Thursday, March 23, 2017

We're Havin' a Hearin', a Congressional Hearin'

America's latest best 'reality TV show' is now on - coming live from the legislature in Washington DC.  A "bilateral committee" of Washington politicos is looking into the case of the 'fudged' election and whether, or not, all the 'new' President's men had any truck with the 'comintern' in the Kremlin.

I say fudged as opposed to 'probably fudged' or the even more vague 'possibly fudged' election, because one thing EVERYBODY on the committee is sure about is that the Russians  'did something' to affect a US election.  They're trying to find out just what that was and who helped them do it. And PROVE it.  As a side show,  the committee is investigating any links anybody in the Trump administration may have had with the Russians. This because the most recent National Security director was in communication with the Russian ambassador to the US from a holiday home in the West Indies and the phone call was intercepted. He 'lied' about it and was forced to resign.  Since then the hue and cry 'who else' had gone up, followed, shortly,  by 'did Trump know about it?'

And so the pols have gathered.  But what initially looked like a slam dunk for the deprived Hilary is starting to look more like a national fiasco.

Recently  on the hot seat, one James Comey - head honcho of the FBI, who was assisted by some Admiral presently commanding the NSA. What a well-watered dope that lad is.  He led-off his perambulation by informing the panel that, although he had already imparted all his security wisdom to the principals of the body, and normally would not divulge what his agency was doing, he was "empowered" to let them all know that the FBI was investigating the Russian theft of a US election.

He concluded as to how, what he was about, was protecting America and Americans, wrapped himself in bumpff and hooey, then opened the floor to some questions. Some of the questions he was asked touched on other possible investigations - he was very fey about responding to those - pleading his version of 'the fifth' (If I told ya, we'd have ta kill ya, etc.) . But he received at least two 'lobs' that he must have thought he had belted right out of the park. One of those was in regard to Trump's recent charges that Obama had had his phone tapped.  When Comey replied that he 'had no information on that', his pronouncement was received as 'proof' that Obama had done no such thing and Trump was lying, again. The second lob was about Putin stealing the election by leaking stolen email - on that he could state it was true and the FBI was investigating the details. The big dope beside  him indicated that the NSA "had no information about that", because the NSA didn't focus on America but on threats from outside. You can go figure how that statement parlayed itself into  definitive proof that Putin had gerrymandered an election away from Clinton.   Apparently "I don't have any information" is a very meaningful term to US pols and their supersleuths.

He also dropped himself into some difficulty. - or allowed some sharpie to bamboozle him. One Representative - howdy dowdy or something, started to ask him about the intent of the FISA act and the courts in protecting Americans while attacking terror. Comey agreed that there were safeguards in place to protect innocent Americans who might inadvertently show up in investigations that did not really involve them. Their rights were protected by 'masking' their identity even up to the highest offices.  A jail term of 10 years was stipulated for anyone who "feloniously" divulged such information.  Dopey from the FBI even huffed and puffed a little about his desire to offer such protection. He asked his big buddy if the NSA could 'unmask' such  Americans and was told yes but only a handful were so qualified. He admitted there were more FBI employees who could 'unmask' Americans - because they dealt with more Americans (if that makes any sense)  'possibly a hundred',  but Comey didn't know for sure.

Led down a garden path,  Comey admitted there were others who could 'unmask' Americans cited in reports, if they were asked to, by higher authorities.

And then the representative unloaded. He laid out a chain of reports in national newspapers describing how 16 Americans - all members of the Trump transition team - had been 'unmasked' in a variety of materials that were 'gathered' apparently under FISA rules. There was no criminal cause for gathering the information and even less cause for having these citizens 'unmasked'. When asked if the FBI was investigating that crime Comey admitted it was a felony but he fell back on the 'fifth' and would neither admit or deny anything.  This is the start of another House investigation. For somebody leaked information and somebody unmasked as-yet-innocent Americans. And somebody requested their unmasking.

To round-off a bad day for the good guys, one of the co-chairs reported, to the media and President Trump, that he had been given evidence that indicated that "communications" from Trump administration staffers had been "inadvertently gathered" by National Security organizations. Information, the Chairman pointed out, that was available, now, to the officers of National Security organizations but also to politicians who might have been part of the former administration. Information that had been withheld from the sitting President.

