 hours - tens of them showed up for a patriotic rally and free lunch! Much is being made now of the progress in war-torn eastern centres, but if it's like the bread and sausage relief of Slavyansk, it's more in the nature of photos and sound bytes than it is of substance. Poroshenko boasted of sending his own 'humanitarian relief' into the east the day after Putin started his from Moscow. We know now where the Russians' went. Where did Porko's go? After the first announcement  'poof', it disappeared.

 Second: One of the real downsides for Ukraine is that, all the blood and destruction aside, nothing is really changed or changing. There is a veneer of 'Ukrainian culture' being daubed on the same old harlots who 'governed' before, and on the institutionalized theft that has been so much a part of 'free' Ukraine (and other former soviet republics). Those who actually 'fought' the Maidan have been used to subjugate their peers in the east. The winners are the same 'winners' who weren't losing under the old regime either. And while they express a lot of 'love' for heroes, they're certainly in no position (volitionally more than anything)  to help them, or even to avoid resenting the 'imposition' of their 'sacrifice' on the 'new homeland'. Returning troops - particularly those injured, or otherwise 'not victorious', seem to be getting a 'bum's rush' - a  demonstration of the adage that 'there's nothing sadder than a sick soldier'.   They're soon going to be a lot sadder.

Third:  The antipathy will spread.  The  Kyiv 'elite' and the oligarchy, while holding up the 'traditional values' of the Ukraine (a nation of artist/warriors grounded in the soil) are on their way to eliminating the base of their support. While setting the stage for western corporate 'oligarchy',  they may make the western Ukrainian agriculturalist think things are going to be better for them, but corporations don't buy land at top dollar if a friendly government can be persuaded to clear the way for them. Ukraine is headed down the same road as Philippines, Indonesia, Liberia and other nations with agricultural assets,  now owned by Nestle, Unilever and the gang, for the benefit of Monsanto and Dow Chem. The only asset Ukraine has, that the EU can use is called soil. A new dawn of farming is coming to Ukraine: cheap labour will be a large part of that. Add farmer-employees to  disgruntled miners, eking out an existence in black market mines, and unemployed steel workers and the only good jobs in Ukraine will be related to the security forces - designed to 'keep them in line'. The bosses, bureaucrats and oligarchs will continue to be the 'golden pheasants - they're the kind of people 'big businesses' need - and can buy.

Would they hesitate for a second to drum-up some hatred for recalcitrant farmers or 'Foreigners' - Poles,  Hungarians and Romanians living on land they 'need' in the west - why not? It worked brilliantly to distract Ukraine while they saddled-up to rob it blind another time.

The spanner in their works involves the east. It won't be easy to disconnect the owners from their land in the 'newly pacified' territories. And they won't fall for Kyiv's blandishments as easily as 'real' Ukrainians.  They're going to have to be 'persuaded'.

How Yats and Porko play that, might stop them from entering the EU, for 'they can't fool all the people all the time' - even dummies. Time wounds all heels.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Golden Hoard

Gold no longer underpins many of the word's currencies, but it has not lost its importance in underpinning the 'national wealth'. The gold reserves of Ukraine are no small case in point.

 Current in the news is the matter of the "Scythian Hoard"  an number of gold objects taken from tombs in the Crimea and southern Russia after archaeological excavation of the sites of the 'Scythians' - a nomadic people often mentioned in Greek and Roman literature. The 'Scythian Hoard' is currently being displayed by museums in Holland.

The display originated in five formerly Soviet museums, one in Ukraine and the other four in Crimea.  The recent troubles there have turned the objects into a political football. The football has been 'inflated' by the downing of flight MH17.

When such displayed objects reach the end of their contract period they are, generally, returned to the loaning institution. The government in Kyiv is claiming the objects are belongings of the state, as opposed to the museums, four of which are now inside the Russian Federation. That there were a large number of Dutch citizens on board flight MH17 and that the Kyiv government accused Russia of responsibility for the airliner's destruction, means that there might be some ramifications for the return.

But more interesting is the matter of Ukraine's gold reserves.

