Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dirty Donnie the Kremlin Ho.

It getting official-er and official-er.  Now that Hilary has put a bottle in it and the Prexy has forgotten he mentioned it (although "the White House is pursuing "an investigation" that it WON'T be releasing to the pubics) the "Catholics In Action'  announced to-day that they are convinced that Putin's hackers influenced the latest US election so that Don Trump would win.   When the CIA gets that bold it must be convinced that a change of command is coming along somewhere, or that the new administration is about to de-ball the organization.  An accusation of Putin's Manchurian Candidate goes way beyond the ''birther" flap that welcomed Obama into office. It hinges on potential treachery in the highest office of the land - taken to its logical extremity - that Don knew and didn't step aside. At the very least it will hamstring whatever it was that Trump was thinking of doing about Russia or, even, the CIA.

Overview of What's happenin'

WaPo: Chapter and Verse

Like, if an organization is so concerned about the national welfare that it, single-handed, is prepared to make a case to impeach the President (where else does a charge like this lead?), would it be wise to fire anybody in command of it, if you were the potential 'impeachee' in question?

A Congressman Speaks

Trump's immediate response "These were the folks who invented 'evidence' of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction." goes straight to a massively-failed point of credibility.  But then that was probably the works of 'the Bush White House team' and a head nod when George Tennant temporarily regained consciousness for a moment. That was George sitting beside 'Cardinal' Negroponte when Colin Powell waved Karl Rove's sperm bank donation and told the UN it was a facsimile  of weapons grade anthrax from Iraq.

There's a little 9/11 'mystery of hystery' that seems to have been lost in the other general hooplah.  Wasn't there an 'anthrax attack' on America - on Washington, Florida ( the National Enquirer???) and on the US postal service on or about that fateful date?  I seem to recall federal offices in Washington being evacuated,  after they had been un - evacuated, again, following the terrorists' 'airstrikes'. While I realize the guy who did it, or was accused of doing it, killed himself and avoided prosecution. That terrorist incident went away much more pacifically did most of the others - even the Boston signage attack.

But we're back to Trump and the CIA.

John ('call me Father') Brennan  has steered America through some turbulent times and into some stormy weather.  Not only has he 'overwatched' the 'biggies' in Afghanistan and Iraq,  he has supervised America's sleuthing exercises in Libya - he was the better half of the State Department-led fiasco in Benghazi - those 'rescuers', when the bad guys killed the ambassador, were CIA operators. (The saga was duly recorded in film.). It was the CIA that set-up the first 'Syrian Freedom Army' - in Turkey,  and it was the CIA that got the Gulf states and the Saudis 'up' for 'a poke' at Assad.  The CIA was 'destabilizing' Yemen for a couple of decades before they gave that up as lost cause, evacuated and armed the Saudis to wreck the place. They still operate the 'drone and cruise missile strikes program' to clean-up what the royal Arabs miss. But John's 'piece de resistance' was the extension of anti-communist freedumb to gallant little Ukrainia. Brennan has been there often enough that they don't even bother getting out the red carpet any more. And every time he shows up, he's followed by some C17s full of humvees or body armor or M4s for the 'good guys' who fight Putin and defend Europe from his invasions. Brennan could be looking at all that, thinking, "Bye bye I'm off to see Negroponte."

 But he's 'manly', and Irish, enough to think, "Feck dat! I'm going to nail the Orange man before he gets me."  And outgoing NSA honcho Clapper's going to help him.

Hence to-day's announcement that the CIA 'knows' that Russian-affiliated operatives were responsible for leaking the emails that effectively torpedoed the Clinton campaign.  Those emails that are now being touted as the 'generators' of 'False news' that some people erroneously believed and that prevented them electing a real winner.   Not that any of those leaked emails are wrong, or contrived, or Russian,  themselves - just the way some 'bad' people 'choose' to read them. Some pretty important people have fallen on swords over the contents of those emails. And Hillary has had personal  'email problems' for almost 5 years.  Brennan should know about that, too.

Friday, December 02, 2016

If that One Goes, We'll be up here all Day.

An old joke about some unsophisticated passengers on an airplane that was losing engine power - and being increasingly delayed - has the punch line used as the title for this screed.

Sadly it's a matter of physics that what goes up, and weighs more than air, must come down. Air planes are no exception to the rule.  It wasn't long after mankind started to experiment with flight that the first air 'disasters' followed.  That we have made remarkable advances in the fields of reliability and aviation safety is not to be denied, but aircraft continue to come back down in ways outside the design brief, with tragic consequences.

A recent sad story of another sports team annihilated in an air crash has come to us this week from Colombia. A crash involving a four-engined British BAE 146 'commuter' airliner that was carrying a Brazilian soccer team occurred as the aircraft was preparing to land at Medellin in Columbia.  To-day it appears that the aircraft may have run out of fuel, resulting in a complete loss of the electrical system and the subsequent crash. there were 9 survivors out of the 80 some people aboard.

As such things usually are in to-day's world of instant communications and selfies , a lot of minor details have already come out. The soccer players were enjoying the opportunity to compete in high-level play for a 'continental' cup. Naturally they were photographing each other and streaming those and video.  There are probably more disturbing recordings on the way.  There were a couple of 'out of the ordinary' things that did show up - involving soccer players interacting with the crew. One showed two players visiting the captain in the cockpit, another showed players interacting with another officer in the cabin - they seemed to know the crew, having, apparently, used that charter airliner before. A third video has surfaced of an interview with the 'second officer'  on the flight, a young Bolivian model,  on her first, and as it turned out last day on the job as a commercial pilot.

Interview with Flight Crew

Interestingly,  the charter airline has come under some scrutiny too. Originally situated in Venezuela and started by a government official there, La MIA airline ran into money trouble almost from the start and wound-up being owned by three regional governors, before shifting operations to Bolivia where the company's three  aircraft were registered. One of the current owners was at the controls of the downed plane. In light of the crash, the airline's license has been suspended pending the inquiry.

 A couple of other details have come to light since the crash. apparently the captain opted not to 'top up' the plane's fuel before leaving Bolivia.  The fuel situation didn't seem to be a concern as the plane passed over or near  a number of other airports on its way to Medellin in the northern part of Colombia.  When the pilot did declare an emergency and ask for landing priority, another aircraft has just 'beat him to it' and was already making its emergency approach.  The flight radar record indicates a substantial decrease in the aircraft's altitude during the last few minutes of the plane's flight. If that was done while the plane still had power, the lower altitude might have contributed to a lack of surviveability when the engines failed and electrical power was lost. The plane was 9 kilometers and a mountain ridge away from the airport.  If altitude was decreased after power was lost, it may have been a panic reaction to the loss of radar visibility, and an action that doomed the plane. The pilot obviously not being able to see the airport, was asking for landing vectors - the heading to approach for a landing. He was on course to the airport when the plane struck the mountainside.

They don't happen often but when they do aircraft crashes are still spectacular tragedies.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

El Commandante es Muerto

Fidel Castro is dead. The maker of one of the few successful revolutions of this century has stepped into History. Whether he 'changed the world' is debatable, but the world certainly knew he was here.  He brought the 'Cold war' home and laid it at America's doorstep. By allowing the Russians to do in Cuba what the Americans had done in Turkey a couple of years before, brought the world to the brink of war.

The World knows who the leader of the modest island in the Caribbean was. He made a name for Cubans in a hundred or more places, from Miami to Luanda, from Bolivia to Grenada and he 'scared the shit out of America'.  Castro Cubans were the 'bogey men' of a number of Hollywood 'existential threat' pics.