The 'reaction' to that news was that, by failing to notify his Democrat co-chair of the finding before notifying the President, he had essentially 'destroyed' the work of the House committee.  Things had been going so well to nail Trump and then ..... kismet.  Trump might have been right about his email being 'tapped' and possibly Obama getting it. Whether Obama ordered that, or not, remains to be seen.

'Inadvertent' seems to have become a positive American character trait.

The Ever Present Threat to Things Flying through the Air

                                                 Orv and Wib and the first air fatality

Ever since Wilbur and Orville noticed that somebody could get hurt on, in, or under, a flying machine, mankind has taken 'the willies' about the notion of being smashed to death when an aluminium foil flying device  comes in contact with anything harder than itself. Indeed one of the scarier thoughts, and the subject of a number of  'thrillers' and actual murder plots, is to have something explode in a plane ... and fire its human contents into the open air and at great height. As some wag said of such things, 'it isn't the fall (if you've been spared the blast) that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the bottom'.

In the bad old days, when people weren't so easily 'radicalized', a notice on the wall often took the place of somebody with a gun as 'security' - in train and bus stations and airports, But those 'old ways' have changed.

                                                 Old fashioned 'nukuler' test site warning

To-day we are constantly reminded, as our forebears apparently weren't,  that life can be extremely transitory (as if it isn't) and that we need to be aware, very aware. Well somebody standing on the ramparts of our freedom needs to be aware, anyway.

                                               See the large cloud? The 'drone' didn't do it

And so, to-day, in a growing number of places, the fear that somebody can slip something explosive into a very difficult place,  has forced some of our defenders to ban all electronic devices - above a certain size, from being 'boarded' onto an aircraft with a passenger attached - at least from a small number of all-of-a-sudden 'very dangerous' air hubs.  If previous instant is any guide,  such 'prevention' will grow into a pound and  then a ton of cure - very soon,  everywhere.  For aren't 'they' out to get 'us' where ever we, and they, may be found?  If we plug one rat hole,  won't they only open another?  They used to just plant explosive  in luggage and detonate planes  but we've made that 'too hard' for them to do. They've tried exploding shoes and explosive underwear - should we be surprised that they've figured some molecular way of getting it into a functioning laptop or IPad?  Christ,  the ARE trying to kill us all, aren't they?

                                     You could get maybe three or four grams of Boom-boom in there.

But never mind that, if they can get a bomb into your electronics, or their own, and get it onto an aircraft, it won't be any less dangerous in the cargo hold than it would be under your seat - at least personally, in a very direct way. (see the falling from great height reference above.)

To me the new precaution doesn't make a lot of sense, or as much sense as checking electronics for traces of explosive - they do - and making sure they actually work - they don't.  Some folk are saying, to-day, it's actually a 'safety measure' about exploding lithium batteries. That begs the question about what makes lithium batteries getting on  planes at 6 specific airports more dangerous than the lithium batteries getting on planes everywhere else?  Some of these batteries have been known to burst into flames.  I'm pretty sure that 'fire on board the aircraft' is probably lesson two in the aircraft safety training program - right after 'fastened seatbelts' and just after 'barfing'.

                                                     checking for explosive earbuds

Some other minds are saying it's 'airline competition' at work.  But who's losing here?  The business class? They regularly rent their 'own' plane for international travel and despite what's said at the other end, their baggage stows where their baggage goes. And many places they're VIP enough to have it and themselves whisked-off the airport tarmac with a police escort - unchecked and untroubled by customs and immigration. Frankly, Scarlett, I can't see the competition at work here, unless only some airlines flights are involved and not the travelers  from those 6 'hell-holes'  - with what could be 'kinetic' electronics.

                                         No bombs on this baby - unless it's assassination

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


The first 'green on green' attack in Afghanistan, in a number of years, was reported yesterday when an Afghan soldier, apparently, turned a weapon on US 'advisors' wounding three of them.  The comcomittent reaction to the story ran the gamut from "let's be gone" to "vitrify the place", with almost every other previous comment mentioned,  in between.