The 'interim' prime Minister of Ukraine - Arseniy Yatsenuk  served as finance minister in the unseated Yanukovich government. No doubt he was concerned about the security of  36 tons of gold that Ukraine had 'inherited' - like the Crimea and some other territories, from the Soviet empire, even back then. Once of his first actions as interim Prime Minister was to pack-up the national gold reserve and have it flown to safety, somewhere else in the world. It is thought that Ukraine's gold is now, safe, where nobody can get at it, alongside the US reserve  in the vaults of US banks. There to rest, as collateral for the loans and future assistance needed to turn Ukraine into a bastion of freedom.

Maybe the Spaniards could make he case that some of the gold belongs to them. The Spanish Republican government sent the Spanish reserves to Moscow for 'safekeeping' during the Civil War. I don't know if that ever came back.

Germany's 3.5  thousand tons of gold, kept in New York, has yet to be returned. Even though the Germans have asked for it.

Giving the gold away is one thing, getting it back again might be a lot harder than retrieving the 'Scythian Hoard'.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

There's a Definite difference in Delsey

'There's a definite difference' or so the old advertisement for toilet-paper went. Something you could feel.  Here are two videos from the current 'reduction' of the Gaza ghetto and the 'rocket rain' on Israel.

The Gaza thing is what we have come to expect from a massive explosion, anywhere: the numbed shock amid the silence of dust obscuring the horrors, with the gradual realization, among the hurt, that they are, and the dead who are beyond pain and caring. Then the chaos descends, as those unhurt appear to help and realize that the task at hand is beyond them. In the case of the Gaza clip, the new casualties were showing-up (weapons-bearing ambulances?) to help those of an earlier strike. But how was a 'humane' rocketeer, or artilleryman, or drone jockey, to know they weren't helping terrorists, or weren't terrorists themselves? 'Fog of war' it's called. 'Collateral damage.'  "We don't target civilians."


 In Jerusalem the stage is set with sirens, multiple sirens rising and falling in warning of impending danger. A latter day 'Blitz' - with no Luftwaffe overhead. The Wailing Wall is deserted, but not by a rushing mob, chairs and lecterns are left,  waiting the return to prayer. Some adorers gather in an  alcove, hardly shelter from the shrapnel and flechettes (the two inch steel rockets) dispersed by the modern anti-personnel round. In Gazan rockets that might be ball bearings, buckshot or whatever scrap metal that can be found (but a rocket reaching Jerusalem from Gaza,  would have to be 'bare bones' to achieve such range).

To-day there is no shrapnel, or explosion either, for the crowd has run out to see 'Iron Shield' at work.  In the sky the videographer focuses on the single, gratifying, white 'puff' in the sky.  The 'bang of redemption',  another 'successful interception'. Or, perhaps, only the timed detonation of the Iron Shield missile, self-destructing at the end of a fruitless flight (wouldn't want them falling to earth and hurting someone jewish). As it is, the Wailing Wall remains scarred only by time, not the hot steel that works such 'magic' on the flesh, bone and pulverized stone of Gaza.


Videography is wonderful. On the one hand, it's the ''evidence" of such a 'successful defense' in a war made almost enjoyable for Israelis. They we're told, have time to 'feel' for those killed by the dumb threat of faceless terror. In Gaza, the videography is proof that horrors happen, lest the 'humane soldiers of Israel' say that, "They've done it to themselves" when the world is told, daily, that, "Hamas is doing it to them." It's too bad Hamas is so able to 'hide' among them, so well.

But could anybody 'hide' in Gaza? That's up to the fickle fate of artillery strike, or some bad optics in a drone image. Too bad for them.

Like the fabled quality of bum-wipe, there is a definite difference in Israel's "justified defense of its people and its land" ( the most modern of excuse - the same as in Ukraine.) The difference lies between the sophistry and the sound bite, in comparison to what is actually being done to 'defend' Israel, and how much such defense Israel needs.

From a passing comparison it seems obvious that Gaza is in far, far greater need of defense than Israel.  There are, according to  the Israelis, deeper nuances about which we may not know, unknown 'observations' that 'force them' to double and redouble the deaths and destruction. To-day another division was being called up to join in the assault. 18 000 reservists to 'see the elephant' (become combat veterans) in relative safety in Gaza.

God help Israel should the people of Gaza, or Palestine, or any enemy, ever acquire such a 'defense' as Israel deploys. I'm pretty sure, should things ever get that bad, the majority of Israelis would abandon their new  'homeland' in very short order. They certainly wouldn't live without light, water and food amid so much death and blood. That's where the definite difference lies.