And so these days the world reacts to his passing, as it has done to his presence.  There are the normal 'tributes' to the dead - laying out his achievements, balanced for press consumption, in some cases, by his obvious failures. In other accounts he remains the ogre, the tyrant,  the dictator some parts of the world held him up to be.  The Cubans of Cuba announced an 8-day period of mourning and reports had the city of Havana described as 'sombre'. 170 air miles away the air was somewhat different as the Miami Cubans pulled out the stops on a 'national fiesta' that, on a number of occasions before,  had gone off half-cocked.  This time it was real and the joyful faces - which very much reminded me of those in the old photos taken at a lynching - were not stifled, this time, by news that 'El Barbo' lived on.

But all we really know of Fidel Castro is public persona and the details of his 'injustice' offered by those who suffered it.

In public Castro was larger, and longer, than life.  If people, as we are told, were 'forced' to attend his frequent public orations, not being able to walk away must have been an ordeal. But I have never read any report of the 'leavings' of those 'massive' crowds turned-out to listen - water bottles discarded underwear, 'droppings' or 'floods' that surely would have eventuated after a four hour 'rock concert' anywhere else.  I recall reading of the aftermath of a Papal Mass in Toronto upsetting the sewage system for a number of days, and I've seen pictures of the debris field left by the faithful on that occasion that gives rise to a question about the 'gatherings' after miracle of the loaves and fishes. One would think that, with the frequency of Fidel's oratorical 'olympics' in his heyday, that his critics would have made much of the evidence of the harm he inflicted on his audience. They didn't.

He was a lawyer by training, but had that been his forte, he probably might have risen no higher than a local judge in Cuba. While he had some of the looks, and the lip, he didn't seem to have the smarts to win the big cases.  He was a 'Commandante' but aside from actually 'being there' he was smart enough to lave the actual fighting to those who were better at it. Even the Bay of Pigs - a victory ascribed to him - he left to the pros to execute.  He was reputed to have been vindictive and cruel.  While there is little evidence that he involved himself personally in revenge and retribution, his signal failure is in not curbing those who actually did that. The anti-Castro rebels who temporarily seized Trinidad on the south coast as part of the Bay of Pigs invasion, was punished harshly as it was an insurrection - including many 'old comrades' of the original revolution - rather than an invasion. The rebels who took to the hills  north of town were never permitted to walk out of them. Castro's forces hunted them down and killed them to a man.

He was certainly secretive and security-conscious in his personal life. He protected his privacy, moving, like so many other 'enemies of democracy', from place to place, unannounced. This probably prevented him from living in the style to which 'presidents-for-life' (and he in fact wasn't one of those, seeking regular re-election as he did) are accustomed. From what we know of it,  his personal life was unostentatious. He never did have a proper 'generalissimos' outfit, probably even for his funeral.

He is lauded for his achievements in regard to life in Cuba - the education and health systems being the major cases in point. But I would say that one of his own seminal changes was the rapprochement with the Catholic Church.  As a good communist ideologue, and as a Cuban revolutionary, he saw 'the Church', in Cuba, as a part of that old 'system' that held the people in thrall to a government partially through a thralldom to God.  Castro was educated in the best of that 'old system', by the Jesuits. When he was in  school the Jesuits were just beginning to think about that 'revolution' in the Church that would start a decade after the Cuban one.  But Castro, the revolutionary, saw something in common with the revolutionary ('anti-communist') Pope from Poland and Cuba  - forty years into its revolution -  cleared its 'Museos' and restored the properties of the Church. Popes (a couple of them) visited the island and the Catholic church in Cuba is having a renaissance.  Despite that, one of America's claims is that there needs be more freedom of religious expression - for a number of American 'religious visitors' - Jewish,  Baptist Evangelicals and Jehovah's Witnesses have been arrested for espionage activities.   We'll see if Fidel has a funeral Mass.

If there is anything surprising it is that considering the minor role he played on the World stage, he's getting a lot more media ink than many of the Great Ones.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Security: Colour it Green

The Government of Canada is currently engaged in a  process of seeking input in what it calls its "Green Paper' on a revised security apparatus in Canada.  This is, possibly, the new Liberal government's, 'promise' to reevaluate the legislation set in place to 'protect Canada from terrorist attacks' after 9/11.  That has done a remarkable job,  as there haven't been any notable terrorist attacks in Canada since 9/11.  But that's no reason for not 'plugging the holes', that haven't been noticed yet, in the legislation.

                                                                        As if, eh?
 But is that real evidence of the effectiveness of the current legislation, or the ability of our security services to stay on top of a burgeoning threat?

 Well, if you listen to the head honchos, "No!"

The straight poop on a National 'Necessity'

Let's face it, right now we're defenceless, eh?  

CSIS has been remarkable in saying - when it does make public utterance - that the 'threat' is growing and developing and becoming ever so much more robust. So robust that CSIS is about to 'pop'?

And coming out of the blocks on that public consultation-green paper 'thingy' is Canada's premier police service, and its 'Big Stick of Solictiude'. To-day our RCMP 'commish' - took to the airways and media hubs, in class 5 dress-down office (casual) uniform, to decry the fact that the Force is to-day faced with new investigative hurdles due to cell phones and the 'innernet', that requires them to seek to acquire all basic data, everywhere, in Canada,  and require your internet service provider to store all your business for the future reference of police.

                                               'We just can't guarantee your protection' -

                                                                      Nor can we.
He showed up, as is his wont, with a Powerpoint presentation that shows just how far Canadian police are behind other civilized nations in tracking the business of the ordinary joe - New Zealand is waaaaay ahead  (having almost all its 'security' list spots 'checked' while the poor Canucks have none!)  If there had been a study of how much more effective New Zealand police were, as a result, I'm sure he would have presented it, No?

But isn't New Zealand famous for the case against "Kim DotCom" - the multimillionaire internet data thief?  After a court case lasting more than a half decade now, he's out 'on bail' and, of late, now able to travel internationally.  Obviously he has a good lawyer, a kazillion ill-gotten Kiwi dollars and  his case must have started in the 'old days' when police actually had to work to find evidence and prove something.  Back in the 'bad old days' when they had to warn you that you could give them evidence to convict yourself.  Or, 'horrors', when they had to show a judge that they had 'a case' to get a judicial warrant to  allow  them to search you,  or your house, or  to  play 'sneaky pete' and 'spy' on you to get evidence. But I divulge.

Commissioner Paulsen went on to enumerate a number of 'real' police case files that were hamstrung because either somebody had their rights protected, or refused to turn over their passwords or encrypted their communications.  He outlined a case of a child abuser who was thought to have files of his own children being abused on his 'locked cell phone'.  Now wherever would they get that impression, if they weren't finding images of his children somewhere else? And wouldn't they serve for a conviction?  Paulsen must have more knowledge of criminal behaviour than the rest of us, but even watching the movies would indicate that any crook who deliberately kept any kind of records of his sculduggery was a stiff sentence just waiting to happen. The real sharpies do everything viva voce and on the QT.  Having it all down in unencoded communications just seems like a big 'break' for the stupid.

He outlined some very expensive electronic wizardries gone wrong because of 'electronic tricks' the police never thought about and he decries electronic solutions tried,  that forced the police to go back to using 'less expensive' undercover agents (any of those I've heard about weren't cheap either) because the 'gizmos' were just too dang expensive.