While it isn't yet clear the Trump will - as some military experts, including the latest 'legatus legionis' to have been appointed, are calling for -  'mandate' a revitilized 'surge'.  Something useful to take back all those now-deserted 'posts' and 'bases', fly-in loads of new air conditioners, fridges and large screen TV's to replace those now 'aging'  in Afghan trash dumps. Something kinetic 'take the fight to the Taliban' (again), who have 'threatened' to overwhelm one of the best-trained and -equipped 'forces for freedumb' in west Asia.

They ( the pundits0 are giving Trump a triple option  for Afghanistan:  stalemate, failure or sending in more troops. Somehow I don't think Trump is going to want to win 'Bushco''s war in Afghanistan, or Obama's in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine or  West Africa for that matter, before he starts, and wins, one of his very own,  somewhere else. If he's smart,  he'd try 'doing' Venezuela - or Liberia.

Along with the steady stream of suicide bombings and the operations of the Afghan military, as Afghanistan 'gears-up' for another "fighting season",  the generous people of America have shipped-in another 4 Super Toucanos to help them make the jihadis 'stand-down' - and probably a double ration of anti-personnel bombs 'on the side'.  It's what real democracies do.

Here's a good bit of insight from Andre Vltchek, writing on Afghanistan, in Globalresearch - the Canadian alternative to the American  'neocon' narrative.

Andre Vltchek

Yemen: bleeding Yemen

 Aside from the odd report of another bombing travesty, or Special forces raid,  whatever is happening in Yemen continues to happen largely out of the eye of the western news reader.  Even the media 'spinsters' who have much of modernity in thrall to their blasts and counterblasts, ignore what's going-on in the middle east or at least the Arabian peninsula, as if how someone sits on a Whitehouse couch is ever-so-much-more imprtant.

Here are a couple of stories that have squeaked out

 The first in regard to 'Trump's BIG Seal raid:  US DoD released 'intel' material 'taken during the raid' one item of which was an AQ 'training video.'  It turns out that this was nothing new, a copy of the same video had been released on DOD sources a few years back. So the dead Yemenis at the very best had a ccopy of some very dated 'training' material.  Or somebody goofed by reposting archival material and calling it 'new'.   Whatever,  the official line is that the raid was 'a success' and some 'valuable intel' was found. This just wasn't it.

It's not botched, really. Trust us. 

The latest sad tale surfaced last week when it was reported that 'something' had shot-up a boatload of refugees, in the 'war zone'  off the coast of Yemen,  killing a number and resulting in a necessaary  humanitarian 'rescue' operation.  As time went by and the corpses drifted in for pick-up,  it turns out the incident 'might have been' a Saudi  Coalition Apache strike on what somebody thought was a boatful of 'smugglers bearing arms into Yemen'. That apparently happens 'all the time' and is probably why the Houtis haven't, as yet, surrendered to the 'natural' government  of their nation, or its coalition allies.  What is interesting is that refugees weren't travelling, as one might expect, from war-ravaged, starving Yemen to relative safety in Djibouti or the Horn of Africa states, these were refugees 'fleeing' almost-stable Somalia for an active, first-world category, war zone in Yemen. And they didn't make it.

Refugees under airstike

UNHCR appalled

Latest developments

In the wake of the travesty, a story floated out that the 'natural'  government of Yemen was  'pulling the plug' on America's airborne bombardment assistance plan (ABAP). Commenting from relative safety and civilization in Egypt, the 'Yemeni government-in-waiting' rapidly recanted the tale. The USA will be fully-vested in any bombing of Yemen, or Yemenis,  that they deem fit, or necessary to do. It IS for the 'good' of the people, and, if some eggs have get broken, they will all still enjoy the omlelet.

from Cairo

Last Word from the UNHRC - save the poor Somalis 

And as they used to say in 'revolutionary' places - 'la lutte continue, la victoire est certaine'. In this case there is no certainty of victory, just more death and lutte.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

If You've been Keeping-up with Syria ... Duh! Eh?

If you've been keeping-up with Syria - which seems to have been knocked-out of western media by the murder of the Nork's leader's older 'playboy' stepbrother and the on-going saga of the 'evil that is Trump' - you may have noticed there is little being reported.  But that doesn't mean there is nothing going on.