The Palestinians have no choice.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eventually the Truth Comes Out

For the past week the world has been treated to a quadruple serving of some of the greatest calumny ever devised. A Malayan airliner was felled by what is believed to have been an air-to-air missile over the war zone in the eastern part of Ukraine. While the wreckage was still smoking the Ukrainian government intelligence service in Kyiv was distributing transcripts, in a number of languages, of what it said were "intercepts" of phone communications between rebels and 'Russian' commanders discussing the downing of an aircraft and then, later, attempting to 'cover up' by removing the supposed guilty rocket unit involved,  "back to  Russia."

While the wreckage cooled, apparently that was done and a series of out-of-focus and unclear photographs, ascribed to Ukrainian "spies" and observers were given as proof of the flight of the evildoers. Added to feeble and ill-coordinated attempts to deal with an humanitarian disaster dropped from the sky into the backwaters of an active battle field, the Eastern Ukrainians and their 'Russian' commanders were pilloried in the world press. Charged with everything from preventing observers from viewing the wreckage, to pilfering belongings, to abusing the dead, the few rescue workers (Ukrainian Rescue Service) and armed rebels on the scene were clearly overwhelmed by a crash site that extended over an area of 15 kilometers.

Almost first on the scene, aside from the local villagers, were the Ukrainian Rescue Service and firemen. They set up operations at the site and started work. At the end of day one they were criticized for not moving the dead to shelter. On day two, with the help of volunteer miners, they extended the search for the dead and began transporting some to facilities in Donetsk (the off-site dead, picked up from main streets, fields, and back yards, a nursery playground, a garden, a green house, etc. some 90 bodies in all.) On day three a supply of body bags permitted the gathering of corpses for transportation and on day four they were moved to a train of refrigerated cars pending transport to a larger centre. The Kyiv government claimed that moving the bodies was "tampering with evidence". That moving them on a truck was an indignity. The people at the scene were accused of removing parts of the aircraft and the black boxes and  refusing to let the international experts, waiting in Kyiv, attend the scene (government artillery began shelling an area within sight and sound).

After the bodies were removed, the site was virtually open to anyone - reporters from a number of organizations attended, one - from British Sky News -was filmed opening and sorting through a piece of luggage before he realized how inappropriate that was and stopped. Sky News made a public apology. Before they left (an observation made by OSCE) the Ukrainian rescue people had brought equipment in to move the larger pieces of wreckage, probably in search of bodies. That prompted more complaints from Kyiv, echoed in western media. Whoever ordered them to leave is not clear. The Rescue Service had been unaffected by the 'armed guard' and had not been interfered with. They seemed to be in contact with Kyiv.

Delegations from Malaya showed up first, and from Holland later the same day. The rebels released the bodies and the black boxes. The bodies were taken to Kharkov for 'preparation' by Ukrainian authorities - who were told they wouldn't be doing the forensics. The bodies were to be returned to Holland for identification and repatriation. The black boxes went to England.

 The site is apparently "deserted",  aeronautical experts from Malaya have appeared, but the Australian PM is 'demanding' that the UN mount an 'international force' to secure the crash site and the investigation. There are artillery battles going on in the immediate area - two more Ukrainian warplanes were downed nearby to-day. The site may fall into the hands of Ukrainian forces before an international force can get there.

The world is now being treated to the standard 'honoring the dead' thing that grew to such proportions during the Afghan War. That will probably take all week, to be followed by a protracted period which could last until Christmas, before all the dead are identified. Human interest stories on the dead are rife.

Playing counterpoint to it all however - the evil that is Putin and the badness he has done.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Slava EUkriainia! Smert to Everybody!

Syria is a non-sequitur, Afghanistan is another Eden, Iraq's just not happening fast enough,  the early season hurricane's a bust, might as well drum-up some hot poop on Ukraine.

The latest?  Poroschenko signed up for a dossier full of 'protocols' Eukrainia will have to develop, in order to start making the noises required to make it really 'European'. In the interim, that tweaked Putin's schnozzola, or so the Kyiv frei press would have us believe, so that's why the Russians continue to 'allow' fighters to enter eastern Ukraine to shoot at the good guys, and make the unilateral 'ceasefire' really unilateral.

Well no self-respecting president of a republic would stand for that, so the unilateral ceasefire is cancelled and the armored and artillery units moved into place, during the ceasefire, have the green light to really 'give it to them'.