Even though he had a heart-rending appeal about being 'stuck' and how somebody on-line had 'screwed-over his favorite niece' (probably those assholes from Nigeria), what Paulsen failed to do is make a convincing case about more data making police more effective, or Canadian citizens more secure.

Police 'mistakes' largely haven't happened because of things police didn't know, as much as from things they did know - and deliberately chose to ignore, or misinterpret. More information isn't going to prevent human nature.  And it's that 'lowest common denominator' part that should be the major concern. For the problems aren't going to be caused by the 'good' police, they're going to arise in the few 'bad apples that inhabit every organization'. If recent stories about policemen downloading official files to their home computers,  or worse still,  civilian employees accessing police databases for unknown personal reasons - as both happened this past week  - aren't a 'heads-up', then things like 'computer hacking' and guys like Snowden should be. For there is no indication that police and security can keep the information they already collect secure.

the green paper - backgrounder one page

To prepare Canadians for possible change - and the 'waffling' ( 'I really hate that sheeyat!  But I think it's really necessary') of Security Minister Ralph Gooddale over a recent CSI court case indicates there will be 'changes' - the Federal government has prepared a substantial website on the topic - with an overview of the proposed areas of legislation and a 'background document' to accompany each of the the feedback formS - multiple.

I took a glance at one page 'backgrounding':  'Information Sharing' - which outlined a bunch of info sharing scenarios. The ones that involved security interested me. A number of individuals interacted with a nefarious "Mr. A" to endanger Canada, possibly, in a number of  different ways. The document concludes with a synopsis of their faults and the actions to be taken.  But it, for me, begged a fundamental question: What about "Mr. A"?

If what he was doing, in each of these cases, wasn't prosecutable under the current law,  then the whole national edifice, and its National Security Act IS in trouble. Rather than develop a sledgehammer to nail every one of the B to L 'perps' in the background 'scenarios', and the very real prospect of  everybody else in Canada, why not just go after the  "Mr. A" who was also part of the endangerment of Canada?  Unless, of course, he's a CSIS 'operative', or a paid informant.  Somebody a pay grade or ten above duty counsel or  legal aid, would have to be protecting the hell out of his Charter Rights and Freedoms.

TorStar opinion piece

Omniscience is not a power I would trust to any security organization, just like omnipotence or any other attributes of what we used to call 'God'.  They're just not that good at much, yet.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dudley on Steroids - CSIS

The old joke going around was that, when the government of Canada announced it was developing an in-house spy agency, there was a mass-transfer from the Mounties, and that for years afterward members of the RCMP, looking to pad the pension, could 'serve' for a few more years in Canada's super-sleuthing  agency.

Since then, we're led to believe,  CSIS has weaned itself away from the Mountie intelligence mentality and developed its own stable of thoroughbreds - selected and trained  'ab ovo', as civilian agents.  Government-related university profs and 'Law 'n Security' instructors must be collecting millions in finders' fees.

Recent developments, coming as a result of leaked information elsewhere, indicates that the civilians are no more scrupulous than were the RCMP when it came time to seeking that ever-elusive 'actionable intel' and, given what appears to be a hefty dose of organizational paranoia about a defense against terrorism, are almost criminal in their efforts to protect the rest of us.  While the old saw about 'setting a thief to catch a thief' is probably more accurate in theory than in practice - or so we would hope - the notion of setting a spy to catch a terrorist doesn't make any sense at all.  But then if spies aren't 'cutting it',  perhaps some 'patriotic terrorism' might be in order.

One thing that is evident, however, is that a basic requirement to 'do' CSIS well, is to have a tenuous grasp on truth, on honesty or on what is legal. Spies historically, don't consider these things to be qualities.

And so when the Director of CSIS spoke to the media recently, telling the Canadian people that he thought his agency's gathering the personal communications and information of virtually every citizen in the country, and then keeping it for well-over a decade, was, in his, straight-faced civilian opinion, "legal", for no one had told him not to that caused some political huffery-puffery from the Justtice Minister - veteran Ralph Gooddale and while he was naturally 'appalled', he couldn't think of anything he needed to do about it.  The media gave more blowback (or at least the 'radical media' ), but that, apparently, is going to have little effect on how CSIS continues to conduct its business. The business of keeping us safe.

But let's take a look at that 'safety' they've been keeping us in.

Has Canada been attacked by terrorists? Well there are the two headcases who killed soldiers - CSIS would point to them.  But then, CSIS didn't know about them until the NSA told them. And that after a search of Canadian police records - for these two were known to Canadian police - and not as terrorists. Apparently while they can and do collect everybody's phone conversations, CSIS can't scan Canadian police databases to identify anyone. Only one of these is 'known' to be a 'pledged' member of ISIS because he said so on a suicide tape left behind in his stolen car. The other one might have been too, but the police were interviwing him on a regular basis - just a day or two before he went mujheddin. The junior jihadi , subject of a separate blog, is another other-than-glowing example of CSIS in action. There was the notorious plot to transport explosives from Canada to attack California, but aside from 'knowing' the pair arrested at the US border lived in Montreal, CSIS wasn't able to add much to that investigation - they're in a US jail. Then there were the 'Toronto 16', the 'Niagara Train bombers', and a couple of cross-border terror plots - all successfully-prosecuted but involving paid informants and a robust police presence to 'flesh out' and  to assist the miscreants bringing their plans to fruition.  The British Columbia 'pressure cooker bombers', whose case was tossed a month or so ago when evidence before the court indicated that they were a couple of simpletons caught up in what looked like a security service 'practice exercise' - is another example of potential criminality in the line of duty.

That's about it for 'protection' - for Mohammed Arar didn't do anything but get paid damages for ISIS assistance in getting him renditioned. and a couple of other similar exercises were quietly dropped. If we've been saved from anything else it must have been so brutally frightening that CSIS is sworn to secrecy and can't reveal the danger we were in.

I'm no expert but,  given the evidence so far,  CSIS like its American cousin is punching well below its weight class for the money being spent. If it's punching at all.

In this aspect of National security, Canada may have labored and brought forth a malicious mouse.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Fat Lady Sang - but the Tuna was Distasteful

It's all over for another 4 years. America's quadrennial exercise in what 'real' democrazy looks like, has gone 'pppffffftttt!!', again. And today, significant parts of the world are examining the nature of the latest wet fart.

Hilary lost.

Despite close to a billion dollars wasted to 'prepare the way' she has found out, as has the incumbent President, that people don't really like him after all. And Hillary is even less charming.  Sure she has half of Hollywood weeping - theatrically? - and dropping Xanax to 'keep it together'. Little (actually she's fairly tall) Mylie  'have yew seen mah titties'  Cyrus - runny nose and all - took to her twittersphere to bleat out her plaints that the 'laydee' had lost.   Maybe if she twerks at the Inauguration Ball  - she could probably wrangle a date - Donald won't be able to resist snatching her cat.

Lesser lights took to the streets like one might have hoped Americans would have when any of the past two administrations announced they had 'some bombs' to assist the 'humanitarians' in any number of places. But this wasn't about other people - this was about the the LGPBT(x) community, the angry blacks, the  multiculturals, the millennials, potentially-deporteds, illegal immigrants, he-males and she-males of every hue - lighting-it-up for  reason and equality in the face of an unreasoning, unequal victory for the Trumpster.