 If you look at a situation map you will notice that Syria is, now, split into enclaves occupied by the actors of the piece. the Syrian Arab government and its Syrian Arab Army hold the capital and areas around it, they hold a strip of land extending toward the north west corner of the country - fighting is going on in Idlib (west of Aleppo). They have retaken Aleppo and are advancing east on two fronts  into territory held by ISIS.

ISIS territory now extends in a wide strip to the southeast, through central Syria, to the border of Iraq. It contains the ISIS capital of Raqqa and the air base city of Deir ez Zor.  The North Eastern part of Syria is largely held by Kurdish forces of the PKK, they also hold territory south of the Turkish border in western Syria.  It is to prevent the Kurds forming a large enclave along the border, that Turkish forces made an incursion into Syria  "in support of FSA forces fighting ISIS" (coloured green on the map above) .

The FSA ("moderate" rebels)   hold a considerable enclave west of Aleppo and another north of the Jordanian border. They also hold smaller enclves and villages in government-held territory.

An enclave in north central Syria has been invaded from Turkey. The Turks claim to be supporting an ill-defined group of what they claim are FSA fighters and who accompany them on operations.

                                            SFA "fighters" employed by the Turks.

Very recently the  White House announced that a US Marine artillery unit was being deployed to 'Raqqa' to assist FAS forces. There have been other US forces in Syria for some time now. They have taken and control the area around a Syrian Air Force base in the northeastern part of the country. It is possible that these forces are supporting Syrian Kurdish forces, although the PKK is, still,  designated as a 'terrorist organizaton' by the USA.It is reported that both US and Russian forces are located in the same city  Manbij, in  the northeast

US/Russian forces 'eyeball' each other.

In other areas the government has succeeded in removing rebel forces from water sources supplying the cities of Baghdad and Aleppo. Water has been restored to the former and is being restored to the latter.The government continues to be criticized for continuing to attack rebel-held areas in a few of its cities (Homs for example)

In a demonstration of the effect of the war,  a 1 000 man 'legion' (5th) was mobilized by the government,  after completing training, just last week.   It is reputed to have been trained to a highly effective edge by Russian trainers. While that might be the case, one only has to look in the ranks to see that Syria could be at the "Heimwehr'  stage of military population. The 5th Legion is currently part of the force 'stretching the envelope' around recently re-liberated Palmyra.  I'm inclined to  think that a very large number of Syria's fighting-age males are (wisely?) living out-of-country.

Friday, March 10, 2017

дезинформация (dezinformatsiya:disinformation)

The American disease is spreading north!  It's called "disinformation", Russian disinformation,  and how it's gonna wreck civilization.

                                  "Left foot in, left foot out - doing jiggery pokery, shake it all about"

For the past two days, it would appear, Canada has either been under attack or is imminently going to be attacked (depending on which one of the two 'media sources' (Macleans Magazine, National Post) that 'discovered' it)  by whatever parts of Russia are accused of 'attacking' America - skewing the vote there and electing a President nobody - 'except Putin' - wanted.

                                                     What more needs be said?

The 'threat', we are told, has arisen since Canada announced, on Tuesday, (well that's a fib, Putin has been trying to 'screw' Canada, or Krystia Freeland or both, for a much longer time),  that it will be continuing to 'support' Ukraine, in  small part, by maintaining a force of 200  military trainers, in Ukraine, until 2019.  No mention of Canada's already having had military forces, periodically,  in Ukraine dating back some 20 years and that whatever 'parts of Russia' etc,  not attacking us - until now.

                                 Khristia .... and freedumb. She even looks like a real Canadian

What this 'disinformation attack' is about is our (relatively) new Foreign Affairs Minister, Krystia Freeland and her stalwart defence of EUkrainia. It would appear that 'Russia' has, lately, been attacking her, personally, by claiming that her grandfather - a Ukrainian 'refugee' (they used to be called "DP's"  after WW2),  spent some of his 'war' time working for a  pro-Nazi,  anti-Jew, -Pole, -communist, etc publication that blossomed after Ukraine was 'liberated' by Hitler & Co.  The Russians have already listed Freeland on a 'sanctioned persons' list for some of the things she said and did, in person, to get Russians sanctioned here in Canada.  This latest 'move' (other than having been attributed to 'pro-russian blogs', there is no proof the Russian governmment is actually attacking at all)  is, supposedly, just like the Russian 'disinformation campaigns' that have blighted recent modern history. Although it would seem that, like the other 'disinformations',  the facts of the story are essentially true - but 'lacking in nuance'.