Putin, inscrutable as always, reports that gas flows to western Europe continue at normal rates. He also 'demands' that 'Poro' and the patriots stop killing civilians. Well "Nyaaah .. nyaahh!"  to him. The 'putler's ' days are numbered, don't we know.

To show that he is really and truly in Earnest, Poro dumped his Minister of Defense - mental problems caused by the stress of the war on terror - and a few of the high command - failure to supply the troops, etc. Poro's making a world class 'Eukrowehr' and the first thing it needs is a good 'deworming' - apparently the grafters and 'corruptors' that pollute the rest of EUkrainia, have the armed forces by the supply wagons - if they haven't sold them for kindling, or Romanian 'dancin' lay-deez'. Poroschenko won't have his men sleeping on sperm-filled mattresses and eating moldy bread in garbage-bag 'tents'.  No sirree  - so he's taking presidential command of the US-supplied MREs - they're only for the brave heroes of the 'Liquidation'.

The new guy at the Defense ministry , a former police colonel recently risen to high rank,  is promising a cakewalk, followed by a vic'try parade ... in Sebastopol.

That world-class military IS going to be needed - even if Putin IS a putz.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Known Unknown

Just watched the  documentary on Donald Rumsfeld. 'The Known Unknown'.

 As Secretary of Defense in the Bush administration, and in a couple of other existences in American Government, Rumsfeld was instrumental in turning America into the 'world beater' it is to-day.

He began his political career; after a stint in the US Navy, running for congress, in which he served three terms. He was given a portfolio and worked in the Nixon White House.  He was a 'useful' tool for Nixon but he ran afoul John Erlichman who attempted to torpedo him. It almost worked by Rumsfeld was assigned elsewhere and when the Watergate  scuttled Nixon and his 'plumbing department'. Rumsfeld happily dodged that bullet.

Which stood him in good stead as an aide to Gerald Ford. Working as Dick Cheney's boss, Rumsfeld claims to have changed Ford's idea of avoiding Nixon's mistakes by not having a WH staff. He and Cheney threatened to quit unless Ford saw things their way, Ford saw things their way.

When Ford lost the election to Carter, Rumsfeld spent some time in private enterprise as CEO of Searle Pharmaceuticals where he 'turned the company around by downsizing 60 percent of the workforce, raising profits and getting a 'boss of the year' award. He also positioned the company for a lucrative sale to Monsanto. He also worked for General instruments and Gilead sciences before making a return to politics as Secretary of Defense.

He had hoped to run on the ticket with Ronald Reagan but was 'delighted' to 'make way' for George Bush senior, and that Reagan had opted not to run with the ex-president as his running mate. Reagan  would use Rumsfeld to meet privately with Saddam Hussein - offering a handshake the Rumsfeld now describes as "iconic" -  and not enough help to have Saddam beat the Iranians. He was sent because he had no direct political connection but it was thought his prestige as a former SecDef would impress the locals. It did, they lost. And I'd say it started Saddam a-thinking as to what America really could do when needed. Hence Kuwait.

Even though he was carving out a career in free enterprise, generally by paring costs to the bone and negotiating successful buy-outs, Rumsfeld was never far from the halls of real power.  The Clinton years were lean but the prospect of another Bush White House was just the kind of thing the Chicago-school believers, Ayn Rand mifflins and Neocon pattern-bombers were slaverin' about. Bushco won and Rummy and pals got busy. Dick Cheney had 'surged' ahead  of his onetime boss into the navigator's seat as Vice President - he would put his mark on that office. Rummy was picked for Sec Def and the Pentagon - with its cadre of Neocon 'warfighters' became his bailiwick.

In the documentary he guesses at the hundreds of thousands of  'memos; he generated. Obviously at some point - after the invention of a portable recording device, Rummy became very adept at hearing himself talk. Talk, and word and language, it seems, took on a fetish-like quality for him. Constantly looking up definitions and relaying them to others with his 'slant'  you might almost swear he had his retirement fund invested in dictionaries.  

The war years were good ones for him. he claims to have gone to war with the minimum he thought would 'do the job'. So when the job started to head south and eventually became the 'quagmire' he said he didn't do, things started to turn rocky with the neocons.  They got him first. By resigning in protest at 'how the war was being run' and then blaming Rummy for the quagmire from the safety of new jobs in right wing think tanks. That bruised him.  Abu Gharib polished him off.