Mike Moore on the election

I was reading to-day that film maker Michael Moore had foretold all this last July. Obviously he wasn't getting any attention from Hilary or her million-dollar team. Apparently he was right, when the real smart guys are, now, admitting "I've never been more wrong in my life!"  That has to be cold comfort for those who've been "hurt".  If there is any good that could come out of this, for people in foreign lands if not in America, it's that Hilary most likely won't be back. She can go ruminate on life and fate with that other doyenne of changed regimes, Madeleine Albright,  and swap stories about the potential of Henry Kissinger's tallywhacker.

Speaking of 'dicks',  I made comment on the National Catholic Register  site,  that this election was as close to public pornography as a nation could get and still keep its pants on.  Sexual innuendo and accusations of sexual misdemeanors and misbehavior were either flying, or barely concealed just below the surface. These people running for the highest office in the land, if not the world,  not only have feet on clay - they have the 'gonadtropism' of a high school fresh-person.  And why not in America?   A place where french vice was made to look tame and smut is still a growth industry?  Don Trump was outed as a  'pussy-grabbing', contestant-molester - I could see him replacing that famous Ukrainian politician Oleh Lyushko helping 'the girls' out of their bras and checking for silicon enhancements as part of his TV expose.  A ccouple of Trump's former contestants accused him of barging-in while they were slipping into something competitive - without using those little hands to knock and using those big eyes to get what he could 'for free'.  His wife  Milupa, was targeted too - nude photos from her modelling days appeared,  as well as the story that she'd been paid illegally for posing in America.

Not to be outdone Yoko Ono went online to state that she and Hilary had explored some sapphic charms. And some quiet references were made about Hilary's current sexual status which doesn't, apparently, include Bill.  One of the 'bonuses' supposedly coming with Hilary, was that ex-President knocking around the house,  who might advise and give her sage advice from his 8 years' experience.  But Bill was tarred with his past 'sexcapades' and during the last week of the campaign his 'relationship' with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein - and a potentially embarrassing Mossad-generated blackmail video of Willie Jeff pleasuring a 14 year-old was threatened as another (Putinic?) leak.  That probably would have been 'over the top',  so a lesser story about the Clinton Foundation paying $3 million to get Chelsea married was leaked two days before the voting. This and the fact that Chelsea's  husband has the same kind of business record as Trump equalized any damage coming from that financial scandal/failed business thing.

Yes the dirt was dealt and an awful lot of little kids awoke to find that a 'bad man' had beaten an 'awful woman' - requiring the services of some heavy-duty counselling. For this IS America, the land where the good are rewarded, most of the time,  and evil-doers, particularly those not in America, get their just desserts. The Gamins will take a while, or a good lunch at Chucky Cheese, to get over this.

What variety of idiot thinks US politics are suitable viewing or study,  for children?   "Mommy and daddy are engrossed in election issues"  almost seems  inappropriate in comparison to  "Mommy was the cowgirl and daddy was the handsome sheriff. We didn't need a horsie, Maisy."

And they wonder if counseling might be in order?

Jesus wept!  But who believes in that fairy tale any more?

 One of the larger issues, aside from temperament  or the receding  American dream,  is the notion that we might be on a course to try out those nifty nuclear weapons our granddaddies invented.  'The free world'  is facing challenges from a number of bad things,  but one of the worst, apparently, is the Russian leader, Putin, who just doesn't seem to be doing things the way he should.  He's the man who has made President Obama sad and is probably, single-handedly, responsible all that grey hair and face wrinkles he's developed. For you see the bloom is off their 'Bromance' and has been since the Prexy did a 'Mr. Bojangles'  in Libya,  after conning Putin into buying a little 'assistance mission' there.

The acrimony was carried over into the election,  where President Obama announced to the nation that Russian 'hackers' were trying to interfere with the election process. Not to be outdone candidate Clinton upped the ante by declaring that 8 national 'security agencies' had determined that the Kremlin was actively-engaged in getting 'their man', Trump, elected to the Presidency.

 That the out come has really occurred begs the question why?  Why did candidate Clinton, knowing that Putin's goons had electronically stolen 'the voice of the American people' not call 'Foul!', instead of meekly conceding defeat?  Where was Willy Jeff and his member when a 'strong support' was needed. He was lip-sucking and nodding wisely while she folded.  This 'saga' of the election is being ignored by all the pundits wondering, 'What on earth happened?"

 They haven't, apparently, figured out that 'Putin did it'.

Next Time:  The Trump Presidential Internship

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The US Election

US elections have never impressed me. They're too much like English elections - all sound and fury and signifying more of the same. At least back in the 'good old days' you got a free drink for casting a ballot - either way,  and there were some election day 'shenanigans' to be had. Now all the fun is gone.

 America has always had this 'royalty' thing, where they consecrate whoever gets the electoral nod with having odorless shit for  four, or eight years. The 'Office of the President' is a holy place.  So in times past, if the candidate was a rum-tugger - as quite a few have been - or a skirt chaser as another few have been,  or even if he had some 'unique personal habits' or a 'delayed sexuality' as more than a few of the rest did, then 'polite' society would keep it under the bonnet o' freedumb.  Much like royal families tended to dress up their obvious weaklings in extra padding, or hide them away if the opportunity arose.

The last 'good' election was that one which swept JFK into office, not so much because I was aware of the nuances,  but more so because my dear old Catholic Mom was so excited, as so seemed to be a large number of 'ordinary' Americans, that a young man, a Catholic, an 'irishman' and a war hero were taking the helm of America's ship of state. It was only later, after some patriot had brained him, that we found out his Daddy had used mob connections  and some of the family millions to possibly play 'jiggery pokery' with the election process.  Kennedy won that election to the joy of everyone and, if he ran true to his secret form, celebrated by dipping his wick in a party volunteer, or two, before wiping himself off on the hotel-room drapery.  He was the last boy scout.

Since then 'feet of clay'  have been the most prominent features of America's 'Chief Magistrates'. Some of them have been crooks, or rogues or charlatans, some ordinary men out of their depth or mere bumblers. And one has been a professional actor.

If the Adams,  Jeffersons, Washingtons and Lincolns were more than mere mortals - their like has not been seen again.  But hey, we've even managed to dish some dirt on some of them, too.

In a nation that has managed to 'cope' with 'Father Feltus' and CBS exposes of wannabe kiddie-porkers from every walk of life,  what kind of a surprise would it be to find out that one of the two latest candidates thinks about, and speaks of his ability to 'grab the girls by the pussy'  because "he's a star" and "they let you do that".   I would hope that the past decade has proven to him that while you can still grab them by anything you like, most of them will run to the media - on the way to the lawyers' office.   But, hey, there is still the 'star power' of the oval orifice - one of the greatest 'analgesicks' of all time - and Melania has to sleep sometime.

 Would we be any less shocked to hear that the other candidate has a predilection for getting money? Most 'decent' Americas share that attribute.  Granted Croesus might have been a 'proto American' but many of them have well-outpaced him, wealth-wise. The shocker here is that the Russians have hacked into somebody's secret emails again and now Wikileaks is trying to disrupt the election by printing things the US media 'didn't know about'  - like State Department  approval for selling-off US uranium production to a Russian oligarch - and somebody's 'charitable foundation getting a hefty donation from him. Apparently Putin's got more to come.

 But none of this changes the fact that America  - not Putin - has set itself up for a choice between  'bad and worse', or possibly 'dumb and dumber'.

Bomben auf Bashir !