That good 'nuance' is being provided in Canadian media (Toronto Star) to correct the disinformation 'nuance' goes like this:

1.   You won't understand if you weren't there.  "War is hell", General Sherman said that, and you can't make omelets without breaking heads. Dirty deeds get done, by accident mostly, and, well, just because "good people" are scared for their lives and willing to do almost anything to survive.

2.  Some of them pretend to do one thing (bad stuff)  but they are really heroes (Brad Pitt and the Nazi-killerz?) , like Krystia's grandad, who used his 'job' to get documents for, and save the lives of,  "anti-nazi fighters".  Don't even try to understand it, except the 'other guys' were worse.

3.  It's been so long now and, heck, Krystia had nothing to do with it - except editing the book her Uncle wrote about his Pop.

4. There were a few of 'ex-nazis' who may have 'sneaked in' with the real refugees but they went on to live in peace and, we hope, tried to live down any evil they had done. If we caught them, we dealt with them ... so we're good and now so are they - unless somebody from Israel finds them.

5. The whole family would have been dead - murdered by the filthy Russians or Russian-sympathizing 'Commie' Ukrainians -  if they'd stayed in Europe - so would Krystia and she's innocent.

                                              Hier Wir haben den gutes Nazis. So?

This is  the 'Canadian chapter' of the 'other' Russian 'disinformation':  that there are  modern 'Nazis' fighting in Ukraine, and in the 'revolutionary' government there.  Once again the 'disinformation' may be in the nuance, for there are 'nazis',  or people who seem to espouse the 'value' of that aspect of Ukrainian history,  who actually do form voluntary military units fighting alongside regular Ukrainian armed forces, in what they call 'the ATO'. And some of the (former) leadership of such groups do hold high office in the government of Ukraine. One of them was invited to, and did, address the Parliament of Canada.  But, once again, our 'nuance' might (probably does) make him a great guy. The truth may be that, politically, he's still well 'right' of Oskar Dirlewanger.

                              Pariuby, founder of the Ukrainian Nazi party, smiles on parliament

So what's the effect of all  this?

Well  for starters - it's going to make any sort of improvement in the relationship between Canada and Russia 'more complicated' - if we wanted anything like that. Not that Canada needs worry,  for we've gotten along well without Russians for so long, now. For about 9 years Canada has been in the forefront of those nations of the world who have more concern for downtrodden Russians and the 'evil  that is done to them by their government'  than we do for the downtrodden of most other places on earth. Human rights for Russians seem far more important, to Canada, than, say, human rights for a lot of other people - many kinds of Moslems come to mind. For instance what Putin is 'doing to the gay population of Russia' is somehow much worse than anything Israel does, regularly, to the ordinary people of Gaza or what's happening to  the Rohinga, or the Houthis. We complain about Russia  and 'defund' our charities aimed at helping Palestine - or Yemen - or the Assad side of Syria.  Moslems 'do things' to "deserve" their treatment and Russian gays, well, they just don't.

But this isn't only about Russia for, you see, like Israel - (and this is perhaps why we don't gripe about human rights there; they have great human rights - for Israelis),  Ukraine is 'under attack'. Yes they don't like gays there, either, but the 'new' Ukrainian police, unlike Russian police, show-up to 'protect' the 'Rainbow March'. If Putin wasn't being so bad to them, they'd be nicer to everybody - or pass more nice laws they won't 'be able' to enforce. Ukraine has been "invaded", parts of it "illegally annexed" (Disinformation?  Nah, undebateable 'facts', dropped and left because they're 'common knowledge') and right now Ukraine is 'holding the Russians back from destroying European culture' (dezinformatsiye - in Ukrainian) . It needs "more effective" weapons, and it needs more money to fight - and to look after culture,  art and beauty - things they would be more interested in than armored divisions, bulletproof vests, night vision glasses and ballistic helmets if only ...  Putin would leave them in peace!