The publication of the notorious photos had the same effect on America's war effort in Iraq as the Tet offensive did in VietNam. For all the embedding and trumpets at sunset on the media, the mall-trotters got a look up -  'close and personal' - at something that made them doubt that things they were told were right at all. Saddam's WMD's never showed up and the premise for the war had to be changed from 'self defense of civilization'  to, well, probably a good idea anyway. As things continued to not go well Rummy developed the markings of a scapegoat for beleaguered administration - he resigned (for the third time) and Bushco took him up on his offer.  He was out, the new team was in.

So rummy got to watch the denouement of his adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq from the  corporate box and I'm sure he's glad he got out before more shi*t stuck to him. Mercifully the 'A' team didn't win, either. But he probably already knew that.

Rummy come across in the documentary as the personable, happy smiling guy he no doubt comes across as. But his is the smile of the Great White - if they do that  - the purpose is to distract you from the fact that he's constantly looking for an advantage, seeking the edge.   He strike  me as somebody who gets mad, but then  gets even too. He strikes me as a psychopath."

 Robert McNamara did the same kind of thing years after his work on VietNam.  When he did that, an older wiser man looking back on some serious mistakes he seemed to be  seeking some reconciliation and even redemption. He admitted to some errors. Rummy doesn't 'do errors'. The best he could do was call Abu Gharib ' sickening'. Sickening perverted guards doing 'sexo', but the fact that thousands of Iraqis were warehoused there to 'get the treatment' didn't bother him a whit.  If only he didn't have to hear, or see that stuff.

"The good lord only knows" but I don't think Rummy has a conscience.

Otherwise he couldn't life with himself.

Where Did it Go Gyorgi? Where did it go?

Just like that, hey! presto - the Ukraine is a non-topic for the world's media. After weeks of popping-up as key word on Google news, generating a pond of ink in papers and time in media 'analysis', it's gone! Piff-paff-poof passed-away! Like it never happened.

But why? Not much, apparently, has changed in Ukraine, except the new president. The 'interim' government still sits. 'Yats' is still the Prime Minister and  'Turchy' is still the 'Trotsky' of the new Ukraine  (What do you call what would have been 'the commissar of the armies' back in the day?). The army still surrounds Slavyansk and the indiscriminate shelling of that place goes on. Lugansk remains in the hands of 'separatists'  as do other places and installations. The separatists seem to have no intentions of turning themselves over to Poroshenko's justice and mercy. The people of the region, under fire, still seem to think that asylum lies east and not west. It could be the 'nationalists' - who also haven't gone away,  and seem to be showing-up more and more, well-equipped for battle, are causing that.  Sort of like the frontier negotiations in early North America with indian allies ... watching, and testing 'the edge' ... on scalping knife and tomahawk.

So why has the Ukraine gone away?  Well, actually it hasn't. Russian sources, and some European ones, continue to report on the gas negotiations and mention the 'war' situation. Kyiv Post continues to post its on-line teasers (you have to subscribe to get the whole story) about the wonderfulness that is Ukraine - good for tourists - and the 'badness' lying off to the east. Poroshenko has his 'pen in his hand' to sign on to the 'Euromarket' but they're having some procedural difficulty. All is 'good for the end of the month' - unless that war is still on. Not much of this shows up at first click, you have to do  a search.

So it looks like the west is killing the story, so the 'sheeple' don't get bored, or overly concerned, as the Ukrainian 'army' makes the 'big push'.

In news to-day the Ukrainian government was accusing Russian tanks of "crossing the border" - 3 of them, to be exact - videoed some 40 miles from the border - they were captured from the government forces ( oops Kyiv forgot to mention that) last week. The Russians had a motion coming before the Security Council and were accusing the Ukraine of firing 'indiscriminate' weapons into Slavyansk. Gas negotiations had stalled.

And what had knocked Ukraine off the boards  - well not much: Bowie Bergdahl was one; Boko Haram and their schoolgirls has been off and on; thinking about a future 'president' Hilary distracted America, as did the stealing of Kasey Kasem. Until the  (on-going but again largely-ignored for the past six months) 'situation' in Iraq took a noticeable turn for the worse yesterday, there was nothing much doing.

But since the bad news from Iraq, why Ukraine has reappeared as well. Bad news loves company, or maybe this will be a long awaited 'success' story.

I wouldn't be wagering the grocery money.