US-NATO’s War On Russia: The Winds Howl Before The Storm

A piece from a Canadian lawyer Chris Black got my attention amid the increasing calls for somebody to do something to stop the city of Aleppo, or the part of it that is still controlled by Jihadi terrorists, from being destroyed.  Turns out this is the part of the city frequented by MSF and a number of western NGOs -  one of which brought us the saga of the 'White Helmets'.   Strange that, for all the concern about 'trapped civilians' nobody is calling for their release to join the rest of the civilians of Aleppo, in non-rebel held parts of that city.  Just what does it take to make somebody a human shield?  Our bombs?

Aleppo is one among a number of Syrian cities that have 'fallen' (for we westerners don't think that any of them, legitimately, belong to anybody unlike ourselves) in whole or in part, to either the government forces of Bashir Assad or to one of the numerous 'Islamic fighters groups'  opposing him. Save for a couple of small villages near the Jordanian border, which are controlled by a US-funded and supplied - 'moderate militia'.  Most of the other 'moderate militias' were eliminated by the more powerful forces, or in most instances,  simply took their US weapons, equipment and supplies directly over to ISIS.

Most of those Syrian cities have to varying extents been destroyed - some of them completely - in fighting that has seen the liberal use of high explosives of all kinds and by both sides. Again we in the west have a myopia that makes us, or our media.  think that the destruction is all 'one-sided' and that Bashir has taken into his mind to wipe all other Syrians out.  Or that's what we're told by the media and the government sources they quote.  That would of course be Assad and the Syrian supporters who have kept him in power, much like the government of Ukraine is supported by a 'majority' of Ukrainians fighting-off a russian-inspired insurgency and invasion. Well not quite.  Ukraine is 'good' because we back that government (that took over after a coup), while Syria is bad  because  we don't back Assad (who got himself elected). What it's all about us that Assad is stopping the Syrian people from having a happy, 'free' and, as it turns out, fundamentalist Islamic life.  Stupidly they insist on having their country back, without the rebels. That's just not gonna happen. Nobody can go back from liberty.

So to-day we hear their are voices being raised around the situation room table in the White House action bunker - and they're calling for a kinetic solution. They want America to stop the bombing of Aleppo by increasing the bombing on Damascus. They're the same 'voices' that didn't say anything about the raid last week that scuppered the ceasefire - until they said 'sorry' afterwards.  And if the advisory panel of retired intelligence workers, that has been calling the shots correctly, as least, as long as the anti-war movement has been correct, there is nobody with a pinch of horse sense speaking out against them.  The ONLY thing that could be stopping it is Obama's fear of making his foreign policy legacy even worse than it is.  He spent some time, yesterday,  talking about his 'domestic legacy' to the next guy.

The foreign policy legacy probably keeps him up nights.

Recent developments. Get the proxies busy.

A spate of calls for a war crimes investigation by the World Court  is being spearheaded by the pacifists of France.   Meanwhile the Brits are debating the merits of having the RAF fly top cover for the fighting citizens of north-east Aleppo.  The US is 'all up' for a war crimes trial in a court that neither they, nor the Russians recognize.  And it would probably be 'all up' for an Article 5 duty to protect a NATO ally,  if it gets attacked while flying top cover for the fighting citizens of north-east Aleppo.

 And then there's Mr Obama and his foreign policy legacy.

Friday, October 07, 2016

True Colours

This past week marked the 75 anniversary of 'Babi Yar' - aside from Auschwitz, probably the single other 'iconic' representation of the Holocaust.  It was to that ravine in the northwest part of the Ukrainian city of Kyiv that Sonderkommando 4(a) , assisted by German police and army  units and  number of the new mobilized Ukrainian 'auxiliaries'  marched what Jewish people they could find (they reported some 32 000 over two days) left in the population of that city.  German forces had suffered some significant lost time and lost lives besieging and then assaulting Kiev. They lost more in street fighting and from a number of sabotage attacks in the weeks after they occupied the city. German newsreels of the time made much of local indignation at finding a number of 'patriotic' corpses executed in the recently evacuated NKVD headquarters, and also referred to the Ukrainians' 'natural thirst for revenge' on Communists, and Jews.

From the moment German forces stepped into the Ukrainian SSR , eager Ukrainians were offering them the traditional welcome gifts of bread and salt and volunteering to show them Russian positions or  help track-down Russians left behind in the retreat.  Although there was little love lost between them, the Germans realized that gift horses shouldn't be looked in the mouth and, with the large number of Russian weapons being taken every day, a 'home guard' force might be useful. Those 'ersatz' Ukrainian 'hilfe' units were morphed into auxiliary police units as the invasion pressed east and by the time Kyiv was taken, Ukrainian  'police auxiliaries' were ready to take over those duties among the Ukrainian population if nothing else.

The fall of the city led to a 'squaring of accounts' with any Communist party  'apparatchiks' who hadn't fled east. The Ukrainians among them were killed quite efficiently. So when the einsatzgruppe appeared with their own 'special handling' assignment, it didn't take long to get some help.  But given the Jewish population - some 133 000 -  there was going to be a substantial need. Happily, elements of the 6th German Army were 'resting' in the area and they would help too.

 Babi Yar was itself a godsend when it comes to such things, a short march from the city centre, the deep ravine had been used in previous times  as a burying ground. The Jewish cemetery was there and the sandy loam soil meant that pick and shovel should suffice for earth moving requirements. The physical formation of the gully meant that preparatory activities could occur out of sight, if not out of sound of the final solution. The victims could be herded in close quarters to the execution site with little chance to escape.  There are no recorded escapes after the victims arrived at the site, although some survivors escaped by playing dead among the corpses and clawing their way out of the gully after dark. Some victims were shot on the march to the site.

At the site the sonderkommando personnel attended to the actual shootings while army personnel formed an inner cordon. Ukrainian volunteer 'helpers' escorted the march, guarded the prisoner preparation and formed an outer cordon to see off any of the  curious. Who the volunteers were was not recorded.

At the site the victims, already separated by gender, were relieved on their belongings, forced to undress 'for disinfection', they were told they were being relocated.  They were taken in groups to the 'finger ends' of the gully and either shot into prepared pits or told to lie down on the feet and legs of those ahead of them and them shot individually by SS personnel told-off for that purpose. The sonderkommando report of the 'aktion' and some photographic evidence supports this.

As the war proceeded Babi Yar was the site of further executions and interments - other Jews, partisans,  Gypsies and Russian POWs were done to death there. In early 1944 as things started to take a turn for the worse, a concentration camp was built at the site with the sole purpose of excavating the graves and destroying the bodies by burning. Some 300 prisoners were kept occupied at this for most of the year. that their hearts or something may not have been in their job is evidenced by the fact that numerous bodies have been disinterred in the ravine in the years after the war.

To-day the ravine is a memorial park in the City - with monuments commemorating the dead of all nations involved  - Russia, Ukraine and the Jews. In all some 140 000 were thought to have met their end in Babi Yar.  It is the largest Holocaust event to have happened on Ukrainian territory.

The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, whose family was killed in Ukraine, attended the commemoration ceremonies for the tragedy, held last week in Kyiv. As part of his  role,  he was invited to address the Rada. He mentioned Ukrainian involvement in the deaths of Jews. Within minutes of the conclusion of his speech the fascists and right wingers who 'no longer have a part in the government'  - Rada Member Oleh Lyashko for one - were haranguing the air waves with charges that the Israeli had insulted the Ukrainian people and "spat in the face of the nation" and making demands for an apology.