Canada is willing to help train-up the army to do all that the 'right way'. We have, and will, continue to give them money. Ms Freeland and the Ukrainian-Canadian community would like Canada to give them, (even sell if necessary), "more effective" weapons to shoot at 'their' Donbass. But I may be 'disinformed' - maybe EUkraine doesn't need money, or weapons, or anything else and is really at peace ..... nah.

'Russian invasions' play better - we grew up  with that threat - we've 'seen' them on the TV - in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. We've 'seen' what the Russians have done to Afghanistan, to Latvia and Lithuania and Estonia - oops, those may have been anti-Russian events. We've seen Kruschev and his UN shoe (something else never actually recorded on film)  and we've 'known the fear' of a nuclear stand-off.  We've heard the warning sirens - and we've ducked and covered.

Like the nice man in the Star said, to-day, 'We weren't really there and we can't understand' - he may be right. But if he is, then shouldn't we take into consideration that, having lost World War One and come very close to losing the Second World War Two, the Russians  have 'been there' more than we have?  And might understand Ukraine better than some romantically-homesick 'Canadian' greatgrandchildren?

                                            Definitely NOT bullshit - it's Love

Disinformation aside, what we need to bear in mind that this could all be heading in a direction our grandparents (who "didn't want to know" about war  (?)- the Star) had some real fear of going. Depending on everybody to be 'rational' about nuclear weapons when they can't be rational about an election, accents the point that emotions 'make us' do more than common sense - and often the 'wrong' thing. Disinformation, whether coming from Russia, or the counter-disinformation 'necessary' to make 'theirs' look bad - drives an emotional reaction.  If you've heard Krystia when she gets' upset' you would know that.

I checked out the word 'disinformation' - it didn't look like a 'real' word. It wasn't - until sometime in the 1980's. According to Wikipedia,  it's a 'translation', or transliteration, of a probably-just-as-contrived "Russian word".  Isn't it strange that, having bested the propaganda of the Comintern, and International Communism, the 'agitprop' and a plethora of Soviet propaganda forms about almost everything we love, we have to 'borrow' another 'Russian  word'  to describe something even more nefarious - 'twisting the truth'.

                             Definitely not bullshit either - it's desecrating a Presidential bed

It's a pity that there are such 'truths' for them to find, and twist.

Some other of our 'truths'?  Good guys have to be evil - otherwise, 'the other guys would win'.  THEY 'choose' to do evil and WE have it forced on us. We're good and they're just not. Like Krystia's granddad and all the German Nazis?

                                     Casey, Casey... Casey from the emerald isle - and 'the agency'

ADDENDUM: Smashback Canada

From the pages of the little tabloid that should - Canada's opposition leader (pro tem) - the gorgeous and smart Rona Barrett - reminds us all of the diplomat and pantywaister that was Steve Harper 'standing-up' to Putin when all the other leaders of 'the wurld' were too afraid. Yes!  Steve told Vlad to  'Get out of Ukraine' and backed-that-up by banning a couple of Russian businessmen and some others from ever coming to Canada,  if they were thinking about that. He deployed the forces (or a couple of hundred of them) to go on a mission to 'train-up' a 'real' military for EUkrainia  and backed their fight for 'freedumb'. He  gave them money and flak vests, boots and helmets ( they left most of those unused for the rebels at Debaltsevo).  But he failed to send them the lethal weapons they so desperately needed to kill even more eastern Ukrainians than the 10 000, or so, they already have, with the lethal weapons they've already got.

And now, having so desperately tried , striven even, to "normalize" relations with the Russians - it's time for 'the Kid' to "get serious" (never mind the new troops he's deployed to Ukraine and the Baltics, or the money he's donated for us,  the Mounties now 'training-up' a real police force to match that military in EUkraine, or all his support for their 'freedumb')  and do "what we've done for the Kurds", fer pete's sakes, arm those poor Ukrainians!

And Jesus wept again.