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.