And again

 A Little Something Extra

He came. He wept. He pulled his Wa -yir.

It's over!  The long dark night of the Mounties' soul is at an end.  After close to 15 long years the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have gotten to the bottoms of their 'groping the gals problem' and the past is, finally, laid to rest.

Last night, in all his buffed splendor, in class 'B' dress, 'Pat' Bob Paulson,  the comedian general of the farce, took to the news podium in Ottawa to apologize for all the hurtin', and heartaches, and real bad things that the band 'o brothers had laid upon a number of females foolish enough to believe that they could be 'sisters', or any more than a field mattress to while away lonely hours on detachment.  If there weren't any squaws or papooses around - even if there were - somebody might be persuaded to polish one's 'buster browns' with a part of their anatomy.

And Paulsen wept! The simpering big bag of Mother Love pulled out a clean hanky and 'honked his hooter' - for effect - halfway through his 'apology' to 'the girls'.

And so it had gone on, apparently, for almost two decades.

For the problem had first come to light under a former 'commish' - Roly Scagnetti, or something. When he retired, after failing to act,  the government of the day appointed the first civilian 'Big Stick' of the Force. He 'studied' the problem for his term, before turning the 'pole of power' over to the incumbent some 5 years ago. Now, at long last, the jury is in, or rather the judge is,  and his ruling is that the government should cough-up $100 million Canadian smackeroos for him to dole out, without appeal from either side, to a number of injured female RCMP officers, as he deems fit and proper.

Possibly the only griping we might have heard would have been from the injured parties,  for the  guys who did it, or watched it, don't have to pay for anything.

So far there is nobody governmental wondering 'What happened to the perps - the 'pokers' and prodders and on/off duty diddlers who done it?' If these gals have a case,  then they know which Studdly - Duddlys were involved.  What happened to them?  On which homeless street corners can they be found? Or was 'Pat's' main job this past 5 years to see them all, 'safely',  off the force - pensioned and on to greener pastures?  They could all be 'defending the Nation' , now,  in CSIS, for all we know.

Not one freakin' word.

The other parliamentary question might be about the 100 million dollars.

Since the people of Canada trusted somebody, like Paulson, to 'vet' these guys and hire them as 'our servants' - with all the other claptrap about risk of life, and honour and duty that they failed to notice, and the bozos failed to fulfill, why should the long-suffering taxpayer have to pay for somebody else's mistakes. This isn't like making restitution for killing something in Afghanistan.  Why not take the  $100 million out of the RCMP retirement fund?  After all, the notion of 'collective responsibility' is regularly applied by RCMP, at least to some people living overseas. They think its 'fair' for them. So why not a little justice starting at home? If the Mounties weren't 'doing' or 'messing with' or harassing the female staff  themselves,  they certainly knew the guys who were - and failed to report them. All Mounties ought to lose some pension money over this - in proportion - with the top 'dogs' losing more. This was an organization 'culturally' dropping their big stick. The culture should pay the freight.

 If the Mounties don't actually hurt for misbehaving it may be all over. Until the next time.

The immediate effect is a rash of new lawsuits to get around that 'one judge fits all' solution to the problem. 

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Aw Ratpoop! We didn't prevent a Jihadi.

From the pages of the Toronto Star another tale of Lake Wobbegone Daze at RCMP HQ.

This one involves a 'known jhadi' who was residing in Canada until 2012 when he went east to 'get some', according to 'the good guys',  by killing Syrians for ISIS. They claim he was already 'subversive' when they found him. He claims that the reason he left Canada was because the RCMP, 'security' and law enforcement had 'identified' him and were pulling-out all the legal stops they could to make his life, in our western version of  heaven, as rough as they could - search warrants, raids on his friends and family,  probably 'advisory' visits to bosses, social contacts and friends lest he slip them a bomb or something.

                                                        You should be able to spot 'em

He did leave the country and may have been in Syria,   but he came back, and that's when the fun started.  For if you're a 'suspected jihadi' before you leave, you might as well be a 'convicted jihadi' when you come back. He was charged under the National Security Act and was "released" because he got a smart lawyer and, well, there wasn't much evidence to lay before the bond court. So he walked and the Dudley Doowrights set out to get more 'goods on him' than they already didn't have.

But that isn't what the Star's story was about. It was about his 'jihadi' weapons collection.

It seems he had guns when the investigation started. He still had guns when he left for Syria and his 'arsenal' was still 'properly secured' at his parents' house ('they' - those security and police forces - can take them if they aren't),  when he came back.  Now despite all the NSA charges,  he was able to go right on out, like any regular Canadian, even while he was out 'on bail',  and buy a couple more guns.

 But what's that got to do with Canada's finest you  might ask?  Well, if you've read some of my other posts on the subject you will already know.

                                                              Gratuitous Gun Bimba

Some while ago - maybe close to 20 years back - a former government of Canada (Liberals) thought it might be a good idea to find out what kind of weapons Canadians had lying around the house. So along with some 'stringent' rules about storing guns,  they required all Canadian gun owners to register their firearms. The National Gun Registry was born - a 'free' service that was soon, according to the opposition party (Conservative),  to start costing Canadian taxpayers "obscene amounts of money" spent to maintain "a new. wasteful, government bureaucracy" in Quebec. But police chiefs loved it - knowing who had a gun before a call went out was a blessing, and it was a source of potential charges under the Firearms Act - should any gun owner be dumb enough to afford police entry. For a decade and a half the cries of "waste" were bolstered by cries about "rights" and when, at long last, the Tories (Conservatives) got into a position of political power, they 'de-nutted' the gun registry. Or at least the 'free' part of it.

 For there was an additional wrinkle that had been added,  as time went by. The requirement of a firearms acquisition certificate (FAC)  - obtained by filing a form, and a fee, to cover a local police force making a determination that you weren't too bug shit crazy to own a gun.  This was was transferred into the hands of,  you guessed it, Sargent Presto of the Yukon and his winder-dog 'fetch'. When the Gun registry went 'poof' a better thing took it's place,  the RCMP gun-owners database and need for a Forearms Possession Certificate (FPC)  (the old gun registry).  The RCMP took over the FAC process from locals - adding a required approval from ones' spouse that you weren't getting a gun to blow her head off.  The  Mounties controlled access to buying, possessing guns and kept tabs on the Canadians who did that.

The Mounties gave the 'jihadi' they were investigating,  a certificate to go out and buy more guns. If he's an 'ordinary' enough Canadian - with all the positive references and lack of criminal charges necessary to buy and own a gun, blessed by the law of the land, then WTF is he doing with charges and a pending investigation?

And if he's as bad as somebody(ies) in the security community think, WTF is he doing with a gun, let alone an arsenal?

If his civil rights protect his gun ownership then they should be protecting him - even more - from arbitrary police investigation and harassment.

 But really,  this is just another story about stupid. If I were that jihadi I'd do whatever it takes to get away from guns and the owner's database. Because there are SWAT squads out there who would take it as point of professional pride, regrettably of course,  to introduce you to you some heavenly virgins.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Rain from Spain falls Mainly in Ukraine

It's getting wet again in Ukraine, the wet season that used to precede the mud season, and if the wreckage and remains of MH17, still ungathered in the fields around Hrabove,  are getting another washing, the fate of the jet has received another, unsurprising, laundering too.

The JIP announced its long awaited (since last year) finger-pointing report on not only the latest clarification of 'what happened', but the indication of  'who dunnit'.

What happened?  Nothing new there: "pro-Russian", not anti-Kyiv,  forces got a Buk system from Russia - drove it all around Donetsk and Lugansk regions for a day and, for want of something better to do with it, parked it in an obscure corner of east central Donetsk, and used one of the four missiles they had,  to down a Malaysian Airliner. Then they drove it back, to the flat bed truck they had used to drive it into the regions, packed it up without any attempts to hide the cargo and drove it around the two regions again, through a 'highly fluid battle zone' ( a government armored thrust the day after the crash, cut across the Buk's withdrawal route twice),  perilously close to Government "fortifications of dignity" at Debaltsevo and east to Lugansk, where, apparently it went 'poof' or unobserved,  back into Russia.

One Russian response:

'Who dunnit'?  Aside from Putin, the 'Seps on the radio and telephone', and members of a Russian rocket regiment - 100 souls in all, who had something to do with the BUk, the truck, the escorts, command structure or all of the preceding,

And how do we know all this?  Well although there really isn't much proof by way of actual witnesses, or physical evidence of anything but the crashed plane, great minds - or at last 6 of them -  have  mined the repositories of knowledge - Facebook and YouTube.  They found and connected a plethora of 'dots'.  Not the JIT - they've done little but interview experts and have free lunches - but the 'experts' they have interviewed have made all things clear. Or clear enough to make a cartoon movie to help us all 'get it'.

So who were the experts?  Well no Russians were needed. The info came from  the Ukrainians, who if they weren't possibly suspected, would have been the prime investigators. The Dutch were the lead, on-the-ground investigators, retrieving remains and  wreckage,  dealing with the dead and reconstructing the downed aircraft.  The EU waded-in and, as usual, so did the Americans.  The Brits deciphered the flight recorders.  Most of the 'saga' was unearthed through the army of a half-dozen "independent investigative journalists" associated with a website called Bellingcat and its whiz-bang, unemployed, blogger-proprietor. The Malaysians, who actually got to the site first - more than a week before anybody official appeared - got the bums' rush.  But at least now they're being assured that given some more time - 3 short years - and a little help from concerned citizens in Russia, they may be able to sue Putin at the Hague, if the gallant EUkrainians don't do it first, maybe.

Within an hour of the jet hitting the ground Ukrainian sources were accusing their 'russian'  separatists of downing the aircraft, claiming to have phone intercepts of at least two rebel leaders discussing the crash and celebrating having downed 'another' Ukrainian aircraft. Surprising, insofar as either the Ukrainians were only starting to tap into the dissident area's 'national' cell phone grid, or that the separatists hadn't tweaked to the fact that their using a cell phone was probably going to be overheard in the State Security Office, too.   This is a unique eclat compared to the rest of Ukraine's ATO.  Even more so because the Seps weren't talking about the other military matters, (or stopped), and  that resulted in nasty military 'surprises' all over the east (Saur Moglia within three weeks,  and Ilovaisk, within a month of MH17). On those things the Seps were maintaining telephone silence?

Maybe MH 17 cost Kyiv it's 'victory'. After it the Seps dummied-up and the Ukrainian army of liberation was mauled in a series of 'sneak attacks'?

That notion of the Seps doing it and Russia being responsible became the 'lingua fanca' of anybody sensible - for it was as understandable an act for Russia,  as was annexing Crimea and invading the Donbass.  Putin was just being the 'total ass' that President Obama was telling the world he was. He was on the 'outs' with goodness and civilization and downing a planeload of tourists would prove that to everybody. 

Question was 'how sick is Putin?' The answer comes back, "He's not."  For it wasn't a falling out of over Ukraine that iced Putin, it was a veto at the UN - of another of Obama's increasing number of 'humanitarian' interventions, this time about Syria.  Ukraine 'just happened' and Putin wasn't cheering the US on to another victory.  In the absence of evidence forcing a change, the chorus just do better repeating the refrain: "Putin did it."

In so many words - although the JIT was careful to say they weren't accusing Russia of actually ordering the shoot down or nodding approval at the target acquisition radar, saying they gave the Seps a missile and the Seps used that missile  to do it,  is much like the same thing. Add to that, that at least 80 of the dirty rotten suspects are members of the Russian Armed Forces and you have a slam-dunk  closed case, chapter and verse.   Hell,  you could make an animated short subject film about it all. And they did.

But the greatest part of the saga, and the detail of the cinematographic reconstruction is straight from the on-line archives of Bellingcat.

Bellingcat is a web site registered in great Britain started by a 30-something blogger  called Elliot Higgins. In 2012,  Higgins - unemployed and playing stay at home Daddy to his daughter  - started blogging about the developing War in Syria.  He developed an 'expertise' identifying weapons depicted in YouTube postings, providing what he called 'proof' of Syrian government's use of 'barrel bomb's, cluster munitions and poison gas. Using a synthesis of Google Earth/Google Maps to fact-check posts made on Facebook and other social media, some of his 'revelations' involved locating the sites of ISIS' beheading western and other hostages and identifying the situations around other outrages.  When the Ukrainian incident began Higgins became interested in that as well - looking for evidence of Russian involvement in the Donbass. After MH 17, he formed Bellingcat with 6 assistants to investigate the downing of that aircraft. He is credited with 'debunking' satellite imagery presented by the Russians, claiming it had been 'photoshopped'. His 'work' has been largely accepted by investigators because they have very little of their own.

Bellingcat's singular failing - subjectivity

While Bellingcat's work comes off as  "professional and decisive", it remains open to a number of challenges. First is the notion that anything can be taken from internet sources without being adapted in some way, or that things posted on the internet are pristine or uncorrupted. It is increasingly evident, that, aside,  from the obvious sensitive information, some can be 'staged' including manipulation of attached, metadata identification. One  of these, for instance, involves video footage of the Buk missile system being transported through eastern Donbass on the day of the aircraft downing. The videographer who filmed that claims he made the video 12 days before the incident. Something that doesn't jibe at all with the Bellingcat narrative presented by the JIT.   Bellingcat's reaction to this is that he's wrong and they're right - the video was shot according to their 'investigations'.

One of the other gaps in Bellingcat's narrative is in relation to the transport truck, which originated in Donetsk   but was apparently driven to Russia to fetch the Buk, and then driven all around both Donetsk and Lugansk regions, including those two cities, after being 'stolen' by separatist forces. After it reaches Lugansk, on the way back to Russia, it disappears completely from the story and Bellingcat's ambit, as does the  Buk unit itself.

The most notable aspect of the report? The extension of the 'investigation' for another three years.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Suppose They Gave an Election and Nobody Came?

Well nobody, or at least very few of them, cast their ballots in yesterday's Russian election. Consequentially, Putin's party will run the Duma for another term - and he'll still be the President.  What's special about any of this is that the election has totally made all the world's other cares go away - as we are directed to focus on what we can't do to help the poor, downtrodden non-voting Russians.

                                                   Walking it the doggie 'Putin  huylo!'
                                                 "Sic it nasty coppers Putin-huylo, sic it!"
 We could hope they'd hit the streets, fill a square or two with the detritus of protest and, hopefully, the blood of more martyrs for democracy, human rights and free markets ... and give us something to be gladder about.

What all this does do  is  take our minds off the need to respond to a couple of terror attacks in America. One of those targeted a Mall - the place where George Bush told the American public they were going to 'win the war on terror' by shopping.  Another thing they hate us for is Piggly Wiggly's open 24/7 and The Gap.  A 'jihadi' stabbed nine full-grown American men, causing a panic in Minnesota, until he was 'stopped' by an 'off-duty', ex-police chief who maybe shouldn't have been carrying a gun in a 'gun free' Mall.  Why would Americans need 'gun free' Malls, if the President declared them a war zone?

But I diverge.

The Toronto Star, usually a font of wisdom, but of late just another member of somebody's publishing cartel, took the world outrage about 'Russian election cheating' to a  'higher level'. Along with the ballot-stuffing and double voters and bad stuff busting out all over Russian polling places,  the Star accompanied the standard pap with visual proof that "disorders" had accompanied the polling.

Ukrainians celebrate the Russian election
by lynching a Jew (just pretending - that only happens to gypsies).

Striking a blow for democracy in Kyiv

                                                  Giving a kick for democracy in Kyiv

They were right,  disorders had accompanied the Russian election, but not in Russia.  Ukraine, the unfriendly neighbor to the west,  had announced, early last week, that it would not brook any Russian elections on EUkrainian territory. While they were understandably incensed that the vote went on, as planned, in "occupied" Crimea - which is 'de facto' a part of Russia - they also turned out the security forces to guard the Russian embassy in Kyiv from the 'protestors' who were scheduled to appear. The right-wing Volkstrurm Frontline Fighters Association   that doesn't exist in dignified Eukrainia, did appear with their EUkraino-doggies and 'slava EUkrinies!!'  and prevented any unpatriotic Russian expats from getting near the election booth inside. Not only that,  those 'security forces' actually arrested a 'Russian' for "voting irregularities" - a Ukrainian crime covering a Russian election. The forces of freedom in the democratic west should be so observant. 

                                            A Russian caught election-rigging in Kyiv

Probably most people in the world and, from the amount of ink expended on the subject, very few members of the western media, were aware until this morning,  the Russians were having an election at all.  Like how could anybody,  threatening world peace in eastern Europe, holding massive military manoeuvres to threaten EUkrainia, backing-up the Chinese and Assad  in world trouble spots,  or making the poor, recently-discovered yet massively acclaimed  "White Helmets" of Aleppo  starve in the rubble of the city they helped destroy,  take time out for an election?

Everybody on earth - shy a bad dose of hydrocephalus - knows that a real election is taking place in America. It has been for almost a year now. And we also know, again from those media sources which we trust for the 'truthiness', that the evil 'Merlin of Moscow' has been 'hacking' into  the US electoral system to such an extent that he has, single-handedly, or with a division of militarized computer geeks,  successfully reduced the slate of candidates and left Americans with only two choices for 'Commander-in-Chief'.  We know as well, and perhaps more importantly, that there is the imminent likelihood that his 'hacking' will do to America what his election shenanigans have done in Russia, elect one of those Korean War era  'mongoloid candidates ' to sit in the Oval Orifice!

Putin's apt to calling-up on November seventh to say, "Congratulations Mr. President on the big win."  And really meaning it.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The White Hats

Coming to an HBO/Netflix outlet near you, the saga of those who so willingly go into deadly places to rescue innocent victims.  This is waaay better than the 9/11 firefighters who survived - the white hats apparently never complain about being 'used' or developing and work-related illnesses. Aside from the white hard hats and sharp, da-glo rescue vests and perhaps the 'team' T-shirts these could be rescuers from anywhere, but they're not - they're ours.

If there is any particular skill that Syrians have developed over the past 4 years, aside from moving themselves away from danger and hopefully into the EU, it is digging the stay-behinds out of the rubble that four years of war fighting and aerial bombardment  have spread over much of the country. Whammo! Some humanitarian, or otherwise, drops some ordinance and faster than one can say 'open sesame' they're hauling kids of every age out of the wreckage. The news and various 'reportages' (now there's a new word)  are filled with the stuff. It's the photo-op, human interest material that we don't get from dead babies or relaxing tank crews. But until the 'White Helmets', it was rarely done professionally, neither the rescue screws,  or the videographers who filmed them. But that's all changed thanks to a few bucks from western NGO's - there are 'professionals' - both in the rubble and recording them -  in Dolby and HD. Western organizations - usually affiliated with the distaff (ie non-Assad) side of the Syrian struggle -  sponsor these guys. And sometimes, it seems, they hold back until a video recorder is in place before they go to work. The photography, too, seems to bear the mark of a 'professional staging', sorely-lacking when the world was being 'sold on' Assad's poison gas offensives.  Hell,  we've now got a poster child for what Assad's done to the poor democratic jihadis.

And very soon we'll have an HBO/Netflix extravaganza to sell America on everything right and pure being done for America's interests in seeing Assad off.  Up close and personal we're gong to get to know those great guys who don't pick sides, who'll rescue a Christian or a Shiite, or a stray European.  But we won't see them 'back off' as they did when some 'rebels' were forced to saw the head off a 12-year-old 'government spy'.   But heck,  that happens, apparently,  on all sides,  except when the government is using barrel bombs. 

I was watching the trailer last night to the haunting strains of a tune all Syrians would no doubt recognize from American radio: 'When the Saints Go Marching In'.  Maybe they have saints in Islam, the Sufis do, but they aren't the 'stoic' kind of Moslems who want to turn Syria back into a theocracy.  But this subject isn't for Syria, it's for America and we'll see the kind of stuff a Nobel Prize was designed for.

 In a 'sop' to the bloodshed they didn't complain about,  the American glitterati universe is a-twinkle with 'the word' that the 'White Helmets' merit  what Obama got for nothing. A campaign is being organized to develop another international coalition to ensure the Nobel panel doesn't mistakenly award the gong to somebody else.  But I wouldn't bet that,  if successful, these 'concerned citizens of Terra' would want to  challenge the orthodoxy that this war doesn't need to stop until Assad goes.
 The White Hats will last as long as their funding,  and continue after the real money goes back home. For White Hats don't 'win' anything, even saving lives  - except perhaps a public outcry, in America, for more 'rescue' bombardment on other Syrians with no hard hats.

Ooopsie daisy!

Only yesterday, after mistakenly eradicating some 85 of Assad's soldiers in an airstrike on a town that had been besieged by ISIS for more than a year, America ambassatrix to the UN, and gender non-specific sorority sister,  Sam Power, spent 25 minutes railing about the evil that is Assad and comparing the Russians with terrorists. She forgot to mention the evil that is ISIS, the intended targets outside that bombed town and the other reason President Obama said he needed to start bombing Syria in the first place - other than mentioning that America was 'all over them'.

This stunning cu*nt is a cunning array of stunts herself.  Being serious about Syria?  Hah!

America isn't trying to save Syria from ISIS terror, that's a made-in-America 'prawduct', They're trying to change the Assad regime. That's been the truth all along.  Even though it took inventing ISIS it still hasn't happened. America needs another 'ground swell of opinion' calling for war, in order to go in and get that job done. The target has been 'prepped' for four long years, but you know what? America will still be fighting an 'insurgency' in Syria and Iraq, and Afghanistan  and Libya and Yemen as long as America exists.  There are more Moslems, living to-day, who hate what America 'stands for' than when Bushco announced they existed. The Long War is some really new shit and something Americans have never experienced, even thought about before or are prepared for. It will hit them someday,  at the Mall,  and prevent them from being the 'winners' Bushco II told them that shopping would make them .

Ain't none of this going to end well.

PS At the Mall?  I must have been getting the Raelian vibes again - Minnesota = stabbings